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Army November 26, 2009
By Cpl Corinne Boer
THICK jungle vegetation can impede
communication, lines-of-site and arcs-
of-fire while at the same time provide
the ultimate camouflage for an ambush.
Surviving in the jungle is tough; fight-
ing in the jungle is even tougher. Every
day the staff from the Combat Training
Centre -- Jungle Training are in their ele-
ment training the soldiers in what they
know best -- the art of jungle warfare.
They provide foundation and special-
ised training for soldiers on how to use
the harsh environment to their advantage
and to build war-fighting skills that can be
adapted to almost any situation.
OC Combat Training Centre -- Jungle
Training Maj Warrick Talbot said it was
the only establishment which conducted
this type of training for the ADF.
"We're contributing directly to Army's
capability by sharpening the edge of the
bayonet for the organisation deploying
whether it is for stability operations or for
war," Maj Talbot said.
He said if a section or platoon could
operate effectively in the jungle, they
would have the capacity to transition to
Guiding soldiers through a contact dur-
ing a heavy downpour or helping them
navigate a maze of barbed vegetation is
all in a day's work for the staff at Tully.
About 20 full-time staff train up to 170
soldiers at a time.
WO2 Mick Kowski has been an
instructor at the facility for 12 months. He
said a highlight of the training was when
teams came together and responded to the
instruction given to them.
"It's rewarding to see the soldiers com-
plete the final exercise with all the correct
drills and when the platoon comes togeth-
er and bonds," WO2 Kowski said.
He has learned not to underestimate
people and also not to have his expecta-
tions too high.
"Platoons coming in are usually at
a fairly low standard when it comes to
close-country tactics, techniques and pro-
cedures," he said.
"There is a presumption they are at
a fairly good level but initially they just
need a little work."
Cpl Matt Ewing has been at Combat
Training Centre -- Jungle Training since
January. During various courses he has
assisted with instruction. "We're learning
new skills all the time. It's good to assist
in teaching the jungle fighting and track-
ing courses as well," Cpl Ewing said.
The start of something good
WHEN tasked with starting a battle school
to toughen up soldiers, Brig 'Warry' George
Mansford proved he was the right man for
He opened the battle school (which is
now the Combat Training Centre -- Jungle
Training) in 1980 and chose Tully because it
had lots of mountains, lots of jungle and was
one of the wettest places in Australia.
"I was appointed the CO of nothing,"
Brig Mansford (retd) said.
"There were some old barracks, which
was what I wanted, and it had no power. You
had to have a generator to get electricity."
He said the school was established
because there were concerns the Army was
losing its basic skills and too much time was
spent in the lecture room. Brig Mansford said
the order from Canberra was clear -- "get back
to the basics in a tough environment".
During his time as CO he was determined
to establish a headquarters in Townsville,
which he was always promised but hadn't
He invited the battalion commanders to
lunch on a lawn outside one of the messes
next to brigade headquarters.
"I put up a sign 'Battle School
Headquarters'," he said. "The incumbent
brigadier drove past and saw all his COs hav-
ing lunch with me on a hexamine stove and
he got the message. I had a headquarters that
On his departure, Brig Mansford pre-
sented the battle school with a plaque which
read: "The oath to serve your country did
not include a contract for normal luxury and
comforts enjoyed within our society. On the
contrary, it implied hardships, loyalty and
devotion to duty, regardless of your rank. This
battle school is here to remind you of that
The same message is now on a sign stra-
tegically placed in front of the mess, one of
the few comforts a soldier at the school has at
Combat Training Centre -- Jungle Training.
Brig Mansford said the quote has been
adopted and adapted all over the Army and
"Even the Yanks are using it," he said.
Slippery when wet: WO2 Ronald Davis guides a soldier
up a muddy embankment (above).
Progress report: WO2 Mick Kowski discusses the
soldiers' progress with CSM 8/9RAR WO2 Ian Bracken.
Photos by Cpl Corinne Boer
Determined: Brig Mansford (second from left) at 1 Div
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