Soldiers tested to seize enemy base

Soldiers from 5th Brigade deployed to the Bathurst region of NSW in early May to demonstrate critical operational capabilities.

CAPTIONPrivate Chen Shi raises a communications mast off the ground during Exercise Arras Sprint. Photos by Private Peter Mosley.

About 350 part-time soldiers from across NSW participated in Exercise Arras Sprint to test the formation’s ability to secure and protect vital infrastructure.

Tasks included establishing vehicle checkpoints, area patrolling, airfield defence, reconnaissance and surveillance, convoy escorts and community engagement.

Commander 5th Brigade Brigadier Tom Nairn said the brigade had a vital role under the National Strategic Review to provide area security to northern bases and other critical infrastructure.

“Bathurst was selected as the location for the exercise for many reasons, including having local soldiers based in the region, and having appropriate infrastructure such as an airfield to enable effective and realistic training,” he said.

Sapper Antonio Tarquinio, a Sydney high school physics teacher from Ryde who serves with 5th Combat Engineer Regiment, said it was great to explore different opportunities.

Wagga-based transport driver Lance Corporal Justin Buckley, of 5th Combat Services Support Battalion, said the exercise offered a change from the ordinary.

CAPTIONA soldier of the Motorised Infantry of 4th/3rd Battalion, Royal New South Wales Regiment guides protected mobility vehicles into position ready to move.

“It’s not every day you get to go out and drive large vehicles in the bush, and it is a great change from normal day-to-day life,” he said.

Commanding Officer Task Unit Kingfisher Lieutenant Colonel Tim Dawe said the culminating activity – to seize an enemy operating base at Marrangaroo – was a demonstration of combined arms and integration.

“The seizure operation saw the task unit apply its combined capabilities with intelligence, infantry, cavalry and artillery components to locate and monitor enemy locations,” he said.

“Then a deception operation, led by the task unit’s combat service support elements, disorientated the enemy’s early warning and commander.

“This enabled the launching of a combined arms assault by infantry, engineers and cavalry, supported by protected mobility vehicles, special reconnaissance vehicles, heavy machine guns, mortars and artillery assets.”

Private Stuart Lynch, a university student from Sydney’s North Shore, said Exercise Arras Sprint  lived up to its name.

“I’ve been a reservist for 18 months now and it’s provided a great opportunity for different experiences and a bit of an adrenaline rush at times,” he said.

Officer Commanding Combat Team – Alpha Maj Stuart Kimble said the exercise maintained a fast tempo.

“We’ve conducted a range of activities, from a combat team assault to security operations at the airport, and morale among our people has been high,” he said.

“They have appreciated the change in stepping back from offensive operations to security operations, which has been a good change in force posture from high- intensity warfighting to interacting with the civilian population.”

CAPTION: Soldiers of 41st Battalion Royal New South Wales Regiment secure the Bathurst Airport entry before setting up a vehicle control point.


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