The Armoured Reconnaissance Patrol is the fundamental building block of an Armoured Reconnaissance Squadron. Led by Patrol Commanders, two-vehicle patrols are responsible for the nimble completion of a myriad of tasks that cover the full spectrum of both traditional recce and tactical security tasks. Patrols must be prepared to rapidly complete a planning process and launch into missions that take advantage of their high manoeuvrability and self-sufficiency with intent to gather intelligence and better improve higher Commander planning processes and to provide security for essential battle group assets.
This past weekend 28-30 May, members from The King’s Own Calgary Regiment joined with the other four most western Armoured Corps Regiments for an Armoured Crewman Concentration held at the Vernon Military Camp and surrounding areas of Vernon, British Columbia. Forming composite troops, members from The King’s Own Calgary Regiment, South Alberta Light Horse Regiment, British Columbia Dragoons and The British Columbia Regiment (DCO) participated in exercise tasks under the mentorship of Regular Force members from Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians). This was the first opportunity in many years for a collaborative approach to training and shared learning between Reserve Armoured Regiments and to learn invaluable lessons from experienced Regular Force members.
Troops were challenged during three training scenarios based upon threat of an insurgent force operating within the training area. Our patrols established observation posts to monitor enemy activity and to pass along information preventing disruption of civilian activities at the Vernon Regional Airport. During a route reconnaissance patrol, our patrols decisively confronted dismounted enemies that were blocking route access and conducting covert information gathering on the capabilities and tactics of our own military forces. Finally, our patrols embarked upon dismounted patrols to ascertain the transfer of illegal weapons transactions and reported back information to commanders with recommendations on the establishment of vehicle checkpoints to prevent further illegal activity.
The major benefit of Armoured Regiments training together is the shared experience of best practices and lessons learned across many years of experience. In essence, this serves as a force multiplier for our troops through exposure to many experienced leaders from the five regiments involved. This exercise provided the opportunity to further develop armoured soldier skills at the patrol level beyond the training we receive at the individual training level and in a larger context than normally possible at the unit level. The collective training value of this opportunity has a high rate of return on investment, as the soldiers that participated in this exercise will return to their units having honed old skills and gained some new best practices in the essential soldier skills that encompass planning, navigation, communication, patrol movement and team work.
As the Armoured Reconnaissance Troop Leader, I see a huge value in these training opportunities for both myself and my troops. We learn to work better as a team and sharpen those basic skills at the patrol level that are critical to mission success. This was an opportunity to challenge myself through the planning and execution of recce operations with an abundant mentorship opportunity from a large cadre of very experienced Armoured NCOs and officers. Armoured officers have one of the most challenging jobs in the Canadian Armed Forces due to the rapid speed at which we operate, complex planning process and the demand of constantly integrating multiple sources of information in order to effectively deploy your most essential resource: the Armoured Reconnaissance Patrol.
Ready for a challenging opportunity to work with the dedicated soldiers of the Armoured Recce Patrol? Come join us at Mewata Armoury. We have a seat for you!
2Lt Ryan Morgan
***Photo by MCpl Brandon O’Connell, 3 Cdn Div Public Affairs.***