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Roy “Doc” Savages’ Diaries


On the 16th of February 1970 we boarded the HMAS Sydney heading for Vung Tau. We relieved 5RAR and headed twenty miles by road to Nui Dat. Our company area was down near Route Two. The tent lines hadn't changed, however, that didn't matter as like the first tour we were to spend very little time in the base itself.

On the 9th of March the battalion was deployed on operation 'Finschaven'. On this Op the platoon commander told me that we should take it easy until the troops settled in. We were patrolling north with 7 platoon leading, followed by CHQ, 8 platoon then us, when we were told to drop off and ambush the creek. The rest of the company was to move another 4 clicks before stopping. At 1500hrs we heard movement in the creek, someone was filling water bottles.
We informed the company commander Major Jeff Skardon, he immediately dispatched 7 and 8 platoon down to help us because it would take some time for them to get to us. I decided to check out what we were up against, so I took myself, the Machinegunner, a rifleman and a man with an M79. We skirted around and across the creek, halfway up the hill I could see an ARVN pack, I made the decision right then that we would take them out, so I told the men that on my command we would rush the top of the hill firing at anything that moved.
Just before I gave the order I saw movement so I lined it up, just then a dozey engineer sat up behind an M60, looked around then laid back down again. I immediately gave the order to move up with no firing. I left the men with the bewildered engineer and made my way to the centre of the position where the OC was asleep and kicked him awake. I had captured the whole of our Company Headquarters. The company had doubled back on themselves.
The OC swore me to secrecy; however, they were all lucky to be alive. It wasn't until October 1987 at the welcome home parade that he admitted to others that I had captured his HQ. A valuable lesson was learnt that day, never leave your Headquarters unprotected.

13 MAR 70
We continued patrolling until the 13th of March when at 2035hrs voices were heard around our position. I found this very unlikely as I had deliberately put us into bamboo for the night. Anyway, a grenade was thrown and Lcpl Schutz's gun opened up. 2200hrs: - Contact: Enemy crawled to the perimeter, while investigating the noise created Lcpl Schutz was shot in the lower leg, at least that is the way the contact report reads. We called in a Dustoff and they dropped a Jungle Penitrator down through the canopy. I felt very uneasy standing there spotlighted by the landing lights as I put Lcpl Schutz on the Penitrator and he was winched up.
I spent the next hour going from pit to pit calming the troops down, it was during this time that another grenade was thrown which bounced back alongside Rob Pothof and myself. Fortunately for us it was thrown from Pte Smith who in his excitement had forgotten to pull the safety tape off the grenade before he threw it. (All grenades had the striker lever taped for safety reasons).
We found it the next day and because the pin had been pulled we had to destroy it. That now familiar smell of fear was all around.The next morning I was called over to the gun where Schutz had been shot. A soldier had found his bush hat it was folded and had powder burns on it with a hole clean through it. Schutz had shot himself. I reported this to the company and was told to keep quiet. The bastard had got away with it; after he recovered he was sent to Provost Corps and promoted. Oh well, he has to live with it.

14 MAR 70
At 0400hrs this morning Callsign 2 (B Coy) sprung an ambush when one enemy was sighted through the starlight scope. Also lights were seen some 200 to 300 metres out from their position, there were no results.
We started patrolling at 0730hrs moving north. At three this afternoon Callsign 23 (6pl B Coy) located an old camp which hasn't been used for about 2 to 3 months. The area covers 20 x 20 metres. There are two thatched huts each with a bunker underneath containing sandals, clothing, eating utensils and beds.

5 MAR 70
At 8 this morning Callsign 12 (2p PI A Coy) located a bullock cart registered number DD 1411 which they destroyed. At 1040hrs Callsign 11 (1 PL A Coy) found a blood trail in the vicinity of a night camp location, there was a small quantity of cooked rice and some paper in the area.
At 4 this afternoon Spt Coy found a rice storage hut at three locations each location had huts.At 1630 Callsign 3 (CHQ C Coy) sighted 5 enemy they were engaged by arty with unknown results.At 1800hrs we spotted five enemy 150 metres to our Northeast. We engaged them with no results.

18 MAR 70
Last night 7 platoon had a contact. A claymore was fired and throughout the night engaged the enemy with small arms fire and M79's. A sweep was done this morning but found nothing. We moved to the creek and took on water, went fishing and caught a few, then moved north to ambush. At this stage perhaps I should explain that CHQ always knew when I was near water, as we would radio through that we had a faulty grenade and would like to get rid of it. I used to do this by pulling the pin and dropping it into the creek - no noise - plenty of fish!

