|STARS AND STRIPES
These are taken from clippings from the Stars and Stripes that we got whilst serving in Vietnam. They have been saved by "Chesty" and with
approval from Stars and Stripes we have been allowed to place them on our site
History was made in South Vietnam this year when two companies of New Zealand Infantry combined with two companies of Australian Infantry
to form the first integrated ANZAC Battalion to fight as a unit since 1815.
The word Anzac holds deep significance/ for Australians and New Zealanders. It is the code word describing the first Australian and New
Zealand Army Force a formation that covered itself with glory when, at 4:05 a.m. on April 25, 1915, it stormed ashore at Anzac Cove on the
Gallipoli Peninsula and made the first amphibious assault landing of modern war. Each year both countries observe April 25th as a day of
remembrance not only of the Anzac landing and the men who died during the nine-month operation in the Dardanelles, but of the soldiers
who have died in every war since.
Gallipoli was much more than just a battle for the two young countries "down under" it was the beginning of a military tradition that has lasted to
the present. Australian and New Zealand troops formed a relatively untried force in the fight against the Kaiser's Germany. Most of the British
and French forces that had borne the brunt of the fighting until 1915 were regulars. The Anzac force comprised civilian-soldiers, men who were
bush clearing and mustering stock when the call came for volunteers. The misgivings of the British High Command in committing this unknown
factor to battle was understandable but as it happened, needless.
The men who waded ashore under heavy fire at Anzac Cove were to write a magnificent chapter in the history books of the world. Something
had to be done to ease, the situation in Europe in that second year of World War I. The German advance across France had been stopped but
the Allies were bogged down in a network of trenches that stretched from the English Channel to Switzerland.
On the Eastern front the Russians were making no headway against the Austrians and Germans. In fact it was doubtful whether they could hold
out much longer. The Gallipoli expedition, which was inspired largely by Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, was an attempt to
break this deadlock. The idea behind the operation was to land a strong force which would fight its way up through the Dardanelles and take
Constantinople, forcing Turkey out of the war and bringing the Balkan States into it on the Allied side. Munitions and aid could be sent through
the Black Sea to the tottering Russian armies and the eastern front would once more constitute a threat to the German high command. As it
happened, the British lost a half-dozen battleships trying to force the narrow passage of the Hellespont, and the landing force ran into ferocious
resistance from the Turks.
The landings were even bloodier than the Normandy landings in 1944, and the Gallipoli Peninsula was the scene of some of the most bitter
hand- to-hand fighting of the war. The terrain was murderous. The Peninsula is a cluster of razor-back ridges and deep ravines today well
fertilized with the blood of 150,000 Allied and 251,000 Turkish casualties.
The Anzacs never penetrated more than a few miles inland. In one single attack on Lone Pine Ridge, mounted by Anzac, British and Indian
troops, seven Victoria Crosses, Britain's highest award for valour, were won. In another awe-inspiring battle, one of the most courageous and
gallant of the whole campaign, two companies of New Zealand infantry rushed the summit of Chunuk Bair the peak which dominated the
battlefield, and dug in under heavy fire just below the crest. The "last chance" Turkish counter attack which came a few weeks later won back
the heights but took a ghastly toll in lives. It is estimated that the Turks lost well over half of the estimated total killed, a conservative 45,000
On Dec. 12, the decision was made to withdraw the force from the Peninsula. The manoeuvre, which was spread over the next week, was
carried out with masterly deception. Under cover of darkness unit after unit quietly left their positions and filed down the ridges to the assault
boats on the beaches. In the vacated trenches rear parties of two or three men ran from rifle to rifle laid on the parapets, keeping up the
appearance of a company in action.
In the small hours of Dec. 20 the last of the rear parties slid down to the beach and boarded the boats for the wailing troopships. When dawn
came, the Turks, realizing they had allowed a withdrawing Army to escape, occupied the empty Anzac positions and were caught in a hail of
shells from British battleships offshore.
