Vietnam War 1962–75 From: http://www.awm.gov.au/atwar/vietnam.htm Australian support for South Vietnam in the early 1960s was in keeping with the policies of other nations, particularly the United States, to stem the spread of communism in Europe and Asia. In 1961 and 1962 Ngo Dinh Diem, leader of the government in South Vietnam, repeatedly requested security assistance from the US and its allies. Australia eventually responded with 30 military advisers, dispatched as the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV), also known as "the team". Their arrival in South Vietnam during July and August 1962 was the beginning of Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War. In August 1964 the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) also sent a flight of Caribou transports to the port town of Vung Tau. By early 1965, when it had become clear that South Vietnam could not stave off the communist insurgents and their North Vietnamese comrades for more than a few months, the US commenced a major escalation of the war. By the end of the year it had committed 200,000 troops to the conflict. As part of the build up, the US government requested further support from friendly countries in the region, including Australia. The Australian government dispatched the 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (1RAR) in June 1965 to serve alongside the US 173rd Airborne Brigade in Bien Hoa province. Vung Tau, Vietnam: door-gunner from No. 9 Squadron RAAF using twin-mounted M60 machine-guns. AWM P01951.007 The following year the Australian government felt that Australia's involvement in the conflict should be both strong and identifiable. In March 1966 the government announced the dispatch of a taskforce to replace 1RAR, consisting of two battalions and support services (including a RAAF squadron of Iroquois helicopters), to be based at Nui Dat, Phuoc Tuy province. Unlike 1RAR, the taskforce was assigned its own area of operations and included conscripts who had been called up under the National Service Scheme, introduced in 1964. All nine RAR battalions served in the taskforce at one time or another, before it was withdrawn in 1971; at the height of Australian involvement it numbered some 8,500 troops. A third RAAF squadron (of Canberra jet bombers) was also committed in 1967 and destroyers of the Royal Australian Navy joined US patrols off the North Vietnamese coast. The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) also contributed a clearance diving team and a helicopter detachment that operated with the US Army from October 1967. In August 1966 a company of 6RAR was engaged in one of Australia's heaviest actions of the war, near Long Tan. After three hours of fierce fighting, during which it seemed the Australian forces would be overrun by the enemy's greater numbers, the Viet Cong withdrew, leaving behind 245 dead and carrying away many more casualties. Eighteen Australians were killed and 24 wounded. The battle eliminated communist dominance over the province. The year 1968 began with a major offensive by the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army, launched during the Vietnamese lunar new year holiday period, known as "Tet". Not only the timing but the scale of the offensive came as a complete surprise, taking in cities, towns, and military installations in South Vietnam. While the "Tet Offensive" ultimately ended in military defeat for the communists, it was propaganda victory. US military planners began to question if a decisive victory could ever be achieved and the offensive stimulated the US public opposition to the war. For Australian troops, the effects of the offensive were felt around their base at Nui Dat, where a Viet Cong attack on targets around Baria, the provincial capital, was repulsed with few casualties. Vietnam: a wounded digger, hurt in a booby-trap explosion, is evacuated to Vung Tau. Read more at the Link.