Author Topic: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training  (Read 7569 times)

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Offline Jarnhamar

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About 20 Canadian Armed Forces members suffered frostbite, and some required hospitalization, following a military training session near Petawawa, Ont., held earlier this month in extremely cold weather. 

On Jan. 17-18, nearly 120 soldiers with the Royal Canadian Dragoons participated in basic winter survival training while the temperature dropped to –31 C. 


https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/canadian-soldiers-suffer-frostbite-during-winter-training-1.4994767


1/6th of the company getting frostbite, that's gotta sting.
 8)
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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2019, 09:35:57 »
I wonder what happened here. I recall taking part in numerous winterexs as late as the mid-1990s in conditions that cold and do not recall ever seeing even one cold injury.

Is the kit lacking or have we lost the institutional knowledge on how to operate safely in extreme winter conditions?

Offline Colin P

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2019, 10:27:55 »
Likely a bit of both

Offline mariomike

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2019, 10:40:06 »
Is the kit lacking or have we lost the institutional knowledge on how to operate safely in extreme winter conditions?

For reference to the discussion,

Frostbite - how to avoid?
https://army.ca/forums/index.php?topic=127524.0

OP:
Frostbite - how to avoid it in any weather and circumstance?

Can someone please sum up all the things one have to know and need to take care of in order to never get frostbite?

Offline Remius

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2019, 10:53:10 »
I wonder what happened here. I recall taking part in numerous winterexs as late as the mid-1990s in conditions that cold and do not recall ever seeing even one cold injury.

Is the kit lacking or have we lost the institutional knowledge on how to operate safely in extreme winter conditions?

Could be bad leadership, poor supervision, inexperience...

How green were these guys?  How many cold weather exercises in arctic tents have these particular armoured guys done that were that cold?

did they have the right kit?  Some troops seem to think combat boots and NEOs are ok for this type of thing.  is there still a mukluk shortage? 

Not all of the details were provided in the article.
Optio

Offline Rifleman62

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2019, 10:59:57 »
I believe the wind chill table is still current.
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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2019, 11:23:58 »
:pop:

I wonder how this SIR went over on the CDS' desk...

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Offline RelentlessTsunami

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2019, 11:58:05 »
I wonder what happened here. I recall taking part in numerous winterexs as late as the mid-1990s in conditions that cold and do not recall ever seeing even one cold injury.

Is the kit lacking or have we lost the institutional knowledge on how to operate safely in extreme winter conditions?

Since it was a bug out situation and not planned ex there's lots of opportunities for guys to not have their proper kit on hand, not be properly hydrated (maybe hungover from the night before), sleep deprived, etc...

I think it's a leadership failure because they should have been checking over these guys before they set off to ensure they were in good enough condition and properly equipped to accomplish the task. Then appropriately discipline those who weren't... not make them ruck out anyway.

Offline Baden Guy

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2019, 12:15:23 »
I thought "Maj. Kevin Wong" did a good job addressing the incident while saying nothing that would answer the obvious questions ref equipment and training. See video at link.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/canadian-soldiers-suffer-frostbite-during-winter-training-1.4994767

Offline exCAFguy

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2019, 12:20:07 »
I’ve been on winter warfare exes with the regiment (not THAT long ago) that were colder.  That one year in Ramore when it was like -52 with the windchill comes to mind, and we didn’t have any cold related casualties that I can recall in any winter ex ever.

What I can see being the issue here, is if bug out kit lists are on the same principle they were when I was still in the regiment, we were to have no more or no less kit than what was on the list come inspection time.  As such, I followed the kit list to a T regardless of whether or not I agreed with what was on it from a practical standpoint.

We were never bugged out and sent to the field with that kit list, so it never really became an issue, but if that’s the case here then to me it’s a failure at all supervisory levels to 1) not ensure the kit list was practical and effective and 2) not allow individuals to pack additional kit if they so choose.

Not saying that is what happened here, but my time in the regiment most higher ups weren’t exactly open to change and suggestions, and I can’t see that culture changing dramatically in the last 7 years.

Whether it be the MCpls, Snr NCO’s, the officers, or all of them, the troops were failed at some level of leadership.........I’m curious as to who it was.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2019, 12:21:53 »
Since it was a bug out situation and not planned ex there's lots of opportunities for guys to not have their proper kit on hand, not be properly hydrated (maybe hungover from the night before), sleep deprived, etc...

I think it's a leadership failure because they should have been checking over these guys before they set off to ensure they were in good enough condition and properly equipped to accomplish the task. Then appropriately discipline those who weren't... not make them ruck out anyway.

