VIDEO: Amphibious assault played out in military exercise
MORE than 1000 coalition troops invaded a Queensland beach on Tuesday as they started their big push to restore an allied nation's sovereignty.
The smell of diesel filled the air as a screen of white smoke surrounded the top of the eight armoured amphibious assault vehicles barrelling towards Langam's Beach in Stanage Bay in a line en masse about 10.30am.
Despite only looking like small boats as they approached shore, imposing amphibious tanklike vehicles with massive wheels emerged from the smoke screen - and underwater - and drove straight onto the sand to deliver US, Japanese and British Marines in the first wave of the mock war's beach landing.
Numerous different types of military amphibious landing vehicles followed in successive waves from four Navy ships dotting the horizon.
The Australian transports brought both soldiers and Australian Light Armoured Vehicles (ASLAV's) ashore from the HMAS Canberra and Adelaide while some of the Japanese arrived on hovercrafts from the JS Kunisaki.
The beach landing marked the first official day of Team Blue's push into the fictitious island Republic of Legais, which was overthrown by an enemy force dubbed Team Red from the nation of Kamaria.
The mock conflict is part of Australia's largest bilateral military training exercise with the US, Talisman Sabre and involves more than 34,000 military personnel from six nations.
Exercise Director Commodore Allison Norris said the forces who came ashore moved straight into the land combat part of the exercise, which will play out over the next two weeks in Shoalwater Bay and parts of the Queensland coast.
"The blue and red opposition forces have a destination and a target they need to meet,” she said.
"The blue force will be trying to manoeuvre through what is Legais, our fictitious ally, replicated by the Shoalwater Bay training area.
"The red force brigade will be trying to stop them from achieving their outcomes.”
Commodore Norris said the enemy had been in position for days in preparation for Team Blue's arrival.
"The whole aim of the blue force's training ... is to ensure that we set up a capable adversary that tests our people in training, so that they are better equipped to fight should we need to,” she said.
US Marine Corps Colonel Matthew Sieber said Exercise Talisman Sabre, including the beach landing, was not a deliberate show of force to a Chinese spy ship, sitting off the coast of Queensland, or anyone else.
"However, it is an awesome capability to watch,” he said.
"The objective of the exercise is to develop interoperability between the nations and to walk away having strengthened that relationship and to demonstrate to our partners, and would-be partners, and any would-be adversaries the strength of this alliance.”
Cheryl Mannion and her husband Bob had set up chairs at the top of a hill with binoculars to watch the beach landings.
The retired Rockhampton couple were visiting friends of the privately-owned beach specifically to watch the military happenings.
"There have been heaps of landing crafts unloading troops and tanks and chinooks flying over,” Mrs Mannion said.
"”It was like an invasion. Especially when those amphibious craft came in with smoke billowing out of them.
"That was unreal. I loved that.”
The exercise, which ends July 24, is designed to test combat readiness and interoperability between Australia and the US military.