3RAR unit

Sixa platoon gearing up for patrol
Flak jackets were key for some of us getting home again


Patrol to Cloncurry where arse was kicked, myself WIA yet again; bloody careless.




This photo is of an 'ambush patrol' obviously going to a position where trouble was expected. The fact a field phone and cable were being taken, shows that radio alone was not enough.

Also the fact that bayonets are being carried, indicates close quarter contact was likely. I would say it could have been one similar to George's effort. The few riflemen would have carried a bandolier containing ten 5-round stripper clips of .303 ammunition, the bren gunners would have had 10 magazines, split between them and the No.2. The riflemen were the No.2 for the brens and took over if he was hit.

Owen gunners normally carried 10 magazines on such a job, two on the weapon taped together, and 8 spread around in pockets. Some carried theirs in 'basic pouches', if they wore them.

Grenades of the 36 mil. variety were always taken, the least number being 2 to 4 per man, they were hung from pockets or webbing belts as per individual preference. On top of all that is the weight of the flak-jacket, so the men were well loaded up, around 30 Lbs. per Owen and rifle men, and maybe 40 for the bren gunners.

Obviously the Signaller was carrying more, that being the spool of Sig-wire, someone else would have carried the phone. The cable would be hooked up at the nearest outpost, to a phone there for passage back to Company HQ.

The weather being cool by the clothing worn, the Diggers would have been pretty tired by the time they made their way to where-ever, either climbing or trudging through paddy-fields.

A jaunt through the countryside was not envisaged.


Comments courtesy of Cpl. Ron Cashman (facing camera, flak jacket, boot on sandbags), who at first didn't remember this particular patrol (which was the ill-fated assault at Cloncurry), so explained how they went, generally.

The Aussies always patrolled aggressively on the theory that what you don't know can hurt you.


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