Article written by Corporal Sima Mai, C6 Gunner in the Weapons Detachment of 2nd Platoon
On the 30th October 2015, the Canadian Grenadier Guards, the Black Watch and the Royal Montreal Regiment deployed to Valcartier to utilize the Virtual Battlespace System 2 (VBS2) as part of their training program. During the CAX weekend, the section commanders, the platoon 2IC, the platoon commanders and the company commander, Captain Jonasz of the RMR, got the chance to re-enact different scenarios such as holding a defensive position on a bridge, a withdrawal and delay tactics in preparation for GPE 3. These feats were accomplished thanks to the staff that welcomed us and trained with us, around 20 simulator operators, most of which are currently serving in the military or have already retired, ranging from high-ranking NCOs and officers, were there to help in our objectives.
The Virtual Battlespace 2 or VBS2 in short is a flexible simulation training solution for scenario training, mission rehearsal and more. It’s a versatile program that can help us adjust our trenches, sections, platoon and company positioning on the field. Every section commanders and platoon 2IC were paired with a simulator operator, the operators were on the computer and the section commanders were setting next to them to tell them what they wanted. In doing so, we were able to practice our communication abilities and able to think more about positioning. In contrast, the platoon commanders and company commanders got first-hand experience at being able to move their own avatar. In summary, the operators worked the computer whilst the commanders were the brains behind the operation working in tandem to make the mission a success.
Under the command of Captain Jonasz, we proceeded with the mission and preparation for GPE3. We fight as we train, every individual platoon was linked by standard radio networks, the platoon network and the company network and information was relayed as much as possible through standard radio procedures. Orders were given as usual from higher-up and trickled down the chain of command all the way down to the section commanders. CGG were call-sign 3-1, BW 3-2, the RMR 3-3 and HQ 3-9 as usual. As soon as the orders were given, the mission proceeded. The PL commanders stepped off to get to their defensive positions and the section commanders were tasked to set up trench locations to fight off the enemies. With the VBS2, we are capable of siting our own trenches, set them up and change their locations instantly. Also, we are able to visualize our firing arcs and any obstacles that might get in the way such as dead ground and treelines. After the plan was set in motion, the staff decided to start the “game”. The section commanders were manning their trenches and spotting possible enemies incoming and relaying information properly and accordingly. After the simulation ended, the PL commanders and 2IC went over what went well and what went wrong. It was possible for us to correct our trenches position and other mistakes made. It was a very enlightening experience for everyone. We learned as much as we could and had a clear plan of what needed to be done for the mission to succeed.
Overall the VBS2 is an amazing learning tool for soldiers of all ranks it is very flexible and useful in the learning process for us. It teaches us about our mistakes, our successes and any change can be made on the fly without any repercussions. The CAX weekend was a great success; the troops were able to sharpen their skills on what is required of them to become great soldiers and leaders.