Sunday, December 18, 2011

Winter Trigger Finger Mittens and the Lee Enfield Rifle

I'm behind schedule getting my winter field gear in top notch shape. I've been running these old surplus trigger finger mittens for years. Every year I re-grease them, stow them in a zip lock bag and store them back in my 24 hour winterized day pack. So how well do they work when you're running a rifle? If you've ever held a freezing cold rifle in your hands during the winter you will learn to appreciate quality mittens. Have a look for yourself.

Appologies for the sound quality - it's hard to hear my voice.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Brigade Training Event - Phoenix Ram 2005

THE FIRST TWO DAYS


A short story of the Brigade Training Event (BTE) I attended at CFB Wainwright in October 2005. As you are probably already aware, Canada currently has a reducing role in Afghanistan. At the time though we were in the process of sending an additional 1500 troops to Kandahar as part of TF-06 in February where they would supplement the Canadian troops moving out of Kabul.

I was to be attached to ‘A’ Company, 1st Mechanized Infantry Battalion of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) as a translator. I spent a lot of time as a passenger on board our GM manufactured Light Armoured Vehicles (LAV III) and our new Mercedes ‘G” Wagons which now replace the tired Volkswagen Iltis Jeep. There were three companies in the 1st Mechanized.

The Lord Strathacona Light Horse and the Royal 22nd Regiment (22e) (vingt-deuxième) were also in attendance for the BTE as they’re time is also coming to a close here in Canada.

This was a 5000 person strong brigade level training event. The purpose is to get our soldiers thinking along the NATO adopted strategy of the 3-tier war.
1. War Fighting
2. Humanitarian Assistance
3. Peace Keeping

I was attached to a CIMIC team for the BTE. All CIMIC members are reservists; in fact 30% of the forces going to Afghanistan are comprised of the Canadian Armed Forces Primary Reserve.

Canadian Rangers were deployed to role play civilians. Our job was to make it as real as possible and to observe how the Canadian Troops reacted to our needs. Depending on how the Troops reacted the civilians would react. For example if a CDN tank rolled over my chicken coop and killed all of my chickens I would not be friendly to the Canadian Troops unless compensated. If the Canadian Troops ignored wounded civies, our entire village would start supporting the insurgents and stop helping the Canadians. Therefore the treatment of civilians was an important aspect of the BTE.
Here is a little background to the theatre.

A Soviet bloc state previously known as ‘Canola’ dissolved after the Communist wall fell. Canola broke into four independent countries soon afterwards. Two of the four independent states are called ‘Stromia’ and the other ‘Tartan’. Stromia is ethnic Anglican and ‘Tartan’ is ethnic Muslim.

Stromia has adopted the western society culture and listens to the same pop music, embraces the arts, international sports, diversity and education. Their industry and economy are doing well and their standard of living is steadily on the increase. Their youth are educated and hard working and are very happy.

Tartan has avoided change and enjoyed being a soviet bloc state. Tartan infrastructure is poor and their economic system is a shambles. Tartans believe that times were better when they were under Communist rule, life was easier. Agriculture was their biggest bringer of funds to the state but was recently discovered to contain BSE. Their primary industry has crashed. They look at Stromia’s success as an unfair acceptance by Europe and believe that Tartan has been condemned.

In the last year a massive oil reserve was found just in the Stromian side of the border (which has been in dispute with Tartan since it was established). This oil reserve represents the largest in-land European supply posing to skyrocket Stromia into an economic power. Tartan isn’t having any of this.

90% of Stromia’s Armed Forces are ethnic Tartan by birth. Several Divisions revolt and take up the Tartan cause. A civil war starts and Stromia is losing. NATO comes in to the theatre to stabilize the situation. Germany, Britain, USA and Canada represent the NATO Coalition. The new tartan Army is a highly professional modern army but the coalition manages to drive the Tartan forces almost back to their own lines (but at heavy cost). The Germans, Americans and British have exhausted their ability to move forward. Fuel is also in low supply. Canada is asked to remove Tartan forces and quell the active insurgency in the hot zone known as the Wainwright Corridor (around the oil rigs and pumping stations). Three major Villages reside within the Wainwright Corridor and each of them looks at the coalition forces differently.

 Village of Six Hills (mainly ethnic Stromian – supportive and happy to see coalition forces) Rangers from BC Detachment
 Village of Vernonburg (ethnic tartan & Stromian – neutral) Rangers from Manitoba Detachment
 Village of Bisonville (ethnic Tartan – aggressive) Rangers from Alberta Detachment

In addition to these three villages there were numerous farm settlements manned by four rangers each. Each Farm had a truck and farmers conduct regular visits to the villages for supplies, materials, equipment, etc… This was done to provide lots of traffic to compound trouble for the Canadian Forces. In addition none of the villagers or Farmers spoke English (or French). This is where the translators start to become important. Translators were a highly sought after commodity and from a personal perspective I observed CF members disputing who got me and who didn't.

Rangers arrived at CFB Wainwright and underwent four days of training to prepare for the role. We were given our assignments half way through. Certain Rangers (Farmers and a few Villagers) had to take a 2-day safe driving course (404) and were assigned new rental trucks. Some of us studies our role playing material, background details, names of important ethnic figureheads etc… Our OC and WO picked specific Rangers to be translators. They knew these rangers would be embedded within the Battalion so they wanted rangers they felt confident in.

There were nine of us assigned to translator duties. We arrived bright and early at Operations centre (dressed in civies) and were assigned from there. Five of us were assigned to 1st battalion because they represented the most significant land force. The other four went to Battalion HQ and the vingt-deuxième regiment.

Our ride arrived. A Master Corporal carrying a C7A2 from the SALH talked to my Group SGT major and off we went. We stowed our gear on top of a Mercedes ‘G’ wagon and started driving down a dusty gravel road for about an hour. We arrived at the 1st Mechanized field HQ to a an area bustling with soldiers quickly setting up their hoochies. The bivouac area are  very lively. In the back ground a bunch of officers and senior NCO’s eyed us up as they were having an ‘O’ Group. We were directed to the HQ tent and waited for someone to talk with us.

A female Captain exited the tent and looked at us strangely. “Are you the translators?” ‘Yes’ we all responded in unison. “Great, stay there I’ll be right back” She went back inside the HQ tent and soon after an argument erupted within the tent. It sounded like some one wasn’t going to get a translator and they weren't very happy about it. We looked at each other with raised eye-brows as it dawned on us that we were going to be very busy.

The captain soon came back out and motioned for us to enter the tent. We provided them some of our character info and signed a form with our service number, unit and full name. After this exercise we were assigned to our new units. We were split up between A, B & C company of the 1st mechanized infantry battalion. I would find out later on that one of our rangers was treated quite poorly by ‘C’ company however I suspect that he never really got a feel for his character nor threatened to walk out on them unless his conditions were improved. ‘A’ company and ‘B’ company were great people however I was fully prepared to manipulate anyone in order to be treated with respect and have some comforts. After-all I just heard the officers fighting over-us which meant we ‘Held Value’.

