2 May - 13
Captain Mike Battle
in Nui Dat after
surfside, 5 RAR was inserted by foot and
APCs to ambush the
approaches of the Nui Thi Vai and Nui Toc Tien. The AO (Area
of Operations) was Illawarra.
The Nui Thi
Vai feature had been cleared for years, and virulent rumours
attesting to the enemy strength and fortifications in the
mountains, were heard.
photography showed some of then enemy positions. Some caves
were tourist attractions during the period of French
occupation. These, possibly, would now be enemy hospitals or
living areas. Although there were evidence of a lot of track
activity no occupied enemy camps were known prior to the
thought to have an unknown size force around Nui Thi Vai and
agents had reported a company of D445 Local Force Battalion
moving to the Nui Dinh's. Route 15 village guerrilla units
were known to have bases in AO Illawarra and it was thought
that the enemy logistic unit was operating from the eastern
side of the Nui Thi Vai mountains.
morning of 3 May the battalion headquarters group move by
road into Fire Support Base Susan, just off Route 15. The
companies went into ambush positions around the mountain on
foot with D Company coming in from the east in APCs from Nui
became evident that the track A Company was on was part of a
major track system leading in and out of the northern
valley. They ambushed numerous groups of enemy and killed
nine in four days. An indication of the fanatical fortitude
of these enemy was seen in one of the contacts. An enemy
officer was wounded in a contact by 1 Platoon late on 6 May.
2 Platoon moved into an ambush position in that vicinity and
that night heard yelling and moaning to their front and
received three shots into their position. Then there was
quite. Early on 7 May this platoon moved to locate and, if
possible capture the wounded enemy. Seventy yards from the
ambush the forward scout was fired at by the enemy who was
killed by return fire. This Viet Cong was found to have both
legs shattered by the previous contact, but had still
managed to drag himself away, put tourniquets on his upper
legs, fire into the ambush positions, prop himself against a
tree on the track, and although near death from loss of
blood, to fire at the searching party. A courageous man!
was the order of the day when A Company was met by elements
of D67 in the northern valley of the Nui Thi Vai's. 1
Platoon was met by an aggressive group of VC firing from
prepared defensive positions in caves.
Lieutenant John Lee
took a small group and set off up the steep rocky slope to
reconnoiter the enemy position. About half way up the
mountain this party was hit by heavy aimed small arms fire,
grenades and RPG's. The
Platoon Commander was hit in a fire lane and the remainder
of this party were pinned down behind a rock ledge.
Sergeant A. B. McNulty
was sent from 3 Platoon with a section to provide fire
support. When he arrived at the contact area he decided to
move around to the right flank and move up the slope with
his section to locate the wounded officer. Neither air or
artillery fire support could be used because of the location
of the platoon commander and the proximity of our own
obvious that the enemy intended to stand their ground and
fight. B and C Companies were moved into cut off positions
on the south and west. D Company was sent up the mountain
from the east, with orders to assault the enemy positions
reached the group that was pinned down and extracted them by
fire. He was shown where the wounded man was. Throughout
this time this group was being engaged by heavy
Lance-Corporal K. C. Bell, without waiting for instructions,
dashed across a known fire lane to the platoon commander and
was shot in the neck and cheek. he indicated that he was all
right by commenting (in colourful terms) on the Viet Congs'
shooting abilities. he was then extracted from the enemy's
line of fire when two other soldiers dashed forward under
the cover of heavy machine gun fire and dragged him to
throwers were then brought up.
Corporal W. Ward
directed the flame at the enemy position and was immediately
fired on by enemy RPG's.
Under the cover of the flame Private Williams, Private
Donnelly and Private Leahy dashed out and dragged the body
of the platoon commander back across twenty yards of open
ground. The group then withdrew back to the company position
in the valley. This contact lasted seven hours. Heroism was
common place and it was miraculous that that only one other
soldier was wounded.
position was pounded during the night and D Company did the
assault the next morning, but the enemy had withdrawn under
the cover of darkness. It was obvious that the base had been
used for a long time. Captured was a complete enemy workshop
including a furnace and tools.
5 RAR was
then sent north to protect Long Binh on Operation Roadside.
Mission accomplished. Ten days later we were to return to AO
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