AN investigation into a live-firing drill that sparked one of the biggest-ever bushfires in NSW has uncovered a litany of shocking Defence Force failures, including poor record keeping of anti-tank explosives and the presence of an unauthorised howitzer shell.

The damning report also outlines in graphic detail how Defence Force personnel were nearly killed by exploding shrapnel as they tried to contain the fire on a military range littered with unexploded ordnance.

But the highly critical report also details a catalogue of failure leading up to the accident, including poor bookkeeping of explosives and the presence on the range of an unauthorised and extremely powerful 105mm howitzer shell.

The report also revealed nobody kept records of the explosives used during the October 14 exercise — an issue it described as a possible security breach and “seriously flawed accounting”.

Read more: Daily Telegraph, May 17, 2014



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