Battalion tests urban tactics

An Army battalion has battled enemy role-players to gain control of port infrastructure while practising clearance of a complex urban environment near Townsville.

Soldiers from 1st Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment, took part in the activity as part of Exercise Septimus Stride, a company-level urban operations exercise.

Major Laura Fitzpatrick said the battalion trained in environments outside conventional land combat as it prepared for the upcoming Sea Series of exercises.

“We’re progressing our training from the basic skill set of soldiering – gaining and holding terrain – to more complex areas involving functioning urban environments, civilians and maintaining key infrastructure,” Major Fitzpatrick said.

“The main restriction with this scenario is gaining control of the port and keeping the infrastructure intact at the same time.

“This is an excellent transition exercise where we see soldiers coming straight off Exercise Brolga Run with two weeks of hard conventional warfighting, then refitting to fight, then at the port completing the first phase for this exercise within 48 hours.

“This tests the resilience of personnel but also replicates the natural progression of defeating an enemy, from the field to urban environments.”

Major Fitzpatrick said the port was a great place to train because it represented gaining control of strategically valuable infrastructure.

“With the help of Port of Townsville staff, more than 400 people and 40 military vehicles completed complex tactical actions at a working port in a 48-hour period,” she said.

“The Port of Townsville staff really helped us to make this possible.”

Security manager Dwayne Morgan participated as a role-player in the scenario in addition to helping coordinate the activity.

“I role-played as a trusted insider recruited by the simulated enemy. In the lead-up to the assault, the soldiers asked me for access and inside information about the port,” Mr Morgan said.

“Coming from a military background I can see the necessity to train in this type of environment and we were happy to help make it happen. It was great fun being involved.”

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