5RAR Association Website
operations conducted 1966 - 67


 

australian infantryman's combat badge
operation roadside

13 May - 22 May 1969

Captain Mike Battle

 

During Op Twickenham, a significant ground and rocket threat to the US Long Binh base (one of the largest military complexes in the world) developed. 5 RAR was given twenty four hours notice to move from where it was deployed in AO (Area of Operations) Illawarra onto a new AO Kangaroo, slightly east of the previous AO Arunda on Route 1.

Prisoners captured in fighting around Xuan Loc stated that the objective of 5 VC Division was 18 ARVN Division at Xuan Loc. Success in this area could have lead to the expansion of this objective westwards against Long Binh. 5 RAR was to block any enemy movement from east to west.

On 13 May 5 RAR moved by air and road to AO Kangaroo. Fire Support Base Nick was established and the companies moved out on foot to search the AO. If the enemy thrust proved imminent in this phase, plans for a battalion defensive battle would be actioned. a forward echelon for resupply was established in the Long Binh base and the Deputy Commander 1ATF moved to Bien Hoa command centre as the senior Australian representative.

The only real contact made during the eight day operation was on the evening of 13 May when 3 Platoon  A Company met ten VC on the corner of the Tram Bom rubber plantation. One VC was captured who died of wounds during evacuation.

After a reasonably successful attack against a US battery in Xuan Loc, the enemy offensive faltered. Since Long Binh and Bien Hoa were again considered safe, 5 RAR left Nick and went back to the war in AO Illawarra.

It was very strongly rumoured at the time that the 5 VC Division abandoned their offensive because they heard that the 'Tigers' were waiting!'


 

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