5RAR Tiger Logo 5RAR on Operations

 

5RAR at Long Binh 10 March 1969Long Binh
March 1969

As a result of a significant enemy threat to the US bases in the Long Binh-Bien Hoa area, HQ 1ATF, 4 RAR (Royal Australian Regiment) and 9RAR were deployed from Nui Dat to the east of the massive American Long Binh base which had been subjected to regular VC rocket attacks. The major threat was from 5 VC Division including 274 and 275 VC Regiments as well as elements of 33 and 95A VC Regiments. On 10 March 1969 5RAR occupied the dustbowl that was Fire Support Base Kerry and took over responsibility for AO (Area of Operations) Arunda from 9RAR as part of Operation Federal.
     In late March 1969 D Company was redeployed south-east into AO Manuka by APCs from A Squadron 3 Cavalry Regiment. This photograph was taken in the misty early morning of D Company’s redeployment and shows the troops preparing to mount up for the move.
     The new area of operations in dense jungle led to D Company discovering the base camp for the major enemy HQ MR7. The enemy reacted quickly with machine guns, RPGs and automatic weapons, pinning 11 Platoon down. 12 Platoon was sent to help 11 Platoon extract itself, but 12 Platoon also became involved in a battle in a large enemy bunker system and came under heavy enemy fire as it tried to move. Gunship helicopters were called in to suppress the enemy positions by firing within fifteen yards of the forward D Company troops, enabling the casualties to be extracted.
     A subsequent assault by D Company was supported by tanks from A Squadron 1 Armoured Regiment. The enemy bunker system was found to comprise a large command post, a hospital bunker and twenty-eight fighting bunkers which had been occupied for a long time. A 'Hoi Chanh' (VC defector) revealed later that at the time of the contact, the VC commander of MR7 was in conference in the base camp with three of his regimental commanders. Unfortunately these prize commanders escaped but their long-term base was destroyed and the enemy units forced from them.

 

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