Chronology/Operations - Period -
VC = Viet Cong(local force enemy). NVA= North Vietnam Army.
FSB = Fire Support Base. A defended perimeter within which artillery and/or mortars were placed to support tactical operations by infantry or armour that were operating more than 10 klms(maximum gun range) from the Nui Dat Base.
FSPB = Fire Support Patrol Base. As above. Provided a secure base to operate patrols from.
AO = Area of Operations. TAOR=Tactical Area of Operational Responsibility
KIA = Killed in action. WIA = Wounded in action. MIA = Missing in Action. DOW = Died of wounds
RAR = Royal Australian Regiment(Infantry). RAA = Royal Australian Artillery. RNZA = Royal New Zealand Artillery. RAE = Royal Australian Engineers
Art = Artillery. Bty = Battery. Coy = Company. Bde = Brigade. APC = Armoured Personnel Carriers.Tp = Troop. Cav = Cavalry.
The Carrier Force
From the South China Sea, the Seventh Fleet's Attack Carrier Strike Force mounted the Rolling Thunder bombing and Blue Tree tactical reconnaissance operations in North Vietnam; the Barrel Roll, Steel Tiger, and Tiger Hound bombing and Yankee Team reconnaissance efforts in Laos; and the ground support mission in South Vietnam. Except during the period in 1965 and 1966 when the aircraft carrier supporting operations in the South sailed at Dixie Station, the carrier task force was deployed at Yankee Station (after April 1966 at 1730'N 10830'E). Generally, before August 1966, two or three carriers operated in Task Force 77, and after that date the number was often three or four. On each ship a carrier air wing controlled 70 to 100 aircraft, usually grouped in two fighter and three attack squadrons and smaller detachments. However, the number depended on the size and class of the carriers, which varied from the large-deck 65,000-ton Forrestal-class ships to the 27,000-ton, World War II Essex-class ships.
The Navy's first-line aircraft for strike operations included the maneuverable A-4 Skyhawk, A-l Skyraider, A-7 Corsair II, and the all-weather, day-night Grumman A-6 Intruder. The workhorse F-4 Phantom II, in addition to its attack role, flew fighter escort, as did the F-8 Crusader. Aerial reconnaissance missions were carried out by the heavy RA-5 Vigilante, the older RA-3B Skywarrior, and reconfigured Crusaders and Phantoms. Intruder, Skyraider, and Skywarrior variants also provided electronic countermeasure support in an enemy air defense environment that became increasingly lethal. Detection of enemy MiG's approaching the fleet, guidance of U.S. aircraft to and from their targets, and airborne communications support were all functions of the versatile Grumman E-2 Hawkeye. Ship-based helicopters such as the Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King and Kaman UH-2 Sea Sprite were key components of the search and rescue (SAR) system established to retrieve downed fliers both at sea and in enemy territory. Helicopters also transported ammunition and supplies from logistic ships to the combatants on station in a relatively new procedure called vertical replenishment. The UH-34 Seahorse Boling-Vertol, CH-46 Sea Knight, and Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion troop-carrying helicopters provided essential mobility to the fleet's Marine units.
Fleet aircraft carried a vast array of ordnance, from Korean-era bombs to advanced
missiles and precision guided munitions. For their strikes in North Vietnam, Laos, and
South Vietnam, attack aircraft dropped 250-, 500-, 1,000-, and 2,000-pound general purpose
bombs, napalm bombs, and magnetic mines, and fired 5-inch Zuni and 2.75-inch
high-explosive rockets. The carrier aircraft used Bullpup air-to-ground weapons, the newly
developed Walleye TV-guided bomb, and the Shrike antiradar missile to great effect.
Fighters were equipped with highly effective Sidewinder and Sparrow air-to-air missiles
and 20-millimeter machine guns. This array of ordnance helped to restrict enemy movement
on the ground and to achieve strategic air superiority over coastal North Vietnam and the
Gulf of Tonkin.
January - 1966
1 RAR 18/65 Op 'MARAUDER': Operational Dates: 1-7 January 1966.
Formations/units: 1 RAR, with under command 1 Fd Tp, in direct support 105 Fd Bty. Description: A brigade search-and-destroy operation, 1 RAR being a manoeuvre element of 173d Bde. The brigade AO included areas east and west of the Song Vam Co Dong (Oriental River), as well as the village of Bao Trai (Khiem Cuong) and its airstrip, 34 km WNW of Saigon. The 1 RAR AO, of some twenty sq km, was immediately east of the river. Flat terrain with mainly sugar cane plantations, rice and swamp. The area was significant for the 506 Local Force Bn-a hard-core VC unit and the VC supply route using the river. Deployment was by helicopter. Location: West-central Hau Nghia province, 51 km WSW of Bien Hoa air base.
Results: Casualties: VC: KIA 1,wounded/escaped 6. A number of bunkers, and caches of rice and medical supplies were located and destroyed, as were two sixteen-metre long sampans. A number of booby traps were encountered.
Remarks: 173d Bde reported VC: KIA 124, possible KIA 18, PW 13,detained as suspects 106; captured were a number of small arms weapons and ammunition,as well as 3955 documents; recovered or destroyed were one half tonne of fertilizer, two tonne of rice, and eleven sampans.
FSB Bao Trai - YT 52-40 40 km NW of Saigon and close to the Cambodian border. 161 Bty, RNZA (Kennings Bty 13Jun65-13Jun66) firebase set here 1- 7Jan66. 3d/319th US Arty also here. Binh Duong Prov, III Corps.
Hobo Woods - XT 61-24 On the SE edge of the Hobo Woods 3 km W of Ql-1 and 18 km NW of Saigon. 161 Bty, RNZA (Kennings Bty 13Jun65-13Jun66) firebase set here 7-14Jan66. Hua Ngai Prov, III Corps.
1 RAR 1/66: Op 'CRIMP' : Operational Dates: 8-14 January 1966.
Formations/units: 1 RAR, with under command 3 Fd Tp (minus), in direct support 105 Fd Bty. Description: A brigade search and destroy operation, 1 RAR being the blocking force for 173d Bde, which was operating in conjunction with 3d Inf Bde (US) both being commanded by HQ lst Inf Div (US). The brigade AO was centered in the general area of the Solirene plantation, nine km WSW of Ben Cat, and the 1 RAR AO of thirteen sq km was central within the brigade AO. Generally flat terrain, with areas of rice, jungle, and rubber plantations. The operation was directed at the destruction of the Saigon-Cholon-Gia Dinh Special Sector Committee, believed to be located in the southern portion of the long-established VC base area, the 'Ho Bo Woods'; the Committee was protected by up to two VC main force battalions. Deployment by helicopter,directly from Operation 18/65 'MARAUDER' via Bao Trai. Location: West-central Binh Duong province, 37 km WNW of Bien Hoa air base.
Results: Casualties: own: KIA 8, WIA 29; VC: KIA 27, wounded/escaped 7. Twelve VC suspects detained, and many civilians evacuated. Extensive multi-level tunnel systems were broken into by 1 RAR; these included a headquarters complex, reproduction centres, dispensaries and a hospital. A major arms cache and a rice store (fifteen tonne) were located. The operation was notable for the 7488 documents captured, primarily by 1 RAR.
Remarks: 173d Bde reported own: KIA 22, WIA 106; VC: KIA 128, possible KIA 190, PW 92, detained as suspects 509; captured were 90 small arms and 22 000 rounds, 57 tonne of rice; destroyed were nine sampans, and 1031 refugees were relocated.
24 January - 6 March. In the largest search and destroy mission up to that point in the war, Operation Masher, 2,389 Viet Cong casualties are reported. The name of the operation is changed from Operation Masher to White Wing at the insistence of the President. The operation combined US and Vietnamese troops in sweeps and amphibious assaults.
26 January - Harold Holt succeeds Robert Menzies as Prime Minister of Australia.
FSB Tan Uyen - XT On the Song Dong River along the western edge of War Zone D, 14 km NNW of Bien Hoa. 161 Bty, RNZA (Kennings Bty 13Jun65- 13Jun66) firebase set here 29-30Jan66. Bien Hoa Prov, III Corps.
31 January - US bombing of North Vietnam resumes after a 37 day pause.
February - 1996
1 RAR 3/66: Op 'ROUNDHOUSE': Operational Dates: 4-9 February 1966.
Formations/units: 1 RAR, with under command 1 APC Tp (PWLH), E/17th Cav(US), 3 Fd Tp, in direct support 105 Fd Bty and Btry B 3/319th Arty (US), in support 161 (Indep) Recce Fit. Description: A battalion search-and-destroy operation in the western area of War Zone D, in an AO of 30 sq km. Undulating terrain, covered mainly in jungle. Up to three VC provincial mobile battalions had been reported in an area within ten km of the operation LZ, and possibly two VC main force regiments moving from the west into War Zone D. Deployment by APC and helicopter. Location: Eastern Binh Duong and northern Bien Hoa provinces, 21 km north of Bien Hoa air base.
Results: Casualties: own: WIA 2 + 4 (US); VC: KIA 1, wounded/escaped 3.1 RAR recovered more than 200 tonne of rice; E/17th Cav recovered more than 300 tonne of rice, and two tonne of salt. E/17th Cav also recovered five ARVN trucks previously stolen and a number of VC trucks.