The first rule of training troops in extreme cold weather: have  a great big hanger/ school gym etc handy, just in case....
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Jarnhamar

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2019, 12:28:34 »
Since it was a bug out situation and not planned ex there's lots of opportunities for guys to not have their proper kit on hand, not be properly hydrated (maybe hungover from the night before), sleep deprived, etc...

I think it's a leadership failure because they should have been checking over these guys before they set off to ensure they were in good enough condition and properly equipped to accomplish the task. Then appropriately discipline those who weren't... not make them ruck out anyway.

On the other frosty hand corporals are NCOs, but, we treat them like menials. Mopping concrete floors, garbage sweeps, crap jobs. It seems like we're taking more and more authority and responsibility away from our NCO core.

What are the chances the mcpls or sergeants had time (read permission) to take their crews out and do their own training?

Guessing they got a check in the box basic winter warfare course. Other opportunities to train were taken up with IBTS and  the latest online course that 'OMG needs to be done'.

12km March and an over nighter? Lack of march discipline and dumb night time tasks.

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Offline Jarnhamar

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2019, 12:32:01 »
I thought "Maj. Kevin Wong" did a good job addressing the incident while saying nothing that would answer the obvious questions ref equipment and training. See video at link.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/canadian-soldiers-suffer-frostbite-during-winter-training-1.4994767

Was thinking the same thing. He's good.
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Offline Hamish Seggie

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2019, 12:32:24 »
About 20 Canadian Armed Forces members suffered frostbite, and some required hospitalization, following a military training session near Petawawa, Ont., held earlier this month in extremely cold weather.

On Jan. 17-18, nearly 120 soldiers with the Royal Canadian Dragoons participated in basic winter survival training while the temperature dropped to –31 C.


https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/canadian-soldiers-suffer-frostbite-during-winter-training-1.4994767


1/6th of the company getting frostbite, that's gotta sting.
 8)

That’s a platoon rendered in effective.
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Online SeaKingTacco

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2019, 12:33:32 »
The first rule of training troops in extreme cold weather: have  a great big hanger/ school gym etc handy, just in case....

Not that I am necessarily disagreeing with you, but if you have arctic tents and the world's supply of naptha, you can be comfortable in pretty much any winter conditions. I have taken it as low as -40C in an arctic tent. Inside, with the stove and lantern going, it was tee-shirt weather. If the wind chill value gets out of hand, you just confine everyone to their tents unless they are peeing or re-fueling the stove or lantern. Problem solved.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2019, 12:58:37 »
That’s a platoon rendered in effective.

And the 'rule of the frostbitten thumb' says that if 20 troops go down with cold injuries, there were about another 20 who were getting close....
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Blackadder1916

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2019, 14:13:16 »
That’s a platoon rendered in effective.

And the 'rule of the frostbitten thumb' says that if 20 troops go down with cold injuries, there were about another 20 who were getting close....

And 20 who are needed to take care of those suffering.  Not a platoon rendered ineffective but the majority of a company.  Having some experience with cold (and heat) injuries, leadership is the prime factor that determines good or bad outcomes.

Oh, and low, low sub-zero temps are not that much of a contributing factor.  The worst cold injuries I've seen happened in temps just a little below freezing.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2019, 14:16:35 by Blackadder1916 »
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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2019, 14:17:12 »
No article on the number of career ending injuries caused by the CAF sticking with a Korean War era parachute? I watched 33% of a Coy become casualties on exercise once, including broken femurs, necks and backs due to the decent rate of the CT1.

Offline Colin P

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #18 on: January 28, 2019, 15:41:03 »
I’ve been on winter warfare exes with the regiment (not THAT long ago) that were colder.  That one year in Ramore when it was like -52 with the windchill comes to mind, and we didn’t have any cold related casualties that I can recall in any winter ex ever.

What I can see being the issue here, is if bug out kit lists are on the same principle they were when I was still in the regiment, we were to have no more or no less kit than what was on the list come inspection time.  As such, I followed the kit list to a T regardless of whether or not I agreed with what was on it from a practical standpoint.

We were never bugged out and sent to the field with that kit list, so it never really became an issue, but if that’s the case here then to me it’s a failure at all supervisory levels to 1) not ensure the kit list was practical and effective and 2) not allow individuals to pack additional kit if they so choose.

Not saying that is what happened here, but my time in the regiment most higher ups weren’t exactly open to change and suggestions, and I can’t see that culture changing dramatically in the last 7 years.

Whether it be the MCpls, Snr NCO’s, the officers, or all of them, the troops were failed at some level of leadership.........I’m curious as to who it was.

One wonders if they just did the bug out and hoped for the best, or they did individual, troop and Company training, perhaps an overnight on the lawn to work out the bugs in the training?

Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #19 on: January 28, 2019, 16:16:13 »
About 20 Canadian Armed Forces members suffered frostbite, and some required hospitalization, following a military training session near Petawawa, Ont., held earlier this month in extremely cold weather.

On Jan. 17-18, nearly 120 soldiers with the Royal Canadian Dragoons participated in basic winter survival training while the temperature dropped to –31 C.


https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/canadian-soldiers-suffer-frostbite-during-winter-training-1.4994767


1/6th of the company squadron getting frostbite, that's gotta sting.
 8)

 ;D
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Sometimes the reason is you're stupid and make bad decisions.

Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #20 on: January 28, 2019, 16:22:10 »
Also not included (unless I missed it) were how many were Pte's, NCOs, Warrant Officers and/or Officers.

I've been on winter ex's where it was intended as Winter Indoc and someone higher up got all full of piss and vinegar and wanted it to be "winter warfare".  The SSM had to talk some sense into the grown-ups and explain the difference and get people to have a drink of reality-flavoured KoolAid.

But agree, something (or things, more than likely) feel thru the cracks here.  -31 isn't that cold with the kit we had decades ago and the stuff issued now is better (if you know how to use it...which you usually learned during winter indoc...).
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #21 on: January 28, 2019, 18:24:42 »
Also not included (unless I missed it) were how many were Pte's, NCOs, Warrant Officers and/or Officers.

I've been on winter ex's where it was intended as Winter Indoc and someone higher up got all full of piss and vinegar and wanted it to be "winter warfare".  The SSM had to talk some sense into the grown-ups and explain the difference and get people to have a drink of reality-flavoured KoolAid.

But agree, something (or things, more than likely) feel thru the cracks here.  -31 isn't that cold with the kit we had decades ago and the stuff issued now is better (if you know how to use it...which you usually learned during winter indoc...).

Point to note: If you run (especially inexperienced and non-acclimatized) troops too fast at 30 below, you can damage their lungs quite easily as well... Not saying that happened in this case, but it's yet another consideration not many think of.
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Offline Walt

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #22 on: January 28, 2019, 18:57:14 »
There is no reason, given the cold weather gear that the CF provides, that under a controlled winter indoctrination exercise, soldiers would experience frostbite. Proper education should have prevented this unnecessary occurrence:

1. Wear loose layered clothing, and the kit provided,
2. Remove layers as required to allow evaporation of body perspiration,
3. Ensure that extremities are covered and dry,
4. Stay hydrated, and fuel up on snacks between meals,
5. Take breaks to change damp socks and boot liners as required,
6. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM. Check your mates for the early onset of frostbite before it becomes serious (symptoms include blotchy waxy skin, mental clumsiness, uncontrolled shivering).

The coldest Winter Indoc I experienced was in -40 degrees in Spruce Wood Provincial Park on the outskirts of CFB Shilo. Six days and a lot of discomfort; however, not one casualty!
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Offline Old Sweat

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #23 on: January 28, 2019, 19:29:57 »
I had been holding off, but the above reference to Shilo triggered a reaction. In December 1960 my OCP Phase One course culminated with an exercise in the norththeast end of the Shilo ranges. We had undergone an indoctrination in camp before deploying, and our instructors were experienced, tough and firm in their approach. We set up camp, moved, set up, etc, etc for about five days. We also constructed expedient shelters, aka lean tos and snow caves, in weather that bottomed out at -55f.

Many, the majority of us, had put on a uniform for the first time in September, so the experience level was low. Despite that, and the weather, we suffered no casualties and had no problem marching back to camp hauling our toboggans and tent group kit. I have a picture someone took of Officer Cadet Norm Rouleau (father of Mike) and me taking a break besides our toboggan and, while we obviously were tired, we were fit and able to continue. I credit this to our course staff who knew their business.

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #24 on: January 28, 2019, 19:40:16 »
Just a thought

How many Canadian kids still walk to school at -31C?

For most of us in my era, the early 80s, Winter Ex's were a continuation of life as usual in the sense that many of us had been walking a mile plus or more, two to four times a day (if you were lucky enough to walk home for lunch) and play outside before school, at two recesses, during lunch and after school.  Not to mention time on toboggan hills and outdoor rinks.  With 2 meter snow banks, 30 below, wind chill and snow glare

Most of us had figured out that some of the stuff mum had been telling us about dressing made some kind of sense.

Bit different if you get dragged away from your playstation, turfed out of your basement and chucked into a snow drift.

I'm reminded of the Ghanaian kids on Phase 2 at Gagetown in January - every stitch of clothing on, coddled in the cabs of the Deuces, and still suffering from hypothermia.

No frames of reference.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2019, 19:46:32 by Chris Pook »
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