The 33rd Regiment - North Vietnamese Army: Their Story

Ernest Chamberlain

The 33rd Regiment
North Vietnamese Army Their Story

(and the Battle of Binh Ba)
Ernest Chamberlain

Nui Dat – June 1969 Ernie Chamberlain – a Vietnamese linguist, served in South Vietnam as an intelligence officer from April 1969 to November 1970. He taught the Vietnamese language for two years at Point Cook, and was the Vietnam desk officer in the Joint Intelligence Organisation from late 1972 until April 1975. Ernie Chamberlain later served as the Defence Attache in Cambodia (1991-1993) and in Indonesia (1996-1998). Following retirement from the Australian Defence Force in 1998, he served in East Timor for several years – principally in United Nations appointments. He has written several books on Timor and on the Vietnam War.

The 33 Regiment
North Vietnamese Army
Their Story
(and the Battle of Bình Ba – June 1969)

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Ernest Chamberlain – 2014 Published in Australia in 2014 by Ernest Chamberlain, Point Lonsdale VIC 3225.

Copyright  Ernest Chamberlain 2014

email - chamber@pipeline.com.au

This monograph is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of private study, research, criticism or review as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any process, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical photocopying or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the author. Inquiries should be made to the publisher. The author has also published: The Struggle in Iliomar: Resistance in rural East Timor; Editions - 2003, 2004 and 2008 (ISBN 9780980562309). Perjuangan di Iliomar: Perlawanan di Pedesaan di Timor-Leste, 2004 (ISBN 0-97503501-0). Faltering Steps – Independence Movements in East Timor in the 1950s and 1960s; 2005 (ISBN 0 97500350 2 9). Faltering Steps: Independence Movements in East Timor – 1940s to the early 1970s; Editions – 2007, 2008 and 2010 (ISBN 9780980562330). Rebellion, Defeat and Exile: The 1959 Uprising in East Timor; Editions - 2007 and 2009 (ISBN 9780980562316). Forgotten Men: Timorese in Special Operations during World War II, 2010 (ISBN 978-0-9805623-2-3). The Viet Cong D445 Battalion: Their Story, 2012 (ISBN 978-0-9805623-4-7). The Viet Cong D440 Battalion: Their Story, 2013 (ISBN 978-0-9805623-5-4). National Library of Australia : Cataloguing-in-Publication Entry Chamberlain, Ernest, 1944 – The 33rd Regiment – North Vietnamese Army: Their Story. Bibliography; Index. ISBN 978-0-9750350-5-4 Vietnam. Vietnam War, 1961-1975 – Regimental history. Vietnam War, 1961-1975 – Participation , Australian. Binh Ba, Battle of, Vietnam, 1969. Dewey number: 959.7043322 Every effort has been made by the publisher/author to contact holders of copyright to obtain permission to reproduce copyright material. However, if any permissions have been inadvertently overlooked, apologies are offered, and should the rightful party contact the publisher, all due credit and necessary and reasonable arrangements will be made at the earliest opportunity.

PREFACE The Australian War Memorial has published a comprehensive three-volume official history of the Australian Army’s involvement in the Vietnam War.1 Separately, each of the nine Royal Australian Regiment (RAR) infantry battalions that served in Vietnam has produced histories of their tour – or tours, of duty. Other units have also published histories. This modest work - on a North Vietnamese Army (NVA)2 Regiment o “t e ot er s e” – the 33rd NVA Regiment, will hopefully complement those publications and the official histories. It also complements the published histories of its fraternal Việt C ng (VC)3 units - the D445 and D440 Local Force Battalions.4 The 33rd NVA Regiment (E33)5 was a North Vietnamese Army unit that moved into South Vietnam in early September 1965 and initially engaged United States (US) and Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces (RVNAF) in the Central Highlands – at Plei Me and in the Ia Đrăng valley. At the end of January 1968, during the Tết Offensive, the Regiment attacked the town of Ban Mê Thu t in the Central Highlands, before moving south into Tây Ninh Province in mid-1968. I Febr ary 1969, t e Reg me t’s area of operations shifted eastwards and – under the command of VC Military Region 7, it attacked bases at Biên Hòa/Long Bình, and briefly clashed with elements of the 1st Australian Task Force (1ATF). Its activities next extended into the provinces of Long Khánh and Phước Tuy. T e A stral a s’ major e gageme t w t t e 33rd Regiment was the Battle of Bình Ba – on 6 June 1969, about seven k lometres ort of 1ATF’s base at Núi Đất. 1ATF’s f al e gageme t w t 33rd Regiment elements was at the Battle of Núi Lê/Núi Sao near the Long Khánh Province border on 21 September 1971. During the War, over 3,000 cadre and soldiers of the 33rd Regiment were recorded as killed or missing – w t t e Reg me t’s average stre gt be g o ly abo t 1,300.6 Following Liberation of the South on 30 April 1975, the Regiment fought in the South1

McNeill, I., To Long Tan – The Australian Army and the Vietnam War 1950-1966, St Leonards, 1993; McNeill, I. & Ekins, A., On the Offensive, Crows Nest, 2003; and Ekins, A with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, Crows Nest, 2012. All were published by Allen & Unwin in association with the Australian War Memorial. 2 I t s work, t e People’s Army of V et am (PAVN) s referre to as t e “Nort V et amese Army” (NVA); and the People’s L berat o Arme Forces (PLAF), g err llas a frastr ct re are terme t e Việt C ng (VC) – as the general readership is more familiar w t t e terms “NVA” a “VC”. 3 T e term “Việt Cộng” s avo e V et amese comm st wr t gs. T e V et amese comm sts ot refer to t emselves as “Việt Cộng” (“Cộng Sản Việt Nam” - Vietnamese Communists) – as this was a pejorative term initiated and used by the Republic of Vietnam (RVN - ie South Vietnam), the US, and its “Free Worl ” all es. 4 See: Chamberlain, E.P., The Viet Cong D445 Battalion: Their Story, Point Lonsdale, 2011; and Chamberlain, E.P., The Viet Cong D440 Battalion: Their Story, Point Lonsdale, 2013. 5 NVA/VC formation and unit nomenclatures included prefix letters to designat e s ze eg “A” for sect o /sq a ; “B” – platoo ; “C” – Compa y; “D” – battalion; “E” – regiment (also “ ”); “F” and “CT” – division; and “T” – M l tary Reg o . “B” was also se as a pref x for some fro ts – eg B2, B3. “K” was often used as a prefix designation for hospitals. The Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) also had a 33rd Regiment in its 21st Infantry Division. 6 For detail on casualties, see Appendix 8.

West Border War against the Khmer Rouge in both Vietnamese territory and in Cambodia. Subsequently, the Regiment also fought in Cambodia during the Vietnamese occupation – and, in 1979, the Regiment was deployed to the Chinese border area. The 33rd Regime t’s off c al Memor al s Bình Đức hamlet of Bình Ba village and was inaugurated on 27 July 2003. There are also active 33rd Reg me t vetera s’ groups t e “Nort ” - including at Phúc Thọ outside Hà N i, and reunions are held regularly. While no complete history of the 33rd Regiment has been published, this 128,000word work uses several historical monographs published by the 33rd Regiment Veterans’ Association as principal primary source materials – and translations of those monographs are cl e amo g t s work’s appe ces. The history of the 5th VC Division has also proved useful. Additionally, US and Australian materials – including captured documents and the debriefing of prisoners and ralliers, have been important in constructing a more complete arrat ve of t e Reg me t’s service. Meetings with 33rd Regiment veterans and email exchanges of information with the veterans have been particularly helpful. As comments on the text - and to add context, a considerable number of footnotes are included to enable interested readers to readily access primary source material – much of it now available via the Internet. Many of the comments are based on an examination of captured NVA and VC documents and the debriefs of prisoners and ralliers (ie defectors). During the Vietnam War, this material was collated centrally by the Combined Intelligence Center Vietnam (CIC-V) in Sài Gòn – with the captured documents processed by its Combined Document Exploitation Center (CDEC).7 A very large quantity of CIC-V material is held by The Vietnam Center and Archive (VCAT) at the Texas Tech University, Lubbock – Texas, in the United States. Without access to the records held by the VCAT, it would have been quite difficult to provided meaninful comments. Accordingly, access to the records held by the Texas Tech University is gratefully acknowledged and cite t s work as “VCAT” mater al. Vietnamese-language histories – other than 33rd Regiment monographs, have somewhat different accounts of events - including engagements with the Australian forces, and these have also been noted. As an Addendum, this 2014 work also includes several appendices – including translations of 33rd Regiment historical monographs, an analysis of casualty information, organizational charts, and maps. A bibliography and a comprehensive index have been included – elements that are not usually included in Vietnamese-language works. An interesting aspect is that while the combat effectiveness of NVA/VC forces was seriously hampered by high malarial rates, malaria is only occasionally mentioned in Vietnamese-language historical monographs on the 33rd Regiment. Ernie Chamberlain Point Lonsdale 11 March 2014.
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At the 1st Australian Task Force (1ATF) base at Núi Đất, captured documents were processed by the Detachment of the 1st Divisional Intelligence Unit before on-forwarding to CDEC in Sài Gòn.

CONTENTS Page Introduction Sources A History Background – the 33rd Regiment Central Highlands Operations 1965 - 1968 The Battles of Plei Me and the Ia Đrăng The Plei Me Campaign – a 33rd Regiment Casualty Summary After the Plei Me-Ia Đrăng Battles Tết 1968 Operations in Nam Bộ Tây Ninh, Bình Dương and Phước Long Provinces The Party in the 33rd NVA Regiment Against Pacification – Moving Eastward in 1969 Tết 1969 Tensions between North Vietnamese and Southern Communist Troops Morale Reports of Attacks on – and Engagements with, Thai and Australian Forces Performance Reviewed 28 32 35 36 38 40 43 45 9 22 22 26 5 1

The 1969 Summer-Autumn/Long Khánh Campaign – 33rd Regiment The June 1969 Country-w e “H g Po ts” Campa g 33rd Regiment Activities – May 1969 33rd Regiment Moves Towards Bình Ba – Signals Intelligence The Plan – D sr pte by “A stral a Comma T e Early J e 1969 “H g Po t” Beg s os”, a C a ge

47 50 51 53 56 60 62 67 70 71 73 74 77 82 84 85 87 90 91 92 97 98

The Battle of Bình Ba Begins – and a Failed Ambush on Route 2 ? The Battle – 6 June 1969 Bình Ba - 7 June 1969 Hòa Long The Aftermath Casualties 33rd NVA Regiment at Bình Ba – A Discussion Post-script High Point – Phase 2 NVA/VC Battlefield Clearance – and the 33rd Regiment Operations in Late 1969 – north of National Route 1 Food and Supply Shortages A Negative Appraisal Operations in Bình Tuy Province C26 1ATF Operations Overlord (Suối Nhác) and Ivanhoe (Núi Lê) – 1971

After the Withdrawal of the Australian Task Force Following the 1973 Paris Peace Accord 1974 - Fighting in Long Đất and Châu Đức Districts The Final Offensive – 1975 Casualties in Eastern Nam B – A Summary Post-Liberation Cambodia – and the Vietnam-China Border T e Vetera s’ Assoc at o – and Reunions Achievements and Losses Summarized

103 110 111 113 116

116 119 120

Addendum Appendix 1: The 33rd Regiment: An Historical Summary. Cựu Chiến Binh Trung Đoàn 33, Tóm Tắt Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33: Đơn Vị Anh Hùng Lực Lượng Vũ Trang Nhân Dân (A Summary of the Heritage of the 33rd Regiment: A Heroic Unit of t e People’s Arme Forces), Hà N i, July 2010. ((T e “S mmary” H story)). Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), Quá Trình Hình Thành Và Chiến Đấu Của Trung Đoàn 33 Anh Hùng – Từ năm 1965-2010 – (The Development and Combat History of the Heroic 33rd Regiment – from 1965 to 2010), Vũng Tàu, 2010. ((T e “Developme t” H story)). Lý Lịch Di Tích Khu Tưởng Niệm Trận Đánh Ngày 06/06/69 Của Trung Đoàn 33 - Xã Bình Ba, Huyện Châu Đức, Tỉnh Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu, The Background Story of the Memorial Area for the Battle of Bình Ba on 6/6/69 by 33 Regiment at Bì Ba V llage, C Đức District, Bà Rịa-Vũ g Tà Prov ce, Vũng Tàu, 2011. ((T e “Memor al” H story)). Lê Bá L c, A Summary Report on the Combat Activities and Operations of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), 1965-2010.

Appendix 2:

Appendix 3:

Appendix 4:

Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), Báo Cáo Tóm Tắt Quá Trình Chiến Đấu và Hoạt Đ ng Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) Từ 1965-2010, Long Khánh, 15 July 2010. Appendix 5: Appendix 6: Appendix 7: The 33rd Regiment Memorial Tablet. The 33rd Regiment: Strength Reports and Estimates. The 33rd NVA Regiment – as related in the 5th VC Division History (2005) - Extracts from: Phạm Quang Đinh, Lịch Sử Sư òan B Binh 5 (1965-2005) – (The History of the 5th Infantry Division 1965-2005), T e People’s Army P bl s g Ho se, Hà N i, 2005. The 33rd Regiment in the Histories of the D445 and D440 VC Battalions; and the Châu Đức, Đất Đỏ, Long Đất, and Xuân L c District Histories. The 33rd NVA Regiment: Casualties at the Battle of Bình Ba and Vicinity in June 1969 – and Prisoners of War (POW).

Appendix 8:

Appendix 9:

Appendix 10: Party Ca re’s Notebook: Critique of the 33rd Regiment. Appendix 11: Chamberlain, E. P. Brigadier (Retd), “T e Battle of Bình Ba: a baffling mystery and SIGINT failure – No!”, T e Br ges Rev ew, Issue 1, Canungra, January 2013, pp.91-92. Appendix 12: Organogram – 33rd NVA Regiment, 3 July 1968. Appendix 13: Organogram – 3rd Battalion/33rd NVA Regiment, 2 May 1971. Appendix 14: Organogram – 33rd NVA Regiment, 21 September 1971. Appendix 15: Organogram – 33rd NVA Regiment, 1975. Appendix 16: Past Years’ Orga sation - “Tổ Chức Ban Chỉ Huy Trung Đoàn 33 Qua Các Thời Kỳ” (“33rd Reg me t Hea q arters Orga sat o Past Years”– in Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), Quá Trình Hình Thành Và Chiến Đấu Của Trung Đoàn 33 Anh Hùng – Từ năm 1965-2010 – (The Development and Combat History of the Heroic 33rd Regiment – from 1965 to 2010), Vũng Tàu, 2010. ((ie Appendix 2)).

Appendix 17 (Map): 33rd Regiment Headquarters Locations: 29 April – 2 July 1969. Appendix 18 (Map): Military Region (MR) 3/III Corps Tactical Zone (CTZ), Republic of Vietnam. Appendix 19 (Map): P ước Tuy Province. Appendix 20 (Map): Long Khánh and Bình Tuy Provinces. Appendix 21 (Map): The Battle of Bình Ba – June 1969: NVA/VC Deployments. Appendix 22: Personal Accounts of the Battle of Bình Ba by 1st Battalion Veterans: Bù Đức Phong, Nguyễn Văn Dụy.

Bibliography Index

Commander of the 33rd Regiment – Nguyễn Văn Thường issuing orders for an attack on Suối Nghệ/Đức Thạnh 1971-1972

33rd Regiment soldiers (C-18 Company) firing a 12.7mm DShK Heavy Machine Gun in an anti-aircraft role.

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INTRODUCTION

“ In the fighting, the Regiment took part in 1,210 battles – both small and large; overwhelmed one Sector, five Sub-Sectors, three Special Sectors, six Sub-SubSectors, 235 enemy posts – both large and small; destroyed two convoys, 103 artillery pieces, set fire to 133 aircraft, destroyed 1,345 military vehicles (including 601 tanks and armoured vehicles); wiped out 32 enemy battalions (including an American battalion and a Thai battalion), 50 companies (including 21 American companies, two Australian companies, and two Thai companies); seized 2,454 weapons of various types, 342 radios, 20 military vehicles and other military equipment; and wiped out 30,047 enemy troops and captured 787 …”1 Sources To date, a discrete book2 on the history of the 33rd Regiment (E33)3 has yet to be published in Vietnam - However, several monographs have been published by the veterans of the 33rd Regiment. Sources for this publication - “Their Story”, have included: - A translation of the 33rd Regiment’s “Summary History” (2010) – a monograph, attached as Appendix 1.4 - A brief history of the Regiment – “Quá Trình” (“The Development” History), with many photographs - produced as a monograph in 2010. An English translation is attached as Appendix 2.5
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Hồng Quốc Văn, “Gặp gỡ một chiến sĩ của Trung đoàn 33 Anh hùng” (“Meeting a Soldier of the Heroic 33rd Regiment”), Báo Cựu Chiến Binh Viet Nam, 17 December 2010. The article, based on an interview with a 33rd Regiment veteran – the venerable monk Đại Đức Thích Tâm Vượng, appeared on the website of the national War Veterans’ Association and included figures cited in a 2010 33rd Regiment historical monograph - Cựu Chiến Binh Trung Đoàn 33, Tóm Tắt Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (The 33rd Regiment – A Summary History), see footnote 4 and Appendix 1. 2 The 33rd Regiment Veterans’ Association plans to publish a comprehensive history of the Regiment in November 2014 – email advice from Võ Xuân Thu (33rd Regiment Veterans’ Association), 20 September 2013. A proposal for that formal history was discussed at the Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu People’s Committee on 17 June 2013, and the project was formally launched on 23 October 2013. The Writing Team includes two 33 rd Regiment veterans ộc – a former Regimental 2ic and chief-of-staff; and Võ Xuân Thu - a former political cadre. The History of the 5th VC Division (1995 and 2005), includes passages on the operations of the 33rd NVA Regiment – Phạm Quang Đinh, ịch Sử Sư đòan ộ Binh 5 (1965-2005) – (The History of the 5th Infantry Division 1965-2005),The People’s Army Publishing House, Hà Nội, 2005 – see footnote 9 and the extract at Appendix 7. 3 As noted in the Preface, NVA/VC formation and unit nomenclatures included prefix letters to designate the size of an element eg “A” for section/squad; “ ” – platoon; “C” – Company; “D” – battalion; “E” – regiment (also “Q”); “F” and “CT” – division; and “T” – Military Region. “ ” was also used as a prefix for some fronts – eg 2, 3. “K” was often used as a prefix designator for a hospital. 4 Cựu Chiến inh Trung Đoàn 33, Tóm Tắt Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 Đơn Vị Anh Hùng Lực ượng Vũ Trang Nhân Dân (A Summary of the Heritage of the 33 rd Regiment A Heroic Unit of the People’s Armed Forces), Hà Nội, July 2010 – see Appendix 1. 5 Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), Quá Trình Hình Thành Và Chiến Đấu Của Trung Đoàn 33 Anh Hùng – Từ năm 1965-

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The translation of a further short 33rd Regiment monograph: “Lý Lịch” (“Memorial”) History (2011) is also included as Appendix 3.6 At Appendix 4 is the translation of a 2010 eight-page report – in a presentation format, by a senior 33rd Regiment cadre7 – Lê Bá Lộc.8 A translation of a 33rd Regiment Memorial Tablet is at Appendix 5. Detail on the 33rd Regiment’s operations is also included in the 5th VC Division History (2005) – and a translated extract of that history is included as Appendix 7.9 The 33rd Regiment’s activities are also mentioned in the published histories of two Việt Cộng local force battalions – D440 and D445 (that operated in Phước Tuy10 and Long Kh nh11 Provinces), and several District histories. Translated extracts are included as Appendix 8. “Martyrs’ ists” of the 33rd Regiment have been published, and these are examined at Appendix 9 – with an analysis of entries for June 1969 (The Battle of Bình Ba) and notes on the deaths of several senior cadre. In early January 1970, a senior COSVN cadre wrote a report on the 33rd Regiment’s status and performance – and a translation is included at Appendix 10.

2010 – (The Development and Combat History of the Heroic 33 rd Regiment – from 1965 to 2010), Vũng Tàu, 2010 - see Appendix 2. 6 Lý Lịch Di Tích Khu Tưởng Niệm Trận Đ nh Ngày 06/06/69 Của Trung Đoàn 33 - Xã Bình Ba, Huyện Châu Đức, Tỉnh Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu (The ackground Story of the Memorial Area for the attle of ình a on 6/6/69 by the 33rd Regiment at Bình Ba Village, Châu Đức District, Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province), Vũng Tàu, 2011 – see Appendix 3. 7 Vietnamese communist terminology does not use a term for officer or non-commissioned officer (cf the Republic of Vietnam’s “sĩ quan” for officer etc). The communist term “cadre” (“cán bộ”) – ie as distinct from soldier (“chiến sĩ”), is generally applied to personnel in leadership positions of section/squad deputy leader (and above) in armed elements; and to cell leaders (and above) in political infrastructure and front organisations. Vietnamese communists also use a unique collective term for communist “troops” – ie “bộ đội”. 8 Lê Bá Lộc - Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), Báo Cáo Tóm T ắt Quá Trình Chiến Đấu và Hoạt Động Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) Từ 1965-2010 (A Summary Report on the Combat Activities and Operations of the 33 rd Regiment (A57)), Long Khánh, 15 July 2010 – see Appendix 4. 9 Phạm Quang Đinh, ịch Sử Sư đòan ộ Binh 5 (1965-2005) – (The History of the 5th Infantry Division 1965-2005),The People’s Army Publishing House, Hà Nội, 2005. 10 Phước Tuy Province was about 55 kilometres from east-to-west and about 35 kilometres from north-tosouth (an area of about 1,958 sq km – about 83% of the size of the Australian Captial Territory) – see the description and map at Appendix 19. The Province capital - Phước Lễ/Bà Rịa Town, was about 110 kilometres by road south-east of Sài Gòn via Route 15 (nowadays Route 51). In 1967, the population of the Province was about 103,000 - including Bà Rịa Town’s population of about 15,600; and was 112,683 in January 1970 in 22 villages (106 hamlets). 11 Long Khánh Province had a total land area of 4,000 square kilometres – with a maximum length of 90 kilometres and an average width of 70 kilometres. See the map at Appendix 20 and notes at footnote 144. It comprised two Districts: Xuân Lộc and Định Quán – its population of 131,300 (1965) lived in 18 villages (107 hamlets).

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Aspects of the 33rd Regiment’s operations in Phước Tuy Province in early June 1969 – including Australian signals intelligence (SIGINT) coverage of the 33rd Regiment, are outlined at Appendix 11.12 A map outlining the 33rd Regiment’s movements in the period late April to early July 1969 – based on Australian SIGINT reporting, is at Appendix 17. An account of the Battle of Bình Ba written by a soldier of the 33rd Regiment’s 1st Battalion who survived the Battle – see Appendix 22. A short – two paragraph, summary history of the 33rd NVA Regiment is included in the official Australian Army military history of the Vietnam conflict.13

In July 1968, 1ATF produced “Outline Orbat Details – 32 and 33 Regts”14 that noted the 33rd Regiment “is presently believed to be in the process of relocating into III CTZ in company with 32 NVA Regt.” Its strength was cited as 530. In May 1971, 1 ATF produced a seven-page study on “3 n 33 NVA Regt”15 noting its strength as 185. In late September 1971, 1ATF produced an 11-page study on the 33rd NVA Regiment.16 However, much of that document was noted as being based on material from the US 3rd Brigade (Separate) of the 1st Air Cavalry Division (Airmobile) - and does not include any mention of the early June 1969 Battle of Bình Ba. On “Morale”, the 1ATF study noted “33 NVA Regt is considered to be one of the most capable units in GVN MR3 and as such is believed to have fairly high morale. … This can be attributed to constant political indoctrination. Very few Hoi Chanhs are received from the Regiment, and it is common to find that members of 33 Regiment who have been KIA ((Killed in Action)) possess no identifying documents.”17 The official history of the Australian Army in the Vietnam War notes “In engagements with Australian units, 33 Regiment consistently proved aggressive, well disciplined, well equipped and ably led. It was generally considered 1ATF’s most

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Chamberlain, E.P. rigadier (Retd), “The attle of ình a a baffling mystery and SIGINT failure – No!”, The ridges Review, Issue 1, Canungra, January 2013, pp.91 -92. 13 Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish: The Australian Army in the Vietnam War 1968-1975, Allen & Unwin in association with the Australian War Memorial, Crows Nest, 2012, p.857. 14 Cameron, G.C. Major – 1ATF, I-9-22, Outline Orbat Details 32 and 33 NVA Regts, Núi Đất, 3 July 1968 – see organogram at Appendix 12. 15 Annex F to 1ATF INTSUM, No.122/71, Núi Đất, 2 May 1971 – see Appendix 13. 16 1ATF, 33 NVA Regiment – Annex F to 1ATF INTSUM No.264/71, Núi Đất, 21 September 1971. 17 1ATF, 33 NVA Regiment – 1ATF INTSUM No.264/71, op.cit., 21 September 1971, p.6. a “Hoi Chanh” ie “Hồi Chánh”, was a “rallier” under the Chiêu Hồi programme. Begun in 1963, the Chiêu Hồi (“Open Arms”) programme encouraged North Vietnamese and Việt Cộng troops and infrastructure members to defect to the Sài Gòn Government. For Chiêu Hồi statistics for all provinces – see VCAT Item No. 2234403020. Phước Tuy Province statistics were: 1965 – 77 ralliers/defectors/returnees (hồi chánh); 1966 – 278; 1967 – 317; 1968 – 45; 1969 – 121; 1970 – 196; 1971 – 37: ie for the seven years: 1,071. However, in May 1972, the Province Senior Advisor in Phước Tuy Province had declared the programme was “largely moribund”, and was inducing few VC to defect. - Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, p.648, p.1054 – endnote 33.

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dangerous enemy.” – and “the 33 NVA Regiment was the most dangerous enemy force confronted by the task force.”18 As noted, in recent years, the 33rd Regiment’s Veterans’ Association also published a Martyr’s ist.19 That List – with some minor differences, was also published on a Vietnamese-language website in July 2013.20 In April 2013, the 33rd Regiment Veterans’ Association published a video: “Trung Đoàn 33 (A57): Một Thời Hào Hùng” ((The 33rd (A57) Regiment: An Heroic Time))21 that related the Regiment’s history including engagements in the Central Highlands in 1965 and in Phước Tuy Province. Videos and film on the June 1969 Battle of Bình Ba and 33rd Regiment reunions are listed in the Bibliography.

Display in the 33rd Regiment’s Museum – Memorial Complex, Bình Ba Village

18 19

Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, p.610 and p.857. Political Department – Military Region 7, Danh Sách Liệt Sỹ Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) Từ 1968–1975 (Miền Đông Nam ộ) – (List of the Martyrs of the 33rd Regiment (A57) – From 1968-1975 (Eastern Nam Bộ Region), Hồ Chí Minh City, 10 April 2002. The ist includes at p.1 “Tổng Hợp Số Liệt Sỹ Các Tỉnh Hy Sinh Ở Các Chiến Trường Chống Mỹ Thời Gian Từ Th ng 7/68 Đến Th ng 5/75" (“Consolidated List of the Martyrs who died on the Battlefields during the Anti-American War from July 1968 to May 1975”). See Appendix 9 for an analysis and commentary on the 33 rd Regiment’s Martyrs’ ists. 20 Nguyễn Sỹ Hồ, Người đưa đò …, Danh s ch liệt sĩ thuộc biên chế E33_F303 (List of Martyrs of the 33 rd Regiment of the 303rd Division) - http://teacherho.vnweblogs.com/post/9313/424599. The List was posted on the Internet site on 16 July 2013 – provided by Vũ Đình uật – the honorary deputy of the 33rd Regiment’s Veterans’ Phú Thọ- ình Phước branch (for analysis see Appendix 9). The List has minor differences if compared with the published Military Region 7 book noted above at footnote 19. 21 “Trung Đoàn 33 (A57): Một Thời Hào Hùng” (“The 33rd Regiment (A57) An Heroic Time”) – 26 April 2013, 21 minutes. The video features several 33rd Regiment veterans as speakers: Lê Bá Lộc, Nguyễn Hữu Điểm/Đảm, and Võ Xuân Thu – with Lê Bá Lộc outlining the Regiment’s involvement in the Plei Me-Ia Đrăng Campaign in the Central Highlands; and is available on You Tube as http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqFZp42kwJE .

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A HISTORY Background – the 33rd Regiment In October 1964, the 270th Regiment in Lệ Thủy District of Quảng Bình Province (North Vietnam) – having received reinforcements from the Military Region, was redesignated the “101st Regiment”22. In November 1964, the Regiment moved to a camp (XE 649458) in Bố Trạch District of Quảng Bình Province. Subsequently, the Regiment was formally established on 15 February 1965 in Tuyên Hóa District (at XE 243700) in Quảng Bình Province and designated as the 101B Regiment23 of the 325B NVA Division (the Bình Trị Thiện Division). The Regiment reportedly also established a jungle camp for infiltration training – the Diễn Tập camp (in the vicinity of XE 055765).24 At this time, the Regiment also reportedly used the cover designator “Công Trường 33” (“Work Site 33”). Its initial senior cadre were listed25 as: Lieutenant Colonel Vũ Sắc – as
22

The 101st Regiment of the 325th Division was originally formed in September 1945 from Vi ệt Minh guerillas in the Thừa Thiên-Huế area. In December 1964 - as the 101A Regiment, it operated in the Central Highlands and Cambodia before deploying south to the Southern Highlands in 1965 – and reportedly becoming the 16th Regiment of Military Region 6. The 101B Regiment (ie the 33 rd Regiment) departed for the Central Highlands of South Vietnam in late July 1965; and the 101C Regiment was raised in September 1965 – moving into the Highlands in May 1966. In the summer of 1966, the 101C Regiment was incorporated into the 101B (ie the 33rd) Regiment. Subsequently, the 101D and 101E Regiments were also raised - see Trung đoàn 101 Cao Vân (1945-1995), People’s Armed Forces Publishing House, 1995. A US report notes that the original 101st Regiment (of the 325th Division) departed North Vietnam on 14 December 1964 and arrived in Kontum Province on 2 February 1965. It launched its first attacks in March 1965, and moved south to Quảng Đức Province in southern II CTZ in mid-October 1965. – MACV, North Vietnamese Army OB in RVN: January 1966, 12 February 1966, p.8 – VCAT Item No.F015900210441. 23 A 33rd Regiment History (2011) relates that “the Regiment comprised the 31 st Regiment of the 341st Division and the 325th Battalion of the 31st Regiment/341st Division – reinforced with the 1st Battalion of the 308th Division and the 2nd Battalion of the 320th Division - Lý Lịch Di Tích Khu Tưởng Niệm … Trung Đoàn 33 (33rd Regiment - Background Memorial History), op.cit., 2011, p.3 – see Appendix 3. The 1st Battalion of the 101st Regiment was reportedly formed in March 1965 with 400 cadre and soldiers from the 36th, 88th, and 102nd Regiments of the 308th Division – according to NVA POW Sergeant Lê Hồng Sơn, see DEC #4/0076/66/ VCAT Item No.F034600042345. According to US reports, the 101B Regiment of the “new” 325th NVA Division, had a cover-name of the “33rd Worksite”. For the Regiment’s activities in North Vietnam and the Battle of Plei Me, see Military Interrogation Center/MACV Document Exploitation Centre, Report Log #3-0025-66, April 1966 (VCAT Item No.F034600051164). See also VCAT Item No. 2130615008 for data on the 101B/33rd Regiment/Sông Lam Regiment of the 325B NVA Division. For detail on the formation of the Regiment – particularly its 2nd Battalion; infiltration into the South; and the Battle of Plei Me (including detailed sketch maps), see the debrief of NVA Aspirant Lai Văn Cứ (platoon commander in the 2nd Battalion who rallied on 6 November 1965) – VCAT Item No.F034600850967. 24 USMACV, Standard Report – DEC Log 1-0116-66, 4 March 1966. For an account by an NVA sergeant of the101- Regiment’s activities from April 1965 to after the Plei Me battle, see – NIC Report No.611/66, VCAT Item No.F034600380842. 25 See the Regiment’s senior appointment and personnel listing in “Tổ Chức Ban Chỉ Huy Trung Đoàn 33 Qua Các Thời Kỳ” (“The Organisation of the Headquarters of the 33 rd Regiment Headquarters in Past Years”– at Appendix 16. This “Organisation of the Headquarters” is part of an i n ạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), Quá Trình Hình

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Regiment commander26; Hồ Trọng Bá – as regimental political commissar; and Nguyễn Đức Khôi27 - as chief-of-staff. The cover designator of the Regiment was “Sông am” – with its battalions’ (1 to 3 inclusive) designators as: Xã An, Xã Binh, and Xã Cong.28 Oath ceremonies were reportedly conducted by the Regiment’s political staff on 19 (or 22) July 1965 – and National Liberation Front (NLF) flags presented to the battalion political officers. The next day – 20 July 1965, the main body of the Regiment began its deployment into the South with the soldiers carrying loads of from 50 to 60 kilograms.29 After a difficult and dangerous 49-day march30, the Regiment arrived in the B3 Central Highlands Front – reportedly the first fully-manned and equipped NVA regiment to be deployed into South Vietnam.31 The Regimental Headquarters and subordinate companies
Thành Và Chiến Đấu Của Trung Đoàn 33 Anh Hùng – Từ năm 1965-2010 – (The Development and Combat History of the Heroic 33rd Regiment – from 1965 to 2010), Vũng Tàu, 2010 – see Appendix 2. 26 According to the debrief of a seriously wounded prisoner, Regimental commander Vũ Sắc “received the blame” for heavy losses in the Plei Me Campaign - and in early February 1966 was transferred to another unit and replaced by ieutenant Colonel Tô Đình Khảm – NIC Report No.598/66, 22 November 1966 – ie VCAT Item No.F034600380926. 27 As chief-of-staff, on 15 December 1965, Nguyễn Đức Khôi issued instructions on troop bivouac procedures for Công Trường 33 (33rd Regiment) – CDEC Log 06-1277-66. 28 For a basic organogram of the “101 Regiment/325 Division (New)”, see - USMACV, Standard Report (Trần Ngọc Quế) – DEC Log 1-0116-66, 4 March 1966 – VCAT Item No.F034600350617. Additional to the three battalions, there were eight support companies – numbered from 13 to 20 inclusive. Senior cadre in mid-late 1965 included: Commander 1st Battalion – Nguyệt, battalion strength: 650. See also Log 30017-66, VCAT Item No.F34600310900 for the Regiment’s routine and infiltration into the South. For the raising and organisation of the 101st Regiment in mid-1965; the dates of the battalions’ departures for South Vietnam in late July 1965; and cover designators – see debriefing reports of 2nd Battalion/101st Regiment ralliers (8 January 1966) in II CTZ DEC Log #2-0019-66, 4 March 1966 – VCAT Item No.F03460033346. 29 A history of the 101st NVA Regiment relates that “In Summer 1966, following a decision by the Central Highlands ((Tây Nguyên)) Front Headquarters, the 101B and the 101C Regiments were combined to become the 33rd Regiment which operated in the Southern Central Highlands and the Eastern Nam B ộ area. - …, Trung đoàn 101 Cao Vân (1945-1995), Nhà Xuẩt Bản Quân Đội Nhân Dân (Armed Forces Publishing House), Hà Nội, 1995. For detail on the formation of the “new” 101 Regiment – ie the 33rd NVA Regiment, including the incorporation of a battalion/s from the 52 nd Regiment of the 320th NVA Division; 33rd Regiment senior cadre; organisation and equipment; its movement to the South (departing in three phases: 20, 24, 28 July 1965); its route and subsequent engagements at Plei Me - see reports based on debriefs of ralliers – USMACV Document Exploitation Center, Log 02-0019-66, 4 March 1966 – and VCAT Item No. VA004428. As Infiltration Group 520, the Regimental Headquarters and the support companies are also reported to have departed Tuyên Hóa (XE 243700), Quảng Bình Province (North Vietnam) on 21 July 1965. The 3rd Battalion left on about 17 July, the 1st Battalion departed on 19 July, and the 2nd Battalion departed last on 23 July 1965. The debriefing report of a signalman of the 16 th Company – seriously wounded on 10 August 1966, included detail on the infiltration route. NIC Report No.598/66, 22 November 1966 – see the debrief of the seriously wounded POW Trần Viet Nhi (signalman - C16 Company) ie: VCAT Item No.F034600380926. 30 According to a US summary, “… the average of earlier infiltration groups was 90 days, the 33d Regiment infiltrated from North Vietnam into the Central Highlands of RVN in about 60 days … confirmed strength 2,000.” - USMACV – CICV: Order of Battle Study No. 66-1: Enemy Force Build Up July 1964December 1965, 18 February 1966. 31 Lý Lịch Di Tích Khu Tưởng Niệm … Trung Đoàn 33 (33rd Regiment - Background Memorial History), op.cit., 2011, p.3 – see Appendix 3. For the raising, infiltration, early combat actions – and poor morale in the 1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment, see VCAT Item No.F034600422516. The report includes the pre-

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crossed into South Vietnam from Cambodian territory on about 7 September 1965 and established bases in Gia Lai Province32 in the “Gia ai Jungle” (YA 930145)33, at An Ta village (ZA 110195 - sic), and Plei Ya Bo (ZA 143228).34 Here, the cover designator “Worksite 33” was reportedly adopted, and the three battalions were re-numbered H1 to H335, and the regimental support companies were numbered with a “K” prefix. The Regiment’s strength was reportedly 2,000.36 The 304th NVA Division history summarised “In August 1965, the High Command reinforced the Central Highlands Front by sending it the 33rd Regiment (the 33rd Regiment was formerly the 101st Regiment of the 325th Division)”.37

departure signing of the individual “Resolution of Combat Determination” by 1 st Battalion personnel. For food, rice rations and medical supplies of the 1st Battalion – to mid-1966, see VCAT Item No.F034600422505. 32 “Communist” Gia ai Province comprised the northern two -thirds of the Republic of Vietnam’s (South Vietnam’s) Pleiku Province and western areas of ình Định Province and most of Phú Bổn Province. 33 In a debrief, a POW (3rd Battalion) stated that, having crossed into South Vietnam in early September 1965, the whole Regiment initially bivouaced “for about one month” at “Gong y rand” (vicinity of ZA [sic] 960150 – but probably YA 960150) in “ ộ Thanh District of Pleiku Province before deploying to attack Plei Me.” USMACV DEC #3-0025-66, 12 April 1966, VCAT Item No.F034600501896. 34 During infiltration into the South, People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN - ie North Vietnamese Army) military personnel routinely physically abandoned their rank and other insignia and adopted “functional titles”. However, in many formations and units this was nominal, and their military ranks were used – see Advanced Research Projects Agency, Basic Profile: NVA POW – MR3, Summary Report No.15, Washington, 14 January 1971, VCAT Item No.2321314001. In some documentation, personnel in PAVN and PLAF units in the South still used rank designators – eg: 2/2 for Lieutenant Colonel; 2/1 - Major; 4/4 and 3/4 - Senior Captain; 3/3 - Captain; 3/1 - Lieutenant; 3/5 - Aspirant; 4/3 - Senior Sergeant; 4/2 – Sergeant; 4/1 – Corporal; and 5/1 Private. See also footnote 407 for such “hyphenated ranks”. NVA ranks were illustrated in 1ATF, Vietnam Digest No.4/68, Núi Đất, 11-17 August 1968. 35 VCAT Item No.F034600380926. Also - according to a 33rd Regiment POW captured on 8 August 1966, on arrival in South Vietnam, the Regiment changed its unit designator from “101 ” to “Worksite 33” – and the battalions’ designators were: 1st Battalion: Xã An; 2nd Battalion: Xã Cương; 3rd Battalion: Xã Ngoc – VCAT Item No.F034600380800. 36 See the debrief of NVA Aspirant ai Văn Cứ (rallied 6 November 1965) – VCAT Item No. F034600850967. His information corroborates that of the seriously wounded 33rd Regiment signalman – see footnote 29 above. For detail on the organisation and activities of the ao Động Party (ie the Communist Party) – including its Youth Group (Đoàn), in the 33rd Regiment (as the 101st Regiment up to October 1965), see VCAT Item No.F034600591842 and Item No.F034600401458. See also footnote 54. 37 Nguyễn Huy Toàn & Phạm Quang Định, Sư Đoàn 304 (304th Division), Tập II (Vol II), People’s Army Publishing House, Hà Nội, 1990.

8

33rd Regiment ralliers indicating the Regiment’s infiltration route into the Central Highlands of South Vietnam in July-September 1965.38

Communist territorial boundaries in Northern South Vietnam

38

Vietnam Center and Archive, Texas Tech University - photograph VCAT VA04428.

9

CENTRAL HIGHLANDS OPERATIONS 1965 - 1968 The Battles of Plei Me and Ia Đrăng Assigned for operations on 15 October 1965, during October and November 1965, the Regiment fought in the Plei Me (Plây Me)39 and Ia Đrăng40 Campaigns in the Central Highlands of South Vietnam. In the first phase of the Campaign directed by the “B3 Front”, the 33rd Regiment was to attack the CIDG base41 at Plei Me (ZA 164058) – about

39

The Plei Me Campaign (conducted in part of the Dry Season: 19-25 October 1965) was followed in the same region by the Ia Đrăng Campaign (14-18 November 1965) to the south-west. According to the 304th NVA Division’s history of the Campaign “After the battle at Dak Sut ((the Dak Sut District Town and the Special Forces base was overrun on 18 August 1965)), the 101st Regiment was sent down to the B2 Front, and the newly-arrived 101B Regiment was designated the 33rd Regiment.” – Nguyễn Huy Toàn & Phạm Quang Định, Sư Đoàn 304 (304th Division), Tập II (Vol II), People’s Army Publishing House, Hà Nội, 1990. The US After Action Report noted “ y the 27th ((October 1965)), the NVA regiment responsible for the siege of Plei Me was positively identified as the 101B or the 33d, the latter designation used almost exclusively thereafter.” – 1st Air Cavalry Division, Combat After Action Report - The Pleiku Campaign, 4 March 1966 (a comprehensive 226-page US report on the Campaign with annotated maps). See also: 1st Air Cavalry Division, Operational Report – Lessons Learned 3-66: The Pleiku Campaign, 10 May 1966 (226 pages) – including detailed tactical-scale maps – VCAT Item No.1070422001 or DTIC Pdf URL AD0855112. For comprehensive ARVN, US and North Vietnamese perspectives, see the series of 51 articles on the battles in: Nguyễn Văn Tín, Vài Điều Cần N n iết Về Trận Đ nh Pleime -Iadrang (A Few Things You Should Know About the Plei Me-Ia Đrăng attles), 24 November 2009 (updated 8 March 2010) - http://nguyentin.tripod.com/pleime_thacmac-u.htm . The PAVN Military History website “Dựng Nước – Giữ Nước” (“ uilding and Defending the Nation”) includes a discussion blog “Trận Ia Drang và Playme, Sa Thầy” with over 30 pages of postings from June 2008 to December 2012 - see http://www.vnmilitaryhistory.net/index.php/topic,2047.0.html . In November 2005, a conference was held at the Vietnam Center at the Texas Tech University (Lubbock) on the Plei Me-Ia Đrăng Campaign 40th Anniversary Ia Drang Seminar, Washington D.C., 10-13 November 2005. Presentations are available online, including by PAVN Lieutenant General Nguyễn Đình Ước. http://www.vietnam.ttu.edu/events/2005IaDrang/ . 40 The Ia Đrăng – sometimes as the Ya Đrăng (Đrăng River), is a valley in a four -sided area bounded by Plei Me, àu Can, Đức Cơ, and Plei The/Te. This area covers approximately 12 square kilometres and is about 45 kilometres south-west of Pleiku City. The average elevation of this area is between 400 and 500 metres. South of the Ia Đrăng is the tall, prominent Chu Pong (Chư Prông) Mountain Range - 732 metres in height, which lies along the Vietnamese-Cambodian border – see the following map. 41 At the time of the attack, the base itself was manned by a Vietnamese Special Forces element (14), 10 US advisors, and a US-advised 250-strong Montagnard (Jarai, Rhade, Bahnar) CIDG (Civilian Irregular Defence Group – Dân Sự Chiến Đấu) force. Another 40 CIDG occupied two outposts north-east and south of the base, and elements were also on external patrols. Two Vietnamese Special Forces (Airborne Ranger) companies reinforced the base on 22 October. The armoured relief column from Pleiku arrived at 1845hrs on 25 October – having been attacked by the 32nd NVA Regiment enroute. For the detailed US 5th Special Forces Group account, see “CIDG in Camp Defense (Plei Me)” in the 5th Special Forces Group, Quarterly Command Report, 31 December 1965 - VCAT Item No.168300010050. That report lists casualties as: US Special Forces – 3 killed, seven wounded; ARVN/CIDG – 30 killed, 59 wounded; NVA/VC - 141 confimed killed, 241 estimated killed, 300 estimated wounded. A copy of a US air-dropped PSYOPS pamphlet - in Vietnamese, depicting a Chinese communist advisor is included in the report “… your sacrifices/deaths only satiate your bellicose Chinese communist advisors.”

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50 kilometres south of Pleiku, and ARVN relief forces were to be ambushed and destroyed by the 32nd (320th) NVA Regiment.42

Plei Me – Ia Đrăng Area (Pleiku to Plei Me – about 50 km, see footnote 39) Subsequently, these regiments were reportedly planned to join with the 66th NVA Regiment43 to seize Pleiku Town. Official Vietnamese accounts do not specifically name the commander of the 33rd NVA Regiment in the Plei Me-Ia Đrăng Campaign. One

42

The 32nd Regiment comprised the 334, 635, and 966 Battalions. Its regimental base was at Plei Te/PleiThe (YA 820070). For the 32nd Regiment ambush plan dated 12 October 1965, see: http://www.generalhieu.com/why_pleime_VCA-2.htm. 43 The 66th NVA Regiment (of the 304th NVA Division) did not reach the battlefield until about 2 November 1965 – see: NVA 66th Regiment in Pleime-Ia Đrăng Campaign http://www.generalhieu.com/f304iadrang-2.htm

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prominent writer has suggested that it may have initially been Nguyễn Hữu An44, but prisoner/rallier debriefings and a recent 33rd Regiment monograph produced by their Veterans’ Association confirm that the commander was Vũ Sắc. The Regiment’s battalion commanders were reportedly: Nguyệt – 1st Battalion; Dực – 2nd Battalion; and Xảo – 3rd Battalion.45 The 3rd attalion commander’s full name was reportedly “Lê Văn Xảo”.46 Prior to the beginning of the offensive phase of the Plei Me Campaign, the 33rd Regiment reportedly “concentrated at its ‘home’ base prior to the attack on Plei Me”. This was Anta Village (an NVA designation) at YA 94001047 located at the foot of the Chu Pong Massif (also as Chư Prông – 732 metres, an area of 451 sq km). It was here during early October that the 33rd Regiment “conducted drills and rehearsals of its attack on the Plei Me CIDG camp.”48 The rehearsals reportedly last six days.49 On 19 October 1965, in Phase I of the 3 Front’s Central Highlands Campaign, rd the 3 Battalion of the 33rd Regiment attacked the Chữ Ho base – a forward outpost protecting the south-western approaches to the ARVN Special Forces base at Plei Me50 (50 kilometres south of Pleiku City), and the Regiment then lay siege to Plei Me. According to the 304th NVA Division History “The shots of the Plei Me Campaign were fired on 9 [sic] October 1965 when the the 200th Battalion shelled the enemy barracks at Đức Cơ, and the 49th Sapper Battalion attacked Tân Lạc. Then, as the enemy focused its attention on Đức Cơ and Tân Lạc, the 11th [sic] Battalion/33rd Regiment launched a surprise attack on Chữ Ho, a forward outpost protecting the south-western approaches to Plei Me. The Regiment then began the siege of Plei Me. With a clear understanding of the
44

Nguyễn Văn Tín, “Commenting on General Nguyễn Hữu An’s Account of the Plâyme Campaign”, 19 August 2013 - http://www.generalhieu.com/iadrang_huuan-2.htm . Citing An’s book, Chiến Trường Mới Hồi c, Tín states “I assume that Nguyễn Hữu An was the 33rd Regiment Commander during phase I of Plâyme campaign and was promoted to B3 Field Front Deputy Commander entering phase II of the campaign.” However see the following footnote 45 that notes the 33rd Regiment commander as Vũ Sắc. 45 “Tổ Chức Ban Chỉ Huy Trung Đoàn 33 Qua C c Thời Kỳ” (“33rd Regiment Headquarters Organisation in Past Years”– in Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), Qu Trình …, op.cit., 2010 – see Appendix 2. See also footnote 94 – a rallier reported the battalion commanders as: 1st – Nguyêt, 2nd – Duc, and 3rd – Huy (replaced by Thinh in January 1966). 46 The debriefing of a POW (3rd Battalion) provided detailed information on training in North Vietnam and infiltration – including equipment issues. USMACV DEC #3-0025-66, 12 April 1966 – VCAT Item No. F034600501896. 47 Some US reports note An Ta village as at ZA 110195 – but YA 940010 is far more likely. 48 st 1 Air Cavalry Division, Operational Report – Lessons Learned 3-66: The Pleiku Campaign, 10 May 1966, p.54 – VCAT Item No.1070422001 or DTIC Pdf URL AD0855112. As noted at footnote 39, this comprehensive report includes detailed maps. See also the account at foonote 31 – ie on about 7 September 1965, the 33rd Regiment bivouaced at An Ta Village (ZA 110195 - sic) and Plei Ya Bo (ZA 143228) to prepare for operations. 49 After Action Intelligence Report: Dan Thang 21, 30 October 1965 – covering US air support aspects. VCAT Item No.F031100010271. 50 The Campaign tactic was “vây điểm diệt viện” – ie “to lay siege and destroy enemy relief forces” – principally using the 32nd NVA Regiment (sometimes referred to as the “320th Regiment”), the 33rd NVA Regiment – and subsequently the 66th NVA Regiment which only arrived on the battlefield on about 4 November. For detail on the Plei Me attack – including sketch maps, see the debrief of NVA Aspirant Lai Văn Cứ (rallied 6 November 1965) – VCAT Item No.F034600850967.

12

requirements of our tactics, which were to besiege the enemy post and annihilate the relief force (“vây điểm diệt viện”), the cadre and soldiers of the 33rd Regiment rapidly massed their forces to build siege positions and put the enemy under heavy pressure in order to force the enemy to send out a relief force.”51

33rd Regiment attack on the Chữ Ho Post and Plei Me Camp52 As mentioned, the 33rd Regiment’s commander was reportedly Vũ Sắc53, and its strength was about “2,600 – including 420 Party members and 1,720 Youth Group (Đoàn) members”.54

51

Nguyễn Huy Toàn & Phạm Quang Định, 304th Division, Vol II, People’s Army Publishing House, Hà Nội, 1990, p.25. Another detailed account was written by Đặng Vũ Hiệp who - as a Senior Lieutenant Colonel, was the deputy chairman for political affairs in the Plei Me Campaign, see - Đặng Vũ Hiệp, Colonel General (PAVN), Ký c Tây Nguyên (Central Highland Memories), Nhà Xuẩt Bản Quân Đội Nhân Dân (Armed Forces Publishing House), Hà Nội, 2000. He related “At 4am on the morning of the 19th October, 33rd Regiment received the order to begin its approach. Moving from its assault position at Quynh Ko La hamlet, 15 kilometres from Plei Me, the cadre and soldiers of 33 rd Regiment followed trails previously prepared by engineers to move secretly forward to Plei Me. At 1700hrs that afternoon, the Regiment was 1.5 kilometres from the outpost where it stopped to deploy into attack formation. … At exactly 2255hrs that night, the soldiers of 3 rd Company/3rd Battalion/33rd Regiment – reinforced by two machineguns and two 82mm mortars, attacked the Chữ Ho base. … At the same time, the command post of the 33rd Regiment ordered its mortars and recoilless rifles to shell Plei Me. … After one night and one day of battle, we had captured the Chữ Ho strong-point, our units were still at full strength, our morale was high, and our troops were ready and waiting to attack the enemy relief forces. … However, in the face of the savage bombardment by enemy air and artillery that killed and wounded many of our personnel, a number of cadre and Party members wavered. They allowed the troops to withdraw from the battlefield, leading to a disorganized retreat that soon became ‘every man for himself’. The retreat was so unorganized and undisciplined that the political officer of one unit got lost for three days before finally making it back to his unit.” – p.45. 52 This extract is taken from a published post-War Vietnamese map, see footnote 70. 53 As noted earlier, according to the debrief of a seriously wounded prisoner, the 33 rd Regiment commander Vũ Sắc “received the blame” for the heavy losses in the Plei Me Campaign; and in early February 1966 was transferred to another unit and replaced by ieutenant Colonel Tô Đình Khảm – NIC Report No.598/66, 22 November 1966 – VCAT Item No.F034600380926. In a Campaign history, Nguyễn Hữu An is noted as a

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According to a detailed US report, the ground attack on Plei Me began at 1910hrs on 19 October 1965 began with “probing small arms fire” – followed by the “full scale attack” launched at 2300hrs employing “57mm RC , 81mm [sic] mortars, automatic weapons, small arms”. The attacking NVA ground force reportedly “broke contact due to air strikes” at 1300hrs on 24 October.55 During the attack, the 33rd Regiment’s 2nd Battalion was reportedly the reserve force.56 An ARVN armoured relief column moving south from Pleiku was ambushed north of Plei Me on 23 October by elements of the 32nd NVA Regiment (334th, 635th, 966th Battalions). The US 1st Air Cavalry Division – based at An Khe, deployed elements of a brigade by helicopter on 23 October forcing the withdrawal of the 33rd Regiment westwards from Plei Me – see following maps.57 The battles were the first major engagements between US and NVA formations in the Vietnam War, and the first of the major US airmobile operations in the War. The senior US Special Forces adviser in the Plei Me camp – Major C.A. Beckwith, commented on the attacking enemy troops: “I‘d give anything to have 200 of them under my command. They’re the finest soldiers, I’ve ever seen. They’re dedicated and good soldiers – they’re the best I’ve ever seen.”58
deputy commander of the Campaign. - Phạm Vĩnh Phúc (ed - et al), “Operation Plây Me”, Operations in the US Resistance War, Nhà Xuẩt Bản Thế Giới, Hà Nội, 2009, p.16. 54 Đặng Vũ Hiệp, Colonel General (PAVN), Ký c Tây Nguyên (Central Highland Memories), Nhà Xuẩt Bản Quân Đội Nhân Dân (Armed Forces Publishing House), Hà Nội, 2000, p.5. As a Senior Lieutenant Colonel, Đặng Vũ Hiệp was the deputy chairman for political affairs in the Plei Me Campaign. The Communist Party of Vietnam had been disbanded in 1945 and re-emerged as the ao Động Party (Vietnam Workers’ Party - VWP) in 1951. In January 1962, it created its ostensibly separate “southern arm” – the People’s Revolutionary Party (PRP). The People’s Revolutionary Party organisation in the South was directed locally by Hà Nội’s COSVN (The Central Office for South Vietnam) – see footnote 123. Communist military units and the National Liberation Front (NLF) were directed and controlled by the People's Revolutionary Party (PRP) through its organs at all levels. In 1976, the PRP of “South Vietnam” was merged with the VWP to reconstitute the Communist Party of Vietnam covering whole country. 55 Siege at Plei Me – Chronology: 191910 thru 280660. This US Air Force report notes that NVA heavy anti-aircraft fire downed several aircraft: two B-57 Canberra bombers (one of which recovered to Pleiku airfield); two A-1E Skyraiders (propeller-driven ground attack aircraft); and at least one HU1B [sic] helicopter. 19 C-123 Provider transport aircraft and two CV-2B Caribou transport aircraft were also hit by groundfire. VCAT Item No.F031100010247. 56 Debriefing report of three ralliers from the 2 nd Battalion/33rd Regiment (rallied on 8 January 1966). The report includes detail on the raising, organisation and infiltration of the 101 st Regiment, and the operations and deployment of the 33rd Regiment before and after the Plei Me battle. Before combat, soldiers were reportedly issued with personal identity cards noting the 33 rd Regiment as “Thon Can” and its battalions as respectively “H1, H2, and H3”. II CTZ DEC og #2 -0019-66, 4 March 1966 – VCAT Item No. F03460033346. A rallier also stated that “Prior to going into combat, each soldier received an I.D. card with his name, unit and rank so commanders would be able to recognise their men in case they were wounded.” – see footnote 94. 57 Sykes, C.S. Captain (compiler) - 1st Cavalry Division Association, Interim Report of Operations – 1st Cavalry Division – July 1965 – December 1966, Albuquerque, 1967, pp.19-29. VCAT Item No. 22030101001. 58 Columbia Broadcasting System, CBS News Special Report: The Battle of Ia Drang Valley, 29 November 1965, 27 minutes - https://archive.org/details/gov.archives.arc.653177 . Major eckwith’s remarks are at

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With the 33rd Regiment’s attacks on Plei Me repulsed by US and ARVN fire support and relief forces59, the Regiment withdrew to its bases in the Quynh La area and the Chu Pong Massif (732 metres) on 26 October and regrouped. According to a Vietnamese account: “At this point, after determining that we had accomplished enough to start a chain of enemy reactions, on 26th of October we decided to end the siege of the enemy’s Plei Me base, and transfer the entire 33rd and 320th Regiments back to deploy at Quynh Kla [sic], Ba Bi, the southeastern banks of the Ia Đrăng River, and Bon Ga. This was an area convenient for manoeuvre both in the direction of Plei Me and of Tân Lạc. There we prepared to engage U.S. forces landing by helicopter.”60 A major official Vietnamese history of the War relates that “The Central Highlands Front Command decided to modify its tactical plan to lure American forces into the Ia Đrăng Valley 25 kilometers southwest of Pleiku in order to destroy them.”61 According to a principal US After-Action Report: “At 2200hrs on 25 October, 33rd Regiment ordered ((a)) withdrawal to the west beginning the next day with a reinforced battalion to continue pressure on Plei Me camp to cover the withdrawal.” ... “to its advanced base at Kro Village (ZA 080030). ... The rear base of the 33rd Regiment was in the vicinity of An Ta village (YA 940010) - where the Regiment had conducted drills and rehearsals in October for the attack on the Plei Me CIDG camp. On 2 November 1965, the 33rd Regiment Headquarters moved to Hill 732 (YA 885106) within the Chu Pong Massif and had regrouped by 9 November.” 62

6.40 minutes. The Report referred to the enemy as a “guerrilla army” – but, in an included interview, General W. C. Westmoreland – COMUSMACV, referred specifically to the enemy as “NVA”. 59 According to a 33rd Regiment history, the attack on Plei Me “forced three US divisions to respond as relief forces – the 4th Division, the 25th Division and the 1st Airmobile Division” - Cựu Chiến Binh Trung Đoàn 33, Tóm Tắt Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 …, op.cit., July 2010 – see Appendix 1. 60 Đặng Vũ Hiệp, Colonel General (PAVN), Ký c Tây Nguyên (Central Highland Memories), Nhà Xuẩt Bản Quân Đội Nhân Dân (Armed Forces Publishing House), Hà Nội, 2000, p.49. 61 Pribbenow, M. (Translator), Victory in Vietnam The Official History of the People’s Army of Vietnam 1954-1975, University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, 2002, p.159 - for the original Vietnamese publication data, see the Bibliography. 62 st 1 Air Cavalry Division, Combat After Action Report - The Pleiku Campaign, 4 March 1966. The fighting at the Chư Prông Mountain/Massif - just east of the Cambodian border, is commonly termed the attle of the Ia Đrăng Valley. For an analysis – and maps, see Pribbenow, M. ., “The Fog of War The Vietnamese View of the Ia Drang attle” (also as “Sa Mù của Cuộc Chiến C i Nhìn Việt Cộng về Trận Đ nh Ia Đrăng”), Military Review, January-February 2001; and, as noted earlier, for comprehensive ARVN, US and North Vietnamese perspectives, see the series of 51 articles on the battles in: Nguy ễn Văn Tín, Vài Điều Cần N n iết Về Trận Đ nh Pleime -Iadrang (A Few Things You Should Know About the Plei Me-Ia Đrăng attles), 8 March 2010. - http://nguyentin.tripod.com/pleime_thacmac-u.htm . For two Letters of Commendation for Nguyễn Văn Âu – Section Commander of the C-20 Reconnaissance Company of Công Trường 33 (CT33) – dated 21 December 1965 and 17 February 1966 – recovered at YA 982071 on 2 August 1966 by the 25th US Infantry Division, see - CDEC Log 09-1359-66; and footnote 189. See also CDEC Log 10-2272-66 for CT33’s ambush plan on Phú Mỹ, Plei Me for 25 July 1966 – however, that date is probably incorrect. For detail on the operations of 2 nd Battalion/33rd Regiment – including following the Plei Me battles, see the rallier debriefing reports in II CTZ DEC Log #2-0019-66, 4 March 1966 – VCAT Item No.F03460033346.

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According to a rallier, the 33rd Regiment’s “combat potential was lessened remarkably because most of the VC cadre had malaria – the command echelon encouraged soldiers with less than 39 degrees of fever to participate in the attack.”63 On 31 October, according to a US report “Contributing to the problems of the 33d was the acute shortage of food and medicines since many units could not reach their pre-stocked supply caches because of the sudden thrust of the helicopter-borne ((US)) troopers.”64 On 1 November 1965, the regimental aid station of the 33rd Regiment at Quynh La (vicinity ZA 045032) was captured – including maps of the Regiment’s withdrawal routes. On 4 November, elements of the US 12 th Regiment reportedly fought a fierce engagement with two companies of the 3rd Battalion/33rd Regiment. According to the B-3 Front, the fighting on 4 and 6 November was a great victory – and, from 26 October to 9 November, “five American squads had been wiped out and 385 US troops had been killed or wounded.”65 However, US reports indicated that their casualties were 59 killed and 196 wounded.

US troops alighting from a CH-47 helicopter – Ia Đrăng
63

For detail, see the debrief of NVA Aspirant Lai Văn Cứ (platoon commander, 2nd Battalion) who rallied on 6 November 1965 – VCAT Item No.F034600850967. Falciparum malaria was endemic in the Central Highlands. According to a US study – based principally on captured documents, the diagnostic rate for malaria in the 33rd Regiment in Pleiku in the period September to November 1965 was “300 per 1000 per month”; and in Kontum in May 1966, it was “1000 per 1,000 per month” - Combined Intelligence Center Vietnam, Medical Causes of Non-Effectiveness among VC and NVA Troops, Technical Intelligence Study ST 67-018, 15 February 1967 – VCAT Item No.F015900300918. For the seriously debilitating impact of malaria on NVA/VC units, see the Casualties appendix – Appendix 9; and Chamberlain, E.P., “Tougher than us” – “International Perspectives Conference”, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 16 August 2013. 64 st 1 Air Cavalry Division, Operational Report – Lessons Learned 3-66: The Pleiku Campaign, op.cit., 10 May 1966, p.62. 65 Hoàng Phương – Major General, "Lessons on Campa ign Planning and Command in the Plây Me Campaign”, The Plây Me Victory ooking back after 30 Years, The Military Science Institute and the 3rd Corps), Armed Forces Publishing House, Hà Nội 1995, p.40.

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Locations Map: Battle of the Ia Đrăng – including LZs Subsequently - according to US and ARVN intelligence studies, as at 8 November 1965, the 33rd Regiment had reportedly lost “890 killed and 100 missing-in-action - of its 2,200 personnel, and more were suffering from incapacitating wounds.” Infantry battalion losses were estimated as: “1st – 33% KIA; 2nd – 50% KIA; 3rd: 33% KIA; materiel losses were also heavy.”66 These included heavy casualties reportedly suffered by the
66

“On 9 November, ((US)) divisional intelligence estimates indicated that 1,387 enemy personnel were lost to all causes during the 12 days of the Division’s involvement, and that the bulk o f these came from the 101-B/33rd Regiment. The Regiment was held ((ie assessed)) at that time to be ineffective, as such, with only 600-1000 personnel remaining.” ... “The regimental anti-aircraft company had lost 13 of its 18 guns,

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Regiment’s 6th Battalion north of the Ia Meur River.67 A “Phase 2” attack on Plei Me planned for 16 November 1965 – and to be reinforced by the newly-arrived 66th NVA Regiment, was cancelled when US forces launched pre-emptive heliborne assaults into the area of the Chu Pong Massif about 22 kilometres south-west of Plei Me on 14 November. According to a Vietnamese account68 - of those engagements against the US forces, on 14, 15 and 16 November, the 7th and 9th Battalions of the 66th NVA Regiment defeated a US force north-east of Chu Pong. These are the battles of LZ X-Ray (YA 935010) related in the post-War US book and film “We were soldiers once ….”69 Subsequently, on 17 November 1965 - together with elements of the 66th Regiment, the 3rd Battalion of the 33rd Regiment was involved in the ambush of a US force in the vicinity of LZ Albany (YA 945043) - where the US forces suffered heavy casualties of 155 killed or missing and 124 wounded. This was reportedly the most deadly ambush of a US unit during the course of the entire Vietnam War.

and its mortar company had lost five of its nine tubes. Six more mortars were lost by the battalions, along with most of the recoilless rifles. The ammunition, food and medical supply losses had also been crippling.”- 1st Air Cavalry Division, Combat After Action Report – The Pleiku Campaign, 4 March 1966, p.120. See also: Nguyễn Văn Tín, Tình o, Yếu Tố Then Chốt trong Chiến Thắng Chiến Dịch Pleime (Intelligence – A Key Factor in the Pleime Campaign Victory), 2 March 2012. For a Vietnamese account of NVA casualties, see the following footnotes 76, 86 and 87. 67 According to US reports, the 6th attalion reportedly lost “77 KIA ( C), and nearly 400 others estimated KIA and WIA”. Heavy “carpet-bombing” by US -52 aircraft inflicted heavy casuatlies on NVA forces during the Campaign – reportedly the first time that US strategic airstrikes were used in direct support of ground operations. US reports noted that the targets for B-52 strikes and US “artillery interdictory fires” were provided principally by “Special Agent Reports (SPAR)” – a euphemism/codename for signals intelligence (SIGINT) intercept of NVA/VC radio communications and direction-finding of their locations. – see: 1st Air Cavalry Division, Combat After Action Report – The Pleiku Campaign, 4 March 1966. The “6th attalion” was apparently a unit of the 66th NVA Regiment. 68 Phạm Đình ảy, “Mobile Attacks Conducted by the 66th Regiment and 1st Battalion, 33rd Regiment in the Ia Đrăng Valley”, Những Trận Đ nh Trong Chiến Tranh Giải Phóng (Battles During the Liberation War), Vol 5 – 2nd Corps, People’s Army Publishing House, 1986, pp.7 -23 ( ưu Hành Nội Bộ – ie Internal Distribution Only) – VCAT Item No.16900104001. This is a reference to the engagements at LZ X-Ray (YA 935010) and on 17th November in the vicinity of LZ Albany (YA 945043). According to this Vietnamese account, “only 12 soldiers of the US 2nd Cavalry Battalion escaped alive to return to their base”; and the US 3rd rigade casualties between 14 and 17 November were “300 killed and 246 wounded” while the “66th Regiment lost 157 men killed and 239 wounded.” 33 rd NVA Regiment casualties are not listed. 69 US forces comprised elements of the 3rd Brigade/1st Cavalry Division. For the battle at LZ X-Ray (YA 935010), see Moore, H.G. – Lieutenant Colonel, After Action Report – Ia Drang Valley Operation – 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, 14-16 November 1965, 9 December 1965 – VCAT Item No.1710101004. This detailed and contemporary report includes sketch maps and low oblique aerial photographs. See also Moore, H.G. ieutenant General (Retd) & Galloway, J., We Were Soldiers Once … And Young, Random House, 1992. According to the US 3rd Brigade report, enemy (NVA) casualties were “634 KIA ( ody Count) and 1,215 KIA (Estimated)”; and on 17 November (Albany) “403 KIA ( C) and 150 KIA (Estimated)” – 3rd Brigade/1st Air Cavalry Division, Command Operations After Action Report – Operation Silver Bayonet, 4 December 1965. VCAT Item No.1710101001.

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Battle of the Ia Đrăng Valley (Vietnamese map) – November 1965 70 On 17 November, the 8th Battalion of the 66th Regiment and the 1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment had a “meeting engagement” with US forces in the Ba Bi (YA 995145) area. In the battle “in the middle of the Ia Đrăng valley”, the 1st Battalion/33rd Regiment was led by its second-in-command “Comrade uân”. When the commander of the 8th Battalion (Lê Xuân Phôi) was killed, Luân took command of both units. Towards the end of the eight-hour battle, Luân was also killed. A major communist history recounts that on 17 November, the 1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment engaged in fierce hand-to-hand fighting for eight hours ((probably in the vicinity of LZ Albany – YA 945043)). A recent Vietnamese account on the Internet relates the “Fourth attle” “At midday on 17 November, our force engaged the American troops and the largest of the battles in the Ia Đrăng valley took place. The 8th Battalion ((66th NVA Regiment)) and a company of the 33rd Regiment’s 1st Battalion reinforced the attack and fought hand-to-hand with bayonets, knives, and grenades. Both sides suffered heavy casualties – on the Vietnamese
70

The “full-size” version of this post-War Vietnamese map appears in several publications including Hoàng Minh Thảo, Military Operation [sic] in the Central Highlands, Thế Giới Publishers, Hà Nội, 2012, p.176; and Trần Đoàn âm, The 30 Year War, Thế Giới Publishers, Hà Nội, 2012, p.118. The map does not include a distance scale, but the extract above is about 15 kilometres from east to west. LZ X-Ray (YA 935010) is shown as “Bãi Tia X”, Z Albany (YA 945043) as “Bãi Alban”, and Z Columbus (YA 975035) as “Bãi Klôm Baus”. Z Falcon was located at (ZA 023032). The Vietnamese use “Warsaw Pact” map marking symbols (with some variations) – ie not the “Western” NATO STANAG 2019 AAP-6A mapmarking symbols. For detailed, annotated tactical-scale US maps, see footnote 39.

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side, both a battalion commander and a battalion deputy commander were killed. The battle ended in the evening – almost all the American troops were wiped out, and only a small number escaped.”71 However, Vietnamese accounts also note that initially during the night of 16/17 November “The 1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment became lost and was unable to execute its plan to attack into the battlefield/fire support base ((trận địa pháo)).”72 It appears that at least a company of the 1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment did engage the US forces “from 1440hrs on 17 November to 2000hrs on 18 November” – presumably in the vicinity of LZ Albany (YA 945043). A rallier from the 2nd Battalion/33rd Regiment also described an attack on US forces by a newly-formed company of the 2nd Battalion on 18 November in the vicinity of YA 975085 in which 20 communist soldiers were killed and 10 wounded.73 According to a US account: On 17 November, “the other battalions of the 66th and 33rd Regiments, depleted by the vicious combat of the past four days, began their gradual movement to the northwest and Cambodian sanctuary. Due west over Chu Prong would have been faster, but the daily B-52 strikes had brought death and terror to the NVA forces, and there was no alternative but to skirt the base of the mountain.”74 On 18 November 1965, “Regiment 33 launched a surprise attack on the US gun position at Ia Mo stream wiping out hundreds of enemy troops and destroying three guns and seven helicopters.”75 This is probably the attack depicted in the previous Vietnamese map on LZ Columbus (“Bãi Klôm Baus”) shown as involving the 33rd Regiment’s 2nd and 3rd Battalions. A recent Vietnamese account of NVA casualties relates that: “From 19 October to 26 November 1965, the 320th Regiment ((ie the 32nd Regiment)) suffered 166 killed and 197 wounded; the 33rd Regiment lost 170 killed, 232 wounded, and 121 missing in action; the 66th Regiment suffered 208 killed and 146 wounded. Accordingly, total casualties suffered by our forces in the Campaign were 544 killed, 575 wounded, and 121 missing.
71

Saruman, “Trận Iadrang và Playme, Sa Thầy”, Dựng Nước – Giữ Nước (Building and Defending the Nation), op.cit., 22 June 2008. 72 Nguyễn Hữu An – Colonel General, Chiến Trường Mới - Hồi c (“New attlefield), op.cit., 2002. Napoleon, “Trận Iadrang và Playme, Sa Thầy”, Dựng Nước – Giữ Nước (Building and Defending the Nation), op.cit., 28 July 2009. 73 Debriefing reports of 2nd Battalion/33rd Regiment ralliers (rallied 8 January 1966) - II CTZ DEC Log #20019-66, 4 March 1966 – VCAT Item No.F03460033346. 74 96 tactical B-52 sorties were employed - dropping 1,785 tons of bombs, beginning on 15 [ sic] November 1965 in the Chu Pong area – 1st Air Cavalry Division, Operational Report – Lessons Learned 3-66: The Pleiku Campaign, op.cit., 10 May 1966, p.172. B-52 missions comprised either four or six aircraft, with the usual bomb load of 51 750lb bombs per aircraft. An “Arclight” – ie B-52, “target box” for a three-aircraft “cell” covered an area 1km x 3km. For a ground eye -witness description of the effect of a B-52 strike (in late March 1970), see Trương Như Tảng, Journal of a Viet Cong, Jonathan Cape, London, 1986, p.160. 75 Trần Đoàn âm, The 30 Year War, Thế Giới Publishers, Hà Nội, 2012, p.560 (includes a map of the battle area at p.118+). US reports noted that “the remnants of the 33rd and 66th Regiments began their withdrawal north-west into Cambodian territory” beginning on 17 November 1965 – 1st Air Cavalry Division, Combat After Action Report – The Pleiku Campaign, 4 March 1966, pp.172-183. A detailed discussion of the engagements – particularly at LZ Albany, is related on a Vietnamese military blogsite “Trận Ia Drang và Playme, Sa Thầy”, Dựng Nước – Giữ Nước (Building and Defending the Nation), http://www.vnmilitaryhistory.net/index.php/topic,2047.30/wap2.html .

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So, our total casualties could be counted as 1,240. However, that is for the whole Plei Me Campaign – not just the Ia Đrăng battles.”76 The deputy commander of the Campaign - Nguyễn Hữu An, also noted that: “In addition, because food rations were poor and we were short of medicine, the troops suffered sever malnutrition and disease spread, especially beriberi and acute malaria. … In some regiments, as many as 400 men were out of action because of malaria and beriberi.”77 MACV – 33rd NVA Regiment Order-of-Battle, 1 January 1966 78

76

See the Vietnamese military blogsite Chiangshan, “Trận Ia Drang và Playme, Sa Thầy”, Dựng Nước – Giữ Nước (“ uilding and Defending the Nation”), op.cit., 22 February 2009. http://www.vnmilitaryhistory.net/index.php/topic,2047.55/wap2.html . These “official” figures were earlier reported in: Nguyễn Hữu An – Colonel General, Chiến Trường Mới - Hồi c (“New attlefield), People’s Army Publishing House, Hà Nội, 2002, p.86. VCAT Item No. 16900105001. In a Campaign history, Nguyễn Hữu An is noted as a deputy commander of the Campaign. - Phạm Vĩnh Phúc (ed - et al), “Operation Plây Me”, Operations in the US Resistance War, Nhà Xuẩt Bản Thế Giới, Hà Nội, 2009, p.16. 77 Nguyễn Hữu An – Colonel General, Chiến Trường Mới - Hồi c (“New attlefield), op.cit., 2002, p.86. 78 MACV, “33rd REGT (AKA SONG AM)”, North Vietnamese Army O in RVN January 1966, 12 February 1966, p.4 – VCAT Item No.F015900 .