1 RAR 4/66: Op 'ROLLING STONE':.Operational Dates: 19-26 February 1966.
Formations/units: Detached from 173d Bde to operational control HQ Ist Inf Bde (US): 1 RAR with under command 1 APC Tp (PWLH), 3 Fd Tp, 161 (Indep) Recce Fit, in direct support 161 Fd Bty (NZ), in support for deployment E/17th Cav (US). Description: A security operation, involving the protection of the lst Engr Bn (US) base and its road construction task in an AO of approximately 38 sq km, increased on 23 February to approx. 51 sq km, in an area three to ten km east and NE of Ben Cat. Undulating terrain, covered by a mix of rubber, jungle, rice and grassland/cultivation. Long dominated by the VC, the area lay astride the main VC supply and liaison routes between War Zones C and D, and the Mekong Delta. Interference by VC local forces was likely, and possibly a main force battalion. Deployment by APC,truck and helicopter. Location: Central Binh Duong province, 28 km NW of Bien Hoa air base.
Results: Casualties: own: WIA 2; VC: KIA 18, PW 2. 17 small arms captured.
Remarks: Reports of several battalions of VC approximately three km north of 1 RAR's initial defensive position, and a VC regiment approximately fifteen km to the NE, but much closer to HQ Ist Inf Bde, were received on evening 22 February. This prompted relocation of I RAR and Ist Engr Bn on 23 February to new defensive positions approximately six km to the NE. These positions were mutually supporting, within three km, with HQ Ist Inf Bde protected by 1/26th Inf (US). On night 23-24 February, three VC battalions attacked HQ IstInf Bde and 1/26th Inf, with continuing VC contact on 1 RAR's perimeter. Total VC losses in this action were KIA 154, wounded/escaped 200, and PW 15, for (US) KIA 1 1 and WIA 72. lst Inf Bde (US) results for the operation as a whole were not available.
1 RAR Op 5/66 - Cancelled.
14 February - Gen Maxwell Taylor, US Ambassador to South Vietnam 1964-65.
"This country cannot escape its destiny as the champion of the free world - there is no running away".
26 February - US Senator Hugh Scott - Mining of Hai-Phong Harbour in North Vietnam. (Real Audio)
March - 1966 - An Increase in Australian Commitment - Formation of a Task Force
2 March - The US announces that US Forces in Vietnam now number 215,000 with another 20,000 enroute.
8 March - Prime Minister Harold Holt announces the formation of a Task Force for Vietnam consisting of two infantry battalions with combat support. An increase to 4,500 troops.
Harold Holt states, "... a long period of fighting is the prospect we have to face".
9 March. Communist forces capture a US Special Forces camp in the A Shau Valley, gaining control over a vital access route into South Vietnam. US Marine Corps helicopters manage to rescue 12 of the 17 Green Berets and 172 of the 400 South Vietnamese.
1 RAR 6/66:Op 'SILVER CITY'. Operational Dates: 9-22 March 1966.
Formations/units: 1 RAR, with under command E/17th Cav (US), D/16th Armor (US), 173d Engr Co (US), 3 Fd Tp, in direct support 105 Fd Bty. Description: A brigade search-and-destroy operation, 1 RAR securing the 173d Bde LZ and crossing point over the Song Be in west-central War Zone D, then securing the brigade headquarters, logistic and fire support base in that location within an AO of approximately 24 sq km. 1 RAR was then to conduct search-and-destroy operations as the security element of the brigade. Undulating to hilly terrain, astride the Song Be, covered mainly in jungle. In conjunction with Ist Inf Div (US) the mission was to destroy HQ 7 VC Military Region. Deployment was by helicopter. Location: Astride the border between Binh Duong and Phuoc Long provinces, 30 km NNE of Bien Hoa air base.
Results: Casualties:own: KIA 2 + 1 (US), WIA 13 + 3 (US); VC: KIA 1 1, wounded/escaped 3 + 16 (US claimed).A number of camps, including one battalion-sized, were located and destroyed. Over 60 tonne of rice and four of salt were either destroyed or recovered.
Remarks: 173d Bde reported VC: KIA 338, possible KIA 181; captured were 118 small arms, 38 crew-served weapons, 20 tonne of small arms and mortar ammunition, 24 tonne of explosives, mines and demolition stores, 30-40 tonne of miscellaneous equipment, and 11 500 documents; recovered or destroyed were 182 tonne of rice and six tonne of salt.
15 March - Alan Fairhall, Australian Minister for Defence
"There is not the slightest doubt that the North Vietnamese are the puppets of the Chinese and that the whole conduct of the war, down to the last jot and tittle of it, comes out of the philosophy of Mao Tse-tung... It is perhaps only the first round of an attack by the Chinese Communists in an effort to dominate the world".
1 RAR 7/66:Op 'ABILENE'. Operational Dates: 30 March-9 April 1966.
Formations/units: Detached from 173d Bde to under operational control HQ lst Inf Div (US): 1 RAR, with under command an element of 1/4th Cav (US), 1 APC Tp (PWLH), element 3 Fd Tp, 161 (Indep) Recce Flt, in direct support 161 Fd Bty (NZ), in support 7th Arty (US). Description: 1 RAR was to secure the Ist Inf Div logistic base, initially at the Courtenay rubber plantation, in AO Queensland of 58 sq km, later at the Binh Ba rubber plantation adjoining Route 2 in AO Victoria of 87sq km. Undulating terrain, dominated by rubber plantations with mainly jungle and clear forest. Search-and-destroy operations by HQ lst Inf Div's subordinate formations, 2nd and 3rd Inf Bdes (US), were targeted against 274 and 275 VC Main Force Regts and the May Tao Secret Zone. Deployment by APC and helicopter. Location: Long Khanh and Phuoc Tuy provinces, approximately 55 km SE of Bien Hoa air base.
Results: Casualties: own: WIA 4; VC: KIA 8,wounded/escaped 12, PW 8, with 38 persons detained as suspects. One camp for a two company sized force and one training camp located. More than six tonne of rice and five cubic metres of salt were recovered or destroyed. Nine ox-carts were captured.
Remarks: During this operation other elements of Ist Inf Div were involved with ARVN units in the resettlement of Xa Long Tan in Phuoc Tuy province.
May Tao Secret Zone - VC Staging area in Phuoc Tuy Prov. 161 Bty, RNZA (Kennings Bty 13Jul65-13Jun66) firebase set here 30Mar-3Apr66. Phuoc Tuy Prov, III Corps.
April - 1966
1 April - 161 Flight renamed 161 Independent Reconnaissance Flight(161 Recce Flt) and prepare to move from Ben Hoa to Vung Tau and eventually move to 1 ATF at Nui Dat to support Australian operations.
FSB - Binh Ba - 43-73 On the W edge of the Binh Ba Rubber Plantation, 8 km NNW of Nui Dat, 10 km WSW of Ngai Giao and 35 km NNE of Vung Tau. 161 Bty, RNZA (Kennings Bty 13Jun65-13Jun66) firebase set here 2-8Apr66. Phuoc Tuy Prov, III Corps.
3 April - An Engineer Advance Party departs for Vietnam.
FSB - Song Be - XT 14-07 45 km WNW of Saigon, along the Song Vam Co Dong River in Hua Ngai Prov. 161 Bty, RNZA (Kennings Bty 13Jun65-13Jun66) firebase set here 12-13Apr66 and 17 Apr 66, firing in support of the US 1s/503d Inf, 173d Abn Bde. Hua Ngai Prov, III Corps.
12 April - US B52 Bombers commence bombing over North Vietnam.
1 RAR 8/66:Op 'DENVER': Operational Dates: 13-22 April 1966.
Formations/units: 1 RAR, with under command 1 APC Tp (PWLH), in direct support 161 Fd Bty (NZ). Description: A series of battalion search-and-destroy operations as a manoeuvre element of 173d Bde, into A0s of various sizes assigned NW, SW (AO Spain) and SE to a radius of up to twenty km from the airstrip at Phuoc Binh (also known as 'Song Be') the provincial capital; the airstrip was the temporary base for these deployments. Undulating to hilly terrain, covered mainly in rubber,clear forest and jungle. The area had been the scene of a large-scale successful VC operation in 1965. Recently 271 Main Force Regt had been present in the general area of Phuoc Binh, as had two PAVN regiments a month earlier. Deployment by fixed wing aircraft to/from Phuoc Binh airfield, by helicopter and APC to/from A0s. Location: Central Phuoc Long province, approximately 95 km NNE of Bien Hoa air base.
Results: Casualties: own: WIA 1; VC: KIA 3, wounded/escaped 5, PW 4, persons detained as suspects 4. One platoon-sized, two company-sized and two battalion-sized camps were located.
Remarks: 173d Bde reported own KIA 2, WIA 9 for VC KIA 15, possible KIA 1 1, PW 59; captured were a small number of weapons and documents, recovered or destroyed three to four tonne of rice.
FSB Dakkir - XT 12 km NE of Song Be, on the S side of QL-1, approx. 15 km WNW of the western edge of the Hobo Woods. 161 Bty, RNZA (Kennings Bty 13Jul65-13Jun66) firebase set here 13-15Apr66, and on 16 Apr66, they were set 15 km S of Dakkir (approx. 7 km SE of Song Be). Hua Ngai Prov, III Corps.
FSB Thuan Hoa - XT 05-85 18 km SW of Bien Hoa and 10 km due N of Saigon. 161 Bty, RNZA (Kennings Bty 13Jun65-13Jun66) firebase set here 18Apr66. Gia Dinh Prov, III Corps.
25 April - Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt visits Vietnam and meets with 1 RAR on ANZAC Day.
General William C. Westmoreland Commander US Forces Vietnam praising 1 RAR.
" I have never seen a finer group of men. I have never fought with a finer group of soldiers."
12 April - US B52 Bombers attack North Vietnam, for the first time.
15,16,17 April - Wide spread protests in Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide and Perth.
19 April - Charter flights begin ferrying advance party troops for the new Task Force in Vietnam.
20 April - Army Ship(AS 3051) John Monash and Army Vessel(AV 1355) Vernon Sturdee depart for Vietnam loaded with personnel, engineer vehicles and plant for the new Task Force.The first flights from Richmond Air Base, Australia, arrive at Saigon. Air lifts(charter and RAAF C130) continue bringing in the Task Force troops.
22 April - HMAS Sydney departs Australia with one company of 5 RAR. The Sydney was loaded with 337 personnel, 37 SWB Land Rovers, 88 LWB Land Rovers, 65 2.5 tonne trucks. 137 trailers, two semi-trailers, sixteen motor cycles, four graders, two rollers, nine tractors, three towed generators and one Armoured Personnel Carrier(APC).
May - 1966 - Establishing the Australian Task Force Area(1 ATF).
4 May - The Australian Task Force's 5 RAR main body arrive at Vung Tau with the first conscripts of the war. 5 RAR remain at Vung Tau for training and familiarization.
6 May - AS John Monash and AV Vernon Sturdee arrive at Vung Tau.
The Boonaroo is chartered to carry stores to Vietnam. The Seamen's Union refuse to man it.
13 May - 5 RAR with several subsidiary units is now complete on the ground at Vung Tau.Training continues.
17 May - MV Boonaroo departs Sydney on its first trip to Vietnam.
23 May - Ba Ria - YS 43-67 Provincial Capital of Phuoc Tuy Prov, 8 km SW of Nui Dat, 22 km NE of Vung Tau and along Rte-2. 161 Bty, RNZA (Kennings Bty 13Jun65-13Jun66) firebase was set N of Ba Ria at this grid, 23May- 5Jun66. Phuoc Tuy Prov, III Corps. In support of Operation Hardihood.
23 May - The second battalion for the Australian Task Force, 6 RAR advance parties arrive at Saigon and depart for Ben Hoa to take over stores and equipment from 1 RAR.
The Occupation of the Australian Task Force at Nui Dat
The occupation of Nui Dat was to take place in three Phases. Phase I - The province chief was requested to move all inhabitants(approx. 4,000) from within a 4,000 metre radius of Nui Dat and resettle them elsewhere. The clearance of civilians in this area was to create a protective zone in which close patrols could operate freely and permit the Task Force to employ its weapons in defence of the base without fear of hitting civilians. The buffer zone would also prevent enemy forces from firing mortars from an inhabited area. The boundary of this buffer zone was known as Line Alpha. The relocation included the Village of Long Phuoc and Long Tan (both known VC strongholds), but not Hoa Long. Fierce enemy resistance was expected. Phase II - US 173 Brigade with 5 RAR to secure the the base area. Phase III - The movement of the 1 ATF main body from Vung Tau to Nui Dat.
1 ATF 1/66 'HARDIHOOD'. Dates: Phase I-24 May to 4 June 1966, Phase II -5 to 15 June 1966. Formations/units: 5RAR, with under command 3 Fd Tp, elements D Coy 1 RAR, in direct support 105 Fd Bty. Description: Phase 1: A brigade clearing operation to destroy VC in the area to be occupied by the 1ATF base in Phuoc Tuy province, 5RAR being a manoeuvre element under operational control of 173d Bde. The battalion AO was approximately fourteen sq km. The VC force operating in the area was believed to be D445 Provincial Mobile Bn deployed in platoon to company-sized elements. 274 and 275 Main Force Regts were believed to be located in the NE and NW of the province. Deployment by helicopter. Phase 2: A battalion operation to secure and defend the base area for occupation by 1ATF, 5RAR now being under command HQ 1ATF, in an AO of approximately 43 sq km. VC forces in the province had been maintaining surveillance over Allied deployments and were expected to respond. Deployment from Phase 1 on foot. For both phases generally undulating terrain except for Nui Dat (101m), and covered mainly in clear forest and rubber, with small areas of blushwood, and rice, isolated patches of jungle. Location: Phuoc Tuy province, nine km NE of the provincial capital Ba Ria (Xa Phuoc Le). Results: Phase 1: Casualties: own: DOW 1, WIA 1; VC: KIA 10, wounded/escaped 4, PW 4. A number of huts, camps and defensive positions (one extensive) were located and destroyed where practicable; a number of weapons were captured in these locations. Over 24 tonnes of rice were located and destroyed. Phase 2: Casualties: own: KIA 4, WIA 14; VC: KIA 4, DOW 3, PW 4. A number of VC company-sized defensive positions with tunnels were located and destroyed, as well as one tonne of rice. Remarks: 5 RAR passed from under operational control HQ 173d Bde to under command HQ 1ATF at 1800 hrs 5 Jun 66.
The first NS conscript is killed in Vietnam, Pte Errol Wayne Noack .
25 May- The RAAF No 9 Sqn's - Iroquois("Hueys") helicopters(8) depart on HMAS Sydney for Vung Tau.
29 May - 6 RAR advance party plus 100 reinforcements from 1 RAR proceed to Vung Tau and await the fly in of 6 RAR main body between the 31 May - 9 June. The AV Vernon Sturdee(LCM) completes 18 round trips ferrying 1 RAR stores and equipment from Saigon to Vung Tau.(49 mile river system).
31 May - 6 RAR Company Groups commence fly-out to Vietnam.
June - 1966
1 RAR conclude their first tour in Vietnam.
1 June - RAAF Caribou flight at Vung Tau is now designated as No 35 Squadron.
3 June - 5 RAR take up defensive position at Nui Dat, conduct patrols and await the arrival of the Task Force.10 Pl D Coy 5 RAR contact an enemy force near the Soui Da Bang, 1500 metres north-west of Long Tan. Three enemy are killed. No friendly casualties.
5 June - 1 ATF Headquarters assumes command at Nui Dat. Over the next several nights enemy parties probe the Task Area trying to establish the position and extent of the Task Force defensive area. Establishing defensive positons and communications in the base area are a high priority.
Nui Dat (means small hill) - YS 43-67 On Rte-2, 60 km ESE of Saigon, 35 km NNE of Vung Tau, 8 km NE of Baria and 14 km SSW of Ngai Giao. The site of an abandoned rubber plantation. FSB for 1ATF, RAR, RNZR and RNZA. 161 Bty, RNZA firebase and HQ set here with "Battery Ready" (Kennings Bty) 5Jun66, after permanent move from Bien Hoa that day. 161 Bty (Kennings) set here 5 Jun66. Luscombe Airfield also at this location.
6 June - 30,000 people welcome home 1 RAR in a ticker-tape march through Sydney.
6 June - The RAAF .9 Sqn with 8 Iroquois Helicopters arrive at Vung Tau to provide support the Australian Task Force(1 ATF) and is based at Vung Tau. The RAAF helicopter were to provide transport, "Dustoff" and "light fire teams" and are operational by the 25 June. Long established rivalries and frictions between the RAAF and the Army surfaced, causing unnecessary situations and disputes.
From 6 June 1964 to 1 November 1968, 458 of the 912 US naval air crewmen downed as a result of combat or noncombat operations in North Vietnam, Laos, or at sea were recovered. While the retrieval of aviators from crash sites on land, when at all possible, took somewhat longer, the rescue at sea usually occurred within 20 to 30 minutes of the aircraft loss. The effort was not without cost, however, for 26 men were killed, wounded, missing, or made prisoner, and 33 aircraft were destroyed during SAR operations. This measure, however, returned valuable air crews to the fleet and improved the morale of naval aviators, who knew the Navy would do its utmost to rescue them from hostile territory or waters.
7 June - Australian military assistance to the civil community commences in the form of a medical visit to Hoa Long village and scheduled every two days thereafter.
9 June - 6 RAR in location at 1 ALSG , Vung Tau, first tour. ALSG 1970
Air strikes are conducted on the deserted village of Long Phouc after VC use the position as a base to mortar the task force area. 12 houses are destroyed and 22 damaged. Estimated 3 enemy killed.
10 June - Information is received that a Viet Cong(VC) force (274 Regiment) was moving towards 1 ATF from the NW and was within 10 klms of Nui Dat. Intelligence warn of an 4 battalion attack on the base. Artillery is employed in concentration on a significant enemy night movement on Route 2. Expecting the attack, 6 RAR is called forward to Nui Dat earlier than the planned 23 June.The attack never came because the enemy were tasked to conduct a major ambush on a crashed aircraft site at Nui Nghe. The diary of the deputy commander 274 Regiment Colonel Nguyen Nam Hung was captured later in the year and confirmed that the Regiment had intended to attack the base.
12 June - A sweep is conducted on the outskirts of Hoa Long following light mortar fire which caused casualties to a D Coy 5 RAR patrol. A company operation named 'Parkes' is conducted in the area.
14 June - 6 RAR deploy to Nui Dat on their first tour and join 5 RAR forming the main element of 1 ATF. Heavy monsoon rains start. 5 RAR and 6 RAR are allocated Tactical Areas of Operational Responsibility(TAOR). The TAORs cover approx. 50% each of the area in a radius from Nui Dat out to line Alpha.
15 June - 3 Squadron, Special Air Service(SAS) main body departs Australia for Siagon on QANTAS charter flight and comes under command 1 ATF at Nui Dat.
1 ATF HQ issues plans for operations over the next month in order to gain dominance in the Task Force TAOR. This means aggressive and continuos patrolling by the two infantry battalions out to Line Alpha. A reaction force based on a infantry rifle coy is maintained.
15 - 20 June. 5 RAR and 6 RAR, in between digging defensive and Command Post positions. conducted sixteen to eighteen company and platoon patrols each 24 hours. This was in addition to extra patrols ordered by 1 ATF.
16 June - The new Task Force (3450 Army and 180 RAAF) is complete in Vietnam. The Commander 1 ATF Brigadier Jackson says, "..it was an exhausting and nerve racking experience for the infantry". It is an immediate priority that the Task Force establish a presence quickly in the Province and provide security against any sizeable enemy force". The enemy dominance of the area is now under direct threat and the Task Force is expecting a reaction.
