Cold Weather Survival Skills in Norway

Soldiers from the 1st Queen’s Dragoon Guards are being pushed to the limit of their endurance as they battle against extreme winter weather in Norway.

The ten soldiers from B Squadron are participating in Exercise COLD ENABLER 2018, a three week Cold Weather Training Exercise in the Bardufoss area of Troms, Northern Norway.

Training in this harsh environment where temperatures can drop to -25 degrees Celsius has seen the soldiers learning how to fight, move and survive in extreme weather conditions.

“Some of these soldiers were coping with the intense heat of the Mojave Desert in America last year,” said Lieutenant Andrew Campbell. “Now they find themselves at the other extreme, dealing with bone-chilling weather. It is only by training in these environments that the soldiers can appreciate what they may face should they be called upon. It also demonstrates the breadth of capability that our Regiment has.” 

The soldiers have completed a range of classes, everything from the basics of survival, such as boiling snow to decontaminate and replenish water reserves to the use of snowshoes, setting up a tent for survival in a blizzard and maintaining their weapons systems in the cold weather environment.

They have also been taught everything from layering clothing to how to prepare vehicles. Freezing is not an option. Every soldier needs to remember that these conditions have serious consequences and the environment can kill you if you do not get things right.

It’s completely different from what I’ve done before Corporal Aaron Turner

Amongst those deployed is Corporal Aaron Turner (27) from Catterick.

“It’s completely different from what I’ve done before,” he said.

“It’s definitely a steep learning curve, but if you can operate in this environment you can operate anywhere.”

The course ended with the ice-breaking drill where students must plunge into a hole cut in a frozen lake, push their backpack out and then pull themselves out using ski poles.