Combined Arms Teams Commander Course

Lt Dave Cronk
1 June 2006

For another year, LdSH(RC) answered the call to support the Combined Arms Teams Commander Course (CATCC) at the Tactics School in Gagetown. This year saw A Sqn’s SHQ and a composite Tp made up of soldiers from the Sqns three Tank Tps deploy under the watchful eye of the OC Capt Mark Lubiniecki. Attached to the Sqn were soldiers from E Coy to man a TUA Det and soldiers from 4 AD, who linked up with us in Gagetwon, to provide ADATS crews. With these pieces in place the Sqn was ready to support the CATCC, as a Direct Fire Squadron.

With the final chalk of soldiers arriving in Gagetown on 19 Apr 06, SSM DF Sqn WO Rick MacMillan, got to work signing for vehicles and kit from the Armour School and Infantry School. Once all of preliminary work was complete and link ups with 4 AD were complete the Sqn deployed to the training area to work out some bugs and start to build some group cohesion between the Tankers, Gunners, and Infanteers. In an effort to foster Esprit de Corps, and realizing that nothing does that better than a good laugh, Lt Dave Cronk proceeded to break the cardinal rule of Tanking. Still believing that Tanks can do anything and go anywhere, the intrepid young leader proceeded to adopt the perfect hull down position, unfortunately he was surrounded by cattails. The upside to this was he was earned a new nickname, “CATTAILS CRONK” which followed him for the rest of the exercise, maybe even a career. With the bugs worked and all Arms comfortable working together, the Sqn linked up with H-Coy 2 RCR.

The course trace schedule was relatively high tempo with the Sqn conducting 2 days of Quick Attacks, 1 day of Convoy Escort/Movie Matinee, and 1 day Mobile Withdrawal. The schedule saw the Sqn completing this 4-day block three times with 1 to 2 days off between each block. By far the most aggressive and fast paced days were the Quick Attack days. The Sqn had the opportunity to experiment with the DFS concept, employing the different weapon systems in a variety of firebases and at times employing the Tanks in a modified form of intimate support with the Tanks punching as soon as the infanteers debussed. The upside of the Sqn primarily being employed in firebases is the Tanks had the opportunity to fire a good amount of 105mm blank ammo. Sgt Frank “The Tank” Kauenhofen especially appreciated this as he rapidly proceeded to deplete all of his allocation, as well as the rest of the Sqns.

Once again the Sqn proved the flexibility and ability to employ the Direct Fire Concept, as well as proving that regardless of MOC soldiers from different arms can come together and achieve common goals. Throughout the Ex, teamwork was on the forefront of everybody’s mind. With the Leopard C2 MBT being the maintenance demon that it is, it was not uncommon to see Air Defenders and TUA Gunners pitching in and helping out to keep the Tanks rolling. All in all as a team, we replaced over 100 road wheels, 2 complete tracks, 16 sprockets, 650 track pads and two power packs.

With End Ex called, it was time for the Sqn to redeploy to CFB Gagetown but not before a little fun provided by the OC. It was time to blow off a little steam and what better way to do that than a “Mud-Bog” competition, which saw the Tanks attempting to cross a rather significant water feature. All was going rather well, until Lt(N) Mark Lubiniecki attempted to test the capabilities of the Leo C2 Submarine. Unfortunately, the test confirmed that Leopards are not big fans of water.

In conclusion, it was another successful field deployment for the DFS. We achieved all goals set and demonstrated the capabilities of the Direct Fire to the Sqn and Coy OCs of tomorrow. In particular, we had the pleasure to witness the incoming OC Maj Trevor Cadieu at work as a candidate on the course and don’t worry Sir, what happens in Gagetown stays in Gagetown.