Thursday, September 18, 2008

Anzac battle group in Germany

On 17 September the Australian Department of Defence announced that 180 troops from 1st Bn Royal Australian Regiment (1RAR) had deployed to Germany to take part in a US-led exercise, Co-operative Spirit '08. The exercise is designed to promote and test interoperability between the four ABCA countries: Australasia (including New Zealand), Britain, Canada and America. 

The 1RAR contingent has combined with a rifle company from 2nd/1st Royal NZ Infantry Regiment to form the ANZAC Battle Group, operating alongside 1st Bn The Welsh Guards, US 5th B, 20th Infantry regiment and 3/2 Stryker Brigade Combat team, and 2nd Bn Royal Canadian Regiment in a scenario designed to reflect operating conditions in Afghanistan.

Two thoughts: does this mean the ADF is considering rotating regular line infantry regiments through Afghanistan in the future, instead of the heavily tasked Special Forces contingent that's been there for so long? If the Army can learn and successfully apply the lessons that are coming out of Afghanistan so that any line infantry deploying there are properly prepared, then that's good news. Line infantry (as opposed to the Commandos of 4RAR) and Cavalry personnel have been providing security for the Reconstruction Task Force in Oruzgan Province, and have done a great job, but it's very obvious the Special Forces task group has been the force tasked with taking the fight to the Taliban, and that must be frustrating for the non-Commando elements of the Royal Australian Regiment.

Secondly, is this the first time Australian infantry have been in Germany since the end of World War 1? 


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