Chronology/Operations - Period - 1968
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.
Dramatic changes in the course of the war characterized 1968. The enemy's bloody
country-wide Tet Offensive of February and March and the follow-up attacks during the
spring influenced American decision-making in several important ways. The Johnson
administration, convinced that the allied military struggle was faring badly and buffeted
by growing domestic opposition to the American role in the war, ordered the gradual
withdrawal of U.S. forces from Southeast Asia. At the same time, the administration began
diplomatic talks in Paris with the Vietnamese Communist in hopes of achieving a negotiated
settlement of the long conflict. U.S. leaders decided that their ability to deal from a
position of strength depended on an enlargement and improvement of the South Vietnamese
Armed Forces as U.S. forces departed the theater. This "Vietnamization" of the
war became the cornerstone of American policy.
Enemy air defenses caused aviators more concern for by 1968 the Communists had developed a defensive system that was well-armed, coordinated, and supported. On the ground throughout North Vietnam, South Vietnam, and Laos, the enemy trained skyward thousands of small arms, automatic weapons, and antiaircraft artillery. North Vietnam alone contained 8,000 weapons of many calibers, concentrated around key targets. Beginning in early 1965, surface-to-air missiles (SAM) were added to this defensive arsenal, and by early 1968 over 300 SAM sites dotted the North Vietnamese countryside. The entire defensive system was tied together with a sophisticated network of communications, air alert stations, and early warning, ground control-interceptor, and fire control radars. New and replacement weapons and ammunition were amply supplied by sympathetic Communist countries. The loss in Southeast Asia of 421 fixed-wing aircraft from 1965 to 1968 attested to the strength of these defenses. The aviators killed, missing, or made prisoner totaled 450. The operating environment was especially dangerous in North Vietnam, where 382 Navy planes were shot down, 58 of them by SAMs.
Although only accounting for eight of the Navy's aircraft during this three-year period, the North Vietnamese air units posed a constant threat to U.S. operations, thus requiring a diversion of vital resources for protection. The enemy air force varied from 25 to 100 MiG-15, MiG-17, MiG-19, and MiG-21 jet fighters. The country's jet-capable airfields included Gia Lam, Phuc Yen, Cat Bi, Kep, Kien An, Yen Bai, Son Tay, Bai Thuong, Hoa Lac, and Vinh. The U.S. Navy engaged in its first air-to-air encounter of the war on 3 April 1965, when several MiG-15s unsuccessfully attacked a flight of F-8 Crusaders near Thanh Hoa. On 17 June, two Midway F-4 Phantoms registered the first kills in the long conflict when they downed two MiG-17s south of Hanoi. By the end of the Rolling Thunder effort on 1 November 1968, naval aviators had destroyed 23 MiG-17s and 8 MiG-21s.
January - 1968 - "TET" - The Offensive. Intelligence reports expected a major enemy offensive in early 1968. The main enemy units were identified and a date in early February was predicted.
2 - 5. 7 RAR conduct Operation "Elizabeth", the final phase of Op"Forrest".
3 - An SAS patrol kills two VC.
6 - 3 RAR commence Op "Balaklava".
9 - 11 . 3 RAR conduct Op "Bordertown".
10 - 21. 7 RAR conduct Operation "Duntroon".
Hat Dic Area Region adjoining the border of Phuoc Tuy and Long Khanh Provs assaulted by elements of the 1st ATF and the 1st Bde, 9th US Inf Div during Operation Duntroon, 10-21 Jan 68, against the 274th VC Rgt. W of Saigon and N of Nui Dat. III Corps.FSB 2 YS - 46-83 FSB on Rte-2, 15 km due N of Nui Dat, 5 km N of FSB Allanbroke and 7 km NW of Ngai Giao. 161 Bty, RNZA (Martins Bty 28 Apr 67-6 Apr 68) firebase set here 10-11 Jan 68. Phuoc Tuy Prov, III Corps.FSB Berryman - YS 39-86 FSB, 5 km SW of the Courtenay Rubber Plantation, 7 km W of QL- 2, 20 km NNW of Nui Dat and 13 km NW of Ngai Giao. 161 Bty, RNZA (Martins Bty 13May67-14Apr68) firebase set here 11- 21Jan68. 108 Bty RAA and B Bty 2d/35th US Arty here, Jan68. Phuoc Tuy Prov, III Corps.
