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Primary Reserve Gunner Career Progression

MattGotts

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Hey all,

2 months ago I was sworn in and have been working on BMQ. The course I'm on now is weekend operated, 3 weekends on then one off with a final Field Training Exercise at the end. We will graduate just before Xmas, then it's off to BMQ (Land) in January until April, another weekend course. Following that, I've got a full time trades course in Shilo during August. Following all of that, I will be a qualified Gunner by September 2014.

I have a few questions about the way Career Progression works in the Reserve. I know that once I have been a Gunner for 2 years I am eligible for promotion to Bomber, but I don't know what courses I need to become a Master Bombardier.

I was also wondering what types of trade specific courses are available to Bombers and Gunners.

Any information is welcome.

Hello from 18 Battery, 10th Field Regiment RCA, 38 CBG
 

Bluebulldog

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Master Bombardier will require you to complete your PLQ ( Primary Leadership Qualification). It's a course that once you have a few courses, and experience you can ask for, but your being selected will depend on your CoC.

Once you're a qualified Gunner you will have the opportunities to take various courses like Driver Wheel, Recce Tech, CP tech, Comms, etc.

Oh and unless I'm mistaken, you're going to be doing a conversion course to the 81mm mortar as well, since it seems like many units in the RCA are now becoming mortar capable.

Thanks for the edit help Skeletor.
 

MattGotts

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I was also wondering if there's a big list of courses I can take, both Arty specific and not.
Also, is BMQ (land) going to have me jerked around like on BMQ as much or worse?
 

Bluebulldog

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MattGotts said:
I was also wondering if there's a big list of courses I can take, both Arty specific and not.
Also, is BMQ (land) going to have me jerked around like on BMQ as much or worse?

Check with your unit. I know my old unit put out battery briefing notes every week. Listing upcoming courses, spaces, candidates etc. As of right now, just focus on getting your BMQ out of the way, the other courses will come after your DP1. Spend some time as a gunner, and then determine which direction you want to take.

BMQ(L)....well it depends. Some find it less, some find it the same, I guess it's the instructing staff and the candidates that make it what it is. You will spend more time out in the field, so you're not going to get jacked up for some of the stuff in garrison....

One step at a time.
 

dangerboy

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MattGotts said:
Also, is BMQ (land) going to have me jerked around like on BMQ as much or worse?

What do you mean by "jerked around"?  On BMQ Land there are field exercises where you will be challenged but they are designed to teach you and confirm the knowledge that you have learned.
 

MattGotts

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My unit has also been pushing for more people to attempt officer training. I was wondering what exactly junior officers do in the artillery when they are on an exercise. I know NCM's will be be on the gun or in mortar positions, but what do 2LT's do while gunners load shells?
 

jeffb

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Officers can move around quite a bit between the positions listed below. Depending on your unit, this transition can happen every few hours or an officer may find themselves in one position for a few months/years before moving on to something else. There are more positions listed here then you will normally have in a Battery so quite often a GPO may jump in the CP to shoot as the CPO or may go off and do recces as the Recce O. This is especially true if operations are being conducted 24 hours a day/ 7 days as week as someone needs to sleep... This list will be for a gun battery but increasingly gun batteries are the exception and not the norm across the Royal Regiment. Tasks in a STA Bty, the FOO Bty, Headquarters Bty, a Mortar Bty or an Air Defense battery will look very different.

This is going to be very much oversimplified but officers in a gun battery can be employed in the following ways:

- Safety officer: verifies the gun data as issued by the CP to the guns to check that the round is not going to endanger friendly troops. This is only a peacetime position. In war, this function is done by the FOO, the CPO and the Fire Support Coordination Center albeit using a different method.
- Command Post Officer (CPO): Supervises the production of gun data upon receipt of fire orders from the the observation post. (See FOO) 
- Gun Position Officer (GPO): Command of the gun position. Generally floats around and makes sure that the things that are supposed to be happening are.
- Recce Officer: Commands the Recce party. Responsible for preparing the next gun position under the direction of the Regimental Ops O who is acting on behalf of the CO.
- Battery Captain (BK): 2I/C of the Battery. He is overall in command of the gun position in the absence of the Battery Commander (BC) as the BC is rarely at the gun position. Battery Commanders are employed in an advisory role to the supported Battalion Commander.
- Forward Observation Officer (FOO): Historically a troop commander. Now, is attached from a FOO Bty in the Regular Army units. The FOO is the fire support adviser to a company commander in much the same way that a Battery Commander is the fire support adviser to a Battalion Commander. The FOO commands an Observation Post party that provides fire orders to the guns in order to meet the intent of the infantry Company Commander (OC) 

Hope that helps.
 

MattGotts

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It's been a while now, thought I should check back.

I'm almost done my BMQ (L) now, and will be going on my DP1 this July.

