The Arctic theatre

The ice strengthened bow is also good for ramming....

On a historical note, was Canadian expertise and experience used for route planning for the Arctic Convoys during WW2? I cannot imagine that anyone else (apart from free Norwegians or Danes) would had experience of routinely operating in waters that far North and that cold.

The Canadian contribution to winning the war at sea was massive and should never be forgotten. It was covered in the suitably named Canadian film Lifeline To Victory.

Sorry for the ever so slight tangent.

Here's a map of maximum ice extent in 2021. Notice how the area north of Norway and well east of Murmansk are ice free. This is the effect of the Gulf Stream. Now look at Canada and how far south the ice comes, and how the Arctic area is completely ice covered. The sea north of Norway may be "Arctic" in terms of latitude, but the operating conditions there are far less severe.

I don't know if Canadian seafarers were involved in advising the British admiralty in WWII. Given how tightly knit the Empire was in those days that may in fact not be an easy question to answer as such concepts as a separate Canadian citizenship didn't even exist in those days.

However have a look at this map again and keep it in mind when you are posting about a ship having "operated in the Arctic" when all it did was sail about north of Norway. Get into the "true" Arctic and the situation there is very different.

ice-extent-2021.jpg
 
Look at a map of the arctic area Alaska and Canada. You will note that the land border has a long "tongue" pushing Southwards in favour of Alaska at the expense of Yukon (Canadian Territory) and particularly British Columbia (Canadian Province). Additionally on the North side, the international maritime border slants East (towards Canada) in comparison to the land border. Apparently the US "sort of" insisted in negotiations with UK after WWII when UK was skint, owed the US loads and had no ability to say anything to the effect of "How fascinating, come and have a go if you think you are hard enough". They would have been hard enough to take whatever they wanted. Note: At the time Canada was not an independent country so the UK was on one side of the table for "negotiations".

I believe that the US would like more and has raised the issue. There are supposed to be reserves in unimaginable quantities of oil, minerals, coal/gas etc. etc. The definition of "Continental Shelf" is a huge issue for Russia as they are trying to greatly increase their area share by defining (I haven't been there let alone dived down so have no idea) the geology in their favour. As navigation into the area becomes more possible there will be heightened tensions. Ownership of e.g. Greenland confers huge potential riches.
Your ideas of history are rather novel, to say the least. The border delineations you are referring to were largely settled in the 18th and 19th centuries when the US was barely even a minor power.

The Americans bought Alaska from the Russians and it is the Russians for whom we have to thank for that border. The Russians were mainly interested in the trade in sea otter furs and to them Alaska was an eastward extension of Siberia. British fur trade interests extended westwards from Hudson Bay. Since the Pacific coastal mountains were (and still are) nearly impassible the two Empires met near the northern coast rather than further inland.

The Americans did try to claim the entire Pacific coast ("Fifty-Four Forty or Fight!" was the war cry, referring to the southernmost latitude of Alaska), but they had to back down when Britain said "come on if you think you're hard enough". This was one of a series of times during the mid to late 19th century when the brink of war was approached but not quite crossed.

As for the Atlantic coast, that was determined by which colonies rebelled and declared independence and which didn't. The western border there follows the peaks of the Appalachian Mountains, which extend all the way along the east coast of the continent (and into Scotland and Norway in the days before the Atlantic Ocean existed). Originally at the northern end that was the border between the French and British colonies in America, but remained in effect after Britain took Canada from the French.

European colonization in the New World originally was focused on silver, sugar, fish, and furs. The fishing grounds off the east coast of Canada were split between them and were extremely valuable. France still owns some islands off the east coast of Canada which were retained by them as fishing bases in the peace treaty.

French access to the interior for the fur trade was via the St. Lawrence River, while British access was via Hudson Bay. These were the only two practical routes into most of the interior by large ships.

The colonies which now form part of the US were originally extensions of the Caribbean sugar industry, both in terms of being plantation economies (although in crops other than sugar, which wouldn't grow there), and in terms of supplying food and other goods to the Caribbean plantations so the latter could concentrate on using their land for valuable sugar.

To understand the history of North American you have to understand the economics, to understand the economics you have to understand the geography, and to understand the geography you have to understand the geology.

Incidentally I believe that China has mooted that they should have a share. Note: I may have miss-remembered and it is Antartica instead.

If I have described/defined any specific details incorrectly, @terminal will be able to correct my errors. I believe that Canada became effectively independent (of UK) on my birthday, but completely independent more recently.
China claim "near Arctic" status. This is a concept of their creation to give them a foothold into Arctic political and diplomatic forums. Their interests revolve around shipping routes and fishing grounds in international waters. So far those are only of theoretical significance, but the Chinese believe they will be significant later in this century when enough ice melts that much of the Arctic Ocean is ice free in summer. They want to make sure that the coastal states don't stitch up a deal that divides international waters between them.

Mostly what the Chinese want is summer shipping routes to Europe across the pole, which we may see in the second half of this century.
 
