Company Sign

Department of the Army
US Army & Joint Services Environmental Support Group
1730 K Street N.W. Room 210
Washington DC 20006-3868
August 29 1986

Dear Mr. Edes:

Thank you for your April 4, 1986 request for unit information.

We have enclosed 3rd Ordinance Battalion Operational Reports -  Lessons Learned, which contain descriptions of attacks on the Long Binh Ammo Dump. Also enclosed are the II Field Forces and 199th Infantry Brigade's Combat Operations After Action Reports describing combat incidents in the Long Binh area during the Tet Offensive. 

We trust we have been of assistance to you.

Sincerely, Richard S. Christian, C.R.M. Director
From CG, II Field Forces, LBN, RVN
29 January 68

There are a number of positive intelligence indicators that the enemy will deliberately violate the truce by attacking friendly installations during the night of 29 Jan or the early morning hours of 30 Jan.

Adressees will take action to insure maximum alert posture through the TET period. Be particularly alert for enemy deception involving use of friendly vehicles or uniforms.

John S. Lekson
Brigadier General, GS
Chief of Staff

TET TRUCE TERMINATED 300945H Jan 68. Resume normal operations.

S.J. Parmentier, LTC, Ch, Op G3 Pltn 5397

Marvin D. Fuller, Colonel, GS, ACofS, G3
The Battle of Long Binh

As early as 0035 hours on 31 Jan the first indications of a ground attack were realized as Co E, 4/12 Inf, 199th Lt Inf Bde detected and engaged a VC force north of the Dong Nai River (XT039222) moving south toward Bien Hoa Airbase. They engaged the VC, were supported by artillery and air and eventually killed 47 VC. At about 0100 a long range patrol of the 199th Bde also detected approximately 90 VC who doubletimed past their position just north of Ho Nai Village near Long Binh.

These contacts caused the gunships on strip alert to be ordered aloft. When the widespread 122mm rocket and mortar attacks came at 0300 these aircraft were able to quickly engage several of the launching sites, disrupting their fire.

In the Long Binh area,a heavy rocket and mortar barrage directed at the 199th Bde Hq and II Field Forces Hq started the attack. Light fire teams pre-warned and aloft and artillery responded immediately to the rocket fire coming from the east and north of the Dong Nai River. Several of the eastern firing points were put out of action before they had fired all the rounds on site.

At 0330 IIFFORCEV ordered the 2/47 Mech Bn, 9th Inf Div north from its position on Route 15 vicinity Bearcat, to the Long Binh area.

At 0430 two battalions of the 275th (enemy) Regiment launched a ground attack through HoNai Village south across Highway 1 against the northern perimeter of Long Binh. At the same time U-1 Local Force Battalion harrassed the eastern perimeter cover efforts by Sapper units to penetrate the main ammunition dump. One company of the 275th Regt attempted to seize the ARVN PW compound, located between Bien Hoa and Long Binh, which contained approximately 2,000 PW's at the time of the attack.
While fire was returned from the bunker line and from armored personnel carriers other units of the 199th Bde immediately engaged the VC throughout the area. By a series of platoon and company moves both on foot and mechanized, they converged on the 275th Regt which was under heavy fire, particularly from gunships of one Air Cav Troop 3/17 Air Cav Sqdn. Enemy forces were unable to make headway into the bamboo area south of the PLANTATION Compound and attacked the 12th Aviation Group runway without success. Several teams penetrated the ammo dump and set time charges, many of which were removed by EOD teams before 4 of 100 pads of ammo detonated at 0800. The 1st Platoon Company B, 2 battallion 47th Infantry (Mechanized) with MP gun jeeps were protecting II FFORCEV Hq. This force started a sweep through Widows Village, located across the road and north of the Hq, where it ran into strong resistance and lost one APC.

By 0600 it became apparent that the 199th Bde, reinforced by units of the 9th Div and supported by the fires of one troop of the 3/17 Air Cav, had encircled the bogged down assault elements of the 275th Regt and were killing them at a sustained rate.

At 0800, Company B 4/39 Inf made a combat assault into the grass helicopter pad in a field opposite II FFV Hq. The LZ was hot, the unit quickly cleared the area and moved through Widows Village along with a mechanized company and the recon platoon from the 2nd battallion 47th Infantry.
A company sized force from the 199th Bde, together with ARVN MP's repulsed the attack on the PW compound although it fought alone until late afternoon.

From this point on the battle at Long Binh consisted of the systematic destruction of the defeated VC Regt by air, artillery, ground sweeps, ambush and LRP activities.
Excerpt from report: Major Armor Operations on 31 January

b. The 11th ACR, after notification, moved from their field location to Long Binh in a 12 hour forced march. The Regt arrived at 2210, and took up positions at Widows Village, the PW compound, and III Corps Hq. With the arrival of the Regiment, serious threats to the Long Binh/ III Corps complex were ended. The 11th ACR was involved in mopping-up action during 1-3 Feb.
Excerpts from 3rd Ordinance Battalion Operational Reports, Quarterly Period Ending 31 January 1968:

h. The most serious incident occurred on 31  January 1968. Between 0300 and 0330 hours an undetermined number of RPG and mortar rounds were fired into the northeast sector of the perimeter in the vicinity of tower 13. This was the prelude to an enemy attack which overran the position and carried the enemy force into the depot. Reaction forces were deployed to contain the enemy penetration and with the deployment of a mechanized Infantry Company, the enemy troops were forced to withdraw and the depot perimeter was once again secured. Prior to with drawing the enemy managed to leave explosive devised on eighteen (18) pads, three (3) of which caused considerable damage. Eight pads experienced low order detonations with no secondary explosions and seven pads were cleared of devices prior to detonation by EOD personnel. Casualties were 4 US KIA, 24 US WIA and two confirmed VC KIA.
Excerpt from 1st Aviation Brigade Newsletter:

