Fifteen gunners from the Brisbane-based unit, the 1st Field Regiment, have got three weeks left to serve in Lashkar Gah Durai, in northern Helmand Province. The Australian team have been attached to the British 7th Parachute, Royal Horse Artillery (7 Para RHA) in a multi-national operation.
Commanding Officer of 7 Para RHA, Lieutenant Colonel Gary Wilkinson, said:
“Personally, it has been an absolute pleasure to have the Australians here. I have worked with the Australians on a previous HERRICK operation and now for this final deployment. It has been an effective example of multi-national integration on demanding operations.”
The troops have been under attack from rocket propelled grenades and small arms fire during their tenure. In response the gunners had to use 105 mm light gun in the rarely used direct fire mode. British 105mm L118 light guns provide indirect fire support to troops many kilometres away. Troops can call for support to provide additional fire power when in contact with the enemy and often request illumination rounds to be fired to provide vision at night.
The first Royal Australian Artillery contingent deployed to southern Afghanistan in March 2008, having conducted training in the United Kingdom for six months prior to joining Operation HERRICK. The first contingent, from the Darwin-based 8/12 Medium Regiment, were the first Artillerymen to deploy in that role since the Vietnam War.