Cambrai Day in November 1970, Observed at Nui Dat
parade armorssoldiersarmored personnel carriersRoyal Australian Regiment (RAR)troopstanksCelebrations
The birthday of the Armoured Corps, Cambrai Day, in November 1970 is being observed by the crews of Centurion tanks from A-Squadron, 1st Armoured Regiment and APCs from B-Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment. The parade took place at Nui Dat. Armour played a vital role during Australia’s war in Vietnam. The ubiquitous armoured personnel carrier (APC) made it's first appearance in the conflict during mid-June 1965 as part of the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (1RAR) group then operating under the command of the 173rd United States Airborne Brigade in Bien Hoa Province. At the vanguard of the APC’s seven-year-long deployment to South Vietnam was 1-Troop, A-Squadron, 4th/19th Prince of Wales Light Horse. Equipped with the American type M113 (a family of armoured personnel carriers) the troop and its successors were highly mobile. Their vehicles could operate over a wide range of terrains, including through heavily forested areas and, with their amphibious capability, were also able to ford streams and cross inundated paddies. In 1966 the 1st Armoured Personnel Squadron worked with the 5th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (5RAR) and 105 Battery, Royal Australian Artillery in establishing the Task Force base at Nui Dat. Shortly afterwards, though not for the first time, they proved their worth in a perilous situation. At Long Tan APCs were one among several elements that swung the course of the battle in the Australian’s favour. While artillery had a devastating effect on the enemy and the infantry, pinned down and under heavy fire, withstood assault after assault, it was the arrival of the APCs from 3-Troop 3rd Cavalry regiment, spitting fire from their .50 calibre machine guns into an enemy force massing for yet another attack, that forced them to disperse and withdraw. APC crews could expect to spend lengthy periods away from the Task Force Base at Nui Dat during which crews would spend much of their time in vehicles that in effect became their home when on operations. Armoured vehicles required constant maintenance, some of which, including changing tracks in the field, was carried out by crew members, but the heavier tasks were the province of the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RAEME). In the case of APC’s, RAEME personnel undertook, among other tasks, major engine repairs, the replacement of guns and any welding that was required. While the field crews were expected to ensure that the vehicles’ supplies of oil other lubricants and water were maintained.
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Original version: Collection with various creators donated by Bernie Weisz; Archival digital version: SLCC Digital Archives. CREATIVE COMMONS Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License.
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