The VC attack at Long Binh was directed at the 12th Combat Aviation Group and II Field Force Vietnam. The enemy fire was situated across Highway 1A, directing a heavy concentration of fire into the 12th Group and II Field Force compounds. The enemy was too close for artillery, so gunships were called in.
From newsletter article "In defense of II Field Force":

Among those units on the Plantation that played a major role in repulsing the Viet Cong forces were Head Quarters and Headquarters Company, 79th Engineer Group, the 66th Engineer Company and the 219th Military Intelligence Detachment. Captain Roger Ballou, CO of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company and Captain Joseph Cain, CO of the 66th had half their respective companies already manning the perimeter bunkers before the first of the 122mm rockets slammed into the Plantation. After the rocket attack, the rest of the engineers; clerk typists, draftsmen, carpenters, surveyors, and map makers manned the line as combat soldiers. Shortly after the rocket attack, the Viet Cong opened up on the perimeter with rocket, grenade and automatic weapons fire. The engineers blasted back at the enemy with machine guns, rifles and grenades, They were joined in their fight by headquarters personnel from the 12th Aviation Group and "gun jeeps" from the 552nd Military Police Company.
From 199th Light Infantry Brigade Newsletter:

At the same time a battalion of the 27th (274th?) VC Regiment had started probing attacks against the east and southeast boundaries of the Long Binh/II Field Force perimeter. A second battallion moved in to assault the 12th Aviation Group headquarters and helipad from the west. A third battallion attacked the 12th Aviation Group, 219th Military Intelligence Detachment, and 303 Radio Research Area.
Mopping Up, a summary from another newsletter, headline "The Battle for Plantation":

The helicopter gunships dropped flares over Widows Village followed by continuos air assaults in support of the II Field Force soldiers on the ground. An armored cavalry unit from the 9th Infantry Division stormed down Highway 1A and quickly joined in the battle around II Field Force. This was followed by a 9th Division helicopter assault that landed a unit of "Old Reliables" on the south end of the battle area. When the gunships lifted their supporting fire the infantrymen swept through Widows Village meeting sporadic enemy resistance in house to house fighting. The main body of the attacking units had fled north into the village of Ho Nai, two miles north of  the Plantation. The enemy left 60 dead in Widows Village. The battle for the plantation had ended. The battle of Ho Nai began. Elements of the 199th Light Infantry Brigade, 9th Infantry Division and the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment combined to force the enemy out of Ho Nai.
Excerpt from III Corps Casualty Report:

h. During the attack and subsequent mopping up operations in the vicinity Long Binh Post, the 199th Light Infantry Brigade and supporting elements accounted for 870 VC and NVA killed (Body Count).  An additional 83 prisoners and 3 returnees, made it clearly evident that the 275th VC Regiment of the 5th VC Division was reduced to an ineffective fighting force.
Ammo Dump Explosion 18 Feb 1968 where 8 pads detonated with a total ammo value of $2,774,348:

f. On 18 February 1968 at approximately 0300 an attempted penetration of the depot was perpetuated by a VC sapper team. The attack was preceded by sniper fire received in several places around the depot plus a rocket and mortar attack. The enemy was hiding around an unused power line pylon and blew the first of three strands of triple concertina wire with bangalore torpedoes. Tower 15, which was the object of the attack on the Southeast corner of the depot, called for helicopter gunships and reaction forces. A withering field of fire was put out by the personnel in tower 15 temporarily delayed the enemy's breach attempt. As reaction forces and an APC mounting a .50 caliber machine gun were deployed, the enemy partially blew the center strand of wire but was forced back before he could take advantage of it. By this time helicopter gunships were in the area and proceeded to engage the enemy with rockets and machine guns. The enemy then broke contact and withdrew. At dawn three (3) enemy KIA's were discovered and one (1) prisoner who was severely wounded. The enemy left two (2) individual and three (3) crew served weapons plus numerous other articles, medical supplies, rice, clothing, and ammunition. A sweep conducted later that morning showed that the enemy had withdrawn to the east and many blood trails were observed leading away through the jungle.
g. The 122mm rocket attack that preceded the attempted penetration caused considerable damage. Pad I-8 containing demolition materials received a direct hit and exploded with a tremendous concussion. Many fires were started and several other pads started burning. Pad G-7 exploded approximately an hour and a half following the initial attack and caused considerable damage to two fire fighting vehicles, a fork lift, and the enlisted club. A total of seven pads were destroyed.

Pad G-4 $236,324.97
Pad I-8   $163,124.22
Pad F-5  $326,030.99
Pad G-5  $869,156.88
Pad F-4  $400,535.10
Pad G-6  $412,517.04
Pad G-7  $366,692.54
 email me at: tetvets68@yahoo.com