Operation Hump

Operation Hump was a search and destroy operation initiated by United States and Australian forces on 8 November 1965, during the Vietnamese War.[1] The US-Australian objective was to drive out Viet Cong (VC) fighters who had taken up positions on several key hills.

The main US Army operation took place in an area about 17.5 miles (28.2 km) north of Bien Hoa, where the US 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (1/503), 173rd Airborne Brigade conducted a helicopter assault on an LZ northwest of the Dong Nai River and Song Be River.

The 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (1RAR) was deployed south of the Dong Nai.[2] In a part of the operation (known later as the Battle of Gang Toi), 1RAR attacked a VC bunker and trench system.

Little contact was made through 7 November, when B and C Companies settled into a night defensive position southeast of Hill 65, on a triple-canopied jungle hill.[3]

Battle

At about 0600 on 8 November C Company began a move northwest toward Hill 65, while B Company moved northeast toward Hill 78. Shortly before 08:00, C Company was engaged by a sizeable enemy force, well dug in to the southern face of Hill 65, armed with machine guns and shotguns. At 08:45, B Company was directed to wheel in place and proceed toward Hill 65 with the intention of relieving C Company, often relying on fixed bayonets to repel daring close range attacks by small bands of masked VC fighters.[3]

B Company reached the foot of Hill 65 at about 09:30 and moved up the hill. It became obvious that there was a large enemy force in place on the hill, C Company was suffering heavy casualties, and by chance, B Company was forcing the enemy's right flank.

Under pressure from B Company's flanking attack, the enemy force—most of a VC regiment—shifted their position to the northwest, whereupon the B Company commander called in air and incendiary artillery fire on the retreating rebels. The shells scorched the foliage and caught many VC fighters ablaze, exploding the ammunition and grenades they carried. B Company halted in place in an effort to locate and consolidate with C Company's platoons. Together they managed to establish a coherent defensive line, running around the hilltop from southeast to northwest, but with little cover on the southern side.

Meanwhile, the VC commander realized that his best chance was to close with the US forces so that the 173rd's air and artillery fire could not be effectively employed. VC troops attempted to out-flank the US position atop the hill from both the east and the southwest, moving his troops closer to the Americans. The result was shoulder-to-shoulder attacks up the hillside, hand-to-hand fighting, and isolation of parts of B and C Companies; the Americans held against two such attacks. Although the fighting continued after the second massed attack, it reduced in intensity as the VC troops again attempted to disengage and withdraw, scattering into the jungle to throw off the trail of pursuing US snipers. By late afternoon it seemed that contact had been broken, allowing the two companies to prepare a night defensive position and collect their dead and wounded in the center of the position. Although a few of the most seriously wounded were extracted by USAF helicopters using Stokes litters, the triple-canopy jungle prevented the majority from being evacuated until the morning of 9 November.[3]

Aftermath

The result of the battle was heavy losses on both sides—49 Paratroopers dead, many wounded, and about 403 dead VC troops as an estimate by the US troops.

Operation Hump is memorialized in a song by Big and Rich named 8th of November. The introduction, as read by Kris Kristofferson, is:

On November 8th 1965, the 173rd Airborne Brigade on "Operation Hump", war zone "D" in Vietnam, were ambushed by over 1200 VC. Forty-nine American soldiers lost their lives that day. Severely wounded and risking his own life, Lawrence Joel, a medic, was the first living black man since the Spanish–American War to receive the United States Medal of Honor for saving so many lives in the midst of battle that day. Our friend, Niles Harris, retired 25 years United States Army, the guy who gave Big Kenny his top hat, was one of the wounded who lived. This song is his story. Caught in the action of kill or be killed, greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for his brother.

The final sentence is a reference to John 15:13 in the Christian Bible.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Four remain missing from Vietnam war – Breaking News – National – Breaking News
  2. ^ Bodies of two Vietnam MIAs may come home – Breaking News – National – Breaking News
  3. ^ a b c Conetto, Al (June 2015). "In the Beginning, there was the Hump". Vietnam Magazine. pp. 27–33.