17 June - MV Japer leaves Sydney on its first voyage.
17 - 18 June. 161 Recce Flt commence operations in support of 1 ATF.
General William C. Westmoreland Speaking of Australian Forces
"...thoroughly professional ... small in numbers and well trained, particularly in anti-guerrilla warfare ... the Australian Army was much like the post-Versailles German Army in which even men in the ranks might have been might have been leaders in some less capable force".
21 June - Two Military Policemen returning from Baria are ambushed at the village of Hoa Long. One is killed.
21 - 28 June. 5 RAR provides 8 patrols by day and 4 ambush patrols by night. 6 RAR is scheduled for operation 'Angora'. The two Infantry battalions are to be rotated, one on operations and the other maintains company and platoon patrols and ambushes in its sector of the TAOR and man defensive positions at Nui Dat.
The Destruction of Long Phuoc - a VC controlled hamlet approx. 2-3 km SW of Nui Dat with a complex and extensive tunnel system, that was evacuated of all its population in Jun 66 during Operation Hardihood. Its residents were moved to the village of Hoa Long, still within the vicinity of Long Phuoc so that the people could maintain their fields and rice paddies. 6 RAR are tasked to destroy the village.
1ATF 2/66 'ENOGGERA' Dates: 21 June-5 July 1966.
Formations/units: 6 RAR,with under command 3 Tp 1 APC Sqn, 1 Fd Sqn, in direct support 161 Fd Bty (NZ), in support one OH-13 of 161 (Indep) Recce Flt, UH-1 of No 9 Sqn RAAF. Description: A battalion search-and-destroy operation on Xa Long Phuoc, a previously VC-dominated village, the population of which was resettled on 19 May 66. The AO (Zone Khaki) was three sq km. Terrain flat, the village area cleared, and surrounded by grassland/cultivation, rubber, rice and clear forest. VC strength anticipated was platoon-plus, in tunnels, trenches, bunkers, hides and with supply caches. Deployment on foot. Location: Two km SE of 1 ATF base. Results: Casualties: own: WIA 1; VC: wounded/escaped 4, detained as suspects 32. Over 40 tonnes of rice, large quantities of salt and medical supplies, and some arms and ammunition recovered. More than twenty significant tunnel complexes located and destroyed. 537 buildings, excluding pagodas and churches, destroyed.
26 June - 3 Sqn, SAS commence operations from its base at Nui Dat.Their role will be intelligence gathering and recon. Specifically, they are to find the whereabouts, movements and habits of the two main force enemy units in Phuoc Tuy province.
29 June. US planes attack fuel storage facilities around Hanoi and Haiphong, marking the first time that facilities around Hanoi are hit.
30 June - 5 patrols from SAS set out from Nui Dat to recon the Nui Din and Nui Thi areas. These patrols were typically 4 - 5 men each patrol. Result: 3 VC KIA and numerous sightings of enemy activity. From the patrols reports, it is clear that the VC are moving freely in the area and it is suspected that a large enemy camp is nearby.
The SAS patrols were to provide early warning of any enemy build up and recon the areas for future operations. These early SAS patrols were deployed on foot because the RAAF No 9 Sqn Helicopters were still operating under essentially peacetime regulations and were loath to move SAS patrols into insecure areas. It would be mid July before the RAAF were tasked to deploy and extract SAS patrols.
July - 1966 - Extending Operations Beyond Line Alpha.
With the creation of the buffer zone around Nui Dat base and the destruction of the VC fortified village of Long Phouc, the Task Force now turns its attention to battalion operations beyond Line Alpha. Route 2 leading north from Binh Ba and Route 15 connecting Vung Tau with Saigon are to be cleared. Operations are also to be conducted to seek out and draw into battle the D445 provincial mobile battalion. In fact, it would be the enemy who draw the Task Force into battle.
2 July - D Coy 5 RAR engages an enemy group of eight VC and kill 2 and wound 1.
1ATF 3/66 'SYDNEY I'. Dates: 4-14 July 1966.
Formations/units: 5RAR, with in direct support 105 Fd Bty, in support elements 1 APC Sqn, in support from 6 July one troop 1 Fd Sqn, one company 6 RAR, one OH-13 of 161 (Indep) Recce Fit, four UH-1 No 9 Sqn RAAF. Description: A battalion search-and-clear operation to the immediate NW of 1ATF TAOR and west of Xa Binh Ba, in an AO (Zone Gold) of approximately twenty sq km. Undulating terrain, except for Nui Nghe (203 m), the area being covered mainly in jungle with some clear forest. Small groups of VC were continuing to move in and adjacent to the TAOR, while VC regular forces were known to be located north and NW of Xa Binh Ba. Deployment on foot. Location: West-central Phuoc Tuy province, seven km NW of 1ATF base. Results: Casualties: own: WIA 3; VC: KIA 1, wounded/escaped 4. A number of defensive positions (some company-sized) camps and isolated huts were located, as well as over two tonne of rice and some weapons.
9 July - A SAS patrol reports main force VC in the area of Long Tan Village and a base camp is suspected to be in the area.
14 July - Two SAS recon patrols deploy by foot to an area east of Nui Dat ,near Nui Dat 2.
1ATF 4/66 'SYDNEY II' ' Dates: 15-23 July 1966.
Formations/units: 5RAR, with under command one troop 1 APC Sqn, elements of 3 Fd Tp, in direct support 105 Fd Bty,in support one company 6 RAR, one OH-13 of 161 (Indep) Recce Flt, four UH-1 No 9 Sqn RAAF. Description: A battalion cordon-and-search of the hamlet of Duc My, of area one square km, perimeter nearly four km, and population about 500,part of the Xa Binh Ba village complex on Route 2 north of 1ATF base; followed by a search-and-destroy operation in AO Purple of six square km immediately ESE of Duc My. Undulating terrain with rubber plantations and hamlets astride Route 2, beyond these mainly jungle and clear forest. A number of VC were believed to frequent Duc My/Binh Ba, a VC controlled area, and indications were that the area of AO Purple was an area of VC activity. Deployment on foot and by APC. Location: Phuoc Tuy province, six km north of 1ATF base.
Results: Casualties: VC: KIA 4, wounded/escaped 2, PW 4 including WIA 3, detained as suspects 15. Remarks:An intermediate phase, to open Route 2 between Duc My and Ap An Phu, four km to the south, to the immediate north of 1ATF base, was cancelled.
15 July - The task force receives urgent reports that a Vietcong Regiment has occupied the Nui Toc Tien and Nui Dinh hills with the intention of ambushing Route 15. 6 RAR is urgently tasked to react.
15 July - 3 August. A force of US 8,500 Marines and 2,500 South Vietnamese troops launch Operation Hasting. The operation's goal is to thwart the North Vietnamese 324 B Division's efforts to take control of Quang Tri Province.
16 July - A SAS 4 man patrol locates a ten man VC camp 2000 metres east of Long Tan. The SAS assault the camp and destroy it. Result: 3 VC KIA and documents and weapons captured.
1ATF 5/66 "BRISBANE " Dates: 16-18 July 1966.
Formations/units: 6RAR, with under command one troop 1 APC Sqn, 161 Fd Bty (NZ), detachment 1 Fd Sqn, in support one OH-13 of 161 (Indep) Recce Flt, two UH-1 No 9 Sqn RAAF. Description: A battalion search-and-destroy operation directed at the suspected location of elements of a PAVN battalion concentrated in an area at the foot of the SW slopes of Nui Dinh, some four km north of Route 15; the area was regarded as a VC stronghold of long duration. The AO was nineteen sq km. Steep, hilly terrain in the north and east, undulating to the south and west, covered mainly in jungle. Deployment by APC. Location: Phuoc Tuy province, twelve km WSW of 1ATF base.
Results: Nil. Remarks: Air strikes in the area prior to the operation may have forced the enemy away.
Nui Dinh Mountains - In the vicinity of Nui Dat. A VC sanctuary offering them good observation of traffic on Inter-provincial Rte-2 (Xuan Loc-Nui Dat- Long Dien) and along QL-15 (Vung Tau-Saigon). Phuoc Tuy Prov, III Corps.
19 July - A SAS six man recon patrol locates an enemy camp of platoon strength(approx. 30). The patrol withdraws to1,000 metres from the camp and an airstrike is put on the position. The patrol moves back to the camp to assess damage and discover that the bombs have fallen 200 metres west of the target. They move into the camp killing two VC and wounding another, then immediately withdrew with enemy pursuing them. The patrol extracts from the area the next morning.
23 July - A SAS four man patrol is inserted into the Nui Dinh hills by RAAF helicopter. Their mission: Locate and an enemy radio station(codename 'Fred') that has been reporting the movements of Australian and Allied forces in the Nui Dat and Baria areas, to VC units in Phuoc Tuy province.
1ATF 6166 '"HOBART I and II"'. Dates: 24-29 July 1966.
Formations/units: 6RAR, initially (I) with under command one troop 1 APC Sqn, one troop 1 Fd Sqn, in direct support 161 Fd Bty (NZ), in support one company 5RAR (gun area protection), one OH-13 of 161 (Indep) Recce Flt, four UH-I No 9 Sqn RAAF; later (II) additionally under operational control Mayforce 5RAR (headquarters element, one company. one mortar section), forming, with the other company of 5RAR, a blocking force for this part of the operation. Description: 1. A battalion search-and-destroy operation east and NE of Xa Long Tan in an AO of nine sq km; II. A battalion search-and-clear operation of the previously resettled Xa Long Tan, in an AO of three sq km. Generally flat to undulating terrain, covered mainly in clear forest with some large areas of rice. Xa Long Tan was situated astride Route 52, with rubber to its immediate NW, north and east, and rice to the south and SW. VC were expected in squad-to-company sized elements of D445 Provincial Mobile Bn, in a staging area long-used for north-south movement. Deployment on foot. Location: Phuoc Tuy province, in an area five to nine km east to ESE of 1ATF base.
