• Thanks for stopping by. Logging in to a registered account will remove all generic ads. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

South Alberta Light Horse Regiment to amalgamate with larger reserve force

Blackadder1916

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
2,355
Points
1,160
Something to set Honoraries' heads spinning.

South Alberta Light Horse Regiment to amalgamate with larger reserve force, command set to move out of Medicine Hat​

Mar 7, 2024 | 10:00 AM
The Medicine Hat-based Southern Alberta Light Horse Regiment will lose its name and independence as it begins a process of amalgamation with larger reserve operations in the province, a high-ranking commander told CHAT News on Wednesday.

The SALH group has operated as an independent reserve regiment for over a century, but Col. Christopher Hunt said the process has begun to unify it with the King’s Own Calgary Regiment, confirming earlier reporting by CHAT News.

“There’s still a lot of details to be worked out, but tonight was about starting the conversation with those soldiers so that we can have an open conversation about how we bring these elements together,” Hunt told CHAT News after meeting with the regiment late on Wednesday.

While the Medicine Hat regiment is no stranger to amalgamation over the course of its history, this would mark the first time the command is moved out of Medicine Hat.

“In the end, there’s still going to be two regiments that will continue forward. There will be a regiment in southern Alberta and there’ll be a regiment in Edmonton,” Hunt said.

“They will both continue the traditions of the King’s Own [Calgary Regiment] and the [South Alberta] Light Horse.”

SALH is currently headquartered in Medicine Hat, a regiment independent from Alberta’s larger cities, a source of pride for current and former regiment soldiers, according to two sources who spoke with CHAT News on the condition of anonymity.

The regiment also operates a museum out of its central station at Patterson Armoury. That museum will continue its normal operations for the time being, curator Wes Krause told CHAT News.

The pride and history associated with the SALH regiment would be lost if the changes move ahead, the veteran sources said.

“It’s like if I were to tell you tomorrow to change your last name, you are no longer related to your family,” one former reservist said.

“The guys that are bringing this in display complete ineptitude,” he added ahead of the Wednesday meeting.

There was a previous attempt at eliminating the South Alberta Regiment in the 1950s, as described by Krause in a CHAT TV feature series. That idea was shot down by Medicine Hat mayor Harry Veiner at the time.

The then-South Alberta Regiment and the 15th Light Horse group were later amalgamated to create the current SALH.

There was not any public consultation ahead of the amalgamation being revealed Wednesday, an approach two sources told CHAT News was unprofessional.

The Canadian Armed Forces have not yet responded to a request for comment made Wednesday.
 
Old man in blazers upset with change to his former drinking club. More at 11.

I for one am. Thrilled by this, should make it easier for a soldier to move around Alberta, reduce some unnecessary admin hurdles, and ideally limit how much they’re spending of LCol and CWOs. Now Head Quarter them out of a repurposed CFB Edmonton LTF and I’ll be through the moon.
 
Oddly e ought, Army Reserve engineer units, signals units and service battalions all survived amalgamations in the past decade or so.

Looks like the Army Reserve combat arms units need to be toughened up to be able to deal with change.
 
Oddly e ought, Army Reserve engineer units, signals units and service battalions all survived amalgamations in the past decade or so.

Looks like the Army Reserve combat arms units need to be toughened up to be able to deal with change.

If you read the history of most regiments in our Army, they were renamed and re organized almost every 5 years from the 1860s until WW2. At that point it was decided this was never to happen and the regimental mafias dug in their feet (now replaced by their walkers and canes).

The fact that the standard armoury for a reserve unit includes one class room for training and 3 bars should really tell everyone about the priorities.
 
Just about every unit in my brigade has amalgamated or been tactically grouped.

Still have no bullets.

People that think that is the problem are looking for low hanging fruit and window dressing that adresses none of the core problems.
 
Just about every unit in my brigade has amalgamated or been tactically grouped.

Still have no bullets.

People that think that is the problem are looking for low hanging fruit and window dressing that adresses none of the core problems.
One of the core problems is the continual pressure to generate a LCol and a CWO on a three year cycle, with units of 150 or less.

The result is senior leaders without sufficient knowledge or experience.

An Army Reserve of 20K, assuming a modest BTL of 3500 with 500 more senior personnel to recruit and train them, leaves 30 LCols and CWOs to command units of 500 trained soldiers each (three companies of 150, and a HQ of 50).

Or we can go full Brockville and have an established LCol to command 90, all ranks, including BTL, many of whom do not parade regularly.
 
One of the core problems is the continual pressure to generate a LCol and a CWO on a three year cycle, with units of 150 or less.

The result is senior leaders without sufficient knowledge or experience.

