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canadian winter warfare

Winter Warfare

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My finger kept freezing to the trigger as I tried to get a good sight picture. The moonlight made the snow shine almost as bright as day. I had taken off my mitts and only had my trigger finger of my glove cut off. I desperately wanted to score marksman on this serial because it would be a nice patch to add to my dress uniform. I had been sweating during the ruck march to the first of multiple shooting scenarios. It had been a good trek of roughly 10kms while dragging sleds. We had enough gear with us for the week long exercise, and it was only day two so things were still heavy. But in that moment, putting rounds down range made it all worth it, despite my fear that my finger might get stuck to the trigger thanks to the -27 degree Celsius temperature and the sweat. I knew that the camelback I had against my skin under all my layers and parka would have really warm water right now, so I was relatively confident I could use that to get my finger off my trigger if they froze together.

As Canadian paratroopers, winter warfare was our bread and butter. We would be the first to deploy in the event of a Russian invasion over the polar cap due to the lack of infrastructure and people in the far north of Canada. We also have a NORAD agreement to uphold with our neighbours to the south. In my 5 year military career I spent at least two exercises a year in the dead of winter. Training when it is well below freezing or in the arctic tundra teaches you a kind of toughness that is unparalleled. I’ve had parts of my toes turn black, and had toe nails fall off. I’ve snowshoed extreme distances with “light infantry load outs” that weighed over 70lbs. There were times where it was so cold that it hurt to breathe. If it is below 30 and there is a wind chill; you better not let any skin be exposed to the elements or you can lose it really fast. 

I remember the final exercise of my advanced winter warfare course where we were holding a defensive position. We dug trenches in the meter and a half deep snow. The lack of movement and the wind made it feel as if we were going to turn into statues. We took shifts sleeping in a hole we had dug in the ice. The sun was only up for a few hours so the feeling of eternal darkness was also something to wrestle with. We built up a snow wall and dug down deeper so that we could perform squats without giving away our position. This was key in keeping us from completely freezing. Push ups and squats when every joint is stiff along with many layers of clothing were challenging. You felt like the Michelin man as you tried to get blood flowing into your fingers and toes. 

That particular exercise ended with a 16km march with all our gear. Beside us were trucks rolling slowly along with our pace. Our platoon had brought along the support weapons which were a 72mm Karl Gustav grenade launcher, a general purpose machine gun and a few M72s along with plenty of ammo. The weapons were distributed along with the positions dragging or pushing sleds that carried our food, water and tents. We also carried our rucksacks, body armour, helmets, personal ammo and rifles. This march was the final crucible of this course. It was designed to test our will to push through and suffer when the time came. Most of us had our water freeze due to the temperature dropping below 40 at night and our stoves couldn’t melt ice fast enough. We were dehydrated. We hadn’t slept a full night through as we had guard shifts. Whenever we wanted to quit, the instructors explained, the trucks were there. You didn’t have to do this. You didn’t have to be there. You could give up and you would fail the course but you wouldn’t need to suffer any further. 

Every man who broke had to hand over his support weapon if he had it or another man had to take his place moving the sled. They would then get to throw their ruck in the truck and sit there. Many took that offer and hung their head in shame. I remember seeing a guy who scored much higher than me on the fitness test give in. I was in plenty of pain and every step felt like death, but I was not going to let myself fail. I would rather drop dead on the ice covered road. That grit kept me going despite having to carry a light machine-gun, two M72s and dragging a sled along with my personal gear and rifle. That was a frozen hell I never want to experience again. 

Finishing that march defined me as a man at nineteen years old. I had proven to myself that I could suffer and I would always choose the hard road no matter how much it hurt. Sure, I’d grunt, watch my sweat turn to ice, and curse under my breath. But I would not stop. I would earn my place amongst hard men. Only seventeen of us from the initial 42 finished that march. It was an honour I would carry with me throughout my Military career, and set me up for advancement. I went on to Mountain Operations, Signaler, Small Arms instructor and forward operator to call in Artillery or air strikes. 

Northern Europeans excel in cold weather. We generally have longer torsos in relation to our limb length which is an asset in heat retention. The only race that is better suited to negative temperatures are the Inuit and they have the shortest limbs you can ever imagine. They also carry more body fat along with having a lot around their faces too. Smaller hands and feet also help. But with our height, we have an advantage breaking trail when we don’t have snowshoes. The short, stocky Inuit have to wade through snow we can take steps through. 

Layers were key in surviving up north. Wool is the best base layer from socks to underwear. Fur and leather made a huge difference as they are breathable yet protective. Then we would wear our white camouflage on top. If you knew you needed to march, you needed to dress down a bit to keep yourself from overheating which I saw many guys fall victim to. You had to start marches cold. As soon as you stop; get all your clothes back on immediately. This strategy makes a huge difference in retaining water. Wearing too many layers and sweating while marching was deadly for dehydration and then freezing from being wet once you stopped. 

