WarWheels Forum
This forum can be used for all topics and discussions on WarWheels!
Australian Vehicles in South Viet Nam
Visit this Community
Joined: September 18, 2009
KitMaker: 9 posts
Armorama: 8 posts
Posted: Saturday, December 05, 2009 - 01:49 PM UTC

Ladies and Gentlemen,

A couple of months ago I wrote and had published in a journal I write for, a review on the following text :
"Mud & Dust" Australian Army Vehicles and Artillery in Vietnam.
Michael K Cecil.
This published by New Holland Press, in Sydney, this year. In association with the Australian War Memorial, and the text was heavily subsidised by the AWM.

Whilst I cannot put up the review nor write a text based on it due to it being now the property of the Publishing Company, I can give a description of the book.

It a hard cover with three superb photos on its dust jacket. Having 400 pages, each with one to four black and white, or colour photographs on them. Also a number of diagrams and unit organisation charts.

Having seven chapters; Introduction, Artillery, AFVs, Light, Medium and Heavy Vehicles, and Engineering Plant. Three Appendices, cover numbers of vehicles and guns sent to SVN, paint colour guide, Markings.

The actual shipment to and from South Viet Nam by the Royal Australian Navy and commercial shipping is very well described, with some superb photos.

Equally, superb photos fill the 70 pages of the chapter on AFVs cover the Centurion MBT and the M113 (and its Fire Support Vehicle with the 76mm gun and turret taken from Saladin Armoured Cars, their modifications (including the use of the Mini Gun), mine tactics and modifications. Hired AFVs from the US Army are also covered.

B Vehicles, the soft-skin vehicle fleet covers everything from staff cars used in Saigon, to wreckers and tank transporters. Photos showing them in every conceivable usage, including such as the "Nui Dat Garbo Man" a one off Five ton truck fitted with a waste disposal body, and the equally unique concrete mixers on the same chassis.

Those dealing with C Vehicles, Engineer plant, are quite fascinating, covering the entire spectrum of military engineering; rock crushing, water drilling, cargo movement, to land clearing teams, and every thing else you can think of using bulldozers, graders and dump trucks for.

Whilst the guns, deal with the L5 105mm Pack Howitzer and the M101 105mm Howitzers, showing them in every possible configuration, being towed by M113, lifted by helo's, in firing battery position, being calibrated, and the condition of a gun position as per the book, and the result after a very hard nights firing. It also shows US Army M108 105mm SP guns hired for Royal Australian Artillery use as "Pseudo" tanks to defend the 1st Australian Task Force base of Nui Dat before the arrival of 1st Armoured Regiment Centurions. There is however no illustrations, and only a brief mention of the usage of US Army artillery batteries of M109 155mm and 175mm/8inch howitzers/guns from 1966 to 1971.

There are a few minor glitches within the book such as "M16 Assault Rifles", they are just minor, but will without a doubt convince some that such was the real thing!!!!! From such internet arguments occur.

One thing which truly annoyed I as a reviewer was the constant usage of 1970's terminology to describe what was known then as a Truck, 5 Ton General Service Cargo Mark 5, the writer describing it throughout as a 'F1'. I had to do a double take and check up on such as the vehicle handbook published in 1970, Handouts for Courses relating to the vehicle, Technical Documentation, to check that I had not advanced into senile dementia. Having checked with others with far greater knowledge than I - it confirmed in my mind that we did use the terminology of Mark 5. But, it is now written down in a authoritive text, that is going to be the truth from now.

As I said the text is heavily subsidised by the Australian taxpayer, and it sells retail at Australian Dollars 45. It can be ordered direct from the Australian War Memorial for that sum plus postage :
Australian War Memorial Bookshop

GPO Box 345, CANBERRA, ACT, 2601

(02) 6243-4274

Facsimile: (02) 6243-4396

[email protected]


they are very prompt in their service. Postage within Australia A$7.45, overseas airmail, depending upon the nation between 25 and 45 A$.

I cannot recommend the book more highly, its author has created a superb record well written and illustrated. And as I stressed in the book review it is a modellers DREAM, full of ideas for dioramas, and well as the individual photos giving much details of the equipment.

There is nothing on vehicles and equipment used by the Royal Australian Air Force and the Royal Australian Navy in South Viet Nam. This is a pity as the RAAF used some very specialised and some very exotic vehicles in country, while the RAN Helicopter Flight with the US Army used hired vehicles from them, and they being uniquely "Australianised" (including a Chevrolet station wagon fitted with a gun turret! - more in fun than reality). There is however a number of very descriptive photos of vehicles on, and being loaded onto and off RAN and commercial ships.

A sad fact comes from the book about a item of heavy engineer construction plant, bought specifically for Army use in SVN. Whilst virtually brand new, these vehicles not "Returned to Australia", as they thought that they could not be used on Australian roads, little knowing that the RAAF Airfield Construction Branch had been using the same for a number of years, so they sold off for virtually nothing in country. The faults of the Armed Services not being in communication with each other - hopefully in the integrated services of the 21st Century such will not happen ever again???????

