Recce Sqn LdSH(RC) – A recent history
By: Lieutenant Warren Kerek
2 Tp Ldr, Recce Sqn LdSH(RC)
13 November 2008
Since readers were left last, many events have taken place within Reconnaissance Squadron at LdSH (RC). While attempting to recount the past year’s activities within the Sqn, the furious pace and maximum flexibility normally associated with a Recce Sqn became quite apparent. After Recce Sqn was officially stood down in 2006, it was not long before the need for retaining recce skill sets at the Regiment and in the Brigade became evident. In line with the CO’s intent of providing this capability, Recce Sqn officially returned to LdSH(RC) in November 2007 with one eight-car Coyote Troop and a Sqn Headquarters. The Sqn’s mission was to generate a war fighting Recce Sqn capable of conducting full spectrum operations by 2009.
Simultaneously, outside of the Recce lines, twenty students from Echo Company completed the Basic TOW Gunner course, which was run out of Echo Company lines. The course ran from 5 - 30 November 2007 and provided a baseline knowledge of the LAV TUA system which would be transferring to Recce Sqn in the near future. Sixteen soldiers from the Royal Canadian Dragoons, two from the Armour School, and two from LdSH(RC) were given the opportunity to fire $35 000 TOW 2A missiles on the live fire range, and were successful in completing safe, yet aggressive training. This course marked a large step towards the TUA capability becoming part of the Armoured Corps.
With the official return of Recce Sqn back at the Regiment, focus was applied toward developing the fundamentals of individual recce skillsets. A Recce Crewman Training Course was conducted in order to master basic soldiering skills, generating well-rounded ‘snake-eating’ Recce soldiers. Fundamental skills such as navigation and PWT were re-visited. The confirmation of these acquired skills was completed during the conduct of Ex STEELE LYNX, a dismounted Cambrian patrol style exercise which tested the skills and fortitude of the soldiers. The training was followed by a small get-together in the bivouac to celebrate a job well done. Following this exercise, a 25mm Turret Operator Course was conducted for some members of the Sqn, while the remainder prepared vehicles in support of Ex SOUTHERN BEAR, a Sqn level tank exercise in Fort Bliss, Texas.
With the anticipation of the amalgamation of E Coy and Recce Sqn, the Sqn ramped up its training regimen and ran several LAV TUA gunner and LAV III driver courses for Recce personnel in order to be prepared for the upcoming merger. Spring saw the running of multiple 25mm gunnery, Surveillance Operator and First Aid courses, maintaining a balance between the TOW and Recce capabilities. Ex STEELE TOW, a familiarization LAV TUA gun camp and tactical driving circuit for Recce soldiers, demonstrated the impressive flexibility and professionalism of Strathcona soldiers, as they became proficient with the system with eagerness and tenacity.
As the daylight hours lengthened and summer loomed around the corner, E Coy was officially brought over and the highly trained soldiers of both units began working together as a cohesive Sqn. This began a period of transferring skill sets and learning that will set the Armoured Corps up for success in the future. With the departure of E Coy personnel drawing nearer, those remaining in the Sqn, gleaned as much knowledge from their infantry brethren as possible.
The lull in the battle came in August as block leave finally came around. Soldiers were able to take a well-deserved break and returned rejuvenated for the busy season ahead. Soon after the end of leave, Recce Sqn had to bid farewell to their Infantry brothers. And so came to a close the historic occasion of infantrymen wearing black berets. Their expertise and professionalism will be missed.
With the sudden addition of a new combat enabler and the current operational model of deployed Coyotes, a new challenge arose. That challenge was how to incorporate two differing vehicle and weapons systems and combine them into a force that would highlight both of their strengths and compliment each of their capabilities. Thus, the idea of a composite patrol was born. With the awesome optic capability and firepower of the LAV TUA, coupled with the versatility and effectiveness of the surveillance suite of the Coyote, it is predicted that a lethal combination of firepower, surveillance and mobility will emerge.
This challenge is to be first undertaken in September in support of the Combat Team Commander’s Course (CTCC) in Wainwright, AB. The intent is to support the course while confirming the effectiveness, tactics and procedures of composite patrols as well as getting some time in the turret to hammer out some of the finer details.
The first test of lessons learned on the CTCC will be with Ex VULCAN’S FORGE, a 1 VP led exercise which will run from the middle to the end of October. Recce Sqn will provide two composite patrols in a combined arms, live fire environment, in support of platoon level attacks. It will also be a chance for the soldiers to do what most people at LdSH(RC) live to do; experience the awesome effects of some serious firepower in action.
Amid all the chaos (and brief periods of order) and with much being said about the flexibility, optics, and new firepower of the composite patrols, there isn’t much that the tenacious Recce soldiers will not be able to accomplish. With a true sense of perseverance embodied within each soldier of the Sqn, the future promises exciting times.