This year started with a bang for the 1st Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery, with their annual High Explosive Week in the Wide Bay Training Area allowing most of their gunners to qualify on a series of weapons used by the artillery on operations. 

With new soldiers in the regiment, training started at the basic level and progressed through various in-service weapons, including the 9mm Self-Loading Pistol, 84mm Carl Gustaf, 66mm Rocket Launcher, MAG 58 Machine Gun, 40mm Grenade Launcher Attachment and Claymore.

Joint Fires Team Commander Captain Lachlan Colquhoun said the training was an important step in developing junior gunners at the regiment. 

“This is the basis of the gunline’s survivability on the battlefield, it’s fundamental to our warfighting skills,” Captain Colquhoun said.

“The integration of newer gunners with more experienced soldiers is first achieved through physical training at the unit and exposure to their new team, then senior soldiers take care in assigning a range of tasks to increase junior soldier’s resilience and knowledge.

“By the end of the High Explosive Week, new gunners generally respond well and are prepared for upcoming exercises, short-notice tasks and new roles at the regiment.”

Captain Colquhoun said the soldiers enjoyed getting away from Gallipoli Barracks for a short time to brush up on weapon skills and qualify on new systems. 

“Weapon qualifications provide an exciting opportunity to newer soldiers to experience weapon systems and observe the effect of these systems in the battlespace,” he said. 

“Getting out to the range to work on technical skills on a live fire range is generally welcomed by the members of the regiment, they don’t mind a short trip away to shoot and learn.”