Home' Army News : October 1st 2009 Contents 50 YEARS OF SERVICE
2 – ARMY NEWSPAPER, OCTOBER 1, 2009
WHAT MADE THE NEWS
Lightweight food packs
TASMANIAN CMF troops have been used as guinea pigs for Army food sci-
entists who are striving to make lighter and better tasting food packs for
The rations were dehydrated and compressed to reduce food weight by
about two-thirds. Although the food is tiny, consisting of one block of meat
and two blocks of vegetables per meal, the CMF troops said their first meal
left them feeling like they had eaten too much.
Jungle greens for all
MINISTER for Army Mr J.O. Cramer has announced all regular and CMF sol-
diers will wear jungle green clothing come September. This would mean uni-
formity of clothing instead of the present system which allowed some Field
Force soldiers to wear jungle greens and others to wear khaki.
The Army’s policy of integrated training and a one Army concept for the
ARA and CMF made it desirable to have one uniform for all, and Army would
benefit from the economies of scale.
New landing craft
TWO spanking new Army landing craft purred into Sydney Harbour last week.
The 120-tonne Australian Landing Craft 50 craft are primarily designed
to ferry stores and equipment from ship to beach-head. Called the Australian
Landing Craft (ALC) 50, they were built in Davenport, Tasmania by Phoenix
Shipyards, and can carry a Centurion tank, 100 infantrymen or 40,000 gallons
of bulk fuel.
South Vietnam men ready
THE 30 Australian instructors selected for service in South Vietnam completed
an indoctrination course at Canungra, Queensland, earlier this month.
Minister for Army Mr J.O. Cramer drew attention to the recent statement
by the Minister of Defence that there was today an urgent problem of com-
munist infiltration and insurgency fomented, directed and supported by com-
munist North Vietnam.
Army clearing Darwin minefields
MINEFIELDS laid near Darwin during World War II, when the mainland was
threatened with invasion by Japanese forces, are to be cleared by Australian
A party of 46 men from 3RAR’s Pioneer Platoon has travelled from
Brisbane to Darwin to clear the minefields. Equipped with the latest mine
clearing devices, the soldiers are clearing land to make way for housing
Automatic rifle for general units
THE fully-automatic 7.62mm rifle is now available for non-infantry units,
schools and training establishments of the Australian Military Forces.
Officially known as the L2A1, the new weapon will replace the Bren light-
machine gun in non-infantry units.
Back from Malaya
MEN of “old Faithful”, 3RAR, are coming home after nearly two years of
anti-terrorist fighting in North Malayan jungles. Coming home with them
are brothers-in-arms of A Field Battery and 2 Troop, RAE, who have shared
in Australia’s contribution to the terrorist hunt since 1957.
First parachute jumps over WA
GUSTY wind and rain caused many holdups in Western Australia’s first
massed parachute jumps carried out by 1 SAS Company. Each member of
the company made at least one descent.
More units take delivery of FN rifle
EQUIPPING the ARA with FN (SLR) rifles was progressing according to
schedule. 1RAR was heading to Malaya fully equipped with the new rifle.
3RAR, which 1RAR was replacing, had been using the FN rifle in the anti-
Communist terrorist campaign.
Army knows where it is going
FIGURES show that, of every 10 men reaching the end of their current
engagement, seven sign on again. This is the highest proportion since the
regular Army was formed in 1947. The regular Army is being more selec-
tive. No-hopers are not welcome. The drongos are on the way out and
good men realise that the standard is rising. [From an editorial contributed
by a senior officer.]
MEMBERS of the RAADC have begun a search for a suitable girl to be
appointed “pin-up” of the 3-8 Dental Units in Victoria. Judges have been
appointed to select the lucky appointee.
About the enemy
IT TAKES a very small knowledge of current affairs to deduce that the
threat in South East Asia is from the Communists. The wars in Korea and
Indochina are proof positive of this. Their aim is world domination, and let
us be clear that whether they regard Australia as part of South East Asia or
not, Australia is included in their list for conquest. [From an opinion piece.]
Sappers’ gallantry awards
THERE were gale-force winds and mountainous seas off Gabo Island when
the towline between Army tug Mollymawk and a 100-tonne lighter parted.
Two volunteers leapt aboard the wildly heaving lighter, and working under
dangerous conditions in freezing cold, often deluged by breaking seas, bat-
tled for three hours to secure the bridles and tow. The two heroes were Cpl
Hugh Brookes and Spr Ronald Hill.
New weapons considered
LIGHTER, more effective section support weapons for infantrymen are now
being considered in the Australian Army. They include the American M60,
the Belgian FN MAG58 (British modified) and the Canadian FN C2, heavy-
barrelled automatic rifle. Also under consideration to better equip the
infantrymen in this latter role is a new type high-explosive hand grenade.
