Page 276 - The Rifles Bugle Autumn 2019
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An attachment to The Rifles
    My name is Matthew Taylor and I am an Lieutenant in the Australian Army and a recent graduate of the Royal Military College, Duntroon. As an Army Reserve officer I completed my training with the Melbourne University Regiment (MUR) before attending the College in January for my final course prior to commissioning. Once I had returned from Duntroon I was fortunate enough to receive a Scholarship from MUR’s associ- ation which sponsored a trip to the UK to visit The Rifles during March this year. The Col. J Wood MURA Travel Scholarship, as it is officially known, is awarded biennially and is open to all Lieutenants who have graduated from MUR in the period following the previous scholarship. My trip was only a few weeks in length but it allowed me to visit four battalions as well as Regimental Headquarters, before I flew to France for a battle- field tour of the Western Front. My trip was truly a once in a life time opportunity and is without a doubt one of my best experiences in Army to date. The officers and rifleman of the Regiment were incredibly hospitable and I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all the members who made my time spent with the Rifles so memorable.
My trip begun in Edinburgh at Dreghorn Barracks with 3 Rifles where I was given a quick explanation of the mechanised battalion’s new ‘Strike’ role. My host for my time at 3 Rifles was
CAPT Tom Talbor, a former Signals officer who I assessed had been lured to the Rifles by its prestige and reputation. CAPT Talbor was an exceptional host and did a fantastic job at showing me around the battalion as well as the city itself. Throughout my time with the Regiment I identified a number of similarities between our two armies and it was while I was with 3 Rifles that the use of technology became a focal point. Both our armies are embracing computer simulation as a genuine training tool and I was given a firsthand look at the British spin by observing a trial exercise while at Dreghorn. It was fascinating to watch as each rifleman was assigned a computer and a specified role, while the mission cycles ranged in complexity and the threat picture evolved quickly. It didn’t always go to plan though, a situation that I myself have experienced numerous times in my career already. It became a common occurrence for a rifleman to inadvertently run over his commander once he had disembarked a vehicle, and the computer based opposition force was obviously well trained. During one mission cycle they didn’t miss a single shot and it wasn’t long before a section strength force had decimated the combat team. Deadly computer based enemy force elements aside, Edinburgh was a beautiful city and a terrific place to start the trip before I headed south to 6 Rifles and HQ Infantry.
I arrived in Exeter and was promptly greeted by CAPT Aaron Dishman from RHQ and taken to 6 Rifles at Wyvern Barracks. While it wasn’t a parade night there were a number of members supporting a school cadet training day and a couple lieutenants hanging about who I had the chance to chat with. Through these conversations is was clear that we were quite similar in terms of our training, experi- ences and the opportunities that lie ahead in our careers as reserve officers. Following knock off, CAPT Dishman and I travelled to Bath and discussed his role and what it meant to be a rifleman along the way. It became evident to me that the Rifles are an exceptionally proud Regiment and that you are unashamedly confident in applying your trade as a motto such as ‘swift and bold’ would suggest. Following my stay over in Bath, CAPT Dishman took me into his office at HQ Infantry and showed me around briefly before we said our goodbyes and I began the four hour car ride to Castlemartin in Wales.
Cold, foggy, and wet, that’s how I’d describe my time with 5 Rifles in the Castlemartin Training Area. With that said, my few days with the Regiment’s armoured infantry battalion were some of my favourite of the trip and the opportunity to climb in and all over a Warrior was fantastic. What was even better though was standing on the back deck of the turret as it fired volleys of 7.62mm from the coaxial machine gun interspersed with 30mm rounds from the main cannon. All under the watchful eye of the Warrior Sergeant Major of course. My time on the range also presented an excellent opportunity to get to know the officers and the rifleman of the Battalion as there was often lengthy wait times between serials. The similarities to home were evident once more as I learnt the rifleman came from a variety of backgrounds but had many things in common.
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