Nui Dat SVN | 106 Field Workshop
106 Fd Wksp was formally raised at Nui Dat on November 1, 1968. A comprehensive record of the workshop's SVN experience - role, structure, stories and photos - can be read here.
The Men of Long Son
In April 1970, the Unit was ordered to provide a platoon of 1 officer and 19 other ranks - see Header Image above - to provide relief and was deployed to Long Son Island. This episode, sometimes referred to as the Long Son Patrol or as the Long Son Contact ('contact' because live weapon fire was exchanged.)
It is interesting to note that 106 Fd Wksp in SVN was the only Task Force Maintenance Area Unit * in the history of the Vietnam War to have a contact with the enemy in contested territory.
Read the brief account of 106 on Long Son Island; for a more in depth account of the Long Son incident and a record of the mens' names, read (Capt.) Steve Cartner's Long Son Booklet in PDF format (8Mb download) - NB: use 'rotate' to display landscape pages and photos in portrait.
See the mens' names in this picture - unfortunately there are some missing names.
* Update: Refer to the Forum for a discusssion on 106 being described as a "Task Force Maintenace Area Unit".
REBUILD OF THE M2A2 105MM HOWITZERS IN SOUTH VIETNAM (1971)
History Article by LTCOL David Miller RAEME (Retd)
106 Fd Wksp RAEME was raised at Nui Dat in South Vietnam (SVN) in November 1968.
The workshop remained deployed at Nui Dat until it was withdrawn to Australia in late 1971. Its role in SVN was to provide repair and recovery support for equipment in use by the units of the 1st Australian Task Force (1ATF). The 2nd line repair and maintenance of the Centurion Tanks of C Sqn 1Armd Regt was a responsibility it was given which was outside the ‘norm’ for a workshop of its type - but the manning of the workshop was adjusted accordingly to handle this responsibility.
What may not be well known is that during its tenure in SVN 106 successfully completed two complex tasks for which it was not properly established but which were completed expeditiously and successfully; these were:
1. Commencing in July 1969, the progressive up-armouring modification of all 1ATF Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) - to provide greater driver protection against command detonated improvised landmines. The task went from concept, testing, proving and completion, in accordance with 1ATF priorities, as APCs (and modification kits) became available. This story is written about in other parts on the106 Fd Wksp Assn website and in Australian War Memorial articles.
2. In 1971, the successful rebuild of the guns supporting 1ATF operations (howitzers of 12 Fd Regt RAA and the Force reserve guns, 22 guns in total) - by a small and dedicated team of regular and national service soldier/tradesmen. The necessity to fix the guns arose because of the need to maintain ongoing fire support accuracy and safety for troops on field operations.
Taking on the gun rebuild was a risky endeavour from both an operational and a technical perspective as 1ATF was concurrently completing preparations to return to Australia but still needed to have a high level of accurate fire support available at call; the successful rebuild results were well beyond the expectations of the technical gurus in Australia at that time and more than met the Commander (COMD) 1ATF’s requirements.
Read the article by David Miller, the officer who led the rebuild team, tells the story of how it was done, subsequently enhancing 106’s performance reputation in the SVN theatre.
LTCOL John Strachan RAAOC (Retd)
106 Fd Wksp RAEME Assn Inc