On the 19th of October 2015, the Royal Canadian Dragoons kicked out the door and began the 500km road move from Garrison Petawawa to Land Force Central Training Area Meaford to mark the beginning of Exercise WALKING DRAGOON. The aim of the exercise was to complete high level training to and live fire and movement of armoured fighting vehicles.
Following a quick day of maintenance on the vehicles, the troops of A Sqn set up the range stand and prepared themselves for three exciting and valuable days of live fire. Cambrai Range provided the soldiers with a wide variety of targets to locate and destroy during both the day and night. This was a rare training opportunity for many of the soldiers. It was also the first live fire night stab run for many of the younger members of A Sqn. The range included other new and interesting training opportunities such as a combined live fire shoot with soldiers from the Governor Generals Horse Guards (GGHG), a Primary Reserve Regiment based out of Toronto. Lt Jay Waters was able to mentor and impart his wisdom upon an up and coming officer from The GGHG, OCdt Connor Adams, who gained valuable training for his upcoming course.
The Sqn conducted a level 4 live fire dynamic range. The intent behind the dynamic range was to practice the aggressive cavalry tactics the RCD are adopting. This activity allowed the Sqn to practice locating and identifying an enemy position with the task of destroying it. OC A Sqn, Major John Maerz, manoeuvred 1 Tp and 2 Tp into the attack position; 13 was directed to quickly form a fire base to rain fire down while the remainder of the Squadron moved into the attack position. After 3 Tp laid a thorough beating on the enemy, Maj Maerz led 1 and 2 Tps through the objective and destroyed the enemy position with the aggressive use of fire power and battlefield mobility despite challenging cross country terrain. 12C’s Gunner, MCpl Ryan Bigney, even managed to cut one of the vehicle targets in half with a sustained engagement from the main cannon.
After wrapping up the live fire portion of the Ex, the Sqn quickly transitioned into the force on force. The force on force took place in a rural manoeuvre area south-west of Meaford between Walters Falls and Chatsworth. The troops rotated advancing to contact as cavalry troops and operating as an enemy force attempting to disrupt the Sqn’s advance. This proved both sides capable of operating effectively and stealthily using the ground and network of roads throughout the area to demonstrate their efficiency in both conventional cavalry tactics and as an unconventional enemy force.
While the road move to Meaford was long and the weather was less than ideal, the new terrain and range setup allowed A Sqn to operate in an area that they were not familiar with and complete training that would be difficult to conduct in Petawawa. Through a wide variety of training and new experiences, the members of A Sqn were able to successfully complete their training up to squadron level and confirm their proficiency as cavalry soldiers.
A Squadron - Ex Walking Dragoon
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