14 - 28. SAS patrols kill 10 VC.
20 January - April 14. The Battle Khe Sanh of begins on January 20th. The North Vietnamese, hoping to recreate their 1954 victory over the French at Dien Bien Phu, begin intense shelling of the US base camp at Khe Sanh, located 14 miles below the DMZ. The Marines base can only be reinforced by air, and the Americans land 5,000 bombs daily in defense of the troops in Khe Sanh. In early April, Operation Pegasus is launched to relieve Khe Sanh, finally lifting the seige on April 14th.
23 - Operation "Coburg" . 7 RAR and 2 RAR move to the Bien Hoa area in "expectation of an attack on the US Base at Ben Hoa. 3 RAR is left to defend Phuoc Tuy Province.
25 - HMAS Perth under fire near Cap St Anne.
29 - C Coy 3 RAR move to FSPB "Harrison", Bien Hoa Province.(Op "Coburg" - 7 RAR)
30 - The "Tet Offensive" erupts throughout South Vietnam, lasting until late February. 80,000 communist troops attack cities and towns throughout South Vietnam, in a three day catalysm that saw Siagon, 5 out 6 autonomous cities, 36 of 44 provincial capitals and 64 of 242 district capitals attacked. On the first day of the Tet (lunar New Year) truce, the Viet Cong launch their biggest offensive of the war. One thousand Viet Cong troops infiltrate the city of Saigon. The Communist troops capture the Citadel at Hue and seize part of the US embassy in Saigon. It takes nearly two weeks to completely rout out the Viet Cong troops. The attack is a military disaster for the Communists: they lose over 10,000 men and do not manage to hold any of their objectives. Nevertheless, the offensive marks a military victory for the Viet Cong. For many Americans who had believed that the war was being won, the sight of Viet Cong troops holding the US embassy is a rude awakening, and forces them to question the US "true" position.
RAAF Canberra bombers flew sorties in support of the US Marine base at Khe Sanh.
31 - Baria, the provincial capital of Phouc Tuy comes under heavy attack .
1968 TET Offensive Massacre at Hue City
More about the TET Offensive
1968 TET Offensive - Viet Cong Aims and Concept
1968 - Viet Cong - Control and Polarization of the Populace
General Westmoreland in 1976 wrote in his autobiography, A Soldier Reports: "No one to my knowledge foresaw that, in terms of public opinion, press and television would transform what was undeniably a catastropic military defeat for the enemy into a presumed debacle for Americans and South Vietnamese, an attitude that still lingers today".
February - 1968
1 - Task Force Base is mortared.
1 - 2. D445 Battalion(Enemy Group- VC) occupies the town of Baria(capital of Phuoc Toy Province)and occupy it. A Coy, 3 RAR respond with 3 Troop A Sqn 3 Cav Regiment and assist US and ARVN forces. Heavy street to street fighting is encountered and fourty VC are killed in the first 24 hours. A Sioux helicopter from 161 Recce Flight lands three times under heavy fire to extract seriously wounded.
3-6 . D Coy 3 RAR in heavy action at Long Dien with the 2/52 ARVN Rangers.
With the road cut to Vung Tau, RAAF Caribous resupply the base at Nui Dat carrying over a period of 3 days, 219,240 kg of cargo.
Long Dien City - 22 km NE of Vung Tau, 7 km S of Nui Dat, 4 km W of Dat Do. Scene of heavy fighting 3-6Feb68, during Tet 68 and involving C & D Coys, 3 RAR. Phuoc Tuy Prov, III Corps.
5 - B Coy 3 RAR in action at the village Hoa Long. from entrenched enemy positions. 9 enemy are killed and 6 more wounded or killed. Australian casualties are 3 KIA.
6 - 2 Sqn, SAS advance party arrives at 1 ATF, Nui Dat to replace 1 Sqn.
The road from Vung Tau to Nui Dat is re-opened.
7 - 9. B Coy 3 RAR in action at Baria and Long Dien.
10 - 3 RAR relieve 7 RAR on Op "Coburg".
11 - FSB Harrison - YT 16-17 FSB, in War Zone D, 7 km NW of FSB Andersen, 17 km ENE of Bien Hoa, 8 km N of QL-1 and 55 km NW of Nui Dat. 161 Bty, RNZA (Martins Bty 13May67-14Apr68) firebase set here 11- 13Feb68. Bien Hoa, III Corps.
