Battle of Hat Dich

The Battle of Hat Dich (3 December 1968 − 19 February 1969) was a series of military actions fought between the 1st Australian Task Force (1ATF) and the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong during the Vietnam War . Under the codename Operation Goodwood, two battalions from 1ATF deployed away from their base in Phouc Tuy province , operating against suspected communist bases in the Hat Dich area, in western Phuoc Tuy, south-eastern Bien Hoa and south-western Long Khan provinces as part of a large allied sweep known as Operation Toan Thang II. The Australians conducted sustained patrolling throughout the Hat Dich and extensively ambushed tracks and river systems in the Rung Sat , occupying a series of fire support bases as operations expanded. Meanwhile American, South Vietnamese and Thai forces also operated in direct support of the Australians as part of the division -sized action.
On 6 February 1969, two additional battalions from the Thu Duc VC Regiment were reported to have entered the Hat Dich area and 4RAR/NZ was subsequently redeployed with tanks and APCs in support, resulting in the heaviest contacts of the operation. The fighting lasted 78 days and was one of the longest out of province operations mounted by the Australians during the war. Although there were few major actions, the fighting resulted in heavy Viet Cong and North Vietnamese casualties and forced them to abandon their permanent bases in the Hat Dich, as well as disrupting their preparations for an upcoming offensive during Tet . Immediately following the operation the Australians were redeployed to block the approaches towards key US and South Vietnamese bases in Bien Hoa, Long Binh and Saigon in anticipation of the 1969 Tet offensive , during Operation Federal.