Break In

Combat Operations in North Borneo and Vietnam

By The Cove May 15, 2019


The Centre for the Study of Armed Conflict and Society has put together the attached comprehensive paper which is probably too large for a single unit PME session, but can be broken up into more digestible 'chunks' for focussed study to fit within unit battle rhythms.  

The study aims to compare the combat operations conducted by Commonwealth forces in North Borneo during Indonesia’s Confrontation with Malaysia, and the 1st Australian Task Force (1ATF) in Phuoc Tuy Province, South Vietnam. The comparison between the two campaigns is based on statistical analysis supported by qualitative data to provide context.  

Three databases provide the basis for the statistical analysis. The databases are:

• The North Borneo Contact and Incident Database 1963-1966: Records nearly 2000 events (including contacts)

• The 1ATF Contact Database: Records 3700 1ATF contacts

• The Phuoc Tuy Incident Database 1966-1971: Records 36,000 events of military significance in the 1ATF AO between June 1966 and October 1971 The study compares the two campaigns in terms of:

  1. Patrol contacts
  2. Ambushes
  3. Bunker system attacks
  4. Security contacts including probes, nuisance attacks, attacks by fire and ground assaults
  5. Mine incidents including anti-personnel, anti-vehicle and other forms of mine attack
  6. Use of artillery, mortars, armour and air power

 Challenge yourself to design a unit PME session around the information contained in this study.  Feel free to share your ideas with others here, and send  us any other ideas you have for valuable PME sessions that may benefit units across Army.  




The Cove

The home of the Australian Profession of Arms.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.

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