Ballarat Analysis Report
and spelling are as close as possible to the
original. A list of abbreviations follows the report]
files, and will take a while to load, but a good way of following
the sequence of events in the op report, or placing Nui Dat in a
broader context. Hopefully more maps to follow.
ANNEX C TO
7 RAR SVN 9/67
DATED 30 SEP 67
A COY OP
Maps XA BINH BA (SE) and XA BINH BA (NE) 1:25,000
A Coy 7 RAR
Maj E.J. O'DONNELL
Op Name Op
050600 - 160900H Aug 67
Move to line BRAVO at GR 362721 by 1600 hrs 5 Aug 67.
Estb coy base for recce and subsequent ambushes in the
"GARDENS" area vic GR 343763 on 6 Aug 67.
Ambush track at GR364784 9 - 11 Aug 67.
Ambush SW corner of rubber plantation at GR 417793 12 - 15
Search area GREYHOUND approx 3000m SOUTH of the previous
ambush posn on 15 Aug 67.
Sequence of Events. See Appendix 1.
Assessment of Op
The initial plan for secrecy was well carried out,
especially by the RAAF who completed a large resup on the ni
of 5 Aug 67 in 2 mins 40 secs. It is well worthwhile
restricting helicopters, air-strikes, and artillery in the
early stages of such an operation in the interests of
A separate assessment of the major engagement on 6 Aug 67 is
included in the Engagement Report. In brief the coy
fought a battle with C12 Coy 3 Bn 274 Regt, and inflicted an
estimated 40 casualties on the VC, as well as capturing a
number of enemy weapons and documents. The engagement
confirmed that although the mainforce VC are brave and
skilful fighters, through the employment of close fire sp
and airpower we can achieve a decisive advantage once
contact is made.
OC A Coy
ANNEX C TO 7 RAR
DATED 30 SEP 67
|5 Aug 67
was the final day of a three days Coy search
op in the NW corner of the 7 RAR TAOR.
A number of ambushes were laid, including one
at GR 351718 where there is a junction of
several tracks. At 1145 hrs a recce ptl
from 1 Pl moving out from the ambush spotted
two VC, one armed, but were also seen by the
enemy who disappeared before an aimed shot
could be fired.
At 1900 hrs
the coy was resupplied at GR 362721 by four
Iroquois - the whole resup was completed in 2
mins 40 secs. This was done to preserve
the security of the operation in the initial
stages. The SAS insertion technique was
|6 Aug 67
towards the projected base in the
"GARDENS" area, the Coy crossed the
SUOI CHAU PHA at about 1040 hrs. 2 Pl,
who were leading, reported a fresh VC track
at GR 344742 and were ordered to ambush it
while the OC moved fwd to examine the
area. At 1045 hrs two armed VC walked
into the ambush and were killed.
A major contact then developed which is
described in detail in the attached
Engagement Report. Following the
contact, and after resup, the coy harboured
at GR 345744.
|7 Aug 67
coy was ordered to remain in its overnight
loc until B Coy had closed from the
NORTH. However B Coy found signs of the
en and were delayed by a contact during the
day. At 1130 hrs one armed VC dressed
in greens walked along a track towards a 2 Pl
sentry. The sentry fired at and wounded
the VC who escaped leaving a blood
trail. It should have been a certain
kill but the sentry fired too quickly - in
fairness to him it should be mentioned that
he had joined the coy as a reinforcement on
the night of 5 Aug, and had been in the
middle of the 6 Aug engagement, and was
At 1700 hrs
the coy was ordered to move NORTH to link up
with B Coy. This was impossible before
dark because of the tangled undergrowth
caused by airstrikes and artillery, and the
coy harboured at GR 346755, 300m SW of B Coy.
|8 Aug 67
A Coy had linked up with B Coy, both moved NE
to GR 357778 where a two coy ptl base was
estb. Fresh VC tracks heading NW were
passed at GR 354763.
|9 Aug 67
coy was ordered to act as reaction company
while B Coy searched the surrounding area
ambushes were set on possible approach routes
to the ptl base. At 1500 hrs the
coy was ordered to ambush a track which had
been spotted from a helicopter. This
was done. There were clear signs of a
VC platoon sized group having moved NW along
the track within the previous 24 hrs.