12 - Australian Prime Minister Gorton indicates that Australia will not increase its force in Vietnam.
13 - FSB Andersen - YT 20-12 FSB, in War Zone D, 22 km due E of Bien Hoa, 2 km N of QL-1 and 7 km SE of FSB Harrison. Deliberately sited on a low bull- dozed hill astride a VC main avenue of communication and attacked 3 times during Tet 68 as a result. On 18Feb68, following 150 round mortar barrage, 2 waves of VC attacked Andersen resulting in 8 Aussie KIA and 22 WIA. It was also attacked 20Feb68 and 28Feb68. 161 Bty, RNZA (Martins Bty 13May67-14Apr68) firebase set here 13Feb-1Mar68, and 13Feb-1Mar68 under Hitchings. 3 RAR TF tactical HQ, A Trp of A Sqdn, 3d US Cav, Eng Trp and medium howitzers of B Bty 2d/35th US Arty here during those battles. Bien Hoa Prov, III Corps.
16 - 17. 7 RAR conduct 'cordon and search' Op "Oakleigh".
18 - 3 RAR under ground and mortar attack on FSPB "Andersen".
18 - 19. 7 RAR Conduct cordon and search on Op "Dandenong" on the village of Suoi Nghe.
20 - 21. 7 RAR conduct cordon and search Operation "Clayton" on Long Dien village.
23 - B Company 7 RAR conduct company Operation "Mildura".
16 - 1 Sqn, SAS depart Vietnam for Australia. During their tour the squadron mounted 246 patrols, killed 83 VC and sighted 405 enemy. Own casualties one died of wounds(DOW) and one wounded(WIA).
28 - 3 RAR under mortar and ground attack at FSPB "Andersen".
A half Squadron of Australian Centurion Tanks consisting of 1 and 2 troops arrives in Vietnam to support the 1 ATF.
General Westmoreland's report to the President states that, despite the failure of the Tet Offensive, the Communists have the initiative. In order to regain control, Westmoreland requests another 200,000 troops. This would require a call up of the reserves, and the decision is delayed. When the decision is ultimately reached to deny the request, it represents a realization that the war can not be won by military means.
The TET offensive was to have a marked change in peoples attitude to the war in Vietnam. The sheer audacity of the offensive destroyed the credibility of the American military among its own people and strengthened the anti-war movement in the United States. Public attitude were also changing in Australia.
The SAS patrols are having such an impact on the VC that one report stated that the VC had placed a bounty of $US5,000 dead or alive on the head of each 'Ma Rung' - Phantoms of the Jungle. So far the SAS patrols have accounted for 115 enemy KIA with only 2 Aust WIA and one Aust DOW.
March - 1968
1 - 3 RAR return to Nui Dat from Op "Coburg".
8 - 3 RAR, less D Coy, commence OP "Pinnaroo".
16 - An SAS patrol contacts a three-man VC patrol killing one.
16 March. A unit of Charlie Company US 1st Battalion 20th Infantry slaughter between 200 and 500 unarmed villagers in the hamlet of My Lai. Led by Lieutenant William Calley, the platoon is ordered to enter the village firing.
17 - D Coy 3 RAR joins Op "Pinnaroo".
17 - In a pre-planned operation, a six-man SAS patrol inserts into the Firestone Trail near LZ Dampier and conduct a 'demolition ambush' on a VC party transporting weapons and equipment using a tractor and trailer stolen from the Courtenay Plantation. Fifteen VC are confirmed as killed.
Firestone Trail - An enemy infiltration and communication route in Phuoc Tuy Pro. So named because the Ho Chi Minh sandals worn by the VC plying the trail were fabricated from automobile tire treads (such as the US brand, Firestone Tires).
FSB Herring - YS 49-55 FSB, off Hwy 326, 7 km S of Horseshoe FSB, 15 km SE of Nui Dat, 3 km S of Dat Do and 23 km ENE of Vung Tau. Situated in the sandy wastes of what had once been a large, well-cultivated village. The sand blown by arriving/departing CH-47 and other aircraft caused numerous maintenance problems. 161 Bty, RNZA (Martins Bty 13May67-14Apr68) firebase set here 17Mar-6Apr68. Phuoc Tuy Prov, III Corps.
