Operation Deckhouse IV

Operation Deckhouse IV was an operation conducted by the Special Landing Force (SLF) Battalion Landing Team (BLT) of 1st Battalion, 26th Marine Regiment in the eastern Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), lasting from 15 to 18 September 1966.[1]

Prelude

U.S. intelligence indicated that a PAVN was moving into the area between Con Thien and the DMZ and the 1st Battalion, 4th Marines conducted a reconnaissance in force of the area from 7-13 September making intermittent contact with PAVN units identified as coming from the 90th Regiment of the PAVN 324th Division. Lieutenant General Lewis W. Walt planned Operation Deckhouse IV as just a larger reconnaissance in force of the same area using the SLF floating reserve, 9th Marine Amphibious Brigade under Brigadier general Michael P. Ryan.[1]

One company of BLT 1/26 Marines would be landed by amphibious assault craft north of the Cửa Việt River and 2km south of the DMZ and then sweep 6 miles (9.7 km) west to meet up with the rest of the battalion which would be landed by HMM-363 helicopters west of Highway 1.[1]

Operation

At 07:00 on 15 September 11 LVT-5s from USS Vancouver landed and secured the beachhead without resistance, simultaneously HMM-363 helicopters operating from USS Iwo Jima landed the heliborne forces unopposed.[1]

At 13:30 a platoon from the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion engaged a PAVN force 5 miles (8.0 km) northeast of Đông Hà. The outnumbered Marines called for helicopter extraction but this was aborted after 5 helicopters were hit by ground fire. Artillery and air support was called in following which the helicopters were able to extract the Marines. Marine losses were 1 killed and 1 missing while PAVN losses were 9 killed and a further 30 estimated killed.[1]:188-9 Following this engagement Company A was ordered to move to the area and arrived by the evening of 16 September and established a night defensive position. At 03:30 on 17 September the PAVN assaulted the position but this was repulsed by the Marines with the support of artillery and naval gunfire. A search of the perimeter found 12 PAVN dead and a wounded PAVN soldier was captured who revealed that the 3rd Recon Marine missing on 15 September had been killed and his burial site was located later that day.[1]:189

In the northwestern area, on 16 September Company D was hit by heavy mortar fire while patrolling 1 mile (1.6 km) from the DMZ, the Marines called for naval gunfire support and later found 3 destroyed mortars and 14 dead PAVN. Further south Company B was ambushed by the PAVN losing 2 dead in a 75-minute engagement.[1]:189

The Marines found that the PAVN had constructed numerous bunkers and fighting positions in the Con Thien-Gio Linh area.

Aftermath

Operation Deckhouse IV officially concluded on 18 September, however the BLT 1/26 Marines remained ashore until 24 September under the operational control of the 4th Marine Regiment before returning to their ships. PAVN losses in the operation were 200+ killed, U.S. losses were 36 killed.[1]:189

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 Shulimson, Jack (1982). U.S. Marines In Vietnam: An Expanding War – 1966. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office. p. 188. ISBN 978-1494285159. OCLC 4036650.
9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (United States)

The 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade was a United States Marine Corps unit.

Firebase Gio Linh

Firebase Gio Linh (also known as FSB A-2, Alpha 2, Camp Hill, The Alamo or simply Gio Linh) is a former U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army and Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) firebase north of Đông Hà in central Vietnam.

List of allied military operations of the Vietnam War (1966)

This article is a list of known military operations of the Vietnam War in 1966, conducted by the armed forces of the Republic of Vietnam, the United States and their allies.

Operation Prairie

Operation Prairie was a U.S. military operation in Quảng Trị Province, South Vietnam that sought to eliminate People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) forces south of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Over the course of late 1965 and early 1966 the Viet Cong (VC) and the PAVN intensified their military threat along the DMZ. The tactical goal of these incursions was to draw United States military forces away from cities and towns. Operation Hastings, a series of actions in defense of the DMZ, lasted from 15 July to 3 August 1966. It was considered a strategic success. Operation Prairie was conceived as a larger, longer mission covering the same areas along the DMZ.

It commenced on 3 August 1966 and lasted for six months. The majority of the activities were conducted by the 3rd Marine Division in the Con Thien and Gio Linh regions with the main objective of stopping the PAVN 324B Division from crossing the demilitarized zone and invading Quang Tri Province.

Various units engaged in fiercely fought actions during the operation, usually supported by a mixture of artillery, air and helicopter gunship support, sometimes including B52 strategic bombers. By November the 324B Division had been withdrawn after heavy losses. It was replaced by other PAVN units, but these remained inactive.

The operation was considered highly successful by the Americans. They had lost 226 Marines killed against estimated PAVN of over 1,700 dead or captured and suppressed PAVN activity. However, the PAVN strategy had tied down large numbers of US troops in the area south of the DMZ, leaving population centers under-protected.

USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2)

USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2) was the lead ship of her class and type—the first ship to be designed and built from the keel up as an amphibious assault ship. She carried helicopters and a detachment of embarked Marines for use in the Navy's "vertical envelopment" concept of amphibious operations. Iwo Jima was the second of three ships of the United States Navy to be named for the Battle of Iwo Jima, although the first to be completed and see service (the first was cancelled during construction).

USS Perch (SS-313)

USS Perch (SS/SSP/ASSP/APSS/LPSS/IXSS-313), a Balao-class submarine, was the second submarine of the United States Navy to be named for the perch, a rather small European fresh-water spiny-finned fish.

The second Perch (SS–313) was laid down 5 January 1943 by the Electric Boat Co., Groton, Conn.; launched 12 September 1943; sponsored by Mrs. David A. Hart; and commissioned 7 January 1944, Lt. Comdr. Blish C. Hills in command.

After shakedown she departed 19 February 1944 for Key West, Fla., where she gave services to the Fleet Sound School. She then sailed for Pearl Harbor, arriving 3 April.

USS Vancouver (LPD-2)

USS Vancouver (LPD-2) was a Raleigh-class amphibious transport dock, named after the city of Vancouver, Washington which was in turn named after the explorer George Vancouver. Vancouver's was commissioned 11 May 1963 and served during the Vietnam War and 1991 Gulf War. She was decommissioned 27 March 1992, placed in reserve and stricken 8 April 1997. Title was transferred to the United States Maritime Administration 29 November 2001. Vancouver was towed for scrapping in Brownsville, Texas in April 2013.

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