Thoan Thang 1; 21 Apr - 7 Jun 1968
Units InvolvedA Sqn 3 Cav Regt
C Sqn 1 Armd Regt
l2 Fd Regt
1 Fd Regt RAA
1 RAR & 3 RAR
161 (Indep) Recce Flt
Battle Background1 ATF mounted this operation through Long Ichan and Bien Hoa Province to disrupt enemy forces massing for attacks on the Saigon/Cholon area and Bien Hoal/Long Binh Complex. The major battles were fought at FSB Coral and
Balmoral, 20km north of Bien Hoa. SB Coral was occupied by 1 RAR.
On the night’s 12th/13th May and 15th/16th May 68, 1RAR and supporting elements repulsed enemy attacks in battalion and regimental strength. 3RAR and supporting elements at FSB Balmoral repulsed battalion and regimental attacks on 26th and 28th May 68. Enemy attempts to launch attacks from the north against Long Binh and Saigon were also frustrated. Infiltration routes were also disrupted.
DescriptionAfter heavy NVA Regimental size attacks on FSB Coral, C Sqn, 1 Armd Regt, was ordered to move from Nui Dat to FSB Coral on the 22 May 68. On the 26th and 28th May FSB Coral was again bombarded by mortar, reinforced by recoilless rifle and rocket fire. This was later found to be in support of the enemy assaults on FSB Balmoral, which had been occupied on the 24/25th May. After heavy NVA Regimental size attacks on FSB Coral, C Sqn, 1 Armd Regt, was ordered to move from Nui Dat to FSB Coral on the 22 May 68. On the 26th and 28th May FSB Coral was again bombarded by mortar, reinforced by recoilless rifle and rocket fire. This was later found to be in support of the enemy assaults on FSB Balmoral, which had been occupied on the 24/25th May.
Offensive operations had commenced from the time Coral had first been occupied. With the insertion of 1 ATF into AO Surfers, the enemy divisions were continually provoked by the positioning of FSB Balmoral and by aggressive patrolling. The major actions are only recounted at this stage. On 25th May, at 07:30hrs, B Coy 1 RAR, with 2 Troop, C Sqn 1 Armd Regt, departed for FSB Balmoral, with 3 RAR some 6000m away. En-route and just before midday, the force struck the outskirts of an enemy defended base some 2500m north of Coral. There was a sharp action and the group broke contact to allow air strikes to be directed at the enemy position. The tanks remained at Balmoral with 3 RAR.
On the 26th D Coy 1 RAR, with 1 Troop C Sqn, 1 Armd Regt, left FSB Coral to engage the enemy position found the previous day. Without pausing to allow air strikes to be put down on the enemy position, the tanks and infantry began to assault the enemy position. With Tanks leading, the infantry commenced to clear the position, which was heavily fortified and vigorously defended. Using a combination of tank fire and flamethrowers from the assault pioneer platoon of 1 RAR, the battle continued from bunker to bunker until 15:00hrs. The engagement was then broken off due to failing light and the necessity for the group to return to FSB Coral in order to assist in the protection of FSB Balmoral.
On the 30th a further heavy action occurred within the Coral patrol zone. C Coy 1RAR, had made contact with a reinforced enemy regular company at 08:30hrs and been pinned down by mortar fire, RPG and small arms fire after penetrating part way into the enemy defended position. The Coy was reinforced at 1O:OOhrs by APC's of 1 Tp, A Sqn 3 Cav Regt, which could not penetrate the jungle, and 1 Troop C Sqn, 1 Armd Regt. They assaulted the enemy position to allow the extrication of C Coy. The company, which had been stopped and pinned down, was slowly being encircled, and was coming under increasingly accurate enemy mortar fire. The action was broken off at 11:55hrs after the company had mounted the APC's of 1 Tp A Sqn 3 Cav, and withdrawn under cover of the tank gunfire.
Own; 24 K1A, 100 WIA, including 5 US soldiers
Enemy; 237 K1A, 56 K1A not confirmed. 13 POW