25 - 26. 2 RAR and A Coy 7 RAR conduct cordon and search Operation "Ashgrove Tram" on Long Hai village
27 - 1 RAR depart Sydney for Vietnam aboard HMAS Sydney.
28 - 29. 7 RAR conduct Operation "Woolgoolga".
29 - An SAS patrol ambushes three VC, killing two.
31 - HMAS Perth is relieved by HMAS Hobart at Subic Bay.
Australian soldiers accused of torturing a young Vietnamese woman. 3 Troop Centurion Tank Sqn is given approval for deployment to Vietnam to support 1 and 2 Sqn.
US President Johnson announces a unilateral bombing halt. At the end of the speech, Johnson stuns the nation by announcing that he will not run for a second full term as president..
April - 1968
In April, Task Force Clearwater's I Corps efforts were enhanced by Operation Sea Tiger in which Task Force 115 Swift boats, River Division 543 PBRs, Vietnamese Coastal Group 14 junks, and River Assault Group 32 units battled to secure the Cua Dai and Hoi An Rivers in Quang Nam Province. Soon afterward, in June, naval river forces began patrolling the vital Saigon River from Phu Cuong to Dau Tieng, the latter in the hotly contested Michelin Rubber Plantation. This operation, designated Ready Deck, tied in with the Giant Slingshot interdiction effort to the west.
1 - 1 Australian Field Hospital opens at Vung Tau.
6 - A five-man SAS recce-ambush patrol is inserted into the area 12 klms north of Nui Thi Vai, Ben Hoa Province and over the next 4 days discover VC camps and activity. The patrol comes under fire, killing one VC and then extracting.
9- 1 RAR main body arrive at Vung Tau. 7 RAR main body depart on HMAS Sydney with HMAS Parramatta as escort.
11 - An SAS patrol kills one VC, 7 klms north east of Binh Gia.
12 - D Coy 3 RAR return from Op "Pinnaroo".
15 - Op "Pinnaroo" completed.
16 - An SAS patrol ambushes a VC patrol, killing two and recovering two diaries, north east of Binh Gia.
21 - 3 RAR commence Op "Toan Thang"(Phase I).
FSB Thornton - YS 35-71 8 km WNW of Nui Dat, 4 km NNW of Nui Thi, 10 km SE of FSB Nelson. Named in honor of New Zealands "Gunner General," CDS LtGen Sir Leonard Thornton, who became the NZ Chief of Defense in 1968. Was apparently an artillery gunner in his early years of service. 161 Bty, RNZA (Hitchings Bty 14Apr68-18Mar69) firebase set here 21-23Apr68. Phuoc Tuy Prov, III Corps.
22 - HMAS Hobart under fire at near Dong Hoi.
23 - HMAS Hobart under fire near Ke Anh.
An SAS patrol kill two VC 6 klms east of Dat Do.
FSB Dyke - YS 27-80 22 km NW of Nui Dat, 7 km NNE of FSB Nelson, 7 km due S of FSB Cedar. 161 Bty, RNZA (Hitchings Bty 14Apr68-18Mar69) firebase set here 23-25Apr68. Bien Hoa Prov, III Corps. FSB Evans - YT 22-06 "Sat firmly astride a known VC trail to and from Saigon," 5 km SSE of FSB Andersen, 4 km S of QL-1 and 22 km E of Bien Hoa. 161 Bty, RNZA (Hitchings Bty 14Apr68-18Mar69) firebase set here 25Apr-3May68. Bien Hoa Prov, III Corps.
25 - Two SAS patrols kill seven VC approaching FSB Dyke.
26 - 7 RAR arrive home in Australia.
An SAS patrol contact five VC near the Long Kanh border in Ben Hoa Province, killing one VC then extracting.
Centurion Tanks from C Sqn conduct their first Operation.
May - 1968
3 - President Johnson accepts a North Vietnam offer to conduct preliminary peace talks in Paris.
3 - 3 RAR return from Op "Toan Thang"(Phase I).
5 - 13. A North Vietnamese offensive begins similar to the TET offensive, attacking 109 towns and cities throughout South Vietnam. In the course of the offensive, 5,270 Communists, 154 Americans and 326 South Vietnamese are killed.
10 - 3 RAR continue Op "Toan Thang"(Phase I) relieving 2 RAR at FSPB "Andersen".
