Improvised Viet Cong glass lamp : 2 Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, Operation Coburg

Accession Number REL/01565.005
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Brass, Glass, Plastic, String
Maker Unknown
Place made Vietnam: North Vietnam
Date made c 1967 - 1968
Conflict Vietnam, 1962-1975

Small clear glass bottle with black plastic screw lid. A short length of shoelace is tied around the neck of the bottle and a longer length of nylon cording is tied to this. Contained within the neck of the bottle is an 8mm wide brass tube through which runs a 3 mm wide length of brass tubing, arranged so that the smaller tube is sprung loaded and can be pushed down when the lid is closed. A twisted string wick runs through the smaller tube, and smells strongly of diesel. The upper end of the small tube is blackened with soot.

History / Summary

Improvised lamp designed to burn diesel or similar commonly salvagable fuels. The ingenious design allows for sealed storage of the fuel and portability. Captured by members of A Company, 2 Royal Australian Regiment (RAR) on 3 February 1968 during Operation Coburg. Operation Coburg was the defensive reaction to the impending Viet Cong Tet Offensive, where elements of the Australian Task Force moved from Phuoc Tuy to Bien Hoa Province to operate alongside American forces preparing to block any thrust against the vast complex of military installations around Bien Hoa city and adjoining Long Binh, located some 25 kilometres north-east of Saigon. The task force included the bulk of 2 RAR/NZ (ANZAC) and 7RAR, along with supporting armour, artillery and engineers. In the late afternoon of 3 February, some 12 Viet Cong were engaged by 3 Platoon, A Company, 2 RAR over the period of 60 minutes, resulting in three enemy deaths and two wounded, with one wounded captured. The prisoner revealed that he had been involved in the attack on Bien Hoa airbase. Besides the personal equipment (see REL/1565.001 to .006) six weapons were also captured.