BCD’s attend Cougar Link 2017 Winter Gun Camp to Confirm Core Gunnery Skills

Over the weekend of March 10th to 12th of this year, members of 39 Brigade attended Exercise Cougar Link in Riske Creek just outside of William’s Lake, BC. Exercise Cougar Link was a Brigade Gun Camp, designed to confirm core gunnery skills in a winter environment. Attending were the British Columbia Dragoons, the 39 Signals Regiment, the Rocky Mountain Rangers, the New Westminster Regiment, the Canadian Scottish Regiment, the 39 Combat Engineer Regiment, and the British Columbia Regiment. Weather conditions through the exercise were cold and there was an abundance of snow on the ground for soldiers to deal with. In some places, it was about three feet deep and fortunately, and though it was cold, there was very little wind.

Travelling to the Chilcotin Training area from Kelowna took about six hours each way for the British Columbia Dragoons, and members of 39 Signals; however, the scenery was spectacular, making the trip much more enjoyable.

Conditions in the training area were ideal for advanced winter driving, which gave members some experience in digging out the MILCOT with snow shovels. The route to the C9 range, which was approximately 500 m from the camp, was a particularly challenging run requiring operators to use throttle and steering control for adverse driving conditions in heavily rutted and slippery roads.

Most of the BCD members and attached 39 Signals Regiment members had not shot in deep snow before and found it difficult to shoot in the cold temperatures. With all the warm clothing and fighting order it was difficult to maintain an accurate aim on the target. Contributing to the difficulty was an abundance of large snowfall, which aided in reducing visibility. The shooters talked a lot about needing to listen to their shooting coach in order to accurate maintain their sight picture on the targets which were spread out over three small hills at ranges between one hundred to three hundred meters.

We slept in the Arctic 5-man tents and though it was very cold, we were able to stay off the snow and able to stay warm through the night simply by running the lantern in the evening and early in the morning. Meals were of course, IMPs and everyone ate well.

All in all, it was a good exercise and a lot of fun. It was a great learning experience and this author looks forward to doing it again.

Written by Cpl Turbett
Click here to view Ex Cougar Link 2017 Pictures