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June 23, 2011
THE Minor War Vessel
Concentration Period 2011-1
started with a five-day shore
phase alongside at HMAS
Cairns and progressed to a week-long
sea phase in the Cairns Exercise Area.
The sea phase escalated in intensity
throughout the week, culminating in a
beach landing and casualty extraction
The serial ramped up when the fleet
received word that a task group helicop-
ter had crashed on an island in a disput-
ed territory. Survivors were confirmed
and injuries reported. Extraction was
required and there was no time to lose.
Intelligence showed evidence of
political instability in the region and
insurgent occupation of the island. With
lives at stake and time at a premium, the
units swung into action.
Benalla and Shepparton completed
rapid environmental assessments on
three possible landing zones.
The first was impassable in the
Success on the beach as
approaches and the second only had
room for a single unit to beach, but the
third ticked all the boxes for a multi-unit
beach-landing: good gradient, adequate
depth, a broad area and hard-packed
But there were some significant chal-
lenges associated with the site.
It allowed open fields of fire from
both sides and from ahead. The partisans
were known to be lightly armed, well
informed and highly skilled. Snipers
and improvised explosive devices were
assessed as the greatest risk.
Case file: MWVCP 1-11
723 Squadron has lost comms with a
routine surveillance sortie.
Two personnel were on board the air-
craft which is now two hours overdue.
The emergency beacon has been
activated, and early indications are
that the aircraft has come down on an
island in disputed territory.
The area is considered politically
unstable, bordering on hostile.
The waters surrounding the island are largely unsurveyed.
Survivors, if any, must be rescued within 48 hours.
The island's beaches are protected by snipers and improvised explosive devices.
Extract survivors, if any, by sea or by air within 48 hours.
Deploy HMA Ships Launceston, Wollongong, Brunei, Labuan, Wewak, Shepparton,
Benalla, Melville and 723 Squadron.
Produce a rapid environmental assessment, conduct an air search, locate a ten-
able landing site, determine the location of survivors, communicate an extraction
point and time, safely land on the beach despite opposition, and extract survivors.
You have no more than five minutes on the beach from start to finish.
Survey Motor Launches are to conduct rapid survey.
Heavy Landing Craft are to make a landing.
A109E Agusta Helicopters are to provide aerial support.
Armidale-class patrol boats are to provide maritime support.
COMMAND AND CONTROL:
Commander Minor War Vessel Sea Training Group: CMDR Alex Hawes.
This was the scenario for
the first 2011 Minor War
Period held from May 23
to June 3. SBLT Sarah
THROUGH THE HAZE: SMNMT
Emily Ballard inspects a smoke-filled
compartment in HMAS Benalla.
SHOWING THE WAY: POHSO Ken Carey directs ABHSO Ben Sullivan during an approach to Fitzroy
Island while conducting a beach survey and, inset, ABBM Shane Pepperall, of HMAS Launceston, directs
the line of fire for the .50-calibre machine gun.
Photos: LSIS Andrew Dakin
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