Bridging The Gap – 1 CER completes new Battle River crossing

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Article / April 15, 2016

By:  1 CMBG Public Affairs

The soldiers from 1 Combat Engineer Regiment (1 CER) conquered a previously inaccessible crossing of the Battle River in the early days of Exercise PROMETHEAN RAM. The potential to bridge at MacDonald Ford provides 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group with an alternative location to get troops and vehicles - including the 60 tonne plus Leopard 2 Main Battle Tank - across the Battle River, which divides the training area of CFB Wainwright.

 “Bridging at the MacDonald Ford provided a couple of exciting challenges for us,” said Captain Esli Choi, Operations Officer for 12 Field Squadron of 1 CER.  “First, since it’s a point we’ve never bridged before in the Wainwright training area, we were forced to do a very thorough reconnaissance to assess how we’d tackle it. Second, the span of 30 meters is large enough that it requires a Link Reinforced Set (LRS) – essentially a set of cables that tightens up the bridge and eliminates any sag – allowing tanks to cross the bridge. It was the first time for a lot of us using the LRS.”   

While most bridges are built on a time scale of months or years, 11 and 12 Field Squadrons of 1 CER each built crossings at the MacDonald Ford in roughly 8 hours. Speed is often crucial in situations where 1 CER would be called upon – be it during offensive combat operations or for humanitarian assistance following a natural disaster.

1 CER enables the rest of the brigade by ensuring 1 CMBG soldiers can live, move, and fight on the battlefield. In addition to bridge building, 1 CER also provides expertise and capabilities in combat diving, Counter – Improvised Explosive Device operations, heavy equipment operations, and the construction and maintenance of field installations and facilities.

Approximately 3500 soldiers of 1 CMBG are participating in Exercise PROMETHEAN RAM - a live-fire exercise that is a key step in the Canadian Army’s “Road to High Readiness” training program, which prepares its soldiers for domestic or expeditionary operations.


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