The Royal New Zealand Artillery
Sean Flynn joined the New Zealand 161 Battery on operations in Vietnam in October and November 1966. Sean was a photojournalist for the French magazine, Paris Match and was accompanied by a Paris Match reporter. The two spent about 2 weeks on operations with 161 Battery. Sean later returned to Vietnam as the combat photographer for Time magazine and became a leading war photographer. He and a colleague Dana Stone were captured across the border in Cambodia in 1970, and executed by the Khmer Rouge in 1971. Sean was the son of the Hollywood star, Errol Flynn.
This was an operation in late 1966 in which 161 Battery deployed their guns by every possible means during the course of the operation. Firstly we deployed from our base using our own vehicles which took us out to an initial deployment area near the recent Long Tan battle site about 4000 metres from base, and the vehicles returned to base camp at Nui Dat. Some days later we then deployed by armoured personnel carrier (APC) a few thousand metres further out to a new gun position as our supported infantry battalion 6 RAR moved away from us, to ensure we kept in range. This is where all the pictures were taken, except 002, which is in the initial gun position.
When it became obvious a day or two later that the infantry would again move out of the range of our guns (and an Australian battery would pick up our task of direct support to the infantry) we moved the battery by hand – manhandling everything – about 200 metres across a small creek and went into action in a more open area from where we could be flown out next morning by Chinook heavy lift helicopters. The Chinooks took us to our final gun position for the operation, and subsequently back to base a week or so later.
14 May 2007
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