Australians vietnam

Australia and the Vietnam war

By Finbarr
  • Ho Chi Minh declares DRV

    Ho Chi Minh declares DRV
    Nationalist leader Ho Chi Minh, who had trained in the Soviet Union but received aid from the US to fight the Japanese during World War II, declares that the Democratic Republic of Vietnam is the only legal government. This is recognised by the Soviet Union and China, but Australia supports the French-sponsored government of Emperor Bao Dai. Us provides military and economic aid to the French in Indochina.
  • Period: to

    Vietnam involvement

  • French defeat at Dien Bien Phu

    French defeated by Viet Minh at Dien Bien Phu, after a 55 day siege. The defeat signals the end to French presence in Indochina.
  • US aid to Saigon non-communist govt.

    US begins to funnel aid directly to the Saigon Government and agrees to train the South Vietnamese army.
  • South Vietnam President visits Australia

    South Vietnam President visits Australia
    South Vietnam's President Ngo Dinh Diem visits Australia. Prime Minister Menzies reaffirms support.
  • Viet Cong formed

    Hanoi leaders form National Liberation Front for South Vietnam, which the Saigon regime dubs "Viet Cong", meaning communist Vietnamese
  • Australia sends army advisers

    The Minister for Defence (Reginald Townley) announces intention to send 30 army advisers to South Vietnam (SVN).
  • Australian Army Training Team Vietnam arrive

    The first members of the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV) arrive in South Vietnam.
  • First Australian death in Vietnam

    Advisor, Sergeant William Hacking becomes the first Australian to die in Vietnam when his weapon accidentally discharges after being caught in vegetation
  • Vietnam President is murdered in coup

    Vietnam President is murdered in coup
    Vietnam's President Diem and his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu are murdered in a military coup, with the foreknowledge of the US Government.
  • Lyndon B. Johnson becomes President of US

    Lyndon B. Johnson becomes President of US
    Lyndon B. Johnson becomes US president after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and announces that the US will continue support of South Vietnam. By year's end 15,000 US advisors are serving in Vietnam, which received $500m in US aid that year.
  • Australia increases committment

    The Minister for Defence (Hon. Shane Partridge) announces the AATTV will be increased to 83 advisers with expanded role.
  • First Australian KIA

    First Australian KIA
    Warrant Officer Class 2, Kevin Conway becomes the first Australian to die as a result of enemy action in South Vietnam. Image is from the Funeral of the second Aust. to die KIA in Vietnam - Corp. Frank Smith.
  • Gulf of Tonkin incident

    Gulf of Tonkin incident
    Following a reported attack on US ships in Tonkin Gulf, US Congress passes Tonkin Gulf Resolution giving President Johnson extraordinary powers to act in South Vietnam
  • National Service announcement

    National Service announcement
    The Prime Minister (Rt. Hon. Sir Robert Menzies) announces introduction of national service to increase the army’s strength from 22,750 to 37,500. Opposition to the war in Vietnam is not accepted as a reason for exemption.
  • Bob Menzies sends troops

    Australian Government, responding to requests from the US President and South Vietnam Prime Minister for 200 additional advisers, offers to send ground troops to South Vietnam.
  • Infantry battalion goes to Vietnam

    The Prime Minister announces the dispatch of an infantry battalion to South Vietnam, with an armoured personnel carrier (APC) troop, a signals troop and a logistic support company.
  • HMAS Sydney arrives off South Vietnam

    HMAS Sydney arrives off South Vietnam
    HMAS Sydney arrives at Vung Tau, South Vietnam, carrying the bulk of the Australian force
  • First national service intake begins training.

    First national service intake begins recruit training.
  • Australian committment increases to Battalion

    Australian Government approves increase of Australian forces to a battalion group, supported by an artillery, additional APCs, engineers, army helicopters, light aircraft and more logistic support.
  • Pro war forces in Australia

    Pro war forces in Australia
    A Morgan Gallup Poll finds 56% of those polled were in favour of continuing the war in Vietnam. Image is from pro war rally in US.
  • Anti war movement gathers momentum

    A demonstration against the war in Sydney results in 65 arrests
  • First VC to Australian in Vietnam

    First VC to Australian in Vietnam
    WO2 Kevin "Dasher" Wheatley refuses to leave his mate, WO2 Bob Swanston, and is killed. His actions earned him Australia’s highest honour, the Victoria Cross
  • Harold Holt becomes PM

    Harold Holt becomes PM
    Harold Holt succeeds Menzies as Prime Minister - he was the PM who famously dsaid "all the way with LBJ" - in so doing he surprised the US President.
  • First conscript dies

    First conscript dies
    5 RAR deploys by helicopter from 1ATF concentration area at Vung Tau to secure the Task Force area at Nui Dat. Private Errol Noack becomes the first national serviceman and member of 1ATF to die from enemy action.
  • Battle of Long Tan

    Battle of Long Tan
    The Battle of Long Tan
    D Company, 6 RAR, strength of 108 men, battles North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and Viet Cong (VC) forces estimated at between 1500 and 2500 until relieved by A Company, carried in by armoured personnel carriers of 3 Troop, 1 APC Squadron. The enemy leaves 245 bodies on the battlefield while 17 Australian infantrymen and one APC crewman are killed. The Company earns the US Presidential Citation.
  • Morgan Gallup Poll

    Morgan Gallup Poll finds that 63% are in favour of conscription, but only 37% approve of sending National Servicemen to Vietnam.
  • Massive increase in Australian military committment.

