The Pony Soldiers: The Australian Light Horse, Vietnam 1965-1966

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Media: BOOK - hardcover, 128 pages
Author: N. Modystack
Year: 2003
ISBN: 9781876439572
Other: b&w photos, sketches, appendixes, glossary
Publisher: Australian Military History Publications

This book describes the combat experiences of 1 Troop of A Squadron of the 4th/19th Prince of Wales Light Horse in Vietnam. At the time it
was equipped with British armoured vehicles. Having been warned for Vietnam, the Troop had to quickly adapt to the new American M113A1 personnel carrier and some men were still learning to drive them while at sea.

Travelling to Vietnam on HMAS Sydney, the Troop was finally landed at Vung Tau and then sent to Bien Hoa, with the rest of the Australian force. They were attached to 1 RAR but had no opportunity to train with the infantry first. The Troop, while highly trained in some aspects of war, was appallingly prepared for action in Vietnam. In addition, there were many deficiencies of clothing, food and other equipment and some improvisation was needed.

The 1 RAR group, including the Carriers, Was in turn attached to the US 173rd Airborne Brigade - a 'gung ho' paratroop unit. After a short period of acclimatisation and organisation, the Troop was committed to action, being engaged in a myriad of APC work, including troop carrying assaults, POW transport, road convoy escort, road blocks, transport of rice caches, radio relays, route reconnaissance, fire support with mortars and many other duties.

The Troop had many enemy contacts, and was engaged in one major battle in Operation Rolling Stone as well as other operations with 1 RAR and the Americans.

At the completion of their tour, the Troop was returned to Australia in a piecemeal and off-hand manner, which book-ended the poor fashion in which they had been sent off. A Military Cross and a US Meritorious Service medal were awarded to Troop members. The 1 RAR Group {including the Troop) was awarded the US Meritorious Unit Commendation.

The compiler of this book served with the Troop throughout its tour of duty and has put together a full and sometimes amusing history of their
service in Vietnam. He has also gathered a comprehensive collection of photographs so that the reader can better understand what took place. This is a fine addition to the history of the Australian Army and its armoured units.

Author's Note
Governor's Message
1. Rounding Up the 12-ton Horses
2. On the Grey Funnel Line
3. Lazing About in Bien Hoa
4. Working Things Out with the Infantry
5. Airborne! All the Way!
6. People and Events
7. Operations
8. Showing the New Boys Around
9. Giving Qantas Some Business
10. Epilogue
Appendix 1. Nominal Roll
Appendix 2. The Pony Soldier Song
Appendix 3. Lessons Learned
Appendix 4. Armoured Personnel Carrier
Appendix 5. Sources
Appendix 6. Glossary and Abbreviations

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The Pony Soldiers: The Australian Light Horse, Vietnam 1965-1966


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