|10 Aug 67
ambush was maintained throughout the day
|11 Aug 67
resup the coy was ordered to move NE as
standby for B Coy. An Iroquois
helicopter reported seeing a mortar 200 m
from the resup point but a search revealed
only an old bomb crater.
subsequent move, when the coy could not
locate the creek junc at GR 374797, it became
clear that the previous ambush posn had been
approx 400 m further NORTH than previously
thought. An aircraft fix was obtained
and the company error adjusted. The coy
harboured at GR 383796.
|12 Aug 67
coy moved to an ambush posn at GR 417793 at
the SW corner of a rubber plantation while
other coys moved to similar positions around
the plantation fringe. Numerous
small and recent VC tracks were found running
NE through squares 4079 and 4179. Local
guerilla movement is probably constant
through the area.
|13 Aug 67
ambush was maintained without contact.
|14 Aug 67
above. Resup was taken at 1230 hours.
|15 Aug 67
coy was ordered to move SOUTH to search to
approx 3000 m from the ambush posn. A
prominent VC track heading WEST was found at
GR 403770 - last used by about a platoon one
week previously. The clearing at GR
395759 was secured for the subsequent fly out
of the Bn.
|16 Aug 67
D Coys flew out to NUI DAT by air mobile Coy
starting at 0820 hrs. The fly out
was efficient and without incident.
APPENDIX 2 TO
ANNEX C TO
7 RAR SVN 9/67
DATED 30 SEP 67
A COY ENGAGEMENT AT GR 344742 ON 6 AUG 67
Introduction. 7 RAR was engaged on a search
and destroy operation named Op BALLARAT in the NW of PHUOC TUY
Province. The initial phase called for the four rifle coys
to move undetected into coy ptl bases within the AO to commence
recce and ambushing with the aim of killing those VC who were in
the area before they realised that an operation was in
progress. A Coy on completion of a 3 day op was to move
from GR 362721 to vic GR343764 to estb such a ptl base on 6 Aug
Initial Contact. 2 Pl, who were leading,
crossed the SUOI CHAU PHA at 1040 hrs and at 1045 hrs reported
finding a track at GR 344742 which had been used only minutes
earlier. OC A Coy told the pl comd, 2Lt G.H. ROSS to move
his pl astride the track and to cover it both ways while he moved
fwd to recce. At 1050 hrs 2 VC armed with slung rifles
moved into the ambush along the track from the WEST and were
killed. The terrain was thick primary jungle with
visibility approx 10 m lying, up to 40 m standing.
OC A Coy who was at the scene of the contact ordered 1 Pl to
move fwd to secure the area while 2 Pl prepared to sweep
along the axis of the track to the WEST in the hope of
finding the remainder of what was thought to be a VC
squad. At the same time the Coy FO fixed arty
from 106 Bty at GR 335745 to cut off the VC escape route.
2 Pl had gone about 100 m along the axis of the track when a
further contact developed. One LMG and several
automatic rifles could be distinguished. 2 VC who were
seen on the track were engaged - probable result 1 VC KIA, 1
VC WIA. Because the fire was coming more from the NW,
the pl comd decided to leave 5 Sect as fire sp while he took
the remainder of the pl in a right flanking attacks towards
As soon as the pl attack got under way, 2 pl ran into heavy
fire from further to the NORTH, and it became apparent that
the VC had by now deployed at least a platoon. Using
fire and mov 2 Pl continued to advance as far as they
could. 3 VC whose bodies were later recovered by
A Coy were killed in this phase, but the VC fire was too
intense and accurate for 2 Pl to continue moving. 2 Pl
had two men killed and a number wounded in very close
fighting. Both sides were throwing grenades and
several of 2 Pl were lightly wounded by shrapnel.
The FO changed the fire of 106 Bty to approx GR 341751 and
then adjusted at FFE within 400 m.
At about 1115 hrs OC A Coy and the FO joined the pl comd of
2 Pl on the right flank approx 100 m NORTH of where the
original fire appeared to be concentrated. The enemy
could be heard shouting in a very agitated manner, and many
were screaming from wounds. It is thought that some of
these may have been women.
