The Military Operations Analysis team at University of New South Wales Canberra, has recently launched the ‘Australia’s Vietnam War’ website. The website currently displays the details of over 5500 combat incidents involving the 1st Australian Task Force (1ATF), representing over 95% of all 1ATF combat incidents. The website maps each incident, records relevant details, provides filters and analytic capabilities. It is highly interactive and allows veterans and others to upload their recollections of the events they participated in as well as photographs, audio recordings and other digital files, to build a detailed picture of the campaign and its effect on those who fought it and their families.
Counterinsurgency operations such as those conducted in Vietnam, tend to result in thousands of small, seemingly inconclusive contacts. Military historians tend to find this mass of combat detail difficult to explain by traditional text-based methods. Our website approach helps to make sense of this mass of data.
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Dr Bob Hall graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon (the Australian equivalent of West Point), in 1968 and served as an infantry platoon commander in Vietnam in 1969 and 1970. He was awarded his PhD in 1988 later leaving the Army to become the Executive Director of the Australian Defence Studies Centre, University of New South Wales, Canberra. In 2005 he was awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Fellowship for a project examining the combat effectiveness of the 1st Australian Task Force in Vietnam. He is currently an adjunct lecturer at UNSW Canberra. He is the author of The Black Diggers: Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders in the Second World War and, with Dr Andrew Ross and Dr Amy Griffin, The Search for Tactical Success in Vietnam: An Analysis of Australian Task Force Combat Operations.
Mr Peter Kimberley is a database and software developer with a broad range of skills, specialising in database and Web technologies. He graduated from the Royal Military College Duntroon in 2008 as a Royal Australian Signals Corps officer and has over the years, built solutions to improve the way Defence does business. Peter has served on operations in the Middle East and brings to the UNSW Canberra team an understanding of current and future operations, as well as the technical skills necessary for this project. Peter recently moved on from full-time Army service to commit to this project as he believes the concept behind it has great potential and will influence the way information is collected and analysed by Defence.