5RAR Book Reviews Page



The 5th Battalion. Royal Australian Regiment

Author: Robert J. O'Neill

Book: Vietnam TaskOn the 24 may 1966, eight hundred men of the 5th Battalion landed at Nui Dat airbase in Viet Cong territory. For the next twelve months they were face with the task of restoring peace, civil law and regular commerce to the Vietnamese of Phuoc Tuy province. This book is a detailed record of those months in the monsoon jungles—of the problems that were faced and the solutions that were found.

Major O'Neill's position as Battalion Intelligence Officer enabled him to view the war from the standpoint of the Battalion as a whole. However, he does not omit description of his personal feelings—towards the Viet Cong, the jungle environment, the Vietnamese people and the other allied forces involved in the w ar.

Most of the book was written on the spot in Vietnam. On operations or at the Battalion Headquarters, Major O'Neill jotted down details of the war against the Viet Cong: putting the events of each day in order, often in the small hours of the following morning. Thus not only is this a factual account of the Fifth Battalions activities over the year, it is also a vivid and compelling picture of the war in Vietnam from the soldier's point of view.