The OC ordered 2 Pl to adjust and hold their present posns
so as to be able to bring maximum fire onto the enemy to the
NORTH and NW. 3 Pl were ordered to take over security
of the area of the original contact while 1 Pl, commanded by
2Lt R.C. SMITH, prepared for a right flanking attack using 2
Pl for fire sp. After the pl comd had been briefed, 1
Pl moved around to the right flank and lined up with 2 and 3
Sects fwd, and 1 Sect in res behind 3 Sect on the NORTH
1 Pl started to move fwd carefully at about 1130 hrs with
sect comds directing their men from fire posn to fire posn.
After moving about 50 m the pl had reached opposite the
right flank of 2 Pl when they came under heavy and accurate
en fire from the same enemy who had been firing at 2 Pl plus
enemy further to the NORTH. En wpns distinguished were
4 - 5 LMGs, a number of automatic rifles, and at least one
B40 RL; grenades were also thrown by both sides. The
Sect Comds of 2 and 3 Sects were both killed and 3 Sect in
particular bore the brunt of some very accurate en
fire. 1 Sect turned to face NORTH and were soon
heavily engaged. The pl comd reported that he could
not continue to advance and was ordered to hold where he
was, and by the use of fire and mov to withdraw any exposed
soldiers into a perimeter line.
To deal with the enemy in the NORTH and to try to prevent
the en moving further NE, the FO directed 106 Bty at GR
350750 and adjusted close, at the same time maintaining the
med bty at FFE to the NORTH. The FO adjusted close
with one gun and then ordered 10 rounds FFE with the
adjusting gun. The MPI of this fire was 60m fwd of 1
Pl and two tree bursts were observed. This fire fell
right amongst the en and is believed to have been the
immediate reason which compelled the VC to withdraw.
At the same time the remainder of 106 Bty was firing within
250 m of own tps.
The OC at one stage intended to commit 3 Pl to a further
right flanking attack supported by 1 Pl and 2 Pl.
However it was decided not to do this because arty fire was
too close, and because the layout of the coy would have been
too scattered for effective control. 3 Pl were then
ordered to move fwd to link up with the right flank of
1 Pl, to face NE and to present a continuous curved
perimeter to the enemy. The pl moved into posn as
ordered. They came under en fire from the NE while
they were moving in, but there were no cas, and the en fire
died down after about five minutes.
The en then withdrew using fire and mov and maintaining
excellent fire control to the last. At this stage it
was not know for certain that the en had withdrawn - simply
that the fire was dying down.
At this stage it became nec to stop the arty to evac the
seriously wounded. There were some gunships in the
area and while the casevac was going on they laid down fire
approx 100 m NORTH of 1 Pl and 3 Pl. When the
seriously wounded had been evac, the FO moved 106 Bty fire
NORTH as a cut off. 106 Bty "A" Bty 2/35 US
Army and 7 RAR mortars were fired at 10 rds FFE NORTH and
1 Pl and 3 Pl then carried out a search fwd of their posns.
The en had recovered all their killed and wounded less the 5
VC KIA who had been overrun during the fight, and had left
no eqpt lying around except for fragments of clothing.
They had even carried away most of the brass. There
were many blood-stains and dragmarks to indicate casualties
to total about 40 in the immediate area.
The coy was then laid out in a tighter perimeter around the
helicopter winch point which was the scene of the original
contact at GR 344742. The lightly wounded were evac,
then all surplus eqpt, then finally the dead. At the
same time ammo and med stores were replenished. Ammo
resup was not large because all pls had taken ammo from the
wounded during the casevac.
When reorg was complete, the coy moved to a harbour posn at
GR 345744 for the night.
The M60s performed well throughout the
engagement. Gunners reported a few minor
stoppages caused by the belts becoming twisted or
mudcaked, but these were fixed within seconds.
A debriefing of gunners suggests that link ammo carried
Mexican bandit style was easiest to employ and was the
preferred method. Ammo carried in mattress
covers remained clean, but the gunners had trouble
getting the belt out of the cover without making
themselves conspicuous. Ammo carried in pouches
was all right as long as gunners could reach the pouch
easily. In some cases the pouch was worn on the
back of the belt and was hard to get at.
SLRs and M16s
and M16s appeared to fire satisfactorily throughout the
did not perform well because the dense foliage stopped
the rounds from arming. This criticism is not
meant to condemn a good weapon. It only proves
the point that the M79 should always be carried as a
supplementary wpn, and not as the sole personal wpn.
grenades were thrown at close quarters but only one VC
is known to have been killed by an M26 grenade.
