Operation Musk Ox, 1946

Operation Musk Ox, Feb to May 1946

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4233842)

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4233866)

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4233857)


(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4233880)

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4233843)

RCAF Douglas Dakota, Operation Musk Ox, 1946.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4233831)

RCAF Douglas Dakota, Operation Musk Ox, 1946.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3203760)

Technical equipment being off-loaded from a Douglas Dakota to a Penguin snowtrack during Operation Musk Ox, 20 March 1946.

Operation Musk Ox was an 81-day military exercise organized by the Canadian Army between Feb and May 1946.  It involved the 48 members of the Army driving 11 4½-ton Canadian-designed snowmobiles ("Penguins").  They were joined by three American observers in a smaller American-made snowmobile called a "Weasel" as well as an observer from the Royal Canadian Navy and a number of scientists.  The RCAF provided airdrops of supplies, the largest aerial resupply effort ever attempted in Canada up to that point.

The main expedition, led by Patrick Douglas Baird, travelled 3,100 miles (5,000 km), starting from Churchill, Manitoba, first to Baker Lake, Northwest Territories where the number of vehicles was reduced to ten.  From there, the group travelled to Denmark Bay on Victoria Island, then south to to Grande Prairie and then by rail to Edmonton.  The mission demonstrated that it was highly unlikely that Soviet forces would attempt an overland invasion of North America through the Arctic.

Snowmobile #8, was commanded by Captain Bob Inglis, who is standing on the right, wearing his Eskimo made fur clothing. Bob ran out of fuel and flagged down the aircraft.  Bob was an instructor in Arctic warfare base in Churchill, Manitoba.  

This particular snowmobile is believed to have survived, was rescued by a collector and ended up at the Bombardier Museum.  A large “8” was found painted inside the roof hatch.  The museum told me however that it was later scrapped. This was presumably because it was not made by their company. (Colin MacGregor Stevens)


(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3203761)

Operation Musk-Ox, Noordyn Norseman, a Penguin snowtrack, and a WACO glider coming in for landing, 29 April 1946.


(RCAF Photo)

Douglas Dakota and Noorduyn Norseman Mk. VI, RCAF Serial No. 371), Op Musk Ox, 1946.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3203759)

Noorduyn Norseman Mk. VI, RCAF (Serial No. 371), refueling from a Penguin snowtrack during Operation Musk Ox, April 1946.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3203758)

Penguin snowtrack hauling two sleds, testing military equipment in the arctic during Operation Musk Ox, 20 March 1946.


(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4233680)

Exercise Musk Ox, article by Hugh. A. Halliday

Exercise-Musk-Ox--Hugh--A--Halliday.pdf