An Army Reserve of 20K, assuming a modest BTL of 3500 with 500 more senior personnel to recruit and train them, leaves 30 LCols and CWOs to command units of 500 trained soldiers each (three companies of 150, and a HQ of 50).

Or we can go full Brockville and have an established LCol to command 90, all ranks, including BTL, many of whom do not parade regularly.

This just in... incompetence is not only an issue with units of 150 or less ;)
 
The Brocks have been grouped with PWOR now. Likely because of that pressure you mentioned.
I specifically chose the Brocks because of the many southern Ontario folks here; the issue is much wider.

There are challenges. The wider the area one needs a LCol and CWO to command, the more time they need just to travel. Having commanded a unit that sprawls 800km, end to end, I appreciate the commitment necessary.

But current models with LCols and CWOs "commanding" 90 all ranks, 60 occupationally qualified, and 50 showing up on a regular basis are not sustainable or of benefit to Canada and Canadians.
 
Been both sides of the fence. Reg F and P Res. When I first joined, P Res was somehow different. I remember CAC 1992 in Petawawa. Each of our regiments in Hamilton District (Yup, I am that old) put forward a 3 platoon company for the FTX (Lorne Scots, RHLI, Linc and Wel, Argylls) plus a battalion HQ. It made sense in those days in the Lorne Scots when we put 3-5 platoons in the field each ex, to have a Lt Col and CWO along running the battalion HQ.
Then shortly after, I joined the Regs (No I was not a quick pick), obviously different experiences.
Many moons later released, rejoined the P Res. Very different experience from early 90s. We barely fielded 2 maybe 3 platoons in the Lorne Scots.
 
Amalgamation makes sense in some places. Sask D should probably be folded into FGH for example due to manning and other concerns with the Dragoons. Same could be said of flipping the QOCH of C into the Royal Wpg Rif. But that won't solve most of our issues. The issues are 85% unserviceability rates, a base that won't fix our shit, a government that won't procure us replacements for our 30 year old kit and no ammunition to train. Sure some people are way too married to individual units, but some people are way too obsessed with folding functioning units together, which will just kill the functioning unit being folded. Dirty little secret in the MO lately, we've been treated so poorly by the government in terms of kit, ammo and training budget and insulted by the Regs for so long the only thing keeping a lot of reservists in is loyalty and affinity to their local regiments and to their brothers in arms in the regiment. Esprit de corps tends to hold units together by a thread and unfortunately, if you start chopping those units, you'll lose 80-85% of the unit. Honestly don't blame them, the fact any reservist stays in the CAF is a wonder lately.
 
Last edited:
Hasn't this been quietly happening with the new "Tactical Groupings" mentioned above wrt the Brockville Rifles and PWOR?
Also agree that this is like moving one set of deck chairs to another level of the Titanic.
 
Hasn't this been quietly happening with the new "Tactical Groupings" mentioned above wrt the Brockville Rifles and PWOR?
Also agree that this is like moving one set of deck chairs to another level of the Titanic.

It is and it’s not. As much as there’s the “we’re treated badly by the regular force” sentiment, one has to look at what the reserves is actually able to offer and then determine if it’s really worth investing. Every one of those COs goes to annual corps conferences, attends Bde meetings, ect. Those Bdes exist because the regiments exist. Those Bdes eat up positions, class A days, and dollars. Those regiments have HQs that eat up positions, class A days, and dollars.

Neither those regiments or their Bdes can realistically be tasked because of their model and that they don’t really represent a useful body of trained soldiers. I don’t say that to insult anyone, I simply mean that 35 all ranks from Pte to LCol isn’t useful. Now if we group people together into structures that represent understood numbers and bodies of troops, then we can actually start assigning tasks, and see a reserve force that’s take seriously.

I see the argument that there’s no kit, or that the regular army boards it. Well there’s no kit in the reg force either. Hate to break it to you all. 3 VP probably didn’t do reserve relations huge favour by sending guys home from Alaska on the second and third flights, but they did the same to the ATG from Shilo. And I understand the idea that the only thing is loyalty to your unit / comrades, but I honestly believed if you polled the army reserve junior ranks as asked if they’d support a reorganization into 10-12 battalions they’d largely be in favour.

In regard to ammunition to train - I find that very strange. There’s a to of ammunition out there. More often than not “ammo shortages” are just bad staff work.
 
I specifically chose the Brocks because of the many southern Ontario folks here; the issue is much wider.

There are challenges. The wider the area one needs a LCol and CWO to command, the more time they need just to travel. Having commanded a unit that sprawls 800km, end to end, I appreciate the commitment necessary.

But current models with LCols and CWOs "commanding" 90 all ranks, 60 occupationally qualified, and 50 showing up on a regular basis are not sustainable or of benefit to Canada and Canadians.

