Operation COBURG begins. The 1st Australian Task Force's first operation outside Phuoc Tuy Province just east of Bien Hoa incidentally placed it in excellent response positions to several Tet-68 trouble spots.
Some good pics taken during COBURG:
(Anyone know if its a Carl Gustav 84mm RCLR that the soldier in the middle is carrying?)
1st Div, 1/28th BLACK LIONS JAN 24rd thru JAN 26th, 1968
Continuation of THUNDER ROAD Operations
The plotted Grid Map is for Jan 24th, 1968. We have Daily Journals for the 24th and 25th; however National Archives could not provide a copy for Jan 26th (Damn and I really wanted the 26th because it should have reflected a Sweep outside of Quan Loi that contained information regarding a SNIPPET that I previously posted where I threated to retaliate against the NEW Company Commander of Delta Co if any of my men got hurt) - OH WELL!
As you can obtain from the Jan 25th Daily Journal, 1/28th returned to Quan Loi from THUNDER ROAD (troops Airlifted back - some equipment went back by convoy). 1/28th was replaced by units of DARRING who was 2nd Battalion 2nd Inf.
** Note ** Don't understand why the log didn't disclose the destruction of the VC Base Camp discovered on Jan 18th. We normally blew these suckers up after obtaining any possible Intel - OH WELL!
North Vietnamese forces employing tanks over-run a Lao Army post on Route 9, west of Khe Sanh just inside the Laos frontier. Following the attack, U.S. aircraft destroy one of five PT-76 tanks observed inside the RVN, moving along Route 9 toward Khe Sanh. Survivors of the 33rd Royal Lao Battalion and their dependents flee into South Vietnam to the Lang Vei Special Forces camp.
U.S. officials announced Wednesday the Viet Cong have released two American servicemen taken prisoner in South Vietnam. A spokesman identified the two as Marine Cpl. Jose Agosto Santos and Army Pvt. Luis Ortiz-Rivera. Agosto Santos was captured May 14, 1967, and Ortiz-Rivera on Dec. 21, 1966. The spokesman said both men were released Tuesday near the coastal provincial capital of Tam Ky, 350 miles northeast of Saigon. He said they were taken to a hospital of the U.S. 1st Air Cav. Div. for treatment and will be evacuated shortly to the United States.
Camp Holloway was attacked by four mortar tubes and elements of the 408th NVA Sapper Bn at 0230. The attack lasted about 50 minutes, the sappers concentrated on the 88th S&S Bn area, the mortars concentrated along the aircraft revetments adjacent to the runway and the 604th TC CO area. At least a 20 man sapper team breached the perimeter in the 88th S&S area by tying off trip flares and cutting the barrier wire. They placed 30 to 50 satchel charges adjacent to numerous supply and storage facilities and departed. While departing a trip flare was ignited or a flare fired at 0247 and fire was placed on the fleeing enemy, killing one and wounding another. Between 0247 and 0305 the Camp received 110 to 120 rounds of 82mm mortar fire. The heaviest concentrations fell into the 604th TC CO area, the miniport refueling area, and the aircraft parking areas adjancent to and paralleling both sides of the runway. Immediately, countermortar radar confirmed the location and return mortars, artillery and gunships were brought to bear and the enemy fire ceased. At 0310 a tremendous explosion occurred in the 88th S&S area. Ammo Pad #8 exploded causing blast damage throughout the complex. At 0320, the alert ceased and the Camp returned to 50% status.
(Beautiful aerial view of Camp Holloway near Pleiku)
BLT 2/4th Marines conducted an helicopter assault operation west of Dong Ha as part of Operation FORTRESS ATTACK. There were no reported casualties.
Under cover of a mortar and rocket attack, an estimated enemy battalion attempted to overrun the night camp of the 1/27th Inf six miles northwest of Cu Chi. The attack, which began shortly after midnight, left 103 enemy dead. At dawn, the 2/27th Inf reinforced and made a concentrated search of the area. In other action, the Dau Tieng base camp of the 3rd Bde, 25th Inf Div was hit by enemy small arms, automatic weapons, and rocket fire. Return fire by American infantrymen was restricted to small arms and automatic weapons fire because the VC were firing from the security of a nearby hamlet. In Operation YELLOWSTONE, ground forces reported several small contacts with VC elements as they continued to probe near the Cambodian border. Five enemy were killed by a company of the 4/9th Inf.
(Dau Tieng Base Camp)
A seal of the village of Ben Tui north of Ben Cat resulted in nine VC killed. Infantrymen from the 1/16th Inf, 1st Inf Div began the seal, encountering small arms fire which continued sporadically throughout the night. Brief firefights erupted during the night, and the enemy finally broke contact early in the morning. Eleven suspects were detained.
