The idyllic Queensland town of Bowen was at the centre of a battle for liberation when the militaries of Australia, the United States, Japan and the United Kingdom conducted an amphibious landing and subsequent raid on the beach-front town.

It was all part of a training scenario for Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019. Australian and coalition forces responded to the fictitious invasion of a notional island chain.

Major Chris Thomson said the activity was primarily centred on returning stability to one of the fictional islands off the Queensland coast.

“Bowen is one of the islands itself referred to in the scenario in the surrounding area there,” Major Thomson said.

“It has had hostilities occur with our fictitious enemy, but now their forces have been depleted through special operations actions that have occurred previously from the coalition.”

An amphibious assault vehicle nears the shore on King's Beach, near Bowen, Queensland, during Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019. Photo: Sgt. 1st Class Whitney C. Houston (US Army)

The landing began with several waves of amphibious assault vehicles from Japan and the United States along Kings Beach. From there, landing craft carrying Australian soldiers also came ashore from HMAS Canberra, supported by HMAS Adelaide.

An air insertion by United States Marine Corps MV-22 Ospreys also took place at a coking plant as part of the assault.

Major Thomson said that one significant action was the 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (2RAR), working with the United Kingdom Royal Marines from 40 Commando.

“2RAR amphibious battalion are actually practising their pre-landing force operation with members of the 40 Commando Royal Marines when they come ashore, with them are members of the Marine Rotational Force–Darwin,” Major Thomson said.

“They are working quite well together as a coalition.”

Patrolling through the streets of Bowen, the coalition forces were able to root out the remaining enemy forces and take back several defensive positions, including the coking plant and local showgrounds.