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A USMACV Study summarised the Plei Me battles: “… due to the rapid exploitation of intelligence and the use of the 1st Air Cavalry Division (Airmobile) and ARVN armored reaction units, the attempted seizure of Plei Me was repulsed.”79 Several US accounts cite the higher NVA/VC headquarters for the Pleiku Campaign as the “Field Front” – or, occasionally, the “630th Division”. The battles are also recounted in the history of the 304th NVA Division.80 In the Campaign - according to a recently-published Vietnamese account, communist forces “killed 2,974 troops, including 1,700 Americans”.81 In the Central Highlands Campaign, several of the 33rd Regiment history monographs claim that the Regiment engaged three US divisions: the US 1st Air Cavalry Division, the US 25th Division82, and the US 4th Division83. However, the US 25th and the US 4th Division arrived in the Central Highlands after the Plei Me and Ia Đrăng battles. Several Vietnamese communist accounts also contend – incorrectly, that a “South Korean regiment was involved in the ((Plei Me-Ia Đrăng)) Campaign.”84 A 2002 US intelligence history related that “Discussing the American ability to pin-point their locations, a 33rd Regiment staff conference held after the battle concluded that they had spies in their midst. Of course, it had not been spies that had given away their positions; rather, it was airborne direction finding that had flagged the NVA units for the airstrikes. … the aircraft passed their results directly to the ASA ((Army Security Agency – ie signals intelligence branch)) unit in support of the tactical commander.”85

79 80

USMACV – CICV: Order of Battle Study No. 66-1, op.cit., 18 February 1966. Nguyễn HuyToàn & Phạm Quang Định, Sư Đoàn 304 (304th Division History), Tập II (Vol II), People’s Army Publishing House, Hà Nội, 1990. 81 Phạm Vĩnh Phúc (ed - et al), “Operation Plây Me”, Operations in the US Resistanc e War, op.cit., 2009, pp.15-20. 82 The 25th US Infantry Division deployed to Pleiku on 24 December 1965. 83 The US 4th Infantry Division first deployed to Pleiku on 25 September 1966. The Division engaged in fierce combat with NVA regular troops in the mountains around Kontum Town in Autumn 1967. 84 Nguyễn Minh Nhựt, Hỏi Đ p ịch Sử Việt Nam (Questions and Answers on Vietnamese History), T ập 9 (Vol 9), Nhà Xuất Bản Trẻ, TP Hồ Chí Minh, 2013, p.35. BTS-(QDND), “Chiến dịch Plei me”, Communist Party of Vietnam – On-line, 14 April 2005. 85 Hanyok, R.J., Spartans in Darkness: American SIGINT and the Indochina War (1945-1975), Center for Cryptologic History – National Security Agency, Maryland, 2002, pp.305-306. The reference and detail of the intercepted 33rd Regiment message – ie on suspected spies, has been redacted. The report of the NVA condernning suspected “spies within the ranks” is also related in the 1st Air Cavalry Division, Operational Report – Lessons Learned 3-66: The Pleiku Campaign, op.cit., 10 May 1966, p.66. For US and ARVN intelligence collection and reports of Chinese communist advisors in NVA formations (and their intercepted Mandarin communications) – including in the 33rd Regiment, see: Nguyễn Văn Tín, Intelligence Gathering at Ia Đrăng, 10 August 2011 - http://www.generalhieu.com/iadrang_intelligence-2.htm . A 33rd Regiment POW related the activities of a Chinese medical technician who visited the Regiment’s field hospital at Station 5 (YV 838979) in Pleiku in January 1966. The Chinese technician was reportedly a member of the Chinese medical team at VC Hospital 2, Region 5 (Kontum Province). VCAT Item No.F034600401345.

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The Plei Me - Ia Đrăng Campaign – a 33rd Regiment casualty summary According to a Vietnamese Internet blogsite, the 33rd Regiment lost 170 killed; 232 wounded, and 121 missing in action.86 The 33rd Regiment Martyrs’ ist cites 718 killed in the Central Highlands from 1965 to 1968 inclusive – but, on examination, that List does not appear to include the names of any personnel killed in the period of the Plei Me-Ia Đrăng Campaign.87 As noted earlier, according to US and ARVN intelligence studies, as at 8 November 1965, the 33rd Regiment had reportedly lost “890 killed and 100 missing-in-action – of its 2,200 personnel, and more were suffering from incapacitating wounds.” 88 After the Plei Me – Ia Đrăng Battles A Vietnamese communist history records that, after the battles “… the Front Party Committee decided to carry out a complete program to rebuild morale and discipline. The most immediate task on which we focused was to rebuild fighting spirit, revolutionary morality, and build resolve in the men to fight the Americans to the end, no matter what the cost. To carry out this decision, the Front Party Committee and the Front Headquarters held an initial political retraining class from 25 December to 5 January 1966. The class was attended by 166 mid and high-ranking cadre from throughout the Front including 13 regimental command cadre, twenty-nine battalion command cadre, and 124 regimental and staff officers.”89 An article in People’s Army newspaper by an PAVN Lieutenant General in 2005 assessed the Central Highlands Campaign as follows: “After many discussions, everyone finally agreed that in the Plei Me Campaign in general, and in the Ia Đrăng battle in particular, we had won a strategically significant and politically important victory. This was because the Battle of the Ia Đrăng Valley was the key decisive battle of the entire Plei Me Campaign. For the American Army, the Battle of the Ia Đrăng Valley had become a terrifying defeat - something that General Westmoreland admitted in his memoirs, when he wrote that the US 1st Air Cavalry Division had suffered ‘serious losses’ in its first battle in the Central Highlands.”90
86 87

See footnote 76. Nguyễn Khánh Phùng, List of 33rd Regiment Martyrs Sacrificed on the B3 Front, April 2002. That List only includes 96 names, and does not appear to include any casualties from the Plei Me-Ia Đrăng Campaign. The earliest death listed is Ngoan: 394th Battalion, killed on 16 February 1961 [sic – probably 1971]; followed by Nguyễn Hữu Hoa, 2nd Company/3rd Battalion, killed on 2 September 1964; then Hoàng Văn Chức, of the 20th [sic] Battalion/33rd Regiment, killed on 20 December 1965. 88 See footnote 66. 89 Đặng Vũ Hiệp, Colonel General (PAVN), Ký c Tây Nguyên (Central Highland Memories), Nhà Xuẩt Bản Quân Đội Nhân Dân (Armed Forces Publishing House), Hà Nội, 2000, p.89. General Chu Huy Man was the Front Commander and the Front Political Commissar. As noted, as a Senior Lieutenant Colonel, Đặng Vũ Hiệp was the Front Chief of Political Affairs during the Campaign. Some US reports refer to the higher headquarters for the Campaign as the “Field Front” – and, as noted, occasionally, the “630th Division”. 90 Nguyễn Văn Kh nh – Colonel General, “The Plei Me-Ia Đrăng Victory (from 19 October – 20 November 1965) The First low Against American Troops in the Central Highlands”, People’s Army Newspaper, 13

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A major Vietnamese history of the War recounts that “on 20 December 1965, the 1 Infantry Division was formed in the Central Highlands. The units making up this division were the 320th, 33rd and 66th Regiments …”.91 The 33rd Regiment – under its cover designator “Worksite 33” (Công Trường 33)92 continued operations in the Central Highlands at the end of 1965 and through 1966 as a formation of the 1st NVA Division (Nông Trường 1).93 In January 1966, the 33rd Regiment received reinforcements from the 32nd (320th) Regiment, and its 3rd Battalion attacked the post at Ban Don (ZU 025270).94 In early February 1966, the Regiment moved to “Station 4” in Cambodia (YA 660198) where the Regiment reportedly rested for about five months.95 Here, as the Regiment’s commander, Lieutenant Colonel Tô Đình Khảm replaced Lieutenant Colonel Vũ Sắc – who – as noted earlier, had reportedly been censured for the Regiment’s heavy casualties in the Plei Me/Ia Đrăng battles of late 1965.96 According to a Vietnamese report, in Đắc Lắc (Darlac) Province “on 21 February 1966, the 33rd Regiment attacked and destroyed
st

November 2005 - VCAT Item No.16900101001. Nguyễn Văn Kh nh was the political commissar of the 304th NVA Division during the Central Highlands Campaign in late 1965. He relates that – before the Plei Me-Ia Đrăng battles, the infiltrating NVA soldiers had “thrown away almost all their bayonets” along the Trail “from Route 9 to the 3 Front” - which had to be recovered before the battles. 91 Pribbenow, M. (Translator), Victory in Vietnam The Official History of the People’s Army of Vietnam 1954-1975, op.cit., 2002, p.156. 92 In mid-1968, a USMACV summary noted 36 cover designators/also-known-as (aka) for the 33rd Regiment and three Letter Box Numbers (LBNs) – see USMACV CICV Monthly Order of Battle Summary - Vol I, 1-31 July 1968, p. III-12 – VCAT Item No.2500111003. Subsequently, the Regiment’s principal cover designators used in the late 1960s and early 1970s were A57 and Đoàn 84C. For LBNs and cover designators, see footnote 123. 93 “Nông Trường” (“Agricultural Worksite”) was a cover designator for an NVA division, and “ Công Trường” (“Construction Worksite”) was a designator for a regiment (and later also for a division) – CDEC Log 10-1964-66. In about 1967, “Công Trường” became the designator for a division. These designators are also shown on the Certificate of Commendation (21 December 1965) and Letter of Appreciation (17 February 1966) of Nguyễn Văn Âu, a section commander in the 33rd Regiment’s C-20 Reconnaissance Company – CDEC Log 09-1359-66, see footnote 189. 94 USMACV DEC Log #5-0028-66, 15 May 1966, VCAT Item No.F034600311749. As noted, the debrief of a rallier (sergeant – 20th Reconnaissance Company) noted that the Regiment’s “original strength was 2,000, but after the Plei Me and Ia Đrăng battles, the actual strength was cut in half.” During the Plei Me -Ia Đrăng Campaign, the 33rd Regiment’s battalion commanders were: 1st – Nguyêt, 2nd – Duc, 3rd – Huy (replaced by Thinh in January 1966). “Prior to going into combat, each soldier received an I.D. card with his name, unit and rank so commanders would be able to recognise their men in case they were wounded.” 95 According to a seriously wounded prisoner, the 33rd Regiment rested at Station 4 in Cambodia for about five months - to early July 1966, VCAT Item No.F034600380926. 96 “The commander of the 33rd Regiment was heavily criticised because he had not maintained contact between his forces during the siege of Plei Me and had not personally commanded the attack on Landing Zone Columbus ((YA 974036)) – and had delegated all decision-making to his subordinates.” - Pribbenow, M. ., “The Fog of War The Vietnamese View of the Ia Đrăng attle” (also as “Sa Mù của Cuộc Chiến C i Nhìn Việt Cộng về Trận Đ nh Ia Đrăng”), Military Review, January -February 2001. Pribbenow cites: The Institute of Military Science and the III Corps, Chiến Dịch Tiến Công Plây Me - 1965 (The Plây Me Offensive Campaign – 1965, Armed Forces Publishing House, Hà Nội, 1993, pp.69 -70; and Trần Ngọc Sơn – Major General, "Một t Cảm Nghĩ về Chiến Dịch Plây Me" (“A Few Impressions on the Plây Me Campaign”), Chiến Thắng Plây Me (The Plây Me Victory), The Armed Forces Publishing House, Hà Nội 1995 p.205.

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the strategic hamlet at Buôn Lung, wiping out two puppet platoons. On 22 February, the 33rd Regiment attacked and almost completely destroyed a battalion of the 45th Puppet Regiment. In Kontum the 6th Battalion swept away enemy commandos, killing 42 (including three Americans). … Towards Buôn Ma Thuột, on 14 April 1966, the 33rd Regiment ambushed the enemy at uôn Dơn; and on 15 April ambushed the enemy at Buôn Cang, killing 100.”97 In July 1966, the Regiment reportedly returned moved back into Vietnam from Cambodian territory and attacked the Chu Ba post (YA 796348) where the Regiment again suffered heavy losses – with about 50 casualties being evacuated from the Regiment’s open-air dispensary to the Lê Lợi Hospital located in Cambodia a few kilometres west of Chu Pong Mountain.98 According to a 33rd Regiment medic, in mid-1966 about 500 ill and lightly wounded personnel – including 33rd Regiment cadre and soldiers, were being treated at the Lê Lợi Division (ie 325th Division) Hospital across the border in Cambodia following operations in the Central Highlands. “Most deaths were caused by malaria.” Patients reportedly received two anti-malarial quinine tablets each week. Sometimes four paludrine or two nivaquine tablets were given as a substitute. “Malaria incidence in the Division was about 90%. More deaths were caused from malaria than battle wounds.”99 On 8 August 1966, the Regiment moved to “Station 5” (YA 859065) near Chu Pong Mountain but was engaged by artillery enroute – reportedly losing 80 persons killed and 40 wounded.100 According to a US report, US forces made contact with 33rd Regiment’s 1st Battalion on 9 and 10 August and its 2nd Battalion on 10 August (in the vicinity of YV 935970).101 In early August 1966, the Regiment’s senior cadre included: “Commander - Tô Đình Khả [sic], Chief of Staff – Major Khôi, Political Officer – Lieutenant Colonel Ba, Commander 1st Battalion – Captain Đặng Quang Nguyên, Executive Officer 1st Battalion – First Lieutenant Nguyên, Political Officer 1st Battalion – Captain Hưu.”102

97

Tunguska, “Trận Iadrang và Playme, Sa Thầy”, Dựng Nước – Giữ Nước (Building and Defending the Nation), op.cit., 13 August 2008. 98 NIC Report 514/67, Lê Lợi Division Hospital in Cambodia, 1 June 1967. The report includes a sketch map showing the locations of the Lê Lợi Division Hospital, Station 4, and Station 5. VCAT Item No. F034601482497. 99 The medic – a senior non-commissioned officer from the 1 st Battalion/33rd Regiment, was captured in Kontum Province in late October 1966 – VCAT Item No.F034601482497. 100 Debriefs of ralliers and POWs – confidential sources including NIC Report No.598/66, 22 November 1966 – VCAT Item No.F034600380926. 101 The US report notes that “most of the POWs captured during the period 8-13 August were either suffering from malaria, wounded, incapable of marching with their unit, or left behind to care for the sick and wounded.” – 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), Combat After Action Report – Operation Paul Revere I and II, 28 September 1966. 102 Debrief of POW Trần Văn Nghi p, 3/4/1st Battalion, 33rd Regiment – captured August 1966, VCAT Item No.F034600782668.

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In October 1966, the Regiment was based just inside Cambodia – about 20 kilometres west of the border with South Vietnam, with its 1st Battalion near Sinh Village 2 (YA 723033).103 In about November 1966, the 66th and 320th Regiments of the 1st NVA Division (aka 304th Division) moved to operate in the Sa Thầy River area of south-western Kontum Province. The 33rd Regiment reportedly then left the 1st NVA Division and remained in Pleiku Province as a direct-command subordinate of the B3 Front.104 1967 At the beginning of 1967, the Regiment attacked the ARVN Sub-Sectors105 and positions at Quảng Nhiêu, Cẩm Ga, and Buôn Hồ – reportedly wiping out the 2nd Battalion of the 14th Regiment of the 23rd ARVN Division at Đắc Lung and destroying a US company at Đắc Sắc.106 On 8 June 1967 – according to a captured notebook, the Regiment was assigned to attack a strategic hamlet “in order to liberate 7,000 inhabitants, and draw (Allied) reinforcements into an ambush.” The writer noted that his company (C1) –“like other elements of the Công Trường, had no experience in the attack of strategic hamlets.” Subsequently, in late September, notebook entries relate poor health in the writer’s recently-activated company resulting from food shortages, and numerous difficulties caused by rainy weather, and a strong tendency among the troops to fear hardships, difficulties and sacrifices.107 In November 1967, the 33rd Regiment did not participate in the major communist offensive in the Central Highlands against Dak To (Đắc Tô) – but rather is believed to have remained across the border in Cambodian territory.108 In the period 1966-1969, the Regiment was commanded first by Tô Đình Khảm, then Ma Văn Minh.109
103

At this time, the Regiment was reportedly using the title “101 Regiment” of the ợi Division – NIC Report 517/67, 19 May 1967 - VCAT Item No.F034601532113. This report describes the medical evacuation and treatment system of the 101st/33rd Regiment in mid-1966 – and includes sketch maps showing the locations of the Lê Lợi Hospital, Station 4, and Station 5. 104 Interrogation Report #4-341-68, March 1968 - VCAT Item No.2310812010. 105 A Sector (tiểu khu) was the military area equivalent to a province; a Sub-Sector (chi khu) equated to a district. In the 1970s, a Sub-Sub-Sector (phân chi khu) covered a village or group of villages – see footnote 554. 106 Lý Lịch Di Tích Khu Tưởng Niệm … Trung Đoàn 33 (33rd Regiment - Background Memorial History), op.cit., 2011, p.4 – see Appendix 3. “Đắc Sắc” is probably a reference to the isolated “Dak Sut” camp that was earlier over-run by NVA/VC forces on 18-19 August 1965 and abandoned – ie before the 33rd Regiment entered South Vietnam. The camp - at the Dak Sut District Town on Route 14, was occupied by CIDG and Regional Forces troops with US Special Forces advisors (A-218). For a comprehensive account of the attack by the “11th [sic] Regiment” (probably the 101st Regiment) – see CDEC Log 08-1688-66. 107 CDEC Log 11-1551-67, VCAT Item No.2131002127. 108 The NVA formations in that failed offensive in Kontum Province (3-22 November 1967) suffered heavy casualties: ie the 66th, 174th, 24th, and 32nd Regiments. Battered, subsequently only the 24th Regiment participated in major activity during the T ết 1968 Offensive. 109 “Tổ Chức Ban Chỉ Huy Trung Đoàn 33 Qua C c Thời Kỳ” (“33rd Regiment Headquarters Organisation in Past Years”) – in Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), Qu Trình …, op.cit., 2010 – see Appendix 16.

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Tết 1968 On 31 January 1968, as part of the Tết Mậu Thân Offensive110, the 33rd Regiment attacked Ban Mê Thuột Town in Đắc Lắc (Darlac) Province. According to a 33rd Regiment History, the Regiment “occupied the Town and the Hòa Bình airfield for 14 days and captured an American major and hundreds of puppet troops”.111 The MACV Command History notes that the attack on Ban Mê Thuột (30 January to 6 February 1968) involved all three battalions of the 33rd NVA Regiment, and “the E-301 VC LF Bn, and up to five provincial local force companies.” All NVA/VC forces were driven from Ban Mê Thuột Town by 6 February 1968.112 Subsequently, a US report noted that “Darlac Province was the scene of large unit contacts on 5 and 6 of March ((1968)) when ARVN forces engaged the 3d Bn 33d NVA Regt 11 kilometers northnortheast of Ban Me Thuot. Enemy losses were 34 KIA, while friendly forces suffered 10 KIA and 43 WIA. … On 18 March, ARVN forces contacted an enemy company 12 kilometers northwest of the province capital, killing 12 enemy and capturing one. Another battalion-sized contact occurred on 20 March when US and ARVN forces engaged the 3d Bn 33d Regt and the regimental mortar company 17 kilometers northwest of Ban Me Thuot. Thirty five of the enemy were killed and two detained. On 26 March, a Mobile Strike Force company contacted an enemy battalion 21 kilometers north of Ban Me Thuot, killing eight. Enemy units in the area included the 1st and 3d Bns, 33d NVA Regt; the probable K-39 Bn - a new element of the 33d NVA Regt …”.113

110

In January 1968 – just before the Tết Offensive, the US MACV Headquarters in Saigon estimated that the total communist strength in the South was over 225,000 - of whom 55,744 were NVA (about 25%) USMACV, Order of Battle Summary: 1 January thru 31 January 1968, Saigon, 31 January 1968. For later strength figures, see footnotes 125 and 171. 111 Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), Qu Trình …, op.cit., 2010 – see Appendix 2. The Regiment also attacked the prison and freed captured NVA/VC soldiers, “held the town for seven days”, and “k illed hundreds of US puppet soldiers and South Korean troops …” - Lý Lịch Di Tích Khu Tưởng Niệm … Trung Đoàn 33 (33rd Regiment - Background Memorial History), op.cit., 2011, p.4 – see Appendix 3. US reports relate that Michael Benge – a former US Marine sergeant (1956-1959) and the USAID deputy for Darlac Province, was captured by North Vietnamese forces. Held in Cambodia and North Vietnam, he was released on 5 March 1973. enge appears to be the “captured US major” mentioned in the 33 rd Regiment history monographs. 112 As noted, the attacking force reportedly comprised “the three battalions of the 33 rd NVA Regiment, the E-301 ocal Force attalion, and up to five provincial local force companies. … and the enemy lost 919 KIA, 186 PWs captured, and 161 individual and 10 crew-served weapons” captured. – USMACV 1968 Command History – Volume II, 1968, Saigon, 30 April 1969, pp.891-892. Official North Vietnamese Army death certificates show 6 soldiers of the 33 rd Regiment were killed on 10 February 1968; and three on 12 February 1968 – all from the 33rd Regiment’s “D39” unit – see MARIN website 30 August 2012: http://www.nhantimdongdoi.org/?mod=chitiet&subcate=3&id=3909 . 113 USMACV Command History - Volume I, 1968, Saigon, 30 April 1969. The report noted that NVA/VC documents captured in late July 1968 indicated that “the K -39 Bn remained in Darlac Province when its parent 33d NVA Regt deployed to III CTZ”.

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A 33rd Regiment history relates that on 17 March 1968, the Regiment attacked Chư Kne and reportedly wiped out the 2nd Battalion of the 45th Regiment of the 23rd ARVN Division – and later attacked enemy positions at Quảng Đức and Đức Lập.114 According to a US 4th Division report, in mid-April the 32nd and 33rd NVA Regiments had “regrouped to Base Area 740 in Cambodia to conduct training and resupply. The training consisted of hit and run tactics for use in attacking friendly outposts.”115 In the second and third phases of Tết Mậu Thân 1968116, according to a 33rd Regiment monograph, the Regiment undertook several organisational changes that also involved the external “92nd attalion” and the “39th attalion” – “K-39”.117 A 33rd Regiment history and a Martyrs’ ist note that - of the 3,050 (or 2,996) of the Regiment’s personnel killed during the “Anti-American War”, 718 died on the battlefields of the Central Highlands (Tây Nguyên) in the period 1965-1968.118

Nam Bộ - its three regions

114

Lý Lịch Di Tích Khu Tưởng Niệm … Trung Đoàn 33 (33rd Regiment - Background Memorial History), op.cit., 2011, p.4 – see Appendix 3. 115 US 4th Infantry Division, Operational Report – Lessons Learned for Quarterly Period Ended 31 July 1968, 23 December 1968. 116 According to US intelligence staffs, the 1st Phase of the Tết 1968 Offensive concluded on 6 April; the 2nd Phase - lasting 36 days, ended on 14 June; and the 3rd Phase lasted 33 days (18 August until early September 1968). - Sorley, ., Vietnam Chronicles The Abrams Tapes, … op.cit., 2004, p.173. 117 See Tổ Chức Ban Chỉ Huy Trung Đoàn 33 Qua C c Thời Kỳ (The Headquarters Organisation of the 33rd Regiment in Past Years) at Appendix 16; and the following footnote 118. 118 Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), Qu Trình …, op.cit., 2010, p.11 – cites a total of 3,050, see Appendix 2. See also: Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57), Danh S ch iệt Sỹ Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) Từ 1968–1975 (Miền Đông Nam ộ) – (List of the Martyrs of the 33rd Regiment (A57) – From 1968-1975 (Nam Bộ Region), Vũng Tàu , 2010 – footnote to p.1 (titled “Tổng Hợp Số Liệt Sỹ Các Tỉnh Hy Sinh Ở Các Chiến Trường Chống Mỹ Thời Gian Từ Th ng 7/68 Đến Th ng 5/75"). When published, that Martyrs’ ist had a total of 2,996 martyrs (comprising: Nam B ộ: 1,951; Tây Nguyên (Central Highlands) 1965-68: 718; SouthWest Border 1976-79: 327. Subsequently, names have been added and numbers reported in media articles – eg totals of 3,050; 3,056 etc. For casualties, see Appendix 9.

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OPERATIONS IN NAM BỘ119 Tây Ninh, Bình Dương and Phước Long Provinces In May 1968 – at the beginning of the Wet Season120, the 33rd Regiment (then commanded by Ma Văn Minh) was ordered south121, and joined the B2 Front (ie that area of South Vietnam below the Central Highlands) after a 14-day march in early June 1968.122 Initially a direct-command COSVN123 defence formation, the Regiment was retitled the A57 Regiment (its cover designators included Đoàn 84C).124
119

“Nam ộ” was the communist term for Vietnam south of the Central Highlands - equating to the earlier French colonial “Cochin China” region. The late historian and author, Merle Pribbenow translated “Nam Bộ” as “Cochin China”. See the map of Nam Bộ’s three areas at p.27. 120 The Wet Season in southern Vietnam begins in April/May; and the Dry Season begins in November. The season timings are: Spring – January/February, March, April; Summer – May, June, July; Autumn – August, September, October; Winter – November, December, January. 121 According to a 33rd Regiment History “On 20 May 1968, at the request of the Front, the Regiment received orders to deploy to the B2 battlefield in the eastern areas of Nam B ộ. After a 14-day march, the Regiment reached its concentration area in Tây Ninh Province and became subordinate to the 5 th VC Division where the Regiment guarded against surprise attacks by the enemy. Here, the Regiment’s title was changed to A57. The titles of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions became, respectively, the 7th, 8th and 9th attalions.” - Cựu Chiến inh Trung Đoàn 33, Tóm Tắt Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 …, op.cit., July 2010 – see Appendix 1. 122 A 33rd Regiment history relates the Regiment departing the Central Highlands to move south: “In March 1968, the Regiment deployed to the B2 battlefield. At this time, one third of our strength was re-assigned to the 320th NVA Division. … Comrades Khôi and iệu, and the 3rd Battalion transferred to strengthen the 320th Regiment.”- Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), Qu Trình …, op.cit., 2010 (January edition) – see Appendix 2, and Appendix 16. As noted above, according to the Regiment ’s “Summary History” (2010) – see Appendix 1, the Regiment changed its battalion nomenclatures to 7, 8, and 9 in late “May 1968” when they moved south from the Central Highlands to the B2 Eastern Nam B ộ battlefield. 123 The Central Office for South Vietnam (COSVN) - directed from Hà Nội and located in the Cambodia/South Vietnam border area north-west of Saigon, was the communist political and military headquarters responsible for Vietnam south of the Central and Southern Highlands - an area termed “Nam Bộ” (as noted, equating to the French colonial “Cochin China” region). Geographically, the COSVN area covered the southern 32 of South Vietnam’s 44 provinces – reportedly containing 14 million of South Vietnam’s total population of 17.5 million (ie about 80%); 5 3% of its land mass; and 83% of the ricegrowing areas (in 1968) – USMACV briefing, Saigon, 9 January 1970 - Sorley, L., Vietnam Chronicles: The Abrams Tapes, 1968-1972 (Modern Southeast Asia Series), Texas Tech University Press, Lubbock, 2004, p.336. COSVN however, did not control the area of its “geographic coverage” described above. 124 In July 1968, in a “significant order of battle change”, the USMACV monthly report noted that the 33 rd NVA Infantry Regiment had probably changed location – and was last noted in the Darlac area on 10 June 1968. That report also listed the 33rd NVA Infantry Regiment with three Letter Box Numbers (44347BK, 43190KP, 33150) and a large number of cover designators/aka “Vinh Phu; Đoàn Vinh Phu; 101st Song Bac; Song Lam; 324; 520; 2th Regt/325 Div; 101B Infil Gp; Cong Truong 33; 202A; 33/50; 325B; Xa Phu; 520B; A520; 520E; 502C; 20th Regt; 542 Infil Gp; 1st Bn/32nd Regt; Xa 1; 311th Bn; Nghia Quang; 308th; Xa Cong; 270th Regt; Do An Vinh Phu; Worksite 33; Public Place; 308D; 529D; D502D; 101D; K-1.” – Monthly Order of Battle Summary: 1 thru 31 July 1968 – Volume I, MACV J-2/JGS, CICV, Saigon, August 1968. A 1968 report on the PAVN postal and communications system noted the 33 rd Regiment’s Letter Box Numbers (LBN) as 86.526yk and 7,8231ZC – CDEC Log 01-1367-68. The USMACV Order of

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In June 1968, USMACV estimated NVA/VC total strength in South Vietnam as 214,135 – of whom 79,869 (37%) were NVA.125 At General Abrams’ (the MACV Commander’s) weekly intelligence briefing on 28 June 1968, it was reported that “The U.S. 1st and 25th Infantry Divisions each have a brigade positioned to block the 32nd and 33rd NVA Regiments from infiltrating towards Saigon.”126 A 5th VC Division historical article related that – after Tết 1968, the Division was strengthened by the inclusion of the 88th and the 33rd Regiments – and, at the beginning of the Third Phase, had achieved battlefield successes.127 The Regiment formally joined the 5th VC Division in the “K10 (Đồng an)” area of Tây Ninh Province in July 1968128 and engaged in attacks against US forces in the Chà Là, Route 22, and Bến Cùi areas in the period June to mid-August 1968. In early July 1968, the 1st Australian Task Force (1ATF) in Phước Tuy Province published an intelligence report on the “32 and 33 NVA Regts” noting that “The 33 NVA Regt is presently believed to be in the process of relocating into III CTZ in company with 32 NVA Regt”.129 The 5th VC Division History (2005) relates “On 15 August, the 33rd Regiment was tasked by the Division to ambush US relief forces in the Bến Củi/Bến Cùi area raising the curtain for the Division’s operations, creating the conditions for fraternal units to attack objectives at Trảng Lớn, Trà Phí, Tua Hai, and drawing out US forces to be attacked. At the same time, the Regiment coordinated with the 5th ((ie 275th)) Regiment and the 88th Regiment to destroy the Bến Cùi airfield, the Chà Là and Gò Da bases, and the enemy’s outposts along Routes 22 and 26.” The 5th VC Division’s “Memories” website relates that on 19 August – “in a two-day engagement on Route 2 [sic] between
Battle Summary: 1-30 September 1968, 30 September 1968 reported the 33 rd NVA Regiment Headquarters, support units and its 1st Battalion (K1) were located in Tây Ninh Province at XT 425545 on 18 August 1968. For the use of the cover-designator “Đoàn 84C”, see CDEC og 09-1659-69. 125 The estimated 214,135 personnel comprised (with NVA numbers shown in brackets): combat/combat support - 129,391 (79,744 NVA ie 61%); administrative service – 33,575 (125 NVA); Guerrillas – 51,169. In addition to NVA in NVA units, 13-16,000 NVA troops were estimated to be serving in VC units in South Vietnam. USMACV, Order of Battle Summary: 1-30 June 1968, 30 June 1968, VCAT Item No.F015900030137. For other strength figures, see footnotes 110, 171 and 503. 126 Sorley, ., Vietnam Chronicles The Abrams Tapes …, op.cit., 2004, p.4. 127 Nguyễn Hồng Phúc - Major General, “Truyền thống chiến đấu của sư đoàn 5 Anh hùng” (“The Fighting History of the Heroic 5th Infantry Division”), Ký ức người lính Sư đoàn 5 – 2010 (Memories of the 5th Division Soldiers - 2010), Hồ Chí Minh City, November 2005. USMACV categorised the 3rd Phase of the 1968 Offensive as lasting from 18 August until early September 1968. 128 According to the 5th Division History (2005) “In July 1968, in the K10 ase (Đồng Ban) in Tây Ninh, the 5th Division incorporated the 33rd Regiment.” The Regiment’s commander was Ma Văn Minh – probably having replaced Tô Đình Khảm; and its political commissar was Mai Văn Đà. The captured diary of Vũ Như Năng indicated that the 33rd Regiment moved to Tây Ninh Province on 11 June 1968, then to Phước Long Province on 4 January 1969, and to Biên Hòa on 1 February 1969. His unit participated in an attack of the US rear logistics base at Long Bình on 22 February 1969. CDEC Log 10-1920-69. 129 Cameron, G.C. Major – 1ATF, I-9-22, Núi Đất, 3 July 1968. The 1ATF report included a list of the Regiment’s cover designators (“akas”) and an organogram of the 33 rd Regiment – see Appendix 12. That 33rd Regiment organogram showed only two battalions (“K1” and “K3”) and a total strength of 530 personnel - see Appendix 12.

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Bến Củi and the Ông Hùng Stream, the 33rd Regiment ambushed reinforcements and destroyed a battalion of the US 25th Mechanized Infantry Division”.130 A more recentlypublished article on the Bến Củi engagement also relates that on 19 August 1968, the 33rd Regiment destroyed a US mechanized infantry battalion on Route 239.131 According to the official detailed US account, the US 25th Infantry Division engaged the 33rd Regiment in late August 1968 in the “ attle for Tây Ninh”. The US After-Action Report records that a total of 477 personnel of the 33rd Regiment were killed in action.132 A US IIFFV summary report related that “The 33d NVA Regiment took part in the 18 August attack against Tây Ninh, and thereafter, continued to operate in the areas west of Dầu Tiếng, sustaining heavy losses. …then around the third week of September … the 33d NVA Regiment fell back to the Bời Lời Woods to recoup its heavy losses.”133 According to the Wikipedia website “On the axis of Route 22, the 33rd Regiment (5th Division) set ambushes and fought three consecutive battles with good results. Of these, the most outstanding was the engagement on 19 August when the 33rd Regiment wiped out an American mechanised infantry battalion on Route 22 and destroyed 57 armoured vehicles. … With that impetus of victory, on 22/23 August, the 2nd Battalion (33rd Regiment of the 5th Division) ambushed an American military convoy at Ông Hùng Stream, destroying 60 military vehicles, shooting down four aircraft, and driving hundreds of soldiers from the battlefield.134 On 10 September, the 33rd Regiment – together with the 88th Regiment, reportedly occupied a north-east portion of Tây Ninh City.135 Later that month, a recovered document listed the 33rd Regiment’s (A57’s) strength as 1,468 men.136

130

Reportedly, “47 enemy tanks and armoured vehicles were set afire, more than 100 enemy were killed on the spot, and many weapons were seized.” The article also mentions that following that engagement, the Division’s 275th, 88th and 33rd Regiments successfully attacked the 25th US Division at Gò Da, Chà Là and Bến Củi – see: Nguyễn Hồng Phúc - Major General, “Truyền thống chiến đấu của sư đoàn 5 Anh hùng”, op.cit. 2005 – see also the earlier footnote 127. 131 Vũ Xuân Dân, “ ỏ nhỏ diệt lớn” (“A large killing with little loss”), Quân Đội Nhân Dân - Nghệ Thuật Quân Sự Việt Nam, 11 April 2011. The article relates that in this regimental-level action, “57 M113 and M41 armoured vehicles were destroyed – a US mechanised infantry battalion, a 50-strong commando platoon, and many weapons and equipment of various types were seized.” 132 US account: On 18 August (Bến Củi plantation), 92 KIA – six AK-47s, three .50 cal machine guns and one RPG recovered; 19 August (Route 239), 76 killed – three AK-47s, one RPG recovered; 21 August (Bến Củi area – south, XT460440), 182 killed (body count); 22 August (B ến Củi area, XT 462468), 24 killed; 23 August (FSB Schofield, XT 407440), 103 killed (body count) - 13 AK-47s, four machine guns and 11 RPGs recovered. 25th Infantry Division, Combat After Action Report of the Battle for Tay Ninh (approved draft - undated) - VCAT Item No. 2930218006; and Item No.2930218005 (7 February 1969). 133 Operational Report - Lessons Learned, Headquarters II Field Force Vietnam, Period Ending 31 October 1968, 26 February 1969. 134 Wikipedia “Sự kiện Tết Mậu Thân” (“The Events of Tết Mậu Thân”). 135 25th Infantry Division, Combat After Action Report of the Battle for Tay Ninh (approved draft - undated) - VCAT Item No.2930218006; and Item No.2930218005 (7 February 1969). 136 The document – a note dated 25 September 1968, also listed the strength of A55 (probably the 275 th VC Regiment) as 1,279; and A56 (possibly the 88 th NVA Regiment) as 1,133. A total of 6,436 in the note

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According to the 5th Division History (2005) “Following the the third phase of the General Offensive, from 17 August to 3 September 1968” …, the Division was awarded the ‘Resolve to Fight and Win’ banner by the COSVN Military Committee as well as the Liberation Military Exploits Medal Second Class.137 The 5th, 88th and 33rd Regiments, the 22nd RCL Battalion, and the 31st Medical Battalion were all awarded the Military Feats Medal First Class.138 According to a 1971 1ATF study, in August 1968: “the Regt lost a further 300 KIA. Late that month, a regimental attack on FSB Schofield in Bình Dương Province resulted in 103 KIA. The Regiment returned to Cambodia in November 1968139, but shortly afterward returned to western Phước Long Province.140 A recovered note dated 25 September 1968 included the outline organisation of th the 5 VC Division and the personnel strengths of subordinate elements – totalling 6,436. The strength of A57 – ie the 33rd Regiment, was shown as 1,468; and A55 (275th VC Regiment) as 1,279.141 According to a rallier from the Regiment’s 3rd Battalion, the 33rd Regiment moved to Phước Long Province in October 1968 and conducted operations in that Province until moving to Bảo Bình (Long Khánh Province) in December 1968.142 A US report noted in November 1968, both “the 33d NVA and 275 Regiments had begun to redeploy into War Zone D, the old AO of the 5th VC Division … in preparation for the forthcoming offensive.”143 At the end of November 1968, the

appeared to be the strength of the 5th VC Division – including all its support elements. CDEC Log 101719-69. 137 Military Exploits Medal Second Class – ie: Huân Chương quân công hạng nhì. 138 Military Feats Medal First Class – ie: Huân Chương chiến công hạng nhất – see the title page. 139 Triệu Minh Cấm, the deputy commander of the Regiment’s 3 rd Battalion (D8) was killed on 26 October 1968 at Ta Keng, Tây Ninh Province - Nguyễn Sỹ Hồ, Martyrs’ ist, op.cit., 16 July 2013. 140 HQ 1ATF, 3 n 33 NVA Regt, Annex F to 1ATF INTSUM No.122/71, Núi Đất, 2 May 1971. The reported attack on FSB Schofield is probably the attack on FSB Schofield III (XT 4144) on 24 August 1968. A US report notes only “62 enemy KIA” – 25th Division Arty, Operational Report – Lessons Learned – Period ending 31 October 1968, 17 January 1969 – see also the previous footnote 132. 141 CDEC Log 10-1719-69 – as also noted in footnote 136 above. 142 The rallier was employed as a clerk in the headquarters of the 33rd Regiment’s 3rd Battalion from September 1968 until May 1969 – when hospitalized for jaundice. In January 1970, he was assigned to 33 rd Regiment’s (A-57’s) Military Personnel Section located at Ông Mountain (ZT 0625) in Bình Tuy Province until June 1970. He noted that the 33rd Regiment’s political officer was “Đình Văn Đat” - ie Đinh Văn Đạt. VCAT Item No.11270230059. 143 HQ II Field Force Vietnam, Operational Report – Lessons Learned, 1 November 1968 – 31 January 1969, VCAT Item No.3400154001.

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Regiment moved to the Biên Hòa and Bà Rịa-Long Khánh144 area as a direct-command formation of Military Region 7.145 A captured cadre’s notebook indicated that in mid-December 1968, the units of rd the 33 Regiment “would have to coordinate in order to annihilate vital enemy elements especially the ((1st US)) Air Cav Div along the ((Cambodian)) border.” Companies were to attain the following criteria during the next unspecified phase: 100 enemy personnel killed, two aircraft shot down, and two weapons captured – these results were to be achieved in ambushes and raids. Notebook entries related that the 9th (ie 3rd) Battalion had achieved brilliant successes during the Third Phase ((presumably of the Tết Offensive in 1968)). However, the “troops’ morale was lower than before. Many cadre and soldiers now lacked faith ((in a VC/NVA victory)) and were lured by peace prospects. Others tended to overestimate enemy capabilities and balked at hardships and dangers.” Entries also noted that the battlefield was “new” to the unit, and the unit was “not familiar with street fighting.”146 The Party in the 33rd NVA Regiment Within the Regiment – as in all Vietnamese communist military units, the Party – ie the People’s Revolutionary Party, had primacy as “ eadership of the Party over the Armed Forces must be absolute, direct and complete”147 … with only “emergency
144

For information on Long Khánh Province in the mid-1960s – including administration and population detail, see USOM, Information Brief: Long Khánh Province - Vietnam, December 1965 - VCAT Item No. 6850102002. Long Khánh Province had a total land area of 4,000 square kilometres – with a maximum length of 90 kilometres and an average width of 70 kilometres. It comprised two Districts: Xuân L ộc and Định Quán – its population of 131,300 (1965) lived in 18 villages (107 hamlets). See map at Appendix 20. 145 The commander of the 3rd Battalion of the 33rd Regiment – Lý Hoa Lâm, reportedly died on 24 December 1968 – CDEC Log 10-1962-69. In a November 1968 Directive, Phan Liêm – a senior 33rd Regiment political commissar, called for all units to strictly employ code words and cover-designators during upcoming combat missions. The 5th VC Division was to be referred to as Đoàn 82C. The 33rd Regiment was to be known by its cover designator A57 – with the Mortar Company as K16, the 12.7mm AA Company – K17, the 75mm RCL Company – K18, the Sapper Company - K19, and the Reconnaissance Company – K20. The Directive had been disseminated to all units of the Regiment including “J7 to J9” (ie each of the infantry battalions); “K16 to K24 Companies”; “ 1” (the Regiment’s military headquarters staff) and “ 3” (probably the Regiment’s rear services staff). The Directive noted that units of the Regiment had suffered eight killed and 14 injured “during the recent period” as a result of firearms accidents – CDEC Log 10-1921-69. 146 ùi Văn Hiền (3rd Battalion/33rd Regiment), Notebook – VCAT Item No.2300811008. The strength of Hiền’s company (C12) in late December 1968 was 37 – and the company had been engaged in transporting rice and supplies. The notebook revealed that the new cover designator for the 33 rd/A57 Regiment was “Đoàn 84C” – see also footnotes 92, 93, 124, and 129 for cover designators. Notes in the book indicated a forthcoming combat action planned for 31 December 1968 – including specific orders for the move towards the objective. 147 For detail on the organisation and activities of the ao Động Party (ie the communist party) – including its Youth Group (Đoàn), in the 33rd Regiment (as the 101st Regiment up to October 1965), see VCAT Item No.F034600591842, Item No.F034600401458 and footnotes 36 and 54. On military and Party relations, see: COSVN, Organization and Working Procedures Pertaining to Party Leadership in the Military Field: Basic Principles. The document was recovered by US forces on 22 April 1968 - CDEC Log 07-2228-68.

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decisions by the commanding officer”.148 The Party’s COSVN-directed cadre at all levels “managed” the War through Party committees, political commissars, political officers, Party chapters, Party members, and the Party’s Youth Group (Đoàn) members. In the 33rd Regiment, in December 1968, Party cadre studied the Resolution by COSVN’s Military Affairs Party Committee on future strengthening of the military Party organisations. The Resolution called for an “absolute” leadership by the Party committees and Party chapters in every unit so that a “complete” victory could be achieved in the immediate future.149 Understandably, there were tensions between the communist military and political staffs. A senior NVA defector related “Regardless of the size of the organisation, the ((political)) cadre have the highest authority in every activity of the unit – although their military rank is lower than the military cadre in charge of the unit. Because of this, there have been ill-feelings among the military cadre …”.150

Cadre and Soldiers of the 33rd Regiment Political Staff – Sông Ray Base, 1973 Party membership in units was quite high – at about 40 % in the NVA and VC main force units in Military Region 7 – with a higher number of Party Youth Group (Đoàn) members. In August 1969, the head of the 33rd Regiment’s Party office noted that in the first half of 1969, 229 personnel had been admitted to the Party; the 33rd Regiment had 28 Party Chapters; and a total of 463 Party members151 – indicating about 43% of the
148

COSVN Resolution No. 04/A8, 1965 COSVN Resolution No. 04/A8 - Regulations for the Party Committee System in the SVN Liberation Army ((1965)) – CDEC Log 03-1316-66 ie: VCAT Items No. 23130001036, 11272106006, or 4080111007. The Resolution includes instructions for COSVN, Province, District and Unit levels. 149 ùi Văn Hiền (3rd Battalion/33rd Regiment), Notebook – VCAT Item No.2300811008. 150 Debriefing of NVA Lieutenant Colonel Lê Xuân Chuyển (also known as – aka Thanh Sơn), former Acting Chief of Staff and Chief of Operations of the 5 th VC Division – who defected in Bình Thuận Province on 2 August 1966. VCAT Item No.23130003016. 151 See the following footnotes 156 and 403 that examine Resolution No. 3/DU dated 13 August 1969.

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Regiment’s reported strength of 1,075 were Party members. There were also a larger number of Youth Group members in Group Chapters.152 Party members – and the performance of the Party in committees and units was assessed and formally rated.153 Solidarity within the NVA/VC units - and cohesion and control, was assisted by the communist system of three-man cells within the military sections – and the dynamic of self-criticism. These cells were intended to function as harmonious three-man cooperatives that fought, ate and quartered together. Political officers also exhorted their troops on the basis of several codes – including the “Code of Discipline” (12 precepts), an “Oath of Honour” (12), the “Rules of Secrecy” (15), and the “Three Main Rules of Discipline and the “Eight Points of Attention”. Party Chapters were exhorted to achieve the “Four Good Qualities”.154 As noted earlier, a captured 33rd Regiment company-level notebook reported that in early December 1968, the Regiment was to implement the COSVN Resolution pertaining to the strengthening of military Party organisations throughout the South – that called for an “absolute” leadership by Party committees and chapters in every NVA/VC unit so that a future “complete” victory could be attained. An entry at the beginning of 1969, noted that despite the “unit’s successes during the Third ((Offensive)) Phase, the troops’ morale was lower than before. Many cadre and soldiers now lacked faith ((in a NVA/VC)) victory and were lured by peace prospects. Others tended to overestimate the enemy’s capabilities and balked at hardships and dangers.”155 In August 1969, the Party Committee of the Regiment issued a Resolution156 directing that during the second half of 1969: 60-65% of 33rd Regiment’s units should
152

In the 274th VC Regiment, 35% of its personnel were Party members and a further 40 percent were members of the Party Youth Group. For the D445 VC Local Force Battalion – the bi-annual reports by its commanding officer and political officer - written a few weeks before the Battle of Long Tân in midAugust 1966 (and only recently available) indicated 30% its personnel were Party members and a further 36% were Youth Group members – ie in its pre- attle strength of 392. Chamberlain, E.P., … D445 Battalion: Their Story, op.cit., 2011, Annexes F and G. 153 Military Region 1 - Directive on the Rating of Party Cadre (assessing “ ehaviour, Capability, Personal Achievements”) – and also for Committees and Units – see: MR1 Directive No.013/CT , 19 July 1966 – CDEC Log 08-1553-66 , VCAT Item No.F034600021550. 154 The “Four Good Qualities” for Party Chapters (“Chi Bộ 4 Tốt”) required Party Chapters to be “Good in ideological guidance; Good in leadership of the unit; Good in promoting solidarity between the people and the Army; and Good in the recruitment and training of Party members and improvement of Party Chapter s.” 155 The owner of the notebook was a cadre ùi Văn Hiền – probably the political officer, of C12 Company of the 33rd Regiment’s 9th (ie 3rd) Battalion – see VCAT Item No.2300811008. 156 Resolution No. 3/DU, 13 August 1969 – signed by “Ngự” for the A57 (33rd NVA Regiment) Party Committee - CDEC Log 11-1496-69. A Comrade Ngụ is noted as the political director (chủ nhiệm chính trị) of the Regiment in 1969-1973 – see Tổ Chức Ban Chỉ Huy Trung Đoàn 33 Qua C c Thời Kỳ (The Headquarters Organisation of the 33rd Regiment in Past Years), op.cit., 2010. The Resolution addressed the implementation of the “Four-Good-Qualities” Party Chapter programme in the second half of 1969, noting that in the first half of 1969: 229 personnel had been admitted to the Party; 32% of the 28 Party Chapters had qualified for the “Four-Good-Qualities” title, and 72% of Youth Group members attained the same title. The most outstanding Chapter in the Regiment had been the 9th Company of the 3rd (9th) Battalion whose members had surpassed the Party’s criteria by 10%. “On the other hand, the number of Party members in the Regiment who failed to observe unit discipline increased by 50% as compared with the figures of 1968.

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attain the “Determined to Win” title; 50% of all squad-level cadre and 90% of all platoonlevel cadre should acquire Party membership. Party membership in the Regiment numbered 463. In September 1969, the Regiment’s Party Committee forwarded a Directive to all battalion and company Party Committees providing guidance for their forthcoming Party caucuses.157 Committees were to thoroughly familiarize all Party members with “the characteristics and trends of the upcoming General Offensive”; to “assess the performance of units in such aspects as political and unit consolidation from December 1968 to date”; and to select new Party Committee members through official votes to be organized during the caucuses.” Against Pacification – Moving Eastward in 1969 Following a Military Region 7 Party Affairs Conference (22-24 November 1968), the “Military Region assigned the 33rd Infantry Regiment (E33) to cooperate in combat actions with the armed forces” – “in order to concentrate on the destruction of the enemy’s ‘Accelerated Pacification’ plan.”158 A recovered 33rd Regiment political cadre’s notebook – with entries from December 1968 to late April 1969, described the Regiment’s tasks under COSVN Resolution 8159 for the 1969 Spring Campaign. The tasks included an attack on - and the complete destruction of, “M” – believed to be code for the Long Bình complex. “All ammunition dumps were to be destroyed, and a major portion of the enemy’s potential power was to be eliminated.”160
Thus, self-mutilation and desertion were commonly observed in Party Chapters 3-D7 ((ie in the 7th Battalion)), 10-D9 (9th Battalion)), 4-D8 ((8th attalion)), and Party Chapter 18.” See also footnotes 192 and 206 for desertion and self-wounding incidents in the 33rd Regiment. For reports on self-mutilation, woundings, and suicides in the B3 Front (Central Vietnam) – not including the 33rd Regiment, see VCAT Item No.2131308003. 157 Trần Ngư, Directive 4/DU, 20 September 1969 – CDEC Log 11-1489-69. 158 In early November 1968 - with significant US support, President Nguyễn Văn Thiệu launched the Accelerated Pacification Program/Campaign with the objective of expanding government control over 1,200 villages and eliminating the communist infrastructure. Initially, it was programmed for 90 days. The D440 History (2011- Vietnamese language) noted that in late November 1968, the Military Region 7 “Conference also confirmed and directed that the important task now faced by Bà Rịa-Long Khánh Province was the need to concentrate on the destruction of the enemy’s ‘Accelerated Pacification’ plan. To provide support, the Military Region assigned the 33rd Infantry Regiment (E33) to cooperate in combat actions with the local armed forces.” - Đảng Ủy – Bộ Chỉ Huy Quân Sự Tỉnh Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu, ịch Sử Tiểu Đoàn 440 Anh Hùng - Bà Rịa-Long Khánh (1967-1979), Nhà Xuất bản Chính trị Quốc gia - Sự Thật, Hà Nội, 2011, p.80 – in English with commentary and additional annexed information see: Chamberlain, E.P., The Viet Cong D440 Battalion: Their Story, Point Lonsdale, 2013, p.53. 159 COSVN Resolution 8 was drafted in September-October 1968 as a blueprint for the 1968-1969 WinterSpring Campaign. For detail on COSVN Resolutions and Directives, see MACV, Communist Strategy as Reflected in Lao Động Party and COSVN Resolutions, SRAP 1569, 5 December 1969 - VCAT Item No. F015800190717. An RVNAF JGS J2 (Intelligence) Study – covering the period 1930-1970, is at VCAT Item No.11272622011. 160 CDEC Log 10-1944-69.

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A 33rd Regiment Mortar Crew

Tết 1969 In late January 1969, the Regiment moved south into War Zone D – and, in February 1969161, deployed towards the Biên Hòa/Long Bình area for the 1969 Tết Kỷ Dậu Campaign.162 Scheduled to participate in the 26 February 1969 attack on installations at Biên Hòa/Long Bình, the Regiment was reportedly turned back by heavy B-52 airstrikes and moved eastwards to the Bảo Bình area (YT 4902) of southern Long Khánh Province.163 A Communist Party history relates that “The 274th and 33rd Regiments were
161

The recovered diary of 33rd Regiment soldier Vũ Như Năng indicated that the Regiment moved from Tây Ninh to Phước Long Province on 4 January 1969 – and then to Biên Hòa Province on 1 February 1969 – see footnote 128. 162 Reportedly “with the 274th and 33rd Regiments under the direct command of Comrade ương Văn Nho to strike the Americans at the ong ình logistics complex and south of Route 1.” - Dương Thanh Tân (ed), Lịch sử Đảng bộ ((Đảng Cộng Sản Việt Nam)) tỉnh Đồng Nai (1930-2000) (The Communist Party of Vietnam - Đồng Nai Province Party History), Tập (Volume) II (1954-1975), Chương (Chapter) IV, 2003. For the biography of ương Văn Nho, see VCAT Item No.2360916050. 163 According to a captured document, the 33rd Regiment attacked Trảng om (YT 2011) and “penetrated two-thirds of the Biên Hòa airbase” – but needed reinforcements to replace its casualties of 16 KIA and 17 WIA - 1ATF, INTSUM No.55-69, Núi Đất, 24 February 1969. See also 1ATF, INTSUM No.48-69, Núi Đất, 17 February 1969 – ie a soldier (name redacted) of the 33rd Regiment - who rallied at Trảng Bom, stated the strength of the 2nd Battalion was 150. According to US reporting, the heaviest enemy attacks during the 1969 Spring Offensive were against the Biên Hòa/Long Bình complex in the period 23-26

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not able to attack the Long Bình logistics complex, but were redirected to attack the American military outposts south of Route 1, the Bàu Cối area – and then to attack the Thai vassals in Long Thành together with local forces and guerrillas and to support the people to destroy pacification within Long Thành.”164 According to a US report “After heavy losses at Biên Hòa in late February ((1969)), the 275th and 33rd Regiments swung eastward and relocated to Bà Biên province.165 … The 33rd Regiment moved into central Bà Biên province, east of the Blackhorse base camp ((11th Armored Cavalry Regiment – 11ACR))166 and was last identified on 22 March in a contact at YT 4901”.167 The communist Đồng Nai History – in relating the 1969 Tết (Kỷ Dậu) offensive, recounts: “However, just two days before the attack, Thế - the deputy of the 5th Division tactical staff, wavered and surrendered to the enemy and the plans were revealed and compromised. … The 274th and the 33rd Regiment were not able to attack the Long Bình logistics complex, and deployed to attack American posts south of Route 1 and in the Bàu
February in which the 274th and 275th Regiments of the 5th VC Division suffered heavy casualties. “The 33rd, 95th and 174th Regiments of the Division were apparently blocked in their attempts to provide additional support and were not involved in any of the ground actions around the Complex.” – 1ATF, Vietnam Digest, Issue 9-69, Núi Đất, 23 February – 1 March 1969. The 33rd Regiment reportedly attempted to move towards Long Bình from the east – on 23 February 1969, but was “thoroughly decimated by artillery” – 199th Infantry Brigade: Operational Report – Lessons Learned to 30 April 1969, dated 17 September 1969. See also the diary of 33rd Regiment member Vũ Như Năng at footnote 128 that refers to an attack against Long Bình on 22 February 1969 by 33 rd Regiment elements. In 2011, a Vietnamese Internet blogsite noted four 33rd Regiment personnel (of the C-18 12.7mm heavy machine gun company) had been killed at Tam Phước on 23 February 1969 during the Regiment’s operation against the ong ình complex – see casualties at Appendix 9. 1ATF’s first engagement with the 33 rd Regiment probably occurred on 22 February 1969 – see footnote 195. USMACV noted that “in March ((1969)), the 33 rd Regiment “probably became subordinate to Military Region 7 … and had an estimated strength of 1,250.” – Headquarters II Field Force Vietnam, Operational Report – Lessons Learned to 30 April 1969, 10 September 1969. 164 Dương Thanh Tân (ed), ịch sử Đảng bộ ((Đảng Cộng Sản Việt Nam)) tỉnh Đồng Nai (1930-2000) …, Tập (Volume) II (1954-1975), Chương (Chapter) IV, op.cit., 2003. 165 The Việt Cộng Bà Biên Province – encompassing Bà Rịa–Long Khánh–Biên Hòa was first established in April 1963 – see Chamberlain, E.P., … D445 attalion Their Story, op.cit., 2011, Annex H. 166 The 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (11ACR) arrived in Vietnam in September 1966 and - beginning on 20 October 1966, established its Blackhorse base in the Suối Râm/Long Giao area on the western side of Route 2 (YS 435969) approximately six kilometres south of Xuân Lộc Town in southern Long Khánh Province. The 11ACR base was about 30 kilometres north of the 1ATF base at Núi Đất. The Regiment’s combat power comprised: three armoured cavalry squadrons and an air cavalry troop. Each squadron comprised three cavalry troops, a tank company and a self-propelled (SP) 155m howitzer battery. Its principal equipments were: 51 M48A3 Patton medium tanks/M551 Sheridan light tanks, 296 M113 APCs and 18 M109 155 SP howitzers. - Chesney, E.J. Major, The 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Vietnam – January 1969 through June 1970, Fort Leavenworth, 2002. VCAT Item No.168300010420. For its successor US formations in Long Khánh, see footnotes 399 and 434. 11ACR handed over their Suối Râm base to the 18th ARVN Division on 24 October 1969. 167 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, Operational Report – For Period Ending 30 Apr 69, 15 May 1969. Also “In the move south, the 33rd Regiment of the 5th VC Division was hit by ambushes and artillery and was forced to abort its mission and return to War Zone D.” – 14th Military History Detachment, The Shield and the Hammer: The 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) in War Zone C and Western III Corps – VCAT Item No.3400158001.

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Cối area – after which they attacked the Thai vassals168 in Long Thành, and together with local troops and guerrillas supported the people in their attacks on the enemy’s pacification programmes in ong Thành and Nhơn Trạch Districts.”169 As at 27 February 1969, USMACV estimated the Regiment’s strength as only 170 760. Tensions between North Vietnamese and Southern Communist Troops In the South, with the increasing numbers of NVA formations and units171 – as well as a growing number of senior NVA cadre and “fillers” in VC units, tensions and friction arose between Southerners (military, civilian cadre, and villagers), and the NVA troops.172 Much was related to cultural differences, envy, and perceived discrimination.173 An official communist directive (by Standing Committee B1 – probably in Bình Dương Province) noted “regrettable mistakes” in the treatment of northern troops by Southerners (military and civilian) – who disparagingly called Northerners “doltish,
168

The Royal Thai Army Volunteer Force (RTAVF - the Queen's Cobras Regiment) arrived at the US Bearcat base/Camp Martin Cox (YS 1498 - about 35 kilometres south-east of Sài Gòn; south of the Long Thành District capital) in September 1967. The Thai formation operated under the operational control of the US 9th Infantry Division. In August 1968, the Headquarters of the 9 th Infantry Division departed Bearcat for Đồng Tâm (nine kilometres west of M ỹ Tho) - ie as the Division’s operations were principally in the Mekong Delta region. The strengthened RTAVF force - the Thai Black Panther Division (5,596 troops – six infantry battalions) was complete at Bearcat by mid-February 1969. – see “Sustained pressure on enemy reaps results” in “Asian Allies in Vietnam”, Viet-Nam Bulletin, Series No.26 (3-70), US Embassy Vietnam, March 1970, pp.6-7. 169 Dương Thanh Tân (ed), ịch sử Đảng bộ ((Đảng Cộng Sản Việt Nam)) tỉnh Đồng Nai (1930-2000), Tập (Volume) II (1954-1975), op.cit., Chương (Chapter) IV, 2003. 170 USMACV, Order of Battle Summary: 1-31 May 1969, Vol I, 5 June 1969, p.IV-103 (US ID Nr - 32605) – VCAT Item No.F015900060147. 171 In October 1965, NVA troops “comprised about 26 percent of VC/NVA maneuver and combat support strength, while today (3 March 1969), it is 70 plus.” - Sorley, L., Vietnam Chronicles: The Abrams Tapes, … op.cit., 2004, p.134. In January 1968 – just before the Tết Offensive, the USMACV Headquarters estimated that total communist strength in the South was over 225,000 - of whom 55,744 were NVA – about 25%). Another 10-12,000 NVA were incorporated into VC units. 80% of the NVA were in the two northern CTZs - USMACV, Order of Battle Summary: 1 January thru 31 January 1968, Saigon, 31 January 1968. The number of NVA in the South had grown markedly by mid-1973 – with the NVA having increased threefold from 55,000 to 174, 000 (ie 56% in the 311,524 total – which included 44,567 VCI/political cadre) - US Defence Attache Office (USDAO), Enemy Strengths – May 1973, Saigon, 4 July 1973 - VCAT Item No.2311006085. For other figures, see footnote 110. On 23 September 1969, COMUSMACV – General C.W. Abrams, was briefed that “In III Corps, the enemy is 82 percent NVA. In I Corps 92 percent” - Sorley, ., Vietnam Chronicles The Abrams Tapes, … op.cit., 2004, p.261. 172 Vietnam Document and Research Notes 43-44, Friction between Northern and Southern Vietnamese: Directives Urge Standing “Shoulder to Shoulder”, September 1968 – see VCAT Item No.2131003113 : p.4 (Docu 43 – p.3 for English, and p.4 for Vietnamese - ie SO.84/CV-BI; and English only (20 December 1967) at CDEC Log 06-1044-66. 173 USMACV closely followed reports of NVA versus VC dissension and friction. At a weekly intelligence conference on 20 September 1969, General C.W. Abrams (COMUSMACV) remarked “Christ, you can’t get them ((NVA and VC)) together at a free beer party, really.” - Sorley, L., Vietnam Chronicles: The Abrams Tapes, … op.cit., 2004, p.261.

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clumsy, slow-moving”, made “fun made of their accent”174, and criticised them as “lacking experience.” … Shopkeepers “sold food to the southern brothers at 100 piastres a kilo … but they charged the northern brothers 110 or 115 a kilo”175 In mid-1968, a COSVN Military Committee Directive 44/H noted some improvement in relations, but cited continuing shortcomings including poor treatment of “newcomers” on the infiltration routes, belittling them for being “brainless”, and for “becoming lost due to their unfamiliarity with the terrain in the South.”176 In mid-1969, a USMACV report – citing “exploitable sources of friction between VC and NVA troops” assessed “The NVA officers feel that the VC officers have had inferior military training, and are tactically incompetent. However, the VC are more familiar with RVN terrain, and feel that NVA troops are of little help in planning operations. This mutual disrespect has resulted in conflicts among the enemy leadership. Also, NVA troops annoy the VC by attempting to ‘correct’ their speech habits to match the North Vietnamese dialect. Finally, NVA troops dislike VC methods of food preparation, because VC troops do not always cook their vegetables.”177 In Phước Tuy Province, tensions and “lack of cooperation” were reported between D445 and the “Northern” D440 attalion.178 The Northerners also reportedly had criticisms of the southern Việt Cộng - ie complaining that they were “disloyal, lazy, ostentatious, undisciplined and unorthodox.”179 A principal NVA defector – PAVN Lieutenant Colonel Lê Xuân Chuyển, also spoke of rifts and arguments between Northerners and Southerners. He cited differences in “personalities and lifestyle” between Northerners and Southerners as a source of tensions – characterising Northerners as

174

The Vietnamese language has five principal regional dialects – with differences in vocabulary and pronunciation, but which are mutually intelligible. However, for example, differences between the Northern and the Southern dialects could be compared to the differences beween English spoken by Scots and standard English. With the North being the historical “cradle” of the Vietnamese civilization, Northerners consider Southerners as less“cultured”. With the North’s harsher fo ur-season climate, Northerners also considered themselves more hardy and resilient than Southerners. 175 Discrimination against NVA troops in Vietnam by southern communists, 20 December 1967, CDEC Log 06-1044-68. 176 COSVN Military Affairs Committee, Directive (44/H) on Strengthening Leadership in Regard to C Category Recruits, 2 June 1968. “C Category Recruits” was a euphemism for infiltrated NVA troops. 177 COMUSMACV, Quarterly Evaluation report: Second Quarter 1969, 1 April – 30 June 1969, Saigon, 20 August 1969, p.A-7, sub-para 5.c. 178 Appendix II to Annex A to 1ATF INTSUM No.84/70, Núi Đất, 25 March 1970. On North v South divisiveness, see also Chamberlain, E.P., The Viet Cong D440 Battalion: Their Story, 2013, footnotes 204 and 233 - ie: In May 1970, a rallier from 440 Battalion reported that 440 Battalion and 445 Battalion were “not willing to cooperate with each other because of personnel conflict between SVN ((South Vietnamborn)) and NVA ((North Vietnamese troops)).” While nominally a VC battalion, D440 was an NVA unit – originally Group 211 of the 9th Regiment/304th NVA Division, that infiltrated into the South in mid-early 1967. Following heavy casualties, the 275th VC Main Force Regiment incorporated the D605 NVA Battalion as its 3rd Battalion in late May 1966 – and D605 suffered heavy casualties at the Battle of Long Tân against Australian forces on 18 August 1966. 179 Taylor, K.W., “The Vietnamese Civil War of 1955 -1975 in Historical Perspective”, p.27 in Wiest, A and Doidge, M.J., Triumph Revisited – Historians Battle for the Vietnam War, Routledge, New York, 2010.

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“disciplined and mindful” and Southerners as “liberal and free”.180 Among Southerners, there was also reportedly tensions between ex-Việt Minh who had remained in the South after the 1954 Geneva Accords and the “Autumn cadre” (c n bộ hồi kết) who returned – ie had infiltrated back into the South after having regrouped to the North in 1954-55.181 Not surprisingly, post-War communist unit histories assert cameraderie between Northerners and Southerners – for example in the D440 Battalion History: “whether Northerner or Southerner – all were soldiers of 440 Battalion. We all strove together, and were of one fighting spirit for the very lofty ideals of the Revolution. There was no regionalism, localism, or factionalism.”182 Morale Maintaining morale in NVA units - whose personnel far from home with no defined length of service, was a significant challenge for political officers in the 33rd Regiment. For Northerners, just getting to the battlefields in the South was often a trek of several months. They faced superior firepower, poor food at times, and often rudimentary shelter. The soldiers feared an unmarked grave in the South - and their unrecovered bodies becoming “wandering souls”. For political officers, appeals to nationalism were central - ie to drive out the “foreign invader and occupier” and defeat its “puppet Saigon regime”. In September 1967, entries in a company cadre’s notebook related poor health in the writer’s recently-activated company resulting from food shortages, and “numerous difficulties caused by rainy weather, and a strong tendency among the troops to fear hardships, difficulties and sacrifices.” Their “sense of combat readiness” was “poor” – and the writer noted “we face many difficulties, but the ideological problem is the most serious.”183 Homesickness among Northern troops was evident in documents captured by 184 1ATF. To enhance morale, the NVA/VC operated a complex postal and courier system

180

USMACV, Item 110 - Interrogation of Lê Xuân Chuyển, pp.11-15.VCAT Items No.4080121004, 23130003016. 181 “In addition to that, the differences in regional customs and traditions between the North and the South have created a part of the difficulties in the internal activities of each separate unit. … In most of the units in the Communist 9th Division, except in study meetings or daily activities, one can clearly see two main clans. The NVN-born clan and the SVN-born clan. They have conversation time, tea party [sic], and banquet separately from each other. They never sit at a common table.” – North South Divisiveness in PAVN/PLAF – April 1974, VCAT Item No.2310513021. The source also related NVA versus VC “conflict for position”, “conflict over women”, “conflict leading to fight” – and preventative measures in the 9th VC Division. See also: Divisiveness in Communist Ranks – March 1974, VCAT Item No.2122902006. 182 Chamberlain, E.P., … D440 …, op.cit., 2013, p.129. 183 CDEC Log 11-1551-67, VCAT Item No.2131002127. 184 For example, among Northerners in D440 and D445 Battalions - although some had “married local girls” … and “the unit had plenty of food, they still felt homesick since all of them were natives of North Vietnam” - Annex B to 1 ATF INTSUM No.253/71, Núi Đất,10 September 1971 (see also Annex B to 1ATF INTSUM No.250/71, Núi Đất, 7 September 1971).

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that included personal mail.185 At Tết (New Year) – an important “time of family” for the Vietnamese, the political cadre often provided “pro-forma” Tết greeting cards for the soldiers to include in their personal mail. However, the soldiers’ letters only rarely reached their loved ones at home, and it was viewed cynically by the troops - particularly Northerners. For security, NVA/VC field units were allocated discrete Letter Box Numbers (LBNs) that were regularly changed.186 Letters were censored by political cadre, and captured 33rd Regiment letters – and other documentation, rarely included any intelligence-exploitable data.187 Many cadre and soldiers also kept diaries and notebooks often beautifully illustrated and including poetry as poignant as their letters home. Morale was also bolstered by the award of titles, medals, Letters of Appreciation, Certificates of Commendation, “emulation campaign” certificates, and other awards both to individuals and to units.188

A Certificate of Commendation and a Letter of Appreciation Awarded to Nguyễn Văn Âu (poor copy)189
185

A MR1 (ie T.1, later MR7) Directive on mail policy to North Vietnam (No.09/CT dated 15 July 1966 wef from 1 August 1966) directed “no more than one letter a month … to relatives and close friends only … encouragement to addressees … no classified information” - see CDEC Log 08-1555-66. The Bà Rịa Provincial Unit’s Command Committee also directed regulations for the exchange of personal letters between North and South Vietnam and within South Vietnam (signed by the Assistant Political Officer, Nguyễn Thanh Cần) - CDEC Log 09-1974-66. For detailed regulations on the postal system, see also CDEC Log 01-1367-69. 186 For 33rd Regiment Letter Box Numbers (LBNs), see footnotes 92 and 124. LBNs were used for both mail within South Vietnam and to/from North Vietnam. 187 However a letter written by a 5th VC Division rear service cadre - dated 7 April 1970, related that the 33rd Regiment “had moved to a distant area but is still subordinate to the 5th Division.”; and that “Sơn ((probably Triệu Kim Sơn)) had been promoted to the position of 33 rd Regiment executive officer; “Chau” ((probably Nguyễn Văn Ch u)) was also an executive officer; “Than” ((probably Nguyễn Huy Thản)) was the chief-of-staff; “Tương” ((possibly Hồ Sỹ Tường)) was head of the Regiment’s rear services; and Ngư was the assistant chief of the rear services section.” - VCAT Item No.2131509010, CDEC Log 05-1808-70. 188 Titles were also awarded such as “Valiant Killer of Americans” – for which there were criteria and classes, and “Valiant Destroyer of Tanks”. For awards to Nguyễn Văn O and ương Văn i ng – including “Hero of the People’s Armed Forces”, medals, and other awards - see footnote 210.

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Visits by cultural groups to units also raised morale – with songs, music, and folk dances.

The Bà Rịa- ong Kh nh Cultural Group during a visit to the 33rd Regiment’s Sông Ray Base in 1970 (a poor quality photograph) On “Morale”, a 1971 study by 1ATF – that also drew on US material, noted “33 NVA Regt is considered to be one of the most capable units in GVN MR3 and as such is believed to have fairly high morale. … This can be attributed to constant political indoctrination. Very few Hoi Chanhs are received from the Regiment, and it is common to find that members of 33 Regiment who have been KIA ((Killed in Action)) possess no identifying documents.”190 However, recovered 33rd Regiment documents also indicate problems of indiscipline. A recovered 33rd Regiment security cadre’s notebook included a reproduction of a Đoàn 84C (33rd Regiment) Directive that complained of misconduct and loose discipline by some 33rd Regiment cadre at supply points in Phước Tuy Province. The Directive also related that: “Many personnel of C12-D3 ((12th Company, 3rd Battalion)) were seen reading enemy publications and leaflets. Many others of K10 of
189

Nguyễn Văn Âu was a section commander in the C-20 Reconnaissance Company of the 33rd Regiment (Công Trường 33). His Certificate of Commendation (Bằng Khen) is dated 2 December 1965, and the Letter of Appreciation (Giấy Khen) is dated 17 February 1966 – indicating that they were awarded for his performance in the Plei Me-Ia Đrăng Campaign, or soon after. The documents were recovered at YA 982071 on 2 August 1966 by the US 25th Infantry Division – see CDEC Log 09-1359-66, VCAT Item No.F034600110774. 190 1ATF, 33 NVA Regiment – 1ATF INTSUM No.264/71, op.cit., 21 September 1971, p.6. A “Hoi Chanh” ie “Hồi Chánh” was a “rallier” under the Chiêu Hồi programme. Begun in 1963, the Chiêu Hồi (“Open Arms”) programme encouraged North Vietnamese and Việt Cộng troops and infrastructure members to defect to the Sài Gòn Government. For Chiêu Hồi statistics and an assessment, see footnote 17.

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the 3rd attalion listened publicly to the enemy’s radio broadcasts and talked openly about the enemy’s Chiêu Hồi program – thereby compromising the morale of the newly assigned recruits ((to K10)).”191 In mid-August 1969, a political cadre reported “…the number of Party members in the Regiment who failed to observe unit discipline increased by 50% as compared with the figures of 1968. Thus, self-mutilation and desertion were commonly observed in Party Chapters 3-D7, 10-D9, 4-D8, and Party Chapter 18.”192 Reports of Attacks on – and Engagements with, Thai and Australian Forces A principal 33rd Regiment history monograph relates that: “In the 1969 Spring Campaign, the Regiment was ordered - together with E4 ((ie the 274th Regiment of the 5th VC Division)), D2 ((probably a Sub-Region 4 battalion)) and sappers to attack the general logistics complex at Long Bình, the chemical site, and the helicopter landing field. Next, we struck the enemy and reduced the American positions – as well as those at Cẩm Đường, Đồi Dâu and Suối Kết, and most notably, in a battle with the Thais at Bầu Cối, destroyed a Thai battalion and inflicted heavy casualties on an Australian mechanized infantry battalion at Kim Long/Bình Ba destroying 24 vehicles and forcing the enemy to withdraw back to its base.”193 Another 33rd Regiment history more briefly related defeating enemy counter-attacks at Cẩm Đường, Suối Kết and Đồi Dâu – and especially noting that the Regiment “wiped out a Thai battalion at Bầu Cối (Biên Hòa) on 16 (or 28) February 1969”.194 Australian forces engaged 33rd Regiment on several occasions in Biên Hòa Province in late February 1969. On 22 February, elements of 1ATF’s 4RAR engaged a 20-strong NVA group at YT 155080, and wounded and captured a 33rd Regiment soldier – Nguyễn Xuân Trương.195 On 28 February, 4RAR engaged a group of 5-6 NVA at YS 183088. Aspirant Ha Hoàng Đức and Private Lê Văn Dung – both of the 3rd Company/1st Battalion/33rd Regiment were captured in the action.196 A regional communist history197 relates that: “In ong Thành, the 33rd Regiment attacked and wiped out a Thai battalion at Bàu Cối. Following this battle, the Thais no

191 192

CDEC Log 10-1921-69. CDEC Log 11-1496-69 – see also footnote 156. The report was written about nine weeks after the Battle of ình a at which the Regiment’s 1st Battalion (D7) had suffered heavy casualties. See also the critique by an external senior cadre at Appendix 10. 193 Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57), Qu Trình …, op.cit., 2010, p.2 – see Appendix 2. 194 Lý Lịch Di Tích Khu Tưởng Niệm … Trung Đoàn 33 (33rd Regiment - Background Memorial History), op.cit., 2011, p.5 – see Appendix 3. 195 1ATF, INTSUM No.53-69, Núi Đất, 22 February 1969. 196 Hall, M.J., Combat After Action Report D 10/10, March 1969; 1ATF, INTSUM No.59-69, Núi Đất, 28 February 1969. The engagement took place about eight kilometres north-east of ình Sơn hamlet in ong Thành District. The two 33rd Regiment soldiers were captured in a defensive position at a clearing used to launch rockets on the night of 27/28 February 1969. 197 Trần Thị Minh Hoàng (foreword), Địa Chí Đồng Nai (The Đồng Nai Monograph), Nhà Xuẩt Bản Tồng Hợp Đồng Nai, Biên Hòa, 2001, Vol III, Chapter VI. However, the passage in the monograph implies the action occurred in about September 1969.

