Gary’s book Jungle Tracks – Australian Armour in Viet Nam was released in April 2001. This book was the latest in Gary’s series of books covering the men of the combat arms and how they fought in Viet Nam.
Jungle Tracks was co-authored with Graeme Nicholas, an Armoured Corps soldier who served in both tank and APC regiments. The foreword to this book that details how the men of the RAAC crewed, trained and fought their vehicles was written by Lieutenant General John Grey, ex-Army CGS and former troop leader in Viet Nam. He had this to say about the book:
Jungle Tracks tells the stories of the men who went to war in South Viet Nam in the armoured personnel carriers and tanks of the Royal Australian Armoured Corps, and of those of the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical engineers and Royal Australian Engineer mini-teams who supported them. It is very readable and is brought to life through a collection of comments from veterans on events that typify the operations in which those men were involved. The authors have provided good general information that will enable any reader to readily understand the armoured fighting vehicles, weapons and military organisations used. Consequently, I have no hesitation in recommending the book to non-military readers, military professionals or veterans…
I found it hard to put down and was pleased that it addressed many important issues. National Servicemen were integral to the units and I agree with the comment by Chris Stephens that they were ‘good’ for the Army. The strong bonding between these men is emphasised also; with careful handling of crew relationships…The Importantly, the selection of people interviewed is sufficiently broad to appropriately reflect events and different types of operations. In addition, they cover the viewpoints of different ranks and skills.
Jungle Tracks fills a special need in recording the involvement of Australians in war in South Viet Nam. I commend its authors Gary McKay, MC and Graeme Nicholas, for producing a book that is valuable to historians, students of the employment of armour in tropical warfare, veterans and their families, the serving members of 1st Armoured Regiment and 3rd/4th Cavalry Regiment and the general public.
The former Chief of the Defence Force, Lieutenant General Peter Cosgrove has written a testimonial and endorsement for the book. General Cosgrove offered these remarks:
I have family connections with and great admiration and affection for the Royal Australian Armoured Corps. Many of my late father’s colleagues and mates are named in the pages of Jungle Tracks. I have served with many of them, not a few of them in Viet Nam. To me, this made Jungle Tracks a fascinating and rewarding journey through the experiences of our modern Armoured Corps at war. To reread is to recall the dust, the mud, the noise and the smells, the laughter and the dedication of those great times, those great men.
Much has been written about of infantry service in Viet nam and those accounts frequently refer with great respect and affection to the infantryman’s relationship with his armoured Corps counterparts. In my clear memory it was then as it is now, robust, jocularly Australian and very close.
The detailed descriptions of operations, incidents and battles, rich with vivid, personal descriptions of soldiers of varying ranks who lived through them, makes this not only historically important but a compelling account.
I commend the authors, two fine ‘old soldiers’, for their great work, and equally I commend Jungle Tracks most warmly to all those who would know of a unique and gallant group of Australian Soldiers.
The original book was in paperback format with a painting of a Centurion tank adorning the cover. The painting is the work of ex-National Serviceman and former tank loader/operator Kerry Slavin who now works as an artist on the central coast of NSW.
The book is now out of print but will be re-released under Batawood Books Press in late 2007 in a printed hardback format. RRP for the hardback will be $45.00 plus P & H