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.
January - 1969
25 - Peace negotiations begin in Paris.
29 - FSB Jenny - YS 22-85 28 km NW of Nui Dat, 4 km E of QL-15, 4 km NE of FSB Archer, 8 km NW of FSB Dyke and 3 km W of FSB Hawk. 161 Bty, RNZA (Hitchings Bty 14Apr68-18Mar69) firebase set here 29Jan17Feb69. Bien Hoa Prov, III Corps.
31 -FSB Lynx - YS 75-82 On Rte-329, 35 km NE of Nui Dat, 14 km ENE of FSB Raglan, 8 km due S of Hill 2310, 40 km SSE of Juanita and 15 km N of FSB Feathers, near the far eastern border of Phuoc Tuy Prov. 161 Bty, RNZA (Masters Bty 6Sep70-8May71) firebase set here 31Jan- 21Feb71 (right section). Phuoc Tuy Prov, III Corps.
February - 1969
3 - 5 RAR main body departs Sydney on HMAS Sydney.
16 - 5 RAR arrive at Vung Tau. 1 Troop C Sqn Tanks in heavy engagement at Bien Hoc. B Sqn Centurion tanks arrive in Vietnam to support C Sqn.
4 RAR and 9 RAR conduct Operation 'Federal', east of Long Binh in Bien Hoa Province.
17 - FSB Kerry - YT 13-13 13 km ENE of Bien Hoa, 5 km ESE of FSB Kiama, 2 km N of QL-1 and 8 km W of FSB Andersen. Described as "a spectacular position sitting on a major terrain feature with a marvelous view of the surrounding countryside." Overlooked converging routes to Saigon, a fact that led to long delays for fire mission clearance due to friendly congestion in the area. 161 Bty, RNZA (Hitchings Bty 14Apr68-18Mar69) firebase set here 17Feb- 10Mar69. 12Feb69, HQ 1ATF, B Sqdn 1st Armored Rgt, A Sqdn 1 Cav Rgt, 9 RAR Bn HQ, and Support Coy were here. Bien Hoa Prov, III Corps.
21 - 3 Sqn SAS replace 2 Sqn SAS who depart Vietnam having complete their first tour. During their tour the 2 Sqn accounted for 151 VC with a further 22 possibles. One Australian had been killed and seven wounded.
22 February - March 15. Communist forces end a Tet ceasefire, with attacks on Saigon and 115 other cities. Attacks take place throughout Vietnam, killing 453 US soldiers in the first week, 336 in the second and 351 in the third.
28 - 1 RAR complete their second tour.
March - 1969
5 - FSB Maria - YT 29-07 40 km NNW of Nui Dat, 3 km S of QL-1, 8 km E of FSB Evans and 12 km ESE of FSB Andersen. 161 Bty, RNZA (Hitchings Bty 14Apr68-18Mar69) firebase set here 5-8Mar69 (right section). Long Khanh Prov, III Corps.
18 - US begins secret bombing of Cambodia.
20 - HMAS Brisbane departs Sydney on first deployment to Vietnam.
24 - FSB Betty - YT ?14-08 W of FSB Jillian, NW of Nui Dat and SE of Bien Hoa. Precise location not known. 161 Bty, RNZA (Horsfords Bty 18Mar69- 18Sep69) firebase set here 24-27Mar69. Probably Bien Hoa Prov, III Corps.
20 - HMAS Brisbane departs Sydney on first deployment to Vietnam.
27 - FSB Jillian - YT 33-06 Near intersection of Rtes 321 and 25 appx 5 km S of QL-1, 48 km ENE of Nui Dat, 15 km WNW of FSB Wattle, and 20 km NW of FSB Buffalo. 161 Bty, RNZA (Horsfords Bty 18Mar69-18Sep69) firebase set here 27Mar-2Apr69. While firing in support of US units here 29Mar69, the yanks radioed back a concise sit-rep for one 161 Bty mission that went: "three elephants KIA!" Long Khan Prov, III Corps.
30 - HMAS Brisbane relieves HMAS Perth at Subic Bay.
April - 1969
2 - FSB Wattle - YS 35-91 6 km W of Rte-2 and the Courtenay Rubber Plantation, 8 km WNW of FSB Buffalo, 25 km NNW of Nui Dat and 6 km N of FSB Dampier. 161 Bty, RNZA (Horsfords Bty 18Mar69-18Sep69) firebase set here 2-11Apr69. Long Khan Prov, III Corps.