The Anzacs went on to fight in France and have fought in every major war since. Australian and New Zealand troops fought in the second
World War, Korea, the Malaysian emergency, in the confrontation with Indonesia and now in South Vietnam. The new Anzac Battalion has
already been bloodied in the recent operation Coburg when they formed a blocking force against withdrawing Viet Cong and North Vietnamese
troops who attacked Saigon during the Tet offensive.
(New Zealand Army Information Service)
Pacific Stars & Stripes
Thursday, April 25, 1968
TOUGH KIWIS PECK AWAY AT VIET CONG STRONGHOLD
Special to Stars and Stripes
NEW ZEALAND was once rated by computers as "tops," the most" perfect, "among the world's nations in peace and stability.
Democratic, prosperous and contented, this small Pacific nation houses a small standing army of fewer than 6,000 men, and nearly 10 percent
of them have volunteered to leave tranquil New Zealand to serve in the steaming jungles and embattled plains of South Vietnam.
They are known as the Kiwis. Named after the flightless bird native only to New Zealands islands, they include hundreds of men scattered
throughout Saigon, Vung Tau and Binh Dinh Province in the area of Bong Son, 181 miles south of the 17th parallel in Vietnam. Picking up the
tab for each bullet and each bandage used, New Zealand like Australia, pays the full cost of maintaining its forces in Vietnam.
The New Zealander's bring to Vietnam a proud Heritage of racial tolerance growing out of a Century long period of peaceful coexistence
between their European descendants and their Maori minority. The dark-skinned Maoris are Polynesian people who were the first to settle New
Zealand six centuries ago. They constitute only 7 percent of the population, but the ratio of Maoris in the armed forces is much higher, for they
have a love of action and a communal back ground that produces fine soldiers.
The English who arrived in New Zealand early in the last century, fought the Maori tribesmen for 25 years, but the two races have lived in
peace since 1869. They have fought side by side in Korea, Malaysia, Borneo, Sarawak, Africa, the Middle East and continental campaigns
during World War II. Their mutual cooperation at home has been as successful as their comradeship on foreign battlefields. New Zealander's
believe in self-determination, a high degree of national sovereignty and complete international cooperation. Therefore it is no wonder their
Government responded favourably when Vietnam asked for military help during the dark days of 1965. The Australians and New Zealander's
joined forces in Vietnam in June 1965, marking the beginning of the New Zealand/V Force. The New Zealand/V Force has been under the
administrative command of Lt. Col. Robertson H Smith, a veteran of the Japanese occupation and the Malaysian battle campaign after a
command and staff expert who has received training in Australia and the U.S. With and abundance of troops continually arriving the Canberra
and Wellington governments thereupon agreed to change the battalion’s designation to RAZ/NZ (ANZAC). ANZAC, a famous designation going
back to World War I days, stands for Australian-New Zealand Army Corps. The military mission of the Australians and the New Zealander's
when they arrived in the Phouc Thuy province was simple to describe but difficult to execute. Their mission was to break the back of a firmly
entrenched Communists military and political organisation so the people of the province could resume their normal activities. In their operations
the ANZAC forces have all but eliminated organised Communist opposition, with only scattered elements remaining to harass villagers and
military patrols. And at no time has the enemy succeeded in penetrating the ANZAC base perimeter.
Although a non combat team, the Kiwi medical workers up north also find their work hazardous, for their area of operation is the insecure plains
of Binh Dinh. Why do these men choose to leave their own beautiful and ordered homeland to work and fight in a country 6.000 miles away?
