Engineers go underground

Integrated firing pits, sleeping sections and an operations room all feature in an underground command post being constructed by 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment (3CER) to hone their trench warfare skills during Exercise Brolga Walk in Townsville.

CAPTIONSoldiers from 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment use an excavator to construct a bunker during Exercise Brolga Walk at Townsville Field Training Area, Queensland. Story by Corporal Luke Bellman. Photos by Trooper Dana Millington.

Project designer Lieutenant Ji-sang Yu said sappers worked to shore up structural integrity and expected it to be half finished when the exercise was complete.

“Brigade command posts do need to be mobile, but as we’ve seen in evolving global conflicts, trench warfare is becoming more pertinent,” Lieutenant Yu said.

The design incorporates natural and mechanical ventilation, lighting, power outlets and submersible pumps for drainage.

Lieutenant Yu said doctrine only had designs for up to three-by-three-metre structures, but a larger structure was needed to meet operational requirements.

“I had to alter the design because the original was mainly timber, so we revised it to steel,” he said.

“It is extremely exciting and rewarding and I cannot wait to see the end product.”

CAPTIONSoldiers work together to construct the bunker.

He consulted with 3CER’s tradesmen to ensure the design was safe and practical to construct.

Plant operator Sapper Maima Boss, of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force, assisted with the project and said he enjoyed working with his Aussie counterparts.

“This is my third time in Australia; it’s great seeing the team work,” he said.

“The equipment and operations in Australia are similar to those in Papua New Guinea, with many safety measures.”

Total construction is expected to take 31 days, and once complete, the bunker will be covered up to remain undetectable.

Construction of the bunker will pause at the end of this exercise and will be completed during Exercise Brolga Run.

CAPTIONThe bunker starts to take shape. Photo by Corporal Luke Bellman.






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2 thoughts on “Engineers go underground

  • 17/03/2024 at 1:41 pm

    Far be it for me to be in any way critical, but 31 days to construct a CP, Brigade sized or not? I totally appreciate the need to go subterranean but what does everybody, including the Brigadier, do for a month while they wait for the Taj Mahal to be built? Oh yeah, hurry up and wait.
    Me thinks the Sappers need to come up with something a bit more immediate like, perhaps, burying a couple of connected reinforced containers or whatever.

  • 17/03/2024 at 11:32 am

    I think we have forgotten the lessons leant in the Vietnam war, such as mobility of action. and gone back to WW1 thinking.
    What about mobility, transportation, state of the battlefield ground (boggy ground, rain, access) for heavy equipment.?
    Look at the Gaza situation of tunnels. Did Hamas visit the Chu Chi tunnels.
    Where are we going to be fighting terrain and foliage play a big part on the movement of ground soldiers and the support they need. Plus, what battleground has our enemy chosen?
    I think the hierarchy have lost the plot because they have no actual hands-on battle experience.


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