Australia's Battlefields in Viet Nam: A Traveller's Guide by Gary McKay

By Gary McKay

A traveller's consultant to the Australian battlefields and cemeteries in Viet Nam written for individuals really holidaying in Viet Nam in addition to the "wannabes" who imagine they could visit Viet Nam.

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I recommend that you take a tour or perhaps organise your own transport, because buses only take you as far as Cu Chi village. If you’re intent on going down into the tunnels, wear old clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. You will get hot and sweaty as the tunnels are very narrow at times and it’s warm underground. Have cold water with you, a hand towel or sweat rag, and perhaps a change of shirt back in the bus. Old clothes are recommended as the red mud lingers in the fabric through several washings and my wife reckons it will never come out.

Operation Crimp, Ho Bo Woods area Operation Crimp, conducted in January 1966, was to be a search and destroy operation to sweep the enemy to the east and pin them against the obstacle of the river Song Sai Gon. The target was the headquarters of the Saigon–Cholon–Gia Special Sector Committee, which was responsible for coordinating all Viet Cong activity around the South Vietnamese capital. Battlefields pages 22/8/03 5:05 PM Page 34 elements, and the US 3rd Infantry Brigade. This was 1 RAR’s third foray into the enemy’s heartland.

A leaf-strewn path follows a long loop and takes you to the entrance of each feature in turn, although one or two may be temporarily closed for maintenance purposes. ‘Classroom’ displays include a collection of rocket pods and bombs and a mock VC in normal fighting gear in a typical hoochie (field shelter) set-up. A large hut has a map display of the Cu Chi system, along with a diorama showing the various tunnel constructions and how the Viet Cong moved and operated inside the system. For the last ten years a black and white post-1975 propaganda movie has been screened that is offensive to most veterans and of poor quality.

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