Australians in the Vietnam War 1962–75

Discussion in 'Vietnam War' started by spidge, Nov 10, 2007.

  1. spidge

    spidge Active Member

    Vietnam War 1962–75


    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 All nine RAR battalions served in the taskforce at one time or another, before it was withdrawn in 1971; at the height of Australian involvement it numbered some 8,500 troops.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.
  2. morse1001

    morse1001 Guest

    I have Lex Mcaulays two books on the Aussies in Vietnam, The Battle of Long tan and The Battle of Coral both useful books with some of the background to the Aussies and Kiwis in Vietnam.

    Its amazing how many people do not know that the ANZACs fought in Vietnam, in fact that America provided 90% of the supporting forces, while the ANZACs, Philipines and Koreans provided the rest.
  3. digger

    digger Guest

  4. spidge

    spidge Active Member

    Thanks Rod.

    The Aussie government sites are right up there with the best.
  5. digger

    digger Guest

    The Vets' Lament

    This is a poem I wrote and think it may be the appropriate place for it. I'm not a Vietnam Vet just have many friends that are and is based on their experiences and how they feel.

    Attached Files:

  6. spidge

    spidge Active Member

    Very well done Digger.

    Sure tells the true story of our involvement.
  7. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    Yes, well written from the heart.
  8. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    He's got a new one out as well, Morse. It's called Blue Lanyard, Red Banner.

    Blue Lanyard, Red Banner: The Capture of a Vietcong Headquarters By 1st Battalion The Royal Australian Regiment - Operation CRIMP 8 - 14 January 1966 by Lex McAulay - Secondhand books

    The price on this site is rather ridiculous but gives a good little synopsis.
  9. spidge

    spidge Active Member

    Some really good reading amongst this lot if you have the time:

    Vietnam War
  10. Cutaway

    Cutaway Guest

    I wish there was more info/movies/culture about Australias side to the Vietnam War, Instead of the yank stuff all the flippin time.
  11. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    You've probably seen The Odd Angry Shot? That's the only one I can think of off-hand.
  12. digger

    digger Guest

    Think there was a mini series called Sword of Honour many years ago that dealt with an RMC graduate in Vietnam Nam. Not sure what channel now possibly 9 and think Tom Burlinson was in it

  13. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    Sword of Honour (Australian TV - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

    Australian Television: Telemovies and Miniseries: 1980s
  14. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    Great poem Digger.

    What was/is the situation with Nam Vets in Australia. We probably all know about the US vets and the terrible time they had and still have when they returned. Is the Australian situation comparable?
  15. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    Pretty much the same here, Kyt. Shameful. They are starting to get the recognition they deserve though.
  16. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

  17. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

  18. spidge

    spidge Active Member

    Apparently very difficult to acquire for normal price!
  19. spidge

    spidge Active Member

    Australian Army Training Team Vietnam

    Courtesy of:

    Australian Army Training Team Vietnam: Australian War Memorial

    4 VC's and 109 decorations

    Australian Army Training Team Vietnam

    The Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV) began arriving in Saigon, South Vietnam on 2 July 1962. The thirty officers that made up “the team” were sent to Vietnam in a training and advisory capacity, as part of the US Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV). Members served 12- or 18-month tours of duty. They were sent to Vietnam singly or in drafts, as the unit did not exist outside Vietnam.
    AATTV members operated with the South Vietnamese Army, Montagnards, Territorial Forces, and other local units. Attached to units or battalions as trainers, advisers, and occasionally leaders, team members usually worked in the field, accompanying units on operations. They worked with various groups from the United States, such as the US Special Forces and the Central Intelligence Agency.
    AATTV was increased to eighty personnel in June 1964 and to one hundred in January 1965. The team reached peak strength in August 1970, comprising almost 130 members. As part of an overall reduction of Australian commitment, the size of the team was decreased gradually from March 1971, before a complete withdrawal in December 1972.
    Members of the AATTV were rarely together as a single unit, apart for ceremonial occasions, such as ANZAC Day. Members operated as individuals, in pairs, or occasionally in groups of no more than ten. Their role in Vietnam was to train and advise South Vietnamese units in their fight against the Northern Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong. As a result of their unique deployment, team members worked across most of South Vietnam. Although primarily deployed in the field, AATTV undertook some work at Nui Dat at the Jungle Warfare Training Centre, established in June 1970. In addition to the training centre, mobile training teams operated outside of Phuoc Tuy, throughout South Vietnam.
    The team often acted as advisors during combat and sometimes made decisions on artillery or fire support. They also took on the role of leading the South Vietnamese or Montagnards in battle.
    AATTV remained in Vietnam after the 1st Australian Task Force (1ATF) was withdrawn in 1972. It was stationed in Phuoc Tuy province and focused on training. It also assisted with training Cambodian soldiers of the Forces Armées Nationales Khmer. AATTV was withdrawn from active service on 18 December 1972.

    1 Australian Task Force Vietnam ; Phuoc Tuy Province ; Nui Dat ; Jungle Warfare Training Centre Battle Honours


    • 33 killed
    • 122 wounded
    For more information please see the Roll of Honour and Vietnam War Nominal Roll (external website) databases.
    Commanding Officers


    • 4 VC
    • 2 DSO
    • 3 OBE
    • 6 MBE
    • 6 MC
    • 20 DCM
    • 15 MM
    • 4 BEM
    • 4 QC
    • 49 MID
    For more information please see Honours and Awards database

    • Horner, David Murray, Duty first : the Royal Australian Regiment in war and peace, (Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1990)
    • Kuring, Ian; Australian Army History Unit, Red Coats to Cams : a history of Australian Infantry 1788 to 2001, (Loftus N.S.W.: Australian Military History Publications in association with the Australian Army History Unit, 2004)
    • McNeill, Ian G., 1933-, The team : Australian Army advisers in Vietnam, 1962-1972, (Canberra : Australian War Memorial, 1984)
    • McNeill, Ian Graham; Australian War Memorial, To Long Tan : the Australian army and the Vietnam war 1950-1966, (St Leonards, N.S.W.: Allen & Unwin in association with the Australian War Memorial, 1993)
    • McNeill, Ian Graham; Ekins, Ashley, On the offensive : the Australian Army in the Vietnam War, January 1967-June 1968, (Crows Nest, N.S.W.: Allen & Unwin, 2003)
  20. spidge

    spidge Active Member

    This is another great government site which lists the 60,000+ people that were involved in Vietnam including armed forces, civilians, etc etc and their tour dates and a facility to print a certificate.

    Nominal Roll of Vietnam Veterans

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