posted on Oct, 6 2004 @ 06:46 PM
Heres the Hermes version. If it got to that stage, the Australian and NZ government get wind of coup plans in Fiji several days early. The new Fiji
government is not in a position to do anything with the loyalty of Police and Army in Question and the ethnic population and introduced Indians evenly
split. It is even too dangerous to confront the plotters.
The ADF is put on alert. A NZ Company Group is flown into Sydney to join the understrength 3RAR and its supporting elements as they embark upon HMAS
Hermes. Her ASW helecopters are landed, as RAAF UH-1s and Army Kiowas arrive. As HMAS Hermes and her Escorts prepare steam from Sydney at full speed
for Fiji, the AOR HMAS Success get a 48 hour jump on the group. Hastily equiped RAAF & RNZAF C-130Hs with extra fuel tanks stage to an airbase in NZ,
where they are joined by Australian and NZ SAS on stand-by. Orions of both Airforces begin to conduct long range reconisance missions in the vicinity
of the islands. A pair of NZ Frigates prepare to join the RAN enroute.
The Australian and NZ Governments issue a joint communique that they are preparing to conduct an excercise involving the co-operation of the
Australian New Zealand and Fijian Defence Forces. The exercise simulates a major civil disturbance and a threat to expat nationals, with task group
"ANZAC" being dispatched to to aid the Fijian Government and military. It tests the short notice response of all the Defence Forces concerned, and
its duration is to be "flexible". The announcement is accompanied by blanket coverage of the non covert side of preparations.
The Fijian Government is aware of the purpose of the exercise, and FDF chiefs are quietly informed of whats going on, to allow them a face saving out.
They have gone to Staff College in Oz and NZ and they know the cost of forcing the issue in a shoot out between Fijian troops and ADF/NZ Forces.
Task Group ANZAC arrives in Fijian Waters off Suva the following week. Fijian soldiers, unawares of the coup plot, look forward to the unexpected
excercise with thier Australian and NZ counterparts.
Hermes LCMs and the Army helecopters begin the process of unloading personnel and supplies, as RAN Harriers patrol overhead. The frigates HMAS Derwent
and HMNZS Waitako, armed with twin 4.5" lay at anchor offshore at Suva, within view of the docks where Fijis Naval Force of patrol boats lay
alongside, as other navy ships circle the Hermes and Success, or patrol the other islands. Soldiers of 3 RAR/NZ begin to fan out from the port to
begin thier patrol exercises, alonside Fijian DF and Police personnel, unawares what was in the offing. On both sides only a relative few senior
people were aware of what may have happened. ANZACs would have been informed enroute if the Fiji Colonels had proceeded with thier plans.
At the Airport, C-130s and RAAF 707s begin to arrive with additional personnel and equipment from Oz and NZ. Inconspicious in thier numbers are teams
of Aussie and NZ SAS, like those now on Protective Details for the Fiji Government, or escorting the Fijian senior officers and thier men to a
briefing with the Australian Head of the Mission.
By the end of next week, HMAS Tobruk and two leased commercial vessels should arrive dockside to offload the balance of the groups heavy equiment. By
then, some three to four thousand Australian and NZ defence personnel are established ashore, working with the FDF and Police with thier new
It is a scenario that the ADF, NZDF and Regional DFs have practiced several times at Jervis Bay in the three years since Hermes joined the fleet.
Media representatives are shown around the activity and are impressed. It is a peaceful exercise that could not even have been planned independently
without the HMAS Hermes.
Hopefully, when it eventually comes out what has been narrowly averted in Fiji, the general public will have a new appreciation of the benefits of
operating a carrier, and other regional neighbours will feel more secure and assured.
Remember this is all hypothetical. It never happened because the Hawke government spent over a billion dollars building itself a new house instead.
Whats would have been more valuable I wonder?
Remember. Fiji, Bouganville, PNG, Solomon Islands. We are doing damage control, because we are not equiped to be pro-active.