Article written by Second-Lieutenant Faiz
Westmount, Quebec – 30 November 2020: As part of our task as mechanized infantry this year, the Royal Montreal Regiment sent a platoon to be attached to the 2nd Battalion Royal 22nd Regiment’s B Company for the Castor Mécanisé ex. The goal of this ex is to build up and train soldiers for a live fire platoon attack with LAV’s (Light Armoured Vehicles).
To attain that goal and reach the standard, under the supervision of our platoon 2IC WO Doucet who is originally from the 2R22R, we went through a lot of practice and theory classes. WO Doucet successfully transmitted his honed skills to the platoon led by Lt McLaughlin who had close to no knowledge about this subject prior to this ex. MCpl Hervieux from 1 RCR also helped immensely by sharing his experience as a member of a mechanized infantry company for several year. Since our Regiment doesn’t possess actual LAVs to practice with, our 2IC explained as much as possible through PowerPoints and improvised dry runs.
On the morning of the 7th of November at 0800, the RMR platoon got in the bus to head towards CFB Valcartier to begin the 14 days of training that was waiting for them. We began the ex with 2 days practice section attacks followed by a live fire section attack at Termoli range. Both 1 section and 2 section, led by Sgt O’Driscoll and Sgt Loeven respectively, successfully accomplished the attacks and the section members gave their best performance for the duration of the range. The seasoned Reg Force members present were very satisfied with our drive and shared their comments and advices for us to better develop our soldering skills.
Following the range, the RMR platoon had a day of training with the LAV’s, practicing dry mechanized platoon attacks and several formations. Thanks to the practice our 2IC conducted back at the Regiment, the soldiers quickly caught the gist of it and got comfortable with the functioning of mounted infantry in no time.
The RMR then participated on a 2 day field ex where we essentially followed the 2R22R mechanized company to further understand the drills of movement, restocking and attacking. Unfortunately, the RMR could be provided with a LAV, so we got in a MSVS and imitated at the best of our capabilities the manoeuvres required. The RMR were tasked to accomplish a raid and an ambush which Lt McLaughlin led with great ease.
On Thursday the 5th of November, the orders were issued by the Commander Lt McLaughlin and the RMR platoon conducted their battle preparation for the next day which would be the final platoon attack.
Once we reached the Termoli range on Friday the 6th, it was time to put everything we practiced thus far into action. The 25mm on the LAVs were synchronized and the soldiers were locked and loaded ready drop some rounds down range. The attack began with the 25mm and the coaxial weapons on the LAVs were engaging the targets from afar while the LAV drivers approach the soldiers closer to the objective. Once at a reasonable distance, the Commander Lt McLaughlin gave the debus order and the section commanders Sgt O’Driscoll and Sgt Loeven led their troops into battle with the help of their 2IC’s MCpl Parnell and MCpl Cowling. Till the call of ENDEX was given, every one of the RMR soldiers gave their utmost performance and this resulted in a beautifully planned and executed platoon attack that even the 2R22R CO and RSM was highly impressed with. The synchrony and teamwork that every member had with each other made the attack very fluid and triumphant. The C9’s rained bullets on the targets without cease, the C7’s and M203’s cleared the remaining targets. As we advanced closer to end of the range, 1 section was tasked to clear a small cabin which concluded the attack. The whole attack was nicely captured and filmed with the help of Cpl Ene and his expertise in the field of photography. ENDEX was called and the platoon went back to the admin area of the range to return the ammo and get the next points of the day. Both the CO and RSM of RMR and 2R22R gave some points and Sgt Loeven was rewarded with a coin for his great sense of leadership and how he effectively exceeded what was expected from him due to short time in his present rank.
On the 7th of November, the RMR packed all their kit and headed back towards the Regiment. There, Lt McLaughlin gave his final comments on the ex and under the command of Sgt Loeven the soldiers were dismissed.