Aftermath of Binh Ba

The Australians in Binh Ba had been lucky: Teeling was the only man killed. Many years later his niece, Sandy, visited Vietnam. She dropped a rose quartz crystal, given to her by Teeling's widow, Carolyn, in Halong Bay as a gesture of respect to an uncle she probably never knew. One loss in a battle of such ferocity must be considered fortunate, but for those who knew and loved that individual, the death remains a tragedy. The same tragedy befell many Vietnamese in Binh Ba. Casualty figures vary, but it seems that more than 100 VC and NVA, possibly many more, lost their lives in the battle. Several South Vietnamese soldiers were also killed in the fighting. To the engineers, plant operators from 1 Field Squadron and 21 Engineer Support Troop, fell the unpleasant task of digging a mass grave in which to bury the enemy dead.

Sadly, a number of villagers also lost their lives during the battle. In such a confused, intense fight no amount of care could have prevented civilian casualties. Houses and vegetation limited the field of vision and some of the enemy, members of a VC guerrilla unit rather than the NVA, were hard to distinguish from Binh Ba's residents. During the latter part of the first day's fighting, some NVA troops discarded their uniforms for civilian clothes making it more difficult for the Australians to make the distinction. However much they lamented the loss of civilian lives, and it is clear from veterans' writings and interviews that this has weighed heavily on some, those who fought at Binh Ba should also be proud that their efforts, often at great personal risk, prevented a far greater loss.

The 1st Armoured Regiment, the 3rd Cavalry Regiment and The Royal Australian Regiment were all awarded a battle honour for Binh Ba. A number of individuals were also recognised for their bravery. The village, left in ruins, was rebuilt and today Binh Ba stands, as it did forty years ago, beside the rubber plantation from which many residents still derive their income. The old market place in the village centre now hosts a memorial complex dedicated to the 33rd NVA Regiment, many of whose soldiers died in the battle. The village has grown and newer buildings adjoin Route 2, obscuring the old and making Binh Ba appear very different to the place that for two days in June 1969 was the scene of a fierce battle.


Last updated: 8 January 2019

Cite this page

DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) (2019), Aftermath of Binh Ba, DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 24 July 2021, https://anzacportal.dva.gov.au/wars-and-missions/vietnam-war-1962-1975/events/combat/battle-binh-ba/aftermath-binh-ba
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