LT Charles Jilbert
Z21 PL COMD
From the 10th to the 23rd of April 2 RAR conducted a live fire exercise with attachments from 2 CAV, 5 AVN and 1 RAR (DFSW). The purpose of this exercise was to integrate heavy weapons in a live fire environment.
This exercise consisted of three distinct tactical actions: a platoon-level clearance of an enemy early warning position, immediately followed by a combined anti-armour ambush of an enemy air defence element by an ASLAV troop from 2 CAV, a DFSW section from 1 RAR, and an anti-armour enabled platoon from 2 RAR, with the final action being an air mobile raid on a suspected enemy command position.
The first tactical action was conducted by an Infantry platoon, with the snipers utilising precision fires to neutralise an enemy sentry post. Following successful rounds on target from the snipers, a section employing 66mm rockets, 40mm grenade launchers and light machine guns occupied a supporting position which, at first light, allowed the infantry platoon to advance to contact and clear the enemy off the objective named ‘Nathan’s bridge’.
Following the successful clearance of a section defensive positon located on a key piece of defendable terrain the Platoon then established a security posture on the road. This allowed the 2 CAV ASLAV troop to conduct a forward passage of lines and clear the route to the Anti-armour ambush.
Once 2 CAV had established their assault-by-fire positions and began engaging the enemy, the anti-armour elements consisting of Anti-Armour teams, Coordinated Heavy Machine Gun Fire and Anti-Armour missile teams concurrently moved into their direct fire hides. Post rounds complete from the ASLAV’s the dismounted elements occupied their positions and began engaging enemy elements moving to attempt to recover vehicles destroyed by the 2 CAV vehicle mounted heavy weapons.
Upon the successful neutralisation of the enemy, both the mounted and dismounted callsigns (C/S’s) conducted a hasty withdrawal and re-postured to occupy a quick reaction force in order to support the helicopter insertion of an infantry platoon tasked to clear and exploit an enemy command positon through the conduct of an air mobile raid.
Once confirmation of the enemy C2 element had been received a platoon mounted two CH-47’s with side mounted mini-guns and inserted onto their objective. The platoon dismounted at a designated helicopter landing site and successfully cleared the enemy from the command position. Post clearance, the platoon conduct tactical site exploitation of the C2 node then married up with the CH-47’s for their extract off from the objective.
The exercise itself highlighted the importance of both planning and executing tasks in a dynamic combined arms environment. The exercise facilitated the live firing of heavy weapons, precision fires and mounted live fire from both ground based units and helicopter platforms, the coordination of which was executed efficiently and with minimal exercise constraints ensuring the training was as true to reality as possible within the design constraints of the activity.
Commanding the Platoon responsible for the Nathans bridge clearance and the subsequent anti-armour ambushes was a highlight for myself and the soldiers of Z21 as it allowed the platoon to put in practice the skills and techniques that we employ in training in a larger, realistic context. These multi-unit exercises with our brothers and sisters from 2 CAV, 5 AVN and 1 RAR are something that that we as an Army will look to conduct more frequently. I look forward to working with these units again over the upcoming multi-national Exercise, Talisman Sabre later this year.