Page 265 - The Rifles Bugle Autumn 2019
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operations, both independently and in conjunction with our American Allies.
Other challenging conditions included the terrain. Although the weather held for the duration of the exercise, the Donnelly Training Area’s muskeg restricted LAV movement to roads. Most LAVs that left the hard pack, and even some that didn’t, were promptly stuck, keeping the Bison Mobile Recovery Vehicle (MRV) busy.
Our participation in the exercise helped 1 SBCT identify the limitations of their Stryker tactics. While they outnumbered us in vehicles and artillery support, their employment of the Strykers as armoured taxis did not serve them well against the more flexible LAVs. They also paid frequently for not maximizing the use of their artillery, calling in very few fire missions despite having a lot of notional indirect fire available.
The American use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and air support was a welcome addition to the exercise. It compounded with the virtual element of the exercise, wherein technicians behind the lines tracked everyone’s movements and analysed the ramifications of artillery and air support. The UAVs presented much more tangible effects to our Canadian contingent, as their presence at night usually meant we would be bumped by artillery shortly after. In this way they provided feedback on our hide camouflage and concealment.
Immediately following the force on force exercise, Alpha Company went north to Fort Wainwright’s Yukon Training Area (YTA) for platoon level ranges. There, the battalion conducted live and dry delib- erate attacks along a narrow ridge-line. While the terrain again restricted our movements, the size of the YTA allowed for lots of engagements and were a welcomed change following the two weeks of working with simulation gear.
  2 PPCLI Commemorates the
25th Anniversary of the Battle of
the Medak Pocket
This past September, 2 PPCLI commemorated the 25th Anniversary of the Battle of the Medak Pocket, from 7-9 September 2018. Veterans of the Medak Pocket Operation, some of whom are still serving, traveled from across Canada for the opportunity to reunite with old comrades and pass some of their experiences onto the current generation of 2 PPCLI soldiers. The weekend was also proof of the adage “Once a Patricia, always a Patricia”, as a sizable portion of the visiting veterans were people who had been part of the Battle Group’s large contingent of reserve augmentees.
The Battle of the Medak Pocket is as much a part of 2 PPCLI’s identity as the Battle of Kapyong, but it was relegated into obscurity because of Canada’s political climate at the time when the battle took place. The impor- tance of the 2 PPCLI Battle Group’s actions at Medak cannot be overstated. At the time the unit was ordered to provide a buffer between Serb and Croat forces in Medak, and the credibility of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) was very much in jeopardy. The situation was complex, and the 2 PPCLI Battle Group endured hours of deliberate attacks by the Croats, but successfully halted their assault. Thanks to 2 PPCLI actions at Medak, the UN was able to force Croat forces to withdraw and honour the initial ceasefire terms they had agreed to.
As a result, the weekend proved to be an extremely valuable opportunity for 2 PPCLI’s current soldiers to listen to the experiences of some of their forbearers. Most importantly, the 25th Commemoration of the Battle of the Medak Pocket was a chance for veterans of the conflict to be recognized and honoured as they justly deserve. Whether they attended the parades, played golf, stood in line for a LAV ride, or shared drinks with friends at the Better ‘Ole, everyone who attended the weekend had a great time, and left with a further appreciation for the accomplishments of the 2 PPCLI Battle Group in the Medak Pocket.

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