The Battle of Binh Ba was one of the major battles fought by Australians during the Vietnam War. Like the Battle of Long Tan and the Battle of Coral/Balmoral, Binh Ba was one of only five battles to be recognised during the Vietnam War with the award of a battle honour to the participating units.
In May/June 1969, North Vietnamese and Viet Cong main force units had infiltrated in
strength into Phouc Tuy province to demonstrate they could do so without significant
resistance from Australian forces who at that time had been operating in adjacent provinces.
In early June, 6RAR had deployed along Route 2 to the north of the village of Binh Ba. On
the morning of 6 June, a centurion tank and an armoured recovery vehicle were travelling
from Nui Dat north along Route 2 when they were fired upon near Binh Ba. One vehicle was
Early morning on 7 June, B Coy repulsed a North Vietnamese Army reinforcement force to
the south-west of Binh Ba. At 0950 hours, D Coy (reinforced with a platoon from B Coy)
dismounted and leading tanks and APC’s, began a further sweep through Binh Ba from west
to east. At 1300 hours on 7 June 100 enemy overran Duc Trung a hamlet 500 metres to the
north of Binh Ba. B Coy was reacted to this threat with tanks and APC’s but this assault was
halted when it was discovered that civilians were caught in the middle. The Vietnamese
District Chief and CO 5RAR agreed that the subsequent clearing of Duc Trung would be
conducted by Vietnamese Army forces. Up to 80 enemy were sighted just north of Duc
Trung and suffered many casualties when they were engaged with the artillery of 105 Fd Bty
from Nui Dat and bushranger gunships.
The Battle of Binh Ba was significant in that it was one of the few times Australian troops had been involved in village fighting and was certainly the largest battle of that type. It was a classic example of the combined arms capabilities of the Australian armoured, artillery and infantry assets with gunship support. The battle was also notable in that the infantry elements were mainly led by NCO’s and soldiers. Only two officers were part of the D Coy assault force, the OC and one Pl Comd who was wounded. The lack of casualties to Australian troops is testament to the standard of training, sound leadership and aggressive battle discipline displayed at junior levels. It was also the last time that strong North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces ventured into Phouc Tuy Province.
Unit: 1 Armd Regt, 3 Cav Regt and 5RAR were awarded Regimental Battle Honours.
(Photos Courtesy of Mo Hancock 4 Platoon B Coy 5 RAR and Dr Hugh Roberton (former RMO 5 RAR)