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Australian Armour in Vietnam

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#1 Argus

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 0903 AM

In 2 volumes by Bruce Cameron

ISBN: 9781921941993

The subtitle is probably a bit of publishers bumph, as it is not strictly speaking a history of 'Australian Armour in Vietnam' as that would also include the Cav, where its unashamedly concentrated on the Tanks. That said, if not part of the official history series, it might as well be. The author (who commanded the last Centurion troop in Vietnam), has obviously tried to follow the same format and a damn good job of it he's done too. Thus is it basically an expanded chronology; who went where, when, why and what happened, with some commentary, explanation and enlargement.

If that sounds a bit dry, well YMMV and its no Zumbro, but for anyone with more than a pulp-paperback interest in the subject its a good read. We're not talking a dry list of movement orders here, its a bit sparse when not much of note happened, but there is plenty of interview/letter/diary materiel fleshing out the 'interesting bits' - an in keeping with its Of-Hist format the footnotes are extensive.

While obviously trying not to alienate the lay reader Cameron is not afraid of technical detail where it counts even if this is clearly an operational history not a technical one. Speaking of which, yes there are a couple technical 'errors,' probably, due, it seems to me, too the author relaying more on his contemporary service knowledge rather than doing any later technical research, HEAT slugs are continentally referred to as jets for example, but you need to be a rivet counting anorak to bitch too loudly about that. On the other hand if you want an idea of what running a Sqn (reinforced Coy) of Centurion's for 4 years at a furious op-tempo in a tropical jungle involves... chapter and verse. This is not a book all about Bang-Bang, the RAEME, RAE, RAOC angles all get their share of attention, field and theatre replenishment, recovery, maintenance etc. The number of road wheels, idlers and final drives they seem to have chewed through is frightening.

If I had to pick a thematic weakness it would be the maps, but with the price of graphics that's understandable and those that are provided are quite good. While overall Cameron is at his weakest when dealing with higher command echelon matters at the Dept and Gov level. He's well up on the results and consequences but less so on the reasons, on the other hand he's also quite up front about his speculations and knowledge gaps.

I didn't pay for this book (set), it was a birthday present from my boss, bless his cotton socks. So I can't say it was money well spent, but having read it, I certainly wouldn't regret buying it either. Actually I'd like to suggest we put together a collection and buy a set for Sparky - as if nothing else this book is clear demonstration of why you don't want to take M113's into a high mine threat environment even with aplique belly armour.

Shane

#2 Loopycrank

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 1047 AM

"if nothing else this book is clear demonstration of why you don't want to take M113's into a high mine threat environment even with aplique belly armour."

Eeek! Dare I ask?


#3 Argus

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 0754 AM

OK the VC had advanced notice of the Cents, thanks to political announcements from Canberra. So they did the their research and resolved that bottom attack was their best line forward, followed by RPG's when tactical constraints dictated.

The first thing they found was normal AT mines just scored mobility kills of varying degrees. Then followed your typical IED campaign of increasing size, increasing sophistication and eventually increasing size and sophistication. Bigger charges, placed with more craft and fancier initiation methods. Towards the end they were using multiple RPG warheads with off route fusing to belly strikes, for example. So into this environment of AT mines/IEDs scaled to take out MBT's rolled M113's - need I paint a more vivid picture :(

shane

#4 T19

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 1114 AM

OK the VC had advanced notice of the Cents, thanks to political announcements from Canberra. So they did the their research and resolved that bottom attack was their best line forward, followed by RPG's when tactical constraints dictated.

The first thing they found was normal AT mines just scored mobility kills of varying degrees. Then followed your typical IED campaign of increasing size, increasing sophistication and eventually increasing size and sophistication. Bigger charges, placed with more craft and fancier initiation methods. Towards the end they were using multiple RPG warheads with off route fusing to belly strikes, for example. So into this environment of AT mines/IEDs scaled to take out MBT's rolled M113's - need I paint a more vivid picture http://208.84.116.22...MO_DIR#/sad.png

shane


Those are track death machines? I thought the Galvin was bomb proof. That's what l have been lead to believe.




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