Deploying from their base in Brunei, C Company, The First Battalion, The Royal Gurkha Rifles (C Coy 1 RGR) deployed for five weeks on Exercise Pacific Kukri in the Australian outback.
The Gurkhas have swapped platoons with the 5th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (5 RAR) and 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines (3/1) to train as multinational companies on the vast Mount Bundey training area near Darwin.
The open, rocky bushland has provided an excellent contrast to the claustrophobic jungle the Gurkhas are used to in Brunei and has tested the full range of their infantry skills. Mounted in 5 RAR’s Bushmaster protected mobility vehicles, the Gurkhas have practised manoeuvring with the support of live mortar and machine gun fire to concentrate force against an objective, and then dispersing to avoid themselves becoming a target. With temperatures soaring to 38°C, the troops have also practised fighting street-by-street and building-by-building through an urban complex, supported by Australian combat engineers to blow entry into buildings and dismantle boobytraps.
Major Jack Millar, Officer Commanding C Coy 1 RGR, said: “I’m unbelievably proud because every single person deployed in this exercise has grafted from start to finish and worked so hard to learn to be better soldiers and to mix with our counterparts here. We’ve had mixing of platoons in the companies, so we’ve swapped a Gurkha platoon with an Australian platoon, and likewise with the US Marine Corps, and that’s to really develop our mutual understanding. What can we learn from each other? What do we do the same? What do we do differently and how can we be better together? It’s been interesting to work with fellow professionals who are also regional specialists in the Indo Pacific, and we’ve learnt a lot.”
The training demonstrates the Army’s commitment to build relationships and the ability to operate alongside our allies in the Indo-Pacific as part of the Government’s defence and foreign policy ‘tilt’ towards the region.
1 RGR is based in Brunei as the Army’s specialist jungle infantry; it rotates with its sister battalion 2 RGR to be based in Shorncliffe, Kent as part of 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team, the British Army’s global response force.