Tây Lộc Airfield

Tây Lộc Airfield (also known as Huế Citadel Airfield) is a former United States Air Force (USAF), U.S. Army and Vietnam Air Force (VNAF) airfield located within the Huế Ciadel in Thừa Thiên–Huế Province, Vietnam.[1]

Tây Lộc Airfield
Emblem of the South Vietnamese Air Force
 
Pacific Air Forces
Part of Republic of Vietnam Air Force (VNAF)
Pacific Air Forces (USAF)
Airfield, Hue Citadel July, 1967
Tây Lộc Airfield, July 1967
Coordinates16°28′28″N 107°34′23″E / 16.47444°N 107.57306°E
TypeAirfield
Site information
Conditionabandoned
Site history
Built1930s
In use1930s-75
Battles/wars
Vietnam Service Medal ribbon

Vietnam War
Battle of Huế
Airfield information
Summary
Elevation AMSL5 ft / 2 m
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
12/30 2,400 732 crushed rock

History

The airfield was originally built in the 1930s by the French to serve as the airfield for Bảo Đại, the last Emperor of Vietnam.

USAF units based at Tây Lộc included:

Hue Airfield 0-2 Taxiing, July - August 1967
O-2A of the 20th TASS taxiing for takeoff, Huế Citadel Airfield, July 1967

US Army units based at Tây Lộc included:

VNAF units based at Tây Lộc included:

  • 219th Squadron Kingbees

Battle of Huế

In the early morning of 31 January 1968 at the start of the Battle of Huế, the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) 800th Battalion of the 6th Regiment attacked the airfield which was defended by the Army of Vietnam (ARVN) "Black Panther" Reconnaissance Company of the 1st Division. The fight for control of the airfield continued until dawn when 1st Division commander General Ngô Quang Trưởng called the Black Panthers back to defend the 1st Division headquarters in the northeast corner of the Citadel.[2] All aircraft at the airfield were destroyed in the fighting including 4 newly delivered O-2s. The airfield was recaptured on 3 February by the ARVN 3rd Infantry Regiment and 7th Armored Cavalry Squadron.[3]

Current use

The airfield is now covered with housing while the former runway is now La Sơn Phu Tử road. The airfield's former control tower remains in a park area by the road.

References

  1. ^ Kelley, Michael (2002). Where we were in Vietnam. Hellgate Press. pp. 5–253. ISBN 978-1555716257.
  2. ^ Schulimson, Jack; LtCol. Leonard Blasiol; Charles R. Smith; Capt. David A. Dawson (1997). U.S. Marines in Vietnam: 1968, the Defining Year. History and Museums Division, USMC. p. 167. ISBN 0-16-049125-8.
  3. ^ DiMarco, Louis (2012). Concrete Hell: Urban Warfare From Stalingrad to Iraq. Osprey Publishing. pp. 95–6. ISBN 9781782003137.
Battle of Huế

The Battle of Huế – also called the Siege of Huế – was one of the longest and bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War. Between 30 January and 3 March 1968, in the South Vietnamese city of Huế, 11 battalions of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), four U.S. Army battalions, and three U.S. Marine Corps battalions – totaling 18 battalions – defeated 10 battalions of the People's Army of Vietnam and the Viet Cong (VC).

By the beginning of the North Vietnamese Tet Offensive on January 30, 1968 – coinciding with the Vietnamese lunar New Year (Vietnamese: Tết Nguyên Đán) – large, conventional, U.S. forces had been committed to combat operations on Vietnamese soil for almost three years.

Highway 1, passing through the city of Huế, was an important supply line for ARVN, US, and Allied Forces from the coastal city of Da Nang to the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). It also provided access to the Perfume River (Vietnamese: Sông Hương or Hương Giang) at the point where the river ran through Huế, dividing the city into northern and southern parts. Huế was also a base for United States Navy supply boats.

Considering its logistical value and its proximity to the DMZ (only 50 kilometres (31 mi)), Huế should have been well-defended, fortified, and prepared for any communist attack. However, the city had few fortifications and was poorly defended.

While the ARVN 1st Division had cancelled all Tet leave and was attempting to recall its troops, the South Vietnamese and U.S. forces in the city were unprepared when the Viet Cong and the PAVN launched the Tet Offensive, attacking hundreds of military targets and population centers across the country, including Huế.The PAVN/Vietcong forces rapidly occupied most of the city. Over the next month, they were gradually driven out during intense house-to-house fighting led by the Marines and ARVN. In the end, although the Allies declared a military victory, the city of Huế was virtually destroyed, and more than 5,000 civilians were killed (2,800 of them executed by the PAVN and Viet Cong, according to the South Vietnamese government). The communist forces lost an estimated 2,400 to 8,000 killed, while Allied forces lost 668 dead and 3,707 wounded. The losses negatively affected the American public's perception of the war, and political support for the war began to wane.

Roundel of the USAF.svg United States Air Force in the Vietnam War
Commands
South Vietnam Flag of South Vietnam.svg
Thailand Flag of Thailand.svg
Other major
support facilities
Corps
Divisions
Branches
ARVN Sub-branches
Air bases
Coup attempts
and mutinies
Notable
officers
Ranks and insignia

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