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 -
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
All the Very Best
former B Company 5 RAR"