From 6TTU to Vietnam - An Armoured Personnel Carrier for Australia

Amy Leiper, 27th April 2022
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An eight-part series produced by the team at Service Voices.

In 1964, Australia began a six-month testing program for Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) vehicles in Innisfail, QLD, known as the Tropical Trials. The trials saw the introduction of the M113A1 Armoured Personnel Carrier into Australia's Army, a vehicle that went on to serve Australia in Vietnam, and for decades.

In collaboration with the CBAA, Service Voices Australia and the Department of Veteran Affairs ‘From 6TTU to Vietnam - An Armoured Personnel Carrier for Australia’ an eight-part audio documentary series, unveiling and documenting the untold story of Australia’s Armoured Personnel Carrier, the M113A1 APC, and the men who trialled them.

Comprising in-depth interviews, ‘From 6TTU to Vietnam’ provides a wholistic story around the M1131A, incorporating not only the stories of the Armoured Corps personnel who used and tested them but those associated with the APCs in some way or other during that era; the Infantry who rode in them, who were supported by them and relied heavily on them; men of RAEME, RAE, and RAASC; The Royal Australian Navy who transported the M113A1s and their men and equipment; the RAAF who provided air support; the partners who stayed at home and supported; the WRAAC who served and released men for wartime duties and the RAANC and Army Medics who served in Military hospitals and tended their wounded.

The audio series is now being distributed across the Community Radio Network. Please get in touch if you would like to have this series. Service Voices has gained a great reputation in the veteran community and is often entrusted with memories from Veterans who have never spoken publicly (in some cases even to their families) about aspects of their service in over 40 years.

"Storytelling has long been recognised as a powerful force in veteran communities, whether as a therapeutic 'pathway to healing'for returning combat veterans or as a tool for fostering public understanding and empathy across the military/civilian divide." - Anderson, Voicing the Veteran Experience, 2017

The story behind Australia's 6 Tropical Trials Unit (6TTU) and our M113A1 Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) is of profound National historical significance for Australia. The M113A1 epitomises both the history of Australian troop movement in Vietnam and in later conflicts. It remained in service in the Australian Army for almost 50 years.

Building on the principles of wartime storytelling that have long been recognised as powerful tools in community engagement, 'From 6TTU to Vietnam'offers a unique and often humorous insight into Australia's understanding of its wartime heritage, providing a picture of not only Australia's contribution in Vietnam, but how the M113A1 APC contributed to our success, both then and in future army endeavours.

A short film is being produced for screening in the next few months. Stay tuned for those details. The audio documentary series is now available for all Community Radio Network subscribers to access and play. If you would like access to this series, please contact us on support@cbaa.org.au.

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