The VC stick grenade appeared to be
effective. The tape around grenades was at
times hard to remove but is still considered necessary
in the interests of day to day safety.
Whilst the current range of wpns can and did perform
well, it is possible that a small anti-tank type wpn
would have been more effective in getting at en behind
such cover as anthills.
Some soldiers favour the idea of an automatic
SLR. While there are advantages in being
able to produce automatic fire, it is felt that the
higher rate of ammo expenditure and the loss of
accuracy might offset any advantages.
A 60 mm mor would have been useful although the
selection of a base plate posn would have presented
The VC are
thought to have had 7 LMGs (Soviet RPD Type 56) firing
at the height of the battle compared with the 6 x M60s
from 1 Pl and 2 Pl. Their fire was extremely
accurate although the round has less penetrating power
than our own long 7.62mm ammo. The VC machine
gunners were aggressive and skilful.
Soviet 7.62mm Assault Rifle AK47 Type 56
has an automatic capability which made it hard to
distinguish between VC rifles and LMGs. The
effectiveness of the rifle appears to be comparable
with the SLR, although the SLR has greater penetrating
Chicom B40 RL
these wpns were reported. The rocket has a
considerable blast and shrapnel effect - for instance
the round which caused the serious wound to Sgt
SUTHERLAND's leg landed on the ground about one metre
away. The launcher is small, only about 1.3 the
bulk of the Carl Gustav, and therefore easier to use in
close country. The VC wpns were coloured
red which made them conspicuous. Loading the
rocket appears to take some time, and one VC was killed
while trying to load for a second shot. One
B40 RL was captured.
stick grenades were effective and appear to have very
considerable shrapnel and blast effect.
Use of Fire Sp
a. Close sp arty
The FO did
an outstanding hob in getting fire on the ground where
it was required. As mentioned earlier in this
report, he brought FFE from one gun to within 60m of
own tps with the result that the VC were forced to
withdraw, and must have taken casualties. The
close sp fire from 106 Bty was extremely
accurate. In all, 106 Bty fire over 800 rounds.
was fired in the cut off role throughout the contact.
the bn mors were out of range. As the contact
developed they were flown to a new posn within range.
were circling the area whenever DUSTOFF ac were in the
vicinity. They were used on three occasions
to fire on the en immediately in front of 1
Pl. The method of tgt indication was to
throw smoke from the furthest NORTH part of 1 Pl and
then instruct the pilot to make EAST-WEST runs firing
no closer than 30 m NORTH of the smoke. This
seemed to work although there was no means of knowing
what casualties were caused.
CO 7 RAR
organised 12 airstrikes of which only 8 could be flown
for technical reasons. the CO arranged with OC A
Coy that the ac could have ground clearance as long as
they kept NORTH of a 1000m semi-circle from WEST to
NE. At least one strike fell a good deal closer
to the coy but no harm to own tps resulted.
It is thought that the airstrikes performed a valuable
role in keeping possible VC reinforcements from the
scene, and may well have caused cas to VC withdrawing
from the engagement or troops in rear.
Enemy Dress and
wore both black and green uniforms and both long and
short trousers. Presumably the dress is
optional. They were bareheaded and the 5 KIA wore
HO CHI MINH sandals made from old tyres.
items of U.S. 56 patt eqpt including a belt and
waterbottle. The first two VC killed were
carrying small packs but no food. None of the
other VC were observed to carry packs. They may
well have dropped their packs further back, as did A
Enemy Tactics and
The VC reaction to the initial contact was obviously a
"Contact Front" drill. Their response
was rapid and coincided with A Coy's right flanking
move. The subsequent actions of the two forces
seem almost to have been a mirror image. Their
choice of ground and of fire posns was similar to ours.
Their withdrawal is thought to have started with a thin
out from the rear, until finally only LMGs and perhaps
a few automatic rifles were left in contact.
There was a brief flurry of firing at the end, and then
silence. This occurred after the closest
fire from 106 Bty.
