Sappers' War

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We make and we break.

They were the forward scouts, the mine clearers, the bridge builders, and the tunnel rats. They were frequently not just on the front line, but right at the sharp end of the action. They were the legendary Aussie sappers, the army engineers, who were literally everywhere in the fighting against the Vietcong. This special breed of soldier lived hard and played hard. They were there at the beginning of the war, and they were also among the last to leave. Along the way they fought with their fellow soldiers in infantry and tanks to bear the brunt of the Vietcong's revenge. To the rest of the world, Vietnam was a conflict of ideologies. On the ground it was a battle of wits, and the sappers were at the forefront. This is their story.


Jimmy Thomson is a journalist, author, and screenwriter whose credits include the ABC-TV series Rain Shadow and the books Snitch, Tunnel Rats, and Watto. Thomson is a graduate of the Royal Military College, Duntroon, and served in the Army for 30 years.