1st Battalion The Royal Australian Regiment’s (1 RAR’s) immersive combat training centre, AKA “The Yard”, was an idea inspired by the desire to make high-end, dynamic, productive combat behavior/close combat training as accessible as possible.
The idea to develop a multi-cell urban combat centre of excellence, was first proposed to, and then endorsed by, Army Headquarters as an innovative “bottom up” idea. The proposal was to use the existing 1 RAR Assault Pioneer yard and develop it into a training facility that would be organic to the Battalion. The facility will allow individual and small team training in: combat shooting, urban combat, light urban explosive breaching (LUEB), and combat trauma; while being underpinned by the training methodologies that constitute Army’s combatives continuum.
The Yard is a training facility that will change the way 1 RAR, and its combined arms partners, prepare individuals and small teams for war. Already the team at The Yard – a dedicated and enthusiastic group of corporals and privates, overseen by the Assault Pioneer Platoon Headquarters – have seized opportunities to work with Army and James Cook University psychologists to create a full spectrum training facility that can provide feedback to the individual on heart rate and eye movement. Combine this with live video feeds and comprehensive debrief facilities and the soldiers, junior non-commissioned officers and platoon commanders of 1 RAR and other 3rd Brigade units will be able to tailor their training to develop pre-combat veterans (or as close to as possible) all within the confines of the Battalion.
Development of The Yard has already commenced within 1 RAR. The first stage was to remove and restructure the existing Pioneer yard and stores so the capability could be maintained within 1 RAR, but also allow for the new facility to be developed. The stores that could be held at company level – field engineering equipment, method of entry (MOE) kits etc – were sent to the companies and the larger pieces of equipment held at the main Q-store. The equipment and training stores for demolitions and LUEB were kept within The Yard.
The next stage (and the one currently underway) is the development of the facility itself. The Pioneer warehouse is being converted into a day/ night urban operations facility complete with modular room packs, black out curtains and CCTV cameras. The undercover and outside areas of the yard are being converted into a LUEB and urban standard operating procedures (SOPs) development area for fire teams, sections and platoons to work on their urban breaching and combat skills. Finally, the area next to the pioneer yard will have an organic urban operations training facility (UOTF) established, using three 20 foot shipping containers to simulate an urban compound, and be used for full mission profiles (FMPs). There will also be a combat trauma cell housed within The Yard that will provide the medical training required to support urban combat operations. All of these facilities will be supported by a media cell whose role will be to film and digitally document the training conducted to allow for comprehensive AARs and tactics, techniques and procedures (TTP) development.
While still in its infancy, The Yard has great potential, leveraging the proven training and instructional methodologies underpinning the Enhanced Combat Shooting Course, and integrating them into a full spectrum immersive combat training facility. Watch this space closely. A follow-up blog to be provided once it is operational; which will occur by mid June 2018.
About the author: Lieutenant Dylan Brown is currently posted to the 1st Battalion The Royal Australian Regiment as the Assault Pioneer Platoon Commander. He is also the Platoon Commander for the Battalion Combat Training Cell which is currently in development. He was previously posted as a rifle platoon commander.