Exercise an assault on engineers’ senses

Booby traps, enemy fire and a simulated canine casualty confronted sappers from the 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment after they blasted their way into buildings during an urban breaching exercise on Exercise Brolga Walk in Townsville.

CAPTIONA 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment soldier assists a simulated casualty during an urban breaching exercise at Townsville Field Training Area. Story and photo by Corporal Luke Bellman.

They used satellite charges and detonation cord to allow entry before being subjected to simulated blasts and sounds to confuse sections gaining entry.

Second in charge of 16th Combat Engineer Squadron, Captain Chris Eyles, said urban breaching included explosive and non-explosive assaults on buildings – all part of their role to provide mobility support.

“We reduce obstacles for infantry by clearing buildings or reduce any other obstacles explosively,” he said.

CAPTIONA 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment soldier and detection dog, Kit, during the urban breaching exercise at Townsville Field Training Area. Photo by Corporal Luke Bellman.

Urban breaching involves setting up charges on doors and walls, breaching, entering and quickly searching rooms or compounds.

Reconnaissance teams first scout an area to obtain information about threats and assess entry apertures into a building or walls to breach and enter from an unexpected direction.

Confirmation orders are issued shortly after, including the best way to assault.

“These include how many routes of entry, how they are going to breach, whether it be mechanically, explosively or manually, and what types of explosive they use,” Captain Eyles said.

CAPTION: Soldiers from the 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment conduct their live breaching and detection dog serial at Townsville Field Training Area. Photo by Trooper Dana Millington.

Sapper Shaymus Jones said they rotated 180 degrees around the door so they could see all of the room’s dead space before entering.

“If we see an enemy as we enter, we deal with them first then we look at other potential threats as an engineer,” he said.

“We look for trip wires and whether it’s occupied and if they’ve left something for us.

“We run a threat triad, asking ourselves, ‘Am I safe? Is my team safe? Is everyone else safe?’.”

CAPTIONSoldiers from the 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment conduct a simulated casualty drag during a live breaching and detection dog serial on Exercise Brolga Walk. Photo by Trooper Dana Millington.


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