5RAR Association Website
General Articles


Were Russian Advisors in Phuoc Tuy Province?

By Ted Colmer


Below are two images of 3 SAS Squadron, 6 man Recce Patrol Report [two pages] dated: 28 April 69 until 6 May 69, in the Xuyen Moc District; describing the sighting of one particular enemy Caucasian, well built, fair complexion, brown hair, 5' 10" - 5' 11" [must be the Russian, subject to all the 'scuttlebutt'] assisting with the preparation of the HO CHI MINH offensive of the 19 May, that came to fruition.

Here is the evidence of this Caucasian seen in our Province, on two separate occasions [the 29 April & 2 May 69 respectively] assisting the enemy, which I think is interesting since the reported sightings confirms my memory from briefings that a fair Caucasian was seen in the area of Xuyen Moc, and on one occasion was extremely lucky after actually approaching a 5RAR gun picket in the area: observed to be wearing a distinctive bandoleer, sidearm, or short weapon [must be the same Caucasian]. I think from memory the 5RAR gun picket was surprised and unsure of whether he was a legitimate target, so lucky for the Russian!

There were many stories of this Russian from May to June 69, who was obviously advising D445 LF Battalion etc, and probably arrived from the north with many insurgents arriving via Taiwanese Fishing Diesel boats, and Sampans.

Perhaps some 5 RAR, Cavalry troopers, Sappers or D & E Platoon members may remember the 'SitRep' (Situation Report) warnings?

I wonder if he survived, with all that May to June 69 activity, culminating with the Battle of Binh Bah 6 June 69. I also wonder whether he played a significant role in planning or otherwise advising on the VC offensive. At least he had the company of 2 VC (females) combing their hair near a pool of a creek 2 May 69.


Ted Colmer

News Article From Russia Today
February 16, 2008, 23:41

USSR 'secret' Vietnam soldiers speak out

Russian veterans have gathered to mark the anniversary of America's withdrawal from the Vietnam War. More than 3,000 Soviet soldiers fought in the conflict despite years of government denials that they were ever involved.

Russian Vietnam Veterans
For years, they were the men who 'weren't there' - Soviet Vietnam veterans

For years, they were the men who 'weren't there' - Soviet Vietnam veterans
It was America's longest and most divisive war, with almost 60,000 young men dead in a conflict that killed more than five million on all sides.

Most still think of Vietnam as a war the U.S. and its South Vietnamese allies fought against the North.

But Soviet Union's men were there, too, doing their part to advance the spread of communism. They are some of the Soviet Union's forgotten soldiers, veterans of a war their government denied involvement in for almost twenty years.

It was only after the regime collapsed in 1991 that officials admitted more than 3,000 Soviet troops fought against the Americans in Vietnam.

Now, some of these old soldiers are together again to mark the 35th anniversary of the U.S. withdrawal.

"Officially we were known as a group of Russian military experts. The commander was referred to simply as the senior expert. Thus, technically, there were no Russian units in Vietnam. The only thing we knew was that we were Soviet people, Soviet soldiers, and that we had to do whatever it took to stop air raids, which is what we did," Nikolay Kolesnik, Vietnam veteran, remembers.

Soviet expertise played a vital part in training Vietnamese forces and Soviet anti-aircraft missiles to inflict heavy damage on American planes.

Those who fought alongside the Russians say it's difficult to overestimate the impact they had.

"The Soviet Union was a huge help in the war. We have a lot of respect for Russian equipment and Russian experts. Their equipment was better than what the Americans had. That's why we were able to win," Lee Cong Niem, Vietnam veteran, said.

Saturday's ceremony was a chance for the next generation of soldiers to meet the men who have done it all before and for a grateful nation to thank the veterans who were its unsung allies for so long.

For years, those were the men who 'weren't there', veterans of a war their government said they never fought in. Now, thirty-five years after the last of them left the jungles of Vietnam they can properly commemorate their part in one of the 20th century's most significant conflicts.