Shield of the Canadian Rangers
|Active||March 3, 1942 - present|
|Type||Niche element, Scouting Role|
|Role||Domestic operations; surveillance and sovereignty patrols, first response|
|Part of||Canadian Army|
|Garrison/HQ||Canadian Ranger National Authority, Canadian Army Staff, Ottawa
1 CRPG: Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, British Columbia
2 CRPG: Quebec
3 CRPG: Ontario
4 CRPG: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba
5 CRPG: Newfoundland and Labrador
|Motto||Vigilans ("The Watchers")|
|Engagements||Second World War
|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (January 2009)|
The Canadian Rangers (often mistakenly called the Arctic Rangers) are a sub-component of the Canadian Forces reserve that provide a military presence in Canada's sparsely settled northern, coastal, and isolated areas. Formally established on May 23, 1947, a primary role of this part-time force is to conduct surveillance or sovereignty patrols (SOV PATS) as required. Some Canadian Rangers also conduct inspections of the North Warning System (NWS) sites and act as guides, scouts, and subject-matter experts in such disciplines as wilderness survival when other forces (such as Army units of the Regular Force or Primary Reserve) are in their area of operations.
The Canadian Rangers are a volunteer force made up of Inuit, First Nations, Métis and non-Aboriginals; however, it is a common misconception that the organization is a First Nations entity. The ethnic make-up of the numerous patrols across Canada is entirely an element of geography. Canadian Rangers are paid according to the rank they hold within their patrol and when present on operations or during training events. There are currently approximately 5000 Rangers serving in various communities around Canada.
Modern Canadian Rangers can trace their history back to the Pacific Coast Militia Rangers (PCMR). Formed on March 3, 1942, the Pacific Coast Militia Rangers were volunteers who patrolled, performed military surveillance, and provided local defence of the coastline of British Columbia and in the Yukon against the wartime threat of a possible Japanese invasion. At their height, the Pacific Coast Militia Rangers consisted of 15,000 volunteers in 138 companies under three major patrol areas, which were Vancouver Island, the lower Fraser Valley and the Bridge River area. Some of the principal officers of the PCMR were Lieutenant-Colonel C.W. Peck, Lieutenant-Colonel A.L. Coote and Major H. Ashby. The Pacific Coast Militia Rangers were officially disbanded on September 30, 1945.
Each Canadian Ranger is issued a red Canadian Ranger sweatshirt, CADPAT pants, combat boots, baseball cap, safety vest, rifle and navigation aids. They are expected to be mostly self-reliant regarding equipment. However, they are also provided with a small amount of patrol-level stores (mostly camp stores - tents, stoves, lanterns, axes, etc.). They are reimbursed for the use of personal vehicles and equipment and are paid for this use according to the nationally established equipment usage rates. Items that a Canadian Ranger could be reimbursed for include snowmobiles (called light over-snow vehicles, or LOSVs, in the military), all-terrain vehicles, watercraft, trailers, pack horses, sled dog teams, and a variety of tools and equipment (such as radios, chainsaws, generators, and the like).
|Make||Type||Quantity||Year entered service||Details|
|Lee–Enfield Rifle No. 4||rifle||N/A||1941||using .303 British|
|ParaComm PCX 250 High Frequency shortwave radio||N/A||N/A|
Canadian Rangers are issued the .303 British calibre Lee–Enfield No 4 rifle, with each user being provided with 200 rounds of ammunition every year. While the rest of the Canadian forces were getting Enfield rifles, Bren guns and Browning-Inglis Hi Power pistols, the rangers had to make do with what could be scrounged up, often patrolling with their own rifles and shotguns. This led Canadian purchasing agents to look to American sources for rifles. At the time the most popular style of rifle in the North American West was the .30WCF (.30-30 caliber) lever action. As such, purchasers figured the Winchester 94/64 and Marlin 1936 would be easy for the rangers to figure out, as they more than likely had experience with the type already.
Promptly some 3000 Winnies and an estimated 1800 Marlins were acquired direct from North Haven, likely all the companies had on hand. Guns were issued out as needed to senior members of the companies, but stocks of .30-.30 ammo was so limited that only a six rounds were issued with the rifle while the rest was locked up in the company's armory, typically in the vault of the local bank.
While the bolt-action Lee–Enfield has been out of general service in the Canadian military since the 1950s, it has proven to be reliable in the Arctic environment. Canadian Rangers carry the weapon primarily for subsistence and protection against predators rather than with the expectation of engaging an enemy force.
