Photos from the Australian Operations for Iraq

I was going through pictures from the Australian Army Operation Catalyst in Iraq and found some pictures of interesting weapons as well as just plain interesting pictures. Here are some of the better ones:


My, Grandma, What a Big Gun You Have…

Private Lachlan Dollard-Hack from the Townsville-based 2nd Battalion of The Royal Australian Regiment maintains security around a television station in As Samawah.

Can anybody identify the weapon?

Update: It’s an M249 with scope, the rectangular barrel handle isn’t normally this prominent in photos, so I didn’t recognise it.


Handy, But Embarassing

Corporal Tony Pulliene, from the Sydney-based 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, takes stock of a threat to an Australian Light Armoured Vehilce patrol during training at Gallipoli Barracks in Brisbane.

Here we see the advantage of the bullpup configuration, especially for vehicle crews. But I have to wonder whether his friends make fun of him.


Machine-Gun Party Mix

Leading Seaman Bosun’s Mate Benjamin Knox checks the ammuntion on the 50-calibre machine gun.

Which is your favorite flavor?


Is this Iraq or Tattooine?

An Australian Light Armoured Vehicle from Al Muthanna Task Group 3, at the range outside As Samawah. Dawn provides comfortable temperatures to work in before heat builds up and reaches in excess of 50 degrees celcius.

Sunrise and sunset are such great times for taking photos, especially in an otherwise aesthetically boring location like a desert.


Patrolling the Hood, Yo.

Gunner Ricky Heaton (left) and Private Brant Logan (right) maintain security outside a television station in As Samawah.

I think those are Steyr Augs.


Pirates off the Port Bow!

HMAS BALLARAT’s Bosun’s Mates practice their 50 Cal Machine gun drills.

Is it just me or do they look a bit like a nautical motorcycle gang?

Note: Click on a photo to see it full at size.

—posted by Nicholas.


  1. Yes, the rifles are most definitely AUGs. The machine gun up top is just your standard M249 Aussie-style.

  2. Anyone who has used the Aug (super ergonomic, barrel as long as a standard M-16A2, and a great integrated scope) then returned to our standard-issue piece of crap M-16 family is embarrassed. A former soldier in the Irish Army told me they achieved an 80% increase in accuracy when they switched from the FNL to the Aug. I’m embarrassed that we issue our troops such obsolete crap while there are much better alternatives out there like the Aug. Whoever is running procurement for the Australian military obviously has far more common sense (and probably much less bureaucracy to deal with) than their counterparts in the U.S. I just got back from a drill weekend on the rifle range – as always I’m bitter. Even under ideally controlled conditions, the M-16 fails regularly.

  3. Bram, Offhand I can think of only a handful of occasions when I went to qualify and it *wasn’t* raining. I never had an issue weapon that was crap. Even the full-auto M16A1s I had in basic and AIT were in fair shape. Loose and a little rattle-y, but fair. Then again, I wouldn’t be surprised if you were shooting stuff the Army threw away years ago. GL

  4. I’ve qualified annually and served as a range safety many times. I see lots of failures every time. Usually we qual at Fort Dix which is sandy. As soon as the 16 gets near sand it jams. Last week we qualified at Indiantown Gap – gravel instead of sand – real comfy in the prone. Less jams that Dix but still enough for concern. I had several failures to feed. Tired of firing ‘alibis,’ I just cleared the last one, crammed the bent round into the chamber and sent it down range. Yeah – our rifles are probably Army cast-offs, however, I saw a terrifying rate of failure at a range in Saudi Arabia on the eve of Desert Storm. Using new M16A2’s which were maintained and cleaned by the book, we had an 80%+ failure rate. Not a good feeling as you are about to go into battle. It literally gave me nightmares.

  5. It jams every time it gets around sand? Well I guess we should just be glad we’re not stuck in the middle of a war in a desert. Doh. That M249 looks like a real man’s gun. I wonder how they get a .22 to weigh 16 lbs? That will be just the thing for the human wave attacks when we do our Korean police action part 2.

  6. Bram, Ha you funny. I did basic training at Ft Dix. D Co 4/39. That was nearly 20 years ago. Wow. Well anyway that’s what I remember most: piney woods and sand. Sand in food, sand in weapons, sand in my boxers, regular doses of sand administered orally while getting dogged out for…eh, whatever we were getting dogged out for at that moment. So much sand I wondered whether they had the shit trucked in just to make the landscape that much more miserable. Heh. Ft Dix fuckin’ sand. Well, that and the gas chamber. THAT leaves a pretty vivid memory for the remainder of one’s life.