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Cyberhacker

War Hero
Look at a map of the arctic area Alaska and Canada. You will note that the land border has a long "tongue" pushing Southwards in favour of Alaska at the expense of Yukon (Canadian Territory) and particularly British Columbia (Canadian Province). Additionally on the North side, the international maritime border slants East (towards Canada) in comparison to the land border. Apparently the US "sort of" insisted in negotiations with UK after WWII when UK was skint, owed the US loads and had no ability to say anything to the effect of "How fascinating, come and have a go if you think you are hard enough".
Ummm... the boundary between Canada and Alaska was settled by arbitration in 1903 - rather earlier than after WWII

 

gung_hobo

Old-Salt
Many thanks. I think perhaps a little joke was played on me. Ah well. Time to take a vow of silence!
 

Yokel

LE
Here's a map of maximum ice extent in 2021. Notice how the area north of Norway and well east of Murmansk are ice free. This is the effect of the Gulf Stream. Now look at Canada and how far south the ice comes, and how the Arctic area is completely ice covered. The sea north of Norway may be "Arctic" in terms of latitude, but the operating conditions there are far less severe.

I don't know if Canadian seafarers were involved in advising the British admiralty in WWII. Given how tightly knit the Empire was in those days that may in fact not be an easy question to answer as such concepts as a separate Canadian citizenship didn't even exist in those days.

However have a look at this map again and keep it in mind when you are posting about a ship having "operated in the Arctic" when all it did was sail about north of Norway. Get into the "true" Arctic and the situation there is very different.

View attachment 607624

I was tipping my hat to the Canadian contribution to defending civilisation against the Nazis and their poison - not so much making a geopolitical point.

As for a possible CAUKUS agreement, I believe that the author of this paper is Canadian:

Excluded from AUKUS? Canada Should Seek to Invite Itself Aboard

For Canada, though, the news is generating concern that we were not invited to a rather important party, given our membership in the “Five Eyes” security network comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

That concern is not unreasonable. The Five Eyes group, stemming from the historic relationship between the British Empire and the United States during World War II, unites English-speaking democracies with similar values into an intelligence-sharing agreement designed to keep each member country safer.

Why didn’t this body, rather than a subset that excludes Canada and New Zealand, enter into the new pact?

There are several possible explanations. One rather obvious one is that Canadian policy makers were, until recently, embroiled in an election campaign. Another is that New Zealand has a standing policy of not permitting nuclear-powered ships to navigate its waters. Nor does Canada own or operate any nuclear vessels.

But neither a fleeting distraction nor the nuclear issue justifies leaving out Canada. Quite simply, this country should quietly but persistently press to be included — the sooner, the better.

Here’s why. Canada isn’t located near China, obviously. But we depend heavily on Indo-Pacific waters for trade, and we share a historic commitment to freedom of navigation with our allies, which all countries need to help uphold. In the face of China’s muscular rise and its growing willingness to project power, those trade routes are critical choke points for our economy, as well.

More fundamentally, though, Canada should be at the table because technology-focused defence cooperation is increasingly critical to national security in the twenty-first century.
 

Yokel

LE
Here is a Canadian TV interview with the new British High Commissioner just a couple of days ago. Defence and security issues are discussed. from 17 minutes onwards.



Is it me, or does she look a bit like Vicki Butler Henderson?
 
Here is a Canadian TV interview with the new British High Commissioner just a couple of days ago. Defence and security issues are discussed. from 17 minutes onwards.



Is it me, or does she look a bit like Vicki Butler Henderson?
Probably just you.
 
Here is a Canadian TV interview with the new British High Commissioner just a couple of days ago. Defence and security issues are discussed. from 17 minutes onwards.



Is it me, or does she look a bit like Vicki Butler Henderson?
Looks like an odd git in drag.
 

Yokel

LE
Russian Naval Infantry from the Northern Fleet has been carrying out exercises in capturing an Arctic seaport.

In a carefully staged show, marines attacked the seaport of Dudinka, the town that is a crucial logistical hub for mining and metallurgy company Nornickel.

The soldiers attacked from the sea, air and land in what the Northern Fleet commanders say is the first ever exercise on how to liberate a seaport from enemy forces. Involved were Ka-27 helicopters, speedboats, ATVs. From the nearby waters of the Yenisey River was provided gun fire by Severomorsk, the Navy destroyer.

Like in an unacclaimed motion picture, video footage provided by the Northern Fleet show marines tiptoeing around the port area before attacking their objects.
 
I remember once getting crashed out on ex to RAF Binbrook and trying to set up a sloping wire to establish comms with Kirton, did it work? no , but we had a few chats with lads on Sennelager. The Troopie had a mobile and just rang the guardroom lol, funny times then. There is another thread on here about "could we have stopped the bear" I doubt it as we were about as clued up and pi55ed up as they were, it would have just been like a pub brawl i reckon.
 

Yokel

LE
Does Alaska always mean Arctic?

Pacific Rim - Trying to make sense of how the US Coast Guard and the Chinese Navy went toe to toe off Alaska

In late August, China sent to the islands a small fleet of naval vessels which, according to the US military, were shadowed by a pair of Coast Guard cutters and an icebreaker1. Before they got to Alaska, they passed eastbound from the Sea of Japan through the Soya Strait (which Japan was not thrilled about) before evidently arriving off the Aleutians around August 29. As always, I wanted to know more. If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know where this is going…
 

Yokel

LE
Interesting...

