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Comparing the Combat Arms (Inf vs. Engr vs. Armd vs. Arty)



Joining up part time, need to decide. I‘m currently taking engineering at University, but I‘m looking for a challenge and a chance to see if I cut it as a soldier. I‘m going in as a NCM. I have a cousin was in infantry for 12 years (Started out in the Highlanders, where I‘d be going). I‘ve heard a fair bit about the infantry from him and like everything I hear, but I want to shop around first. After reading a bit here, I‘m hearing that as Combat Engineer, I get to do infantry training, plus build bridges & blow stuff up. Sounds like the best of both worlds...

So, any opinions? Should I go Infantry or Combat Engineer?
hey cog,

I am enrolled in engineering at UBC and in the Seaforth Highlanders as an infanteer. However my marks suffered as I spent too much time thinking about the forces and various other things other than school which is kinda backwards. I have got more to say so why dont you email me and I will try and help you out aiight.
Not to further confuse you two, but Assault Pioneers within the infantry do extremely similar work to that of the Combat Engineers (for example the RCR Assault Pioneer Platoon). Now, with respect to worrying about one‘s marks suffering..... An understanding Chain of Command should take your life as a university student FIRST. The last thing you want is to be on academic probation and then shown the proverbial door off campus. I would assume that your Platoon Commander should be sympathetic of this due to the fact that most officers at the reserve level are enrolled university students themselves. As long as there is a proper flow of communication between you and your superiors (when and if you enlist of course) there shouldn‘t be any other problems. After that you only have yourself to blame for shoddy time management skills.

-the patriot- ;)
Join the infantry...all the others are just there to hand us the saw....
If Infantry is what you want to do most, you should probably join the Infantry. Combat Engineers do fight as infantry in our secondary role, however time for courses and exercises is constrained in the reserves. Priority for training goes to Engineer tasks.

Where are you thinking of joining? Some Reserve Infantry regiments have pioneer platoons. As was mentioned they do a lot of tasks similar to the Combat Engineers (but on a .smaller scale). They will do the Explosives and mine warfare, but they do not do the bridging
I‘d be joining in Calgary, which means Highlanders for infantry ( I‘ve heard they‘re pretty hardcore), or 33 Feild Engineer Squadron. Infantry stuff holds the most appeal, because that‘s what the army is about. At least to me. But I‘m also interested in explosives, bridging, etc. If you look at the 33‘s homepage (33fes.com) they do seem to do a fair bit of infantry training. Going down to Yank bases for obstical courses, assault boat stuff, urban warfare with Calgary‘s tactical unit, etc.

However, I‘m pretty sure I‘m going to go infantry, at least to start. I‘m not too sure how long I‘ll be in the military for, and I want to do it right. If I stay for a bit, I may eventually remuster to the Engineers. But we‘ll see. The recruiter thinks I should start in infantry, if not for the training, then just do something different than what I already do 8 months of the year. And there‘s something to be said for that... :)

Still gonna think about it though.

Thanks again,

Be careful, it is really hard to remuster in the military. The higher-ups look at it as a waste of training (re:money) to get you to where you are. I know a guy who tried to remuster to infantry. He had to leave the militia and reapply like a civvie off the street to his new unit.

I‘m planning on joining the reserves soon, (something I‘ve been thinking about throughout high school), but I‘m kinda torn between choosing an MOC. I can‘t decide between being a Field Engineer or an Armoured soldier.. (both have reserve units at the local CFB) So... from people who are in these MOCs, especially reservists, what are they each really like? what do you do as a reservist in them?

Also, I‘ll throw in another question.. has anyone taken the 20 weekend part time basic? I wish I‘d joined earlier and taken full time baisc this summer, but I had some other big things that needed to be done this summer, and in the fall I‘m off to Uni.. I‘d like to do basic asap, but am aprehensive about losing 5 months of weekends (no skiing this winter.. aaaaagh!), especially with my studies., and on the other hand don‘t want to wait much longer to join and do basic..

thanks..  :sniper:

Good on you for checking out both eng and armour.

