Vietnam & the Royal Australian Navy

Peter Eccleson
3rd August 2007, 16:58
In good 'sparkie' tradition I overheard a conversation on a train last week where the Vietnam war was being discussed. One guy was talking about an incident of 'friendly fire' when a U.S. aircraft attacked an Australian frigate off the Vietnamese coast in the late 60's early 70's.
Does anyone out there in 'ether-land' know the details??

melliget
6th August 2007, 03:10
Peter.

This "friendly" fire incident happened 17 Jun 1968. American aircraft mistakenly fired on HMAS HOBART, guided-missile destroyer, in the Gulf of Tonkin off North Vietnam and hit her with three air-to-air Sparrow missiles. Sadly two Australian sailors were killed and seven wounded. It apparently blew a 2 ft square hole in the vessel's cross-beam and made more than 200 holes in the hull and superstructure. HOBART was later repaired at the U.S. naval base at Subic Bay - the Americans caused the damage, so I guess the least they could do was fix it up.

regards,
Martin

melliget
6th August 2007, 03:18
The names of the two sailors killed were Ordinary Seaman R. J. Butterworth and Chief Petty Officer Hunt. The AWM has some photos and further details:

http://cas.awm.gov.au/photograph/P02562.027

melliget
6th August 2007, 14:07
Further info on The Gun Plot site:
http://www.gunplot.net/vietnam/hobartvietnam.html

Peter Eccleson
6th August 2007, 17:40
Martin

Thanks..... I hadn't realised that the RAN were involved in Vietnam. I knew that the Australian army were there. Interesting report.

LEEJ
8th August 2007, 15:00
I just love the report that the jets mistook a destroyer and a cruiser for enemy helicopters!. Classic US gung ho. We've all heard of the Gulf of Tonkin incident, but never this.

viking
13th August 2007, 21:42
the light fleet carrier terrible sold to RAN and re named sydney was used as a troop transport during the veitnam war after being used for the same purpose during the malaya opperations 1962 and used as an aicraft carrier on a 4 monthly switch about with an RN light fleet carrier off the Korean coast during the "police action" 1951

Hawkeye
16th August 2007, 01:51
Peter.

This "friendly" fire incident happened 17 Jun 1968. American aircraft mistakenly fired on HMAS HOBART, guided-missile destroyer, in the Gulf of Tonkin off North Vietnam and hit her with three air-to-air Sparrow missiles. Sadly two Australian sailors were killed and seven wounded. It apparently blew a 2 ft square hole in the vessel's cross-beam and made more than 200 holes in the hull and superstructure. HOBART was later repaired at the U.S. naval base at Subic Bay - the Americans caused the damage, so I guess the least they could do was fix it up.

regards,
Martin

This made interesting reading.
HMAS Hobart was one of six Charles F. Adams class destroyers built in the US for foreign navies, three for Australia & three for West Germany. On top of that were the twenty or so destroyers of the same class built for the US Navy. The shape of the ships are basically the same, so how did they mistake the Hobart for anything else?