Home' Army News : December 5th 2013 Contents “
The level of gunnery
was of a high
standard and high
tempo, all with the
added complexity of
enemy indirect and
– Lt Nathan Small, 8/12 Regt
continually over 48 hours, with Cpl
Katz’s section getting little sleep.
“Most of the boys got around an
hour-and-a -half sleep,” he said.
“It’s designed to give you limited
or no sleep and a couple of the guys
were pulled out at some point to get
“You can’t just do it based on the
strength of one or two people; you
have to make sure the team’s well
rounded. It’s a 100 per cent team
effort at all stages.”
Each stand was scored out of
100 and added together to give an
overall score. Points were taken
off for not staying under set times
Teams with more than 85 points
received a gold medal.
“If one person drops out you can’t
get a gold medal or silver medal and
if two people drop out you can’t get a
medal at all,” Cpl Katz said.
“Out of nine gold medals we were
the only international team to win
one this year.”
LCpl Fabreschi said silver
wouldn’t have been good enough for
“We knew we wanted to do well,”
he said. “It’s only two days – you
can survive through two days easily
“Everyone put in; we’re all good
mates, mateship got us through it.”
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Army December 5, 2013
Golden victory for 2RAR
Rolling hills: Soldiers from 2RAR patrol through the Cambrian
Mountains in Wales.
Thunderous end to year
Lt Samuel Watts
GUNNERS honed their high-
intensity live-fire skills in South
Australia during Exercise Thunder
All elements of 8/12 Regt deployed
to the Cultana Training Area for the
regiment’s last exercise for the 2013
training year from October 11 to
The regiment managed to get eight
full gun detachments in the field – the
first time it has done this since the
introduction of the M777 Howitzer
Personnel integrated with 16 Air
Land Regt (16ALR) and its GAMB
Radar (Giraffe) and a number of
lightweight counter mortar radar
during the exercise.
Both RAA regiments conducted
radar adjustment missions as well as
counter-fire missions with the aid of
the Giraffe Radar.
This was particularly exciting
as this type of training had not been
conducted in some time and was
the first time the Giraffe was used
successfully to adjust fire from M777
CO 8/12 Regt Lt-Col Julian West
said Ex Thunder Run was a success.
“The exercise was an excellent end
to a high-intensity training year and
has set up 8/12 Regt for another good
year of training in 2014,” he said.
“The integration of the 16ALR
Giraffe and the Fire Support Patrol
Base (FSPB) operations were
In the lead-up, personnel undertook
a series of command-post exercises
in Darwin as well as two full days of
exercising in Cultana.
This was a chance to confirm drills
and procedures before deploying into
the field for Ex Thunder Run.
Ex Thunder Run consisted of four
days of fire and movement from north
to south through the training area.
Each gun line was forced to carry
out core gunnery skills such as night
redeployments, hasty fire missions and
danger close fires, all while threatened
with enemy air power, counter-battery
fire and enemy recon patrols.
The Joint Fires Teams (JFTs) made
their way south and coordinated fire
support from both gun lines as well as
supporting PC9 aircraft.
The gun lines were also faced
with a threat from a notional enemy
BM-21 battery and were gassed while
occupying gun positions and firing in
support of the JFTs further south.
The chemical, biological,
Annual exercise sees a first for regiment
radiological and nuclear (CBRN)
attack was supported by 9 Fd Sqn,
1CER, which used gas grenades to
replicate the BM-21 base eject gas
Command Post officer Lt Nathan
Small, of 103 Battery, said it was a
“The exercise was an excellent test
of objectives,” he said.
“The level of gunnery was of
a high standard and high tempo, all
with the added complexity of enemy
indirect and CBRN attack.”
After the fire and movement
phase, the regiment consolidated in
the south of the range and began the
construction of a FSPB. Both gun
batteries, the regimental command
post and the A-echelon combined
efforts and created a strong and well-
defended position from which they
From this location the regiment
defended against attack and continued
to provide indirect fire support.
FSPB members were exposed to
more gas attacks, night probing and air
threats and participated in small-arms
live-fire ambushes and other infantry
minor tactics training.
The base was held and maintained
for four days, resulting in a well dug-in
and defended position from which to
provide fire support. The culminating
activity was a direct-fire serial
involving eight guns firing from the
vicinity of South Hill into the Cultana
Range impact area.
After two adjusting rounds all eight
guns amassed fire with six rounds fire-
for-effect in a devastating display of
RAA fire power.
Detachment commandeer LBdr
Troy Price, of 103 Battery, welcomed
the chance to put skills into practice.
“The direct-fire serial was a great
chance to practise direct fire gunnery
as a detachment and to see the impact
of the rounds they provide,” he said.
All together: Gunners look on as rounds
land in the direct-fire impact area.
Take aim: 103 Battery fires from the Fire Support Patrol Base.
Cpl Max Bree
SOLDIERS from 2RAR became the
first Australians in 27 years to win a
gold medal on the Cambrian Patrol
in Wales from October 16-19.
Each team was sent out on
a recon mission through the steep
Cambrian Mountains before going
into a “bull-ring” with long marches
between each stand.
Commander Cpl Ben Katz
said the event was based on recent
operations and covered about 55km.
“It was almost like a Kosovo-style
stabilisation scenario with a bit of
Iraq and Afghanistan thrown in,” he
“It was a recon patrol mission
locating a training camp. On the
way we got re-tasked to things like
observation posts, water crossings
and a first-aid stand.”
Competitors from 17 nations
slogged up and down the Welsh
mountains along with 83 British
“Like us, they travelled a fair way
to get to the comp so most of them
were extremely competent,” Cpl Katz
said. “It was a good atmosphere.”
Patrol 2IC LCpl Karl Fabreschi
said the distance between stands,
some up to 18km, was the toughest
part of the contest.
“After you’d have a short halt
it was pretty soul shattering to get
going but you’d just have to get your
pack on and keep walking,” he said.
Soldiers patrolled almost
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