Home' Army News : November 7th 2013 Contents "
factors such as
the presence of
-- Lt-Col Rhogan Aitken, 16RAWR
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THE small Western
Australian wheatbelt town
of Watheroo almost dou-
bled its population when
200 troops from 13 Bde
were called in to secure the town-
ship after it was infiltrated by enemy
In the scenario, modelled on the
Tropicana series, Kamarian Special
Forces were conducting operations
in the rear battle area and the town of
close to 275 people became the scene
for urban security operations training.
CO 16RWAR Lt-Col Rhogan Aitken
said Exercise Nadzab was the culmina-
tion of several months of training in
preparation for current and future sup-
port to Exercise Hamel and his soldiers
found it realistic and challenging.
"This year we have been build-
ing up our expertise in the skills our
soldiers will use when operating in a
complex environment. It was great to
take our training up to another level by
working in a real-life town," he said.
It was the first time many of the
soldiers had trained in a town and they
enjoyed being able to engage with the
"During the training in Watheroo
we introduced a few more complicat-
ing factors such as an unfamiliar envi-
ronment and the presence of civilians,"
Lt-Col Aitken said.
The 2IC 16RWAR, Capt Sam
Beagley, said urban operations could
be one of the more demanding aspects
when operating in a mid-level conflict.
"It is difficult to distinguish civil-
ians from combatants, particularly in
this scenario where rogue Tropicana
Maj John Liston and Aurora Daniels discover a small town,
two warring factions and the team sent in to keep the peace.
Training hard: Gnr Callum Wilkinson, of 3 Lt Bty, with his 81mm mortar
near the Watheroo sports grounds during Exercise Nadzab.
Photos by Maj John Liston
On the job: Pte Ken Bowman, of 16RWAR,
provides security at a sentry post (above) as
Cpl Ron Schmidt, of 13CSSB, speaks with local
children at Watheroo (below).
up out west
Security Forces and the International
People's Movement were involved,"
"So we overcame this through
good intelligence and by having our
soldiers fully committed to active
patrolling, community engagement and
The troops also had to think and
"Urban terrain channels and com-
partments manoeuvres and also limits
observation, so the soldiers had to
operate in smaller teams, which meant
we decentralised decision-making
and allowed our sections to operate
independently but maintained control
through good communications. It was
valuable training for junior leaders,"
Capt Beagley said.
Commanders had to think about
how to employ weapons systems.
"We are an infantry-centric
force but we brought with us
additional capabilities such as light
cavalry to provide surveillance and
reconnaissance, and mortars to provide
fire support. This helped us protect
the population and rear area supply
routes," Capt Beagley said.
"All units from 13 Bde -- including
16RWAR, 11/28RWAR, 10LH, 3 Lt
Bty and 13CSSB -- were involved and
it was the joint approach that made the
"It was noted that from responses
received from the community that they
felt that they could rely on the ADF to
The brigade also took an innova-
tive approach to the potential problem
of conducting building clearances
in a real town. Urban facades were
transported to Watheroo to represent
windows, doors and buildings for the
soldiers to practise room entries and
Lt-Col Aitken said the training
was important because soldiers have
regularly been required to help out in
natural disasters around Australia and
stability operations overseas.
"This type of training is very
relevant. Increased urbanisation is a
consistent trend throughout our imme-
diate region, and it will be in the towns
and cities that we will need to operate
from in order to provide support to the
public," he said.
The exercise also re-established the
historical links 13 Bde had with the
Moora district during WWII.
"This part of the state hosted many
13 Bde units before they deployed
overseas and when we liaised with the
local community to plan this exercise
we encountered a lot of goodwill
towards the Army. We really appreci-
ated the patience and support from
the community during our training,"
Lt-Col Aitken said.
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