For the next 5 hours I would again practice the haunting Army skill of ‘Hurry up and Wait”. My Warrant Officer warned me about ‘Hurry up and Wait’.

Most troops (myself included) were suffering from the Wainwright bug. Soldiers from all over Canada had arrived in short order to attend this training exercise and they brought with them every conceivable bug from their part of the planet. Many soldiers were quite ill and I was no exception. I visited the medic and obtained some strong decongestants because my sinuses were blocked solid and had a very sore throat. I was concerned that the cold / dry and windy weather combined with this virus would get the best of me. I however soldiered on through the discomfort and completed what was expected of me without incident. I did however manage to bring some pain killers which helped me through-out the exercise. Sanitation is of high importance when in field camp. All soldiers MUST wash their hands prior to entering the kitchen or cafeteria tent otherwise someone is bound to shout at you. My pockets were bulging with materials to blow my nose on and my obviously diseased state provided me with ample room at the dinner table.

I also under close obervation by most soldiers because I looked different in my civy dress, was of older disposition and generally possess a stern appearance. I suppose this is because they did not understand my role. I also over heard some soldiers talking about the Rangers sitting at the table next to me. They were unaware that a Ranger was sitting right next to them (namely me). One of these soldiers was attempting to describe what the Rangers were all about (he seemed to know a little). Soldiers had been told that the Rangers were playing civilians previously during an exercise briefing. Most of them had never seen or heard of the Rangers. I had to laugh because we were being built up quite a bit by this chap. Here are a few excerpts “Expert Riflemen” “Professional Bushmen” “Live off the land” “We need the Rangers”.   I walked away feeling good about being a Ranger and that someone out there knows a little about us. It was nice to hear regardless.

Later-on outside the kitchen shack I found someone whom grew up in Kitimat and was now a veteran of Bosnia and a few other lovely places. His name was Gordon and he was a Corporal with the Royal Canadian Engineers (RCE). We reminisced about Kitimat the mutual people we knew over a cigarette and a coffee, bid each other good luck and returned to our respective assignments.

That night I was introduced to my team whom I would spend the remainder of the exercise with. The CIMIC WO and two Captains and myself shared the same tent that night. It was tight quarters and I apologized for my unhealthy condition and they all seemed very accepting. As far as I could tell no-one snored that evening. It was cold and windy at night. The tent struggled against the wind but usually by morning all was calm (but very cold -15o Celsius).

The G-Wagons (Mercedes Jeeps) were fairly new to the CDN Armed Forces at that time. They are quite small but have a tremendous amount of clearance. They are running 16” rims and 12-ply tires (quite aggressive) tall and skinny. They have a 5-cylinder diesel engine  and diesel heaters.

After camp was broken and our gear was stowed for the journey ahead of us we had another 5 hours to wait until we set-off. Timings, timings and more timings. O groups were occurring everywhere but nothing I really needed to worry about because I was not invited, the info was not for my ears and, hey, I’m only a  Stromian translator.
Finally the leager was assembled and we were off (after dark had set). The idea at this point is a 4 hour journey in full tactical mode (red lights and dampened head lights) along dirt roads. I had to eventually wrap my shemagh around my head and face  because the dust was very thick. I suppose there is always a downside to travelling behind tanks and light armoured vehicles (they make a lot of dust). Nothing I’m not used to however because logging trucks do the same thing.

After four hours and a tired crew we found a suitable location to layout the company in the field. Its stressful driving in poor conditions in full tactical mode – easy to hit the stopped vehicle in front of you between the darkness and dusty conditions.
I set-up my ground sheet, put up a shelter half and jumped into my arctic sleeping bag inside my bivy sack. Other than hacking and coughing I had a good nights sleep. I awoke at 0430 hrs and was back in the jeep shortly there-after. We were about to enter the combat zone.

Anyhow we were back in leager formation and heading down the road and cross country. Our CIMIC team was called out of the leager by the company commander to a specific grid reference along a tree-line and so off we went (there were no roads). The Company Commander gave us orders to relocate to a road intersection where a reconnaissance platoon discovered a series of wandering villagers. They are being held under armed protection and are waiting our arrival at a specific grid reference. Go find out what is going on and report back.

Off we went. We reached the location, the Captain and I proceeded towards the villagers (all Rangers) headed by a great WO by the name of Chris Patterson. Once we had established some trust by promising to protect them, WO Patterson told a story involving tartan soldiers dressed in civilian clothing (insurgents) taking over and occupying the Village of Six Hills. To make a point they lined up Ten villagers and shot them each in the back. A number of the murdered victims were husbands, wives, brothers and sisters of these villagers. A percentage of the villagers panicked and fled the village on foot. These villagers were out looking for those that fled to make sure they were safe.

At that time the sound of small weapons fire went off in the distance and the rece platoon spread out and went to ground in a defensive posturing. Canadians had engaged a small group of insurgents not far from our location at that time. It was decided that this was no longer a safe place to be. The villagers would be moved to a safer location. Before we shipped out, after some convincing, we managed to obtain the rough number of insurgents occupying the village and had drawn an map of the town displaying locations of mines, barbed wire, machine gun nests and number of tanks (BMP’s and T72’s). While the villagers were scared that talking to the Canadians might jeopardize the safety of their families we were able to convince them that the insurgents and the tartan Army would be defeated by the Canadian Troops and that we had their safety in our best interests. We also told the villagers that we would bring the people that committed these crimes to justice. It would become a common practice attempting to convince the native population that the Canadians would protect them. The Canadian Rangers and their role-playing was working very well.

It was now 1400 hrs and we were receiving new orders and a new location. The area had been cleared of insurgent forces and we were to move to a new location. The leager reformed and by nightfall we had finally arrived. Two other potential previous locations were looked at but the company commander was not happy with the defensive attributes of the terrain so we moved onwards.

By night everyone was tired. Our CIMIC team had one two-burner Coleman stove which did not work. I knew how to fix it but they would not let me. I suppose they thought I might try to make it worse? The stove simply needed a new generator and I advised them of such but they weren’t interested in remedying the situation. So we ate cold IMP meals for the remainder of the exercise.

I was awakened the next morning at 0300 hrs (“Translator, it’s time to wake up”). I got up, packed my gear away, grabbed a cold IMP and followed Captain Marlow over to a Light Armoured Vehicle. The rear door opened and we got in. There were five soldiers in the Armoured vehicle. After jumping in that made seven with gear and there was no room to spare.. It was too early, no one introduced themselves, they were all sleep deprived. The LAV III set off. Destination and Mission unknown (at least to me)

This was the Section Commander’s LAV III. A Warrant Officer in the back of the LAV appeared to be the only person awake other than myself or Captain Marlow. The WO was standing on the rear seat with his head out the aft top hatch. I didn’t mind the fresh air.

