Stunning photos show British Army during training exercises

Stunning photos show the British Army during ‘Prairie Storm’ training exercises held in the rugged scenery of Canada over the decades

  • Stunning pictures show reality of British soldiers training during Exercise Prairie Storm in Alberta, Canada 
  • One image shows Apache helicopter firing a missile and a huge dust cloud rising from an explosion on prairie
  • Thousands of British troops have been sent to vast and remote prairie since 1972 to prepare for deployment 

Incredible photographs of the British Army training in the remote prairies of Canada offer a unique insight into troops preparing for war. 

The stunning pictures show the reality of life of British soldiers during Exercise Prairie Storm in Suffield, Alberta, on some of the most vast and sparsely populated land in the country. 

Some of the striking images show an Apache helicopter firing a missile and a huge dust cloud rising from an explosion on the training range.

Other striking shots show two local Native American chiefs sitting in a Sioux at an Open Day and crew posing alongside Canadian police after their helicopter helped locate a marijuana crop along the South Saskatchewan River in 1979.

A striking image shows a Gazelle helicopter being dwarfed by spectacular mountain scenery, while another spectacular image show a FV101 Scorpion out on the prairie being over flown by a another aircraft.

Other photos show live fire being shot out of tanks while a stunning black and white photo shows Army Air Corps Day in 1983 with a British Union Jack and a Canadian flag being flown from helicopters in front of spectators.

The dust cloud rises from an explosion on the training range with tanks positioned nearby during Exercise Prairie lightning in Suffield, Alberta in Canada

A soldier launches a model of a Desert Hawk 3 UAV. The stunning pictures show the reality of life of British soldiers training during Exercise Prairie Storm

A Gazelle helicopter flies over Calgary, Canada. Incredible photographs offer a unique insight into troops preparing for war

Static Live Fire by RTR Challenger IIs. British troops have been sent to the BATUS (British Army Training Unit Suffield) since 1972

Two local Native American chiefs enjoy sitting in a Sioux at an Open Day. British troops have been sent to Exercise prairie for 44 years

A Gazelle helicopter helping to control a prairie fire. Troops trained with Army personnel on the vast prairies 

Crew posing alongside Canadian police after their helicopter helped locate a marijuana crop along the South Saskatchewan River in 1979 


A group photo of BATUS Flight in 1980 (left) and the Canadian Defence Minister and military personnel flying to look at DRES facilities on the prairie in spring 1981 (right)

British troops have been sent to the BATUS (British Army Training Unit Suffield) in Canada to train on a large scale since 1972 to prepare them for future deployments. 

The remarkable photographs are showcased in former Ministry of Defence civil servant Guy Warner’s new book, British Army Training in Canada.

He wrote: ‘British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS) is situated in Alberta, Canada, amidst the dry, semi-barren, rugged and undulating prairie where the Blackfoot, Cree and Sioux tribes once hunted buffalo and engaged in combat.


  • From slums… to the super-rich: Squalid Kensington and…


    No time for playground argy-bargy! Amazing pictures from the…


    From a man who sold meat for cats to the ‘knocker-upper’ who…

Share this article

‘The training area measures 39 miles west to east and 32 miles north to south with a total area of 1,038 square miles. It is slightly larger than Luxembourg and seven times the size of Salisbury Plain.

 Exercise Prairie Storm

Every year thousands of British troops are sent to Suffield, Alberta in Canada to exercise on the British Army’s largest training ground in Suffield, Canada (BATUS).

The prairie is more than 2,900 kilometres squared in size and is currently the only place where an entire armoured battlegroup can train in its entirety. 

The exercise takes place over six weeks and centres around live firing and use of a tactical exploitation system.

It involves 400 mechanics, medics, military police and suppliers – all working as part of the 4th Battalion REME battlegroup.

The British Army has been training at Suffield for 44 years and it happens around three times per year. 

The duration of the exercises and size of the training area allow all elements of a combined arms battle group to conduct realistic live firing training and to practice sustaining this activity over a long period of time. 

‘The prime purpose of BATUS is to provide realistic all-arms, battle group manoeuvre training with live firing. 

‘Four major ‘Prairie Storm’ exercises are held every year between April and October, involving infantry, armour, artillery, aviation and support arms. Up to 2,500-3,000 personnel may be on the ground, along with as many as 1,200 vehicles of all types from main battle tanks to 4x4s.

‘BATUS was formally established in 1972, making up for the loss of training areas in Libya in 1969. Right from the start, it was envisaged that there would be an Army Air Corps element. The original aircraft were replaced by Westland AH1 Gazelles in 1977 and they continue in service 40 years later.’

The exercise takes place over six weeks and centres around live firing, use of a tactical exploitation system and practicing with a live enemy.

And a Tactical Effects Simulation (TES) system identifies when vehicles have been fired at and damaged or destroyed and also informs soldiers when they are being fired at and if hit what injuries they have sustained.

The duration of the exercises, and size of the training area, allow all elements of a combined arms battle group to conduct realistic live firing training at all levels and to practice sustaining this activity over a long period of time. 

A stunning black and white photo shows Army Air Corps Day 1983 with British union jacks and a Canadian flag being flown in front of spectators

In December 2016 a simulated casualty receives ttention from a soldier from the Force Protection Group under the supervision of directing staff

The author in Gazelle ZA731. The remarkable photographs are showcased in former Ministry of Defence civil servant Guy Warner’s new book, British Army Training in Canada

Setting up landing strip markers at BATUS in the early 1970s. Troops conduct realistic live firing training at all levels and practice sustaining this activity over a long period of time

A FV101 Scorpion out on the prairie is overflown by a Gazelle as they train in the rugged landscape in Canada’s prairies

A striking image shows a Gazelle helicopter being dwarfed by spectacular mountain scenery 


Camouflaged artillery gun positions (left) and a wide Saskatchewan River and complicated terrain on the eastern end of training area (right)

Medical staff pose by a Sioux at Medicine Hat general Hospital with Captain Nigel Ironside is on the right

Guy Warner’s new book, British Army Training in Canada, is published by Fonthill Media. It is available now. £16. 

Source: Read Full Article