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British army pulling out of Suffield

Czech_pivo

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The ME has the advantage as it could be used as a year round training area. Its the same reason the Germans dumped Shilo for Texas.

I would not bet against an secondary underlying political reason for the move either.
One could say that its part of a strategy by the UK/US to slowly pressure us to step up and start to actually begin lifting/carrying our own weight.
 

OldTanker

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My favourite BATUS story. I was RSS with the SALH in Medicine Hat in the late 70s. For a while we lived in MQ's in Suffield and I would drive the lonely highway into the Hat every morning. One day I noticed a squaddie standing by the east-bound side of the highway, hitchhiking. I stopped and asked him where he was going. "I've got three days off and am heading to Toronto to visit my cousin. The guys in the barracks said come down to the highway, turn left and stay on it till I hit Toronto." Technically he was correct, but I explained to him it would take him longer than his three days leave just to get to Toronto and convinced him Calgary was a better option. I dropped him off, watched him cross the highway and start heading west, thumb extended. The Brits always had problems understanding the size of Canada.
 

kev994

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My favourite BATUS story. I was RSS with the SALH in Medicine Hat in the late 70s. For a while we lived in MQ's in Suffield and I would drive the lonely highway into the Hat every morning. One day I noticed a squaddie standing by the east-bound side of the highway, hitchhiking. I stopped and asked him where he was going. "I've got three days off and am heading to Toronto to visit my cousin. The guys in the barracks said come down to the highway, turn left and stay on it till I hit Toronto." Technically he was correct, but I explained to him it would take him longer than his three days leave just to get to Toronto and convinced him Calgary was a better option. I dropped him off, watched him cross the highway and start heading west, thumb extended. The Brits always had problems understanding the size of Canada.
When I went through NFTC there were quite a few foreign students so part of the in-brief was an overlay of Europe onto the CLAWR.
 

Colin Parkinson

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The ME has the advantage as it could be used as a year round training area. Its the same reason the Germans dumped Shilo for Texas.

I would not bet against an secondary underlying political reason for the move either.
More like the Germans decided another run at Moscow was not in the cards.
 

Weinie

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My favourite BATUS story. I was RSS with the SALH in Medicine Hat in the late 70s. For a while we lived in MQ's in Suffield and I would drive the lonely highway into the Hat every morning. One day I noticed a squaddie standing by the east-bound side of the highway, hitchhiking. I stopped and asked him where he was going. "I've got three days off and am heading to Toronto to visit my cousin. The guys in the barracks said come down to the highway, turn left and stay on it till I hit Toronto." Technically he was correct, but I explained to him it would take him longer than his three days leave just to get to Toronto and convinced him Calgary was a better option. I dropped him off, watched him cross the highway and start heading west, thumb extended. The Brits always had problems understanding the size of Canada.
After trades training, I was posted to Shilo in 1984. A German colleague from GATES regaled us with how they were continually dealing with students sent from Germany to Shilo for training, who decided they would rent a car and visit Niagara Falls on the weekend. They fretted over ways to brief new attendees and finally opted to pull down a map of Canada, with a “You are here” over Shilo, and then interpose a to-scale map of Europe over it. It seemed to work, as the number of frantic calls to the GATES duty officer on Sunday evenings decreased dramatically.
 

dimsum

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After trades training, I was posted to Shilo in 1984. A German colleague from GATES regaled us with how they were continually dealing with students sent from Germany to Shilo for training, who decided they would rent a car and visit Niagara Falls on the weekend. They fretted over ways to brief new attendees and finally opted to pull down a map of Canada, with a “You are here” over Shilo, and then interpose a to-scale map of Europe over it. It seemed to work, as the number of frantic calls to the GATES duty officer on Sunday evenings decreased dramatically.
Same sort of thing for the international students in language school in St-Jean.

I and other Canadian students had to do that more than once. One European wanted to drive to Vancouver from SJ and back over a wkd.
 

