SHQ – Firebase experts during Ex MAPLE RESOLVE
Written by Tpr Chris Maisonneuve
During Exercise MAPLE RESOLVE 2015, B Squadron, along with elements from 1 CER, 5 GBMC, and other NATO parties, participated in force-on-force training. The aim of this exercise was to qualify Task Force 1-15 on a High Readiness level, in the event that Canada should send forces somewhere. They would then have the necessary efficiency and cohesion to conduct combat operations.
B Squadron’s Headquarters (SHQ) arrived at P-12/Airfield 21 on 20 April, 2015. From 20 April until 2 May, it was time to shake off the rust. As a driver in C/S 29B, it was very important to use the time given to recalibrate the skills a driver must have. Being a troop member in SHQ gave ample time for vehicle maintenance and driving. SHQ participated in approximately six demonstrations and with that came much needed vehicle maintenance. This period was also beneficial for the new drivers in B Squadron. Many of them had never experienced a field exercise longer than five days, let alone the driver skills needed to maintain your vehicle throughout.
On 2 May, 2015, B Squadron with the remainder of TF 1-15 moved into a “closed box,” which is essentially a simulated combat zone, to begin force-on-force training. Throughout force-on-force, as a driver and possibly in a gunner’s point of view, it was sometimes difficult to understand where friendly elements were due to the language barrier. Regardless, the experience of being in a simulated combat zone was beneficial to everyone. For the new drivers it was more-so, learning how to properly maintain your vehicle in the dark, without making noise. It was definitely a skill that is not mastered overnight. Learning how to adopt hides, harbours, and leaguers was new for them. As well as driving over a Medium Girder Bridge, that is not something we practice every day. The training went well, SHQ had minimal casualties, and we worked tirelessly to sustain the VOR rate.
Elements of 5 GBMC, mainly the 1st Battalion, Royal 22nd Regiment (R22eR), employed B Squadron on live-fire ranges to work closely with the infantry. B Squadron was employed as intimate support, firebase, and tasked to aid with the breaching of defensive obstacles. As a driver employed in SHQ, specifically C/S 29B, and for this exercise C/S 29 and 29A, the fire base was it. The fire base gave C/S 29, 29A and 29B the best vantage point to successfully manoeuvre their forces in conjunction with the 5 GBMC assets. The live ranges showed that B Squadron successfully exceeded the standards for a high readiness status on every range. B Squadron was able to prove to 5 GBMC and the CAF that tanks are a highly valued asset and should be employed with force whenever possible.