Commandos exercise in Western Australia DPR/TV/1569

Accession Number F04590
Collection type Film
Measurement 9 min 25 sec
Object type Actuality footage, Television news footage
Physical description 16mm/b&w/silent
Maker Defence Public Relations (DPR)
Place made Australia: Western Australia
Date made July 1973
Access Open
Conflict Period 1970-1979
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC

Nine hundred crack commando and infantry troops are taking part in a realistic commando type exercise in the rugged Kimberley region in the north west of Western Australia. The exercise - Appian Way - began on July 16 1973 with a massive airlift of troops into the area by RAAF Hercules transport aircraft. The troops comprised the Special Air Service Regiment from Perth, the 1st and 2nd Commando Companies, Citizen Military Force, from Sydney and Melbourne and a company of Regular Army infantry soldiers from Brisbane along with RAAF aerodrome defence guards from New South Wales. Appian Way is the Army's largest peace time commando raid and is designed to test the troops in special forces techniques particularly in relation to raids and surveillance in sub tropical waters and terrain. The battleground is 3500 miles of rugged tree covered country centred around Mt House Station some 120 miles east of Derby. There amongst the thick clogging dust and scorching sun the troops are testing their skills in parachute landings, rappelling from helicopters and landing parties from fast patrol boats. Both the RAN and the RAAF are participating in the exercise. The RAN is providing two fast patrol craft for the quick movement of troops along the exercise coastline and the RAAF is providing Caribou transport aircraft and Iroquois helicopters for the tactical movement of troops around the area. Appian Way is being conducted in six phases interweaving the specialist training such as parachute drops with field operations. Members of the Brisbane based 8th Battalion and RAAF aerodrome defence guards from Williamtown in New South Wales are playing the role of "enemy". It is their job to harass the commandos and give the exercise additional realism. During the initial stage of the exercise a party of military VIPs led by the Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Sir Mervyn Brogan visited the exercise area and watched the troops training. He saw members of 2 Commando Company from Melbourne take part in a parachute drop and tried his hand at riding a motor cycle specially adapted by the SAS for tactical patrolling. At this stage the motor cycle is purely on a user trial basis to assess its effectiveness in tactical operations. Exercise Appian Way will end on August 16. Also identified: Lance Corporal Peter Reef of Everard Park, SA; Warrant Officer 2 Ed MacPharlane; SAS Sergeant John Delgado.

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