A Diggers viewpoint of being at the sharp end. Gained while serving with 3 Platoon - 'A' Company -7 Battalion (Infantry) Royal Australian Regiment, as a Rifleman in Australia's longest ever war - fought in South Vietnam.  

Chapter 3 - Page 32 - Updated January 2008 - Next Page:- Contact Wait Out 14/35



 See below for the following images: 

  • Tony at Nui Dat
  • Basic Webbing
  • Water Bottles
  • Cups Canteen Steel
  • Cooking Stove & Hexie
  • Me the first week in Vietnam under the rubber trees at Nui Dat out side our Tents.





 Much of the area at Nui Dat was built under Rubber trees. Here are a few images taken those early days at Nui Dat. The Mess building for meals when at the Dat and more importantly the Other Ranks (ORs) wet canteen, or the BOOZER.  

The toilets were very basic and not much use if you were the shy type. In an shed that was covered against flies and not much else, it was 6 or so pans over a large hole.  

The left image This was taken early in the year in the tent next door to mine at Nui Dat. One of the Corporals had been moved to a local MAT TEAM and returned to the platoon to catch up with the Diggers and let us have a look at his '45' caliber pistol. I think the other Digger is Strudwick and he hails from Queensland.

The image on the right is a shot of the Boozer under the rubber trees from my tent looking south towards the road that ran through the A Company Lines to Battalion HQ.




The Image on the left is LUSCOMB Field inside Nui Dat. On the right is another shot looking from our tents in 3 Platoon lines towards the boozer & mess.

© "Tony (oink) Blake" 

These images were taken early in the tour our side our tent at Nui Dat: Left and middle; standing out side our tent at Nui Dat with my Big pack and basic webbing. (R) Business end of an M60 Machine Gun.



Basic Webbing carried your ammo and water bottles. The webbing consisted of a 'pistol belt' supported by straps that came over your shoulders and attached to your belt by clips and another strap and clips that went to the top of the ammo pouches. The idea of the straps was to have the weight of the belt was carried by your shoulders and not on your hips.

BASIC WEBBING:- The straps go over the shoulders. The web belt clips in front of tummy. In those days my tummy was very small;-)

There are only two water bottles on this kit. Two bottles would be the BARE Minimum carried on belt kit. The ammo pouches are for the M16. The BUM pack a small utility pack came in very handy on patrol & no BIG Pack.

The BUM PACK (see image above) was the other bit of kit on the basic webbing, a handy bit of gear IF you set it up right. My bum pack contained at least one days rations and plenty of brew gear. That way if you were caught without your Big pack for any reason at least you could eat and have a brew. Which in my case was coffee, and gear to sleep in and keep warm. It did get cold in the jungle at times.



See below for images of equipment and how it works!

I had 3 water bottles on my basic webbing in water bottle carriers and a further 3 on my Big Pack. The water bottles carriers had 2 'Cups Canteen Steel' on my basic webbing and the one on my Big Pack.

One cup canteen steel for brews in a set place. Any long stop it was a case of, light HEXIE, poor water from big pack bottle (only) in to cup canteen steel. Heat water add coffee, milk and sugar, stir quickly. Put away gear, NOW. In this way if you had to move it was only a matter of putting the cup back on the water bottle, ready to pack it away ready to move. The other cup canteen steel was for cooking rice and other such food.  

These images show the Cup Canteen Steel, being heated on the Left.

Right how it fits on to the Water Bottle on the right. This then goes in to the Water Bottle pouch on your basic webbing.

HEXIE:- To heat the brew water & meals a small white block called hexie was used. On the image on the right above you can clearly see the block of Hexie. Hexie is similar to todays fire lighters and once alight it would burn for a good couple of minutes. Long enough to heat enough water in the canteen for a good brew. The hexie blocks came stacked inside hexie stoves, however once in the bush many Diggers made their own stoves, from small tins of baked beans, which I still do if I spend time out in the Aussie bush.

These images show the process of changing a empty can of baked beans into a small but very effective fire in the bush! First take your can, cut in to the wall of the can, top and bottom. Leave the rim intact. Push in cut side to meeet other side and place in Hexie. Light and place cups canteen steel on top with water. Handle to the back of the intact can. This stove is much more stable than the army isssued hexie stove and carried with out problems on the out side of your big pack.

Frequent burning removed any bright steel, so there was no camouflage problem in the jungle. The white tablets in the image on the right are Heximine, a solid fuel burner, with its packet next to them.


NEXT PAGE has the following stories and information:- BIG PACK & RATIONS & SLEEPING GEAR IN THE JUNGLE; also a story called "Contact Wait Out!" Page 13



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