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June 2, 2016
Capt Lucy Saaroni
FOR a few days in April, the ‘road
to ready’ for 5/6RVR was paved
with grenade launchers, anti-tank
and assault rifles, machine guns,
anti-personnel mines and mortars at
Members of 5/6RVR are near the
end of an intense 12 months of train-
ing and certification.
By July, the regiment is expected
to reach a level of proficiency that will
see it enter into a state of high readi-
ness – adaptable and deployable for
broad-spectrum warfare in any region
of the world.
Exercise Somme is a combined
arms training exercise designed to
address both individual and collec-
tive capability in the use of live-fire
Three separate platoons and a light
battery were put under pressure in day
and night serials, requiring them to
outthink and overcome enemy forces.
More than 200 soldiers from the
unit were involved – the majority
CO 5/6RVR Lt-Col Paul Middleton
said live-fire section and platoon
attacks were their “bread and butter”.
“It’s what our guys love to do and
it’s a core capability we provide to
Army under Plan Beersheba,” he said.
Cpl Peter Stokes, who was in
charge of an 84mm Carl Gustav during
one of the platoon attacks, said firing
Jacka’s road to ready
Live-fire practice provides realistic training for reserve soldiers
live rounds reinforced the deadliness
of the weaponry they were handling.
“It’s critical for us to practise using
live fire so we can work confidently on
the weapons in a real life or death situ-
ation,” he said.
In addition to providing a full
infantry company, 5/6RVR also brings
a light battery (mortar) capability as
part of Battle Group Jacka.
These capability bricks can be
deployed to offer 1 Bde reinforcement
whenever and wherever they require it.
As he surveyed for collateral
damage created by mortars of 2/10
Lt Bty, joint fires team commander
Capt David Counsell said their mortar
capabilities improved through live-fire
“Although the simulators we prac-
tise on in the barracks are good, out
here we gain a deeper understanding
of the effects our mortars have when
they come into contact with wind,
humidity and other natural elements,”
For Battery Commander Maj Dan
Cairnes, Somme has been more than
just a useful gauge to benchmark the
readiness of his soldiers.
“My troops joined to engage with
live mortars in a field environment,
so it makes me happy to see them out
there doing what they love to do,” he
Somme was also a chance for
reservists to meet and train in one
location, as members normally work
across different depots in Surrey Hills,
Sunshine, St. Kilda, Moonee Ponds,
Sandringham, Doveton and Hawthorn.
5/6RVR were not alone during the
exercise – medics and drivers from
4CSSB were also on hand to make
sure it ran safely and smoothly.
With more than 200 personnel on
the ground, the work of 4CSSB was
Somme is one exercise in the gruel-
ling training regime faced by 5/6RVR
as they edge closer to ready certifica-
The regiment’s next major chal-
lenge takes place from June 27 to
July 16, when BG Jacka will partici-
pate in Exercise Hamel and confirm its
foundation warfighting skills alongside
10,000 other soldiers.
BATTLE Group Jacka some-
times feels like a long distance
relationship for 4 and 9 Bdes.
While preparing to enter the
ready state in July, the two bri-
gades enhanced their collective
capabilities – in spite of the dis-
tance that separates the soldiers
from Tasmania, South Australia
In response to a directive
from 9 Bde, soldiers from 4 Bde’s
8/7RVR and 22ER conducted a
cordon and search mission at a
civilian airport in Ballarat on May
14 as part of the ‘road to Hamel’
Nearly 100 soldiers from the
two units proved their worth to
9 Bde by securing and searching
the area, locating and detaining
high-level targets, establishing
observation posts and conducting
CO 8/7RVR Lt-Col Tom
Biedermann said 4 Bde had
accomplished an important exer-
cise in combined arms integration.
And the CO wasn’t the only
one who left impressed. Many
locals came to the airport in the
hope of seeing the Army in action.
“The level of public interest
in the work our soldiers do is
heartening to witness,” Lt-Col
Cpl Peter Stokes, of
5/6RAR, fires an 84mm
Carl Gustav during a
live-fire platoon attack.
Photo by Capt Lucy Saaroni
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