This film is part of Free

Exercise Musk-ox

A military film from 1946 “Chronicling a journey of exploration by the Canadian Army through the interior of Northern Canada in midwinter.”

Documentary 1946 57 mins


The footage documents the many phases of Operation Muskox, a military exercise carried out by the Canadian Army in 1946. The operation consisted of 48 officers and men driving 11 cabbed, high-powered, 4½-ton snowmobiles called ‘Penguins.’ This remarkable footage captures every step of the 3,100 mile long journey as the unit crosses the treacherous icy terrain of the Northern Canadian wilderness, never before traversed by mechanised transport.

The operation which began in Churchill, Manitoba and finished in Edmonton, Alberta was designed to test new machines, tactics and strategies for winter warfare. The three key objectives of the operation were to experiment with air drops and supply methods, test the mobility of new machines designed to traverse this harsh terrain, as well as to collect scientific data about the landscape and climate. The particularly severe wintry conditions which saw temperatures drop to a mean average of -25 degrees, occasionally reaching as low as -50, provided even a greater challenge than anticipated and tested the equipment to its limits. The operation was considered a success.