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Canister! On! FIRE! Australian Tank Operations in Vietnam

Two Volume Box Set

Authors: Bruce Cameron
Rated 5.00 out of 5 based on 22 customer ratings
(22 customer reviews)
12/Oct/2017
Military, Vietnam, Tanks
968
Hardback
9781921941993
$64.99

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Exceptional Two Volume Box Set tells the little known story of the Australian tanks in the Vietnam War.

“You can take all of the popular stuff that has been produced about our involvement in South Vietnam & none of them compare to your scholarship, passion for your subject or the sheer readability of your narrative.”

Canister! On! FIRE! tells the remarkable, but little known story of Australian tanks in the Vietnam War. Based on twelve years of research, including personal letters and diaries, extensive searches of official records and numerous interviews, this book brings to life a previously unheralded aspect of the conflict. It is the story of a select group of soldiers, both regular and conscript, serving their country against all odds.

The 53-tonne Centurion tanks were not only involved in intense fighting in conjunction with infantry and artillery to capture enemy defences and defeat attacks, but also fought their own battles against enemy mines, ambushes, and an unforgiving terrain and climate.

This book takes the reader inside the tanks to share the experiences of their crews in action in the jungle. We see the gunner, trying to survive the heat inside the turret, while identifying designated targets; the operator trying to maintain communications, while keeping the guns loaded; the driver, trying to see his way forward, while keeping his head down; and the commander, trying to locate enemy positions, while directing his driver and giving fire orders to his gunner. The account also reveals how the mechanics overcame extraordinary challenges to maintain the twenty-year-old tanks, while the field engineers risked their lives protecting them against mines.

In 1968, the deployment of a squadron from 1st Armoured Regiment was controversial; their Centurions were considered totally unsuited to jungle warfare. Not only did the men and machines prove their worth, but they became an indispensable part of Australian combat operations. So much so, their subsequent withdrawal was equally as controversial as their deployment.

This exciting and enthralling narrative deserves to be read, not only as a military history, but also as a contemporary account of the resolute attitude of Australian soldiers often asked to do the impossible.

What readers are saying;
“I have read many books over the years pertaining Australian military history. Your recent publication C O F, easily rates as the most comprehensive book I have read.”
“You can take all of the popular stuff that has been produced about our involvement in South Vietnam & none of them compare to your scholarship, passion for your subject or the sheer readability of your narrative. You have done us proud & I am sure that my sentiments are just a small echo of what we in the Regiment think of you for what you have done. You have completed a work which will be really important to the men of the First Armoured Regiment.”
“I’m thoroughly enjoying the book. What a great read, with so much detail and meaningful references. You have done an exceptional job, CONGRATULATIONS and Thank You. I’ll be recommending the book to my “ex-tanky mates” network.”
“Canister! On! FIRE! … is a fine looking publication and is an important document of record. You have done the Corps and the members who served with the Regiment and supporting units a great service in your monumental efforts to write their history”.
Bruce Cameron

Bruce Cameron

Bruce Cameron served in the Australian Regular Army for 19 years. After commanding the last troop of tanks in action in Vietnam, his career saw him attend the UK’s Long Armour Infantry Course and Royal Military College of Science, as well as the Australian Command and Staff College. His last appointment involved responsibility for developing […]

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22 reviews for Canister! On! FIRE! Australian Tank Operations in Vietnam

  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    I have just this morning cleared my post office box, and was delighted to find a parcel from Big Sky publishers containing a copy of Canister On Fire which I’d ordered back about the time of the reunion. Wow! it looks fantastic! What a credit to Bruce and the efforts you have put into the project over many years. In years to come this book will undoubtedly become the definitive reference for this little bit of history that we were involved in, though I’m sure we didn’t fully appreciate the significance of the 1st Armoured Corps involvement in the Vietnam war at the time. Even though I was in awe of the dedication and attention to detail that you put into writing the history, it is only now that I see the complete publication that the full realisation of your efforts hits home. Bruce, I don’t have the words to express both my congratulations on an outstanding achievement, and my thanks for recording this significant chapter in all our lives. Thank you for doing it so well.