FJAG

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Does the Defence Research Establishment still have a research facility there?

Having been to Suffield a few times the training area is barren and devoid of trees. It might be a good area for mech ops. For dismounted infantry not so much.
I went out there once as safety officer for an L5s live firing exercise in the middle of winter. Basically three weeks in arctic tents and on snowmobiles. Long before GPS was a thing. It was definitely a map reading challenge. 🥶

The Brits always had problems understanding the size of Canada.
As did the German in Shilo heading for Mexico on a four day pass. :giggle:

Based on the report that they are closing out of Germany to open up a facility in Oman seems to indicate that the Brits still don't understand the size of the world and the complications of redeploying a battlegroup. At least coming from Canada they don't have to ship through the Suez. It's roughly the same 6,000 km to reposition troops and equipment from Canada or Oman to the UK. And if they need those 22 tanks from Suffield in the Ukraine that quickly then good luck. If in the Baltics then its an extra three hours flying time. And then there's the whole China thing. Bull feathers. This has everything to do with cozying back up to their old Middle Eastern public school chums.

There's not enough Prussian bloodlines left to even consider this as an option.
I'm in that genetic group but wouldn't even contemplate it. :giggle:


🍻
 

The Bread Guy

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For now, anyway ...

Meanwhile, here's another bit of the UK MoD Info-machine with its take on whazzup (highlights mine) - archived version here ...
Ben Wallace dismissed reports that troops would be completely leaving British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS) in Alberta, Canada, the service's largest battleground in the world, to move to the Middle East.

British soldiers have been training at BATUS since 1972.

(...)

He said "BATUS is not being closed" but added: "Of course, we'll change what we do there because some of those forces we might use elsewhere but no we're not closing BATUS."

When pressed on whether there was a shift of focus towards the Middle East, Mr Wallace said: "We are being present where it matters, and the Middle East matters.

"We're also going to be forward and present in places like Kenya because Africa matters to our security and matters to our interests as well."

The former Army officer recently said he wants British personnel to "see the world", with training set to be increased around the globe.

Oman is tipped to be one of five of the UK's 'land hubs', which, Mr Wallace said "are about us increasing our training – Oman is one – Kenya another and there'll be others".

Mr Wallace reiterated that on Wednesday, saying: "There's no good sitting back in a British base - if you want influence, if you want to deter, if you want to provide resilience, you need to be out and around in parts of the world that matters.

"The Middle East is one of those parts of the world, Oman and Qatar, for example, would be one of those areas."

The Ministry of Defence earlier said: "Canada is one of the UK's oldest and closest allies.

"Contrary to reports today, we are not closing BATUS.

"It will continue to be a vital training base for the British Army." ...
This bit of sub-title from the same outlet draws the eye, too (highlights mine) - archived version here ...
... The huge training site in Canada is still useful for the military, says a former commander, as transformation talk develops. ...
🍿
 
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CBH99

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To be fair, the ME & Africa are both a lot closer to them than we are. And if the proxy wars of the future are most likely to happen in those theatres, it does make sense to do their training in a climate/terrain similar to what they will be operating in.

Shilo is great because it has so much space. Like…so so so much space. But it is also a frozen wasteland for six months of the year.


Is it the US/UK pressuring us to step up? Perhaps.

But it also could just be that the ME & Africa are closer, easier to fly troops to/from, and are more realistic training environments in terms of cultures, languages, climate adjustment, etc.
 

OldSolduer

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Speaking of Shilo I have made numerous trips there. There is a variety of terrain there that makes it ideal for winter ops.
 

OldSolduer

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Lots of ridgelines. Still hearing the dreaded words of "weapons det toboggan, that ridgeline there" :)
I recall that ex. Years later when I was with The Royal Winnipeg Rifles we traversed many of those ridgelines. Not alot of fun. Everyone was involved in getting the toboggan up the hills.
 
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