Brian William Howard 'Horrie' as a member of 3 RAR interviewed by Greg Swanborough for 'The sharp end'

Accession Number F10664
Collection type Film
Measurement 16 min 36 sec
Object type Interview
Physical description 16mm/colour (Eastman)/sound
Maker The Notion Picture Company Pty Limited
Place made Australia: New South Wales, Sydney
Date made 9 June 1992
Access Open
Conflict Period 1990-1999
Vietnam, 1962-1975

Item copyright: AWM Licensed copyright

Copying Provisions Copy provided subject to permission from copyright holder

Major, CO A Coy 3 RAR from 16 December 1967 to 28 November 1968. Scene 42, Take 1: First memory of Vietnam is damage and destruction to country's infrastructure and landscape. Scene 29, Take 1, roll 78: The military were well aware of an attack during Tet of 1968. Most military expected something every year at such a significant religious event. Ironic unilateral agreement that left everyone caught by surprise by the magnitude of attack. Majority of task force were north of Nui Dat in operation involving several other countries. 3RAR arrived between Christmas and New Year and were on their own at the task force base. Describes learning about fighting at Baria. It was thought that about sixty North Vietnamese (NV) were involved when in fact there were hundreds. NV surprised by American and Australian relation. Early Australian casualties from masonry deliberately caused by rocket propelled grenades. NV machine gunner on the roof of movie theatre. Describes being helped by South Vietnamese to find NVs hiding in houses. Unable to use heavy fire and mortars in built up civilian areas. Scene 29, Take 2: Describes overwhelming enemy troop numbers against remaining Australian forces and military success because NV went against military principles sending guerrilla forces against regular units. Hardest task was keeping the troops motivated between contacts with enemy. Loss of concentration was dangerous while others over reacted and lost their nerve. Commanding Officer wrote to the next of kin describing a soldiers bravery and regard by fellow soldiers. Scene 29, Take 3, roll 78: Describes fear of being overrun at Baria. For the vast majority of the time, the Viet Cong could have successfully attacked the Task Force base but it was well defended. Because of high security no-one really knew what was in there or if anyone was ¿home¿ or not. Scene 29, Take 4, roll 79: After twelve hours of continuous fighting the fifty remaining men were exhausted and low on ammunition when they heard bugles and whistles from across the river. Estimated the VC force to be of several hundred men. The Australians felt safe as long as there was the river between them and the enemy. They held the bridge and the VC, thinking that disabled APCs on the bridge were tanks, withdrew. Scene 29, Take 5: Family back home found it difficult especially the wife. No-one seemed to care about the men fighting overseas. Upset by major postal strike because mail was not delivered. Wharfies and posties not popular with soldiers in Vietnam. Those in the regular Army did not seem to have problems continuing on with their contemporaries in a lifestyle they were used to but returning National Servicemen had real difficulties changing straight off the ship into another life. Scene 29, Take 6: Protestors aimed at the wrong people. Should have directed protest at Government. The protestors said it was, but it wasn¿t.