  2. Rated 5 out of 5

    Just picked up my CoF Book from the PO this morning. What a beautifully presented book it is ! It certainly is a credit to both you and the Publisher, many people are going to cherish this piece of History. I for one will make sure that mine gets handed down through my immediate family. Great work.

  3. Rated 5 out of 5

    CONGRATULATIONS, What a mighty effort. I don’t think I am alone but from me thanks for telling our story and the result is just great. A carton arrived this afternoon with books for my two children, my god son, and one that I will read first and then give to my mother. As far as my children they were never told anything about my time there until you started researching and I became interested so showed them some photos and told a bit of the story.. now they can read the whole story. Again Thanks for your effort,

  4. Rated 5 out of 5

    Canister On Fire! arrived this morning. It is a fine looking publication and is an important document of record. You have done the Corps and the members who served with the Regiment and supporting units a great service in your monumental efforts to write their history. Amongst the many congratulations and thanks you have received, please accept my personal thanks.

  5. Rated 5 out of 5

    I started reading the first volume straight away & have to say how impressed I am with what you have laboured over for so long. You can take all of the popular stuff that has been produced about our involvement in South Vietnam & none of them compare to your scholarship, passion for your subject or the sheer readability of your narrative. You have done us proud & I am sure that my sentiments are just a small echo of what we in the Regiment think of you for what you have done. You have completed a work which will be really important to the men of the First Armoured Regiment & will stand equally with books such as ‘Warriors For The Working Day’, ‘Tramp In Armour’ & other books which we young soldiers read so avidly so many years ago when trying to understand our craft. I can’t adequately express how impressed I am with what you have done. Chris

  6. Rated 5 out of 5

    I have read many books over the years pertaining Australian military history. Your recent publication C O F, easily rates as the most comprehensive book I have read. As I have said previously, you have certainly put in the hard yards and are to be highly commended for your efforts. Your constant acknowledgement of the supporting arms (RAEME, RAE, etc etc) is evident throughout the book. Well done that man ! Be proud, be very proud.Rodger

  7. Rated 5 out of 5

    I think it is just so well written and researched – it is a credit to you . Very well done. David Kirkpatrick

  8. Rated 5 out of 5

    Received my copies of CANISTER! ON! FIRE! yesterday. You might say Mission Accomplished. However, I would like to add Magnificently!! Congratulations.

  9. Rated 5 out of 5

    Great job, thank you very much! The two copies I ordered to share with family arrived last Friday. Still finding so many interesting facts which I didn’t know being isolated in the driver’s hole and generally not hearing the squadron net communications.

  10. Rated 5 out of 5

    My copy of the C.O.F arrived late this morning. I agree with those who have already received their’s that the presentation is first class. Looking at the sequence and background information I commend your treatment; the structure is impressive and clear! It “hangs together” very well indeed . As for the “read”, I shall report at a later date but a quick look at two “heavy” activities that B Sqn experienced reveals graphic/realistic presentation and comprehensive but easy to read descriptions. I cannot help but think that B Sqn veterans will be most pleased with this. The same will no doubt apply to those in other sqns. Bruce you have produced a very important work which will be treasured in the association and the RAAC. Further it has the utility to become RAAC lore. So very well done. Alex Smith

  11. Rated 5 out of 5

    I’m thoroughly enjoying the above book. What a great read, with so much detail and meaningful references. You have done an exceptional job, CONGRATULATIONS and Thank You. I’ll be recommending the book to my “ex-tanky mates” network.