Unless we regularly exercise the reason this model was adopted in the first place during WW1: the rapid recruiting, and (basic) training, of a large, nationwide, expeditionary field force.

Otherwise we'd better upgrade our doctrine from, you know, ca. 1914 ;)
 
Unless we regularly exercise the reason this model was adopted in the first place during WW1: the rapid recruiting, and (basic) training, of a large, nationwide, expeditionary field force.

Otherwise we'd better upgrade our doctrine from, you know, ca. 1914 ;)
The application of reason in Canadian military history should be done with a great deal of care. Were reserve units stood up to facilitate mass mobilization ? Not really, many were simply stood up because the local community or a community group petitioned the govt. that’s why we have so many Scottish Regiments, they simply had the best organized community groups.

The SALH is the result of near continuous amalgamation and reorganization of reserves regiments until 1954, now that’s a sacred cow.
 
It is and it’s not. As much as there’s the “we’re treated badly by the regular force” sentiment, one has to look at what the reserves is actually able to offer and then determine if it’s really worth investing. Every one of those COs goes to annual corps conferences, attends Bde meetings, ect. Those Bdes exist because the regiments exist. Those Bdes eat up positions, class A days, and dollars. Those regiments have HQs that eat up positions, class A days, and dollars.

Neither those regiments or their Bdes can realistically be tasked because of their model and that they don’t really represent a useful body of trained soldiers. I don’t say that to insult anyone, I simply mean that 35 all ranks from Pte to LCol isn’t useful. Now if we group people together into structures that represent understood numbers and bodies of troops, then we can actually start assigning tasks, and see a reserve force that’s take seriously.

I see the argument that there’s no kit, or that the regular army boards it. Well there’s no kit in the reg force either. Hate to break it to you all. 3 VP probably didn’t do reserve relations huge favour by sending guys home from Alaska on the second and third flights, but they did the same to the ATG from Shilo. And I understand the idea that the only thing is loyalty to your unit / comrades, but I honestly believed if you polled the army reserve junior ranks as asked if they’d support a reorganization into 10-12 battalions they’d largely be in favour.

In regard to ammunition to train - I find that very strange. There’s a to of ammunition out there. More often than not “ammo shortages” are just bad staff work.
Man, if you see lots of ammo somewhere, spread the word. Because there isn't according to the allotments from the CBG next year.

You point to the extreme of 35 person reserve units, I'm with you 100% on those positions being amalgamated into healthier bns/regts. But there are also reserve units with 100+ personnel and there are some reserve units with higher numbers than 2VP these days. Should 2VP get axed because of that? Probably not but that's beside the point.

The healthy units want to train, they want to do the job but we aren't provisioned to do so. Why not depot kit at the bases like they used to do with AVGPs/Lynxes in the Cold War? There's tons of unfilled PYs out there, why not give some more full time positions to Reserve units so they can maintain a QRF pl/tp to be provided to mounting RegF units on a moment's notice?

I guess what I'm saying is why does the ARes have to be even further gutted when options exist to try new things without punishing the reserves for existing?

Final point, I think you underestimate the power of esprit de corps in the reserves. The younger fellas in my regiment are pretty rabidly pro-regt, it gives them a sense of belonging and meaning in a world that increasingly isolates them.
 
Final point, I think you underestimate the power of esprit de corps in the reserves. The younger fellas in my regiment are pretty rabidly pro-regt, it gives them a sense of belonging and meaning in a world that increasingly isolates them.
I totally get the sentiment, but do you sacrifice military effectiveness for the sake of a pretty convoluted Regimental history?

Lineage of the South Alberta Light Horse, 1885–1914
1885Rocky Mountain Rangers
1885Disbanded
1901D Sqn, Canadian Mounted Rifles
190515th Light HorseIndependent sqns of Canadian Mounted Rifles
1906The Alberta Rangers
190823rd Alberta Rangers21st Alberta Hussars19th The Alberta Mounted Rifles101st Regt
1909101st Regt "Edmonton Fusiliers"
1910103rd Regt "Calgary Rifles"
191119th Alberta Dragoons
1914
Lineage of the South Alberta Light Horse, 1918–1939
1918103rd Regt "Calgary Rifles"15th Light Horse23rd Alberta Rangers21st Alberta Hussars19th Alberta Dragoons101st Regt "Edmonton Fusiliers"
1920The Calgary RegtThe Alberta Regt22nd Bty, CFA15th Canadian Light HorseThe Alberta Mounted Rifles1st Bn, The Edmonton Regt2nd Bn (Edmonton Fusiliers), The Edmonton Regt
19211st Bn, The Alberta Regt2nd Bn, The Alberta Regt
19222nd Regt, The Alberta Mounted Rifles1st Regt, The Alberta Mounted Rifles
1924"The South Alberta Regt"The North Alberta RegtThe Edmonton RegtThe Edmonton Fusiliers
192522nd Field Bty, CA
1931The South Alberta HorseThe Alberta Mounted Rifles
193522nd Field Bty, RCA
193615th Alberta Light Horse19th Alberta DragoonsThe Edmonton Fusiliers (MG)
1939