12 - 1 RAR and 3 RAR with artillery support from 161 Fd Bty(NZ) and 102 Fd Bty are deployed to Bin Dugong Province and setup FSPB "Coral", in an attempt to block withdrawal and re-supply routes for communist forces attacking Siagon. FSB Coral - XT 93-29 Intentionally sited on a major enemy trail just inside the western edge of War Zone D, 20 km NNW of Bien Hoa, 4.5 km due E of FSB Coogee and 22 km ESE of Ben Cat. FSBs Balmoral, Coral and Coogee were the site of the "Battle for Coral," a series of 4 separate major engagements, 12May, 13May 26 May and 28May68 . 161 Bty, RNZA (Hitchings Bty 14Apr68-18Mar69) firebase set here 12-13May68 and 24May-6Jun68. Abandoned 6Jun68. Bien Hoa Prov, III Corps.
12 - 1 RAR including 12 Field Regiment HQ and 102 Field Bty and supporting arms, fight pitched battles with communist forces in the The Battle of FSPB "Coral". With little time to prepare defenses the 1 RAR Mortar Platoon position is overrun including a field gun from 102 Field Bty. Enemy forces(PAVN) suffer very heavy casualties. Australian casualties are 9 killed and 28 wounded.
13 - 3 RAR take up a blocking position 20 miles north-east of Siagon. FSB Coogee - XT 89-29 Just outside the western edge of War Zone D, 22 km NW of Bien Hoa, 4.5 km W of FSB Coral and 12 km E of Ben Cat. 161 Bty, RNZA (Hitchings Bty 14Apr68-18Mar69) firebase set here 13- 24May68. Binh Duong Prov, III Corps.
13 - Delegates from the US and North Vietnam hold their first meeting in Paris
16 - Enemy Regimental attacks on FSPB "Coral".
21 - 4 RAR depart Australia on HMAS Sydney.
23 - Centurion tanks from C Sqn (1,2 and 3 Troop) arrive at FSPB "Coral" and provide much needed fire support.
24 - 3 RAR move to FSPB "Balmoral".
An RAAF Caribou for No 35 Sqn is fired upon, wounding the pilot.
25 - 2 Troop C Sqn Tanks move to FSPB "Balmoral".
26 - 3 RAR at FSPB "Balmoral" comes under heavy ground and mortar attacks from a battalion sized enemy force and repel the attacks. Mortar attacks at FSPB "Coral".
28 - Regiment sized attacks on 3 RAR at FSPB "Balmoral" by 165 Regiment 7th North Vietnamese Army Division.All attacks are repelled
30 - Centurion Tanks from 1 Troop and APCs support Infantry during a fierce fight in an enemy bunker system 3000 yards from FSPB "Coral".
May - June Australian casualties during this period are 26 killed and 110 wounded.
31 - Operation 'Toan Thang' concludes after 60 days. 42 US and 37 ARVN battalions have been hunting out enemy units near Saigon.
June - 1968
1 June. 4 RAR main body arrives Vung Tau and 2 RAR main body depart for Australia on HMAS Sydney.
An SAS patrol locates an occupied enemy camp three klms north west of Binh Ba. The camp is engaged with artillery and gunships.
5 June. 3 RAR return from Op "Toan Thang"(Phase I)
7 - 9 June. Australian Prime Minister Gorton visits Vietnam. The SAS provide a guard.
8 June. A six man SAS patrol is inserted into the Nui Dinh hills. Mission. locate an enemy radio station, attack the location and seize any radio or codebooks.
9 June. The patrol locate the enemy radio position and attack the camp, killing eight VC, capturing the radio, M2 carbine, 45 pistol and two packs of documents. The patrol then winches out by helicopter.
13 June. 2 RAR arrive in Australia.
14 June. D Coy 3 RAR "cordon and search" Long Dien.
HMAS Hobart under fire at Cap Lay.
15 June. An SAS patrol ambush a VC party kiling six.
17 June. HMAS Hobart hit by three missiles from a USAF aircraft north of Cap Lay.
An SAS patrol is engaged by VC near the Firestone Trail in Ben Hoa province. Five VC are killed and one member of the SAS patrol is wounded. A second patrol in the same area a few days later kills two VC and wounding two more.
23 June. The US base at Khe Sanh is abandoned.
25 - 30 June. B Coy 3 RAR conduct Op "Ulladulla" with C Squadron, 1st Armoured Regiment.
