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Chronology/Operations - Period  - 1971

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. CDT=Clearance Diving Team.
Art = Artillery. Bty = Battery. Coy = Company. Bde = Brigade. APC = Armoured Personnel Carriers.Tp = Troop. Cav = Cavalry.

January - 1971 - The withdrawal of the Australian Forces in Vietnam.
2 - FSB Bruiser - YS 64-65 3 Km S of Xuyen Moc, 18 km ESE of Nui Dat, 5 km SE of FSB Beth and 4 km SSW of FSB Allisoun. Built on firm white sand that caused sandstorms when Chinooks arrived to resupply. 161 Bty, RNZA (Master’s Bty 22Sep70-29Mar71) firebase set here  2-28Jan71. Prov, III Corps.
27 - New Zealand Government announces the withdrawl of  SAS Rangers, they are not to be replaced.

February - 1971
1 - 21.
7 RAR conduct their final Operation in Vietnam. Op "Phoi Hop".
4 -
2 Sqn SAS advance party arrives at Nui Dat.
- South Vietnamese troops invade Laos with US air support in an attempt to destroy NVA strongholds and infiltration routes.
15 -
3 RAR main body departs Adelaide, Australia on HMAS Sydney.
18 - 1 Sqn SAS returns to Australia.
20 - The New Zealand SAS Troop depart for New Zealand.
25 -
The 3 RAR arrives at Vung Tau to relieve 7 RAR who depart on HMAS Sydney.

March  - 1971
10 -
7 RAR arrive in Sydney, Australia completing their second and final tour of Vietnam.
10 - John Gorton is replaced by William McMahon as Australian Prime Minister.
14 - RAAF Canberra Bomber A84-228 is shot down by a Surface to Air Missile(SAM). The crew are rescued.
16 -
HMAS Brisbane departs Sydney on its second deployment to Vietnam.
29 - FSB Beth - YS 60-67 16 km ESE of Nui Dat, 1 km W of Rte-328, 12 km NE of Dat Do, 12 km SE of FSB Longreach and 5 km SSW of Xuyen Moc. 161 Bty, RNZA (Master’s Bty 6Sep70-8May71) firebase set here 29Mar-7Apr71. Apparently a Bty of US medium arty here as well although unit is unknown. Phuoc Tuy Prov, III Corps.
- Australian Prime Minister William McMahon announces  withdrawl(Real Audio) of 1,000 troops during the next 3 months including RAAF No2 Squadron and 4 Caribou from No 35 Squadron.
31 - RAAF No2 Sqn dust-off helicopter is hit by ground fire and 1 crew member is fatally wounded.

April  - 1971
- President Nixon announces a further withdrawal of US troops of 100,000.
17 -  RAAF No2 Sqn dustoff helicopter A2-767 is shot down supporting ARVN Regional Forces. 3  are killed and 3 wounded.
30 - Australian Minister for Navy announces CDT3 and RANHFV will be withdrawn from Vietnam.

May  - 1971
13 -
4 RAR main body depart Townsville.
- 4 RAR arrive in Vietnam and "chopper" off HMAS Sydney directly to Nui Dat. They relieve 2 RAR who depart on HMAS Sydney. 4 Troop C Sqn Tanks depart Vietnam - not to be replaced due to a phase out of Tank support.
31 - RAAF No2 Squadron Canberra Jet Bombers fly their last mission in Vietnam. The contribution by No 2 Sqn over four years was; 11,963 sorties(of which 11,696 were combat missions), dropping 76,389 bombs for the loss of two aircraft.

June - 1971
1 -
2 RAR arrive at Townsville, Australia.
Three No 35 Sqn RAAF Caribous depart Vung Tau for Australia is part of the Australian forces reduction, leaving 4 aircraft for operational duties at Vung Tau.
4 - No 2 Sqn RAAF Canberra Bombers(total 8) depart Phan Rang for Australia.
5 - 1 ATF conduct Operation 'Overlord'.
- 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment engages enemy in the "Battle of Long Khan"
RAAF helicopter A2-723 crashes and is destroyed by fire. Two crew are killed with 2 injured.
8 - RANHFV pilots cease flying operations.
13 - "Pentagon Papers" are published in the New York Times.
26 - Peace Proposal of the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam
30 - Third and final anti-war rally. 110,000 demonstrate across Australian cities.
Protest and Dissent - 1971(Real Audio)
An Australian Protestor's Perspective

July - 1971
14 - The last of RAAF No2 Sqn (rear party) hand over to the USAF and depart Phan Rang.
29 - 3 RAR and 4 RAR conduct Operation 'Iron Fox'. C Coy 4 RAR locates a strongly defended bunker system near Suoi Ca. Heavy fighting takes place.The Battle of Suoi Ca.