Results: Casualties: own: KIA 2, WIA 17; VC: KIA 7, wounded/escaped 21. Three tonne of rice and 70 gallons of cooking oil were destroyed, a number of weapons, some grenades and ammunition taken, some tunnels and caches destroyed.
25 - 29 July - 161 Bty (RNZA) was located to 3 km SW of Nui Dat at YS 46-65.
26 July. The SAS patrol searching for 'Fred" contacts and enemy group killing six VC and immediately the VC start searching for them, cutting off their escape route. The patrol evades the search and is extracted by RAAF Helicopter.
29 July - The Task Force on Alert. Intelligence received by 1 ATF advises the presence three days earlier(26th) of a Viet Cong battalion dug-in, in dense jungle within Line Alpha, 4,000 metres due west of Nui Dat. The area is subjected to intense air and artillery strikes. Heavy ground fire is encountered by the Chinook Gunships. A further intelligence report is received advising that 1,000 Viet Cong were detected moving within the Rung Sat Special Zone south west of Ba Ria. The report also states that in a one to two-day period 3,000 Viet Cong would have arrived in Phuoc Tuy province 'to attack Allied forces'. A combination of intelligence reports indicate the build up of enemy forces to the east of the 1 ATF base. 1 ATF intelligence staff assess that the enemy could mount a multi-regimental attack on the base. The Commander 1 ATF concludes that there is a direct threat to the base.
The Australian 547 Signal Troop(radio location and tracking) at Nui Dat detects what appears to be a VC main force unit (275 VC Regiment HQ) beginning to move towards Nui Dat from the area immediately north of Xuyen Moc and 22 klms east of Nui Dat. Other intelligence suggest that 275 Regiment is also building up its strength with troops from North Vietnam. For the OC of 547 Troop this indicates something important is to happen. The OC reports his findings to an Intelligence Officer at HQ 1 ATF. 1 ATF HQ is skeptical of the information and appear to take little notice of it. The Troop continues to map the location of 275 Regiment radio down the map towards Nui Dat. It is also possible that this a ruse.
4:15 pm - 6 RAR is ordered back to Nui Dat. The Comd 1 ATF intends to conduct base security with both battalions and patrol outwards in an attempt to prove or disprove the enemy locations and strengths. 1 ATF HQ request assistance from American Forces to counter the threat and the Americans consider there is no threat and refuse the request. The Task Force is kept on full alert.
30 July - B Company 5 RAR with Anti-Tank Platoon depart the task force for a 36 hour patrol in the western sector. D Company 6 RAR with a Platoon of 5 RAR head north-east to the extremity of Line Alpha and are prepared to patrol up to 3 days. Their mission, 'determine enemy action in the area and destroy enemy camps'. Other patrols from the battalions scour the area closer to the task force.
31 July - An enemy recon party is detected on the perimeter of the 1 ATF base. The 5 RAR patrol returns to base and report no enemy activity.
A seven man SAS patrol moves to the Nui Dat 2 area, then heads north, parallel the Route 2. The patrol finds nothing. Three SAS recon patrols are inserted into the area west of Binh Ba. All patrols see and contact small parties of VC but nothing indicating a large build up or movement of large enemy forces in the area.
The Task Force receives information that changes the assessment of the enemy threat. Prior reports on some enemy movement has been discredited and the Task Force now reassesses the enemy as still formidable but the Task force area at Nui Dat is no longer under threat of attack. The enemy is thought to be mainly in the west and east of the base.
31 July - 14 August. Eleven SAS patrols are conducted concentrating on locating and detecting VC movement in areas where Infantry battalions were not operating.
Nui Dat Playboy Club - The Nui Dat 1st ATF POW Compound. A sign posted at its entrance said "Club Members Only - Exclusively for NVA/VC."
August - 1966 - The Battle
Task Force operations resume.
1 August - Nguyen Cao Ky, Premier of South Vietnam
" In two or three years, or even before, the Communists will accept defeat. I am sure we are going to win".
An SAS patrol fires on a party of 5 VC to the north of Binh Ba. Nothing develops.
A Company 5 RAR conduct a 'Road Runner' operation along Route 44 from Baria to the coastal village of Long Hai. Nil results.
1 ATF receives a reported sighting of 300 VC carrying crew served weapons with green uniforms one hundred metres to the north of Nui Dat 2. D Company 6 RAR are close to that area and may have been mistaken for them.
2 August - Eight VC sighted by SAS patrol heading north from the Bin Ba area. A SAS patrol is inserted into the area south of Nui Thi Vai, they see sign of enemy movement.
1ATF 7/66 '"HOLSWORTHY"'. Dates: 5-18 August 1966.
Formations/units: 5RAR, with under command 1 APC Sqn (minus), one troop 1 Fd Sqn, two companies 6RAR, one section 1 Tpt PI, in direct support 105 Fd Bty, in support one OH-13 of 161 (Indep) Recce Flt, one UH-1 No 9 Sqn RAAF. Description: A battalion cordon-and-search of Xa Binh Ba, a three-hamlet village, in area over one sq km, total perimeter over six km and population approximately 2300; pacification and the opening of Route 2 were to follow. An additional task, a battalion search-and-destroy operation four km SE of Xa Binh Ba, in an AO of about three sq km-was ordered after the cordon and search. The general area of the Operations conducted was some twenty sq km. Undulating terrain with rubber plantations and hamlets astride Route 2; beyond these mainly jungle and clear forest. Xa Binh Ba had a VC cadre and about 20 per cent population support; a platoon of D445 Provincial Mobile Bn and elements of the local guerrilla platoon were in the general area. VC provincial headquarters was possibly located in the area subject of the search-and-destroy operation. Deployment on foot. Location: Phuoc Tuy province, five km north of 1 ATF base.
Results: Casualties: own: KIA 1; VC: PW 17, detained as suspects 77. Several small defensive positions were located outside the area of Xa Binh Ba. Remarks: In practical terms, the operation eliminated the Xa Binh Ba guerrilla platoon, gave the villagers security from VC tax and rice collectors, and provided opportunity for regular commerce with local villages, as well as Ba Ria. VC access to intelligence was also inhibited.
7 - 14 August. SAS patrols now concentrate on the Nui Dinh mountains to locate and destroy enemy observation posts(OPs) and radio stations.
11 August - 1 ATF receives another report that that a VC battalion and two separate companies are in the rubber plantation between Long Tan and Nui Dat 2, even though 6 RAR patrols have searched that area.
13 August - 1 ATF reports to AFV Siagon that "... the presence of possibly company sized forces in the vicinity of Nui Dat YS4868(Nui Dat 2 - 2,500 metres from the base)"
14 August - Lyndon Johnson(after conferring with General Westmoreland)
"A communist military takeover in South Vietnam is no longer just improbable ... it is impossible".
15 August - 547 Signal troop report to 1 ATF that 275 Regiment have reached a point at 5,000 metres east of the base. It had appeared that 275 Regiment had arrived at a point just beyond the Long Tan rubber plantation. To the OC of the troop, "this was pretty important stuff.... a grain of gold amongst all the crap."
D Company 6 RAR patrol out to Nui Dat 2 and back through the Long Tan plantation. Nil result.
16 August - A Company 6 RAR on a three day patrol, out to an area around and at Niu Dat 2 and engage three small parties of enemy in the vicinity of Nui Dat 2.
An RAAF No 35 Sqn Caribou A4-173 crashes at Ba To, the first casualty of the unit, with no injuries to the crew.
17 August - 2:43 am . The Prelude to a Battle. The Australian Task Force(1 ATF) base at Nui Dat is heavily mortared. 24 are wounded (2 seriously). The Task Force is put on alert.
2:50 am - 1 Fd Regt artillery conduct counter bombardment.
4:10 am - 1 Fd Regt counter bombardment fire ceases.
4:50 am - B Company 6 RAR is warned to move out on patrol to pinpoint the enemy firing positions.
6:15 am - A SAS patrol is inserted into an area 16 klms form Nui Dat. The patrol finds itself in an area of high enemy activity. The patrol suspects that a company of VC have detected them and are searching for the patrol. The patrol is unable to report due to an unserviceable radio and this information is not known until the 19 Aug when the patrol is extracted.
6:31 am - B Company 6 RAR (80 men)departs Nui Dat. A Company 6 RAR already out on patrol in the same area are ordered to continue with their patrol program. A platoon of C Company 6 RAR already in night ambush position on the southern perimeter is ordered to conduct a search of specific areas south of the Base on its way back to Nui Dat. C Company 6 RAR are alerted to provide a platoon mounted patrol (9 PL) in APCs to investigate other suspected enemy firing positions south west of the base.
7:00 am - 9 Pl C Coy 6 RAR depart on their task to the south west.
8:00 am - B Coy 6 RAR locates the enemy base plate(firing) position of five 82mm mortars. Tracks lead off to the north-north-east. They are ordered to follow-up the tracks.
9:41 am - 9 Pl C Coy return to base and have found nothing in the south-west of the base. They are ordered out again to join the search in the area that B Coy had found the base plate positions.
10:30 am - B Coy loses the main track they have been following.
2:45 pm - SAS patrols are inserted into the area north of Binh Gia. One of the patrols sights enemy in uniform and moving tactically. They are unable to radio 1 ATF.
Midday - A Company 6 RAR reports heavy jamming of their radio transmissions and they are ordered to search the Nui Dat 2 feature. B Coy continues to search for the enemy mortar teams.