Royal Navy sailors to get Canadian polar training as part of a new collaborative agreement

More Royal Navy sailors will be trained in taking ships into challenging polar waters thanks to a new collaborative agreement with the Canadian Coast Guard.

Its sailors will benefit from Canadian training in navigating through icy waters, breaking sheets of ice where necessary, while Canadian Coast Guard personnel will have operational training opportunities and gain experience with crewless technology with the Royal Navy.

The agreement was signed between the two NATO nations at the Canadian Coast Guard’s (CCG) headquarters in Ottawa by its Commissioner, Mario Pelletier, and Second Sea Lord Vice Admiral Nick Hine.

“I am delighted to sign this agreement that will see the Royal Navy and Canadian Coast Guard work even closer together in the Arctic, sharing and developing our ice experience, as we strive to become ever more interoperable and interchangeable,” said VAdm Hine.

“The Canadian Coast Guard welcomes the opportunity to build on the existing close relationship between Canada and the United Kingdom. Through this Memorandum of Understanding, we will benefit from the Royal Navy’s operational experience and expertise, and we look forward to sharing our skills and knowledge of the Arctic,” said Commissioner Pelletier.


BREAK

In recent years the Royal Navy has demonstrated renewed interest in the Arctic region given its key strategic importance to the security of the UK.

Warships are a regular presence in the region, while Royal Marines train in Norway annually as the UK’s specialists in the cold weather warfare.

HMS Lancaster recently returned from a on a 3,000-mile round-trip through the Norwegian Sea and into the Arctic Circle – the latest Royal Navy vessel to head to the High North over the past few years.
 
The EU are apparently planning to get involved in the internal affairs of Arctic countries.
European Union to seek ban on oil and gas exploration in the Arctic

This includes banning oil, gas, and coal production in the Arctic and in contiguous regions.
"The EU is committed to ensuring that oil, coal and gas stay in the ground, including in Arctic regions," the EU executive's proposal said, while acknowledging that the bloc itself still imports oil and gas extracted in the region.

"To this end, the commission shall work with partners towards a multilateral legal obligation not to allow any further hydrocarbon reserve development in the Arctic or contiguous regions, nor to purchase such hydrocarbons if they were to be produced."

Russia aren't too bothered by this as they see it pushing up the price of gas, putting more money in Russia's pocket.
"If such decisions lead to a certain price volatility, [Russia's economy] wouldn't suffer that much. That's because we will reduce production, but will get the prices we wanted," Putin told an energy conference in Moscow.

The EU have applied for observer status in the Arctic Council. I'm not sure that their opinions would be particularly valued by existing members.
The Arctic Council comprises Canada, Iceland, Norway, Russia and the United States as well as the three EU states, along with six Indigenous organizations. It acts as a forum for co-operation. The EU has applied for observer status.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
The linked article makes a very important distinction i.e. the difference between Cold Weather and Arctic training. I have done the former but not the latter. I suspect that the same is true of countless other serving personnel.
I've done the latter. If we try to do it for real, everyone will die. The Scandinavian NATO countries are basically specialists in this environment, any NATO requirement would be sensible to group a formation around them and their kit.

We simply aren't equipped and don't have sufficient numbers of trained personnel. It will take a lot of time and investment to change this, and we aren't going to do it because it isn't high enough priority. At best we are maintaining a cadre for future expansion, plus some niche extras, little more. Bear in mind even 3 Cdo train at a minimum (i.e. they will not train below) temperature that is ~25°C hotter than most of the Arctic circle, and you presumably know the difference between 25°C Brecon and 50°C Helmand. It took us the best part of a decade to adapt to fighting in a proper desert (well, a 75% desert), and that was after a couple of warm-up operations the decade previously.

There often seems to be a misconception that Arctic = Mountain = Jungle environments, because we group them similarly. But while both of the latter are extremely challenging environments, you can still adapt our current training, personnel and equipment to them (with varying degrees of effort and expense). This is primarily because they are exclusively light infantry environments. Not the case in the Arctic, where infantry cannot functionally operate unsupported for very long, the distances are comparable to desert, and basically every bit of kit we have from webbing and rifles upwards will not function.

Currently the British Army has spent 20 years specialising as a desert and temperate mobility force, with a handwave at retaining an armoured element. The idea that we can prosecute major operations in the other environments is, at present, vanity and not planning. This will out in the unlikely event anyone is foolish enough to attempt such an operation.
 
Here is a Canadian TV interview with the new British High Commissioner just a couple of days ago. Defence and security issues are discussed. from 17 minutes onwards.



Is it me, or does she look a bit like Vicki Butler Henderson?
This reply is a bit late, but I've just had a chance to watch that video. I thought it was a pretty poor interview as it was obvious the interviewer had already decided on the answers he wanted to hear and was not happy when he wasn't getting them.

I would have been much more interested in hearing more about the High Commissioner felt were the important items on her agenda and how she intended to pursue them.
 

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