CASR – Canadian American Strategic Review – Arctic Futures

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Canada's Arctic Sovereignty –  Denmark's Claims in the Arctic –  May 2005

Denmark's Arctic Assets and Canada's Response – 
Sovereignty and Strategic Resources of the High Arctic


Sidebar  –  Automatics and Bolt-actions:  Danish Small Arms in Greenland
[ Update Aug 2013: The New Canadian Rangers Rifle Project seems to have gained a new urgency. An NCRR Price & Availability request was cancelled in Oct of  2011 and the Project stalled. But, on his 2013 'Northern Tour', PM Harper announced that the .303" Lee Enfields would be replaced in 2016. The P&A request for new General Service Pistols was also cancelled in Oct 2011, leaving the option of procurement of a small batch of dedicated, larger-calibre Ranger Pistols (similar to the Sirius' 10mm).


The small arms used by the Danish military are, by and large, similar to those employed by the CF. The Canadian maker of the C7/C8 series, Diemaco, provides the Danish military with its automatic weapons. [1]  The standard Danish service rifle is their 5.56mm Gevær M/95  –  equivalent to the CF's C7A1. There is also a shorter carbine version, the 5.56mm Karabin M/96 (right, the closest CF equivalent being the C8A1). Both weapons are 'flat tops' allowing the use of a variety of sight types: irons sights (similar to the C7's but detachable), Elcan C79 optic (Opsi M/98) or Blackcat night sights (Natsi M/99).

M/95s and M/96s can now also be fitted  with  the US Aimpoint CompM2 tactical sight. Like the CF,  the Danish military also fits some rifles with  40mm  M203A1 grenade launchers  (the Granat- kaster M/03 )  also by Diemaco.

As befits their highly specialized role, the weapons supplied to the Sirius Patrol (or Slædepatuljen Sirius) are distinct from the arms issued to the regular Danish units.

The standard rifle of the Sirius Patrol is the commercial Winchester Model 70 which chambers the US 30-06 Springfield.[2]  This non-NATO round was chosen because of its popularity among Inuit hunters in Greenland. The rifle itself, known in Danish service as the Gevær M/53, was chosen for its very reliable bolt- action – like the old Lee-Enfield used by the Canadian Rangers.

The advantage of an 'old fashion' bolt-action rifle in the high arctic is obvious – no matter how cold or icy it gets, that bolt can be worked by the shooter. Under severe arctic winter conditions, the bolts of automatic rifles may jam. The use of 'full-sized' cartridges was dictated by two factors: range and effectiveness against polar bears.

The choice of a Sirius Patrol pistol was also determined  by concerns about encounters with aggressive polar bears. Most Danish units use 9mm automatics like the CF but the Sirius Patrol  learned  through hard experience that 9mms had insufficient 'stopping power' to deal with angry adult polar bears. As a result, Sirius Patrol members carry a more powerful 10mm pistols for self-defence, employing the 10mm Glock 20 automatic.[3]


[1] US Colt bought Diemaco, rebranding it Colt Canada in 2005. Other Diemaco/Colt Canada weapons supplied to the Danish military are the M/04 (C7-based LSW Light Support Weapon) and, more recently, the M/10 carbine known to Colt as a C8 IUR.

[2] A 30-06 round measures 7.62mm x 63mm but it is very different in shape from the standard 7.62mm x 51mm NATO or its commercial equivalent, the 0.308 Winchester.

[3] The CF's 9mm Browning has begun to show its great age. The Danish approach to automatic pistols is well worth emulating. Perhaps DND should consider issuing a modern 9mm automatic to southern units and 10mm Glocks to northern Canadian Rangers as well as any 'southern' troops who are preparing to deploy to the north.



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