6-8 June 1969
The battle of Binh Ba was one of the more significant actions fought by Australian soldiers during the Vietnam War. Before the battle, soldiers of the 1st Australian Task Force (1ATF) had fought mainly in open or jungle settings. This battle took place in the village of Binh Ba, in Phuoc Tuy Province, South Vietnam, against a large, well-armed communist force.
In early June 1969 the newly arrived 6th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment/New Zealand (ANZAC), deployed north of 1ATF’s base at Nui Dat, on Operation Lavarack. The battalion immediately began encountering large formations of North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and Viet Cong (VC) soldiers, and a series of near constant firefights ensued. On the evening of the 5th of June 1969, a combined communist force of well-armed and resolute troops occupied Binh Ba.
At 8 am the following morning, an Australian Centurion tank moving north past the village was fired on; a rocket propelled grenade damaged the tank and wounded at least one of the crew. Two and a half hours later, 1ATF launched Operation Hammer, sending an understrength company of 5RAR supported by armoured vehicles and artillery into the village. What followed was two days of fierce house-to-house fighting as the Australians attempted to remove the NVA and VC from the village.