Gunners from the 1st Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery, sent an abundance of munitions down range during Exercise Barce, with the gun batteries honing small team skills to prosecute targets quickly.

Exercise Barce, conducted in the Shoalwater Bay training area, was the first live-fire activity for the regiment this year since being tasked to support Operation Flood Assist.

With many new soldiers in the unit, some gunners fired 155mm SMArt anti-armour munitions for the first time, yielding excellent results.

Sergeant Peter Graham said the live fire and time in the field was important for the gunners in the 1st Regiment.

“For some of the newer gunners, this is their first shootout as part of a regiment since their initial training, and they’re performing excellently,” Sergeant Graham said.

“They have been learning the best ways to operate the gun and build trust while working with high explosives.

Particularly with the new munitions, like the SMArt rounds, they’re all learning together and forming strong teams.”

Sergeant Graham said there was a unique dynamic and camaraderie that was only seen on an artillery gun line. 

“Teamwork starts in the barracks, but out here it’s developed through fatigue and hard work,” he said.

“Out here in the field there’s men and women cooperating day in, day out, lugging humungous rounds together, and operating as a small team with the guidance of the Number One.

“Teamwork is built due to the competitiveness; each battery detachment wants to be the fastest to action and the first to fire all their rounds.

"Everyone wants to be successful, and everyone wants to be the best."

Australian Army Gunners from the 104th Battery of the 1st Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery, prepare the M777 155mm Howitzer to fire during Exercise Barce at Shoalwater Bay Training Area, Queensland. Photo: Corporal Nicole Dorrett

Sergeant Graham said some of the junior gunners progressed quickly in a short period of time.

“Their skillset has advanced dramatically; they have impressed me and all the other senior soldiers,” he said.

“We’re looking forward to seeing what we can achieve throughout the year as a regiment.”

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