Historical Analysis of the Australian Army's role in Vietnam has tended to be dominated by the 'big battles' such as the battle of Long Tan (18th August 1966) and the battle of Binh Ba (6-7 June 1969). But we argue that the focus on these 'big battles' tends to distort our understanding of the war. To avoid this problem we have built a database of approximately 4500 'contacts' in Vietnam. They range from the largest battles (Long Tan) down to the smallest, seemingly insignificant skirmishes. For each 'contact' we have captured up to 30 bits of information that describe the 'contacts'. The resulting database has been mapped and statistically analysed to reveal new insights into the Australian Task Force's performance in the war.
In the seminar we will discuss some of the problems of the 'big battle' approach to the war and we will outline some of the results of our database analysis.
The project is ARC-funded and the project team consists of Bob Hall (HASS), Andrew Ross (HASS), Amy Griffin (PEMS), Spike Barlow (SEIT) and Derill De Heer (HASS).