We Band of Brothers
by Brian McFarlane
ISBN 0 646 38849 5 Reviewed by Mike Dakin
I don't know if you're aware of Brian McFarlane's excellent book. It's one of the very few I've read where the Foreword and Reviews are actually true to the text.
'We Band of Brothers' will interest anyone who has served in Viet Nam, but especially those who served there at the time 1ATF was established at Nui Dat. He gives excellent accounts of the action over the 12 months Jun 66 to Jun 67, including the Battle of Long Tan and the Battle of Bribie. He deals in detail with 6RAR, in particular C Coy, and covers the part played by infantry, artillery, armour and air support. 161 Bty was in direct support of 6 RAR for the first six months, and associated with 6 RAR's other actions after that. He mentions many Kiwis by name and deed, as well as Aussie servicemen of course.
His accounts of the many actions 5 and 6 RAR were engaged in paint a full picture and spare no truth, especially where casualties are concerned and the support - sometimes lack of - given to troops in the field.
His book is more than the story of 66-67 period. The first half of the 400+ A4 pages take you interestingly through his life from 1932, and his military career from 1951. His account of army life gives you a good feel for the state of the Aussie army at that time plus a touch of nostalgia for the pre-WW2 days. The similarities between Aus and NZ are very strong.
I thoroughly enjoyed Brian's book, page by page. At NZ$87 delivered, it's not cheap. But it has been worth every cent to me for the mine of information that it is.
Mike Dakin, February 2001