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longer dared undertake sweeping operations.”198 According to a communist press report in early March 1969 “The P AF in Bà Rịa Province on the night of 22-23 February repeatedly assaulted the big base of the Thai mercenaries at Nước Trong on Route 15, next to Long Bình township. According to initial reports, the liberation fighters killed or wounded over 800 Thai mercenaries and 15 U.S. troops and destroyed three artillery pieces, six aircraft and one gasoline storage [sic]. All told, the PLAF in Biên Hòa and Bà Rịa Provinces in the six days ending February 28 put out of action 1,700 Thai mercenaries.”199 “On 28 February … the Biên Hòa PLAF penetrated the dense defensive line of the Thai mercenary troops at Bầu Cối, completely annihilating a reinforcement [sic] battalion, killing or injuring more than 900 and seizing or destroying large quantities of weapons and military equipment.”200 The Liberation Press Agency later reported that a “ iberation Military Exploits Medal, 3rd Class” was awarded to “the unit that annihilated one Thai battalion at Bầu Cối, Biên Hòa Province on the night of 28 February.”201 No action at Bầu Cối in late February 1969 by the 33rd Regiment is related in the 5th VC Division History (2005) – see Appendix 7. However, a principal communist history of the War relates that in February 1969 “The 33rd Main-Force Regiment inflicted heavy losses on a Royal Thai Armed Forces battalion at Bầu Cối (south-east of Long Bình Sub-Sector), forcing the enemy to concentrate six battalions of the Saigon strategic general reserve to deploy to break the encirclement – and at the same time, urgently deploying the 3rd Air Cavalry Brigade as a relief force and to hold an outer perimeter (north and south of the Đồng Nai River) at the Long Bình Sub-Sector.”202 None of the foregoing claimed attacks are noted in the MACV Monthly Summary for February 1969 (dated 22 June 1969) among its reported “significant events”; and 1ATF – the RTAVF’s flanking formation, did not report any such activity.203 However,

198

Most often, the term “sweeping” (“càn quét”) refers to “search and destroy” operations by US, Allied, and Sài Gòn Government forces. In January 1968, the 1st Australian Task Force (1ATF) changed the terminology for such operations to “reconnaissance in force” – 1ATF, Message, G142, 24 January 1968. In April 1968, the US forces also adopted “reconnaissance in force” and the terms “combat sweep” and “spoiling attack” – with the USMACV Commander, General W.C. Westmoreland noting that “search and destroy … equated in the ((American)) public mind with aimless searches in th e jungle and destruction of property.” – Doughty, R.A., The Evolution of US Tactical Doctrine, Leavenworth Papers, Fort Leavenworth - Kansas, August 1979. 199 Liberation Press Agency (Clandestine), 8 March 1969. 200 iberation Press Agency (Clandestine), “Another appropriate punishing blow at the Thai mercenary troops”, 7 March 1969. 201 iberation Press Agency (Clandestine), “P AF Command Awards”, 17 March 1969. 202 Hồ Khang - Colonel/Dr (ed), Lịch sử Kháng chiến chống Mỹ cứu nước 1954-1975 (The History of the Anti-American War of National Salvation), T ập (Volume) 6, National Political Publishing House, Hà Nội, 2002. 203 1ATF noted on 28 February that “Initial interrogation of two NVA PW ((captured on 28 February at YT 183088)) suggests that 1 Bn/33 NVA Regt is also located south of Route 1 and that some elements are dispersed, or lost and seeking food in the eastern area of AO elconnen.” – 1ATF, INTSUM No.59-69, Núi Đất, 28 February 1969. A NVA/VC Spring Offensive began on 23 February with all formations of the 5 th VC Division noted in activity against the i n Hòa/ ong ình Complex. However, “The 33 rd, 95th and 174th Regiments of the Division were apparently blocked in their attempts to provide additional support and

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on 16 March 1969, the 3rd Battalion/1st Brigade of the RTAVF Black Panther Division repelled an attack by elements of the 274th VC Regiment on a battalion base camp at Lộc An (YS 167916) resulting in 160 VC reportedly killed.204 In mid-March 1969, according to the 5th VC Division History (2005): “The 33rd Regiment operated to the north of Trảng Bom and, over three days, engaged in seven battalion-level attacks and killed or wounded hundreds of the enemy and shot down two aircraft.” Performance Reviewed Reviewing events from mid-1968 to April 1969, a 33rd Regiment political cadre related in his notebook: “Since the 1968 Summer and Autumn Campaigns, the 33rd Regiment has had to conduct repeated military operations on unfamiliar battlefields with unstable conditions in its rear area. Due to continual attacks by the enemy on various lines of communication, the Regiment had to perform transport missions while coping with the enemy.”205 In a somewhat later report, another political cadre noted that in the period from December 1968 to March 1969, the Regiment had fought 15 battles – and J8 (the 2nd Battalion), and the 17th, 22nd and 23rd Companies had “successfully preserved their personnel and weapons.” However, K18 (the Recoilless Rifle Company) had “talked with civilian labourers about internal matters of the unit” and the 1st and 3rd attalions “had failed to observe security regulations, causing 40 members of the unit to be killed by airstrikes”. 1st attalion personnel “had accidentally exploded grenades – killing six members and wounding five others of the unit. From November 1968 to March 1969, 18 members deserted their unit, and three members wounded themselves.”206 In April 1969, a recovered 33rd Regiment security cadre’s notebook noted that – in accordance with COSVN directives, Regiment personnel were entitled to a monthly rice ration of “25 liters”. The notebook also included a reproduction of a Đoàn 84C (33rd Regiment) Directive that complained of misconduct and loose discipline of some 33rd Regiment cadre at the Việt Cương (YS 4889) and Quang Minh (YS 459889) supply entry/exit points. The Directive also related that “Many personnel of C12-D3 ((12th Company, 3rd Battalion)) were seen reading enemy publications and leaflets. Many others of K10 of the 3rd Battalion listened publicly to the enemy’s radio broadcasts and talked openly about the enemy’s Chiêu Hồi program – thereby compromising the morale of the

were not involved in any of the ground actions around the Complex.” – 1ATF, Vietnam Digest No.9-69, 23 February to 1 March 1969, Núi Đất. 204 45th Military History Detachment (US), Combat After Action Report, Defense of Lộc An Base Camp – 16 June 1969, San Francisco, 3 July 1969, p.3. Subsequently, on 16 June 1969, the 274 th Regiment lost 212 KIA (BC) on an attack on Lộc An then occupied by the RTAVF 2nd Battalion/1st Brigade, op.cit., pp.1-11. 205 CDEC Log 10-1944-69, Item 1. 206 CDEC Log 10-1940-69. The document was recovered by the 18 th ARVN Division in September 1969. The report was probably written by a 33rd Regiment Assistant Political Officer, Hồ Minh Tường.

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newly assigned recruits ((to K10)).”207 Also in April 1969, the Regiment’s political section issued a Directive on relations with civilians and proselytising. Personnel were directed that “under no circumstances should cadre and soldiers purchase foodstuffs and goods directly from the population; but instead all purchases should be made through the intermediaries of the local ((communist)) authorities. Also no one should take vegetables or fruit without authorization of the owners.”208 Soon after, in May 1969, the Directive mentioned above was recovered – having been prepared for signature by the “Regiment’s commander” (citing “Nguyễn Văn Thường”), and noting that the Regiment’s quartermaster cadre had failed to observe security regulations at the Quang Minh and Việt Cương entry and exit points when contacting local inhabitants – and personnel were warned to avoid talking with villagers about unit activities, cover designations, and locations.209 On 17 May 1969, in an attack at An Lộc (Long Khánh Province - YT 395093), Nguyễn Văn O – a reconnaissance section commander of the 1st Battalion of the Regiment died heroically, and was posthumously awarded the title of Hero of the Liberation Armed Forces.210 In this period – as noted above, a short 33rd Regiment history monograph also noted “inflicting heavy casualties on two Australian battalions at Kim ong on Route 2 and destroying 24 tanks.211 A more substantial 33rd Regiment history also claimed that in the “1969 Spring Campaign”, the Regiment “inflicted heavy losses on a mechanized Australian infantry battalion at Kim Long and Bình Ba, destroying 24 vehicles and forcing the enemy to withdraw to their base.”212 Neither 1ATF nor US records appear to have any reports of such an engagement.
207

CDEC Log 10-1921-69. The notebook also included a November 1968 Directive by a senior 33 rd Regiment political cadre – Phan Liêm, that called for all units of the Regiment to use codewords and coverdesignators during upcoming combat missions – see footnotes 145 and 218. 208 CDEC Log 11-1489-69. 209 The captured draft Directive had been prepared for the signature of Nguy ễn Văn Thường - reportedly as the “Commanding Officer of Đoàn 84C” – ie a cover designator for the 33rd Regiment - CDEC Log 101962-69. For Nguyễn Văn Thường as the Regiment’s commanding officer, see also footnotes 232, 276, 401, 490, 491 and 495. A further photograph of Nguyễn Văn Thường is also in the Contents section. 210 Nguyễn Văn O (b.1946, Hải Hưng) had reportedly killed 65 US troops and five Thai troops. In the attack on 17 May 1969, his unit reportedly wiped out an ARVN company and two Regional Force platoons. He was awarded the title by the Provisional Revolutionary Government on 20 December 1973. ương Văn Biêng (19th Engineer Company) was also awarded the title “Hero of the People’s Armed Forces” – Cựu Chiến Binh, Tóm Tắt … Trung Đoàn 33, op.cit., July 2010 – see Appendix 1. For Nguyễn Văn O, see also http://www.vnmilitaryhistory.net/index.php?topic=25083.90 . 211 Lê Bá Lộc - Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), Báo Cáo Tóm T ắt Quá Trình Chiến Đấu và Hoạt Động Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) Từ 1965-2010 (A Summary Report on the Combat Activities and Operations of the 33 rd Regiment (A57)), Long Khánh, 15 July 2010 – eight pages only; in a presentation format, see Appendix 4. 212 Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), Qu Trình …, op.cit., 2010 – see Appendix 2. Subsequently, that history notes that at the attle of ình a on “6/6/1969”, the 1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment was forced to replace the D440 VC Battalion – and the Regiment lost 53 killed in the fighting. This account is also related in the “Summary History” ie Cựu Chiến Binh, Tóm Tắt … Trung Đoàn 33, op.cit., July 2010 – see Appendix 1, that claims

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The 1969 Summer-Autumn/Long Khánh Campaign – and the 33rd Regiment According to a major Vietnamese history of the War “During the first half of 1969, we launched two waves of operations (the 22 February-30 March Spring wave and the 11 May-25 June wave), causing a limited amount of damage to the enemy.”213 A more recently published account notes that “Phases X (22 February to 30 March) and H (11 May to 25 June) of the Spring-Summer Offensives sought to maintain the strategic initiative.”214 In April 1969, COSVN Headquarters directed the Eastern Nam Bộ Region ((ie equivalent to Saigon’s III CTZ/Military Region 3)) “to concentrate its forces to destroy the pacification programme, to expand and consolidate the liberated regions, and to defeat a phase of the US-puppet’s ‘clear and hold’ plan.”215 This “Summer-Autumn Campaign” was launched at the beginning of May 1969216 – “with the principal ((ie chủ yếu)) area of operations in Tây Ninh and Bình Long Provinces (involving the 9th, 7th and 1st Divisions) … In the secondary ((ie thứ yếu)) area, the 5th Division (reinforced by the newly-created 29th Regiment and a COSVN artillery battalion), had the task of wiping out one or two battalions of the puppet 18th Division and the outlying posts of the 3rd Air Cavalry Brigade - and to support the movement to destroy the enemy’s pacification programme in areas east of Sài Gòn.”217 These “secondary operations” were also termed the “ ong Khánh Campaign: 5 May – 20 June 1969”.218
the enemy were forced to “withdraw to their defences at Núi Đất”. A 33rd Regiment article available at their Memorial at Bình Ba, similarly relates that the 1st Battalion of the Regiment replaced D440 Battalion for the attack on Bình Ba – Lý Lịch Di Tích Khu Tưởng Niệm … Trung Đoàn 33 (33rd Regiment - Background Memorial History), op.cit., 2011, see Appendix 3. The D440 History (2011) similarly acknowledges that D440 was replaced by the 33rd Regiment in the task of occupying Bình Ba village on 5-6 June 1969 - Đảng Ủy – Bộ Chỉ Huy Quân Sự Tỉnh Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu, ịch Sử Tiểu Đoàn 440 Anh Hùng - Bà Rịa-Long Khánh (1967-1979), op.cit., 2011, pp.90-91; as does the Châu Đức History - Nguyễn Công Danh & Lê Minh Nghia (et al), Lịch sử Đấu Tranh Cách Mạng Của Đảng Bộ Và Nhân Dân Huyện Châu Đức (19302000), Nhà Xuất Bản Chính Trị Quốc Giả, Hà Nội, 2004. 213 Pribbenow, M. (Translator), Victory in Vietnam The Official History of the People’s Army of Vietnam 1954-1975, op.cit., 2002, p.244. 214 Lien-Hang Thi Nguyen, Hanoi’s War An International History of the War for Peace in Vietnam, The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 2012, p.130. That work concludes “Although Phases X and H boosted the morale of the troops, communist forces could not maintain pressure on the cities, and by July the VWP ((Vietnam Workers Party)) more or less adopted Giap’s more cautious strategy.”, p.130. 215 th 5 Division History, op.cit., 2005, Chapter 2. 216 The May 1969 Campaign “series of attacks” was ordered by COSVN’s Thường Vụ (Current Affairs/Standing Committee), principally “in Eastern Nam ộ and particularly in Tây Ninh-Bình Long … while, in coordination, forces in Biên Hoà-Long Khánh were to cooperate by destroying routes, drawing-off enemy forces …” - Dương Thanh Tân (ed), ịch sử Đảng bộ ((Đảng Cộng Sản Việt Nam)) tỉnh Đồng Nai (1930-2000), Tập (Volume) II (1954-1975), Chương (Chapter) IV, 2003. 217 th 5 Division History, op.cit., 2005, Chapter 2 – the commander of the 5th VC Division was Trần Minh Tâm. 218 An official listing of the 39 NVA/VC “campaigns” in the South during the War does not include a discrete “ ình a Campaign”, but does include a “ ong Kh nh Campaign 5 May – 20 June 1969” involving the 5th VC Division – but not specifically the 33rd NVA Regiment. Further, the 33rd Regiment is not mentioned in a publication that relates the Long Khánh Campaign and lists the participating forces as:

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In May 1969, the 33rd Regiment’s 1st Battalion received a significant number of reinforcements (two companies) from Infiltration Group 2089 (previously the 407th Battalion of the 5th Regiment of 320B NVA Division). A week later, the 33rd Regiment reportedly attacked US and ARVN armoured vehicles to “destroy armour” at Tân Lập (YT 390079 – near the railway line, about seven kilometres west of Xuân Lộc Town) in Long Khánh Province.219 During the first phase of the Summer-Autumn Campaign (to 25 May 1969), the rd 33 Regiment was hit by a B-52 strike. In mid-May, Australian signals intelligence reportedly “had detected the 33rd NVA Regiment in the H t Dịch region moving toward Phước Tuy Province” – and “in response American B-52s heavily bombed the suspect area.”220 From 25 May, in the second phase of the Campaign, the 5th Division forces began attacks against elements of the 18th Division in the Gia Ray-La Ngà-Định Quán area of eastern Long Khánh Province (see map at Appendix 20) – with “the 5th Regiment and the 33rd Regiment to destroy the 52nd Regiment at Khe Giao-Suối Mơ.”221 According to the 5th Division History (2005): “On 2 June, … The 33rd Regiment was ordered to secretly deploy to the northeast of Gia Ray ((YT 6311)) and attack the forces of the 52nd Task Force [sic] at Suối Cao – and afterwards, to ambush the enemy’s reinforcements to the west of Route 3 ((ie Route 333)). On 5 June, we began the attack … The 33rd Regiment swiftly made a forced march and attacked its objective on time as planned. … On 6 June, the 33rd Regiment ambushed and destroyed an engineer company patrolling along Route 3. ((Route 333)) … The 33rd Regiment conducted a blocking
“COSVN’s 5th Main Force Division, the 29th Infantry Regiment, and the 1st Company of the 24th attalion.” That Campaign reportedly resulted in removing more than a thousand enemy from the battlefield, destroying 47 artillery pieces, 216 military vehicles (including 32 armoured vehicles), 79 aircraft, and the seizure of 113 weapons of various types.” – 60 Năm Quân đội nhân dân Việt Nam anh hùng (hỏi và đ p), Nhà Xuất bản Chính trị Quốc gia (National Political Publishing House), Hà Nội, 2004 (revised 2007), Question 206; and Phạm Vĩnh Phúc, Colonel (ed – et al), Operations in the US Resistance War, NXB Thế Giới, Hà Nội, 2009, pp.87-90 (ie an English translation of: Bộ Quốc phòng - Viện Lịch sử Quân sự Việt Nam (Vietnam Military History Institute – Department of Defence), Tóm tắt các chiến dịch trong kháng chiến chống Mỹ cứu nước (Summary of the Campaigns in the Anti-American War of National Salvation, (1954 - 1975), NX QĐND (People’s Army Publishing House), 2003. That latter publication relates that the Long Khánh Campaign was directed by Nguyễn Thanh i m, “the chief of the 5th Division”. However, Trần Minh Tâm was the 5th VC Division’s commander from November 1967 (acting) until replaced by Nguyễn Văn/Huy iền in July 1969 – 5th Division History, op,cit., 2005. “Nguyễn Thanh i m” was possibly an aka of Phan Liêm – the 33rd Regiment’s political commissar who reportedly moved to the Headquarters of “the Division” in 1969 (see footnotes 145 and 207). 219 According to a POW, seven US and ARVN APCs were damaged; six VC were killed and 10 or more wounded. – ’Epagniol, J. . Major, Interrogation Report, Det 1 Div Int Unit, Núi Đất, 19 June 1969. Those killed may have included Lieutenant Bùi Thanh Khê (section 2ic [ sic] in 1/33rd Regiment – b. 1950, Hải Hưng) and Phạm Văn Thi (platoon commander in 1/33rd Regiment – b. 1942, Hải Hưng) – both killed on 27 May 1969 (based on official death certificates), see MARIN website 2 May 2012: http://www.nhantimdongdoi.org/?mod=chitiet&subcate=3&id=3767. Also – II FFV PERINTREP 21-69. 220 Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, p.205 and Endnote 27 at p.923: citing Lieutenant Colonel (Retd) P.F. de Cure – Interview, pp.17-18, 50-51, 11 February 1994. However, see also footnotes 236 and 364 for further comment on claims of the 33rd Regiment in the “H t Dịch”. 221 The 5th Division History, op.cit., 2005, Chapter 2.

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operation and attacked, destroying 11 armoured vehicles and inflicting heavy casualties on two enemy companies.” However, that 5th Division History (2005) account makes no mention at all of the 33rd Regiment’s operations in Phước Tuy Province in June 1969 – and this seeming anomaly is addressed in the following paragraphs.222 Further, an official government summary indicates that combat activity in Phước Tuy was not part of the Long Khánh Campaign.223 In mid-late 1969, the 33rd Regiment appears not to have been subordinate to the 5th VC Division – but operating as a direct command unit of Military Region 7 or COSVN.224

Reconnaissance: C-20 Company, 33rd NVA Regiment

222

See the following Discussion section. This seeming major omission - or “contradiction”, is also raised in Davies, B. with McKay, G., Vietnam: The Complete Story of the Australian War, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, 2012, p.447. 223 As noted above, “The Campaign involved COSVN’s 5th Main Force Infantry Division, the 29th Infantry Regiment, and the 1st Company of the 24th attalion”. It “was waged on the terrain of Túc Trưng, Định Quán, Gia Lai, and Long Khánh Town and commanded by Headquarters COSVN. It was a campaign to attack and destroy the enemy’s accelerated pacification programme, to further defeat the ‘search and hold’ tactics of the enemy’s ‘Vietnamization of the War’ scheme. The results were: 7,153 enemy killed, 12 captured – and we destroyed 47 artillery pieces (105-155mm), six 81mm mortars, nine heavy machine guns, 216 vehicles (including 32 armoured vehicles), 79 aircraft, and 60 armouries; and seized 113 weapons of various types.” - Vietnam: Historical Events (1967-1969) – see:http://www.thanglonghanoi.gov.vn/channel/21/2009/12/4187/#RRWLQPbdhxEn . 224 See footnote 398 – in late July 1969, a letter from Military Region 7 Headquarters indicated that - for the Autumn-Spring Campaign of 1969, the 33rd Regiment “was directly subordinate to a higher headquarters” – probably COSVN, and “was only designated to cooperate with Military Regiion 7 in certain operational campaigns.” – CDEC Log 10-1611-69.

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The June 1969 Country-wide “High Points” Campaign On 20 May 1969, the planned meeting on Midway Island scheduled for 10 June between the US President Nixon and South Vietnamese President Thiệu was announced in the American press.225 With the formation of the Provisional Revolutionary Government (PRG) also scheduled for early June226, the communist leadership planned a period of “high point” attacks across the South from early to mid-June 1969 “to emphasize the enemy’s ((NVA/VC’s)) continuing capability to conduct offensive action.”227 This required adjustments to - and an intensification of, the ongoing operations of the “Summer-Autumn Campaign” and “ ong Khánh Campaign” launched in the first week of May 1969.228 To direct the “high point” offensive activity in their Bà Rịa-Long Khánh Province, Military Region 7 established a “Campaign Headquarters”.229
225 226

“Nixon to Seek Joint Policy with Thieu in Midway Talk”, New York Times, Washington, 20 May 1969. The PRG’s founding conference was held in the period 6 -8 June, with the PRG’s formation formally announced on 10 June 1969 – for background analysis , including photographs, see USOM, The Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam, Viet-Nam: Documents and Research Notes, Saigon, January 1972, VCAT Item No.2310913001. 227 COMUSMACV. Quarterly Evaluation Report (Second Quarter 1969: 1 April 1969 – 30 June 1969), MACJ3-051, Saigon, 20 August 1969, p.15. 1ATF reported “On the evening of 5/6 June, the enemy opened the June action period throughout the III CTZ with attacks which were probably stated to emphasise the enemy’s continuing capabilities to conduct offensive action throughout South Vietnam, for the benefit of the Presidential meeting at MIDWAY.” – 1ATF, Vietnam Digest, Issue No. 22-69 (period 1st to 6th June 1969), Núi Đất. “Sources indicated that the 5 -9 June highpoint was regarded as the second most significant offensive period of the Summer Campaign, as it was planned to coincide with the Midway Conference between Presidents Nixon and Thieu on 8 June.” - see 25th Infantry Division, Operational Report – Lessons Learned: Period Ending 31 July 1969, 18 December 1969 – VCAT Item No.168300010477. On 18 June, Brigadier General W.E. Potts (J2 – Intelligence, MACV) - briefed VIP visitors to MACV “The enemy plans a three-month spring-summer offensive, May-July, with at least one high point, a ‘brief surge of enemy activity’, per month. The first occurred on the night of 11 -12 May 1969. The second was on the night of 5-6 June 1969. Attacks by fire continue to be the enemy’s primary method of attack … This 5-6 June high point reveals to us the enemy’s declining effectiveness on the battlefield.” Sorley, ., Vietnam Chronicles The Abrams Tapes …, op.cit., 2004, p.211. 228 A US Headquarters IIFFV report later summarized that “A Sum mer Offensive was launched by the enemy on 5 May, with highpoints consisting primarily of attacks by fire occurring twice during the months of May and June and once during July. Losses inflicted on the enemy during June 1969 were the highest since May 1968.” II Field Force Vietnam, Operational Report – Lessons Learned, Period ending 31 July 1969, 17 December 1969, p.19. 229 The “Campaign Headquarters” is mentioned four times in the D440 History (2011) - Đảng Ủy – Bộ Chỉ Huy Quân Sự Tỉnh Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu, ịch Sử Tiểu Đoàn 440 Anh Hùng - Bà Rịa-Long Khánh (19671979), op.cit., 2011, pp.90-92. A 33rd Regiment account also notes that the “Campaign Headquarters” directed the 33rd NVA Regiment to assume the major occupation task at Bình Ba - see Lý Lịch Di Tích Khu Tưởng Niệm … Trung Đoàn 33 (33rd Regiment - Background Memorial History), op.cit., 2011 – see Appendix 3. A Party History – while not specifically mentioning a “Campaign”, related “The Military Committee of COSVN’s Headquarters directed the 33rd COSVN Main Force Regiment to coordinate with the Province’s D440 (ie 2nd attalion) and the Châu Đức District troops to counter-attack on Route 2.” Trần Văn Kh nh (et al), an … à Rịa-Vũng Tàu, ịch sử Đảng bộ tỉnh Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu, Tập II, 19541975, op.cit., 2000, (Chapter VIII). The “Campaign Headquarters” is not specifically titled, but it was probably an element from Headquarters Military Region 7 (although it is not mentioned in the Military Region 7 History). As mentioned, an official listing of the 39 NVA/VC “campaigns” in the South during

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Within Phước Tuy Province (the southern “half” of the VC’s Bà Rịa-Long Khánh Province), a major attack was planned against the village of Bình Ba230 – and the ambush of any 1ATF relief force, with lesser attacks on both Hòa Long231 and Hội Mỹ villages. 33rd Regiment Activities – May 1969 According to US technical intelligence sources, in early May 1969 the 33rd Regiment232 moved from a base just west of the Mây Tào Mountains (vicinity YS 6893) to a location (vicinity YT 3805) about nine kilometres south-west of Xuân Lộc Town – where it remained until about 22 May.233 According to a rallier, on 17 May 1969, at about that location (11 kilometres south-west of Xuân Lộc – YT 387020), two battalions of the 33rd Regiment were hit by a B-52 strike and suffered heavy casualties.234 On 18 May
the War does not include a discrete “ ình a Campaign” – but does include a “ ong Kh nh Campaign 5 May – 20 June 1969” - see: Phạm Vĩnh Phúc (ed - et al), Operations …, op.cit, 2009, pp.87 -90. 230 The village of Bình a (including the hamlets of Đức Mỹ and Đức Trung, but not including Suối Nghệ) – with a total population of about 1,300, was centred at YS 449740 on the western side of Route 2, about 6.5 kilometres north of the 1ATF base at Núi Đất. The village included a large number of masonry and brick houses with tiled roofs, and many of villagers worked in the surrounding rubber plantations and in the rubber processing facility in Đức Trung hamlet (YS 454748 – population 500) on the northern edge of the village. Đức Trung was a “factory village” centred on the installations of the Gallia rubber enterprise. The hamlet of Đức Mỹ (YS 445730) - a few hundred metres south of Bình Ba, had a population of about 350. Suối Nghệ (YS 430715) was a resettlement village with a population of 1,040. See also footnote 246. 231 The D440 History (2011) combines the engagements at Bình Ba and Hòa Long as one battle – ie “In this battle, only our thrust against the enemy in the area of Ấp Bắc hamlet (Hòa Long) achieved a success close to complete.” – Chamberlain, E.P., … D440 …, op.cit., 2012, p.68. 232 y May 1969, Ma Văn Minh had probably been re -assigned to the Military Region and may have been replaced as the 33rd Regiment Commander by Nguyễn Văn Thường – CDEC Log 10-1962-69, and Đinh Văn Đạt was the Regiment’s political commissar with Hồ Minh/Sỹ Tường as an assistant political officer. However, one 33rd Regiment History indicates that Hoàng Cao H ỷ replaced Ma Văn Minh as the Regiment Commander in 1969 - Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57) ), Qu Trình …, op.cit., 2010 – (Appendix 2), see footnote 276. The author’s discussions in 2012 and 2013 with 33 rd Regiment veterans also indicates that Hoàng Cao H ỷ was the 33rd Regiment Commander in June 1969 – see footnotes 276, 466, and 472. 233 The 33rd NVA Regiment was also reportedly identified south-west of Xuân Lộc Town on 11 May 1969 when US forces contacted 33rd Regiment elements at YS 401993, 11 kilometres south-southwest of Xuân Lộc – resulting in 18 NVA/VC killed, one PW, and ten individual weapons recovered. - 1ATF, Vietnam Digest No.19-69, 10-17 May 1969, Núi Đất. 234 Earlier, in the period 8-11 May 1969 - following an engagement with the 43rd ARVN Regiment about 18km north of Xuân Lộc Town (YT 475275) which was supported by B-52 strikes, a total of 221 enemy bodies (unit not reported) were found, some in mass graves – 1ATF, Vietnam Digest No.18-69, Núi Đất, 410 May 1969. According to the rallier noted above – a local force guerrilla present in the area of the airstrike, the 33rd Regiment suffered 50 to 70 killed and 20 bunkers were destroyed - 1ATF, Vietnam Digest No.19-69, Núi Đất,10-17 May 1969. Collateral information confirmed a B-52 strike in that area at that time. As noted earlier, according to the official Australian history “In mid -May, signals intelligence had detected 33 NVA Regiment in the H t Dịch [sic] region moving towards Phước Tuy province. In response, American B-52s heavily bombed the suspect area and SAS patrols subsequently sighted enemy carrying away their wounded.” – Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, p.205 and Endnote 27 at p.923: citing Lieutenant Colonel (Retd) P.F. de Cure – Interview, pp.17-18, 50-51,11 February 1994. However, this is not quite correct – as signals intelligence (SIGINT) records indicate that the Headquarters

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1969, well-coordinated attacks on Xuân Lộc by the 5th VC Division - and on An Lộc (YT 3909) and Tân Lập (YT 4103) by the 33rd Regiment were reported by the 11th US Armored Cavalry Regiment (11ACR).235 During the period 20-25 May, the 33rd Regiment moved about 40 kilometres from south-west of Xuân Lộc Town eastward to a position (vicinity YT 7506) about 30 kilometres east of the Town. On 24 May 1969, 11ACR engaged elements of 33rd NVA Regiment at YT 325024 - 12 kilometres north-west of Blackhorse (ie the major 11ACR base at YS 4396), resulting in 15 enemy KIA236 ; and the 11ACR reportedly “contacted K9 attalion of the 33rd Regiment between 28 May and 2 June east of lackhorse base camp.”237 In the last week of May 1969, 1ATF reported that the 33rd Regiment was located “south of Xuân Lộc (YS 569988)”, with a strength 1,130.238 Summarising the end of May and the 1st of June, 1ATF noted that “A large number of Main Force troops that moved through the area from west to east during the period is [sic] believed to be from 33rd NVA Regiment which has partially relocated from south-west of Xuân Lộc (YT 4408) to

of the 33rd Regiment moved from south-east of Xuân Lộc in early May to the area YT 3805 (about seven kilometres south-west of Xuân Lộc) in mid-May 1969 – ie moving away from Phước Tuy, but in the general area of the reported B-52 strike. On 25 May, the Regiment was located 30 kilometres east of Xuân Lộc. For SIGINT-derived locations of the 33rd Regiment’s movements from late May to early July 1969, see the following map (footnote 364), Appendix 17, and footnotes 240-245. For earlier reporting on B-52 strikes in the Central Highlands in 1965 - and a published eye-witness account, see footnote 74. 235 11ACR, Quarterly Evaluation Report, 24 July 196 9. VCAT Item No.3400112001 “After these attacks ((by the 5th VC Division on Xuân Lộc and the 33rd Regiment on An Lộc and Tân Lập on 18 May 1969)), the enemy retreated to War Zone D and the jungle areas east of the Blackhorse base, respectively. The 11 th ACR contacted K9 Battalion of 33 Regiment between 28 May and 2 June east of the Blackhorse base camp.” Subsequently captured medical records indicated that the 1 st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment had attacked the 411th Regional Forces Company at Tân Lập (YT 3908) on 18 May 1969 - 1ATF, INTSUM No.160-69, Núi Đất, 9 June 1969. 236 1ATF Vietnam Digest No.20-69, 17-24 May 1969, Núi Đất. Two 12.7mm heavy machine guns and two 82mm mortars were also captured - 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, Operational Report for Period Ending 31 July 1969, 18 August 1969 - http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/506335.pdf . 237 According to 11ACR “11ACR operations east of lackhorse between 28 May and 7 June forced elements of the 33rd Regiment from that area, easing pressure on Xuân Lộc.” - 11ACR, Quarterly Evaluation Report, 24 July 1969. On 28 May, 18 NVA/VC of the 33 rd Regiment were reportedly killed at YT 560013; and on 29 May, 20 NVA/VC of 33 rd Regiment’s “D9” (ie 3rd Battalion) were killed at YS 569988. 11ACR reporting summarised that in a 23-day coordinated operation with 18th ARVN Division from 15 May 1969 in the lackhorse Tactical Area of Operational Interest (TAOI), “contacts with the 33 rd NVA Regiment resulted in 124 NVA/VC KIA.” – 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, Operational Report for Period Ending 31 July 1969, 18 August 1969 – see the preceding footnote. As noted earlier, a Hà Nội-based NGO has recorded Lieutenant Bùi Thanh Khê (section 2ic [sic] in 1/33rd Regiment – b. 1950, Hải Hưng) and Phạm Văn Thi (platoon commander in 1/33rd Regiment – b. 1942, Hải Hưng) – as killed on 27 May 1969, see MARIN website 2 May 2012 : http://www.nhantimdongdoi.org/?mod=chitiet&subcate=3&id=3767 . 238 1ATF, Vietnam Digest No.21-69, 24-31 May 1969. “South of Xuân ộc” appears to be in error as the cited grid reference is about 16 kilometres south-east of Xuân Lộc Town. This is an unusual assessment as the Headquarters of the 33rd Regiment had been “fixed” by technical intelligence – ie signals intelligence,on 25 May 1969 in the vicinity of YT 7508 about 30 kilometres east of Xuân L ộc Town.

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northwest of Base Area 302.239 … Conclusions: The Main Force units to the north of the Province will probably utilize the next week for rest, recuperation and refit activities, while continuing to avoid 1ATF and 11ACR operations. 33rd Regiment is expected to continue to attempt to move the balance of its forces east of Route 2 into southern Long Khánh Province.”240 33rd Regiment Moves Towards Bình Ba – Signals Intelligence On 25 May 1969, the headquarters of the 33rd NVA Regiment was located by signals intelligence in south-eastern Long Khánh Province - about 16 kilometres north of the Mây Tào Mountains at YS 7508.241 Through its tactical signals intelligence unit – 547
239

ase Area 302 was located in eastern Phước Tuy Province north of Xuyên Mộc Town. Its camps were principally around the “96 Feature” (YS 6578) and the logistics focal point was north and east of the abandoned village of Thừa Tích (YS 6181). 240 1ATF, Enemy Situation in Phước Tuy Province: 232400H May-012400H June 1969, 3 June 1969. When completing this report, the 1ATF intelligence staff would have received the first signals intelligence (SIGINT) indications that the 33rd Regiment was beginning to move south-east towards Phước Tuy Province. 241 At 1ATF, 547 Signal Troop – a dedicated SIGINT unit, intercepted NVA/VC communications and, through airborne direction finding, was able to determine the location of NVA/VC radio transmitters. The Troop was located adjacent to Headquarters 1ATF in the Núi Đất base with direct reporting access to the 1ATF Commander and his principal operational and intelligence staffs. 33 rd Regiment’s radio communications to higher headquarters and to its subordinate units were principally in morse code (HF band) and used the Chinese 102E 15-watt radio (range 2-12 MHz) and sometimes the US-manufactured AN/GRC-9 (2-12 Mhz, 1-15 watt). The communications traffic was encrypted mostly in a code of four or five “short-figure” groups - Hampstead, ., 547 Signals Troop in Vietnam The Soldiers’ Perspective s – Deployment, Early Days and the Lead-up to Long Tan, Toowoomba, July 2008. Their communications security was reportedly “impeccable” without any “operator chatter”, and used a one -time pad (OTP) system that was “unsolvable” – Richards, T.J. Brigadier (Retd), email to author, 1 May 2012. However, when combat was imminent, the Regiment’s cypher clerks were reportedly sometimes withdrawn and lesser/simpler security codes used – but these were still quite complex. In combat, units would often use lower-powered VHF FM radios - including captured equipment, for voice communications with subordinate elements – which were less liable to interception. For equipment, procedures and techniques, see the 9th VC Division 1966 annual communications report at CDEC Log 03-2865-67, VCAT Item No.F034601031499; and a report on the 23 rd Regiment at VCAT Item No.11271007002. While the content of the 33rd Regiment’s HF radio communications could not normally be decrypted, the sites of transmitters could be accurately fixed by airborne and ground-based radio direction-finding operations. Reportedly, if coding material had not been delivered from COSVN, it was not uncommon for NVA/VC units to employ lower-grade ciphers for extended periods – “manna from heaven for the SIGINT unit at Núi Đất.” – Author’s discussions with 547 Signal Troop veterans, 2011 -2013. Although messages could not be decrypted, intelligence could be gleaned from the “externals” of messages and other factors. Aware of Allied intercept operations, for security NVA/VC units relied principally on couriers - ie rather than radio communications, whenever possible. Since 1965, COSVN had warned formations and units to ensure radio transmitters were “remoted” or “displaced” several kilometres from the location of their h eadquarters. 9th VC Division reported that in 1966 one transmitter site had been struck five times by B-52 raids. Additional to their Chinese short-range man-pack radios (the 71B and the later K-63 – range 25 kilometres), NVA/VC forces commonly used captured radio equipment for voice communications, principally the US AN/PRC-10 and its replacement, the more capable AN/PRC-25. The VHF FM PRC-25 had a range of up to eight kilometres (using the short steel-tape aerial) and up to about 17 kilometres (using the long whip aerial).

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Signal Troop, 1ATF followed the deployment of the 33rd Regiment headquarters as it moved south-west from Long Khánh Province towards Bình Ba village in Phước Tuy Province242 - as indicated on the following map.

Movement of the 33rd Regiment and D440 Battalion towards Bình Ba243

242

According to the Australian Official History (ie Fighting to the Finish, 2012) – in a section titled “The enemy mystery”, that History states “there seemed to be no rationale for their ((the enemy)) actions. Australian commanders and intelligence officers were baffled. During the initial occupation of Bình Ba, 33 NVA Regiment had apparently maintained radio silence, eluding task force signals intelligence.” - Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, p.237. This statement appears to cite a 2007 monograph that claimed “strict radio silence” enabled “elements of the 33 rd NVA Regiment and D440 attalion to occupy the village of ình a without warning.” - Tidey, B., Forewarned Forearmed: Australian Specialist Intelligence Support in South Vietnam 1966-1971, Canberra Papers on Strategic and Defence No.160, Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University, Canberra, December 2007, pp.49-50. However, this is not correct as 547 Signal Troop intercepted the 33rd NVA Regiment’s active communications throughout May and June 1969 as the Regiment approached ình a – see Chamberlain, E. rigadier (Retd), “The attle of ình a a baffling mystery and SIGINT failure – No!”, The ridges Review, Issue 1, Ca nungra, January 2013, pp.91-92 – Appendix 11. 243 The move of Châu Đức District’s C-41 Company to attack Hòa Long on 7 June is also indicated. These deployments are also related at Appendix 11; and in Chamberlain, E.P., … D440 …, 2013, pp.62 -68.

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A 547 Signal Troop analyst/linguist has related244: “On 30 May 1969, the 33rd NVA Regiment was located by airborne directionfinding equipment just inside Phước Tuy Province to the northwest [sic] of Xuyên Mộc. On 1 June 1969, 33rd Regiment was detected in cipher communications with VC Military Region 7 and ‘fixed’ just to the west of the Sông Ray ((River)), but north of Xuyên Mộc. The real drama occurred on 3 June when we were able to brief the Task Force Commander and the GSO2 Intelligence that HQ 33rd NVA Regiment had crossed the Sông Ray ((River)) and was located to the north of 1ATF.245 On 4 June, 547 Signal Troop was able to locate both the HQ of 33rd NVA Regiment and its 1st Battalion at different locations north-west of the pro-Việt Cộng hamlet of Đức Trung ((YS 453748)).246 We were unable to get the other two battalions of 33rd NVA Regiment by direction-finding because, although they were receiving traffic, they did not send any.

33rd Regiment troops crossing the Sông Ray River

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The above comments were made in writing to the author in mid-March 2012 by a knowledgeable former 547 Signal Troop analyst/linguist who had served in the Troop throughout June 1969. 245 A 547 Signal Troop analyst also recounted reporting to the senior 1ATF intelligence officer and his staff that “33 NVA Regiment had crossed the Song Rai [sic]” - Johnson, ., “Operation avarack – Phước Tuy Province,Vietnam – 1969”, op.cit., 2010, p.94. 246 The village of ình a on Route 2 was situated in the southern part of Đức Thạnh District. In 1969, the village comprised three hamlets ình a (located centrally), Đức Mỹ (to the south) and Đức Trung (to the north). Although the District’s population was 52% “Catholic”, ình a village was 90% “ uddhist”. ĐứcTrung was the site of the French-owned Gallia rubber plantation’s processing factory. See also footnote 230.

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On 5 June, the morning airborne direction-finding mission fixed the radio transmitter of the Headquarters of the 33rd NVA Regiment near Đức Trung. All of this was briefed immediately to the Task Force Commander by the 547 Signal Troop operations staff.” Throughout late May to mid-June 1969, the radio transmitters of the VC’s 274 Main Force Regiment247 – a formation of the 5th VC Division formation, had been “fixed” by signals intelligence in their normal operating area far to the north-west – just outside Phước Tuy Province in south-western Long Khánh Province and south-eastern Biên Hòa Province, and 274 Regiment’s communications “traffic did not indicate that it was preparing for combat.”248 The Plan: Disrupted by “Australian Commandos” - and Changed As described in the D440 Battalion History (2011), in late May 1969 D440 was in the Xuyên Mộc area and had been tasked to interdict Route 23 – particularly in the area of the major bridge at Cầu Trọng (YS 599637). However, it was ordered by the “Campaign Headquarters” to abandon that task and move swiftly to the north-west to occupy Bình Ba village and “to prepare for the battle to be launched in coordination with the 33rd Regiment”.249 epice

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In early June 1969, USMACV reported 274 VC Regiment in the Hắc Dịch/Bình Sơn area in southeastern Biên Hòa Province – in the vicinity of YS 3583, with a strength of 900. However a 1ATF intelligence summary reported that “sensors have detected a movement south of the 274 th VC Regiment to the northern and western borders of the Province” – Enemy Situation in Phước Tuy Province: 1-8 June 1969, Núi Đất, 10 June 1969. 6RAR/NZ had also reportedly contacted elements of the 274 th Regiment north of Bình Ba in early June during Operation Lavarack - Johnson, ., “Operation avarack – Phước Tuy Province Vietnam – 1969”, op.cit., 2010. Throughout early June 1969, SIGINT had “fixed” the 274th Regiment in the far south-western corner of Long Khánh Province in the vicinity of YS 3390. However, 6RAR/NZ engaged a large group of 274th Regiment on a resupply mission eastward to the 84th Rear Service Group on 5 June 1969 near the Long Kh nh/Phước Tuy border (YS 473889). In his 2006 memoir, the commanding officer of the 274th Regiment in June 1969 – Nguyễn Nam Hưng (Nguyễn Văn Trịnh) makes no mention of that Regiment’s activities in early June 1969 – but notes that he was hospitalized for an apendectomy operation in May 1969. - Nguyễn Nam Hưng - Major General, Một Đời Chinh Chiến (A Life at War), Nhà Xuất bản Chính trị Quốc gia, Hà Nội, 2006. 248 On the basis of signals intelligence, 547 Signal Troop advised the 1ATF commander and securitycleared staff officers “that 274 Regt transmitters remained in their normal locations, and traffic did not indicate it was preparing for combat. Due to the early warning time provided by the Troop, the Commander 1ATF had several days to prepare and deploy his Ready Reaction Force to any location that the 33rd might attack.” - Hartley, R.W. & Hampstead, B. V., The Story of 547 Signal Troop in South Vietnam 1966-1972, Googong, 2014, p.181. Several years earlier – on 18 August 1966 during the Battle of Long Tân, 547 Signal Troop had similarly advised the Task Force commander that 274 VC Regiment was inactive - emails to the author from Brigadier (Retired) T. J. Richards – OC 547 Sig Tp (1966-67), 24 April 2012, 1 May 2012 (274 Regiment “They appeared to be on R&R”), and 12 July 2013. 249 D440 sent a reconnaissance element northward up Route 328 – in company with a Bà Long Province group, that was ambushed by Australian forces on 29 May 1969 at Thừa Tích village (YS 6180 – referred to by communist elements as Bàu Lâm). The following day, D440’s second-in-command – Ba Kim, was killed by Australian forces a few kilometres farther south at YS 612725. Soon after, 440 Battalion deployed

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Describing the action in the Bình Ba area, a 33rd Regiment monograph related that: “according to the initial attack plan, 440 Battalion was to attack and seize the objectives in the strategic hamlet at Bình Ba – including the post of the 664 Regional Forces Company250, the police post, the office of the ‘Pheonix’251 quisling spies and the
northwards towards Bình Ba, and on 3 June 1969, crossed to the west of Route 2 to its “Tre ase Area (near Châu Lạc hamlet of Xà ang village).” 250 The Regional Forces (RF) were termed the Civil Guard/Civil Defence Force ( Bảo An) until 1964 when they were retitled Regional Forces (Địa Phương Quân) and were transferred from the Ministry of the Interior to the Ministry of Defence – together with the Dân Vệ (Self-Defence Corps) which became the Popular Force (PF - Nghĩa Quân ). Both the RF and the lesser-capable PF – collectively termed Territorial Forces, were armed and uniformed. Throughout the War – and post-War, some Vietnamese communist writings continued to refer to the Regional Forces as “Bảo An”. At the end of 1966, there were 17 Regional Force (RF) companies and 46 Popular Force (PF) platoons in Phước Tuy Province (totaling 4,500 troops) – together with an understrength ARVN battalion (1/43/10 th Division) – ie later retitled the 18th Division – McNeill, I., To Long Tan, Allen & Unwin, St Leonards, 1993, p.403. The locations of all ARVN – including RF and PF elements, in Phước Tuy Province as at 30 November 1966 are recorded in the 1ATF report on ARVN, RF and PF Dispositions in Phước Tuy Sector, R92-1-2, Núi Đất, 31 December 1966 – see AWM95, 1/4/20, folio 40. In mid-1967, the national strength of the RF was 253,664 and the PF 186,365 – with ARVN regular strength at 455,481. The 302 nd Regional Force Battalion was formed in early 1971 and based at The Horseshoe feature from June 1971 – for the larger Regional Forces Group (“Liên Đoàn”), see also footnote 488. For detail on the RF, PF and PSDF – see Ngô Quang Trường - Lieutenant General, Territorial Forces, Indochina Monographs, U.S. Army Center of Military History, Washington D.C., 1981. There was no “664 Regional Force (RF) Company” in the ình a area. 655 RF Company – strength 106, was located in Đức Trung hamlet (YS 446747 - the northern hamlet of Bình Ba village); and 626 RF Company – strength 98, was located at Suối Nghệ (YS 434716) about two kilometres south of Bình Ba village. 251 The Pheonix (“Phượng Hoàng”) programme – see USMACV, Phung Hoang Advisor Handbook, Saigon, 20 November 1970, was targeted against the communists’ political infrastructure - ie termed the Việt Cộng Infrastructure (VCI). The VCI – hạ tầng cơ sở, was the covert political and administrative organisation that led the resistance movement – ie distinct from armed units. It included government, Party and Front members – as well as lower-level functionaries. The VCI provided military elements with funds, food, recruits, intelligence, refuge and guides. Politically, it prepared for an eventual assumption of power with an organisation to replace the government of the Republic of Vietnam. VCI were defined by South Vietnamese Presidential Decree Law 280-a/TT/SL of 20 December 1967. See also the preceding US ICEX programme: MACV Directive 381-41, 9 July 1967 (VCAT Item No.2234306060); and United States Mission in Vietnam, The Viet Cong Infrastructure, Saigon, June 1970. The VCI were monitored by the Special Collection Plan Against the Viet Cong Infrastructure and Guerrilla Forces: Nickname - BIG MACK, see MACV instruction MACJ212-2 dated 27 August 1970 – VCAT Item No. 2121015002. In October 1967, the MACV J-2 Order of attle Summary removed the “political” category (39,175 in May 19 67) from their enemy military threat assessements and established a separate “VCI” category – assessed as 84,000 country-wide in October 1967 (ie to include the previous “Self -Defense” and “Secret Self-Defense” categories - as these were “by definition, ‘home -guards’ and low-level fifth-columnists” … “not a fighting force and are not considered a military threat” – MACV J-2 Monthly Order of Battle Summary, Saigon, 31 October 1967 – VCAT Item No.250011006. As at 31 January 1969, MACV estimated VCI strength countrywide as 83,000 – Office of the Secretary of Defense, Study Improving South Vietnam’s Internal Security Scene, Washington, 5 May 1970 - VCAT Item No.2121516002. On 23 January 1971, COMUSMACV was briefed that “Nationally, there are 3.4 VCI per 1,000 SVN population.” - Sorley, L., Vietnam Chronicles The Abrams Tapes …, op.cit., 2004, p.524. Subsequently, the MACV Summary of VCI Activities: 3-72, 9 June 1972, reported 63,295 VCI countrywide as at 15 November 1971 - VCAT Item No.F015800190914. The Summary included 830 VCI in Phước Tuy Province. For Phước Tuy Province –

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defensive positions of the People’s Self-Defence Force (PSDF)252 – a company had the task to remain, hold on, and lure the enemy forces at the Long Lễ and Đức Thạnh SubSectors and the Australians at Núi Đất to come their aid and thus create the conditions for the 33rd Regiment to conduct an ambush battle from the Sông Cầu hamlet [sic] up to Đức Mỹ hamlet. The remainder of 440 Battalion would attack the enemy in the area adjacent to Bình Ba village.”253 “The Châu Đức local forces would have the responsibility for coordinated attacks in the area of Ấp Bắc hamlet of Hòa Long Village.”254 The Campaign Headquarters chose 440 Battalion principally because the cadre and soldiers of the Battalion were proficient, familiar with the terrain - and the tactic of “attacking a post and destroying reinforcements” was 440 attalion’s “forté”.255 However, according to the D440 Battalion History (2011) and 33rd Regiment Histories256, at dawn on 4 June, D440 was surprised by “an Australian commando company” that swept into D440’s camp west of Route 2.257 Consequently, “the Campaign Headquarters adjusted the plans for the force to attack Bình Ba. This now involved an element of the 1st Battalion258 of the 33rd
see also 1ATF’s anti-VCI “Acorn operations”, in Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, pp.35-39. 252 The Sài Gòn Government’s People’s Self-Defence Force (PSDF - Nhân Dân Tự Vệ - often termed Phòng Vệ Dân Sự by the communist side) was established in July 1968 after the mid-year General Mobilisation (ie post-Tết 1968). Deployed in platoons in the villages and hamlets, the PSDF encompassed males aged 16-17 and 39-50 years. See the PSDF Handbook – 1969, VCAT Item No.14040111001. 253 Lý Lịch Di Tích Khu Tưởng Niệm … Trung Đoàn 33 (33rd Regiment - Background Memorial History), op.cit., 2011, p.8 – see Appendix 3. The passage in the D440 History (2011) at pp.90-91 is almost identical. The Sông Cầu stream crosses Route 2 at the bridge at YS 437692 – about 100 metres north of the abandoned Ấp An Phú hamlet on the northern edge of the 1ATF base at Núi Đất. Đức Mỹ hamlet – population 350, is to the north of the Sông Cầu, on Route 2 at YS 445736. The distance between the Sông Cầu ridge and Đức Mỹ hamlet is about 3.5 kilometres. 254 D440 History (2011), p.90. This sentence does not appear in Lý L ịch Di Tích Khu Tưởng Niệm … Trung Đoàn 33 (33rd Regiment - Background Memorial History), op.cit., 2011 – see Appendix 3. For the attack on Hòa Long, see also footnotes 261, 320, and 323 for the account in the Châu Đức History (2004). 255 Lý Lịch Di Tích Khu Tưởng Niệm … Trung Đoàn 33 (33rd Regiment - Background Memorial History), op.cit., 2011, pp.8-9 – see Appendix 3; the passage in the D440 History (2011), pp.90-91 is identical. 256 This event is also noted by 33rd Regiment historians in Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57), Qu Trình …, op.cit., 2010, p.9 – see Appendix 2 “before commencing the operation, D440 had to fight against an enemy sweep into their base area, so the 33 rd Regiment assigned its 1st Battalion to replace D440 in that urgent situation.”; and in ý ịch Di Tích Khu Tưởng Niệm … Trung Đoàn 33 (33rd Regiment - Background Memorial History), op.cit., 2011, p.9 – see Appendix 3. 257 1ATF’s 6RAR/NZ (Operation avarack) engaged several groups of enemy east of Rout e 2 and west and north-west of Xà Bang village (ie in the vicinity of D440’s Tre ase Area – YS 4285) in the period 31 May-5 June 1969 – see 6RAR/NZ War Diary, AWM95, 7/6/22. “Commandos” – literally “biệt kích”, is a term used in several Vietnamese communist military histories to describe regular Australian infantry troops in small-scale operations – ie as well as Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) troops (who were also reportedly called “ma rừng” – phantoms/ghosts of the jungle). 258 The 1st Battalion – cover designator Vĩnh Phú, was also known as the 7 th Battalion – and J7. Its subordinate companies also used the prefix “V” as a cover designator – CDEC Log 09-1659-69. According to captured documents, its executive officer (2ic) in August 1969 – following the Battle of Bình Ba, was Senior ieutenant ùi Đức Nhật (from 24 April 1969). According to a 1 st Battalion operations cadre – Trần Văn Hợp, the 1st attalion’s strength on 2 September 1969 (ie “post- ình a”) was 326 - and armed with: 103 AK-47s, 44 CKCs, nine light machine guns, two heavy machine guns, 11 B-40s, five B-41s, three

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Regiment – led by Battalion commander Comrade Triệu Kim Sơn259, being given the task of attacking the post – replacing 440 Battalion. … However, because they had to repel the attack that came out of the blue, the Campaign Headquarters changed the forces at the last minute. The 1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment was given the task of attacking Bình Ba – while 440 Battalion replaced the 1st Battalion and was given the task of fighting the enemy at the reinforcement blocking position on Route 2 (the area adjacent to Bình Ba), together with the 2nd Battalion of the 33rd Regiment commanded by Comrade Quách Thái Sơn.”260 The Châu Đức History (2004) similarly makes reference to a planned “ambush”: “On 5 June 1969, the 33rd Regiment (a main force regional unit) and the Province’s 2nd Battalion (D440) Battalion, conducted an ambush west of Inter-Provincial Route 2 from Đức Mỹ hamlet to Bình Ba village and despatched a company to the centre of Bình Ba to attack the post of the 664th Regional Forces unit with the aim or luring the Australians to provide reinforcements - and for our elements to then ambush and destroy them.”261

60mm mortars, and two 82mm mortars – CDEC Log 09-1636-69. A report by Senior ieutenant ùi Đức Nhật also noted that the 1st Battalion also held 21 K-54 pistols - CDEC Log 09-1649-69. 259 Triệu Kim Sơn subsequently commanded the 3rd Battalion of the 33rd Regiment during the engagement with 1ATF’s 4RAR/NZ in late September 1971 at Núi Sao/Núi Lê in late September 1971 in northern Phước Tuy Province. In 1972-1977, he was the deputy commander of the 33rd Regiment - Quá Trình Hình Thành … Trung Đoàn 33, op.cit., 2010 – see Appendix 2. In 2013, Triệu Kim Sơn was reportedly living in Vĩnh Phú Province in northern Vietnam. 260 Lý Lịch Di Tích Khu Tưởng Niệm … Trung Đoàn 33 (33rd Regiment - Background Memorial History), op.cit., 2011, p.9. This document – and the presence of the 2 nd attalion under Qu ch Th i Sơn, is also cited in Davies, B. with McKay, G., Vietnam: The Complete Story …, op.cit., 2012, pp.446-447. A passage in the D440 History (2011), p.91 is identical to that in the aforementioned “ ý ịch Di Tích …” document (see Appendix 3) - ie including reference to the 2nd Battalion task under Qu ch Th i Sơn to set an ambush on Route 2. The presence of the 2nd attalion in central Phước Tuy is also noted in an article by a former Australian 6RAR/NZ officer ie “the 2nd Battalion ((of 33rd NVA Regiment)) ((was)) to secure a base for their ((33rd Regiment’s)) safe withdrawal afterwards.” - Johnson, ., “Operation avarack – Phước Tuy Province,Vietnam – 1969”, op.cit., 2010, p.94. The official Australian account of the attle of ình a is in Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, pp.203-240. However, that account does not specifically mention the involvement in the Battle of D440 Battalion in its main text (but see Appendix 1, p.859) - nor is there any mention at all of the 2nd Battalion of the 33rd Regiment and a planned ambush by that unit on Route 2. For a reported post-engagement admonishment of Qu ch Th i Sơn (the 2 nd Battallion commander) by higher authorities, see footnote 385. In the period 1970-1971, he was noted as a Deputy Chief of Staff of the 33rd Regiment - Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), Qu Trình …, op.cit., 2010 – see Appendix 2. Quách Thái Sơn (b.1946 in Thanh Hóa Province) was killed on 27 May 1972 at Việt Cương hamlet, Châu Đức District. 261 Châu Đức History (2004), pp.173-174. That History also adds “However, the Australians did not enter our ambush as planned, and our company in the hamlet suffered heavy casualties – consequently tens of our cadre and soldiers were killed, and we were forced to withdraw our troops. … At ong ễ Sub-Sector, the Châu Đức District troops entered and occupied Ấp Bắc hamlet of Hòa Long village and repelled eight counter-attacks by the puppet troops.”

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The Early June 1969 “High Point” Begins Citing US assessments262, 1ATF reported: “On the evening of 5/6 June, the enemy opened the June action period throughout the III CTZ with attacks which were probably staged to emphasise the enemy’s continuing capabilities to conduct offensive action throughout South Vietnam, for the benefit of the Presidential meeting at MIDWAY. … During the week, there were 122 enemy-initiated attacks in III Corps compared to 87 in the preceding week. Of these, there were 33 significant mortar attacks and 27 rocket attacks compared to 15 and 12 respectively the previous week. … Heaviest ground attacks occurred in Tây Ninh by 272 VC Regiment and 88 NVA Regiment.”263 In the early hours of 5 June 1969, 1ATF’s 6RAR/NZ clashed with 33rd Regiment rear service elements near the Phước Tuy/Long Kh nh border about one kilometre west of Route 2 (YS 442888) – the Regiment’s first reported engagement with Australian forces in Phước Tuy Province in June 1969.264 Later that morning, about five kilometres farther south-west (YS 424844), 6RAR/NZ attacked a defended bunker complex occupied reportedly by elements of the 1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment and support elements – however, the presence of the 1st Battalion was unconfirmed.265 A 33rd Regiment history monograph has related: “At about 4pm on 5 June, 33rd Regiment’s combat forces left their base (in the present-day Hắc Dịch area266) and were
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“In June ((1969)), activity continued at a high level with a high point on the night of 5 June when 62 indirect fire attacks and three significant ground attacks were launched. This period of the summer campaign was probably staged for the benefit of the Presidential meeting at Midway on 8 June to emphasize the enemy’s continuing capability to conduct offensive action.” – COMUSMACV, Quarterly Evaluation Report (Second Quarter 1969), MACJ3-051, 20 August 1969. 263 1ATF, Vietnam Digest, Issue No.22-69 (period 1st to 6th June 1969), Núi Đất. More specifically, HQ 1ATF concluded “The occupation of ình a (YS 4474) by elements of 1 n 33 NV A Regt, the Bình Ba Guerrillas and the ình a Village Committee was instigated as part of the current enemy high point.” – HQ 1ATF War Diary, Enemy Situation 1-8 June 1969, 10 June 1969, para 2.e. (AWM95, 1-4-156, folio G32). However, the VC Military Region 7 History (“MR7 50 years”) only notes COSVN Resolution 7/1969 directing four campaigns in the Spring 1969-Spring 1970 period – ie no mention of a 1969 “high point” campaign – see Military Region 7 Headquarters (Quân Khu 7), 50 Năm ực ương Võ Trang Quân Khu 7 - The Armed Forces of Military Region 7: 50 Years, Wattpad, 1995. A COSVN Directive 81/88 apparently refined their Summer 1969 Campaign. For NVA/VC “high point” attacks in Tây Ninh Province in June 1969 – see US 25th Infantry Division, Operational Report …, op.cit., 18 December 1969 – VCAT Item No.168300010477 “On 6-7 June – “two nights of intensive engagements at FS Crook (XT 055595) with 88th NVA Regiment resulted in 407 NVA KIA ( C).” 264 1ATF, INTSUM No.160-69, Núi Đất, 9 June 1969; Appendix 1 to Annex A, 6RAR After Action Report - Ops 14, 3 July 1969 – AWM95, 7/6/22, p.14. Earlier, in late February 1969, Australian troops (4RAR) had clashed with the 33rd Regiment in Biên Hòa Province – see footnotes 195 and 196. 265 Johnson, ., “Operation avarack – Phước Tuy Province Vietnam – 1969”, op.cit., 2010, pp.94-95 – cites the presence of the 1st attalion, but neither the 6RAR/NZ “Contact and Incidents Summary” Appendix 1 to Annex A, 6RAR After Action Report - Ops 14, 3 July 1969 (AWM95, 7/6/22) nor 1ATF intelligence reports identified the NVA/VC force involved. However, it is highly probable that 6RAR/NZ had engaged a D440 Battalion camp – although the D440 accounts report the engagement as occuring on 4 June - see Chamberlain, E.P., The Viet Cong D440 Battalion: Their Story, Point Lonsdale, 2013, p.62 including analysis at footnotes 148 and 149. 266 The Hắc/Hắt Dịch area was defined by USMACV as the area bounded by coordinates YS 1790 – YS 4690 – YS 2572 and YS 4572, containing the jungle area south of the ình Sơn Rubber Plantation and east of Route 15 to Route 2 with the Núi Thị Vải Mountains on the south. In referring to the “Hắc Dịch area”,

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led through the jungle by liaison cadres to the battle area. After four hours, our troops reached their assembly area close to their objective on the Bình Ba battlefield and awaited their orders to attack.”267 According to a captured VC document – a report by the commander of the C-195 Reconnaissance and Special Delivery Company of Military Region 7 “Action commenced on the night of 5 June when Tay [sic]268 attempted to fire five rockets into the village. All misfired/failed to fire.” C-195 then participated in the attack – with the “entire regiment”.269 In Phước Tuy Province – about 20 kilometres south-southeast of Bình Ba village, at 0015hrs on 6 June, 25-30 82mm mortars rounds were fired into 9RAR’s Fire Support Base Thrust at YS 500550 near the Long Hải Mountains. This appeared to be in support of an attack by elements of the VC D445 Battalion on a Rural Development (RD)270
33rd Regiment historians were probably only referring to the area north-west of Bình Ba village. As noted, the 33rd Regiment had moved south-west from ong Kh nh Province into Phước Tuy Province, crossed Route 2 and established an assembly area several kilometres north-west of Bình Ba village. As noted above, in two engagements on the morning of 5 June, 6RAR/NZ (Operation Lavarack – with its support base at FS Virginia located at YS 437801) engaged “A57” (33 rd Regiment) elements near the Phước Tuy-Long Khánh border, resulting in a total of four enemy killed. – Appendix 1 to Annex A, 6RAR After Action Report - Ops 14, 3 July 1969 – AWM95, 7/6/22, see the preceding footnotes 264 and 265. That evening (1930hrs 5 June), D Company of 6RAR/NZ reportedly engaged a 30-strong element of the 33rd Regiment moving westward at YS 473889 (about a kilometre east of Route 2, and about a kilometre south of the Province border) – six NVA soldiers were killed and two wounded soldiers were captured. – 1ATF, INTSUM No.157/69, Núi Đất, 6 June 1969. However the NVA/VC force in that engagement was later identified as elements of the 274th VC Regiment – Appendix 1 to Annex A, 6RAR/NZ After Action Report - Ops 14, 3 July 1969. 267 Lý Lịch Di Tích Khu Tưởng Niệm … Trung Đoàn 33 (33rd Regiment - Background Memorial History), op.cit., 2011, p.9 – see Appendix 3. According to the Australian official history, the 1 st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment departed its “Initial Assembly Area” in the vicinity of YS 4076 at 3pm on 5 June and moved to a “Forward Assembly Area” in the vicinity of YS 425750, departing that Forward Assembly Area at 3am on 6 June – Ekins, A with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, Map 7.3 (Top – Probable Dispositions of 1 Battalion, 33 NVA Regiment, 5-7 June 1969), p.215. This information appears to have been inferred principally from Khan, C.N. - Lieutenant Colonel, 5RAR Combat After Action Report 6/69 – Operation Hammer, Ấp An Phú, 11 June 1969 , Annex A – Intelligence Summary (9 June 1969) – AWM95, 7/5/27; Map 1 - Battle, M.R. & Wilkins, D.S. (eds), The Year of the Tigers, Trojan Press, Thomastown, 2009, p.347; and a recovered sketch map (1:25,000 scale) – 1ATF, INTSUM No.160/69, Núi Đất, 9 June 1969, para 7. 268 Possibly the chief-of-staff of the 2nd Battalion of the 33rd Regiment. 269 According to that document – as reviewed in 1ATF INTSUM No.195/69, C-195 participated in the attack on Bình Ba - together with the “entire regiment” (ie 33rd Regiment), and C -195 suffered 12 killed and 11 wounded at Bình Ba. A few weeks after the Battle, the C-195 Company commander was killed by Australian forces (5RAR) on 25 June 1969 at YS 294712 – 1ATF, INTSUM No.195/69, Núi Đất, 14 July 1969. C-195 troops had earlier been killed on 1 June 1969 at YS 409887 about 15 kilometres north-west of Bình Ba by Australian 6RAR/NZ elements – 1ATF, INTSUM No.157/69, Núi Đất, 6 June 1969. C195’s role may have included liaison tasks between the Campaign Headquarters and the attacking force. Australian forces later killed the commander (Lâ m Văn Doi) of C-195 – the “Special Sapper Reconnaissance Company”, on 21 November 1969 at YS 438868 – together with the Military Region 7 Deputy Chief of Staff and the Deputy Chief of Political Staff - 1ATF, INTSUM No.326/69, Núi Đất, 22 November 1969. 270 The Rural Development (RD) Cadre (Cán Bộ Xây Dựng Nông Thôn) - earlier termed Revolutionary Development Cadre, had been established on 4 January 1966 in “New ife” hamlets to train village self -

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Cadre compound (YS 512544) and an ARVN outpost (of the 2nd Battalion/52nd Regiment) in the Hội Mỹ area. However, 1ATF “Confidential”-level reporting on the 33rd Regiment at the beginning of the “High Point” was somewhat unclear. At the end of the first week of June 1969, Headquarters 1ATF reported that: the 33rd NVA Regiment was located south of Xuân Lộc (YS 4474), with a strength of 1,075 - “33rd Regiment is operating in a split configuration with two battalions located in base areas east of Blackhorse and a third battalion west of Route 2 in north-west Phước Tuy Province. 33 Regiment will probably remain in its base area for a time to refit and resupply after its actions in May. … On 6-7 June 1ATF and RF troops engaged an enemy force at YS 440740 6.5 km north of Núi Đất … Enemy troops were identified as belonging to 1-33 NVA Regt”.271 The Battle of Bình Ba Begins – and a Failed Ambush on Route 2 ? At 0810hrs on 4 June, the Australian 6RAR/NZ liaison officer at the Đức Thạnh District headquarters at Ngãi Giao advised 1ATF Headquarters that 33rd Regiment elements were located at YS 563874 about 17 kilometres north-east of Bình Ba village and about four kilometres south of the Phước Tuy/Long Kh nh border.272 According to a 33rd Regiment history monograph “On the night of 5/6 June, the 1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment – directly led by Comrade Bảy Tiểu273, the Battalion deputy commander; and Comrade Miền - the Battalion political officer, opened fire and attacked the objectives in Bình Ba village.”274 As noted earlier, the 1st Battalion was commanded by Triệu Kim Sơn.275 The 33rd Regiment commander was reportedly Hoàng
defence elements. See VCAT Item No.13510124002 and VCAT Item No.13510123005. The 59-man RD Cadre groups (đoàn) in the villages – first deployed in May 1966, also progressed the Sài Gòn Government’s political, social and economic programmes. The original RD Cadre group of 59 was scaled down to 30 with the Accelerated Pacification Programme (see footnote 158), and to 10 at the beginning of 1971. For RD Cadre organisation, numbers and activities in Phước Tuy Province to the end of 1966, see McNeill, I., To Long Tan, op.cit., 1993, pp.420-422. For detail on support by US and Vietnamese forces to “Pacification” – see USMACV, Handbook for Military Support to Pacification – February 1968 (41 pages), Saigon, February 1969 – VCAT Item No.13530108003. 271 1ATF, Vietnam Digest, Issue No.22-69 (period 1st to 6th June 1969), Núi Đất (Confidential). 272 1ATF, G (OPS) Log Sheet 22, Serial 312. This report probably resulted from a 6RAR/NZ clash. 273 Bảy Tiểu (see Appendix 22) – is a nickname “Seven Tiểu”. As with most Vietnamese, NVA/VC cadre, soldiers and infrastructure personnel usually had two-word nicknames/aliases (aka)/pseudonyms (tự, bí danh). Invariably, these comprised a number (from 2 to 10) – or occasionally “Út” (meaning “youngest”) as the first word, followed by their given name. This reflected their “birth order” in their fami ly (with the father consider number “One”). For example, the nickname “Anh Hai” is “ rother Two” and “Tư Nghĩa” is “Four Nghĩa”. Party members often also had a secure cover -name – ie an additional “full” Vietnamese name of three words. See the 1965-1966 Military Region 1 (later Military Region 7) staff list that shows NVA ranks, names, full cover-names, nicknames, “aka”s, and Party status - CDEC Log 03-1341-66. 274 Lý Lịch Di Tích Khu Tưởng Niệm … Trung Đoàn 33 (33rd Regiment - Background Memorial History), op.cit., 2011, p.9 – see Appendix 3. 275 See footnote 259. However, at a 33rd Regiment Veterans’ Reunion in Phúc Thọ (Hà Nội) in late July 2013, Nguyễn Huy Thản declared that he had been the commander of the Regiment at the time of the Battle of Bình Ba, was present at the attle, and had “directly” led the 7 th (ie the 1st Battalion). See: Tạ Tường

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Cao Hỷ.276 The D440 Battalion History (2011) related that: “On the night of 5 June 1969, the 1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment opened fire and attacked its objectives in Bình Ba hamlet. Surprised by our fierce attack, the enemy in Bình Ba village quickly disintegrated – with some fleeing and others huddling down to await a relief force. We took complete control of the battlefield that very night.”277 A 33rd Regiment soldier from its 1st Battalion – captured on 6 June, related that on the morning of 4 June he had been told that his 1st attalion was “going on a proselytising mission” to Bình a, and “after entering the village, the unit divided into cells to work with the local VC in the people’s houses. Just before the fighting started, he had heard local VC broadcasting propaganda.”278 According to the Châu Đức District History (2004), local village guerrillas were also involved in the occupation of ình a village on 5 June 1969 “Comrade Nguyễn Thị Thiên – the Secretary of the Bình Ba Village Party Committee, and a number of the village guerrillas were killed - together with Comrade Bình – a member of the District Standing Committee and Commander of the District Public Security element, while holding out against the enemy.”279 Early on the morning of 6 June 1969, an Australian aircraft conducted a routine low-level reconnaissance flight up Route 2 without incident.280 At 0720hrs on 6 June 1969, two Australian Centurion medium battle tanks (callsigns 20E, 8D) travelling north up Route 2 through Bình Ba toward the 6RAR/NZ Fire Support Base (FSB) Virginia (YS

Mạnh, Gặp mặt CC Trung Đoàn 33 anh hùng lần thứ 3 Hà Nội (Họp Mặt Truyền Thống Cựu Chiến BinhBạn Chiến Đấu Trung Đoàn 33 – TP Hà Nội, Lần Thứ 3, Ngày 21/7/2013), 21 July 2013, published on 6 October 2013. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTv88UxE4pQ - 22.10 minutes. 276 There has been some confusion on who commanded the Regiment in June 1969 – eg: see the preceding footnote for the claim by Nguyễn Huy Thản. Captured documents also suggested that Nguyễn Văn Thường may have been the Regiment commander in mid-1969 – see footnotes 209 and 232. Hoàng Cao H ỷ is recorded as the 33rd Regiment Commander in Tổ Chức Ban Chỉ Huy Trung Đoàn 33 Qua C c Thời Kỳ (The Headquarters Organisation of the 33rd Regiment in Past Years) in Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57) ), Qu Trình …, op.cit., 2010 – see Appendix 2 and Appendix 16. In response to the author’s query, Võ Xuân Thu confirmed with ộc (both 33rd Regiment Veterans’ Association principals and members of the 2013-2014 History Writing Team – see footnote 4) that Hoàng Cao H ỷ was the Regiment’s commander at the time of the Battle of Bình Ba and that Nguyễn Văn Thường was then the Regiment’s chief-of-staff. – email advice to the author from Võ Xuân Thu, 23 November 2013. For Hoàng Cao H ỷ, see also footnotes 232, 466, and 472. 277 Chamberlain, E.P., … D440 …, op.cit, 2013, pp.64-65; and D440 History (2011) – ie Vietnamese – language edition, pp.91-92. 278 1ATF INTSUM No.165/69, Núi Đất, 14 June 1969; ’Epagniol, J. . Major, Interrogation Report, Núi Đất, 19 June 1969. The POW stated that his unit had entered Bình Ba village at about 0700hrs on 5 June [sic – but probably 6 June] where “the unit split into cells to work with the local VC in the people’s houses. About 0800hrs, the local VC began broadcasting propaganda when gunfire started in all directions .” 279 Nguyễn Công Danh et al, Lịch sử … Châu Đức (1930-2000), op.cit., 2004. A member of the Bà Long Military Proselytising Section was also killed in the Battle – 1ATF, INTSUM No.160/69, Núi Đất, 9 June 1969. 280 A Cessna 180D aircraft from 1ATF’s 161 Reconnaissance Flight flew a route-checking flight at first light every morning.

