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Reserve Training

daftandbarmy

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Found an interesting self-assessment.

"Our tactical methods are thorough and methodical but slow and cumbersome. In consequence our troops fight well in defence and our set-piece attacks are usually successful, but it is not unfair to say that through lack of enterprise in exploitation we seldom reap the full benefit of them. We are too flank-conscious, we over-insure administratively, we are by nature too apprehensive of failure and our training makes us more so."

Does this describe the Canadian Army today?

I couldn’t comment. Being a reservist, with over 30 years in the PRes, I was never engaged in any kind of joint exercises with the Reg F.

Hey, maybe that’s an issue too :)
 

FJAG

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Interesting thought just crossed my mind (well at least to me). Just watched a little filmstrip of Ex Agile Ram showing some Leo's jockeying and doing live fire support as a fire base. It reminded me of the numerous Black Bear exercises we did in Shilo firing 400 rounds of HE from a reserve force battery in support of a single battalion level (two tank coys and one Marder coy) live fire attack across the prairie. There was very little jockeying - just a hell bent for leather high speed attack with a few halts to deliver some direct fire into the target area which was basically smoke and ruin from the guns crashing down into it. Yes there was recce on the flanks but basically it was sheer violence pushing forward. Oh! By the way. Those were the days of the 9 month conscript in the German Army.

So, on reflection, and based on one very short video, yes. We are a bit slow and cumbersome tactically.

For D&B the Reg F gunners in Ontario used to spend a fair bit of time supporting Res F arty units especially during Milcon. Praire region not so much. I gather its the same now in that 2 RCHA has expended some good efforts in training reservists as det members and even det commanders on the M777. During the little dustup in Afghanistan reservists filled anywhere from 15 to 25% of the gun battery jobs.

🍻
 

Colin Parkinson

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I couldn’t comment. Being a reservist, with over 30 years in the PRes, I was never engaged in any kind of joint exercises with the Reg F.

Hey, maybe that’s an issue too :)
Hmm we were ops tasked so worked with 3rdherd and the Germans, they airlifted our entire battery of 6 guns to Shilo a couple of times.
 

Kirkhill

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Interesting thought just crossed my mind (well at least to me). Just watched a little filmstrip of Ex Agile Ram showing some Leo's jockeying and doing live fire support as a fire base. It reminded me of the numerous Black Bear exercises we did in Shilo firing 400 rounds of HE from a reserve force battery in support of a single battalion level (two tank coys and one Marder coy) live fire attack across the prairie. There was very little jockeying - just a hell bent for leather high speed attack with a few halts to deliver some direct fire into the target area which was basically smoke and ruin from the guns crashing down into it. Yes there was recce on the flanks but basically it was sheer violence pushing forward. Oh! By the way. Those were the days of the 9 month conscript in the German Army.

So, on reflection, and based on one very short video, yes. We are a bit slow and cumbersome tactically.

For D&B the Reg F gunners in Ontario used to spend a fair bit of time supporting Res F arty units especially during Milcon. Praire region not so much. I gather its the same now in that 2 RCHA has expended some good efforts in training reservists as det members and even det commanders on the M777. During the little dustup in Afghanistan reservists filled anywhere from 15 to 25% of the gun battery jobs.

🍻


What were the conscripts in the back of the Marders doing during hell bent for leather high speed attack?
 

FJAG

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What were the conscripts in the back of the Marders doing during hell bent for leather high speed attack?
Mostly hanging on for dear life. The Marders chimed in with their cannons (in those days they didn't have any Milans for a while and even after they mounted the launchers, they didn't use them during Black Bear that I recall) On some traces they had some grenadiers up in the back hatches but for most of them they went in fully buttoned up.

🍻
 

Kirkhill

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Mostly hanging on for dear life. The Marders chimed in with their cannons (in those days they didn't have any Milans for a while and even after they mounted the launchers, they didn't use them during Black Bear that I recall) On some traces they had some grenadiers up in the back hatches but for most of them they went in fully buttoned up.

🍻

Don't relish the idea of hosing them out after the ex. :LOL:
 

daftandbarmy

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Interesting thought just crossed my mind (well at least to me). Just watched a little filmstrip of Ex Agile Ram showing some Leo's jockeying and doing live fire support as a fire base. It reminded me of the numerous Black Bear exercises we did in Shilo firing 400 rounds of HE from a reserve force battery in support of a single battalion level (two tank coys and one Marder coy) live fire attack across the prairie. There was very little jockeying - just a hell bent for leather high speed attack with a few halts to deliver some direct fire into the target area which was basically smoke and ruin from the guns crashing down into it. Yes there was recce on the flanks but basically it was sheer violence pushing forward. Oh! By the way. Those were the days of the 9 month conscript in the German Army.

