CAF combat engineers practice explosive demolition drills in Poland

Three soldiers set up explosive charges on a post.
Members of 1 Combat Engineer Regiment (1 CER) Charlie Company Group plant explosive charges in order to practice cutting down cement poles during Operation REASSURANCE LTF at the training area in Glebokie, Poland on July 26, 2017. (Photo: Sgt D.G. Janes, Directorate of Army Public Affairs)


By: Major Nicole Meszaros, Land Task Force Poland Public Affairs

With its large and secluded ranges, the Drawsko Pomorski Training Area, Poland, has offered Land Task Force combat engineers on Operation REASSURANCE with some unique opportunities to practice their explosive demolition skills.

Sergeant Mike Psota, a combat engineer who has been serving in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) for more than 11 years, supervised a series of training events which culminated on July 26, 2017, with the demolition of a bridge. “We began by reviewing basic principles of military demolitions and conducted the drills by issuing direction to our sappers who carried out the work,” he said.

The combat engineers used ammunition and explosives under stringent supervision as part of the training.

“Our personnel are well-trained in the use of explosives and the demolition practice afforded them the opportunity to further enhance their skills on ammunition disposal,” said Sergeant Psota.

The combat engineers used explosives for counter-mobility tasks. These tasks involve the creation of obstacles, such as fallen trees, to hinder the advancement of simulated enemy forces. They created craters using explosives, simulating the destruction of a road section.

“Our goal was to ensure that our soldiers were able to do this with an increased sense of confidence,” said Sergeant Psota.

The third phase of the training was the most complex and involved the combat engineers demolishing a bridge of concrete slabs, long concrete-and-rebar posts, and old culverts.

“We built the bridge, then the charges to demolish it, which increased our understanding of the challenges this task had brought with it,” explained Sgt Psota. “We were able to capture lessons on charge placement and observed the effects of our charges on the target.”

The bridge demolition was accomplished using a simple trunk line and provided an opportunity for the combat engineers to engage in problem solving.

Operation REASSURANCE is the CAF support to NATO’s assurance and deterrence. Under this operation, the conducts training, exercises, demonstrations and assigned NATO tasks.

Image gallery

  • Three soldiers set up an explosive charge against a post using green tape to hold it in place.
  • Three soldiers prepare explosive charges before putting them in place.
  • Three soldiers set up explosive charges on a post.
  • Three soldiers set up an explosive charge on a post.
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