July - 1968
3 - 3 RAR relieve 1 RAR on OP "Toan Thang(Phase2)" in Area of Operations(AO) Birdsville.
FSB Kiama - YT 09-14 10 km ENE of Bien Hoa, 5 km WNW of FSB Kerry, 2 km N of QL- 1. 161 Bty, RNZA (Hitchings Bty 14Apr68-18Mar69) firebase set here 3-18Jul68. Bien Hoa Prov, III Corps.
5 - A six man SAS patrol is engaged by a VC force of eighty men, north west of Xuyen Moc. The patrols withdraws and extracts by helicopter under heavy fire. Thirteen enemy were killed.
11 - An SAS patrol ambushes an enemy party, killing five. The patrol spends a harrowing night with VC searching for them.
18 - 3 RAR with support units of 1 ATF conduct OP "Merino" in AO Yass. FSB Archer - YS 20-84 On the E side of QL-15, 38 km SE of Bien Hoa, 12 km NW of FSB Nelson and 38 km NW of Nui Dat. 161 Bty, RNZA (Hitchings Bty 14Apr68-18Mar69) firebase set here 18-21Jul68. Bien Hoa Prov, III Corps.
FSB Hawk - YS 25-86 20 km WNW of Nui Dat, 12 km SE of FSB Archer and 30 km NNW of Vung Tau. 161 Bty, RNZA (Hitchings Bty 14Apr68-18Mar69) firebase set here 21-24Jul68. Bien Hoa Prov, III Corps.
26 - An eleven man SAS patrol ambush the old FSB Dyke position, killing 5 VC and wounding another. They are extracted by helicopter, under fire.
29 - C Coy 3 RAR "cordon and search" north east Hoa Long.
August - 1968
2 - 13 . 3 RAR with support units of 1 ATF conduct Op "Platypus". FSB Coolah - YS 39-86 Located in a jungle clearing covered with head-high grasses at the southern end of the Courtenay Rubber Plantation, 20 km NNW of Nui Dat 4 km W of Rte-2, 5 km NW of FSB Avenger. 161 Bty, RNZA (Hitchings Bty 14Apr68-18Mar69) firebase set here 2- 9Aug68. Phuoc Tuy Prov, III Corps.
9 - FSB Avenger - YS 45-83 On the W side of Rte-2, 15 km N of Nui Dat, 5 km SE of FSB Coolah and in the Cu Bi Rubber Plantation. 161 Bty, RNZA (Hitchings Bty 14Apr68-18Mar69) firebase set here 9-13Aug68. Phuoc Tuy Prov, III Corps.
22 - Siagon under rocket fire.
1 RAR and centurion tanks from 1 Troop in fierce contact with Viet Cong occupying Long Dien.
23 . 3 RAR conduct Op "Magnetic" on Long Son Island.
Long Son Island - YS 27-56 Generally 12 km N of Vung Tau and 18 KM SW of Nui Dat in a tidal marsh. 161 Bty, RNZA (Andrews Bty 18Sep-6Sep70) firebase called Andrea built set here 4-17Apr70. Phuoc Tuy Prov, III Corps.
28 - 5 Sep. 3 RAR with support units of 1 ATF conduct Op "Diamantina".
FSB Longreach - YS 52-76 10 km NNE of Nui Dat, 3 km W of FSB Wilton, 1 km E of Ngai Giao and 7 km E of Rte-2. 161 Bty, RNZA (Hitchings Bty 14Apr68-18Mar69) firebase set here 28Aug-5Sep68. A Bty 2d/35th US Arty also here. Phuoc Tuy Prov, III Corps.
September - 1968
6 - C & D Coys 3 RAR relieve 1 RAR Coys in the Baria and Long Dien area(Op "Nowra").
10 - A Coy 3 RAR relieves C Coy 1 RAR on land clearing Ops in AO Warburton.
15 - B Coy 3 RAR return from Baria Stadium defence task.
19 - 25. C Coy 3 RAR Route 2 security OP Ngai Giao area.
24 - D Coy 3 RAR return from Long Dien.
