Operation Marauder

Operation Marauder was an operation conducted by the 173rd Airborne Brigade and the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (1 RAR) in the Plain of Reeds, Mekong Delta, lasting from 1 to 8 January 1966.[1]

Prelude

The Plain of Reeds had long been used as a base by the Viet Cong (VC). Operation Marauder marked the first time that U.S. forces had operated in the area.[1]

Operation

Đồng Tháp Mười nhìn trên cao
Typical terrain in the Plain of Reeds

On 1 January 1966 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 1 RAR and C Battery, 3rd Battalion, 319th Artillery Regiment were deployed by air into Ba Tri airfield from Hậu Nghĩa Province.[1]

On 2 January 2/503rd landed at Landing Zone Wine (10°49′19″N 106°24′14″E / 10.822°N 106.404°E) where they were engaged by an entrenched Viet Cong force. After a daylong battle, supported by artillery fire and air support the 2/503rd overran the VC position, finding 111 dead. The remainder of the operation saw only sporadic contact with the VC.[1]:87 On 6 January the 2/503rd located the abandoned headquarters of the 506th Battalion, recovering arms, ammunition, maps and personnel rosters.[2]

Aftermath

Operation Marauder officially concluded on 8 January with claims of heavy losses having been inflicted on the VC 267th Main Force Battalion and the headquarters of the 506th Battalion.[1]:88

References

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

  1. ^ a b c d e Tolson, John (1973). Vietnam Studies: Airmobilty 1961–1971. Department of the Army. p. 86. ISBN 9781494721848.
  2. ^ Carland, John (1999). Combat Operations: Stemming the Tide, May 1965 to October 1966. Government Printing Office. p. 169. ISBN 9780160873102.
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.

1st Infantry Division (United States)

The 1st Infantry Division is a combined arms division of the United States Army, and is the oldest continuously serving in the Regular Army. It has seen continuous service since its organization in 1917 during World War I. It was officially nicknamed "The Big Red One" (abbreviated "BRO") after its shoulder patch and is also nicknamed "The Fighting First". However, the division has also received troop monikers of "The Big Dead One" and "The Bloody First" as puns on the respective officially sanctioned nicknames. It is currently based at Fort Riley, Kansas.

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.

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.

List of allied military operations of the Vietnam War (M–S)

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

List of friendly fire incidents

There have been many thousands of friendly fire incidents in recorded military history, accounting for an estimated 2% to 20% of all casualties in battle. The examples listed below illustrate their range and diversity, but this does not reflect increasing frequency. The rate of friendly fire, once allowance has been made for the numbers of troops committed to battle, has remained remarkably stable, and unimproved, over the past 200 years.

Operation Crimp

Operation Crimp (8–14 January 1966), also known as the Battle of the Ho Bo Woods, was a joint US-Australian military operation during the Vietnam War, which took place 20 kilometres (12 mi) north of Cu Chi in Binh Duong Province, South Vietnam. The operation targeted a key Viet Cong headquarters that was believed to be concealed underground, and involved two brigades under the command of the US 1st Infantry Division, including the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (1 RAR) which was attached to the US 173rd Airborne Brigade. Heavy fighting resulted in significant casualties on both sides, but the combined American and Australian force was able to uncover an extensive tunnel network covering more than 200 kilometres (120 mi).

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.

Plain of Reeds

Plain of Reeds

(also known as the Đồng Tháp Mười) is an inland wetland in Vietnam's Mekong Delta. Most of the wetlands are within Long An Province and Đồng Tháp Province.

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