7 - FSB Tasman - YS 34-87 3 km NW of FSB Dampier, 5 km SSW of FSB Wattle, 22 km NNW of Nui Dat and 11 km W of Rte-2. 161 Bty, RNZA (Horsfords Bty 18Mar69-18Sep69) firebase set here 7-8Apr69. On the Long Khan- Phuoc Tuy Prov border, III Corps.
11 - FSB Juanita - YS 22-77 24 km WNW of Nui Dat, 1 km W of QL-15, 17 km SW of FSB Dampier and appx 40 km SE of Bien Hoa. Built beginning 11Apr69. 161 Bty, RNZA (Horsfords Bty 18Mar69-18Sep69) firebase set here 11-16Apr69. On the Bien Hoa-Phuoc Tuy Prov border, III Corps.
16 - 9 RAR conduct Op "Surfside" supported for the first time by RAAF "Bushranger" Gunships.
FSB Mardi - YS 60-61 5 km N of the coast, 2 km S of Rte-23, 18 km ESE of Nui Dat and 11 km E of Dat Do. 161 Bty, RNZA (Horsfords Bty 18Mar69- 18Sep69) firebase set here 16-23Apr69. Situated in a rice paddy with 3 rivers fringing its perimeter. Phuoc Tuy Prov, III Corps.
21 - First official RAAF "Bushranger" operational mission is flown.
US strength now at 543,400.
May - 1969
5 - 6 RAR main body departs for Vietnam on HMAS Sydney, this is their second tour.
Australian Forces(1 ATF) conduct a series of operations "to deny VC access from the surrounding country side" including the notorious Long Hai Hills.
Long Hai Mountains Generally 20 km NE of Vung Tau and 15 km due S of Nui Dat. A rugged mountain chain rising from the plain S of Ba Ria and Long Dien, and bordering the coast of Phuoc Tuy Prov. Long Hai Airfield was on the coast at the SW edge of this hill mass. Phuoc Tuy Prov, III Corps.
10 - 20 May. US and South Vietnamese troops fight for Ap Bia Mountain. The ten-day battle is one of the fiercest of the war. After 56 Americans are killed and 420 are wounded, the troops capture the hill and kill 597 Vietnamese. The hill is recorded in history as Hamburger Hill, and the actions there are widely criticized in the US. The battle is one of the last major actions of its type in the war.
11 - FSB Thrust - YS 50-54 23 km NE of Vung Tau, on the S edge of Rte 326, 4 km S of Dat Do, 4 km NW of the coast and 15 km SSE of Nui Dat. Construction started 1 Mar69 and built as a model FSB on sand so dazzling the gunners formed permanent squints. 161 Bty, RNZA (Horsfords Bty 18Mar69-18Sep69) firebase set here 11May-15Jun69. 9 RAR also here. Hit by 30 mortar rounds, 5Jun69, resulting in 1 9RAR KIA and 9 WIA. 40, sandbagged NOD tower built here was nicknamed "The Leaning Tower of Pisa." Phuoc Tuy Prov, III Corps.
Operation "Mailed Fist" is conducted in the Duc Thak District.
16 - RAAF bushranger Gunships assist in extracting an SAS 4 man patrol, on a "hot extraction".
19 - 6 RAR arrive Vung Tau and 4 RAR main body depart for Australia on HMAS Sydney.
Late May. 1 ATF conduct Operation 'Laverack'. Over 100 VC are KIA.
30 - 4 RAR arrive in Brisbane, Australia completing their first tour of Vietnam.
June - 1969
5 - Bombing recommences against North Vietnam, the first since November, 1968. An RAAF Bushranger Gunship is forced down by ground fire with 1 crew member injured.
6 - The Battle of Binh Ba. D Coy 5 RAR with Centurion tanks and APCs Troop fight an 8 hour battle with North Vietnamese troops at the town of Binh Ba. They are re-enforced with another Infantry Company and a Bushranger Gunship. More than 100 enemy are killed with Australian losses of 1 killed and 10 wounded. Binh Ba Rubber Plantation - YS A French Rubber plantation straddling Rte-2 appx 6 km N of Nui Dat and 6 km S of Ngai Giao, NNE of Vung Tau. Phuoc Tuy Prov, III Corps.
7 - FSB Duc Tanh - YS 45-78 A Fortified village On Rte-2, app 2 km W of Ngai Giao, appx 9 km N of Nui Dat and 7 km W of FSB Longreach (estimated location). 161 Bty, RNZA (Horsfords Bty 18Mar69-18Sep69) firebase set here 7-14Jun69. 161 Bty, RNZA, 108 Bty RAA, A Bty 2d/35th US Arty here in 67. Phuoc Tuy Prov, III Corps.
