An aerial view of the central and south-eastern areas of Fire Support Base (FSB) Coral (Operation ...

Accession Number P03022.008
Collection type Photograph
Object type Colour - Print
Maker Alexander, Ross
Place made Vietnam: Bien Hoa Province, Fire Support Base Coral
Date made 13 May 1968
Conflict Vietnam, 1962-1975

Item copyright: AWM Licensed copyright


An aerial view of the central and south-eastern areas of Fire Support Base (FSB) Coral (Operation Toan Thang I) taken on the afternoon of 13 May 1968. The occupation of Coral commenced late on the afternoon of 12 May 1968. During the darkness of early morning 13 May 1968, when the FSB was only partly established, a North Vietnamese Army (NVA) unit attacked from the north-east. The three units subject of direct attack are to the right of the track running slightly diagonally from the north to south of the photograph: 102nd Field Battery is above the purple smoke (marking its helicopter landing zone), with the three of its 105 mm howitzers within circular bunds marking its right extremity, and a small east-to-west track across its northern extremity; Artillery Tactical Headquarters (Forward) 12th Field Regiment is between this cross-track and a ditch to the north with rubber trees beyond, and close to the main north-south track; and 1RAR Mortar Platoon, also between this cross-track and the ditch, is almost directly above the most easterly howitzer, where a small puff of white smoke appears. Not subject of direct attack were: Headquarters 1RAR, located east of the intersection just below photograph centre, its western extremity marked by the faded-red and yellow marker panels; most of 1RAR Anti-tank Platoon, near the edge of the photograph, to the north of Headquarters 1RAR; and 1RAR Assault Pioneer Platoon, not visible, to the east and south-east of Headquarters 1RAR. Reinforcing units on 13 May 1968 included B Coy 1RAR, some of its weapon pits being visible in the south-east corner of the photograph, Battery A 2/35th Artillery (US Army) just north of photograph centre and west of the north-south track, and beyond Battery A, Headquarters (Main) 1st Australian Task Force and the forward Maintenance Area. Around the intersection near Headquarters 1RAR are nine M113 carriers of 2 Troop A Squadron 3rd Cavalry Regiment, which had escorted most of these reinforcing units into Coral.

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