Owing to the decreasing availability of spare parts, the replacement of the Lee–Enfield rifle had long been expected and in August 2011 after user requirements had been determined, the Canadian Forces officially issued a tender request for a bolt-action rifle compatible with 7.62 NATO and .308 Winchester ammunition. Approximately 10,000 rifles were to be bought giving the system a service life of about 30 years. With project management provided by Director Land Resources (DLR) and the new rifles were to be manufactured under licence by Colt Canada and to be in service by 2015. The tender was canceled in October 2011. In 2014 a new tender was issued for replacement rifles with a selection competition in 2015 and the winning design entering service between 2015 and 2019. As of April 2015, Colt Canada has been selected to produce the rifle under license. Thirty-three initial examples of the new rifle will be delivered to 4 CRPG in June 2015 while Canadian Ranger Instructors from across all CRPGs concurrently attend "train the trainer" training at the Small Arms section at the Combat Training Centre, CFB Gagetown, New Brunswick. "Uncontrolled testing" is scheduled with 100 rifles in Nunavut in August 2015, while controlled testing is scheduled for November 2015 in the British Columbia interior, facilitated by 4 CRPG.
Chain of command
The Canadian Rangers became part of the Canadian Army in October 2007, having previously been under the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff for the Canadian Forces. The Commander of the Canadian Army is the Canadian Ranger National Authority (CRNA). The Commander of the Canadian Army has a small cadre of CRNA staff in Ottawa. These CRNA staff act as a conduit for information, assist with general development and improvement, assist in generating, modifying, and maintaining policy which addresses the unique nature of the Canadian Rangers (including administrative policy, unit establishment and structure, training policy, and logistical policy), and with the financing of the Canadian Rangers. These staff are not directly within the chain of command, but are instead seen as the technical and advisory link between the Canadian Ranger units and the Commander of the Canadian Army.
Command and control of the respective Canadian Ranger units (known as Canadian Ranger Patrol Groups (or CRPGs)) is devolved from the Commander of the Canadian Army down to his subordinate commanders of the various regional divisions. There are five CRPGs and each CRPG corresponds to one of the regional divisions (as seen below). The CRPGs tend to be provincially oriented, apart from 1 CRPG, which covers the whole of northern Canada north of the 60th parallel, and 4 CRPG which covers the four western provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba). Each CRPG has a headquarters and a number of patrols, albeit that 4 CRPG's patrols are managed within a company construct, with provincially oriented companies each commanding their own patrols. The patrols tend to be centred on remote communities throughout Canada and are frequently named after the town or village they are from (the Terrace Patrol, in British Columbia, for instance).
There are five main patrol areas of the Canadian Rangers. Each patrol area is directly controlled by the headquarters unit of a Canadian Ranger patrol group or CRPG (in French, groupe de patrouilles des Rangers canadiens or GPRC).
|Patrol group||Region||Part of||Patrols||Rangers||Junior Rangers||Headquarters|
|1 CRPG||Northwest Territories, Yukon Territory, Nunavut||Joint Task Force North||56||1,500+||1,500+||CFNA HQ Yellowknife, NT|
|2 CRPG||Quebec||2nd Canadian Division||23||696||585||CFB Saint-Jean, QC|
|3 CRPG||Ontario||4th Canadian Division||15||422||440||CFB Borden, ON|
|4 CRPG||Manitoba, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Alberta||3rd Canadian Division||42||1,000+||750+||Victoria, BC|
|5 CRPG||Newfoundland and Labrador||5th Canadian Division||29||715||n/a||Gander, NL|
Junior Canadian Rangers
The Junior Canadian Rangers Programme was created on May 31, 1996, and consists of more than 3,400 members in 119 locations. Under the supervision of the Canadian Rangers, the Junior Canadian Ranger Programme is open to young Canadians, from ages 12 to 18.
- Operation Hurricane (Canada)
- Prince William and Prince Harry appointed honorary members of the Canadian Rangers on 10 November 2009.
- Angel, Harry (August 2010). "Canadian Ranger Rifle: Human Factors Requirements Validation" (PDF). Defence Research and Development Canada. Retrieved 15 November 2011.
- Pugliese, David (August 2, 2011). "Canadian Rangers to replace storied Lee-Enfield rifles". Ottawa Citizen. Archived from the original on 19 October 2011. Retrieved 15 November 2011.
- "1st Canadian Ranger Patrol Group". Army.forces.gc.ca. 2010-04-22. Retrieved 2011-05-05.
- "2nd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group". Army.forces.gc.ca. 2010-04-22. Retrieved 2011-05-05.
- "3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group". Army.forces.gc.ca. 2010-04-22. Retrieved 2011-05-05.
- "4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group". Army.forces.gc.ca. Feb 2012.
- "5th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group". Army.forces.gc.ca. 2010-11-03. Retrieved 2011-05-05.
- "Junior Canadian Rangers - NL". Army.forces.gc.ca. 2011-02-23. Retrieved 2011-05-05.
- "Junior Canadian Rangers—Overview". Rangers.dnd.ca. Retrieved 2011-05-05.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Canadian Rangers.|
- Canadian Rangers
- The Canadian Rangers NWT Historical Timeline, Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre