Battle of Sông Bé

An Loc – Phuoc – Dong Xoai – Bo Duc – Loc Ninh – Chon Thanh 1966-1972

“The Battle of Sông Bé was a major action between the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (Viet Cong) and Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) in May 1965. Planned as a major show of force against the ARVN forces, the Viet Cong attempted to capture the fortified capital of Phước Long Province, Sông Bé. Perhaps to their surprise, ARVN forces in the area rallied and re-took the town by the end of the second day of combat. Several additional days of chasing the Viet Cong forces involved proved fruitless, as they escaped. A series of political and military setbacks starting as early as 1962 had been gradually eroding the combat effectiveness of the ARVN forces, originally more than a match for the Viet Cong with their United States supplied helicopters and armored personnel carriers. The Viet Cong forces had been left to train in relative safety and had developed new tactics and been supplied with new weapons that upset the balance of power. By 1964 ARVN morale was collapsing and the Viet Cong was in nominal control of much of the countryside. To capitalize on this, the Viet Cong was planning ever-larger operations. On April 16, 1965, the U.S. Special Forces SF B-34 Detachment was sent to Sông Bé to reinforce the ARVN forces, joining an existing MACV team headquarters in the town. They set about building up a fortified area on a nearby hill and were joined by the POW intelligence team, 120 ARVN, and several light tanks manned by local militiamen. … Even though the base had been defended, much of the town had fallen to rebel control. They positioned machine gun and flamethrower units at almost every street corner. At noon, the 36th ARVN Ranger Battalion brazenly attacked into the town, and drove off the Viet Cong occupying the center of the town, often resorting to melee combat using knives and swords. This is surprising in some regards, since the Rangers were local irregular forces and generally had not performed well against the Viet Cong in prior battles. They were joined a few hours later by the 34th ARVN Rangers, and by evening the entire town was returned to southern control.”
Battle of Phuoc Long

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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