Article written by Private Pierre Cordeiro, 1 Section, 4 Platoon, Bravo Company, RMR
Farnham, Quebec – 26 Sept 2017: A reconnaissance patrol is arguably the most important method of preparing to face an enemy battle group. Having been in the Army for only 2 years, I haven’t had much appreciation for this fact. Recce done at the detachment level is something rarely done during exercises given that there is always a specific group of troops designated as part of the 34 CBG Recce Team. Ex Stealthy Badger, the first of a handful of RMR training weekends planned for this year, gave an opportunity for all troops to participate in a force-on-force weekend where recce patrols were the focus.
The goal for the weekend was for all Infantry-Qualified troops, within their platoons, to take part in a Detachment-level reconnaissance (recce) patrol with the aim of finding the opposing platoons ‘Patrol Hide’ (camp) and providing the information needed to assault. All troops had the opportunity to practice the soldier skills related to a recce (field prep, tactical movement, comms and nav) during a recce that lasted 6-8 hours and covered in excess of 10 km of stealthy cross-country movement.
Under the guidance of the 1 Section-4 Platoon leadership, I took part in one such recce. This represented the first recce patrol I had completed since my infantry course. It was a welcome change in training, as compared with last training year’s GPEs which were all focused on the defensive aspects of war. Working in small 4-6 member detachments allowed for us to cover ground at a good rate, even while moving silently to avoid detection. Our detachment was tasked with sweeping one of the three sectors of Farnham from top to bottom, recording any enemy movement. Despite intermittent radio communications, we were able to provide information that narrowed down the location of the enemy, eventually leading to its discovery and infiltration. As a result, 4 Platoon was deemed as the (unofficial) winners of this competition.
This experience was one that proved very useful to me personally. Although Ex STEALTHY BADGER did not break any ground in terms of what was done, it remains a quintessential part of an infantry soldier’s responsibility to train and maintain their soldier skills in order to accomplish all tasks and missions in the field. My own involvement during the weekend was one of simple refresher with regards to reconnaissance patrols and how to conduct oneself during them. The weekend itself saw no major obstacles; the weather was warm and dry, the terrain easy to navigate and the tasks were straightforward. However, this weekend did provide me with a strong feeling of hope: beginning the training year by allowing troops to work on their soldier skills illuminates the approach the RMR is taking towards exercises for this year. LCol Shone has promised to orient this year towards this (with the eventual end-state of live-fire shooting in Urban Operations) and that was evident this weekend; by allowing the section leaders to monitor their troops and allow them to make decisions on the fly, confidence is boosted, skills are sharpened and troops are motivated to participate in future exercises. I personally look forward to what the rest of the training year holds for myself and the rest of B-Coy.
Tags: B Coy