Water was also a tricky situation. The amount of snow or ice needed to melt for drinking was enormous. This would require fuel via firewood, gas, or oil for stoves. None of these are present in the tundra. The best way to approach water in arctic or sub arctic locations is to think of those places as the exact same as deserts. You need to bring the majority of what you need. If you are near a frozen lake or river, you can cut a hole in the ice and draw water from there. The only drawback is the time and energy required for that. 

Travel in snow is slow going and need to be factored in. Snowshoes help a lot as do cross-country skis to improve mobility in deep snow. But both of those require a fair amount of skill to be efficient. Also, the glare from the snow can be blinding so wearing tinted goggles was often a necessity during the day. At night we had glasses with clear lenses because it would help keep the heat in if we were stationary. 

The cold itself requires a higher calorie intake. Our MRE (meals-ready-to-eat) rations were increased to 4-5 per day instead of the usual 3. Having less that thirteen precent body fat put you at a higher risk of cold injuries. At the same time; being too fat (over sixteen percent body fat) would require more effort to move in the snow. I was usually around fourteen percent body fat when deployed which made things easier. 

One other interesting thing is that people naturally don’t want to shit when it is cold. This got a lot of guys sick. The effort required to set up a sort of shelter from wind and the elements, undress, and properly clean oneself does not encourage bowel movements. Also when you are cold and sleep deprived, you don’t realise you need to go number two as early as you would normally. Whenever you did drop off a poojeet into the snow drift, you felt amazing. Once you got used to the process, and became efficient at it; things got a lot better. 

Everything in cold weather takes more time and requires more effort. This is something that you have to get used to. Learning how to create systems to speed things up is important. Also keeping a grip on your equipment is difficult too, and one silly move can cost you a pair of NVGs. Luckily it wasn’t me who lost them. 

Going through all those experiences in cold weather also made the racial differences between us pronounced. For example, we had one “Jamaican-Canadian” on our advanced winter warfare course. He, for obvious reasons, didn’t pass. His kind requires more sunlight than the north provides in general. Stack that on the 4 hours of sunlight the winter provides and you have a very depressed creature with a compromised immune system. 

Koreans and Chinese also seemed to struggle more than the northern European boys. I suspect that they have less internal fat around their organs or something. There skin would turn purplish quicker than ours in extended periods of cold exposure. Brain function was not optimal for them either as they would forget equipment regularly like water, binoculars, NVGs, and maps. The handful that I worked with closely, often times living with them, seemed to frequently lose things or forget things which were important. 

We had one Afghan in our team on a live-fire exercise for Basic winter warfare. His family had immigrated to Canada when Russia invaded Afghanistan. Something about the cold, lack of sleep, and stress of walking onto our objective while Artillery was shooting over us caused him to snap. I was second in command of our support weapons detachment. Our job was to lay suppressive fire onto the objective after the Artillery barrage was finished and lay cover fire for the section attack. The Afghan had a light machine gun. As we crested the hill overlooking the objective, he lost his mind. He began running in a circle pulling the trigger of the gun that was pointed up in the port position and screaming. 

I was closest to him so I sprinted over, punched him as hard as I could in the face and tackled him to the ground. The shock and impact loosened his grip on the machine gun and he dropped it to the ground. I was commended for my actions after the fact and the Afghan was removed from active duty and later placed in a logistics unit.

It is also my experience that southern Europeans struggle with cold weather and lose their motivation quickly. This entire experience has taught me that human races belong to different climates and environments. Those of us who are northern European can tolerate extreme cold, but it needs to be seasonal. The Inuit are the true masters of the north, but unfortunately they never really got beyond the stone age. 

I want to conclude this with another story. Once we had graduated Basic Winter Warfare, my buddies and I were all excited for a night out on the town. We showered, dressed and went to a local sports bar for dinner. Our plan was to eat, drink and then hit the night clubs and bars to try and pick up girls. As we sat around the table stuffing our faces, I took a moment to apologise to my friends. I told them I was sorry for dragging my ass through the course and I’m grateful to each of them for carrying me through. I told them that I could not have done it without them. Gordie put his burger down and said, “What are you talking about fuckhead, you gave me your water when mine was frozen cock stiff!” Then Chris chimed in, “Yeah man, you carried the extra ammo for my LMG on multiple marches.” “And whenever you had fire watch you made sure the stove was full of kerosene before I took over so I didn’t have to go out in the snow.” added John. This continued until we all realised that we can been helping each other along the way. It was our unity that got all of us through. We took care of each other when one stumbled or felt tired. 

That is a bond we got to share that I still cherish to this day. It was true brotherhood at it’s finest. I want to carry that spirit into every white nationalist endeavour I participate in. We need to lift each other up and hold each other to a higher standard.  The cold is a gift that cleanses the land, and the brotherhood is the fire that keeps us together. 

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“This continued until we all realised that we can been helping each other along the way. It was our unity that got all of us through. We took care of each other when one stumbled or felt tired.”

I love that part

Very interesting

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