Iraqi Army takes aim with mortars
11 July 2017
IT may not be the biggest weapon in the Iraqi Army’s inventory but for these new Iraqi mortar men it will certainly deliver a punch on the battlefield.
Soldiers from the Iraqi Army’s 53rd Brigade are currently in training at the Taji Military Camp, located 20km northwest of Baghdad, undertaking collective and specialist skills training under the guidance of Australian and New Zealand trainers from Task Group Taji 5.
The challenging course is designed to qualify Iraqi Army soldiers to employ the 120mm Mortar weapon system to conduct lethal fire missions in support of front line combat operations.
Officer Commanding Task Group Taji Rotation 5, Colonel Steve D’arcy said the Iraqi Army is becoming increasingly sophisticated and capable at using coordinated firepower to defeat Da’esh.
“We are seeing the Iraqi Army leverage its recent war fighting experiences to evolve into a force capable of coordinating their firepower assets such as mortars, artillery and air support to great effect,” Colonel D’arcy said.
“We are in a prime position to assist with speciality skills such as the use of longer range support weapons to enhance the Iraqi Army’s capability.”
Throughout the course students are trained how to use the weapon in support of infantry and other ground units to disrupt and neutralise enemy targets.
This involves operating the weapon as part of close knit team.
Mortar Course chief instructor Captain Mark Hynes said the Iraqi Army students have taken to the course with enthusiasm.
“The Iraqi Army is keen to up-skill their people in the use of their weapons and they are very appreciative to learn from us,” Captain Hynes said.
“At our level we are focused on teaching the students how to enhance their accuracy and how to better engage Da’esh targets.”
Task Group Taji rotation 5 is combined force of more than 300 Australian and 100 New Zealand Defence Force personnel deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Okra.