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B Coy takes the shore
2RAR troops put emerging amphibious skills to the test in Shoalwater Bay beach landing
Cpl Max Bree
BLACK Hawks thunder through
the darkness over Sabina Point
as Zodiacs carrying members of
2RAR’s B Coy tear through the
water towards their landing beach.
After launching from HMAS
Choules, the mostly B Coy soldiers
flew to landing zones near Sabina
Point to secure the area for an
amphibious landing after sunrise on
The soldiers in Zodiacs hit a
nearby beach but slogged through an
unexpected amount of mud before
they linked up with their chopper-
borne mates to form a perimeter
around the main landing beach.
B Coy commander Maj John
Eccleston was in charge of the initial
2RAR forces that arrived in the
“Everything was on time as
planned,” Maj Eccleston said.
“We had to adjust the plan as a
few things were complicated with the
Coming in via Black Hawk before
making his way to the beach was Sgt
Richard Bushnell from the mortar
“We put our mortars into location
to provide fire support to B Coy,” he
But Sgt Bushnell didn’t see any
opposing forces to warrant a fire
“I’m hoping it will be pretty
unlikely we’ll see them,” he said.
“But there’s a good possibility
they have heard us come in overnight
and will start to put a reconnaissance
screen out towards our lines.”
As the 2RAR soldiers position
themselves around the landing beach,
an LCM-8 arrives and an LX-120
rolls out a white corduroy road fol-
lowed by a bulldozer and the rest of
the Army beach team.
Driving the LX-120 is Pte Ryan
Ruf, a terminal operator from
30 Water Tpt Sqn.
“We just make sure we control the
boats that come in and out,” he said.
“Boats don’t have permission to
come and go until we give them
“We control all the stores and
vehicles that go back to the ship, but
once they cross that line of departure,
HMAS Choules has them.”
Pte Ruf said keeping the beach
under control could get people
“We get the odd occasions where
people just want to get going but we
have to do it as safely as possible.”
The five beach team soldiers are
joined by the crew of two LARC-Vs
that soon arrive as the team starts
putting up red beach markers.
Bushmasters arrive on another
LCM-8 before a Navy maxi-float
delivers a pair of Land Rovers and a
The beach team begin to dig
fighting pits in the sand, while 800m
down the road 2RAR starts putting
down gun pits. The landing area stays
open for the next 48 hours to receive
follow-on forces during the next
series of high tides.
“It’s an excellent opportunity to
get in with the Navy and the helicop-
ters,” Maj Eccleston said.
“It’s providing a bit of extra dif-
ficulty to our job.
“We are good at our jobs on the
land, now we’re working together with
the Navy to enhance our skills.”
Step ahead: 2RAR soldiers wade ashore from a landing craft at Sabina
Point during the “invasion” for Ex Talisman Saber 13. Photos by Cpl Jake Sims
In sight: WO2 Adam West, of 2RAR, stands watch for the enemy as
troops and equipment continue to come ashore from HMAS Choules.
Cpl Max Bree
AFTER sappers finished building
barbed-wire obstacles, they dug
in on a hill overlooking a road
through Pyri Pyri sector and
waited for an attack.
Sprs Ryan O’Driscoll and
Michael Clarke were part of
3CER’s support to 2RAR, dug in
on one hill while infantry were set
up on hills to their front-right and
left when the enemy attacked on
“The convoy came down the
road with a few ASLAVs and
APCs and heaps of dismounted
troops,” Spr O’Driscoll said.
“There were a few Yanks from
Darwin as well.”
But the sappers had a long
wait, after being stood-to since
10.30pm the night before.
“We were all geed-up at 10.30
ready to fight but it didn’t kick-off
until 7am,” Spr O’Driscoll said. “I
vehicle, an ASLAV, with it.
“The infantry had 84s (Carl
Gustavs) up on the hills that were
firing down on them as well.”
The lead vehicle stopped in
front of the sappers’ position and
enemy infantry started moving up
a hill to the sappers’ right.
“They had sections dismount
and push up this ridge and attack
this hill,” Spr O’Driscoll said.
“Then the dismounted guys came
out to our flank and hit us in the
But Spr O’Driscoll wasn’t sure
he would have been alive that long.
“They were already hitting us
with a .50 cal,” he said.
Though the attack seemed to
end badly for the sappers, they
were sure things wouldn’t have
deteriorated in the real situation.
“I’m pretty sure a lot of them
Sappers hold high ground in ambush
were blown-up further away
before they got through,” Spr
Clarke said. “The infantry had
And their positions on the high
ground would have been too much
for the attackers.
The sappers were proved
right, with the umpires finding
14 enemy vehicles destroyed, 30
infantry killed and 59 captured
while defending positions
sustained seven casualties from
a road at
Photo by Cpl
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