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Old 12-12-2005, 07:12 PM
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G-wagon saved soldiers lives - Canada

My apologies if this has already been posted...

OTTAWA (CP) - Three Canadian soldiers and a journalist injured by a bomb in Afghanistan may well have been killed had it not been for the light-armoured vehicle they were travelling in, say military experts and the reporter involved in the blast.

"It's lucky they weren't in an Iltis," said Scott Taylor, editor of Esprit de Corps military magazine, referring to the light-duty, open-top jeeps once used by Canada's military in Afghanistan.

The soldiers and a foreign journalist were injured Monday when a roadside bomb exploded near their G-Wagon - an enclosed vehicle with armour plating and thick, shock-resistant windows. One soldier suffered a broken leg, another had a broken ankle and foot.

Military officials believe the bomb was an improvised explosive device. The blast struck as the Canadians patrolled near the town of Maywand, about 90 kilometres west of Kandahar.

The vehicle's front end was crushed, but the rest of it, including windows and entire passenger compartment, remained intact.

"They probably would have been killed" had they been patrolling in an Iltis, said Taylor.

"There's absolutely no protection on an Iltis whatsoever."

An American helicopter evacuated two of the soldiers to a U.S. field hospital at Kandahar.

Col. Steve Bowes, commander of the Canadian operation in Kandahar, said the third soldier and the journalist walked away with minor injuries and went back at work.

The military was not releasing any names, although next of kin have been notified.

The soldiers were members of the 3rd battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, based in Edmonton, said Capt. Brian Hillier.

The journalist involved, Tim Albone of Global Radio News, said he believes the armour of the Mercedes G-Wagon prevented even worse injuries to himself and the soldiers.

"I'm convinced that is what, and in fact that is what the soldiers say, saved our lives," Albone said.

The Defence Department awarded a $130-million contract to Mercedes-Benz Canada in 2003 for 802 Gelaendewagens, or G-Wagons, and 150 Armour Protection Systems for the vehicles.

The military later bought more of the vehicles and armour kits, bringing the total to 1,159 by late last year.

The initial order came after two Canadian soldiers died when their Iltis struck a landmine near Kabul.

Sgt. Robert Short and Cpl. Robbie Beerenfenger were killed instantly on Oct. 2, 2003 while patrolling a dirt road along the Jowz Valley, roughly three kilometres southwest of Camp Julien, the base camp for Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan until it closed two weeks ago.

A third soldier in the vehicle was injured, as were two other soldiers in a second Iltis.

In another incident, Cpl. Jamie Murphy died and three other soldiers were seriously injured when a suicide bomber jumped onto their Canadian Forces Iltis in January 2004 while they patrolled a Kabul street.

The aging fleet of Bombardier-made Iltis jeeps had long been criticized as offering virtually no protection for Canada's soldiers in world hotspots.

While it's not heavily armoured, the G-Wagon was welcomed by the military as a vehicle that could better protect soldiers, even if it didn't lend itself well to Canada's so-called "hearts-minds" strategy of winning support of the locals in Afghanistan by being approachable during patrols.

The G-Wagon is designed to protect soldiers from small arms fire, hand grenades as well as anti-personnel land mines, and military officials say they are pleased with how the vehicle has performed under fire.

"The G-Wagon's got armour protection that meets NATO Level 1 protection," said Maj. Daryl Morrell. "We have a great deal of confidence in this vehicle."

The bomb Monday went off during a rountine morning patrol.

The incident is being investigated by a group that includes some American specialists, Bowes said.

"They are conducting a forensic investigation to determine the nature of the explosive and how it was detonated."

Bowes said the incident will not deter his troops.

"If anything, it will strengthen the resolve of our soldiers."

Canada has about 250 soldiers running a provincial reconstruction team based in Kandahar.

It was the third incident involving Canadians in three weeks.

On Nov. 24, a LAV III armoured personnel carrier rolled over while trying to void a collision.

Pte. Braun Scott Woodfield of the Royal Canadian Regiment based in Gagetown, N.B., was killed.

On Dec. 7, the Defence Department said three members of the secretive JTF-2 special operations force had been wounded in Afghanistan.

One soldier was sent to hospital, the other two were treated and returned to their unit.

Operations of JTF-2 are shrouded in secrecy and few details of their actions are ever released.

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Old 12-13-2005, 08:51 AM
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Pic from story.
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Jason Priest
1999 E430
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Old 12-13-2005, 10:02 AM
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Wow, that thing took a hit.

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Old 12-13-2005, 12:19 PM
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A/C blows warm, but it just needs a can of Freon.

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