After about an hour of this the Warrant Offer re-entered the LAV and closed the hatch. A few minutes went by and the true meaning of being mechanized infantry struck me like a ton of bricks. The intense aroma of unwashed soldiers and Ass filled the LAV. While it was quite an unfortunate smell I thought that I would use this opportunity to break the silence that pervaded over us. “Does anyone here have an air freshener?” I said this with a big smile on my face. A number of the lads chuckled and the Warrant Officer laughed. “You’ll get used to it bud” he replied.

The LAV was warm, the seats were hard but the suspension was lovely. We were travelling at high speeds across open country and the ride was soft. Very nice compared the G-Wagons I had been driving in. The legs start to lose circulation after four hours of travelling in cramped quarters. You have to try and reposition every once in a while even though there is no room to reposition.

The com speaker suddenly cracked on and everyone started getting ready. The LAV commander was getting his guys ready for something. The LAV stopped, turned and then stopped again. The darkness inside the LAV was over ridden by blinding sunlight as the hydraulic ramp lowered . “RAMP UP” over the coms before I knew it I was taking cover in the middle of an active war zone.

Soldiers were yelling, some screaming , tanks were shooting, squad automatic weapons were running full tilt - I hadn’t even had a morning cup of coffee. Although I knew these soldiers were shooting blanks it didn’t seem to lessen the sensation of concern for my general well-being. I proceeded with quick caution and kept my head down. I soon found out that I was now directly involved in the assault on the  village of Vernonburg.

While weapons fire was still exchanging Captain Marlow and I left the ridge and proceeded down to the periphery of the village while keeping a low profile. We started moving wounded civilians to a safer location. We also managed to get some information from these civilians on the makeup of the town and what civilians were doing prior to the attack. Apparently most villagers were in church when the attack came.

Referee’s wearing black with a white cross around their chest walked freely within the fire fights and assigned casualty tags to soldiers that were evidently wounded by either being in the wrong place at the wrong time or were just taking unwise risks. There were a lot of casualties but they were mainly insurgents. It was surreal to be in the middle of a firefight only to see a referee walk right through the middle of it without concern.

A corporal ran up to and advised us that the SGT Major needed us. We followed closely and arrived at a location just inside the town walls. When we arrived we observed a lady in her mid-50’s giving the SGT Major a hard time. She was extremely loud and very abusive. The expression on the Sgt Major’s face was that of a man on the edge of taking drastic measures to silence this lady. She was speaking in Deni language which comes the Indians of Northern Manitoba. No-one had a clue what was going on or what she was trying to tell them. I knew exactly what the Rangers were doing – good on them! The soldiers sometimes forgot they were in a foreign land and did not know the language. This is where I come in. We peeled the woman off the SGT Major – he seemed very relieved. He went on his way to fight a war which was what he needed to be doing.

I spoke to the woman (her name was Lucy) and whispered in her ear “I’m a Ranger and I’m a translator – speak to me in English and I will pass it on to these Army guys”. She smiled and then the acting started.

To my dismay Lucy started shouting and yelling at me (instead of the Captain) with a voice that made me want to crawl under a log and hide. Somehow I feel that Captain Marlow was satisfied with this set-up and didn’t mind not getting yelled at for once. The captain had learned from his dealings in Bosnia to make eye contact with the person speaking even if he didn't understand them. It makes the communication more heart felt and not impersonal by looking at the translator. However Lucy shouted at me regardless.

Lucy explained (very loudly) that her daughter was in church when the fighting started and she didn’t know where she was. She demanded that the Canadians find her NOW! We tried to remove her from her current location. We were partially exposed to enemy fire and it was unsafe. She refused to move. We tried to take cover behind the building and coax her into moving to safety. She wouldn’t move, in fact we had to restrain her because she was going to walk into the fire fight to find her daughter herself (which might endanger Canadian Soldiers let alone herself). She demanded, she fought us, she screamed at us – a very good acting job no matter how annoying she was. When she swore I had to swear so that the translation was clear. She had the mouth of dagger.
“Captain”, she says, “You’re a stupid prick and your mother mated with a goat you stupid son of a bitch – I WANT TO FIND MY DAUGHTER!”. (Thank goodness Captain Marlow had a sense of humour).

We finally came to a compromise. Canadians had almost taken control of the entire village. Reports of cleared sectors were coming in, one of which was the sector around the church. We obtained a description of the daughter from Lucy and we send 2 Canadians out to look for her. They came back 10 minutes later and spoke with captain Marlow personally (I could not over-hear what they were saying over the annoying, back breaking squawking of Loud Lucy). Marlow rejoined Lucy and I and removed his helmet so Lucy could clearly see his face and with a sincere look of sadness informed Lucy that her daughter had been shot and killed. At that point the village vicar had arrived and consoled Lucy. We managed to get Lucy to the safe zone and carry on with other business.

After the village was secured a group of civilians had to be addressed. This time I was attached to a major (Captain Marlow kept me within sight) and we talked to the civies. We handed out chocolate bars and snacks and informed them that food and water was on the way. Their wounded was being taken care of and that they would now be under the Care of the Canadian Troops until their country was safe from the insurgents. The crowd was pleased and the adrenalin rush was starting to wear off.
The village was well fortified by the previously occupying insurgents. Sandbag fortifications were everywhere and the ground was littered with spent brass. In addition the smell of burnt powder and smoke grenades was still very strong; even 30 minutes after the battle had ended.

Insurgents were behind barbed wire and armed sentries stood guard over them.
Now the senior commanders (British and American Senior Officers were observing) all gathered inside of a tent and had a debriefing on how the attack went. We were not privy to that discussion. The lowest Rank I saw walk into that tent was Full Colonel.

One Village Down – Two to Go.
Little did I know at the time that the Village of Six Hills was currently under attack by the Royal 22nd Regiment. The day was not yet over. But that is another story.
We rejoined the leager later that afternoon which had moved to the Village of Six Hills. We had orders to interface with the Villagers there. Apparently the intelligence we had gathered from WO Patterson’s group of civilians the day previous proved very useful. Very few civilian casualties occurred during the attack and the enemy was effectively wiped out. Our team received acclaim from several officers afterwards for obtaining this information. In fact one armour rece Captain (Call sign: One One) told me that he was becoming a believer in CIMIC and that perhaps we might just ‘Work Out’.

The Village of Six Hills looked a little beat up. The enemy forces had certainly dug themselves in and reinforced their positions. The enemy forces had since been removed but their fortifications remained.

