Bullets and mortars were simultaneously fired to defend Gurkhas and their Australian and US allies against an enemy attack during Exercise Pacific Khukri.
Soldiers from C Company, 1 Royal Gurkha Rifles (1 RGR) operated alongside 5th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (5 RAR) and 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines (3/1) to destroy the simulated threat rapidly approaching their position.
The exercise was planned with input from both the US and Australian military planners. It has given us the opportunity to practise synchronising our efforts and demonstrate our power when working as one force." Major Jack Millar, 1 Royal Gurkha Rifles
The intensive five-week exercise that took place in the vast Mount Bundey training area near Darwin strengthened interoperability between the three nations whilst keeping the Gurkhas infantry skills sharp.
Major Jack Millar, Officer Commanding C Company 1 RGR, said: “We really value training opportunities like this. The exercise was planned with input from both the US and Australian military planners. It has given us the opportunity to practise synchronising our efforts and demonstrate our power when working as one force.”
The soldiers were integrated into mixed units to foster an exchange of expertise, knowledge, best practices and to enhance their ability to operate seamlessly as one force.
Corporal Sam Concilaldi, of 1st Marines 3/1, was a Mortar Section Leader. He said: “Our main focus during the exercise is to integrate with the Australians and the Gurkhas and work towards one team. We do things a lot different sometimes, other things we do the same. Our main goal is building a good relationship and try and work together the best we can.”
With temperatures soaring to 38°C, the Gurkhas 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.
They also practised their amphibious warfare skills, using landing craft to practise assaulting defended beaches.
The training demonstrates the UK’s commitment to the Indo-Pacific region and working with our allies and partners in 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.