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437801) were engaged in Bình Ba by small arms and rocket propelled grenade (RPG)281 fire.282 At 8.15am on 6 June, the 1ATF liaison officer at the Đức Thạnh Sub-Sector/ District headquarters – about four kilometres north of Bình Ba village, reported that Vietnamese Territorial Forces (ie RF/PF) were engaging enemy elements on the southwestern edge of Bình Ba village, and that there were “an estimated two VC platoons – some in Bình a hamlet.”283 At 1ATF, the Task Force Ready Reaction Force (RRF) – D Company of 5RAR commanded by Major M.P. Blake, was briefed at 0900hrs and placed on stand-by.284 The RRF was to “clear an estimated two enemy platoons from the village.”285 At about 1000hrs286, the Đức Thạnh District Chief – Major Trần Văn Ngô, requested Australian APC assistance in clearing the enemy from Bình Ba.287 At 1000hrs, the RRF – with the infantry mounted in M113A1 APCs, left the Núi Đất base and moved north up Route 2 in “line ahead” - ie a single column, at “best speed”.288 The column
281

The NVA/VC employed two types of Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG). The RPG-2 (B40) was an 80mm (warhead), 1.84kg (warhead weight), shoulder-fired RPG with a maximum effective range against stationary targets of 150m and capable of penetrating 180mm of armour. The RPG-7 (B41) was an 85mm (warhead), 2.25kg (warhead weight), shoulder-fired RPG with a maximum effective range of 500 metres and capable of penetrating 300mm of armour. Both were also effective anti-personnel weapons – ie by fragmentation. 282 The leading tank - 20E, was struck by an RPG when passing through Bình Ba village, but drove north to the Đức Thạnh Sub-Sector/District Headquarters (YS 464779 - about four kilometres farther north) – where the tank commander reported the incident to Major Tr ần Văn Ngô (the Sub-Sector/District Commander) who deployed Regional Force troops to investigate. The other tank - 8D, an armoured recovery vehicle, came under fire just short of Bình a village, returned to the 1ATF base at Núi Đất, and reported to the HQ 1ATF staff. Both were vehicles of B Squadron, 1st Armoured Regiment – for detail, see Cameron, B., Canister ! On ! Fire !, Big Sky Publishing, Newport, 2012, Chapter 13 - “ ình a Close-in Fighting”; Ekins, A with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, p.211; and Davies, B. with McKay, G., Vietnam The Complete Story …, op.cit., 2012, pp.440 -442. The incident was not recorded in the HQ 1ATF Operations Log until 0830hrs. 283 HQ 1ATF, 6 June 1969, G (Ops) Log Sheet, Sheet 38, Serial 536 (AWM95,1/4/153). The VC were engaged by Vietnamese Territorial Force elements (reportedly two platoons from the 655th Regional Force Company - based at YS 445746, 106-strong; and elements of 39th Popular Force (PF) Platoon – YS 453748, 32-strong); with artillery support from the Đức Thạnh base (YS 464779). 284 The RRF comprised: D Company 5RAR (only 65-strong due to other commitments); a small artillery forward observer group from 105th Field Battery (RAA); 13 M113A1 APCs of 3 Troop/B Squadron/3rd Cavalry Regiment; and a composite troop of tanks from B Squadron, 1st Armoured Regiment - initially three Centurion tanks: Callsign 21 (2LT B. Sullivan), 22 (2LT D. Ritchie), 21C (CPL G. Bennett), and subsequently joined by a fourth which had been under repair (22B - CPL B. Bennier) at Bình Ba village. For detail see Cameron, B., Canister ! On ! Fire !, op.cit., 2012, Chapter 13 - “ ình a Close-in Fighting”. 285 “D Coy (Ready Reaction Force) under operational control CO 6RAR …” - 5RAR Commander’s Diary Narrative, 1000hrs 6 June 1969 - AWM95, 7/5/25. 286 According to the D440 attalion History (2011) “At 6am on 6 June 1969 – just as we had planned, the Australian forces from Núi Đất sent their tanks north to relieve ình a.” – see Vietnamese edition, p.92. 287 HQ 1ATF, 1ATF Operations og Sheet, Sheet 39, Serial 551, Núi Đất, 6 June 1969. 288 The mounted infantry moved at “best speed” up Route 2 to Đức Mỹ hamlet - ie not “spread out” (author’s correspondence with Major (Retd) R. De Vere MC, OAM (Captain in 1969) – the officer commanding 3/B/3rd Cavalry Regiment, 26 July 2012. See also: Anderson, P., When the Scorpion Stings: The History of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment - South Vietnam 1965-1972, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, 2002, p.170.

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halted at Ấp Suối Nghệ (YS 434716 - about 2.5 kilometres south of Bình Ba village) “to await further orders” - where they were joined by the RRF’s three Centurion tanks.289 With the three tanks leading, the column290 continued north and – although engaged briefly from the left of the road near Đức Mỹ hamlet (YS 445736), continued north to the southern edge of Bình Ba village.291 As noted earlier, according to a 33rd Regiment history monograph, the initial plan was for the “33rd Regiment to conduct an ambush battle from the Sông Cầu hamlet up to Đức Mỹ hamlet”292 – including on Australian forces lured north from their Núi Đất base. That plan was similarly described in the D440 Battalion History (2011).293 In the revised plan, the 2nd Battalion of the 33rd Regiment commanded by Quách Thái Sơn – and supported by elements of D440 Battalion, was to conduct the ambush. Several Vietnamese accounts relate that the planned ambush was not initiated ie:

289

The three tanks had left the 1ATF base through the western gate – and did not join the RRF main body until Ấp Suối Nghệ - Major (Retd) R. De Vere MC OAM (commanding 3/B/3rd Cavalry Regiment in June 1969), email to author, 26 July 2012. 290 The order-of-march was: the tanks – led by tank Callsign 21C, then the 13 APCs with the 5RAR mounted infantry: “31 Section (three M113A1s) leading, followed by vehicle 30A (including Captain R. De Vere RAAC, Major M.P. Blake RA Inf, Lieutenant J.P. Stevens RAA), 39J, 32 Section (three M113A1s), 30 , 39M, and 33 Section (three M113A1s)”. The length of the column was about 850 metres – with the interval between vehicles about 50 metres, “a bit tighter than normal road -running of 100 metres”. Major (Retd) R. De Vere MC, OAM - emails to author, 26 July and 28 August 2012. The fourth tank – 22B (Corporal . ennier), did not depart Núi Đất for Bình Ba until about 1100hrs – ie “up Route 2 alone and unescorted an hour or so after the main body of the RRF”, without incident – email to author from Dr D. Hay (crewman Centurion tank Callsign 22B), 26 July 2012. 291 Wary of the potential for an ambush against the RRF column, Captain R. De Vere again specifically briefed the commanders of the armoured vehicles on counter-ambush action. “We did encounter one major roadblock ((which we)) cleared by tank fire and rolled down the road with barely a pause; APC sections fired into the flanks as they passed the area of the minor contact/failed ambush. APC crews did report some enemy bodies as they passed the area. We proceeded without further incident until halting just short of Bình a.” - author’s correspondence with Major (Retd) R. De Vere MC, OAM – commander of the APC element, 26 July 2012; and Centurion tank crew members – D. Ritchie, D. Hay, and K. McGuire. The tanks engaged the enemy with both machine guns and canister fire – ie the twenty-pounder canister round contained about 580 large “pellets” (principally an anti-personnel weapon). For detail, see also: Cameron, ., Canister ! On ! Fire !, ig Sky Publishing, Newport, 2012, Chapter 13, “ ình a Close -in Fighting”. According to one source, at Đức Mỹ hamlet, the RRF “was fired on by a platoon-sized force from the lefthand ((western)) side of the road. … the column did not stop.” On reaching ình a “proper”, the RRF adopted a defensive position but “almost immediately … 15 RPG rounds directed at the nearest tank … interspersed with small arms fire from the house on the corner of the village.” - Anderson, P., When the Scorpion Stings: The History of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, op.cit., 2002, pp.170-171. 292 Lý Lịch Di Tích Khu Tưởng Niệm … Trung Đoàn 33 (33rd Regiment - Background Memorial History), op.cit., 2011, p.8 – see Appendix 3. As noted earlier, the Sông Cầu stream crosses Route 2 at the bridge at YS 437692 – about 100 metres north of the abandoned Ấp An Phú hamlet on the northern edge of the 1ATF base at Núi Đất. 293 As noted earlier, the passage in the D440 History (2011), Vietnamese edition, pp.90-91 is almost identical to that of the 33rd Regiment document – ie Background Memorial History, op.cit., 2011.

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-

-

-

The Australian relief force was “spread out in groups of two-and-three vehicles and did not fall into the Regiment’s ambush – so the Regiment’s tactical headquarters decided not to attack.”294 “At 6am on 6 June 1969 – just as we had planned, the Australian forces from Núi Đất sent their tanks north to relieve Bình Ba. However as the enemy was spread out in groups of two-and-three vehicles and did not fall into the Regiment’s ambush formation, the headquarters of the Regiment decided not to initiate the ambush attack.”295 “the Australians did not enter our ambush formation as planned.”296

In summarising the beginning of the Battle, the official Australian history noted: “Many questions about the battle were left unresolved. It was unclear why the enemy had ventured so close to the task force base and remained so long in a village where they must have known their presence would be challenged; and why they had engaged with such determination an Australian reaction force supported by armour.”297

294

“The enemy was spread out in groups of two -and-three vehicles and did not fall into the Regiment’s ambush” – “bọn địch đi rải rác từng tốp 2-3 chiếc và không trúng vào đội hình phục kich cua Trung đoàn.” - Lý Lịch Di Tích Khu Tưởng Niệm … Trung Đoàn 33 (33rd Regiment - Background Memorial History), op.cit., 2011, p.9. 295 “The enemy was spread out in groups of two -and-three vehicles and did not fall into t he Regiment’s ambush formation.” – “bọn địch đi rải từng tốp 2-3 chiếc và không trúng vào đội hình phục kích của trung đoàn.” - D440 attalion History (2011), Vietnamese edition, p.92; and, in English in Chamberlain, E.P., … D440 …, 2013, pp.65-66. 296 “The Australians did not enter our ambush as planned” – “Bọn Úc đi không đúng đội hình phục kích …” – Châu Đức History (2004) - Nguyễn Công Danh et al, Lịch sử … Châu Đức (1930-2000), op.cit., 2004, p.172. That brief account states that the planned ambush by the 33rd Regiment and D440 Battalion was set “on the west of Route 2, in the stretch from Đức Mỹ hamlet up to ình a.” While it refers to “the Regiment”, it does not specifically mention the 2nd Battalion of the 33rd Regiment - nor its commander, Quách Thái Sơn – ie unlike the account in Lý Lịch Di Tích Khu Tưởng Niệm … Trung Đoàn 33 (33rd Regiment - Background Memorial History), op.cit., 2011; and the D440 Battalion History (2011), Vietnamese edition. 297 Ekins, A with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, p.210. However, note the preceding footnotes 225-229 and 262-263 describing the early June 1969 “High Point”, “the Nixon -Thiệu conference at Midway” and the “Campaign”. As noted, the official Australian account of the attle of ình a is in Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, pp.203-240.

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The Battle298 – 6 June 1969 299 On reaching the southern edge of Bình Ba village, up to 15 RPG rounds were fired at the leading elements of the 1ATF RRF. Meanwhile, at the urging of the District Chief – Major Trần Văn Ngô, the inhabitants of Bình Ba were fleeing the village. At 1120hrs, the RRF was granted clearance to enter the village from the east. According to the 5RAR After Action Report300: “There was no opposition until they reached the centre of the village when heavy RPG fire and small arms fire was received from the south of the village. During the next two hours, the D Company group manoeuvred to contain heavy enemy RPG and small arms fire from the south and south-west of the village.301 In this period, three of the tanks302 were hit with RPGs and one was disabled and five crewmen were wounded. D Company consolidated in the centre of the village and used a Light Fire Team ((two UH-1H helicopter gunships))303 on the south part of the village and towards Route 2 where the District Chief had organised further evacuation ((of villagers)). At

298

Australian historians have classified 16 of 1ATF’s engagements during the Vietnam War as “landmark” battles. In order of the highest level of violence and casualties, these can probably be listed as the Battle of Long Tân (18 August 1966) – the most violent; the Battle of Coral (mid-May 1968); the Battle of Balmoral (late May 1968); and the Battle of Bình Ba (6-8 June 1969). Hall, R. and Ross, A., “ ‘ andmark’ attles and the Myths of Vietnam”, pp.186-209 in Stockings, C., ANZAC’s Dirty Dozen 12 Myths of Australian Military History, University of New South Wales Press, Sydney, 2012. 299 A local Communist Party History cites the date of the attle as “20 July 1969” - when “The Region’s rd 33 Main Force Regiment clashed with the enemy at Bình Ba and suffered heavy casualties with tens of cadre and soldiers killed.” See: …, Lịch sử Đảng bộ tỉnh Bà Rịa - Vũng Tàu (1930 - 1975), History of the Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Party Chapter, Chương VIII: Đánh Thắng Chiến Lược Việt Nam Hóa Chiến Tranh Của Mỹ - Ngụy (1969-1972), Chapter 8: Defeating the US and Puppet Strategy to Vietnamize the War, 2011. 300 Khan, C.N. Lieutenant Colonel, 5RAR Combat After Action Report 6/69, op.cit., 11 June 1969. Beginning at about 1100hrs, Vietnamese and Australian forces engaged an enemy force estimated at 90strong in Bình Ba village – 1ATF, SITREP, Núi Đất, 6 June 1969. Major secondary Australian sources on the Battle include: Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, pp. 210-240; Battle, M.R. & Wilkins, D.S. (eds), The Year of the Tigers, Trojan Press, Thomastown, 2009; and Anderson, P., When the Scorpion Stings: The History of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, op.cit., 2002; Davies, B. with McKay, G., Vietnam The Complete Story …, op.cit., 2012; and the booklet: 40th Anniversary of the Battle of Binh Ba – Vietnam 6-8 June 2009, Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Canberra, 2009. This “armoured assault” on the village was commanded by (then) Captain R. De Vere (3rd Cavalry Regiment) - ie with the infantry mounted in the APCs – see 40th Anniversary …, op.cit., 2009, p.11. 301 Second Lieutenant P.H.D. Rogers (Possum 22, 161 Reconnaissance Flight), flying a Bell Sioux 47G3B1 helicopter, reported that a group of about 60 enemy were withdrawing from the village toward the south-west. Cameron, B., Canister ! On ! Fire !, op.cit., 2012, Chapter 13 - “ ình a Close-in Fighting”. The enemy group was “moving swiftly, and not tactically” – email to author from Lieutenant Colonel (Retd) P.H.D. Rogers, DFC, 25 August 2012. 302 By this stage, Centurion tank Callsign 22B (Corporal B. Bennier) - which had been under repair at the Squadron’s ight Aid Detachment when the RRF departed Núi Đất – had moved up Route 2 to Bình Ba and joined the initial three tanks in the RRF for the attack. 303 Offensive air support for the RRF operations at the Battle included a Heavy Fire Team (three RAAF UH-1H Bushranger gunships); and an O-2A Cessna Skymaster (Jade) fixed-wing observation aircraft fitted with 2.75” rockets.

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1150hrs, B Company ((5RAR))304 was dispatched ((from 1ATF)) to assist D Company … ((and)) initially blocked to the south. … D Company then moved to the west of the village and lined up for an assault. A rocket cache was located in the rubber west of the village. B Company moved to block from the east and covered the north and south approaches by fire. PF305 troops remained in a block to the north throughout the operation … ((and)) cleared the church in the north of the village. At approx 1420hrs306, D Company commenced to sweep towards the east, and heavy contacts occurred immediately. … The enemy were firing from the houses and then withdrawing into the tunnels.307 During this sweep, D Company suffered 1 KIA ((Private W.E. Teeling)) and 2 WIA. At 1830hrs, D Company completed this sweep and to the east of Route 2 opposite Bình Ba. PF troops remained in blocks to the north and north-west of Bình Ba. At approx. 1500hrs, B Company despatched one platoon to the north-east of Bình Ba to control and screen civilians withdrawing north. Two VC were detained at this point. One Chieu Hoi with a head wound reported in. One VC was also captured attempting to escape to the east.”308 According to a recent 33rd Regiment account309, it was an “unequal contest” against the Australians who had helicopters, tanks and armoured vehicles. Their soldiers fought “hand-to-hand” with “hundreds of Australian troops” in a “10-hour” battle from 8am to 6pm. The 1st Battalion headquarters was surrounded, but villagers assisted them to escape. However, some were “captured by the enemy and tortured.”

304

B Company (Major R.E. Harring) - mounted in M113A1 APCs and several M577 Armoured Command Vehicles. Captain T.H. Arrowsmith – a 3rd Cavalry Regiment officer, commanded the “ad hoc” APC/ACV group. 305 This is probably a reference to Regional Force (RF) troops – as noted, both the Regional Force and the Popular Force (PF) were termed “Territorial Forces”. 306 y this time, Australian armoured reinforcements had moved south down Route 2 from 6RAR/NZ’s FSB Virginia to the north – 4th Troop (comprising three Centurion tanks: 24A – SGT J. Browning, 24B – CPL J. Dziedic, 24C – CPL R. Hanham); and the 21st APC Section (SGT G. Wilson). These tanks replaced the four Centurions that had deployed with the RRF. 307 In this phase of the operations, an enemy 75mm Recoilless Rifle (RCL) was recovered – the only 75mm RCL confirmed as recovered in the Battle. This was probably a D440 Battalion equipment, see the D440 History (2011), Vietnamese edition, p.93 “there was no time to collect weapons - and the enemy seized one of the two 75mm recoilless rifles, one of the attalion’s principal fire support weapons.” 308 Khan, C.N. Lieutenant Colonel, 5RAR Combat After Action Report 6/69, op.cit., 11 June 1969. 309 Tạ Tường Mạnh, Gặp mặt CC Trung Đoàn 33 anh hùng lần thứ 3 Hà Nội (Họp Mặt Truyền Thống Cựu Chiến Binh-Bạn Chiến Đấu Trung Đoàn 33 – TP Hà Nội, Lần Thứ 3, Ngày 21/7/2013), 21 July 2013, published 6 October 2013. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTv88UxE4pQ . This is a video of the 33rd Regiment’s reunion held in Hà Nội on 21 July 2013. As noted, other accounts of the Battle of Bình Ba are included in the monographs published by the 33rd Regiment veterans, see Appendices 1 to 4.

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A 33rd Regiment soldier firing a Type 56/AKM/AK-47 Assault Rifle The D440 Battalion account of the Battle included: “With the difficult situation faced by our fraternal unit – and as ordered by the Campaign Headquarters, the ((D440)) Battalion headquarters deployed a recoilless rifle platoon and part of an infantry company to break through the enemy blockade from the direction of Bình Ba Xăng hamlet.310 However, this force was itself decisively attacked by Australian tanks right from the edge of the hamlet, and many of our troops were wounded. Our combat troops were brave and set fire to a M.118 [sic] tank, but were unable to break through the blocking position or defeat the enemy’s frenzied counter-attack. Next, in the face of indications that the enemy could wipe us out on the battleground, we took the initiative to withdraw. With a breaking of the enemy blockade unsuccessful, there was no time to collect weapons - and the enemy seized one of the two 75mm recoilless rifles, one of the attalion’s principal fire support weapons.”311 By about 6.30pm (1830hrs), the heaviest fighting had finished. The M113A1 APCs under Captain R. De Vere (3 Troop) returned to Núi Đất.312 D Company/5RAR and B Company/5RAR – supported by tanks (4th Troop – Sergeant J. Browning) and APCs (a composite group under Captain T.H. Arrowsmith – now including the 21st APC Section – (Sergeant G. Wilson) remained in Bình Ba overnight.
310

This account of D440 attalion’s involvement is also included in a 33rd Regiment history - Lý Lịch Di Tích Khu Tưởng Niệm … Trung Đoàn 33 (33rd Regiment - Background Memorial History), op.cit., 2011, p.10 – see Appendix 3. 311 D440 Battalion History (2011), Vietnamese edition, pp.92-93. 312 The APCs “left in the late afternoon, probably around 1700hrs, to return to Núi Đất, but did not enter into Núi Đất until well after 1800hrs as the base had come under rocket fire, and we were halted north of the base.” – email to the author from Major (Retd) R. De Vere MC, OAM – 28 August 2012.

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In the period from 1525hrs to 1945hrs on 6 June, up to 15 rockets of unknown calibre impacted in the Núi Đất base – some were noted as having been fired from the direction of Bình Ba.313 Bình Ba - 7 June 1969 At 0700hrs on 7 June, 5RAR’s D Company moved to link up with Company. “At 0700hrs, an enemy company was observed moving towards the village at about 300 metres to the south-west. The enemy were engaged by tank and small arms fire. … one enemy was KIA ( C) and 6 enemy wounded (blood trails). … The western half of the village was swept by midday with no opposition. Three enemy POW were located and evacuated. D Company then stopped and waited for the PF [sic] troops to take over and complete the search of the eastern half of the village.”314 According to the Australian official history: “At 6am, troops from Company, occupying a blocking position in the rubber to the south of the reaction force, noticed a company in green moving towards them. Thinking they were Regional Force troops, the B Company soldiers waved casually and received an acknowledgement. A moment later, both sides recognised each other: North Vietnamese Army soldiers and Australians. The

313

1ATF Commander’s Diary – Narrative, and Duty Officers’ og (AWM95, 1/4/153). Rockets were fired into the 1ATF base at Núi Đất on 6 and 7 June - up to 15 107mm rockets impacted in the base and in the vicinity on the afternoon and evening of 6 June; and four or five impacted in the base on the afternoon of 7 June. According to 1ATF “These rockets were probably fired by an element of 74 NVA Artillery Regiment” – 1ATF, Enemy situation in Phước Tuy Province, 1 Jun to 8 Jun 69, Núi Đất, 10 June 1969, para 2.f. As noted earlier, the rocket firings that were attempted on 5 June by “Tay’s unit” into the ình a area were reportedly unsuccessful – (captured document – Officer Commanding C-195 Company – see footnote 269) - 1ATF, INTSUM No.195/69, Núi Đất, 14 July 1969. The shelling of Núi Đất is also related in a 33rd Regiment account “At the same time ((6 June)), the 33rd Regiment’s firepower – RCLs and 82mm mortars, attacked the artillery positions of the Australian headquarters in Núi Đất with the aim of degrading the enemy’s combat power and forcing them to recall their force and give up their intention of taking charge of the battlefield.” - Lý Lịch Di Tích Khu Tưởng Niệm … Trung Đoàn 33 (33rd Regiment - Background Memorial History), op.cit., 2011, p.10 – see Appendix 3. As noted above, an Australian officer wrote: The APCs “left (( ình a)) in the late afternoon, probably around 1700hrs, to return to Núi Đất, but did not enter into Núi Đất until well after 1800hrs as the base had come under rocket fire, and we were halted north of the base. We actually observed the flight path of the rockets and radioed the compass bearings to our Squadron Headquarters.” – email to the author from Major (Retd) R. De Vere MC, OAM – 28 August 2012. The assessed location of the rocket-firing site was engaged by Australian artillery (105th Field Battery - RAA) from the Núi Đất base. The artillery also fired in support of B Company in the early evening, and fired H & I (harassing and interdiction) tasks into the Bình Ba area throughout the night. Earlier, at 0015hrs on 6 June, 25-30 82mm mortar rounds were fired into 9RAR’s Fire Support ase Thrust at YS 500550 near the Long Hải Mountains. This appeared to be in support of an attack by elements of the VC D445 Battalion on a Rural Development (RD) Cadre compound (YS 512544) and an ARVN outpost (of the 2nd Battalion/ 52nd Regiment) in the Hội Mỹ area. As noted, on the afternoon of 7 June, a further five 107mm rockets impacted in the 1ATF Núi Đất base. A photograph of 1ATF personnel doing “crater analysis” of a 107mm rocket impact in June 1969 is in the Australian War Memorial collection – BEL/69/0359/VN. 314 Khan, C.N. Lieutenant Colonel, 5RAR Combat After Action Report 6/69, op.cit., 11 June 1969.

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enemy disappeared followed by a fusillade from artillery, tanks, APCs and small arms. No casualties were inflicted on either side.”315 The NVA element may have been part of the 2nd Battalion of the 33rd NVA Regiment that had reportedly been tasked to ambush the 1ATF Ready Reaction Force on Route 2 in the area from the Sông Cầu north to the hamlet of Đức Mỹ on the southern edge of Bình Ba village.316 The 33rd Regiment Martyrs’ list includes Đào Bạch Kim – a platoon commander of the 2nd Battalion (D8), killed at Bình Ba on 6 June; Bùi Văn ườn – a section 2ic of the 2nd Battalion (D8), killed at Bình Ba on 8 June; and also probably Hoàng Văn Dẹm – a section 2ic of the 2nd Battalion, killed at Bình Ba on 6 June 1969. A further two soldiers from the 2nd Battalion were killed a few kilometres north of Bình Ba at Việt Cương ùi Văn Sửu on 8 June, and Trương Văn Thực on 9 June 1969.317 At Đức Trung hamlet – about a kilometre north of Bình Ba village, 50 to 80 NVA/VC were sighted and engaged – initially by Popular Force troops. A Regional Force element cleared the area, but a 100-strong enemy force later returned and attacked the Popular Force – killing four and wounding seven. 5RAR’s Company and tanks swept the southern part of the hamlet – but as civilians were noted in the northern area, the task was undertaken by Territorial Forces who forced the enemy to withdraw to the northwest.318 At 1500hrs, D Company swept the eastern end of Bình Ba – and this was completed by 1715hrs. There was no activity overnight in the area. The 33rd Regiment’s “Summary History” (2010) – see Appendix 1, only relates that: “In attacks on hamlets at Bình Ba, Kim Long (Bà Rịa), the Regiment destroyed 24 armoured vehicles forcing the enemy to withdraw to its defences at Núi Đất.”319 Hòa Long Neither the 33rd NVA Regiment nor D440 Battalion elements were involved in the attack on Hòa Long village - immediately south of the 1ATF Núi Đất base, on 7 June 1969. According to the Châu Đức History (2004): “At ong ễ Sub-Sector, the Châu Đức District troops entered and occupied Ấp Bắc hamlet of Hòa Long village and repelled
315

Ekins, A with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., p.222. The HQ 1ATF G (Ops) Log Sheet 51, Serial 733 recorded the incident occurring at 0645hrs at YS 445737 (in the rubber on the south-western edge of the village) and involving “approx. 50” enemy. This appears to be the incident recounted in the 5RAR After Action Report – ie see footnote 314 above. The 5RAR History notes “At O600 hrs 7 June, some of B Company ((5RAR)), blocking in the rubber to the south, noticed a force of company strength moving towards them from the south.” – Battle, M.R. and Wilkins, D.S. (eds), The Year of the Tigers, op.cit., 2009, p.55. 316 See footnotes 253 and 292. 317 Nguyễn Sỹ Hồ, Martyrs’ ist, op.cit., 16 July 2013 – see Appendix 9. 318 Early on 7 June, at the Đức Trung rubber factory about 500 metres north of ình a village, “up to eighty enemy” were observed from the air – but soon after departed. At about 1300 hrs, an estimated 100 enemy attacked a PF platoon in Đức Trung and B/RAR was deployed - but the enemy force “withdrew to the north-east and north-west”.– Battle, M.R. and Wilkins, D.S. (eds), The Year of the Tigers, op.cit., 2009, pp.56-57. 319 Cựu Chiến inh Trung Đoàn 33, Tóm Tắt … Trung Đoàn 33, op.cit., July 2010 – see Appendix 1.

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eight counter-attacks by the puppet troops. At 2pm, the Australians deployed infantry and tank ((xe tăng)) reinforcements and advanced deep into our battle positions. The firepower of our unit’s -40s destroyed two tanks ((xe tăng)) in the first volley. One of our comrades was killed and two were lightly wounded.”320 1ATF reporting related that Châu Đức District’s C-41 Company attacked Hòa Long village on 7 June 1969, and the adjacent 1ATF Núi Đất base was shelled with five 107mm rockets.321 The 1ATF Ready Reaction Force (C Company, 5RAR – with APCs and tanks) responded to the incursion into Hòa Long – ie Operation Tong.322 1ATF reported six VC killed – four of whom were credited to 1ATF forces.323 The Aftermath Following an early morning sweep of Bình Ba on 8 June 1969, D Company returned to Núi Đất at 1100hrs, with B Company following at 1540hrs. That morning, a detachment from the 1ATF Civil Affairs Unit – with medical and engineer elements, deployed to Bình Ba to assist its inhabitants.

320

Châu Đức District History (2004) - Nguyễn Công Danh et al, Lịch sử … Châu Đức (1930-2000), op.cit., 2004, p.175. See also the Hòa Long History - Đảng bộ xã Hòa Long, Lịch sử Đảng bộ xã Hòa Long (19302005) – The History of the Hòa Long Village Party Chapter (1930-2005), 25 April 2009. According to the diary of Nguyễn Hoàng Mai – the commander of C-41 Company, “on 7 June, we fought in Hòa ong against six attacks. In the final attack, there were Australians and armour – there were no aircraft. We killed 18 and wounded three from the Sector PF and RD Cadre. One M41 [sic] tank was burnt out and one damaged, two M113A1s were knocked out. Our casualties were two KIA, one CIA, one WIA, and one surrendered.” - Annex A to 1ATF, INTSUM No.241-69, Núi Đất, 29 August 1969. 321 As noted earlier, rockets were fired into the 1ATF base at Núi Đất on 6 and 7 June - up to 15 107mm rockets impacted in the base and in the vicinity on the afternoon and evening of 6 June; and four impacted in the base on the afternoon of 7 June. According to 1ATF “These rockets were probably fired by an element of 74 NVA Artillery Regiment” – 1ATF War Diary, Enemy Situation in Phước Tuy Province, 1 June to 8 June 1969, Núi Đất, 10 June 1969, para 2.f. (AWM95, 1/4/156, folio G32). As noted, other rocket firings attempted on 5 June by “Tay’s unit” in the ình a area were reportedly unsuccessful (see footnotes 269 and 313). 322 See the 5RAR History – ie Battle, M.R. & Wilkins, D.S. (eds), The Year of the Tigers, op.cit., 2009, p.58 and pp.352-353; Anderson, P., When the Scorpion Stings, 2002, op.cit., pp.179-181; and Ekins R. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, pp.226-227. 323 For contemporary summaries, see, HQ 1ATF G (Ops) Log Sheet 69, Serial 987, 9 June 1969 (AWM 95, 1/4/153); and also HQ 1ATF War Diary, Enemy Situation 1-8 June 1969, 10 June 1969, para 2.g., (AWM95, 1/4/156, folio G32). The 5RAR Combat After-Action Report for Operation Tong noted that: “Fresh weapons pits sufficient for 56 enemy were located … in the main are a of contact; and documents captured and examined at the contact site in Hòa ong indicated “at least three groups of enemy belonging to C-41, giving names and weapons. The three groups had 8, 11 and 16 men respectively. This total of 35 was closer to the mark that the 200 reported by the VC PW.” “Certain ((ie definite)) enemy casualties” were “6 VC KIA” and “2 VC (captured by RF)” – Ducker, C.H. Major (5RAR), Ấp An Phú, 11 June 1969 (AWM95, 7/5/27). The author (Chamberlain, E.P., Lieutenant - 1969) interrogated a C-41 prisoner (Trần Văn Chiến) in Hòa Long on 8 June 1969. Australian records also indicate that three female members of the C-41 Company Support Cell were captured in Hòa Long on 7 June 1969: Lê Th ị Nga, Nguyễn Thị Mỹ, and Nguyễn Thị Thu.

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The Australian 5RAR After-Action Report for the Battle of Bình Ba 324 claimed 43 enemy killed (1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment). 1ATF contemporary reporting identified the 1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment – together with the Regiment’s heavy machine gun and recoilless rifle elements – and listed 71 enemy killed, six wounded and 12 POWs.325 Subsequently – a few years after the Battle, 1ATF reported enemy casualties at Bình Ba as “51 NVA KIA ( C), 11 POWs”.326 According to a 5RAR Regimental History, the enemy casualty figure was later amended to 126 killed after Popular Forces troops reportedly found many more bodies beneath the rubble of destroyed houses in the village.327. The official Australian military history cites a total of 99 enemy killed – 56 of whom were credited to Territorial Force troops (RF and PF) who lost four killed and seven wounded. The official Australian military history also notes “6 wounded/escaped, PW 8, rallier 1, detainees 28”. 328 In 2009, at the 40th Anniversary of the Battle, an Australian commemorative booklet assessed: “it seems that more than 100 VC and NVA, possibly many more, lost their lives in the battle.”329 The US Headquarters II Field Force Vietnam reported that: “One company of the 5th RAR plus Regional Forces and Popular Forces cordoned the village, while another company, supported by tanks and armored

324

Khan, C. N. ieutenant Colonel, 5RAR Combat After Action Report 6/69, op.cit., 11 June 1969, p.3. “43 KIA (BC), 6 WIA (blood trails), 8 PW, 1 Hoi Chanh.” Weapons recovered were 1 x 75mm RC , 1 x RPD machine gun, 6 x AK-47, 3 x SKS, 1 x Garand rifle, 1 x Mosin Nagant rifle, 3 x K-54 pistols, 2 x RPG-7, 1 x RPG-2, 1 x 60mm mortar tube, 1 x 82mm mortar base plate and tripod. COMUSMACV also subsequently reported “43 KIA” in the attle – COMUSMACV, Quarterly Evaluation Report (Second Quarter 1969: 1 April 1969 – 30 June 1969), MACJ3-051, Saigon, 20 August 1969. 325 1ATF, Vietnam Digest, Issue No. 22-69 (period 1st to 6th June 1969), Núi Đất. Not all 12 prisoners were necessarily processed by 1ATF. As noted in the footnote above, the report by the commander of 5RAR – Lieutenant Colonel C.N. Khan, stated “8 PW, 1 Hoi Chanh”. Subsequent official Australian records indicated that only the following POWs were captured at Bình Ba by Australian forces on 7 June 1969: “Nguyễn Văn Dụy, Pte - C2/1/A/ 57B [sic - more probably 3/2/1/A57) , NVA; ùi Văn ai (sometimes incorrectly as “ ùi Văn an”) – see also the following footnote , C2/B2/A1/D1/33 Regiment - wounded; Trần Văn Thanh - a platoon leader, K1 Battalion/33 Regiment (hospitalised – died of wounds on 26 June 1969); Trần Voi, Pte – C-25 Transport Coy, NVA; Lâm Văn ach, ình a Guerrilla Unit; and Hoàng Văn Thanh, Bình Ba Guerrilla Unit.” – AWM98, 493 – HQ AFV (Barcode 904597). In mid-2013, Nguyễn Văn Dụy was living in Phúc Thọ District, Hà Nội; but ùi Văn ai and Trần Voi had deceased in about 2011 – advice to author from 33rd Regiment veterans (28 May 2013). 326 1ATF, INTSUM 268/71, Núi Đất, 25 September 1971. A “ ùi Văn ai - b.1937 in Hà Sơn ình Province” is also listed in the 33rd Regiment’s Martyrs’ ist as KIA at ình Ba on 6 June 1969 (see Appendix 9). 327 Battle, M.R. & Wilkins, D.S. (eds), The Year of the Tigers, op.cit., 2009, p.346, p.350. 328 Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, 2012, p.225 and p.736. Australian POW records show six POW captured by Australian forces at Bình Ba: four members of the 33rd Regiment (including a platoon commander of K1 Battalion) and two members of the Bình Ba Guerrilla Unit – see footnote 325 above. In summary, NVA/VC histories, captured documents, and rallier reports indicate the following casualties 33rd Regiment 53 killed; D440 attalion possibly 1 killed, or “about 60 casualties” (rallier Văn Nhanh), or “two WIA” – Annex A to de Cure, P.F. Major, D440 LF Battalion, HQ 1ATF – Núi Đất, 29 September 1969 ; C195 Comp any 12 killed and 11 wounded ; Châu Đức District Committee: 1 killed; Bình Ba Guerrilla Unit and Village Committee: about 7 killed; Bà Long Province cadre: one killed. 329 40th Anniversary …, op.cit., 2009, p.17.

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personnel carriers, assaulted the enemy in the village. Results of the operation were 43 enemy killed, 8 prisoners and 8 small arms, 3 rocket launchers and 1 mortar captured.” 330 The commanding officer of 5RAR - Lieutenant Colonel Colin Khan, reportedly “continued to believe more than 30 years later that the attack on the Centurion was nothing more than the result of poor fire discipline by a ‘wayward soldier’.”331 Documents recovered by Australian forces after the Battle included a 1:25,000 scale map of the Bình Ba plantation area – with a headquarters element and a mortar position shown in grid square YS 4274.332 A Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Party History summarised the Battle and its aftermath: “On 20 July [sic] 1969, the 33rd Regiment (a Regional Main Force unit) attacked the enemy at Bình Ba and suffered heavy casualties – tens of our cadre and soldiers were killed. The Australian commandos333 were deployed to ambush all the streams and reentrants to discover signs of our bases and call down artillery fire and heli-lift troops to surround us. Our elements in almost all the villages of the Province were attacked and driven out – we were unable to stay with the people.”334 The fighting at Bình a in early June 1969 was not mentioned in MACV’s Monthly Summary for June 1969 – ie in its “review of significant events in June 1969”, although smaller actions - including the shelling of the Phan Rang airbase, were included in that report.335 Casualties A 2010 33rd Regiment historical monograph summarised: “The enemy concentrated a large force, while at that time we were in the process of developing our
330

II Field Force Vietnam, Operational Report – Lessons Learned, Period ending 31 July 1969, 17 December 1969. For the Australian force, results were: 43 enemy KIA, eight prisoners, six AK-47s, three rocket launchers, two K-54 pistols, one 82mm mortar base plate and bipod – see: COMUSMACV, Quarterly Evaluation Report (Second Quarter 1969: 1 April 1969 – 30 June 1969), MACJ3-051, Saigon, 20 August 1969, Annex E, p.63. 331 Brigadier C.N. Khan, DSO AM (Retd) – see 40th Anniversary …, op.cit., 2009, p.10. 332 1ATF, INTSUM No.160-69, Núi Đất, 9 June 1969. Captured documents included a promotion certificate for Nguyễn Xuân Song [sic] – to “company commander in 57 Regiment” (ie the 33rd Regiment), dated 27 May 1969 – signed by an MR7 cadre (Đang Quang). The 33 rd Regiment Martyrs’ ist includes “Nguyễn Xuân Sang, T, D7” (platoon commander - 1st Battalion, killed at the Battle on 6 June 1969). As noted, the recovered documents included a 1:25,000-scale sketch map of Bình Ba village with a headquarters (no echelon indicated) and a mortar position shown at YS 4274. 33rd Regiment locations in Bình Ba and the vicinity are also depicted at p.215 in Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012. 333 For NVA/VC use of the term “commandos”, see footnote 257. 334 Trần Văn Kh nh (et al), an … à Rịa-Vũng Tàu, Lịch sử Đảng bộ tỉnh Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu, Tập II, 1954-1975, op.cit., 2000, (Chapter VIII). 335 HQ MACV Monthly Summary June 1969 – dated 4 October 1969. VCAT Item No.7390115001. The Summary noted that “During the first week of June, the enemy conducted a high point consisting of a number of coordinated, widespread indirect fire attacks throughout the country and some ground attacks. In the most significant ground action, 339 enemy soldiers were killed in two abortive attacks against a U.S. 25th Infantry Division fire support base in Tay Ninh Province.”

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combat strength – ammunition replenishment was not possible; there was no food, and we had to eat bananas and jack-fruit in lieu of rice. Nevertheless, we still had to fight to the last breath. Not counting those wounded in the battle, 53 of our comrades were killed at that place. The enemy buried them in a large hole in the earth, and only recently have we been able to recover their bodies and inter them in a cemetery.”336 The remains were “disinterred and reburied in the Province martyrs’ cemetery in 1986”.337 The Regiment’s Martyrs’ ists (see Appendix 9) include the names of 50 personnel who were killed at the Battle of Bình Ba in the period 6-8 June 1969. On the Lists, a further four are noted as having been killed in the vicinity in that period.338 The Martyrs’ Lists for the Battle of Bình Ba include the following senior cadre: Bùi Quang Miên - the “DP” (ie Battalion 2ic) of the 7th (ie 1st) Battalion; Phạm Văn Khẩu - a Deputy Political Officer; Lê Văn Trụ - a Company Commander; Hoàng Bùi Đông – a Company 2ic; and Lê Văn Thục - a Company 2ic. Apart from 1st Battalion (ie D7) personnel, the Martyr’s Lists also include four personnel from the 2nd Battalion (ie D8) and one from the 3rd Battalion (ie D9) as having been killed at Bình Ba on 6 June 1969.339 Several soldiers from the Regiment’s support companies were also reported as killed at the Battle including: one from the C18 Air Defence Company; four from the C19 Sapper/Engineer Company; and one from the C21 Reconnaissance Company). In ình Đức hamlet of Bình Ba village, the 33rd Regiment memorial (khu tưởng niệm) includes a museum and engraved stelae (bia) to the “53 fallen soldiers” of the 33rd Regiment. 33rd Regiment histories and other NVA/VC reports note 33rd Regiment personnel killed at the Battle of Bình Ba as “50” or “53” or “55”.340 For lists of those killed in the Battle – produced by the Regiment’s Veterans’ Association, see Appendix 9.
336

Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), Qu Trình …, op.cit., 2010, p.9 – see Appendix 2. A senior office-holder in the 33rd Regiment’s Veterans’ Association – Lê Bá Lộc (a former deputy commander and chief-of-staff of the Regiment), has stated that “at ình a on 6-6-1969 … in a fierce and unequal battle … the soldiers of the 1st Battalion (33rd Regiment) fought heroically to their last breath, and 53 soldiers of the 1st Battalion died bravely.” - Hữu Minh, “Nước mắt ngày gặp lại”, o à Rịa-Vũng Tàu điện tử, 10 August 2012. 337 Lý Lịch Di Tích Khu Tưởng Niệm … Trung Đoàn 33 (33rd Regiment - Background Memorial History), op.cit., 2011 – see Appendix 3. 338 In the vicinity – eg at Việt Cương (vicinity YS 455749), Cao Su à Rịa (Bà Rịa District/Rubber Plantation), and – farther afield: the Mây Tào Mountains (possibly died of wounds on 8 June). 339 D8 Hoàng Văn Dẹm; Đào ạch Kim; ùi Văn ườn; and probably Hoàng Văn Vuông. D9 ồ Xuân Cúc. See Appendix 9. 340 In 2009, a memorial article for the 33rd Regiment's Veterans’ iaison Section stated “The Regiment had 3,050 martyrs - including 2,008 who bravely fell on the Eastern Nam B ộ battlefield. In particular, in the fighting to liberate Bình Ba in the 1969 Spring Campaign, close to 50 cadre and fighters bravely died." Thanh Tùng, "Lễ cầu si u và dâng hương tưởng nhớ các anh hùng liệt sỹ Trung đoàn 33” (“A uddhist Mass and Ceremony to Remember the Heroic Martyrs of the 33rd Regiment"), Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Television, late August 2009. In a 2010 article, 33rd Regiment veterans related that at the battle of “ ình a on 6 June 1969 more than 50 members of the Regiment fell in an unequal battle with the en emy.” Đình Thìn, “Trung Đoàn 33 – một thời hào hùng …” – “The 33rd Regiment – an heroic time …”, à Rịa-Vũng Tàu (magazine), Vũng Tầu, 30 April 2010, p.18. A subsequent article related that the 33 rd Regiment suffered 50 killed at Bình Ba, and the Regiment had destroyed “two Australian companies” – Hồng Quốc Văn “Gặp gỡ một chiến sĩ của Trung đoàn 33 Anh hùng” – “Meeting a combatant of the heroic 33rd Regiment”, o cựu

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Other NVA/VC casualties reportedly included: - D440 Battalion – probably several, but unclear.341 - C-195 Unit/Company – 12 killed and 11 wounded.342 - Bình Ba Guerilla Unit - about 7.343 - Châu Đức District Committee - 1 - Bà Long Military Proselytising Section - 1.344 Australian casualties were one killed (Private W.E. Teeling – 5RAR) and 10 wounded (one - 5RAR, two - B/3rd Cavalry Squadron, six - B/1st Armoured Regiment).345 Vietnamese Regional and Popular Forces reportedly suffered four PF killed and seven wounded in Đức Trung hamlet on 7 June 1969. The Australian official history notes that in the attle “four or five civilians” were reportedly killed – “caught in the cross-fire”.346

chiến binh online, 17 December 2010. In 2011, an Australian television programme featured the 33rd Regiment memorial at Bình Ba, and a 33rd Regiment veteran related that 55 of the Regiment’s personnel had been killed in the attle, and 54 had been “bull -dozed” into a mass grave by the Australian forces – Walker, M. (Director), “Private Terrence ‘Hippo’ Hippisley – Vietnam”, In Their Footsteps, Channel 9, Melbourne, 12 June 2011. Memorial services are conducted at the complex in ình Đức hamlet of Bình Ba village – with 33 veterans from “North Vietnam” visiting on 25 July 2012 – Quang Việt, “Đoàn cựu chiến binh trung đoàn 33 thăm chiến trường xưa Châu Đức”, à Rịa-Vũng Tàu Television, 25 July 2012. A Vietnamese NGO sought further details on the circumstances of the deaths of six 33 rd Regiment personnel: Corporal ùi Văn Đỗ (1/33 Regiment, b.1950, Hải Hưng) and Vũ Công Chiến (platoon 2ic 33rd Regiment, b.1935, Hải Phòng) - killed on 6 June 1969; Phi/Phí Văn Ph (33 rd Regiment, b.1950, Thái Bình) killed on 8 June 1969; and Đào ạch Kim (platoon commander 33rd Regiment, b.1944, Hà Tây) killed on 9 June 1969. - see MARIN http://www.nhantimdongdoi.org/?mod=chitiet&subcate=3&id=3767 . 341 A D440 Battalion platoon commander ( Văn Nhanh – commander 8th Platoon, 8th Heavy Weapons Company) rallied in mid-July 1969 and stated that 440 Battalion had fought at Bình Ba on 5-6 June 1969 – together with the 33rd Regiment, and that 440 attalion has suffered “about 60 casualties including the commander of C2 Company and two platoon commanders – and a 75mm RC .” - 1ATF, INTSUM No.198/69, Núi Đất, 17 July 1969. The account in the D440 Battalion History (2011) is unclear on the attalion’s casualties – an annex listing 561 of their personnel killed-in-action – noted as incomplete, does not specifically indicate personnel killed at Bình Ba in the period 6-8 June 1969. However, two members were killed in “June 1969” Phạm Minh Quyết (6th Company) - Serial 199; and Ngô Xuân Lợi - Serial 261. 342 C-195 Reconnaissance and Special Delivery Unit of MR 7; captured document - 1ATF, INTSUM No.195/69, Núi Đất, 14 July 1969. 343 According to the Châu Đức History (2004) “On 6 September [sic – but probably June] 1969, Comrade Nguyễn Thị Thiên – the Secretary of the Bình Ba Village Party Committee and a number of the village guerrillas were killed, together with Comrade Bình – a member of the District Standing Committee and Commander of the District Public Security element, while holding out against the enemy. - Nguyễn Công Danh et al, Lịch sử … Châu Đức (1930-2000), op.cit., 2004, p.174. 344 1ATF, INTSUM No.160/69, Núi Đất, 9 June 1969. 345 Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, p.224. 346 Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, p.227. Following subsequent allegations of an “atrocity” by Australian forces at ình a, the Australian Minister for the Army stated that only three civilians died and four were wounded in a population of 1,275.” – p.239. See also: Australian War Memorial, Rebuilding Bình Ba, AWM Film F04344, silent, 23 MB.

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South Vietnamese and Allied347 casualties for the first “High Point” in the communists’ 1969 “Summer-Autumn Campaign” were reported in the Hà Nội media: “In Eastern Nam Bộ, just between 5 and 10 June, the army and the people of the provinces north and north-east of Sài Gòn … wiped out nearly 8,000 men …”.348 33rd Regiment at Bình Ba – A Discussion There are contradictory reports on the presence of 33rd Regiment elements in the Bình Ba area in the first two weeks of June 1969 – ie ranging from no presence to the full Regiment. The Battle of Bình Ba is only briefly mentioned in a “higher” Vietnamese history – the Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province Party History349 However, it is not included at all in several others, including the Military Region 7 History350, the Đồng Nai Party History (1997, 2000)351, the Đồng Nai Monograph (2001)352 or the Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Monograph (2005)353. The reason for such omissions in unclear – perhaps the Bình Ba engagement was not significant enough to mention, or – more likely, the lack of NVA/VC success at the Battle precluded its inclusion.354 As noted earlier, the History of 5th VC Division (2005) – see Appendix 7, makes no mention of 33rd Regiment elements operating in Phước Tuy Province in early June
347

“Allied” forces comprised US and Free World Military Assistance Forces (FWMAF). In mid -1969, US forces reportedly numbered 538,933 (111 infantry battalions). FMWAF reportedly comprised: Australia – 7,649 (three infantry battalions); New Zealand – 556 personnel (an artillery battery), Republic of Korea 50,289 (22 battalions); Thailand – 11,596 (six battalions); Philippines – 1,506; Republic of China – 31 personnel; Spain – 12 personnel. The Republic of Vietnam ARVN/Marines totalled 168 battalions. COMUSMACV, Quarterly Evaluation Report (Second Quarter 1969: 1 April 1969 – 30 June 1969), MACJ3-051, Saigon, 20 August 1969. Annex E. http://www.458seatiger.info/vietnam1969_report.PDF . For FWMAF, see also: Larsen, S.R. Lieutenant General & Collins J.L. Brigadier, Allied Participation in Vietnam, Vietnam Studies – Department of the Army, Washington, 1975. 348 Vietnam News Agency, “Dazzling Military Feats During June”, Nhân Dân, Hà Nội, 1 July 1969, p.3. 349 Trần Văn Kh nh (et al), an … à Rịa-Vũng Tàu, ịch sử Đảng bộ tỉnh Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu, Tập II, 1954-1975, op.cit., 2000, (Chapter VIII) – see earlier footnotes 229 and 334. 350 The MR7 History only includes a few sentences on activities in 1969 and makes no mention of a “Campaign”, the “ ong Kh nh Campaign”, “high point” operations in mid -1969, nor “ ình a” – see Military Region 7 Headquarters (Quân Khu 7), 50 Nă m ực ương Võ Trang Quân Khu 7 - The Armed Forces of Military Region 7: 50 Years, Wattpad, 1995. 351 Trần Quang Toại (et al), ịch sử Đảng bộ Đảng Cộng sản Việt Nam tỉnh Đồng Nai 1930 – 1995 - The History of the Communist Party of Vietnam in Đồng Nai Province 1930 -1995, Tập I, II , Nhà Xuẩt Bản Đồng Nai, Biên Hòa, 1997 and 2000. 352 Trần Thị Minh Hoàng (foreword), Địa Chí Đồng Nai (The Đồng Nai Monograph), Nhà Xuẩt Bản Tồng Hợp Đồng Nai, Biên Hòa, 2001. However – implying about September 1969, the Monograph states that: “In ong Thành, the 33rd Regiment attacked and wiped out a Thai battalion at Bàu Cối”.– Vol III, Chapter VI, see earlier footnote 197. 353 Thạch Phương & Nguyễn Trọng Minh (eds), Địa Chí Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu (The Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Monograph), Nhà Xuẩt Bản Khoa Học Xã Hội, Hà Nội, 2005. 354 Similarly, the failure of the 274th VC Regiment’s attack on a Thai battalion position at ộc An on 16 June 1969 is omitted from Vietnamese communist military and political histories – see footnotes 204 and 388.

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1969. Rather, that History relates engagements involving the 33rd Regiment in southeastern Long Khánh Province “On 2 June, … The 33rd Regiment was ordered to secretly deploy to the northeast of Gia Ray ((YT 6311)) and attack the forces of the 52nd Task Force [sic] at Suối Cao – and afterwards, to ambush the enemy’s reinforcements to the west of Route 3 ((ie Route 333)). On 5 June, we began the attack … The 33rd Regiment swiftly made a forced march and attacked its objective on time as planned. … On 6 June, the 33rd Regiment ambushed and destroyed an engineer company patrolling along Route 3 ((ie Route 333)). That afternoon, the enemy deployed the 2nd Armored Company and two companies of the 52nd Task Force to break through and clear Route 3. The 33rd Regiment conducted a blocking operation and attacked, destroying 11 armored vehicles and inflicting heavy casualties on two enemy companies.” A 1ATF study of the 3rd Battalion of the 33rd Regiment notes “In June 1969, the battalions of the Regiment split for operational tasking. 3/33 was assigned an AO around Gia Ray in Long Khánh and Bình Tuy Provinces. Lack of logistic support from the then 84 RSG (now MR7 Rear Services) was probably the main cause for the split. Although under fairly constant pressure, the Regimental Headquarters remained in the general Xuân Lộc/ lackhorse area until December 1969.”355 A 2010 history monograph published by the 33rd Regiment Veterans’ Association – see Appendix 2, relates that the Regiment “inflicted heavy losses on Australian mechanised infantry at Kim Long and Bình Ba – wiping out 24 vehicles and forcing the enemy to withdraw to their base. ((no date is specified)) … and the Regiment had deployed “D1” (ie the 1st Battalion of the Regiment) to replace D440 and had suffered 53 killed “on 6/6/1969 at ình a”.356 A briefer - but similar account, is related in a July 2010 “Summary History”357 published by the 33rd Regiment Veterans’ Association – see Appendix 1. A contemporary account – a captured C-195 Company document, stated that the Company had: “participated in the June 1969 attack on Bình Ba with the ‘entire regiment’ (33 Regt).” and cited the Company’s casualties in that engagement.358 A Vietnamese unit history formally published in 2011 – the D440 History359 and the 33rd Regiment’s “Background Memorial History”360 related that not only was the 1st Battalion of the Regiment at Bình Ba, but the “2nd Battalion of the 33rd Regiment
355

HQ 1ATF, 3 Bn 33 NVA Regt, Annex F to 1ATF INTSUM No.122/71, Núi Đất, 2 May 1971. Identical to the passage in the 33rd Regiment study by 1ATF of 21 September 1971 (Annex F to INTSUM No.264/71), this 3rd Battalion study by 1ATF does not mention the Battle of Bình Ba – 5-8 June 1969. 356 Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), Qu Trình …, op.cit., 2010, p.2 and p.9 – see Appendix 2. 357 “In attacks on hamlets at ình a, Kim ong ( à Rịa), the Regiment destroyed 24 armoured vehicles forcing the enemy to withdraw to its defences at Núi Đất.” - Cựu Chiến inh Trung Đoàn 33, Tóm Tắt Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 …, op.cit., July 2010 – see Appendix 1. 358 1ATF, INTSUM No.195/69, Núi Đất, 14 July 1969. 359 D440 History (2011), Vietnamese edition, p.92; and, in English in Chamberlain, E.P., … D440 …, 2013, pp.65-66. 360 Lý Lịch Di Tích Khu Tưởng Niệm … Trung Đoàn 33 (33rd Regiment - Background Memorial History), op.cit., 2011 – see Appendix 3.

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commanded by Comrade Quách Thái Sơn” was tasked to ambush the Australian RRF on Route 2 south of Bình Ba. That ambush however was reportedly not initiated “as the enemy was spread out in groups of two-and-three vehicles and did not fall into the Regiment’s ambush formation, the headquarters of the Regiment decided not to initiate the ambush attack.” A POW captured at Bình Ba by 5RAR – Nguyễn Văn Dụy, stated that “while K1 ((the 1st Battalion)) was taking part in a propaganda proselytising programme in the Bình Ba area, he heard that K2 Bn was taking part in a battle.”361 An Australian account, also mentions the presence of the 2nd Battalion in the area.362 However, as noted, the presence of the 2nd Battalion is not recorded in the official Australian history, the 5RAR history, the 5RAR After-Action Report, nor 1ATF intelligence summaries. The location and the activities of the Regiment’s 3rd Battalion in early June 1969 remain unclear. As noted earlier, Australian SIGINT monitored the move of the 33rd Regiment’s principal high frequency radio transmitter363 – ie presumably serving the Regimental Headquarters, from south-eastern Long Khánh Province into Phước Tuy Province and its subsequent withdrawal northward after the Battle – see the following marked sketch map.

33rd Regiment communications: Two PRC-25 VHF radio sets – Operator: Nguyễn Trọng Minh

361

Interrogation Report – PW: Nguyễn Văn Dụy, Det 1 Div Int Unit – 1ATF, 19 June 1969. See also footnotes 325 and 551. 362 The article relates that the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 33rd Regiment of the 5th Division – together with the local force D440 Battalion, was engaged by battalions of the Australian Task Force in the Bình Ba area (Phước Tuy Province) in the period 5-11 June 1969. Johnson, ., “Operation avarack – Phước Tuy Province – 1969”, Winter 2010, op.cit., pp.89-114. 363 As related at footnote 242, the Australian Army’s official history states – incorrectly, that: “Australian commanders and intelligence officers were baffled. During the initial occupation of Binh Ba, 33 NVA Regiment had apparently maintained radio silence, eluding task force signals intelligence.” - Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, p.237. That statement appears to cite a 2007 monograph that claimed “strict radio silence” enabled “elements of the 33rd NVA Regiment and D440 Battalion to occupy the village of ình a without warning.” - Tidey, B., Forewarned Forearmed …, op.cit., 2007, pp.49-50. At endnote 207, Tidey cites an S03 Intelligence (captain) at HQ 1ATF in mid-1969 as his source.

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1ATF SIGINT Direction-finding (DF) Locations of 33rd Regiment’s Headquarters 29 April – 2 July 1969 364 Based on the foregoing, the balance of probabilities suggests that while the 1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment was the principal NVA/VC force at the Battle of Bình Ba and the Regimental Headquarters, the 2nd Battalion, and regimental support elements were in the Bình Ba area in the period 5-8 June 1969. It is probable that the 3rd Battalion remained in Long Khánh Province and was involved in the engagements in the Gia Ray, Suối Cao and Route 333 areas against ARVN 52nd Regiment elements – ie as related in the 5th Division History (2005).365 If 33rd Regiment elements – reportedly the 2nd Battalion, had set an ambush on Route 2 south of Bình Ba, why was an ambush not initiated ? Two Vietnamese sources have related that the Australian RRF “was spread out in groups of two-and-three vehicles and did not fall into the Regiment’s ambush.”366 However – after the RRF group (13
364

These are the DF locations of the Regiment’s principal HF radio (Chicom 102E – 15w). The map summarises the “end-of-week” reporting locations. See Appendix 17 for a DF locations map covering a larger geographical area. The US 11ACR was based at Blackhorse south of Xuân Lộc Town – see footnote 166, and footnotes 235, 236 and 237 for its operations in May and June 1969 - which ranged across seven provinces of III CTZ. The headquarters of 1ATF’s 6RAR/NZ was deployed in FS Virginia north of ình Ba village – with its elements deployed on Operation Lavarack, see footnotes 260, 265, 266 and 362. 365 See the 5th VC Division History (2005) extract at Appendix 7, and also the 1ATF study of the 3 rd Battalion of the 33rd Regiment - footnote 355. 366 See footnotes 294 and 295.

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M113A1 APCs, three Centurion tanks – a column about 850 metres in length) has passed through to Bình Ba village, several more vulnerable 1ATF elements moved along Route 2 without incident. For example, any NVA/VC elements in possible ambush sites south of Bình Ba did not engage the “fourth” Centurion tank ( Corporal B. Bennier) that followed the RRF up Route 2 as a single vehicle (departing Núi Đất at about 1100hrs, 6 June); 5RAR’s B Company mounted in APCs (Major R.E. Harring and Captain T.H. Arrowsmith - but without escorting Centurion tanks, that departed Núi Đất at 1150hrs, 6 June); the RRF’s composite tank troop returning to Núi Đất (in the late afternoon hours of 6 June); nor the original RRF APCs (Captain R. De Vere) returning to Núi Đất (at about 1700hrs, 6 June). 33rd Regiment’s ambush elements either decided not to engage the Australian vehicles or may not have adequately established their ambush positions in time. However, Captain R. De Vere has related an exchange of fire south of Bình Ba as the RRF moved north up Route 2 late on the morning of 6 June ie: “We did encounter one major roadblock ((which we)) cleared by tank fire and rolled down the road with barely a pause; APC sections fired into the flanks as they passed the area of the minor contact/failed ambush. APC crews did report some enemy bodies as they passed the area. We proceeded without further incident until halting just short of ình a.”367 That brief encounter may have been with elements of the 2nd Battalion of the 33rd Regiment. Also, as noted, a minor engagement occurred subsequently at about 0600hrs on 7 June when an NVA force approached Bình Ba from the south – and Vietnamese records indicate several 2nd Battalion soldiers were killed on that day.368 Regardless, it is not yet clear why both the D440 History (2011)369 and the “ ackground Memorial History”370 document have noted the presence of the 33rd Regiment’s 2nd Battalion - led by Quách Thái Sơn, in the Bình Ba area and cited its failure to initiate the ambush south of the village – when all other published Vietnamese accounts appear to have omitted any mention of a planned ambush by the 2nd Battalion.371 A senior 33rd Regiment veteran – Lê B Lộc372, has stated that the 2nd Battalion was not involved in the Battle of Bình Ba itself, but that the Regimental Headquarters and the 2nd Battalion was in the area/nearby.
367 368

See footnote 291. See footnotes 314-318. 369 D440 History (2011), Vietnamese edition, p.92; and, in English in: Chamberlai n, E.P., … D440 …, 2013, pp.65-66. 370 Lý Lịch Di Tích Khu Tưởng Niệm … Trung Đoàn 33 (33rd Regiment - Background Memorial History), op.cit., 2011- see Appendix 3. 371 As noted, the Châu Đức History (2004) also refers to the planned ambush – but does not mention the 2nd attalion ie “However, the Australians did not enter our ambush as planned, and our company in the hamlet suffered heavy casualties.” – op.cit., 2004, pp.173-174. 372 ộc was the Regiment’s deputy chief-of-staff in the period 1969-1971; and deputy commander/ chief-of-staff in 1972-1975 – see Tổ Chức Ban Chỉ Huy Trung Đoàn 33 Qua C c Thời Kỳ (The Headquarters Organisation of the 33rd Regiment in Past Years), op.cit., 2010. It is not wholly clear whether he joined the Regiment before June 1969. For some years, Lộc has led the 33rd Regiment Veterans’ iaison Committee (see Appendix 4); and he is a member of the 2013-2014 History Writing Team – see footnote 2.

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Some aspects of the account of the Battle in the D440 History (2011) are also open to question. That History notes the participation of D440 Battalion – ie: “Battalion Headquarters deployed a recoilless rifle platoon and part of an infantry company to break through the enemy blockade. … and many of our troops were wounded … With a breaking of the enemy blockade unsuccessful, there was no time to collect weapons - and the enemy seized one of our two 75mm recoilless rifles.”373 However, it seems remarkable that – according to the D440 History, no D440 troops were killed at Bình Ba – noting that a D440 rallier later stated that the attalion suffered “about 60 casualties including the commander of C2 Company and two platoon commanders – and lost a 75mm RC .”374 Post-script Following the Battle of Bình Ba, the 33rd Regiment Headquarters withdrew northwards – see the earlier SIGINT DF weekly summary map. The 1ATF Commander – Brigadier C.M.I. Pearson directed 6RAR/NZ to interdict the withdrawing 33rd Regiment elements, but was disappointed that no substantive engagement ensued.375 On the afternoon of 11 June 1969, B Company of 6RAR/NZ assaulted a large strongly-defended bunker system (at YS 392822) about 10 kilometres north-west of Bình Ba village and about five kilometres north-west of 6RAR/NZ’s FS Virginia.376 In the fierce two-hour engagement – involving artillery and air support, the Australian company commander was wounded. Soon after dark, the enemy unit – believed to be elements of the 2nd Battalion of the 33rd Regiment, withdrew northwards.377 Australian reports recorded nine NVA killed – by body count378, but such casualties are not included in the 33rd Regiment’s Martyrs’ ist.379 On 12 June 1969, V Company of 6RAR/NZ observed about 200 NVA moving northward carrying about 25 casualties in litters in the area of YS 398868 - about five kilometres north of the 11 June contact described above. The NVA were engaged –

373 374

Chamberlain, E., … D440 Their Story, op.cit., 2013, p.67. Chamberlain, E., … D440 Their Story, op.cit., 2012, p.67, footnote 169. The 440 attalion Martyrs’ List – annexed to their History, specifically lists two members killed in “June 1969”, but no locations are mentioned ie: Phạm Minh Quyết (6th Company) – Serial 199; and Ngô Xuân Lợi – Serial 261. 375 The 33rd Regiment elements – a “large enemy force” moving northward, “side-stepped” the 1ATF infantry force “as they were occupied with a smaller enemy group.” - email advice passed to the author, early May 2012. 376 Byers, D.R., MC, B Company - 6RAR/NZ Contact After Action Report – 11 June 1969, Núi Đất – AWM95, 7/6/22. Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, pp.232-233. Fairhead, F. Lieutenant Colonel (Retd), A Duty Done, Linden Park, 2014, pp.86-87. 377 Johnson, ., “Operation avarack – Phước Tuy Province,Vietnam – 1969”, op.cit., 2010, pp.98-99. 378 6RAR, Contacts and Incidents – Appendix 1 to Annex A to 6RAR After Action Report: 1-31 June 1969, Ops 14, 3 July 1969, Serial 52 (AWM95, 7/6/22). 379 Nguyễn Sỹ Hồ, Martyrs’ ist, op.cit., 16 July 2013. For a summary of 2 nd Battalion casualties recorded in June 1969, see Appendix 9.

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including with artillery and armed helicopter fire.380 “ odies and documents identified 2nd Battalion 33 NVA Regiment supported by at least two heavy weapons companies.”381 A 33rd Regiment document subsequently recovered by the 18th ARVN Division included that: “on 12 June 1969, J8 ((the 2nd Battalion/33rd Regiment)), K17 ((75mm RCL Company)) and K18 ((Sapper Company)) failed to observe movement regulations, and were thus hit by airstrikes. They also suffered losses in personnel and weapons. K20 ((Reconnaissance Company)) and J9 ((3rd Battalion)) were also hit by airstrikes due to a lack of security. Six members of K20 were KIA.”382 That recovered document also noted the Regiment’s casualties in the period “from 30 April to 20 June 1969”383 - that appear to have included casualties in the period of the Battle of Bình Ba in early June1969: “From 30 April – 20 June, various units failed to collect information on the enemy; were ambushed nine times, and sustained 150 KIA, five MIA, one captured; and lost 12 AKs, one B-40 and two K-54 pistols. “K22 ((Company)) and K16 ((82mm Mortar Company)) accidentally exploded grenades wounding 11 members. A member of K22 took a grenade to go fishing, but mistakenly caused an accident which wounded three men.” “some members of J7 ((1st Battalion)) headquarters and K20 ate canned fish, and were poisoned ‘by the enemy scheme’.” “From 30 March to 20 June ((1969)), five members of D1, D2 and K10 of J8 wounded themselves, and one member of J7 committed suicide.” “From 8 May to 20 June ((1969)), the Regiment suffered 72 MIA; and D1 and D3 lost two B-41s, two B-40s, five K-54 pistols and 33 AKs.” These figures presumably included the Regiment’s losses during B-52 strikes in May 1969384, and at the Battle of Bình Ba in the period 5-8 June 1969.

-

-

Subsequently, the commander of the 33rd Regiment’s 2nd Battalion was reportedly rebuked by his higher command for poor performance and withdrawing from the battlefield in daylight.385 There were also reportedly “bitter recriminations” between
380

1ATF, INTSUM No.164-69, Núi Đất, 13 June 1969. See also 6RAR, After Action Report: 1-31 June 1969, Ops 14, 3 July 1969, p.4, Serial 53. – noting captured documents that identified C17, C18 and C23 companies (AWM95, 7/6/22). 381 Johnson, ., “Operation avarack – Phước Tuy Province, Vietnam – 1969”, op.cit., 2010, pp.99-100. No casualties are related in the 33rd Regiment Martyrs’ ist for 12 June 1969 – see the summary at Appendix 9. 382 CDEC Log 10-1940-69, Item 3. The locations of the airstrikes were not indicated. The report was probably written by a 33rd Regiment Assistant Political Officer, Hồ Minh Tường. 383 CDEC Log 10-1940-69, Item 3. The author of the report appears to use both the “J” and “D” cover designators for the battalions of the Regiment. 384 As noted earlier, B-52 missions comprised either four or six aircraft - with the usual bomb load of 51 750lb bombs per aircraft. An “Arclight” – ie B-52, “target box” for a three -aircraft “cell” covered an area 1km x 3km. 385 Johnson, ., “Operation avarack – Phước Tuy Province,Vietnam – 1969”, op.cit., 2010, p.100 and endnote 31 referencing . Johnson’s interview with D.M. utler ( ieut enant Colonel - CO 6RAR/NZ,

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Headquarters Military Region 7 and the 33rd Regiment – and between Headquarters 33rd Regiment and its battalions, over the failure of the Bình Ba operation.386 High Point – Phase Two By 14 June 1969, 1ATF had received intelligence information indicating that the second phase of the NVA/VC “High Point” would begin on 16 June 1969.387 On 16 June, the 274th VC Regiment attacked a Thai Armed Forces battalion position at Lộc An (YS 178918) in Long Thành District of Biên Hòa Province, and the 274th Regiment suffered 212 killed.388 At that time, signals intelligence indicated that the 33rd Regiment
1969) in August 2009 who cited 547 Signal Troop’s SIGINT intercepts. However, Major General utler also had cited “captured documents” as the source for the “commanding officer” ((implying the commander of the 2nd Battalion)) being “severely censured for so dangerously exposing his battalion through his incompetence and lack of battlefield discipline.” - Horner, D. & Bou, J., Duty First: A history of the Royal Australian Regiment, Allen & Unwin, Second Edition, 2008, p.357. See also author Chamberlain’s email discussions with a knowledgeable 547 Signal Troop linguist/analyst (27 March 2012) – the “original source”, who cited “rebukes” by the 33rd Regiment Commander. The commander of the 2 nd Battalion was Qu ch Th i Sơn, see footnote 260. 386 The 33rd Regiment’s radio communications were invariably secure – ie by employing one-time-pad (OTP) encryption (using HF transmissions on 102E radios – see footnote 241). However, at this time, a series of messages in a lower-grade cypher were reportedly decrypted. The 33rd Regiment reportedly “believed that their operational plans had been leaked from MR7 to the ARVN.” - Author’s correspondence with a knowledgeable 547 Signal Troop analyst/linguist – mid and late March 2012. 387 1ATF, INTSUM No.165-69, Núi Đất, 14 June 1969. 388 During the second VC “High Point” Phase, the 274 th VC Regiment launched a major night assault on the base defensive position of the Thai 2nd Battalion/1st Brigade/Black Panther Division – a two-company [-] position (totalling 245 personnel) at Lộc An (YS 178918) in Long Thành District of Biên Hòa Province in the early am hours of 16 June 1969. Forewarned of the impending attack by SIGINT information from 1ATF’s 547 Signal Troop, the Thai unit inflicted heavy casualties on the 274th Regiment – 212 VC were reportedly killed by body count - 1ATF, INTSUM No.167/69, Núi Đất, 16 June 1969. The Thai force had been forewarned of the VC attack by signals intelligence-based information acquired by 1ATF’s 547 Signal Troop. The warning was hand-delivered to the US advisors at the Thai Army Headquarters at Bearcat by Major Robert Payne (US Army – Retd, Special Security Officer, IIFFV) – email advice to author, 4 January 2014. Subsequently, captured documents identified all three battalions of the 274th Regiment, the K21 Sapper/ Reconnaissance Company, and rear service elements – 1ATF, Vietnam Digest 24-69, Núi Đất, 1421 June 1969. According to Headquarters II Field Force Vietnam (IIFFV), the “enemy attack against the 2 1st Infantry resulted in 212 enemy killed and 1 prisoner, 16 small arms (AK-47s), 25 crew-served weapons, 823 grenades, and 6 mines captured. Friendly losses were 6 Thais killed and 34 wounded.” - IIFFV, Operational Report – Lessons Learned, Period ending 31 July 1969, 17 December 1969, p.28. The attack was reported in the Hà Nội media “On 15 June, the P AF of Biên Hòa Province destroyed a battalion-size unit of Thai troops near Long Thành.” - Vietnam News Agency, “Dazzling Military Feats During June”, Nhân Dân, Hà Nội, 1 July 1969, p.3. The Đồng Nai Party History records “the 4th Regiment ((274th Regiment)) attacked and destroyed two Thai battalions at Bình Sơn.” - Dương Thanh Tân (ed), Lịch sử Đảng bộ ((Đảng Cộng Sản Việt Nam)) tỉnh Đồng Nai (1930-2000), Tập (Volume) II (1954-1975), Chương (Chapter) IV, 2003. The attack is not mentioned at all in the 2006 memoir of the commanding officer of the 274th VC Regiment - Nguyễn Nam Hưng - Major General, Một Đời Chinh Chiến (A Life at War), op.cit., 2006. A study of the Lộc An engagement – including detailed interviews and maps, is at: 45th Military History Detachment (US), Combat After Action Report, Defense of Loc An Base Camp – 16 June 1969,

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Headquarters was probably in south-western Long Kh nh Province - about 20 kilometres east of Lộc An. However, three 33rd Regiment personnel have been listed as killed in the Lộc An/Bình Sơn area on 15 and 16 June 1969 – suggesting that the 1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment might have supported the 274th Regiment in the attack on the Thai position – or perhaps have been in the area and suffered collateral casualties from US air and artillery support.389 However, the 5th Division History (2005) asserts that: “At midday on 13 June, the enemy’s reconnaissance company was destroyed by the 33rd Regiment at Vàm Khe Giao ((north of Gia Ray in Long Kh nh Province)), and we cut completely all contact between the 52nd Regiment and the reconnaissance company - forcing the 52nd Regiment to deploy another battalion on a rescue mission.” … On 16 June 1969 “The 33rd Regiment encircled the enemy’s 3rd Battalion to the west of Suối Mơ. From daybreak, we concentrated our firepower on the enemy’s position. Having been attacked by surprise, the enemy was extremely panic-stricken and attempted to withdraw to the east. Resolved not to let the 52nd Regiment escape, the battalions of the 33rd Regiment pursued the enemy and – in coordination with the 3rd Battalion of the 5th Regiment ((ie 275th VC Regiment)), destroyed the enemy.” The 5th VC Division’s account above of the 33rd Regiment’s actions in eastern Long Kh nh in mid-June 1969 does not correlate with Australian signals intelligence information that placed the 33rd Regiment south-west of Xuân Lộc Town, about 30 kilometres east of Gia Ray – see the preceding map. On 19 June, signals intelligence indicated that the 33rd Regiment Headquarters was about five kilometres west of Xuân Lộc Town – and then moved westwards into Biên Hòa Province. Towards the end of June 1969, 1ATF reported that “the 33rd NVA Regiment is considered to have moved out of the Province, and is now probably relocated north-west and north-east of Blackhorse (YS 4396).390 NVA/VC Battlefield Clearance – and the 33rd Regiment Battlefield clearance – ie the recovery of their casualties, weapons and equipment391, was a particular focus for the NVA/VC – as evidenced by the following outcomes reported by Allied Forces following communist ground attacks:
San Francisco, 3 July 1969. See also Hart, S. with Chamberlain, E.P., “A Tactical SIGINT Success Story”, Pronto in South Vietnam, January 2014, http://pronto.au104.org/547Sigs/547story3.html . 389 ình Sơn village - and its adjacent rubber plantation, are located about four kilometres north-east of Lộc An (YS 178918). Those reported killed were: Trần Văn Hào, soldier – 1st Battalion (ie D7), d. 15 June 1969 at Lộc An; ùi Văn Chấm, section commander – 1st attalion (ie D7), d. 15 June 1969 at ình Sơn; and Phan Ngọc Đến, section commander – 1st attalion (ie D7), d. 16 June 1969 at ình Sơn. Nguyễn Văn ảy was also killed on 16 June 1969 – but the location is unclear. See: Nguyễn Sỹ Hồ, Martyrs’ ist, op.cit., 16 July 2013, and Appendix 9. 390 1ATF, Enemy Situation in Phước Tuy Province, Núi Đất, 24 June 1969. 391 Based on captured NVA/VC documents, a 1969 US study assessed that it took an average of 5-8 hours for a communist casualty to reach a regimental dispensary and 7-10 days to reach a divisional dispensary. USMACV, ST 69-11: Medical Causes of Non-Effectiveness among VC/NVA Troops, 31 August 1969, p.D-1.