The Village still had mine fields surrounding it so access was restricted to pretty much everyone until cleared. The villagers seemed happy to see the Canadians however a Strom Oil executive was very eager to get oil moving again very quickly. His office had been completely destroyed, his pumps were barely putting out 2 barrels a day and he was concerned that his facility might be booby trapped.

There were all sorts of issues to be dealt with as described by the Mayor of Six Hills (Ranger Papps). Water had to be trucked in because the Village reservoir had been destroyed and the water tainted. Babies had diarrhoea and people were getting ill because winter was coming but there was no heat, etc…. So there were obvious challenges and it was a busy time.

And that was only the first two days of this month long BTE.
Richard Kean

Monday, August 8, 2011

2011 Bear Issues Forecasted

I'm sure most of you know this by now but it is time to be very 'bear aware'. Only now are bears moving into the valley bottoms. I saw several juvenile black bears this week end - the week previous I saw none. Their trek down from higher in the valleys to take advantage of the salmon runs delicacy probably started in the last two weeks and they're showing up in numbers now.

My observation is that this is delayed from years past. They normally arrive in the valley bottoms by mid to late July (not mid August). High proportion of juveniles are being noted. These are usually the most dangerous bears. Curious and brave enough to be a nuisance and a potentially serious threat to people; especially children.

Mother Nature - She often works like clock but this year the bears are late. The cool dry spring we've had here in NW British Columbia is likely responsible. The snow pack has taken longer to recede and the lush herbacious forage has kept bears in high elevations as a result.

If you're unfamiliar with bears give this a read. I put this together for the Rangers several years ago now but decided to post this on my blog last year. It's a guide - nothing more - nothing less, but something to think about. Good guide for folks unfamiliar with bear behaviour. Big influence by James Gary Shelton - a mentor of mine.

I'm not a pro by any sence of the imagination but since I started working in the bush 20 years ago I have come to have a deep respect for bears and the behaviours or parameters by which they generally seem to operate.

Their cycle is a bit out of wack this year. I hope this doesn't result in hungry bears invading town again because their timing was out on the salmon runs. Garbage discipline should be a priority in NW BC. I expect that the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource OPerations in partnership with the Ministry of Environment will be out issuing Wildlife Protection Orders to people not paying attention to detail.

For those of you living in close proximity to play grounds and schools - you need to keep your garbage stowed and secured from bears and clean up after your fruit trees. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

The True North Strong and Free?

1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Under this treaty, a country's territory can be expanded much further if you can prove the ridges and rock formations underneath the water are connected to your continental shelf.
Russia is attempting to prove that the Lomonosov Ridge and the Mendeleev Ridge are the extension of the Russian continental shelf, the country will receive the right to the additional 1.2 million square kilometers in the Arctic and to the development of huge oil and gas fields.

The Russian research vessel Akademik Fedorov left Arkhangelsk on July 27 2011 for a three-month expedition to the Arctic to ascertain the borders of Russia's continental shelf.
The Siberian Shelf, is the largest continental shelf on Earth. It stretches to 1500 kilometers (930 miles) offshore. It is relatively shallow, with average depth of 100 metres.


Russia claims that the Lomonosov Ridge and the Mendeleev Ridge are an extension of the Siberian Continental Shelf and thus suggest they have their own Territorial Waters and Exclusive Economic Zones which radiate outwards from it. The interpretation of deep seismic & reflection sounding provided Russia data on the characteristics of layering and thickness of the earth's crust which are characteristic of a continental-type crust (not a thin oceanic crust).

The USA argues that geological and physical evidence indicates that the Mendeleev Ridge System originated on oceanic crust by volcanism over a "hot spot."

A "hot spot" is a magma source rooted in the Earth's mantle that is persistent for at least a few tens of millions of years and intermittently produces volcanoes on the overlying earth's crust as it drifts across the hot spot during continental drift.

The Mendeleev hot spot built a volcanic ridge about 35 km thick on the newly formed oceanic crust. The Mendeleev Ridge System is therefore volcanic features of oceanic origin and not part of any State's continental shelf

How does this impact Canada?
The question of what comprises Canada's internal waters has been raised. Our neighbours see the Northwest Passage as an international strait that any ship should be free to transit.

If this is true then would all land north of the Northwest Passage would be lost to us? Canada has until 2013 to submit their scientific data to a UN commission to prove our territorial waters and that the Northwest Passage does not constitute an international strait.


(from cbc.ca) Canada maintains that the waters separating most of the islands in Canada's Arctic are frozen over most of the year. Inuit hunt and spend large amounts of time working and even living on the ice — in effect turning it into an extension of the land. Canada also boasts one of the few year-round sites of human habitation close to the North Pole at Canadian Forces Station Alert, a military base at the northern tip of Ellesmere Island. Many have said that Canada's sovereignty case is weak and it might lose if tested.

The latest new comes from Canada.com 


"The Russian military is putting together two brigades of specially trained Arctic troops to protect Russian interests, Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov announced on July 1st 2011. A brigade typically consists of 3,000 to 5,000 troops. "


The general staff is currently drafting plans to establish two such formations. Those plans should take into account deployment sites, armaments, number of servicemen and infrastructure," the defence minister said. The minister said the northern Russian cities of Murmansk or Arkhangelsk are being considered as the bases for the new Arctic warfare units.

Also last week, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced plans to build a $33-billion year-round port on the Yamal Peninsula, in the Russian Arctic.

The process of deterents and jockeying for position has started. This brings another definition to the 'Cold War'. I submit to you that this is the greatest direct threat to Canadian sovereingty that we have ever seen since the war of 1812. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Canadian Rangers and the new rifle

In response to this report from the Ottawa Citizen:
Canadian Rangers to carry Winchesters after 60 years of bearing Enfield rifles
Amended to add: This article has been removed by the Ottawa Citizen. The article mentioned that the Federal procurement system had decided on a Winchester rifle for the Canadian Rangers.

It is my understanding that Defence Research and Development Canada did not submit the 'Human Factors Requirements Validation' report until the fall of 2010. I seriously doubt there has even been a request for proposals advertized yet. So, in short, I'd dissregard the Winchester reference. The officer was likely talking about the Winchester 94's the PCMR were issued during WW2 (or that the new calibre will be .308 Winchester) and the reporter got it wrong as the media often does.

Having been an active participant of one of the design requirements consultation meetings and reading the report there really isn't a stock sporting rifle out there that will meet the needs without some modification.

I'm hoping for a purpose built milspec rifle that contain a few modern sporting features NOT a sporting rifle adapted for milspec requirements.

