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August 8, 2019
LUE sky was clouded by smoke and dust
in a matter of minutes as 12 of Battle
Group Lion’s M1A1 Abrams tanks began
unleashing more than 300 120mm
rounds on the enemy.
The devastating display was part of a live fire
that had multiple combat teams concentrate on
one objective: ending 1 Armd Regt’s four-week
Warfighter exercise with a bang in July.
The exercise involved more than 950 soldiers
and included ASLAVs, APCs, infantry, combat
engineers and artillery.
Cpl Scott Johnston of B Sqn, 1 Armd Regt,
said the live fire was a good opportunity to put
practice into play.
“We always dry train these kind of serials
before we move on to live fire,” he said.
“To practise live fire together as a battle
group is so encouraging – by the end it all just
Abrams moved to position under cover of
mortars and artillery from 5RAR and 8/12 Regt,
RAA, before tanks shot more than 30 minutes of
suppressive fire ahead of dismounts moving in.
“They sent down nearly 300 armour-piercing
rounds from the 120mm smooth bore, 60,000
rounds from the .50 cals and around 20,000
rounds of 7.62mm from the Mag-58s,” Cpl
The attack was memorable for SM B Sqn
WO2 Shaun Clements, who resupplied tanks
before taking command.
“I had the opportunity to give fire control
orders to the squadron,” he said.
“After 23 years in Armoured Corps it was
pretty special for me to have that opportunity one
CO 1 Armd Regt Lt-Col John Holloway said
bringing 1000 soldiers to build a fighting force in
five days was a feat in itself.
“The thing about combined arms is we never
fight alone,” he said.
“It is not easy to bring together a team from
across Australia who have not trained together
before, but this team bonded and came together
to demonstrate we are ready to support 1 Bde
as Army’s next ready brigade.”
During the exercise, Battle Group Lion also
experimented with a new combat-team construct.
Three primary combat teams were organised
with tanks, cavalry, infantry, artillery and engi-
neers almost equally divided.
Cpl Johnston said the new construct worked
well to provide manoeuvrability and diversity
across the battlefield.
“This was the first time we had combat teams
following the 1:1:1 construct,” he said.
“This meant we had the tanks working along-
side ASLAVs, the M113s moved infantry and the
WITHDRAWING “enemy” received a
nasty surprise when a 5RAR mortar pla-
toon and infantry company appeared in
their path during 1 Armd Regt’s Warfighter
exercise at Shoalwater Bay.
They arrived thanks to a riverine inser-
tion facilitated by 1CER’s Zodiac and
An engineer troop took the infantry and
mortarmen, from Sabina Point, 30km to
Shoalwater Creek, then 10km up stream.
Engineer troop commander Lt James
Foster said they demonstrated a capability
rarely used in both a tactical and relevant
“We inserted a company in three sepa-
rate serials over two days, covering more
than 200km to enable the mortar platoon
to be right in the path of the withdrawing
enemy,” he said.
From the beach-landing site, infantry-
men patrolled more than 5km and set up
a position to interdict withdrawing enemy
and call indirect fires.
The mission was physically tough, but
the team pushed through, according to
LCpl Byron Collier.
“Dragging the boats across 1000m of
mudflats was pretty hard, but everyone
pitched in and got the job done,” he said.
“The mud was up to our chests and
people were really stuck; we had people
whose boots were sucked off their feet.”
CO 1 Armd Regt Lt-Col John
Holloway said the mortar platoon out-
flanked the enemy who had not thought a
riverine insertion would occur.
“Riverine is just another method of
insertion, another means to undermine the
enemy,” Lt-Col Holloway said.
‘We never fight alone’
Warfighter brings together a team from units across
Australia to fight side-by-side, writes Cpl Carla Armenti.
catches out enemy
1 Armd Regiment
Lt Chloe Pinheiro
flies a green flag
on her ASLAV
5RAR soldiers on patrol.
Spr Cameron Bennett, of 1CER, takes a knee during a patrol before clearing
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