School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS)

Dr Bob Hall

Dr Bob Hall

Research Fellow

Phone: +61 2 6268 8848
Fax: +61 2 6268 8879
Email: b.hall@adfa.edu.au


Professional Background

Bob Hall graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon, in 1968. He served in Vietnam as an infantry platoon commander in the 8th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment. After further military service in Papua New Guinea, HQ 1st Division and Army Headquarters, Canberra, he left the Army in 1991 to pursue an academic career. His army career spanned over 20 years. He was formerly the Executive Director of the Australian Defence Studies Centre, UNSW Canberra until 2003.

In 2005 Bob was awarded a QEII Fellowship and an ARC research grant for a five-year project titled "Understanding Low-Intensity Conflict?. Bob leads a research team of Dr Andrew Ross (HASS), Dr Amy Griffin (PEMS), Dr Michael (Spike) Barlow, and Mr Derrill de Heer in the project, which examines the operational effectiveness of the Australian army in Vietnam and Confrontation.

Research Interests

The Australian army's role and performance in Vietnam and Confrontation. The Vietnam War. Confrontation. Combat effectiveness.

Publications

The Black Diggers: Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders in the Second World War, (Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1989), Fighters from the fringe: Aborigines and Islanders recall their war service in the Second World War, (AIATSIS press, Canberra, 1995)

Combat Battalion: The Eighth Battalion in Vietnam, (Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 2000), and numerous book chapters and articles.

Research reports for DSTO

Dr R. Hall and Dr A. Ross, "Friendly fire in Low Level Warfare: The Experience of the First Australian Task Force in Vietnam, 1966-1971?, Australian Defence Studies Centre, UNSW Canberra, Canberra, report prepared for Dr Nicholas Beagley, Land Operations Division, DSTO, July 2002, 19 pages including annex, tables and graphs.

The report identifies fratricide incidents involving artillery (27 incidents), infantry (53), armour (6) and air (5) and then analyses those caused by infantry and armour to establish whether an infantry IFF system might reduce the number of these incidents in the future.
Dr R. Hall and Dr A. Ross, "Attacks on Prepared Defended Positions by Units of 1st ATF, 1966-1971?, Australian Defence Studies Centre, UNSW Canberra, Canberra, report prepared for Dr M.J. Brennan, Land Operations Division, DSTO, August 2002, vii + 69 including annexes, tables, graphs and diagrams.

The report identifies 161 bunker system attacks and categorises these according to whether the assault was by infantry unsupported (72 attacks), infantry supported by indirect fire support (68 attacks), or infantry supported by armour with or without additional indirect support (21 attacks). The report then compares and contrasts these attacks according to a number of factors including range of contact, duration of contact, expenditure of SAA and the loss ratio. The report found that the addition of armour to the combined arms team for the assault significantly improved the loss ratio for the Australians. The report was used by Army to support the acquisition of the Abrams tank.
Dr R. Hall and Dr A. Ross, ?Analysis of Australian Urban Engagements in Vietnam?, Australian Defence Studies Centre, UNSW Canberra, Canberra, report prepared for Dr Phil Davies, Land Operations Division, DSTO, May 2003, 113 pages including annexes, appendices, tables, graphs, maps and photographs.

Of approximately 4500 Australian contacts with the VC/NVA, the report could only identify 7 urban battles involving the Australian Task Force. The report studies these battles in detail and accounts for the reluctance of the VC/NVA to seek battle against the Australians in an urban environment.

Dr R. Hall and Dr A. Ross, ?Ambush and Attack Incidents Involving the Australian Army in Vietnam?, Australian Defence Studies Centre, UNSW Canberra, Canberra, report prepared for Dr Paul Gaertner, Head, Task Force Modernisation, Land Operations Division, DSTO, September 2003, ix + 104 pages, including annexes, tables, graphs, diagrams.
The report shows that the ambush was by far the most common form of contact with the enemy for 1ATF. It identifies 808 ambushes and compares these with patrol encounters, bunker system attacks and defensive contacts according to a range of factors including range of engagement, duration of contact, benefit of achieving the first shot, expenditure of SAA and loss ratio. The report shows that of the various modes of contact, ambushes produced the most favourable loss ratio.

Dr R. Hall and Dr A. Ross, "Indirect Fire Support for the Australian Army in Vietnam, 1965-1971?, UNSW Defence Studies Forum, UNSW Canberra, Canberra, report prepared for Dr Paul Gaertner, Chief, Land Operations Division, DSTO, July 2004, 155 pages, including annexes, tables, graphs, and photographs.

This report examined the command and control arrangements, mobility, problems and limitations, enemy reactions to, effectiveness, and ammunition expenditure of indirect fire support used by 1ATF. It's focus is mainly upon artillery support but it also addresses mortar and air support.

Dr R. Hall and Dr A. Ross, "The Effectiveness of Combined Arms Teams in Urban Terrain: The Battle of Binh Ba, Vietnam 1969, and the Battles of Fallujah, Iraq, 2004", prepared under DSTO Research Agreement, Ref: 2006/1175725 for Land Operations Division, DSTO.
This report examined the effectiveness of the combined arms team in the battle of Binh Ba (Vietnam, 6-7 June 1969) using primary source documents, and the battles of Fallujah, Iraq, in 2004 using the secondary sources then available. The study examined infantry and armoured TTPs for the assault in urban terrain and also considered the role of artillery and air power.
Dr R. Hall and Dr A. Ross, "Historical Soldier Load Carrying Study", prepared under DSTO Research Agreement, Ref: 2006/1175885, for Land Operations Division, DSTO.

