Operation Silver City

Operation Silver City was an operation conducted by the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division and the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Biên Hòa Province, lasting from 7 to 23 March 1966.[1]

Prelude

Operation Silver City was planned as a sweep of the southwestern sector of War Zone D by the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division and the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. The goal of the operation was to destroy the headquarters of the B2 Front's Military Region 1, a five-province area east and north of Saigon, and to engage the five major units currently under its command: the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) 9th Division's 271st and 273rd Regiments; the Viet Cong 5th Division's 274th and 275th Regiments; and the 308th Main Force Battalion, totaling almost nine thousand soldiers.[1]

Operation

On 7 March the 1st Brigade, commanded by Col. Edgar N. Glotzbach moved southeast of Phước Bình District into the area designated Nevada, while the 173rd, commanded by BGen Paul F. Smith moved to an area east of Sông Bé Province designated Arizona. The units patrolled their designated areas making limited contact with PAVN or VC.[1]:181–2

On 14 March Company C, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment located a well-entrenched enemy force east of Sông Bé. After calling in air and artillery strikes they overran the position, killing 9 PAVN/VC. The position was found to be a large field headquarters containing supplies and a hospital and was believed to be the headquarters of the B2 Front Military Region 1.[1]:182

On 15 March 2/503rd set up its night defensive position 6 km east of Bao Phung. During the night the 271st Regiment surrounded the position. At 07:30 on 16 March the VC shot down a UH-1 helicopter coming in to land on a supply mission, it was unclear if this was intended as a signal for a general attack, but this alerted the defenders and allowed them to man their positions before the VC launched a series of disjointed attacks on the perimeter. As the VC and U.S. forces became intermingled supporting fire could not be used and so instead was aimed at reserve formations. By 10:00 the VC were retreating leaving behind 303 dead and carrying away an estimated 150 dead. U.S. losses were 7 killed. Two Battalions were deployed south of the battle site in the hope of blocking escaping forces but made no contact.[1]:183

The Operation continued for another week with minimal contact.[1]:183

Aftermath

Operation Silver City officially concluded on 23 March, the US claiming that the PAVN/VC losses were 353 killed and a further 218 estimated killed, U.S. losses were 11 killed.[1]:183

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 f g Carland, John (1999). Combat Operations: Stemming the Tide, May 1965 to October 1966. Government Printing Office. p. 181. 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.

Battle of Suoi Bong Trang

The Battle of Suoi Bong Trang (23–24 February 1966) was an engagement fought between US, Australian and New Zealand forces, and the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army during the Vietnam War. The battle occurred during Operation Rolling Stone, an American security operation to protect engineers building a tactically important road in the vicinity of Tan Binh, in central Binh Duong Province, 30 kilometres (19 mi) north-west of Bien Hoa airbase. During the fighting, soldiers from the US 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division and the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (1 RAR), which had been attached for the operation, fought off a regimental-sized Viet Cong night assault. Repulsed by massed firepower from artillery and tanks, the Viet Cong suffered heavy casualties and were forced to withdraw by morning. After the attack, the Americans and Australians made no attempt to pursue the Viet Cong, focusing on securing the battlefield and evacuating their own casualties. The Viet Cong continued to harass the American sappers with occasional sniper and mortar fire, but these tactics proved ineffective, and the road was completed by 2 March.

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.

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