    Massive increase in Australian military committment.
    Holt announces the Australian commitment in South Vietnam will be Increased to a 4350-man task force, and will include conscripts.
    The 1st Australian Task Force (1ATF) will include two infantry battalions, a Special Air Service squadron, combat and support logistic units and eight RAAF Iroquois helicopters (9 SQN).
    The Task Force will be supported by 1 Australian Logistic Support Group (1 ALSG) to be established at Vung Tau. For the first time, national servicemen will be sent to South Vietnam.
  • VC for Maj. Peter Badcoe

    VC for Maj. Peter Badcoe
    Major Peter Badcoe, AATTV, is killed in action leading two companies of Vietnamese regional forces. For his outstanding heroism in this and two previous actions, he will be posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.
  • Morgan Gallup poll

    Morgan Gallup Poll finds 62% in favour of continuing the war in Vietnam
  • PM announces increase in South Vietnam

    The Prime Minister announces an increase of 1700 to Australia’s commitment in South Vietnam, including a third infantry battalion and a tank squadron
  • Harold Holt drowns!

    Prime Minister Harold Holt missing, presumed drowned off Portsea in Victoria. His body is never recovered.
  • John Gorton new Aust PM

    John Gorton new Aust PM
    John Grey Gorton sworn in as Prime Minister...that's him in the middle meeting diggers at Nui Dat
  • Tet offensive launched

    Tet offensive launched
    Communist forces in South Vietnam launch what becomes known as the Tet Offensive, with concentrated attacks against every major city and regional centre. Although Tet costs the Communists 45-50,000 troops, it sows serious doubt in the minds of the Australian and American people and leads to major changes in government policy towards the conflict in South Vietnam.
  • Gorton says no more

    Prime Minister Gorton indicates that Australia will not increase its commitment to Vietnam.
  • My Lai massacre

    My Lai massacre
    Massacre of civilians by US soldiers at My Lai village. At least 450 unarmed people are killed.
  • The Battle of Coral and Balmoral

    The Battle of Coral and Balmoral
    The Battle of Coral & Balmoral
    The Battle for Fire Support Base (FSB) Coral begins with an enemy attack that overruns 1 RAR Mortar Platoon and captures one of 102 Field Battery’s gun pits. The base is cleared with the help of helicopter gunships. After a second attack on May 15, Australian casualties around Coral stand at 15 killed and 56 wounded while enemy losses are estimated to exceed 100 dead.
  • May combat

    At FSB Balmoral, near Coral, infantry supported by Centurions tanks turn back an assault by two battalions of NVA regulars.
    A sweep outside Coral by D Company 1 RAR, supported by four Centurion tanks, smashes an enemy bunker systems and kills large numbers of VC and NVA.
    A second attack on Balmoral is crushed by combined infantry, tank, artillery and mortar fire, leaving 47 enemy dead and six prisoners for 1 Australian killed.
    Serving as a company commander with a Vietnamese mobile strike force,
  • The Battle of Binh Bah

    The Battle of Binh Bah
    The Battle of Binh Bah
    Two companies from 5 RAR, supported by APC and Tank troops and Australian helicopter gunships, engage in house-to-house fighting to clear the town of a strong force of NVA regulars. The fighting destroys much of the town and costs the NVA more than 100 dead for the loss of one Australian.
  • Morgan Gallup poll

    Morgan Gallup Poll finds 55% want Australians brought home from Vietnam...the tide of public opinion has finally turned against the war.
  • Ho Chi Minh dies

    Ho Chi Minh dies
    Ho Chi Minh dies in Hanoi, aged 79.
  • 25000 US troops withdrawn

    Following the withdrawal of 25,000 US troops from South Vietnam, and plans by the US Government to withdraw another 50,000, the Prime Minister (Sir John Gorton) advises any further substantial reductions will include Australian forces
  • First Aust. moratorium

    First Aust. moratorium
    Anti-Vietnam War protesters stage the first moratorium marches in Australian cities (70,000 in Melbourne, and about 120,000 throughout Australia
  • Second moratorium march

    Second moratorium march
    About 100,000 people take part in a second moratorium march
  • Further cuts to Aust. forces.

    Prime Minister McMahon announces further cuts in Australian forces in South Vietnam, including withdrawal of the tank squadron, RAAF Canberra bomber squadron and some Caribou transport aircraft.
  • third moratorium

    third moratorium
    Third and last of the big anti-war rallies. About 110,000 demonstrate in State capitals.
  • We leave

    The Prime Minister announces the bulk of Australian forces in South Vietnam are to be withdrawn, leaving only a modified training team. The period of national service is reduced from two years to 18 months
  • Peace agreement

    USA and North Vietnam sign a peace agreement
  • Big changes in Australia

    The last Australian logistic units leave Vung Tau and Australia’s commitment in South Vietnam returns to a training role with the 150-man Australian Assistance Group, Vietnam (AAAGV) and the AATTV.
    Australian Labor Party elected to Government.
    Conscription ends, draft resisters are released from jail and pending prosecutions for draft resistance are dropped.
    Australia’s military commitment in South Vietnam ends, although controversy about the precise end date of the war continues.
  • Ceasefire

    Ceasefire begins. War is over
  • PM Gough Whitlam reaches out to Hanoi.

    PM Gough Whitlam reaches out to Hanoi.
    Prime Minister Gough Whitlam announces establishment of diplomatic relations with Hanoi, but retains recognition of South Vietnam's Government