I am an armoured soldier. The armour MOC is divided into armour and recce. In both you start out by taking your QL2 basic course which is common to all Mocs and then you begin to specialize. You become a crewman and in the armour world you either drive,shoot or load a tank while in the recce world you drive,observe. In both at some further stage in your training you crewcommand the tank or recce veh (Iltis).

From my own experience I and my unit have done both roles. As a tanker you stomp around the battlefield area trying to pick a fight with the enemy. As a recce soldier you use stealth and concealment to gain info on the en and ground. Both require drive, initiative, cunning and guile.

Both have an echelon system to support their call signs c/s in the field(veh and crew). Again you may drive a supply veh, issue kit, repair veh, cook, clerk or repair weapons/radios and tend wounded. Some of these tasks are in specialized MOCs like medic but crewman also do the task.

The leadership skills you learn and the field experience you gain will make you a better citizen more confident in your own abilities. You will also hone team building skills which you can apply to most work places.

And lastly you will be a part of a regimental family where you will count on others and in turn be counted upon.

Engineers are like trolls.You find them on roads, bridges and minefields. Just kidding..., they are a noble race of soldiers with particular trade and technology skills and you really should talk to one of them about their craft.

It‘s been a long time since I took my recruit course but I still have friends from that course over _ _ years later. Some swear that if you don‘t do a total immersion you don‘t get all the military culture. Others claim that weekend work can give you the same challenge. Go find a soldier in one of the units M/Cpl, Sgt or Warrent Officer and get him or her to advise you as they will know the instructors and leadership cadre and hence the tempo and tone of the course. Then jump in with both feet.

Good Hunting

Reconnaissance with Courage and Integrity
Roko i am not sure where you live but here in southern ont. your ql2 is 16 weeks long and is every other weekend ,so ski on my friend.And what about checking out the backbone of the army the infantry.i am sure there is a unit where you are. :cdn:
I‘m near CFB Edmonotn, so there‘s pretty much a unit of everything in the army here.. I‘m also considering infantry, but recently I‘ve been thinking about either engineers or armour more..

I asked the local reserve recruiter, and was told it would last about 20 weekend, but wasn‘t told if it was every weekend or not..

hmmm... :confused:
it has to be every other weekend because the ql2 summer course is one month (30 days) so if your fall ql2 course was 20 weeks that would work out to be 60 days (training weekend counts as 3 days from friday at 1800 hrs to sunday at 1900 hrs) so if it was every other weekend that would work out to 10 training sessions or 30 days. Hope this info helps. Infantry is the only way to go!! :cdn:
excellent.. every other weekend would work out pretty good.. I think I just might do that.. I‘d prefer to do the summer course, but as I said, I a;ready had some other comitments this summer (*cough* sumo robots for a competition *cough*), and don‘t really want to wait until next summer..

As for the infantry, I‘ve only so far heard bad opinions about it, but those where only from ppl in the service regiment, who, well, weren‘t real soldiers (not sayig that all service ppl aren‘t soldiers, just the people I know..), so I didn‘t really take those ‘opinions‘ into account... (they where about how it was too hard, and you break fingers and stuff, as compared to sitting in a warm truck with a cup of coffee in the service.. one of my reasons for joining the army is a physical challenge, so...)

What has the infantry been like for you?

Also, Bill Green, your info say‘s you‘re a Major.. My question is where you an NCM before becoming an officer, and how did you go about doing it? I‘m going to uni this fall, and am thinking of joining the regular forces as an officer after uni, but want to get a taste for military life, and experience as an NCM (at least in the reserves) before becoming an officer, so I‘m joining the reserves now...

Started out as a recruit pte took my trades courses then leadership courses and became a senior NCO (Sgt) and then commissioned from the ranks(CFR) to 2/lt. and then took my officer training. I recommend this route because it allows you to gain the experience of knowing what it is your soldiers are experiencing. i found that valuable.

