83rd Ross Wood at Nui Dat

 

 
 
Ross Wood (66-67)
"B" Company 5 RAR (Royal Australian Regiment)

The following are 2 messages I received from Ross Wood.

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"I have read the 1st Battalion/83rd Artillery Regiment Web Site and I can't find a date when A Battery with its 2 X M107 175mm Self Propelled Guns and 2 X M110 8in Self Propelled Guns arrived at the Australian base of Nui Dat, and I am writing this e-mail in the hope that you can advise me of the correct date they arrived at 1 ATF Nui Dat.

I can first remember the big guns firing late in 1966, particularly at night, when the whole Task Force lit up each time one of the big guns fired. At the time I served with the Australian Infantry based along the northern side of the Task Force.

I have photographs of Battery A 1/83 Artillery Regiment at Nui Dat and at the Horseshoe feature in April 1967.

Could you also please advise whether the correct title would have been Battery A 1st Battalion/83rd Heavy Artillery Regiment, as the 6 X M 109 U.S. Army 155mm Self Propelled Guns that also supported the Task Force were designated Battery A 2nd Battalion/35th (Self Propelled) Medium Artillery Regiment?

I hope you do not mind these questions and I hope you can please assist me with the answers

Yours Faithfully

Ross Wood"

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"As Battery A of The 2nd Battalion/35th (Medium Self-Propelled) Artillery Regiment had participated in the 18 August 1966 Battle of Long Tan their arrival at 1 ATF Nui Dat is recorded in the Australian Official History, and we had a little bit to do with them.

In the pre-dawn darkness of 18 February 1967, our platoon was woken and told that, "the big American 155mm guns were out at Dat Do, there had been a battle in the night, the ARVN had suffered heavy casualties, the guns had no infantry protection, and we were to get out there fast". We were ready quickly, fully armed and with one days rations. A quick cup of hot coffee and something quick to eat (like 2-3 minutes maximum) and 4 Australian M113 APCs were waiting 100 yards away for our under strength rifle platoon. We left 5 RAR's lines and 1 ATF in darkness and the APCs moved at speed south through Hoa Long and turned left after leaving the village with dawn just breaking we headed towards Long Dien.

Moving through Long Dien we then slowed as we approached the little village of An Nhut. Beyond An Nhut on both sides of the road were many bodies, mostly ARVN, building to a large pile of ARVN and VC dead at the smouldering gate of the ARVN fort at the west of Dat Do. On the large green paddock on the northern (opposite side of the road, Route 23 to the ARVN fort) were the 6 American 155mm Self Propelled Guns and all looked well with them.

We moved into their position, disembarked from the APCs and set up a perimeter around the guns. 200 yards east of their position was Dat Do airstrip on which was 101 Field Battery with its L5 105mm Pack Howitzers blazing away in an easterly direction, U.S. Army O-1 Bird Dog FAC aircraft and UH-1 helicopters moving, the airfield and guns protected by A Company 5 RAR, while further to the east we could see smoke and USAF F-100 Super Sabre aircraft bombing.

However where we were, except for the bodies to our front it was nice and peaceful, and the American gunners seemed quite concerned that we had not had breakfast - so they kindly served us up breakfast with plenty of coffee.

Soon along Route 23 heading east was The 11th Armoured Cavalry - large numbers of M113 APCs, M48 tanks and 155mm self propelled guns to join the battle that our 6 RAR was involved in to the east. Around 10.30hrs as nothing had happened, we were flown back to 1 ATF by RAAF UH-1B Iroquis helicopters. On the night 21 February 1967, what remained of our company were very glad those big American guns were at Dat Do.

So I know about Battery A of The 2nd Battalion/35th (Medium Self-Propelled) Artillery Regiment, but in searching for details of 1/83 Artillery, although I know where and when I took the photos (Ed. note - click here to see photos). I could not find an arrival date at 1 ATF Nui Dat - hence my e-mail to you.

Now I can send my photos of 1/83 Artillery to our Webmaster.

Thank you very much for your very quick and highly detailed reply to my request.

All the Very Best

Yours Faithfully

Ross Wood
former B Company 5 RAR
"

 

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