The fighting men of the Kiwi contingent debated that question themselves recently. Capt. Walter Steward, currently serving his second tour with
161 Battery in Vietnam, spoke with deep conviction. “Why am I in Vietnam? It’s reason enough for me to know that I am backing the Allied effort
which is aimed at giving the people of South Vietnam a long-awaited chance for freedom. I think that our effort here in Vietnam are beginning to
bear fruit” Gunnery Sgt Fred Bigwither said, “We’re here to give the South Vietnamese a chance to gain confidence in themselves, their army
and their government.” A 1965 white paper issued by New Zealand’s Department of External Affairs explained it as follows: "If the Viet Cong
have been able to make progress in the South it is because of the extent of assistance available from the North. It is this which has given the
Viet Cong their effectiveness. It is this which marks the technique seen in Vietnam in recent years as a new form of aggression. As such it is
imperative that other countries should give assistance to the Republic of Vietnam to resist that aggression. "In doing this the New Zealand
government believes that it will assure for itself the understanding and good will of the people of the Republic of Vietnam. The government
deeply deplores the suffering of the Vietnamese people in current hostilities. A generation of Vietnamese has known no freedom from warfare.
But if the New Zealand government deplores this suffering it does not believe that it can relieve it by turning its back on it."
KIWIS HAVE SUCCESSFUL DEBUT AGAINST REDS
SAIGON (Special) – Two companies of the Royal New Zealand Inf. Regt. made a highly successful jungle fighting de- but in a leap
frogging 15-day sweep in the central highlands.
Whisky and Victor Companies Of the 4th integrated Australia - New Zealand Bn. discovered six large enemy caches and killed 13 enemy
soldiers, while losing one man. The jungle operation was the first for both companies. In 15 days Victor Co deployed twice by tanks and
armoured personnel carriers and once by helicopter. Whisky Co deployed three times by helicopter, and both companies made night
marches in search of the enemy. The operation began with a ruse. After completing a day long road clearing operation Victor Co
established a simulated base camp to fool enemy soldiers observing their movements. Before dark helicopters arrived, apparently
carrying bales of wire and supplies to fortify the camp The drums and containers slung under the helicopters concealed the soldiers of
Whisky Co. When the helicopters landed in hidden spots, the New Zealanders crept out and into hiding. A VC attack on the reinforced
position failed to materialise, and after dark both companies began night marches to assume blocking positions for other elements of
the battalion. At dawn the cordon operation flushed and killed a lone enemy soldier.
The next day, a platoon of Whisky Co located an old base camp area where eight VC were cooking dinner. They opened up on the
enemy, only to have the VC escape through a system of tunnels. The Reds left behind two transistor radios still tuned to a local armed
forces broadcast as well as food,clothing,an automatic weapon and several medical packs.
After several uneventful days of tracking Whisky Co was airlifted to the edge of a rubber plantation where intelligence reports indicated
the enemy was located. Sweeping the area which was thick with rubber trees, tall grass and scrubby undergrowth, a platoon of the
company discovered a huge cache of supplies. A day long search turned up five more caches, which included an oil drum filled
with flashlight batteries, 10c cans of condensed milk, and large quantities of medical supplies.
During the search, a single Kiwi soldier was killed by automatic weapons fire from an ambush. His attacker was wounded but
escaped. The two Kiwi companies continued to search the area for several days, but made only sporadic contact with the enemy.
After moving to still another area, Victor Co killed 12 VC in two highly successful ambushes. Laying in wait along well-used enemy
trails through the dense jungle, the company killed three enemy one day and nine the next.
VIET CONG PATROLS MIX IT UP
STARS AND STRIPES Vietnam Bureau
A Platoon of New Zealanders took a break from combat Monday to sit back and watch while two Viet Cong groups fought each
other mistakenly, military spokesman reported. Troops of the third Platoon Whiskey Company, lying in ambush, spotted three
VC moving in thick scrub brush in Phouc Thuy Province, about 40 miles east of Saigon. They saw another group of
communists moving from the opposite direction, and listened as the two patrols opened fire on each other, at least one
Red was wounded in the exchange. When things got dull the New Zealanders called in artillery fire. The enemy broke contact
with each other and ran. Platoon members found trails of blood when they swept the area.
Whiskey Company is an element of the 4th Bn of a joint Australian New Zealand (ANZAC) regiment taking part in Operation
Capital in the Thua Thien area. At least 23 Communists have been killed in the recon sweap, which began two weeks ago.
Wednesday Oct 30, 1968