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

By Peter Nolan | Go to book overview

11
Maintaining the effort:
January–December 1970

During 1970 it became evident that the US and its allies were fighting an unwinnable war. The Australian Government announced that the task force would revert to a two-battalion structure during 1971. History would show that, despite the unceasing efforts of the task force commanders and their troops, pacification could never be an outstanding success. The difficulties involved in making the South Vietnamese forces full partners in the process, while winning over a majority of the population through civic action, were beyond resolution given the Australians’ limited resources.

This conclusion was perhaps not apparent as 1970 dawned, although frustration at the inconclusive nature of outcomes was always evident. The unrelenting pace of operations continued for the battalions and their supporting units, including 161 Recce Flight. The introduction of the Porter late in 1969, and the exploitation of its full capabilities, brought new dimensions to fixed wing operations in 1970, but the Sioux pilots were not so lucky. No replacement for the Sioux was then in the offing, so it was business as usual.

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