So, on reflection, and based on one very short video, yes. We are a bit slow and cumbersome tactically.

For D&B the Reg F gunners in Ontario used to spend a fair bit of time supporting Res F arty units especially during Milcon. Praire region not so much. I gather its the same now in that 2 RCHA has expended some good efforts in training reservists as det members and even det commanders on the M777. During the little dustup in Afghanistan reservists filled anywhere from 15 to 25% of the gun battery jobs.

🍻

The 'molisha' is a fully segregated organization within the CAF in a Two Solitudes kind of fashion, based on my experiences. I assume that the PRes CoC has as much to do with this ridiculous state of affairs as their Reg F counterparts.

Annual 'camps' tend to be train to excite focused with little in the way of working towards achieving any deeper and meaningful training, or integrating with the Reg F beyond them setting up and running some stands etc. In the very few cases where we conducted joint FTX's, with a Reg F enemy force for example, the Reg F mission seemed to be humiliate the Reservists in various ways under the guise of providing learning opportunities.

Conversely, during the various AFG tours reservists were fully integrated into Reg F units quite successfully.

It's odd that we don't do that more during training because, you know Train as you Fight, and we have thousands of people who could easily augment Reg F units on exercises as required given some favourable conditions (e.g., run the big exercises in the summer when Reservists are available).

However, I assume that small p politics will defeat sound doctrine when lives aren't immediately on the line.
 

quadrapiper

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The 'molisha' is a fully segregated organization within the CAF in a Two Solitudes kind of fashion, based on my experiences. I assume that the PRes CoC has as much to do with this ridiculous state of affairs as their Reg F counterparts.

Annual 'camps' tend to be train to excite focused with little in the way of working towards achieving any deeper and meaningful training, or integrating with the Reg F beyond them setting up and running some stands etc. In the very few cases where we conducted joint FTX's, with a Reg F enemy force for example, the Reg F mission seemed to be humiliate the Reservists in various ways under the guise of providing learning opportunities.

Conversely, during the various AFG tours reservists were fully integrated into Reg F units quite successfully.

It's odd that we don't do that more during training because, you know Train as you Fight, and we have thousands of people who could easily augment Reg F units on exercises as required given some favourable conditions (e.g., run the big exercises in the summer when Reservists are available).

However, I assume that small p politics will defeat sound doctrine when lives aren't immediately on the line.
Did that become significantly worse for BC units when the Regular Army shifted to points East?
 

daftandbarmy

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Did that become significantly worse for BC units when the Regular Army shifted to points East?

It was always pretty bad, for the Infantry anyways, even when 3 VP was here. We were not part of their mandate or on their radar screen, in any fashion, unless they needed to poach some of our troops of course.
 

Underway

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Conversely, during the various AFG tours reservists were fully integrated into Reg F units quite successfully.
It's amazing what happens when you have a six-month pre-deployment training. Perhaps that's the goal.* Foundational training on which to build.

My OC pointed out to me (late night in the CP chats) that the difference between a PRes and Reg F Cpl did not exist after pre-deployment. There was also little difference between a Ref F and PRes Lt in dismounted operations after the same. The difference he saw was MCpl and above, where the years of experience really start to show. There were, of course, exceptions (like Class B instructors or PRes who had done multiple tours) but generally, that was the take.

However, I assume that small p politics will defeat sound doctrine when lives aren't immediately on the line.
Or the $ in budget.

*edit: not intended to be snarky though on reread it sounds that way...
 

MilEME09

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It's amazing what happens when you have a six-month pre-deployment training. Perhaps that's the goal.* Foundational training on which to build.

My OC pointed out to me (late night in the CP chats) that the difference between a PRes and Reg F Cpl did not exist after pre-deployment. There was also little difference between a Ref F and PRes Lt in dismounted operations after the same. The difference he saw was MCpl and above, where the years of experience really start to show. There were, of course, exceptions (like Class B instructors or PRes who had done multiple tours) but generally, that was the take.


Or the $ in budget.

