Battle of Xa Cam My

The Battle of Xa Cam My was fought over two days from April 11–12, 1966, 10 miles (16 km) south of the village of Cam My in Phuoc Tuy Province, during the Vietnam War.[1] Originally planned as a U.S. search and destroy mission intended to lure out the "crack" Viet Cong (VC) D800 Battalion, Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment soon found itself fighting for survival in the rubber plantations of Cam My village, approximately 42 miles (68 km) east of Saigon. During this battle 134 men of Charlie Company, 2/16th Infantry were ambushed by the VC and 80 percent became casualties.

Background

Commencing on March 29, 1966, Operation Abilene was a U.S. search and destroy mission through Phuoc Tuy Province, targeting the VC 274th and 275th Regiments of the 5th Division and their base areas in the May Tao Secret Zone.[2] It involved two brigades of the US 1st Infantry Division, while the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment and 161st Battery, Royal New Zealand Artillery were also attached.[3] However, the VC largely avoided battle and contact with the sweeping US brigades was light.[4]

Major General William E. DePuy, as commander of the US 1st Infantry Division, subsequently planned to lure out the VC by using Charlie Company, 2/16th Infantry as a bait. Once the VC attacked the isolated company, DePuy planned to rush in other rifle companies to destroy the VC. The next phase of the operation began on April 10, 1966, with soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division moving into positions between Saigon and Vung Tau in search of the elusive VC D800 Battalion. Unlike previous operations, Charlie Company numbered only 134 men because of casualties, leave and other reasons. In addition to the lack of numbers, the company was also cut off from Alpha and Bravo Companies.

Battle

On the following day as Charlie Company moved through the Courtenay Rubber Plantation, they encountered sporadic fire with VC snipers attempting to knock the Americans off one by one. The sporadic fire allowed the VC to maneuver around the outnumbered Americans. By 14:00, VC officers were spotted around the positions of Charlie Company, directing the encirclement of U.S. positions.

By that time it had become clear that the VC had taken the bait. However DePuy's gamble on other rifle companies arriving in time was thwarted by the thick jungle.

To minimize casualties and break the ambush, Charlie Company formed a circular perimeter with interlocking fire. The situation deteriorated as Charlie Company found itself increasingly isolated with only a distant hope of reinforcement. This was made worse when misdirected artillery fired upon Charlie Company instead of the aggressive VC forces.

The fighting continued well into the night with the desperate Charlie Company throwing all it had at the aggressive VC using tear gas grenades. However, their efforts were not enough to stop the VC from breaking through their lines. Through the night, small units from the VC D800 Battalion breached the American perimeter, retrieving their own casualties and slitting the throats of wounded U.S. soldiers along the way.

After five hours of brutal fighting, what was left of Charlie Company formed a tight perimeter, protected by a barrage of artillery fire which came down at a rate of five or six rounds per minute. By 07:00 on April 12, the VC had disengaged from the battle before other U.S. units could arrive.

Aftermath

American losses numbered 36 killed and 71 wounded, while claiming the VC left 41 dead left on field, more than 80 dead and wounded removed.[1]:11 Two posthumous Medals of Honor were awarded in connection with this action. Sgt James W. Robinson, Jr. and A1C William H. Pitsenbarger. The latter was awarded in December 2000. SPEC-4 Johann Lang was awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart for his heroic actions in the battle.

References

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army Center of Military History.

  1. ^ a b Tucker, Spencer C. (2011). The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War: A Political, Social, and Military History (2nd ed.). ABC-CLIO. p. 1. ISBN 9781851099603.
  2. ^ Carland, John (2000). Stemming the Tide: May 1965 to October 1966. The United States Army in Vietnam. Washington, D.C.: Center of Military History, US Army. p. 306. ISBN 1931641242.
  3. ^ McNeill, Ian (1993). To Long Tan: The Australian Army and the Vietnam War 1950–1966. The Official History of Australia's Involvement in Southeast Asian Conflicts 1948–1975. Volume Two. St Leonards, New South Wales: Allen and Unwin. p. 443-4. ISBN 1863732829.
  4. ^ Horner, David, ed. (2008). Duty First: A History of the Royal Australian Regiment (Second ed.). Crows Nest, New South Wales: Allen and Unwin. p. 178. ISBN 1741753740.

