Commander's Diaries

 

C Squadron

11 February 1968 - 10 February 1969 

10 February 1968:
1530hrs: 

1st Armoured Regiment held a farewell parade for the main party of C Squadron and Workshops rear party.  C Squadron marched off to the strains of the RAAC Band playing Waltzing Matilda.  A large crowd was present to watch the unit leave.
   
1924hrs:  

A train carrying the above party left Seymour Station. The RAAC Band was there and again many tearful relatives.  Notable visitors were Lt Col I J Wilton, CO 1st Armoured Regiment, Brigadier K Colwill, Chief of Staff,   Southern Command, and Brigadier D O Jackson, Area Commander, Puckapunyal.  All expressed their confidence in the usefulness of the Centurion in SVN'.  
 

12 February 1968:
The flight was excellent - good breakfast at Singapore and everyone pretty excited.
LSM Clive Steele arrived carrying two ARVs and two AVLBs; the first armoured vehicles to arrive from Australia.


13 February 1968:
Day spent erecting tents, filling sandbags and getting the messes underway.  There was so much sweat lost by the newly arrived, who at this stage were not acclimatised.  The bright red dust, added to the sweat, made most of the squadron appear as red Indians by the end of the day.

 

24 February 1968:
Jeparit arrived at last.  Crews worked under Techo most of the night to 
offload tanks and stores.  Tanks were lifted by "Big John", a huge floating crane, and placed into Land Craft Utility (LCUs).  They were then taken to a 'hard' and driven ashore.  The first tank onto SVN soil was 169099, driven by Sgt N J Callis and commanded by Capt B R Sullivan.

27 February 1968:
1500hrs:     

The first load of tanks arrived at Song Dinh hard.  The following call signs were included:  31, 31A, 31B, 31C, 92A, 36, 36A, 36B.  By 1700hrs all tanks were in position at Nui Dat.

28 February 1968: 
1545hrs:     

The remaining tanks arrived: 32, 32A, 32B, 32C, 92C, 30D, 30E

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 March 1968:

Squadron training program began, morning devoted to instruction on: zeroing, MG shooting, FCE checks. A zeroing shoot was conducted during the afternoon and all tanks completely zeroed took part in night shoot with IR.


6 March 1968:

Tank dozers were being prepared to move to FSB HERRING on 8 March.  They were to conduct land clearing operations in the Light Green to prevent enemy infiltrations from the Long Hais to the Long Green
 

7 March 1968:

The dozer group moved with 2 Troop A Squadron to FSB Herring.  On route the first 20 pdr round was fired in anger by 92A.  It was fired into a tongue of jungle which was suspected of being an ambush position.
 

10 March 1968:

Both dozer tanks were breaking down regularly and front idlers were broken.  This is unusual and it is thought that the sandy soil may be responsible.

11-13 March 1968:

Squadron shakedown exercise designed to introduce everyone to the ground, vegetation, weather and general troop movement.

 

15 March 1968:

During night 2 Troop engaged lights in the Nui Dinh hills.  The lights were soon extinguished.

 

16 March 1968:

Remainder of Squadron moved to join dozers at FSB Herring for the start of Operation PINNAROO.

 

18 March 1968:

C Squadron less 2 Troop moved to 4952 to give fire support for 3RAR's move into the Long Hais.  2 Troop moved with D Company 3RAR to establish Forming Up Place and Start Line for next day's move by A Company 3RAR.
 

19 March 1968:

2 Troop fired into hills in support of A Company advance.

 

20 March 1968:

Callsign 32 went to the aid of  6 Platoon 3RAR who were in contact.  Some difficulty in finding the right area and the sounds of firing were the only guide.  The tanks led the platoon out of the jungle, engaging one area en route.
 

25 March 1968:

2 Troop moved from FSB Herring to support 2RAR on Operation ASHGROVE TRAM, a cordon and search of Long Hai.  32B experienced a broken idler on the way.
 

26 March 1968:

1 Troop in fire support position while 1 Tp A Sqn 3 Cav conducted sweep.  Cav were fired on, threw smoke and tanks engaged area to west of smoke.
 

30 March 1968:

2 Troop set off for ambush.  On way ordered to link up with D Coy 3RAR.  32 developed engine problems and changed to 32C.  D Coy had received info from a wounded VC that there were several VC in the cellar of a house.  Nothing found.  Ambush set up on beach to try and catch sampans moving stores/people.  None sighted that night

 

1 April 1968:

C Squadron came under Operational Control of 2RAR/NZ prior to commencement of Operation COOKTOWN ORCHID.
 

