Machines for Man - Poem

Submitted by Andy Whisky 3 on Wednesday, 25 February 2009 - 11:16am

There was gear for every occasion in Viet Nam all there to help the infantry take and hold ground and deny the Viet Cong access to likely targets.

The helicopter gun ships HueyCobras, Iroquois, and Chinooks were available for suppressing fire. M113 armoured personnel carriers, Centurion tanks, M42 Dusters with twin 40mm Bofors guns. F4 Phantoms and the old prop driven A4 Skyraiders, usually flown by Vietnamese Air Force pilots who were very good pilots.

For artillery support there was 81mm mortars, 105mm howitzers, 155mm howitzers, 175mm self propelled guns and 8inch self propelled guns, and in the case of being really in deep "do do" there was naval gun fire.

Guns are firing an H & I
Just heard tanks go rumbling by
Saw the choppers on the pad
Fighters going past like mad
Spotter planes that fly so low
But man those planes can really go
Trucks and jeeps go sailing past
Dust is bad they're going fast
But the infantry can only walk
Have to whisper if they want to talk
Loaded down with great big packs
Stronger legs and stronger backs
But from Cape St Jacques to Long Dien
All machines support these men
Bringing food and water too
Dropping down from out of the blue
Or pushing through the bush and scrub
Bringing in the water and grub
Guns that fire a lot at night
And land their shells exactly right
But machines are only an extra aid
To help the inf to make the grade

Peter M. Anderson, W3 Coy, 1969-70

Read more about Peter Anderson's Vietnam experience here.


© Peter M. Anderson. Not to be published or reproduced without the permission of the copyright holder.

How to cite this page: 'Machines for Man - Poem ', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 05-Sep-2013