From 1962 to 1972 Australia joined the United States in fighting a communist inspired insurgency war in the jungles of South Vietnam against infiltrators who sought to overthrow the local government. Over 50,000 Australians served in Vietnam, 519 lost their lives, and the conflict ended ignominiously in the insurgents' victory. Over 30 years later, Australia again finds itself joined with the United States in a struggle against an insurgency, this time in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan. Although now in the past, the Vietnam War resonates with lessons for the Australian Army as it strives to defeat not Communism but Terrorism. Australian Military Operations in Vietnam highlights some of the successes and failures of an earlier generation of officers for the benefit of today's leaders.
Dr Albert Palazzo is a Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Army’s Land Warfare Studies Centre in Canberra. He has written widely on warfare in the modern age, and on the Australian Army in particular. His many publications include: Seeking Victory on The Western Front, The British Army & Chemical Warfare in World War I, The Australian Army: A History of its Organisation, 1901-2001, Defenders of Australia: The Third Australian Division, Battle of Crete, The Royal Australian Corps of Transport, and From Moltke to bin Laden: The Relevance of Doctrine in the Contemporary Military Environment.