For the first time in two years, tanks and combat engineers have supported infantry from 7th Combat Brigade in a live-fire exercise at Shoalwater Bay Training Area.
As part of Exercise Diamond Walk, troops from 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (6RAR), conducted an offensive operations serial in their M113 AS4 armoured personnel carriers, supported by M1A1 main battle tanks from 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment (Queensland Mounted Infantry) (2/14LHR [QMI]).
Before the training serial culmination point, tanks were used to engage targets while on the move, establishing an attack-by-fire (ABF) position.
From there, they coordinated concentrated fires using machine guns and 120mm armaments in close support of the infantry, demonstrating a combined-arms effect in a short period of time on a narrow front.
Private Matthew McMahon said working alongside tanks was a first for him and others in his battle group.
“Integrating with the tanks was such a surreal experience,” Private McMahon said.
“It’s something not many of us have done before.
“During the conduct of the ABF, everyone jumped out to watch the tanks fire off some rounds from a safe distance. It created a lot of smiles on faces.”
The culmination of the live-fire serial was enabled by engineers from 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment, who successfully used a breaching charge to overcome a barbed-wire obstacle, allowing the tanks and armoured personnel carriers to punch through.
Lieutenant Harrison Dowling, of 2/14LHR (QMI), said it was a great opportunity to work alongside infantry.
“This was the first time for myself, after coming out of Royal Military College, working with infantry,” Lieutenant Dowling said.
“These are the people we’d be working with in a real-life scenario, so any chance to get out training with them is really important; it’s good to come out and show infantry what it is that we do.”
Before conducting the live-fire serial, 6RAR and 2/14LHR (QMI), with support from the combat engineers, conducted a full day of dry-fire training serials.
Lieutenant Dowling said the dry fire and planning was crucial to a successful training outcome.
“Integration is difficult, so the most important thing is not to plan in isolation, but to get all the troop leaders and platoon commanders and plan together to do some realistic and robust rehearsals,” he said.
Private McMahon said he was looking forward to the next combined, live-fire training serial.
“It’s definitely something that pumps everyone’s adrenalin,” he said.
“They get very excited, which gets them keen to work alongside the tanks.”
Exercise Diamond Walk meanders until June 11.