Across the snowy tipped peaks of Mclean Creek’s highlands, lies a densely wooded landscape with crisp snow sheets carpeting the forest floor and valleys that criss-cross sinuously through the monolithic hills at the cusp of the Canadian Rockies. Welcome to King’s Own Country, a region of intersecting tracks and trails and untapped wilderness that’s completely ripe for dismounted and mobile reconnaissance patrols. Here, during the 10th – 12th of February, 2016 the Regiment participated in it’s yearly basic winter warfare exercise which included foot patrolling and the application of mobile all terrain Utility Vehicles (UTV).
The exercise was designed to train crews up on the UTV platform which would have been used primarily on domestic operations and as a supplement to rear echelon tasks. However, the King’s Own method favours resourcefulness, testing the UTVs as both a versatile and maneuverable utility vehicle as well as a potential light reconnaissance platform that can be employed in thick and uneven forested terrain. Utilizing both the tracked and wheeled variants, crews mounted UTVs over the weekend and familiarized themselves with their movement and operation, whilst supporting 1 Troop ‘A’ Squadron King’s Own in their reconnaissance tasks. Compared to the G-Wagon, UTVs have a smaller profile and are able to navigate the congested territory of Mclean Creek while simultaneously trafficking dismounted patrols quickly with their tent groups and supplies. Members driving the UTVs easily conquered hill and hard-packed snowy terrain which reached upwards of two feet, while racing down narrow black tracks and sparse clusters of trees which would have proved difficult for larger vehicles to move through.
Simultaneous to UTV driver training, 1 Troop ‘A’ Squadron participated in small patrol level dismounted activities over the Saturday, combining the UTV strength of mobility with fast-paced patrolling and their own meticulous stealth. 1 Troop immediately dispersed into two four-member recce patrols establishing first an observation post on highly trafficked bridges and roadways while simultaneously conducting a point reconnaissance on key areas of observation. Patrols tackled the scenic yet deceptively precarious terrain of Mclean Creek’s large hills, navigating through densely packed wooded environments in search of positions of vital importance. Due to the high elevations and its wintry alpine conditions, crews experienced a sense of mountaineering and desolation having been thrown into the heart of the mountains and the scenario’s enemy territory. As an added bonus, both UTV drivers and dismounted 1 Troop members were able to conduct force on force reconnaissance against each other, allowing troops to practice and tailor their skills to both an observable enemy and the specific conditions of the region’s mountainous characteristics. Consequently, the exercise enabled members to familiarize themselves with the adverse conditions of fighting in cold environments, having practiced dismounted drills, setting up arctic tents and following bivouac routine, and trekking.
The notable benefit of having UTVs is the amplification of the speed and maneuverability of an armoured troop in action. Normally used as support for rear echelons, the King’s Own intends to change that and thus apply the rugged and capable features of UTVs in the future to assist with winter warfare and troop deployment. Consequently, this year’s training on both the Textron Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle (TAPV) and CAF UTVs are programs designed to train the trainer and help bring about available qualifications to new troops now entering the regiment.
Are you interested in ripping down the snow covered valleys in TAPVs and All Terrain Vehicles? Then come join us at Mewata Armouries. We have a seat for you!