2-4 April 1968:

Remained at FSB Herring preparing for infantry/tank training with W Company.
 

6 April 1968:

C Squadron's first independent operation.  It's purpose was to investigate the Light Green.  After the minefield from Dat Do to the coast was breeched, a base camp was established and APC
Section/troop/platoon groups conducted recon in force.  At 1630hrs 1 Troop were in contact.

 

7 April 1968:

Further recon was conducted without incident.  An old base camp was located and destroyed.
 

10 April 1968:

 The force was extracted yesterday.  2 Troop joined W Company and with engineer support the tanks would attempt to detonate the mines in the field.  Remainder of Squadron at the Horseshoe.
 

11 April 1968:

2 Troop entered minefield, but tracks were broken and suspension units damaged.  The operation was called off.
 

13 April 1968:

1 Troop involved in Operation COOKTOWN ORCHID VI...a recce in force with A Sqn 3 Cav through the Long green.  2 Troop joined the land clearing team. 
 

16 April 1968:

 Both 1 Troop and 2 Troop back in Nui Dat.  Mechanical problems had hindered 1 Troop and tested the resupply system.  in all, this was a good introduction for C Squadron.  

 

17-20 April 1968:

Infantry/Tank/Cav training continued with all members of 1RAR.  Each company and troop carried out the following program: firing demo; talk by OC to officers and senior NCOs; infantry/Tank target indication; overnight harbour with company/troop/Cav troop group.


21-30 April 1968:

The squadron remained at Nui Dat and engineers tried to develop a mine destroyer to mount on a tank. During this period all infantry were committed and tanks deployed around Nui Dat to assist in base defence.

 

1-10 May 1968:

Callsign 32C was fitted with large 'eye' beams back and front to assist mine clearing.  The remainder of the squadron continued building the base and undergoing a comprehensive gunnery program.

 

11 May 1968:

 2Tp deployed with 1ARU to location near Long PHUOC Hai to attempt further mine clearance.
 

12-13 May 1968:

Mine clearance commenced and approx 200 mines were detonated before the operation was stopped as too much damage was being done to the tanks. 2Tp returned to Nui Dat and 1 Tp was
committed as protection for land clearing operations east of Binh Ba.

 

14-19 May 1968:

1 Tp continued in support of LCT.  During this period 30D detonated a mine on Route 2  

 

20 May 1968:

1 Tp returned to Nui Dat.

 

22 May 1968:

C Sqn was called forward to FSB Coral.  This was the longest haul the tanks had faced and everyone was looking forward to the challenge.  North of Blackhorse 92A struck a mine and ripped off a suspension unit.   The Sqn arrived at Long Binh at 1830hrs and was accommodated at 11 ACR staging area.

23 May 1968:

The Squadron arrived at FSB Coral at 1430hrs.  The vehicles were located

on the perimeter by virtue of the layout.  2 Troop was warned for a move to

FSB Balmoral to support 3RAR operations.

 

24 May 1968:

There was a lot of minor repair work to be carried out and 2Tp prepared to

move to Balmoral the following day.
 

25 May 1968:

2Tp with B Coy 1RAR moved to FSB Balmoral and had a contact. They were

in location by 1500hrs that afternoon.
 

26 May 1968

0330hrs:

2Tp and FSB Balmoral received an attack by fire and a ground assault by

large enemy force. During that day 1Tp followed up the contact 2Tp were

involved in the previous day.  They moved with D Coy 1RAR and had a

successful day.
 

27 May 1968:

Both troops remained in their respective FSB s.
 

28 May 1968:

Coral received mortar and RPG attack.  Balmoral received fire and ground attack.  Crew members on callsign 32 were wounded in the initial mortar attack on Balmoral.  During the day 1Tp with B Coy 1RAR conducted reconnaissance in force operations with minor contact

 

30 May 1968:

Lt McCormack and Cpl Reeves moved to assist C Coy 1RAR after a heavy contact.  The use of the tanks in this situation was the major factor in upsetting the enemy and allowing C Coy to break contact.

 

31 May 1968:

Coral received mortar and RPG fire at approx 0200hrs.  Balmoral received fire into their perimeter that afternoon.