B Squadron Gunnery Competition
On 17 October 2023, B Squadron ran an internal gunnery competition, organized and supervised by Warrant Officer Matthew Collier, before heading overseas to Latvia to receive the Leopard 2 MBTs. The competition involved four crew skill events including a physical fitness test, a vehicle maintenance/IAs and Stoppages test, a written knowledge test, and a scored shoot in the Simulations Center. Stakes were high, as the winning crew would receive the honour of firing the first round out of a Canadian Leopard 2 MBT overseas since Afghanistan, during the initial bore sighting in Latvia. Participation included crews from 1st Troop, 2nd Troop, Admin Troop, and Maintenance troop.
The troops displayed their ability to sling rounds during the fitness competition, where shuttle runs with an HE round and shoulder presses with a Sabot round burned the arms and lungs of competitors. For every shuttle run complete a point was given, and with every round pressed overhead a point was given. The exercises were based on the physical requirements of ammo replenishments, and the physical capability of B Squadron demonstrated an ability to load hundreds of rounds into vehicles. Within a time limit of 10 minutes, some crews were able to score several hundred points. Morning PT has clearly been paying off.
During the vehicle maintenance/IAs and Stoppages stand, MBGDs were cleaned, COAXs were assembled and mounted, driver’s maintenance was conducted, and zeroing sheets were filled out within a tight time window. Crews then hopped into the cutout turret and were tested on the safe conduct of their IAs and Stoppages drills. The event was scored by starting with a perfect score and deducting points for any errors made.
The written test brought everybody flashbacks of high school exam halls, with tests being conducted under strict supervision and silence. The technical knowledge of drivers was put to the test, while the crew commanders and gunners answered questions on round designations and reticle measurements. Scored as an average between the whole crew, all members needed to be at the top of their study game to ensure a high score.
Finally, the competing crews hopped in the LGST (Leopard Gunnery Skills Trainer) and showed their practical abilities by destroying moving and stationary enemy targets. For every target destroyed crews were awarded points, and deducted for points for errors in fire orders, gunner’s corrections, and loaders procedures. Firing in degraded modes tested the crew’s ability to bring pain down onto a simulated enemy even under adverse conditions.
At the end of the day, scores were tallied up and winners were announced. In first place was 22B, commanded by MCpl Percarskie, loaded by Cpl Erickson, gunned by Cpl Semwal, and driven by Cpl MacCrimmon. Admin troop had a strong showing by taking second place, commanded by Lt Munger, loaded by Cpl Lopez, gunned by Tpr Banavage, and driven by Cpl Andrade-Meza. Third place was held by 21A, commanded by WO Crowe, loaded by Cpl Wilson, gunned by Cpl McBroom, and driven by Tpr Lebanc.