19 MAR 70
We moved out of the ambush position back to the creek, took on water and then went to join the company for a ration resup at GR 535746, The pilot was Australian and not happy with the LZ so he refused to land. At last light we had only got one chopper in (The Americans would have landed. The Aussies were just TOO cautious)
A HOI CHANH surrendered to FSPB ANNE last night after initial questioning it was revealed that he was from K76A medical unit. He guided a patrol to where he had hidden his weapon, an SKS with 20 rounds.At 0920hrs Callsign 43 (12 PI D Coy) sighted one enemy wearing NVA type clothing including camouflage coolie hat. The enemy was moving from east to west.

20 MAR 70
8 platoon moved out and are heading for Nui Nam. We are going to be with Company HQ for a while. At night we were harboured with CHQ at GR 541753. 7 platoon found a camp, which was occupied less than 24hrs ago some documents were found, indications were that three people slept in the area. We have found a blood trail. Callsign 23 (6 PI B Coy) found tracks no more than 12hrs old made by at least 9 men. The tracks followed the Song Rai from north to south then crossed the Song Rai.

21 MAR 70
We stood to at 0630hrs Lt Pothof is taking out a fighting patrol for the day. They could be out for the night. 7 and 8 sections are going, I am staying behind to look after the rest.Spt Coy found a bunker system at three this afternoon. A Coy also found a bunker system, which had been hit by a B52 strike. Some tunnels are still intact.

22 MAR 70
The fighting patrol got back in at 0750hrs. At 0800hrs we secured the LZ for the resupply. At 1230hrs, after the resup we moved out north through the rubber then east to GR 579771 then harboured. A Coy located the wreck of a US helicopter yesterday registered no. 13636. At 1800hrs Spt Coy located another camp where there was a dam, fish traps, empty Dutch food tins and corncobs. At 1900hrs B Coy sighted one enemy on their perimeter the enemy withdrew with no shots being fired.

23 MAR 70
We are going to ambush the Song (river) Rai. I am more convinced that 9 PI (maybe not all but most) are a shower.At 2000hrs 4 PL B Coy made contact with three enemy carrying torches. The enemy were crossing a stream. A follow up revealed tracks on the bank of the stream; there were no other signs.

24 MAR 70
We have been in ambush here since yesterday afternoon. There is an old destroyed bridge, probably done over during the Indo China War against the French.1100hrs B Coy located a resting-place for three people used just recently. At 1200hrs 6 PL B Coy located a three strand barbed wire fence 100 metres long running east to west. 1615hrs Spt Coy located a cache containing a 50 Gallon Tin of Rice, 1 bag of pepper corns, 6 AK47 rounds, 2 tins of seeds, and 15 Ml rounds.1630hrs Spt Coy found yet another bunker system. They destroyed it.
In the camp was a K54 7.62 pistol, a quantity of documents and a quantity of SVN currency. The document found identified the K76A hospital unit.

25 MAR 70
We are now back with the company awaiting a resup. We took the resup at the FSPB, had a shower, then moved outside the wire to harbour. I have to take a Major Macdonald who is a CMF officer out with me I have made it very clear to him that I am in command and he will obey my orders whilst we are out. He agrees.

26 MAR 70
This morning we are flying north to GR 521840 our job is to clear the coffee plantation, nothing much happened so we harboured at GR 527842.

27 MAR 70
We sent out a patroi, which proved fruitless. D Company has found a bunker system, which may bring something, we took a water resup at 1600hrs.

28 MAR 70
Possum (bell helicopter) came in at 0550hrs to take out Major Macdonald (CMF) who was a strange bloke. In the afternoon I took. 7 section out, found nothing. I took on a resup at 1030hrs. I was not impressed as CHQ did not even put in our Maitdem, moral is not high as the mail did not come in, we are on our own again and are harboured up at GR 532845.

30 MAR 70
Last night Callsign 61 alpha had a contact result 1 enemy KlA, The Kiwi Company up in the Courtney rubber plantation killed 5 enemy and A Company this morning 2 enemy, we moved north.

1 APR 70
We took a resup this morning then moved north. A Company got 2 more enemy KIA and we are now in the Long Kanh Province at GR 545926.At 1050hrs CHQ found a bunker system recently occupied, found in the general area were 100 rounds of 7.62 short in a carrying sleeve plus a few documents and assorted pieces of equipment.
1200hrs 3 PL A Coy found a bunker system used very recently. Some of the bunkers were incomplete. There was enough cut timber for a further 15 bunkers, a letter was also found dated 3 Mar 70.
1600hrs 5 PL B Coy located a cache with two openings. Found was a 1943 French machinegun heavily packed in grease, 8 anti-tank mines, (9" high and 41/2" in diameter), plus one French grenade and one Japanese grenade.
1600hrs CHQ A Coy were in contact results were one VC PW (WIA) equipment captured were 1 Radio (commercial), maps, documents and a compass watch.
1700hrs 3 PL A Coy had a contact with one suspected local force. The enemy withdrew north with no results.
1800hrs 4 PL B Coy located 15 blocks of Chicom explosives. Each block was 1 ft long and 5" thick the blocks were all camouflaged.
2030hrs 3 PL A Coy found a cache containing 2 Chicom grenades, 2 D10 Claymores and 21 packets of explosives.

