50th anniversary of the battle of Binh Ba
On the 6th June 2019, the Department of Veterans' Affairs held a ceremony at the Australian Vietnam Forces National Memorial in Canberra to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Binh Ba.
The battle stemmed from an incident early on the morning of 6 June 1969, when two Australian armoured vehicles were fired upon from the village of Binh Ba while traveling northward to assist the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (6RAR), in a separate operation.
After every effort was made to evacuate the civilian population, an Australian reaction force attacked the enemy occupying the village. Fighting continued in and around the village until late the following day. Australian soldiers fought against a combined communist force of North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong, including a battalion of the formidable 33 NVA Regiment.
In the two days of fighting, only one Australian soldier, Private Wayne Teeling of 5RAR, was killed. Eleven others were wounded, some severely. A total of 99 enemy dead were eventually reported; most were soldiers of the 33 NVA Regiment.
It is thought that the occupation of Binh Ba was an attempt to draw resources from 6RAR’s operation in the north and to relieve pressure on 33 NVA Regiment.
One in five of the houses in the village had been destroyed. Over the next month the Australians returned to assist in the rebuilding of the village.
The battle of Binh Ba was viewed as a dramatic victory for the task force, and was the biggest engagement involving Australian soldiers since the battles at Fire Support Bases Coral and Balmoral a year earlier. The action received the name Operation Hammer, and battle honours were later awarded to the Australian regiments involved.
Read more about the battle of Binh Ba or watch the ceremony below.