Battle of Suoi Chau Pha

The Battle of Suoi Chau Pha (6 August 1967) was fought during the Vietnam War between Australian troops and the Viet Cong. The battle took place during Operation Ballarat, an Australian search and destroy operation in the eastern Hat Dich area, north-west of Nui Dat in Phuoc Tuy province. Following a covert insertion the day before which had caught a number of Viet Cong sentries by surprise, A Company, 7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (7RAR) had patrolled forward unaware of the presence of a large Viet Cong main force unit nearby. Clashing with a reinforced company from 3 Battalion, 274 VC Regiment, a classic encounter battle ensued between two forces of roughly equal size. Fought at close quarters in dense jungle amid a heavy monsoon rain, both sides suffered heavy casualties as neither was able to gain an advantage. Finally, after a battle lasting several hours, the Australian artillery proved decisive and the communists were forced to withdraw, dragging many of their dead from the battlefield after having suffered crippling losses.