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An Independent Command - Command and Control of the 1st Australian Task Force in Vietnam

By: R W Cable (547/35989)
Publisher: Strategic and Defence Studies Centre ISBN: 0731527690

The commander of the 1st Australian Task Force in Vietnam held the key operational command in Australia’s largest military commitment of the Cold War period. Although the Vietnam Was has been written on at length, the brigade level of command, held in Vietnam by the commander of 1 ATF, has received comparatively little attention. This is the more remarkable given the Australian Army’s recently renewed interest in a ‘task force’ structure and the modern trend away from large-scale conventional warfare.

This monograph examines the problems and conditions faced by the seven Task Force commanders, their styles of command and the degree of independence they were allowed by Australian and US higher commanders; how much operational command they exercised and the types of operations carried out under each. It concludes that although the commanders were allowed a large degree of independence, apparent variations in Task Force methods were due less to the influence of personality than to differences in the types of operations required to counter a changing enemy situation.

November 2008


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