5RAR Association Website
operations conducted 1969-70


 

australian infantryman's combat badge
operation tong

7 June - 8 June 1966

Captain Mick Battle

 

While B and D Companies were busy in Binh Ba, C Company was reacted to Hoa Long on the 1ATF southern perimeter. It had been reported by a prisoner captured by the Vietnamese Regional Forces that there were up to two hundred Viet Cong occupying the north-western sector of the village. This force had successfully resisted artillery and Regional Force efforts to dislodge them.

With a troop of tanks and a troop of APC's, C Company crossed their start line at 1630 hours (2.30 pm.) It soon became obvious that the village people ( mainly women and children) had remained in the enemy held sector. At about 1700 hours the right flank came under heavy RPG fire from a group of enemy in houses. Sniper fire from trees was directed at the advancing troops, particularly at the HQ group. Vicious fire exchanges continued until dark and C Company was told to stay in Hoa Long overnight as the enemy were expected to return under cover of darkness to recover his bodies and weapons. Consequently the company occupied the area of twenty three enemy fighting pits and although some torch movement was seen during the night, no contact was made. The enemy had escaped by hiding their weapons and mingling with the fleeing civilians.

On the morning of 8 June, a further search was conducted and assorted enemy ammunition was found. The time allowed only superficial searches of the houses. In one instance, the RF (Regional Forces) captured after C Company had moved out, four VC in a well inside the night position of the company.

Again the initial estimate of the enemy strength had proved a little optimistic. A more realistic figure for the enemy strength was fifty. The enemy force was identified by captured documents as the Chau Duc District Unit Company.


 

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