December 8, 2023

Ambush – Feb 68

In February 1968 just following TET and around the time that Lionel Rose beat ‘Fighting Harada’ in a world tile bout, elements of 7 RAR including 5 Platoon Bravo Company (and others) took part in an ambush set adjacent to a viaduct/acquaduct crossing of the Dinh River just south of Baria and from memory approxiamtely 600 metres south from our dug-in harbour position straddling a major roadway just west of Baria township. From my often faulty memory I recall the night being calm with a good degree of moonlight and our ambush was set on the northern bank of the viaduct.

I was in depth with a tall fellow 7 RAR Infantry Soldier who I knew as ‘Tiny’ (funny about that nick-name). This man informed me that he was from Binnaway NSW. Well into the night a fairly large force of VC began to cross the viaduct and since the moonlight was adequate we could all clearly indentify each shadowy figure as they passed silently through the killing ground. Tiny and I kept waiting for the M60 to initiate the ambush thinking that circumstances were very much in our favour as our position was elevated presenting an excellent ambush scenario. Nothing happened and the enemy force was allowed to calmly walk out through the killing ground unscathed.

Now as we were frequently accustomed to the ambush tactic and quite successful from my experience, this ambush opportunity had all the hallmarks of a success story so why was the opportunity lost. I served two tours in SVN and sometimes experiences during each period becomes blurred but in this instance I have (what I believe) to be  vivid recall. Can someone advise me on why the ambush did not eventuate. And perhaps other soldiers present   may provide their recollections of the matter.


Chris Simpson

5Plt B Company 7 RAR Ist tour.