A combat team centred on the 8th/9th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, deployed to Wide Bay training area in October and November to conduct Exercise Ram Horn.
CAPTION: Army rifleman from Charlie Company of the 8th/9th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, uses smoke as cover to make entry into a building as part of Exercise Ram Horn IV. Story by Captain Cody Tsaousis. Photo by Corporal Nicole Dorrett.
During the exercise, which focused on trench warfare and conventional warfighting, Alpha and Charlie companies each cleared a trench system, dug by the 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment.
They married up later in the exercise to conduct an assault on an urban operations training facility, defeating an enemy party which was controlling the township.
Private Jack Ellison said it was an incredible experience to clear the trenches, and it was the first time doing so for many of the soldiers.
“I really enjoyed that; it was great and I’d never done anything like it before,” he said.
“We were all really riled up for that and it was a lot of fun, even though it was chaotic.”
Enhancing soldiers’ capability in trench warfare was a major learning outcome from the exercise, according to Captain Luke Hanna.
He said the reception of the troops was positive, and the hard work that went into digging the trenches and planning the activity was worth it.
“The feedback we’ve had from our soldiers on the trench warfare component of this exercise was first class,” he said.
“There’s an incredible body of work that goes into constructing a training activity of that scale, but it’s been well worth the effort for us.”
The assault on the urban operations training facility was also educational, with soldiers pushing past fatigue and relying on good communication to clear the township.
Captain Hanna said it gave the battalion a chance to return to its roots.
“Exercise Ram Horn has been an excellent opportunity for Battle Group Ram to get back to its core business of high-intensity warfighting and joint land combat,” he said.