By 04:00 A Company was still heavily engaged and the Australians called in helicopter light-fire teams and AC-47 gunships, which dropped flares continuously from 04:30 to illuminate the battlefield. By 05:00 the main attack was halted and the PAVN began withdrawing, just as the Australians were beginning to run low on ammunition. During the lull A Company was resupplied by APC, while the Australians pushed an RCL team forward to provide additional support. At 05:15 the PAVN attacked again, targeting the boundary between A and C Companies on the northern edge of the perimeter, only to be repulsed by mortar fire. Later a two-battalion attack on A, B and C Companies was also turned back. The Australians then counter-attacked with elements of A Company supported by APCs, regaining the lost 3 Platoon section post. Finally, after a six-hour battle the PAVN broke contact at 06:30 and withdrew with their dead and wounded, fighting a series of rearguard actions to prevent follow-up. The Australians also began collecting their casualties for evacuation, while another resupply was completed with APCs. 1 RAR subsequently commenced a clearance of the area, with the four Australian rifle companies patrolling to a depth of 1,000 metres (1,100 yd), killing one PAVN soldier and capturing another. Five Australians had been killed and 19 wounded, while two US artillerymen were also wounded during the fighting. Only 34 PAVN bodies were counted on the perimeter at dawn, however intelligence later indicated that fewer than 100 of the 790 attacking troops had survived unwounded. Meanwhile, in an attempt to disrupt the PAVN withdrawal, Keldie led a troop of cavalry from Coral, engaging a PAVN battalion during a pursuit that lasted until 15:00.
A second regimental-sized attack against 3 RAR at Balmoral was launched by the PAVN at 02:30 on 28 May, with a two-battalion assault preceded by 60 mm and 80 mm mortar fire from the south. Meanwhile, FSB Coral was also attacked by indirect fire from 02:45. Similar to the attack two nights before, it began with another feint from the south as PAVN sappers blew up the wire in front of A Company, but was successfully broken up before it reached the wire by the Australian defenders with claymore mines and small-arms fire from their M60 machine-guns, L1A1 Self Loading Rifles and M16 assault rifles. The main assault began at 03:10 from the north-east, with the brunt again being borne by Phillips' D Company. The Australian infantrymen were once again supported by tanks firing canister shot and machine-guns, while artillery and mortars provided continuous close indirect fires, with the combined effect of this firepower stopping the PAVN on the wire before they could penetrate the position. Although the assault was well co-ordinated, the PAVN had lost the element of surprise, with the preparatory fire once more alerting the defenders. The assault was subsequently called off after 30 minutes, while at 03:40 a small probe developed from the east but quickly dissipated. Sporadic mortar and rocket fire continued to fall as helicopter light-fire teams and AC-47 gunships engaged the PAVN, directed by forward air control aircraft. From 05:00 until first light artillery from FSB Coral provided continuous battlefield illumination to stymie PAVN attempts to clear their dead and wounded, and they finally withdrew by 05:30.
The Australians continued to patrol aggressively, with further clashes occurring between companies from 1 RAR and 3 RAR, and the PAVN. On the morning of 30 May, C Company, 1 RAR under Major Ian Campbell had patrolled into a bunker system 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) east of FSB Coral and was contacted by a large dug-in PAVN force. At 08:30 the lead platoon, 9 Platoon, came under fire and was pinned down by RPGs and 7.62 mm RPD light machine-guns. Meanwhile, 7 Platoon moved to assist but was also pinned down, with one section suffering heavy casualties and losing an M60 machine-gun. Campbell struggled to establish a company defensive position, pushing 8 Platoon forward covered by armed helicopters and indirect fire. Yet with the two forces facing each other at only 10 to 15 metres (11 to 16 yd), the Australian artillery and mortars were rendered ineffective and Dunstan subsequently dispatched two tanks from Coral to reinforce them as heavy fighting developed. Supported by APCs, the Australian infantry and tanks then assaulted and cleared several bunkers, allowing the lead platoon to withdraw after three hours of fighting. Suffering one killed and seven wounded, C Company broke contact by 11:55, withdrawing 500 metres (550 yd) as artillery, mortars and air strikes engaged the bunker system. Three days later C Company returned to the area to recover the lost machine-gun only to find the position as they had left it; strewn with dead bodies and caved-in bunkers with the battlefield having been abandoned by the PAVN, who had also withdrawn following the Australian assault. The tanks had destroyed at least eight bunkers, while PAVN casualties included 24 dead and a further eight believed killed. Another group of 13 had also been engaged in the open by artillery, and were also possibly killed. 041b061a72