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– Long Tân (Phước Tuy – 18 August 1966): 245 NVA/VC KIA (BC – body count); 54 individual and four crew-served weapons (CSW) recovered.392 – US Fire Support Base (FSB) Crook (Tây Ninh 5-7 June 1969): 402 NVA/VC KIA (BC); 59 individual weapons recovered. – Thai Forces battalion base at Lộc An (Biên Hòa – 16 June 1969): 212 NVA/VC KIA (BC); 36 individual and CSW recovered.393 – Battle of Bình Ba (Phước Tuy – 5-8 June 1969): 50-99 NVA/VC KIA (BC); 17 small arms and 3 CSW recovered by Australian forces. – Suối Cát (Long Kh nh – 2 December 1966, – an ambush of elements of the US 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment by the 274th VC Regiment): 99 VC KIA (BC) and a further 100-150 possibly killed; 13 individual weapons recovered.394 In the above figures, there is a large disparity evident between the numbers of NVA/VC dead and the number of their weapons recovered from the battlefields. While exaggeration or “inflation” of the body count of the NVA/VC dead by RVNAF and Allied Forces was not uncommon, some other factors are perhaps relevant. NVA/VC weapons found on the battlefield were often souvenired or looted by RVNAF and Allied troops, and there was an active market for communist weapons among US logistic and rear area troops – particularly for recovered AK-47 assault rifles and K-54 pistols. Further, some of the enemy dead may have included personnel without individual weapons such as labourers, support personnel (including Assault Youth members), members of crew-served weapon teams, and sappers armed solely with grenades, satchel charges and other explosives. These factors could account for some of the disparity. It is also noteworthy that much of the battlefield clearance by the NVA/VC was often undertaken in the dark and under enemy artillery fire and air attack – as at the Battle of Long Tân in mid-August 1966. Such evidences that the NVA/VC’s battlefield discipline and clearance - ie the removal by the communist forces of their dead, wounded, weapons and equipment was usually of a very high standard.395 In Phước Tuy and Long Kh nh Provinces in particular, few documents were recovered from the bunkers or from the individual soldiers’ packs of the 33rd NVA Regiment – eg “it is common to find that members of 33 Regiment who have been KIA possess no identifying documents.”396
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Detailed accounts of NVA/VC casualties at the Battle of Long Tân (Annex E) and the 275th Regiment (Annex J) are in Chamberlain, E.P., … D445 Their Story, op.cit., 2011. 393 See footnotes 204, 354, and 388. As noted, the Thai force had been forewarned of the VC attack by signals intelligence-based information processed by 1ATF’s 547 Signal Troop. 394 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, Operational Report – Lessons Learned, Quarter 1 Nov 66 – 31 Jan 67, 19 June 1967, pp.75-84. 395 For US statistical calculations of NVA/VC KIA battlefield clearance capabilities and NVA/VC norms see Chamberlain, E.P., … D445 Their Story, op.cit., 2011, Annex E. NVA ieutenant Colonel Xuân Chuyển (see footnote 150) related that – generally “If the battle was a ‘stand off’ …, the VC would be able to recover an average of 70% - 80% of the VC dead. If the VC were defeated, 40% - 50% of the VC dead were all that could possibly be recovered.” For battlefield clearance, see also footnotes 391 and 471. 396 1ATF, Annex F to INTSUM No.264/71 – 33 NVA Regiment: Order of Battle, 21 September 1971. A US unit’s report on its operations in the Định Qu n area of ong Kh nh Province noted “The absence of bodies and documents in the bunker complexes is further indication of the presence of the 33 rd NVA

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Operations in Late 1969 – north of National Route 1 In late July 1969, Headquarters Military Region 7 directed activity for the coming Autumn-Winter Campaign (August-December 1969) and noted that the 33rd Regiment “was directly subordinate to higher headquarters ((ie probably COSVN)) and was only designated to cooperate with MR 7 in certain operational campaigns. In the 1969 Autumn and Winter Campaign, the operations of the 33rd Regiment would be restricted due to difficulties encountered in rice supply.397 It would be preferably assigned to operate in the northern area of Route 1 – encompassing the Bình Lộc and the Kiêm Tân areas and one part of Túc Trưng and Trảng Bom Districts. Its primary missions were to carry out attacks of attrition on the enemy troops in its area of operations and to support the local guerrilla forces in the disruption of the accelerated pacification program. … the two local force battalions of Bà Rịa-Long Khánh ((ie D440 and D445)) were to be moved to the Bảo Định area ((vicinity YT 480050, in southern Long Khánh Province about 10 kilometres north-east of the US Blackhorse base)) to replace the 33rd Regiment which had withdrawn from the aforementioned area.”398 In mid-August 1969, NVA Private Nguyễn Văn Nhung was killed in combat south-west of Xuân Lộc by elements of the US 199th Infantry Brigade399 – and his diary was recovered covering the period January-August 1969. Nhung related the difficulties of his journey down the Trail – arriving in Long Khánh in late July 1969. He noted a “B-52 strike … very close to our position” on 10 August.400 According to a captured cadre’s notebook, on 10 August 1969, the 1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment moved from north of the Đồng Nai River to the base of the Regimental Headquarters in the La Ngà River area (vicinity of YT 4834 in central Long Khánh, see map at Appendix 20) - arriving on 15 August. The Battalion was then assigned a ricetransportation mission supporting the 84th Rear Services Group until 31 August 1969. The
Regiment as it is that unit’s normal mode to thoroughly police the battlefield.” - 2/5th Cavalry, After Action Report - period 17-25 November 1971, 27 November 1971. An earlier intelligence report on the Regiment’s 3rd attalion noted that “ efore any operation, particularly an attack, the n Political Officer (PO) collects all docs from personnel and holds them until after the attack is over thus reducing the potential intelligence available from KIA. This lack of documents has been characteristic of 33 Regt bodies discovered KIA.” – 1ATF, Annex F to INTSUM No.122/71, 2 May 1971. See also footnotes 443 and 471. 397 For detail on NVA/VC rice and salt rations, see: 1ATF, Troops Information Sheet No.33, Núi Đất, 21 February-5 March 1967: NVA/VC rations – combat troops 750gm of rice per day, but 875gm for artillery troops. In mid-1971, HQ SVNLA reviewed the food supply criteria to: Category I - 700gm (1.538 lb) of husked rice daily, 700gm salt monthly for: transport units, production untis, maintenance units, and combat units. Category II: 650gm rice daily, 700gm salt monthly for other units and agencies. For NVA/VC use of flour and corn as food staples, see 1ATF, Annex F to INT SUM No.166/71, Núi Đất, 16 June 1971. 398 CDEC Log 10-1611-69. 399 The US 199th Infantry Brigade elements were based in Long Khánh Province from mid-June1969 – initially moving into the Blackhorse base south of Xuân Lộc (collocating with 11ACR elements) before moving to a forward base in the vicinity of Xuân Lộc Town in August 1969 when the Blackhorse base was transferred to the RVNAF. The rigade’s main rear base remained at Camp Frenzell -Jones in the Long Bình complex. 400 Lanning, M.L. & Cragg, D., Inside the VC and the NVA – The Real Story of North Vietnam’s Armed Forces, Fawcett Columbine, New York, 1992 – pp.12-13, p.293.

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load prescribed for one man (with a weapon) was 23 kilograms and 27 kilograms for a man not carrying a weapon. The Battalion crossed Route 20 on 20 August.401 In August, the 1st Battalion planned an attack on a convoy on Route 20 between Định Quán (YT 568376) and La Ngà (YT 483340).402 As noted earlier, on 13 August 1969, the Regiment’s political director outlined the Party’s political activities and status in the first six month of 1969 – noting that in the first half of 1969, 229 personnel had been admitted to the Party; the 33rd Regiment had 28 Party Chapters; and a total of 463 Party members – suggesting about 43% of the Regiment’s strength.403 For the final six months of 1969, Resolution No.3/DU called for a thorough study of COSVN Directive 103/CT by all Party Chapters.404 On 31 August, the 2nd Company of the Regiment’s 1st Battalion was attacked by US and RVNAF aircraft, and its 2nd Platoon suffered two killed and four wounded.405 At the end of August, 1ATF reported the Regiment’s strength as 979.406 Notes in a 1st Battalion/33rd Regiment quartermaster cadre’s notebook indicated that in October 1969, the strength of the Battalion’s infantry companies was about 60.407 According to a US II Field Force Vietnam (II FFV) summary report, the 33rd Regiment remained out of major combat actions in September and October 1969.408 On 8
401

CDEC Log 09-1659-69. The notebook records that “after a meeting with Commanders ưu and Thường (probably Nguyễn Văn Thường – see footnotes 232 and 276), the 1st Battalion was assigned the mission of transporting husked rice, flour, ammunition and WIAs from the regimental station to C4, 84” (probably an element of the 84th Rear Services Group). 402 According to a captured document, the executive officer (2ic) of the 1st Battalion in August 1969 – following the attle of ình a, was ùi Đức Nhật and the attalion’s strength was “338 – with 103 AK47s, 44 CKCs, nine light machine guns, two heavy machine guns, 11 B-40s, five B-41s, 21 K-54 pistols, three 60mm mortars, and two 82mm mortars – CDEC Log 09-1636-69; CDEC Log 09-1649-69. The attalion’s strength fell to 326 on 2 September 1969. 403 Resolution No. 3/DU, 13 August 1969 – signed by “Ngự” for the A57 (33rd NVA Regiment) Party Committee - CDEC Log 11-1496-69. A Comrade “Ngụ” is noted as the political director (chủ nhiệm chính trị) of the Regiment in 1969-1973 – see Tổ Chức Ban Chỉ Huy Trung Đoàn 33 Qua C c Thời Kỳ (The Headquarters Organisation of the 33rd Regiment in Past Years), op.cit., 2010. Resolution 3/DU noted that during the second half of 1969: 60-65% of the 33rd Regiment’s units should attain the “Determined to Win” title; and 50% of all squad-level cadre and 90% of all platoon-level cadre should acquire Party membership. 404 For COSVN Resolutions and Directives – including Resolution 9, and COSVN Directive 103/CT issued in August 1969 that called for an intensification of military political and propaganda activities from August through to September 1969, see MACV, Communist Strategy as Reflected in ao Động Party and COSVN Resolutions, SRAP 1569, 5 December 1969 - VCAT Item No. F015800190717. With COSVN Directive 81 in April 1969 – followed by COSVN Resolution 9 in July 1969, Hà Nội returned to a “protracted struggle.” 405 CDEC Log 09-1659-69. 406 1ATF, Vietnam Digest No.34/79, Núi Đất, 24-30 August 1969. Earlier Digests in late June noted the strength of the 33rd Regiment as 1,075. 407 CDEC Log 12-1203-69. According to the recovered notebook, 600gm of rice per day was to be issued to each soldier and cadre from 4 October 1969. The military ranks of personnel were expressed in the “hyphenated form” eg 3/2 and 3/1, see also footnote 34. 408 “In early August 1969, the 33rd Regiment was moving to a new base area along the La Ngà River ((La Ngà at YT 483340 and the La Ngà Bridge at YT 482341)) with a strength of 1,075. The Regiment was located with the MR7 Headquarters and probably had the mission of reorganizing and refitting. … In

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November 1969, the US 199th Infantry Brigade reported killing 17 enemy – including several cadre, at YT 538078 and recovered documents relating to the Party in the 33rd NVA Regiment.409 Subsequently, the US 199th Brigade reported that: “During November 1969, the 33rd NVA Regiment continued to conduct operations south-west of the La Ngà River in support of local force elements ... – highlighted by the attack on 22 November on Bình Lộc hamlet (YT 453135)” where the 1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment reportedly lost 12 personnel KIA. B-52 raids targeting the 33rd Regiment in December disrupted activities, and “in mid-January 1970 the 33rd Regiment left the La Ngà River Basin (possibly leaving one battalion behind) and moved to the area south of Võ Đắt.”

33rd Regiment troops – with an NLF flag (a damaged photograph) A diary belonging to a 33rd Regiment soldier was recovered on 7 December 1969 and revealed that he had been “greatly disappointed by the hazardous life filled with hardships and dangers caused by the enemy’s daily raids, bombing and artillery fire”. He had been continuously hungry and suffered from disease. With obscenities, the soldier
September and October 1969, the 33rd Regiment remained out of significant identifiable contact and moved into War Zone D north of Định Quán. Captured documents indicated that 33rd Regiment was probably directly subordinate to COSVN and acting in a coordinating role with MR7.” - II Field Force Vietnam, Operational Report - Lessons Learned: to 31 October 1969, dated 10 February 1970. 409 A group of 30-40 NVA/VC were engaged, and six K-54 pistols – suggesting senior cadre, five AK-47s, and three rifles were recovered. The engagement is also recorded as having occurred at “YT 5906 – southwest of Ấp Suối C t” – 199th Infantry Brigade – Operational Report - Lessons Learned to 31 January 1970, 18 May 1970. 33rd Regiment documents recovered from that action revealed that, as noted earlier at footnotes 151, 156, and 403, in the first half of 1969, 229 personnel had been admitted to the Party; the 33rd Regiment had 28 Party Chapters; and a total of 463 Party members. CDEC Log 11-1496-69. The 33rd Regiment Martyrs’ ists do not list any personnel killed on 8 November 1969.

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disclosed his negative feelings for the “Revolution” in the South, his officers, and personnel in VC units.410 In late December 1969, during a major operation by 1ATF’s 6RAR/NZ in the Mây Tào mountains – Operation Marsden411, several 33rd Regiment personnel were captured. Ill or wounded, they had been patients in the K-76A hospital.412 Food and Supply Shortages According to a 33rd Regiment history, from the end of 1969 to 1971, the Regiment was under considerable pressure as the enemy concentrated the people, built strategic hamlets, attacked the VCI and the Regiment’s bases, and interdicted its supply systems. “For a period of six months, the Regiment could not be resupplied with ammunition or food supplies and the strength of the Regiment was only 600.”413 The NVA/VC “Rear Services” system aimed to provide a rice ration of up to 750gm per day for their infantry soldiers - but an extra 17% for “artillery combat troops”.414 Units were also provided with a small per-capita allowance in piastres to buy extra items such as salt, vegetables, and occasionally some meat (about 2kg per month) - which, interestingly, varied depending on rank. However, rice-denial and recovery operations by the Saigon Government and

410

A soldier carrying the diary was killed in a clash with the 1ATF’s 6RAR/NZ on 7 December 1969 on the northern slopes of the Mây Tào Mountains at YS 731947 – 1ATF, INTSUM No.358/69, Núi Đất, 24 December 1969. He may have been Nguyễn Văn Hanh – 1ATF, INTSUM No.343-69, Núi Đất, 9 December 1969. 411 See: Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, pp.332-348. Interrogation reports indicated that Lê Duy Nai was the commander of the 180-strong 2nd Battalion/33rd Regiment – 1ATF, Appendix 2 to Annex A to INTSUM No.362/69, Núi Đất, 28 December 1969 – other cadre appointments in the 2nd Battalion were also noted including Nguyễn Duy Thai and Nguyễn Ngọc Thanh - reportedly as the Battalion 2ics; and Lê Ba Dinh as the Battalion political officer. 412 Those captured included Vũ Minh Thang – private, who had reportedly been wounded by helicopter gunfire on 9 June 1969 and captured on 20 December 1969. Several were captured on 24 December 1969 including Đình Ai (2/33) and Trần Văn Đang - and “Giep [sic] and Tho”. Detail is unclear as the 1ATF INTSUMs recording the questioning have been redacted/expunged (in error) – obscuring names, units etc. For a note on this “expunging” by “the Department of Defence in 1982 as part of the declassification procedure” and “the original folios mislaid”, see Pawley, K, Assistant Curator (Official Records) – Australian War Memorial, 15 December 2005 (file AWM 95, 1/4/176). On “expunging”, see also the earlier War Memorial memo dated 24 Jan 2005 on AWM95, 1/4/113 regarding Vietnam Digest Issue No.1 noting: “expunged portions included as exemption under Archives Act 1983 no longer applicable.” For an official Australian listing – by name, of NVA/VC captured by Australian forces – see AWM98, 493 – HQ AFV (Barcode 904597) which lists 151 personnel, but this appears to be incomplete. In March 1973, the Australian Embassy – Saigon, reported that 154 POWs had been captured by Australian forces and noted their disposition (see cable – file AWM 121, 4/4/60 – dated 10 March 1973). For a summary, see Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, pp.661-662. 413 “Summary History” - ie Cựu Chiến Binh, Tóm Tắt … Trung Đoàn 33, op.cit., July 2010 – see Appendix 1. That historical monograph adds that the Regiment formed the 25th Company as a food production and convalescent unit, a 24th Sapper Company to operate deep in the enemy’s rear areas, and a training element to prepare section commanders and medics. 414 1ATF, Troops Information Sheet, No.33, Núi Đất, 27 February - 5 March 1967.

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Allied Forces seriously interrupted supply.415 A Military Region 7 letter advised that in the 1969 Autumn and Winter Campaigns, 33rd NVA Regiment operations in the Military Region 7 area “would be restricted due to the difficulties encountered in rice supply”.416 In his notebook, a senior COSVN cadre recorded in January 1970 “Instead of acting as a mobile force, the 33rd Regiment only engaged in food supply missions, saying that they were frequently struck by the enemy and their personnel suffered a constant shortage of rice. … thirty percent of the food was substitute rations … the personnel believed that with this system of food supply, they could not fight effectively and win the battle.”417

33rd Regiment troops engaged in food production (possibly its 24th Company) A Negative Appraisal On 5 January 1970, a senior COSVN political cadre wrote a quite negative appraisal of the 33rd Regiment: “This unit is displaying pessimism. They complain about the rigours that they have endured, the fierceness of the War, and the intense destruction of their areas of operation. … Cadre were non-conformist in behaviour and skeptical. Their ideological guidance was poor. Instead of acting as a mobile force, the 33rd

415

For example, earlier in the US Cedar Falls operation in January 1967, 3,170 tons of rice were seized – estimated as enough to feed twenty communist battalions for a year. 416 Miitary Region 7, Letter, 29 July 1969 - CDEC Log 10-1611-69. 417 Senior Political Cadre’s Notebook, COSVN, October 1969 – February 1970, entry of 5 January 1970.

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Regiment only took part in food supply missions, saying that they were frequently stricken by the enemy and their personnel suffered a constant shortage of rice.”418 Operations in Bình Tuy Province From November 1969 to March 1970, the 33rd Regiment engaged principally in “re-training and re-provisioning in Bình Tuy Province – until recommencing offensive operations in April.”419 In early 1970, the 33rd Regiment was active in Hòai Đức and Tánh Linh Districts of Bình Tuy Province (see map at Appendix 20)420, and US forces assessed “its mission at this time was probably to avoid friendly operations and receive supplies and replacements” - and also reported that: “Recent intelligence sources indicate that the 33rd Regiment plans to operate in MR-6 for an extended period of time and may possibly be OPCON ((under the operational control)) of MR-6. The 33rd may continue to conduct large ambushes along Routes 333/335/336, since this is the unit’s favourite and most successful tactic.”421 On 31 January 1970, probable 33rd Regiment elements attacked a US ambush position at YT 801297, killing two US personnel and wounding 25 – while suffering five NVA KIA.422 On 27 February 1970, elements of the 3rd Battalion of the 33rd Regiment ambushed armoured vehicles of the US 199th Infantry Brigade on Route 335 (YT 924304) and nine NVA were reported killed. On 6 April 1970, the 2nd Battalion of the 33rd Regiment attacked 199th Infantry Brigade elements at YT 809355 - nine NVA and five US troops were reported killed, and two US Sheridan tanks destroyed.423

418

Ibid., see the translated extract at Appendix 10. The notebook was captured on 11 June 1970 in Kompong Cham Province (Cambodia) by the US 11 th Armored Cavalry Regiment, and covers the period October 1969 to February 1970. The author appears to have been a senior political cadre at COSVN. 419 The 5th VC Division History (2005) relates “… continuously from 2 -7 April 1970, the Regiment conducted five battalion-level ambushes and two route ambushes against the US 199th Brigade which was conducting sweeping and pacification operations along Route 3 – killing many enemy. Specifically, on 2 April, the Regiment ambushed and wiped out an enemy company.” A captured document – a letter dated 7 April 1970 and probably written by a 5th VC Division rear services cadre, related that: the 33rd Regiment “had moved to a distant area but is still subordinate to the 5 th Division.”; “Sơn” ((probably Triệu Kim Sơn)) had been promoted to the position of 33rd Regiment executive officer; Chau ((probably Nguyễn Văn Ch u)) was also an executive officer; Than ((probably Nguyễn Huy Thản)) was the chief-of-staff; Tương ((possibly Hồ Sỹ Tường)) was head of the Regiment’s rear services; and Ngư was t he assistant chief of the rear services section.” – VCAT Item No.2131509010. 420 According to USMACV, the 33rd Regiment was re-subordinated to the 5th VC Division in about January 1970 and located in ình Tuy Province “operating around Võ Đắt and the Tánh Linh”. Headquarters II Field Force Vietnam, Operational Report – Lessons Learned to 30 April 1970, Saigon, 8 September 1970. 421 199th Infantry Brigade (Light) Operational Report – Lessons Learned: for the Quarterly Period ending 30 April 1970, pp.5-6. 422 199th Infantry Brigade – Operational Report - Lessons Learned to 31 January 1970, 18 May 1970. 423 199th Infantry Brigade (Light) Operational Report – Lessons Learned: for the Quarterly Period ending 30 April 1970, pp.5-6.

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According to a 33rd Regiment Martyrs’ ist, on 17 March 1970 a battalion-level commander - Phạm Như Lạc, was killed.424 Soon after, the 33rd Regiment was commended for its operations in Military Region 6 - including the killing of US Brigadier General W. Bond, the commander of the 199th Infantry Brigade. The 5th VC Division History recorded: “The Regiment’s air defence elements set fire to an enemy helicopter carrying two-star General William Bond - the commander of the 199th Brigade, killing the whole Brigade leadership and the accompanying officers while they were inspecting the battlefield.” 425 On 17/18 April 1970, two companies of the 2nd Battalion of the 33rd Regiment and several supporting companies (including sappers) attacked FSB Den (YT 8136) – 25 NVA were reported killed, with US losses one killed and 18 wounded.426 That engagement was also reported by USMACV as: On 18 April 1970, the 2nd Battalion of the 33rd Regiment attacked US Fire Support Base “Dinh Two” [sic] located nine kilometres north-east of Võ Đắt (YT 819368). US casualties were one killed and 35 wounded – and one truck and two 155m howitzers destroyed. The 2nd Battalion of the 33rd Regiment reportedly suffered 13 killed and two captured.427 According to 33rd Regiment history monographs, while subordinate to Military Region 6, the Regiment took the title of the “Resolve to Win Regiment” (Trung đoàn Quyết Thắng)428 and defeated two battalions of the Korean Blue Dragon formation in Hàm Thuận District.429
424

Phạm Như ạc (b.1942, Thanh Hóa), with the rank and function of “DT”, was listed as a member of 2 (ie an element of the Regimental Headquarters). No location of death was indicated: see Nguy ễn Sỹ Hồ, Martyrs’ ist, op.cit., 16 July 2013. 425 According to the 5th VC Division History (2005): “Two-star General Uy-li-an-bon – together with the whole headquarters staff of the 199th Brigade and accompanying officers, was killed, when a battlefield reconnaissance helicopter was shot down in flames by the Regiment’s air defence element.” US records show that Brigadier General William Bond was killed by a sniper on 1 April 1970 when alighting from a helicopter on the southern edge of War Zone D about 110 kilometres north-east of Saigon. 426 199th Infantry Brigade (Light) Operational Report – Lessons Learned: for the Quarterly Period ending 30 April 1970, pp.5-6. The 6 April 1969 engagement in west-central Bình Tuy Province, was noted in a 1ATF summary report ie “US and ARVN forces engaged 33rd Regiment’s C18 AAHMG Company two kilometres south of Võ Đắt resulting in 49 33rd Regiment personnel killed.” 1ATF, SUPINTREP No.15/70 7-13 April 1970, Núi Đất, 14 April 1970. 427 USMAC-V, J-2 DISUM 109-70, Saigon, 18-19 April 1970. US casualties were one KIA and 35 WIA. 428 See Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), Qu Trình …, op.cit., 2010 – see Appendix 2. There were several “Quyết Thắng” regiments - including in the 3rd (Sao Vàng) NVA Division; in Sub-Regtion 1 in 1969; the 64th Regiment of the 320th NVA Division; the 209th Regiment of the 312th NVA Division; and reportedly a separate regiment that operated in Tây Ninh Province in mid-1969. The 33rd Regiment’s histories relate that its title reverted to the “33rd Regiment” at the end of 1971 when it “returned to the à Rịa-Long Khánh battlefield.” 429 See the “Summary History” ie Cựu Chiến Binh, Tóm Tắt … Trung Đoàn 33, op.cit., July 2010 – see Appendix 1; and Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), Qu Trình …, op.cit., 2010 – see Appendix 2. Hàm Thuận District of Bình Thuận Province was the southernmost district in coastal Military Region II. This is probably a reference to the Republic of Korea’s lue Dragon rigade (2nd Marine Brigade) – ie Cheongryeong (“ lue Dragon”, 청룡/靑龍) Brigade.

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Following the US and Vietnamese cross-border incursions into eastern Cambodia in April 1970, the 5th VC Division moved to operate in Cambodian territory.430 However, the 33rd Regiment did not accompany the 5th Division – rather, the 5th Division History (2005) notes that in mid-late April “The 33rd Regiment was deployed to operate in the Hòai Đức and Đức Linh area and the area in southern Bình Thuận – and to coordinate with the armed forces of Military Region 6 to destroy the enemy’s plan of ‘grouping the people’ and their ‘pacification’ programme.”431 The 5th Division History (2005) also related that “At the same time ((in June 1970)), the 33rd Regiment was ordered to be detached from the Division and to return to operate in the area of Military Region 7.”432 A US report noted “Documents captured in June indicated that the 33 Regt had been removed from the operational control of 5 VC Div and had been resubordinated to the headquarters of MR-7”.433 The monthly report by Headquarters Australian Force – Vietnam (HQAFV) for May 1970 noted that the 2nd Brigade/25th US Infantry Division434 would deploy to the
430

“From the middle of April 1970, the 5th Division deployed to fight deep inside Cambodia alongside fraternal forces in the provinces of Stung Treng, Kratié and Mondolkiri. … assisting our friends to attack the enemy in the six provinces in north-eastern Cambodia” – 5th Division History (2005). 431 th 5 Division History (2005). According to the Military Region 6 History, in October 1969, the 1 st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment “on the ong Kh nh battlefield” was assigned by COSVN to operate in the Route 3 area (from Hoài Đức to Gia Ray) in Bình Tuy preparatory to the move there of the whole Regiment.” The Military Region 6 History describes 33rd Regiment’s operations in the Region in the first half of 1970 - Trần Lê, Khu VI kháng chiến chống Mỹ cứu nước 1954-1975 (Region VI in the AntiAmerican Resistance War of National Salvation), Nhà Xuất bản Chính trị Quốc gia, Hà Nội, 2002. According to a Military Region 7 History, in March 1970 the 33rd Regiment left the 5th Division and moved to operate under MR6 – and, on the re-establishment of MR 7 in mid-1972, it moved to MR7. - Military Region 7 (Quân Khu 7), Chiến Thắng Xuân Lộc-Long Khánh (The Xuân Lộc-Long Khánh Victory), Nhà Xuẩt Bản Tồng Hợp Đồng Nai, Biên Hòa, 2004. As noted earlier, the US 199 th Infantry Brigade related that all of the 33rd Regiment was active in Bình Tuy Province – in Hoài Đức and Tánh Linh Districts: On 27 February 1970, 3/33rd Regiment ambushed Route 335 at YT 924304; the 33 rd Regiment was active in Bình Tuy province ambushing Routes 333-335 and 336 – as this was “the unit’s favorite and most successful tactic”. As noted, on 17-18 April 1970, 2/33rd Regiment attacked US FSB Den – Operational Report: Lessons Learned 199th Infantry Brigade to 30 April 1970 – dated 4 September 1970. 432 Based on documents captured in June 1970, US reporting noted the re-subordination of the 33rd Regiment to Military Region 7 - Operational Report of II Field Force Vietnam for Period Ending 31 July 1970, 14 August 1970, p.12. According to US reporting “Major main force units under command of Military Region 7, … most notably the 33 NVA Infantry Regiment, employ the Shadow Supply System, due to a lack of available external supply sources, particularly for foodstuffs. … The 33 rd Regiment and enemy local forces in MR 6 are supplied by the MR 7 Rear Service Group.” ((Shadow Supply Sys tem drawing supplies from along Route 1, from Saigon and within Military Region 7)). HQ II Field Force Vietnam, Operational Report – Lessons Learned, period 1 November 1970 – 30 April 1971. 433 II FFORCEV Commander’s Evaluation Report – Cambodian Operations, Annex B – Intelligence, 31 July 1970 – VCAT Item No.4900110003, 168300010606. 434 On 1 July 1970, the 2nd Brigade of the US 25th Infantry Division deployed to Xuân Lộc, then on 19 July to its Operational ase ynch (YS 459840) astride Route 2 in Phước Tuy Province near Kim Long hamlet about 10 kilometres south of the Long Khánh Province border. The 2 nd Brigade (Separate) operated in Phước Tuy (until February 1971) and Long Khánh Provinces; and was replaced in early March 1971 by the US 3rd Brigade (Separate) of the 1st Air Cavalry Division (Airmobile). The 3rd rigade’s area of operations in Long Khánh and Bình Tuy Provinces was progressively reduced to the west to cover the approaches to

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Xuân Lộc area, the US 199th Light Infantry Brigade (LIB) would deploy to Hàm Tân in Bình Tuy Province and “The primary target for both the 2nd Brigade and the 199th LIB is the 33rd VC [sic] Regt. This Regiment is presently the most effective NVA Regiment in III Corps.435 On 29 May 1970, the 3rd Battalion of 33rd Regiment attacked a US 199th Infantry Brigade fire support base (FSB Sun – YT 935211) in Bình Tuy Province – and reportedly suffered 41 killed. 33rd Regiment elements – principally from the 1st Battalion also reportedly engaged US convoys on Route 333 (YT 693218 to YT73826) on 29 June, 1 July, and 4 July.436 In June 1970, US reporting indicated that 33rd Regiment “was widely dispersed within Bình Tuy Province with the Headquarters of the 33rd Regiment in the Núi Ông and Núi Moc area (ZT 0617)” and that there were “larger concentrations of enemy units located south of Võ Đắt/Đắc (YT 7332) and Võ Xu/Su (YT 7824)”.437 On 30 August 1970, the 3rd Battalion of 33rd Regiment was engaged by elements of the 25th US Division about 17 kilometres north-east of the Blackhorse base – indicating that the 3rd attalion “had undertaken a radical movement west of its normal area of operations in ình Tuy Province.”438 According to a senior C-25 Company prisoner captured in late November 1970, D440 attalion had been disbanded and a “9th attalion” from “A57” (ie the 3rd Battalion of the 33rd NVA Regiment) had been added to the Bà Rịa-Long Khánh forces.439 This unusual attachment was reportedly to be for an indefinite period as a replacement for the D440 Local Force Battalion that had been disbanded in August 1970. In early December 1970440, the movement of the 3rd Battalion of 33rd Regiment westward out of Bình Tuy Province was confirmed when the unit was again noted in southern Long Khánh Province about 10 kilometres east of the Blackhorse base.441
Biên Hòa/Long Bình – with the Brigade withdrawing from the area in March 1972 – see the maps at Appendices 18 and 20. 435 HQAFV, AFV Monthly Report – May 70, Saigon, 23 June 1970. 436 Operational Report – Lessons Learned II Field Force Vietnam – to 31 July 1970, dated 5 April 1971. 437 The 199th Infantry Brigade report summarised “Operations against the 33rd NVA Regiment in Bình Tuy Province have been conducted in the Núi Ông-Núi Lop-Sông Phanh area east of Highway 336 where contact was made with elements of the 33rd Regiment’s headquarters and one battalion. Operations were also undertaken against the 33rd Regiment in the jungled terrain south of the Rice Bowl in north-western ình Tuy Province. … Operations thus far have succeeded in attriting this Regiment, keeping it constantly on the move, and denying it access to the population and food supplies in the Rice owl.” – 199th Infantry Brigade, Operational Report for Period Ending 31 July 1970, 3 February 1971. 438 1ATF, INTSUM No.344/70, Núi Đất, 10 December 1970. 439 1ATF, Annex A to INTSUM No.332/70, Núi Đất, 28 November 1970. The captured C-25 ong Đất Company cadre stated that a “9th attalion” had been “placed under command of à ong Province Headquarters in July 1970 as a replacement for the now disbanded D440.” - 1ATF, SUPINTREP No.48/70, Núi Đất, 8 December 1970. This SUPINTREP also included a “special agent report” (SPAR) noting the location of the 3rd (ie 9th) Battalion of the 33rd Regiment about 10 kilometres north-east of the Courtney rubber plantation in the vicinity of YS 5697. See also footnote 67 for SPAR reports. 440 On 23 November 1970, Nguyễn Văn Tiểu (b.1941, enlisted 1962) – battalion 2ic (battalion not cited), was killed at Hàm Tân (Bình Tuy Province) - Nguyễn Sỹ Hồ, Martyrs’ ist, op.cit., 16 July 2013. 441 Based on the Order of Battle Summary by the US 179 th Military Intelligence Detachment – 2 September 1970, 1ATF reported the 3rd (ie 9th) attalion’s strength as 210-230 – with 33rd Regiment’s strength as

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In early 1971, a US formation noted the Headquarters of the 33rd Regiment as located in the Núi Ông area at ZT 063111, and the Regiment’s strength was estimated at 815.442 In early May 1971, 1 ATF produced a seven-page study of the 3rd (ie 9th) Battalion of the 33rd Regiment – assessing its strength as 185 (see the organogram at Appendix 13). That study reported that the 3rd Battalion had been under the operational control of Military Region 7 since late 1970 and was operating in support of Bà Long Province – and the attalion had returned to the “Sparrow Valley area YS 5699”.443 In May 1971, in implementation of COSVN Directive 33, the Military Region 7 military staff was disbanded – and the 33rd Regiment, 274th Regiment and the 6th Sapper Battalion were made directly subordinate to the newly-established Bà Rịa Sub-Region.444 In late May 1971, Headquarters US Third Regional Assistance Command (TRAC) reported that the 33rd Regiment Headquarters and its 2nd attalion “had made a significant move to the west during the past week from Bình Tuy into Long Khánh where they are now located north-east of Xuân Lộc.”445 Documents captured from 3rd Battalion elements of the 33rd Regiment in early June 1971 referred to the attalion as “D2 Bà Rịa” – implying that the 3rd attalion was operating as the Province’s second battalion – ie with D445 attalion as the Province’s first battalion.446
approximately 1,200. The 3rd attalion’s commander was noted as Captain Triệu Kim Sơn – with Captains Phạm Văn Phan, Phan Trọng Dương and Đinh Văn Đạt as political officers. – 1ATF, INTSUM No.344/70, Núi Đất, 10 December 1970. 442 The strengths of the Headquarters and support companies were assessed as 205; the 1 st Battalion – 220; nd 2 Battalion – 170; and the 3rd Battalion – 195. 2nd Brigade/25th Infantry Division, Operational Report – Lessons Learned for Period: 1 November 1970 – 28 February 1971. 443 HQ 1ATF, 3 n 33 NVA Regt, Annex F to 1ATF INTSUM No.122/71, Núi Đất, 2 May 1971. The study included a unit tactics summary, an organogram (see Appendix 13), and a “key appointments” list – including Captain Triệu Kim Sơn as battalion commander, and Senior ieutenant Nguyễn Ngọc Khánh as 2ic. The study noted that “ efore any operation, particularly an attack, the n Political Officer (PO) collects all docs from pers and holds them until the attack is over – thus reducing the potential intelligence available from KIA. This lack of documents has been characteristic of 33 Regt bodies discovered KIA.” A US report similarly recorded “it is that unit’s normal mode to thoroughly police the battlefield” – see also footnotes 395 and 471. The 1ATF “3 n 33 NVA Regt” study does not mention the attle of ình a on 5 8 June 1969 – but rather notes that the 3rd attalion “in June 1969” was “assigned an AO around Gia Ray in ong Kh nh Province”. The study acknowledged that “Much of the material used in this paper has been reproduced from US 1st Air Cavalry Division INTSUMs.” The Australian official history notes that in early May 1971, 1ATF had assessed 3/33rd Battalion’s strength as 185, with 33rd Regiment’s strength as over 1,200 – Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, p.610. 444 Dương Thanh Tân (ed), ịch sử Đảng bộ ((Đảng Cộng Sản Việt Nam)) tỉnh Đồng Nai (1930-2000), Tập (Volume) II (1954-1975), Chương (Chapter) IV, 2003. 445 The report noted that the move westward “was probably due to US pressure in the Regiment’s former areas.” – 1ATF, SUPINTREP No.22/71, Period 24-30 May 1971, Núi Đất, 31 May 1971. TRAC (US Third Regional Assistance Command) had replaced the US II Field Force Vietnam (II FFV) on 2 May 1971. 446 1ATF, INTSUM No.158/71, Núi Đất, 7 June 1971. In July 1971, 1ATF included “D2/ aria” as a cover designator title for the 3rd Battalion of the 33rd Regiment. The strength of the Regiment was assessed as 1,245 – comprising its HQ/support elements as 333-strong, and its battalions as “300 – 1 Bn, 265 – 2 Bn, and 230 – 3 n (D2/ aria)” – Annex F to 1ATF INTSUM No.207/71, Núi Đất, 26 July 1971. These figures represented an increase in the Regiment’s strength as assessed by HQ TRAC based on intelligence of infiltration rates from North Vietnam – 1ATF, Annex G to INTSUM No.216/71, Núi Đất, 4 August 1971.

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In 1971, The US 3rd Brigade (Separate)447 operated against 33rd Regiment elements in northern Long Kh nh and Bình Tuy Province. In June 1971, the 3rd rigade’s “heaviest contacts occurred late in June approximately 10 kilometers north-east of Xuân Lộc. During this period, contact was with the 33rd NVA Regiment which was well situated in fortified bunker complexes. Moderate casualties were taken on both sides. Statistics for the month of June show that 106 enemy were KIA, while 11 US troops were KIA and 39 US were WIA. Since that time the enemy has chosen to avoid US forces.”448 The strength of the 33rd Regiment was assessed as 1,300. In mid-1971 – according to the D445 Battalion History, D445’s “3rd Company coordinated with the 33rd Regiment, the 4th Regiment ((ie the 274th VC Main Force Regiment)) and the local forces of Châu Đức District to take control along Route 2 while at the same time joining up the strategic corridor from War Zone D to ong Đất, Vũng Tàu and the Rừng Sắc.”449 C26 In July and August 1971, a group of 70 recently-infiltrated reinforcements450 for the 33rd Regiment were isolated by US forces for several weeks in a jungle area near Bù Gia Mập village (Phước Long Province). 14 of the soldiers in the group – designated the C26 Company, reportedly died from hunger and malnutrition.451

447 448

See footnote 434. Senior Officer Debriefing Report: BG Jonathon R. Burton, 3d Brigade (Separate), 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) – Period 10 April 1971 to 13 December 1971, 3 May 1972, p.3. Brigadier General Burton also commented critically on the restrictions imposed on any disseminating of signals intelligence to his subordinate combat commanders. 449 Chamberlain, E.P., … D445 …, op.cit., 2011, pp.81 -82. See also Phạm Quang Định, Lịch Sử Tiểu Đòan 445 Đon Vị Anh Hùng Lực ượng Vũ Trang Nhân Dân (1965-2004) – (The History of 445 Battalion: An Heroic Unit of the People’s Armed Forces – 1965-2004), Nhà Xuẩt bản Quân đội Nhân dân (Armed Forces Publishing House), Hà Nội, 2004, p.168 which implies “late -1971”. D445 attalion was not disbanded for company-level operations until September 1971, and Route 2 was not under NVA/VC control in mid-1971. According to the 2004 History, D445 was later regrouped as a battalion in May 1972 – p.171. 450 NVA reinforcements moved down the Hồ Chí Minh Trail through the NVA Military Region 559’s system of “Binh Trạm” (way-stations). “Travel-time” from Vịnh in North Vietnam to the B3 Front in the Central Highlands - in the mid-1960s to the early 1970s, averaged 60 days, and 120 days to the COSVN region. Sorley, ., Vietnam Chronicles The Abrams Tapes …, op.cit., 2004, p.34 1, p.432. US signals intelligence closely monitored the flow southward of the infiltration groups – usually about 550-strong, down the Trail system. In April 1974, US intelligence reported that travel down the Trail from V ịnh in North Vietnam to Lộc An north of Saigon – all by vehicle, had taken 18 days (according to a rallier) – April ((1974)) Threat Assessment, VCAT Item No.13370112001. 451 “Đi tìm kiếm và quy tập 14 liệt sĩ của C26, E33 hy sinh tại xã Đắc Ơ …” (“Searching for and Recovering the 14 Martyrs of the 26th Company of the 33rd Regiment at Đắc Ơ village …”), Hà Nội, 18 March 2013. The account of C26 Co mpany’s losses – including to malaria, was recorded in the diary of Nguyễn Tuấn Tùy. In C26, by late August, each soldier’s daily rice ration had be en reduced to only three “lạng” (three “tael”, totaling about 112gm per day).

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1ATF Operations Overlord (Suối Nhác) and Ivanhoe (Núi Lê) – 1971 In June 1971, 1ATF’s signals intelligence unit – 547 Signal Troop, had “tracked the movement of the NVA 3 Battalion, 33 Regiment, estimated at 185 strong, into the north of Phước Tuy province. ... He ((the Task Force Commander)) mounted Operation Overlord to locate and destroy 3 attalion, 33 Regiment.”452 On 7 June 1971, during Operation Overlord, 1ATF’s 3RAR Battalion - with tank support, attacked a large bunker complex occupied by elements of the 3rd Battalion of the 33rd Regiment at Suối Nhác (YS 507938) in Long Khánh Province, about three kilometres north of the Long Khánh-Phước Tuy border and seven kilometres south-east of the Blackhorse base.453 This engagement is sometimes referred to as “The attle of ong Kh nh”. The engagement is not mentioned in 33rd Regiment historical monographs. “From June to August 1971” - according to the Đồng Nai History (2003): “despite the wet season and the difficult terrain, the 4th ((274th)) Regiment, the 33rd Regiment and Bà Rịa Sub-Region’s 6th Battalion – together with the Châu Đức and Cao Su District troops, held on tightly and attacked Route 2, were able to consolidate the territory that they occupied, and re-opened the strategic corridor from Bà Rịa-Long Khánh to War Zone D. We eliminated much of the enemy’s war-making potential and destroyed armoured vehicles (including 173 of the enemy at Suối Râm) and continuously struck and inflicted heavy losses on the Regional Forces, Popular Forces and police in the villages along Route 2 – such as Hàng Gòn, Láng Lớn, Cẩm Mỹ, and Tân Lập, expanding the areas controlled by the masses.”454 At the end of August 1971, 1ATF assessed the strength of the 33rd Regiment as totalling 1,250 – with 378 in the headquarters and supporting elements, 300 in its 1st

452

Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, p.562 - this includes references to endnote 61 (citing Tidey, ., Forewarned Forearmed …, Canberra, op.cit., December 2007) and endnote 62 at p.1031. See also Tidey, ., Forewarned Forearmed …, Canberra, December 2007, op.cit., p.49. 453 Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, pp.562-576. Captured documents identified the C10 Company, the C12 Heavy Weapons Company, and the 33rd Battalion Headquarters; and confirmed Triệu Kim Sơn as the 3rd Battalion commander, and Phạm Văn Phan as its “political officer”. – 1ATF, Annex A to INTSUM No.158/71, Núi Đất, 7 June 1971. Subsequently, a POW stated that C9, C10 and C12 Companies of the 3rd Battalion were involved in the action – 1ATF, Annex A to INTREP No.5/71, Vũng Tàu, 2 December 1971. A nearby bunker system at YS 513932 had apparently been occupied by elements of D445 Battalion. The 3rd Battalion of 33rd Regiment was believed to have lost seven killed; Australian casualties were three killed (including two RAAF personnel) and 10 wounded. For the 7 June 1971 action, see also: Fairhead, M. F. - Lieutenant Colonel (Retd), A Duty Done, 2013, pp. 139-140. In August, based on infiltration data, TRAC (US Third Regional Assistance Command) had assessed 33 rd Regiment’s strength as - HQ and Spt: 333; 1st Battalion: 300; 2nd Battalion: 265; 3rd Battalion: 300 – Total 1,245. – 1ATF, Annex G to INTSUM No.216/71, Núi Đất, 4 August 1971 – for the end of August, see the following footnote 455. 454 Dương Thanh Tân (ed), ịch sử Đảng bộ ((Đảng Cộng Sản Việt Nam)) tỉnh Đồng Nai (1930-2000), Tập (Volume) II (1954-1975), Chương (Chapter) IV, 2003.

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Battalion, 270 in the 2nd Battalion, and 300 in the 3rd Battalion.455 In mid-September, 1ATF assessed the Regiment’s strength as 1,195.456 According to the Đồng Nai History (2003) “On 15 September 1971, the 33rd Regiment attacked Xuân Lộc, and the Military Region’s 6th Sapper Battalion attacked the Định Quán Sub-Sector ((YT 568376)), killing 90 enemy and six US advisors.”457 In the second half of September 1971, the 33rd Regiment was active in north-central Phước Tuy Province – including a probable attack on the Regional Forces post at Xà Bang on 19 September.458 Earlier - in the second week of September 1971, signals intelligence “indicated that 33 Regiment was moving from southern Long Kh nh into the northern part of Phước Tuy, which 4RAR/NZ had dominated since the end of Operation Overlord. ... Brigadier McDonald knew the task force had to respond. ... On 19 September, the task force mounted Operation Ivanhoe ... south of the Courtenay plantation. ... ((On 19 September)) as the forward platoons ((of D/4RAR/NZ)) patrolled through the dark forest, they were advised that signals intercepts had detected two radios, possibly indicating two enemy battalions close by. Soldiers were on edge and moving cautiously.”459 On 20-21 September 1971, the Australian 4RAR/NZ Battalion (Operation Ivanhoe) engaged the 3rd Battalion of the 33rd Regiment in a bunker complex northeast of Đức Thạnh in the Núi Sao/Núi Lê area (YS 513857)460 - five Australians were killed in action461 and 29
455 456

1ATF, INTSUM No.243/71, Núi Đất, 31 August 1971. 1ATF, SUPINTREP No.38/71, Period 13-19 September 1971, Núi Đất, 20 September 1971. 1ATF assessed 33rd Regiment’s strengths as HQ and support companies – 375, 1st Bn – 250, 2nd Bn – 270, 3rd Bn – 300 – a total strength of 1,195. 457 Dương Thanh Tân (ed), ịch sử Đảng bộ ((Đảng Cộng Sản Việt Nam)) tỉnh Đồng Nai (1930-2000), Tập (Volume) II (1954-1975), Chương (Chapter) IV, 2003. 458 According to a 33rd Regiment POW, an attack on the 626 RF Company post at YS 461834 (on Route 2 2.5 km south of Xà Bang) on 19 September by elements of 33 rd Regiment’s 3rd Battalion - and an ambush by elements of the Battalion on 20 September on a 1ATF cavalry troop at YS 461821, were intended to lure Australian reaction forces into an ambush by the 3rd Battalion east of Route 2. However, the 4RAR/NZ elements reportedly avoided the ambush and – on 20-21 September, attacked the bunker complex at Núi Sao/Núi Lê occupied – according to the POW, by the 33rd Regiment Headquarters and the 2/33 Battalion (ie 8th Battalion) – 1ATF, Annex A to INTREP No.5/71, Vũng Tàu, 2 December 1971. However, some of the POW’s account related in the INTREP is questionable - see the following footnotes 462, 467 and 468. On 19 September, Đức Hoa – a soldier in 33rd Regiment’s C26 [sic] Company, was killed on Route 2 in “Châu Đức”; and on 20 September, Sỹ Chứ was killed in “ ong Kh nh” – see Appendix 9. On 20 September 1971 - as noted above, elements of 1ATF’s A Squadron/3rd Cavalry Regiment were engaged by 20 enemy – believed to be elements of the 33rd NVA Regiment, at YS 461821 - 1ATF, SUPINTREP No.39/71, Núi Đất, 27 September 1971. 459 Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, pp.610-612. In his article – “The last battle” (Wartime Magazine, Issue 55, July 2011, pp.15-19) LTCOL Gary McKay MC (Retd) (11/D/4RAR/NZ – WIA 21 September 1971) noted “We had been previously ((ie before 20 September)) advised by coded radio message that there was a possible large concentration of enemy somewhere close to those hills ((ie Núi and Núi Sao)).” 460 1ATF, SUPINTREP No.39/71, Period 20-26 September 1971, Núi Đất, 27 September 1971. See also Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, pp.613-624; Davies, B. with McKay, G., Vietnam: The Complete Story …, op.cit., 2012, pp.521 -534; and McKay, G., “The last battle” ,Wartime Magazine, Issue 55, July 2011, pp.15-19.

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wounded; and the 33rd Regiment reportedly suffered 16 confirmed killed (four AK-47s, one RPG-2, and one Mauser rifle were recovered by Australian forces).462 Subsequently, 1ATF reported that “During the period of contact with 33 Regt 20-22 Sep 71, there were 20 confirmed enemy KIA and an unknown number WIA.”463 The official Australian history records enemy casualties during Operation Ivanhoe (19 September – 2 October 1971) as “VC: KIA 15, wounded/escaped 15” – and “seven weapons captured”.464

An Australian national intelligence assessment showing 33rd Regiment locations – 27 September 1971 (poor copy)465
461

The five soldiers – four of whom were national servicemen, “were the last Australian soldiers to die in combat in Vietnam.” - Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, p.619. 462 A 1ATF SUPINTREP reported “In the area of the D Coy 4RAR/NZ (ANZAC) during the day ((21 September)), 16 enemy were confirmed killled, of whom nine were killed by air.” … “No do cuments were able to be obtained from the enemy bodies, but there is no doubt that the enemy were members of 3Bn of 33 NVA Regt.” – 1ATF, SUPINTREP No.39/71, Period 20-26 September 1971, Núi Đất, 27 September 1971. For a detailed analysis and discussion of the “ attle of Núi Sao/Núi ”, see Davies, . with McKay, G., Vietnam The Complete Story …, op.cit., 2012, pp.521 -534. A 4RAR/NZ review of the engagement assessed that 33rd Regiment elements encountered in the Núi /Núi Sao battle comprised “Regt HQ including some support companies, and 3 n.” – 4RAR/NZ Weekly Intelligence Review No.718/42 – to 29 September 1971, para 23 – including detail on the enemy bunker complexes at YS 4883, YS 4983, and YS 5185. 463 1ATF, Annex A to INTSUM No.313/71, Vũng Tàu, 10 November 1971. 464 Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, p.619, p.762. 465 The Joint Intelligence Organisation assessed that on the “recent incursion …it is unlikely that 33 Regiment entered Phuoc Tuy with the intention of attacking Australian troops, but the aggressiveness shown in recent contacts indicates that they are prepared for an Australian reaction to their move and for the

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The Australian official history also relates that: “Australian veterans later learnt that the commander of 33 NVA Regiment had been killed by artillery fire during the battle.”466 However, a senior veteran of the 33rd Regiment – present at the fighting at Núi Sao/Núi Lê, has related that: “At the time, the 9th ((ie 3rd)) Battalion had 200 troops and had been reinforced with new soldiers – Northern troops, so they were still wearing their pith helmets ((nón cối)). Our firepower consisted of two 82mm mortars, two RCLs, three medium machine-guns, six B-40/41s, and a 12.8mm air defence ((weapon)). The commander was Triệu Kim Sơn, and the deputy was Nguyễn Ngọc Khánh. At the end of the battle, 33 Regiment had lost seven killed and more than 20 wounded. No one in the battalion headquarters was killed.”467 Neither the “Battle of Long Khánh” - nor the “ attle of Núi Sao/Núi Lê”, are mentioned in any of the 33rd Regiment’s historical monographs published to date.468 1ATF had assessed that “33 Regiment elements probably moved into the Province in response to pressure from 3 Bde (Sep) 1 Cav Div (AM) – and in the belief that there would be little reaction from 1ATF because of the coming withdrawal.”469
attack by fire on the regional-force post.” Joint Intelligence Organisation, South Vietnam Ac tivity in Phuoc Tuy Province, OCI Paper No. 2/71, Canberra, 27 September 1971. 466 Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, p.622. This claim is also included in other published Australian accounts. However, Hoàng Cao H ỷ was not killed. In 2009, he gave an interview to the press – see Th i Hưng, “Một đời binh nghiệp” (“A life of military service”), Y n i, 18 May 2009 – that included a post-War photograph (circa 2009) of Hoàng Cao H ỷ in PAVN uniform – see the following photograph. 467 Võ Xuân Thu to Davies – email to B. Davies Major (Retd), 12 December 2011; and discussions Võ Xuân Thu (Secretary, 33rd Regiment War Veterans’ Association)/Chamberlain, E.P. in Vũng Tàu – 31 October 2012. Võ Xuân Thu also briefly related the engagement at Battle of Núi Lê/Núi Sao in a 2013 video - “Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) Một Thời Hào Hùng” (“The 33rd Regiment (A57) An Heroic Time”), op.cit., 26 April 2013. A POW captured by the US 3 rd Brigade on 7 November 1971 – Nguyễn Văn Hung (private, 11/3/33rd Regiment - who had been hospitalized in the Regiment’s Convalescent Company at the time of the engagement), stated he had been told that the 33 rd Regiment’s casualties on 21 September 1971 were “8 KIA and 17 WIA”. – 1ATF, Annex A to INTSUM No.313/71, Vũng Tàu, 10 November 1971. For the period of the Núi Sao/Núi Lê engagement, the 33rd Regiment Martyrs’ ist (see Appendix 9) only lists Đức Hoa (killed on Route 2 - Châu Đức, on 19 September 1971); Lê Sỹ Chứ (killed in Long Khánh on 20 September 1971); and Ngô Xuân Kiểu (killed at Gia Ray – Long Khánh, on 20 September 1971). 468 In an email from 33rd Regiment veteran Võ Xuân Thu on 11 November 2011, he advised the author “At the Suối Lê and Núi Sao engagement, the unit was the 9th ((ie 3rd)) Battalion of our 33rd Regiment. I also participated in that battle as well as many of my friends who now live in Vũng Tàu and in provinces in North Vietnam – including the battalion commander at that time. … As we fought many battles, we don’t remember the detail of the events of that battle, so please let me know about that battle – including the casualties on both sides.” During the author’s discussions with 33rd Regiment veterans in Vietnam in October-November 2012, they had difficulty remembering the detail of the engagement against the 1ATF elements at Núi Sao/Núi Lê in late September 1971 – noting that, for them, it was only a relatively minor engagement in the Regiment’s history. However, office holders in the Regiment’s Veterans’ Association keenly accepted translated copies of the detailed Australian accounts of the Battle. It is anticipated that the Núi Sao/Núi engagement will now feature in the Regiment’s formal official history planned for publication in late 2014. 469 The 4RAR/NZ Review concluded that the Australian operations “were responsible in forcing the NVA to abandon their efforts (which had been considerable) to harass the area; and seek more secure surroundings.” - 4RAR/NZ Weekly Intelligence Review No. 718/42 – to 29 September 1971. According to

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Hoàng Cao Hỷ, Commander of the 33rd Regiment 1969-1971 – including at the Battle of Bình Ba (a 2009 photograph – see footnote 466) In a post-War interview, Brigadier B.A. McDonald (1ATF Commander: 28 February 1971 – 30 November 1971) stated “I think this particular incursion into Phước Tuy was forced upon the HQ of 33rd Regiment - and the 3rd Battalion that was there, because the 3rd Cav Bde had put the whole 33rd Regt under pressure after Operation OVERLORD and doubtless he was aware of the impending withdrawal of 1 ATF and probably presumed that by coming back into Phước Tuy, he would be unlikely to be molested.”470 Influenced by the Núi Sao/Núi Lê battle, the intelligence officer of the Australian 4RAR/NZ Battalion opined that the 33rd Regiment was “a seasoned and battle-hardened force to be reckoned with.” Its soldiers “planned well, carried out detailed reconnaissance and moved carefully. They were past masters at laying ambushes … They employed snipers from treetops, built well-sited, solid bunkers and cut effective fire lanes. They were generally well disciplined, making little noise during movement or
the 4RAR/NZ (ANZAC) After Action Report for Operation Ivanhoe dated 4 November 1971 covering the Núi /Núi Sao engagement “Regt HQ 33 NVA Regt, anxious to evade 3 de (US) operations , had moved south from the Núi Hốt area into Phước Tuy Province. 3 Bn also moved from its base area east of Bai [sic] inh, into the Province. … ((para 14-15)).” “The strength of 33 NVA Regt HQ and all Support Companies was assessed to be 378, and 3 n was held at 300 strong.” – Annex A, para 21. AWM95, 7/4/52. On 27 September, 1ATF summarised “Headquarters of the ((33rd)) Regiment, some support companies and 3Bn (YS 513857) were located northeast of Duc Thanh during the week, where they were contacted heavily. 1ATF, SUPINTREP No. 39/71, Period 20-26 September 1971, Núi Đất, 27 September 1971 – see footnotes 460 and 462. A document captured on 31 October 1971 at YS 580971 showed the strength of the 3 rd Battalion of the 33rd Regiment as 200 - 1ATF, INTSUM No.311/71, Vũng Tàu, 8 November 1971. 470 Morison, R.F. Lieutenant Colonel (Army Historian), Interview of Brigadier B.A. McDonald, Canberra, 12 June 1973 – AWM107, 2. However, some accounts by former 4RAR/NZ senior officers contend that the 33rd Regiment intended to attack Australian forces and give them a “bloody nose” before the withdrawal o f 1ATF – eg: Hughes, J., Major General, The Battle of Nui Le – the Last Australian Battle in South Vietnam, Fighting Fourth (Magazine), December 2011.

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while in camp and strictly adhered to the doctrine of always carrying out their wounded and dead after a contact if possible.”471 In late September 1971, 1ATF produced a 12-page study on the 33rd Regiment: “33 NVA Regiment – Order of attle” that included a review of the Regiment’s activities in 1971, detailed the Regiment’s organisation (see Appendix 14), and listed the Regiment’s personalities. The study noted that: “Much of the material used in this paper has been reproduced from ((US)) 3 Bde INTSUMs. Other material has come from 1ATF SUPINTREPs and After Action Reports.” Somewhat surprisingly, the history section of the 1ATF study made no mention at all of the Battle of Bình Ba in early June 1969.472 According to the Đồng Nai History (2003): “On 3 October, the 33rd Regiment attacked the Hoàng Diệu post, ambushed a US company at Trà Tân, and attacked the police Sub-Sub-Sectors473 at Ông Quế and àu Sen.” However, the Đồng Nai History (2003) makes no mention of 1 ATF’s engagement with 33rd Regiment elements, described above, during 1ATF’s Operation Ivanhoe.474

471

Captain R.L. Sayce – cited in Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, p.610; p.1044, endnote 8. Portions of Captain Sayce’s comments – ie “by an Australian intelligence officer”, were cited by 33rd Regiment veteran Võ Xuân Thu in an April 2013 video - “Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) Một Thời Hào Hùng” (“The 33rd Regiment (A57) An Heroic Time”), op.cit., 26 April 2013. Võ Xuân Thu was presumably citing from a translation of Australian documents provided on 31 October 2012 - see the preceding footnote 468. As noted earlier, the battlefield clearance and recovery by the 33 rd Regiment of their dead, wounded and weapons was of a high standard. For an early (late 1965) statement by 33 rd Regiment POWs on the Regiment’s clearance and recovery policy see VCAT Item No.F034600311693. A 1ATF study in September 1971 noted “Very few Hoi Chanhs are r eceived from the Regiment, and it is common to find that members of 33 Regiment who have been KIA possess no identifying documents.” - 33 NVA Regiment – Order of Battle, op.cit., 21 September 1971, p.6 (see the following footnote also). A 1ATF study of the 3rd attalion noted that “ efore any operation, particularly an attack, the n Political Officer (PO) collects all docs from pers and holds them until the attack is over – thus reducing the potential intelligence available from KIA. This lack of documents has been characteristic of 33 Regt bodies discovered KIA.” – see earlier footnotes 395 and 443. As noted earlier, A US unit’s report on its operations in the Định Qu n area of ong Kh nh Province noted “The absence of bodies and documents in the bunke r complexes is further indication of the presence of the 33 rd NVA Regiment as it is that unit’s normal mode to thoroughly police the battlefield.” - 2/5 Cavalry, After Action Report - period 17-25 November 1971, 27 November 1971. 472 1ATF, Annex F to 1ATF INTSUM No. 264/71, 33 NVA Regiment – Order of attle, op.cit., Núi Đất, 21 September 1971. The study covered the history, recent activities from early June 1971, organisation (see Appendix 14), command, tactics, and morale. At the INTSUM’s Appendix 1, the commander of the Regiment was listed as Hoàng Cao Hỷ (aka Nguyễn Văn Ky), the political officer was Trương Công Dinh, and the chief-of-staff was Phan [sic] Văn Phan (ie probably Phạm Văn Phan). Of the battalion commanders, only Triệu Kim Sơn was named - ie as the commander of the 3rd (9th) Battalion. 473 For “Sub-Sub-Sectors”, see footnote 554. 474 Dương Thanh Tân (ed), ịch sử Đảng bộ ((Đảng Cộng Sản Việt Nam)) tỉnh Đồng Nai (1930-2000), Tập (Volume) II (1954-1975), Chương (Chapter) IV, 2003.

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After the Withdrawal of the Australian Task Force475 Following the late September 1971 engagements, C9 Company of 33rd Regiment’s 3rd Battalion was reportedly detached to support Châu Đức District for one month – but, unable to contact the District Unit, only briefly assisted the Ngãi Giao village guerrilla element for three weeks before withdrawing to the north.476 In October-November 1971, 1ATF elements withdrew from Phước Tuy Province to Vũng Tàu – with the Main Headquarters closing in Núi Đất and opening at Vũng Tàu on 16 October 1971. 4RAR/NZ moved from Núi Đất to Vũng Tàu on 7 November 1971. On 11 October 1971, 1ATF assessed that: the 33rd Regiment’s “HQ and elements of its 3rd Battalion may have returned to the Núi Hot area (YS 6492) as a result of pressure from 3 Bde (Sep) 1st US Cav Div (AM).”477 The following week, 1ATF assessed that 33rd Regiment “is thought to have withdrawn north as a result of pressure from 3 de … Neither 274 nor 33 Regts have shown any tendency to move into Phước Tuy since the withdrawal of HQ 1ATF to Vũng Tàu …. it is unlikely operations will be attempted in Phước Tuy province.”478 On 2 December 1971, a US force engaged a bunker complex at YS 544993 about 14 kilometres south-east of Xuân Lộc Town. NVA/VC casualties were reportedly eight killed - “probably elements of HQ 33 Regt”.479 Subsequently, the Headquarters of the 33rd Regiment was reportedly in the area of YT 6001 – nine kilometres north of the Phước Tuy-Long Khánh border and about 17 kilometres south-east of Xuân Lộc Town.480 According to the Đồng Nai History (2003) “On the night of 30-31 March 1972, the Province’s armed forces and those of Xuân Lộc District attacked the enemy’s posts in the hamlets of Việt Kiều and Suối Cát, mobilising the masses to rise up and kill the cruel
475

1ATF elements withdrew from Phước Tuy Province to Vũng Tàu – with the Main Headquarters closing in Núi Đất and opening at Vũng Tàu on 16 October 1971. 4RAR/NZ moved from Núi Đất to Vũng Tàu on 7 November; and on 9 November 1971 1ATF ceased to be under the operational control of the US Third Regional Assistance Command (TRAC) – which had replaced the US II Field Force Vietnam (II FFV) on 2 May 1971. However, Phước Tuy Province remained within the 1ATF Tactical Area of Interest (TAOI). Headquarters 1ATF closed at Vũng Tàu on the afternoon of 29 February 1972 – and the residual Australian military training element (Australian Army Advisory Group Vietnam – AAAGV) opened in Vạn Kiếp camp (on the eastern edge of Bà Rịa Town) on 6 March 1972. After the Australian Government formally declared a cessation of hostilities in January 1973, the AAAGV returned to Australia. The Australian Army History Unit website records that Australian “Army casualties in Vietnam were 413 KIA/DoW; two MIA; 2,026 WIA; 64 non-battle deaths; and 999 other casualties”. Note however, that the last two Australian Defence Force personnel missing-in-action (RAAF Canberra bomber aircrew officers) were recovered in mid-2009. An analysis of 1ATF engagements (16 “landmark” battles and over 3,900 contacts) can be found in Hall, R. Dr (Lieutenant Colonel, Retd), 1st Australian Task Force – A new operational analysis 19661971, Vietnam Center & Archives – Seventh Triennial Symposium, Session 5A, Lubbock – Texas, 11 March 2011. VCAT Item No.999VI3155. 476 Seet the interrogation report of Trần Văn Cot (C9/3/33rd Regiment) – 1ATF, INTREP 5/71, Vũng Tàu, 2 December 1971. 477 1ATF, SUPINTREP 41/71, Vũng Tàu, 11 October 1971 . 478 1ATF, SUPINTREP 42/71. Vũng Tàu, 18 October 1971. 479 1ATF, SUPINTREP 49/71, Vũng Tàu, 7 December 1971. 480 1ATF, SUPINTREP 50/71, Vũng Tàu, 13 December 1971.

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oppressors. They broadcast the 10 policies of the Front ((ie the NLF)) by loud-hailer and dispersed the PSDF. The 33rd Regiment joined with our K8 Xuân Lộc District forces to attack and force the withdrawal from the enemy’s posts at Trường Sơn, Cầu Mới, Bảo Bình, Gia Lào, and the Nam Hà Bridge – mobilising our guerrillas and the people to rise up and take control of the hamlets of Nam Hà, Bảo Liệt, and Bảo Bình 2.”481 A Military Region 7 history notes that when the Military Region was reestablished in mid-1972, the 33rd Regiment returned to its command – ie from Military Region 6.482 According to the 33rd Regiment’s “Summary History” “At the end of 1972 [sic – but probably 1971], the Regiment received orders to leave its 9th Battalion with the local forces of Military Region 7 to destroy the enemy’s domination and also to hold on to territory. The main body of the Regiment was deployed to Military Region 6 to attack and destroy the Sub-Sectors of Tánh inh and Hoài Đức ((Bình Tuy Province)). This forced six puppet battalions and the 199th American Brigade to deploy to Biển Lạc to recover the situation. The Regiment then moved to strike against the many enemy counter-attacks and deployed to attack the enemy on Route 3 ((ie Route 333)) at Trà Vân [sic] and Võ Đắc where it destroyed much of the enemy’s combat strength.”483 The 33rd Regiment “Development” History (2010)484 relates: “At the end of 1971 [sic], the Regiment returned to the Bà Rịa-Long Khánh battleground with the title of ‘E33’ ((the 33rd Regiment)). The Regiment concentrated on destroying the Americans’ plan to withdraw forces on Routes 1 and 2, while at the same time preparing for the 1972 Dry Season Campaign. To open the Campaign, the Regiment coordinated with the local D440 Battalion485 to attack and seize the hamlet of Đức Mỹ 486 and the Suối Nghệ SubSector in order to support the masses to rise up - liberating tens of thousands of people and taking control of more than 10 kilometres of Route 2. On the same night, the Regiment attacked the Đức Thạnh Sub-Sector for the second time, closely investing the Sub-Sector and forcing the enemy to mount a relief operation to break the blockade.487
481

Dương Thanh Tân (ed), ịch sử Đảng bộ ((Đảng Cộng Sản Việt Nam)) tỉnh Đồng Nai (1930-2000), Tập (Volume) II (1954-1975), Chương (Chapter) IV, 2003. 482 Military Region 7 (Quân Khu 7), Chiến Thắng Xuân Lộc-Long Khánh (The Xuân Lộc-Long Khánh Victory), Nhà Xuẩt Bản Tồng Hợp Đồng Nai, Biên Hòa, 2004. 483 Cựu Chiến inh Trung Đoàn 33, Tóm Tắt Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 …, op.cit., July 2010 – see Appendix 1. 484 Qu Trình …, op.cit., 2010, pp.5-6 – see Appendix 2. 485 The D440 History does not mention any attack on the Suối Nghệ-Đức Thạnh Sub-Sector in 1971 or 1972. However, it relates that “At the beginning of 1972, the à Rịa Sub-Sector deployed the 33rd Regiment to operate in the Xuân Lộc area and a battalion of the 274th Regiment returned to ong Thành.” – Chamberlain, E.P., … D440 Their Story, op.cit., 2013, p.94. According to the Châu Đức History (2004): “The 33rd Regiment and the Sub-Region’s 6th Sapper Company were also active in attacking the enemy in the Châu Đức area.” - Nguyễn Công Danh et al, Lịch sử … Châu Đức (1930-2000), op.cit., 2004, p.190. 486 According to a 2010 magazine article, “at the end of 1971, the 33 rd Regiment attacked and seized Đức Mỹ Sub-Sector with D440.” Đình Thìn, “Trung Đoàn 33 – một thời hào hùng …” (“The 33rd Regiment – an heroic time …”), à Rịa-Vũng Tàu (magazine), Vũng Tầu, 30 April 2010, p.18. 487 The attacking elements appear to have been the Regiment’s 1st Battalion, its C-21 Reconnaissance Company – and the 6th Sapper Battalion. See also the following footnotes 491 and 496.

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We wiped out and inflicted heavy casualties on many battalions of the 18th Division and Ranger elements – as well as local Regional and Popular Forces.488 According to the 33rd Regiment’s “Summary History” “At the beginning of the second quarter of 1972, the Regiment returned to Military Region 7 to participate in the Nguyễn Huệ Campaign where it fought for over six months … liberating a 10 kilometre

“A meeting of the Party Committee ((of the 33rd NVA Regiment)) approves the plan for the attack on the Suối Nghệ ((ie Đức Thạnh)) Sub-Sector”.489

488

As noted earlier, in 1970, the Regional Forces were upgraded to include manoeuvre battalions – with 26 battalions activated by December 1970. By Presidential Decree of 1 July 1970, the RF and the PF ceased to be separate services and became components of the Army (ie the ARVN), but with no change in their organisation or employment – ie previously there was a RF/PF Commander on the RVNAF Joint General Staff and at the Corps and Sector levels. - MACV Command History 1970, Part II, Chapter VII, pp16-18. The 302nd Regional Force Battalion was formed in early 1971 and based at The Horseshoe feature on the northern outskirts of Đất Đỏ from June 1971. Subsequently, RF Mobile Groups - with organic artillery support (a battery of four 105mm howitzers), were formed, with a Group Headquarters commanding three to five battalions – designed to replace the Sector Tactical Commands. - Trần Đình Thọ Brigadier General, Pacification, Indochina Monograph, U.S. Army Center of Military History, Washington D.C., 1980, p.44; Ngô Quang Trường ieutenant General, Territorial Forces, op.cit., 1981, p.43. According to the Đất Đỏ District History (2006) “At the beginning of 1971, the enemy deployed the 302 nd Regional Force Battalion ((formed in early 1971)) to occupy both Upper and Lower Route 44, and the 347 th Regional Force Group set up posts along Route 52 and Route 44 ower. … At the beginning of 197 2, additional to the puppet authorities’ machinery extending fro m the districts down to the villages and hamlets, the puppet troops in ong Đất comprised: one battalion; three Regional Force groups (( Liên đoàn)) and 13 Regional Force companies; 23 Popular Force platoons, two platoons of National Police Field Force, and 1,162 People’s Self-Defence Force personnel. - Đặng Tấn Hương (ed), ịch Sử Đấu Tranh … Huyện Đất Đỏ (1930-2005), op.cit., 2006. By 30 April 1975, there were seven RF Mobile Groups in Military Regions 3 and 4. For comprehensive detail on the RF, PF and PSDF – see Ngô Quang Trường Lieutenant General, Territorial Forces, Indochina Monographs, U.S. Army Center of Military History, Washington D.C., 1981.

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stretch of Route 2 in the Bà Rịa-Xuân Lộc area.490 Although no date is cited in the 33rd Regiment history monographs, the attack on the Đức Thạnh Sub-Sector probably occurred on 23 April 1972 – ie after the withdrawal of 1ATF, and was probably conducted by the Regiment’s 1st Battalion, 21st Company, and the 6th Sapper Battalion (see the preceding photograph and the photograph below).

“The Party Committee gives orders to attack the enemy’s Đức Thạnh /Suối Nghệ Sub-Sector (21st Company, 1st Battalion, 33rd Regiment, 6th Sapper Battalion)”491 The Australian official military history relates that “On 23 April ((1972)), units of the 33 NVA Regiment entered the north of the province, overran hamlets along Route 2 and attacked the Đức Thạnh District Headquarters. According to communist histories, a ‘commando company’ of the 33rd Regiment mounted a surprise attack and totally annihilated a sub-sector headquarters garrison, destroying two APCs and the
rd

489

The photograph was provided to the author from the album of a former 33 rd Regiment cadre in November 2012. The Commander of the Regiment – Nguyễn Văn Thường – is “top centre” with his right arm forward. The cadre to his right – partially obscured, is not identified; the next cadre to the right is ộc – 2ic of the Regiment. At the far end of the table - wearing glasses, is Nguyễn Huy Thản – Chief of Staff. This photograph also appears in the 33rd Regiment’s “Development” History – ie Qu Trình …, op.cit., 2010 – see Appendix 2, with the date cited as “1971”. However, “1971” is unlikely as no such attack is noted in the 1ATF intelligence records of that period – accordingly, 23 April 1972 is perhaps a far more likely date. 490 The Nguyễn Huệ Campaign (1972 Easter Offensive) began with communist “conventional war” attacks in MR1 on 31 March 1972. In MR3, the district town of Lộc Ninh fell to the communist forces on 7 April 1972. 491 The principal cadre – second from the left and reading a document held in both hands, is Nguyễn Văn Thường - the Commander of the 33rd Regiment. To his right - wearing a pale light-coloured scarf, is Hoàng Phan – a staff cadre.

