Gurkhas join Australian Army and US Marines for Australian outback training

Gurkhas joined forces with the Australian Army and US Marines to take on the tough training conditions of the Australian outback.

Deploying from their base in Brunei, C Company 1st Battalion Royal Gurkha Rifles (C Coy, 1 RGR) is on the five-week-long Exercise Pacific Kukri.

The Gurkhas have swapped platoons with the 5th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (5 RAR) and the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines (3/1) to train as multinational companies on the extensive Mount Bundey training area near Darwin.

The Gurkhas, who are used to the jungles of Brunei, were put to the test in the contrasting open bushland environment of the Australian outback.

Their full range of infantry skills was able to be tested.

Mounted in 5 RAR's Bushmaster-protected mobility vehicles, the Gurkhas practised manoeuvring with the support of live mortar and machine-gun fire to concentrate force against an objective and then dispersing to avoid becoming a target themselves.

With temperatures soaring to 38°C, the troops have also practised fighting street by street and building by building through an urban complex, supported by Australian combat engineers to blow entry into buildings and dismantle boobytraps.

Gurkha troops trained as multinational companies on the Mount Bundey training area near Darwin, Australia 25052023 CREDIT British Army.jpg
The Gurkhas practised fighting street by street and building by building through an urban complex (Picture: Army MOD).

'We've learnt a lot'

Major Jack Millar, Officer Commanding C Coy 1 RGR, said: "I'm unbelievably proud because every single person deployed in this exercise has grafted from start to finish and worked so hard to learn to be better soldiers and to mix with our counterparts here.

"We've had mixing of platoons in the companies, so we've swapped a Gurkha platoon with an Australian platoon, and likewise with the US Marine Corps, and that's to really develop our mutual understanding.

"What can we learn from each other? What do we do the same? What do we do differently and how can we be better together?

"It's been interesting to work with fellow professionals who are also regional specialists in the Indo Pacific, and we've learnt a lot," he added.

The Army says: "The training demonstrates the Army's commitment to build relationships and the ability to operate alongside our allies in the Indo-Pacific as part of the Government’s defence and foreign policy ‘tilt’ towards the region."

Major Millar added: "1 RGR has got troops all around the region and will be deploying to Japan, Indonesia and Fiji, both on our own and with our allies. So for us the busyness continues, and it's exciting!"

1 RGR is based in Brunei as the Army's specialist jungle infantry; it rotates with its sister battalion 2 RGR to be based in Shorncliffe, Kent, as part of 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team, the British Army's global response force.

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