You should also know that the CF values education and will assist you at university whether you are a pte or officer. There is a 2000$ gratuity per year that can be applied to your tuition costs through to your 4 year max degree. But you must choose to stay in the reserves while in school. Of course they will also attempt to give you summer employment and of course evening and weekend work Sep to May.

After you have been in awile you will know your way around and you can put in for officer training. This will take the concurrence of your CO and a PSO interview.

Keep your powder dry and your arm steady.
Wow, that sounds great.. I think I just might do that... the part time basic begins in late fall, so If I‘m going to take that, I guess I‘ll have to decide on an MOC soon, and begin the enlistment process asap..

Just to muddy the waters a bit more. Think about the Artillery. You would be joining the one joining one of the most prestigious regiments in the CF, Few others can boast the battle honour of Ubique (Everywhere). Also I know for a fact the new CO of 20 Fd Regt is one of the best around, being ex-Reg F and one of those considered one of the good guys. The old CO was good, but with LCol M. they now have the pull to go places. (this is a good thing).

All arm twisting asiode, what ever MOC/Regt you decide to join, if you have the dedication will become the best in the CF. The is the pull of our Regimental system. buddies, Detachment, Troop, Battery, Regiment, Brigade, Area. And who ever you are with, none is better.

The new QL2 is 20 days long. Whether it will be in effect for this fall , I couldn‘t tell you (one now is 16 days). However which ever unit/garrison you go to find info, find out (ask, they should give you a straight answer) and find out how it is running. every weekend, or alternate.
I personaly have to say that Engineers are the best. (I‘m biased of course) Not that I have anything against the armoured or anything, but I became a Sapper because I thought we were the best. You actually get useful skills and you have to be able to use initiative, but I‘ve elaborated on this elsewhere.

I did a weekend QL2 course and I have to say that it is vastly inferior to a summer course. It doesn‘t prepare for Gagetown (which is where you go if you are an Engineer) or for any further military training. However, since you already missed the summer course it is better to take it on weekends than try to do the "superman" (a QL2 course immidiatly followed by a QL3). A lot of people injure themseleves on those courses and don‘t get to finish the entire thing. If you do the weekend course though make sure you physically prepare yourself. (ie make sure your P.T. is up to snuff and that your feet are used to walking in combat boots)

Also, the QL2 is shorter now, just this year, I think it‘s 3 weeks or something like that.

Anyway, good luck with you descision.
Yeah, I think I‘m going to go for Engineer.. I think Armour and Infantry are really cool, but you get to do some infantry stuff in Engineering too, as I gather..

I really regret not being able to take my QL2 this summer, and I don‘t really want to put it off until next summer, although I‘m not sure if I‘ll take it part time or not yet..

I think I‘m pretty fit right now.. I‘ve been swimming every day (except when sick) for over 3 years, and have been running o-noff since before then.. (going to start running again regularly.. I can still run 5k at a fairly good clip non stop)

I‘m kinda worried about my upper-body strength, though, since I‘m fairly lean (I prefer the term ‘hydro-dynamic‘ :) and tall. It‘s primarily because I‘ve got small bones, and don‘t really have an excess bodyfat.. I can do more than the minimum of pullups, pushups (twice as many on a good day) and sit-ups as prescribed by the PAR-Q, and can do the run under the ‘superior‘ time..
I‘ve been doing some weight training, although I‘m going to increase my program (it‘s pretty small right now, I‘m giong to add more excersices, reps and sets.. I know what my body can take, so I shouldn‘t injure myself..)

Even though I consider myself in good shape now, I feel I can always improve, especially for the QL2..
It‘s more the QL3 you have to worry about, or if you do a QL2 in Gagetown. We do insane amounts of pushups. (50 to go to the bathroom, sometimes sets of a 100) The amount they tell you for recruiting is not adequate at all.

No matter what shape you are in I would still not reccommend doing your 2‘s and 3‘s in one summer. My friend is a marathon runner and she screwed up her feet and got RTU‘d (returned to unit) off her 3‘s. Go for the part time 2‘s, less chance of you injuring yourself.

Is there an Engineer unit in you area? Check it out if there is.