National Defence and the Canadian Forces

4 Cdn Division
4th Canadian Division

31 Canadian Brigade Group

Operation Yellow Ribbon

RHLI Exercise Riley Whiteout, 19-21 January 2018

Capt (ret’d) Tim Fletcher

The Canadian Armed Forces are among the top five most highly-trained militaries in the world, and The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry (RHLI, or “Rileys”) certainly shares that reputation! Part of their amazing skill set is the ability to not only survive in the field in the winter, but be able to operate effectively and decisively under winter conditions, any where in the world.

Keeping cold-weather operational skills in top form requires being out in the snow, which is what the RHLI, or Rileys, did this past January 19-21, at Canadian Forces Base Borden, near Barrie, Ontario. Exercise “Riley Whiteout” saw “B” Company in action, supported by a psychological operations team from the Riley’s “C” company, based in Burlington.

The weekend training helped cement essential war-fighting skills with the soldiers, instilling confidence and building camaraderie as well as imparting new knowledge and abilities.

The RHLI have numerous positions available as they continue to expand to double their present size. Now is the perfect time to check us out!

Soldiers from the RHLI’s “B” Company advance to their position across the snow. Aluminum toboggans carry their tents, stoves, food and other essential survival equipment.

Snowshoes are one of the oldest methods of crossing snow and remain an important tool today.

Before the training gets underway in earnest, the mission is explained to the soldiers.

Physical fitness is very important to the infantry and this soldier’s load explains why! Food, water, ammunition and extra clothing, with a sleeping bag, snowshoes and winter camouflage give the soldier the ability to operate under harsh conditions.

Soldiers take up a defensive position in a field during the exercise.

Operating in the woods provides a special set of challenges, with obstacles and limited field of vision requiring extra vigilance.

Training takes on more realism when there is an “enemy force” to operate against. Typically just a small group, the “enemy” dresses a bit differently, with soft caps and no heavy loads, to provide visible identification for the exercise.

A bit of digital surveillance helps provide operational intelligence to give commanders a battlefield “edge” against their opponents. Knowing as much as possible about the “enemy” gives a psychological advantage to our soldiers on operations.

All photos courtesy the Canadian Forces via Facebook.


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