Ashley Ekins: Fighting to the Finish

Vietnam War confounds official history

Greg Lockhart

Fighting to the Finish: The Australian Army and the Vietnam War 1968–1975
by Ashley Ekins, with Ian McNeill
Allen & Unwin, $100 hb, 1139 pp, 9781865088242


Fighting to the Finish does not get off to a good start; its title is overstated. The First Australian Task Force (1ATF), trimmed down in 1970 from three to two battalions, withdrew from the Vietnam War by December 1971. The small remaining advisory group withdrew in December 1972. Fighting finished in April 1975, when more than 180 battalions of the People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN) swarmed around Saigon, causing it to fall. It hardly seems sensible to declare that the Australian Army fought to the finish over two years before the end of the war.

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Greg Lockhart

Greg Lockhart

Greg Lockhart had an academic career after serving in the Pacific Islands Regiment in Papua, New Guinea, and the Australian Army Training Team in Vietnam. He is author of Nation in Arms: The Origins of the People’s Army of Vietnam (1989) and The Minefield: An Australian Tragedy in Vietnam (2007).

Published in September 2012 no. 344

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