Exercise an assault on engineers’ senses

Department of Defence

Booby traps, enemy fire and a simulated canine casualty confronted sappers from the 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment after they blasted their way into buildings during an urban breaching exercise on Exercise Brolga Walk in Townsville.

They used satellite charges and detonation cord to allow entry before being subjected to simulated blasts and sounds to confuse sections gaining entry.

Second in charge of 16th Combat Engineer Squadron, Captain Chris Eyles, said urban breaching included explosive and non-explosive assaults on buildings – all part of their role to provide mobility support.

“We reduce obstacles for infantry by clearing buildings or reduce any other obstacles explosively,” he said.

Urban breaching involves setting up charges on doors and walls, breaching, entering and quickly searching rooms or compounds.

Reconnaissance teams first scout an area to obtain information about threats and assess entry apertures into a building or walls to breach and enter from an unexpected direction.

Confirmation orders are issued shortly after, including the best way to assault.

“These include how many routes of entry, how they are going to breach, whether it be mechanically, explosively or manually, and what types of explosive they use,” Captain Eyles said.

Sapper Shaymus Jones said they rotated 180 degrees around the door so they could see all of the room’s dead space before entering.

“If we see an enemy as we enter, we deal with them first then we look at other potential threats as an engineer,” he said.

“We look for trip wires and whether it’s occupied and if they’ve left something for us.

“We run a threat triad, asking ourselves, ‘Am I safe? Is my team safe? Is everyone else safe?’.”

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