Operation Toan Thang I

Operation Toan Thang I ("Complete Victory") was a U.S. Army, Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), 1st Australian Task Force and Royal Thai Volunteer Regiment operation conducted between 8 April and 31 May 1968 in the Vietnam War. The operation was part of a reaction to the Tet Offensive designed to put pressure on Vietcong (VC) and People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) forces in III Corps.

Background

Following the successful conclusion of Operation Quyet Thang which reestablished South Vietnamese control in the areas around Saigon, II Field Force commander LTG Frederick C. Weyand expanded the security operations from around Saigon into a counteroffensive involving nearly every combat unit in III Corps to pursue VC/PAVN forces.[2]

Operation

The operation commenced on 8 April. In its first week Allied troops killed 709 VC/PAVN, in the second week 892 VC/PAVN were killed and in the last week of April 792 VC/PAVN were killed. Most of these losses resulted from squad and company-size firefights or helicopter gunship, tactical air strikes or artillery fire missions.[2]:465-6

On the early morning of 12 April while the 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division swept VC Base Area 355, a forested area 5km northwest of the Michelin Rubber Plantation, VC sappers from the 271st Regiment attacked the southwestern part of the night defense position of the 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment. The Americans returned fire as several hundred mortar rounds began to hit the position. At 04:00, a VC battalion came out of the trees and headed for the sector held by Company B. By 04:30, the VC had breached the perimeter and was threatening to push further in. At 05:00 the VC advance was stopped air and artillery strikes and the defenders were able to organize a counterattack. The reconnaissance platoon from the 3/22nd Infantry arrived to help Company B and at 06:15 a group of M113s from the 2/22nd Infantry arrived forcing the VC to break contact and withdrew by 07:00, leaving behind 153 dead. U.S. losses were 16 killed. The 3/22nd Infantry pursued the 271st Regiment and killed another 51 VC for the loss of 7 U.S. killed.[2]:466

On 18 April Troop A, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment engaged a VC force in a bunker complex 19km east of Bến Cát. The VC used CS gas against the Americans and eventually disengaged, losing at least 57 killed.[2]:466

Aftermath

The operation was a success with allied forces claiming 7645 VC/PAVN killed, however the operation did not prevent the VC/PAVN from launching their May Offensive attacks against Saigon.

With improved security in the countryside South Vietnamese Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support teams began returning to the villages and hamlets which had been abandoned to the VC with the start of the Tet Offensive. These teams generally found that the rural population was dismayed by the Allies’ failure to protect them in the Tet Offensive and yearning for effective security from the VC, who had been taxing and recruiting them during the preceding 2 months.[2]:466-7

References

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

  1. ^ a b "The Defense of Saigon" (PDF). Project CHECO, Pacific Air Force. 14 December 1968. p. 9. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e Villard, Erik (2017). United States Army in Vietnam Combat Operations Staying the Course October 1967 to September 1968. Center of Military History United States Army. p. 464. ISBN 9780160942808.
1968 in the Vietnam War

The year 1968 saw major developments in the Vietnam War. The military operations started with an attack on a US base by the Vietnam People's Army (NVA) and the Viet Cong on January 1, ending a truce declared by the Pope and agreed upon by all sides. At the end of January, the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong launched the Tet Offensive.

Hanoi erred monumentally in its certainty that the offensive would trigger a supportive uprising of the population. NVA and Viet Cong troops throughout the South, from Hue to the Mekong Delta, attacked in force for the first time in the war, but to devastating cost as ARVN and American troops killed close to 37,000 of the ill-supported enemy in less than a month for losses of 3700 and 7600 respectively. These reversals on the battlefield (the Viet Cong would never again fight effectively as a cohesive force) failed to register on the American home front, however, as shocking photos and television imagery, and statements such as Conkrite's, fueled what would ultimately prove to be a propaganda victory for Hanoi.

Peter Arnett quoting an unnamed US major as saying, "It became necessary to destroy the town to save it." Eddie Adams' iconic image of South Vietnamese General Nguyễn Ngọc Loan's execution of a Viet Cong operative was taken in 1968. The year also saw Walter Cronkite's call to honourably exit Vietnam because he thought the war was lost. This negative impression forced the US into the Paris peace talks with North Vietnam.