28. 3 RAR tactical HQ, B and D Coy insert into FSPB "Cedar" to commence Op "Windsor". FSB Cedar - YS 29-89 25 km NW of Nui Dat, 3 km NE of FSB Diggers Rest and 17 km W of the Courtenay Rubber Plantation. Described as a "Tight and dirty location where 161 was put back-to- back with an Australian Bty, separated by a fallen windrow of trees." 161 Bty, RNZA (Hitchings Bty 14Apr68-18Mar69) firebase set here 28Sep-12Oct68. Bien Hoa Prov, III Corps.
29 - C Coy 3 RAR join OP "Windsor".
30 -During September the SAS mounted 15 recce patrols and five ambush patrols. The SAS conduct Operation 'Overboard' on the Song Ria river, with littel result.
October - 1968
2 - A Coy 3 RAR return from land clearing Ops in AO Warburton.
5 - A seven-man SAS patrol ambush a VC Rear Services unit killing eight VC and five oxen, 2 klms north of Nui Thi Vai.
6 - A Coy 3 RAR fly in to join OP "Windsor".
10 - HMAS Perth under fire.
11 - A ten-man SAS patrol ambushes three VC, killing two and capturing 1 female. Ten days later the patrol ambushes a VC party in the same area, killing seven VC.
12 - Op "Windsor" concludes. 3 RAR redeploy to AO Garran on OP "Capital". FSB Bass - YS 49-90 On the eastern edge of the Courtenay Rubber Plantation, 23 km NNE of Nui Dat, 4 km E of Rte-2, 10 km NE of FSB Coolah. Located in the front yard of a picturesque French planters mansion. 161 Bty, RNZA (Hitchings Bty 14Apr68-18Mar69) firebase set here 12-22Oct68. Long Khanh Prov, III Corps.
16 - A seven-man SAS patrol in the north east of the province contact five VC, including one identified as European. Four VC are possibly killed.
21 - A, B and D Coys 3 RAR return from Op "Capital".
22 - 3 RAR HQ and C Coy return from OP "Capital".
FSB Wilton - YS 54-76 2 km E of FSB Longreach, 15 km NE of Nui Dat, 4 km E of Ngai Giao and 9 km E of Rte-2. 161 Bty, RNZA (Hitchings Bty 14 Apr69-18Mar69) firebase set here 22-26Oct68. Phuoc Tuy Prov, III Corps.
25 - C Coy 3 RAR commence Op "Harvest".
27 - 3 RAR HQ Group and D Coy Join OP "Harvest".
Nelson - YS 21-81 On QL-15, 18 km WNW of Nui Dat, 10 km SE of FSB Archer, 38 km NNW of Vung Tau. 161 Bty, RNZA (Hitchings Bty 14Apr68- 18Mar69) firebase set here 27Oct-2Nov68 (right section). Phuoc Tuy Prov, III Corps.
30 - A Coy 3 RAR commence OP "Diamond Pin" in AO Rapier.
31 - President Johnson announces the cessation of bombing on North Vietnam.
May 1966 - October 1968. Of all Australian contacts with the enemy so far, 74% have involved infantry, 24% involved SAS patrols, 2% involved armour. Of the total number of 410 enemy KIA, the infantry accounted for 188, the SAS 173 and armour 49. The Infantry suffered 9 KIA and 73 WIA, the SAS 19 WIA and armour 2 KIA and 22 WIA.(Source: Australian Army Operational Research Group).
During October SAS patrols account for 33 VC and sight a further 108.
November - 1968
1 - US Joint Chiefs of Staff announce all sea, air and land bombardment of North Vietnam is to cease at 2100 hrs that night.
2 - 3 RAR HQ, C and D Coy return to Nui Dat from Op "Harvest". A Coy 3 RAR return from Op "Diamond Pin".
5 - 9 RAR Advance Party arrive at Nui Dat . 3 RAR Advance Party return to Australia by air.
President Nixon elected as US President and promises a gradual troop withdrawal from Vietnam.
8 - 9 November. B-52 bombers conduct heavy raids against targets near the Cambodian border. These raids reflect a pattern of increased bombing in South Vietnam along supply lines since the end of the bombing of North Vietnam.
9 - 9 RAR main body depart Port Adelaide SA on HMAS Sydney.
13 - 30. Operation 'Capital" is conducted by 1 ATF units. Mission: destroy elements of 84 Rear Services Group and 274 Regiment and to find and destroy enemy camps, caches and cultivation in the area east and north east of Binh Gia. Result: 26 enemy KIA, 6 enemy WIA and 1 captured. Camps and cahes found and destroyed.
20 - 9 RAR main body arrive at Vung Tau and deploy to Nui Dat. First and only tour. 3 RAR main body depart on HMAS Sydney for Australia.
24 - News breaks of the My Lai Massacre by US forces, which took place on the 16th March.
Richard Nixon is elected US President. He pledges a gradual withdrawal from Vietnam.
November 1968, PBRs and riverine assault craft opened two canals between the Gulf of Siam at Rach Gia and the Bassac River at Long Xuyen. South Vietnamese paramilitary ground troops helped naval patrol units secure the transportation routes in this operational area, soon named Search Turn. Later in the month, Swift boats, PBRs, riverine assault craft, and Vietnamese naval vessels penetrated the Giang Thanh-Vinh Te canal system and established patrols along the waterway from Ha Tien on the gulf to Chau Doc on the upper Bassac. As a symbol of the Vietnamese contribution to the combined effort, the allied command changed the name of this operation from Foul Deck to Tran Hung Dao I.
December - 1968
December U.S. naval forces pushed up the Vam Co Dong and Vam Co Tay Rivers west of Saigon, against heavy enemy opposition, to cut infiltration routes from the "Parrot's Beak" area of Cambodia. The Giant Slingshot operation, so named for the configuration of the two rivers, severely hampered Communist resupply in the region near the capital and in the Plain of Reeds.
49% of Australians support the war. 37.2 want our forces withdrawn.
2 - 3 RAR main body arrive home at Port Adelaide, South Australia.
5 - Xa An Nhut Village - cordoned and searched by RAR elements for VC and ARVN deserters during Operation King Hit, 5-8 Dec 68. Phuoc Tuy Prov, III Corps.
9 - 22. SAS conduct Operation 'Stellar Bright'. A squadron operation, deployed by APC to the area south east of Bing Gia. Result 5 VC KIA.
12 - 4 Troop, New Zealand Special Air Service Rangers arrive and join the Australian 2 SAS Sqn already at Niu Dat.
1 ATF conduct Operation 'Goodwood'. Mission: Interdict VC movement from the Hat Dich to the Long Binh-Bien Hoa military complexes.
FSB Avenger - YS 45-83 On the W side of Rte-2, 15 km N of Nui Dat, 5 km SE of FSB Coolah and in the Cu Bi Rubber Plantation. 161 Bty, RNZA (Hitchings Bty 14Apr68-18Mar69) firebase set 12-24Dec68. Phuoc Tuy Prov, III Corps.
25 - C Sqn Centurion Tanks defend FSB "Julia".
30 Dec - 4 January. Eight SAS patrols deploy on Operation 'Silk Cord' and are inserted into the area south east of Xuyen Moc, in response to intelligence indicating that the VC D445 Battalion are using the beaches to land arms and stores by boat.
31 - US military strength now at 536,000. US KIA 30,568.
As U.S. forces prepared the South Vietnamese military to assume complete responsibility for the war, they also worked to keep pressure on the enemy. In fact, from 1968 to 1971, the allies exploited the Communists' staggering battlefield losses during the Tet attacks by pushing the enemy's large main force units out to the border areas, extending the government's presence into Viet Cong strongholds, and consolidating control over population centers.
Diggers Rest - YS 27-87 27 km NW of Nui Dat, 3 km SW of FSB
Cedar, 3 km NE of FSB Hawk, 16 km W of FSB Coolah and 8 km NE of QL-15. Author of Vietnam
Gunners wrote at pg 82 that it was built by 9 RAR beginning 1Jan69, as a complete,
state-of-the-art FSB, "A fortress of sandbags, bunds, culverts, barbed wire, [PSP]
gun platforms, [MG] posts and dug-in [CP]." 161 Bty RNZA (Hitchings Bty
14Apr68- 18Mar69) firebase set here 31Dec68 (left section), and both sections 1-29Jan69.
When sent there 29 Sep-1Nov69, Andrews Bty found the site of old Diggers rest
was under water and had to move it roughly 800 meters from the old position. Bien Hoa
Prov, III Corps.
Red Haze Missions - Artillery missions the were fired based upon infra-red intelligence photographs showing suspected VC positions hidden by the jungle, but revealed by red heat spots on the film.
Send mail to AUSVETS with questions or
comments about this site.
Copyright © 1997 VSASA
Last modified: June 05, 1998