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Canister on Fire : Australian Tank Operations in Vietnam (Hardcover) (Bruce Cameron)
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Canister! On! Fire! tells the remarkable, but little known story of Australian tanks in the Vietnam War. Based on twelve years of research, including personal letters and diaries, extensive searches of official records and numerous interviews, this book brings to life a previously little-known aspect of the conflict. It is the story of a select group of soldiers, both regular and conscript, serving their country against all odds. The 53 ton Centurion tanks were not only involved in intense fighting in conjunction with infantry to capture enemy defenses and defeat attacks, but also fought their own battles against enemy mines, ambushes, and an unforgiving terrain and climate. This book takes the reader inside the tanks to share the experiences of their crews in action in the jungle. We see the gunner, trying to survive the heat inside the turret, while identifying designated targets; the operator trying to maintain communications, while keeping the guns loaded; the driver, trying to see his way forward, while keeping his head down; and the commander, trying to locate enemy positions, while directing his driver and giving fire orders to his gunner. The account also reveals how the mechanics beat overwhelming challenges to maintain the twenty-year-old tanks, while the field engineers risked their lives protecting them against mines.