60mm mortar tail fin : Lieutenant A H Jensen, 1st Battalion Royal Australian Regiment

Place Asia: Vietnam, Bien Hoa Province, Fire Support Base Coral
Accession Number REL35082
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Steel
Maker Unknown
Date made c 1960s
Conflict Vietnam, 1962-1975

Remains of a Viet Cong 60mm mortar tail fin unit. The eight stabilising fins are twisted and broken in places.

History / Summary

Viet Cong 60mm mortar tail fin collected on 15 or 16 May 1968 by 235316 Lieutenant Anthony (Tony) Howard Jensen after a battle at Fire Support Base (FSB) Coral. Jensen served in Vietnam with 1 Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (1 RAR) from 27 March 1968 to 28 January 1969. FSB Coral was one of several bases established to intercept and disrupt the approach of enemy forces towards the Bien Hoa-Long Binh base complex and the capital, Saigon. Occupation of Coral began on 12 May 1968, but the defences remained unfinished when at about 3.30 am on 13 May, it was attacked by the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) following a brief but intense rocket and mortar barrage. As 1 RAR Mortar Platoon’s second-in-command, Jensen was stationed on the northern perimeter of the FSB and was resting in a shell scrape when the enemy bombardment began. The platoon position was over-run, along with one of 102 Field Battery's six 105 mm M2A2 howitzers in the base. With the aid of extensive air support, the attack was beaten off by 6.30 am and the captured gun-pit was retaken - still with the gun in it. This howitzer is now in the Memorial's collection (REL26769). Nine Australians were killed and 28 wounded, while the attackers lost more than the 52 bodies they left behind. On the morning on 16 May Coral again came under attack by enemy forces. The base was now more heavily defended and the attack was repelled after four hours of fighting, with the Australians having suffered five men killed and nineteen wounded. On 22 May Coral was subjected to yet another rocket and mortar barrage, but this time the NVA troops were dispersed by return fire from 1 RAR's mortars as they formed up to attack. Although there were further bombardments on 26 and 28 May, and patrols sent out from the base came into contact with the enemy, Coral was not seriously threatened again.