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Machines of War

How could we have lost the war with machines that rule the land and sky The Vietcong the Vietminh and the NVA had nothing but a reason for to die

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We had three Centurion tanks on patrol
they had hootched up with us the night before
Next morning they started their engines
there was a mighty roar
They traversed their turrets knocking trees down
and making a terrible din
With so much noise and lack of discipline
no wonder we didn't win

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We escorted the tanks onto the hard baked paddy fields
and started looking for a large enemy cache
The exact location we didn't know
only that it was by the paddy field next to a well worn track
We walked all morning to mid afternoon
sitting ducks we had been all the way

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We met the Aussies and they took over
and walked just a hundred yards that day
The enemy had seen us coming
and prepared his ambush well
When the ambush broke loose two tanks went down six soldiers dead
they had walked straight into hell

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The Company rose ready to fight
but we were told to stay where we were
We watched as the Aussies got the s**t kicked out of them
and our tears made our eyes blur
Aircraft came and bombed the position
we weren't happy not to assist
By the time things settled down a truce was effected
and the large cache we had missed

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One day we saw a Huey Cobra
baring straight towards our position
So low it was we saw their sign thumbs down
we were the enemy was their decision
The radio op tried to raise help
while the Cobra flew to and fro
Their dance of death drew other Cobras to bare
we had no where else to go
There was a flap of a shirt a flash of sweaty white skin
our cover broken we were all scared
To a clearing two men went beating their chests
and with their shirts they formed NZ
Satisfied with our ID the Cobra hovered dipped its nose
and the pilot gave a way of good cheer
They gracefully turned and off they flew
thank goodness that was an almighty scare

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Of the machines of war the old Iroquois was the work horse
being used for every imaginable thing
But its nobility lay it would go anywhere to get
the wounded the dead and the living
In the Dat one day the word came down
a hot extraction had all gone wrong
A soldier was last seen dangling from a rope
the chopper he never got upon

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The Company rose and with speed
the Iroquois took us to the spot
There were gunships galore covering the area
where our man was lost
But alas we were too late
for the warrior was already dead
We gathered our comrade and took him home
and with sadness we bowed our heads

The Iroquois gunships would always give their support
with rockets and the Gatling mini
They would fly back and forth striking where they could
songs of death with each pass they were singing
And then there were the C47's
with mini guns on each side
Such formidable aircraft support they were
the troops had named them with pride
Puff The Magic Dragon flew during the day
while Spooky came only at night
With the tracer and high rate of cyclic fire
red ribbons of death swept the earth such was a majestic sight

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There were other machines
APC's, Artillery, Chinooks, Jets, Spotters, B52's
they all had their part to play
Even the USS New Jersey was there
firing salvos from across the bay
So we must pay tribute to the men who
worked their machines with pride
The honour and glory which is always theirs
for their unflinching support and courage that kept most of us alive.

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RW Hamon

2Sec, 2Pl, Whiskey Coy RNZIR

4 & 6 RAR ANZAC BN

Vietnam 1968 - 69

© Richard William Hamon

original source

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