The Vietnam War was a war between Southern and Northern zones of Vietnam. It began gradually during 1959-60. In the early 1960's the United States was worried about the situation in South Vietnam. They believed there were over 20,000 Viet Cong guerillas in the south and about another 100,000 of the population were on the Viet Cong side. The United States believed the Viet Cong controlled nearly one quarter of the villages and had supporters in three quarters of them. Most non-Communist countries were worried that the communist giants, China and the Soviet Union wanted to dominate the world. The governments of the United States and Australia thought that China was using the Communist Government in North Vietnam tofirst conquer South Vietnam and then the whole of South East Asia.
Australia became involved in Vietnam because the Australian government believed the best way to protect Australia from the communist threat in South East Asia was to make sure that the United States stayed on its side.
Australian soldiers had to fight small groups of the enemy and they were subject to surprise attacks and raids by small groups of soldiers using fairly simple weapons. The living conditions were very different from what they were used to. The weather was extremely hot and dry and there were torrential rains in the wet season. They had to learn to cope with ringworm, tinea and leeches and go for days without proper washing or sleeping.
In August 1966 Australians fought a battle in a rubber plantation near Long Tan. They won this battle and lost 18 men and had 21 wounded. The Viet Cong had about 500 wounded and lost 245. Those involved won the United States Presidential Citation for their actions. The Australians now realized that the Viet Cong could be defeated. Two other Australian companies were successful in a battle at Binh Ba in 1969 and the Task Force turned back an attack north of Bien Hoa in 1968 after the Tet offensive. Th…