CFB Suffield March 11th – 13th, 2016
The King’s Own Calgary Regiment returned to CFB Suffield over the March weekend of the 11th – 13th as a follow up to the Virtual Scout Exercise conducted in January, 2016. Ex Mobile Scout continues this year’s reconnaissance training by focusing on the larger, more material and time intensive Zone Reconnaissance. The intent of the exercise was to provide a concentrated effort to obtain detailed information on routes, terrain, obstacles and the enemy forces within predefined laterals. 1 Troop was dispatched as the main recce element within the scenario, acting as part of an intervention force in a fictional country with Suffield becoming the stand-in. Pushing ahead of the brigade, 1 Troop observed for insurgent and counter coalition forces which was primarily portrayed by members of Headquarters squadron and 2 Troop. Divided into Alpha and Charlie Patrols, 1 Troop was tasked with clearing two unique lanes encountering challenges from both the terrain and antagonistic enemy forces.
The exercise also featured the implementation of UTVs which was maximized by 2 Troop under the leadership of Sgt Wheetman and Sgt Tait. 2 Troop conducted offensive and counter-reconnaissance roles against 1 Troop using UTVs and MILCOTS whilst also providing the needed opposition force to help develop the scenario and test crewmembers reaction towards incoming contacts. It was also the first exposure of patrol commanding for junior crew commanders MCpl Lincoln and MCpl Walsh; together they executed this exercise appointed function with deftness and proficiency while simultaneously learning its many intricacies which will ultimately be applied in future courses.
Despite Suffield’s homogeneous, prairie landscape various crews encountered adverse terrain conditions that forced crews to rethink their movement and adoption of positions within the area. Much of Suffield’s thawing swamp’s and muskegs from the winter offered crewman a chance to review tactical driving techniques and reading the ground amplifying the training experience. Although, being largely dry and arid, Suffield retains vast inland lakes and river basins which provided crews, especially Charlie Patrol, to practice their bridge and crossing drills before approaching their built-up objective.
In practice, the exercise allowed troops to review concepts and objectives within a zone reconnaissance, including the reporting of all terrain features, civilians and enemy forces, obstacles and crossings, but also practicing basic crew fundamentals such as the sequence to adopt a position and contact drills. Within the undulating yet barren hills of Suffield, 1 Troop members exercised their crew skills in driving and maneuvering the G-Wagen within cover whilst observing for potential counter-reconnaissance elements. Both two Troops also worked closely with the rear echelon squadron conducting impromptu running replenishment activities during Friday’s evening. The following night provided 1 Troop with dismounted patrol tasks, allowing crews to proceed on foot to really hone in on night navigation and foot recces. Forces finally came to bear on Sunday morning, as both 1 and 2 Troop engaged each other in the fictional sea-can city of Pakshar whereby Alpha and Charlie Patrols encircled and destroyed all OPFOR elements, proceeding then to regroup at the squadron’s bivouac for the return move back to Calgary.