8 - President Nixon announces the withdrawal of 25,000 combat troops from South Vietnam. The withdrawal is completed by August.
17 - An RAAF "Bushranger" Gunship accidently fires on elements of A Coy 6 RAR causing 3 wounded.
June - July. 5 RAR conducts Op "Esso" in the Dat Do area and suffers high casualties from mines, previously laid by Australian Engineers.
24 - General Hay, Commander Australian Forces Vietnam(COMAFV) writes to the Task Force Commander, Brigadier Pearson, " I enclose a signal from the Sec Army which I have just received. You can see the Australian reaction to our recent casualties from mines...". Operations are ceased in that area.
In June 1969, the U.S. Navy anchored a mobile pontoon base in the middle of the Ca Mau region's Cua Lon River. This operation, labelled Sea Float, was made difficult by heavy Viet Cong opposition, strong river currents, and the distance to logistic support facilities. Still, Sea Float denied the enemy a safe haven even in this isolated corner of the delta. The allies further threatened the Communist "rear" area in September when they set up patrols on the Ong Doc, a river bordering the dense and isolated U Minh area. Staging from an advance tactical support base at the river's mouth, U.S. and Vietnamese PBRs of Operation Breezy Cove repeatedly intercepted and destroyed enemy supply parties crossing the waterway.
July - 1969
2 - FSB Flinders - YS 52-89 7 km due E of FSB Buffalo, 4 km N of Hill 869, 30 km NNE of Nui Dat and 18 km due N of FSB Longreach. Vietnam Gunners author notes that it was beset with "atrocious conditions in a small jungle clearing criss-crossed by tracked and wheeled vehicles that turned the ground into a foot deep, muddy quagmire. 161 Bty, RNZA (Horsfords Bty 18Mar69-18Sep69) firebase set here 2-18Jul69 (right section), 13-19Jul69 (left section). Large FSB Built in a small jungle clearing. B Bty 2d/35th US Arty also here as were US Dusters. Phuoc Tuy Prov, III Corps.
13 - FSB Buffalo - YS 44-89 In the Courtenay rubber Plantation on the W side of Rte-2, 7 km due W of FSB Flinders, 22 km due N of Nui Dat and 8 km ESE of FSB Wattle. 161 Bty, RNZA (Horsfords Bty 18Mar69-18Sep69) firebase set here 13-19Jul69 (one section). On 13Jul69, 161 fired its 1st "Chieu Hoi" mission using shells packed with Chieu Hoi propaganda leaflets and safe conduct passes for the enemy. And during Jul69, one of the Btys FOs radioed a legendary sit-rep while the RAR unit he was accompanying was in heavy battle: "Every time I put my fucking head up, it gets fucking well shot at, over." On the Long Khan-Phuoc Tuy Prov border, III Corps.
18 - FSB Dampier - YS 36-86 3 km SE of FSB Tasman, 6 km S of FSB Wattle, 8 km W of Rte-2 and 20 km NNW of Nui Dat. During Jun70 (after 14Jun), 161 Bty fired its biggest shoot of the war, during which 184 "serials" pounded the area around FSB Dampier. 161 Bty, RNZA (Horsfords Bty 18Mar69-18Sep69) firebase set here 18-31Jul69 (right section), 19-31Jul69 (left section). Phuoc Tuy Prov, III Corps.
19 - RAAF Bushranger and Dustoff aircraft support C Coy 9 RAR who are in a heavy contact with enemy.
August - 1969
15 - FSB Serle - YS 53-61 4 km E of FSB Horseshoe on Rte-23, 13 km ESE of Nui Dat. 161 Bty, RNZA (Horsfords Bty 18Mar69-18Sep69) firebase set here 15-31Aug69. "A generously set out FSB, a factor that allowed the Bty to lay out a [3-hole] golf course,". Phuoc Tuy Prov, III Corps.
17 - 26. A fierce battle breaks out in the Que Son Valley, 30 miles south of Da Nang. More than 60 Americans are killed in the fighting.
21 - RAAF No 9 Sqn helicopter A2-281 is damaged by ground fire supporting 5 RAR who had suffered 14 wounded in a heavy fire fight with enemy troops.
24 - FSB Janet (Xuyen Moc) - YS 65-68 On Rte-23, 22 km due E of Nui Dat, 1 km S of FSB Wells, 7 km E of FSB Serle, 12 km ENE of Dat Do and situated at one end of the Xuyen Moc Airstrip. 161 Bty, RNZA (Horsfords Bty 18Mar69- 18Sep69) firebase set here 24-31Aug69. Phuoc Tuy Prov, III Corps.
