20 Polish Paratroopers of the 6th Airborne Brigade took part in the two-week long Rafale Blanche 2016 exercise which took place in the Canadian province of Quebec. The troops are carrying out operations as a part of the 3rd Battalion of the Canadian 22nd Royal Regiment.
The Polish troops, during the first couple of days spent at the Valcartier base, were involved in preparations for the exercise. They acquired the equipment required to operate in the sub-arctic region, and they also got acquainted with the Canadian tactics and weaponry. They were also trained to use toboggans and snowshoes – as Cpt. Marcin Gil of the 6th Airborne Brigade reports.
As the participants of the exercise note, weather was the greatest adversary during the Rafale Blanche 2016 event. The days during which an intensive snowfall took place, after which a lot of sunlight came, followed by rain and frost, were a routine, throughout the course of the operation. The temperature difference between day and night reached up to 30 degrees Celsius.
During the exercise, the unit involving the Polish soldiers had to carry out tasks including patrol reconnaissance, raids and ambushes. Enemy outposts were neutralized during the rainy portion of the operation. A lot of attention was given to the issues related to provision of first aid and MEDEVAC tasks.
The exercise was finalized by taking over two enemy bases in the urbanized area. The objects were observed by the snipers and reconnaissance units, and then, the main component of the company, after a whole night march, approached the target area and took it over, after a brief assault. Realization of those relatively simple tasks, in weather conditions that are so variable, has shown the importance of the soldiers being in good physical shape, and having a high quality equipment at their disposal.
The Canadian operation constituted an occasion for the Polish paratroops to test their skills, knowledge and equipment. Participation in the exercise made it possible to integrate the element during the arctic-winter operations, as Cpt. Gil confirms.