  7. How is it we can have snipers shooting semi-auto .50 cals and everyone else running around with these stupid little pop guns? This is what happens when you become more worried about ‘collateral damage’ than you are about your own sons. Of course this is the 21st Century military our generals claimed could fight a 2 front war with the Soviets and Chinese which is stretched to its limit by 2 third world oozing pus holes.

  8. Geeklethal – Have you been back to Dix lately? Your old barracks could well be a state prison now(built to house NJ’s corrupt officials). They actually had to upgrade the barracks to meet prison standards. It’s real busy there – lots of northeast units training up for deployment and transporting out of Edwards AFB. Probably why we went to FIG last weekend.

  9. Dfens, I’ve learned you can lesson the sand problem in the M-16 by avoiding CLP (the standard military lube) which seems to attract sand. Miltec is probably the best but Uncle Sam doesn’t want to pay for it. I assume most deployed troops have figured it out by now – that and carry a back-up piece and an AK in the vehicle.

  10. I know guys who have buried themselves and their M-1’s in holes and came out shooting with no jamming. It is hard for me to believe the M-16 is a step forward. I’m glad you found a work-around. That’s a hell of a thing to have fail you.

  11. Oops I just realized that the text in this post looked funny in IE (but not Firefox). I fixed it in IE, I hope that doesn’t mean it’s broken in FF now 😉 Interesting discussion. I hear the main reason people don’t like bullpup configurations like the Aug is that it makes it harder to change magazine, especially while prone. But personally I think I’d rather have the shorter weapon/greater accuracy and just practice changing mags more.

  12. It’s interesting, but there are not some PCAP (Picatinny Combat Attachment Points) on the handgrip, as on the XM8? Nice feature…

  13. Nicholas, the standard rifle configuration could save space as well. Please think at a rifle with a 16.5′ or 18′ barrel, having a folding stock.

  14. The Aussie F89 has some changes to the original FN MINIMI these are, the barrel is straight not tapered, the flash suppressor is from the FN Mag58 the additional rigidity of the straight barrel controls vibration and the flash suppressor dissipates the expanding gases and lessen the gas-wash effect as the bullet leaves the barrel, other changes include a full plastic butt, stronger sling swivels an additional flange on the bipot feet.

  15. Bram, Ha! We had 10-12 man rooms, several on each floor…I think 4 floors in the bldg. The whole company was in the building. Three other duplicate bldgs, a separate supply room/armory, and an admin bldg constituted the training bn. I feel for those prisoners, if indeed they’re housed there. The walls were thick concrete that seeped and sweated moisture from the ridiculously humid air all summer long. Looked like a slow-motion, small scale waterfall, and left huge puddles of standing water throughout the building. I’m willing to bet that the first organized activity we did after arriving, and getting dogged out of course, was to mop. And no, I haven’t been back to Ft Dix since I saw it receding into the distance, out the back of a bus taking me to Philadelphia and a plane to AIT. Good riddance!

  16. Nicholas, You’re correct. Any new weapon will have some different features and feel, but soldiers can train around all of it. Having the mag in a place different from traditional rifles ought not be a deal-breaker for acquiring a superior weapon. But of course, only the experts know what’s best…cough*bullshit*cough

  17. Okay after reading all this talk of guns, i can admit I had no idea… All I knew was that that machine gun looked mighty scary! Especially considering it’s my little brother holding it!

  18. Miltec is probably the best but Uncle Sam doesn’t want to pay for it.’ Miltec is a highly corrosive cleaner and lubricant. The Army banned it’s use and for good reason. The M117 .50’s we fell in on were cleaned by guys using Miltec and the shit would leave green splotches like you find on an old penny. And my M4 and M16 have never failed to fire despite living in the sand for nearly seven months.

  19. Emu, Aren’t you talking about the F88 Austeyr not the F89. I’ve never heard of the F89 and i’m a member of 4RAR Special Air Service Regiment (SASR). To my knowledge, we only have the F88 currently in service, and some units get a choice of either M4A2’s or F88’s. The F88 has the descriptions of your F89, so maybe you are simply confused?