Having said that, the only commercial action I could see being cost effective and possibly adopted would be the Remington Model 700 as it would meet most of the design criteria (with the exception of the 2-stage trigger and the ten round detachable magazine). Oops there I go hypothesyzing again
After numerous conversations with various people it has dawned on me that most folks don't entirely understand what Rangers are. That's OK - I get this a lot, and I'm only happy to talk about this stuff (obviously).

To boil things down... Basically Rangers are there for Domestic Operations in suport of the Military and for JTF Commander's situational awareness. Eyes and ears in remote and rural Canada my friends If you go the the CF Ranger National Website and read the Mission and Tasks statements of the Canadian Ranger you might get a better feel for what they do.

Sure, a Ranger could conceivably be attached to an infantry section to scout out and locate some evil nasty undesireables on Canadian soil. Could that section come under fire? I suppose so... But do Rangers need a platform specialized for combat purposes? Nope, the guys and gals in CADPAT (aka the 'Green Wieners' - a little Ranger slang for you) are there for that. When in uniform we literally glow in the dark. When not in uniform we're your average Joe - This is our camoflage - and there are a lot of us now. An extensive intelligence network.

When on FTX or deployments we're mainly 'overt' not 'covert' - in other words, in most situations we want to be seen and highly visible. The red sweaters can be a bit of a pain - especially on the 'Wet' coast where the cotton turns into a large sponge. They're not very field expedient by any stretch of the imagination but there is no sence complaining about it, you're issued what you're issued and you soldier on to the best of your ability. We have no 'Number One' uniform. The red sweater is it.

Rangers aren't combat soldiers but they're not civilians either - it can be confusing (even for us sometimes). You could call Rangers a Military hybrid if you will (for lack of better verbage).

Rangers salute officers, obey the chain of command, utilize NATO orders format, are bound by military law, they can be court martialled and judged by military tribunal. Rangers are members of the Canadian Armed Forces, carry CF identification and are the only branch of the CF that I know of that takes their CF issue weapon and ammunition home with them for storage (with maybe a few exceptions). With all of this in mind, again, we're not combat soldiers although many of us have extensive backgrounds as former combat soldiers, sailors and airforce personel. In other words most of us know when it's time to duck.

No need to guess what the new weapon platform will be, or even what it should be. When it's time they will let us know. Until then, keep your enfields clean and your ammo dry.

RC

Monday, August 1, 2011

Do you need to wear a tac vest to shoot service rifle?

Do you really need to wear a tactical vest to have any chance in service rifle shooting?  The quick answer is probably no... BUT it really depends onthe course of fire you're shooting.

I comes down to ergonomics. A chap running an AR-15 can carry more mags than a chap running a VZ-58 (858). Where are you going to place the mags? High on your chest or down low? Are you left or right handed? Do you need to be able to access pistol mags too? What makes the most sence?

Being able to access your mags in quick fashion can be done on the cheap. CP Gear will sell you a tac vest for $250+ however a simple belt order with mag pouches might run you $50 after taxes and shipping.

Have a look at this chap and see what he's doing. Seems to work well enough for him in a Close Quarters Course of fire!

Monday, July 25, 2011

2011 Service Rifle Competition - Terrace Rod & Gun Club



The 2011 Service Rifle Competition concluded on July 23rd 2011 and for which seventeen shooters registered. Sixteen shooters registered for ‘Vintage’ and one in the ‘Modern’ classification.

Registration started at 0800 hrs, rifle inspection at 0820 hrs and shooter safety meeting, rules review, relay and lane assignments started at 0830 hrs. Participants were shooting by 0920 hrs interrupted by a short lunch break and match conclusion at 1800hrs.

Service Rifle discipline is not as straight forward as Target Rifle, Full bore or F-Class shooting where you must focus on the principles of marksmanship, wind reading and the methodological evaluation of long range ballistics.
Service Rifle matches require a pile of cardio and gym conditioning. It is physically difficult to perform a run-down, transition into various shooting positions, engage targets that are either moving, exposed for only a few seconds, hold up your rifle, control laboured breathing, elevated heart rate and remember:
·         What sight setting should I be using for this distance?
·         Which target bay and lane is mine?
·         How long is the next exposure?
·         What position do I need to be in?
·         How many shots do I shoot at each exposure?
·         When do I change magazines or perform reloads?
I often compare service rifle shooting to the conditions and situations that hunters often find them-selves in when they spot that moose they’ve been tracking for days. Hunters often need to be moving quickly, change locations to source the best shooting angle, manage adrenaline and an elevated heart rate, control laboured breathing and figure out the numerous computations running through the hunter’s mind prior to pulling off that one shot. In many ways, service rifle shooting is as excellent a training opportunity for hunters as it is for members of the RCMP and the Canadian Armed Forces.
The Terrace Rod & Gun Club offers what most service rifle matches do, such as the use of snap, rapid and deliberate type matches while using prone, kneeling and standing positions. My intention is to raise the bar a little in 2012 by introducing a few run-down serials there-by inducing the physical stress required to make this a fully rounded service rifle match. Folks that cannot run can either perform other forms of physical exercise such as push-ups or abstain and not shoot for the trophy (but still shoot the course of fire).
We run a radio operated range utilizing the Military Rifle Butts constructed by the Royal Canadian Engineers in 1943. Terrace has the only functional rifle butts north of Vernon, so why not use them for what they were constructed for? Every relay spends their turn in the butts (a re-enforced concrete bunker with a huge earthen mound in front of it) running targets. Every shooter wears a military ballistic helmet, safety equipment and a hi-vis vest while working the rifle butts. It is perfectly safe and an experience to say the least.  
This year I was especially impressed by one specific shooter by the name of Jordy Mandur from Terrace whom, despite a serious leg injury requiring crutches and the use of a vintage service rifle with a magazine capacity of only four rounds he still placed fifth in the competition. He turned a lot of heads and his determination impresses me very much.

So keep the Terrace Rod & Gun Club service rifle competition on your radar. We should be deploying the next competition by about the same time next year. You now have exactly one year to get practiced up. I hope to see more shooters from Terrace in 2012. The competition has been largely supported by ‘out of town’ shooters for many years now. 2011 represented our tenth annual competition. For more information visit the Terrace Rod & Gun Club’s website at www.rodandgun.net

The competition’s youtube video is also available for viewing on the competition official’s online BLOG at http://riflechair.blogspot.com/

Thanks owed to:
1. WO O'Connor from BC Company, 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group for advocating support for this match;
2. Terrace Ranger Patrol for supplying targets, radios & patches;
3. Floyd and Verna Wickie for volunteering to run scoring, registration and the rifle butts;
4. Troy Hansen for tallying up the numerous score cards and advocating this competition
5. And finally a big thank you to the shooters that came from far and wide to attend this competition;

Richard Kean – Match Official

Vintage Class Placement (Possible 350.70)

