Geoff Hazel - Enemy bunker systems
The last major operation we had, which was once again a two part one, we'd been out doing a 12 day, that was two weeks and we'd moved from there to the new one which was right up in the northwest of the actual province in the May Tao mountains. We were there more for reconnaissance, which was what the battalions were used for a lot. In that 12-month period, the Americans would send an Australian battalion in to find, they know there's somebody there, you go and find them and once we found them, the main part of them, they we will back out and they would send in a brigade or whatever.
But once again we were there to find something. They knew something was there but didn't know where or what. And we've done a bit, we actually come across, well, going down one, found a slit trench, just big enough for two men no more, no overhead cover nothing there, nothing on 100 metres either side. So, righto, we kept going and all of a sudden we had bunkers on either side of us. Right, that stopped the company, and we were actually walking down between a row of bunkers that were 1500 metres long and it was 300 metres across the end.
We got a fight because there were some of them in the centre, a base protection type group, which didn't take much. I mean, they weren't enough to withstand an Australian company. But that was a huge complex and it hadn't been long before when it was occupied. So righto, we kept going and then we stopped. We set up a base and sent out a patrol, 2 Platoon again, went out to ambush a track junction. Set it up. Somebody came wandering down and they sprung the ambush and all of a sudden all hell broke loose.
That junction was right on the edge of another big base. Horrie Howard sent another platoon down on either end, so we had the whole company in line and fortunately the helicopters were in and out giving us cover enough to withdraw. And it was obviously, as we found out later, it was 275 Regiment, which had been the one that had been messed up, like a mess in Long Tan and it was now fully reformed and getting ready to go back into battle. We had to, there was no way we had the numbers and they just couldn't get extras in so we just had to back off. We'd just been resupplied with our food so that was just stuck in the pit. Grenades with the pin pulled out hidden in it. We went to D company, then the next day we went out, were lifted out.