Article written by Captain Matthew Szostak
Westmount, Quebec – 15 February 2016: On the 28th and 29th of November 2015, The Royal Montreal Regiment (RMR) conducted their training exercise on the Virtual Battle Space-2 (VBS-2), real-time video simulation system inside their own armoury. The purpose of this exercise was to retain and keep current their platoon level offensive skills such as hasty attacks and raids.
“This has been the first time that the VBS-2 system has been deployed outside of CFB Valcartier for a reserve unit” says Gratien LaMontagne, team leader of the VBS-2 operators. Gratien and his team faced the challenge of setting up such a large electricity-hungry system inside an old building. The operators then gave a 40 minute briefing to the troops on the controls of the simulation system and how to navigate in the digital sense.
“The cost for this exercise was covered by the 2nd Canadian Division” said Captain Jonasz, who was instrumental in coordinating this successful experiment.
“The advantage of doing this in reserve units is that it saves the trip to and from Valcartier, which allows for two full training days instead of one full training day on Saturday, and a half training day on Sunday” explained Richard Sneddon, head of the operations aspect on the VBS-2 team. “It also allows reservists to stay home with their families on the weekend after a long week of working or going to school”.
“One of the hardest things to get accustomed to is the situational awareness inside a video simulation system” commented Master Corporal David, 3 section commander. After a day of using the virtual system and playing around with the buttons, the RMR overcame the difficulties of learning the interface and operating within the world of a computer screen. On Sunday a final hasty attack was conducted before moving on to the fighting patrols.
“The training value is incredible for the leadership of the platoon. The platoon commander, the section commanders and even myself as a company commander can see everyone’s movements. We can record it and then use it to review and develop our offensive tactics” continued Capt Jonasz.
The VBS-2 system is open to all reserve units across the Division. It has proven to be an unmatchable learning tool to sharpen not only infantrymen skills, but the skills of any trade seeking to use it. This was the third time the RMR used the virtual battle space in 2015. Every result of its use contributes to the success and discipline the troops display on the ground when it comes time to perform.