Veterans of the Battle of Binh Ba and members of the community will gather at the Australian Vietnam Forces National Memorial on Anzac Parade in Canberra today to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of the Battle of Binh Ba.
CAPTION: Centurion tanks from 1st Armoured Regiment, and armoured personnel carriers from B Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, move along the main road of Binh Ba village. Over three days, armour and infantry dislodged a strong North Vietnamese Army group that had entered the village, for the loss of one Australian killed in action. AWM BEL/69/0389/VN. Binh Ba.
The Battle of Binh Ba Commemorative Service will start at 2pm.
Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel Darren Chester, who will attend today’s commemorative service, said the battle was fought during the Vietnam War, less than 10 kilometres from the 1st Australian Task Force base at Nui Dat.
“On the morning of 6 June 1969, an Australian Centurion tank and an armoured recovery vehicle were heading towards the village of Binh Ba when the tank was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade,” Mr Chester said.
“South Vietnamese Regional Forces were sent to investigate, but when they were stopped by heavy fire they requested Australian support and, within hours, a ready reaction force was outside the village ready to start a mounted assault.”
The force comprised D Company, 5th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment, tanks from B Squadron 1st Armoured Regiment and armoured personnel carriers from B Squadron, 3 Cavalry Regiment.
“When they entered Binh Ba, one platoon was ordered to evacuate civilians trying to flee the battle,” Mr Chester said.
“Resistance intensified as the Australians moved further into the village and, eventually, under heavy fire and supported by Royal Australian Air Force helicopter gunships, the infantry and armour withdrew.”
“After the arrival of fresh tanks and crews, the Australians resumed their attack.
“The fighting moved from house to house as infantry and armour combined to force the enemy from the village.
“It was during this attack that Private Wayne Teeling, in his first action, was tragically killed by enemy fire.
“Infantry and armour combined to force the enemy from the village and towards midday B Company, 5RAR, were dispatched to assist D Company,” Mr Chester said.
“The intense fighting lasted all afternoon until Australian infantry and armour took up defensive positions for the night.
“On 7 June, a series of smaller actions took place with a number of enemy troops being killed or wounded.
“A final sweep the following day confirmed the enemy withdrawal and Australians returned to Nui Dat with one dead and 10 wounded.
“The Vietnamese casualties were estimated at more than 100 killed and six wounded.
“Around 60,000 personnel from the Australian Defence Force were involved in the Vietnam conflict.
“Today we pay tribute to those involved in this battle, we remember the life of Private Teeling and we thank all Vietnam veterans for their service.”
Today’s Last Post Ceremony at the Australian War Memorial at 4.55pm will be dedicated to Private Teeling.
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