Download Combat Battalion: The 8th Battalion in Vietnam by Robert Hall PDF

By Robert Hall

The tale of the 1969 travel of Vietnam through the 8th Battalion of the Australian military.

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Additional resources for Combat Battalion: The 8th Battalion in Vietnam

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However, the VC and NVA proved to be a much more dangerous enemy. Their equivalent of the ‘insurgent camp’ was the bunker system, a complex of well-camouflaged weapon pits with overhead protection against artillery and air attack, providing mutual support and with prepared fire lanes, defensive mines and booby traps in which the enemy might be found in up to company strength. Far from fleeing, the VC/NVA would often stay and fight and Australian soldiers soon learned that an encounter with an enemy bunker system often resulted in a tough fight and casualties.

32 This meant that the enemy could choose whether to initiate or avoid battle and hence could control the rate at which it accepted losses. The US strategy of attrition could never succeed on this basis. At least part of the reason why the VC initiated most of the engagements with the US Army was that they were seldom forced into battle. By attempting to engage the enemy in big battles in the jungle, the US Army allowed the VC the option of choosing to fight, or not, as they saw fit. Furthermore, the attrition strategy could not have succeeded for other reasons.

Thinking to Vietnam. A characteristic of the US way of warfare that reached its apogee in Vietnam was the use of firepower to save manpower and casualties. Concern to minimise casualties reached new heights in the US military in the Korean and Vietnam wars and it tended to be an act of faith among US Army officers that massive firepower would achieve that aim. Yet the techniques of conventional war and the use of heavy firepower were inappropriate for CRW. In CRW the insurgents seek to avoid battle unless it is on their terms.

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