I really am enjoying my time with the unit, and am excited to actually get on with more artillery specific jobs and courses.

I think I picked a really good trade.
 

MattGotts

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I just graduated BMQ (L)!

Honestly it was a hard course, plus all of our field exercise took place in minus 20 temps. Trenches took forever.

However, this brings me to the next point in my career, which is DP 1.

I won't leave for Shilo until July, which I'm thankful for, but I was wondering if DP1 is as physically and mentally taxing as BMQ (L). There's obviously not going to be so much infantry stuff, but what other new types of hard work can I expect to be doing?
 

Lerch

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Bring some good bug repellent and get ready for mosquitos when you get here, we've had alot of snow so there's gonna be alot of standing water...

You're DP1 will be physical because you'll be hands on with a C3 and it's a heavy bugger to move, but alot of the course is going to be drill after drill after drill until it becomes muscle memory (just like you would have done with the machine guns). You'll do drills on base, then once you pass your layers test you'll go to the field for confirmation and live fire.
 

Nfld Sapper

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Lerch said:
Bring some good bug repellent and get ready for mosquitos when you get here, we've had alot of snow so there's gonna be alot of standing water...

You're DP1 will be physical because you'll be hands on with a C3 and it's a heavy bugger to move, but alot of the course is going to be drill after drill after drill until it becomes muscle memory (just like you would have done with the machine guns). You'll do drills on base, then once you pass your layers test you'll go to the field for confirmation and live fire.

Easier to move than the LG-1 with the barrel rotated onto the trails though....
 

Lerch

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NFLD Sapper said:
Easier to move than the LG-1 with the barrel rotated onto the trails though....
Oh absolutely, though last I saw WATC doing training they were using C3's. Not too sure where the LG1's ended up...
 

Nfld Sapper

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Think they are pooled here out east.... I know I got 2 for ceremonial purposes....
 

Petard

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DP1 training should put your BMQ(L) training to use in the context of artillery troop deployments, as well as learning the basic drills of the weapon system (the weapon of the artillery is the projectile by the way)

DP1 training for most primary reserve artillery units is done on the C3, except for units in the Atlantic area.
The main reason the LG1s were pooled there was due to the RCAS requirement, and the lack of sustainability of the C3. Since a lot of tasks to RCAS are supported by Reseve units in the Atlantic area, it seemed to make sense to give them LG1s as well

The ceremonial LG1s used in St John's are just that, ceremonial guns

The situation with the C3 does not look good, it is very diffcult to support, with no replacement in sight.
So eventually many C3 equipped units will most likely have only 81mm mortars to train with (they have 81mm mortars as well now).
Which is why after your DP1 you will probably need a mortar course at some point.
 

MattGotts

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Thanks for all the information guys, I'm very excited to leave with only 6 days left at home.
They've cut the course down to only FIFTEEN training days though. To me that doesn't really seem like a lot of time to learn gun drill, but I'm a Private, not a Master Warrant.
I am hoping that this course will be a very challenging course, it will be my first full time course. Following DP1, I get to attend Exercise Belligerent Grizzly in Alberta with 41 CBG. I attended 38 CBG's brigade excercise and finally got to see what we do as gunners, and knowing all of that now, I would highly recommend the Artillery to potential recruits just because of the extremely varied roles we can find ourselves in.

If there were any Gunners in Afghanistan, did they find themselves doing the work we are trained to do at home (Gun line, Recce Party, OP Party) or were we forced into infanty roles?
 

MattGotts

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It has been 3 months post-DP1, and things are looking good. I am finishing an OP det member course right now, something that I didn't think I would be selected for a few months ago.

For anyone who is thinking of becoming a Gunner, I can say that it has been an awesome decision. This last year has been full of laughs and a lot of learning about myself. If you think you have what it takes, do it! Get on some courses and experience the beginning of an army career.

My favourite and least favourite experience so far was wearing the grey coveralls when we were learning gun drill. The barbed wire fences and the grey coveralls made it feel like prison, so we laughed.
 

RedcapCrusader

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Seymour98 said:
Is it possible to take the BMQ-L course on weekends??

Yes.

BMQ and BMQ-L are both offered full time during summer months and part-time basis (weekends) during the rest of the year.

Further career courses are only available on a full-time basis. (with the exception of a handful such as Driver courses, Winter Warfare; but only if resources are available in your local area to host a weekend course).
 

Fishbone Jones

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LunchMeat said:
Yes.

BMQ and BMQ-L are both offered full time during summer months and part-time basis (weekends) during the rest of the year.

Further career courses are only available on a full-time basis. (with the exception of a handful such as Driver courses, Winter Warfare; but only if resources are available in your local area to host a weekend course).

Really, how long does it take to teach a guy as #2 on a mortar?

 
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