*edit: not intended to be snarky though on reread it sounds that way...
And this whole Sgt in 5 years thing won't help that either. Wisdom passed to me years ago was become the best you can in your current role before you seek advancement. I'll be a MCpl a long time before I am really good at it. Until then I will not consider my sgts course and units should be trying to force inexperienced troops on leadership courses. Especially in the PRes
 

PuckChaser

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It's odd that we don't do that more during training because, you know Train as you Fight, and we have thousands of people who could easily augment Reg F units on exercises as required given some favourable conditions (e.g., run the big exercises in the summer when Reservists are available).
Having been in a mixed PRes and RegF unit, the fastest way to destroy morale and sow division between the PRes and RegF elements is to do exactly what you propose. You're saying we should bin summer block leave for RegF pers to go on exercise with the PRes instead of being with their families in the summer when their kids are off school.... even the STALWART GUARDIAN series in August has a lukewarm reception, mostly because it's an extra exercise, not a replacement for one the RegF folks are going to do in the Fall/winter anyways.
 

daftandbarmy

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Having been in a mixed PRes and RegF unit, the fastest way to destroy morale and sow division between the PRes and RegF elements is to do exactly what you propose. You're saying we should bin summer block leave for RegF pers to go on exercise with the PRes instead of being with their families in the summer when their kids are off school.... even the STALWART GUARDIAN series in August has a lukewarm reception, mostly because it's an extra exercise, not a replacement for one the RegF folks are going to do in the Fall/winter anyways.

That's why we'd need some enlightened senior leadership to figure out this integration thing.

As I recall the British Army, for example, has no such thing as 'Summer Block Leave' in the same way that it is regarded as a Gawd Given Right for most in the CAF.

In accordance with some master plan, developed somewhere and referred to as the 'Arms Plot' I think, as I recall some units might be taking leave while others are spooling up (or returning from) operations, while others support training in the UK or elsewhere. Everyone gets their leave, just not all at the same time, more or less, because: National Defense Priorities. (I especially like how it was referred to as a 'Plot').

We're smart enough to figure out the way, if there is the will to do some unofficial 'union busting'.

Which I strongly doubt there ever will be of course :)
 

FJAG

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Having been in a mixed PRes and RegF unit, the fastest way to destroy morale and sow division between the PRes and RegF elements is to do exactly what you propose. You're saying we should bin summer block leave for RegF pers to go on exercise with the PRes instead of being with their families in the summer when their kids are off school.... even the STALWART GUARDIAN series in August has a lukewarm reception, mostly because it's an extra exercise, not a replacement for one the RegF folks are going to do in the Fall/winter anyways.
It all depends how you do it. Most army units block off all of July and Aug from training and that's when kids are free from school and leave starts.

In 2 RCHA we always supported the two week Milcon's pretty heavily with one Reg F pers at each detachment (be it gun or CP or recce or OP) as DS plus safety and supply and maint staff but we arranged it so that people designated for the exercise still had over a month available for leave. A little preplanning as well as a little job swapping ensured everyone had plenty of time for annual leave or postings and Militia support. OTOH in Shilo we provided safety officers and little else.

You're right though. It would be close to impossible to have the whole outfit do a summer exercise together ... and quite frankly it's probably not necessary as long as key supervisors are involved.

🍻
 

daftandbarmy

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It all depends how you do it. Most army units block off all of July and Aug from training and that's when kids are free from school and leave starts.

In 2 RCHA we always supported the two week Milcon's pretty heavily with one Reg F pers at each detachment (be it gun or CP or recce or OP) as DS plus safety and supply and maint staff but we arranged it so that people designated for the exercise still had over a month available for leave. A little preplanning as well as a little job swapping ensured everyone had plenty of time for annual leave or postings and Militia support. OTOH in Shilo we provided safety officers and little else.

You're right though. It would be close to impossible to have the whole outfit do a summer exercise together ... and quite frankly it's probably not necessary as long as key supervisors are involved.

🍻

If the mission is something like 'The Reserves will fully augment the Regular Force on EX KILL EM ALL', then it would be of critical importance to run a joint exercise preceded by relevant work up training aligned with the exercise goals during the training year. We'd then join 1 CMBG (or whoever) in Wainwright (or wherever), in May (or whenever), and add a couple hundred + more troops to the Bde Gp, and then head off and do things together. Hell, do it once every two years if annually is too difficult.

If the mission is something like 'Keep the Reserves happy so they don't all quit, while making sure that their over promoted bosses think they're super awesome leaders even thought they probably aren't because we haven't invested in training them properly over the years', then you send a few Reg F people to support the Molitia to do its own thing, even if it isn't well aligned with anything else the Army is doing right now, while the rest of the Reg F goes on leave ;)
 

Blackadder1916

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As I recall the British Army, for example, has no such thing as 'Summer Block Leave' in the same way that it is regarded as a Gawd Given Right for most in the CAF.

