REPORT ON 104 SIG SQN PATROL CONTACT
NUI DAT 2 FEATURE, PHUOC TUY PROVINCE
SOUTH VIETNAM -
4 JUN 70
Map, XUYEN MOC (SW), Sheet
6430-11-SW, VIETNAM, Edition 3-AAS, 1:25,000.
Time Zone used throughout the report:
1. During the years that 103 Sig Sqn and 104 Sig Sqn have supported 1 ATF
in South Vietnam, patrolling has become a part of unit life. With
other supporting and administrative units within the Task Force base,
Signals have regularly provided patrols to take their share of the
responsibility of maintaining base security.
2. The patrols mounted by the minor units are tasked and controlled by a
fostering infantry Battalion. In the case of 104 Sig Sqn this
association is now traditionally established with either 2RAR, 4RAR or
3. During April 1970, 2RAR/NZ (ANZAC) relieved 6RAR/NZ (ANZAC) and 104 Sig
Sqn settled down to a patrol program under their guidance.
Generally, the basis which 104 Sig Sqn accepted entailed the provision
of two 12-man patrols each month. Each patrol was of one to two
Prelude To Contact
4. On 3 Jun 70, a two day patrol, commanded by the SSM 104 Sig Sqn (W02
A.B. Huston), left
Nui Dat to conduct reconnaissance and ambush
operations in AO BUNA. Their area of search
was approximately four
kilometres east of the base in the vicinity of the Nui Dat 2 feature
485683). It was familiar ground to the patrol commander and a number of
the other members
who had been with earlier patrols into the same
5. The first day of the patrol was routine and uneventful, and a quiet
night was spent in ambush
at YS 473660. The search continued
throughout the following day and by late afternoon it seemed
previous day's pattern was to be repeated.
6. The patrol commander had selected a possible ambush site for the second
night (4 Jun 70)
in the vicinity of YS 485687. At 1630 hrs the
patrol occupied a temporary defensive position at YS 484685 in secondary
vegetation. A reconnaissance group, consisting of the patrol
and one escort, left the defensive position to select the
final ambush site and complete a detailed
layout of the area.
7. After moving only 100
metres the reconnaissance group heard the noise of movement from the east.
The group returned to their temporary defensive position and found that
some of the other members of the patrol had observed movement on the
ridgeline, approximately 150 metres to the east. After confirming
the sightings the patrol commander engaged the movement with Artillery and
prepared the patrol for a sweep of the area. At this stage a clear
sighting of from seven to ten of the enemy was again observed on the
ridgeline and at 1646 hrs the area was engaged by the whole patrol using
M79, GPMG M60 and rifle fire. The patrol again called for and
directed Artillery fire onto the area.
approximately 1700 hrs two “Bushranger” gunships were offered by 1 ATF CP.
Five minutes later they were covering the patrol and engaging the enemy on
the ridgeline. Their assessment of enemy strength suggested that the
patrol could be opposing a force of “up to 20”.
9. During their fourth run over the target area the ”Bushrangers" were fired
on from the ridge and the patrol was simultaneously engaged with automatic
fire. Both the patrol and the gunships intensified their fire into
the area. It was 1710 hrs
10. At approximately 1720 hrs the patrol received both automatic and small
arms fire from the southeast. The “Bushrangers” immediately directed
their attention to this area. Five minutes later small arms fire was
received from the north and the enemy released smoke in an attempt to
confuse and divert the gunships. Their plan was unsuccessful.
11. When the patrol came under fire from the northwest at 1728 hrs, the patrol
commander realized that the enemy was attempting to encircle them.
At this stage fire from the east had ceased, and fire from the south of
their location seemed highly probable. The patrol commander decided
to break contact and withdraw, by fire and movement, to the southwest.
After withdrawing for approximately 150 metres the patrol turned south,
keeping abreast of the track.
12. When some 500 metres south of the contact area the patrol established a
defensive Position, with good fields of fire, in the rubber.
Accurate fire continued to engage the patrol from the vicinity of YS
481681 and movement was heard from the east. When they withdrew
further south to YS 477674, enemy fire became inaccurate, going well above
the heads of the patrol.
13. At 1740 hrs a "Possum" rotary wing aircraft joined the "Bushrangers"
overhead and, whilst the gunships held out of the area, the "Possum" pilot
directed artillery fire onto the enemy follow up route.
14. The patrol commander then directed his men to YS 473659 where an RV had
been established with APCs, which had been dispatched from Nui Dat.
On their way to the RV the patrol sighted and engaged two more enemy, but
the enemy broke the contact and were not seen again. A platoon size
reaction force, mounted in APCs, was dispatched by 7RAR from the Horseshoe
during the contact. An immediate sweep of the contact area and a
further sweep conducted by this force at first light 5 Jun 70 failed to
locate any enemy.
15. RV with
the cavalry was established at 1810 hrs and the patrol was safely
extracted and returned to Nui Dat. In spite of its premature
extraction the patrol had completed its mission successfully and, by
flushing the enemy from his prominent sanctuary, had not only provided 1
ATF with a good deal of valuable information, but had possibly pre-empted
enemy plans for offensive operations against Nui Dat.
16. This is
believed to have been the first base patrol mounted by the Task Force
Signal Squadron at Nui Dat to have had an enemy contact.
It may not be the last.
17. The patrol
commander speaks very highly, and somewhat proudly, of the members of this
patrol. He points out that "by strict adherence to his orders, sound
control of fire and expeditions use of fire and movement" the patrol was
able to extract itself from a situation where the "odds" were by, no means
in their favour.
18. Just as important, the members of the patrol now clearly realize just how
much timely support awaits their call and that, in a situation such as
this, they can be confident that they will receive it. They now
understand the significance of a term that had been driven into them for
many months – TEAM EFFORT.
19. Finally, this experience emphasizes the need for all members of Signals to
remember that, they are serving with a fighting arm and that the
techniques of infantry minor tactics and patrolling cannot be neglected.
104 Sig Sqn
R193-1-46 (Folio 8)
A. Map of Contact Area.
B. Members of Patrol.