External links

173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team

The 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team (173rd ABCT) ("Sky Soldiers") is an airborne infantry brigade combat team of the United States Army based in Vicenza, Italy. It is the United States European Command's conventional airborne strategic response force for Europe.

Activated in 1915, as the 173rd Infantry Brigade, the unit saw service in World War II but is best known for its actions during the Vietnam War. The brigade was the first major United States Army ground formation deployed in Vietnam, serving there from 1965 to 1971 and losing almost 1,800 soldiers. Noted for its roles in Operation Hump and Operation Junction City, the 173d is best known for the Battle of Dak To, where it suffered heavy casualties in close combat with North Vietnamese forces. Brigade members received over 7,700 decorations, including more than 6,000 Purple Hearts. The brigade returned to the United States in 1972, where the 1st and 2d Battalion, 503d Infantry, were absorbed into the 3d Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile), and the 3d Battalion, 319th Field Artillery was reassigned to Division Artillery in the 101st. The remaining units of the 173d were inactivated.

Since its reactivation in 2000, the brigade served five tours in the Middle East in support of the War on Terror. The 173d participated in the initial invasion of Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, and had four tours in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2005–06, 2007–08, 2009–10, and 2012–13. The brigade returned most recently from a deployment stretching from late 2013 to late 2014.

The 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team has received 21 campaign streamers and several unit awards, including the Presidential Unit Citation for its actions during the Battle of Dak To during the Vietnam War.

1965

1965 (MCMLXV)

was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar, the 1965th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 965th year of the 2nd millennium, the 65th year of the 20th century, and the 6th year of the 1960s decade.

1965 in Australia

The following lists events that happened during 1965 in Australia.

1965 in the United States

Events from the year 1965 in the United States.

1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division (United States)

The 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division (the "First Iron Horse Brigade,First Cavalry Division") was constituted 29 August 1917 in the United States Army as Headquarters, 1st Cavalry Brigade. The brigade was organized as part of the 15th Cavalry Division in February 1917 at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

8th of November (song)

"8th of November" is a song written and recorded by American country music duo Big & Rich. It was released in May 2006 as the third and final single from their album Comin' to Your City. The song became the duo's seventh Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, where it peaked at No. 18, in addition to reaching No. 94 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Australians missing in action in the Vietnam War

At the end of the Vietnam War, six Australians were among the 2,338 people then listed as missing in action. Four Australian Army soldiers and two Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) were classified "missing in action" in four separate incidents with all six presumed to have been killed in action. Following the war, the remains of the servicemen were recovered and repatriated to Australia. As of 30 July 2009, no Australian servicemen remain missing in action from the Vietnam War.

Battle of Gang Toi

The Battle of Gang Toi (8 November 1965) was fought during the Vietnam War between Australian troops and the Viet Cong. The battle was one of the first engagements between the two forces during the war and occurred when A Company, 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (1 RAR) struck a Viet Cong bunker system defended by Company 238 in the Gang Toi Hills, in northern Bien Hoa Province. It occurred during a major joint US-Australian operation codenamed Operation Hump, involving the US 173rd Airborne Brigade, to which 1 RAR was attached. During the latter part of the operation an Australian rifle company clashed with an entrenched company-sized Viet Cong force in well-prepared defensive positions. Meanwhile, an American paratroop battalion was also heavily engaged in fighting on the other side of the Song Dong Nai.

The Australians were unable to concentrate sufficient combat power to launch an assault on the position and consequently they were forced to withdraw after a fierce engagement during which both sides suffered a number of casualties, reluctantly leaving behind two men who had been shot and could not be recovered due to heavy machine-gun and rifle fire. Although they were most likely dead, a battalion-attack to recover the missing soldiers was planned by the Australians for the next day, but this was cancelled by the American brigade commander due to rising casualties and the need to utilise all available helicopters for casualty evacuation. The bodies of the two missing Australian soldiers were subsequently recovered more than 40 years later, and were finally returned to Australia for burial.

Ellis W. Williamson

Ellis W. Williamson (June 4, 1918 – January 28, 2007) was a United States Army Major General.

Field artillery

Field artillery is a category of mobile artillery used to support armies in the field. These weapons are specialized for mobility, tactical proficiency, short range, long range, and extremely long range target engagement.

