22 September 2014
The contingents from the Five Power Defence Arrangement (FPDA) have had an opportunity to see first-hand the lie of the land that they have been planning to defend from Alpiran threat groups as part of the upcoming Command Post Exercise (CPX) being conducted for Ex Suman Warrior 14 in New Zealand.
Leaving from Linton Military Camp, north of Wellington, the contingents travelled an hour north to the town of Norsewood which represents the fictitious Bekaran/Alpiran border to evaluate the land and route they had only, until now, seen as features on a map.
Captain Nicholas Pychtin said it was an extremely effective and well used piece of time.
"It clearly articulated the challenges of the terrain that we will be facing when we have to defend this area," he said.
"Highly specific to me was the canalising nature of the gorges and passes, as well as the accessibility of the roads along the border line itself.
"The roads indicated they were of sufficient quality to be used as a Main Supply Route (MSR) - motorised and wheeled vehicles would be very much restricted to the use of these roads.
"You could travel off-road, but due to the terrain and weather conditions vehicles would quickly get bogged.
"This had given me a greater appreciation of the ground and the ability we would have to defend and enhance it."
Now the contingent members have had eyes on the ground, their plan is to go back and reconsider and re-evaluate what had previously been planned.
"Now we have local knowledge we can enhance and improve what we have previously planned prior to seeing the ground," Capt Pychtin said.
"This has given me a lot of food for thought, especially if we need to delay the enemy or even block him.
"There are a significant amount of small bridges along the route which if destroyed would increase the duration it would take for the enemy forces to move around them as well as provide opportunities for us to exploit those if they did seek to bridge."
The contingent also assessed supply and town-services capabilities of towns and villages along the route should they need to be utilised by friendly forces during operations.