Five big changes:
A 35 PER cent increase in the strength of the 1st Infantry Brigade Group
features in reorganisation plans announced by the Minister for Defence Mr
Townley. Other major points in his statement were:
● Provision for a 30-million-pound Army equipment program.
● Suspension of the National Service Training Scheme as from January 1,
● An increase in strength of the Australian army cadet corps by 5000 to
● Integration of training for regular Army and CMF troops.
● A change in the ORBAT of the CMF from three divisions to six infantry
brigade groups and a reduction in size to 30,000 volunteers.
New Army based on two divisions
A MEETING of senior officers in Canberra last week decided on the
broad lines the reorganisation of the Army will take. They provide for two
Pentropic divisions. Each division will comprise five battle groups, each
battle group consisting of infantry elements with supporting arms and
services. The infantry element – an integral part of the battle group – will
be called an infantry battalion but will bear little relationship to the battal-
ions as they have existed to date because it will be half as strong again in
manpower with twice the firepower. Each battalion will be divided into five
companies. When two battle groups operate together the resulting force
will be termed a task force.
The end of an era
LOW cloud, poor light and constant drizzle did not mar a significant parade
at Brighton Camp – the final passing out parade by National Servicemen
for the whole of Australia.
RECENT statements in Parliament about the pro-
posed retrenchment of 1600 to 1700 personnel
have caused many soldiers to wonder whether
there is a place for them in the “new look” Army.
The suspension of National Service has elimi-
nated regular staff at training battalions and is
reducing the number of ARA cadres within CMF
units. Changes to the composition of the Regular
Field Force and the resultant reduction in train-
ing and administrative staff are also reducing the
need for older and more senior personnel.
Army is seeking to retain soldiers who are
medically fit Class 1, under 35 years of age, are
below the rank of sergeant and not an adminis-
This does not mean that anyone who fails to
meet this test will be retrenched, but there are up
to 1700 older, more senior members for whom
there will be no place.
Army gets new teeth
MINISTER for Army Mr J.O. Cramer said the
arrival of the 105mm howitzers was a further
step towards standardisation with British, US and
other NATO forces.
“These new weapons are some of the teeth
that will put the bite into the new-look 1st
Division – Australia’s future field force spear-
The 105mm weapon is far more manoeuvrable
than the 25lb gun it replaces, and fires a heavier
shell. The new gun is also better in the tropical
role, where its barrel can be elevated for very
close support and to fire over steep hills in rugged
COL F.G. Hassett, one of Australia’s most
outstanding officers, has been appointed to
command the 28th Commonwealth Brigade
Group in Malaya. He will be promoted to the
temporary rank of brigadier when he assumes the
appointment in December.
Col Hassett served in Bardia and Tobruk fol-
lowing graduation from Duntroon in 1938, and
later served as the CO 3RAR in Korea in 1951 dur-
ing the bitter fighting north of the Imjin River, for
which he received the DSO.
Two more LSMs arrive
TWO additional Landing Ships Medium purchased
from the US for the Australian Army have arrived
in Sydney from Japan where they were moth-
balled. The ships are named Vernon Sturdee and
Clive Steele after famous Australian generals.
Their arrival increases Army’s fleet of LCMs to
four. The 1000-tonne vessels have a range of 3500
miles and a speed of 13 knots.
Each ship can carry four Centurion tanks, 50
men and 250 tonnes of cargo.
The first two ships, Brudenell White and Harry
Chauvel, arrived last December.
Plastic blank ammunition
A REVOLUTIONARY new type of plastic blank
ammunition is being tested by the Australian
Army. The new ammunition enables all types of
small arms to be practice-fired safely and effi-
Samples of 7.62mm ammunition for the L1A1
Self Loading Rifle have been purchased from the
West German manufacturer and issued to some
A firing demonstration of these rounds, along
with 9mm rounds for the Owen Gun and 40mm
Bofors Anti-Aircraft guns was recently held at the
Proof and Experimental Range at Williamstown,
Victoria. The new round has a metal base with a
Vehicles can drive on air
AN AUSTRALIAN Army engineer has developed
and demonstrated a simple device that removes
the need for a vehicle to use a bridge to cross a
Capt Fred Millar’s invention requires the fitting
of an adaptor plate to each wheel that will allow
a vehicle to cross while being suspended between
two steel cables. The apparatus is being used by
the 28th Commonwealth Brigade in Malaya in its
road building project at Kuala Rui in Perak State.
Using cables rather then bridges would allow
for multiple crossing sites to be established quick-
ly with air-portable equipment.