But the British, or more specifically that element of the British that rise to the higher levels, don't particularly like their children and thus only see having to coordinate vacation time as a burden. And, if they pack them off for someone else to care for, they are reimbursed the expense. 🙄
 

FJAG

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If the mission is something like 'The Reserves will fully augment the Regular Force on EX KILL EM ALL', then it would be of critical importance to run a joint exercise preceded by relevant work up training aligned with the exercise goals during the training year. We'd then join 1 CMBG (or whoever) in Wainwright (or wherever), in May (or whenever), and add a couple hundred + more troops to the Bde Gp, and then head off and do things together. Hell, do it once every two years if annually is too difficult.

If the mission is something like 'Keep the Reserves happy so they don't all quit, while making sure that their over promoted bosses think they're super awesome leaders even thought they probably aren't because we haven't invested in training them properly over the years', then you send a few Reg F people to support the Molitia to do its own thing, even if it isn't well aligned with anything else the Army is doing right now, while the rest of the Reg F goes on leave ;)
You see that's what bugs me ... because there is too much truth in what you say.

I suspect that there's something about the salty tang of the West Coast that brings out some of the worst in upper PRes leadership but I do agree that there is a definite tendency that once you get above the rank of major, even if you've been a good one, to get into administering the unit, including its varied mess life, than in furthering the soldiers' training which is left to the young NCOs and junior officers. I'll be kind here. I think that's because the units are so small and the scope of training at such a low level that the training really should be left to the NCOs and junior officers (with a little bit of mentoring perhaps). When I think of our Reg F training cycles, we didn't see much of the CO or RSM either during our troop and battery training. It wasn't until we got to regimental shooting that the CO was all over us (usually at the sharp end at the OPs) with several tours around the gun line.

Since there is no real collective training phase in any PRes units cycle, there really is no useful job that the CO could do, in general, that wouldn't be looked on as getting into the junior officer's way.

We have a fundamentally flawed structure. It might have worked fine in the days of 1,000 man Militia battalions but it really makes no sense these days. Considering we can't call up a PRes battalion and march them off to a ship to take them to war like they did in '39, what use is the battalion structure at all? Quite frankly the aim of virtually all exercises the PRes do these days are to "keep the troops happy so that they don't quit". While there is a side benefit that they become marginally better at their jobs with each course they take and each exercise that they participate in, the only true "aim" that I see is to keep a large enough manpower pool to draw on when the RegF can't seem to adequately meet the body count they need for the few operational tasks they are given. And there's no way with our current structure that we could even contemplate the first mission that you contemplate because the current RegF leadership will not even try to find a way to make that concept a viable one.

I can think of a dozen ways to have a better, less expensive structure for the Army - from having a core of leaders and recruiting people off the streets for three years with one year of intensive training followed by two years of foreign duty and then releasing most of them to having an equipped and trained national guard that you mobilize when needed. All of these are more cost effective then our present structure which seems to revel in keeping folks in expensive in administrative jobs to well after their best before dates and having them "unready" for two thirds of their time in service. The dysfunction of the PRes leadership which you point out is just a small part of an unhealthy whole.

🍻
 

Eaglelord17

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One thing that could really help with training differentials and increase the practicality of the Reserves is to completely change how parading is done. Move to more like the Swiss method where they train you for a year (maybe make some summer course type options for those in school to work up the training) with a large exercise every year for a month which is guaranteed time off from work and mandatory for troops to attend (exemptions being medical leave). Maybe choose to have a week or two of refresher training (range qualification, fitness tests, IBTS type stuff) and two to three weeks of actual exercise for the yearly month.

At the same time do away with the Class A parading in general other than random taskings as it doesn't really accomplish too much (maybe make a exemption for Remembrance day parades and Christmas dinner). That one month in the field will get much more accomplished in retaining and developing skills than all these scattered parade nights and weekends throughout the year will. Considering someone can show up 8-10 half days a year and still be considered effective strength, this would be a huge difference in training levels.

You would have units actually functioning as units (not platoons or sections) and since it would be mandatory to attend with guaranteed time off your civilian job you would actually get everyone out who potentially could be there.
 

daftandbarmy

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But the British, or more specifically that element of the British that rise to the higher levels, don't particularly like their children and thus only see having to coordinate vacation time as a burden. And, if they pack them off for someone else to care for, they are reimbursed the expense. 🙄
Marie Antionette Yes GIF by Lillee Jean
 
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