The larrikin Aussie legends who discovered the Vietcong's secret weaponJimmy Thomson
6 February 2014
Published by Allen & Unwin
‘All I could do was prod the earth with my bayonet and shine the light to see if I could find anything. It doesn’t matter how small the tunnel is you never know what’s around the bend … You don’t know if it’s abandoned, you don’t know if it’s booby trapped and you don’t know why the tunnel is there in the first place.’
They were young, they were Army engineers and they were the first allied soldiers to risk their lives in the darkness of the Vietcong tunnels of South Vietnam. Staring death squarely in the face every day, not only did they follow their enemy down into these unknown underground labyrinths, they also matched the Vietcong’s jungle warfare skills and defused thousands of their clever booby traps.
Off duty, it was a different story. The bad boys of 3 Field Troop were a boozing, brawling, bonking bunch of larrikins, who cut a swathe through the bars and brothels of Saigon, fought American Military Police to a standstill, built a secret casino and booby-trapped their own HQ to teach their officers a lesson.
Thrilling, inspiring and action packed, this is the true story of the unsung heroes of Australia’s war in Vietnam. Living up to their motto of ‘We Make and We Break’, they created the legend of the Tunnel Rats.