1st Troy Hansen (TERRACE) 320.23
2nd Mark Ciemniak (KITIMAT) 298.18
3rd Dave Helps (TELKWA) 283.15
4th Noel Braucher (TERRACE) 257.08
5th Jordy Mandur (TERRACE) 254.17
6th Albert Gordon (KITKATLA) 220.05
7th Jessica Bolton (KITKATLA) 206.12
8th Jamie Tolmie (KITKATLA) 195.08
9th Leonard Price (KITKATLA) 171.08
10th Dale Gladstone (KITKATLA) 171.04
11th Warren Nelson (KITKATLA) 127.03
12th Nathan Johnson (KITKATLA) 126.03
13th Athan Ivanakis (KITIMAT) 122.04
14th David Mason (PORT SIMPSON) 102.07
15th Heather Wesley (KITKATLA) 98.04
16th Nikida Bolton (KITKATLA) 67.03


Modern Class Placement (Possible 350.70)

1st Al Lencucha (KITIMAT) 249.16 / 350.70
I Hope to see more modern platforms competing in future matches.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Monday, July 4, 2011

Match tuning considerations for the Lee Enfield rifle

For your consideration
 
The rifle used in this example was a 1942 Savage No4Mk1 that arrived to me with a new birch wood fore-stock and hand guards that required fitting. With the action screw tight the metal was still loose in the wood and there was no fore-tip pressure what so ever. Numerous action screw bushing heights were fitted to determine if the best fit was tight enough. In this case it was not going to be sufficient and therefore a complete full bedding job was required (worst case scenario). Hopefully, in your case, you have sufficient wood to metal fit where a complete bedding job is not required.

In 1964 the Dominion of Canada Rifle Association (D.C.R.A.) performed a comparative analysis of the most successful stocking methods used for the No4 Lee Enfield rifle. In March 1965 they published the results with a view to improving rifle performance in Domestic and Bisley service rifle competitions.

Tools & Materials Required:

1. Dremel & drilling / sanding accessories;
2. Package of JB Weld or Marine-Tex steel putty (stay away from 5 minute steel epoxy hardeners)
3. Vaseline (or other release agent)
4. Clean working surface
5. Containers to temporarily store rifle parts (ice cream buckets or coffee pots work great)
6. Appropriate screw driver sizes
7. Small wood chisel (sharp)


Bedding Stages One & Two described

The bedding procedure is broken into TWO stages.

STAGE ONE
Establish downward muzzle pressure of 4 to 5 lbs at the front muzzle bearing area rasped down to the rivets
To achieve this:

1. The rear surface area of the fore-stock has to be shimmed up with arborite (Shim stock of no more than .025” thickness);
2. Set the muzzle pressure and levelling of the action by reinforcing or shimming the draws as required;
3. When the body and action is tight with 4 to 5 lbs of downward muzzle pressure has been achieved stage one is complete ;

STAGE TWO
Fitting of the centre bedding block at the middle band

METHOD: Fitted Wooden Block or Steel Putty. The wooden block is much more difficult and therefore I will demonstrate how to install a steel putty block.

1. 10.5” up the fore-stock at the centre band dremel out a 1” X 2” area 1/8” deep and drill in anchor holes for the epoxy putty to adhere to;
2. Cut 3/4” X 2” cardboard shim stock cards (cereal box card board works great) which you will insert in front of the bedding block location (muzzle shims only to keep the barrel centred);
3. When shims are in place the barrel should clear the exposed rivets at the fore-end by at least 1/8”;
4. Fit plasticine forms on either side of the block area and test fit the fore-stock with the action screw tightened down;
5. Coat the barrel contact area with release agent, pour the steel putty block, insert the barrelled action, tighten the action screw and allow the block to set over night;
6. Remove the shims once the block is completely set. There should be approx 12 to 14lbs of barrel pressure on the new centre block;

THINGS TO PAY ATTENTION TO:

1. Sear & Trigger relationship: You want to pay a lot of attention to raising the rear surface area of the fore-stock using the .025” arborite (or other) shim stock. The reason for this has to do with the relationship between the trigger ribs and the sear as you are raising the profile of the receiver in the stock. To compensate for this extra height we are removing material at the fore-end down to the rivets. The angle of the receiver draws is altered as a result and will require re-shimming in order to be flush.
2. Trigger guard fit: The trigger guard should sit flush with the stock when at rest with the action screw removed. If this is not the case and the trigger guard is under pressure (it usually lifts from the action screw area) then some material may need to be removed from under the trigger guard towards the receiver ring. This should relieve the pressure but do this incrementally. In other words only remove a tiny amount of material at a time.
3. Receiver ring and fore-stock contact: There should be no fore-stock contact at the receiver ring. Use a feeler gauge and work around this area to identify contact points. Sand down high points and ensure the barrel sits in the middle of the barrel channel before any fitting is performed.

remove material down to the rivits at the muzzle end
Shim stock bedded into place with steel putty at the receiver end
Area prepared for the centre bedding block
Plasticine dams in place (tape up side of the stock so bedding does not mar finish
Work the material into the anchor holes - air bubbles are the enemy - ensure good purchase
When bedding block is cured clean up the corners and remove unwanted detritus
Receiver area prepped for bedding compound. This was done in preparation
for Stage One. The draws were also done.
Ensure wood is thoroughly taped up - this stuff gets every where - have acetone on standby
Ensure all nooks and crannies in the action have complete coverage with release agent
Note action screw has plasticine plug - you don't want bedding compound in there
clean up any secretions of steel putty with a knife or scraping tool. Wipe away
remainder with a acetone soaked cloth

Monday, June 27, 2011

1st Newfoundfland Regiment - July 1st 1916

July 1st, 1916, near the town of Beaumont-Hamel - 800 Newfoundlanders marched into battle and only 68 replied at roll call the following morning. Completely devastating and hard to imagine. On July 1st 2011 in addition to celebrating Canada Day remember the soldiers of the 1st Newfoundland Regiment. We shall remember them.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Diagnosing bedding issues with the No4 Lee Enfield Rifle

For your Consideration - Your Lee Enfield will NOT shoot well if the bedding is pooched...
There are a lot of opinions on how the No4Mk1 Lee Enfield is properly accurized to maximize performance. My quest to understand this stuff has led me to discover that unless you have a firm understanding of the design mechanics of the Lee Enfield rifle you are not doing yourself any service by attempting to accurize it. The purpose of this blog entry is to give you some tools to diagnose potential bedding problems with your Lee Enfield Rifle. I will write you a bedding guide later as time permits.

Before we get into this further please consider the following:

Shooters Philosophy: “If I’m missing the target it isn’t the rifle’s fault – it’s my fault.” In other words you are the master of the rifle and if things aren’t performing to your expectations then you need to start paying attention to detail. The rifle can’t do this for you. More often than not this is the philosophy for all award winning shooters I have had the good fortune to know in the CF and in civilian shooting. These people have taken the time to educate themselves on the details of their shooting platforms and obtained the experience to spot and correct performance limiting phenomena.

