OPFOR: The Plan Will Never Change

Lt Sean Coughlan

From 18 April until 20 May 1st Troop A Sqn was tasked as the OPFOR tank troop for Ex MAPLE RESOLVE 15 (Ex MR). For the glory of the West Isle Supreme Commander Capt Tim “I’m off to Switzerland” Day, and under the command of LCol Josh “Diego Montoya” Major, 1st Troop as part of the PPGB Cav Sqn became the ever present dagger between the ribs of 5 CMBG.

The Ex started off with a two week work up training which saw 1st Troop amalgamated with 2 troops from Recce Squadron to form the 1st Cavalry Squadron, PPGB. This portion consisted of finding the most efficient way to combine the information gathering abilities of Recce with the hard hitting power of the Leopard C2. Under the leadership of Maj Mike “In the Op Order of life I am the Frag O” Mallette, new tactics and SOPs were made for our newly formed Sqn.

With the beginning of the force on force portion, deep penetration became the theme of the Ex. Day after day Recce successfully ferreted out the gaps in 5 CMBG’s lines unprotected by their armour. The tanks were then driven with maximum speed and aggression into the gaps until halted by the EXCON gods above. Several LAV IIIs and Coyotes were easily surprised and rolled up by our tanks on the first day. Sgt Matt “Cloverleaf Jockey” Williams also seized the opportunity to take out a battery of M777s he happened upon during one of these penetrations. The enemy guns were thoroughly confused as a Leopard C2 rolled through their position and then proceeded to pummel all the support vehicles with round after round until they grasped the point that they were indeed destroyed.

All this Carpe Diem mentality of course led to an inability to follow the pre-set countermoves plan and definitively showed the need for heavy armour to remain highly flexible within the battlespace. Plenty of time was spent moving from one deception hide to another and waiting mounted for that golden opportunity to punch through the enemy lines and stir things up in the rear.

Ex MR brought forward a new spirit of cooperation between A Sqn and Recce Sqn that will be carried forward as both look toward the next bound beginning the road to high readiness. New understandings of how each element works, and how much one can complement the other was gained at all levels throughout the 1st Cav Sqn.