2 APR 70
We had our first contact today. At 0815hrs we hit 6 NVA - result, 1 enemy KIA plus 1 AK47 captured. We hit a bunker system, which went 900 metres. 7 platoon had 1 charley sneak up on the sentry and shoot him. Pte Strickland was wounded in the leg. The bunker system we are in had 10 bunkers laid out in a T shape, bunker sizes are 4x5x7 feet and are aligned north-west along the ridge line, last used about 1 to 3 weeks previously. In the bunkers were medical documents and stores. 1620hrs - we are now in another bunker system this system looks like it was last used about three weeks ago. In this system we have found medical documents and stores.
1642hrs Strickland was dusted off.1230hrs 4 PL B Coy found a bunker system.1340hrs 3 PL A Coy found a bunker system, found within the system were 1 pr of jungle boots, medical supplies, a shovel, bayonet and rice plus locally made grenades.

3 APR 70
The time is now 0730hrs. We are harboured up at GR 544932. There are three bunkers here. At 1100hrs we moved back to the company. On the way we found another bunker with 20lbs of rice. At 1300hrs 8 platoon had a contact. Result 1 AK47 captured 1 enemy WIA. At 1735hrs the sentry spotted enemy out from our position. The enemy assaulted so we opened fire on them and withdrew into our position. The enemy assaulted so we opened up inflicting heavy casualties. I was on the left flank and got a call for the medic, seeing as I was carrying the Medical kit. (I had taken it off Pte Smith that morning and charged him for not looking after it as it was in a mess and a vial of morphine had been broken). Anyway, the call came from the right flank so not really thinking I decided the shortest and fastest way was up the creek line (not the smartest thing I've ever done). I soon realised that my platoon was firing at the enemy from one side of the creek while the enemy was firing at us from the other side of the creek and I was running up the middle. (Later when I realised what I had done I sat down completely numb). When I got to the right flank I saw Smithy lying in the open. I dragged him behind cover and I searched his body to find where he had been hit. First I could not find a wound which frustrated me, the firing at this stage was still going on so I was trying to keep as low as possible, I had to kneel up along side him to find that he had been hit in the chest by an AK47 round, there was no blood at all. He started turning grey, that's when ! realised I had lost him. I wrapped him in his hoochey for the night and we got him out the next day. The enemy were from C20

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4 APR 70
A patrol went to the LZ this morning, we had a contact in the- afternoon at 1630hrs, and at 2100hrs support section fired a claymore. The troops are getting jumpy! 3 PL, A Coy found 8lb of explosives this morning. They were in poor condition.

5 APR 70
Took a resup in the morning then moved to GR 514939 where we had a contact result 1 enemy KIA. 7 platoon walked into a camp with a fire and water boiling.0940hrs 6 PL B Coy found a bunker system which consisted of four bunkers, cookhouse with thatched roof, caches in the area contained 5 1/2lbs of explosives plus 174 "D" type torch batteries.1030hrs A Coy found a cache which has 2 AK47's in good condition 1 AK47 in poor condition, 1 Chicom pistol. 1814hrs 8 platoon are in contact. Results 1 enemy KIA. Captured materials were 1 pack, 1 Chicom pistol plus documents. The documents revealed that the enemy KIA was from 274 VC Regt

6 APR 70
Moved with company and harboured up. Results of yesterdays 8 pIatoon contact is 1 enemy KIA, 1 pack, 1 Chicom pistol captured documents reveal that the KIA was a commander from 274 Regt. This morning 7 platoon had a contact results unknown. We moved back to Xa Cam My and then flew back to Nui Dat by Chinook.

8 APR 70
The company went down to Vung Tau for R&C until the morning of the 10th. Whilst we were down there we saw the way the troops posted to Vung Tau lived. We just couldn't believe that these people resented our presence down there. They did not carry weapons, could go out into town in civilian clothes when not on duty. Boy it was like being posted to Bondi Beach. They really had no idea what it was like for the Field Force troops. They even lived in barracks.

