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4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment

motto: Strike Swiftly

4th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment
4th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment. (Source: unknown.)
4th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment

Unit Profile

The 4th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (Commando) or 4 RAR (Cdo) is Australia's generalist Special Forces Unit. The unit is part of the Australian Army Special Operations Command (SOCOMD).

The unit was raised in 1955 and served as an infantry unit. From 1973 on 4 RAR was linked to 2 RAR but after the unit's deployment in Rwanda in 1994 the Australian Government decided to unlink the units in favour of raising an additional infantry battalion.

On February 1st 1995 2nd/4th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment was directed to delink. 4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment was ordered to Holsworthy in Western Sidney. In October 1996 the Australian Army conducted a study which clearly showed the need for a full time commando capacity within the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to complement and argument the Australian Special Air Service ability to conduct special operations. In February 1st 1997 the battalion was redesignated as 4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (Commando) or 4 RAR (Cdo).

In November 1999 4 RAR (Cdo) become operational and was warned out for peace making operations in East Timor. Between April to October 2001 4 RAR (Cdo) was deployed to East Timor, which in turn redefined the unit as a conventional light infantry battalion for this deployment. Upon return to Australia, the battalion recommenced its Special Operations capability.

Since 2002 the unit was also tasked with raising a second Tactical Assault Team, known as Tactical Assault Group East. This unit is responsible for handling domestic counter terrorist operations on the East Coast of Australia.

In April 2003 4 RAR (Cdo) was deployed to Iraq to participate in the US led Operation Iraqi Freedom.


  • Primary mission: Large scale offensive operations beyond the range and capability of other Australian Defence Force units in support of Australia's national interests.

Raised and Disbanded

  • Raised: January 18th 1952, Royal Australian Regiment Depot
  • Redesignated: March 10th 1952, 4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
  • Redesignated: March 24th 1960, Depot Company, Royal Australian Regiment (School of Infantry)
  • Raised: February 1st 1964, 4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
  • Redesignated: August 15th 1973, 2nd/4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
  • Redesignated: February 1st 1997, 4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (Commando)


  • Battalion Headquarters
  • Tactical Assault Group (East)
  • A Commando Company (Reserve)
  • B Commando Company
  • C Commando Company
  • D Commando Company
  • 152nd Signal Squadron
  • Logistic Support Company
  • Operational Support Company


  • November 1971: Lavarack Barracks, Townsville, Australia
  • February 1995: Jordan Lines, Holsworthy, Sidney, Australia
  • November 2000: Tobruk Lines, Holsworthy, Sidney, Australia


February 14th 2003 - May 20th 2003 Operation Falconer Quick reaction force in support of Special Force (SAS) operations (including Force Protection and Combat Search and Rescue roles).
May 25th 2006 Operation Astute East Timor stabilisation force


The 4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (Commando) has done an incredible job in recreating the unit. Within two years the unit was turned from a light infantry battalion into a first class special forces unit.


  • Battalion Headquarters
  • A Company
  • B Company
  • C Company
  • D Company
  • 152nd Signal Squadron
  • Logistic Support Company
  • Operational Support Company

October 2001

  • Battalion Headquarters
  • B Commando Company
  • C Commando Company
  • 152nd Signal Squadron
  • Logistic Support Company
  • Operational Support Company

September 5th 2002

  • Battalion Headquarters
  • Tactical Assault Group (East)
  • A Commando Company (Reserve)
  • B Commando Company
  • C Commando Company
  • D Commando Company
  • 152nd Signal Squadron
  • Logistic Support Company
  • Operational Support Company


Not including advanced schools that Commandos are expected to attend, the training regime lasts approximately 9 month in total (after basic and infantry training). While direct entry applicants will also have to attend the two month long "Special Forces Accelerated Training Continuum" in addition to the below.

Formerly, Commandos only accepted applications from already qualified soldiers in the Australian Defence Force. Recent international security developments and Australia's military deployments in support of domestic (CT) and international operations has seen the Australian Special Forces community stretched very thin. The Australian Government has therefore recently taken the decision to adopt a direct entry Special Forces enlistment program similar to the American program designed to fill difficult to maintain Army Special Forces ranks.

Despite the new initiative, none of the entry requirements or selection testing procedures have changed. The program is difficult to get into and selection is difficult to pass. Moreover, as mentioned above those applicants participating in the direct entry program must not only undergo Basic and the three month long infantry training, but also a two month long "accelerated Training Continuum" before being able to take the Special Forces Entry Test (SFET).

If taken from the point of an applicant expressing interest more than 95% of direct entry applicants fail to gain entry to Commandos (according to Maroochydore based recruitment officers this is largely due to initial applicants failing to meet IQ, physical, and psych testing standards). To illustrate the point, the first intake of the direct entry program took more than 800 applications and only 42 passed initial selection to go onto special forces selection. A more accurate reflection of attrition rates may be from the point of the Selection testing, the SFET. Once SASR and Commando applicants complete the SFET, those who are successful will go to their respective units selection course.

Commando Training Course

In the case of Commandos this is the Commando Training Course (CTC) which is 3 weeks in duration. For prospective Commandos, the historical failure rate to pass the SFET and the commando selection training is between 60 and 80 percent. The CTC itself suffers around a 50-70% attrition rate though the new CTC has been revamped so this may change (it is now compulsory for all applicants to under infantry training before attending). Before commencing the CTC they test applicants for phobias which may prevent them from performing their jobs properly. Some of these tests include crawling through a dark underground pipe for about 100 metres, abseiling off a large tower and a 400 metres swim in cams at night about one kilometres off shore. The first week of the course is very similar to the Special Air Service Cadre course and is when most applicants withdraw. The following two weeks continue to apply both physical and mental pressure on the applicants and are designed to train them in basic Commando skills which culminates in actual field exercises in the final week. Again, both officers and enlisted personnel attend this course, the former having a bit of a rough go of it as they have the additional pressure of planning and executing Commando assaults during the course. After a recruit has successfully completed the Commando Training Course he is rewarded with the Commando Green beret.

Basic Commando Training

During the Basic Commando Training the new commando will have to complete the following seven courses:

  • Special Forces Weapons and Equipment Course (Commando)
  • Commando Training Course
  • Special Forces Roping Course
  • Commando Urban Operations Course
  • Special Forces Basic Parachute Course (including water insertion training)
  • Commando Amphibious Operator Course
  • Airborne Rappelling and Fast Roping course

He also has to qualify for one of the following basic specialty courses:

  • Combat First Aider
  • Commando Signaller
  • Special Forces Demolitions

Advanced Skill Courses

  • DFSW Operator
  • Mortar Operator
  • Basic Sniper
  • Special Forces Climber
  • Mountain and Cold Weather Operations
  • Combat Survival
  • Reconnaissance
  • Language
  • Commando Operational Watercraft (COW) Coxswain

Specialist Courses

  • Climbing supervisor
  • Roping supervisor
  • Parachute jump master - Static line
  • Parachute jump instructor - static line
  • Unarmed combat instructor
  • Advanced special weapons specialist
  • CQB instructor
  • Survival Instructor
  • Advanced commando amphibious operator
  • Mountain warfare instructor
  • Commando section operations specialist
  • Unconventional warfare specialist
  • Infantry platoon operations
  • Demolitions supervisor
  • Military assistance regional training and co-operation

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