The 2d Bn, 174th NVA Regt and local forces attacked the Kontum Subsector Headquarters and the town. Prior to the attack, local VC infiltrated the city. About 25 percent of Tanh Canh was destroyed in the battle and the 2/174th suffered heavy casualties, probably as high as 50 percent. After the battle 167 NVA and VC bodies were removed from the city.
At about 0200 hours, the 5th Bn, 95th NVA Regt attacked the Tuy Hoa airfield, the provincial prison, and American artillery positions. C Battery, 6th Bn, 32nd Artillery, an 8 inch and 175mm composite battery, was one of these positions. They were located at the Tuy Hoa North Airfield, on the outskirts of the provincial capital of Tuy Hoa. At about 0700 hours, a reaction force arrived from the 4th Bn, 503rd Inf, 173rd Abn reinforced by a battalion from the Korean 28th Regt. The RVN prison camp was just south of the artillery battery. The NVA had suffered very high casualties during the night and holed up in a little refugee village just south of the prison camp. The battalion commander of the 4/503rd landed and personally led a charge against the surrounded NVA which resulted in 19 US KIA and 39 WIA. The brigade commander had him pull back and had the fast movers from Tuy Hoa Air Base annihilated the survivors of the NVA battalion. There were less than a half dozen wounded survivors. The NVA were supported during the Tet attack by a local Viet Cong battalion which escaped almost unscathed. It was this VC battalion that conducted two attacks against the city of Tuy Hoa and were repulsed by two battalions of the ARVN 47th Regt. The ARVN moved against the remaining enemy strongholds in the center of Tuy Hoa on 5 Feb and captured it on the 6th.
Pleiku: The VC 15H LF and 40th Sapper Bns attacked cross an expanse of open field at great cost. Heavy fighting raged around the Pleiku sector headquarters, the MACV compount, the 71st Evac, the POW compound, both airfields, and a Montagnard training center. The 3d ARVN Cav Sqdn and the 22d ARVN Ranger Bn backed up by a company of the 1/69th Armor responded immediately. Two mobile strike force cos from B/5th SF were added to the street fighting. Finally the 4th Eng Bn, as infantry, were added. By 3 Feb this amalgamated force was mopping up.
Kontum: The 24th NVA Regt, the 304th VC Bn and the 406th Sapper Bn attacked the MACV compound, post office, airfield, and 24th ARVN STZ headquarters. Some of the most ferocious combat of Tet-68 transpired in Kontum city. The initial assault was met by two Montagnard scout companies which were rapidly brushed aside and the 2/42d ARVN Regt which fell back. The B-24 SF Det compound was penetrated at several points. At noon the Americans rustled up the ground elements of 7/17th Air Cav, fused them with 1/22d Inf and C/1/69th Armor. This composite task force was shoved into the heart of the city but the fierce tempo of urban fighting was sustained five more days.
Ban Me Thuot: The 33d NVA Regt and the 301E VC LF Bn attacked the 23d ARVN Div headquarters, the MACV compound, both airfields, and numerous other targets including the bank. Initially they were opposed by only the local RFPF force and the SF B-23 Det. By midday on the 30th, the 8th ARVN Cav Sqdn and the 45th ARVN Regt were also engaged. The house-to-house fighting was so intense that the 23d ARVN Ranger Bn was committed on 1 Feb. These rangers were quickly consumed by the slaughter and the next day the 1/503d Airborne Battalion, 173d Airborne Brigade was flown in from Pleiku. Four major NVA assaults were hurled against Ban Me Thuot during the course of the battle, but by 6 Feb the town was cleared. Over one third of the city had been reduced to smoking rubble. In Code-Name Bright Light, we learn that several ARVN, Montagnards and three American civilians were captured by the NVA during the battle. Mike Benge, the head of USAID and one of the senior ranking Americans in Ban Me Thuot, was captured as he drove his jeep around the city collecting Americans and taking them to the MACV compound. He was unaware that various parts of the city were in NVA hands. Two American missionaries, Henry Blood and Betty Olsen, were also captured.
Battle for Hue. The battle began at 0340 with a 122mm rocket attack followed by two bns from the NVA 6th Regt charging across lightly defended bridges and taking part of the Imperial Citadel. They were halted by the ARVN Hoc Bo (Black Panther) Co at the Tay Loc airfield before they could reach the ARVN 1st Div HQ. The NVA 4th Regt struck the MACV HQ defended by a makeshift force of 200 Americans. The USMC base at Phu Bai responded by sending one Inf Co reinforced with 4 tanks. When this force was pinned down, a second Co with 2 SP 40mm guns were dispatched. Six hours later with 10 KIA and 30 WIA this unit reached the MACV compound. At nightfall, the NVA consolidated their positions eventually committing 10 bns (more than a full division) to the Citadel battles. The allies countered with 3 understrength USMC, 6 USA and 11 ARVN bns.