11 APR 70
Prepared to go down to the Horseshoe.

12 APR 70
Moved out to the Horseshoe going through Long Tan to get there, I was told I would be training ARVN the next day. Sgt Graham Griffith and myself were given the task to train the ARVN. A Warrant Officer from the AATTV was put in charge of the training, this guy was useless as we never saw him and when we did he seemed inebriated. I must say that there were some good soldiers in the AATTV, however there were a hell of a lot of them that were useless, not good enough to be in the battalion so then ended up in "The Team". We spent all day training ARVN from the 18th ARVN division. What surprised me was the youngest soldier was twelve years old whilst the oldest was sixty three. This unit was sent into Cambodia and was wiped out to the man. Their discipline left a lot to be desired. If any soldier did something wrong he would either be butt stroked (hit with the butt of a rifle in the face). Or would be put into a steel container for the day in the sun and another soldier would beat on the side of the container every ten minutes with the butt of his rifle. I complained about this treatment but was told to stay out of it as it was none of our business.

14 APR 70
Trained ARVN on Claymores, M79, and M72's in the afternoon we fired all weapons, I blew 1 M26 grenade blind (grenade that had been thrown but had not gone off).

15 APR 70
This morning the CO had a meeting with the senior Officers of the ARVN unit and I was asked how the training was going so I told the truth. This did not go down too well with the South Vietnamese Officers and after the meeting I was pulled aside and told to be more tactful. One of these days I'll learn to kerb my tongue, perhaps I shouldn't have called them a shower of shit in front of their own Officers. But these people are going to get killed if they don't listen and leam. The company came in and 7 platoon moved straight out to FPB Timothy (a platoon position with three Tanks set up to protect the engineers clearing the Dat Do mine field down near Ap Lo Gom) in the afternoon we threw M26 grenades I had to blow 1 blind. (A faulty grenade that had not gone off when thrown)

16 APR 70
I have my doubts as to whether the interpreter is telling these people exactly what I am trying to put across to them. I just don't trust him. We taught the ARVN fire and movement this afternoon. We did it with live ammunition just down off the Horseshoe towards Long Tan. We did fire and movement again, plus we had a shoot. Sgt Tarn won the shoot. In the afternoon we did ambush drills I blew 1 M26 blind plus 4 mortar blinds. While we were firing that day I asked the ARVN platoon sergeant whether he would like to fire my SLR, he said yes, however the ARVN platoon commander who had done nothing all day heard me and so as not to lose face he said he must fire it first. So I turned the gas plug around and the gas regulator down to zero. When he fired, it gave him such a boot that he fell over, I then reversed everything around the right way and let the PI Sgt fire, which didn't hurt him at all. That night Squizzy Taylor Griff Cpl Searles Squillattery and myself took the ARVN out on ambush. What a shower of shit. Ambushing to them means stringing hammocks and lighting fires. They took no notice of anything they had been taught. I ordered our machinegun to face in towards the ARVN for the night!

18 APR 70
9 section went out to recce a route for B company tomorrow, 7 platoon had 14 enemy with 3 weapons, 11 without, walk just out of range.

19 APR 70
At 1030hrs the rest of 9 platoon were reacted and sent to join 9. We then moved 100 metres north and set up an ambush. Pte Kail became sick at the same time B Company told us to Di Di (go) so we decided to move back to the Horseshoe.

20 APR 70
Pte Kail went back to Nui Dat to see the doctor, Pte Loran came out. At 1400hrs B Company had a contact. Results 3 friendly WIA, 2 enemy KIA, 1 friendly died later.

21 APR 70
I am taking the advance party down to FPB Timothy, which is situated,
between 'Ap Lo Gom' and 'Lang Phouc Hai'. I took out an arnbush patrol at night with negative results.   

22 APR 70
The rest of the platoon came in and I took another ambush patrol out. At 0120hrs 4 enemy came into the side of our ambush and we engaged them at a range of between 150 to 200 metres. At 0200hrs one enemy was seen through the Starlight scope at a range of approximately 500 metres from us, our chances of hitting him were slim, however I directed the gun onto the target using the Starlight scope and tracer rounds from my rifle. We must have scared the hell out of him. The results of the night's activities were 1 enemy KIA, 1 AK47 and three packs captured.

