Possums & Bird Dogs: Australian Army Aviation's 161 Reconnaissance Flight in South Vietnam

By Peter Nolan | Go to book overview

9
The aftermath:
August 1968–February 1969

The Tet and Second General Offensives were over and a new trend in operations was to follow. General Westmoreland was relieved as the US commander in South Vietnam by General Creighton Abrams, who instigated a gradual shift in US strategy that saw Westmoreland’s favoured large-scale search-and-destroy missions move towards smaller unit operations. The latter were more compatible with established Australian tactical doctrine and preferred method of operations in counterinsurgency.1 There would be more emphasis on pacification in the years to come.

Following Tet, task force commander Brigadier Hughes resumed his strategy in Phuoc Tuy comprising ‘operations in depth against the enemy’s remote base and logistics areas while continuing to drive the enemy back from the populated areas in the south’.2 The progress made in pacification during 1966–67 had suffered badly during Tet and there was much to be done. However, while Tet was nominally over, its aftermath would see task force elements continuing to deploy outside the province until March–April 1969. The task ahead was daunting.

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