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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > Vietnam War > Vietnam War Videos

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Vietnam War Videos Videos and documentaries about the Wars in Vietnam 1945-1975

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  #61  
Old 13 May 08, 23:58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark Castor View Post
A word from Normie Rowe - entertainer and Vietnam vet.

After he read the NVA 5th Division "100 battles 100 victories" Long Tan story (post#38 from altus), he gave permission to post this story:-

"It reiterates an experience I had when I visited the Hanoi War Memorial in 1995. At that time, travel from Oz to Vn was not as regular as it is today. Many things had remained fresh in the minds of all who experienced the “American War” (as they call it) from both sides first hand.

I was travelling with members of the Professor Fred Hollows Foundation, who were very cautious not to upset political sensibilities; especially when a crew from "A Current Affair" was travelling with us also. As I curiously searched what was sign-posted as “The wreckage of a B52 Bomber” I found a number of discrepancies, and thought, “What a shame not to keep remembrance sites accurate”. The memories of these soldiers, our enemy, who fought as much for what they believe in as did we, was sullied by political propaganda.

I was severely admonished by our attached Commissar for pointing out that B52’s were pure jets, and did not require the propellers, nor helicopter rotors on display as bomber parts. Surely it would suffice and therefore be honest to say that this is a mound of parts of aircraft shot down by the “Glorious Gunners of the Republic of Vietnam”.

I always thought that our historic depictions should always be "warts and all" because to be found out in a lie later, would be to desecrate the memories of ordinary blokes who were, and still are, asked to do extra-ordinary things. "


Norman J Rowe, AM
www.normierowe.com

Normie Rowe was (and is still) an entertainer - Australia’s King of Pop in 1968. He had a number of big hits, including “It Ain’t Necessarily So”, and “Que Sera Sera”. He was also a soldier himself - a conscript - and APC commander, A Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, giving up his career at the height of his popularity to serve in Vietnam.

AM - Order of Australia
Citation: AM - FOR SERVICE TO THE COMMUNITY, TO VETERANS AND TO THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY.
QUEEN'S BIRTHDAY Honours list - 1994


I remember the punch up he had on a TV show years ago ... Hewas stanch for our troops in vietnam and not a bad scapper , considering he was attacked first:
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  #62  
Old 14 May 08, 02:20
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Talking


The irritating 'personality' Won Casey had a go at him on TV - suggesting, I think, that he had dodged the call-up, and was trying to pretend that he was on the vets side. Of course, Casey didn't know that Normie had been to Vietnam. So Won was shown exactly what a fighting man can do - but Normie didn't get the deciding punch in, unfortunately.

The whole of Australia was hoping that the fight would be allowed to continue, so someone could finally shut Casey up. (Now, THAT was 'reality" TV).

Greyghost,
In your assessment of the Long Tan battle, you appear to have a one-sided slant from an NVA-sympathetic viewpoint. There have been enough books written about the incident, with factual reports (from both sides' documents, etc) that perhaps a READING of some of these might enlighten you.

The NVA "victories" aren't always stating that they won every battle, but more that they lost a FEW - and only a SMALL force was opposing the enemy (us), so therefore they couldn't possibly have lost 300-500 - or whatever. In other words, down-playing their losses. (Hanoi Hannah usually provided us with some laughs. When on base, we would listen out for her "reports', especially when we heard that the NVA had "wiped out 500 Australians".)

And this is where I agree with Rowe (above) - "The memories of these soldiers, our enemy, who fought as much for what they believe in as did we, was sullied by political propaganda . . . our historic depictions should always be "warts and all" because to be found out in a lie later, would be to desecrate the memories of ordinary blokes who were, and still are, asked to do extra-ordinary things . ."

The Americans at the time of the My Lai massacre, to their credit, didn't try to sweep that aberration under the carpet. A lot of soldiers cracked under the pressure - some suicides, some going "mental", some ADs (shot in the foot), some 'fragging'. All of these reactions need to be investigated - to lessen the chance of them occurring in future. The Australian Army is now "psychologically testing" their soldiers to see if they will crack under pressure. Personally, I thought that had always been the case. So does this mean that our servicemen will now be expected to be soul-less machines, able to withstand the rigours of war, without suffering any combat traumas.

Last edited by Dark Castor; 14 May 08 at 02:24..
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  #63  
Old 14 May 08, 05:39
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Would anyone please explain why the "ambush" hypothesis can be considered VC-sympathetic, whereas the "encounter engagement" one isn't?
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  #64  
Old 14 May 08, 08:47
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Dear Altus.

‘Face’, is not a uniquely oriental concept.

