EX Lion Intrepid
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Just one week after receiving their first five Leopard 1 C2 tanks, C Squadron deployed on April 10th for the Gagetown training area for Ex LION INTREPID; a month long exercise conducted by 5 CMBG. Despite the thousands of troops and hundreds of vehicles within the training area, C Squadron’s troop of tanks, commanded by Lt Delmonte and WO Rheaume, and troop of TLAVs (that were, for all intents and purposes, also tanks), commanded by Capt LaPointe and Sgt Langdon, were the center of attention for much of the exercise as soldiers were eager to perform and put the Army’s newest tank squadron on the map.
By the time they had completed the all too familiar road move to Worthington Tank Park (WTP), MWO Hebert, C Squadron Sergeant-Major, already had C Squadron’s camp set up and ready for its month long occupation. The troops spared no time, however, and were off for troop level training for the next three days and included the basics such as: types of movement/hand signals/formations, the LD drill, contact drills, armour/infantry marry up & cooperation, and acting as assault force, intimate support and as a firebase. Once the basics had been mastered, it was time for squadron level training led by Maj Pires, Officer Commanding C Squadron. In the context of an advance to contact, the troops practiced squadron level movement and drills, and culminated in a 12km advance to contact, three hasty attacks including breaching, all in less than 4 hours.
Following its own training, C Squadron was ready to marry-up with the various companies of the Royal 22e Régiment and commence advance to contact plateau training. The days started early and ended late as C Squadron provided its infantry counterparts with essential support and training. Infantry soldiers were also given a daily demonstration of tank firepower and mobility as the troops effortlessly tore through wood lines and fired blank rounds on the objective. The tanks rolled through all nine days of plateau training thanks to the assistance of MCpl Healey and his team of maintainers, as well as the tireless efforts of the troops to complete the essential and heavy maintenance required of a tank. When maintenance was complete, the troops were able to enjoy the comforts of the squadron camp provided by the unrelenting support of Admin/SHQ troop, keep up-to-date with the NHL playoffs via satellite TV (thank you, Sgt Denton) complete with surround sound (thank you, MWO Hebert), and despite being in an “austere” camp for the month, the members of C Squadron were able to enjoy UFC 145 (thank you, again, MWO Hebert and Sgt Denton).
Once the plateau training had finished, it was time for a five day force on force exercise. Battle procedure was complete, the camp was struck, and C Squadron was fortunate enough to have a platoon of infantry as well as engineers and a FOO/FAC attached to form C Squadron’s first Combat Team. Five days blended into one as the C Squadron moved throughout the entire AO, seizing multiple objectives, conducting several hasty attacks, established nightly defensive postures, and even detaching itself to several companies at a time in order to achieve the destruction of the enemy force. C Squadron seamlessly transitioned from offensive operations, to delay, to defensive, and back to offensive for the final day of the force on force activities which culminated in three separate attacks on opposite sides of the AO in less than 3 hours. Despite the elevated operational tempo of the exercise, morale remained high and troops continued to perform exceptionally well.
“End Ex” was called by 99er at 0900 on May 4th, but the troops remained focused as they returned to WTP for some much needed maintenance and showers. The members of C Squadron then enjoyed a steak and shrimp dinner amongst their 12e Régiment Blindé du Canada (12e RBC) peers, mounted up, and made the road move back to CFB Gagetown to be reunited with their families.
Overall, C Squadron’s participation in Ex LION INTREPID was an outstanding success. The diligent and determined efforts of all troops allowed the squadron’s development to reach a new level and take another leap in its transition from reconnaissance to tanks. There is still much work to be done, however, the members of C Squadron can be proud of their accomplishments, and their ability to put the Army’s newest tank squadron on the radar.