Until the early 20th century, field artillery were also known as foot artillery, for while the guns were pulled by beasts of burden (often horses), the gun crews would usually march on foot, thus providing fire support mainly to the infantry. This was in contrast to horse artillery, whose emphasis on speed while supporting cavalry units necessitated lighter guns and crews riding on horseback.

Whereas horse artillery has been superseded by self-propelled artillery, field artillery has survived to this day both in name and mission, albeit with motor vehicles towing the guns, carrying the crews and transporting the ammunition. Modern artillery has also advanced to rapidly deployable wheeled and tracked vehicles and precision delivered munitions capable of striking targets at ranges between 15 and 300 kilometers.

Lawrence Joel

Lawrence Joel (February 22, 1928 – February 4, 1984) was a United States Army soldier who served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. While serving in South Vietnam as a medic with the rank of specialist five assigned to 1st Battalion of the 503rd Infantry Regiment in the 173rd Airborne Brigade, Joel received the Silver Star and the Medal of Honor for his heroism in a battle with the Viet Cong that occurred on November 8, 1965. He was the first medic to earn the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War and the first living black American to receive this medal since the Spanish–American War in 1898.

List of Medal of Honor recipients for the Vietnam War

The Medal of Honor was created during the American Civil War and is the highest military decoration presented by the United States government to a member of its armed forces. The recipients must have distinguished themselves at the risk of their own life above and beyond the call of duty in action against an enemy of the United States. Due to the nature of this medal, it is commonly presented posthumously.The Vietnam War, (also known as the Second Indochina War, Vietnam Conflict, and in Vietnam as the American War), took place from 1955 to 1975. The war was fought between the Communist-supported Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the United States-supported Republic of Vietnam, beginning with the presence of a small number of US military advisors in 1955 and escalating into direct US involvement in a ground war in 1965. US combat forces were withdrawn in early 1973 pursuant to the Paris Peace Accords, but the war continued concluding with the Fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975.During the Vietnam War and in the following twelve months, 235 Medals of Honor were received and since 1978 a further 26 awards have been presented. Of the total of 261 awards, 174 were to the US Army, 15 to the US Navy, 58 to the USMC and 14 to the USAF. These totals do not include the award to the Vietnam Unknown Soldier.

The first Medal of Honor presentation for Vietnam was to Captain Roger Donlon for actions on 6 July 1964 as commanding officer of the U.S. Army Special Forces Detachment defending Camp Nam Dong against a Viet Cong attack. The last actions to earn a Medal of Honor in this war were those of Bud Day, for actions as a prisoner of war from 26 August 1967 through 14 March 1973. Day and three others were presented with the Medal of Honor by President Ford at the White House on March, 4, 1976. They were the last of the 235 servicemen awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War and in the following twelve months.

The first African American recipient of the war was Milton L. Olive III who sacrificed himself to save others by smothering a grenade with his body. Riley L. Pitts was killed after attacking an enemy force with rifle fire and grenades and was the first African American commissioned officer of the war to receive the medal. Thomas Bennett was a conscientious objector who received the medal for his actions as a medic; three chaplains received the medal, including Vincent R. Capodanno, who served with the Marine Corps and was known as the "Grunt Padre".

List of allied military operations of the Vietnam War (G–L)

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Operation Crimp

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The operation was the largest allied military action mounted during the war in South Vietnam to that point, and the first fought at division level. Despite some success, the allied force was only able to partially clear the area and it remained a key communist transit and supply base throughout the war. The tunnels were later used as a staging area for the attack on Saigon during the 1968 Tet offensive before they were largely destroyed by heavy bombing from American B-52 bombers in 1970, ending their utility.

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.

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The Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery is the artillery regiment of the New Zealand Army. It is effectively a military administrative corps, and can comprise multiple component regiments. This nomenclature stems from its heritage as an offshoot of the British Army's Royal Artillery. In its current form it was founded in 1947 with the amalgamation of the regular and volunteer corps of artillery in New Zealand. In 1958 in recognition of services rendered it was given the title the Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery.

Timeline of Vietnamese history

This is a timeline of Vietnamese history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in Vietnam and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of Vietnam.

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