A look at the 10km Anti-Tank ditch. Ditch is 1.5-2m deep throughout. (Submitted Photo)
23 Field Squadron during Ex MAPLE RESOLVE 1601. (Submitted Photo)
23 Field Squadron as part of the RCD OPFOR Battle Group supports Ex MAPLE RESOLVE
Posted on Thursday, June 30, 2016
With over 6,000 soldiers from three different countries, hundreds of vehicles and full access to one of Canada’s largest training areas, Exercise Maple Resolve is the largest annual military exercise held in Canada. The aim of the exercise was to provide a challenging training venue for 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group’s (1 CMBG) on their road to high readiness. This year, the Royal Canadian Dragoon (RCD) Battle Group deployed to Wainwright with the objective of presenting a near peer enemy approximately one third the size to that of 1 CMBG. 23 Field Squadron of 2 Combat Engineer Regiment deployed in support of the RCD Battle Group with the sole purpose of hindering 1 CMBG’s ability to fight, live and move, while supporting that of their own Battle Group.
At first glance, the open plains of Wainwright may seem like easily traversable terrain for armoured vehicles, especially the Leopard 2 Main battle Tank. Small patches of thin forested area scattered across the training area has little effect on vehicle movement making it very trafficable. The ultimate goal of 23 Field Squadron was to change that; their intent was to transform the open terrain into a mobility nightmare. After close to three months of planning, the squadron finally pounded the first pickets in the ground, stretched their first rolls of concertina wire and laid their first minefields in early May. In the course of the following two weeks 23 Field Squadron placed 52 tactical obstacles and 47 nuisance minefields. The Squadron dug a 10km Anti-Tank ditch, emplaced over 3,000 Anti-Tank mines and built approximately 5km of concertina fences. The end product was one of the largest barrier plans seen in years on an Exercise Maple Resolve.
Members of the squadron felt very satisfied with the results of the exercise. MWO Adam Taylor, SSM 23 Fd Sqn felt that “the exercise was an exceptional opportunity to train with other members of 2 CMBG (Royal Canadian Dragoons, 1 Royal Canadian Regiment and 2 Royal Canadian Horse Artillery) in an unusual training scenario where we were fighting a much larger and better equipped force. The Squadron is now well prepared to begin the road to high readiness next year”. As his first Exercise Maple Resolve, Lt Jason Wonchala’s biggest take away was that “the exercise was a great opportunity to integrate with other combat arms of 2 CMBG. It was good to see how we, as engineers, contributed to the bigger picture”. While the Sqn learned many new and old lessons on the exercise, Officer Commanding 23 Field Squadron, Maj Jeff Day, said that “the biggest lesson learned was how to work with different ways of managing the Squadron’s echelon considering the lack of B fleet and other kit deficiencies”.
All told, 23 Field Squadron stands proud of what they accomplished in support of the RCD Battle Group; 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group are better prepared because of it. 23 Field Squadron is ready for their next challenge of supporting 2 CMBG as the Brigade embarks on its own road to high readiness this year.