We have all witnessed individuals experiencing significant frustration with their rifle on the firing point (we’ve all been there). It is very annoying when things do not go well. It is especially frustrating when this happens in competition or during snap and rapid fire serials. Failure to feed issues, magazine problems, loss of mental focus, shooting in driving rain, making unexpected sight corrections, etc...
“This %!#* worn out piece of junk”
“Lee Enfields are best suited as a canoe paddle”
“I have jack irons that shoot better”
“Why don’t they issue me with a real rifle”
“The barrel must be bent”

If you continue to blame the rifle for failing to put bullets on target then you’ll experience the same frustration at a later date. You need to assume some personal responsibility, look at the clues the rifle is giving you and then move into action to fix them. If you’ve accepted that your Lee Enfield is a piece of junk and given up on the platform please consider the following advice. In my experience the Lee Enfield, when working properly, is one of the most reliable bolt action battle rifles I have ever had the pleasure of shooting and owning. I am a huge advocate of the Lee Enfield rifle and I encourage people to buy good examples of these rifles whenever I get the opportunity. The .303 British round is capable of excellent accuracy and the IVI Mk8Z 180 grain soft point bullet is capable of taking some of North America’s biggest game species with confidence. You just need to be empowered and educated on how to make them run well. Once your rifle is brought back into running condition you will fall in love with it, hopefully to the point where you can trust your life to it. 

2. Peer Review: If the rifle isn’t meeting your satisfaction have someone well versed with the principles of marksmanship shoot it. Compare notes and determine if you could be doing something different with your shooting methodology. Does the rifle really need accurizing or should you be shooting better? “Shoot better – Suck less” Captain J. Jasper.

3. Know your limitations and that of the rifle: When I’m in “The Zone” I can consistently put 10 rounds inside of three inches at 100 metres with a Lee Enfield in the prone unsupported position (I don’t shoot Hawkins). I have yet to find a Lee Enfield that can provide tighter groups in prone unsupported with my limited shooting skills. My experience tells me that if I can’t get three inches then I need to start paying attention to detail. Your threshold may be different to mine but regardless you have an indicator that further investigation to identify issues may be warranted.

4. Heart & Soul: The heart and soul of the rifle is the bore. If the bore isn’t any good then it makes little sense to bother accurizing it. A rifle with an overly worn, frosty and pitted bore (or damaged crown) will never shoot to match conditions even if the bedding is perfect. For more information on bore condition and cleaning review the following blog entry.

LEE ENFIELD BEDDING EVALUATION

Preliminary Examination (You have performed individual safety precautions (ACTS PROVE safety check) and ensured no ammunition is in the rifle)

1. ACTION SCREW: Ensure the action screw is tight before continuing;

2. MUZZLE PRESSURE: Rest the butt-stock on the floor so that you’re facing the muzzle. Grasping the fore stock and placing your thumb under the front sight protector push up – you should feel 4 to 5 lbs of resistance. Lack or absence of pressure is an indicator of worn draws and a bedding problem;

3. BARREL CENTRED: While you have the rifle in this position (see #2) look to see if the barrel is centred in the fore stock’s barrel channel or if it is angled off to one side. If the latter this is an indication that the rear of the fore stock making hard contact on one side of the receiver ring (aka butt socket) there-by forcing the stock in the direction where there is less , or no contact. When you eventually remove the fore stock from the rifle, look for pressure points in this area. There should be no contact with the receiver ring;

4. LOOSE ACTION: If you can see movement when pressing the action from side to side (or feel slop when shaking the rifle) then you have a serious bedding problem;



5. TRIGGER: You should have a light 2 to 3 lbs +/- first stage and a 5 to 6.6 lbs crisp second stage trigger pull. If you have a long and drawn out single stage trigger then you either have a bedding problem indicating that the rifle is sitting to proud in the stock and the trigger ribs are not properly aligned with the sear OR someone has filed down the top trigger rib.

Detailed Examination

1. ACTION SCREW BUSHING: Remove the barrel bands and hand guards. With tension still on the action screw, try to wiggle the action while it still sits in the fore stock. If there is movement make note of where it is. Chances are you may have an action screw bushing that is too long which is preventing proper wood to metal contact when the action screw is taught. Hopefully you have a few spare bushings of various heights available to swap out with to test this possibility. Otherwise you may need to file the metal bushing down incrementally to fit.  



2. TRIGGER GUARD: With the rifle still in the fore stock and the action screw removed turn the entire assembly upside down and examine the trigger guard. The trigger should be making light contact with the sear but the trigger guard should be sitting flush with the wood. If the trigger guard is under sufficient spring tension from the sear to lift away from the action screw area then there is a problem;

3. REMOVE FORE STOCK (WARNING): Do not pry the rifle from the stock by pulling hard from the muzzle end. You are placing direct crush pressure in the metal / wood fit of the draws (more on this later). Wiggle the rifle up and away from the wood inching it away from the receiver end and the muzzle end (back and forth) until the wood releases from the metal. Careful, the action screw bushing may fall out and disappear (very annoying).

4. THE DRAWS: Examine the draws in the fore stock and look for crush damage, cracks, chips and gouges. More often than not, this is an area that will require attention if the rifle has seen any significant level of use or if the stock is not original or properly fitted to the rifle. To determine if the rifle is making good contact I like to insert a small piece of plasticine in the draws of the fore stock and then re-insert the barrelled action. Tension down the action screw, wait a few seconds and then remove the fore stock to examine the draws. Has the plasticine been squished out or does a healthy amount of it remain in the draws? If the latter then we may need to look at replacing the draws using glued and dowelled wooden inserts or using marine-tex / steel putty epoxy as a bedding material.


This is a quick and dirty look into diagnosing issues that you may be having with your rifle. Rangers must pursue the proper channels to obtain permission to rectify issues with their service rifle. This can be a difficult phenomenon because there are no in-service Weapons Technicians that have the training or experience in restoring Lee Enfields – at least none that I am aware of.

Next article will be a practical demonstration of match bedding and free floating a 1942 Savage No4Mk1 2-Groove in accordance with the 1965 DCRA Lee Enfield Accurizing Convention.




2011 Service Rifle Competition - Terrace

Been thinking this over for a while and I've come to the conclusion that it is time to bring Service Rifle back to Terrace, BC.

The course of fire is both simple and fun and has minimal resources required to make it work. This is open to both modern and vintage service rifles and will be delivered through the Terrace Rod & Gun Club.

A commitee will be stricken comprised of stakeholders that have a vested interest in service rifle shooting in the North West. The purpose of the committee is to suggest improvements, provide support and enable the success of the program. I am hoping for a quarterly match with one annual championship.