No modifications are required to the vehicles,
and the crossing points are difficult to destroy
with bombing or strafing.
100-year-old battery revitalised
AS PART of the newly reorganised Army the 114th
Coastal Battery RAA has been revitalised as an
essential port examination battery.
In event of war the battery’s CMF troops
would play its role in controlling shipping entering
or leaving the harbour.
The South Head Coastal Battery position was
first manned in 1788 when a signal gun was
used to notify Sydney residents of the arrival of a
vessel. Today there are two six-inch guns with a
range of 14,500 yards at the Hornby Battery.
New wings for Army
EIGHT Army members, including a CMF soldier,
have been selected as trainee pilots for the Army’s
The 16th Army Light Aircraft Squadron was
formed three months ago for intimate light air-
craft support. The squadron’s main tasks include
artillery observation, battlefield surveillance, liai-
son and communications duties and emergency
The unit is located at Amberley, Queensland,
and has six Cessna aircraft and 11 Bell helicop-
ters, with more aircraft to be delivered.
New carbine in development
A new machine carbine now in development will
be several pounds lighter than the Owen Gun.
It is a new design and not merely an adaptation
of the Owen Gun, although some features are
similar, such as the 9mm round common to both
Prototypes have been constructed at the
Lithgow Small Arms factory and should be avail-
able for testing by Army within three months.
[Editor’s note: This weapon would become the
F1 machine carbine used by the Australian Army
until the late 1980s.]
Recruiting up for ARA
INCREASING numbers of recruits with higher
intellectual and educational standards are joining
the Regular Army.
During the first half of this year an estimated
1600 recruits were received at Kapooka’s 1st
Recruit Training Battalion, more than the full-year
totals for 1959 and 1960.
This increase in numbers and standards have
been attributed to an intense recruiting campaign
by mobile Army teams, and an increasing desire
to join Army because of its more modern weapons
and equipment, and improved training conditions.
Carrier as strategic transport
CONVERSION of the 17,000-tonne aircraft car-
rier HMAS Sydney to a fast strategic transport is
expected to be completed by the end of March
HMAS Sydney will be capable of carrying 700
troops and 700 vehicles into tropical waters if
required. The converted aircraft carrier will not
carry tanks as these would be transported by
Army’s Landing Ships Medium.
THE Royal Couple have been welcomed by a military reception during their
visit to South Australia. A Queen’s Guard of Honour, comprised of two officers
and 96 troops was inspected by the Queen.
Capt F. Read, Australian Defence Public Relations, said the Royal visitors
appreciated the lack of formality for their tour of the Adelaide area. “Army
members who had the honour to be presented found they were in conversa-
tion with two charming people interested in the everyday life of the people,”
Spanning the globe to train here
THE 1st Battalion, Royal Ulster Rifles, will participate in major Field Force
exercises in NSW this November. The Royal Ulster Rifles will take part in a
counter-insurgency exercise with 1st Division troops. The six-week visit to
Australia is the first by a British battalion.
New tank killer
ARMY has placed an order for the ENTAC – a light, hard-hitting anti-tank
guided missile. It will double the effective anti-tank range of the infantry-
man’s present weapon.
It is less than 3ft long, can be operated by one man, and will add mobility
and punch to today’s Army. Regarded as the best in the world, the missile can
destroy any known tank, yet can be man-packed or air-dropped.
History made sky-high
FOR the first time in Australia three men, all Army parachute instructors, leapt
one after another from a helicopter. The 30-second freefall descent was made
from 6700 feet over RAAF Base Williamtown using an RAAF UH-1 helicopter.
New flexible Army
THE Army Division will be re-shaped under a new initiative
that will feature more infantry battalions in a Division and
give greater flexibility in its deployment.
Under the restructure each division will have nine infan-
try battalions and three Task Force Headquarters.
Infantry battalions will shrink from the large Pentropic
model to an 800-man structure. Australian divisions will be
suited to both Cold War [i.e. nuclear conflict] and limited
war roles, and be more air mobile and suited to South East
Asian conditions where roads are often few or non-existent.
Each division would be supported by an armoured
reconnaissance regiment, three field artillery regiments, a
field engineer regiment and the necessary logistic units.
Building for a bigger Army
THE biggest ever works program undertaken for the Army
– co sting 23 million pounds – will follow the launching of
National Service training this year.
About 19 million pounds will be spent on accommoda-
tion for units to which National Servicemen will be posted
after their initial training. Locations include Holsworthy,
Puckapunyal, Townsville and Enoggera.
The first two National Service intakes will consist of
2100 men, followed by quarterly intakes of 1725 men.
