7 Brigade HQ digs-in on TS23

Hidden beneath a gumtree canopy and covered by camouflage netting, Headquarters 7th Brigade sat dug into the ground … three metres deep.

CAPTIONAn Australian Army Lieutenant from the 7th Combat Signal Regiment guides a G-wagon during Talisman Sabre. Story by Major Roger Brennan. Photos by Corporal Nicole Dorrett.

The presence of unmanned aerial vehicles allowed hostile actors to have unrestricted observation of high pay-off military targets, and during Exercise Talisman Sabre, the Brigade headquarters heeded the call to disperse and mask their position.

Combat Training Centre Commander Colonel Benjamin McLennan said the days of a large and fully enabled brigade headquarters were done.

“Examples from the conflict in Ukraine have shown that large and static footprints can be targeted and destroyed within minutes of enemy fires unmasking themselves,” Colonel McLennan said.

CAPTIONAustralian Army Corporal Rebecca Canfield, of the 7th Combat Signal Regiment, manoeuvres an HX77 truck into position.

“Talisman Sabre was a great opportunity to work with our major ally the United States to test a light and nodal Brigade construct – one that can remain undetected and move quickly when targeted and we immediately saw some great results.

“7th Brigade was able to mask its position, remain undetected and, importantly, maintain communication with higher and subordinate organisations.”

Corporal Greg McKenzie, of the 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment, said he hadn’t dug in a headquarters position in more than 10 years.

CAPTIONAn Australian Army Sapper from the 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment operates a bulldozer to dig a crucifix headquarters battle hide.

“We haven’t conducted excavation works like this in a long time,” Corporal McKenzie said.

“It’s dug in a crucifix shape to enable interconnected work stations to be easily moved into place and to be removed in a hurry.

“The position, or decoys, can be built in a day and be emptied within five minutes – as long as the logistics are in place.”

Colonel McLennan also noted the importance of feeding the Combat Training Centre’s observations straight back into the exercise through senior mentors and adjudicators.

“By having oversight through our reconnaissance assets, we’ve been able to continually assist and give feedback on what the threat force sees as the brigade’s footprint,” Colonel McLennan said.

“This combined with real-time tracking of blue and red force actions enables an immersive and rich training environment the likes of which can’t be replicated elsewhere.”


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