There are two ambush arguments being rebutted here.

The first is that, D6RAR, “had their thumb up bum, brain in neutral and walked into an ambush.” I believe that this had some currency in some RSL’s (Which was, in those days the ‘Returned Serviceman’s League’.) circa late 60’s early 70’s.

The second is as a result of the VC/NVA claims in 1966 that exaggerated the Australian losses. The Radio Hanoi rebuttal at the time still irks.
The Australian mercenaries, who are no less husky and beefy than their allies, the U.S. aggressors, have proved as good fresh targets for the South Vietnamese Liberation fighters. ... On 18 August [they] wiped out almost completely one Battalion [1000 men] of Australian mercenaries in an ambush in Long Tan village.
Announcement from Radio Hanoi, 27 August 1966


More than 500 Australian Satellite Troops ... were wiped out by the South Vietnam Liberation Army ... on 17 and 18 August ... .
Announcement from Radio Peking, 28 August 1966


The communist history of the area, published in 1986, describes the communists as having 'eliminated 500 Australians and destroyed 21 tanks' in the battle.
(Ian McNeill, To Long Tan,
Allen and Unwin, Sydney 1993, pp. 356-7)

Hai's [a Viet Cong officer and participant in the battle] observations on the battle .. did admit that the Long Tan battle was not good for them militarily because they did not achieve their aim of wiping out the Australian unit. However, he thought it was a good political victory in that it won them much support from the people of Phuoc Tuy, especially those displaced from their villages. ... [H]e was amazed that Australians could look on the battle as a victory. "How can you claim a victory when you allowed yourselves to walk into a trap that we had set? Admittedly we did not finish the job, but that was only because time beat us and your reinforcements arrived. I mean, you did not even attempt to follow us up. How can you claim a significant victory from that sort of behaviour?".
(Terry Burstall, A Soldier Returns,
UQP Brisbane, 1990 pp 77-79)
The Australian Vietnam Diggers didn’t appreciate their efforts being disparaged by Australian WW2 diggers fronting a bar, or an enemy not admitting what was a categorical defeat.

The revised history that you posted didn’t specifically state that “Yeah we ran into the Australians in the rubber plantation and had our arse handed to us.” A statement of this type will ultimately be the only sort of concession that some folks will accept.

If on the other hand, you consider your ‘revisionist’ post in the same sense as the Japanese Emperors capitulation speech, it becomes a little clearer.

The Japanese in 1945 had experienced the sort of drubbing that only the US has the capacity to dish out. Japanese soldiers, sailors and airmen had been despatched wholesale throughout the Pacific for three years. Two Japanese Cities had been laid waste by nuclear weapons and the Capital had been firebombed to ash.

The Emperor didn’t specifically state, at that time, “Hey we lost – you won” What he did say was – “The war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan's advantage”

I can see a world of difference between what was broadcast from Radio Hanoi in 1966 and the current official line, you recently posted.

Long Tan was not an ambush, and neither the homegrown or Communist claims that it was, are valid. 'Face' and reputation are worth arguing for.

Does that help?

Regards


Mick

Last edited by Chippymick; 14 May 08 at 09:02..
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  #65  
Old 14 May 08, 09:01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark Castor View Post

The irritating 'personality' Won Casey had a go at him on TV - suggesting, I think, that he had dodged the call-up, and was trying to pretend that he was on the vets side. Of course, Casey didn't know that Normie had been to Vietnam. So Won was shown exactly what a fighting man can do - but Normie didn't get the deciding punch in, unfortunately.

The whole of Australia was hoping that the fight would be allowed to continue, so someone could finally shut Casey up. (Now, THAT was 'reality" TV).

Greyghost,
In your assessment of the Long Tan battle, you appear to have a one-sided slant from an NVA-sympathetic viewpoint. There have been enough books written about the incident, with factual reports (from both sides' documents, etc) that perhaps a READING of some of these might enlighten you.

The NVA "victories" aren't always stating that they won every battle, but more that they lost a FEW - and only a SMALL force was opposing the enemy (us), so therefore they couldn't possibly have lost 300-500 - or whatever. In other words, down-playing their losses. (Hanoi Hannah usually provided us with some laughs. When on base, we would listen out for her "reports', especially when we heard that the NVA had "wiped out 500 Australians".)

And this is where I agree with Rowe (above) - "The memories of these soldiers, our enemy, who fought as much for what they believe in as did we, was sullied by political propaganda . . . our historic depictions should always be "warts and all" because to be found out in a lie later, would be to desecrate the memories of ordinary blokes who were, and still are, asked to do extra-ordinary things . ."

The Americans at the time of the My Lai massacre, to their credit, didn't try to sweep that aberration under the carpet. A lot of soldiers cracked under the pressure - some suicides, some going "mental", some ADs (shot in the foot), some 'fragging'. All of these reactions need to be investigated - to lessen the chance of them occurring in future. The Australian Army is now "psychologically testing" their soldiers to see if they will crack under pressure. Personally, I thought that had always been the case. So does this mean that our servicemen will now be expected to be soul-less machines, able to withstand the rigours of war, without suffering any combat traumas.
Greyghost,
In your assessment of the Long Tan battle, you appear to have a one-sided slant from an NVA-sympathetic viewpoint. There have been enough books written about the incident, with factual reports (from both sides' documents, etc) that perhaps a READING of some of these might enlighten you.


D. C. ... One sided slant yes, you are corrrect.... I see this battle differently than most .. I have read both Long Tan books twice and studied every bit of info I can get including the after action report by Harry Smith .
For the most part I would say that Lex Mcauleys was the best account of the battle of Long Tan for study .. The Commanders book was good to read , but in a few places it contradicted Harry Smiths own after action report. (which I see is no longer available to read on the internet. )
The after action report is very good for plotting the movement of D Co over the time frame but there are a lot of errors in the map grid ref cordinates given by Harry Smith there .....
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  #66  
Old 14 May 08, 14:42
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Hi, Mick,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chippymick View Post
Does that help?
Oh yes, it does. Thank you for your insights.

If I manage to find something about Long Tân in PAVN tactic study books (much less politicized than those "official history" ones, I'll let you know.)

Regards,

Altus
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  #67  
Old 14 May 08, 21:58
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< ". .Admittedly we did not finish the job, but that was only because time beat us and your reinforcements arrived. I mean, you did not even attempt to follow us up. How can you claim a significant victory from that sort of behaviour?".
(Terry Burstall, A Soldier Returns, UQP Brisbane, 1990 pp 77-79) " >

I can understand the university students of the Vietnam era being the stirrers they were, against the role we played in Vietnam. What I don't understand is WHY they bothered to publish Burstall's fantasy writings (University of Queensland Press).

If any report of the Long Tan battle is read, there is ample proof that the enemy WERE followed up - in fact the KIA and WIA figures were being adjusted all the time as Australian units kept finding more bodies, and graves. Actual body counts were made from the physical sightings - and only 'estimates' from the number of (mass) graves.

A 'significant victory' could reasonably be claimed - when the opposing odds against the Aussies were 25 to 1, and the casualty figures were ONE for every 30 of the opposing force, who "ambushed(?)" them. I think Australians can be rightly proud of their 6 RAR soldiers.


Can't wait to see the Bruce Beresford movie "LONG TAN" - 'based on a true story' - next year.

*********************

Further to Normie Rowe (previously): - in today's newspaper it turns out that Australia's 'most famous' Vietnam conscript was falsely drafted into the Army. In the ballot dates, chosen to select 20 year olds for Army service,
his birthdate HADN'T come up. These ballots, up until then, had been conducted behind closed doors (they were later televised to the nation). In 1967, he returned from a successful trip to London with a string of hits to his credit - to find he was called up for 2 years in the Army. 1 year was spent in Vietnam.

At the time he was accepting of the luck of the draw - but later met a policeman born on the same day, and wondered if the bureaucrats had decided that he would make the ideal posterboy for Vietnam. This week the Dept of Veterans' Affairs confirmed his suspicions - that he had been falsely drafted - and should never have been sent to Vietnam.

In another strange twist, Rowe has just finished filming a movie "The PM is Missing" - in which he plays the 1967 Australian Prime Minister, Harold Holt, who disappeared while swimming at a Victorian beach in December 1967.

Holt may even have made the decision to draft Rowe.
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  #68  
Old 14 May 08, 23:01
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D.C., If I wrote the film script it would be a great film !
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  #69  
Old 15 May 08, 06:18
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Of course it would, ghost who walks.

Now keep taking the tablets.
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  #70  
Old 24 Jun 13, 02:19
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I am not sure if this excellent Documentary of the Battle of Long Tan has been posted in it's entirety before. I have seen bits of it around, but never before the whole thing on Youtube. I looked around our forum and couldn't find it anywhere. Forgive me if I missed it somewhere and you have already seen this.

For those who have not it is an excellent documentary and well worth taking the time, one hour forty, to watch. Here is the whole thing.


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  #71  
Old 25 Jun 13, 03:04
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Used to be, I guess.

http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...d.php?t=105065
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