The Last Cavalry Charge

Beersheba Australian Cavalrymen in Iraq celebrate Beersheba Day and well they should as on 31 October 1917, Allied soldiers participated in what has been called the last Cavalary Charge. With bayonets drawn (in the absence of sabres) the Aussies charged Beersheba and routed the Turks and Germans. From
1630: The 4th and 12th Australian Light Horse Regiments drew up behind a ridge. From the crest, Beerhseba was in full view. The course lay down a long, slight slope which was bare of cover. Between them and the town lay the enemy defences. The 4th was on the right; the 12th was on the left. They rode with bayonets in hand. Each drew up on a squadron frontage. Every man knew that only a wild, desperate charge could seize Beerhseba before dark. They moved off at the trot, deploying at once into artillery formation, with 5 metres between horsemen. Almost at once the pace quickened to a gallop. Once direction was given, the lead squadrons pressed forward. The 11th Australian Light Horse Regiment and the Yeomanry followed at the trot in reserve. The Turks opened fire with shrapnel. Machine guns fired against the lead squadrons. The Royal Horse Artillery got their range and soon had them out of action. The Turkish riflemen fired, horses were hit, but the charge was not checked. The Lighthorsemen drove in their spurs; they rode for victory and they rode for Australia. The bewildered enemy failed to adjust their sights and soon their fire was passing harmlessly overhead. The 4th took the trenches; the enemy soon surrendered. The 12th rode through a gap and on into the town. Their was a bitter fight. Some enemy surrendered; others fled and were pursued into the Judean Hills. In less than an hour it was over; the enemy was finally beaten.
The Lighthorsemen drove in their spurs; they rode for victory and they rode for Australia. I like that.

Tony Kevin loses it at Margo’s

Blackhawk I’ve been reading comments at Margo’s Webdiary and am besides myself with amazement. Tony Kevin posts an article where he finds sinister conspiracies involved with the overflight of two choppers in Canberra. He ponders;
.…..was it designed to create public climates of fear and to frame innocent people in such a climate of fear? ……was it was a terror threat display, government-mounted to impress the visiting premiers? ……or…… if the loaded missiles were armed and what would happen if one of these helicopters were accidentally to crash over populated central Canberra.
He then imagines he is being photographed by the evil ADF
As I wandered thoughtfully down a Red Hill walking track, the helicopters kept circling overhead. I looked up at them – I guess my face could have been photographed then. If I had been carrying my camera, I could have taken photos of the helicopters and their missiles launchers too. But it’s probably a good thing I didn’t. Taking photos of legitimate counter-terrorist government activity might soon be illegal.
One commenter, the irrepressible Bryan Law, thanks one writer for discussing the corporate influences in Australia’s growing militarisation and suggests;
the common task is to transform the Australian military into a first-class non-violent rescue and counter-disaster force, using this fabulous communications capacity, and all the wonderful training, to save lives around the nation and the planet.
Others, with a similar lack of understanding of anything, actually agree and symapthise with Tony as he gets more and more excited about the choppers. Phil Uebergang from Townsville complains about the presence of the military as they train in public view.
I don’t know anyone in the army in Townsville, and most of the people I do know think the noise is annoying and unnecessary. I can’t understand why the armed forces allow these breaches in discipline.
I bet he doesn’t know anyone in the Army in Townsville – they wouldn’t cop him for a moment. Maybe the guys should push the Blackhawkes up the hills to High Range before starting up to save Phil’s senstive feelings. And can’t you just see most of the people he knows sitting around complaining and believing in some strange way that they are better people than the soldiers.
…..we weren’t disputing their need to train, but showing a complete lack of respect for the privacy of a city of 150,000 civilians has nothing to do with training.
Sometimes, the most difficult thing about being a servicemen is knowing these ingrates exist and still get up next morning and train to protect them. I’m sure the pilots in Canberra, back from a standard training mission with ADFA or RMC, would be highly amused to know what fear their overflight had struck in the minds of fools. I recall in the SASR a woman phoned complaining about the noise of the choppers we were deploying on exercise over the sea at Swanbourne The Duty Officer listened politely and just as politely replied “What you are hearing, Madam, is the sound of freedom.” He then hung up and got on with his job of training in the very dangerous environment of Blackhawke night-flights. Tony Kevin should hang up as well.

