4 RAR/NZ (ANZAC) Operations
Operation Merino
Dateline : 18 July to 25 July 1968

Duration :  8 days
Outcome :  4 RAR/NZ (ANZAC) troops - 4 wounded
                     Enemy                                   - 11 killed plus 3 by artillery, 6 wounded, 1 captured
On 18 July 4 RAR/NZ [ANZAC] deployed to FSB Chestnut, which was established beside Route 15 near the village of Thai Thien. W Company was fire support base company and the other companies moved into their AO's on foot.

This operation was a battalion-sized reconnaissance in force carried out in the western part of the enemy zone known as the Hat Dich, where the enemy considered itself relatively safe and carried out training and operational planning in numerous camps.

First contacts occurred about 1600 hrs when B Company had three small contacts and D Company contacted a small group of enemy in a base camp. Several small contacts held up D Company's progress resulting in it never reaching its own AO and instead operated in W Company's for the duration of the operation.

On 20 July FSB Chestnut was vacated and FSB Dyke established on the Firestone Trail about 4,000 metres east of Route 15.

V Company had two small contacts before one of its platoons was ambushed by the VC without casualties.

Whilst patrolling on 22 July V Company located what appeared to be a sizeable number of enemy in a bunkered camp. Two platoons were committed, but returned to the base camp in fading light. Returning to the camp next day V Company came under heavy small arms and RPG fire, and pulled back for an airstrike on the enemy camp, however darkness descended and prevented its return to the enemy camp.

That night the first battalion attack since the Korean War was planned in the 4 RAR/NZ [ANZAC] command post. The attack was preceded by another airstrike and heavy bombardment by two 105 mm batteries and one 155 mm battery.

Valuable lessons were learned.
The enemy VC were found to use tracks continually, even after suffering casualties on the same tracks. They were found to use a claymore-type mine to slow up troops and inflict casualties.

The operation ended on 25 July and the battalion returned to Nui Dat after 33 days continuous operations.

Extract from 'Mission In Vietnam', published by 4 RAR/NZ (ANZAC) Bn for, and on behalf of, all ranks.
Edited by Lt J R Webb
Assisted by Pte L A Drake.
Map overlays drawn by Cpl R Strong, Pte M J Cash and Pte T J J Egan.
the motto of the Royal Australian Regiment
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