At the very end of summer, the King’s Own Calgary Regiment (RCAC) participated in Exercise Western Sabre 2021, a ten-day Army Reserve Division exercise designed to build upon soldiers’ skills and experiences acquired from collective and individual training over the last year. In addition to the King’s Own were members of all five other 3rd Canadian Division Army Reserve Armoured Regiments.
While other units primarily focused on individual battle task standards including weapons proficiency and platoon/troop-level maneuvers, the King’s Own was tasked with adopting its new principles of armoured cavalry doctrine.
Compared to armoured reconnaissance elements, a Cavalry Squadron will fight for information. It must be capable of finding the enemy, fixing the enemy in place, destroying smaller enemy positions, or enabling combat teams to defeat and destroy large enemy positions. All Armoured Primary Reserve units across Canada are transitioning from Armoured Reconnaissance to Armoured Cavalry which focuses more on direct engagement with enemy targets as opposed to surveying and reconnaissance of enemy positions.
Providing a headquarters element, an echelon and a Troop, the King’s Own members trained alongside other armoured regiments from across 3rd Canadian Division including the South Alberta Light Horse, the British Columbia Dragoons, the British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught’s Own), the Fort Garry Horse, and the Saskatchewan Dragoons, forming a complete cavalry squadron in support of 41 Canadian Brigade Group.
The exercise gave 3rd Division armoured reserve regiments the chance to apply armoured cavalry tactics at the squadron level through a mixture of live fire ranges, troop and squadron level tactics and maneuvers. At the very start, the King’s Own members were thrust onto their Mercedes Benz G-Wagons and the Textron Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicles to conduct troop level battle runs in Wainwright, AB. These live fire ranges helped train cavalry troops in fire and movement capabilities whilst also highlighting the aggressive maneuvering and firepower that armoured fighting vehicles are capable of. The King’s Own members got to engage targets using the C6 GPMG, whilst using speed to close with and destroy enemy key positions. Some King’s Own members also participated with the combined Infantry Company in live fire combined arms ranges. The supported infantry regiments included the Calgary Highlanders, Loyal Edmonton Regiment, the Rocky Mountain Rangers, the Royal Westminster Regiment, the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada, and the Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary’s). While the infantry platoons conducted a platoon attack on entrenched enemy positions, a detached armoured patrol provided covering fire against an incoming counterattack assisting in the infantry forces’ successful withdrawal.
Throughout the week, King’s Own soldiers worked together with the other armoured regiments to practice armoured cavalry movement which included various attack formations, adopting firebase and support positions, and navigating across congested woodland terrain. The exercise culminated with a three-day attack on enemy positions over a wide trace, which included evicting enemy forces out of embedded positions such as observation posts and fortifications, and attacking built-up areas using the swift mobility and firepower of an eighteen-car armoured squadron. King’s Own members thus learned how to tactically navigate open terrain to encircle and destroy enemy positions.
Written by: Sgt D’Souza
Edited by: Sgt Wennerstrom
Photo Credit: Sgt Stiff