We got back into Timothy then took the body to the Regional Forces (RF) Post in 'AP Lo Gom!. They then put it on display in the market place. I was getting pretty pissed off because as we were moving out every night a house in 'Lo Gom' would show a lamp in the roof, then as we were coming back in every morning they would light a fire. I believed they were signalling the enemy in the hills as to our movements, so I asked for permission to fire a few rounds from the tank into the mountains. Permission was granted and after discussions with the Tank Commander it was decided that he would fire Solid Shot. He said that he could fire it over the top of the house and just miss it. At last light that night he aimed the first round approximately 6 to 12 inches above the roof. When he fired the first round it had the effect we wanted. The roof caved in, we didn't have any trouble after that, and surprisingly enough it was never reported. That night the boss took the ambush patrol out. Due to the ARVN being in contact and firing mortars the ambush was put in a different place than was planned, at 0100hrs a number of enemy walked into the ambush, 1 enemy was KIA. The enemy fired RPG's into the ambush and 3 friendlies were wounded; Sgt Pete Diamond, Pte Marshall and Pte Matulick.  

24 APR 70
Took the VC body down to 'Lang Phouc Hai' where they put it on display in the market place. That night I took an ambush patrol out to GR 505544. At 0120hrs the enemy walked into the side of our position 1 enemy was killed the others returned fire. I was hit above the right eye peeling the skin back to the bone I had to keep wiping the blood out of my eyes so I could see In all the excitement one of our patrol went to fire an M72 a couple of feet in front of us. Luckily for us he was stopped before he fired, as we would have been cleaned up by the back blast. I pulled him back along side of us. He then fired. I was asked whether I needed a Dustoff. I decided that the wound was not bad enough and stayed on duty. The next day I was patched up.

25 APR 70
I have to take an ambush patrol out to GR505525 some three clicks from here in the sand dunes near the beach. I spent the afternoon doing the usual preparations for the patrol such as being briefed, conferring with the FO and Tank commander as to what would be available in the way of fire support should I need it. Just after last light we left Timothy. At about 1000 metres out we were told to prop, as there could be an ARVN ambush in the area, it was a black cloudy night. After we got clearance to move again I took over as forward scout as the scout seemed a little jumpy. I can't say that I blamed him, as I wasn't too fussed about being out in front knowing that any minute we could walk into an ARVN ambush. We arrived at the grid reference just after nine o'clock, which was a track junction. I was not happy with the area so I informed Zero Alfa that I was relocating two hundred metres back the way we had come on the high ground, I didn't go completely to the top, which was nearly a very costly mistake on my part.
I set up a triangular ambush concentrating on catching the enemy on the way out of 'Lang Phouc Hai', - another mistake - we came off 100% stand to at 2200hrs at 2230hrs I was awakened by the piquet saying, "Sarge enemy". I asked how many he said; "I've counted twelve so far". I then said, "For Christ's sake give me the scope" (starlight scope). The enemy were approaching us from the Long Hai Mountains. I immediately turned the radio off (just in case some Callsign decided to ask for a radio check). At 47 I stopped counting, i could see between 10 and 20 behind them, as they were still coming around the bend. The thought passed through my head to let them go as I only had 12 men, of which only four could at that stage bring fire to bear on the enemy. I could see two men laughing and pushing each other about twelve men down the line, they didn't seem to have weapons so I took it that they could be section commanders (one section commander at the rear of his section the other at the front of his section).
With this in mind I lined them up in my sights and thought to myself just before pulling the trigger, "In for a penny in for a pound".Our gun began ripping into them. After the initial surprise they started to throw a lot of stuff back at us such as RPG's, MG's etc.
I immediately grabbed the radio and turned it back on the initial message went like this "Zero Alfa this is 33 Alfa contact heavy wait out to you, Tango Zero Delta fire target one" the tank from Timothy immediately went into action firing high explosive (HE) to our immediate front. I then called for a fire mission (Artillery). At one staged was directing tank fire, 105 arty, 155 and 8 inch guns all by sound all at the same time. Because we were in sand the Machineguns kept getting clogged up with sand so i had to keep rotating the guns so one was being cleaned at all times.
At this time I was directing fire by the use of tracer from my SLR when all of a sudden an enemy blew up in front of us. I figured he must have been carrying a Satchel Charge and that the tracer must have hit it. Information was passed up to me by Bottles Battersby that the enemy were wheeling something into position to our left front. Thinking this to be a 12.7 heavy machinegun I directed fire to that area. We had high ground on our right which the enemy could have used to roll us up in no time so t started yelling orders hoping someone down in the enemy could understand English. I called for a fictitious platoon on the high ground to hold their fire. The enemy kept attacking up the valley so they could extract their dead. They counter attacked three times in quick succession so I yelled out for my men to fix Bayonets knowing full well that we'd be lucky to have a bayonet between us (anything to put the wind up the enemy).

