Friday, April 20, 2018

SOLDIER'S TALES

In the lead up to ANZAC Day I thought I might relate some stories from my time in Vietnam which I originally published on-line under the heading of  'Tales from the Dark Side of Victor 3'.    For your light amusement or whatever .....


Victor 3 commenced its tour on the Horseshoe which was a horseshoe shaped feature (funny that) about 8k away from the ANZAC Base at Nui Dat.   It overlooked the town of Dat Do which contained many VC sympathisers.    2 Platoon (my platoon) occupied the left hand position; 3 Platoon were in the centre with 1 Platoon on the right.     In front of and down the hill from the platoon positions (about 40 yards away) were a series of barbed wire fences (to keep the enemy out or the troops in - I know not which).

At dusk and just before daylight everyone 'stood to' in that great military tradition which has it that the enemy would likely choose that time to attack (as it happened the enemy probably read from the same training manual and so never did  ... I mean, why would they).    In reality it signaled the change from day to night routine and vice versa.

It was twilight and stand to and over the Company command net came a message from 1 Platoon that a small mouse deer had somehow gotten into the wire and was proceeding along their front and could they use it for target practice please sir.   

The Company Commander ever anxious to allow his soldiers to develop their shooting skills gave permission on the basis of 'one shot, one deer'.    Everyone was warned not to be alarmed.     A few minutes later there was a crack from a M16 ... then silence.    Seconds later there were two shots from an SLR; seconds later still there was a burst of fire from an M60 ... and so the noise got closer as everyone in 1 Platoon had a go.    A few minutes later again firing began from the 3 Platoon position to our right and I swear this time it may have included a .50 cal machine gun.  The firing got closer.   Then the phone in my Platoon HQ rang with a report from my right hand bunker (immediately adjacent to 3 Platoon) that they could, in the gloom, just make out a small furry animal picking its way along the wire with spurts of dust all around it and could they avago too please.    In my wisdom I said yes so my lot joined in the fun to see the deer continue its merry path right across my front and then exit the wire at the left heading towards Dat Do.

I think something in the order of 1,200 rounds of ammunition was expended during the 30 minute ‘battle’.    Victor 3 nil, deer 1.

About the only people in the Company not to be involved in the fire fight were Larry Southern's mortars although I suspect he would have called in a fire mission given half a chance.

It would not be a great revelation to say that our Company Commander was not a happy chappie.    My diary records that all Platoon Commanders were read their pedigree by him.    I suspect same same from the Company Sergeant Major to the Platoon Sergeants.    Jack Wooster, the doyen of shooting theory in the NZ Army, would have been mortified even more so if he heard.     On 'sober' refection I think there may have been some connection between this and the 'Great Nui Dat Beer Heist' described in a later story.   This would explain much.

Sunray 5/2

Footnote …. Victor 3 Company served in Vietnam from May 1968 through to May 1969.   It was part of 4RAR/NZ (ANZAC) Battalion.  19 members of the battalion, including four New Zealanders were killed in action while 27, including 8 New Zealanders, were decorated for gallantry.



10 comments:

Anonymous said...

"...from May 1969 through to May 1969." ?

The Veteran said...

TY Anon ... fixed.

pdm said...

Hell Vet doesn't say much for the marksmanship of you and your mates.

Davy Crockett would have got that deer standing on his head, facing the other way with his eyes closed. Based on the books I read as a kid anyway.

The Veteran said...

pdm ... that's what the Company Commander said to us in less restrained language. WE did improve.

James said...

We wouldn't get away with that these days! You pretty much need written sign-off from the Legal Officer in HQ before any rounds are allowed to travel down-range - regardless of whether they are fired at a deer, a target or an enemy!

And then after any rounds are fired, you need one Court of Inquiry, two documentaries and three books to be written.

George said...

And then you'll have ferret face writing an expose some years later and there will be parliamentary 'discussions' ad nauseam with the left 'outraged'

Jobson Growth said...

It overlooked the town of Dat Do which contained many VC sympathisers.

By this, I take it you mean Vietnamese, you know, the people who lived in the country and had the right to decide their own future stolen from them by the US and its running dogs?

Shelldrake said...

Oh Vet, you know the great truism of the Battlefield. What God giveth the Artillery taketh away. Perhaps Larry should have been employed to bring the truism to effect. About 10 rounds Firefox effect. Problem solved.

David said...

Wrong, Jobson.

They weer crisis actors sent by George Sorros as part of a false flag to mislead the great American people about the heroics of their military in saving the USA from invasion by Viet Cong and its eventual transformation in to a caricature of a once great Republic.

Anonymous said...

You off your meds again David.......ref "The ten thousand day war"

Lord Egbut