During this battle the 1st and the 5th Marines and several ARVN elements defended and drove the enemy out of Hue City as the largest major action of the enemy Tet Offensive. Several USA units from the 1st Cav and 101st Abn Divs were involved blocking position and cutting enemy supply lines to the west and nouth of Hue. The allies claimed 5,113 known enemy casualties in this battle. U.S. losses were 119 KIA, 961 WIA; ARVN were 363 KIA and 1,242 WIA; Civilian 5,800 KIA or MIA and 116,000 homeless.
Battle for Saigon. During Tet of '68, the enemy brought the war to the more than 2 million people in metropolitan Saigon for the first time. Attacking from the north, west, and south, they hurled 35 battalions into the battle. Sapper Bns and local force units attacked the presidential palace, the US Embassy, the National Radio Station, and other principal targets. The 5th VC Div hit the military bases at Long Binh and Bien Hoa. The NVA 7th Div attacked the US 1st Inf Div and 5th ARVN Div at Lai Khe. The VC 9th Div struck the US 25th Inf Div at Cu Chi. Tan Son Nhut Airport receive a heavy barrage of rocket and mortar fire starting at 3 a.m. followed by a three bn assault. They met the ARVN 8th ABN Bn who happened to the waiting for transport. The US 3/4th Cav from the 25th Div raced from its base at Cu Chi to help rescue the airfield. The 1/18th Inf and A/1/4th Cav from the 1st Inf Div also helped at the airfield. Heavy fighting continued in the Cholon District and around the Phu Tho Racetrack for several days. Finally the 199th Inf Bde, with heavy air support, secured this area.
Communist forces launch a coordinated, nationwide assault in South Vietnam attacking Saigon, 36 of 44 provincial capitals, 5 of 6 autonomous cities, 64 of 242 district capitals, 50 hamlets, and a number of military installations including most airfields. The second wave of attacks included the following Province capitals and cities: Quang Tri, Hue, Tam ky, Hau Bon, Tuy Hoa, Da Lat, Phan Thiet, Phuoc Le, Saigon, Gia Dinh, Bien Hoa, Duc Hoa, Phu Cuong, Tay Ninh, Moc Hoa, My Tho, Ben Tre, Phu Vinh, Vinh Long, Sa Dec, Can Tho, Soc Trang, Rach Gia, Chau Phu, and Ca Mau. The attacks included military installations near these cities: Phu Bai, Chu Lai, Bong Son, Pleiku, Tuy Hoa, Bien Hoa, Long Binh, Saigon, and Ving Long.
As part of operation JEB STUART the 1st Brigade, 1st Cav was near Quang Tri when the enemy launched their Tet Offensive. The Bde assaulted four companies into hot LZs around the village of Thon An Thai, just east of Quang Tri. The first task was to knock out the NVA's heavy weapons support and then block the enemy from the rear. The ARA and artilley found many NVA moving along Route 1. While the fighting would last for ten days and the enemy would loose more than 875 killed with 100 captured, the Battle of Quang Tri only lasted two days. The 1/5th Cavalry and the 1/12th Cavalry combined with the 1st ARVN Regiment and the 9th ARVN Abn Battalion to fight the 812th NVA Regiment plus the 10th NVA Sapper, the K-4 and the K-8 battalions.
Battle of Phan Thiet. The VC 482d LF and 840th MF Bns assaulted the city perimeter just after 3 a.m. The MACV compound, water point, and sector headquarters were all hit. The 3/506th Inf and two bns of the 44th ARVN Regt counterattacked in other areas as well. Several schools in the northern part of the city and a large pagoda in the western portion became focal points of extended fighting. The heaviest fighting was over bt 4 Feb but sporadic skirishing flared over the next six days. A renewed VC assault carried the city prison on 18 Feb. After another grueling week of block-by-block combat the VC were ejected from the town.
The 9th ARVN Div, guarding Vinh Long, was considered a weak division with two of its regiments rated as only marginally combat-effective. The VC attacked Ving Long and the airfield with the 306th, 208th, and the 856th Bns. Both ARVN reinforcements and the MRF were required to regain the area. On 4 Feb, the MRF anchored north of the town on the Mekong River. The 3/47 Inf conducted river-assault probes while the 3/60th conducted an airmobile assault south of the city. Two days later, two companies from the 3/60th Inf, supported by helicopter gunships and assault patrol boats, made beach landings on the banks of the Rach Cai Cam. After heavy combat, the city was retaken on Feb 8.
__________________ "This life..., you know, "the life." Youíre not gonna get any medals, kid. This is not a hero business; you donít shoot people from a mile a way. You gotta stand right next to them... blow their heads off."
Good job Boonie and Paul. Tet, for me anyways, was the battle that displayed how great our MP's really were. They don't get much respect or recognition but during these battles, their abilities and courage really shone forth.
A drink to all the MP's who battled the enemy during Tet 68'.
"War is hell, but actual combat is a motherf#cker"
- Col. David Hackworth