My favorite photo within the books pages, a Centurion Bridgelayer in use as a form of pseudo APC, with a mob of troops being carried within the bridges arms. It well captioned as to the sickness resulting from the rocking motion and the stench of petrol fumes.


Visit this Community
Queensland, Australia
Joined: January 17, 2006
KitMaker: 752 posts
Armorama: 569 posts
Posted: Friday, April 16, 2010 - 07:43 PM UTC
I have this book, and it is fantastic! Can't reccomend it enough!

G, do you know where i could get pics of RAAF vehicles used in Vietnam?
Visit this Community
United States
Joined: June 01, 2010
KitMaker: 3 posts
Armorama: 2 posts
Posted: Tuesday, June 01, 2010 - 06:59 AM UTC
As the author of Mud & Dust: Australian Army Vehicles in Vietnam, I'd like to make a few comments and corrections to the posting by GA Mackinlay.

I'm not sure what Gordon means by 'heavily subsidised by the Australian taxpayer'. New Holland are paying the AWM a royalty for each copy sold, under normal commercial arrangements. Yes, they did provide a short time for the author to write the text in the normal course of his work, but I can't see how this is 'heavily subsidised', especially as the majority of the text was written in his own time.

US equipment that was used by US units attached or under Australian command for varying lengths of time are not within the scope of the book. It is about Australian owned, hired or borrowed equipment, manned by Australians. Hence, the artillery types used by US units to which Gordon refers were not included. Similarly, his comments about the absence of RAAF and RAN vehicles takes no account of the book's title: Australian ARMY vehicles and artillery in Vietnam. I could probably have doubled the size of the book if I had been allowed to expand the scope to include the range of equipment referred to above, but unfortunately we had enough difficulty convincing New Holland to publish 304 pages, let alone adding another couple of hundred.

Gordon's reference to the use of what he terms '1970s terminology', that is, references to the International 6x6 truck series as either the F1 or F2, and not the 'Mk5' is a curious one. The vehicles referred to were never officially called the 'Mk5'. The 5 ton, 6x6 version of the International was officially introduced into service on 10 November 1966, under ACinWM 24590, as ‘Truck, Cargo, 5 ton GS, F1, with winch’. The other common ‘variant’ of the International 6x6 was the dump version. This was officially introduced into Australian service on 13 January 1967 as ‘Truck, Dump, 5 ton, 5 Cubic Yard, GS, F2, with winch’. Although I have heard these vehicles called ‘Mk5’, this appears to have been a colloquial term, and was certainly not their official nomenclature. I have used, throughout the book, the official nomenclature of the Svn period, or an abbreviation of it.

I trust these comments will be of interest to readers, especially those who may be contemplating purchasing a copy of Mud & Dust.

M K Cecil
Visit this Community
Queensland, Australia
Joined: December 23, 2003
KitMaker: 1,016 posts
Armorama: 745 posts
Posted: Tuesday, June 01, 2010 - 11:48 AM UTC
G'day Mike,
All I can say mate is what a great job you have done with the book. I can not highly recommend it enough to people. The M113 ARN's are what stunned me away the most!!! I found one of my old cars on the list.
Thanks for a great book.

Cheers Jason

PS How's the States??
Visit this Community
New South Wales, Australia
Joined: March 18, 2008
KitMaker: 347 posts
Armorama: 79 posts
Posted: Tuesday, June 01, 2010 - 05:25 PM UTC
Stumbled across this book today and picked it up quick smart. Brilliant book!!
Visit this Community
Auckland, New Zealand
Joined: October 25, 2005
KitMaker: 949 posts
Armorama: 139 posts
Posted: Wednesday, June 02, 2010 - 09:01 AM UTC
Hi there,
Sounds like an interesting read.
I'll be getting a copy


Visit this Community
Victoria, Australia
Joined: July 28, 2004
KitMaker: 10,889 posts
Armorama: 3,245 posts
Posted: Wednesday, June 02, 2010 - 01:17 PM UTC
Interesting thread. Post45 isn't normally in my sphere of interest, but I'm mighty tempted to pick this book up
Visit this Community
United States
Joined: June 01, 2010
KitMaker: 3 posts
Armorama: 2 posts
Posted: Thursday, July 22, 2010 - 12:23 PM UTC

The US of A is a great place to live, especially in the scenic Pacific North West where we are located. I'm even getting to some 'one in one' scale shows like the recent MVPA convention in Topeka, Kansas (M36 Gun Motor Carriage, M20 6x6, M4 Medium, LVT2 all featured: great show!). There was a fantastic display of large scale (1/16 and larger) AFVs, mainly German.

Thanks for the positive comments on the book. It wss a lot of hard work, but I think there is plenty of information and many images never published before, so breaks new ground in some areas. It has a couple of errors, I have to admit, but these are thankfully very very few.