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communications centre and capturing many weapons.”492 The Châu Đức District History relates: “Implementing the resolution of the Bà Rịa Sub-Region Committee and the Châu Đức District Committee, at 3.22am on 23 April 1972, the 24th Sapper Company, the 33rd Regiment and the District reconnaissance element divided into three prongs and, having concealed themselves near the Sub-Sector, suddenly attacked the enemy with grenades in order to force them to call for relief forces – and thus created the circumstances for the prongs to ambush and destroy the enemy.”493 A mid-June 1972 attack – citing a communist account, is related in the Australian official history: “On 17 June, a battalion of 33 NVA Regiment descended on the vulnerable resettlement hamlet of Ấp Suối Nghệ … they annihilated the Regional Force defenders and carted off eight tonnes of food supplies.”494 That mid-June attack495 is also related in the Châu Đức District History: “On the night of 16 June 1972, the 6th Sapper Battalion joined with our District troops to attack and completely wipe out the Regional Forces post at Suối Nghệ. At 5am on 17 June 1972, our armed forces deployed and seized Suối Nghệ hamlet, killing nearly 200 enemy, inflicting heavy casualties on two companies of the 302nd Regional Forces Battalion, and - completely dispersing the PSDF, liberated the hamlet of Suối Nghệ.”496 The Đồng Nai History (2003) relates that “On the night of 19 June 1972, the 33rd Regiment and the Xuân Lộc District’s K8 unit attacked the
492

Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, pp.647-648, pp.1054-55 – citing a communist province-level history: Nguyễn Duy Tường, Lịch Sử Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Kh ng Chiến (The Baria-Vũng Tàu History of the Resistance War), Nhà Xuất Bản Quân đội Nhân dân (Armed Forces Publishing House), Hà Nội, 1995. According to a US report, the Đức Thạnh Sub-Sector post (YS 463780) was shelled (82mm mortars, RCLs) and attacked in the early morning of 23April 1972 by “two VC companies”. On 27 April, the 945th RF Company and the 4/302nd RF Company engaged an enemy battalion at YS 452721. Following airstrikes, 26 enemy bodies were found in the area. “Contacts for this period resulted in 66 enemy KIA and 4 PW.” – TRAC PERINTREP 9-72, 30 April 1972, see VCAT Item No.1070308003. TRAC – see footnote 475, became “inactive” on 28 March 1973. 493 Nguyễn Công Danh & Minh Nghĩa et al, ịch sử Đấu Tranh Cách Mạng Của Đảng Bộ Và Nhân Dân Huyện Châu Đức (1930-2000) – The History of the Revolutionary Struggle of the Party Chapter and the People of Châu Đức District (1930-2000), Nhà Xuất Bản Chính Trị Quốc Giả, Hà Nội, 2004. 494 Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, p.648, p.1054 – citing a communist province history: Nguyễn Duy Tường, Lịch Sử Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Kh ng Chiến (The Baria-Vũng Tàu History of the Resistance War), op.cit., 1995. The Australian official history records “ y 12 July, units of the ARVN 18th Division and 3rd Ranger Group had cleared Route 2 and Đức Thạnh district headquarters, and established a new outpost at ình a.” – p.649. 495 A relative seeking the grave site (phần mộ) of Đỗ Xuân Kỷ (C8 Company, 33rd Regiment – reportedly killed in an attack on the Đức Thạnh Sub-Sector on 30 June 1972) noted the commanding officer of the 33 rd Regiment as Đinh Văn Đạt and the regimental political commissar as Huy Thản – as cited in Notice No. 30415, MARIN - Nhắn Tìm Đồng Đội Website, 25 April 2009. However, in 1972 – according to a 33rd Regiment history monograph, the commanding officer of the Regiment was Nguyễn Văn Thường – with Nguyễn Huy Thản later appointed as the commanding officer in 1974. In April 1975, Nguy ễn Huy Thản is shown as the commanding officer and Đinh Văn Đạt as Regiment’s political commissar . See Tổ Chức Ban Chỉ Huy Trung Đoàn 33 Qua C c Thời Kỳ (The Headquarters Organisation of the 33rd Regiment in Past Years), op.cit., 2010 – Appendix 16 and the organogram at Appendix 15. 496 Nguyễn Công Danh & Minh Nghĩa et al, Lịch sử Đấu Tranh Cách Mạng Của Đảng Bộ Và Nhân Dân Huyện Châu Đức (1930-2000) – The History of the Revolutionary Struggle of the Party Chapter and the People of Châu Đức District (1930-2000), Nhà Xuất Bản Chính Trị Quốc Giả, Hà Nội, 2004.

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posts at Nam Hà and Bảo Bình 1, mobilising the people to rise up and take control of those two hamlets. The 33rd Regiment’s Martyrs’ ist for Châu Đức District includes several personnel killed in that period.497 Đỗ Xuân Kỷ - a political officer, was killed during the 33rd Regiment attack on the Đức Thạnh post – he was either the 2nd Battalion’s political officer or the company political officer of “C8”.498 A 33rd Regiment monograph relates that “While the enemy was concentrating its forces to relieve Đức Thạnh on Route 2, the Regiment deployed an element down to the Xuyên Mộc region and the Ba Tô post to coordinate with the 4th Regiment ((274th Regiment)) to attack the enemy attempting relief operations on Route 23 from Núi Nhọn to Ba Tô.”499 In mid-July 1972, the US TRAC Commander optimistically reported that in the Bà Rịa Sub-Region “We have seen the complete inability of the 33rd NVA Regiment and the 274th Regiment to successfully accomplish their mission and being thwarted and defeated by RF/PF units. In this case, the 33rd NVA Regiment and a Main Force Regiment with an estimated 400 NVA replacements were unable to take on and hold Xuyên Mộc, Đất Đỏ, Đức Thạnh or Xuân Lộc. Their every attempt was successfully countered by Territorial Forces. Reports now indicate that these two defeated regiments may merge under a single command for more effective operations during the remainder of the offensive. However, I consider it more probable that these defeated units will carefully assess their past failures and realize that their only hope for the future is to disband their conventional organisation and tactics, and form small squad-size guerrilla forces to carry out harrassment attacks, raids, ambushes, assassinations etc while cadre elements re-establish covert, clandestine forces to carry out infiltration and political subversion.”500 A recent “Đồng Nai” Internet posting has related that “On 3 October 1972, the rd 33 Regiment’s 9th Artillery Company fired rockets into the post at Sông Thao demolishing the gates at Hưng Nghĩa. At the same time, E33’s 24th Sapper Company attacked and wiped out the Hưng ộc post, opening the way for the 7th Battalion and
497

The following are listed as killed at Bình Ba/Suối Nghệ in mid-1972: Lữu Văn Chuông P D7; Nguyễn Văn ong CS C24; Qu ch inh CS D9; Nguyễn Duy Văn CS D7; Hà Đồng CT C24 – 17 June 1972; Trần Văn i n CS D9; Kiếu Văn Tý CS D9; Trần Đình P D7 – 18 June 1972; and Đỗ Xuân Kỷ CVT D8 – 19 June 1972 (see also the following footnote). 498 A relative’s notice – see footnote 495, cited Đỗ Xuân Kỷ’s date of death as “30 June 1972” - as the political officer of “C8”. The 33rd Regiment’s Châu Đức District Martyrs’ ist – see the preceding footnote, records him as “CVT D8” – ei the political officer of the 8th (ie 2nd) Battalion, which is more likely. 499 Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), Qu Trình …, op.cit., 2010, pp.5-6 – see Appendix 2. The Đất Đỏ History relates “On the night of 13-14 April 1972, the 1st Battalion of the 4th Regiment (Sub-Region troops) ambushed a 21vehicle enemy convoy on Route 23 that was moving from Đất Đỏ up to Lê Phú (Xuyên Mộc) – killing almost all the enemy in the vehicles, including 60 on Nol puppet soldiers. … On the morning of 25 April 1972, we commenced our operation to surround and harass the post ((at Núi Nh ọn)). Our detachment fought two engagements against enemy relief forces, destroying four military vehicles and driving 70 of the enemy from the battlefield (who had come from Đất Đỏ).” - Đặng Tấn Hương (ed), ịch Sử Đấu Tranh … Huyện Đất Đỏ (1930-2005), op.cit., 2006. Cambodian troops – ie “ on Nol puppet soldiers” were trained at camps near Long Hải village and deployed for training and operations in Phước Tuy Province. 500 Hollingsworth, J.F. Major General, Commanding General TRAC, Daily Commander’s Evaluation Report 140000ZH to 150000ZH July 1972, Long Bình, 15 July 1972. VCAT Item No.F015800440767.

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District forces to attack and seize Hưng ộc hamlet. The 9th Battalion, District troops, and guerrillas attacked and seized the two hamlets of Sông Thao and Bàu Hàm (Bàu Hàm village). Our underground Party chapters had mobilised the masses to rise up and, with the guerrillas, to wipe out the cruel oppressors and the PSDF, liberating the two hamlets. The enemy’s ong Khánh Sector deployed two RF companies from the 326th Group and two PF platoons to relieve the siege. The 8th Battalion blocked the enemy and repelled three counter-attacks, wiping out a PF platoon and inflicting heavy casualties on an RF company – the enemy’s relief operation was defeated, and 80 of the enemy killed. Route 1 was completely interdicted. On 12 October, the 33rd Regiment attacked the enemy’s artillery position at Sông Thao, destroying a 105mm howitzer, an 81mm mortar, killing a number of enemy (including three majors, four captains, and five lieutenants), and completely destroying the communications zone. These armed attacks and the uprisings by the masses resulted in an important opening up of our rear service entry/exit points within the District. In the last six months of 1972, the Province and the District opened up points at Bàu Cá, Bàu Hàm 1, and Hưng ộc – connecting a communications corridor from War Zone D across Routes 20 and 1, and providing the opportunity to ‘rise up and take control’ before the signing of the Paris Accords.”501 The Military Region 7 History summarised operations involving the 33rd Regiment in 1972 as follows: “In 1972, in the Bà Rịa-Thủ Biên Sub-Region, the 274th Regiment and local units liberated two villages on Route 23 and controlled a 21-kilometre length of the road and threatened the Sub-Sectors of Xuyên Mộc and Đất Đỏ. On Route 2, the 33rd Regiment destroyed the Đức Thạnh Sub-Sector ((mistyped as “chi khi”)) and coordinated with our district forces and liberated four villages, 10 hamlets and 11 rubber plantations. In 1972, the Bà Rịa Sub-Region decided to re-establish 445 Battalion after more than a year of dispersal and operations with the districts. From August 1972, the 33rd Regiment and the 274th Regiment coordinated with the two newly-formed Bà Rịa-Long Khánh battalions (the 500th and 246th Battalions) and local armed forces to liberate four hamlets on Route 15 and threaten Route 1.”502

501

“Những trận tấn công của quân dân cách mạng trong đợt 2 chiến dịch Nguyễn Huệ cuối năm 1972 tr n địa bàn Thống Nhất”, (“Attacks by the People’s Revolutionary Forces in the Second Phase of the Nguyễn Huệ Campaign at the end of 1972 in the process of Unification”), Tư liệu về Sự kiện Đồng Nai (Documents on Events in Đồng Nai). According to a US military report, “from 19 to 25 October ((1972)), ARVN forces fought several battles with the 33rd NVA Regiment in eastern Biên Hòa province and western Long Khánh province.” – MACV Briefing transcript, VCAT Item No.F015800010768. 502 Military Region 7 Headquarters (Quân Khu 7), 50 Năm ực ương Võ Trang Quân Khu 7 - The Armed Forces of Military Region 7: 50 Years, Wattpad, 1995, p.46. The 500th Battalion was formed in mid-June 1972 directly subordinate to the Bà Rịa Sub-Region and commanded by Phạm Văn Còn (T m Còn) – with Nguyễn Văn ính as its political officer - Phạm Quang Định, Lịch Sử Tiểu Đòan 445 …, (The History of 445 attalion …,), op.cit., 2004, p.177.

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Following the 1973 Paris Peace Accord At the beginning of 1973, with the signing of the Paris Peace Agreement503, “the Regiment expanded its area of operations in order to strike the enemy, encroached on Routes 1, 2, and 15 – and, on Route 23 in Xuyên Mộc, destroyed the post at Bà Tô. In expanded operations across all of Military Regions 6 and 7, the Regiment attacked the enemy and seized a few places like Trảng Bom (Biên Hòa) and Đức Thạnh (Bà Rịa).”504 In late-March 1973, US officers reported that elements of the 33rd NVA Regiment and the 274th VC Regiment had blocked Route 2 a few kilometres south of the Đức Thạnh District Headquarters. 18th ARVN Division units were deployed south from Long Kh nh Province to clear the Route. Elements of the 33rd Regiment were also reported within six kilometres of Route 15 near Phú Mỹ.505 In late May 1973, the RVNAF intelligence staff noted the 33rd NVA Regiment as located in Bình Long Province and assessed its strength as 700 – comprising: headquarters and specialized units – 200; 1st Battalion – 150; 2nd Battalion – 200; and 3rd Battalion – 150.506 In November 1973, according to a Communist Party history “At the end of November 1973, the Châu Đức reconnaissance unit coordinated with the Military Region’s 33rd Main Force Regiment to ambush the Phước Tuy Sector Intelligence Company at Hòa Long village, wiped out a platoon, and captured three including the second lieutenant commanding the Company.507 1974 – Fighting in Long Đất and Châu Đức Districts of Phước Tuy Province According to the D445 History (1991), at the beginning of 1974, “The Military Region strengthened our forces in ong Đất with the 7th Company of the 9th Battalion of the 33rd Regiment … .”508 This was similarly related in the Đất Đỏ District History (2006)
503

After the Paris Peace Accords and the withdrawal of the “Free World Forces” (see footnote 347), the number of NVA in the South had increased markedly (three-fold over its estimated 55,744 strength in late January 1968 – see footnotes 110 and 171) to 174,000 - ie then representing 56% of the total NVA/VC estimated strength of 311,524 - US Defense Attache Office (USDAO), Enemy Strengths – May 1973, Saigon, 4 July 1973. VCAT Item No.2311006085. 504 Cựu Chiến Binh, Tóm Tắt … Trung Đoàn 33, op.cit., July 2010 , see Appendix 1. 505 Daily Military Region III SITREP, i n Hòa, 26 March 1973. On 9 April 1973, Hoàng Văn a m, a battalion level cadre (C18) was killed at Bình Ba - Nguyễn Sỹ Hồ, Martyrs’ ist, op.cit., 16 July 2013. 506 US Defence Attache Office (USDAO), Enemy Strengths – May 1973, Saigon, 4 July 1973. VCAT Item No.2311006085. 507 The Bà Rịa–Vũng Tàu Front – 18 April 2013, http://linhsinhvien.vnweblogs.com/print/33592/412937 sourced from from Nguồn o điện tử ĐCSVN http://dangcongsan.vn/cpv/index.html . This account is also included in the Châu Đức District History - Nguyễn Công Danh et al, Lịch sử … Châu Đức (19302000), op.cit., 2004. 508 In early 1974, according to the D445 attalion History (1991) “The Military Region strengthened our forces in ong Đất with the 7th Company of the 33rd Regiment of the 9th [sic] Division and two anti-aircraft artillery companies from the 24th attalion.” and defended positions in the villages of ong Tân and ong Phước . … The 7th Company’s positions faced the north-west and were located about two kilometres from

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– in February 1974: “Having discovered the enemy preparing to encroach into Long Tân and ong Phước, the Military Region 7 Headquarters gave the Province the task of holding the puppet main-forces in Long Tân so that the campaign on Route 2 could be secretly launched as planned. The Military Region reinforced the Long Đất Front with the 7th Infantry Company (of the 9th Battalion of the 33rd Regiment) and two artillery companies (of the 24th Battalion) with the task of holding the enemy main-force elements and creating the conditions for the Military Region troops (the 33rd Regiment and the 4th Regiment) to prepare for the Route 2 Campaign as planned and achieve the intended results.”509 The D445 History (2004) continued “Our defensive positions at ong Tân and Long Phước were set up in three directions. Principally to the west and north-west of Long Tân – held by the 1st Company of 445 Battalion and the 7th Company of the 33rd Regiment, supported by an artillery company and a 82mm mortar group from the Military Region’s 274th Regiment. … … The headquarters was sited on Núi Thơm (Long Tân).”510 The D445 History (1991) related that: “On 17 February ((1974)), the puppet 18th Division now formally joined the fighting at ong Tân and ong Phước. At 5am, a pale white mist hung over the rubber plantations – the atmosphere was peaceful, and there was no sound at all of gunfire. A few quite loud bird-calls could be heard greeting the new day. The 7th Company’s sentries were silently re-checking their combat materiels for the anticipated battle when suddenly they saw grey shadows moving forward in the mist. These were enemy troops from the 18th Division’s reconnaissance company from Núi Đất intending to insert a group into ong Tân’s flank and facilitate a larger enemy force to launch a surprise attack. However, they didn’t suspect the presence here of the soldiers of the 7th Company – a unit of the 33rd Regiment whose forté was the mobile ambush, and the elite 1st Company of 445 Battalion who were all in wait for them.”511 The Đất Đỏ District History adds : “… following a second engagement at Long Tân on 18 February 1974: “The 7th Company (of the Military Region’s 33rd Regiment) suffered a large number of wounded due to the enemy’s artillery fire.”512 According to the Military Region 7 History, the following elements subsequently participated in the “Route 2 Campaign” that began on “27 March 1974” 33rd Regiment, 44th Regiment, 18th Sapper Battalion, 445th Battalion, 25th Company (Long Đất) and 43rd [sic] Company (Châu Đức). The Campaign began on 27 March 1974 and “after three
ong Tân. … Over a period of two weeks ((mid -February 1974)), all three zones of the attalion’s defences at ong Tân and ong Phước had fought with great stamina and smashed almost all of the enemy’ s operations to break-in to the area.” - Chamberlain, E.P., … D445 …, op.cit., pp.87 -91. 509 Đặng Tấn Hương, ịch Sử Đấu Tranh … Huyện Đất Đỏ (1930-2005), op.cit., 2006, p.277. 510 Phạm Quang Định, Lịch Sử Tiểu Đòan 445 …, (The History of 445 attalion …,), op.cit., 2004, p.191. Núi Thơm (called “Núi Đất 2” by 1ATF) had been the site of the NVA/VC headquarters during the attle of Long Tân on 18 August 1966. 511 Chamberlain, E.P., … D445 attalion Their Story, op.cit., 2011, p.89. A summary relates that “From mid-February 1974, D445 Battalion, the 7th Company of the 33rd Regiment, and an 82mm mortar detachment of 274th Regiment fought 18th ARVN Division elements for several weeks at Long Tân and ong Phước … killing hundreds of the enemy”. These coordinated ope rations by the 33rd Regiment’s 7th Company with D445 attalion in March 1974 are also related in D445’s 2004 History ie Phạm Quang Định, Lịch Sử Tiểu Đòan 445 …, (The History of 445 attalion …,), op.cit., 2004, pp.190 -192. 512 Đặng Tấn Hương, ịch Sử Đấu Tranh … Huyện Đất Đỏ (1930-2005), op.cit., 2006, p.278.

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months of fighting, the first campaign by Military Region 7 in the resistance war against the Americans achieved great victories … completely liberating 100 [sic – should be “10”] kilometres of Route 2 from north of Đức Thạnh to Cẩm Mỹ and restoring the situation on the Bà Rịa-Long Khánh battlefield to the situation before 28 January 1973.”513 In March 1974, according to the Châu Đức History (2004) “Our units and the village guerrillas deployed to cut both ends of Route 2, isolating two Regional Force battalions – the 372nd and the 324th, in-between. Two battalions of the 33rd Regiment – together with Châu Đức District troops and guerrillas, tightly blocked the Route south of Kim ong. After seven days of ‘close encirclement’ and ‘strong attacks’, we were able to seize the posts at Mười Tường, Bà Cùi and Rô Be. The two Regional Force battalions at Tầm Bố and Kim Long had been worn down significantly. They were unable to come to each other’s rescue. The Regional Force elements at Đức Thạnh and Bà Rịa attempted to relieve the blockade – but had a company wiped out.”514 In November 1974, COSVN Headquarters allocated the 33rd Regiment to Military Region 7’s 6th Division.515 “The Regiment attacked the Lộc Linh, Võ Đắc and Tánh Linh Sub-Sectors, Suối Cao on Route 3 – and attacked the puppet 52nd Regiment and, in coordination with the 4th ((274th)) Regiment, struck the Ông Đồn Junction and Chứa Chan Mountain on Route 1.”516 In the second week of December 1974, 33rd Regiment elements in Bình Tuy Province prevented an ARVN Ranger battalion from advancing north up Route 333 towards Hoài Đức – “The NVA 33d Regiment was dug in along the road, well supported by mortars and artillery.” The 33rd Regiment held blocking positions along Route 333 until mid-January 1975 when ARVN forces cleared the road from Gia Ray to Hoài Đức.517 According to a US report, by February 1975, ARVN had re-occupied the village of Võ Su – and the communists’ “ ình Tuy Campaign was over.”518
513

Military Region 7 Headquarters (Quân Khu 7), 50 Năm ực ương Võ Trang Quân Khu 7 - The Armed Forces of Military Region 7: 50 Years, Wattpad, 1995, p.49. 514 Nguyễn Công Danh et al, Lịch sử … Châu Đức (1930-2000), op.cit., 2004. For the actions of the 7th Company/33rd Regiment in February and March 1974, see also the Đất Đỏ History (2006), pp.275-278. 515 Military Region 7 (Quân Khu 7), Chiến Thắng Xuân Lộc-Long Khánh (The Xuân Lộc-Long Khánh Victory), Nhà Xuẩt Bản Tồng Hợp Đồng Nai, Biên Hòa, 2004. The 6th Division under Military Region 7 and commanded by Đặng Ngọc Sĩ, was formed in November 1974 ((or August 1974)) and “comprised the 33rd Regiment, the ‘4th’ (ie 274th) Regiment, and artillery, sapper and engineer battalions.” - Military Region 7 Headquarters (Quân Khu 7), 50 Năm ực ương Võ Trang Quân Khu 7 - The Armed Forces of Military Region 7: 50 Years, Wattpad, 1995. The 33rd Regiment was identified by the US Embassy as part of the 6 th NVA Division - together with the 274th and 812th Regiments, on 3 February 1975. VCAT Item No.2123103006. 516 Cựu Chiến Binh, Tóm Tắt … Trung Đoàn 33, op.cit., July 2010 , see Appendix 1. 517 For a detailed ARVN account of the relief by 2/43 rd Regiment (18th ARVN Division) of the 33-day investment of the Võ Đắc/Hoài Đức Sub-Sector, see: Bảo Định, “Võ Đắc Trong Biển Lửa”, Michigan, 4 July 2006. http://www.sudoan18bobinh.com/#/vo-dac-nhc-p1/4519724701 : eg - “over the 33 days and nights, the 33rd Regiment suffered 1,000 casualties” (chịu đấm ăn xôi). 518 Le Gro, W. E. - Colonel, Vietnam from Cease-Fire to Capitulation, US Army Center of Military History, Washington D.C., 2011.

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The Final Offensive – 1975 In March 1975, a Regiment history monograph519 continued: “When Ban Mê Thuột520 fell, hundreds of enemy vehicles fled down to Sài Gòn. The Regiment was ordered to urgently deploy the 1st Battalion across-country and block the enemy at Base 10 in Bình Thuận – where we forced the enemy to abandon their vehicles and flee. During the Campaign to liberate Long Khánh, the Regiment attacked the Hưng Lộc and Dầu Giây521 posts and blocked the enemy relief forces advancing to Xuân Lộc from Biên Hòa and Sài Gòn. Over 12 days of combat, we were able to create the opportunity for our units to liberate Long Khánh.”522 A US Embassy report in March 1975 noted that “The NVA/VC launched their expected offensive in Long Kh nh and Bình Tuy Provinces on March 17. Coordinated attacks were made at Định Quán ((YT 568376)), the La Ngà Bridge ((YT 482341)), and Gia Ray in Long Kh nh Province and Hoài Đức in Bình Tuy Province. At Định Quán, NVA/VC forces in an armored-supported attack interdicted QL20 and attempted to overrun the town. … atest reports state that Gia Ray village was overun on March 18, but a nearby GVN firebase was holding.”523 PAVN General Trần Văn Tra related that in the period 15-18 March 1975, “the 6th Division of Military Region 7 extended the liberated area along Route 2 from Xuân Lộc to Bà Rịa and ((moving north-east)) completely liberated Route 3 from Hoài Đức to Gia Ray. On 20 March, it took the Ông Đồn intersection and Suối Cát, and by 28 March it had mastered a 50 kilometers-long segment of Route 1 from Suối Cát to Rừng Lá, thus cutting the lifeline connecting the central Vietnam coast with Biên Hòa-Sài Gòn.”524 During the critical battle for Xuân Lộc (60 kilometres north-east of Sài Gòn) defended by the 18th ARVN Division, the 33rd Regiment operated to the west of the Town under the 6th Division. The 33rd Regiment “attacked the hamlets of Hưng Nghĩa and Hưng Lộc on Route 1 on the western side of Dầu Giây. They grabbed Hưng Lộc but were repulsed by Popular Forces at Hưng Nghĩa.”525 From 8 April, the Regiment also attacked
519

Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), Qu Trình …, op.cit., 2010, pp.5 -7 – see Appendix 2. 520 The communists’ “2/75 Campaign” in the Central Highlands began on 4 March 1975 - with Ban Mê Thuột seized on 11 March, for detail, see Veith, G.J., Black April: The Fall of South Vietnam 1973-1975, Encounter Books, New York, 2012, pp.170-202. On 25 March 1975, the North Vietnamese “Politburo decided to conquer Saigon in May, before the onset of the rainy season.” Huế fell to PAVN forces on 25 March – p.317; and Đà Nẵng - South Vietnam’s second-largest city, fell on 29 March 1975. – p.328. 521 Dầu Giây (sometimes as Dầu Dây) was located at the junction of two principal asphalt-paved highways – National Route 20 which ran north into the Central Highlands; and National Route 1 which ran eastward and then north along the coast through Central Vietnam. 522 A Military Region 7 history notes that “in the Xuân ộc attack, 33 Regiment was part of the 6th Division of IV Corps” - Military Region 7 (Quân Khu 7), Chiến Thắng Xuân Lộc-Long Khánh , op.cit., 2004, pp.157-159. 523 US Embassy, Vietnam Weekly Ceasefire Assessment: March 12-19, 1975, Saigon, 19 March 1975. 524 Trần Văn Tra, Vietnam History of the ulwark 2 Theatre – Vol 5: Concluding the 30-Years War, Văn Nghệ Publishing House, Hồ Chí Minh City, 1982, p.148. The role and operations of the 33 rd Regiment are not mentioned. 525 Veith, G.J., Black April, op.cit., 2012, pp.455-461.

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the positions of the 52nd ARVN Regiment at Dầu Giây, forcing its withdrawal to Xuân Lộc on 13 April, Earlier on 11 April, the 6th Division elements on Route 1 at Hưng Nghĩa were attacked from the west by the ARVN 3rd Armored Cavalry Brigade but prevented their breakthrough to Xuân Lộc. Together with the 95B Regiment, on 15 April the 33rd Regiment attacked the 52nd ARVN Regiment positions at Horseshoe Hill and Nguyễn Thái Học (north-west of Xuân Lộc Town) – with the 95B Regiment suffering heavy casualties before the ARVN withdrawal.526 On 21 April, the South Vietnamese forces abandoned Xuân Lộc Town and withdrew southward down Route 2 through Phước Tuy Province. “We were able to wipe out only part of the fleeing troops because our unit ((to)) which the Bà Rịa Military Command had assigned responsibility for blocking Route 2 was careless and failed to prevent the enemy from fleeing.”527 During the fighting, a 33rd Regiment battalion commander - Trần Đăng Phong, was killed on 19 April 1975 at Hưng Nghĩa in Long Khánh Province; and a senior cadre – Trần Thi Thức, was killed farther west at Hố Nai on 28 April 1975.528 The 33rd Regiment’s “Summary History” 529 recounts that “In the Hồ Chí Minh Campaign530, the Regiment was allocated to the 7th Division531 of the 4th Corps operating
526

Veith, G.J. and Pribbenow, M. II, “Fighting is an Art The Army of the Republic of Vietnam’s Defense of Xuan Loc - 9-21 April 1975”, The Journal of Military History, Vol 8, No.1, January 2004, pp.163 -213 – see pp.204-206. The article includes clear annotated maps of key locations and deployments. 527 Trần Văn Tra, Vietnam History of the ulwark 2 Theatre, op.cit., 1982, p.176. The 2004 D445 History relates 445 Battalion and the C-41 Châu Đức District Company destroying a fleeing ARVN column at the Quang Minh platation on Route 2 on 21 April 1975 – and capturing ARVN Colonel Phạm Văn Phúc, the Province Chief of ong Kh nh. - Phạm Quang Định, Lịch Sử Tiểu Đòan 445 …, (The History of 445 attalion …,), op.cit., 2004, p.206. For an ARVN account of the withdrawal south on Route 2, see Hua Yen Len - Colonel, The Line of Steel at Xuân Lộc (Long Khánh), Seattle, 5 February 1988 - ie: On 20 April 1975, the headquarters and elements of the 18th ARVN Division successfully withdrew south down Route 2 to an assembly area at Đức Thạnh and enroute - “easily brushed aside the enemy road-blocks and ambushes … and arrived the next morning.” They were soon joined by the 1 st Airborne Brigade and the 2nd Battalion of the 43rd Regiment that had suffered “only light losses”. After two days of “regrouping and re -organizing our units at the Đức Thạnh assembly area, the entire 18th Infantry Division was transported by trucks to its rear base at ong ình to receive new equipment and replacements.” During the 12 -day battle at Xuân Lộc, “ARVN losses were 30% for all units participating in the battle, except for the 52nd Task Force which suffered 60% losses; North Vietnamese casualties were reportedly: 5000-6000 killed or wounded, and 37 armoured vehicles destroyed.” – VCAT Item No.3670101001. 528 Nguyễn Sỹ Hồ, Martyrs’ ist, op.cit., 16 J uly 2013 – see also Appendix 9. The battalion commanded by Trần Đăng Phong is not cited. Trần Thi Thức (b.1928 – a male) joined the VC forces in September 1945. He was noted as the probable commander of the Regiment’s 1 st Battalion in early January 1969 – CDEC Log 09-1636-69. Subsequently, Thức served as the deputy head of the 33rd NVA Regiment’s political section. In 1975, he was listed as the Regiment’s deputy political commissar ( phó chính ủy) and concurrently served as the head of its political section (ie “chủ nhiệm ban chính trị”). A 33rd Regiment monograph relates that the Regiment attacked the base of the ARVN 52nd Armored Regiment at H ố Nai on the evening of 29 April - Cựu Chiến Binh, Tóm Tắt … Trung Đoàn 33, op.cit., July 2010 , see Appendix 1. 529 Cựu Chiến Binh, Tóm Tắt … Trung Đoàn 33, op.cit., July 2010 , see Appendix 1. 530 During the Hồ Chí Minh Campaign, the senior cadre in the 33 rd Regiment were: Regimental Commander – Nguyễn Huy Thản; Deputy Commander/Chief of Staff – Lê Bá Lộc; Political Commissar – Đinh Văn Đạt; Commander 1st Battalion – Phan Ngọc Bê; Commander 2nd Battalion – Nguyễn Trọng Hứa; Commander 3rd Battalion – Nguyễn Sỹ Tám. Subsequent Regimental Commanders were: Chu Kim Thạch (1976-1977); Vũ Viết Cam (1977-1979) - Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The

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north-east of Sài Gòn and was reinforced with two tank battalions, 120mm mortars and heavy artillery support.” … “In the Hồ Chí Minh Campaign to liberate Sài Gòn, the Regiment attacked the enemy along Route 1, destroying the enemy at Ga Long Lạc and the Suối Máu Bridge. At 1000hrs on 30 April 1975, the Regiment entered the enemy III Corps base at Biên Hòa airfield – contributing to the liberation of the South and the reunification of the country.” Casualties in Eastern Nam Bộ - A Summary According to the detailed listing532 of 33rd Regiment’s casualties in Eastern Nam Bộ during the “Anti-American War”, 1,949 of the Regiment’s soldiers died. Of these, 317 (16.3%) died in Bà Rịa (Phước Tuy) Province, 644 (33%) in Long Khánh Province, 255 (13%) in Biên Hòa Province, 240 (12.3%) in Tây Ninh Province, 396 (20.3%) in Bình Tuy Province, 75 (3.8%) in Phước Long Province and 22 (1.1%) in Lâm Đồng Province. Of the 1,949 who died on the Eastern Nam Bộ battlefield, 53.4% (1,041) were from the four provinces of Thanh Hóa, Hải Hưng, Hà Sơn Bình and Nghệ Tĩnh in North Vietnam. POST-LIBERATION After the Hồ Chí Minh Campaign, the Regiment was assigned military administration tasks, building the local administrations, and pursuing the enemy at Hố Nai, Vũng Tàu, Núi Lớn in the Long Hải coastal area, Bến Đình, and Long Khánh. …”533 According to a posting on an Internet military blogsite “The 33rd Regiment was an independent unit with the responsibility of defending the Vũng Tàu – Côn Đảo ((Island)) Special Zone and was amalgamated with the 55th Regiment to form Military Region 7’s 303rd Infantry Division.”534 Cambodia and the Vietnam-China Border In August 1976, the Regiment was subordinated to the 476th Division “to build strategic roads in support of national security – such as Route 10 to Bom Bo sóc ((village)) in Bù Đrăng District of Phước Long Province, the strategic Trần Lệ Xuân route
Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), Qu Trình …, op.cit., 2010 – see Appendix 2. See also Appendix 15 for an organogram of the 33 rd Regiment during the 1975 Hồ Chí Minh Campaign. 531 See footnote 522 that cites the “6th Division of IV Corps”. 532 See Appendix 9 for: an i n ạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57), Danh S ch iệt Sỹ Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) Từ 1968–1975 (Miền Đông Nam ộ) – (List of the Martyrs of the 33rd Regiment (A57) – From 1968-1975 (Eastern Nam ộ Region), Vũng Tàu, 2010 – p.1 “Tổng Hợp Số iệt Sỹ C c Tỉnh Hy Sinh Ở C c Chiến Trường Chống Mỹ Thời Gian Từ Th ng 7/68 Đến Th ng 5/75" (“Consolidated ist of the Martyrs who died on the Battlefields during the Anti-American War from July 1968 to Ma y 1975”). When published, this Martyrs’ ist had a total of 2,996 martyrs – subsequently, names have been added and reported in media articles – eg increasing to 3,050; 3,056 etc. 533 Cựu Chiến Binh, Tóm Tắt … Trung Đoàn 33, op.cit., July 2010 , see Appendi x 1. 534 Source: http://www.quansuvn.net/index.php?topic=7742.295;wap2. minhchau_d2e551978 trong 29 Tháng Năm, 2010, 04:58:08 PM .

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to support the Rear Services, and the Vietnam-Cambodia border defence line within Tân Biên and Bến Cầu Districts of Tây Ninh Province.535 In July 1978, the Regiment was ordered to deploy as part of Military Region 7’s 303rd Infantry Division and the 479th Front on international duty to assist the Cambodian people in wiping out the evil and genocidal Pol Pot regime. From October 1978 to the end of 1979, the Regiment deployed to attack the enemy in the provinces of Kompong Cham, Kompong Thom, and Kratié …”536 Another 33rd Regiment historical monograph similarly relates “During the war on the South-Western Border, the Regiment was part of the 303rd Division and fought in battles against the Cambodian enemy – killing and capturing a large number of Pol Pot troops. We forced the surrender of the 1st Pol Pot Regiment, complete with all its equipment.”537 As noted above – and according to a Vietnamese military blogsite posting538, “the 33rd Regiment – initially with the 55th PAVN Regiment, constituted Military Region 7’s 303rd Dvision – which had been formed at the beginning of the South Western Border War, and the Regiment participated in operations to seize Phnom Penh.” The 303rd Division539 consisted of three light infantry regiments, an artillery regiment, and a number of direct support units. “For secrecy, when deploying to Cambodia, the regiments of the 303rd Division were given cover titles: the 33rd Regiment was the 731st Regiment (E731), the 55th Regiment – the 732nd Regiment (E732), the 316th Regiment – the 733rd Regiment (E733), and the 77th Artillery Regiment became the 734th Regiment (E734). The 33rd Regiment (ie E731) was reportedly the last of the Division’s regiments to cross into Cambodia when the advance began on 13 November 1978 to Snoul (at the crossroads of Routes 13 and 7) defended by the 260th Khmer Rouge
535

Serious border tensions with Democratic Kampuchea (ie the Khmer Rouge government of Cambodia) began almost immediately post-War. On 3 May 1975, Khmer Rouge forces attacked Phú Qu ốc Island in the Gulf of Thailand – long-claimed by the Cambodians as Koh Tia; followed on 10 May 1975 with the Cambodian seizure of the island of Thổ Cho. 520 Vietnamese civilians were reportedly killed in the attacks. The 5th Division History (2005) notes that there were 18 cross-border violations by “Pol Pot-Ieng Sary” troops in 1975, and 191 in 82 separate locations in 1976. - Phạm Quang Đinh, ịch Sử Sư đòan ộ Binh 5, op.cit., 2005. The major ground attacks by Cambodian forces occurred in mid-March to May 1977 in Kiên Giang and An Giang Provinces, precipitating significant Vietnamese military deployments. Subsequently, the Vietnamese military drive into Cambodia was launched on Christmas Day 1978 - with Phnom Penh occupied soon after. 536 Cựu Chiến Binh, Tóm Tắt … Trung Đoàn 33, op.cit., July 2010 , see Appendix 1. An identical account was related in an interview with Đại Đức (venerable monk) Thích Tâm Vượng in Trực Ninh District, Nam Định Province – see: Hồng Quốc Văn “Gặp gỡ một chiến sĩ của Trung đoàn 33 Anh hùng” – “Meeting a combatant of the heroic 33rd Regiment”, o cựu chiến binh online, 17 December 2010. 537 Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), Qu Trình …, op.cit., 2010, pp.5 -7 – see Appendix 2. 538 Source – Phan Minh Châu: http://www.quansuvn.net/index.php?topic=7742.295;wap2 . minhchau_d2e551978 trong 29 Tháng Năm, 2010, 04:58:08 PM . 539 The 303rd Division was reportedly formed at àu Cỏ, Đồng an, Tây Ninh Province on 19 August 1974. See: Th i Phương Huy (et al/dtg), Sư đoàn 303 - đoàn Phước ong, Quân đội Nhân Dân, Hà Nội, 1989. Post-War, the Division was re-formed from the Phước Long United Economic Group (Đoàn liên hiệp kinh tế Phước Long) on 13 July 1978 and initially occupied the former ARVN Ranger Group camp at Tam Hiệp (Biên Hòa) with Senior Colonel Nguyễn Nam Hưng as the Division Commander.

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Division. The 33rd Regiment was believed to have deployed cross-country from Snuol directly along Eastern Route 13 to Svay Cheak.”540 A published history of the Cambodian campaign relates that “The 5th Division and the 303rd Division advanced northwards along Route 13 and attacked Kratié that was defended by the ((Khmer Rouge)) 260th Division and two local force regiments of the 505th Special Region. In the advance, the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 303rd Division’s 316th Regiment were caught in a surprise ambush and destroyed. After a month of operations, that Regiment – and also the 33rd Regiment, had been reduced by half. However, as a result of taking risks and disregarding casualties, three days later Vietnamese forces were able to seize Kratié. At that time, the 302nd Division to the west had taken Kompong Cham. Next, the 302nd and the 303rd Divisions turned around and attacked and seized the town of Chhlong that had been held by the Cambodian 603rd Division. On 4 January 1979, they were able to take Chơlong [sic] – and, with that, all the Cambodian territory east of the Mekong River could be regarded as having been won from the enemy. … the first Vietnamese units entered the empty city of Phnom Penh on 7 January 1979.541 The 33rd Regiment’s Martyrs’ ist542 indicates that the Regiment engaged Khmer Rouge forces in early-mid November 1978 at Mimot and Cara Ôm village; at Báo Trống village on 1 and 2 January 1979; and at Kompong Cham and Kompong Thom in late January 1979. A cadre in the 55th PAVN Regiment commented that the 33rd Regiment was very experienced and skilled in constructing defences in depth with bunkers and trenches.543 At the beginning of 1979, the 55th PAVN Regiment replaced the 33rd Regiment in “Đầm Be" District, and the 33rd Regiment reportedly deployed across to the western bank of the Mekong River into Chamkar lue (Kompong Cham District). Immediately thereafter, the 33rd Regiment was surrounded by the Khmer Rouge 603rd Division at Ampil village about 10 kilometres from Chamkar lue Town, and the 55th PAVN Regiment was deployed from Đầm Be to break the blockade. On 7 May 1979, the Regiment suffered 18 killed – most in its C22 Transport Company (the location was not indicated). Most of the Regiment’s deceased were buried in military cemeteries in Tây Ninh Province - at Trà Vong and Tân Hội in Tân Biên District, and at Lộc Tấn (Lộc Ninh).

540

Source - Phan Minh Châu: http://www.quansuvn.net/index.php?topic=7742.295;wap2 . minhchau_d2e551978 trong 29 Tháng Năm, 2010, 04:58:08 PM . 541 Hoàng Dung, Chiến tranh Đông dương 3 (The Third Indochina War), Văn Nghệ, California, 2000. http://lichsuvn.net/forum/showthread.php?t=7977 . 542 Nguyễn Sỹ Hồ, Martyrs’ ist, op.cit., 16 July 2013. Tấn Phúc (b.1959) – deputy commander of the th st rd 8 Battalion (D8) of the 731 Regiment (ie 33 Regiment) is listed as having been killed on 24 September 1979 (no location is cited). 543 The cadre added that such was quite different to the tactics of the 55th PAVN Regiment whose forté was being highly mobile, aggressive, and conducting rapid battalion-level attacks. See Minh Châu – 2nd Battalion/55th PAVN Regiment, 29 May 2010.

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A 33rd Regiment history and a Martyrs’ ist summarised that of the 3,050 of the Regiment’s personnel who died during the Anti-American War, 327 died on the battlefields of the “South Western order” in the period 1976-1979.544 The “Sino-Vietnamese border war” began with the attack by Chinese forces on Vietnam’s northern border on 17 February 1979. A 33rd Regiment history notes “When the Border Campaign concluded, the Regiment was ordered to deploy as a reinforcement to the Northern order.”545 The 33rd Regiment was deployed to the Northern Border Front, but was only stationed in the old province of Hà Nam Ninh.546 More specifically: “On 22 December 1979, the Regiment was ordered to the North and stationed in Hà Nam Ninh Province directly subordinate to Military Region III, defending the coastal area of the Northern Gulf region and building dykes to mitigate against the encroachment of the sea. The Regiment’s tasks required it to integrate with the units of the 1st Corps.”547 The Veterans’ Association – and Reunions In the post-War years, a 33rd Regiment Veterans’ Association was established with an office in Vũng Tàu. About 200 of the 33rd Regiment’s veterans settled in the South, 150 of whom were classified as war invalids. Almost all were reportedly affected by Agent Orange. Veterans have also established a 33rd Regiment construction services and real estate company in Hồ Chí Minh City.548 As mentioned earlier, in late July 2003, a 33rd Regiment Memorial Area (Khu tưởng niệm) – that includes a museum and stelae (bia)549 to the “53 fallen soldiers” of the 33rd Regiment at the Battle of Bình Ba, was inaugurated in Bình Ba village. Annual memorial ceremonies (Họp Mặt Truyền Thống) are held on 27 July each year at the complex in Bình Đức hamlet. A remembrance
544

Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), Qu Trình …, op.cit., 2010, p.11 – see Appendix 2. Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57), Danh S ch iệt Sỹ Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) Từ 1968–1975 (Miền Nam Bộ) – (List of the Martyrs of the 33rd Regiment (A57) – From 1968-1975 (Nam Bộ Region), Vũng Tàu , 2010– footnote to p.1 “Tổng Hợp Số Liệt Sỹ Các Tỉnh Hy Sinh Ở Các Chiến Trường Chống MỹThời Gian Từ Tháng 7/68 Đến Tháng 5/75". 545 Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), Qu Trình …, op.cit., 2010, pp.5 -7 – see Appendix 2. The “Sino-Vietnamese border war” began with the attack by Chinese forces on Vietnam’s northern border on 17 February 1979 and concluded with the withdrawal of the Chinese forces in mid-March 1979. 546 A former province, Hà Nam Ninh Province - a combination of the provinces of Hà Nam, Nam Định and Ninh Bình, was re-established in December 1975. The 33rd Regiment was probably subordinate to the 303rd Division which deployed to the North in December 1979 as part of the newly-formed 68th Corps of Military Region 3. The 303rd Division was re-assigned to Military Region III in 1981, and in 1987 to the Quy ết Thắng 1st Corps. 547 Cựu Chiến Binh, Tóm Tắt … Trung Đoàn 33, op.cit., July 2010 , see Appendix 1. 548 The company is titled “Công Ty Cổ Phần Trung đoàn Ba ba” (The 33rd Regiment Joint Share Company) – see Dương Minh Anh, “Công ty rất “lính” (“A very military company”), Sài Gòn Giải Phóng, Hồ Chí Minh City, 13 December 2005. http://www.sggp.org.vn/saigonthubay/nam2005/thang12/82643/ 549 A further six larger double-panelled stelae in a covered pavilion are engraved with the names of all the known 33rd Regiment martyrs – with their names listed in province groups – ie their place of birth. Those listings – unlike the printed lists, do not include a martyr’s rank ( cấp bậc) or function (chức vụ).

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ceremony is also held at the complex on the 22 April each year (according to the Lunar Calendar).550 The 33rd Regiment Veterans’ Association also has branches and chapters in northern Vietnam – including in Bắc Giang, Hà Bắc, Hải Dương, and Nghệ An provinces; as well as chapters in Hồ Chí Minh City and Vũng Tàu. On 21 July 2013, a reunion and memorial ceremonies were held in Hát Môn village of Phúc Thọ District, Hà Nội.551

Reunion at Phúc Thọ - 21 July 2013: Comrades Hải (Rear Services), Dụy (see footnote 325) and Thản (see footnotes 490 and 495) Achievements and Losses Summarized As noted, accounts of the 33rd Regiment’s service are related in several historical monographs produced by their Veterans’ Association – see Appendices 1-4.552 The 33rd Regiment entered South Vietnam’s Central Highlands in early September 1965 and – under command of the “Field Front” (the B3 Front), attacked the CIDG base at Plei Me and - soon after, engaged US airmobile forces in the battles of the Ia Đrăng Valley to the south-west. Also under the B3 Front, the Regiment attacked Ban Mê Thuột at Tết 1968. Moving south in May 1968 - and under the B2 Front, the Regiment engaged
550

Anh Hồng & Kiến Giang, Khánh Thành Nhà Bia tưởng niệm các anh hùng liệt sĩ Trung đoàn 33, à Rịa-Vũng Tàu, No. 3011, 29 July 2003, p.1. uddhist prayer ceremonies are also held for 33 rd Regiment martyrs – see “Nguyễn Văn a, “Trung đoàn 33 ễ Cầu Siêu liệt sĩ” (“33rd Regiment – Buddhist Religious Ceremony for the Martyrs”), YouTube, April 2013 – Video, 28 April 2013. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flhv6O1trDI . 551 Tạ Tường Mạnh, Gặp mặt CC Trung Đoàn 33 anh hùng lần thứ 3 Hà Nội (Họp Mặt Truyền Thống Cựu Chiến Binh-Bạn Chiến Đấu Trung Đoàn 33 – TP Hà Nội, Lần Thứ 3, Ngày 21/7/2013), 21 July 2013, published 6 October 2013. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTv88UxE4pQ . The reunion was attended by NguyễnVăn Dụy – a veteran of the 1st Battalion, who had been captured at the Battle of Bình Ba (see footnote 325) and ùi Đức Phong (medic) – see accounts of the Battle at Appendix 22. 552 See the discussion of “Sources” at pp.1-3 and footnote 2 – ie: The plans by the 33rd Regiment Veterans’ Association to publish a comprehensive history of the Regiment in November 2014.

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US forces in Tây Ninh Province from July to November 1968. At Tết 1969, the Regiment’s attack on the Long Bình complex in late February was unsuccessful, but a later attack on Thai forces at Bầu Cối was reportedly a significant victory. In early June 1969, as an element of COSVN’s “High Point” offensive phase, the Regiment occupied Bình Ba village and fought 1ATF elements – suffering over 50 killed in action. Thereafter, the Regiment operated principally in southern Long Khánh and Bình Tuy Provinces – and in April 1970 did not follow the 5th VC Division into Cambodia. During the Hồ Chí Minh Campaign in April 1975, the Regiment was part of the 6th Division and fought at Xuân Lộc. Subsequently, as a formation of the 7th Division, the 33rd Regiment joined the drive on Sài Gòn. Post-War, in October 1978, as part of the 303rd Division, the Regiment fought in Cambodia. In early 1979, the 33rd Regiment deployed to the northern border of Vietnam following the Chinese military incursion in late February 1979. In late 2010, a 33rd Regiment veteran related that the Regiment had “participated in 1,210 battles – both large and small, brought down one Sector, five Sub-Sectors, three Special Sectors553 ((yếu khu)), six Sub-Sub-Sectors554, 235 posts – large and small, destroyed two convoys of vessels, 103 mortars and artillery pieces, and had set fire to 133 aircraft and 1,345 military vehicles – including 601 tanks and armoured vehicles, had wiped out 32 battalions (including one American battalion and one Thai battalion), 50 companies (including 21 American companies, two Australian companies, two Thai companies), seized 2,454 weapons of various types, 32 radios, 20 military vehicles and a large amount of other military equipment, and had wiped out 30,047 enemy and captured 787.”555 At a reunion near Hà Nội on 21 July 2013, the Regiment’s achievements were similarly recounted as “having fought in 1,210 battles (both large and small); killed 30,047 enemy; captured 787 Americans [sic]; destroyed 32 battalions and 50 companies; wiped out 235 posts; captured 2,454 weapons; destroyed 1,345 military vehicles; and liberated 475,000 people.556
553

Special Sectors (yếu khu) were established by the government of the Republic of Vietnam for several key areas including: Phú Mỹ, Cẩm Mỹ, Trảng om, Túc Trưng, Gia Ray, Tân Sơn Nhứt etc. 554 The system of village-level Sub-Sub-Sectors (phân chi khu) was implemented across the Sài Gòn Government’s Military Region 3 in early 1973 – and a conference was held at Vạn Kiếp (Bà Rịa) to launch the programme. The Sub-Sub-Sectors were established at village level and commanded by a junior ARVN officer as the assistant village chief for security. That officer was responsible for the PF, PSDF and the National Police – see Ngô Quang Trường Lieutenant General, Territorial Forces, Indochina Monographs, U.S. Army Center of Military History, Washington D.C., 1981, p.19. By late 1974, the ARVN staff had been increased to two officers and four NCOs; and 2,200 Sub-Sub-sectors had reportedly been established. US Defence Attache, RVNAF Quarterly Assessment – 1st Qtr FY 75, Saigon, 1 November 1974. 555 Interview with the venerable monk Đại Đức Thích Tâm Vượng in Trực Ninh District, Nam Định Province - Hồng Quốc Văn “Gặp gỡ một chiến sĩ của Trung đoàn 33 Anh hùng” – “Meeting a combatant of the heroic 33rd Regiment”, o cựu chiến binh online (War Veterans On-line Magazine), 17 December 2010. As noted, more detailed claims of the Regiment’s successes and enemy casualties are listed in Cựu Chiến inh Trung Đoàn 33, Tóm Tắt Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 Đơn Vị Anh Hùng Lực ượng Vũ Trang Nhân Dân (A Summary of the Heritage of the 33 rd Regiment A Heroic Unit of the People’s Armed Forces), Hà Nội, July 2010 – see the translation at Appendix 1. 556 Tạ Tường Mạnh, Gặp mặt CC Trung Đoàn 33 …, 21 July 2013, published 6 October 2013.

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As noted earlier, a 33rd Regiment history related that “3,050 members of the Regiment had been killed, comprising: - 718 comrades on the Central Highlands battlefields in the period 1965-1968; 2,008 comrades in Eastern Nam Bộ in the years 1969-1975; and 327 comrades on the South-Western Border in the period 1976-1979.557

A Hà Nội-based website relates that a total of 2,181 personnel of the 33rd Regiment died in the “Anti-American Resistance War”.558

557

Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), Qu Trình …, op.cit., 2010, p.11 – see Appendix 2. 558 Nguyễn Sỹ Hồ - see Appendix 9 and the posting dated 9 October 2013 at: http://teacherho.vnweblogs.com/mobile.php?op=ViewArticle&blogId=9313&articleId=435083

1

ADDENDUM

Appendices: Appendix 1: The 33rd Regiment: An Historical Summary. Cựu Chiến Binh Trung Đoàn 33, Tóm Tắt Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33: Đơn Vị Anh Hùng Lực Lượng Vũ Trang Nhân Dân (A Summary of the Heritage of the 33rd Regiment: A Heroic Unit of the People’s Armed Forces), Hà Nội, July 2010. Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), Quá Trình Hình Thành Và Chiến Đấu Của Trung Đoàn 33 Anh Hùng – Từ năm 1965-2010 – (The Development and Combat History of the Heroic 33rd Regiment – from 1965 to 2010), Vũng Tàu, 2010. Lý Lịch Di Tích Khu Tưởng Niệm Trận Đánh Ngày 06/06/69 Của Trung Đoàn 33 - Xã Bình Ba, Huyện Châu Đức, Tỉnh Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu, The Background Story of the Memorial Area for the Battle of Bình Ba on 6/6/69 by 33 Regiment at Bình Ba Village, Châu Đức District, Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province, Vũng Tàu, 2011. Lê Bá Lộc, A Summary Report on the Combat Activities and Operations of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), 1965-2010. Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), Báo Cáo Tóm Tắt Quá Trình Chiến Đấu và Hoạt Động Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) Từ 1965-2010, Long Khánh, 15 July 2010. 33rd Regiment Memorial Tablet. 33rd Regiment: Strength Reports and Estimates. Extract from the 5th VC Division History (2005) ie: Phạm Quang Đinh, Lịch Sử Sư đòan Bộ Binh 5 (1965-2005) – (The History of the 5th Infantry Division 1965-2005),The People’s Army Publishing House, Hà Nội, 2005. The 33rd Regiment in the Histories of the D445 and D440 VC Battalions; and the Châu Đức, Đất Đỏ, Long Đất, and Xuân Lộc District Histories.

Appendix 2:

Appendix 3:

Appendix 4:

Appendix 5: Appendix 6: Appendix 7:

Appendix 8:

2

Appendix 9:

The 33rd NVA Regiment: Casualties at the Battle of Bình Ba and Vicinity in June 1969 – and Prisoners of War (POW).

Appendix 10: Party Cadre’s Notebook: Critique of the 33rd Regiment. Appendix 11: Chamberlain, E. Brigadier (Retd), “The Battle of Bình Ba: a baffling mystery and SIGINT failure – No!”, The Bridges Review, Issue 1, Canungra, January 2013, pp.91-92. Appendix 12: Organogram – 33rd NVA Regiment, 3 July 1968. Appendix 13: Organogram – 3rd Battalion/33rd NVA Regiment, 2 May 1971. Appendix 14: Organogram – 33rd NVA Regiment, 21 September 1971. Appendix 15: Organogram – 33rd NVA Regiment, 1975. Appendix 16: Past Years’ Organisation - “Tổ Chức Ban Chỉ Huy Trung Đoàn 33 Qua Các Thời Kỳ” (“33rd Regiment Headquarters Organisation in Past Years”– in Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), Quá Trình Hình Thành Và Chiến Đấu Của Trung Đoàn 33 Anh Hùng – Từ năm 1965-2010 – (The Development and Combat History of the Heroic 33rd Regiment – from 1965 to 2010), Vũng Tàu, 2010. Appendix 17 (Map): 33rd Regiment Headquarters Locations: 29 April – 2 July 1969. Appendix 18 (Map): Military Region (MR) 3/III Corps Tactical Zone (CTZ), Republic of Vietnam. Appendix 19 (Map): Phước Tuy Province. Appendix 20 (Map): Long Khánh and Bình Tuy Provinces. Appendix 21 (Map): The Battle of Bình Ba – June 1969: NVA/VC Deployments. Appendix 22: The Battle of Bình Ba – Personal Accounts: Bùi Đức Phong. Nguyễn Văn Dụy.

3 Appendix 1 The 33rd REGIMENT: AN HISTORICAL SUMMARY1 OF A HEROIC UNIT OF THE PEOPLE’S ARMED FORCES Cựu Chiến Binh Trung Đoàn 33, Tóm Tắt Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33: Đon Vị Anh Hùng Lực Lượng Vũ Trang Nhân Dân, Hà Nội, Tháng 07 Năm 2010 (War Veterans of the 33rd Regiment, A Summary of the Heritage of the 33rd Regiment: A Heroic Unit of the People’s Armed Forces, Hanoi, July 2010) The democratic people’s revolution required the liberation of the South and the unification of the country. However, the revolution in the South could not be victorious through a political struggle alone. Immediately following the liberation of the North under the direct leadership of Chairman Hồ Chí Minh, the government strove to build the socialist North as a great rear area of support for the South. Regular modern armed forces were progressively created to provide early support to the southern battlefield. The 33rd Regiment was created following a decision of the Central Military Affairs Committee and the Department of Defence as one of the vanguard main force units - chosen from many units, to undertake operational training and to deploy for combat in the South. The Regiment was established on 15 February 1965 in Tuyên Hóa District, Quảng Bình Province, and comprised the complete structure of the 31st Regiment (341st Division) and the 3rd Battalion of the 31st Regiment (341st Division). It was further reinforced with the 1st Battalion of the 308th Division and the 2nd Battalion of the 320th Division. At that time, the Regiment was titled the 101B Regiment. Four months of development and training were undertaken in order to adapt the Regiment to the requirements of the battlefield and to firm up its organisation. On 20 July 1965, the Regiment began its deployment to fight in the South. This was a large challenge for the Regiment – as well as the first time that the Ministry of Defence had organised a “pilot” operation as high as regimental level that was
1

Translator’s Note: Information on the 33rd Regiment is also found in: Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), Quá Trình Hình Thành Và Chiến Đấu Của Trung Đoàn 33 Anh Hùng – Từ năm 1965-2010 – (The Development and Combat History of the Heroic 33rd Regiment – from 1965 to 2010), Vũng Tàu, 2010 – Appendix 2. Lý Lịch Di Tích Khu Tưởng Niệm Trận Đánh Ngày 06/06/69 Của Trung Đoàn 33 Xã Bình Ba, Huyện Châu Đức, Tỉnh Bà RịaVũng Tàu. The Story of the Memorial Area for the Battle of Bình Ba on 6/6/69 by the 33rd Regiment at Bình Ba Village, Chau Duc District, Ba ria-Vung Tau Province) – Appendix 3. The History of the 5th VC Division - ie Phạm Quang Đinh, Colonel (ed), Lịch Sử Sư đòan Bộ Binh 5 (1965-2005) – The History of the 5th Infantry Division (1965-2005), Nhà Xuất Bản Quân Đội Nhân Dân - The People’s Armed Forces Publishing House, Hà Nội, 2005 – Appendix 6. A detailed English-language account of the 33rd NVA Regiment was prepared by 1ATF in late 1971 - “33 NVA Regiment”, Annex F to 1 ATF INTSUM 264/71, Núi Đất, 21 September 1971. The 1ATF study included information on the Regiment’s history, organisation, tactics, and personalities – but omitted any reference to the early June 1969 Battle of Bình Ba. Background to the 33rd Regiment is noted in the official Australian history – Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, 2012, p.610: “the most dangerous enemy force confronting the task force.”, and also at p.857.

4 fully equipped with ammunition, armaments, rations and medicines for combat and directly deployed to the battlefield. Every soldier had to carry a pack weighing from 50 to 60 kilograms. On the route south, they were hungry, lacked water and medicines, and suffered malaria and illnesses – and were fiercely attacked by the enemy. However, due to the high resolve of the cadre and soldiers, the Regiment remained safe and maintained its strength. After a difficult deployment over 49 days and nights, the Regiment reached its concentration area in the Central Highlands Front with 100% of its strength intact. There, it continued all facets of its preparations for combat. On 15 October 1965, the Regiment received its orders to engage in the operation to seize control of the battlefield adjacent to the Plei Me base.2 On the night of 19 October 1965, the order came to raise the curtain of the Plei Me campaign. After only six minutes, the 1st Company had wiped out the post at Chư Ho, capturing prisoners and seizing weapons. Following this, the enemy’s commando base3 at Plei Me was surrounded for several days. The enemy was forced to deploy a Ranger group to relieve the situation, and our other units then had the opportunity to engage in mobile ambushes on Route 21 and destroy a large amount of the enemy’s war-fighting capacity. The Regiment continued to closely invest the commando base at Plei Me. Three American divisions – the 4th Division, the 25th Division and the 1st Air Cavalry Division were deployed to rescue Plei Me.4 The enemy even employed B-52 bombers tactically, and used transport helicopters to pour in troops with the aim of completely destroying our force in the Central Highlands. However, the Regiment continued to implement the important tasks assigned to it and closely engaged the enemy. The Regiment destroyed an American battalion at the base of the Chư Pông Mountain5 and, in coordination with its fraternal units, destroyed thousands of Americans, shot down a large number of aircraft and destroyed enemy tanks at Ia Mo, the 20th July Bridge, Ia Đrăng etc … through to 23 November 1965, with the campaign lasting for more than a month. Together with the forces and the people of the B3 Central Highlands Front, the Regiment defeated the enemy’s first Dry Season strategic counter-offensive in 1965-1966. This victory enabled our higher leadership to draw several conclusions. We had to dare to attack, and to know how to strike the Americans and defeat them. From the foregoing, all of the region rose
2

Translator’s Note: See Tactical Pilot Chart TPC K-10A at http://www.rjsmith.com/ia-drang-1-nf.html . The Plei Me camp was 40 kilometres south of Pleiku City and about 30 kilometres east of the Cambodian border. 3 Translator’s Note: The camp was occupied by a 350-strong Vietnamese (Montagnard) Civilian Irregular Defence Group (CIDG) with US Special Forces advisors. 4 Translator’s Note: On 20 October 1965, 250 Vietnamese Rangers landed at Plei Me to reinforce the camp’s defences. An ARVN armoured column reached the camp on 25 October and elements of the US 1 st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) arrived on 27 October. 5 Translator’s Note: The fighting at the Chư Pông Mountain/Massif - just east of the Cambodian border, is commonly termed the Battle of the Ia Đrăng Valley. For an analysis – and maps, see Pribbenow, M.L., “The Fog of War: The Vietnamese View of the Ia Drang Battle” (also as “Sa M của Cuộc Chiến: Cái Nh n Việt Cộng về Trận Đánh Ia Đrăng”), Military Review, January-February 2001; and Nguyễn Văn Tin, A Few Things You Should Know About the Ia Drang Battle, 3 August 2010, http://www.generalhieu.com/pleime_thacmac-2.htm .

5 up and launched a competitive movement to strike and defeat the Americans across the whole battlefield in the South. At the conclusion of the Plei Me campaign, the Regiment’s title was changed to rd the 33 Regiment, and it continued to fight in the two provinces of Gia Lai and Kontum. In the Wet Season of 1966, the Regiment was ordered to deploy into the Chư Pa Valley, the Điamo Plain and Cù Bi to attack the 4th Division and the American 1st Airmobile [sic] Division – and wore down and destroyed much of the enemy’s combat capability. At the beginning of 1967, the Regiment received orders from above to deploy to Đắc Lắc Province ((ie Darlac Province south of Pleiku Province)) and infiltrate deep into the enemy’s rear areas and – while both fighting and supporting the people’s uprising, to destroy the enemy’s dominance, and to strike into Quảng Nhiêu Sub-Sector, Cầm Ga, and Buôn Hồ. In particular, the Regiment focused on the destruction of the 2nd Battalion of the 14th Regiment of the puppet 23rd Division at Đắc Lung and destroyed an American company at Đắc Sắc. At Tết Mậu Thân in 1968, the Regiment was ordered to attack the town of Buôn Ma Thuột ((Ban Mê Thuột in Darlac Province)) and strike the following targets: the puppet 23rd Division, Hòa Bình airfield, the armoured vehicle area, the radio station and the Mai Hắc Đế warehouse. The Regiment destroyed the Buôn Ma Thuột prison and freed many revolutionary soldiers who had been jailed. While in control of Buôn Ma Thuột for seven days and nights, the Regiment destroyed hundreds of the puppet soldiers of the Americans, South Korean soldiers, and seized or destroyed much of the enemy’s warmaking potential. We captured hundreds of enemy, including an American major.6 After this, the higher leadership ordered the Regiment to deploy and strike the enemy’s counter-attack. In particular, on 17 March 1968, C1 – with the support of C4 and the 1st Battalion’s 82mm mortars, destroyed the 2nd Battalion of the puppet 23rd Division’s 45th Regiment at Chư Kne and seized a large quantity of weapons and captured many prisoners. Subsequently, the Regiment moved to strike the enemy in Quảng Đức and Đức Lập. On 20 May 1968, at the request of the Front, the Regiment received orders to deploy to the B2 battlefield in the eastern areas of Nam Bộ.7 After a 14-day march, the Regiment reached its concentration area in Tây Ninh Province and became subordinate to the 5th Division where the Regiment guarded against surprise attacks by the enemy. Here, the Regiment’s title was changed to A57.8 The titles of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions became, respectively, the 7th, 8th and 9th Battalions.
6

Translator’s Note: US reports relate that Michael Benge – a former US Marine sergeant (1956-1959) and the USAID deputy for Darlac Province, was captured by North Vietnamese forces. Held in Cambodia and North Vietnam, he was released on 5 March 1973. Benge appears to be the “captured US major” mentioned in the 33rd Regiment history monographs. 7 Translator’s Note: The Nam Bộ Region comprised that area of Vietnam south of the Central Highlands equating to the former French colonial “Cochin China” region. Eastern Nam Bộ included the Saigon Government provinces of Tây Ninh, Binh Long, Phước Long, Bình Dương, Biên Hòa, Long Khánh, Phước Tuy and Bình Tuy. 8 Translator’s Note: The use of the cover-designator “A57” for the 33rd Regiment was noted in documents captured in November and December 1968 that outlined the Regiment’s “Future Missions” – VCAT Item

6 At the beginning of June 1968, the Regiment coordinated with the fraternal units of the 5th Division to attack the artillery position at Chà Là and inflicted heavy casualties on an American armoured cavalry battalion along Route 22 in Tây Ninh. Next, the Regiment deployed to attack an American mechanized position at the Suối Ông Hùng Stream and destroyed 12 tanks. In an ambush on Route 2 [sic, probably “22”] in the area of Village 2 of Bến Củi-Dầu Tiếng, the Regiment inflicted heavy casualties on an American mechanized battalion and captured two tanks and three American soldiers. The Regiment then deployed to strike the enemy who were making an airborne landing at Bầu Đồn and Sóc Lào – and struck the Bầu Đồn Sub-Sector. The enemy was forced to allocate six marine battalions from the puppet strategic reserve forces to come to their rescue. The Regiment was under command of the B2 Region Headquarters until November 1968 and operated deep into the regions of Biên Hòa, Long Khánh and Bà Rịa provinces. At the beginning of the 1969 Spring Campaign, the Regiment attacked the Long Bình logistics complex, destroyed a chemical warehouse, and attacked the Biên Hòa airfield. Afterwards, it was deployed to strike the enemy’s counter-attack at Cẩm Đường, Suối Kết and Đồi Dâu Slope. In particular, on the night of 28 February 1969, the Regiment wiped out a Thai battalion at Bầu Cối, Biên Hòa. In attacks on hamlets at Bình Ba, Kim Long (Bà Rịa), the Regiment destroyed 24 armoured vehicles forcing the enemy to withdraw to its defences at Núi Đất.9 The Regiment continued to strike the SubNo.2300811008. The A57 cover-designator was known to 1ATF in 1969 – see 1ATF, Appendix 1 to Annex A, INTSUM 362/69, Núi Đất, 28 December 1969. 9 Translator’s Note: This is may be a reference to the engagement with 1ATF forces – principally 5RAR, at Bình Ba village in the period 5-8 June 1969. The omission in this monograph of detail on the Battle of Bình Ba is somewhat unusual as another of the Regiment’s monographs includes detail – including photographs, eg: Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), Quá Trình Hình Thành Và Chiến Đấu Của Trung Đoàn 33 Anh Hùng – Từ năm 19652010 – (The Development and Combat History of the Heroic 33rd Regiment – from 1965 to 2010), Vũng Tàu, 2010 – Appendix 2. On “omissions”, the 5th Division History - 2005 does not record any activity by the 33rd Regiment in Phước Tuy province in June 1969. Rather, the 5 th Division History relates that – in Long Khanh Province, its 33rd Regiment “ambushed and destroyed an engineer company on Route 3” on 6 June 1969 and “blocked a relief force from the ARVN 52 nd Regiment destroying 11 armoured vehicles and inflicting casualties on two enemy companies.” As noted earlier, in September 1971, HQ 1ATF produced a comprehensive report on the 33rd Regiment, including its history – “33 NVA Regiment”, Annex F to 1 ATF INTSUM 264/71, Núi Đất, 21 September 1971. That 1ATF report however, did not mention the Battle of Bình Ba – this is probably because “much of the material used in this paper has been reproduced from 3 BDE INTSUMs” – ie the 3rd Brigade of the US 1st Cavalry Division (Air Mobile) that was based at Biên Hòa from March 1971 following the withdrawal of the bulk of the Division. The Australian After-Action Report on the Battle of Bình Ba claimed 43 enemy killed (1st Battalion of 33rd Regiment) – and this was later amended to 126 killed after Popular Forces troops reportedly found many more bodies beneath the rubble of destroyed houses – Battle, M.R. & Wilkins, D.S. (eds), The Year of the Tigers, Trojan Press, Thomastown, 2009, p.346, p.350. 1ATF contemporary reporting identified the 1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment – together with the Regiment’s heavy machine gun and recoilless rifle elements – 1 ATF, Vietnam Digest No. 22-69 (covering the period 1- 6 June 1969) and listed 71 enemy killed, six wounded and 12 POWs. In Bình Ba village, there is a 33rd Regiment memorial (khu tưởng niệm) with an engraved stela (bia) dedicated to the 53 fallen soldiers of the 33rd Regiment. In a 2010 article, 33rd Regiment veterans related that at the battle of “B nh Ba on 6 June 1969 more than 50 members of the Regiment fell in an

7 Sectors of Tân Lập and Suối Nghệ, destroying the enemy’s domination and attacking along Route 2 in Bà Rịa and Long Khánh. From the end of 1969 until 1971, the Americans and their puppets increased their rounding up of the people, establishing strategic hamlets, and attacking our support organisations. They launched sweeping operations into our secret bases, completely destroyed our rear supply lines from the North into the South, and isolated our forces which had been concentrated to harass the enemy’s rear areas. For six continuous months, the Regiment did not receive supplies of ammunition, food or rations – and the strength of the Regiment was only a little more than 600. However, the Regiment was resolved to hold-on to its territory and utilize the people in the strategic hamlets as a source of food. Determined to achieve the tasks allocated by the B2 Front Headquarters to the Regiment, it firmly held its ground, engaged the enemy, and created a strategy whereby the enemy was in some disarray and struggled to cope. The Regiment had to fight independently – while, at the same time, increase its support to fraternal units and develop its own forces.10 In response to the tasked requirement for a unit to conduct independent harassing operations deep inside enemy territory, the Regiment proposed to higher headquarters that two additional companies be created - together with a training group directly under the Regiment’s command: A 25th Company with responsibilities for the self-supporting production of food, the care of the Regiment’s ill, and the treatment of its wounded personnel – but capable of quickly returning to operate as a combat reinforcement when necessary. A 24th Sapper Company in response to the tactical requirement to infiltrate deep into the enemy zone and harass their rear areas. A training group to create section commanders and medics as timely reinforcements to the combat units. At the end of 1972, the Regiment received orders to leave its 9th Battalion with the local forces of Military Region 7 to destroy the enemy’s domination and also to hold-on to territory. The main body of the Regiment was deployed to Military Region 6 to attack and destroy the Sub-Sectors of Tánh Linh and Hoài Đức ((Bình Tuy Province)). This forced six puppet battalions and the 199th American Brigade to deploy to Biển Lạc to
unequal battle with the enemy.” - Lê Đ nh Thìn, “Trung Đoàn 33 – một thời hào hùng …” – “The 33rd Regiment – an heroic time …”, Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu (magazine), Vũng Tầu, 30 April 2010, p.18. For background to the Battle – including the involvement of both the 33rd NVA Regiment and the D440 Local Force Battalion, see also Chamberlain, E.P., The Viet Cong D440 Battalion: Their Story, Point Lonsdale, 2013, pp.58-70. Further related reports are cited in Chamberlain, E.P., The Viet Cong D445 Battalion: Their Story, Point Lonsdale, 2011, footnote 229. 10 Translator’s Note: According to the history of the D445 Local Force Battalion, in late 1971, its “3rd Company coordinated with the 33rd Regiment, the 4th Regiment ((274th Regiment)), and the local forces of Châu Đức District to take control along Route 2 - while at the same time joining up the strategic corridor from War Zone D to Long Đất, Vũng Tàu and the Rừng Sắc … .” – Chamberlain, E.P., The Viet Cong D445 Battalion…, op.cit., 2011, pp. 81 -82. On 20-21 September 1971, the Australian 4RAR/NZ Battalion (Operation Ivanhoe) engaged the 3rd Battalion of the 33rd NVA Regiment north-east of Đức Thạnh in the Núi Sao/Núi Lê area (YS 513857) – five Australians were KIA, and 33rd Regiment reportedly suffered 16 confirmed KIA – see 1 ATF, SUPINTREP 39/71, Núi Đất, 27 September 1971 .

8 recover the situation. The Regiment then moved to strike against the many enemy counter-attacks and deployed to attack the enemy on Route 3 at Trà Vân and Võ Đắc where it destroyed much of the enemy’s combat strength. In these actions, it killed a twostar American – the commander of the 199th Brigade.11 The Regiment’s forces attacked a commanding enemy position at Quán Hạ, Sông Ồi, and thrust deep to strike Hàm Tân Sub-Sector12, defeating two battalions of the South Korean Blue Dragon group13 at Hàm Thuận. Following this, the Regiment defeated many sweeping operations launched by the Americans 199th Brigade on Route 3, at Ba Thải, and Ông Tỉnh Mountain in Bình Tuy. At the beginning of the second quarter of 1972, the Regiment returned to Military Region 7 to participate in the Nguyễn Huệ Campaign over a period of more than six months. Our forces inflicted heavy casualties on the 48th and 52nd Regiments of the puppet 18th Division, the Ranger Groups, and Regional Forces – and held the Americans’ 199th Brigade and 1st Airmobile Division in the area. We liberated Route 2 in Bà Rịa and Xuân Lộc for 10 kilometres. At the beginning of 1973 at the time of the Paris Accords, the Regiment expanded its area of operations in order to strike the enemy, encroached on Routes 1, 2, and 15 – and on Route 23 in Xuyên Mộc, destroyed the post at Bà Tô. In expanded operations across all of Military Regions 6 and 7, the Regiment attacked the enemy and seized a few places like Trảng Bom (Biên Hòa) and Đức Thạnh (Bà Rịa).14 At the end of 1974 and the beginning of 1975, COSVN15 Headquarters allocated the Regiment to Military Region 7’s 6th Division. The Regiment attacked the Lộc Linh, Võ Đắc and Tánh Linh Sub-Sectors, Suối Cao on Route 3 – and attacked the puppet 52nd Regiment and, in coordination with the 4th ((274th)) Regiment, struck the Ông Đồn Junction and Chứa Chan Mountain on Route 1. Next, the Regiment moved to attack bases 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 on Route 1 and employed its 7th Battalion to block the Tràng Tiền intersection preventing the enemy fleeing to Hàm Tân and La Di from the Central Region. The whole Regiment blocked and cut Route 1 from east of Xuân Lộc (Long Khánh) to the Tràng Tiền and Hàm Tân intersections – over a distance of 30 kilometres, and prevented the enemy from withdrawing to Sài Gòn. In March 1975, the Regiment reinforced the 4th Corps and blocked Routes 1 and 2 to the south of Xuân Lộc City, laying siege to Xuân Lộc Town and - blocking the Dầu Dây Junction, joined in the attack on Xuân Lộc Town. The Regiment seized Route 1 from the Dầu Dây Junction and Trảng Bom to Suối Dìa (Biên Hòa).
11

Translator’s Note: This is a reference to the death of Brigadier General W. R. Bond, the Commanding General of the 199th Infantry Brigade. He was killed by a sniper’s bullet when alighting from a helicopter in the forward area on 1 April 1970 about 110 kilometres north-east of Saigon. 12 Translator’s Note: Hàm Tân was the capital of Bình Tuy Province and a military Sector command. Its population in 1975 was about 120,000 – the majority were, or were or descendants of, refugees from the North (principally from Quảng Ngãi and Thanh-Nghệ-Tĩnh provinces) who moved to the South in 1954. 13 Translator’s Note: A probable reference to the Republic of Korea’s Blue Dragon Brigade – ie Cheongryeong (“Blue Dragon”, 청룡/靑龍) Brigade. 14 Translator’s Note: According to the D445 Battalion History, in mid -February 1974 the Battalion was reinforced by the 1st and 7th Companies of the 33rd Regiment and engaged ARVN forces in the Long Tân area – Chamberlain, E.P., The Viet Cong D445 Battalion …, op.cit., 2011, pp.88 -90. 15 Translator’s Note: The Central Office for South Vietnam (COSVN) was the communists’ command that covered the southern 32 of the Republic of Vietnam’s 44 provinces.