This study showed that the soldier's load increased over the course of the Vietnam War. It accounted for the reasons for this increase. It showed that there was little prospect of reducing the soldier's load in Vietnam by cutting back on rations/water or the field equipment each soldier carried. These components of the load were already pared to the minimum. However the weapons/ammunition load offered the prospect of reducing the weight carried if soldier lethality could be improved. Components of soldier lethality were examined and shots/weight of shots fired per casualty inflicted were calculated.

Dr R. Hall and Dr A. Ross, "Study of the Structures, Arms and Approaches to the Employment of Fires of the Australian Rifle Section in South Vietnam, 1966-1971 (The Rifle Section Study), dated 20 Jun 2008, prepared for Andrew Coutts, Land Operations Division, DSTO.
We examined the structure of the Australian rifle platoon during the Vietnam War and examined the combat effectiveness of the sub-section (2-3 men), the rifle section (7-10 men), the half-platoon (about 12-15 men) and the rifle platoon (up to 35 men). The report accounted for the chronic undermanning and assessed combat performance for each of the above groups according to variables including enemy force size, combat task (i.e., whether patrol encounter, ambush, bunker system attack, etc.) and other factors.

Journal articles and book chapters

Robert A. Hall and Andrew Ross, "Lessons From Vietnam " Combined Arms Assault Against Prepared Defences", in Michael Evans and Alan Ryan (eds.), From Breitenfeld to Baghdad: Perspectives on Combined Arms Warfare, Land Warfare Studies Centre, working paper no. 122, July 2003, pp. 27-52.

Robert A. Hall, "Accidental Discharges " The Soldier's Industrial Accident in Vietnam and East Timor", Australian Defence Force Journal, no. 149, July/August 2001, pp. 27-34.

Robert A. Hall and Andrew Ross, "The political and military effectiveness of Commonwealth forces in Confrontation 1963-1966", Small Wars & Insurgencies, London, Routledge, 2008 vol 19, iss. 2, pp. 238-255.

Bob Hall and Andrew Ross, "The Royal Australian Regiment in Vietnam", Duty First: 60 years of the Royal Australian Regiment, Faircount, Bondi, 2008, pp. 34-41.

Robert A. Hall and Andrew Ross, "Bang on Target: Infantry marksmanship and combat effectiveness in Vietnam", Australian Army Journal, vol. vi, no. 1, 2009, pp. 139-156.

Bob Hall and Andrew Ross, "Confronting moral dilemmas in combat: Vietnam 1966-1971" in LTCOL Jamie Cullens, A Wicked Problem" Military Ethics Education in the Australian Defence Force, 2009. (Accepted for publication 25 February 2010)

Bob Hall and Andrew Ross, "Kinetics in counterinsurgency: Some influences on soldier combat performance in the 1st Australian Task Force in the Vietnam War", Small Wars and Insurgencies, Vol. 21, No. 3, September 2010, 498-518.

Conference presentations and proceedings

Robert A. Hall and Andrew Ross, "Lessons From Vietnam " Friendly Fire in Low Level Warfare" , in V. Puri, D. Filippidis, and Brigadier S. Quinn (eds), Land Warfare Conference Proceedings 2002: Future Wars, Futuristic Forces, Defence Science and Technology Organisation, Adelaide, 2002, pp. 107-117.

Robert A. Hall and Andrew Ross, "Australia's Land Operations in Vietnam: Understanding Low Level Operations in the Regional Littoral", in V. Puri, D. Filippidis, P. Retter and J. Kelly (eds.), Weapons, Webs and Warfighters, Defence Science and Technology Organisation, Adelaide, 2003, pp. 149-158.

Dr Bob Hall and Dr Andrew Ross, "The close battle in Low Intensity Conflict", Vietnam: 30 years on: Memories, legacies and echoes, Newcastle University, 14-15 April 2005.

Dr Bob Hall and Dr Andrew Ross, "Operations Research and the Analysis of Low Intensity Conflict: The case of Confrontation 1963-1966", Defence Operations Research Symposium 2006 Proceedings, DSTO.

Robert A. Hall and Andrew Ross, "Australian Dismounted Soldier Lethality in Low Intensity Conflict", in V. Puri, D. Filippidis, BRIG S. Dunn, Pervasive, Persistent, Proportionate: Landforce and urban warfare," Commonwealth of Australia, 2007, pp. 85-94.

Griffin, A., Ross, A., and B. Hall. (2009). "Using GIS to identify errors in historical databases." Paper presented at the 14th International Conference of Historical Geographers, Kyoto, Japan, 23-27 August 2009.

Dr Bob Hall, Dr Andrew Ross, Dr Amy Griffin, Dr Spike Barlow and Mr Derrill de Heer, "A new operational analysis of the 1st Australian Task Force in Vietnam, 1966-1971", Texas Tech University Vietnam Centre and Archive, Seventh Triennial Vietnam Symposium, Lubbock, Texas, 10-12 March 2011.

Dr Bob Hall, Dr Andrew Ross, Dr Amy Griffin, Dr Spike Barlow and Mr Derrill de Heer, "Remembering the war dead of the Vietnamese Liberation Forces: The "Operation Wandering Souls" Project", Association for Asian Studies & International Convention of Asia Scholars, Honolulu, Hawaii, 31 March " 3 April 2011.

Books in production

Bob Hall and Andrew Ross, "Hunting the Cong: The Combat Effectiveness of 1ATF, Vietnam, 1966-1971" (working title), in draft.

Bob Hall and Andrew Ross, "March in the guilty bastards! Discipline and combat performance in the 1st Australian Task Force, Vietnam, 1966-1971" (working title), in draft.

Bob Hall and Andrew Ross, "Brilliant Victory: The battle of Binh Ba and the meaning of victory in counterinsurgency" (working title), part drafted.

Bob Hall and Andrew Ross, "Clear to fire: Indirect fire support and the Australian Task Force in Vietnam", (working title), part drafted.