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June 29, 2017
Maj John Liston
AFTER six months of hard train-
ing soldiers from 13 Bde are on
track to become “ready” ahead of
their transition into the next phase
of the force generation cycle.
The West Australian dig-
gers have just completed Exercise
Damour at the Bindoon Training
Area and will form a combat team
of Battle Group Cannan – from 11
and 13 Bdes – to support 3 Bde
over the next 12 months.
Exercise Director and CO
16RWAR Lt-Col Campbell
Waterman said the training was
a good round-out of the readying
phase and vital before Exercise
“Damour ensured the
13 Bde combat team (Combat Team
Charlie) can slot into Battle Group
Cannan and work well with our
Queensland counterparts,” he said.
This was achieved through real-
istic and innovative training.
“We maximised a ‘learning-by-
doing’ effect so the platoons could
repeat several serials one after
another and learn directly from their
own actions,” Lt-Col Waterman said.
It was this process that increased
the training value by creating tight
timelines and developing a sense of
“We let the platoons conduct
deliberate planning to produce
a standard plan for tasks such as
clearance or convoy escort, and
when it was completed the platoons
were ‘reset’ to do it again with a
reissued fragmentary order and
shortened battle procedure,” Lt-Col
“To increase complexity, the
exercise incorporated a village with
more than 90 role players as well as
an opposing force.
“It’s a big difference from deal-
ing with an empty village.
“Soldiers had to work out who
were the important villagers; who
were the people they needed to talk
to before entering homes. We dealt
with this complex human and physi-
cal terrain through good interaction
between infantry and engineers.”
The combined arms nature of the
training was well regarded.
Training WO 11/28RWAR WO2
Kent Bloffwitch said the exercise
“It has shown soldiers how the
different battlefield operating sys-
tems work together and the benefits
during operations,” he said.
The infantry soldiers across
Combat Team Charlie have become
accustomed to working with PMVs
and incorporating the capabilities
and limitations of the vehicle in
their tactical appreciations.
“The training has given them
confidence to work with the vehi-
cles, to understand the vehicle’s vul-
nerabilities, to know how to employ
the additional capabilities they bring
and apply this to their planning,”
WO2 Bloffwitch said.
“This is paying dividends
throughout the brigade.
“Our junior commanders have
the ability to employ the differ-
ent battlespace operating sys-
tems, which means we are placed
in a very good position to step up
in a much quicker fashion when
For Cpl Cameron Mitchell, a
section commander in Combat Team
Charlie, the benefit was being able
to work through weaknesses and
build on the strengths of his team.
“It is a challenge to become
ready, but we have done a lot of
work together with vehicles and our
dismounted and mounted skills have
improved,” he said.
“We’ve had the best preparation
we could have and we are confident
as we head into Talisman Sabre.”
Another valuable factor that con-
tributed to Damour was the close
working arrangements with 11 and
The presence of JNCO advis-
ers from 3CER also ensured the lat-
est combat skills were passed on to
“They came to the exercise with
the latest operational knowledge
and showed us how new technology
is used to defeat IED threats,” 2IC
13 Fd Sqn Capt Leigh McWhirter
The transfer of knowledge and
skills from regular to reserve sol-
diers was a key outcome of this col-
“This demonstrates that the
paired brigade and Plan Beersheba
structure is working and is leading
to more opportunities for reserve
soldiers,” Capt McWhirter said.
Reserve soldiers on the ‘road to ready’
EXERCISE Damour was
important lead-up training
for 13 Bde as it prepares
to reinforce 3 Bde, which
will become the “ready”
brigade in July.
The basis of 13 Bde’s
commitment during the
ready year is a combined
arms combat team of
250 soldiers (drawn from
infantry, artillery, engi-
neers and light cavalry)
and a further 50 person-
nel with specialist capa-
will provide 3 Bde with
capabilities suited to
stability operations, as
well as domestic security,
and disaster relief.
Soldiers from 7 Pl, 11/28RWAR,
prepare to enter a village complex
during urban operations training
on Exercise Damour.
Photo: AB James McDougall
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