Ambushing tracks made up a great deal of our operations. The ambush position could be in place for up to a week. Once the ambush was activated, the dead dragged away and a sweep across the area done the ambush would be reset and the waiting would begin again.

There were ambushes where wild pigs wandered through and were killed. They were black and so was the clothing the VC wore. A badly wounded porcupine was responsible for Company HQ standing to all one night as its quills sounded like equipment rattling on a badly wounded VC. However the ambush was a most effective way of eliminating VC.

As we lay there together men smitten with fear
For the lives of our comrades we know are so near

Now crouching behind the little thin trees
Fear in our stomachs and prayers from our knees

Men tensed for action on the tips of their toes
Awaiting the bullets from the guns of our foes

But our mines they say are the first to be fired
The first foe is killed and the rest have retired

We engage them with small arms and started the sweep
Chasing them further where the jungle is deep

The action is over and it seems pretty short
But tell that to the men who have just fought

They'll say it was endless and likened to hell
But whatever the say it all ended well

Peter M. Anderson, W3 Coy, 1969-70

Read more about Peter Anderson's Vietnam experience here.

Reference: 

© Peter M. Anderson. Not to be published or reproduced without the permission of the copyright holder.

How to cite this page: 'Ambush - Poem', URL: http://www.vietnamwar.govt.nz/memory/ambush-poem, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 5-Sep-2013