win some, you lose some
Brendan Pronk, 16 AD Regt, takes up a firing position in
a trench line during Exercise Croc 03. Photo by Cpl Ashley
Pte John Wellfare
ENEMY forces on training activities tend to have the worst luck
when it comes to being outnumbered, stumbling into ambushes with
uncanny frequency and suffering decisive defeats, time and again
on exercises all over Australia.
back for the bad guys, the OPFOR during Exercise Croc 03 inflicted
some decisive defeats of their own over the exercise period, making
the friendly coalition's claim to victory questionable at best.
charge the OPFOR from a stronghold in the south of the fictitious
island of Legais, CO 2 Cav Regt Lt-Col Tony Luke commanded a mixed
force of more than 1000 soldiers from a range of Australian regular
and reserve units, as well as a USMC contingent.
Luke said the OPFOR were able to combine the speed and manoeuvrability
of 2 Cav Regt's ASLAVs with the power of the combined arms team
to achieve and number of major victories.
highlight for the enemy was clearly the destruction of the entire
marine force on the first night," he said.
were basically surrounded, encircled and attacked from flank and
rear and, in effect, destroyed to the point where US marine forces
called off the exercise, went back to Sam Hill and started again.
American commander himself praised us highly in the destruction
of his force and said [the US forces] learnt a lot out of it.
of the key things that we dragged out of this and showed to both
Blue Force and the ADF in general was the quality of the equipment;
the ASLAVs' capabilities and the ability for the ASLAV to work in
a combined arms team with all other forces and achieve decisive
ASLAV is] certainly the fastest [armoured vehicle] and it's the
way we do cavalry operations, they rely on momentum and tempo, and
[2Cav] can generate a far higher momentum and tempo by both day
and by night.
can generate a tempo that cannot be matched by any other unit currently
in the Army, for operations on the ground, by day and by night,
and, of course, that can only be maintained and provided through
the combined arms team.
basically proved that air mobile and other such operations are not
viable without heavy, close air support.
number of air mobiles were tried and it was quite impressive the
number of times that, by the time the helicopters had landed and
opened their doors they were looking at half-a-dozen ASLAVs.
good anecdote from the exercise. The marines did a landing on the
plains airfield with their CH46s, we observed them getting ready
to do it and the CH46s came in and dropped their rear doors, just
beside a little copse of trees.
that little copse was one of my tank squadrons, and literally when
the Marines dropped the rear door of their first helicopter, no
more than 20m away, there was a Leopard tank, staring into the back
of their door.
looked like possums caught in a bright light, they threw smoke grenades
out the rear door and took off again deciding it was a really bad
idea. That was funny as hell, actually.
highlights were a good free-flowing battle of manoeuvre against
1 Bde and 3 Bde, over a period of four days down the western flank
of the range.
Croc 03, the OPFOR incorporated the majority of 2 Cav Regt, a squadron
from 1 Armd Regt, 161 Recce Sqn, elements of 8/12 Mdm Regt, 1 Fd
Regt, 9RQR, 2/14 QMI LHR, 12/16HRL, 1CSSB and Fox Company, 2nd/3rd