APC movement to secure ground DPR/TV/365

Accession Number F03762
Collection type Film
Measurement 6 min 24 sec
Object type Actuality footage, Television news footage
Physical description 16mm/b&w/silent
Maker Cunneen, William James
Place made Vietnam: Phuoc Tuy Province, Binh Ba
Date made 3 April 1966
Access Open
Conflict Vietnam, 1962-1975
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Source credit to This item has been digitised with funding provided by Commonwealth Government.

Early morning in Vietnam finds Australian soldiers ready for another day's work as infantrymen of the First Battalion The Royal Australian Regiment board carriers of the 1st Australian Armoured Personnel Carrier Troop at Courtenay, midway between their home base of Bien Hoa and the seaport of Vung Tau, to secure ground for a 10 mile advance into Viet Cong territory by the U.S. First Infantry Division. The Australians have been operating with the First Division at Courtenay for three days in a search and destroy mission known as Operation Hound Dog. They have combed rubber and jungle for miles around the rich plantation area, but have found little sign of the enemy. Now the Division has decided to probe deeply into unknown Viet Cong territory to the south, and the Australians have been selected to travel the Communist sabotaged main road to Xa Binh Ba ten miles away to secure a landing strip so that airborne elements of the unit may move in an ensure the safety of the road for the movement of the Division's more than 450 vehicles. The infantrymen selected for the task, B Company of the First Battalion, move from their jungle bivouacs and climb aboard the Troop's 18 armoured personnel carriers. A radio command from the Troop sergeant major, Sergeant Larry Symons, of Puckapunyal, Victoria, and the long line of vehicles,led and tailed by a section of American M-48 tanks, is on its way. The road, in other days, was considered one of the most scenic in Viet Nam. But the tankies of the APC troop have little time to look at the rubber and coffee plantations that flash by. They must concentrate on the newly dug "keyhole" trenches torn from each side of the road to try to stop their advance. As recently as the night before, the Viet Cong have felled rubber trees across the road. But though they slow the carriers and make them easier targets for a possible attack, they do not stop them. The troops find the Vietnamese impassive as the carriers rumble through villages on the roadside. Some of them have known nothing but war all their lives, and it is not suprising that they are not awed by military machines. But a group of friendly Vietnamese soldiers show how welcome the Australians are as the tracks speed through their fortified compound. They grin broadly and wave to the carriers as they pass. Then the APCS are at Xa Binh Ba, and as they sweep through the village they break off into line abreast formation to search the rubber plantations surrounding the airstrip - their objective. Now the all-clear is given to the following airborne troops as the tracks swing back on to the airfield itself, and smoke grenades are ignited to signal in the next company of infantry to a heliborne landing. But the drama is not yet finished. Before the first helicopters come in, B Company, which has been dropped from the personnel carriers to move out into the rubber and search for Viet Cong, makes a contact. Immediately the tracks race back into the rubber in a full-cry hunt for the enemy. One of the gunners sights a band of Viet Cong and opens up with his .50 calibre machine gun. He kills two, and two others are carried away by the Viet Cong as they flee from the area. Behind the carriers the landing strip now is safe for the rest of the Division, which moves in quickly to set up a new base as huge Chinook double rotor helicopters settle down to the job of ferrying in more troops and logistic supplies.

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  • Video of APC movement to secure ground DPR/TV/365 (video)