Rules are subject to change.

July 23rd at 0800 hrs.
Hope to see some of you there.

POSTER              RULES

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Queen’s Lee Enfield

I was very young when I was introduced to shooting. It was serious business but it was also made fun for me and I recall the instant satisfaction of hitting a reactive target.

As I grew into adolescence I started to focus this interest into more formal shooting associations through my dad, local gun club and sponsors. Our local gun club partnered with the Boy Scouts of Canada to instil the principles of target shooting in the community’s youth. We had affordable 22 Rifles with peep sights installed. It doesn’t have to be expensive to be fun right!

Before I knew it I was 15 years old and I was an accomplished marksman but I was also starting to lose interest in the sport. I did not entirely appreciate the coaching or skill base I had developed back then until I was an adult and started to compete again. My father was a good teacher and his fundamentals of shooting technique and method were very solid. I stopped competitive shooting for fifteen years to obtain a useful education and establish a career path.

Then one day…
Someone I knew handed me a minty Danish refurbed M1 Garand and told me if I gave him $400 it could be mine. In that moment it suddenly dawned on me that I had just been given an opportunity to catch up on something that I had adored as a child and bring it back into adulthood. A significant portion of the activities we enjoy as adults were intrinsically influenced by our youthful endeavours.

I researched when our local gun club meetings were scheduled and started attending them. I did this for about four months until I got to know who the players were and how things operated. Eventually I approached the club’s executive and told them I wanted to start a new branch of the Terrace Rod & Gun Club. It was 1999 and Terrace had not hosted a formal rifle competition in just over 20-years. After a basic interview of who I was and what my intentions were I was promoted to the club’s vacant ‘Rifle Chair’ position. I built and designed an annual vintage military service rifle event that grew in complexity and sophistication over a decade.

Numerous competitors shot this match, many of which travel long distances to attend the course of fire. It was a very large club sponsored event, which sustained its own tradition of shooting, fellowship and an opportunity for new shooters to get involved in the interesting sport of service rifle shooting.



CNo4Mk1*
In the process of invigilating these matches I became familiar with members of the Canadian Rangers whom are a sub-component of the Canadian Armed Forces. I signed up, received some weapon handling drills and was issued a 1950 CNo4Mk1* Lee Enfield. Through the Canadian Rangers the military has provided me with an avenue to build on the principles of marksmanship that I developed as a youth. I have been able to involve myself in shooting opportunities with the Canadian Forces that I would never have been able to partake in otherwise. I have travelled within Canada to compete with the military in service rifle competitions and concentrations with this old Lee Enfield and the two of us have performed admirably.

I attended the Canadian Forces Small Arms Concentration (CFSAC) in 2009 which is located at the Primary Training Centre in Connaught, Ottawa. At this concentration the shooter is exposed to deliberate, snap and rapid fire serials in prone, kneeling, standing and run-down events. Distance to targets vary from 25m to 500m and the lee enfield, when wielded by someone that knows how to use it, can perform these tasks with impressive results. During this concentration I placed fourth highest Ranger shot in Canada, qualified to shoot the Queen’s Medal Round and came home with the highest scoring Tyro Trophy. Not too shabby for a chap that had never shot CFSAC before.


I've shot a lot of ammunition through this rifle over the years and ‘baby it’ more than any other rifle in my collection. I can’t help but feel ‘she’ deserves the extra attention. It is this particular rifle that I know best because of the significant experiences we have enjoyed together.


·         I know where almost every scrape, bruise or blemish on this rifle came from;
·         We have hiked and beat our way across some of Canada’s most difficult and extreme remote wilderness locations together;
·         This Lee Enfield has been relied upon to provide sustenance;
·         This Lee Enfield has won trophies in competitions;
·         I rely on this rifle to protect me from dangerous animals;
·         This rifle may have served Canada in the Korean War and;
·         This rifle has also helped me accumulate and demonstrate the experience required to bridge the gap from student to teacher.

Sufficient to say that I advocate the Lee Enfield rifle every chance I get. I have only one problem with this worn and tired 1950 CNo4Mk1* Lee Enfield rifle. Of all the expensive and modern rifles in my gun safe my favourite rifle is the Ranger issue Lee Enfield - the only rifle I do not own. This favourite rifle belongs to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second; Queen of Canada whom has loaned it to me for my service with the CF.

I’m now the age my father was when he introduced me to shooting. I’m looking forward to passing these milestone lessons down to my sons so that their lives may be enriched by them, as they have enriched mine. 


Riflechair on the right side of this photo

Friday, March 18, 2011

Your job as the leader is to create more leaders.

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION
1. The Learning Leader: If the leaders thinks he knows it all he is not a leader “There is nothing new in the world for me” attitude...
·         Episodic Learning VS Continuous Learning
·         What did you do today VS What did you learn today?
2. Sustainable Leadership: Recruiting leaders from within;
·         Identify and recruit NCO’S that share a concern or have a passion about leadership. People who want to deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting with one another on an ongoing basis;
·         Leadership must be grown, cultivated and explored at all levels (not restricted to NCO’s);
3. Leadership Space: Leaders create space, they don’t occupy the space (goldfish grow bigger in a larger pond);
·         The old way of thinking: “How few people can we involve in the planning”? Your Rangers are left in the dark until the plan is mobilized....
·         The new way of thinking: “How do we empower our Rangers to make recommendations about a proposed plan”? Ideas are captured and considered in advance of mobilizing...
4. Relationship Leader:
·         We take it for granted that we have a good relationship. Many people need to know you before they will do business with you or trust you.

Action without relationship has no commitment
Action without possibility has no imagination
Action without reflection is doomed to make the same mistakes


·         Hard Skills VS Soft Skill Leadership
o   Hard Skills: Developing a set of orders, assigning tasks, completing an equipment inventory, etc...
o   Soft Skills: People Skills – People feel appreciated for their efforts, people are recognized for going over and above, some members are going from high performing to low performing Rangers – why?
5. Leading Change
·         We often take a good idea and kill it by turning it into a program or a flavour of the month;
·         Good change happens from the foundation up not from the management down;
·         Leadership places just as much emphasis on the soft skills as the hard skills;
·         Team building is not an event – it is an everyday practice;
·         People will resist change if they perceive that you are trying to change them;
·         People generally do not resist change if the focus is spent on the system within which we work;

Leading Effective Meeting Management
·         The problem with meetings is that they often have too much information or too much talking by one or two people. Here is how to shrink the ballance:
·         L.I.D. template (put some thought and preparation into your meeting and combine all of the top five leadership aspects).
o   1/3rd Learning
o   1/3rd Information
o   1/3rd Dialogue
Reference: B. Chartier