Face-to-face training has recommenced at Gallipoli Barracks, with members of the 1st Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery (1 Regt), gaining essential qualifications for manoeuvring their guns through the battlefield.
CAPTION: A MAN HX77 truck tows a M777A1 155mm Howitzer during a Gun Tow Drivers Course run by soldiers from the 1st Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery, at Gallipoli Barracks, Brisbane. Photo by Trooper Jonathan Goedhart. Story by Captain Taylor Lynch.
With government restrictions putting limits on essential training, 1 Regt has been patiently waiting to conduct a Gun Tow Drivers Course to ensure there are plenty of drivers available with experience moving a very different type of wheeled attachment.
The 1 Regt soldiers jumped at the chance to get back into training, and with the three-day course complete the unit now has a number of qualified members.
The course’s lead instructor, Corporal Luke McKinnon, was impressed by how keen the members were to get back into training now that the pandemic restrictions are relaxing.
“Everyone has been given the opportunity to reset properly and we’re driving into training in a positive direction,” Corporal McKinnon said.
“The attitude of everyone so far has been really positive; they want to train, and they want to move.”
Corporal McKinnon outlined what the course involved for participants and said it was more than just towing a big gun.
“They essentially begin in the Safe Driving Area, complete the cross-country phase and then undertake a public thoroughfare phase,” he said.
“They learn basic gun componentry, how to elevate the gun, how to connect it safely, set it up with road lighting as a trailer and then safely tow it through a public environment.
“The main challenge on this course is paying attention to the trailer while knowing where the truck is. It’s a very large truck and when driving through narrow sections the gun will swing out the wrong way, so you need to know where everything is.”
Corporal McKinnon said he was more than happy with the course’s results, which has ensured a fresh supply of qualified soldiers capable of moving the guns in support of 7th Combat Brigade.