Details/Information for Canadian Forces (CF) Operation COBRA

CF Overseas Operations have most often operated within the construct of an international mandate. As such, the International Information is presented first in order to provide the context of the Canadian Operation (displayed second). Eventually, all rotations associated with the particular Canadian operation will also be displayed.


International Information

International Operation Name: Operation DETERMINED EFFORT

International Mission Name: Operation DETERMINED EFFORT

Mandating Organization: North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

Region Name: Europe

Location: Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia

Mission Date: 1 December 1994 - 1 December 1995

Mission Mandate:

To provide forces to NATO OpPlan 40-104 / Operation Determined Effort so NATO forces could be extracted from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia.

Mission/Operation Notes:

In 1994, NATO began to consider worst-case extraction operations of its forces supporting UN operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. Two initial options were considered: Operation Determined Effort, for a gradual build-up of extraction forces, and Operation Daring Lion for one that would occur in a matter of days. Operation Determined Effort became the basis for NATO OPLAN 40-104, and later the rapid build-up of forces that became the Implementation Force in Bosnia-Herzegovina (IFOR) in support of the Dayton Peace Accord.

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Canadian Forces (CF) Information (COBRA)


CF Mission/Operation Notes:

Operation COBRA was the planned Canadian contribution to Op Determined Effort. Although never implemented, the planning had an effect on later Canadian operations. Op COBRA was to be a joint effort, under the command of a Joint Force Headquarters (JFHQ). The Canadian contribution would be integrated into the overall NATO force. Planning for the operation started in late 1994. The Canadian contingent in UNPROFOR had created a theatre evacuation plan; however, a larger, more coordinated effort was required for all NATO forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia.

Naval planning included some expenditures to prepare the allotted ships for Op Cobra. Equipment preparations were made - ships were to be "fitted for", but not "fitted with" various equipments required for the mission. Two of the ships, HMCS Provider and HMCS Vancouver, would sail from the West Coast. The five ships were each allotted specific roles: HMCS Gatineau - command ship screen comd/Anti-Submarine Warfare Coordinator /Anti-Surface Warfare Coordinator /CCU HMCS Preserver - logistics coordinator HMCS Provider - alternate logistics coordinator HMCS Vancouver - alternate Anti-Aircraft Warfare Coordinator /Electronic Warfare Coordinator HMCS Ville de Quebec - Anti-Aircraft Warfare Coordinator / Electronic Warfare Coordinator

In addition, HMCS Preserver would serve as the headquarters for the JFHQ, requiring that an additional 65 persons be accommodated and augmentation by 13 extra medical staff. Both HMCS Preserver and HMCS Provider would carry the land forces equipment to the operations area.

Supporting the ships would be seven CH-124 Sea Kings from 406, 423 and 443 Squadrons. Their role would be helicopter delivery service, surface surveillance, and liaison and communications support for the JFHQ. Modifications to the Sea Kings would include fitting them to carry a 5.56 calibre general purpose machine gun.

Army planning consisted of building a battle group around 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. Training for the potential mission started on 26 March 1995 under the previously planned Exercise Prairie Ram. By the time the battalion started the exercise, they had gone to a 7 days notice to move. Battle Group of 3 mechanized companies (775 pers) and 1 Leopard squadron (125 pers) one Brigade Headquarters & Signals (505 pers) one Recce Squadron (125 pers) one Engineer Regiment (-) (225 pers) one artillery Battery 155 mm SP guns (165 pers) one Service Battalion (-) for second line support (500 pers) one Field Ambulance with 2 surgical teams (200 pers) one Military Police Platoon (34 pers) Canada also offered the use of a Movement Control Company (125 pers).

The air component was to consist of about 600 personnel. The largest contingent would be the CC-130 Hercules fleet, 12 of which would be used for transport and two for aerial refueling. Initially they would be used to move Canadian personnel and equipment to Europe, after which they would be released to NATO control. If the Air Force deployed any CP-140 Auroras for Operation SHARP GUARD, these aircraft would be reassigned to support Op DETERMINED EFFORT. Canada also committed 18 x CF-188 Hornets. The CC-150 Polaris would be retained under Canadian control as a national strategic asset - primarily to move personnel and equipment to the theatre.

In the end, Op COBRA/DETERMINED EFFORT was not implemented. The exercise of preparing for the possibility was not wasted, however, as the build-up of NATO forces for the Implementation Force was based in part upon the planning of Op COBRA/DETERMINED EFFORT.