Maple Resolve 2019
Capt Joshua “Fire bottles blew again” Horlings and Capt Ali “I’m going to flank them” Mansour
This year Exercise MAPLE RESOLVE ran from the 6th to the 25th of May and included soldiers of 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (1 CMBG) from Edmonton and Shilo. During the exercise approximately 5500 soldiers, including 900 from the U.S. Armed Forces, 150 from the British Army, and 40 soldiers from the French Army, participated in a complex exercise simulating the full spectrum of war. The exercise served as the main verification for soldiers of 1 CMBG in their road to high readiness. As the only tank squadron available to the Brigade, B Squadron was, to say the least, busy. The squadron found itself detached and tasked between all three of the Brigade’s Battle Groups and at times working directly for the Brigade Commander. This range of experience allowed Troops to develop their warfighting skills under a variety of commanders in a range of operations.
B Sqn’s skills were tested from the very start of the Ex with the conduct of stability operations in a dispersed EMCON 1 environment. As 22B Sgt Aaron “We may need the Aurora” Hodgin quickly found out, EMCON 1 can prove quite the challenge when experiencing extensive maintenance issues. Ready to react at a moment’s notice, B Sqn waited and prepared to strike from their camouflaged hides. Moving into the offensive phase of the exercise, B Sqn pushed into hostile territory under the cover of darkness. Following a rainy night in perhaps the smallest leaguer ever adopted by a mechanized force, the offensive began early in the morning. B Sqn quickly reacted and began doing what tanks do best. Excited to finally be on the attack the Sqn launched and rapidly pushed into enemy territory conducting multiple Combat Team attacks. High tempo offensive operations continued for multiple days and cumulated into a Brigade attack on a large urban objective. For many soldiers in the Sqn, this experience was unique as they witnessed for the first time the vast size and abilities of an entire Mechanized Brigade. Transitioning into defensive operations B Sqn held the line and protected the Brigade as vast defensive preparations were made. Working directly for the Brigade Commander, the Sqn waited and watched, prepared for the enemy attack.
During the defensive phase 1st Troop had the unique opportunity to work directly with the 3 PPCLI Battle Group, the only dismounted light infantry battalion in the Brigade. To say that the soldiers of 3 PPCLI were excited to see and work with tanks is an understatement. When the enemy pushed their mechanized assets to attack what they thought was a light infantry defensive they received a rude awakening by the presence of Leopard 2s delivering enough fire to destroy their entire formation.
Following the destruction of the enemy counterattack, B Sqn once again resumed the advance with the Brigade to engage the final enemy objective. With weeks to prepare, the objective was incredibly fortified and well planned. Yet not bulletproof enough to stop B Sqn OC Maj James “Modern Viking” Anderson from rolling up on their Command Post and delivering a deathblow to what was a formidable enemy.
Without a doubt none of the various operations conducted by the Sqn would have been possible without the outstanding support of the SSM MWO Stephen “Snarbuckle” Churchill. For an extended period of time it is quite possible he was the busiest man in the training area as he oversaw his “super-echelon” which supported not just B Sqn but two infantry companies every day. In addition, the echelon provided resupply and recovery at its peak to a full tank Sqn, three infantry companies and a Recce Tp from Recce Sqn. It was a truly astounding task completed with incredible precision and dedication. In addition, B Sqn benefitted from an outstanding maintenance team of dedicated soldiers who solved even the most complex recovery and vehicle issues. These support teams provided the lifeblood of the Sqn and enabled the success of operations more than any other element.
Overall Ex MAPLE RESOLVE 19 provided an immersive training experience for all involved. From the Crew to Combat Team level, skills were improved and team bonds built. As always, everyone returned to Edmonton with a few good stories, a lot more knowledge and a keen desire to continue leading the way for the Brigade.