Exercise King’s Trooper I was the first of two field training exercises being conducted in support of the weekend DP1 Armoured Recce crewman course, currently being run in house by the King’s Own. Between the 5th and 7th of May, the Regiment deployed to the densely wooded area of Mclean Creek. The main focus of this weekend’s exercise was the development of the DP1 candidates field skills and armoured reconnaissance skills. Simultaneously the regiment conducted the field phase of the Pre PLQ course, which helps prepare troops for their future leadership courses.
Exercise King’s Trooper involved the first of two weekends of the Armoured Reconnaissance Crewman DP1 Course. Candidates spent two days adopting hides within the Mclean Creek area practicing the protection, camouflage and concealment of their vehicles whilst conducting routines that enhances the functionality of troops within a hide. Candidates also practiced and developed their skills adopting tactical positions and performing tactical driving in wooded and mountainous terrain often going off-road to adopt defensive positions which offer increased cover and observation on suspected enemy targets. The focus of the exercise was on route reconnaissance as candidates practiced moving along routes to collect information regarding the terrain, enemy, and obstacles that would affect elements of a moving Battle Group. The exercise also enabled the candidates to apply their knowledge of dismounted observer drills which involved securing major intersections, bridges, and gaps along the route.
Saturday evening precipitated with the course establishing observation posts (OP). Candidates practiced OP routine, establishing a patrol base and an observation post, which was set to observe the squadron’s bivouac. The OP is an important job within the reconnaissance trade as reconnaissance units often times find themselves operating ahead of the Battle Group and tasked with observing incoming enemy forces or features that could affect higher level battlefield mobility or coordination within the Brigade’s command. Incidentally, it’s an essential skill learned by the DP1 candidates as they practiced adopting sound OP positions, utilizing stealth and concealment, and maintaining discipline within a routine that is itself strenuous and demanding. Candidates performed exceptionally and learned how to draw up range cards, camouflage their position, and utilize their radios to provide accurate and timely information on their observances.
Concurrent to the DP1 course, the field phase of the Pre Primary Leadership Qualification (PLQ) course was conducted. On Friday night the course arrived to the training site and briefly went over setting up a Bivouac site, lantern and stove use, and general field routine. The next morning, the course went over how to set up a dismounted bivouac site with each troop setting up a hooch, and went over bivouac routine and track plans. Later in the day, Warrant Officer Malenfant from the Calgary Highlanders went over Section battle drills and with the course conducted several section attacks. A few members of the Pre PLQ course were given the opportunity to act as the section commander and lead an attack. After a quick lunch break, the course went right into practicing land navigation skills, with each member having to navigate their way to set way points. Following the day navigation practice, the course began a night land navigation exercise, which proved to be much more difficult due to reduced night visibility. Sunday morning the bivouac site was collapsed and the course went over basic tactical movements and dismounted formations, and dismounted reconnaissance patrols. The Pre PLQ course proved to be a success and has helped prepare members of the regiment before they head off on their courses this summer.