B Squadron and the Never Ending Quick Attack:
Ex KAPYONG STEELE and WARRIOR RAM
By Lt Owen Lewis
On April 13th 2012, B Squadron deployed to CFB Wainwright for two and half months of aggressive field training. During this deployment, the Squadron completed a Leopard C2 Gun Camp, participated on Ex KAPYONG STEELE, a joint 2 PPCLI and LdSH(RC) Battle Group Exercise and on 1 CMBG’s Ex WARRIOR RAM, which included support to Combat Team Commander’s Course. These exercises once again let B Squadron sharpen its skills in conventional warfare and continue to teach the rest of the army how to win a fight against a modern enemy. In both exercises, the Squadron was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with some excellent Units from across the Brigade. Of note, B Squadron worked hand in hand with C Company, 2 PPCLI to become quite a slick and well honed Combat Team. This Combat Team was rounded out by an Armoured Engineer Troop from 1 CER and a FOO/FAC Team from 1 RCHA. All in all, group cohesion was high, though many of the crewmen in the Squadron never quite adapted to the Patricia’s peculiar opinions on doing incessant PT in the field and waking up at hours which ought to only be discussed in theory.
Of special importance to the Squadron was the opportunity to deploy with a troop of the new Leopard 2A4s for this training. Though A Squadron is tasked as the Regimental lead for Leopard 2 implementation, it must be mentioned that the first crew to have a Leopard 2 cross Range Control was from B Squadron. Sgt Rob Biener was fortunate enough to be the first crew commander in the Regiment to command a Leopard 2 into the training area and in his own humble words “First Leopard 2 into Wainwright, NO BIG DEAL.” 1st Troop were selected to be the Leopard 2 Troop for the Squadron and at first were pumped at the opportunity, though after the fiftieth dog and pony their excitement was beginning to wane.
During the Gun Camp, the Squadron qualified a new batch of Leopard C2 gunners and conducted static crew and troop shoots. Under the SGWO, Sgt Chuck McDougall, the ranges went exceptionally well, except for the final night shoot when heavy fog and sideways sleet caused some serious havoc with the thermal sights. However, with some gunner’s determination all were able to engage at least some targets. Tpr Andrew Cassel may have engaged the same target with at least eight rounds. We also had the privilege of taking Cpl Jamie Steeves and his wife Jocelyn Steeves out to the range to fire off a few rounds and take a rip around in the tanks. It was a wonderful chance for some old friends to reunite.
With the Gun Camp complete, the Squadron dove into Ex KAPYONG STEELE. During this portion of the field, the B Squadron/C Company Combat Team shook itself out for its support to the Combat Team Commander’s Course conducting countless quick attacks approaching objectives from all possible angles, always killing all enemy while never taking a casualty, we’re that good. Effectively sorted and good to go, the Squadron then transitioned to Ex WARRIOR RAM. Feeling very much like ground-hog day, the Squadron then continued with another series of quick attacks, however this time under the command of the course candidates. Several key lessons were learned during this part of the Exercise: Lt Blake Tapp and Cpl Dave McKinnon found out that the turret floor is not the best place to secure a C8 carbine, unless you want to modify it for corner shots. Cpl Ben Kroker learned the hard way that precision is critical when taking down grids during quick attack orders, when he gave his crew commander, Sgt Jason Clark, the grid of the enemy position instead of the attack position. Let’s just say they may have adopted a position a little too close to the enemy. Tpr Nathan Schiffner came to the quick realization that the BC, Capt Dave Cronk, is not the most patient man when he asked if he could leave stab off during a rather aggressive cross country move.
The Squadron canteen (A.K.A. Cpl Michael Partington’s Party Palace) continually proved a source of morale throughout the exercise, despite the rather questionable prices that hot dogs were being sold for. Late in the exercise, as morale grew thin and stomachs grew weary of IMPs, in a stroke of genius and mercy, SSM Tony Mayfield made his way through the hide distributing to the squadron what is remembered as, without exception, the most delicious KFC that any human has ever consumed. Unfortunately, a few hours before mounting the buses, troops found themselves without rations and beyond the support range of our echelon; thankfully however we were still well within the support range of Domino’s Pizza and rations were acquired through alternate means.
As expected, the weather ranged from winter blizzards, to monsoon rains to blazing summer heat. A minor side-effect of the weather was that after heavy rains, water would pool in the camp, most troublingly it occasionally did this in our tents. Due to what we can only assume is jealousy, A Squadron remained strangely unsympathetic to the small bits of water which came into our tents.
It was no surprise that B Squadron performed incredibly well thanks to the efforts of every last soldier. A key aspect of the Squadron success was the outstanding work of the Squadron maintenance team under Sgt Lenny McGean. Under his leadership, the maintenance crew was able to ensure that day in and day out B Squadron was able to put a full Squadron of tanks into the fight.
All in all, this field deployment was an excellent experience for all, both in terms of lessons learned as well as camaraderie. New Troopers and Troop Leaders got their feet wet in the field and the old dogs were able to show off their skills and abilities.