In August 2016, C Sqn of The Royal Canadian Dragoons had the task to put together two Leopard 2 tank crews to compete in Ex Worthington Challenge 2016. The teams consisted of both returning competitors from previous years and soldiers new to the Leopard 2 MBT platform. Over the course of a month, the two four-man crews were put through a non-stop training schedule that covered various soldier and crew skills. The two crews included:
Day 1 - March and Shoot
The competition started off with a timed obstacle course followed by a 7km march to a small arms range where a challenging tactical shoot put our skills to the test. Our prior training saw us running the obstacle course as fast as possible and methodically testing the best ways to traverse individual obstacles. The team was well prepared for this day due to the numerous hill sprints and strength training PT we had done.
Day 2 - Live Fire Range
The second day of the competition was where the crews really impressed the judges. Both of our gunners showed great determination while engaging targets down range. Hours spent with the crews in the J-7 Leopard 2 gunnery simulators paid off as the combined score of both crews beat every other competitor. The C Sqn fire team was definitely the most aggressive team as they dominated both static and battle run shoots.
Day 3 - Driving Circuit
The third day of the challenge was a difficult driving circuit followed by a road wheel change and a tactical first aid scenario. As both crews had experienced tankers amongst them the driving circuit and road wheel change went smoothly and very few penalties were incurred. The tactical first aid scenario was also completed with ease and no penalties were given.
Day 4 - Navigation
Our last day of the competition was a navigation through the CFB Gagetown training area. Along the way sub-stands were to be completed within a restricted time limit and the only aid we were given was a compass and a bearing. Even with our team’s navigation training and numerous AFV recognition classes prior to the competition, this day was our most challenging. Although we got off to a good start at an OP stand, our team took penalties in the form of lost time on our way to a HLS sub-stand. The demanding training and preparation for the competition was crucial for our team. The 4th Canadian division along with two teams from the New Zealand Army came together as a cohesive and professional team to perform to the best of our abilities. Overall, the 4th Canadian Division’s 25mm and LUVW crews took the trophy for their respective platforms after an excellent demonstration of skill. C Sqn managed to finish second in the tank category behind the well trained Danish Army team. After a long week of early mornings and late nights, it was good to conclude the competition by raising the competition’s most prestigious trophy alongside our division partners. The coordination and planning of the 2016 Worthington Challenge by the RCACS offered a first class challenge to national and international competitors.
Crew T1 firing the 120mm during the live fire range.
Crew T2 receiving orders from their crew commander before the driving circuit.
WORTHINGTON CHALLENGE 2016 (C SQN)
By Corporal Mike Crook
© 2016 The Guild of The Royal Canadian Dragoons
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