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Rhys Ball

Doctor of Philosophy, (Defence and Strategic Studies)
Study Completed: 2010
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
The platforms: An examination of New Zealand special air service (NZSAS) campaigns from Borneo 'Confrontation' to the Vietnam War, 1954-1971

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Mr Ball examined the chronological progression of the New Zealand Special Air Service (SAS) through two of its most influential Cold War deployments; the Borneo ‘Confrontation’ between during 1965 and 1966, and the South Vietnam campaign between December 1968 and February 1971. He also examined the underlying success and value of a small but strongly independent military unit that was compelled to operate under the command of larger Special Forces coalition counterparts and the impact different political, tactical and cultural characteristics had on these joint-operational deployments. Mr Ball found that the New Zealand SAS operations in South Vietnam and Borneo - the demonstration of the highest standards of patrol techniques, tracking, ambushing and fire discipline, and above all, operational professionalism that has been the hallmark of New Zealand''smilitary history - provided the evolutionary ‘platforms’ from which today’s highly skilled and enviable New Zealand Special Forces have emerged.

Professor Glyn Harper

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