US troop numbers peaked in 1968 with President Johnson approving an increased maximum number of US troops in Vietnam at 549,500. The year was the most expensive in the Vietnam War with the American spending US$77.4 billion (US$ 557 billion in 2019) on the war. The year also became the deadliest of the Vietnam War for America and its allies with 27,915 South Vietnamese (ARVN) soldiers killed and the Americans suffering 16,592 killed compared to around two hundred thousand of the communist forces killed. The deadliest week of the Vietnam War for the USA was during the Tet Offensive specifically February 11–17, 1968, during which period 543 Americans were killed in action, and 2547 were wounded.

21st Infantry Regiment (Thailand)

The 21st Infantry Regiment, Queen's Guard (Thai: กรมทหารราบที่ 21 รักษาพระองค์) (ร.21 รอ.) is a King's Guard regiment under the 2nd Infantry Division, King's Guard of the Royal Thai Army. The regiment was created in 1950. It is known as the Queen's Guard or Thahan Suea Rachini (Thai: ทหารเสือราชินี, translated as "Queen's Tiger Soldiers"). It is sometimes referred to as the "Eastern Tigers". The regiment is based in Chonburi.

9th Infantry Division (Thailand)

The 9th Infantry Divistion (Thai: กองพลทหารราบที่ 9) (พล.ร.๙.) also known as Black Panthers Division (Thai: กองพลเสือดำ) is an infantry division of the Royal Thai Army, it is currently a part of the First Army Area The unit is composed of the 9th Infantry Regiment,19th Infantry Regiment and 29th Infantry Regiment.

Battle of Coral–Balmoral

The Battle of Coral–Balmoral (12 May – 6 June 1968) was a series of actions fought during the Vietnam War between the 1st Australian Task Force (1 ATF) and the North Vietnamese 7th Division and Viet Cong Main Force units, 40 kilometres (25 mi) north-east of Saigon. Following the defeat of the communist Tet offensive in January and February, in late April two Australian infantry battalions—the 1st and 3rd Battalions of the Royal Australian Regiment (RAR)—with supporting arms, were again deployed from their base at Nui Dat in Phước Tuy Province to positions astride infiltration routes leading to Saigon to interdict renewed movement against the capital. Part of the wider allied Operation Toan Thang I, it was launched in response to intelligence reports of another impending communist offensive, yet the Australians experienced little fighting during this period. Meanwhile, the Viet Cong successfully penetrated the capital on 5 May, plunging Saigon into chaos during the May Offensive in an attempt to influence the upcoming Paris peace talks scheduled to begin on the 13th. During three days of intense fighting the attacks were repelled by US and South Vietnamese forces, and although another attack was launched by the Viet Cong several days later, the offensive was again defeated with significant losses on both sides, causing extensive damage to Saigon and many civilian casualties. By 12 May the fighting was over, and the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong were forced to withdraw having suffered heavy casualties. US casualties were also heavy and it proved to be their most costly week of the war.

1 ATF was redeployed on 12 May to obstruct the withdrawal of forces from the capital, with two battalions establishing a fire support base named FSB Coral, just east of Lai Khê in Bình Dương Province, in an area of operations known as AO Surfers. However, poor reconnaissance and inadequate operational planning led to delays and confusion during the fly-in, and the Australians had only partially completed FSB Coral by the evening. The North Vietnamese mounted a number of battalion-sized assaults on the night of 12/13 May, with a heavy bombardment from 03:30 signalling the start. Exploiting the disorganised defence to penetrate the Australian perimeter, the North Vietnamese 141st Regiment temporarily captured a forward gun position during close-quarters fighting, before being repulsed by superior firepower the following morning. Casualties were heavy on both sides but the Australians had won a convincing victory. The following day 1 RAR was deployed to defend FSB Coral, while 3 RAR established FSB Coogee to the west to ambush staging areas and infiltration routes. Coral was again assaulted in the early hours of 16 May, coming under a heavy barrage followed by another regimental-sized attack. Again the base was penetrated but after a six-hour battle the North Vietnamese were forced to withdraw after suffering heavy losses. Expecting further fighting, the Australians were subsequently reinforced with Centurion tanks and additional artillery. On 22 May, FSB Coral was again attacked overnight, coming under a short but accurate mortar bombardment which was broken up by Australian artillery and mortars.

