Wednesday 15 July 2009

Tales from the Academy – Barossa Buggies

In the early 60s there was a growing interest in the hobby of Barossa Buggies. Such buggies were created by stripping off the bodywork of cars leaving just the chassis, engine and seats. These skeleton vehicles were highly mobile and light and could be driven at speed round the RMAS training grounds. Allegedly even the Commandant acquired one. They gained their name from the muddy Barossa training ground behind the Academy.

Unfortunately the favoured area in which to play with these buggies was also used for large and important demonstrations of military operations. One day a sizeable group of official onlookers had gathered to witness a demonstration of an ambush. (Yes, really . . .)

The carefully planned proposal was that a significant number of selected guests would visit the ambush site to see people emerging off-stage left, walking through the designated area and being successfully ensnared.

Unhappily, unbeknown to the organisers of the ambush, some cadets had decided to take a recreational trip in their Barossa Buggy at the same time and place as the official demonstration and so the two events coincided. Thus, instead of demonstrating how effective an ambush could be against a slowly walking group of people the Barossa Buggy, going flat out, tore through the affair without a shot being fired.

As Robbie Burns would have commented, 'The best laid schemes o' mice an' men /Gang aft a-gley.'

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