  12. Rated 5 out of 5

    My copies of COF arrived in Friday’s mail and reading commenced almost immediately. I put in something of a marathon session and finished reading both volumes last night. I am not much given to superlatives but this is a truly brilliant work. Graeme Unmack quite rightly stated on the 1AR Ass’n Facebook Group that it’s ‘better than brilliant’ and I agree, I just can’t find the appropriate words. Once again, a fantastic read and a wonderful effort on your part. Bruce Scott

  13. Rated 5 out of 5

    Armour was very successful in Vietnam, contrary to the expectations of many. If you tire of reading yet another account of Tigers at Kharkov or Shermans in Normandy, this is something different. Bruce Cameron has written it is such a way that the experience of tank warfare in the jungle really comes across. It’s a cliche to say that I haven’t been able to put it down. Styephen White (UK)

  14. Rated 5 out of 5

    ‘Have received & read the two volumes Canister! On! FIRE! Congratulations on an accurate & interesting read . I was impressed with your accounting of the action involving RAEME at the Long Hais…it was as if it happened yesterday’. Trevor Smith

  15. Rated 5 out of 5

    ‘Great read and well done’. Jack Chipman

  16. Rated 5 out of 5

    ‘I have almost completed Volume 2 of your book, a magnificent effort; it should be compulsory reading by all Army officers. WELL DONE!! Lloyd Streeting

  17. Rated 5 out of 5

    “Excellent record of operations. Congratulations to Bruce and all contributors.” Maree Grady

  18. Rated 5 out of 5

    I have received the copy of your book. Well done, you should get a medal for it”. Andy Zsolt

  19. Rated 5 out of 5

    Hi Bruce , have received & read the two volumes Canister on Fire . Congratulations on an accurate & interesting read . I was impressed with your account of the action involving RAEME at the Long Hais, it was as if it happened yesterday. Trevor Smith

  20. Rated 5 out of 5

    Hi Bruce, Just wanted to say that you’ve done a terrific job with the book. I haven’t read it cover to cover yet, but I’ve dipped into it in numerous places and I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve read so far. It’s a monumental effort and a terrific outcome. Congratulations. Dr Bob Hall, ADFA.

  21. Rated 5 out of 5

    “Canister! On! FIRE! fills in a critical chapter of the Australian war in Vietnam. While the war’s stories focussed on infantry military actions, the small squadron of Centurion tanks of the 1st Armoured Regiment were more frequently the forefront of action taking the battle to the enemy, and considered largely responsible for saving the lives of many soldiers on the ground. The two volume set by Bruce Cameron is brilliantly researched and written. A compelling read detailing the life of the Regiment, its officers, crewmen, Light Aid Detachment (RAEME), the Centurion tanks and support vehicles in the unforgiving terrain of Phuoc Tuy Province, South Vietnam. While Coral Balmoral and Hat Dich are memorable names in the Regiment’s history, almost every day tanks and crews were deployed in one action or another or seeking to be in action. After reading Canister! On! FIRE! I am proud to have been in the company of men of courage, commitment, humour and sacrifice. I’m eternally grateful these many years later for their binding friendship. Also not a day that goes by without the memory of our courageous and determined driver and mate Mick Hannaford 33A/B. Well done Bruce. Well done.

  22. Rated 5 out of 5

    A great set of books, have read both volumes and again smelt the tanks and sweat. My daughter gave me the books as a Christmas present. I’ve totally enjoyed reading and remembering and was pleasantly surprised when John Loch, myself and those damaged barrels (5Charlie’s missing muzzle & the strike on 3 Alpha) were mentioned & pictured in your book (Volume 2). Now I can tell stories to the grandchildren about Grandad with a big spanner in the jungle…. you are to be congratulated on your grasp of what happened in SVN., You’ve captured all the services, those that support and those that fought and the intricate interactions, somehow the mud, dust, ants, courage and sweat all came along with the book. Having a read a few armed service books I find it is rare that a book about a fighting service arm pays tribute to those that support as you have done in your book. thank you and again congratulations. Thank you for your efforts. Noel Newton (previously Cpl Newton RAEME)

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