3:08 pm - An SAS patrol sight 10 VC moving west in a tactical formation, 7 klms north of Binh Gia. They sight a further 7 VC moving east in the same area. They also hear a group of VC(size unknown) moving east.
5:30 pm - 9 Pl C Coy returns to base. A and B Coy remain out over night to continue the search in the morning.
18 August - 6:30 am. A Coy are ordered to search southward towards B Coy. B Coy release 48 men to go back to Nui Dat, leaving them with 32 men to continue the search. D Coy having been warned for a three day patrol and will replace B Coy in the search.
7:05 am - B Coy commence the search east to the edge of the Long Tan plantation.
Two RAAF helicopters, A2-1020 and A2-1022 arrive at Nui Dat. The helicopters were to fly crucial missions later in the day.
10:20 am - B Coy find freshly dug enemy positions for 20 men and 22 empty tubes for 75mm RCL(Recoilless launcher). Tracks lead off the north-east and south. A section patrol investigates a rubber tappers hut 1000 metres to the east. Nothing is found.
11:00 am - D Company 6 RAR depart Nui Dat moving east to relieve B Coy. A Coy is sweeping south on its way back to Nui Dat.
11:05 am - A Coy locate an old food cache. B Coy is patrolling north-east and south from the previously found firing position.
12:00 Midday - Another section patrol from B Coy find an abandoned enemy post with empty 75mm shell cases. This is the firing position for the three recoilless rifles (from the shelling of the Task Force base on the 17 th) .Blood stains indicate enemy wounded from the counter bombardment on the 17th.
SAS patrols are reporting "frequent enemy movement on tracks" in the area near Binh Gia and near the Long Kanh provincial border. The SAS up till now had not detected any threat to the Task Force.
1:00 pm - D Coy reach B Coy on the edge of the Long Tan rubber plantation, 2500 metres from Nui Dat. B Coy set out to return to base. Col Joye and "Little Pattie" are entertaining Australian troops at Nui Dat.
To the east, four battalions of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese including the D445, were approaching the eastern edge of Long Tan rubber plantation, near Nui Dat 2. Another 3 battalions of enemy are moving to the north, possibly to attack Nui Dat from north or west.(Not known at the time).
3:00 pm - D Coy having noted fresh enemy tracks leading north-east decide to follow them.
3:40 pm - The Battle. D Coy have a contact with 6 enemy who flee east. No sooner had D Coy moved when they come under heavy fire, the The Battle of Long Tan (Operation 'SMITHFIELD') had begun. D Company 6 RAR (125 men) with artillery support repel an attack by a Regiment size enemy force(2,500- 3,000) consisting of NVA regulars with local VC support. Enemy deaths 245 confirmed by body count (many more dead and wounded were removed during the night 18 Aug). Australian casualties 18 killed, 21 wounded. Long Tan - YS 49-66 FSB on the N side of route 52, 6 km ESE of Nui Dat, 30 km NE of Vung Tau and about 5 km due N of Dat Do.
The Battle of Long Tan was described as "one of the great stands of military history". Other battles were to come.
The follow up - to locate enemy forces involved in the Battle.
23 - 28 August. Four SAS patrol the area between Nui Dat 2 and Binh Gia . Four patrols report enemy movement. It is suspected that the HQs 275 Regiment had been found. 5 RAR is deployed on Operation 'Darlinghurst' to sweep the area. No enemy is encountered.
1ATF 9/66 'TOLEDO' Dates: 23 August-8 September 1966.
Formations/units: 1ATF. Description: A corps-level search and destroy operation controlled by HQ II FFORCEV, the force comprising 1ATF, 173d Bde, 2/18th Inf (US) (from Ist Inf Div (US)), BLT 1/26 USMC, 33 and 35 Ranger Bns (RVN), with in support elements US 7th Fleet, elements US 7th Air Force. The (corps-level) AO was approximately 800 sq km. Generally undulating terrain covered mainly in jungle and clear forest with brushwood, rice, rubber estates and some grassland. Enemy forces targeted comprised HQ 5 VC Div, 274 and 275 Main Force Regts, 605 Bn 250 PA VN Regt and C860 VC Bn, which were seeking to avoid engagement. Deployment on foot, APC and helicopter. Location: Phuoc Tuy province, in the northern central area and approximating almost half the province. Results: (1ATF) Casualties: VC: KIA 2, wounded/escaped 1, PW (WIA) 1. Remarks: Whilst the initial task of 5RAR and 6RAR (and 6RAR continuing) was to patrol in up to company strength in a blocking role within assigned A0s, and maintain one company each on standby, 5RAR was required, from 26 to 31 August, to mount a search-and-destroy operation to the north of and through Xa Long Tan against VC/PAVN survivors of Operation SMITHFIELD, and to mount a blocking operation NW of 1ATF Base from 2 to 8 September; additionally one company provided security for Xa Binh Ba on Route 2 north of 1ATF base, following 5 RAR Operation HOLSWORTHY 5-18 August. 6 RAR on Operation "Toledo"
September - 1966
The attention of the Task Force is now turned to concentrating on clearing out the remnants of enemy bases and installations from within the Task Force TAOR.
Throughout September the SAS conduct patrols surveillance over the eastern approaches to the Task Force area.
1ATF 10/66 'VAUCLUSE' 'Dates: 8-24 September 1966.
Formations/units: 6RAR, with in direct support 161 Fd Bty (NZ), in support one troop 1 Fd Sqn, one OH-13 of 161 (Indep) Recce Flt, UH-1 of No 9 Sqn RAAF. Description: A battalion search-and-destroy operation in the Nui Dinh, in an AO of 65 sq km. Steep hilly terrain rising to 504 m, covered mainly in jungle. Directed against the Chau Duc District Commission, its security element and a communication-liaison platoon-a total of up to 100 personnel; elements of 274 Main Force Regt and D445 Provincial Mobile Bn were also possibly in the area. Deployment by helicopter, in conjunction with 5 RAR extraction from the same LZ/PZ from Operation TOLEDO, extraction by APC. Location: Phuoc Tuy province, nine km WSW of 1ATF base. Results: Casualties: own: WIA 1; VC: KIA 7, wounded/escaped 4, PW 6. A number of individual weapons, mines and grenades were taken; a large quantity of documents, more than three tonne of rice, as well as medical supplies were recovered. Four company-sized camps, one major installation of 30 buildings, a large bunker and tunnel system, a hospital and ammunition storage were located and destroyed.
French Fort (Ap Tay) - YS 39-62 FSB in the vicinity of Ap Tay Hamlet and on the W side of Rte-2, 6 km S of Nui Dat, 6 km E of Nui Thi and 20 km NNE of Vung Tau. 161 Bty, RNZA (Honners Bty 13May66-13May67) firebase set here 8-24Sep66. Consisted of a dilapidated concrete block-house from the French colonial period. Phuoc Tuy Prov, III Corps.
12 September. Five hundred US Air Force planes bomb targets in North Vietnam in the heaviest air raid of the war.
14 September - 27 November. US Operation Attleboro begins with a search and destroy mission led by the196th US Light Infantry Brigade in the area north of its base camp at Tay Ninh. On November 1, after a month and a half of uneventful patrolling, US troops run into elements of the 9th Viet Cong Division in the dense jungles northwest of Dau Tieng. The Viet Cong fight tenaciously to defend their base camp. US forces are reinforced to face the stubborn Viet Cong opposition. When the battle is over, the Viet Cong are forced to withdraw, leaving behind the bodies of their 1,106 dead soldiers. After the base camp is overun, troops discover one of the largest weapons caches of the Vietnam War.
16 September. An SAS patrol contact an enemy group on the eastern approaches of Nui Dat. Result: 2 VC WIA.
1ATF 11/66 'CASULA'. Dates: 21 September-30 October 1966.
Formations/units: 1ATF, with under command units tasked: 5 RAR, 6 RAR, 1 Fd Regt, 1 APC Sqn, 1 Fd Sqn, 103 Sig Sqn, 3 SAS Sqn, 1 ARU. Description: Construction of base defensive works in the area of I ATF base; works consisted of wire obstacles, trip flares, protective and defensive minefields, dummy weapon pits and artillery pieces. Undulating terrain except for Nui Dat (101 m) covered in clear forest,,most of the area being mainly rubber plantation, with some grassland. Location: 1ATF base. Results: Nil attributable directly to this operation. Remarks: The dates for the operation were derived from the date of the initiating instruction Op Plan 3-66 dated 21 September, and from the last date for work completion (defensive obstacles) of 30 October 1966. Development of defensive works as a continuing commitment. 6 RAR during OP "Casula".
22 September - An SAS patrol of 28 men deploy to an enemy installation found by a previous patrol and locate 13 recent graves, possibly from the battle at Long Tan.
1ATF 12/66 'CROWS NEST' 'Dates: 30 September-3 October 1966.
Formations/units: 5RAR, with under command one troop 1 APC Sqn including APC mortar carriers, in direct support 103 Fd Bty, in support 1 APC Sqn less one troop, one OH-13 of 161 (Indep)Recce Flt, three UH-1 No 9 Sqn RAAF. Description: A battalion search-and-clear operation dealing with nine objective areas within AO Joan, of 24 sq km. Undulating terrain with mainly rubber plantations, jungle, and grassland. VC forces were possible dispersed companies of 274 Main Force Regt, as well as parties of village guerrillas. Deployment by APC. Location: Phuoc Tuy province, twelve km north of 1ATF base. Results: Casualties: own: KIA 1; VC: PW 5. Six tonnes of rice were destroyed.
