Year in Review: “B” Coy Training, Triumphs, and Challenges 2022-23

Article written by Corporal Zachary Marquis

Westmount, Quebec – 31 May 2023: As we move further into the Summer Training period, it is time to reflect on the incredible journey we have undertaken as an infantry unit over the past year. From sharpening our shooting skills to executing complex missions, this past year has been a testament to The Royal Montreal Regiment’s commitment, adaptability, and unwavering determination. Join us as we summarize the highlights of our training year, the lessons we have learned, and the accomplishments we have achieved as a cohesive and formidable unit.

Figure 1. The Royal Montreal Regiment conducting live-fire PWT 3 Shooting Range in Farnham Military Base, 27th August 2022. Photo Credit: Cpl Zachary Marquis

Preparing for Battle: To kick off the year, we began with the PWT 3 Shooting Range. It is no ordinary shooting range. Participants are graded on shooting accuracy at distances ranging from 300m down to 25m with the C7 Rifle. What sets the range apart is the added challenge of sprinting between shooting distances (Figure 1.)  and meeting minimum score/time requirements. It is a test of endurance and agility that pushes soldiers to their shooting limits. This exercise served as a crucial warm-up, allowing us to fine-tune our shooting skills and ensure everyone was ready for the challenges ahead. It also provided an opportunity to familiarize ourselves with the newly qualified Privates. Fresh from their DP1 Infantry Training Courses during the past summer, most were eager to prove themselves to Bravo Company on the range.

Figure 2. B-Coy (Centre Left) Preparing to conduct section attacks in the Sand Pit CFB Valcartier, October 1st, 2022. Photo Credit: Cpl Zachary Marquis

Closing with and Destroying the Enemy: This large-scale exercise in Valcartier (GPE 1) allowed The Royal Montreal Regiment to work alongside other units such as the Black Watch and Regiment de Maisonneuve, training in platoon-level section attacks at the sand pit in CFB Valcartier, QC. We practiced frontal assaults, covering and moving directly toward the enemy position. As well as flanking, employing heavy weapons to establish a firebase while the rest of the platoon swiftly moves around the enemy’s flank. It was a display of precise coordination, aimed at swiftly and decisively neutralizing the opposition. The experience was invaluable, as it emphasized the importance of teamwork, coordination, and effective communication. A routine battle procedure for most veteran members of the unit, but an essential skill for all infantry members to practice year-round and perfect. It served as a stepping stone, preparing us for what lay ahead in GPE3, the biggest Joint Exercise of the year that would be taking place in Montreal later in the year.

Figure 3. Major Dexter Ruiz-Laing (center) giving orders to the troops, 15th October 2022. Photo Credit: Cpl Zachary Marquis

Mission Analysis & Rehearsals: GPE 2 was a crucial phase that focused on preparing us for the scheme of maneuvers that would take place during GPE 3. Extensive preparations were made, including the creation of a Large-scale map model of the St-Lawrence and Montreal area where we would be operating. It gave us a visual understanding of where each element (Navy, Coast Guard,  34 Service Battalion, 438 Helicopter Squadron & Infantry Unit) would be during each phase of the operation. During GPE 2, our troops also engaged in additional technical training, specifically focusing on POW drills, breaching techniques, and radio procedures. This thorough preparation ensured that we were ready to face the challenges that awaited us on the upcoming Sainte-Thérèse Island Assault.

Figure 4. B-Coy being transported by the Coast Guard towards the Objective, October 29, 2022.

Executing the mission: The Ultimate Test GPE 3 was undoubtedly the pinnacle of our training year. This comprehensive field exercise simulated landing on an island by a coast guard landing craft as well as 438 Squadron’s CH-146 Griffon helicopters, replicating to an extent the conditions of joint missions and operations. With the assistance of the Coast Guard (Fig 4.), B-Coy executed the mission and successfully returned to the ship via landing craft on the last day. The missions by all units were quick-paced and challenging, but our diligent preparation and rehearsals on GPE 1 & 2 paid off. The RMR’s mission to hastily destroy one of the many enemy-fortified positions on the island was conducted flawlessly, showcasing our readiness and expertise in fundamental Infantry Tactics.

Figure 5. From left to right: MCpl Dylan Pratt, Sgt François Lalande, Sgt Connor Prince-Pugh. April 1st, 2023. Photo Credit: Cpl Clayton Symon

Ex Heavy Ball (31 March – 02 April 2023): In this captivating snapshot, the intensity of our past military training exercise, aptly named HEAVY BALL, comes to life. Our unit had the unique opportunity to immerse ourselves in the art of long-range explosive weaponry, refining our skills with the Carl Gustav Recoilless Rifle, the M203 grenade launcher, and the M72 Light anti-armor weapon. The photograph showcases a key element of our training: the target used on the M203 grenade launcher range. As your gaze is drawn to the target, you’ll notice vibrant orange puffs and holes scattered across its surface (Figure 5.). These telltale signs are a testament to the precision and power of the M203’s chalk cartridges, artfully employed by our unit during this exercise. With every shot, we honed our proficiency and coordination, then switched to High Explosive (HE) cartridges at a distance and more robust target. The HEAVY BALL training exercise was not just a display of our arsenal; it represents a commitment to mastering the tools of our trade.

Figure 6. Cpl Kobe Archer (second from the left) and Lt Faiz (Fourth from the right) conducting an all-around defence on 29th April 2023. Photo Credit: Cpl Clayton Symon.

Ex Sneaky Lynx (28 – 30 April 2023): Perfecting Reconnaissance and Camouflage Techniques as the final exercise of the year, Sneaky Lynx was designed explicitly for practicing the art of gathering intelligence whilst avoiding detection from the enemy. B-Coy engaged in force-on-force Reconnaissance, seen here (Fig. 6.) planning out tactics to implement to outmaneuver the enemy. This yearly force-on-force reconnaissance exercise has become a tradition. It not only hones our abilities as an infantry unit but also highlights the importance of continuous improvement and adaptability.

As we look back on this training year, we can take pride in our achievements and commitment to excellence. From the PWT 3 Shooting Range to the culmination of GPE 1 2 3 and Sneaky Lynx, we have embraced challenges, worked collaboratively, and surpassed expectations. The lessons learned, skills honed, and experiences gained during these exercises have undoubtedly prepared us better for whatever the future holds. As we move forward, let us carry our determination, and continuous improvement into the coming year, as we strive for even greater accomplishments altogether.

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