This day in Military History

On this day, 20 September, in 1944, Academy award winning Australian cameraman Damien Parer was killed while filming American troops on Peleliu in the Pacific. Parer’s documentary Front line Kokoda won an Oscar for best documentary in 1943. Having filmed Australians in action during the early years of the war, Parer accepted a job with the American film company Paramount to film American’s in action in the Pacific. Damien Parer The man The Photo and the image The Australian War Memorial has a piece on Damien here and Neil McDonald has written a biography of Damien, reviewed here. Murray Sayle, a war correspondence of some note himself, has a lengthy piece in a 2004 edition of Quadrant. It is worth the read, not just for Sayle’s perspective on Parer, but for his perspective on MacArthur and Blamey. He is not complimentary and in my opinion, neither should he be. I would however question some of his interpretations of Japanese capabilities. Worth the time for those with an interest in our history. Damien Parer did a lot to ensure the Australian people knew exactly what it was their military forces were confronting in North Australia and the Pacific in the dark days of 1942.

Drunk WO gets compo

My old sloppy journalist mate Luke McIlveen reports Court rules soldier be compensated for fall
A DRUNK army officer who injured himself falling out of a barracks window should be compensated like any soldier wounded in the line of duty, the High Court ruled yesterday.
Luke, the guy is or was a drunk army warrant officer, not officer and before anyone gets up me for being a snob, I’ve never met a Warrant Officer who answers to ‘officer’. Warrant Officer is an esteemed rank and getting it wrong is poor journalism. Having said all that I disagree vehemently with people getting compensation for injury whilst drunk unless the injuring party is someone else. Once people reach adulthood they are reponsible for their own actions and if they injure themselves as a direct action of their own making then that’s their problem. I grew up in the same military society that Jure Jack Roncevich did and do not accept that the drinking mentality is forced on anyone. There were occasions, when I was a sergeant of infantry when the Regimental Sergeant Major locked the bar at a formal dinner and said ‘all stay until I go’. Fair enough, it’s his mess but when I got home at 0400 my wife didn’t quiet see it that way and that’s fair enough as well. I once had a vehicle accident whilst so inflicted and it never occured to me to seek compo – it was my problem…self inflicted as it were and that’s the way it is.
The High Court ruled that just because Mr Roncevich had drunk “a large quantity of beer” in the hours before the accident it did not mean he should be denied compensation. The ruling ends a 20-year legal battle for Mr Roncevich, who now lives in the Northern Territory.
Once again I find myself disagreeing with the High Court.

Exercise Talisman Sabre

With the tag “Sabre Rattling” in the corner of the screen the ABC TV carried a story tonight about the joint Australian/US exercise currently underway at Shoalwater Bay near Rockhampton, Queensland. Ever keen to put down on the ADF, the ABC managed to find some weirdos who were just looking for the chance to stand in front of a TV camera and sprout anti-military rubbish. Greens think the Bay is under threat ecologically and plan a demonstration in Rockhampton. Something to entertain the crowds in an otherwise quite backwater of Australia. They arranged for a Colonel to deny that the ADF was using depleted uranium rounds during the deployment and in addition, screened a dramatic background video of a vehicle tearing up the sand as the greenie waffled on, notwithstanding the fact that the sand will be smoothed over come the next high tide. Have to give it to the ABC, they’re consistant – not one positive comment in the whole article. Find everything you needed to know about the exercise here including Environment Policy documents and Maritime Awareness Defence Video, which, come to think of it, is more than most people need to know. What they need to know is that the ADF work hard at inter-unit and international training to better enable them to do their job so that the taxpayer funded ABC can dump on them. Bastards!

