4 Platoon, B (Rorke's Drift) Company deployed as part of C (Kohima) Company 2 MERCIAN within the 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (1 PPCLI) Battle Group as the Opposing Force for the 1st Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (1 CMBG) in May 2019.
Our mission was to provide a conventional, peer opponent for 1 CMBG during their final validation at Wainwright Training Area, Alberta where the Brigade were assessed for high readiness. Exercise MAPLE RESOLVE is set in a combined-arms, conventional war-fighting environment, with approximately 6,000 exercising troops.
We met C Company, 2 MERCIAN at South Cerney for the lengthy journey to Wainwright. Upon arrival we conducted two days of RSOI before deploying to our first positions at Survey Hill, with our platoon splitting from C Company and re-task organised to A Company, 1 PPCLI. Due to the deliberate pace of the exercise, we had a few days before the enemy arrived, allowing us to prepare positions, conduct extensive rehearsals and achieve good interoperability with the Canadians. Whilst conducting local offensive actions in order to delay and disrupt, we became familiar with A Coy's capabilities and their LAV-6 armoured personnel carriers. We were pleased to conduct a successful delay and area defence, before withdrawing to Ashigli Village and mounting a robust, highly successful defence in the urban environment.
The highlight of the exercise was conducting offensive action as a company against 1 CMBG's Brigade Headquarters, which had been found in real-time by the attached Light Electronic Warfare Team (LEWT) provided by 14 Signal Regiment. After a bold but successful infiltration, C Company launched a deliberate assault on the Bde HQ, a concurrent feint against the forward line of enemy troops, and a strike on a neighbouring Service Battalion Headquarters – the latter conducted by 4 Platoon. We succeeded in capturing some intelligence from the Battalion Headquarters, and we maintain that the Bde Comd was killed by the remainder of the company – they had only been thwarted by a ring-of-steel of Observer Mentors surrounding him with God-guns. With 1 CMBG undoubtedly seething in the wake of this operation, we had significantly fewer assets given to us for the final defensive action! On the whole, we were pleased with our performance and we received excellent feedback from CO 1 PPCLI.
We had the chance to rest and recuperate for a week following the exercise, staying in Edmonton, a few hours away from Wainwright. While being hosted in University of Alberta accommodation (which was well received news by all!) we went to see a baseball game with the Edmonton Prospects, as well as paying a visit to the Royal Alberta Museum. It was a well-deserved R&R period, allowing the lads to relax and explore a new city. No doubt a significant amount of time was spent in the West Edmonton Shopping Mall, which comes with its own water park and gun range. Most of the platoon had an unusual experience here, bearing witness to an impromptu counter-terrorism rehearsal which everyone thought was real; fortunately, it was indeed a drill and not a live incident! Overall, a good time was had, and we managed to recover to the UK with no G1 issues, and with exemplary behaviour from all.