1945-present[edit]​

hideLineage of the South Alberta Light Horse, 1945–present

19452nd (Reserve) Bn, The South Alberta Regt (MG)41st (Reserve) Field Regt, RCA22nd Field Bty, RCA15th (Reserve) Alberta Light Horse19th (Reserve) Alberta Dragoons2nd (Reserve) Bn, The Edmonton Fusiliers
1946The South Alberta Regt41st Anti-Tank Regt (Self Propelled), RCA68th Light Anti-Aircraft Regt, RCA19th (Alberta) Armoured Car Regt, RCAC
194919th Alberta Armoured Car Regt
1954The South Alberta Light Horse (29th Armoured Regt)19th Alberta Dragoons (19th Armoured Car Regt)
1958The South Alberta Light Horse19th Alberta Dragoons
1965Supplementary Order of Battle
1985The South Alberta Light Horse (RCAC)
1997The South Alberta Light Horse
2006The South Alberta Light Horse
2024
 
What's convoluted about it? It's a series of perpetuations. Like I said, if it makes sense, amalgamate. But there's no reason to do mergers for the sake of mergers. 30 man units who can hardly turn out a Pl- on ex? Merge em. Supplemental order of battle for their unit. 150-200 man unit with strong cultures and productive in terms of BTS and deploying troops? Why fuck with something that seems to be working when we can hardly get 250 people in the doors to 2VP? Any troops retained is a good thing.
 
Man, if you see lots of ammo somewhere, spread the word. Because there isn't according to the allotments from the CBG next year.

Allotments are what they are I suppose. But the ammo depot in Shilo is far from dry. What actually drives ammunition use is training area restrictions, and willingness to ask for it.

You point to the extreme of 35 person reserve units, I'm with you 100% on those positions being amalgamated into healthier bns/regts. But there are also reserve units with 100+ personnel and there are some reserve units with higher numbers than 2VP these days. Should 2VP get axed because of that? Probably not but that's beside the point.

2 VP is sitting around 400 people (so are 1 and 3, and 1 RCHA before you go that direction), if you can show me a reserve unit at that manning I’ll be stunned. I’d even doubt the 100 plus people, because we both know that of that 100 maybe 75 show up at one time, and realistically it’s more consistently 50. Even if it is 100, that’s and under strength company and should be organized as such.

The healthy units want to train, they want to do the job but we aren't provisioned to do so. Why not depot kit at the bases like they used to do with AVGPs/Lynxes in the Cold War? There's tons of unfilled PYs out there, why not give some more full time positions to Reserve units so they can maintain a QRF pl/tp to be provided to mounting RegF units on a moment's notice?

Because that doesn’t work. And hasn’t worked. The recent discussions held by the infantry corps
Point that for JRTC / JPMRC pulling in reservists to fill spots required a monumental amount of administrative work, and for JPMRC it was aggravated by each reservists wanting a bespoke time to arrive. Now I certainly understand why that is, these folks have lives and jobs and want to be able to plan around that. However suggesting it’s a quick solution is absurd. If you mean for deployments there’s already a 25-30 percent augmentation happening.

Ref Depoting kit - that’s precisely how shit gets broken, total lack of ownership. We’re already borrowing NVGs and sleds and everything else from each other across the army. We don’t have to stuff to pool regardless, and if we did it would have an adverse effect on it’s maintenance.

I guess what I'm saying is why does the ARes have to be even further gutted when options exist to try new things without punishing the reserves for existing?

Who’s being gutted? Are there positions being reduced ? You said your self amalgamate where it makes sense. Clearly here it makes sense.

Final point, I think you underestimate the power of esprit de corps in the reserves. The younger fellas in my regiment are pretty rabidly pro-regt, it gives them a sense of belonging and meaning in a world that increasingly isolates them.

And those young fellas would be rapidly pro which ever regiment they joined. If they turned all of Manitoba into the 3rd Hussars, in five years you’d have a bunch of rapidly pro Hussar young fellas. I fully appreciate the importance of esprit de corps, and I cut my teeth in a tiny reserve regiment that had little else. Let me ask you this though, is the purpose of the army reserve to preserve tradition or to contribute to operations ?
 
Back
Top