THE LEOPARD 2A4M’s FIRST LdSH(RC) EXERCISE
By: Capt Steve Van Muyen
From 15 Apr to 18 May 12, A Squadron deployed to Wainwright, AB for Ex KAPYONG STEELE and Ex WARRIOR RAM, the latter including the Combat Team Commanders’ Course. Although all soldiers and officers of A Squadron were prepared to deploy to the field and demonstrate to 2 PPCLI its capabilities, we were equally excited to test the new Leopard 2A4Ms for the first time in the rolling terrain of Wainwright. Equipped with a L44 smooth-bore 120mm cannon and weighing in at 62.5 tonnes, the Leopard 2A4M ably deployed on a field exercise in Canada for the first time since the Government of Canada purchased the vehicles. A Squadron deployed to the exercise with its full complement of Leopard C2s, a full Troop of Leopard 2s, as well as one Leopard 2 in SHQ.
1st Troop, commanded by Capt Steve Van Muyen and WO Marv MacNiell, experienced the awesome power of the new Leopards as they pushed the tanks to their limits through the rough terrain of Wainwright. The Troop, along with Maj Dave Macintyre’s crew from SHQ, was able to identify all the changes to the tank which were necessary to ensure its operability in Canada. For example, the driver’s compartment proved to be far too small due to the swing seat which compromised the driver’s ability to perform their job. By the end of the first week of training, all the Leopard 2A4M drivers were given a new Kevlar helmet which maximized their space without compromising their safety. The exercise allowed A Squadron to rectify these issues ensuring the Regiment can push forward in a positive direction.
The exercise not only provided a highly positive step forward, it also allowed the Squadron to experience and display the Leopard 2’s superior capabilities. On 2 May 12, the Squadron performed a hasty attack demo for LGen Peter Devlin, the current Army Commander. With four Leopard 2A4Ms participating in the attack, A Squadron was able to display the power and aggressive abilities of the new tanks. The skill and aptitude of A Squadron soldiers also shone through as their capabilities on the new tank were very evident throughout the field exercise. With a total of 42 Leopard 2s coming to the Regiment, we can expect to see future offensive attacks conducted in training at an even greater level of firepower, battlefield mobility, and aggression.