Vietnam ANZACs: Australian & New Zealand Troops in Vietnam 1962-72 (Elite) (英語) ペーパーバック – 2004/5/25
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The part played by Australian and New Zealand troops in the Vietnam War (1955-1975) is sometimes overlooked; but it is generally accepted that the 'Diggers' and 'Kiwis' were among the most effective and professional troops involved. Drawing upon the ANZACs' long experience in the jungles of South East Asia, the men of the Task Force used their expertise in patrol tactics to great effect to frustrate Viet Cong operations. Meanwhile the ANZACs’ small and isolated adviser teams spent ten years passing on their skills all over South Vietnam, and in the process four were awarded the supreme decoration for valour - the Victoria Cross. This book pays tribute to their military prowess, and describes and illustrates their uniforms and equipment in unprecedented detail.
Kevin Lyles is an expert on the history of the Vietnam conflict, and a talented illustrator of 20th century military subjects. He has illustrated several books for Osprey, and has also written titles on the US Army in Vietnam, a subject in which he has a long-standing interest. He lives and works in Hertfordshire, UK.
It is only fitting that Lyle, a member of the British Commonwealth, should turn his attention to the contributions of Australia and New Zealand during the Vietnam War. The term `ANZAC' originally referred to the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps of World War I, but has remained in use for Australian and New Zealand troops. While these nation's troop commitments to South Vietnam may seem small (only 8000 at their peak in 1968), the population of both nations combined was approximately the same as New York state by itself.
Lyles begins by discussing the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV), which would serve in Vietnam for more than ten years and became the most decorated (including four Victoria Crosses) unit of its size in the Australian Army. These men, mostly from the infantry and SAS, were professional soldiers, many of whom had already seen combat in Malaya in the 1950s and who worked closely with the South Vietnamese. Lyles then discusses the actions of the regular army units from Australia and New Zealand.
While the majority of the regular army troops were trained in conventional warfare, they employed a radically different style from American soldiers. The U.S. Army employed large, conventional forces and took advantage of their tactical mobility and heavy firepower over the Viet Cong. The ANZACs, on the other hand, widely dispersed their forces and used stealth to hunt the enemy - a tactic used by some more elite formations of the American military. Lyles concludes this section by discussing the most well-known ANZAC battle - Long Tan. On 18 August 1966 at the rubber plantation of Long Tan, D Company, 6th Royal Australian Regiment, with the fire support from American and New Zealand artillery defeated the Viet Cong 445th Battalion and 275th Regiment, who outnumbered them more than 10-1.
The remainder of the book includes a chronology, an order of battle, and a discussion of uniforms and equipment. In fact, more than half of the book is taken up by photos, artwork, and the discussion of uniforms and equipment. All of these are of the highest quality, but it is important for readers to understand that this is not a comprehensive history. With that one caveat in mind, I wholeheartedly recommend this book for those interested in Australian and New Zealand military history and/or the Vietnam War.
I'll admit this is not exactly an objective review - firstly the author, Kevin Lyles, is my favourite military artist; secondly the title covers a subject which I myself have done an extensive amount of reading and collecting into over the years.
Lyles starts off with a brief political and military background and then describes the gradual build up of ANZAC forces. The text continues on to include differences in warfighting doctrine between the Allies and a brief description of the Battle of Long Tan.
The author illustrates and describes very well the genesis of the ANZAC uniform from the first combat troops to the pull-out 10 years later. In dealing with the complexity of the subject he has logically divided the subject matter into chapters dealing with Australian uniforms; Australian webbing; NZ uniforms & equipment; and finally SASR/NZSAS field dress.
Some of the photos are pics that have appeared in other publications but all illustrate quite well points that the author desired to stress.
The colour plates are simply stunning and illustrate well the uniform genesis from early to late war and covers not only the average 'digger' but also includes special forces, advisors and other corps.
In summary this book is an absolute gem in that it covers quite comprehensively a niche subject that has been largely ignored or simply been wrongly reported by other less-informed publications. The text is packed full of precious tidbits of information and the colour illustrations are .. well, it's Lyles!
Although aimed primarily at the collector/modeller I have to say that if you have any interest at all in the Australian military or the Vietnam War then this book should sit on your bookshelf.