Ex MAPLE RESOLVE and EX REFLEXE RAPIDE: B Squadron Always Ready
By Lt Callum Smith
On 10 October 2012 B Squadron returned to snowy, snowy Wainwright to take part in Ex MAPLE RESOLVE and Ex REFLEX RAPIDE, validation exercises for B Squadron’s Road to High Readiness with the 2nd Battalion Royal 22e Regiment Battle Group (2 R22eR BG) of 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (5 CMBG). Shortly after our arrival, we enjoyed the hospitality of our brothers in arms from Quebec, most notably the first of many fine-field-dining experiences. Who knew you could get a perfectly prepared, barbequed strip loin steak in the Army? Never in the history of the CF have so many been fed so well for so long. Bon appetite, indeed!
Stuffed to the gills, B Squadron then linked up with 2 R22eR to conduct shake out training with the companies before Ex MAPLE RESOLVE began in earnest. The infantry were suitably impressed with our breaching prowess, so much so that when the offensive against those perennially aggressive West Islanders began every infantry company wanted a troop of tanks attached to them! After the dust-up settled, B Squadron (-) forded their Rubicon (Battle River) with A Company, seizing the bridgehead and town beyond, whereupon 23B, Sgt Stu "I'm a K-Kill" McLoughlin took the first of many 24 hour coffee breaks. During these festivities, Lt Blake “Lone Wolf” Tapp began to draft an addition to the leather-bound copy of The Armoured Regiment in Battle that we intended to present to the staff of 5 CMBG as a "tank you." His working title was "The Lone Tank Troop in Battle." While well established in their Troop hide, 1st Troop continued their experimentation with doctrine, this time working on new voice procedure. "Sweetie!" it was decided, is much faster to say than "Roger, out." Morale was high, as no one knew that Cpl Ben Kroker felt that way about Cpl Carina Skinner.
Our next objective was the destruction of our foe at the foot of Tower Hill. With the daily allotment of coffee from the hundred-cupper (50 cups for the Squadron, 50 for the OC) downrange already, the OC Maj Vince Kirstein, heard a rumour that the West Islanders hated green coffee mugs, and had a stockpile of Maxwell House in their CP. Incensed, we charged those positions, barely pausing to pick up our infantry. With 2nd Tp leading, the OC knew we would reach those dastardly West Islanders... eventually... When we finally arrived, 23B was so disgusted with the fact that there was no coffee, and took another 24 hours off to find a fresh cup of joe at the MOB.
Flush with success in destroying the West Islanders, and seeing no real opposition, B Squadron decided to prepare for the inevitable stability operations that were to come. Of course, during operations other than war, we must maintain our sharpness, which requires possession of a range. Conveniently, the Brigade Recce Squadron reported an enemy position occupying a range nearby our camp. With that in mind, the Squadron conducted a “recce in force” of Range 16. As we are an inclusive bunch, we brought the rest of the combat team along with us. Unfortunately the enemy position we assaulted that morning was uninhabited. They had moved in the night it seemed, and so we pursued in earnest. Seeking a fair fight, we heard from our reconnaissance assets – who had predicted enemy at Range 16 – that seven enemy tanks had moved east. A textbook envelopment, orchestrated by the Battle Captain Tim “Can I get a SITREP” Day, resulted in the destruction or capture of six of the seven burned-out tank target hulks of circa 1960 Centurions and WWII Shermans at Range 4, identified as a very threatening formation of modern tanks... B Squadron then passed the can around for the Recce Eyeglasses Fund.
With the enemy armour threat eliminated, B Squadron took the fight to their heartland, penetrating deep into the Annex… er… West Isle. Our assault was swift and sudden, as always, a rumbling of tanks coming at the enemy out of absolute darkness. After our “fait un Brouhaha” task was complete, we established ourselves in some solid defensive positions and prepared for the worst. Knowing they could not take us tank to tank, the West Islanders resorted to chemical weapons, which slowed us down but could not prevent B Squadron from enjoying the finer things in life.
With Ex MAPLE RESOLVE under our belts, we then turned to the much-anticipated Combat Team live fire training of Ex REFLEX RAPIDE. After a few days back at the MOB, ensuring our mounts were in good repair and re-acquainting ourselves with the Squadron 2IC, Captain Dave “Mobbit” Cronk, B Squadron then honed its skills at the Combat Team level, leading a series of infantry companies to their objective and hammering a surprisingly resilient enemy position 7 times. All ammo expended, and validated to be Canada’s reaction force, B Squadron returned to Edmonton to relish a job well done and gear up for the Holiday season. Attendez terminée!