Operation Allen Brook

Operation Allen Brook was a US Marine Corps operation that took place south of Da Nang, lasting from 4 May to 24 August 1968.

Background

Go Noi Island was located approximately 25 km south of Danang to the west of Highway 1, together with the area directly north of the island, nicknamed Dodge City by the Marines due to frequent ambushes and firefights there, it was a Vietcong and People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) stronghold and base area.[2] While the island was relatively flat, the small hamlets on the island were linked by hedges and concealed paths providing a strong defensive network. Go Noi was the base for the Vietcong's Group 44 headquarters for Quảng Nam Province, the R-20 and V-25 Battalions and the T-3 Sapper Battalion and, it was believed, elements of the PAVN 2nd Division. The 3rd Battalion 7th Marines had conducted Operation Jasper Square on the island during April with minimal results. At the beginning of May the 1st Marine Division headquarters ordered a new operation on Go Noi.[1]

Operation

Tanks Sweep Go Noi Island, May 1968 (21542127404)
M48s of Company B, 5th Tank Battalion accompany Company E, 2/7 Marines on a sweep of Go Noi Island

On the morning of 4 May 1968 two Companies of the 2nd Battalion 7th Marines supported by tanks crossed the Liberty Bridge (15°50′28″N 108°07′16″E / 15.841°N 108.121°E) onto the island meeting only light resistance for the first few days. On 7 May Company A 1st Battalion 7th Marines relieved one Company from 2/7 Marines and Company K 3/7 Marines was added to the operation. By 8 May the Marines had lost 9 killed and 57 wounded and the Vietcong 88 killed. On the evening of 9 May the Marines encountered heavy resistance at the hamlet of Xuan Dai (2), after calling in air strikes the Marines overran the hamlet resulting in 80 PAVN killed.[1]

On 13 May Company I 3rd Battalion 27th Marines was deployed to the Que Son mountains southwest of Go Noi moving east onto the island and the Marines on the island began sweeping west linking up at the Liberty Bridge on 15 May. Company E 2/7 Marines and the command group were airlifted out of the area on the evening of 15 May.[1]:329

The Marines then began a deception plan crossing the Liberty Bridge as if the operation had concluded and then crossing back onto the island on the early morning of 16 May. At 09:00 on 16 May 3/7 Marines encountered a PAVN Battalion at the hamlet of Phu Dong (2) (15°51′43″N 108°12′36″E / 15.862°N 108.21°E), the Marines were unable to outflank the PAVN and called in air and artillery support as the battle continued all day. By nightfall the PAVN abandoned their positions leaving more than 130 dead while Marine losses were 25 dead and 38 wounded. The hamlet was found to contain a PAVN Regimental headquarters and vast quantities of supplies.[1]:330–1

On the morning of 17 May 3/7 Marines moved out of Phu Dong (2) patrolling southeast. Company I, 3/27 Marines was leading the column when it was ambushed by a strongly entrenched PAVN force near the hamlet of Le Nam (1) (15°51′14″N 108°12′36″E / 15.854°N 108.21°E). The other Marine Companies attempted to assist Company I but the PAVN defenses proved too strong and artillery support was the only way to relieve the pressure on Company I.[1]:332–3 It was decided that Companies K and L 3/27 Marines would air assault into the area and the first helicopters landed at 15:00 and Company K broke through to relieve Company I at 19:30 while the PAVN withdrew. Marine losses were 39 dead and 105 wounded while PAVN losses were 81 killed. PFC Robert C. Burke a machine-gunner in Company I would be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the battle.[1]:333

On 18 May 3rd Battalion 5th Marines replaced 3/7 Marines and operational control passed to 3/27 Marines. At 09:30 the Marines began taking sniper fire from the hamlet of Le Bac (2)(15°51′29″N 108°12′36″E / 15.858°N 108.21°E). Companies K and L were sent to clear out the snipers but were quickly pinned down by another well-prepared PAVN ambush. Airstrikes and artillery fire was called in but due to the proximity of the opposing forces were of limited effect. At 15:00 Company M, 3/27 Marines arrived by helicopter to replace Company L and cover the retreat of Company K and air and artillery strikes were directed against Le Bac (2). Marine losses were 15 killed, 35 wounded and over 90 cases of heat exhaustion while PAVN losses were 20 killed.[1]:334

For the next 6 days the Marines continued patrolling, suffering frequent ambushes despite strong preparatory fires. The Marines altered their tactics so that when the enemy was encountered they would hold their positions or pull back to allow air and artillery to deal with the entrenched forces. From 24–7 May a sustained fight took place at the hamlet of Le Bac (1), only ending when torrential rain made further fighting impossible. By the end of May total casualties for the battle were 138 Marines killed and 686 wounded while PAVN/Vietcong losses exceeded 600 killed.[1]:335

Intelligence later determined that the PAVN force encountered by the Marines was the 36th Regiment, 308th Division which had only recently arrived in South Vietnam and that they were probably deployed in preparation for an attack on Danang as part of the "mini-Tet" or May Offensive. Operation Allen Brook prevented any such attack and mini-Tet in Danang was marked only by increased rocket attacks on the base areas.[1]:336