A Thing of Beauty

Beauty is definitely in the eyes of the beholder. Sunsets, small children, flowers on a desert, a pretty girl. they’re all fine, but to me, this is beauty. Aesthetic, streamlined (in a rotweillor sort of way), powerful and a ‘toys for boys’ outright winner. I give you the Tiger chopper coming on-line in the Australian Defence inventory. Tiger

Time Magazine and Aussie SAS

I received this email from Defence Media this evening.
Time Magazine has today published an article regarding SAS operations in Afghanistan in 2002. Our Special Forces in Afghanistan operated under strict Rules of Engagement, and these included the specific and discriminatory use of force in order to achieve their missions. These rules include and always retain the inherent right of our soldiers to defend themselves and their fellow soldiers if threatened. It is Defence’s policy to not disclose the detail of classified operational activities, in order to preserve operational security and the safety of ADF members and their families, as well as to protect Defence capabilities and procedures. However, in light of the Time Magazine article and having regard to the fact that the action in question was completed over three years ago, Defence can confirm the following: As briefed at the time, a SAS patrol was engaged in a contact in May 2002. A larger SAS force coming to its assistance was also involved in the broader action, after being fired upon. These tactical actions were reviewed after the incident and were determined by Army to be in accordance with the Rules of Engagement. Each Australian element that opened fire, or called in fire, did so in response to direct threats to their safety. Some internal aspects of Patrol K3 were investigated fully at the time and appropriate disciplinary action initiated.
Time may have published the article today but as yet I can’t find it at their website. Maybe the story will be released after midnight. If this is Defence’s answer then the article must be another attack on the poor old soldier. Maybe a Trooper spoke harshly to the enemy. UPDATE: I finally got a link on the story sent to me by Regimental contacts. The Australian quotes the Time article here Summary: Guys are in ambush…armed man approaches appears to ready to use shot. Weapon and head gear collected. SOP so far. Other locals start shooting…patrol calls for back up…airstrike…some more killed. Years later a journalist says their civilians.
After the incident, according to the patrol leader quoted by Time, the trooper who found the trophies paraded the dead man’s turban.
Is this a crime? What did he do? I’ve picked gear up and showed it to others. I’ve carried captured weapons and equipment out of the contact area….is this parading dead men’s gear? Must be more to it than this trivia.
When it was confiscated, the accused Australian trooper and three other SAS men on the patrol complained to senior officers that the leader had made poor decisions under fire and put men at risk.
Sounds like a bit of bickering between fired up troops and it makes Time Magazine. How desparate are the MSM to fault the military.
The patrol leader denied the claims, but the major commanding Three Squadron, Vance Khan, segregated the whole patrol and took its members off operational duties.
Yeah, whatever.

ASC wins Air Warfare Destroyer contract

The Federal Government has chosen ASC Shipbuilder Pty Ltd as the preferred shipbuilder for Navy’s Air Warfare Destroyers (AWDs) – one of Australia’s largest and most complex Defence projects worth up to $6 billion.
Senator Hill said the Government made the decision after accepting the unanimous recommendation of the Source Selection Board on the basis that ASC Shipbuilders offered a superior bid in terms of value for money. In addition, the Government has granted first pass approval and provided $455 million towards the next phase of activities including further design work, workforce skilling, initial infrastructure investment and facilities construction. The construction of the Air Warfare Destroyers will be one of the most significant shipbuilding projects undertaken in Australia to date, and will provide enormous opportunities for Australian industry. “More than 1000 direct jobs will be created in South Australia as part of the build contract however, up to 70% of the module construction will be sub-contracted to other shipyards around Australia creating around 1000 additional jobs throughout the country.
Defence is currently evaluating three ship designer proposals from Blohm +Voss, Gibbs &Cox and Navantia (formerly Izar). ASC Shipbuilder is now in a position to assist the Commonwealth to select one of those designers in mid 2005, whose evolved design will be further considered in conjunction with an Australianised version of Spain’s existing F100 ship design. Ministerial Release in full here
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