9 In the Hồ Chí Minh Campaign, the Regiment was allocated by the Hồ Chí Minh Campaign Headquarters to the 7th Division of the 4th Corps. As part of that formation’s thrust north-east of Sài Gòn, the Regiment was reinforced with two battalions of armour, 120mm mortars, and heavy artillery support. The Regiment became a strong attacking force, striking to open a corridor along National Route 1. The Suối Mác bridge and the Long Lạc railway station were seized. In developing its attack to seize Hố Nai ((east of Biên Hòa Town)), at 8pm on 29 April 1975, the Regiment destroyed the 52nd Armoured Base and the enemy at Hố Nai. At lightning speed, to the north-east of Sài Gòn, the Headquarters of the puppet 3rd ((III)) Corps was seized, together with the Biên Hòa airfield and the city of Biên Hòa. Continuing along Route 1 directly to Sài Gòn, we seized terrain and destroyed many of the enemy’s strong forward defence lines – thus creating opportunities for fraternal units to swiftly advance deep into Sài Gòn. After 30 April 1975, the Regiment deployed throughout Military Regions 6 and 7 to sweep away enemy forces and assist the people to stabilize their lives. 15 YEARS OF DEVELOPMENT, COMBAT AND COMING OF AGE: 1965-1975 The Regiment achieved many glorious combat feats:16 Participation in 1,210 combat engagements – large and small: Regiment-level: 92 engagements Battalion-level: 302 engagements Company-level: 469 engagements Platoon-level: 287 engagements Section-level: 60 engagements. 2 – Types of Combat Ambush of the enemy Attacks against an enemy in the open Attacks on an enemy strategic hamlet Attacks employing sappers Chance encounters with the enemy Counter-sweep attacks Shellings of the enemy

364 174 161 31 20 83 112

3 – Enemy opponents attacked American 1st Air Cavalry Division, 25th Division, 4th Division, 198th Brigade, 199th Brigade, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment.
16

Translator’s Note: Many of the statistics were included in media reports – including “killing 30,047 enemy, capturing 787 … and wiping out two Australian companies”: Hồng Quốc Văn, “Gặp gỡ một chiến sĩ của Trung đoàn 33 Anh hùng”, (“Meeting a Soldier of the Heroic 33rd Regiment”), Cựu Chiến Binh Viet Nam, 17 Dec 2010. http://www.cuuchienbinh.com.vn/index.aspx?Menu=1333&Style=1&ChiTiet=7151 . For detail on 33rd Regiment casualties, see Appendix 9.

10 Australian troops (stationed in Bà Rịa, Long Khánh). Thai troops (stationed at Long Bình, Bầu Cối, Route 15). South Korean troops (stationed in the Central Highlands). Puppet troops of the 18th, 5th and 23rd Divisions; the 42nd Regiment; the 7th, 333rd and 5th Ranger Groups; the 48th Marine Task Force; Airborne forces; the Mad Buffalo Battalion – and Regional Forces, Popular Forces etc … 4 – Enemy strength eliminated: 30,047 17 comprising: American troops: 9,928 – including a two-star general commanding the 199th Brigade (1970). Australian troops: 932. Thai troops: 643. South Korean troops: 181. 5 – Captured: 787. Three American soldiers, 15 puppet officers – including a major and a full colonel. 6 – Enemy units destroyed: 32 battalions (including one American and one Thai battalion). 50 companies (including one American, two Australian and two Thai companies). 7 – Posts and installations destroyed: One Sector. Five Sub-Sectors. Three Special Sectors.18 Six Sub-Sub-Sectors.19 8 – Weapons and war materiel seized: 2,454 weapons of all types (including four 155mm artillery pieces, two 105mm artillery pieces, six 81mm mortars, 10 60mm mortars, four 75mm RCLs). 342 radios (including four 15-watt radios). 20 motor vehicles, and a large quantity of other military equipment. 9 – Destroyed – including by fire. Two vessel convoys.
17

Translator’s Note: Literally: “Tiểu diệt sinh lực địch” – ie it is unclear whether the figure is for enemy killed or total battlefield casualties (killed and wounded). 18 Translator’s Note: Special Sector ie “yếu khu”. 19 Translator’s Note: The system of village-level Sub-Sub-Sectors (phân chi khu) was implemented across the Sài Gòn Government’s Military Region III in early 1973 – and a conference was held at Vạn Kiếp (Bà Rịa) to launch the programme. The Sub-Sub-Sectors were stablished at village level and commanded by a junior ARVN officer as the assistant village chief for security and responsible for the PF, PSDF and the National Police – see Ngô Quang Trường Lieutenant General, Territorial Forces, Indochina Monographs, U.S. Army Center of Military History, Washington D.C., 1981, p.19.

11 1,345 military vehicles (including 601 tanks and armoured vehicles). 103 artillery pieces. 133 aircraft of all types.

10 – Areas liberated. 475,000 people liberated. 12 villages liberated, 20 kilometres of Route 2 liberated (Bà Rịa in 1972, Bảo Bảnh in 1974, 25 kilometres of Route 3). Seized control of the whole of the rear area of the 3rd (III) puppet Corps, 18th Armored Group, 31st Ranger Group, and part of Biên Hòa airfield. With the victory of 30 April 1975, the whole of the South of the Nation was united. The Regiment was honoured by the Party and the Nation with the title of: Heroic Unit of the People’s Armed Forces. Other awards were: 8th Battalion – Heroic Unit of the People’s Armed Forces. 2nd Company of the 7th Battalion – Heroic Unit of the People’s Armed Forces. Two individuals were awarded the title of Hero of the People’s Armed Forces: Comrade: Nguyễn văn O – Reconnaissance Section Commander, 7th Battalion; Comrade: Lương văn Biêng – 19th Engineer Company. In August 1976, the Regiment was assigned to the 476th Division with the task of building strategic roads for national security, such as: Route 10 from Bom Bo village in Bù Đăng District, Phước Long, and the Trần Lệ Xuân strategic road linking the rear areas to the Vietnam-Cambodia border defence lines in Tân Biên and Bến Cầu Districts of Tây Ninh Province. In July 1978, the Regiment received orders to deploy and become part of the 303rd Division under Military Region 7 and the 479th Front to undertake international duties20 – by helping the Cambodian people destroy the dangerous and genocidal Pol Pot regime. From October 1978 to the end of 1979, the Regiment operated against the enemy in the provinces of Kompong Cham, Kompong Thom and Kratié and destroyed much of the enemy’s strength, captured a large number of the enemy, and seized enemy weapon stores in Kompong Thom. In particular, we conducted propaganda activities resulting in the surrender of a Pol Pot regiment - seizing all its weapons and equipment. Following the liberation of Phnom Penh, the Regiment coordinated with our friends21 to pursue and drive away the remnants of the defeated enemy and assist the people to return to their villages and resume their livelihoods. Tasks included providing food, and organising and building villages and district administrations for our friends. This included the whole of Tung KTroong [sic] District. On 22 December 1979, the Regiment was ordered by its higher operational headquarters to return to the North and was stationed in Hà Nam Ninh
20

Translator’s Note: “International duties” – is a euphemism for operations in Kampuchia/Cambodia against the Pol Pot/Khmer Rouge regime. 21 Translator’s Note: “Friends” is a reference to the Cambodian anti -Pol Pot/Khmer Rouge forces and its political structure.

12 Province22 – directly subordinate to Military Region 3, defending the coastal area of the Northern Gulf region, and building dykes to mitigate against the encroachment of the sea. The Regiment’s tasks required it to integrate with the units of the 1st Corps. The writing of the brilliant history and traditions of the heroic 33rd Regiment, has required the sacrifices and dedication of the very best people at many levels and from all parts of our Fatherland. There were many generations of youth from Hà Nội and Hà Tây – aged 18 to 20, who volunteered to enlist and fought with honour and died while serving in the 33rd Regiment. In achieving the Regiment’s military feats, almost 4,000 martyrs bravely and silently fell and lie scatter across the battlefields of the South – and nearly 500 martyrs died on the battlefields of our friend, Cambodia.23 Today, thousands of comrades are still infirm – and carrying wounds and the effects of Agent Orange poisoning. They continue to suffer day-after-day and hour-after-hour. Who knows how many mothers, women and our fellow countrymen - within the enemy-controlled areas and the liberated zones, gave the shirts off their backs so that the Regiment’s cadre and soldiers could do their duty. We can be proud of the dedication of a whole young generation who gave their strength, blood, sweat and tears while serving with the Regiment across all the battlefields - and who contributed to the liberation of the South, the unification of our homeland, our international duty, and the steadfast defence of the Fatherland – the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

22

Translator’s Note: A former province, Hà Nam Ninh Province - a combination of the provinces of Hà Nam, Nam Định and Ninh Bình, was re-established in December 1975. 23 Translator’s Note: In 2009, a memorial article for the 33rd Regiment's Ex-Soldiers’ Liaison Section stated: “The Regiment had 3,050 martyrs - including 2,008 who bravely fell on the Eastern Nam B ộ battlefield. In particular, in the fighting to liberate Bình Ba in the 1969 Spring Campaign, close to 50 cadre and fighters bravely died." - Thanh Tùng, "Lễ cầu siêu và dâng hương tưởng nhớ các anh hùng liệt sỹ Trung đoàn 33” (“A Buddhist Mass and Ceremony to Remember the Heroic Martyrs of the 33rd Regi ment"), Bà Rịa Vũng Tàu Television, late August 2009. For detail of casualties, see Appendix 9.

13 Appendix 2 Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57) Quá Trình Hình Thành Và Chiến Đấu Của Trung Đoàn 33 Anh Hùng – Từ năm 1965-2010, Vũng Tàu, 2010 The Development and Combat History of the Heroic 33rd Regiment – from 1965 to 201024. ((Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), Quá Trình Hình Thành Và Chiến Đấu Của Trung Đoàn 33 Anh Hùng – Từ năm 1965-2010 – (The Development and Combat History of the Heroic 33rd Regiment – from 1965 to 2010), Vũng Tàu, 2010.)) SUMMARY The Development and Combat History of the Heroic 33rd Regiment On 15 February 1965, the 101st Regiment was raised – a child of Bình Trị Thiên’s 325th Fire and Sword Division which had been founded on the first National Patriotic Day in October 1945. The Regiment was comprised of three subordinate battalions and seven companies: The 1st Battalion – of the 308th Division, The 2nd Battalion – of the 325th Division, and The 3rd Battalion – of the 320th Division. The three divisions [sic] were combined, so the 33rd Regiment has its origins from that point. On 20 July 1965, the Regiment crossed the Annamite Chain to fight in the South. On 18 October 1965, the Regiment destroyed the Chữ Ho post and surrounded the Plei Me camp in the Central Highlands – on the B3 battlefield. In the Mậu Thân Spring of 1968, the Regiment – together with fraternal units, attacked and took control of the village [sic] of Ban Mê Thuột and the Hòa Bình airfield for 14 days and captured an American major and hundreds of puppet soldiers. In March 1968, the Regiment deployed to the B2 battlefield. At this time, one third of its strength was re-assigned to the 320th Regiment.25 The unit was then re-titled as
24

Translator’s Note: This monograph – prepared by the 33rd Regiment War Veterans’ Liaison Committee, comprises: a history section, a quite large number of photographs, newspaper items, poems, and the Committee’s correspondence related to the founding of their Memorial at B ình Ba village. The captions to the photographs have been translated – but the photographs have not been included. While the titles of the Liaison Committee’s correspondence are cited, the contents have not been translated. Briefer versions of this monograph were also produced by the Liaison Committee – with fewer photographs. 25 Translator’s Note: Subsequently, this monograph relates: “Tết Mậu Thân 1968 – Comrades Khôi and Liệu, and the 3rd Battalion were re-assigned to strengthen the 320th Regiment.”

14 A57, and received orders to move to the Eastern Nam Bộ battleground. As a reinforcement for the 5th Division, the Regiment fought in a number of large battles such as: Destroying an armoured cavalry battalion of the 1st Airmobile Division. Destroying an American mechanised outpost at Ông Hùng Stream. Ambushing and destroying an American company and seizing a tank at Village 2 of Bến Củi. Inflicting heavy casualties on the 6th Mad Buffalo Battalion at Bàu Đòn. In Spring 1969, the Regiment was ordered – together with the 4th ((274th)) Regiment, to strike deeply into the Long Bình logistics complex, its chemical complex, and the helicopter airfield – killing enemy troops in Post 125 and the Red Flag Field. In particular, the 7th Battalion wiped out a Thai battalion at Bàu Cối. In 1970-1971, the Regiment fought on the Military Region 6 Front with the title of the Quyết Thắng ((Resolved to Win)) Regiment: - Attacking the South Korean Blue Dragon Battalion [sic] at Hàm Thuận. - Attacking the American 99th [sic] Brigade in Bình Tuy and killing the Brigade commander. In 1972-73, the Regiment was ordered to move back to Military Region 7 – with the title of the 33rd Regiment, and fought in the Bà Rịa-Long Khánh-Biên Hòa-Tân Phú area, attacking the Australians twice on Route 2, participating in the 1972 Nguyễn Huệ Campaign (and, together with the 4th ((274th)) Regiment, attacked the Trảng Bom SubSector, Suối Nghệ, Bàu Keo, Bàu Hàm, Suối Đĩa, Sông Thao, Trị An, Vĩnh Cửu, from Route 1 to Route 3, attacked Gia Ray, Võ Đắc, Võ An, Trà Tân, Bình Tuy – and attacked the 52nd Regiment and the local District troops.) In Spring 1975, the Regiment attacked and held the enemy on three axes at Bình Ba on Route 2 (Đức Thạnh Sub-Sector), Snake Hill, Route 20 at Gia Kiệm from Dầu Dây to Hưng Lộc and Hưng Nghĩa – together with the units that liberated Xuân Lộc, northeast of Sài Gòn. On 26 April 1975, the Regiment participated in the historic Hồ Chí Minh Campaign and, at lightning speed, attacked and seized the enemy’s III Corps and the airfield at Biên Hòa at 10am on 30 April 1975. The Regiment was honoured by the Party and the Nation with the award of the glorious title of Heroic Unit of the People’s Armed Forces and the award of the Military Exploits Medal First Class.26 Commendations were cited for: one battalion, one company, and two heroic individuals. 32 cadre and soldiers were awarded military feats medals.27 In combat actions, the Regiment’s total casualties numbered 2,026 cadre and soldiers (1,103 killed, 923 wounded). In particular, at present there are nearly 200 veterans of the Regiment in the provinces of the South of whom almost 150 are disabled veterans. Almost all are
26 27

Translators Note: Huân Chương quân công hạng nhất. Translators Note: Huân Chương chiến công.

15 comrades who returned to civilian life (there are only a few in public employment). However in whatever circumstances or positions, they still hold high the revolutionary sense of purpose and maintain the fine ideals as soldiers of the revered Hồ - and are worthy soldiers of an heroic unit, the Quyết Thắng Regiment.

A SUMMARY OF THE DEVELOPMENT AND COMBAT HISTORY OF THE 33rd REGIMENT (A57) FROM 1965 TO 1980 Under the leadership of the Party, the revolutionary movement in the South developed strongly and soon defeated the American imperialists and their lackeys – the Sài Gòn puppet government. To implement their schemes, the American imperialists mobilised nearly half a million troops and, together with the Sài Gòn puppet authorities, fiercely attacked the revolutionary movement in the South. With the requirements of the Revolution, the 33rd Regiment was founded on 15 February 1965 at Hang Làn, Mai Hóa in Quảng Bình Province – as a continuation of the 101st Regiment that had been a child of the 325th Bình Trị Thiên “Fire and Sword” Division from the first National Patriotic Day in October 1945. The Regiment comprised: - The 1st Battalion of the 325th Division. - The 2nd Battalion of the 308th Division. - The 3rd Battalion of the 320th Division. The three Divisions [sic] were combined, so the 33rd Regiment came into being from that time. Following three months of both training and preparatory work, on 20 July 1965, the Regiment was ordered to deploy into the South to fight. It was the Wet Season - the way through the Annamite Chain had many mountain passes and hills, our loads were heavy, and our rice was mixed with jungle vegetables – but the unit reached its assembly area in Gia Lai Province safely. Here, the Regiment was ordered by the B3 Headquarters to prepare to join the Plei Me Campaign. At the opening of the Plei Me Campaign, the Regiment had the task of surrounding the Plei Me camp and destroying the Chữ Ho post, lighting a fuse to draw the American military into the Central Highlands and destroy them. As a result, three American divisions were successively drawn into the Central Highlands: the 1st Airmobile Division, the 25th Division, and the 4th Division - and we attacked each in turn. These first engagements helped our troops learn how to fight and defeat the Americans. After two months of difficult and fierce combat, on 19 October [sic] the Plei Me Campaign concluded. The Regiment continued to attack the enemy in support of our deployments – striking a number of American posts at Yamơ, the 20th of July Bridge, Đinamô, Cù Bị, Chwpa [sic], and killed hundreds of American troops including in their fire support bases. While fighting – and opening roads, and carrying rice and ammunition to the Đắc Lắc ((Darlac)) battlefield, at the beginning of 1967 the Regiment was ordered to move to Đắc Lắc at a time when our forces were still weak. The Regiment joined with the local

16 forces to attack the Quảng Đức Sub-Sector, destroyed an American commando company at Đắc Sắc, and forced the enemy to regroup. The movement of the masses was further developed. At Tết Mậu Thân in 1968, the Regiment joined with local forces to attack the town of Ban Mê Thuột. The objectives included the 23rd Division, the radio station, the Mai Hắc Đế logistics complex, the armoured area, and the prison. In 14 days of fighting, we killed hundreds of Americans, puppet troops and South Koreans – capturing an American major when the 23rd Division elements surrendered, and also captured hundreds of other enemy troops. In June 1968, the Regiment was ordered to move to the B2 Front and, changing its title to A57, had the task of defending the COSVN Headquarters, attacking a number of American positions at Tằng Keng and Ba Vũng – after which the Regiment joined the 5th Division as a reinforcement to participate in the campaign against Bến Củi in Dầu Tiếng. The Regiment inflicted heavy casualties on an American armoured cavalry battalion on Route 2 at Bến Củi, attacked an American mechanised outpost at the Ông Hùng Stream, destroyed 12 vehicles when wiping out an American company in the area from Dầu Tiếng to Bến Củi, and captured two tanks. Following this, we attacked the Bàu Đồn Sub-Sector and Trung Mít forcing the 6th Mad Buffalo Battalion to come to break the blockade. We inflicted heavy casualties on a battalion at the Bến Sắn Bridge, and - together with the 55th Regiment, attacked an American mechanised post at Chà Là. Before the Regiment deployed to B2 as a mobile unit to strike the enemy, its three original battalions were reformed, and a number of key cadre were moved to build up new units. The Regiment incorporated new independent battalions from the B3 Front, including the 39th Battalion from the Military Region – but was still ready to undertake its combat tasks in any difficult area. In December 1968, under orders from COSVN Headquarters, the Regiment moved down to the Bà Rịa-Long Khánh and Biên Hòa battlefields under the direct command of Headquarters Military Region 7. In the Spring 1969 Campaign, the Regiment was ordered – together with the 4th ((274th)) Regiment, the 2nd Battalion, and sappers to attack the Long Bình logistics complex, the chemical area, and the helicopter landing field. Afterwards, we struck the American posts – as well as those at Cẩm Đường, Đồi Dầu and Suối Rết. Most notably, in a battle with the Thais at Bàu Cối, we destroyed a Thai battalion and inflicted heavy casualties on an Australian mechanised infantry battalion at Kim Long/Bình Ba, destroying 24 vehicles and forcing the enemy to withdraw back to its base. At the conclusion of the 1969 Spring Campaign, the enemy had suffered damaging attacks, both internally and externally. With our main-force elements operating deep within the battlefields, the enemy was forced to concentrate the American, puppet, and vassal forces to sweep into our hamlets, villages and bases. The enemy concentrated, but we moved to mobile operations and dispersed to operate on the main communications axes of Routes 1, 2, 3, 15 and 23. On Route 20, we joined with local forces to attack the regions of Xuân Lộc, Định Quán, Trảng Bom, Vĩnh

17 Cửu and Châu Đức – forcing the enemy’s main force to react, and creating the circumstances for us to take the initiative and wipe out more of the enemy. Photograph (p.3): A meeting of the Party Committee approving a combined tactical plan to attack the Suối Nghệ Sub-Sector in 1971. We took pride in our role as a main-force unit – but in the Bà Rịa-Long KhánhBiên Hòa area, wheresoever there was enemy oppression, or they had posts or SubSectors, the Regiment was there supporting the movement of the masses and the local forces to strike the enemy and to hold-on firmly to our territory. As a result, the Regiment attacked 28 outposts, 12 posts, and eight Sub-Sectors. Many of these, we attacked time and time again such as the Sub-Sectors at Đức Thạnh, Trảng Bom, Suối Nghệ, Hòa Long, Xuyên Mộc, Gia Kiệm, and Tánh Linh – and posts such as Bảo Bình, Bảo Chánh, Bàu Hàm, Tân Lập and Bà Tô on Route 2 [sic]. We also protected the people to enable them to harvest the rice in the Châu Pha fields. As a main-force regiment, we were far from the rear area, and our strength-levels and ammunition resupply were extremely difficult to maintain – therefore it was essential to exploit local resources. In 1970-1971, the enemy increased its attacks against our infrastructure, resettled the people in new hamlets, and cut off our sources of supplies. There were times when the Regiment did not have food for months and had to eat jungle vegetables and roots in lieu of rice. Because of the important strategic situation and difficult circumstances, COSVN Headquarters directed that - despite the difficulties and our inability to attack the enemy, the Regiment must hold-on to its region. The Regiment’s strength was only 1,900 – and there were no reinforcements available while we were in such difficult situations. The enemy concentrated their infantry, the American 1st Airmobile unit, the 199th Brigade, the 18th Division, and its vassals to confront the Regiment in the Bà Rịa-Long Khánh-Biên Hòa region. The Regiment left its 9th Battalion under the command of the Bà Rịa-Long Khánh Province and the Military Region 7 Headquarters to join with local forces and launch combined campaigns to destroy pacification – concentrating on the Long Khánh region, while at the same time creating a springboard for the Regiment to commence its tasks for Spring 1972. Photograph (p.4): A meeting of the COSVN Headquarters – Mrs Nguyễn Thị Định and cadre of the 5th and 7th Divisions and Regiments – November 1969 (Comrade Trần Văn Luận – 33rd Regiment, is marked with an “X”). COSVN Headquarters gave the Regiment the task of deploying to Bình Tuy and Bình Thuận to reinforce Military Region 6, to change our title to the “Quyết Thắng Regiment” ((“Resolved to Win Regiment”)). The Regiment attacked the enemy while resolving our food difficulties. Although it was a complex region – the rear supply area was a long distance away, the Regiment restored itself and, together with local forces, attacked the enemy.

18 Photograph (p.5): “Kill the Americans” Youth Conference (The Heroic Martyr Nguyễn Văn Bé) – Comrade Trần Văn Luận of the 33rd Regiment is marked with an “X”. Opening the campaign, the Regiment attacked the Tánh Linh Sub-Sector – the first time forcing the American 199th Brigade and 6th Mad Buffalo Battalion to deploy from Biển Lạc to break our blockade. Seizing the initiative, we immediately attacked the American relief troops on Route 3 in the Trà Tân-Võ Đắc area. Following this, we continued to attack American positions at Quán Hạ and Sông Ởi – and the Mad Buffalo force at Biển Lạc. The American 199th Brigade suffered heavy casualties, and its commander was killed while observing the battlefield from a helicopter. The enemy concentrated its forces on Route 3 in the Bình Tuy and Hoài Đức area, and we launched our forces to attack Hàm Tân Sub-Sector and La Di Town - continually surprising the enemy. At the end of 1971, the Regiment returned to the Bà Rịa-Long Khánh battlefield with the title of the 33rd Regiment. The Regiment concentrated on attacking the Americans’ planned withdrawal on Routes 1 and 2 – while at the same time, preparing for the 1972 Dry Season Campaign. To open the Campaign, the Regiment joined with the local force D440 Battalion to seize the hamlet of Đức Mỹ hamlet and the Suối Nghệ SubSector, and support the masses in their uprising to liberate tens of thousands of people and take control of a stretch of more than 10 kilometres of Route 2. On the same night, the Regiment also attacked the Đức Thạnh Sub-Sector for a second time and tightly surrounded the Sub-Sector - forcing the enemy to call for relief forces. We inflicted very heavy casualties on several battalions of the 18th Division and Ranger elements – as well as the local Regional and Popular Forces. When the enemy concentrated their forces to break through to the Đức Thạnh Sub-Sector on Route 2, the Regiment sent an element to attack the Bà Tô post in the Xuyên Mộc region. We coordinated with the 4th ((274th)) Regiment to strike the enemy relief forces enroute to Bà Tô at Núi Nhọn on Route 23. The Nguyễn Huệ Campaign lasted six months and resulted in a public defeat for the puppet military and American firepower. On our side, the Regiment faced many difficulties in getting reinforcements – to the extent that in the battle south of Bình Ba, we could only field 70 soldiers while the enemy had many battalions. However, at the conclusion of the Campaign, the Regiment was ordered to deploy to the Xuân Lộc battlefield on Routes 1 and 3 and, together with the local forces, attacked a series of posts and strategic hamlets on Routes 3, 20 and 1 in Long Khánh and Hoài Đức to support the masses’ movement to wipe out the evil oppressors. With the Paris Agreement, the Regiment attacked the Trảng Bom Sub-Sector twice, and also attacked the Sông Thao and Bàu Xéo posts, cutting Route 1. Our forces then moved down to Đại An-Vĩnh Cửu and, together with the local forces, led the 24/1974 Mobile Regiment in attacking the enemy on Routes 1 and 2. At the beginning of 1975, the Regiment was part of the 6th Division ordered to attack and seize the Lộc Ninh Sub-Sector on Route 3 at Suối Cao, and to attack the enemy’s attempted relief operation from the direction of Võ Đắc and Tánh Linh. Next, we attacked the 52nd Task Force – and together with the 4th ((274th)) Regiment, struck the

19 Ông Đồn Junction and bases along Route 1 to support the masses in the uprising to completely liberate the present-day district of Xuân Lộc. With the fall of Ban Mê Thuột, hundreds of vehicles fled towards Sài Gòn. The Regiment was ordered to urgently deploy our 1st Battalion across-country to block the enemy at Base 10 in Bình Thuận, forcing the enemy to abandon its vehicles and flee in utter disarray. In the campaign to liberate Long Khánh, the Regiment was ordered to attack the posts at Hưng Lộc and Dầu Giây - and stop and destroy enemy forces from Biên Hòa and Sài Gòn attempting to relieve Xuân Lộc (Long Khánh). We did this for 12 days and nights and created the conditions for units to liberate Long Khánh. During the Hồ Chí Minh Campaign to liberate Sài Gòn, the Regiment attacked the enemy along Route 1, wiping out the enemy in the outposts at Ga Long Lạc and the Suối Máu bridge. At 10am on 30 April 1975, the Regiment entered the enemy III Corps area and the Biên Hòa airfield – playing its part in liberating the South and unifying the Nation. Photograph (p.7): A cultural group in Bà Rịa-Long Khánh performing for the 33rd Regiment at the Sông Ray base in 1970. With the end of the Hồ Chí Minh Campaign, the Regiment was engaged in reeducation camp activities, creating administrative authorities, and mobilising the masses to drive out the enemy in Hố Nai, Vũng Tàu, the mountain range beside the sea at Long Hải, Bến Đình, and in Long Khánh. As a formation that both fought and built peace and stability, the Regiment also engaged in building projects on the border of War Zone D. During the South-West Border War, the Regiment was part of the 303rd Division participating in the attacks on the Cambodian enemy and captured a large number of Pol Pot soldiers. The Regiment called on the 1st Pol Pot Regiment to surrender, and seized all its weapons. When the South-West Border War ended, the Regiment was ordered to deploy as reinforcements to the Northern Border. For its combat achievements and public works, the Regiment was awarded the following 16 historic golden words by COSVN Headquarters: “The Regiment held on staunchly; overcame difficulties; was clever, resourceful and versatile; and always fought and won”. This was evidenced by the Regiment’s combat achievements in destroying over 4,000 enemy – comprising Americans, puppet troops, Australians, Thais and South Koreans; and capturing 600 of the enemy, including four Americans (one, a major). - In military proselytising, we achieved the surrender of a Pol Pot Regiment. - 12 helicopters were shot down; the Regiment destroyed or forced the withdrawal from 12 enemy posts and eight Sub-Sectors; tens of thousands of people were liberated; liberated zones were opened up and expanded; and the revolutionary administration was strengthened.

20 Photographs (p.8): 33rd Regiment’s Reconnaissance Platoon before an attack. ((Two photographs – a group photograph and a photograph of two soldiers – one with an RPG7)). For its achievements, after 1975, the Nation awarded the Regiment the title of Heroic Unit of the People’s Armed Forces, and also the Military Exploits Medal First Class.28 The Regiment also received two group awards – one for a battalion, and one for a company; and two personnel were individually awarded the title of Hero of the People’s Armed Forces. Dear Comrades, the results and achievements of the Regiment evidence its training and its combat during which the Regiment’s cadre and soldiers did not flinch from sacrifice and hardship. Under the leadership of the B3 and B2 Fronts, and the Military Region 6 and 7 Headquarters - and with the affection and assistance of the Party Chapters, the authorities and the people of the provinces of Biên Hòa and Bà Rịa-Long Khánh, the Regiment was able to stand firm on the battlefield and fulfil its political tasks as ordered. Dear Comrades, we have reviewed the fruits of the Regiment’s labours today, although the war has been over for more than 30 years. Our nation, our people and their lives have undergone great changes, but how can we forget the extreme sacrifice of over 3,050 martyrs and the uncompensated contribution of the families of our military martyrs. How can we repress our emotion in the face of the mothers and fathers from all parts of our country who travel to battlefields seeking their lost relatives ? How can we hold back tears for the wives who married at 17, had children – children who have never seen their father’s face ? Yet, the wives in their declining years still wait for their husbands – for 60 years. With their white and grey hair, they still hope to find their husbands’ graves and to light a candle for their husbands – a joss-stick that cannot fulfil their wishes. While there are insufficient statistics, the figure of 3,050 sacrificed comrades in one Regiment is an extremely large loss for who knows how many families who have lost children, husbands, and fathers. This does not count all the comrades bearing wounds and suffering the effects of chemical poisoning that cause suffering and pain each day and night of their lives. With a shared fighting spirit - and having suffered the same battlefield difficulties and hardships, we are extremely sympathetic to D440 which suffered more than 700 comrades killed. Their fighting spirit and great sacrifices were evidenced at Bình Ba on 6 June 1969 (In its report, D440 clearly stated that on that day it was D440’s task - but before the time to deploy, they had to defend against an enemy sweeping operation into their base area). Consequently, the 33rd Regiment’s 1st Battalion replaced them in that urgent situation. The enemy concentrated a large force, while at that time we were in the process of developing our combat strength – ammunition replenishment was not possible; there was no food, and we had to eat bananas and jack-fruit in lieu of rice. Nevertheless, we still had to fight to the last breath. Not counting those wounded in the battle, 53 of our
28

Translator’s Note: Huân Chương quân công hạng nhất.

21 comrades were killed at that place. The enemy buried them in a large hole in the earth, and only recently have we been able to recover their bodies and inter them in a cemetery. Photographs (p.10): The unequal battle with the Royal Australian Armed Forces on 6/6/1969 in Bình Ba village. 53 cadre and soldiers of the 33rd Regiment died bravely. (A Memorial to the brave martyrs of the 33rd Regiment has now been erected there). The fierce battle at Bình Ba village, Châu Đức, 1969. Dear Comrades, that number of 3,050 of our Regiment’s comrades who died include: - On the Central Highlands battlefield 1965-1968 - 718 comrades died. - In Eastern Nam Bộ 1969-1975 - 2,008 comrades died. - On the South-West Border 1976-1979 - 327 comrades died. To date, on many occasions, Regimental veterans have undertaken searches – and have been guided by locals, to find the graves of our fallen. However, the majority are unnamed, and a large number of our comrades rest peacefully in the jungle. Today, this is something that causes each of the Regiment’s veterans to worry each night. After each meeting, every one of our veterans still living has expressed the desire that a common house for our martyred heroes be built on ground in Long Khánh-Bà RịaBiên Hòa in which the names of the fallen would be inscribed on a stone stela as a memorial over the years to our veterans and their families – and at the same time, leaving something for the following generations. That dream has now become a reality. With the attention of the Province Committee and the People’s Committee of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province, permission was given to build a memorial to the heroic martyrs of the 33rd Regiment in the Cultural Site of Bình Ba village in Châu Đức District. The Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province gifted to the Regiment an area of 4,227 square metres, and provided a sum of 500 million đồng to construct a Memorial – together with the funds to move five classrooms. The project cost was over one million đồng – apart from the assistance and financial help from Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province. The remainder was collected by the Liaison Committee from local authorities in whose areas the Regiment had served. Over 450 million đồng came from Đồng Nai, Tây Ninh, Đắc Lắc – from districts and towns, and from the agencies of the two provinces of Đồng Nai and Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu. Among these, the Province Committee and People’s Committee of Đồng Nai gave financial assistance of 250 million đồng to build the stela. The help and financial assistance of the Party Chapters, the authorities and the people – together with the agencies, the districts and the towns, and the companies to build the Memorial for the Regiment’s 3,050 heroic martyrs evidenced an affectionate feeling and love for the unit. During the hard fighting, the Regiment had been supplied with rice and special bandages – and even at times with bananas and jack-fruit in lieu of rice. However, today the Regiment has been given financial aid to construct a common home for its heroic martyrs that will gather together those comrades who are resting peacefully – but alone and cold and cheerless on the battlefields of 11 provinces, and

22 bring them back together as in those days of more than 30 years ago when they lived and worked beside one another. There will be a stela - on which their names will be inscribed, as a place where their families, relatives, and friends can light incense in memory of these comrades. To date, there are many families and relatives who have not yet found their remains or tombstones. This place is one of consolation that will enable the families and relatives of the martyrs to relieve their memories. What we have created today is a very great effort by those still living in order to honour and give special acknowledgement to the heroic martyrs - and to leave a legacy for the generations of children in the future. It must be said that in the many meetings when speaking of the heroic martyrs who were our comrades and whom we will never meet again, we were on the verge of tears when remembering them. But we had to think of our aspirations and dreams to build a common home with a stela for their inscribed names, as we were the soldiers who had been able to return to normal lives. What we will never forget are the feelings and affection of the Party Chapters, the authorities and the people, and of the local organisations that all provided the financial and spiritual support – as well as the material elements, that brought our aspirations and dreams into reality today. Thank you dear comrades who have gathered to meet on five occasions. However, it is only today that we have the chance to meet again with our heroic martyrs on this stone stela so that we can gather together in your home to light joss-sticks for you and express our affection and respect when seeing your names. We are very melancholy and greatly moved. One stage of the Memorial is basically completed, but it is our responsibility to continue, and there is still much work to do. A number of the articles on the stela have yet to be finished. Only one level of the “The Nation Acknowledges Your Service” tower has been completed as our finances must rely on further assistance. Over 700 of our comrades in a number of provinces – especially in the Central Highlands, have yet to have their names inscribed on the stone stela. Dear honoured representatives, dear comrades – the work has been extremely difficult and complex, but we have had the financial assistance of the provinces of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu, Đồng Nai, Đắc Lắc and Tây Ninh – and a number of districts and towns in the regions in which the Regiment had fought. In particular, Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province has been the main provider of financial assistance. Representing all the comrades of the Veterans’ Association of the Regiment and relatives of the over 3,050 heroic martyrs, I wish to express my heart-felt thanks for the moral and material assistance of the organisations and units that have enabled us to have a home for the more than 3,050 heroic martyrs. My heart-felt thanks to the District Committee of Châu Đức. The Party Committee and the People’s Committee of B nh Ba village have directly helped and created the conditions for the implementation of the project as well as this gathering here today. In the future, we hope to have the assistance of the provinces and the organisations to enable us to continue and complete the Memorial.

23 Dear Comrades, our achievements in the difficult struggle left each of us with the good qualities of a soldier of the heroic 33rd Regiment. Today, although we no longer live together communally as a unit, whatever our circumstance or status, we still maintain that essence of a soldier who fulfils his duty as an upright citizen. In respect of our comrades-in-arms, we had great affection for one another. In our times together, we had happy and sad times. We stuck together when things were difficult, and there was little to eat. We can say aloud that the soldiers of the 33rd Regiment were not only united and helped each other in battle, but when they returned to their normal lives, they still maintained the traditional essence of the unit – that of a soldier of Uncle Hồ. We had the common aspirations of the whole Party and the whole people to create a rich and strong country that was democratic, just, and civilized. Dear Comrades, after almost more than 30 years, today we again meet with the Party leaders and the leaders of local government, commanders, leading cadre, fraternal units, companies, agricultural worksites, hospitals, relatives and families of the heroic martyrs – all in an atmosphere of warmth, affection and understanding. Through this meeting, it is hoped that you will pardon us for what we have not yet been able to accomplish for the heroic martyrs in an atmosphere of understanding and affection. Please accept my heart-felt thanks for the careful arrangements and the sincere and affectionate assistance of the provinces, the local authorities, units and organisations – all in the memory of the past sacrifices and losses of the Regiment and for today’s 5th meeting. Thanks – in unity, friendship and respect. The 33rd Regiment (A57) Veterans’ Association Liaison Committee Committee Chairman – Lê Bá Lộc Photograph (p.14): Comrade Lê Bá Lộc - Chairman of the Veterans’ Association Liaison Committee, reading the address.

ORGANOGRAM OF THE ORGANISATION OF THE HEADQUARTERS OF THE 33rd REGIMENT (A57) DURING ITS PARTICIPATION IN THE 1975 HỒ CHÍ MINH CAMPAIGN ((Translator’s Note: Organogram – in landscape format, one page – attached separately as Appendix 15)) ……………….

24 THE ORGANISATION OF THE HEADQUARTERS OF THE 33rd REGIMENT IN PAST YEARS ((Translator’s Note: Attached separately as Appendix 16)) ………………… Photographs: Comrade Sơn ((in formal uniform – probably Triệu Kim Sơn)); Before going on an attack ((banner unclear)); Over a combined tactical plan ((includes Nguyễn Văn Thường, Nguyễn Huy Thản, Lê Bá Lộc)); Comrade Thản ((ie Nguyễn Huy Thản)); Photograph of the Regiment’s commander at a lecturn ((Nguyễn Văn Thường)) A communications soldier during the campaign – Photo by Văn Thồng ((in manuscript)); Briefing the tactical plan for the attack on Suối Nghệ Sub-Sector in 1971 ((includes Nguyễn Văn Thường)); Soldier in a jeep ((no caption)); Before going on an attack – January 1975 – Photograph by Văn Thồng ((in manuscript)) Digging a T-shaped trench “Comrade Ba Ngực, Comrade Nhuận”; A river scene; Comrade Quỵnh; Wiping away the traces of war …. ((the remainder of the caption is illegible)). Two soldiers with hoes in a field; Returning after a battle … - photo by Văn Thồng, Military Region 7; Comrade Dương; A Ceremony ((through a gateway towards a dias)); The Bà Rịa-Long Khánh Cultural Group performing for the 33rd Regiment at the Sông Ray base in 1970 ((three photographs)); Comrade Vũ Phát. By day and night our soldiers suffered … … hardships crossing a stream on the way to the front ((some of the caption is illegible)); Comrade Năng; Soldiers in a sampan ((caption illegible)); Special troops of the Quyết Thắng Regiment of Military Region 7 on the way to attack the Suối Nghệ Sub-Sector, Xuân Lộc [sic]. Seven soldiers ((no caption)); Soldier with rifle over shoulder and bird on shoulder – text: “…Bà Rịa-Long Khánh … (the rest of the caption is illegible)); Comrade Cơ and Comrade Thu ((Võ Xuân Thu)); Nguyễn Trung Kiên – a member of the 33rd Regiment Veterans’ Association, now a cadre of the Vietnam Petro-gas Service; The bridge on the Sông Ray. Resolved to down many aircraft; Firepower is effective; Comrade Sơn ((probably Triệu Kim Sơn)) and Comrade Tấn; The Spring-Winter Campaign of 1972 – the 33rd Regiment wipes out an enemy base on Route 2.

25 Medical services on the battlefield; The forward surgical team of the Quyết Thắng Group; Comrade Bằng; The film projection section serving the Campaign in Bà Rịa-Long Khánh. Former Secretary Phạm Văn Hy with the Bà Rịa-Long Khánh Cultural Group visiting the 33rd Regiment in 1971; Comrades Phạm Quang Khải, Lợi, Tám Hạnh, and Tuyết – of the Bà Rịa-Long Khánh Cultural Group visiting the 33rd Regiment’s political section (1972). Comrade Nguyễn Trọng Minh during the Resistance War in combat operations with the 33rd Regiment ((operating PRC-25 radios)); Comrade Lê Bá Lộc – Chief of Staff (1970); Comrades Khuyến, Phùng, Thùy, and Quang; Comrade Nguyễn Trọng Minh – marked with an “X’, in the Four-Party Delegation. Cadre and soldiers of the 8th Battalion; Communications Platoon – 9th Battalion, 33rd Regiment; Comrade Thu; Three soldiers ((no caption)). Two soldiers manning a 12.7mm HMG in an air defence role – title illegible; Soldier – with headband, firing an AKM/AK-47 ((caption illegible)); Comrades Sơn ((probably Triệu Kim Sơn)) and Giới; Group of six soldiers ((caption illegible)). Comrade Trần Văn Luận – 1970; Political section 33rd Regiment – 1972; Comrades Sơn (probably Triệu Kim Sơn) and Quỵnh; Support Weapons Group – Xuân Lộc, 1972. ……………………………………… PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE ACTIVITIES OF THE 33rd REGIMENT VETERANS’ ASSOCIATION LIAISON COMMITTEE Liaison Committee Badge A photograph of the Model of the Memorial Complex ……………………………….. Photographs: The Ceremony to welcome the 33rd Infantry Regiment – as a Hero Unit of the People’s Armed Forces at Ngọc Tước Hill, Vũng Tàu – December 1975. Comrade Đinh Văn Đạt – a former political commissar of the Regiment at the ceremony to receive the title of Heroic Unit at Vũng Tàu in 1975. Armed Forces Hero – Lê [sic] Văn Biêng (a framed photograph); 8th Battalion of the 33rd Regiment – an Heroic Unit, at Ngọc Tước Hill, Vũng Tàu – 1975 ((15 personnel)).

26 Thatched Hut ((caption illegible)); 33rd Regiment political section ((four personnel)) at the Sông Ray base ((includes Võ Xuân Thu)). The First Meeting of the 33rd Regiment’s War Veterans at Biên Hòa – Đồng Nai Province ((probably Nguyễn Văn Thường on the left)); Veterans’ Association of Đồng Nai Province presenting flowers to welcome the Conference. Leader of the Đồng Nai War Veterans’ Association at the Meeting; Representatives of the Bà Rịa-Long Khánh Cultural Group attending the Meeting. The 3rd Meeting of the 33rd Regiment War Veterans’ Association in Vũng Tàu in 1999. Comrade Nguyễn Duy Thản – a former commander of the 33rd Regiment accepts a flower bouquet from the VHTT; Comrade Lê Bá Lộc – head of the liaison Committee accepts a flower bouquet from the Province Committee. Comrade Phạm Văn Hy – former secretary of the Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province Committee attending the 3rd Meeting of the 33rd Regiment; Comrade Hồ Sỹ Tường – former deputy political commissar of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu attending the 3rd Meeting of the 33rd Regiment; Comrade Đỗ Quốc Hùng – former secretary of the Vũng Tàu City Committee attending the 33rd Regiment’s 3rd Meeting. Comrade Bảy Tròn – a former commander of the 4th ((274th)) Regiment at the Meeting; Seated group of veterans ((including Nguyễn Văn Thường)); Female speaker ((probably Mrs Ba Thanh)). Two women; Audience; 8 veterans on stage at the Meeting ((including Nguyễn Văn Thường on the extreme right)). ……………………………………… Newspaper Article: Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu (No. 3011) dated 29 July 2003 – front page. Article Title: The Inauguration of the Memorial to the Heroic Martyrs of the 33rd Regiment. ((The photograph shows the former commander of the Regiment - Nguyễn Văn Thường, with the Secretary of the Province. The inauguration ceremony took place on 27 July 2003.)) ……………………………………………………….. Newspaper Article: Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu dated 29 July 2003 – page 2 Title: The Inauguration of the Memorial to the Heroic Martyrs of the 33rd Regiment.

27 ((The photograph is captioned: “The Province’s leadership cadre and a crowd of representatives and people respectfully admire the Memorial”)). Authors: Anh Hồng and Kiến Giang. ……………………………………………………………………………. Photographs (Fifth Meeting) The Bà Rịa-Long Khánh leadership group attending the 33rd Regiment Veterans’ Meeting; Comrade Trần Văn Khán [sic] – Secretary of the Province Committee at the 33rd Regiment Meeting; Comrade Nguyễn Văn Thường – a former commander of the 33rd Regiment. Comrade Nguyễn Trọng Minh – former Chairman of the Province People’s Committee at the 33rd Regiment Meeting; Comrade Ba Thanh – former Secretary of Bình Ba village at the Regiment’s Meeting; Comrade Lê Bá Lộc presenting gifts to the mothers of Vietnamese Heroes of Bình Ba village. Representatives at the Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Memorial; Crowd photograph; A group of 33rd Regiment War Veterans from Bắc Giang Province. Comrade Trần Văn Khánh – Secretary of the Province Committee; Nguyễn Tuấn Minh – Chairman of the Province People’s Committee at the 33rd Regiment Meeting; Comrade Lê Bá Lộc presenting keepsakes to the Veterans’ Association of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu; Comrade Lê Bá Lộc presenting keepsakes to the Veterans’ Association of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu ((in error - ie repeating the previous caption – the photograph is of the audience)). Large group at an outdoor ceremony at the Memorial; 33rd Regiment War Veterans from Nghệ An; 33rd Regiment War Veterans’ from Nghệ An. Photographs – 6th Meeting, 2006 Comrade Trần Minh Sanh – Chairman of the People’s Committee of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu at the 6th Heritage Meeting of the 33rd Regiment; Comrade Bảy Ước – former commander of the 10th Rừng Sát Regiment at the 33rd Regiment Meeting; Comrade Trần Ngọc Thới – Deputy Chairman of the Province People’s Committee, visiting the 33rd Regiment Memorial. Photographs – 7th Meeting, 2008 Wreath being laid by the Province People’s Committee during the visit to the 33rd Regiment Memorial on 27 July 2008; Comrade Phạm Văn Hy – former Secretary of the Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province Committee at the 7th Meeting of the Heroic 33rd Regiment

28 ((27 July 2008)); Comrade Long Phó – Châu Đức District People’s Committee at the Meeting. Comrade Triệu Kim Sơn – a former deputy commander of the 33rd Regiment and leader of the Vĩnh Phú Province veterans, at the 7th Meeting of the 33rd Regiment; Aged 33rd Regiment veterans receiving gifts ((two photographs)). Group photographs at the Meeting ((two)); Comrades Sơn and Hữu from the Provinces of Vĩnh Phú and Hải Dương. Photographs - 2010 Comrade Đỗ Quốc Hùng – a former Secretary of Vũng Tàu City at the function founding the 33rd Regiment Veterans’ Association; The Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment Veterans’ Association; Comrade Trần Văn Luận – a former political commissar of the 33rd Regiment presenting keepsakes to Australian veterans ((Dr R. Hall; Mr D. De Heer)). The Veterans’ Association of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu greets the group of Australian veterans. ((text illegible) … the grid references of the battles and of our fallen soldiers on the Vietnam battlefields – especially the 33rd Regiment and D445 ((includes Dr. R. Hall, Mr D. De Heer, Võ Xuân Thu)); Lê Bá Lộc – former Regiment deputy commander and chief of staff of the 33rd Regiment, in discussion with two Australian historians about battles in Bà Rịa-Long Khánh in the period 1969-1971; The leader of the Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province War Veterans announces the founding of the Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu War Veterans’ Liaison Committee. War Veterans of the Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Chapter; Võ Xuân Thu with an elderly uniformed veteran ((not captioned)); 33rd Regiment War Veterans – Bắc Giang Province. Comrade Minh – Chairman of the Châu Đức District People’s Committee in discussion with the Veterans’ Liaison Committee on financing for the construction of the 33rd Regiment Memorial; The 33rd Regiment Veterans’ Nghệ An Province Chapter commemorating the 30th April 2010. Comrade Nguyễn Hữu Đàm – a 33rd Regiment veteran, at the ceremony to induct soldiers; The Second Induction of Soldiers – 2009 ((in Hà Nội)). SUBMISSION (Tờ Trình) Dated March 2007, from the Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment Veterans’ Association to the People’s Committee of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province – seeking the grant of land for the establishment of a Memorial. ………………………………………………

29 LETTER Dated 29 September 2008 – from the People’s Committee of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province, granting land for the 33rd Regiment Memorial Building ((Nhà Lưu Niệm)) on Ngọc Tước Hill 2 in Vũng Tàu. …………………………………. RESOLUTION Dated 27 July 2008 – establishing the membership of the Standing Committee of the Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment Veterans’ Association – and its regulations. …………………………………….. RESOLUTION Dated 10 July 2008 – a Resolution to establish an Administrative Committee for the Project. ……………………………………… RESOLUTION Dated August 2009 – on establishing an office in Vũng Tàu for the Liaison Committee. ……………………………………….. Newspaper Article By: Lê Đ nh Thìn – ((probably dated 30 April 2010)). Title: The 33rd Regiment – an heroic time. …………………………….. POEMS – two pages Fulfilling a Pledge Remembering Friends Both by T.N. – a soldier of the 33rd Regiment, July 2003. ……………………………………… POEM – five pages A Summary History and Memories of the Heroic 33rd Regiment. …………………………………….

30

THE BOARD OF GOLDEN FEELINGS Translator’s Note: This is a listing of major contributors to the Memorial – including agencies, committees, commercial companies etc. It also includes a listing of “Personal” – ie “Cá Nhân” contributors. …………………………………………. ((a translation by E.P. Chamberlain – June 2012, approx. 7,350 words)).

31 Appendix 3 The Province Museum Culture, Sport and Tourism Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province The Socialist Republic of Vietnam Independence – Freedom - Happiness Lý Lịch Di Tích Khu Tưởng Niệm Trận Đánh Ngày 6/6/69 Của Trung Đoàn 33 (The Background History of the Memorial Area for the Battle of Bình Ba on 6/6/69 by 33rd Regiment) at Bình Ba Village, Châu Đức District, Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province. (ie The Memorial “Background History”29) I. Title of the Memorial - The common title is: The Memorial Area of the Martyred Heroes of the 33rd (A57) Regiment. It is located in the cultural zone of Bình Ba village (Châu Đức District) to memorialize the more than 3,050 martyred heroes of the Regiment who sacrificed themselves in the endeavour to liberate the South and unite the country. Concurrently, it is a peaceful common resting place for the 53 cadre and soldiers of the 1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment who bravely sacrificed themselves in the unequal battle with the enemy on 6 June 1969. II. Location and Layout 1. Location: The Memorial to the martyred heroes of the 33rd (A57) Regiment lies within the hamlet of B nh Đức, Bình Ba village, Châu Đức District, Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province. - To the south-east, it adjoins the inter-village road. - To the south-west, it borders the land of Mr Chiều Kim Phúc and Mrs Nguyễn Thị Huệ. - To the north-west, it adjoins the inter-village road. - To the north-east, it borders the inter-village road. 2. Route to the Memorial: From the city of Vũng Tàu follow Route 56 (the old Route 2) to Châu Đức District until reaching the T-junction of the inter-village road at the Bình Ba village People’s Committee offices; then turn left for about 300 metres. Next, turn left again for another 100 metres to reach the Memorial. The Memorial can be reached by vehicles such as car, motor bike or bicycle etc.

29

Translator’s Note: The translator first received several pages of this document in November 2011, and a more complete copy in early November 2012. This translation is not complete as several short “administrative” passages of text have been omitted – as indicated by double ellipses ie “… …”.

32 III. Personalities and Historical Events Bình Ba village - part of Châu Đức District, lies to the east and west astride Route 2 (now called National Route 56) - a strategic line of communication linking Route 1 (Xuân Lộc-Long Khánh) with National Route 15 (Sài Gòn-Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu). The area has innumerable rubber trees that form a strategic corridor joining the eastern and western areas of the Province. These have also been a base area for the village – and also for the district and the province. For these reasons, Bình Ba has occupied an important position for both us and the enemy. In the resistance wars against the French and the Americans, the battlefields to the east and west of Route 2 were important areas that directly threatened National Route 15. Principally for that reason, the American imperialists and their lackeys focused their pacification forces and concentrated the people in the Route 2 area – and attacked and attempted to wipe out our base areas. During the two wars of resistance – especially during the Limited War waged by the American imperialists and their lackeys, the Bình Ba battlefield saw extreme violence, and there was very great sacrifice by the the Bình Ba people and our forces. Waves of carpet-bombing by B52s - together with artillery shelling throughout both the day and night from Núi Đất, broke up the ground in the villages and in the jungle areas. The forces of the Americans and their puppets – in coordination with the Australians, continuously launched sweeping operations, endlessly seeking out our cadre and bases, concentrating the people in strategic hamlets, all in their determination to secure the lifeline communication axis of Route 2 (National Route 56). In the resistance war against the American imperialists and their clique of lackeys, the people of Bình Ba – together with the majority of the rubber workers, had a tradition of patriotism and unity in our struggle. It was a place that the revolutionary forces relied on heavily right up to the day of our complete victory. The Bình Giã Campaign on the Bà Rịa battlefield – at the end of 1964 and the beginning of 1965, marked a complete defeat of the Special Warfare strategy. The puppet military faced the danger of collapse. To save the situation, the Americans rapidly moved to a strategy of Limited War with its principal element being: to bring in American expeditionary troops and their vassals to fight directly on the battlefields of the South with the aim of halting the trend towards complete defeat. To implement this strategy, the American imperialists turned the Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu area into their most important strategic bridgehead for deploying troops into Nam Bộ, and coordinated to employ vassal military forces. Principal among these was the Royal Australian Task Force that continuously launched attacks and pacification operations aimed at guaranteeing that bridgehead. This produced new demands for the people’s revolutionary struggle to democratize and liberate the South – and unify the country. The revolution in the South in general, and in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu in particular, directly confronted the invading American troops and their vassals. In the socialist North, the Party and the Government – under the direct leadership of Chairman Hồ Chí Minh, were striving to develop the socialist ideology as the great

33 rear support area for the South. To aid the battlefield in the South, modern regular armed forces were progressively created. The 33rd Regiment was established following a decision by the Central Military Committee of the Ministry for Defence as one of the vanguard main-force units chosen – along with many units, to train its troops and then deploy to fight in the South. The 33rd Regiment was founded on 15 February 1965 in Tuyên Hóa District of Quảng Bình Province based upon the 31st Regiment of the 341st Division and the 325th Battalion of the 320th Division. At that time, it was titled the 101B Regiment. After four months of fostering, development and training to adapt to battlefield conditions and to firm up its organisation, on 20 July 1965, the Regiment began its deployment to fight in the South. This was a great challenge for the Regiment, and also the first time that the Ministry for Defence had trialled the deployment of a force as large as a Regiment that had been equipped with ammunition, weapons, food and medicine on the basis of fighting straight away on the battlefield. Every soldier had to carry a load weighing from 50 to 60 kilograms. Along the route, the soldiers suffered from malaria, hunger, thirst and disease. They lacked medicines and were fiercely attacked by the enemy. However, with great resolve, all the cadre and soldiers of the Regiment remained safe, and no one was lost. After 49 days and nights of tiring marches, the Regiment reached its concentration area in the Central Highlands at 100% of its strength. There, it continued to prepare everything in readiness to go into battle. On 15 October 1965, the Regiment was tasked to deploy and seize control of the battlefield around the base at Plây-Me. On the night of 19 October 1965, the order was given to open fire and raise the curtain on the Plây-Me Campaign. In only six minutes, the 1st Company had completely wiped out the post at Chữ Ho - capturing prisoners and weapons, and surrounded the Plây-Me commando base for several days. This forced the enemy’s Ranger Group to launch a relief operation and created the conditions for our fraternal unit to conduct a mobile ambush on Route 21 to wipe out much of the enemy force. The Regiment continued to tightly invest the commando base at Plây-Me – forcing three American divisions to deploy to Plây-Me to relieve the situation: their 4th Division, 25th Division, and their 1st Division. The enemy attacked with bomber aircraft and used transport helicopters to pour in troops with the aim of destroying our forces in the Central Highlands. However, the Regiment strictly executed the tasks it had been given, and held on tightly to the enemy’s coat-tails. The Regiment had destroyed the Americans at the base of Chư-Pông Mountain, and coordinated with our fraternal units to wipe out thousands of Americans, shooting down in flames many aircraft and destroying enemy tanks at IAMO, the 20th July Bridge, and Ia Đrăng. By 23 November, the Campaign had lasted for more than one month. The Regiment – together with the forces and the people of the Central Highlands B3 Front, had defeated the enemy’s intention of launching its first Dry Season strategic counterattack in 1965-1966. This victory helped our leadership to draw the knowledge and conclusions on how to dare to fight and to defeat the American invaders. From these conclusions emerged the emulation movement to strike and defeat the Americans across the whole battlefield in the South.

34 With the conclusion of the Plây-Me Campaign, the Regiment’s title was changed to the 33rd Regiment, and it continued to fight in the two provinces of Gia Lai and Kontum. In the 1966 Wet Season, the Regiment was given the mission to operate as a mobile force in the Chư Pa Valley, the Điamo Plain, and Cù Bị – and attacked the Americans’ 4th Division and its 1st Airmobile Division, wiping our much of the enemy’s war-fighting potential. At the beginning of 1967, the Regiment was ordered by the leadership to deploy back to Darlac Province to operate deep in the enemy’s rear areas – and to both fight alongside and support the masses to rise up and destroy the enemy’s oppression. The Regiment attacked in the Quảng Nhiêu Sub-Sector, at Cẩm Ga, and at Buôn Hồ, wiping out the 2nd Battalion/14th Regiment of the puppet 23rd Division at Đắc Lung and destroying an American company at Đắc Sắc. At Tết Mậu Thân in 1968, the Regiment was given the mission of attacking into the town of Ban Mê Thuột, and striking the following targets: the puppet 23rd Division, the Hòa Bình airfield, the armoured area, the radio station, and the Mai Hắc Đế logistics area. The Regiment destroyed the Ban Mê Thuột prison and liberated many revolutionary fighters who had been incarcerated; took control of Ban Mê Thuột for seven days and nights; seized or destroyed a large amount of the enemy’s war materiel; and captured hundreds of the enemy – including an American major. Next, the Regiment received orders to deploy and strike against the enemy’s counter-attacks. In particular, the 1st Company - with the support of the 4th Company and the 1st Battalion’s mortars, attacked Chư Kne on 17 March 1968, and destroyed the 2nd Battalion of the puppet 23rd Division’s 45th Regiment. Many weapons were seized and a large number of prisoners were captured. The Regiment then continued as ordered to attack the enemy in Quảng Đức and at Đức Lập. As requested by the Front, on 20 May 1968, the Regiment was ordered to deploy to the B2 battlefield in Eastern Nam Bộ. After marching for 14 days, the Regiment reached its concentration area in Tây Ninh Province and became part of the 5th Division. In order to guarantee secrecy and to surprise the enemy, the Regiment’s title was changed to A57, and the battalions – ie the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, were retitled the 7th, 8th, and 9th Battalions. At the beginning of June 1968, the Regiment joined with fraternal units of the 5th Division and attacked artillery positions at Chà Là and inflicted heavy casualties on an armoured cavalry battalion on Route 22 in Tây Ninh. The Regiment deployed to attack an American mechanised outpost at the Ông Hùm [sic] Stream - destroying 12 tanks, and on Route 2 (in the area of Village 2) in Bến Củi-Dầu Tiếng inflicted heavy casualties on an American mechanised battalion - seizing two tanks and capturing three Americans. After that, the Regiment deployed to strike the enemy who had air-landed at Bầu Đồn and Sóc Lào; and, striking the Bầu Đồn Sub-Sector, forced the enemy to commit six battalions of airborne and marines from the puppet’s Strategic Reserve in a relief operation. We destroyed an enemy battalion at Bến Sắn in Tây Ninh. In November 1968, COSVN (B2) ordered the Regiment to deploy deep into the enemy areas and to operate in the provinces of Biên Hòa, Long Khánh, and Bà Rịa.

35 At the beginning of the 1969 Spring Campaign, the Regiment attacked the Long Bình logistics complex – destroying a chemical storehouse, and struck the Biên Hòa airfield. Next, we deployed to strike the enemy’s counter-attacks at Cẩm Đường, Suối Rết, and Đồi Dầu. In particular, on 28 February 1969, we completely wiped out a Thai battalion at Bàu Cối, Biên Hòa. We struck hamlets at Bình Ba, Kim Long, and Bà Rịa – destroying 24 enemy mechanised vehicles and forcing them back to their defences at Núi Đất. The Regiment continued to deploy and strike the Sub-Sector at Tân Lập and at Suối Nghệ, destroying the enemy’s oppression and striking them on Route 2 in Bà Rịa-Long Khánh. From the end of 1969 until 1971, the Americans and their puppets increased their concentration of the people into strategic hamlets, attacking our infrastructure, sweeping into our bases, attacking our rear supply routes from the North into the South, and surrounding and isolating our remaining entrenched forces. At one time, for six continuous months, the Regiment could not be resupplied with ammunition, food, or supplies – and, at that time, the personnel strength of the whole Regiment was only 600. However, the Regiment resolutely determined to hang-on, hold ground, and to utilize the people in the strategic hamlets for food and supplies. We were resolved to fulfil the mission that COSVN (B2) had given the Regiment - to hold-on close to the enemy and create a strategy to force the enemy to be alarmed and reactive. The Regiment had to simultaneously fight independently and to also coordinate with, and reinforce, our fraternal units while building up our own forces. In response to our mission requirements, we were an independent unit operating deep in the enemy’s rear areas and creating confusion. The Regiment made a request to higher authorities to create an additional two companies and a training unit directly subordinate to the Regiment: - Raising an additional company – the 25th Company, with the tasks of both producing food and supplies, and employing our comrades who were ill or had been lightly wounded – so that they could be treated, nurtured, and quickly returned to their fighting formations. - Raising a training unit to create section commanders and medics in a timely manner in order to strengthen the fighting units. At the end of 1972, the Regiment was ordered to leave its 9th Battalion behind with the local forces of Military Region 7 to destroy the oppression of the enemy and to hold-on to territory, while the greater part of the Regiment moved across to Military Region 6 to attack and destroy the Sub-Sectors of Tánh Linh and Hoài Đức and force the puppet 6th Battalion and the American Brigade to move to Biển Lạc in a relief operation. The Regiment opposed several enemy counter-attacks, and deployed to attack the enemy on Route 3 at Trà Vân [sic] and Võ Đắc, destroying much of the enemy’s war-making potential. This included killing the two-star general commanding the Americans’ 199th Brigade. In particular, we attacked the Americans at Quán Hạ, at Biển Lạc – and striking deeply, attacked the Hàm Tân Sub-Sector and destroyed two battalions of the South Korean Blue Dragon force in Hàm Thuận Province. After that, we defeated many sweeping operations launched by the American 199th Brigade on Route 3, at Ba Thải, Ông Tỉnh Mountain, and in Bình Tuy. At the beginning of the second quarter of 1972, the

36 Regiment returned to Military Region 7 to participate in the Nguyễn Huệ Campaign that lasted for more than six months during which we inflicted heavy casualties on the 48th and 52nd Regiments of the puppet 18th Division, the Commando Group, the puppet Regional Forces, and hobbled the 199th Brigade and the American 1st Airmobile Division in the Route 2 area of Bà Rịa-Xuân Lộc over a distance of 10 kilometres. At the beginning of 1973 when the Paris Accord was signed, the Regiment expanded its area of operations to strike the enemy on Route 1, Route 2, National Route 15, and destroyed the Bà Tô post on Route 23 to Xuyên Mộc. Expanding activities across the whole of Military Region 7 and Military Region 6, many enemy sites were attacked and seized several times such as Trảng Bom (Biên Hòa) and Đức Thạnh (Bà Rịa). At the end of 1974 and the beginning of 1975, COSVN Headquarters allocated the Regiment to the 6th Division of Military Region 7, and the Regiment advanced to strike the Lộc Ninh Sub-Sector and the Sub-Sectors at Võ Đắc, Tánh Linh and Suối Cao. Next, we developed attacks against the puppet 52nd Task Force [sic], coordinated with the 4th ((274th)) Regiment to attack the Ông Đồn T-Junction and Chứa Chan Mountain on Route 1. Following that, the Regiment struck Bases 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 on Route 1, and employed our 7th Battalion to block the Tràng Tiền T-Junction preventing the enemy who were fleeing from Central Vietnam from reaching Hàm Tân and La Di. The whole Regiment blocked and cut National Route 1 from east of Xuân Lộc (Long Khánh) to the Tràng Tiền T-Junction and the Hàm Tân T-Junction – a distance of 30 kilometres, and not allowing the enemy to flee to Sài Gòn. In March 1975, the Regiment strengthened the 4th Corps blocking Route 1 and Route 2 to the west and south of Xuân Lộc Town and lay siege to the Town by blocking the Dầu Giây T-Junction. We participated in the attack on Xuân Lộc Town and supported the masses in rising up to liberate the whole of present-day Xuân Lộc District. In the Hồ Chí Minh Campaign, the Campaign Headquarters assigned the Regiment to the 7th Division of the 4th Corps. Operating on the northern flank of Sài Gòn, the Corps reinforced the Regiment with two tank battalions, 120mm mortars, and provided heavy artillery support. The Regiment became an attacking force opening up the corridor along National Route 1, wiping out enemy posts at the Long Lạc railway station and the Suối Máu Bridge. At 1000hrs on 30 April 1975, the Regiment entered the enemy III Corps area at the Biên Hòa airfield, contributing its part to liberating the South and unifying the country. At the conclusion of the Hồ Chí Minh Campaign, the Regiment was engaged in management activities, creating local authorities, and mobilising the masses to pursue the enemy at Hố Nai, in Vũng Tàu, at Núi Lớn on the cape by the sea at Long Hải, and at Bến Đ nh, Long Khánh etc. The Regiment - a worthy military force that both fought and undertook peace-time stabilisation tasks, built public works on the War Zone D border. During the South-West Border War, the Regiment was a formation of the 303rd Division and participated in attacks on the enemy in Cambodia – killing and capturing many Pol Pot soldiers and forcing the surrender of a Pol Pot regiment and seizing all its weapons. When the South-West Border War concluded, the Regiment was ordered to deploy to reinforce the border in the North.

37 In acknowledgement of the Regiment’s development, fighting and service, the COSVN Headquarters awarded the formation the 16 golden words: “The Regiment held on staunchly; overcame difficulties; was clever, resourceful and versatile; and always fought and won”. This was evidenced by the Regiment’s combat achievements in destroying over 4,000 enemy – comprising Americans, puppet troops, Australians, South Koreans, and Thais; and capturing 600 of the enemy, including four Americans (one, a major). - In military proselytising, we achieved the surrender of a Pol Pot regiment. - 12 helicopters were shot down; the Regiment destroyed or forced the withdrawal from 12 enemy posts and eight Sub-Sectors; tens of thousands of people were liberated; liberated zones were opened up and expanded; and the revolutionary administration was strengthened. - The Regiment was honoured with the award by the Party and the Nation of the noble title of Heroic Unit of the People’s Armed Forces and the Military Exploits Medal First Class. Through the process of fighting and coming of age, the heroic 33rd (A57) Regiment had achieved many glorious military feats, and contributed towards our victory in the people’s resistance war of national salvation against the Americans. The blood of more than 3,050 of the Regiment’s martyrs had been shed for our country. Among this number, 2,008 martyrs had bravely fallen on the battlefields in the Eastern Nam Bộ region in the period from about 1969 to 1975. In particular, right in the village of Bình Ba - in the fighting to liberate Bình Ba on 6 June 1969, 53 cadre and soldiers of the 1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment bravely laid down their lives. Their sacrifices remain an indelible mark on the revolutionary traditions of our homeland. The Nature of the Bà Rịa-Long Khánh battlefield before the campaign to attack the Bình Ba strategic hamlet. The “Limited War” strategy of the American imperialists had basically been destroyed following the general offensive and uprising of Tết Mậu Thân 1968 that broke out across the whole battlefield in the South. The Americans changed their strategy from that of “Limited War” to a strategy of the “Vietnamization of the War” - with the aim of continuing to prolong and expand the war. Consequently, the fighting became fiercer each day. To achieve their “Vietnamization of the War”, the Americans and their puppets strove to expand the implementation of their comprehensive pacification programme aimed at dislodging our revolutionary agents and firmly establishing their machinery of oppression. They mainly focused on the regions on the edges of cities, those areas with heavier population, strategic hamlets, and along the axes of communication. Using every method, they cut off the food and supply lines to our revolutionary forces. In Bà Rịa-Long Khánh Province, they deployed 11 pacification groups and even employed the mobile elements of the 2nd Airborne Brigade, the 18th Infantry Brigade [sic]

38 and the Royal Australian Task Force. As well, they continued to bomb and spread poisonous chemicals over our base areas. To defeat the enemy’s new strategy, in November 1968, Military Region 7’s Party Affairs Committee held a conference to discuss counter-tactics for the important task of defeating their “Accelerated Pacification” scheme. To support the Military Region, the E33 Infantry Regiment returned to coordinate with the local armed forces. At that time, the Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu battlefield was especially fierce, difficult, and under great stress. Our base areas had been reduced in size, were regularly attacked by the enemy, our lines of communication were cut, and our liaison links from the villages and the districts to the base areas had been completely interrupted. Our reserves of food and supplies had been used up, and the principal sources of sustenance for our troops were fruit and jungle vegetables. However, these too became scarce, and some of our comrades died of hunger and a lack of medicines.  The Making of the Tactical Plan and the Conduct of the Battle

At the direction of the Campaign Headquarters, the 33rd Regiment coordinated with the local troops of 440 Battalion to strike the enemy forces stationed in the Bình Ba strategic hamlet. On 3 June, the 440 Local Force Battalion moved from east of Route 2 (Bàu Chinh) back to its base area to prepare for the battle to be launched in coordination with the 33rd Regiment on the strategic hamlet at Bình Ba. At dawn on 4 June, an Australian commando company swept into their camp just as 440 Battalion was setting up the camp. The axis of attack by the Australians struck the flank of the defensive position of the reconnaissance element so the Battalion had to counter-attack aggressively. They inflicted many casualties on the enemy and forced them aside. Angrily, the enemy employed artillery and air support to fire in a frenzied manner into the base throughout the day and night. For this reason, even before the first shot had been fired, the Battle of Bình Ba was unfavourable for our side and - principally for this reason, the Campaign Headquarters changed the forces for the battle at Bình Ba. This involved using part of the 1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment to take over 440 Battalion’s task of attacking the post at Bình Ba. According to the initial attack plan, 440 Battalion was to attack and seize the objectives in the strategic hamlet at Bình Ba – including the post of the 664 Regional Forces Company, the police post, the office of the “Pheonix” quisling spies and the PSDF defensive positions. A company had the task to remain, hold-on, and to lure out the enemy forces stationed at the Sub-Sectors of Long Lễ and Đức Thạnh and the Australians at Núi Đất to come to their aid, and thus create the conditions for the 33rd Regiment to conduct an ambush battle in the area from the Sông Cầu hamlet up to Đức Mỹ hamlet. The remainder of 440 Battalion would attack the enemy in the area adjacent to Bình Ba village (the Campaign Headquarters had chosen 440 Battalion principally because the cadre and soldiers of the Battalion were proficient, familiar with the terrain, and the tactics of “attacking a post and destroying any reinforcements” was 440 Battalion’s forté).

39 However, because 440 had to repel the attack that had come out of the blue, the Campaign Headquarters changed the forces at the last minute. The 1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment was given the task of attacking Bình Ba – while 440 Battalion replaced the 1st Battalion and was given its task of fighting the enemy at the reinforcement blocking position on Route 2 (the area adjacent to Bình Ba), together with the 2nd Battalion of the 33rd Regiment commanded by Comrade Quách Thái Sơn. At about 4pm on 5 June, 33rd Regiment’s combat forces left their base (in the present-day Hắt Dịch area)30 and were led through the jungle by liaison cadres to the battle area. After 4 hours, our troops reached their assembly area close to their objective on the Bình Ba battlefield and awaited their orders to attack.31 On the night of 5 June, the 1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment personally led by Comrade Bảy - the Battalion 2ic, and Comrade Miền – the Battalion political officer, opened fire to begin the attack on the objectives in Bình Ba hamlet. Surprised by this decisive attack by the cadre and soldiers of the 1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment, the enemy in Bình Ba were quickly dispersed – some ran away, and a number huddled together to await reinforcements. We had complete control of the battlefield on the night of 5 June. The 1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment had the task of holding-on in the battle site. At about 6am on 6 June 1969 - exactly in accordance with our plan, the Australian troops at Núi Đất sent their tanks to aid Bình Ba as soon as they knew that our main-force troops were there.32 However, as the enemy was spread out in teams of two and three vehicles - and didn’t fall into our Regiment’s ambush configuration, the Regimental Headquarters decided not to attack. The Australian tanks were able to pass-by up to Bình Ba – a total of 13 vehicles. They coordinated with their infantry, and their tanks were supported by aircraft and artillery. The Australians organised a decisive counter-attack against our forces holding-out in Bình Ba village (in the area of the present-day memorial complex for the 33rd Regiment in B nh Đức hamlet). From having had the initiative, our forces were now on the defensive in circumstances without trenches or defensive works, and our weapons and ammunition had all been used up. Unfamiliar with the terrain - and under the pressure from all types of enemy firepower, our casualties mounted by the minute. The 1st Battalion’s elements that were holding-on were almost all wounded. In this difficult and extremely violent situation on the battlefield, the Campaign Headquarters deployed a relief force - an RCL platoon and an element of an infantry company from 440 Battalion, to attack the Australians from the direction of Bình Ba
30

Translator’s Note: Rather than moving from the Hắt Dịch area (on the border of Biên Hòa and Phước Tuy provinces), the 33rd Regiment elements had earlier moved south-west from south-eastern Long Khánh Province – then, having crossed to the western side of Route 2, moved towards Bình Ba from the northwest. 31 Translator’s Note: The D440 History (2011) related that D440 “moved across country at dawn on 5 June 1969, and concentrated in the Bình Ba area – taking the place of the 1st Battalion, to fight in a relief force blocking position on Route 2 (in the area adjacent to Bình Ba) together with the 2nd Battalion under Comrade Quách Thái Sơn.” Chamberlain, E.P., The Viet Cong D440 Battalion: Their Story, 2013, op.cit., p.64. 32 Translator’s Note: The 1ATF Ready Reaction Force (RRF) comprised: D Company 5RAR mounted in 13 M113A1 APCs, four Centurion tanks, and an artillery forward observer party.