It was on the third attack that an RPG7 came whistling in, blowing me Arse over Tit. I had been blown some distance out of the ambush so when my mind started to function again I had to crawl back into position and take control again. At around midnight a shadow aircraft (C130 Hercules with four Mini Guns on one side) came into the area and asked could he help. I had trouble with all the noise understanding the Yank pilot. He wanted me to mark my position with a strobe light. I refused and told him to watch closely as my Machinegunner would fire 100% tracer We waited for a break in the cloud cover then fired. He acknowledged our position and asked me if he could expend; I had to get John Sexton who was listening in on the company net to translate for me. Once I realised what he was saying I gave him the go ahead. I was worried he would shoot us up, but he was bloody good. He opened fire from behind us over the top and into the enemy area with the four mini guns, which fire about 6000 rounds per minute each. Believe me it was a terrifying sound. He then asked me did I want white light. Not knowing what this was i said yes and immediately night became day as he switched on a search light, the type that were used in WW2. After he'd finished I thanked him for his help.

He then said he'd send me the bill for the electricity and the 28,000 rounds he had expended. He then asked me for an AK47 which I sent him. I then spotted a bright light off the coast and thought the enemy were trying to escape by sea. ! was about to bring fire from the 8 inch guns to there when I was told by John Sexton that it was a friendly destroyer standing off the coast to give assistance if required. I was never so happy to see three Australian tanks with Australian troops on board rolling across the sand dunes towards us just after first light. Some of the bodies were dressed in South Vietnamese Uniforms. Friendly by day, enemy by night, I was right about the first two blokes, they were commanders and both had 7.62 pistols (one was a Russian Tocaroff 33 the other was a Chinese K54 on them which I ended up with.  

Down in the valley were spent shells from an M60 plus empty M72 cases. Drag marks were everywhere along with blood and bone. Another platoon took over from us to do a search of the area. They reported finding a pagoda covered in blood with HO CHI INH written in blood on the wall. They also found a hastily dug mass grave. That morning I was flown back to Task Force Headquarters where I was interrogated. I had to explain what had happened. After one officer had finished another came in and I had to repeat my story over again. This happened Four times during the day. I was flown back to Timothy at 1 500hrs. I had not slept and was buggered, however Lt Pothof had a tropical ulcer on his leg so it was agreed I would take his patrol out that night and he would do my job which was to come out with us on the APC's, drop us and then on the way back find a good spot for us to ambush the next night.

26 APR 70 Further Discription of events
The 26th of April was a Sunday (following ANZAC day) and I was not impressed when the APC's turned up to take us out, most of them were pissed and the carriers were manned by Base Wallers. What happened that night probably would have happened anyway, however I still can't help thinking that if they had been sober they would have probably been more cautious. My ambush patrol was dropped on the move so as not to alert the enemy, the APC's then decided to race each other back to Timothy. Two minutes after they'd left us there was an explosion. I looked up in time to see an APC coming down to earth upside down, it had hit 60lb of Chicom (enemy equivalent to C4 plastic explosive only more powerful). The next morning I refused to walk back in through the bloody minefield and had a heated argument over the radio with Zero Alfa. So a tank was sent out to pick us up. That morning I had the grizzly task of searching Lt Pothof s pockets for any papers. He only had half a head. I will never forget the look of pain on what was left of his face it will stay with me forever. He must have died instantly
yet he still had that look. We had only managed to find five pieces of him and as I looked at what was left of him I thought, "If your leg had been better it would be me lying there." It was someone from the village of 'Lo Gom' that set the mine up and off. A bloody South Vietnamese civilian.

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27 APR 70
I am beginning to hate the South Vietnamese. We are over here supposedly to help them. Yet they are killing us. I will never trust a South Vietnamese again as long as I live. We got Lt Pothof's body out this morning and have been given a new platoon commander Lt Dave Kibbey. Our association did not get off to a good start as when he introduced himself he said "call me Dave". My answer to that was "no I will call you Sir, Skipper or Boss none of the platoon will call you anything else if they do I will kick their arses" I was ordered not to take out an ambush tonight so Lt Kibbey took it out. They were hit on the way out with the result two-blood trails. Today we are to move back to the Horseshoe we are being relieved by 7 platoon.

29 APR 70
I am having trouble with one of my soldiers. Everytime I warn him out for patrol he starts crying as far as I am concerned he is a coward. He broke down again this morning and cried he can't take it anymore and wants a transfer out to a safe job in admin or Support Coy, I can't afford to take him out on patrol as he is, as he is a liability to all of us. I have spoken to the OC, who is not sympathetic, although he will transfer him. I have to get the platoon on parade and virtually call him a coward so as to deter anyone else. (I didn't do it) even though I personally thought he was a coward. He was no damn good to man or beast so the Pte Kittle got his transfer. Support section opened up on five enemy with no results.

30 APR 70
7 platoon were hit while moving into their ambush position. An enemy bullet hit a grenade being fired off the end of Pte Stanczyk's rifle killing him instantly and wounding Pte Berry, Cooper and Luke. Personally I believe in his excitement he used a live round in his rifle instead of a balastite cartridge to fire the grenade.

1 MAY 70
A quiet day and night. 8RAR ambushed approximately 40 just outside the Village of 'Hoa Long', enemy killing 4. Bottles Bathesby is going out with the ARVN tonight. I have been training them for the last four days; it is a very frustrating task.

3 MAY 70
I took out an ambush patrol to GR 508604. A Coy 8 RAR were hit while moving into their ambush, six of them were wounded. A possum (aircraft) was shot up and limped into the Horseshoe it came directly over the top of us and I could hear the engine sputtering I didn't think it would make it back to the Shoe.
Mortars started to fall all around us so I asked for a checkfire from CHQ and was told that there were no friendly mortars firing in our direction. John Sexton then asked me over the radio what they sounded like so I stated over the radio that they sounded like "KARUMPA" from that time onwards John gave me hell about the KARUMPA GUNS. Dat Do was attacked at the same time so tanks were reacted from just to the north of us. Down the road we were ambushing. It was a black night and I was worried that the tanks wouldn't know we were there. Again I got on the radio to make sure they knew that we were there. I was assured they knew so down the road the Centurions came at full speed they sure put the wind up us as they passed very close to us. The next day found the tanks bogged in the rice paddies around Dat Do.

4 MAY 70
A quiet night all round. I took an Ambush out to the West of the Horseshoe, with no results. We are all getting tired I can see it in the men's faces.                                              

5 MAY 70
The CO will be out for an inspection. There is to be a memorial service for Pte Stanczyk then 7 platoon will relieve 8 platoon at Timothy. I took an ambush patrol out again to the west, again with no results

6 MAY 70
8RAR had a big contact today. I have enquired as to whether I would be allowed to take a flame-thrower out on Ambush. It would be a great to initiate the ambush. You see the flame thrower has two triggers, the rear one sends the fuel and the front one lights it. There are two different types of fuel. A thick fuel like a jelly and a thin fuel like straight petrol. How I would initiate the ambush would be to spray the enemy with the thick fuel. Give them a few seconds to think about it then light it. I don't think I would have needed flares as they would have lit up the area whilst running round alight. I am not allowed to carry one. Maybe I have been here too long I am starting to lose all sense of feeling.

7 MAY 70
We moved out from the Horseshoe to the new NDP Brigid which is south of Dat Do.                                                       

9 MAY 70
We were withdrawn from our ambush position this morning because they were going to bomb he Long Hai's. I couldn't understand why at first as we were some 3000 metres from them. We withdrew into Brigid and waited. It wasn't long before we saw a Canberra bomber and a Hercules over the mountains. The Hercules dropped something out of the back by parachute. It lazily fell to the ground then there was a great flash followed by a mushroom cloud and shock wave then the bang. It virtually threw us off our sandbags. They had dropped a 25,000 Ib bomb. Quite impressive. I thought to myself "Hell they've nuked the mountain
14 MAY 70

8RAR had a contact in the paddies, result 7 enemy-killed.

15 MAY 70
We relieved 8 platoon in ambushes. Kibbey is taking Calfsign 33; I am taking 33 Alfa. We will go by APC's, 33 being dropped first, ourselves dropped further north. On being dropped we checked our position then after dark we started to move into our ambush position. I was carrying the radio and could hear 33 talking to Zero Alfa that they could see 12 enemy to their front and that they were about to open up, next thing I knew was that all hell broke loose. 33 had ambushed us.
Some of my men returned fire knocking the eye out of the Bushman Scout. I immediately got on the radio and yelled into the handpiece "33 this is 33 Alfa CHECKFIRE CHECKFIRE" it took about five minutes to get aft the firing stopped, a Dustoff was called for Frank Woods, Kibbey's radio operator told the pilot that there were enemy to his front, I kept trying to convince Woodsy and the pilot that we were friendly, as otherwise the chopper would have come in with guns blazing. The next day in the light of day we realised just how lucky we had been, we had holes in our webbing and uniforms, I counted the distance we were away from 33, I paced out 55 paces, not far at all. Kibbey and myself went back to the Horseshoe reference last nights activities. We were interrogated at some length individually. That night we again went out to the same spots. I found navigation difficult, as the ground does not correspond with the map. I called for a 'Marked Mission. This proved I had been right the night before.

17 MAY 70
Nothing occurred we laid up all day and at night we ambushed. 450 metres to the north of our day location. A tank hit 20lb of Chicom.

18 MAY 70
We again laid up for the day. The Starlight Scope gave up the ghost. At 2230hrs 7 platoon contacted five enemy killing three, capturing two bags office, one grenade, one M1 Carbine plus documents. The boss has volunteered us to stay out another night.

19 MAY 70
A quiet day, we moved our ambush position further south. 0944hrs. The ARVN found a body with an SKS. The body is ten days old and has been credited with Callsign 61's contact on the 10th of May
A body was found this morning by CHQ and was put down to our ambush on the 25th of last month. 
Callsign 9 (CO) sighted a group of civilians in the area of FSPB Discovery. They were carrying digging implements and clothing. The group consists of four women and three boys. 
0500hrs. Callsign 13A (a section from 3PL A Coy) had a contact with an unknown number of enemy across a clearing. DF's were fired with no results. The enemy were moving west to east. 0?00hrs. Calisign 23 (6PL B Coy) located six weapon pits, three grass huts, a broken stone dam and a dry well. 
1?30hrs. Tango Alfa and 82 were fired upon at a distance of 200 metres. The area was searched, 100lbs of rice was found.1100hrs. CHQ found another body washed up on the beach. Thought to be from our ambush of the 25th of April,1330hrs.
Callsign 11 (1PL A Coy) plus elements from Support Coy.and a tank and APC's attacked an enemy bunker system. They came under fire from the enemy firing RPG's, RPD's and AK47's, The force withdrew to evacuate their casualties.
1450hrs. Callsign 21 (4PL B Coy) had a contact. The enemy approached from the south. The result was one enemy KIA. He was identified as a medic from D445.We ambushed back into the paddies. An M72 rocket went off approximately 12 inches in front of us causing both my ears and nose to bleed. I was completely deafened by the blast and Pte Cox was burnt on the leg.

26 MAY 70
I went back to the Horseshoe to see the doctor reference my ears, they are still bleeding. That night the enemy was seen on the wire and we had to do a sweep.

27 MAY 70
We did another sweep this morning with negative results, 7 platoon killed one and captured two.Callsign 9 (CO) sighted a group of civilians in the area of FSPB Discovery.
They were carrying digging implements and clothing. The group consists of four women and three boys. 
0?00hrs. Callsign 13A (a section from 3PL A Coy) had a contact with an unknown number of enemy across a clearing. DF's were fired with no results. The enemy were moving west to east. 0?00hrs. Callsign 23 (6PL B Coy) located six weapon pits, three grass huts, a broken stone dam and a dry well.
1030hrs. Tango Alfa and 82 were fired upon at a distance of 200 metres. The area was searched, 100lbs of rice was found.
1100hrs. CHQ found another body washed up on the beach. Thought to be from our ambush of the 25th of April,
1330hrs. Callsign 11 (1PL A Coy) plus elements from Support Coy.and a tank and APC's attacked an enemy bunker system. They came under fire from the enemy firing RPG's, RPD's and AK47's, The force withdrew to evacuate their casualties.
1450hrs. Callsign 21 (4PL B Coy) had a contact. The enemy approached from the south. The result was one enemy K!A. He was identified as a medic from D445. We ambushed back into the paddies. An M72 rocket went off approximately 12 inches in front of us causing both my ears and nose to bleed. I was completely deafened by the blast and Pte Cox was burnt on the leg.

26 MAY 70
I went back to the Horseshoe to see the doctor reference my ears, they are still bleeding. That night the enemy was seen on the wire and we had to do a sweep.

27 MAY 70
We did another sweep this morning with negative results, 7 platoon killed one and captured two. My Callsign is to ambush north of Ap Lo Gom where the ARVN had a successful ambush last night. They have been moved around to the other side of the village.

29 MAY 70
While moving into our ambush position last night we were ambushed by an ARVN platoon. It seems that the ARVN who had the ambush the night before decided that seeing that they were successful then they would go back to the same spot and ambush again contrary to their orders.The only thing that saved us was that they initiated the ambush with an M79 grenade launcher which gave us enough time to hit the deck before they opened up with three 30 Cat Browning Machineguns plus all their other stuff. Bullets and grenades were flying all around us. Every time I put my head up and yelled to my men to hold their fire everything came my way. !t took a while before \ could get things under control. "I don't think I'm going to see this tour out at this rate".To get the fight stopped I had to crawl around and tell my men to cease­fire I then had to yell out to the ARVN "UC-DAI-L0I" "UC-DAI-LOI (Translation Men from the Great Southland, or as many people knew it, Australians). I then had to get on the radio back to company who in turn got onto the battalion who in turn got onto sector etc. It took some time, while this was going on company HQ told me to move. I refused until I could be assured that the ARVN in fact knew we were friendly as we were in a rice paddy with no cover at all.