External links

James W. Robinson Jr.

James William "Jim" Robinson Jr. (August 30, 1940 – April 11, 1966) was an American soldier and a posthumous recipient of the Medal of Honor. Robinson earned the award while serving with the U.S. Army in Vietnam. He was a Sergeant (E-5) in the infantry when he was killed under heroic circumstances on April 11, 1966, at age 25.

Julian Adams

Julian Adams (Julian Calhoun Adams II) is a producer, writer, and actor.

He is the son of Weston Adams and Elizabeth Nelson Adams, was born in Columbia, South Carolina, and graduated from The University of the South with a degree in fine arts. He is the brother of Wallace Adams-Riley.

Together Julian and Weston founded Solar Filmworks. In 2007 they produced, wrote, and starred in the feature film, from ThinkFilm, The Last Confederate: The Story of Robert Adams (known as Strike the Tent on the film festival circuit) which is the story of Weston's great grandparents, Robert Adams II, and Eveline McCord Adams.In 2009, Julian produced the feature music documentary Amy Cook: The Spaces in Between, which was directed by Todd Robinson. It was released by The Documentary Channel.

Julian produced (with John Watson, and Pen Densham) and co-starred in Phantom, from RCR Media Group, Trilogy Entertainment Group and Solar Filmworks. The submarine thriller was written and directed by Todd Robinson, and stars Ed Harris, David Duchovny, William Fichtner, Johnathon Schaech, Sean Patrick Flanery, and Jason Beghe.

He is producing and acting in The Last Full Measure (2019 film), from Roadside Attractions, written and directed by Todd Robinson, and starring Samuel L. Jackson, Ed Harris, William Hurt, Christopher Plummer, Sebastian Stan, Jeremy Irvine, Peter Fonda, Diane Ladd, Amy Madigan, Bradley Whitford, and John Savage (actor). The Last Full Measure (2019 film) tells the story of Air Force PJ William H. Pitsenbarger and the men of Charlie Company in the Battle of Xa Cam My in Vietnam in 1966.

Outline of the Vietnam War

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the Vietnam War:

Vietnam War – Cold War-era proxy war that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War (1946–54) and was fought between North Vietnam—supported by the Soviet Union, China and other communist allies—and the government of South Vietnam—supported by the United States, Philippines and other anti-communist allies. The Viet Cong (also known as the National Liberation Front, or NLF), a South Vietnamese communist common front aided by the North, fought a guerrilla war against anti-communist forces in the region. The People's Army of Vietnam, also known as the North Vietnamese Army (NVA), engaged in a more conventional war, at times committing large units to battle.

Solar Filmworks

Solar Filmworks is a film production company which produced The Last Confederate: The Story of Robert Adams (2007) which stars Julian Adams, Amy Redford, Mickey Rooney, and Tippi Hedren, and was produced by Weston Adams (ambassador) and Julian Adams.The company produced the feature music documentary Amy Cook: The Spaces in Between (2009) (released by The Documentary Channel) which was directed by Todd Robinson and produced by Julian Adams and Robinson.

The company also produced the submarine thriller Phantom (2013), written and directed by Todd Robinson, with RCR Media Group and Trilogy Entertainment Group. Phantom stars Ed Harris, David Duchovny, William Fichtner, Johnathon Schaech, Jason Gray-Stanford, Julian Adams, and Sean Patrick Flanery; and was produced by Julian Adams, John Watson, and Pen Densham.Solar Filmworks is producing The Last Full Measure, written and directed by Todd Robinson, and starring Samuel L. Jackson, Ed Harris, William Hurt, and Christopher Plummer. The Last Full Measure tells the story of Air Force Pararescue Jumper (PJ) William H. Pitsenbarger and the mud soldiers of Charlie Company, Big Red One in the Battle of Xa Cam My, Vietnam, 1966.

William H. Pitsenbarger

William Hart Pitsenbarger (July 8, 1944 – April 11, 1966) was a United States Air Force Pararescueman who gave his life aiding and defending a unit of soldiers pinned down by an enemy assault in Vietnam. He was initially posthumously awarded the Air Force Cross, which was later upgraded to the Medal of Honor. He was the first enlisted recipient of the Air Force Cross medal, receiving the award in 1966.

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