August  - 1971
- Australian Naval Staff Office(HQ AFV) is closed down.
18 - Australian Government announces that the 1st Australian Task Force will be withdrawn by late December , with logistics units shortly after. New Zealand also announce their withdrawal. HMAS Brisbane is not to be replaced. Some training and advisory elements would remain.

September  - 1971
- South Korea announce the withdrawal of their 48,000 troops by June 1972.
18 - 4 RAR commence Op "Ivanhoe".
21 - . D Coy 4 RAR engage a battalion of the the 33rd Regiment at Nui Le. An intense fight sees 5 Australians killed and 30 wounded. The Battle of Niu Le.
30 - All 1 Armed Regt Centurion Tanks are withdrawn from Vietnam.

October  - 1971
. RAAF Caribous up lift 3 RAR from Nui Dat to Vung Tau and 3 RAR depart Vietnam on HMAS "Sydney".
7 - 2 Sqn SAS advance party depart Vietnam.
10 - RAAF Caribous uplift the SAS from Nui Dat and the main body 2 Sqn SAS departs for Australia. The last SAS Sqn to serve in Vietnam. During its second tour in Vietnam 2 Sqn SAS conducted 100 recce patrols and 67 fighting patrols.

November  - 1971
6 - HMAS Sydney departs Vung Tau with last of Army Units.
7 - 1 ATF completes its withdrawal with the departure of the last Infantry Battalion, 4 RAR. The base at Nui Dat is handed over to the ARVN and eventually falls into disrepair. The RAAF complete there last uplift from Nui Dat.
Brigadier Ian Geddes - Commander, Australian Residual Forces in 1972 - Nui Dat,
"It was eerie. I had been there back in 1966 when it was crowded with thousands of young soldiers with a purpose. Now there was no-one. Just the empty husks of corrugated iron buildings, often half stripped by local scavengers ratting for timber and iron. The weeds were coming back everywhere. It was a military ghost town".
- President Nixon announces a further withdrawal of US troops of 45,000 by December and January 1972.
19 - The last missions are flown by the RAAF No 9 Sqn helicopters. During the five and a half years in Vietnam the unit's helicopters had flown 237,000 sorties, carried over 414,000 passengers, 4,000 casevacs and 12,000 tonnes of freight. The Sqn suffered 7 aircraft destroyed or written off and 37 damaged, 23 by ground fire. 4 members of the unit were killed.

December - 1971
8 - Last major withdrawal of Australian Troops from Vietnam on HMAS Sydney.
9 - Australian Government announces that the Australian Army Assistance Group Vietnam(AAAGV) consisting mainly of AATTV will remain in Vietnam.
17 - The HMAS Sydney anchors off Caloundra(QLD) to discharge 9 Sqn Helicopters and subsequently form a fly-past over Brisbane.
26-30 . North Vietnamese troop build up. US planes attack military targets.
Between 1968 and until the end of 1971, US naval air units averaged 1,000 to 2,500 strike sorties in Laos and South Vietnam. In this three- year period, the Navy dropped over 700,000 tons of ordnance on the enemy, while losing 130 aircraft and many of their crews.

Australian Government Office Bearers - 1971
Prime Minister
10 January 1968 - 10 March 1971    John Grey Gorton
12 March 1971 - 5 December 1972    William McMahon
Minsiter for External Affairs
12 November 1969 - 22 March 1971    William McMahon
22 March 1972 - 5 December 1972    Nigel Hubert Bowen
Minister of Defence
12 November 1969 - 8 March 1971    John Malcolm Fraser
10 March 1971 - 13 August 1971     John Grey Gorton
13 August 1971 - 4 December 1972    David Eric Fairbairn
United States
1 June 1970 - 7 February 1974    Sir James Plimsoll
29 December 1970 - 26 July 1973    Arthur Malcolm Morris

Operations 1972

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Last modified: June 05, 1998