Australian gunners on final mission in Afghanistan

With only three weeks remain­ing before the Aus­tralian Army con­cludes its unique attach­ment of artillery­men to British oper­a­tions in Hel­mand Province, the ‘gun­ners’ have con­tin­ued their efforts by pro­vid­ing fire mis­sions in sup­port of coali­tion and Afghan Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Forces.
Fif­teen gun­ners from the Bris­bane-based unit, the 1st Field Reg­i­ment are attached to the British 7th Para­chute, Roy­al Horse Artillery (7 Para RHA) and are cur­rent­ly oper­at­ing from a new patrol base at Lashkar Gah Durai, in north­ern Hel­mand Province.

Com­mand­ing Offi­cer of 7 Para RHA, Lieu­tenant Colonel Gary Wilkin­son, said that inte­gra­tion had been seam­less and the Aus­tralian troops had been remark­ably flex­i­ble and shown absolute adapt­abil­i­ty to any mis­sion.

“Per­son­al­ly, it has been an absolute plea­sure to have the Aus­tralians here. I have worked with the Aus­tralians on a pre­vi­ous HERRICK oper­a­tion and now for this final deploy­ment. It has been an effec­tive exam­ple of mul­ti-nation­al inte­gra­tion on demand­ing oper­a­tions,” LTCOL Wilkin­son said.

The Aus­tralian gun­ners of 105 ‘Tiger’ Troop have lived and worked along­side their gun­ner col­leagues of 7 Para RHA in remote Patrol Bases in Hel­mand for the past five months.

While the secu­ri­ty sit­u­a­tion in Hel­mand Province has become increas­ing­ly sta­ble, dur­ing an ear­ly stage in their deploy­ment, at a For­ward Oper­at­ing Base in Hel­mand Province, the Aus­tralian and British posi­tion was attacked by insur­gents with rock­et pro­pelled grenade launch­ers and small arms.

The men were forced to defend their posi­tion by using the 105 mm light gun in a direct fire role, a rarely used tech­nique for artillery.

The Aus­tralian Detach­ment Com­man­der, Cap­tain Mick Cook, said the deploy­ment had been chal­leng­ing but the growth of peace and sta­bil­i­ty had proved the worth of the com­mit­ment.

“The warm and friend­ly reac­tion of the Afghan civil­ians to us is a key indi­ca­tor that our work here is mak­ing a dif­fer­ence and worth­while,” Cap­tain Cook said.

The Aus­tralian gun­ners will make their way home to Aus­tralia next month after what has been a long but reward­ing final mis­sion on Oper­a­tion HERRICK.

The first Roy­al Aus­tralian Artillery con­tin­gent deployed to south­ern Afghanistan in March 2008, hav­ing con­duct­ed train­ing in the Unit­ed King­dom for six months pri­or to join­ing Oper­a­tion HERRICK.

The first con­tin­gent, from the Dar­win-based 8/12 Medi­um Reg­i­ment, were the first Artillery­men to deploy in that role since the Viet­nam War.

Three Aus­tralian Artillery Reg­i­ments have each pro­vid­ed two deploy­ments to south­ern Afghanistan.

The British 105mm L118 light guns pro­vide indi­rect fire sup­port to troops on the ground many kilo­me­tres away.

Troops can call for offen­sive sup­port to pro­vide addi­tion­al fire pow­er when in con­tact with the ene­my and often request illu­mi­na­tion rounds to be fired to pro­vide vision at night and to deter the ene­my.

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Aus­tralia

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →