5 RAR Republic of South Vietnam 1969 - 1970


This operation will be remembered by the numbers of Hoi Chanhs' (VC defectors) and illegal settlers who were encourage to rally to the government.
With the fire base established in an old Teak plantation south of the Thua Tich village site and code named "Ben," the rifle companies, less D Company, deployed in AO (Area of Operations) "Max" with the task of locating and destroying D445 (again?!). D Company and the Intelligence Officer were placed under command of Task Force Headquarters and moved to Dat Do district. Early in the operation, before our intentions and dispositions became obvious, the enemy were forced into several contacts, particularly pleasing were those with D445 along the Song Rai stream.

Charlie Company operating along Route 327 in the Xaun Son area, were very successful in handling the VC farmers. large numbers of these farmers who were working in 'Production Cells' for the VC, were forced into returning to the government by large volumes of artillery and mortar fires each night. The situation was ticklish in that armed guerrillas were with the farmers and their families. It was normally impossible to tell one from the other until a fire fight broke out. Close liaison was maintained with the Vietnamese District Chief (who processed and documented the returnees) at his headquarters at Duc Thanh. After the first week or so, it became obvious that there were very few actual enemy in AO Max. Accordingly the battery was split, and a section, with a section of mortars moved to support bases Eva, Colleen and then to Bruiser to support companies as they moved out of range of the guns.

On 15 October, after being on the operation for thirty two days, the battalion was airlifted back to Nui Dat. B and D Companies were moved by RAAF Caribou aircraft from Xuyen Moc airstrip. Operation Kingston verified reports that D445 had its base on the Song Rai. The Quang Giao and Xuen Son guerrilla units became ineffective because of thirty two "Hoi Chanhs", and food procurement by the major enemy units was considerably reduced by the return of the "Production Cells."

Although in all, contacts were scarce, Operation Kingston probably succeeded in keeping D445 and D440 LF battalions off-balance and disrupted any planned offensives in the near future.

Captain Mike Battle
Intelligence Officer

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