31 - FSB Wells - YS 65-69 N of Xuyen Moc, 1 km N of FSB Janet, 23 km E of Nui Dat, 18 km NE of Dat Do and 13 km SE of FSB Wilton. 161 Bty, RNZA (Horsfords Bty 18Mar69-18Sep69) firebase set here 31Aug- 10Sep69. Phuoc Tuy Prov, III Corps.
Morgan Gallup Poll finds 55% of Australians want our troops brought home from Vietnam.
September - 1969
4 . The death of Ho Chi Minh, aged 79 years.
15 - HMAS Vendetta departs Sydney on Vietnam deployment.
16. Further troop withdrawals of 6,000 announced by the US.
21. Thirty-five B-52s drop more than one thousand tons of bombs on North Vietnamese targets near the DMZ (demilitarized zone) between North and South Vietnam.
28 - HMAS Vendetta relieves HMAS Brisbane at Subic Bay.
October - 1969
3 - 7 RAR and 106 Field battery are warned for active service in Vietnam.
4 - Morgan Gallup Poll finds 58% of Australians believe the Vietnam War was a mistake.
8 - Laos requests increased aid from the US to meet Communist aggression.
15 - Massive war demonstraions in America.
Between February and October 1969 - Australian B Sqn Tanks have been involved in 39 seperate operations.
October 1969, one year after the start of the SEALORDS campaign, Communist military forces in the Mekong Delta were under heavy pressure. The successive border interdiction barriers delayed and disrupted the enemy's resupply and troop replacement from Cambodia. The raiding operations hit vulnerable base areas and the Sea Float deployment put allied forces deep into what had been a Viet Cong sanctuary. In addition, American and Vietnamese forces captured or destroyed over 500 tons of enemy weapons, ammunition, food, medicines, and other supplies. Furthermore, 3,000 Communist soldiers were killed and 300 were captured at a cost of 186 allied men killed and 1,451 wounded.
November. - 1969
Massive anti-war demonstrations across the USA.
3 - President Nixon's Speech on "Vietnamisation"
15 - More than 250,000 protesters gather in Washington, D.C., in the largest antiwar demonstration to occur during the Vietnam war.
17 - 8 RAR Main Body depart Australia on HMAS Sydney.
18 - 8 RAR Advance Party Depart Eagle farm - Brisbane - for Siagon.
25 - 8 RAR officially "take over" operational duties from 9 RAR.
28 - 8 RAR arrive at Vung Tau and depart for Nui Dat. 9 RAR departs for Australia.
December - 1969
1 - 28. 1 ATF conduct Operation 'Marsden'. Main Unit: 6 RAR/NZ.
1-8 8 RAR conduct familiarization training at Nui Dat.
9 - 9 RAR arrive home at Port Adelaide, Australia.
10 - 8 RAR deploy to AO Ashgrove to begin OP "Atherton".
FSB Peggy - YS 43-83 On the N edge of the Cu Bi Rubber Plantation, 6 km NNW of Duc Tanh, 2 km W of Rte-2, 3 km SW of FSB Kylie and 16 km due N of Nui Dat. 161 Bty, RNZA (Andrews Bty 18Sep-6Sep70) firebase set here 11Dec69-10Jan70. Phuoc Tuy Prov, III Corps.
12 - 8 RAR has first Operational Contact. 1 Pl A Coy engages enemy. 6 X 1 Pl members are wounded by RPG.
15 - President Nixon announces the withdrawal of a further 50,000 US troops by April 1970.
23 - Australian A Sqn Tanks replace B Sqn.
25 - Christmas Truce.
15 - President Nixon announces the withdrawal of a further 50,000 troops by April 1970.
18 - US Congress forbids the introduction of ground troops to Laos and Thailand.
21 - Thailand announces the withdrawal of its 12,000 troops for Vietnam. Filipino troops have already departed. South Korea will continue to maintain its 50,000 force.
31 - Nixon begins withdrawing troops from Vietnam. By the end of the year, US troops are down to 479,000. In 1969, 9,414 Americans are killed in Vietnam.
Pluto Fire Missions - The Royal Australian Artillerys nickname
of H & I (Harassment and Interdiction) fire missions.
Services Correctional Establishment Prison at Vung Tau run by the ANZAC Forces.
The Hoa Long Dance - Hoa Long was a VC-controlled village just outside 1st ATF FSB Horseshoe. As a practical joke, newly arrived NZ and Australian replacements were told to dress up in their best uniform and report to the bases main gate for a bus that would take them to the "Hoa Long Dance." Dutifully, many would show up and mill about, waiting for a bus that never came!
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