Tanks and infantry fought side by side against a fictional enemy in a training activity that developed an efficient and lethal combined-arms team.
CAPTION: M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment conduct live firing during Exercise Capital OTP at Townsville Field Training Area. Story by Major Taylor Lynch. Photo by Corporal Brandon Grey.
M1A1 Abrams tanks from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment (2CAV) and mechanised infantry from the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR), worked together in the field to hone their warfighting craft during Exercise Capital OTP.
Commanding Officer 3RAR Lieutenant Colonel Jack Westhorpe said the purpose of the training was threefold.
“The first is to prepare the team for operations, the second is to build confidence within the combined-arms team, particularly with 3RAR working alongside Abrams tanks,” Lieutenant Colonel Westhorpe said.
“The third is to prepare the force for Exercise Talisman Sabre, which will be a key coalition activity for the region.
“This team is consistently preparing for operations, and our role at the moment is to be the online ready battle group.
“We have a responsibility to hold contingency forces at notice on behalf of the Army and government, and this is a key component to achieving that.”
CAPTION: Australian Army soldiers from 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment on patrol during Exercise Capital OTP. Photo by Lance Corporal Riley Blennerhassett.
Lieutenant Levi Ross, 2CAV, who led a tank troop as part of the exercise, said the M1A1 Abrams tanks offered unique advantages to soldiers on the battlefield.
“The primary purpose of the Abrams tank is to go forward and apply shock action and manoeuvre to break into enemy lines and achieve the momentum we need,” Lieutenant Ross said.
“Tanks provide a level of protection and lethality that no other system in land combat can achieve.
“A tank’s ability to manoeuvre, fire upon the enemy and close ground is something that’s unparalleled.”
Lieutenant Ross highlighted the process of building an effective combat team.
“We started with meet and greets, coming together for a number of lessons, face-to-face drills, enabling us to head out and work person-to-person and build the team through iterations of training,” he said.
“Then we integrated the two force elements, while carrying out repetition after repetition.
“Once you’ve built the drills into the minds of all the commanders on the battlefield, you can go forward and apply a level of flexibility to any problem you might encounter.
“The tank requires input from so many different people, and the crew of a tank becomes one of the most tight-knit teams you’re going to have in the Australian Defence Force.
“Once you’re working together, it’s the pinnacle of teamwork that I’ve experienced in my career.”
CAPTION: Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, in an M113 armoured personnel carrier during Exercise Capital OTP at Townsville Field Training Area, Queensland. Photo by Trooper Dana Millington.