The Australians then moved against the communist base areas east of Route 16, with 3 RAR redeploying to establish FSB Balmoral on 24 May, 4.5 kilometres (2.8 mi) to the north. Now supported by tanks which had arrived from Coral just hours before, the infantry at Balmoral were subjected to a two-battalion attack by the North Vietnese 165th Regiment. Following a rocket and mortar barrage at 03:45 on 26 May, the attack fell primarily on D Company before being repelled with heavy casualties by the combined firepower of the tanks and infantry. The next day the Australians at Coral assaulted a number of bunkers that had been located just outside the base, with a troop of Centurions supported by infantry destroying the bunkers and their occupants without loss to themselves. A second major North Vietnamese attack, again of regimental strength, was made against Balmoral at 02:30 on 28 May but was called off after 30 minutes after being soundly defeated by the supporting fire of the tanks, artillery and mortars. Regardless, the battle continued into June as the Australians patrolled their area of operations. However, with contacts decreasing, 1 ATF returned to Nui Dat on 6 June, being relieved by US and South Vietnamese forces. The battle was the first time the Australians had clashed with regular North Vietnamese Army units operating in regimental strength in conventional warfare. During 26 days of fighting the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong sustained heavy losses and were forced to postpone a further attack on Saigon, while 1 ATF also suffered significant casualties. The largest unit-level action of the war for the Australians, today the battle is considered one of the most famous actions fought by the Australian Army during the Vietnam War.

Battle of Hat Dich

The Battle of Hat Dich (3 December 1968 − 19 February 1969) was a series of military actions fought between an allied contingent, including the 1st Australian Task Force (1 ATF) and the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. Under the codename Operation Goodwood, two battalions from 1 ATF deployed away from their base in Phuoc Tuy Province, operating against suspected North Vietnamese and Viet Cong bases in the Hat Dich area, in western Phuoc Tuy, south-eastern Bien Hoa and south-western Long Khanh Provinces as part of a large allied sweep known as Operation Toan Thang II. The Australians and New Zealanders conducted sustained patrolling throughout the Hat Dich and extensively ambushed tracks and river systems in the Rung Sat Special Zone, occupying a series of fire support bases as operations expanded. Meanwhile, American, South Vietnamese and Thai forces also operated in direct support of the Australians as part of the division-sized action.

On 6 February 1969, two additional battalions from the Thu Duc VC Regiment were reported to have entered the Hat Dich area and 4 RAR/NZ (ANZAC) was subsequently redeployed with tanks and armoured personnel carriers in support, resulting in the heaviest contacts of the operation. The fighting lasted 78 days and was one of the longest out of province operations mounted by the Australian and New Zealanders during the war. Although there were few major actions, the fighting resulted in heavy Viet Cong and North Vietnamese casualties and forced them to abandon their permanent bases in the Hat Dich, as well as disrupting their preparations for an upcoming offensive during Tet. Immediately following the operation the ANZACs were redeployed to block the approaches towards key US and South Vietnamese bases in Bien Hoa, Long Binh and Saigon in anticipation of the 1969 Tet offensive, during Operation Federal.

List of allied military operations of the Vietnam War (1968)

This article is a list of known military operations of the Vietnam War in 1968, 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 (T–Z and others)

This article is a list of known military operations of the Vietnam War, a war fought by America to try to stop communism in Southeast Asia, conducted by the armed forces of the Republic of Vietnam, the United States and their assorted allies. This is not a complete list.

List of wars involving Thailand

Thailand has been involved in multiple wars throughout its history. This list describes wars involving the historical Thai states of Sukhothai, Ayutthaya, Thonburi and Rattanakosin, as well as modern Siam and Thailand.

Ayutthaya–Lan Na War (1456–1474)

Burmese–Siamese wars (1548–1855)

Tây Sơn rebellion

Laotian Rebellion (1826–1828)

Siamese–Vietnamese War (1831–34)

Le Van Khoi revolt (1833–1835)

Siamese–Vietnamese War (1841–45)

Haw wars (1865–1890)

Franco-Siamese War (1893)

World War I (1917–1918): see Siam in World War I

Western Front (1917-1918)

Boworadet rebellion (1933)

Franco-Thai War (1940–1941)

World War II (1942–1945): see Thailand in World War II

Japanese invasion of Thailand

Pacific War

Malayan Campaign (1941-1942)

Burma Campaign (1942-1945)

Cold War (1946-1991)

Chinese Civil War (1949-1961)

Malayan Emergency (1948-1960)

Korean War (1950–1955): see Thailand in the Korean War

Third Battle of Seoul

Battle of Pork Chop Hill

Vietnam War (1965–1972): see Thailand in the Vietnam War

Tet Offensive

Battle of Hat Dich

Operation Toan Thang I

Laotian Civil War

Cambodian Civil War

Third Indochina War (1975-1991)

Communist insurgency in Thailand (1965–1983)

Communist insurgency in Malaysia (1968-1989)

Vietnamese border raids in Thailand (1979–1989)

Thai–Laotian Border War (1987–1988)

Persian Gulf War (1990-1991)

United Nations Iraq–Kuwait Observation Mission

United Nations Guards Contingent in Iraq

International Force East Timor (1999-2001)

Global War on Terrorism

Operation Enduring Freedom

Iraq War (2003–2004) – Thailand deployed a 423-strong humanitarian contingent as part of the Multi-National Force – Iraq.

Operation Enduring Freedom – Horn of Africa (2002 – present) – Rpyal Thai Navy SEALs have deployed on Royal Thai Navy warships for anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia as part of Combined Task Force 151.Anti-Piracy operation in Gulf of Aden

Anti-Piracy in strait of Malacca

Southern Insurgency

United Nations peacekeeping

United Nations Iraq–Kuwait Observation Mission: see Persian Gulf War (1990-1991)

United Nations Guards Contingent in Iraq: see Persian Gulf War (1990-1991)

United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia: see Vietnamese Occupation of Cambodia (1992-1993)

United Nations Observer Mission in Sierra Leone: see Sierra Leone Civil War (1998-1999)

United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor: see International Force East Timor (1999-2001

United Nations Operation in Burundi: see Burundian Civil War (2004-2007)

United Nations–African Union Mission in Darfur

United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan: see War in Afghanistan(2012)

United Nations Mission in Sudan: see Second Sudanese Civil War (2005-2011)

Cambodian–Thai border stand-off

Operation Coburg

Operation Coburg (24 January − 1 March 1968) was an Australian and New Zealand military action during the Vietnam War. The operation saw heavy fighting between the 1st Australian Task Force (1 ATF) and North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong during the wider fighting around Long Binh and Bien Hoa. American and South Vietnamese intelligence reports had indicated that an imminent communist offensive during the Tet New Year festival was likely, and in response the Australians and New Zealanders were deployed away from their base in Phuoc Tuy Province to bolster American and South Vietnamese forces defending the Long Binh–Bien Hoa complex north-east of Saigon. 1 ATF deliberately established fire support bases astride the communist lines of communication in the vicinity of the village of Trang Bom, expecting that they would attempt to destroy them. The Australians subsequently clashed with the Viet Cong during early patrols in Area of Operations (AO) Columbus, while later Fire Support Base (FSB) Andersen was repeatedly subjected to major ground assaults.

Although the operation was mounted too late to prevent the attacks on Saigon, the Australians and New Zealanders successfully disrupted the communist lines of communication, limiting their freedom of manoeuvre to attack the Long Binh–Bien Hoa complex, while they were also able to successfully interdict their withdrawal, causing heavy casualties. The operation was also significant as it was the first deployment of 1 ATF outside its Tactical Area of Responsibility (TAOR) in Phuoc Tuy, and in this it set a precedent for later operations outside the province. Meanwhile, the remaining Australian forces in Phuoc Tuy Province also successfully repelled repeated Viet Cong attacks against Ba Ria and Long Dien, as part of the Tet Offensive that had engulfed population centres across South Vietnam.

Operation Quyet Thang

Operation Quyet Thang ("Resolved to win"), was a United States Army and Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) security operation to reestablish South Vietnamese control over the areas immediately around Saigon in the aftermath of the Tet Offensive. The operation started on 11 March 1968 and ended on 7 April 1968.

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