Through April and June of 2021, Master Corporals of the King’s Own Calgary Regiment were selected to take their Armoured Crew Commanders (ACC) course held in Vernon, BC. This course is conducted to qualify junior leaders of the non-commissioned ranks as Crew Commanders of an Armoured Fighting Vehicle. This course is the stepping stone within Armoured Reconaissance for young leaders to lead an Armoured Fighting Vehicle and a small crew in battle or support tasks. The Armoured Crew Commander course (ACC) is the next stage in the progression of the Armoured Reconnaissance trade after completing the Primary Leadership Qualification (PLQ) and allows the rank of Master Corporal to be officially substantiated within the Armoured Corps.
This course teaches its candidates the ability to conduct battle procedure which is the necessity for planning a mission for crew commanders. The tools that are utilized in successfully completing battle procedure are the use of time estimates, how to assess a map in detail for the purposes of reconnaissance, how to effectively communicate commands quickly to the crew within an Armoured Fighting Vehicle, and a refresher on sending various reports over the radio. Candidates use these tools and skills to plan, prepare, anticipate, avoid potential obstacles or complications that might arise during a reconnaissance mission.
Prior to the field portion of the course, candidates spent a week learning the fundamentals and practicing their battle procedure, taking down orders from their patrol commander, and disseminating the orders to the crew level. The prospective candidates practice issuing orders until a core foundation is established. Due to a fundamental change in the Armoured Corps, the Armoured Reconnaissance candidates started learning and going over Cavalry tactics that will be employed in the future which involved more offensive capabilities instead of a defensive posture usually assumed by a reconnaissance patrol.
During field training, the tempo on the candidates was highly demanding with the conduct of two missions, or known as a “trace”, per day to meet the course objectives and complete assessments required to be qualified (Trace is the term used for copying markings from a commander’s map, or the “trace”, which shows various key figures such as enemy/objectives etc.). With each day, the complexity and nature of missions grew more complicated, it tested the candidates mentally and physically. After an early morning breakfast, the day immediately started with orders from their Patrol Commander and the commencement of the battle procedure where the candidates would ready themselves and their crew for the mission/trace. Once the battle procedure was completed the mission starts and the candidates lead their call sign during the mission as per the mission’s intent. Candidates would demonstrate their ability to navigate their Armoured Fighting Vehicle, adopt positions of cover and concealment, adapt to changes on the ground, and the ability to successfully react to enemy engagements or changing situations as the battle evolved. After the first round of candidates finish their mission, the duration in which would be approximately 5 hours in length, the next round of candidates would immediately begin their mission and assessment in the afternoon. Once the missions for the day were complete candidates would focus on crew and driver maintenance ensuring the weapons system and vehicles were in working condition for the next day.
After 23 days in the field, learning and implementing the new skills taught, candidates successfully completed and graduated with the qualification Armoured Crew Commander. Congratulations to MCpl Ellis-Worden, MCpl Lawlor, and MCpl Tomayer on passing this course. Onward!
Written by MCpl Ellis-Worden
Edited by Sgt Wennerstrom