Dreams come true
AFTER 30 years of planning the new Army Headquarters
is about to be completed in Canberra as part of the new
Defence complex. Signals equipment is now being installed
in the impressive four-storey building that faces east over
Lake Burley Griffin. A feature of the new headquarters is the
prospect of exciting fishing on the nearby lake waterfront.
Action on fiery homefronts
REGULAR and citizen soldiers came back weary and smoke-
blackened after fighting on fire-fronts in eastern and south-
More than 500 soldiers from Puckapunyal and
Melbourne metropolitan units helped fight large-scale fires
in South Gippsland, Victoria. In NSW 180 soldiers from
1 Field Regt, RAA, and 5RAR helped to save the town of
Bundanoon. It was the first active role for 5RAR.
A 40-TONNE floating crane was used to off-load the first
bulk consignment of 10 M113 Armoured Personal Carriers
in Melbourne. Costing about 12,000 pounds each, the new
vehicles are the best of their type available.
They can be parachuted from aircraft, and move on land
or water. The tracked vehicles have a land speed in excess
Troops welcomed in South Vietnam
A CRASH of applause greeted the 350-man contingent of
the Australian Army Force as they marched onto the parade
ground at Ton Sonnhut Stadium for an official welcome cer-
emony by the people of Vietnam.
The main road was closed to allow 1RAR soldiers to
march into the stadium to the tune of Waltzing Matilda.
Prior to the parade two Vietnamese soldiers with mine
detectors checked the entire parade ground and the imme-
The bulk of the Australian Army Force is established at
Bien Hoa air base, located 20 miles northeast of Saigon.
On the move
MORE than 600 officers and men of 3RAR were farewelled
on a parade at the 28th Commonwealth Infantry Brigade
Group Headquarters at Terendak Garrison, Malacca
After two years service in Malaysia and on active service
in Borneo, 3RAR will return to Australia and be replaced by
Meanwhile, A Field Battery, RAA , the oldest regular unit
of the Australian Army, has been posted for a tour of duty in
Malaysia where it will replace 102 Field Battery. This is the
sixth time the unit has been sent overseas.
THE first three battalions of the Royal Australian Regiment
are celebrating their 20th birthday. 1RAR , raised October
12, 1965, is serving in War Zone D in South Vietnam. 2RAR ,
raised October 15, 1965 is training in Australia. 3RAR, raised
October 20, 1945, is returning to Australia following its two-
year tour of duty in Malaysia and Borneo.
Joining the Regiment
HISTORY has been made with the ceremonial inauguration
parade of 4RAR at Woodside in South Australia. The new
infantry battalion, commanded by Lt-Col D.S. Thomson, will
be complete with 740 all ranks by the end of March.
Gunner’s lifesaving tenacity
TWO children thought to have drowned were saved by the
tenacity of a soldier from the Army Proof and Experimental
Establishment in South Australia. Gnr G.A . Blunden was at
the Port Wakefield swimming pool when an 11-year-old girl
was fished out. She was thought to have drowned but Gnr
Blunden brought her around using manual resuscitation.
He managed to do the same for the girl’s 12-year-old sister,
who was brought in minutes later.
Tragedy at sea
The Chief of the General Staff, Lt-Gen J.G.N. Wilton, has sent
a message of sympathy and condolence to the Chief of the
Naval Staff after the tragic loss of HMAS Voyager. “We share
with the Navy, and with the relatives and friends of those
killed and missing, the distress and grief occasioned by the
loss of so many gallant officers and ratings and of such a
fine ship,” he said.
THE new Australian Army olive-green uniform was on
parade for the first time in Australia when 1RSAR, was
presented with Queen and Regimental Colours. The new uni-
form is made of crease-resisting materials; including wool-
and-polyester trousers and cotton-and-polyester shirts.
SOLDIERS in Army DUKWs featured in the rescue of more
than 250 people stranded by this month’s disastrous NSW
floods. The worst flood in 40 years covered vast areas of
the Richmond and Windsor areas, and extended as far as
Singleton and Lithgow.
Veterans in jungle supply
BORNEO ponies are on trial with 3RAR troops in North
Malaysia. They are being used to ferry supplies, ammunition
and equipment from pick-up points to forward troop areas.
Carrying loads averaging 200lbs, the tough little ponies
travel sure-footedly over mountainous terrain led by armed
A selection of articles from
the first decade of Army
ON THE COVER: Members of 5 Pl, B Coy, 7RAR, just north of the village of Phuoc
Hai, in August 1967. The US Iroquois are landing to take them back to Nui Dat.
Welcome home: Soldiers return from Malaya.
On the move: APCs in Vietnam.
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