The VC do
not shout as much as AUSTRALIAN troops during the
battle. Instead they whistled to attract
each other's attention and then talked in a low
voice. This method is thought to be superior to
As soon as
it was known that there were casualties, the Coy 2IC
moved fwd with the fire sp sect to a likely winching
area which happened to be where the original contact
had taken place. The fire sp sect and the combat
engrs cut some trees using machetes and folding
saws. They Coy medic and the 3 Pl medic found a
suitable area to receive cas.
was arranged on the Admin Net with C/S 92 and cas
figures continued to be passed by this means as they
became known. Cas figures were passed to Bn HQ on
Command Net from time to time. The spare arty set
was flicked to the coy frequency to enable the 2IC to
get the latest sit from the OC and to co-ord DUSTOFF
with the fire sp programme. When hels were in the
air the Admin net operator talked directly to the
pilots to give details of cas. This system of
comms worked splendidly. It is the standard unit
procedure and it proved its value.
were brought back to the winching area they were
classified by the coy medic with priority being given
to the seriously wounded. Morphine was given when
applicable. Documentation was carried out by the
The first DUSTOFF ac was shot at by the VC who wounded
a medic aboard and damaged the winching gear so that
the ac had to return for repairs.
As other DUSTOFF hels became aval the Coy 2IC notified
the OC who ordered a stop on close arty while the
seriously wounded were winched out. A gunship was
aval and was used to fire on the en while the DUSTOFF
was in progress.
Evac of cas (less KIA) was completed by 1410
hrs. This was followed by the removal of
personal eqpt and wpns and finally the evac of the
KIA. The part played in this by the RAAF was
It should be noted that the canvas padded litters are
not as good as the wire litters for winching.
With the canvas litter, the straps are hard to do up,
and it is difficult to judge the centre of gravity.
Summary of Own
Own losses were:
1 DOW (before reaching hospital)
19 WIA (of whom 12 were slightly wounded or shock cases)
1 M16 rifle damaged beyond repair
Summary of VC
a. 5 KIA (BC) cfm by body count
10 KIA (pos) (of these 5 bodies were seen others badly wounded
25 WIA (pos)
It is considered that the above VC losses are a conservative
b. Eqpt captured:-
3 x Soviet Aslt Rifles AK47 type 56
1 x Soviet LMG RPD type 56
1 x Chicom B40 RL and 3 rockets
Qty of 7.62mm short ammo
Documents, personal eqpt
The VC were subsequently identified as C12 Coy 3 Bn 274 Regt and
the KIA incl one pl comd and two sect comds. Documents on
the bodies included two promotion orders signed by the CO of the
3rd Bn on 2 Aug 67 thus suggesting that the coy was operating the
vic of Bn HQ. From the fresh tracks found before and after
the engagement it is concluded that at least one additional VC
coy was in the general area. the 3 B40 RL sighted seem to
indicate the presence of the bn recce platoon.
Mainforce VC use similar contact drills and jungle tactics
to our own. In addition they are comparable in
firepower and training with main force elements of similar
size to our own. Once in close contact, our advantage
comes from the use of arty, mortars, and airpower, and this
advantage is decisive.
A fault revealed in our trg is shouting orders when in close
contact. The VC system of whistling followed by low
talking is better. The location of whistling is
difficult to detect.
The M79 should not be used as a personal wpn because in very
close country the round will not arm before it strikes an
obstacle. The wpn is still useful for most terrain and
should still be carried as a supplementary wpn.
The use of one of the spare radios to enable the Coy 2IC to
keep in the picture regarding the battle is
recommended. It enables the OC to know how casevac is
proceeding and provides an alternate means to Bn HQ through
the Admin Net. In addition it enables the Coy 2IC to
know what the arty are doing. This is important in
relation to DUSTOFF.
Big files, and will take a while to load, but a
good way of following the sequence of events in the op report, or
placing Nui Dat in a broader context. Hopefully more
maps to follow.
||Second in Command (of Company)
||call sign (radio identifier)
||Commanding Officer (Battalion
||died of wounds
||casualty evacuation helicopter
||fire for effect
||(Artillery) Forward Observer
||hours (on a 24 hr clock)
||killed in action
||light machine gun
||5.56mm Armalite Rifle
||7.62mm General Purpose Machine Gun
||40mm grenade launcher
||mean point of impact
||Officer Commanding (Company or
||Royal Australian Air Force
||Royal Australian Regiment
||reorganisation (final phase of
||Special Air Service
||7.62mm L1A1 Self Loading Rifle
||tactical area of responsibility
||wounded in action