CONTACT – Issue 56

CONTACT issue 56 – December 2017 – read right here or download and save for later.

 

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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

5 thoughts on “CONTACT – Issue 56

  • 05/02/2018 at 10:47 am
    Permalink

    Do you have any info on the Reserve Companies (as mentioned by Lt-Gen Angus Campbell) which will
    be integrated with 2 Batt (Amphibious) into its establishment — and what their roles will be?

    Reply
    • 05/02/2018 at 11:42 am
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      Hi Bob. I don’t know specifics – and at this early stage, maybe there aren’t any.
      The story said, “2RAR will see a reinforcement from an army reserve company that will specialise in riverine operations, and provide training support to specialist courses.”
      Logic and good guessing would suggest that the reserve company will come from reserve infantry elements of 11 Brigade in Townsville.
      If anyone else out there can elaborate, please do.
      Brian Hartigan
      CONTACT Editor

      Reply
  • 04/12/2017 at 3:07 pm
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    I would like to submit a response to the “2RAR Amphibious” article. While I fully acknowledge that the Battalion has gone through a transitional period, and developed a capability to suit the new suite of ships for task, the writer of the article needs to be enlightened and it seems Army PR before him, about a few things. Its all very well to think of yourself as better than others, but blowing a trumpet, can be exactly that.

    2RAR did not recently conduct the largest amphibious landing by Australians since WW2! 1RAR landed in SVN via the aircraft carrier HMAS Sydney, on helos and landing craft, with vehicles, it was not opposed. Several RAR BNs did this. 6RAR conducted a Battalion amphib landing in Hawaii from US ships with the USMC when they were preparing to become the “Amphib specialists of the Regiment” in 89. 2RAR conducted a amphib landing in Battalion supported strength, from USS Germantown and other craft with the USMC. There is no doubt more examples if one was to dig a wee bit deeper. I think anyone submitting in defense publications or the like should contact Army History Unit or Google first, there have been too many reported “firsts” by the ADF in recent years that are not really accurate.

    2RAR cannot operate as a standard infantry battalion, which as we know fields usually three rifle companies, Support company, Admin company and BHQ. Fielding only one Rifle company, and a Recon Company limits you, such as in the 6RAR “Army 21” Trials. This means with enemy defense frontages and ratios, 2RAR like 6RAR in that trial, will only likely be tasked with missions in the 3:1 ratio, against an estimated enemy platoon or slightly larger if you get Recon company to act as rifle platoons. That does not sound like a standard Infantry Battalion, does it? Its more likely that it will be used as reserve or depth for 3BDE. The reserve Rifle Company, does not work, not in modern Australia. Again, 6RAR Army 21, A Coy was the GRES Company and one patrol in both Recon and Surv Platoons. A Company generally went field with a platoon or less, if at all, and the reserve patrols seldom turned up. You would have to task a GRES BDE in order to develop the task and the bean counters wont condone it, so good luck with that!. Would have been much better, to look at the results of expensive trials previously conducted, and retain two rifle companies. They would all turn up, and 2RAR could indeed be used as a small SIB! not a heavily supported Rifle Company with likely more officers than soldiers. I think you need to look at who you are trying to fool, parliament, the RAR Association or the future enemy, who really wont give a toss. Its not to late to undo it!!

    I do also wonder at the “Recon Gap” between SOCOMD Recon and RAR BN Recon platoons, that you feel only 2RAR can fill? I’d say you just pissed a few people off there, like all of the RAR Recon platoons. You may be able to insert up rivers and by helo, Which is what they can do, with the aid of Pioneer Platoon, as is one of their roles, or Air, but you certainly cant do anything more. Your still susceptible to riverine ambush, your still susceptible to SAMs and enemy action. If a JTAC goes with them, then they have the same capability, and your blowing a trumpet. I would dare say, hunter killer anti tank teams, sniper pairs, Small boat handlers, Dems operators, Mortarmen and NCOs and officers trained in call for fire techniques are present, skilled and ready in every Battalion of the Regiment.

    At the end of the day, good on you 2RAR for training and adapting to this role. I served in 2RAR, and am still proud of the Battalion, and would have loved to work in this environment, I did with the Brit Army when in 3RAR. Yep, Paratroopers in landing craft, there was vomit, but it was loads easier than having to jump, rally then get into it. But I wonder if perhaps the government and the brass has slightly hamstrung this. Perhaps fixing the deployment of Tanks off the ships issue, (purchase a squadron of lighter tanks like Leopard 2 if you need too) and raising 2 RAR to at least two rifle companies, and keep politicians and defense procurement with public servants in that process not able to exercise rank in decision!. And time for the bear in the closet! Rerolling a Battalion in the Para role to secure the beachhead or LZ (not import Allies to do it), we killed a national capability when we killed 3RAR’s Para role, over less funding annually than retired politicians travel and pensions!!. Without the surprise of air delivered, take and hold troops, to block access on roads or ground you will not be conducting an Amphib landing into opposed territory. You don’t have to use them, but if you need to they are there.(remember our small sized SASR and CDOs will be otherwise employed).

    Reply
    • 04/12/2017 at 3:55 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Erik. Thank you for contributing to this debate. I agree with many of your points, and disagree with a few.
      Before I get into that, though, I will say that I wholeheartedly commend the author of that piece, and 2RAR head shed who cleared it, for their enthusiasm and obvious pride in their unit and their work.
      This piece came about because 2RAR were a bit miffed about an earlier opinion piece I published – https://www.contactairlandandsea.com/2017/08/18/2rar-will-cease-exist-light-infantry-battalion/ – which I still stand behind – and which I feel your argument supports in the main.
      Mainly I agree with the ‘trumpet blowing’ and ‘kidding yourself’ parts of your argument. Any battalion with just one rifle company cannot possibly be considered an SIB. Judging from the enthusiasm and professionalism I think is evident in the unit, reflected in this article, whatever task they are set or whatever structure they can best be described as, I think you’re right to suggest they are kidding themselves by holding on to the SIB tag.
      I also whole-heartedly agree with you about Defence PR claiming too many firsts – or biggests or longests or any other …ests. No one should make claims like that without being able to back it up. As an ex-ARMY Newspaper reporter, that was drummed into me from day one. But, I know from insider experience that too many of these claims (which I think are relatively new (Facebook-era), and growing in frequency, are made for their ‘click-bait value’, even in the face of objection from people who care about truth and accuracy (and, yes, I am thinking of specific examples where I as a PR sergeant have been ordered to shut up about ‘the truth’ when the click-bait is being peddled by a superior officer).
      But I would disagree with you (but only half-heartedly) about the beancounters and reserves in so far as I think there’s a very different attitude/mindset in reserves these days. That said, the theory still hasn’t been soundly tested, so you might be right.
      This is a big topic and I hope it is debated, especially here on CONTACT – and especially in a sensible, considered, considerate (especially to 2RAR) and respectful manner (and I will delete any comments that aren’t).
      Brian Hartigan
      CONTACT Editor

      Reply

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