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The British Army in Canada

The prairie of Alberta has provided an excellent opportunity for the British Army to train on a large scale since 1972. The British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS) is an organisation situated on one of the most sparsely populated areas of the Alberta plain.

BATUS is equipped with in excess of 1000 vehicles including a full complement of Challenger 2 tanks and Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicles. Each year a Regiment is sent there for six months to take the part of the 'enemy' for the other Regiments that are there to train each year.

The training area at BATUS is equivalent in size to the combined area all of the main training areas used by British Army in the UK and in Europe; Salisbury Plain Training Area would fit in 7 times over. 5 Battlegroups, each containing approx 1400 soldiers, are trained at BATUS each year. These MEDICINE MAN exercises, which can be up to 30 days in duration, are split into two phases; Live Fire and Tactical Effects Simulation (TESEX), the later with a live enemy. The TESEX system identifies when vehicles have been fired at and damaged / destroyed and also informs soldiers when they are being fired at and if hit what injuries they have sustained.

The duration of the exercises, and size of the training area, allow all elements of a combined arms battle group (Infantry, Armour, Artillery, Engineers, Air Defence, Logistics and Equipment Support) to conduct realistic live firing training at all levels and to practice sustaining this activity over a long period of time.