On 26 May the 1st Battalion 26th Marines reinforced the operation, while on the 28th 3/27 Marines was relieved by 1st Battalion 27th Marines and 3/5 Marines was returned to the Division reserve. During early June the 1/26 and 1/27 Marines carried out ongoing search and clear operations on the island with regular ambushes by small PAVN/Vietcong forces.[1]:339

On 5 June as the Marine Battalions moved west along the island they were ambushed by a PAVN force at the hamlet of Cu Ban (3), due the proximity of the enemy forces supporting fire was ineffective and a confused close-quarters battle raged throughout the day until tanks allowed the Marines to overrun the enemy positions. Marines losses were 7 killed and 55 wounded while PAVN losses were 30 killed.[1]:340

On 6 June 1/26 Marines was withdrawn from the operation and elements of the 1st Engineer Battalion arrived with orders to destroy the fortifications on Go Noi with 1/27 Marines providing security. On the early morning of 15 June a PAVN force attacked Company B 1/17 Marines' night defensive position, the attack was defeated with 21 PAVN killed for no Marine losses.[1]:340–1

On 19 June Companies B and D were ambushed by the PAVN at the hamlet of Bac Dong Ban, the fight lasted 9 hours before the Marines were able to overrun the PAVN bunkers. Marine losses were 6 killed and 19 wounded while the PAVN lost 17 killed.[1]:342

On 23 June 2nd Battalion 27th Marines relieved 1/27 Marines on Go Noi. 2/27 Marines stayed on Go Noi until 16 July when it was relieved by 3/27 Marines. Marine losses during this period were 4 Marines killed and 177 wounded for 144 PAVN/Vietcong killed.[1]:342

On 31 July, BLT 2/7 Marines which had just completed Operation Swift Play in the Da The mountains 6 km south of Go Noi arrived on the island and relieved 3/27 Marines.[1]:342

Land clearing operations on Go Noi continued into August by which time much of the island had been completely levelled and seeded with herbicides. As enemy activity had been reduced to a minimal level it was decided to close the operation. While much of their infrastructure had been destroyed the PAVN/Vietcong continued to resist until the last as the Marines and Engineers withdrew across the Liberty Bridge harassed by sniper fire.[1]:343

Aftermath

Operation Allen Brook concluded on 24 August, the Marines had suffered 172 dead and 1124 wounded while claiming the PAVN/Vietcong suffered 917 killed and 11 captured.[1]:343

References

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Shulimson, Jack (1997). U.S. Marines in Vietnam: 1968 The Defining Year. History and Museums Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. p. 328. ISBN 0-16-049125-8.
  2. ^ Kelley, Michael (2002). Where we were in Vietnam. Hellgate Press. pp. 5–150. ISBN 978-1555716257.
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The 1st Marine Division (1st MARDIV) is a Marine infantry division of the United States Marine Corps headquartered at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California. It is the ground combat element of the I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF).

It is the oldest and largest active duty division in the United States Marine Corps, representing a combat-ready force of more than 19,000 men and women. It is one of three active duty divisions in the Marine Corps today and is a multi-role, expeditionary ground combat force. It is nicknamed "The Old Breed".

26th Marine Regiment (United States)

The 26th Marine Regiment (26th Marines) is an inactivated infantry regiment of the United States Marine Corps. The 26th Marines were activated in 1944 and fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II and were activated again on March 1, 1966, and fought in the Battle of Khe Sanh during the Vietnam War.

27th Marine Regiment (United States)

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5th Marine Division (United States)

The 5th Marine Division was a United States Marine Corps ground combat division which was activated on 11 November 1943 (officially activated on 21 January 1944) at Camp Pendleton, California during World War II. The 5th Division saw its first combat action during the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945 where it sustained the highest number of casualties of the three Marine divisions of the V Amphibious Corps (invasion force). The 5th Division was to be part of the planned invasion of the Japan homeland before Japan surrendered. Assault troops of the 5th Division were included in the Presidential Unit Citation awarded to the V Amphibious Corps for extraordinary heroism on Iwo Jima from 19 to 28 February 1945. The 5th Division was deactivated on 5 February 1946.

The 5th Division was ordered to be reactivated on 1 March 1966 at Camp Pendleton, California, during the Vietnam War. The division, beginning with the reactivation of Regimental Landing Team 26 (RLT 26), was expected to be fully manned within one year; the 5th Division was never in command of the 26th Marine Regiment (26th Marines) in the war. In December, all three infantry battalions of the 26th Marines were fighting in Vietnam attached to the 3rd Marine Division. By June 1967, the 5th Division was ready to deploy anywhere. It was never intended that the 5th Division would go overseas. It was a force in readiness. But in February 1968, General William C. Westmoreland, U.S. Army, commander of U.S. forces in South Vietnam, asked for help because of the all-out Communist Tet Offensive. The 27th Marine Regiment (27th Marines), 5th Marine Division, was airlifted out on 48 hours notice, with 3,700 Marines. In September, it became the first major combat unit to come home from the Vietnam War. The 5th Marine Division formally deactivated on 26 November 1969.

