Extract from interview with Claire Hall, 10 August 2008
Reproduced with permission of Ray Beatson
Ray Beatson describes ambush operations and landscape around the Horseshoe base and the Long Green operational area.
We had to patrol, we had to ambush, and we ambushed pretty much every night. The country that we patrolled through varied from rice paddy through to bamboo, scrubby stuff, very little was in fact forest where we were. And in the area known as the Long Green between Dat Do which was the large village adjacent to the Horseshoe and the coast, there was basically swamp, and we spent quite a lot of time in that area because it was seen by the Viet Cong as something of a safe haven. It was swamp, impenetrable, and it had sort of islands if you like of land with tracks and things like that, and yeah, the swamp was seen as pretty much wouldn’t go there.
And a lot of American soldiers wouldn’t go there but we did, and at times we would lie up during the day and spend maybe two nights getting into an area to operate. That meant going very slowly and crossing rivers and doing things like that which in daytime would probably be an easy task but at night it was much, much slower, to get into a position to operate with impunity knowing that you had not been observed getting in. Knowing that there were no helicopters flying around and so we could go in for 14 days knowing that the only helicopters we would see was when we need a medical evacuation or ammunition resupply or something like that. Basically you're going in there quietly, whereas in other operations their presence would be signalled by artillery bombardments, helicopters going in, APCs, a whole lot of that sort of thing.
Vietnam War Oral History Project, Manatu Taonga Ministry for Culture & Heritage