The Battle of Tam Quan was a battle that took place near Tam Quan Bình Định Province.
Background[edit | edit source]
During late November 1967, U.S. intelligence detected that the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) 22nd Regiment of the 3rd Division was about to commence operations in the Bồng Sơn area. Between 1 and 4 December the PAVN made probing attacks against Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) positions along Highway 1, however U.S. and ARVN forces were unable to locate the PAVN.
Battle[edit | edit source]
On the afternoon of 6 December, the 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division received intelligence on the location of the headquarters of the PAVN 22nd Regiment near the village of Dai Dong and aero-scout helicopters from A Troop, 1st of the 9th Cavalry (1/9th) were sent to investigate. The helicopters saw a radio antenna and were fired on and at 16:30 aero-rifle troops were landed nearby, but were quickly pinned down by enemy fire. At 16:55 D Troop was landed to support A Troop, but they were also pinned down.:2–3
At 17:25 the 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment (1/8th) was ordered to engage and by 18:00 had landed nearby and joined up with an ACAV platoon from the 1st Battalion, 50th Infantry Regiment (1/50th) that had moved forward from Landing Zone English. By 21:00 this combined force had managed to extract the 1/9th troops. The force then set up a night perimeter.:4
From 07:25 on the morning of 7 December the site of the previous day's engagement was hit with aerial rocket and artillery fire and by 09:15 Company A 1/8th and Companies B and C 2/8th had been landed by helicopter and together with the ARVN 40th Regiment formed a perimeter around the area. The 1/8th then began moving east towards the blocking forces, but met strong resistance from the entrenched PAVN and pulled back to allow tactical air strikes and artillery to soften up the positions. At 14:06 Companies A and B 1/8th supported by flamethrower APCs resumed the advance and broke through the PAVN positions while the 2/8th attacked westward.:5
The operation resumed at 07:45 on 8 December with Company C 1/8th relieving Company B 1/8th. At 08:15 CS gas was fired into the PAVN positions forcing some soldiers to flee who were then hit by artillery fire, aero-scout helicopters identified 23 PAVN soldiers killed. At 08:50 1/50th and Companies A and C 1/8th began sweeping the area destroying the remaining PAVN positions. By 15:30 the sweeps were completed and forces began withdrawing to LZ English.:5–6
At 05:00 on 10 December the 3rd and 4th Battalions of the ARVN 40th Regiment were attacked by the PAVN 8th Battalion, 22nd Regiment, the attack was repulsed with support by gunships and artillery. From dawn the ARVN carried out a series of attacks on the PAVN positions and at 15:45 were joined by Company D 1/50th for a final attack. On the morning of 10 December the ARVN received reports that the villagers of Truong Lam (2) (1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment (1/12th) joined Company B 1/50th to search Truong Lam. At 10:55 1/50th came under intense fire near Truong Lam (1), Company B 1/12th manoevured to their right flank, while Company C 1/12th was landed by helicopter on the left flank. This combined force made three attacks on the PAVN positions before breaking contact at 18:50.:7) were fleeing the area, Companies B and D
On the morning of 11 December following artillery preparation, 1/12th Cavalry assaulted Truong Lam (2) and met sporadic resistance until midday. During the day the ARVN 40th Regiment was replaced by the South Vietnamese 3rd and 4th Marine Battalions. At 22:15 Company D 2/8th Cavalry ambushed several PAVN units as they attempted to escape the area to the South.:7
On 12 December the combined force of the Vietnamese Marines, 1/12th Cavalry and Company D 1/50th began a sweep of the area. They engaged a PAVN force at 10:55 and overran the position.:7 Search and destroy operations continued on 13 and 14 December with little contact.:8
On the morning of 15 December 1/12th Cavalry located the PAVN 22nd Regiment and was later joined by Company A 1/50th. Despite intensive air and artillery preparation the attack was repulsed and the force withdrew to allow for further supporting fire to soften up the PAVN positions. During the day the 40th ARVN Regiment, Company B 1/8th Cavalry and Companies A and D 2/8th Cavalry established blocking positions around the PAVN.:8–9
On 16 December Companies A and C 1/50th supported by Company C 1/12th attacked north through the village of Truong Lam (1), meeting light resistance until midday. Companies A and D 2/8th Cavalry and Company C 1/50th pursued retreating PAVN.:9 Search and destroy operations continued on 17 and 18 December with little contact.:9
On 19 December intelligence was received on the location of the PAVN 22nd Regiment near the village of An Nghiep. Aerial reconnaissance by A Troop, 1/9th Cavalry located a radio antenna and a large bunker complex. At 14:08 Company D 2/8th Cavalry was landed by helicopter and immediately engaged by a PAVN force. Company D broke contact to allow for air and artillery fire and three more Companies were landed by helicopter to the south and west to establish blocking positions. Artillery and air strikes continued throughout the night and the following morning Company B 2/8th swept through An Nghiep, meeting no resistance from the destroyed PAVN bunkers.:10
Aftermath[edit | edit source]
2/8th Cavalry remained in An Nghiep for 3 days destroying bunkers and recovering PAVN dead and weapons.:10
Total losses in the battle were 58 U.S. killed and 250 wounded, ARVN losses were 30 killed and 71 wounded and PAVN losses were 650 killed and 31 captured.:13
References[edit | edit source]
- "Combat after action report - Battle of Tam Quan". Defense Technical Information Center. 30 December 1967. p. 3. http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/390613.pdf. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
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