Operation Mastiff

Operation Mastiff was an operation conducted by the U.S. 1st Infantry Division in the Dầu Tiếng District, lasting from 21 to 25 February 1966.[1]

Prelude

U.S. intelligence reports indicated that the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) 9th Division planned to attack the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) 8th Regiment, 5th Infantry Division in the Dầu Tiếng District and was massing its forces in the Boi Loi Woods 12km south of Dầu Tiếng. U.S. commander General William Westmoreland ordered MGen Jonathan O. Seaman to launch a spoiling attack on the PAVN.[1]

Concerned about possible leaks by the ARVN III Corps staff, MGen Seaman shared a false plan indicating that the target was the Michelin Rubber Plantation east of Dầu Tiếng and B-52 strikes were conducted in that area to lend it credibility. It was hoped that this would cause the PAVN to move their forces to the west bank of the Saigon River where the real operation would take place. After this ruse had been in place for a week the real operation commenced.[1]

Operation

On the morning of 21 February 142 helicopters began lifting the 2nd and 3rd Brigades of the 1st Infantry Division to establish a cordon around a 100 square kilometer area around the west bank of the Saigon River. The units then moved in from the north and south discovering abandoned base areas, hospitals and supplies but few PAVN soldiers.[1]:174–5

Aftermath

Operation Mastiff officially concluded on 25 February, the US claiming PAVN/VC losses were 61 killed (40 in a single airstrike), U.S. losses were 17 killed. The operation was a major disappointment for the U.S. command as the PAVN 9th Division was not engaged and the PAVN had again demonstrated their ability to choose when and where it would stand and fight.[1]:175

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 Carland, John (1999). Combat Operations: Stemming the Tide, May 1965 to October 1966. Government Printing Office. p. 174. ISBN 9780160873102.
9th Division (Vietnam)

The 9th Infantry Division is a division of the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN), first formed from Viet Cong units in 1964/5 in the Mekong Delta region.

Boi Loi Woods

Boi Loi Woods are located 25km northwest of Củ Chi District and 22km west of Bến Cát District in Hậu Nghĩa Province. The woods were an important base and staging area for the Viet Cong (VC) and later the PAVN.

US and Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) forces conducted frequent operations against PAVN and VC forces in the woods including Operation Mastiff (21-25 February 1966), Operation Wahiawa (16-30 May 1966), Operation Sunset Beach (2 September-11 October 1966), Operation Manhattan (23 April-7 June 1967), however none of these operations permanently cleared the PAVN/VC and the last attempt by the ARVN to penetrate the area occurred during the War of the flags (25 January-3 February 1973).

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.

Michelin Rubber Plantation

Michelin Rubber Plantation was located near Dầu Tiếng District in Bình Dương Province, 72 km northwest of Saigon. The plantation was established by the Michelin company in 1925 and at 12,400 hectares (31,000 acres) it was the largest rubber plantation in Vietnam. The plantation was located approximately halfway between the Cambodia border and Saigon and so was an important base and staging area for the Viet Cong and later the PAVN. The plantation was an important source of revenue for the South Vietnamese Government and it was believed that the Michelin Company paid off the Vietcong in order to keep the plantation operating during the war. US forces were obliged to compensate Michelin for damage caused to the rubber trees during operations in the plantation.

US and Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) forces conducted frequent operations against PAVN and VC forces in the plantation. On the evening of 27 November 1965 the ARVN 7th Regiment, 5th Division was overrun by the VC 272nd Regiment, killing most of the Regiment and 5 US advisers. From 21 to 27 February 1966 the 2nd and 3rd Brigades, 1st Infantry Division conducted Operation Mastiff, a search and destroy operation in and around the plantation. From 22 February to 14 May 1967 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, 196th Infantry Brigade, 173rd Airborne Brigade, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, VNMC 1st and 5th Battalions and ARVN 35th and 36th Ranger Battalions conducted Operation Junction City which included operations in the plantation. From 17 May to 7 December 1967, the 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division conducted Operation Diamond Head, a search and destroy operation in the Plantation and surrounding areas. In August and September 1968, known as the Phase III Offensive in reference to the third wave of PAVN attacks after the Tet Offensive the plantation was the scene of fighting between US forces and the PAVN. From 17 to 24 March 1969 the 1st Infantry Division, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, 1/4th Cavalry conducted Operation Atlas Wedge in the plantation.

In 1975 after the fall of Saigon, first the plantation and then the factory in Saigon was nationalized by the communist government.

Operation Cocoa Beach

Operation Cocoa Beach was a US Army operation that took place along Highway 13 near Lai Khê, lasting from 3 to 8 March 1966.

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