October - 1966
Although air power was the cutting edge of Task Force 77, surface ships were essential to the interdiction campaign in North Vietnam and Laos. In Operation Sea Dragon, begun in October 1966, cruisers, destroyers, and for one month battleship New Jersey (BB 62) ranged the North Vietnamese littoral sinking Communist supply craft, shelling coastal batteries and radar sites, and complementing the aerial interdiction effort by bombarding the infiltration routes ashore. While at first restricted to coastal waters south of 1731'N, by February 1967 the Sea Dragon force was authorized to operate as far north as the 20th parallel. This area was constricted in April 1968 when the bombing halt ended American combat activity north of the 19th parallel.
Steaming generally in pairs, the two to four American and Australian destroyers and one cruiser worked with carrier-based spotter planes, such as the A-l Skyraider and Grumman S-2 Tracker, to find, identify, and destroy infiltrating vessels and shore targets. Often, North Vietnamese coastal batteries fired back. Although several of the 19 ships that were hit required repairs at shipyards in Japan and the Philippines, no vessel was sunk during the two-year-long Sea Dragon operation. Damaged ships were quickly replaced on the gun line and the coastal deployment was maintained. Periodically, this group reinforced the Seventh Fleet cruisers and destroyers providing naval gunfire support to allied forces in South Vietnam. The naval surface group conducted the Sea Dragon effort until the end of October 1968, when American combat operations in North Vietnam ceased.
1ATF 13/66 'BATHURST' ' Dates: 2-27 October 1966.
Formations/units: 1ATF, with under command units tasked: 5RAR, 6RAR, 1 APC Sqn, 1 Fd Sqn, 3 SAS Sqn, 161 (Indep) Recce Fit. Description: defensive operations to confirm domination of 1ATF TAOR and the main routes into it. Operations comprised intensive patrolling in up to company strength, route-domination operations using all-arms teams 'Road Runner'), construction of base camp defenses, and emphasis on civic action. The AO surrounding 1ATF base was 280 sq km. Generally undulating terrain except for Nui Dinh in the SW, covered mainly in jungle or clear forest, with brushwood, grassland, rice, and rubber plantations. VC activity prompting the operation was primarily local force, with D445 Provincial Mobile Bn and 274 Main Force Regt not posing immediate threats. Deployment on foot and APC. Location: Phuoc Tuy province, centered generally on 1ATF base. Results: None reported.
3 October. - SAS patrols are inserted into the Nui Thi Vai hills area.
4 October. An SAS recon patrol locates an enemy camp on the western slopes of Nui Thi Vai. Result 1 VC KIA. The patrol contacts six VC the next morning, killing one and then extract from the area.
5 October. Four SAS patrols are inserted into the area across the northern approaches to Nui Thi Vai. The Mission: locate and destroy enemy. Described as a 'hunter/killer shadow force".
1ATF 14/66 'CANBERRA' ' Dates: 6-10 October 1966.
Formations/units: 5RAR, with under command one section 1 APC Sqn, four combat engineer teams 1 Fd Sqn, in direct support 103 Fd Bty, in support 1 APC Sqn (minus), Btry A 2/35th Arty (US), one OH-13 of 161 (Indep) Recce Flt, four UH-1 No 9 Sqn RAAF. Description: A battalion search-and-destroy operation as a preliminary to securing Route 15 for troop-carrying convoys 11-16 October. AO White was fourteen sq km around Nui Thi Vai and Nui Ong Trinh, some five km cast of Route 15. Steep, hilly terrain rising to 467 m and 331 m, and lower slopes, covered mainly in jungle. VC forces were believed to use these features as a base area and for observation over Route 15; probable strength one platoon of local guerrillas, possibly one main force battalion. Deployment by APC and truck. Location: Phuoc Tuy province, fourteen km west of 1 ATF base. Results: Casualties: own: WIA 13; VC: KIA 3, wounded/escaped 2, PW 1 (WIA). A large VC base area was destroyed. Remarks: Equipment etc captured on this operation was listed by 5RAR in a combined list of items captured on Operations CANBERRA, ROBIN and QUEANBEYAN, but not identified with a particular operation.
8 October. A six man SAS fighting patrol ambush and kill three VC.
10 October. An SAS fighting patrol kills one VC and wounds another.
Australian Bell Sioux Helicopter(Possum) A1-395 shot down near Ong Tron Village. Pilot shot in head and survived.
1ATF 15/66 'ROBIN'. Dates: 11-16 October 1966.
Formations/units: 1ATF, with under command units tasked: 5RAR, 6RAR (two companies), 1 APC Sqn, 103 Fd Bty, Btry A 2/35th Arty (US), 1 Fd Sqn (elements), 3 SAS Sqn, 161 (Indep) Recce Fit (one OH-13); in support No 9 Sqn RAAF (six UH-1). Description: A corps route security operation on Route 15 conducted by HQ 11 FFORCEV, to protect troop convoys carrying 3d Bde 4th Inf Div (US) on deployment to South Vietnam via Vung Tau. 1ATF was responsible for route security in an AO from Ba Ria to Phu My, about twenty km. Flat terrain, becoming undulating north and east of Route 15, covered in a variety of vegetation, from grassland to jungle or clear forest, with areas of rice and brushwood; mangrove to the south and west. VC were believed to use Nui Thi Vai, Nui Ong Trinh, and Nui Dinh to the north and east of Route 15 as base areas and for observation over Route 15 traffic; strength probably one local guerrilla platoon, possibly one main force battalion. Deployment by helicopter and APC. Location: Phuoc Tuy province, centre of AO eighteen km west of 1ATF base.
Results: Casualties: own: WIA 4; VC: nil. 6 RAR on OP "Robin".
16 - 17 October. Six SAS patrols are inserted the area astride the Song Rai.
1ATF 16/66 'QUEANBEYAN'. Dates: 16-26 October 1966.
Formations/units: 5RAR, with under command four combat engineer teams 1 Fd Sqn, in direct support 103 Fd Bty, in support one troop 1 APC Sqn, Btry A 2/35th Arty (US), D Coy 6RAR, one OH-13 of 161(Indep) Recce Fit, four UH-1 No 9 Sqn RAAF. Description: A battalion search-and-destroy operation in AO Gold of fourteen sq km to the north and west of, and including Nui Thi Vai. Generally undulating terrain developing into the spur lines and steep slopes of Nui Thi Vai (467 m) in the SE, covered mainly in jungle, with some brushwood. VC forces were believed to be using this feature, as well as the adjoining Nui Ong Trinh, as a base area and for observation over Route 15; probable strength one platoon of local guerrillas, possibly one main force battalion. Deployment on foot and by APC. Location: Phuoc Tuy province, sixteen km WNW of 1ATF base. Results: Casualties: own: KIA 2, WIA 15; VC: KIA 10, wounded/escaped 4. A number of huts and defensive positions were destroyed, and caves rendered temporarily unusable by seeding with CS crystals.
18 Oct - RAAF helicopter A2-1018 supporting 5 RAR crashes injuring 6 personnel.
25 Oct - US Navy Destroyers commence operations against enemy junks delivering supplies to the south.
1ATF 17/66 'BUNDABERG'. Dates: 30-31 October 1966.
Formations/units: 1ATF, with under command units tasked: 5RAR, 6RAR, 1 APC Sqn (less one troop), 1 Fd Regt, 1 Fd Sqn (six combat engineer teams), 3 SAS Sqn, 161 (Indep) Recce Fit (two OH-13); in support No 9 Sqn RAAF (four UH-1). Description: A combined operation with Phuoc Tuy sector to cordon-and-search the village of Hoa Long, area 2.5 sq km, perimeter six km, population 3756. Flat terrain, the village lay generally under clear forest, and bordered by cultivation or grassland, rubber, brushwood, jungle and rice. The village population included the resettled(May 1966) population of the former VC village Xa Long Phuoc, and its northern sector was itself VC-dominated. Present were VC cadres, hard-pore VC, pro-VC persons and VC of grievances, gathering of intelligence, taxes and food, terrorism and visits, also facilitating other VC forces acting against ARVN forces in the village, and other VN/Allied activities especially on Route 2. Deployment on foot and by APC. Location: Phuoc Tuy province, one km south of 1ATF base. Results: VC: PW38, detained as suspects 41. Draft evaders (46) were detained. Remarks: 1ATF established the cordon by first light 30 October, following which Phuoc Tuy sector forces carried out the search of all dwellings, evacuated suspects and were responsible for their security and interrogation at Sector HQ (Ba Ria).
2,000 Filipino combat troops arrive in South Vietnam.
All the Way With LBJ.
October 21 - Lyndon Baines Johnson, Visits Canberra
November - 1966
3- 6 Nov. 161 Bty(RNZA) was located 3 km SW of Nui Dat at YS 46-65.
1ATF 18/66 'HAYMAN'. Dates: 6-12 November 1966.
