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Category: Conflicts/Vietnam

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Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment Submitted by GS

The RNZIR companies in Vietnam were all detached from 1RNZIR which formed part of the 28th Commonwealth Infantry Brigade based in Malacca, Malaysia. They would train in Malaysia, go to Vung Tau and return to Malaysia.

 The NZ artillery battery (161) was deployed from NZ directly and personnel were sent from and returned to, NZ.

The organisation of 1RNZIR in Malaysia was four rifle companies and an HQ company which included the 81mm mortar platoon, transport etc. The rifle companies were each of 4 platoons and HQ , although we never used the heavy weapons (Carl Gustav, 2" mortar) in jungle operations, the US M72 was much lighter!

The companies went to Vietnam in the structure above and were simply attached to the appropriate RAR battalion as V1, V2... W1, W2.. etc You are probably aware that there was initially only one company committed but the Government later (within a year) sent another. The first was C Coy, V1, the second was mine, B Coy V2. W1 was sent during our tour.

There was always a Victor and a Whiskey company in Vietnam at any one time and whilst they would have appeared as V and W in their parent RAR organisation, they were chronologically called V1,V2 etc simply to differentiate them. 

Those who served in V5 were those of the fifth V company sent. There was no reference to the 1RNZIR company despatched from Terendak camp at Malacca (A, B C or D) i.e. V1 was C company, V2 B company... I don't know which companies were sent as V3, W1, W2 etc. 

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The TOD for V1 and V2 was 6 months, but when the government committed the second company (W) it was necessary to extend this to 12 months as there were not enough troops to go around. Thus W1 and V3 onwards served 12 months. Rifle companies would normally have support from battalion mortars and artillery. However I cannot recall receiving mortar support, it was always artillery. The ATF had organic 105mm artillery available, both within the perimeter of the base and at a position called The Horseshoe (1 battery) giving mutual fire support. 81mm mortars were also deployed in M113's for mobility.

Unit (as at June 1969)


Authorized Strength


Headquarters, New Zealand Force, Vietnam  

 Saigon, Gia Dinh    18    Comd and admin support
161st Battery, RNZIR    Nui Dat, Phuoc Tuy    131    Combat
RNZIR component; various appointments with 1st Australian Task Force    Nui Dat, Phuoc Tuy    18    Combat
V Company, RNZIR    Nui Dat, Phuoc Tuy    150    Combat
W Company, RNZIR    Nui Dat, Phuoc Tuy    150    Combat
Administrative Cell    Nui Dat, Phuoc Tuy    9    Admin support
No. 4 Troop, NZ SAS    Nui Dat, Phuoc Tuy    26    Combat
Logistical support element    Nui Dat, Vung Tau, Phuoc Tuy    27    Logistical support
1 NZ Svcs Med Team  Dong Son, Binh Dinh    16    Asst to GVN

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