Members from Maintenance Troop pull a turret from a Coyote to replace a turret ring. (Submitted photo)
Transport Troop adds camouflage to their vehicles prior to conducting nightly DPs.(Submitted photo)
Headquarters Squadron - Ex MAPLE RESOLVE 1601
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2016
Exercise MAPLE RESOLVE 1601 proved to be a successful, yet challenging endeavor for Headquarters Squadron.
While previously exercised standard operating procedures (SOPs) assisted in maintaining the fighting squadrons’ combat effectiveness, complications regarding the acquisition of stores and the delivery of vehicle parts highlighted major points to improve. Nevertheless, Headquarters Squadron was able to effectively exercise its ability to conduct first line recovery and resupply during intense combat operations.
Prior to the arrival of the Battle Group, which was comprised of approximately 900 personnel, Headquarters Squadron led efforts to establish the Battle Group camp, CAMP SPRINGBOK. This advance party arrived in Wainwright, Alberta on 21 April and constructed living quarters, control centres, showers and wash stations, a canteen, maintenance and supply shops and even a gym. Upon the Battle Group’s arrival in early May, the conditions were set for effective planning and preparation.
Prior to the exercise, sub-units were allocated two days of training, which was followed by two days of training at the Battle Group level. These training days gave Headquarters Squadron the opportunity to become familiar with the area of operations while also practicing delivery points (DPs), the primary method of resupplying the Battle Group. It also allowed attached elements to adapt to Squadron SOPs, which eased the resupply process during the actual exercise.
Minor concerns started to become prevalent during this training.
First, vehicle faults increased substantially, leading to minor concerns with the Battle Group being able to field an effective enemy force. To make matters worse, low vehicle parts availability due to complications with DRIMIS accounts seemingly drove maintenance and repairs to a halt. Luckily, these complications were quickly rectified and squadron maintainers were able to repair most vehicle faults, only days prior to the start of the exercise. Second, minor stores requests that were not planned for prior to the Battle Group’s deployment had to be filled in short order to fulfill training requirements. An example of this was the Primary Training Audience’s need to positively identify the Battle Group’s vehicles. As a solution, the squadron was required to order massive amounts of burlap, to attach to the vehicles. Although sourcing this was difficult initially, the material was delivered to the Battle Group two days prior to the start of the exercise, enabling vehicle crews to outfit their vehicles in a timely manner. Finally, the resupply of Weapons Effects Simulation (WES) batteries to troops forward continued to be the most complicated aspect of resupply throughout the exercise. Aside from the minimum number of batteries being available, there were often risks to compromising forward positions to effect timely change. Often, batteries for the system were delivered en masse to one location, with dead batteries being sent back to the A Echelon later that same night during the DP cycle.
Despite these complications, Headquarters Squadron continued to deliver effective combat service support to all elements of the RCD Battle Group. Whether it was transporting B Coy, 4th Rifles, UK around the battlefield, coordinating numerous DPs for forward sub-units, completing an abundance of vehicle repairs or sourcing critical training materials, the squadron was able to facilitate first line support. While the execution of this support was not always ideal, valuable lessons were learned that will undoubtedly improve the Regiment’s Combat Service Support for MAPLE RESOLVE in 2017.