Formations/units: 5RAR, with under command 1 APC Sqn (reducing to one troop after preliminary operation), one troop 1 Fd Sqn, C Coy 6RAR (plus), elements 3 SAS Sqn, elements 1 Tpt Coy (for preliminary operation only), in direct support 103 Fd Bty, in support one platoon Btry A 2/35th Arty (US), one OH-13 of 161 (Indep) Recce Flt, UH-1 No 9 Sqn RAAF. Description: A preliminary battalion operation to cordon and search Lang Phuoc Hoa on Route 15, followed by a battalion search-and-destroy operation covering the adjoining Long Son Island. Long Phuoc Hoa was about 0.5 sq km in area, with an estimated population of 500. Flat terrain about Long Phuoc Hoa, bordered by cultivation or grassland, beyond that areas of rice, jungle, and mangrove to the SW. It was the most convenient entry point into Phuoc Tuy province for VC supplies from the waterways of the Rung Sat. Notwithstanding the presence of an ARVN RF company, many inhabitants of Lang Phuoc Hoa were believed to be VC or VC sympathisers; the main VC unit in the area was the C2 guerrilla company. Long Son Island, some five km to the SW through mangroves and waterways, was believed to be an ideal VC staging area, refuge and rest centre and had been used by VC for several years as such. The AO covering the island was thirteen sq km; undulating to hilly terrain to 183m,covered mainly in grassland and rice, with areas of jungle and brushwood, surrounded by mangrove. A VC guerrilla platoon controlled the western two-thirds of the island, confining the ARVN RF platoon to the eastern end. There was constant movement of VC sampans in the area. Deployment for the cordon-and-search of Long Phuoc Hoa by APC and truck, for Long Son Island by helicopter. Location: Phuoc Tuy province, Long Phuoc Hoa being fifteen km WSW, Long Son Island eighteen km SW of 1ATF base. Results: Cordon-and-search operation: Casualties: VC: PW 5, detained as suspects 11. Many villagers were evacuated to Ba Ria for screening; 28 ARVN deserters and draft evaders were taken. Search-and-destroy operation: Casualties: own: KIA 1; VC: KIA 10, wounded/escaped 4, PW 8, detained as suspects 23. 357 civilians evacuated for screening, and 22 draft evaders taken. One VC company headquarters signal installation recovered. Large quantities of rice and salt located in most houses in Xa Long Son; action on this referred for advice to Province HQ. Remarks: The preliminary cordon-and-search operation was initially identified by 5RAR as Operation YASS, later as Phase 1 of Operation HAYMAN. HQ 1ATF (Fwd) deployed with Bn HQ 5RAR on to Long Son Island, although all forces assigned to Operation HAYMAN, except for Sqn HQ and most of 3 SAS Sqn, were either under command, in direct support or in support of 5RAR.
18 November. Six SAS patrols are inserted into the area east of Nui Dat to support Op 'Ingham".
1ATF 19/66 ' INGHAM'. Dates: 18 November-3 December 1966.
Formations/units: 6RAR, with under command 1 APC Sqn (from 22 November), one troop 1 Fd Sqn, in direct support 161 Fd Bty (NZ), in support Btry A 2/35th Arty (US), two companies 5RAR, one OH-13 of 161 (Indep) Recce Flt, two UH-1 No 9 Sqn RAAF; 3 SAS Sqn providing flank protection to north and NE, co-ordinated by HQ 1 ATF. Description: A battalion search-and-destroy operation directed at D445 Provincial Mobile Bn, in an AO of 95 sq km, the area being midway between 1 ATF Base and Xuyen Moc in the vicinity of the Song Rai. Undulating terrain flanking and astride the Song Rai, covered mainly in jungle with clear forest in the north, clear forest, rice and brushwood in the south. Believed to be a major VC supply base area which may also have contained D445 Provincial Mobile Bn. Insertion on foot and by APC, extraction by APC and helicopter. Location: Phuoc Tuy province, eleven km east of 1 ATF base. Results: Casualties: own: KIA 1, DOW 1, WIA 21; VC: KIA 10, wounded/escaped 10, PW 1 (WIA). Nineteen civilians were detained. Approximately 73 tonnes of rice were backloaded, nineteen tonnes destroyed. A number of weapons, some ammunition and medical supplies were taken, while fifteen ox-carts and two boats were destroyed.
19 November. Morgan Gallup Poll indicates 63% of Australians are in favor of the war, 24% favor withdrawal, 14% undecided.
FSB Long Tan - YS 49-66 FSB on the N side of route 52, 6 km ESE of Nui Dat, 30 km NE of Vung Tau and about 5 km due N of Dat Do. 161 Bty, RNZA (Honners Bty 13Jun66-13May67) firebase set here 19-25 Nov 66. Site of Battle of Long Tan. Phuoc Tuy Prov, III Corps.
FSB Xuyen Moc - YS 65-76 FSB later named FSB Tom, 23 km due E of Nui Dat, 18 km NE of Dat Do and approx 12 km N of the coast. A Regimental FSB. US 9th Inf Div, 1st Bde here for ops in Jul66 against 274th VC Regt. Contained 1ATF 4th Fld HQ, Arty TAC, 108 Bty RAA, 161 Bty RNZA, B Bty, 1st/11th US Arty and a howitzer Bty of the 1st/11th ACR. 161 Bty, (Honners Bty 13Jun66-13May67) firebase set here 25-27 Nov 66 . FSB Janet also at Xuyen Moc, 24-31Aug69. Phuoc Tuy Prov, III Corps.
26 Nov - In a Federal Election, Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt is returned to office.
27 Nov - 1 Dec 66, 161 Bty was located 5 km NW of Xuyen Moc at YS 60-70.
27 Nov - An SAS patrol kills 1 VC south west of Thua Tich.
December - 1966
1 - 2 December. The SAS conduct Operation 'Danglesniff". Two members of the SAS are inserted individually into eight separate locations in the mountains of Nui Thi Vai area to test the effectiveness of CS crystals laid on a previous Operation by 5 RAR.
1-3 Dec. 161 Bty located at YS 65-68.
2 December. Fuel dumps and truck parks are hit around Hanoi. A record eight US planes are downed, bringing US aircraft losses over North Vietnam to a total of 435 planes.
1ATF 20/66 'CANARY'. Dates: 4-14 December 1966.
Formations/units: 5RAR, with under command one troop 1 APC Sqn, element 1 Fd Sqn, one company 6RAR, in direct support 103 Fd Bty, in support one platoon Btry A 2/35th Arty (US), one OH-13 of 161(Indep) Recce Flt, UH-1 No 9 Sqn RAAF. Description: A corps route security operation on Route 15 conducted by HQ 11 FFORCEV to protect troop convoys carrying 199th Lt Inf Bde (US) on deployment to South Vietnam through Vung Tau. 1ATF was responsible for route security in an AO from Ba Ria to Phu My, about twenty km. Flat terrain, becoming undulating north and east of Route 15, covered in a variety of vegetation from grassland to jungle or clear forest, with areas of rice and brushwood; mangrove to the south and west. VC were believed to use Nui Thi Vai, Nui Ong Trinh and Nui Dinh to the north and cast of Route 15 as base areas and for observation over Route 15 traffic. VC activity anticipated only sniping and booby-trapping by local guerrilla platoons. Deployment by APC and truck. Location: Phuoc Tuy province, the centre of the AO seventeen km WSW of 1 ATF base. Results: Casualties: own: WIA 1; VC: KIA 1, wounded/escaped 1. B Coy 6 RAR on Op 'Canary'
French Fort (Ap Tay) - YS 39-62 FSB in the vicinity of Ap Tay Hamlet and on the W side of Rte-2, 6 km S of Nui Dat, 6 km E of Nui Thi and 20 km NNE of Vung Tau. 161 Bty, RNZA (Honners Bty 13May66-13May67) firebase set here 10-11Dec66. Consisted of a dilapidated concrete block-house from the French colonial period. Phuoc Tuy Prov, III Corps.
14 December.- Five SAS patrols are inserted into the area north of Nui Thi Vai and Nui Dinh to report enemy activity in support of Op 'Duck'.
1ATF 21/66 'DUCK. Dates: 14-23 December 1966, and 27 December 1966-5 January 1967.
Formations6units: 6RAR, with under command one troop (plus) 1 APC Sqn, one company 5 RAR, in direct support 101 Fd Bty, in support 1/83d Arty (US), elements 1 Fd Sqn, one OH-13 of 161 (Indep) Recce Flt, two UH-1 No 9 Sqn RAAF. Description: A corps route security operation on Route 15 conducted by HQ 11 FFORCEV to protect troop convoys carrying 9th Inf Div (US) on deployment to South Vietnam through Vung Tau. 1ATF was responsible for route security in an AO from Ba Ria to Phu My, about twenty km. Flat terrain, becoming undulating north and east of Route 15, covered in a variety of vegetation from grassland to jungle or clear forest, with areas of rice and brushwood; mangrove to the south and west. VC were believed to use Nui Thi Vai, Nui Ong Trinh and Nui Dinh to the north and east of Route 15 as base areas and for observation over Route 15 traffic. VC activity expected to be limited to action by the Chau Duc District Company and local guerrilla platoons. Deployment by APC and truck. Location: Phuoc Tuy province, the centre of the AO seventeen km WSW of 1 ATF base. Results: Casualties: own: WIA 5; VC: nil. 6 RAR Op 'Duck I'
18 Dec. An SAS patrol discover an enemy base camp in a cave near Nui Toc Tien. They kill four VC and withdraw.
20 Dec - A four man SAS patrol sights 9 well armed VC.
22 Dec - A four man SAS patrol engages a enemy force north of the Nui Dinh hills killing two VC and wounding another. They patrol withdraw under fire.
22 Dec - Australian Government announces a further military increase to Vietnam that will bring Australia's commitment to 6,300. The HMAS Hobart is committed to operations off the coast of Vietnam under operational control of the US 7th Fleet. The No 2 Sqn, RAAF Canberra Bomber Squadron at Butterworth is to move to Phang Rang, South Vietnam. Royal Australian Naval(RAN) Clearance Diving Team(CDT) and 498 additional Army personnel are also committed.
24 Dec - An SAS patrol sights 50 armed VC in separate sightings north east of Nui Toc Tien.
27 Dec - 5 Jan. 1 ATF conduct conduct Op "Duck II". Main Force Unit: 6 RAR. 6 RAR on Op "Duck II".
31 Dec- US Military Forces now at 385,000. 79,000 air sorties have been flown against North Vietnam in 1966 compared with 25,000 in 1965. In 1967 this increases to 108,000 sorties. Enemy forces are estimated 282,000. Overall strength of the South Vietnamese forces, 630,000.