What were some of the experiences Australians had during the Vietnam war?

Essay by Alex499High School, 10th gradeA+, August 2006

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Australia's presence was in Vietnam from 1962 to 1972. It first began with the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV) who served in infantry, artillery and armoured divisions. Later in the war, when Australia sent more troops (because conscription was enforced), Australian task forces were given an area called Nui Dat which was within the Phuoc Tuy Province. In Vietnam Australians had to survive in terrible conditions and against an enemy that had been fighting for their country for over two decades.

The men in the AATTV patrol were highly trained and skilled and went on combat patrols with the Army of the Republic of South Vietnam (ARVN), to train them in methods of village control to stop Vietcong infrastructures building up in populated areas. The AATTV's methods were quite different to those employed by the Americans. The American's deployed large numbers of troops, massive firepower and decisive battles while Australians concentrated on individual marksmanship, the independence of platoons, small scale platoons and ambushes.

This resulted in Australia killing less Vietcong but they had less casualties then the Americans.

In 1965 more regular troops were sent to Vietnam and in April 1966 conscription was introduced which lead to about 15,500 troops being conscripted. By the end of Australia's involvement in the war in 1972 Australia sent 47,000 troops to Vietnam. These troops survived in appalling conditions; endless rain, heat, swamps and mosquitoes that could give malaria. The Vietcong were expert at setting traps which would often injure or sometimes even kill a soldier e.g. the Vietcong would dig a pit which they would fill with sticks that were sharpened by villagers and smeared with poison or excrement. Most of the troops spent their time on patrol duty trying to find and kill the Vietcong, who would hide during the...