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The 834th Airlift Division is an inactive United States Air Force organization. Its last assignment was with Military Airlift Command, assigned to Twenty-Second Air Force at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, where it was inactivated on 1 April 1992.

The division was first activated in September 1957 at England Air Force Base, Louisiana to command the two fighter-bomber wings stationed there and act as the host organization for England, providing support for all units on the station. It was inactivated in April 1959 when the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing was also inactivated, leaving only a single wing at England. Its support organizations were replaced by organizations assigned to the 401st Tactical Fighter Wing.

The division was activated again in 1964, when England once again supported two fighter wings. However, by 1966, the division's units had deployed overseas, primarily to support the War in Vietnam. By the summer of 1966, the division was stripped of its manning. In October, the 834th transferred on paper to Tan Son Nhut Airport, where it assumed responsibility for controlling all airlift in South Viet Nam.

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As American forces were being withdrawn from Vietnam, the division moved to Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas and assumed command of tactical airlift wings located in the western portion of the United States. In December 1974, the division was transferred to Military Airlift Command (MAC) along with other theater airlift units. One month later, it was inactivated and its units transferred to Twenty-Second Air Force.

The division returned to the Pacific in 1978 as the 834th Airlift Division when it assumed responsibility for MAC assets in the Pacific and acted as the airlift adviser for Pacific Air Forces (PACAF). During Desert Storm its commander acted as the commander of airlift forces in Saudi Arabia. The 834th was inactivated when PACAF assumed responsibility for airlift in the Pacific from MAC.

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This article is a list of known military operations of the Vietnam War in 1968, conducted by the armed forces of the Republic of Vietnam, the United States and their allies.

List of allied military operations of the Vietnam War (A–F)

This article is a list of known military operations of the Vietnam War, a war fought by America to try to stop communism in Southeast Asia, conducted by the armed forces of the Republic of Vietnam, the United States and their assorted allies. This is not a complete list. Operations are currently listed alphabetically, but are being progressively reorganised as a chronology.

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The Tet Offensive (Vietnamese: Sự kiện Tết Mậu Thân 1968), or officially called The General Offensive and Uprising of Tet Mau Than 1968 (Vietnamese: Tổng Tiến công và Nổi dậy Tết Mậu Thân 1968) by North Vietnam and the Viet Cong, was one of the largest military campaigns of the Vietnam War, launched on January 30, 1968, by forces of the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese People's Army of Vietnam against the forces of the South Vietnamese Army of the Republic of Vietnam, the United States Armed Forces, and their allies. It was a campaign of surprise attacks against military and civilian command and control centers throughout South Vietnam. The name of the offensive comes from the Tết holiday, the Vietnamese New Year, when the first major attacks took place.The offensive was launched prematurely in the late night hours of 30 January in the I and II Corps Tactical Zones of South Vietnam. This early attack allowed South Vietnamese and US forces some time to prepare defensive measures. When the main North Vietnamese operation began the next morning, the offensive was countrywide and well coordinated; eventually more than 80,000 North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops struck more than 100 towns and cities, including 36 of 44 provincial capitals, five of the six autonomous cities, 72 of 245 district towns, and the southern capital. The offensive was the largest military operation conducted by either side up to that point in the war.

Hanoi had launched the offensive in the belief that the offensive would trigger a popular uprising leading to the collapse of the South Vietnamese government. Although the initial attacks stunned both the U.S. and South Vietnamese armies, causing them to lose control of several cities temporarily, they quickly regrouped, beat back the attacks, and inflicted heavy casualties on North Vietnamese and Vietcong forces. The popular uprising anticipated by Hanoi never happened. During the Battle of Huế, intense fighting lasted for a month, resulting in the destruction of the city. During their occupation, the North Vietnamese executed thousands of people in the Massacre at Huế. Around the U.S. combat base at Khe Sanh, fighting continued for two more months. The offensive was a military defeat for North Vietnam though General Westmoreland reported that defeating the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong would require 200,000 more American soldiers and activation of the reserves, prompting even loyal supporters of the war to see that the current war strategy required re-evaluation. The offensive had a strong effect on the U.S. government and shocked the U.S. public, which had been led to believe by its political and military leaders that the North Vietnamese were being defeated and incapable of launching such an ambitious military operation; American public support for the war soon declined and the U.S. sought negotiations to end the war.

The term "Tet Offensive" usually refers to the January–February 1968 offensive, but it can also include the so-called "Mini-Tet" offensive that took place in May and the Phase III Offensive in August, or the 21 weeks of unusually intense combat which followed the initial attacks in January.

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The United States Marine Corps (USMC), also referred to as the United States Marines or U.S. Marines, is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for conducting expeditionary and amphibious operations with the United States Navy as well as the Army and Air Force. The U.S. Marine Corps is one of the four armed service branches in the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States.

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