40 Xăng and thus break the encirclement. However, at this moment, an Australian tank broke through at the edge of the hamlet wounding many of the soldiers. We set fire to an M118 [sic] tank, but were unable to break through the blocking position or defeat the enemy’s frenzied counter-attack. At that time, the firepower of the 33rd Regiment comprising RCLs and 82mm mortars fired into the Australians’ artillery headquarters at Núi Đất33 with the aim of degrading the enemy’s combat power and forcing them to recall their forces and give up their intention of taking charge of the battlefield. Faced by the indications that breaking out of the enemy encirclement had been unsuccessful, our forces took the initiative and withdrew – unable to retrieve the bodies of their comrades-in-arms: 53 comrades of the 1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment heroically sacrificed themselves and remained on the battlefield. It was a very large number of casualties in that unequal battle. Our force only had three comrades who were left ((behind)): Comrade Hùng – a commo-liaison soldier, Comrade Phong - a medic, and Comrade Bao – a battalion liaison soldier. They ran into the people’s houses - and later into the nearby Christian church, where they hid in rubbish pits until it was dark – and only then sought a way back to their unit. There was no sound of gunfire on the battlefield, but it took more than an hour before the enemy dared to come out of their firing positions. The enemy themselves also had to feel a deep admiration for the staunch fighting spirit of the cadre and the soldiers of the 1st Battalion who had evidenced their resolute spirit to hold-on – “Not leaving for one second, not being apart by even one centimetre”34. There was a combined spirit of unity to fight and to achieve a common goal. Following their deaths, the enemy used bulldozers to bury them communally in a common grave. Their dogged fighting example - although facing an enemy many times stronger than them, was greatly admired by the local people. Although the people were oppressed by the enemy, they still frequented and visited the grave site – looking after the incense sticks on the grave-site until our comrades were disinterred and reburied in the Province martyrs’ cemetery in 1986. After the day of liberation in 1975, it was especially notable that, as the Regiment had deployed across a very wide area of the 11 provinces of the Eastern Nam Bộ and the Central Highlands, the majority of its fallen cadre and soldiers were now lying un-named in the martyrs’ cemeteries or resting in the jungle, and their remains were yet to be recovered. After each of their meetings, the War Veterans’ Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment expressed a praise-worthy desire to - in some way, build a common memorial site for the heroic martyrs of the Regiment on the soil of Long Khánh-Bà Rịa – and to inscribe their names on a “The Fatherland Acknowledges Your Service” roll of honour. That wish was fulfilled in practice on Martyr and Wounded Veterans’ Day on 27 July 2003 when the memorial building to the heroic martyrs of the 33rd Regiment was inaugurated in order that the martyrs would have a common place – as in those days of more than 30 years ago when they had lived and worked side-by-side. At the same time,
33

Translator’s Note: In the period 1525-2032hrs on 6 June, there were four “rocket” attacks into, and close to, the Núi Đất base. There were no casualties or damage - 1ATF, INTSUM No.157-69, Núi Đất, 6 June 1969. 34 Translator’s Note: Literally: “một tắc không đi, một ly không rời”.

41 this was also a place to receive the relatives of those martyrs whose remains had yet to be found – and to provide some comfort for their next-of-kin and families and lessen their feelings of grief and longing. On the 22nd of April each year (according to the Lunar Calendar), the Regiment’s Liaison Committee coordinates with the B nh Ba village People’s Committee to organise an anniversary remembrance gathering for our martyrs. The Memorial Area has become a very important and popular site to educate today’s younger generation on the history of the revolution. IV. The Layout of the Memorial

The Memorial to the martyred heroes of the 33rd (A57) Regiment is laid out in the form of: a revolutionary resistance war monument – battle memorial. V. A Description of the Memorial

The Memorial to the martyred heroes of the 33rd (A57) Regiment is located in B nh Đức hamlet of Bình Ba village in Châu Đức District and was constructed in an area of 4,227 square metres at a cost of over one billion đồng. … …  The Memorial is comprised of the following elements: 1. An entrance gate, and a wall surrounding the Memorial. 2. A guard house. 3. A wall – with a relief. 4. A flower garden. 5. A tower: “The Fatherland Acknowledges Your Service”. 6. A building containing stelae engraved with the names of the martyrs. 7. A building displaying the history of the 33rd Regiment. 8. Stelae. 9. A flag pole.

1. The entrance and the wall surrounding the Memorial. …… 2. The guard house. …… 3. The relief wall. …… 4. The flower garden. … … At the head of the garden, there is a 1.5 metre-high granite memorial stone engraved as follows: Here (5 June 1969) The Royal Australian Armed Forces and the puppet Sài Gòn military used a bull-dozer to bury in a mass grave 53 cadre and soldiers of the 1st Battalion of the 33rd (A57) Regiment.

42 You bravely fell in the battle to liberate Bình Ba village. Each year on the 22nd of April (Lunar Calendar), the people of Bình Ba village hold a memorial remembrance ceremony for you. In 1986, your remains were recovered and reinterred in the Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Martyrs’ Cemetery. 5. The “Fatherland Acknowledges Your Service” Tower: … 6.6 metres high … 6. The Stelae Building …… 7. The 33rd Regiment History Building …… Display Board 1 - Photographs: Mementoes of victorious days 1. Celebrating the victory at Tam Hiệp – Biên Hòa. 2. Cadre and soldiers of E33’s political section at the Sông Ray base – Bà Rịa in 1973. 3. Cadre and soldiers of the 9th Battalion’s communication unit. 4. A ceremony welcoming heroes of the People’s Armed Forces. 5. The communications troop supporting the campaign. 6. Comrade Phan Trọng Dương – head of the E33 political section. 7. Comrade Thường – Regiment commander. 8. Soldiers of the 33rd Regiment in the hour before going to battle in January 1975, 9. Comrade Lê Bá Lộc – Regiment deputy commander, chief of staff (1971). 10. Comrade Vũ Phát – Regiment political commissar. 11. Comrade Luận – together with American Killing Heroes. 12. Comrade Lê Bá Lộc and young soldiers in 1973. 13. Soldiers of C16 Company during the Nguyễn Huệ Campaign 1972. 14. The American Killers Conference – Bà Rịa Sub-Region 1970. 15. Digging fighting trenches at the beginning of 1973. 16. The headquarters base of the Regiment (1972). 17. The martyr Cao Xuân Thế. Display Board 2 – Photographs and displayed items: Resolve to hold-on, overcome all difficulties, and cleverly and flexibly strike and defeat the enemy. 1. The Party Committee Conference of the Regiment in 1975. 2. Comrade Nguyễn Trọng Minh watching B52s striking our base in 1972.

43 3. Cadre and soldiers viewing an historical display of the Regiment. 4. The Bà Rịa-Long Khánh Cultural Group performing for the Regiment in 1972. 5. Soldiers on their way to the front, crossing the Sông Ray hanging bridge. 6. Cadre and soldiers of the political section – 1973. 7. Cadre and soldiers returning after a battle. 8. The Party Committee meeting to adopt a resolution to strike the enemy at the Đức Thạnh-Suối Nghệ Sub-Sector. 9. Comrade Tư Hy – a former Bà Rịa-Long Khánh secretary, visiting the Regiment. 10. Effective firepower. 11. Troops crossing the jungle and wading streams on the way to battle. 12. Soldiers and cadre of the Regiment in a souvenir photograph with the Bà Rịa-Long Khánh Cultural Group (1973). 13. C19 Company taking troops across the La Ngà River in the 1971-1972 Campaign. 14. Production activities to feed the troops – by the Regiment’s rear service unit. 15. The film projection section supporting the Bà Rịa-Long Khánh Campaign (1974). 16. The C23 Medical Company in action during 1972 Campaign. 17. Cadre and soldiers in souvenir photographs at the Sông Ray base (1972). 18. The reconnaissance unit. 19. The 12.7mm unit resolved to shoot down many of the enemy’s aircraft (1972). 20. Representatives of the 5th and 7th Divisions, the 33rd and 16th Regiments with Ms Ba Định 35 – the deputy commander of the Southern Liberation Armed Forces. 21. Cadre and soldiers of the medical company of E33 (1974). 22. The Liberation of Biên Hòa on 30 April 1975. 23. Greeting the 33rd Regiment’s victory. 24. Members of the 8th Infantry Battalion receiving the heroes’ insignia, 25. Soldiers of the Regiment optimistically and full of life on their way to battle. 26. The Regiment’s sapper troops deploying to attack the Suối Nghệ Sector [sic]. 27. Camera ((displayed)). 28. M-79 grenade launcher ((displayed)). 29. An aluminium mess tin ((displayed)). 30. A hammock ((displayed)).
35

Translator’s Note: Nguyễn Thị Định – ie Ba Định, passed away in 1992.

44 31. A pack for the documents of regimental cadre ((displayed)). 32. An aluminium water bottle ((displayed)). Display Board 3 – Photographs: Exploit the history of the Regiment and the E33 (A57) War Veterans’ Association and resolve to solidly maintain the esssence of Uncle Ho’s troops. 1. The first meeting of the 33rd Regiment War Veterans’ Association in Biên Hòa in 1995. 2. Cadres of the leadership group of the Regiment’s War Veterans’ Association. 3. Comrade Sáu Bảo presents a floral tribute and speaks at the Regiment’s history meeting. 4. The Bắc Giang Chapter of the War Veterans’ Association. 5. A happy meeting of the Regiment’s War Veterans. 6. The Hà Bắc Chapter of the War Veterans’ Association. 7. The 3rd Heritage Meeting of the Regiment’s War Veterans in Vũng Tàu in 1999. 8. Comrade Lê Bá Lộc – the chairman of the Regiment’s War Veterans’ Association reporting the achievements of Regiment and the activities of the War Veterans’ Association. 9. Comrade Bảy Tròn – an armed forces hero, at the meeting of the 33rd Regiment’s War Veterans’ Association in Vũng Tàu (1999). 10. Comrade Tư Hy – a former secretary of Bà Rịa-Long Khánh Province speaking at the meeting. 11. The War Veterans have made many contributions to the activities of the Association. 12. The “Fatherland Acknowledges Your Service” Tower constructed by the people of Bình Ba village to memorialize the cadre and soldiers of the 1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment and the Bình Ba village guerrillas who fell on 5 June 1969. 13. A memorial ceremony for the heroes and martyrs of E33 on the occasion of the 4th Heritage Meeting of the Regiment in 2011 [sic]. 14. Members of the Regiment’s War Veterans’ Association at the 4th Heritage Meeting in Xuân Lộc – Đồng Nai Province, in October 2001 [sic]. Display Board 4 – Photographs: Responsibility and belief. 1. The notice for the 6th Heritage Meeting of E33. 2. The activities of the 33rd (A57) Regiment’s Veterans’ Liaison Committee. 3. Members of the Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Chapter of the Veterans’ Association.

45 4. Members of the Bắc Giang Chapter of the Veterans’ Association. 5. Members of the Hồ Chí Minh City Chapter of the Veterans’ Association. 6. Members of the Đồng Nai Chapter of the Veterans’ Association. 7. The notice of the activities of the E33 War Veterans’ Liaison Committee in the North (Hà Nội, Hải Dương, Bắc Giang). 8. The notice of the anniversay meeting on 27 July 2010. 9. The notice of the anniversary meeting on 27 July 2008. 10. The notice of the 6th E33 Heritage Meeting. The Wording on the Stela Made of black granite, and roofed with tiles … … The wording on the stela states: The 33rd Regiment was established on 15 February 1965. Its predecessor was the 101st Regiment of the Bình Trị Thiên 325th Division. On 20 July 1965, the Regiment crossed the Annamite Chain to enter the South and fight under the title of A57 and the Resolved to Win Regiment. On the battlefields of the Central Highlands and Eastern Nam Bộ, the Regiment achieved many victories, killed more than 4,000 Americans, their Australian vassals, Thais, South Koreans, and puppet Sài Gòn troops, and captured hundreds of prisoners. The Regiment was honoured by the Party and the nation with the award of the highest insignias: Heroic Unit of the People’s Armed Forces; the Military Exploits Medal First Class36; and heroic medals for one battalion, one company, and two heroic individuals. More than 3,000 cadre and soldiers of the Regiment from 30 provinces across the nation heroically sacrificed themselves. The war is in the past, but the martyred heroes of the Regiment will eternally lie in this place. This piece of ground in the gruellingly-hard Eastern Region has witnessed your bravery and your many glorious combat exploits. You sacrificed yourselves for the independence of our country, for freedom, and for the coming-together of the South and the North. Today, the Party Chapter and the people of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province – and children for all time, will remember our martyred heroes with enormous gratitude. 8. The National Flag Pole Standing in the middle of the Memorial courtyard, the flag pole is 12 metres high and made from stainless steel. The base is made of brick … …

36

Translator’ Note: Huân Chương quân công hạng nhất.

46 VI. The Maintenance of the Memorial The Bình Ba Memorial is situated on the site of the battle fought by the 1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment on 6 June 1969. It is the location of the communal grave of 53 cadre and soldiers who sacrificed themselves in that past engagement. In 1986, their remains were disinterred and taken to the Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Martyrs’ Cemetery. In 2003, the Memorial to the martyred heroes of the 33rd Regiment was inaugurated, and it is a meeting place for the Regiment’s War Veterans. It is also a place to receive the relatives of the fallen martyrs from all the provinces and cities of the whole country who come to light joss-sticks and incense in their memory. As it has only been recently constructed, the components of the monument are in a good condition of maintenance. The Memorial site is looked after by a member of the staff of the Châu Đức District Labour and Wounded Veterans’ Office. VII. Historical and Cultural Value The memorial area for the martyred heroes of the 33rd Regiment at Bình Ba is an historical site that praises the heroic self-sacrifices of the soldiers of Uncle Hồ for the freedom of our people and the unification of our homeland. Throughout the training, the fighting, the unrelenting misery, and the sacrifices of the cadre and soldiers, the leadership of the B3, B2, Military Region 7 and Military Region 6 Headquarters – together with the love and protection of the local people in the areas in which they served, have all helped the Regiment to stand stoutly on the battlefield and to fulfil the political missions with which they had been entrusted. The battlefields of Biên Hòa-Bà Rịa-Long Khánh were the areas with which the Regiment had the longest association (1968-1975). This was also the place of the Regiment’s resounding military feats. The 33rd Regiment’s name – the Resolved to Win Regiment (A57), became something that panicked the Americans, their puppets, and the mercenary troops. Indeed, at this location on 6 June 1969, the unequal battle was waged between the cadre and soldiers of the 1st Battalion of the 33rd (A57) Regiment and the Royal Australian Armed Forces and the puppet Sài Gòn military. 53 cadre and soldiers heroically fell in the liberation of Bình Ba. In contributing to the writing of such a heroic history, more than 3,050 cadre and soldiers of the Regiment bravely sacrificed themselves on the battlefields of the South. A further 500 fell in our fraternal country of Cambodia, and nearly 1,000 comrades still carry the wounds of the war. And it’s not known how many comrades are suffering daily and hourly from the effects of Agent Orange. The war is now more than 40 years in the past, but the memories of the battlefields and comrades-in-arms are still clear and fresh in the innermost hearts of the Regiment’s war veterans. The memorial site of the 33rd Regiment’s martyred heroes is a proof of the sadness of war and recalls the loss and sacrifice for our Fatherland by our forefathers. For today’s generation - and those that will follow, it is a place of education in patriotism and in the history of the revolutionary struggle.

47 XII. [sic] Protection of the Project Establish a file to propose to the Province People’s Committee that the memorial to be classified as an historical vestige. Encircle the area to protect the site by: … …

XIII. Legal Aspects The Cultural Legacy Law of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam was promulgated on 12 July 2001, and the Government Decree and Ministry-associated Circulars guide the implementation of The Cultural Legacy Law. The Land Law was promulgated on 26 November 2003. Decision No. 4262/2006/QD-UBND of 21 November 2006 by the Province People’s Committee ((Translator’s Comment: the 18-page document ends here - and appears to be incomplete))

48

One of the engraved stelae in the 33rd Regiment memorial pavilion at Bình Ba 37

37

Photograph by Matthew Chamberlain, Bình Ba, 1 November 2012.

49 Appendix 4 The Liaison Committee 33rd (A57) Regiment Socialist Republic of Vietnm Independence – Freedom – Happiness Long Khánh, 15 July 2010

A Summary Report on the Development and Operations of the 33rd (A57) Regiment 1965-2010 38

Honoured:

Representatives, Families of our martyrs, Families of our War Veterans, and comrades.

Dear comrades. As required by the revolutionary mission in the South, the 33rd Regiment was established on 15 February 1965 at Hang Làn, Mai Hóa in Quảng Bình Province as a continuance of the 101st Regiment and a child of the Bình Trị Thiên’s 325th Fire and Sword Division founded on National Patriotic Day in October 1945. The Regiment comprised three battalions and seven direct-support companies: - the 1st Battalion – of the 325th Division,39 - the 2nd Battalion – of the 308th Division, and - the 3rd Battalion – of the 320th Division. The three divisions [sic] were combined, so the 33rd Regiment has its origins from that point. Following a short period of both training and preparation, on 20 July 1965, the Regiment received its orders to deploy and to fight in the South. After two months of difficult deployment, the Regiment arrived safely at its concentration area in Gia Lai. Having reached the Central Highlands, the Regiment took part in the Plei Me Campaign from 15 October to 25 November 1965. The Regiment wiped out the post at Chữ Ho, and surrounded and pressured Plei Me – forcing the American 1st, 4th and 25th Divisions and tens of puppet battalions to concentrate in order to break our blockade. This created the conditions for our fraternal unit40 to wipe out the enemy. The Regiment
38

Translator’s Note: The Vietnamese-language title is: Báo Cáo Tóm Tắt Quá Trình Chiến Đấu và Hoạt Động Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) Từ 1965-2010. 39 Translator’s Note: This listing is slightly different to that in the “Development History” – see Appendix 2. 40 Translator’s Note: This is a reference to the 32nd (320th) Regiment.

50 staunchly fought against the enemy’s counter-attacks and – together with our fraternal units, struck and crushed the Americans’ 3rd Airmobile Brigade. In the Plei Me area, we broke the counter-attacks of the American 1st Division and elements of the American 4th and 25th Divisions. The Regiment wiped out an American battalion and three of their companies, and drove 5,000 enemy from the battlefield - including hundreds of Americans. At the beginning of 1966 and in the 1967 Dry Season, the Regiment attacked the enemy in Gia Lai and deployed to strike the enemy and support the movement in Darlac. The Regiment attacked five Sub-Sectors and the Bản Đồn post, inflicting heavy casualties on the 2nd Battalion of the puppet 23rd Division’s 44th Regiment, and wiping out an American commando company at Đắc Sắc. In the Spring of 1968, the Regiment attacked the town of Ban Mê Thuột. Although it was some distance away and time was short, the Regiment opened fire at the exact time on its objectives of the radio broadcasting station, the training centre of the 23rd Division Headquarters, and the armoured area. Next, the Regiment joined with the local forces to deploy and attack the Hòa Bình airfield, and the Regiment held-on for seven days driving back the enemy’s counter-attacks and destroying three battalions including an American battalion. We drove 2,000 of the enemy from the battlefield, destroyed 60 military vehicles, and captured a large number of prisoners – including an American major.41 From May to December 1968, the Regiment fought in Tây Ninh Province and inflicted heavy casualties on an American mechanised infantry battalion,wiped out two American companies, destroyed 30 tanks, and captured two vehicles in Village 2 at Bến Củi. Afterwards, the Regiment deployed to attack the Bàu Đồn Sub-Sector and destroyed a Mad Buffalo battalion at the Bến Sắn Bridge. At the end of the Campaign, we attacked a mechanised outpost of the 1st Battalion of the 55th Regiment at Chà Là. From 1969 to 1974, the Regiment fought in the provinces of Biên Hòa and Bà Rịa-Long Khánh. At the beginning of Spring in 1969 - together with the 4th Regiment42, the Regiment attacked the Long Bình logistics complex. Despite difficulties with food and ammunition, the Regiment held-on and attacked the enemy, destroying three American outposts - equivalent to three battalions, at Võ Su, Quang Hạ, and Núi Gia. We inflicted casualties on many American and puppet companies at Cẩm Đường, Đồi Dầu, Ruộng Tre, and Đồng Háp. The Regiment fought on Route 2 at Cẩm Mỹ and Bình Ba on Route 2 – and, in particular, wiped out a Thai battalion at Bàu Cối on 16 February 1969 and inflicted casualties on an Australian battalion at Kim Long on Route 2, destroying 24 tanks. As directed, the Regiment attacked the enemy on Routes 1, 2, 3, 20, and 23. Supporting the movement of the masses, the Regiment destroyed four Sub-Sectors: Trảng Bom, Tánh Linh, Đức Thạnh, and Suối Nghệ43 – and inflicted casualties on the Sub41

Translator’s Note: US reports relate that Michae l Benge – a former US Marine sergeant (1956-1959) and the USAID deputy for Darlac Province, was captured by North Vietnamese forces. Held in Cambodia and North Vietnam, he was released on 5 March 1973. Benge appears to be the “captured US major” mentioned in the 33rd Regiment history monographs. 42 Translator’s Note: The 4th Regiment of the 5th VC Division was commonly termed the “274th Regiment”. 43 Translator’s Note: There was no Sub -Sector at Suối Nghệ - it fell within the Đức Thạnh Sub-Sector.

51 Sectors at Hàm Tân, Hòa Long, Xuyên Mộc, and Tân Phong – as well as many posts at strategic hamlets along the communication routes. The Regiment attacked the enemy and destroyed the American military’s plan to withdraw down Route 2 in 1971. We attacked, interdicted and held ground on Route 1 from Hưng Nghĩa to Trảng Bom. Following the Paris Conference in 1973, we drove 3,000 of the enemy from the battlefield, destroyed 100 tanks and armoured vehicles, destroyed many Sub-Sectors and posts, and successfully held territory in coordination with the general plan. In February 1975, the Regiment was part of the 6th Division and took part in the Route 3 Campaign in Xuân Lộc. We attacked the Lộc Ninh Sub-Sector on Route 3, and deployed to attack the base of the 18th Division’s 52nd Regiment. Together with the 4th Regiment, we attacked and seized the Ông Đồn T-Junction, and attacked and wiped out the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Bases on Route 1. Our 7th Battalion deployed to Base 10 at Thuận Hải where it blocked and attacked the enemy who were withdrawing from the Central Highlands. At this stage, Xuân Lộc District had been liberated. During the Hồ Chí Minh Campaign, the Regiment participated in the attack on Xuân Lộc, and struck enemy reinforcements advancing from Biên Hòa and Sài Gòn in the area of the Dầu Giây T-Junction and Hưng Nghĩa. The Regiment resolutely attacked the enemy continuously, and on the night of 9 April destroyed the post at Hưng Lộc. Next, we attacked enemy reinforcements on the afternoon of 13 April to dawn on 14 April, wiping out a battalion and six armoured vehicles of the 52nd Regiment at the Dầu Giây TJunction – then joining with the 4th Regiment to attack and wipe out the whole of the 52nd Regiment. On 16 and 17 April, the Regiment attacked and destroyed two battalions of Rangers and Marines at Trảng Bom – causing the enemy to lose all hope of relieving Xuân Lộc. With Xuân Lộc liberated, the Regiment moved along Route 1 to strike the enemy’s outposts to the south of Trảng Bom, and blocked the enemy at the Sương [sic] Máu Bridge. At 1000hrs on 30 April, the Regiment reached the Biên Hòa airfield and the III Corps Headquarters. The South had been completely liberated. After 30 April, the Regiment worked to mobilise the masses to pursue and break up the enemy troops, and to reinforce our authorities in Long Khánh, Biên Hòa, Bà Rịa, and Vũng Tàu – and undertook military administration tasks at the camps in Lê Lợi, Long Khánh. With the situation stabilized, the Regiment undertook building public works and roads on the border of War Zone D. During the South-West Border War, the Regiment was part of the 303rd Division, killing and capturing many of Pol Pot’s soldiers. The Regiment forced the surrender of a Pol Pot regiment in Cambodia’s Kratié Province and seized all of its equipment. At the conclusion of the South-West Border War, the Regiment was ordered to deploy as a reinforcement to the northern border. Honoured comrades, for its efforts and combat activities, the COSVN Headquarters awarded the Regiment the 16 golden words: ““The Regiment held on staunchly; overcame difficulties; was clever, resourceful and versatile; and always fought and won”.

52 As evidenced by its combat results, the Regiment had applied all types of tactics in attacking and defeating many enemies. We wiped out 14 battalions – including three American battalions and a Thai battalion. The Regiment inflicted heavy casualties on 29 battalions, 82 companies (including six American companies, two Thai companies, and three Australian companies). The Regiment contributed towards the destruction of the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Airmobile Division, the 199th Airborne [sic] Brigade, and the puppet 5th, 18th and 23rd Divisions. We destroyed one Sector, six Sub-Sectors, 3 Special Sectors44, and over 250 of the enemy’s posts. We wiped out and drove from the battlefield many tens of thousands of enemy (including the general commanding the 199th Brigade). The Regiment destroyed over 1,500 military vehicles (including more than 700 tanks and armoured vehicles, over 100 artillery pieces of various calibres, shot down over 100 aircraft, and seized 3,000 weapons of all types). In the South-West Border War in 1978-1979, the Regiment drove a Pol Pot regiment from the battlefield, seized many weapons and captured many prisoners. With these achievements, after 1975 the Regiment was honoured by the Party and the Nation with the commendation of an “Heroic Armed Forces Unit” and was awarded the Military Exploits Medal First Class45 – and tens of other high-ranking medals. The Regiment also received two group commendations – for a battalion and for a company; and received two personal awards of “Hero of the Armed Forces”. Dear Comrades, we have related the Regiment’s achievements here today – although the war is now 35 years in the past. Our nation and our people have seen many changes – but how could we forget the supreme sacrifices of over 3,050 of our martyred soldiers and the dedication of the families of those martyred - for which there can be no compensation. We are all extremely moved and share these losses with the martyrs’ families across every region of our country. Returning once again to past battlefields, they hope to find the graves of the fallen and to light fragrant incense sticks that, sadly, cannot fulfil their longing. ((Translator’s Note: The remainder of this Summary Report has not been translated. The omitted following passages relate to activities over the previous two years and plans for activities by the Regiment’s Veterans’ Association over the “next two years”. These include charitable works, searching for remains, and adding names to the stelae at the Regiment’s Memorial)) Lê Bá Lộc Committee Chairman 33rd Regiment Liaison Committee

44

Translator’s Note: Special Sector - ie yếu khu – as distinct from a village-level Sub-Sub-Sector (phân chi khu), a programme implemented in early 1973. 45 Translator’s Note: Huân Chương quân công hạng nhất.

53 Appendix 5 The 33rd Regiment Memorial Tablet (at the Memorial in Bình Ba village) The 33rd Regiment was established on 15 February 1965, as a continuation of the 101st Regiment of the 325th Division (Bình Trị Thiên). On 20 July 1965, the Regiment crossed the Annamite Chain to fight in the South with the title of A57 and the Resolved to Win Regiment. On the battlefields of the Central Highlands and Eastern Nam Bộ Region, the Regiment won many victories, killed more than 4,000 Americans, Australian vassals, Thais, South Koreans and puppet Sài Gòn troops – and captured hundreds of prisoners. The Regiment was honoured by the Party and the Nation with the noble title of Heroic Unit of the People’s Armed Forces, and the Military Exploits Medal First Class was awarded to one battalion, two companies and two individual heroic soldiers. More than 3,000 cadre and soldiers of the Regiment from across 30 provinces and towns heroically sacrificed their lives. The war has left the Regiment’s heroes and martyrs to lie in this place eternally. A piece of ground in the gruellingly-hard Eastern Region which heroically evidences their many glorious combat exploits. They sacrificed themselves for the freedom and independence of their homeland – the North and the South united together as one family. The Party and the people of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province of today – together with the children of generations yet to come, will remember with gratitude the great contribution of these heroes and martyrs.

54

The 33rd Regiment Memorial – Bình Ba: Pavilion with Stelae

55 Appendix 6

33rd Regiment: Strength Reports and Estimates

2,000 About 1,000 2,000 530 1,468 760 1,250 1,130 1,075 760

September 1965.46 December 1965.47 February 1966.48 July 1968.49 September 1968.50 27 February 196951 March 1969.52 May 1969.53 June 1969.54 30 June 1969.55

46 47

See the debrief of NVA Aspirant Lai Văn Cứ (rallied 6 November 1965). US MACV DEC Log #5-0028-66, 15 May 1966. The debrief of a rallier (sergeant – 20th Reconnaissance Company) noted that the Regiment’s “original strength was 2,000, but after the Plei Me and Ia Đrăng battles, the actual strength was cut in half.” 48 USMACV – CICV: Order of Battle Study No. 66-1: Enemy Force Build Up July 1964-December 1965, 18 February 1966.. 49 Cameron, G.C. Major – 1ATF, I-9-22, Outline Orbat Details 32 and 33 NVA Regts, Núi Đất, 3 July 1968 – see organogram at Appendix 11. 50 A recovered note written by a HQ 5th VC Division cadre – see CDEC Log 10-1719-69. 51 USMACV, Order of Battle Summary: 1-31 May 1969, Vol I, 5 June 1969 – VCAT Item No.F015900060147. 52 Headquarters II Field Force Vietnam, Operational Report – Lessons Learned to 30 April 1969, 10 September 1969. 53 1ATF, Vietnam Digest No. 21-69, 24-31 May 1969. 54 1ATF, Vietnam Digest, Issue No. 22-69 (period 1st to 6th June 1969), Núi Đất (Confidential). 55 USMACV, Monthly Order of Battle Study 1-30 June 1969, Part IV, p.IV-102, 6 September 1969. HQ and support units – 260; 1st Battalion – 100 (last contacted on 7 June 1969 at YS 440740); 2 nd Battalion – 200; 3rd Battalion – 200. VCAT Item No.F015900060420.

56 1,075 979 338 326 975 600 895 1,200 815 790 185 1,200 + 790 1,300
56 57

August 1969.56 end of August 1969.57 August 1969 – 1st Battalion only. 2 September 1969 – 1st Battalion only. 6 October 1969.58 end of 1969.59 mid-February 1970.60 September 1970.61 early 1971.62 1 May 1971.63 May 1971 - strength of the 3rd Battalion only.64 early May 1971.65 17 May 1971.66 June 1971.67

CDEC Log 11-1496-69. 1ATF, Vietnam Digest 34/79, Núi Đất, 24-30 August 1969. 58 1ATF, SUPINTREP 2/69, Núi Đất, 6 October 1969. 59 33rd Regiment “Summary History” ie Cựu Chiến Binh, Tóm Tắt … Trung Đoàn 33, op.cit., July 2010 – see Appendix 1. 60 USMACV, Order of Battle Summary, Vol I, 1-28 February 1970, Saigon, Serial 0716. VCAT Item No.F015900080736. 61 Based on the Order of Battle Summary by the US 179 th Military Intelligence Detachment – 2 September 1970, 1ATF reported the 3rd (ie 9th) Battalion’s strength as 210-230 – with 33rd Regiment’s strength as approximately 1,200. 62 The strength of the Headquarters and support companies were assessed as 205; the 1 st Battalion – 220; 2nd Battalion – 170; and the 3rd Battalion – 195. 2nd Brigade/25th Infantry Division, Operational Report – Lessons Learned for Period: 1 November 1970 – 28 February 1971. 63 1ATF, INTSUM No.121/71, Núi Đất, 1 May 1971. 64 Annex F to 1ATF INTSUM No.122/71, Núi Đất, 2 May 1971 – see Appendix 12. 65 The Australian official history notes that in early May 1971, 1ATF had assessed 3/33 rd Battalion’s strength as 185, with 33rd Regiment’s strength as over 1,200 – Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, p.610. 66 1ATF, INTSUM No.137/71, Núi Đất, 17 May 1971.

57

1,245 1,245 1,250 1,250 1,195 300 1,050 1,221 300 1,221 1,225

28 June 1971.68 26 July 1971.69 end of August 1971.70 1 September 1971.71 mid-September 1971.72 mid-September 1971, 3rd Battalion only.73 27 September 1971.74 28 September 1971.75 October 1971 – strength of 3rd Battalion only.76 27 October 1971.77 10 November 1971.78

“practically zero strength” – USMACV Intelligence, December 1971.79
67

Senior Officer Debriefing Report: BG Jonathon R. Burton, 3d Brigade (Separate), 1 st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) – Period 10 April 1971 to 13 December 1971, 3 May 1972. 68 1ATF, INTSUM No.179/71, Núi Đất, 28 June 1971. 69 The strength of the Regiment was assessed as 1,245 – comprising its HQ/support elements as 333-strong, and its battalions as: “300 – 1 Bn, 265 – 2 Bn, and 230 – 3 Bn (D2/Baria)” – Annex F to 1ATF INTSUM No.207/71, Núi Đất, 26 July 1971. These figures represented an increase in the Regiment’s strength as assessed by HQ TRAC based on intelligence of infiltration rates from North Vietnam – 1ATF, Annex G to INTSUM No.216/71, Núi Đất, 4 August 1971. 70 1ATF, INTSUM No.243/71, Núi Đất, 31 August 1971. 71 Annex A to 4RAR/NZ (ANZAC) BN, Weekly Intelligence Review 718/39, Núi Đất, 1 September 1971. 72 1ATF, SUPINTREP No.38/71, Period 13-19 September 1971, Núi Đất, 20 September 1971. 1ATF assessed 33rd Regiment’s strengths as: HQ and support companies – 375, 1st Bn – 250, 2nd Bn – 270, 3rd Bn – 300 – a total strength of 1,195. 73 “The strength of 33 NVA Regt HQ and all Support Companies was assessed to be 378, and 3 Bn was held at 300 strong.” – Annex A, para 21. AWM95, 7/4/52. 1ATF, SUPINTREP No.39/71, Núi Đất, 27 September 1971. 74 Joint Intelligence Organisation, South Vietnam: Activity in Phuoc Tuy Province, OCI Paper No. 2/71, Canberra, 27 September 1971. 75 Annex G to 1ATF INTSUM No.271/71, Núi Đất, 28 September 1971. 76 A document captured on 31 October 1971 at YS 580971 showed the strength of the 3 rd Battalion of the 33rd Regiment as 200 - 1ATF, INTSUM No.311/71, Vũng Tàu, 8 November 1971. 77 Annex A to 4RAR/NZ (ANZAC) BN, Weekly Intelligence Review 718/46, Núi Đất, 27 October 1971. 78 Annex A to 4RAR/NZ (ANZAC) BN, Weekly Intelligence Review 718/48, Núi Đất, 10 November 1971.

58

980 700

March 197280 May 1973.81

79

Projected infiltration for the COSVN area “will keep the 5th, 7th, and 9th Divisions at about 80 percent strength. Then he is in very low in-country – the 274th and the 33rd and all those units that are down in, well into, MR-3, they’re down to practically zero strength. And the recruitment, sir, just doesn’t ex ist hardly at all down there now.” Major General W.E. Potts (J2 USMACV) briefing Sir Robert Thompson, Saigon, 2 February 1972 - Sorley, L., Vietnam Chronicles: The Abrams Tapes …, op.cit., 2004, p.770. 80 TRAC PERINTREP 9-72, 30 April 1972 : 33rd Regiment HQ: 365; 1st Bn: 200; 2nd Bn 215; 3rd Bn: 200. VCAT Item No.1070308003. 81 An RVNAF estimate: US Defense Attache Office (USDAO), Enemy Strengths – May 1973, Saigon, 4 July 1973.

59 Appendix 7 The 33rd NVA Regiment – as related in the 5th VC Division History (2005) Phạm Quang Đinh, Lịch Sử Sư đòan Bộ Binh 5 (1965-2005) – (The History of the 5th Infantry Division 1965-2005),The People’s Army Publishing House, Hà Nội, 2005. … “In July 1968, in the K10 Base (Đồng Ban) in Tây Ninh, the 5th Division incorporated the 33rd Regiment into its battle formations. … Beginning this third phase of the ((1968)) General Offensive, the Division had been reinforced with three regiments comprising: the 5th Regiment, the 88th Regiment, the 33rd Regiment and the direct support battalions (an RCL battalion, an anti-aircraft battalion, a reconnaissance battalion, a sapper battalion, an engineer battalion, a communications battalion, a medical battalion, and a transport battalion). … On 15 August ((1968)), the 33rd Regiment was given the task by the Divisional Headquarters to ambush an elite US military force in the Bến Cúi region to commence the Division’s operations and to create the conditions for fraternal units to attack targets at Trảng Lớn, Trà Phí, and Tua Hai – and to draw out a US counter attack. At the same time, the 33rd Regiment was to coordinate with the 5th Regiment and the 88th Regiment to destroy the Bến Cúi airfield, the Chà Là base, the Gò Da base and enemy posts along Route 26 and Route 22. … On 17 August, the 33rd Regiment deployed into its fighting positions in the areas of Village 2 and Village 3 of Bến Củi. In accord with Regiment’s fighting methods, its 8th Battalion was reinforced with two 75mm RCLs and two 82mm mortars as the blocking force. The Battalion was sited in the area from the Ông Hùng Stream westward to Village 3. The 7th Battalion had the task to attack and was strengthened with six 12.8mm machine guns, three 75mm RCLs and located in the area of Village 2. The 9th Battalion was reinforced with two 75mm RCLs and two 12.8mm machine guns and sited east of Village 3 with the task of closing the rear of the engagement, blocking any reinforcements advancing from Dầu Tiếng, and protecting the Regimental Headquarters. … … We took complete control of the battlefield, destroying an American mechanized infantry battalion, setting fire to 47 mechanized vehicles – including 33 M41s and M113s, killed more than 100 enemy on the spot, and seized: two 12.7mm machine-guns, six heavy machine-guns, six medium machine-guns, 16 M79s, three M72s, 45 pairs of binoculars and one PRC-25 radio. … In the area of the Bến Củi Junction on 18 August, the 33rd Regiment (commanded by Ma Văn Minh)82 drove back a US force to Dầu Tiếng that had attempted to relieve Tây Ninh. On 19 August, the 33rd Regiment attacked advancing US forces at Trảng Trường and destroyed a US mechanized infantry battalion, set fire to 47 mechanized vehicles – including 33 M41s and M113s, killing more than 100 enemy on the spot, and seizing a large quantity of weapons. … After the brilliant victories of the 33rd, 88th and 5th Regiments in August, the Headquarters of the Tây Ninh-Dầu Tiếng campaign ordered the
82

Translator’s Note: In the period 17-23 August 1969 at Bến Củi, the 5th Division History notes that the 33rd Regiment was commanded by Ma Văn Minh engaged US forces advancing from Dầu Tiếng.

60 5th Division to continue attacks on the US forces in Chà Là and Bến Củi area and against their posts along Route 2 and Route 26 – and to coordinate with the units of the 9th Division to attack objectives east and south-east of Tây Ninh city. … On 20 September, the 33rd Regiment destroyed a US company in the Takeng/Bàu Me area. … The 5th Division was awarded the “Resolved to Fight and Win” banner by the COSVN Military Committee as well as the Liberation Military Exploits Medal Second Class.83 The 5th, 88th and 33rd Regiments, the 22nd RCL Battalion, and the 31st Medical Battalion were all awarded the Military Feats Medal First Class.84 … On 18 August [sic – probably February 1969], the units of the Division made preparations for combat. The 174th Regiment crossed the Sông Bé and moved to the north of Biên Hòa. The 33rd Regiment moved from Bù Đốp, crossed Route 13 and – together with the 5th Regiment, was positioned in the Rạch Ông-Núi Chúa area. … On the opening day of the Campaign, the Division had not completed its tasks of attacking the principal targets at the Biên Hòa airfield – and had only undertaken a number of small engagements in the belt to the north-east. The 4th Battalion of the 174th Regiment and the 8th Battalion of the 33rd Regiment had inflicted heavy casualties on the 1st Battalion of the 3rd Brigade of the US Air Cavalry Division. … With regard to the 4th (( 274th )) Regiment and the 33rd Regiment, we destroyed a number of the enemy’s posts in Long Thành.85 Specifically, an attack by the 3rd Battalion and an RCL company had destroyed an enemy company at Tam An – and had attacked posts to the north-west of the Long Bình complex and set fire to a warehouse and killed the deputy commander of the total Long Bình warehouse complex. … ((On about 15 March 1969)) The 33rd Regiment operated to the north of Trảng Bom ((YT 2011)) and, over three days, engaged in seven battalion-level attacks and killed or wounded hundreds of the enemy and shot down two aircraft. … From 25 May 1969, the Division’s units moved into the second phase of the Campaign in Long Khánh86 with the resolve to destroy the 52nd Regiment of the 18th Division. Our battle plan was to use the 29th Regiment to attack and destroy the rear area of the 52nd Regiment at Gia Ray forcing the 52nd Regiment to deploy relief forces - and thus providing the opportunity for the 33rd Regiment and the 5th Regiment to destroy the enemy.
83 84

Translator’s Note: Military Exploits Medal Second Class – ie: Huân Chương quân công hạng nhì. Translator’s Note: Military Feats Medal First Class – ie: Huân Chương chiến công hạng nhất. 85 Translator’s Note: 199th LIB Operational Report – Lessons Learned to 30 April 1969, dated 17 September 1969. 33rd Regiment attempted to move towards Long Binh from the east – 23 February 1969, but was “decimated by artillery”. 86 Translator’s Note: The Long Khánh Campaign is related in Phạm Vĩnh Phúc, Colonel (ed - et al), Operations in the US Resistance War, NXB Thế Giới, Hà Nội, 2009, see pp.87-90. However, the 33rd Regiment is not noted as participating in either the first of second phase of that Campaign. Rather, other Vietnamese accounts – including the D440 Battalion History and 33rd Regiment histories, note the 33rd Regiment engaging Australian forces in Phước Tuy Province – including at the Battle of Bình Ba, in early June 1969. The 5th VC Division History makes no mention at all of the Battle of Bình Ba. Phạm Vĩnh Phúc, Operations in the US Resistance War, op.cit, 2009, notes Nguyễn Thanh Liêm – the “commander of the 5th Division” as the commander of the Long Khánh Campaign. However, Trần Minh Tâm was the 5th VC Division’s commander from November 1967 (acting) until replaced by Nguyễn Văn Biền in July 1969 – 5th Division History (2005).

61 In the main area of operations, the 174th Regiment continued to attack the enemy’s posts in the La Ngà-Định Quán area, and thus preventing the forces of the 43rd Regiment supporting the 48th Regiment when attacked by us. At the same time, the 174th Regiment’s operations drew the US forces to the north of the Đồng Nai River – and created the opportunity for the 5th Regiment and the 33rd Regiment to destroy the 52nd Regiment at Khe Giao-Suối Mơ. … On 2 June, … The 33rd Regiment was ordered to secretly deploy to the northeast of Gia Ray ((YT 6311)) and attack the forces of the 52nd Task Force [sic]87 at Suối Cao – and afterwards, to ambush the enemy’s reinforcements to the west of Route 3. On 5 June, we began the attack … The 33rd Regiment swiftly made a forced march and attacked its objective on time as planned. … On 6 June88, the 33rd Regiment ambushed and destroyed an engineer company patrolling along Route 3.89 That afternoon, the enemy deployed the 2nd Armoured Company and two companies of the 52nd Task Force to break through and clear Route 3. The 33rd Regiment conducted a blocking operation and attacked, destroying 11 armoured vehicles and inflicting heavy casualties on two enemy companies. … On 13 June … We swiftly deployed the 33rd Regiment from the west of Route 3 to Suối Mơ to join in the battle together with the 5th ((275th)) Regiment. At midday on 13 June, the enemy’s reconnaissance company was destroyed by the 33rd Regiment at Vàm Khe Giao. … On 16 June, our forward attack elements had won a decisive battle and destroyed all the fighting elements of the 52nd
87

Translator’s Note: “Chiến đòan” ie “Task Force” is used for the 43rd ie instead of the usual “Trung đòan” ie “Regiment”. 88 Translator’s Note: The 5th VC Division History does not record any activity by the 33rd Regiment in Phước Tuy Province in June 1969. This conflicts with several accounts – including historical monographs and videos produced by the Regiment’s Veterans’ Association, the D440 Battalion History (2011), and the Châu Đức District History (2004) that relate the occupation of the village of Bình Ba in central Phước Tuy by the 1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment on the evening of 5 June 1969 and the subsequent loss of 53 of the 1st Battalion’s troops in the engagement with 1ATF elements. The 2nd Battalion of the Regiment was also reportedly in the vicinity of Binh Ba village at that time. In the first half of June 1969, Australian signals intelligence located 33rd Regiment’s principal radio transmitter in Phước Tuy Province – more than 20 kilometres from the Gia Ray area. In 2009, a memorial article for the 33rd Regiment's Ex-Soldiers’ Liaison Section stated: “The Regiment had 3,050 martyrs - including 2,008 who bravely fell on the Eastern Nam B ộ battlefield. In particular, in the fighting to liberate Bình Ba in the 1969 Spring Campaign, close to 50 cadre and fighters bravely died." - Thanh Tùng, "Lễ cầu siêu và dâng hương tưởng nhớ các anh hùng liệt sỹ Trung đoàn 33” (“A Buddhist Mass and Ceremony to Remember the Heroic Martyrs of the 33rd Regiment"), Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Television, late August 2009. The 33rd Regiment memorial (khu tưởng niệm) in Bình Ba village has an engraved stela (bia) to the 53 fallen soldiers of the 33rd Regiment in June 1969. In a 2010 article, 33rd Regiment veterans related that at battle of “Bình Ba on 6 June 1969 more than 50 members of the Regiment fell in an unequal battle with the ene my.” - Lê Đ nh Thìn, Trung Đoàn 33 – một thời hào hùng …, Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu (magazine), Vũng Tàu, 30 April 1975, p.18. The official Australian account of the June 1969 engagements in Phước Tuy against the 33rd Regiment is in Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish: The Australian Army and the Vietnam War 1968-1975, Allen & Unwin – in association with the Australian War Memorial, Crows Nest, 2012, pp. 210-240. See also: Johnson, L., “Operation Lavarack - Phuoc Tuy Province, Vietnam, 1969”, Australia n Army Journal, Vol VII, No.2, Winter 2010; Battle, M.R. and Wilkins, D.S. (eds), The Year of the Tigers: The Second Tour of 5 th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment in South Vietnam 1969-70, Third Edition, Australian Military History Publications, Loftus, 2009; and Anderson, P., When the Scorpion Stings: The History of the 3 rd Cavalry Regiment, op.cit., 2002. 89 Translator’s Note: Route 333 is referred to as “Route 3”

62 Regiment. The 33rd Regiment encircled the enemy’s 3rd Battalion to the west of Suối Mơ. From daybreak, we concentrated our firepower on the enemy’s position. Having been attacked by surprise, the enemy was extremely panic-stricken and attempted to withdraw to the east. Resolved not to let the 52nd Regiment escape, the battalions of the 33rd Regiment pursued the enemy and – in coordination with the 3rd Battalion of the 5th Regiment, destroyed the enemy. At 8.30am on 17 June, the 33rd Regiment had encircled the 3rd Battalion and the headquarters of the 52nd Regiment in the area of the Gia Ray stream. The enemy counter-attacked and tried to break out – calling for air support. The cadre and soldiers of the 33rd Regiment pursued and blocked the enemy. At 4pm, the 7th Battalion struck the 3rd Battalion at the Suối Rết Junction. At the same time, the 5th Regiment deployed its 1st and 2nd Battalions to storm out from the Suối Mơ area and converge on the enemy’s 4th Battalion at the dry Khe Giao river bed. On the morning of 18 June, the headquarters of the 52nd Regiment and two of its battalions were tightly encircled in the river bed at Khe Giao. A fierce battle ensued between enemy and the 33rd Regiment and the 2nd Battalion of the 5th Regiment that lasted from early morning until dark. Taking advantage of maximum air support, the enemy sought to escape from the encirclement. However, the 33rd Regiment directly attacked the enemy’s headquarters. Hand-to-hand fighting raged in the jungle, and in the mud and the stagnant water. The frightened enemy attempted to flee, and we continued the pursuit. At 3pm on 18 June, all three battalions of the 33rd Regiment simultaneously assaulted the enemy’s positions and completely destroyed the 52nd Regiment of the puppet 18th Division in the river bed at Khe Giao. This victory concluded the Division’s Long Khánh campaign in the series of operations in the Summer-Autumn of 1969. … On 26 April 1970, we began the campaign.90 On the Phước Long front, the 5th Division was given the mission of employing the 174th Regiment – in coordination with the 86th Rear Services Group, to block and attack the US air cavalry units sweeping into and destroying our rear warehouses in the strategic corridor. The 33rd Regiment was deployed to operate in the areas of Hòai Đức, Đức Linh and the region in southern Bình Thuận – and to coordinate with the armed forces of Military Region 6 and destroy the enemy’s plan of “grouping the people” and their “pacification” programme.91 The forces remaining - comprising the 5th Regiment and the Division’s directly subordinate units,

90

Translator’s Note: During the first “Cambodian incursion” – ie a series of military operations into eastern Cambodia, a total of 13 major operations were conducted by the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) between 29 April and 22 July 1970 – and by US forces between 1 May and 30 June (source: Wikipedia). A unique and comprehensive history of the war in Cambodia in the 1970s can be found in Sutsakhan, Sak Lieutenant General, The Khmer Republic at War and the Final Collapse, Indochina Monographs, U.S. Army Center of Military History, Washington, 1980. 91 Translator’s Note: The 33rd Regiment did not move into Cambodia with 5th VC Division elements, but was re-subordinated to Military Region 6 and soon after to Military Region 7 - According to the Military Region 6 History, in October 1969, the 1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment “on the Long Khánh battlefield” was assigned by COSVN to operate in the Route 3 area (from Hoài Đức to Gia Ray) in Bình Tuy preparatory to the move there of the whole Regiment.” The Military Region 6 History describes 33 rd Regiment’s operations in the Region in the first half of 1970 - Trần Lê, Khu VI kháng chiến chống Mỹ cứu nước 1954-1975, Nhà xuất bản Chính trị quốc gia, Hà Nội, 2002.

63 swiftly prepared for the mission of assisting our friends to attack the enemy in the six provinces in north-eastern Cambodia. … In the period from 2 to 7 April 1970, the 33rd Regiment fought five battalionlevel engagements and twice ambushed the routes into the bases of the US 199th Brigade when they conducting a “pacification” operation along Route 3 – and killed many of the enemy. In particular, on 2 April, the Regiment ambushed and destroyed an enemy company. The Regiment’s air defence elements set fire to an enemy helicopter carrying two-star General William Bond92 - the commander of the 199th Brigade, killing the whole Brigade leadership and the accompanying officers while they were inspecting the battlefield. The 33rd Regiment was commended by the Military Region 6 Headquarters: “In extremely difficult circumstances, the 1st Regiment [sic]93 deployed and coordinated their combat operations with the local troops and guerrillas of Hòai Đức and Đức Linh districts, to effectively fight many engagements and actively support the local revolutionary movement.” “… At the same time ((in June 1970)), the 33rd Regiment was ordered to be detached from the Division and to return to operate in the area of Military Region 7.”94 ((Translator’s Comment: There is no further reference to the 33rd Regiment in the 5th Division History (2005) as the 33rd Regiment did not accompany the Division into Cambodia in April 1970 - ie: “From the middle of April 1970, the 5th Division deployed to fight deep inside Cambodia alongside fraternal forces in the provinces of Stung Treng, Kratié and Mondolkiri.” The 275th Regiment – and a new 3rd Regiment (and later a new 1st Regiment formed from elements of the 275th Regiment), fought in Cambodia as regiments of the 5th Division - the 33rd Regiment remained in South Vietnam.)) ((Translator’s Comment: As noted, this account in the 5th Infantry Division History is probably not wholly accurate for the activities of the 33rd Regiment in the first half of June 1969 – and the 5th Division History account is contradicted by other Vietnamese histories.))

92

Translator’s Note: US Brigadier General William Bond was killed by a sniper on 1 April 1970 when alighting from a helicopter on the southern edge of War Zone D about 110 kilometres north-east of Saigon. 93 Translator’s Note: This could be a premature reference to the 1 st Regiment as the 5th (275th) Regiment but it was not retitled to “1st Regiment” until some months later in June 1970. More likely, this is a reference to the 1st Battalion (ie also known as the 7th Battalion/J7) of the 33rd Regiment. 94 Based on documents captured in June 1970, the re-subordination of the 33rd Regiment to Military Region 7 was noted in US reporting: Operational Report of II Field Force Vietnam for Period Ending 31 July 1970, 14 August 1970, p.12.

64

65 Appendix 8 The 33rd NVA Regiment in the Histories of the D44595 and D44096 VC Battalions; and the Châu Đức, Đất Đỏ, Long Đất, and Xuân Lộc Districts D445 Battalion History (1991, 2004)97 ((In 1971)): “The 3rd Company coordinated with the 33rd Regiment, the 4th Regiment98, and the local forces of Châu Đức District to take control along Route 2 while at the same time joining up the strategic corridor from War Zone D to Long Đất, Vũng Tàu and the Rừng Sắc … .” ((At the beginning of 1974)): “The Military Region strengthened our forces in Long Đất with the 7th Company of the 33rd Regiment of the 9th [sic] Division and two anti-aircraft artillery companies from the 24th Battalion. In a very important role, our Battalion had to achieve two tasks simultaneously: to stoutly defend Long Tân and Long Phước, and to lure the enemy and block their main-force elements. … The Battalion’s defensive positions at Long Tân and Long Phước were arranged facing three directions. The main defences faced the west-northwest and were the responsibility of the 1st Company and the 7th Company (of the 33rd Regiment). These were supported by our 4th Artillery Company and an 82mm mortar detachment from the Military Region’s 274th Artillery Unit. In this sector, the companies dug their defensive positions as small team sites facing in many directions in order to launch surprise attacks against any enemy airborne forces. The 7th Company’s positions faced the north-west and were located about two kilometres from Long Tân.” … ((On 17 February)): However, they ((the enemy)) didn’t suspect the presence here of the soldiers of the 7th Company – a unit of the 33rd Regiment whose forté was the mobile ambush, and the elite 1st Company of 445 Battalion who were all in wait for them.”

95

Translator’s Note: See: Chamberlain, E.P., The Viet Cong D445 Battalion: Their Story, Point Lonsdale, 2011 – ie an exegesis (translation with commentary) of D445 Battalion’s 1991 History; and P hạm Quang Định, Lịch Sử Tiểu Đòan 445: Đon Vị Anh Hùng Lực Lượng Vũ Trang Nhân Dân (1965-2004) – (The History of 445 Battalion: An Heroic Unit of the People’s Armed Forces – 1965-2004), Nhà Xuẩt bản Quân đội Nhân dân (Armed Forces Publishing House), Hà Nội, 2004. 96 Translator’s Note: See: Chamberlain, E.P., The Viet Cong D440 Battalion: Their Story, Point Lonsdale, 2013. 97 Translator’s Note: The 445 Battalion History does not mention the early June 196 9 “Battle of B nh Ba” – possibly because it did not participate in that engagement. The Australian after-action report initially claimed 43 enemy killed (of the 1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment). 98 Translator’s Note: The 274th VC Regiment (known as the “4th Regiment” and “Q764”) had been the inaugural regiment of the 5th VC Division. For the Regiment’s operations from mid-1967, see Annex I, footnote 50 - the 5th Division History – 2005.

66 D440 Battalion History (2011) ((Late November 1968)): “At the same time, the Conference also confirmed and directed that: the important task now faced by Bà Rịa-Long Khánh Province was the need to concentrate on the destruction of the enemy’s “Accelerated Pacification” plan. To provide support, the Military Region assigned the 33rd Infantry Regiment (E33) to cooperate in combat actions with the local armed forces.” … ((Early 1969)): “The fighting between us and the enemy on the battlefield was imbalanced. The Province’s armed forces only comprised two battalions – 440 and 445; the local District companies were C34 [sic] – Châu Đức, C25 – Long Đất, and K8 – Xuân Lộc (separately, the two Districts of Cao Su and Xuyên Mộc each had a reinforced platoon); and Vũng Tàu and Bà Rịa Towns had special action forces and village guerrillas. These forces were reinforced by: the A32 Sapper Company (with over 30 comrades) and the 33rd Infantry Regiment (E-33). … ((Late May 1969)): “After moving to Xuyên Mộc, the Battalion quickly sent some cadre and a reconnaissance element to study the targets and to develop a concrete battle plan. However, close to the day of issuing battle orders, we received an order from the Province Unit recalling the Battalion to its base in order to coordinate with the 33rd Regiment in an attack on the enemy located at the B nh Ba strategic hamlet.” … “On 3 June 1969, the Battalion deployed from east of Route 2 (the Bàu Chinh area99) back to the Tre Base Area (near Châu Lạc hamlet of Xà Bang village)100 in order to prepare for the combined attack with the 33rd Regiment on the Bình Ba strategic hamlet.”101 … “And, for this reason, the Campaign Headquarters102 adjusted the plans for the force to attack
99

Translator’s Note: Probably located in the vicinity of YS 600755, near the junction of Routes 328 and 327. Bàu Chinh was reportedly at YS 495805 (centre of mass) – about four kilometres north of Bình Giã village; and also noted at YS 600755 – about seven kilometres south of Thừa Tích village on Route 328. 100 Translator’s Note: When operating in northern Phước Tuy, D440’s principal bases were: the Tre Base Area (vicinity of YS 4285), the K Base Area (YS 387755) or the H ắc Dịch Base Area (YS 341773) – see the rallier debrief at 1ATF INTSUM No.137/70, Núi Đất, 17 May 1970. Châu Lạc is at YS 437815. A 1ATF study noted: “the Chau Lac Plantation (YS 4688) ((was)) known as the Tre (bamboo) base, because of extensive bamboo in the area.” – Annex A to de Cure, P.F. Major, D440 LF Battalion, HQ 1ATF – Núi Đất, 29 September 1969. 101 Translator’s Note: The movement of D440 Battalion is very similarly recorded in a 33rd Regiment document describing the Regiment’s memorial in B ình Ba: “On 3 June, the 440 Local Force Battalion moved from east of Route 2 (Bàu Chinh) back to its base area to prepare for the battle to be launched in coordination with the 33rd Regiment on the strategic hamlet at Bình Ba. At dawn on 4 June, an Australian commando company swept into the camp just as 440 Battalion was setting up camp.” - Bảo Tàng Tỉnh - Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu, Lý Lịch Di Tích Khu Tưởng Niệm … (The Background History of the Memorial Area …), op.cit., 2011. 102 Translator’s Note: A “Campaign Headquarters” is also mentioned in 33 rd Regiment accounts, including directing the 33rd Regiment to assume the major occupation task at Bình Ba - see Bảo Tàng Tỉnh - Bà RịaVũng Tàu, Lý Lịch Di Tích Khu Tưởng Niệm … (The Background History of the Memorial Area …), op.cit., 2011. While the Campaign Headquarters is not specifically named, it was probably an element of Headquarters Military Region 7 (but is not mentioned in the Military Region 7 History). A listing of the 39 NVA/VC “Campaigns” in the South does not include a discrete “B ình Ba Campaign” – but does include a “Long Khánh Campaign: 5 May – 20 June 1969” involving the 5th VC Division. - Bộ Quốc phòng - Viện Lịch sử Quân sự Việt Nam (Vietnam Military History Institute – Department of Defence), Tóm tắt các

67 Bình Ba. This now involved an element of the 1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment – led by Battalion commander Comrade Triệu Kim Sơn103, being given the task of attacking the post – replacing 440 Battalion.” … Having taken control of the battlefield, the Battalion ((D440)) then had the task of luring the enemy relief forces from the Long Lễ Sub-Sector and the Australian military at Núi Đất – and thus creating the situation for the 33rd Regiment to ambush them from Sông Cầu hamlet to Đức Mỹ hamlet.”104 … “On the night of 5 June 1969, the 1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment opened fire and attacked its objectives in Bình Ba hamlet.105 Surprised by our fierce attack, the enemy in Bình Ba village quickly disintegrated – with some fleeing and others huddling down to await a relief force. We took complete control of the battlefield that very night.” … “Almost all the soldiers in the company of the 33rd Regiment that was still holding-on became casualties106 (after Liberation, the Regiment coordinated with the local authorities to build a memorial in their memory).107
chiến dịch trong kháng chiến chống Mỹ cứu nước (Summary of the Campaigns in the Anti-American War of National Salvation 1954 - 1975), NXB QĐND (People’s Army Publishing House), Hà Nội, 2003; also published in English in 2009 as Phạm Vĩnh Phúc (ed), Operations in the US Resistance War, Thế Giới Publishers, Hà Nội, 2009. 103 Translator’s Note: Triệu Kim Sơn later commanded the 3rd Battalion (ie 9th Battalion) of the 33rd Regiment at the Battle of Núi Lê/Núi Sao against the Australian 4RAR/NZ elements on 20-21 September 1971. In 1972-1977, he was the deputy commander of the 33rd Regiment - Quá Trình Hình Thành … Trung Đoàn 33, op.cit., 2010. 104 Translator’s Note: The Sông Cầu stream crosses Route 2 at the bridge at YS 437692 – about 100 metres north of the abandoned Ấp An Phú hamlet on the northern edge of the 1ATF base at Núi Đất. Đức Mỹ hamlet – population 350, is to the north of the Sông Cầu, on Route 2 at YS 445736. The distance between the Sông Cầu Bridge and Đức Mỹ hamlet is about 3.5 kilometres. 105 Translator’s Note: According to the Châu Đức History (2004), village guerrillas were also involved in the occupation of Bình Ba village on June 1969: “Comrade Nguyễn Thị Thiên – the Secretary of the Bình Ba Village Party Committee and a number of the village guerrillas were killed, together with Comrade Bình – a member of the District Standing Committee and commander of the District public security element, while holding out against the enemy.” - Nguyễn Công Danh et al, Lịch sử … Châu Đức (1930-2000), op.cit., 2004. A 33rd Regiment soldier – captured on 6 June, related that he had been told that his 1 st Battalion was “going on a proselytising mission” to Bình Ba, and “after entering the village, the unit divided into cells to work with the local VC in the people’s houses. Just before the fighting started, he had heard local VC broadcasting propaganda.” – 1ATF INTSUM No.165/69, Núi Đất, 14 June 1969. A member of the Bà Long Military Proselytising Section was reportedly killed in the Battle – 1ATF INTSUM No.160/69, Núi Đất, 9 June 1969. 106 Translator’s Note: The Australian after-action report claimed 43 enemy killed (1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment) – later amended to 126 killed after Popular Forces troops reportedly found many more bodies beneath the rubble of destroyed houses in the village – Battle, M.R. & Wilkins, D.S. (eds), The Year of the Tigers, op.cit., 2009, p.346, p.350. 1ATF contemporary reporting identified the 1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment – together with the Regiment’s heavy machine -gun and recoilless rifle elements – 1ATF Vietnam Digest No.22-69 (covering the period 1- 6 June 1969), and listed 71 enemy killed, six wounded and 12 POWs. Subsequently, 1ATF reported “51 NVA KIA (BC), 11 POWs” – 1ATF INTSUM 268/71, Núi Đất, 25 September 1971. Australian POW records show six POWs captured by Australian forces at Bình Ba: four 33rd Regiment personnel – ie four members of the 33rd Regiment (including a platoon commander of K1 Company) and two members of the Bình Ba Guerrilla Unit. Headquarters II Field Force Vietnam reported that “results of the operation were 43 enemy killed, 8 prisoners and 8 small arms, 3 rocket launchers and 1 mortar captured.” - II Field Force Vietnam, Operational Report – Lessons Learned, Period ending 31 July 1969, 17 December 1969. In summary, as noted, NVA/VC histories, captured documents,

68 With the difficult situation faced by our fraternal unit – and as ordered by the Campaign Headquarters, the ((D440)) Battalion Headquarters deployed a recoilless rifle platoon and part of an infantry company to break through the enemy blockade from the direction of B nh Ba Xang hamlet.” … “In about the middle week of September 1969, as part of our initiative to draw the enemy farther away and reduce the pressure of their sweeping operations on the “iron triangle” area, 440 Battalion coordinated with the 33rd Regiment to employ a tactic of attacking their posts and destroying their relief forces in the Kim Long108 area. In accord with the plan, the 6th Company of 440 Battalion would seize the hamlet of Đường Cùng and hold it. The objective was to draw their relief forces out of the Đức Thạnh Sub-Sector – as well as the Australians, and create the conditions for the Battalion and the 33rd Regiment to ambush and destroy them. However, enemy was wicked – although they still had their soldiers located in the hamlet, they decided to use the firepower of their artillery and bomber aircraft to attack and destroy the hamlet.” … “Also at this time, our Engineer Company coordinated with a unit from the 33rd Regiment to strike an enemy sweeping force in the Bảo Bình area. The enemy comprised a troop of tanks (six vehicles) and a company of Regional Forces from Long Khánh Sector whose objective was to wipe
and rallier reports indicate the following casualties: 33rd Regiment: 53 killed; D440 Battalion: possibly 1 killed - see footnote 171, or “about 60 casualties” ( rallier Lê Văn Nhanh, see footnote 162), or “two WIA” – Annex A to de Cure, P.F. Major, D440 LF Battalion, HQ 1ATF – Núi Đất, 29 September 1969 ; C195 Company: 12 killed and 11 wounded ; Châu Đức District Committee: 1 killed; Bình Ba Guerilla Unit and Village Committee: about 7 killed; Bà Long Province cadre: one killed – see the preceding footnote 161. The 440 Battalion Martyrs’ List – annexed to their 2011 History, specifically lists two members killed in “June 1969”: Phạm Minh Quyết (6th Company) – Serial 199; and Ngô Xuân Lợi – Serial 261. 107 Translator’s Note: In 2009, a memorial article for the 33rd Regiment's Veterans’ Liaison Section stated: “The Regiment had 3,050 martyrs - including 2,008 who bravely fell on the Eastern Nam Bộ battlefield. In particular, in the fighting to liberate Bình Ba in the 1969 Spring Campaign, close to 50 cadre and fighters bravely died." - Thanh Tùng, "Lễ cầu siêu và dâng hương tưởng nhớ các anh hùng liệt sỹ Trung đoàn 33” (“A Buddhist Mass and Ceremony to Remember the Heroic Martyrs of the 33rd Regiment"), Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Television, late August 2009. There is a 33rd Regiment memorial (khu tưởng niệm) with a stela (bia) to the 53 fallen soldiers of the 33rd Regiment in Bình Ba village. In a 2010 article, 33rd Regiment veterans related that at battle of “B nh Ba on 6 June 1969 more than 50 members of the Regiment fell in an unequal battle with the enemy.” - Lê Đ nh Thìn, “Trung Đoàn 33 – một thời hào hùng …” – “The 33rd Regiment – an heroic time …”, Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu (magazine), Vũng Tầu, 30 April 2010, p.18. When suffering heavy losses, Vietnamese accounts – including for the Battle of Bình Ba, often cite the engagement as being “không cân sức” (unequal/asymmetrical) due to the enemy’s superior firepower. A subsequent article related that 33rd Regiment suffered 50 killed at Bình Ba, and the Regiment had destroyed “two Australian companies” – Hồng Quốc Văn, “Gặp gỡ một chiến sĩ của Trung đoàn 33 Anh h ng” – “Meeting a combatant of the heroic 33rd Regiment”, Báo cựu chiến binh online, 17 December 2010; and Hội Ái Hữu, 26 October 2012. An Australian 2011 television program showed the 33 rd Regiment memorial at Bình Ba, and a 33rd Regiment veteran related that 55 of the Regiment’s personnel had been killed in the Battle and 54 were “bull-dozed” into a mass grave by the Australian forces – Walker, M. (Director), “Private Terrence ‘Hippo’ Hippisley – Vietnam”, In Their Footsteps, Channel 9, Melbourne, 12 June 2011. At the July 2012 memorial ceremony at Bình Ba, Lê Bá Lộc – a former regimental chief-of-staff, stated that 53 personnel of the Regiment’s 1st Battalion had been killed in the 6 June 1969 battle - Hữu Minh, Nước mắt ngày gặp lại, Báo Bà Rịa - Vũng Tàu Điện Tử, 10 August 2012. 108 Translator’s Note: Kim Long village was located in the Route 2 area in the vicinity of YS 459840, about 4.5 kilometres north of the Đức Thạnh District Sub-Sector Headquarters at Ngãi Giao (YS 464779).

69 out a number of our liberated hamlets in this area (Bảo Bình had three liberated hamlets: 1, 2 and 3).” … “Enemy helicopters arrived to support their forces, but the 33rd Regiment’s combined force shot one down in flames, and forced the other to fly at a greater height.” … ((In May 1971, with the formation of the Bà Rịa Sub-Region)): “The main-force units allocated by the higher authorities to strengthen the Sub-Region were: the 33rd Regiment109, the 4th Regiment110, and the 6th Sapper Battalion. Other units regularly in combat in the area were the 10th Rừng Sác Sapper Group111 and 814 Rear Services Group.” … In the Spring of 1971 [sic], 440 Battalion joined with the COSVN main-force units (4th Regiment, 33rd Regiment) and the Cao Su District troops to attack a series of enemy posts along Route 2, such as Hàng Gòn, Ông Quế, Cẩm Mỹ and Tân Lập etc.” “At the beginning of 1972, the Bà Rịa Sub-Region sent the 33rd Regiment to operate in the Xuân Lộc area and a battalion of the 4th Regiment ((274th Regiment)) to Long Thành. These units had the task of supporting the District armed forces to attack the enemy in the Sub-Region’s key areas: from Cẩm Mỹ (Route 2) up to Túc Trưng-Định Quán (Route 20). At the same time, they fought against the 48th and 52nd Task Forces (puppet 18th Division) stationed in Long Khánh and inflicted heavy losses on them. ((In August 1972)): “Following its re-establishment, the Eastern Region Military Headquarters decided to deploy the 33rd Regiment to operate along Route 1, the 4th Regiment ((274th Regiment)) in the Long Thành and Nhơn Trạch area (Route 15), and to create the conditions for the 113th Sapper Group and the 10th Rừng Sác Group to attack the enemy bases and logistic complexes.” … “Previously, in the Summer of 1972 (during the Nguyễn Huệ Campaign112) – in implementing the orders of the Province Unit, the 33rd Regiment’s combat task was to surround and attack the Đức Thạnh Sub-Sector, and the Cao Su District Unit was to deploy its forces to surround Con Rắn Mountain. This
109

Translator’s Note: Based on infiltration data, in mid -1971, the US Third Regional Assistance Command (TRAC) – which had replaced the US II Field Force Vietnam (II FFV) on 2 May 1971, assessed 33 rd Regiment’s strength as 1,245 – comprising: Headquarters and Support elements: 333; 1st Battalion: 300; 2nd Battalion: 265; 3rd Battalion: 300; see – Annex G to 1ATF INTSUM No.216/71, Núi Đất, 4 August 1971. 110 Translator’s Note: As noted, the 274th VC Main-Force Regiment was commonly known as the “4th Regiment” (with cover designators Q764, Q4, Đoàn 94, Đoàn 49). On 13 August 1971, the Regiment’s Assistant Chief of Staff was killed by Regional Forces at YS 341918. For detail on 274th Regiment’s organisation, equipment and strengths in mid-1971 – totalling 828 personnel, see – Annex B to 1ATF INTSUM No.233/71, Núi Đất, 20 August 1971. 111 Translator’s Note: The Rừng Sác/Rừng Sát lies about 32 kilometres south-southeast of Sài Gòn and comprises about 1,250 square kilometres of tidal swamp. Its population in 1968 was about 18,000. The 10th Rừng Sác Sapper Group (Đoàn 1) was reportedly 64-strong – Phan Ngọc Danh ..., Đồng Nai 30 Năm …, op.cit., 1986, p.132. However, see the detailed Rung Sat Special Zone Intelligence Study (circa mid-1968) of the Rừng Sác and Đoàn 10 (997-strong, including 211 guerrillas) – VCAT Item No. 4000105007. For a comprehensive history of the conflict in the Rừng Sác to 1975 – in Vietnamese, see Hồ Sĩ Thành, Đặc Khu Rừng Sác (The Rừng Sác Special Zone), Nhà Xuất Bản Trẻ, 2003. 112 Translator’s Note: The Nguyễn Huệ Offensive by the communist forces (also known as the Easter Offensive) began on 30 March 1972 with attacks across the Demilitarized Zone on 30 March 1972 – Quảng Trị City fell to the NVA on 3 May. The heaviest battles in Military Region 3 (see Appendix 6) were north of Sài Gòn on northern Route 13 – where communist forces seized the town of Lộc Ninh, but their attacks agains An Lộc Town (mid-April to mid-June) were unsuccessful.

70 would draw out enemy relief forces from Cẩm Mỹ and Suối Râm and limit their route down to Đức Thạnh Sub-Sector.” … “The Campaign began on 26 March 1974 and ran until 31 April 1974. Participating in the Campaign were 445 Battalion (Province troops), District troops and Military Region main-force units (the 33rd Regiment and the 4th Regiment). The specific tasks were to launch a joint attack to wipe out the post at Kim Long, destroy the enemy’s posts and outposts along Route 2, and recover the liberated zone stretching 10 kilometres from Kim Long113 to the Bà Cùi plantation. After more than a month, the Campaign’s operations had resulted in our troops forcing the surrender or withdrawal of the enemy from 12 posts and positions; had driven more than 900 enemy from the battlefield; captured 37 prisoners; seized 200 weapons of various types and 2,000 kilograms of ammunition; and had set fire to 17 aircraft of various types as well as tanks and armoured vehicles.” The Châu Đức District History (2004) 114 “On 5 June 1969115, the 33rd Regiment116 (a main-force regional unit) and the Province’s 2nd Battalion (D440)117 conducted an ambush west of Inter-Provincial Route 2
113

Translator’s Note: Kim Long village was located in the Route 2 area in the vicinity of YS 459840, about 4.5 kilometres north of the Đức Thạnh District Sub-Sector Headquarters at Ngãi Giao. 114 Translator’s Note: Nguyễn Công Danh & Lê Minh Nghĩa et al, Lịch sử Đấu Tranh Cách Mạng Của Đảng Bộ Và Nhân Dân Huyện Châu Đức (1930-2000) – The History of the Revolutionary Struggle of the Party Chapter and the People of Châu Đức District (1930-2000), Nhà Xuất Bản Chính Trị Quốc Giả, Hà Nội, 2004. 115 Translator’s Note: At 1850hrs on 4 June 1969 - prior to the Battle of Bình Ba, A/6RAR attacked an enemy camp and bunker system at YS 392776 and forced the withdrawal of the enemy force – presumed to be elements of the C-41 Châu Đức District Company - 1ATF INTSUM No.155-69, Núi Đất, 4 June 1969. This attack on the “Châu Đức Company’s home base” is detailed in Johnson, L., “Operation Lavarack Phước Tuy Province, Vietnam, 1969”, Australian Army Journal, Vol VII, No.2, Winter 2010, pp.97-98; and also in Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, p.204, pp.207-210 – six VC were killed and two captured. According to the diary of Nguyễn Hoàng Mai – the commander of C41 (see footnotes 119, 123 and 124), there was a “battle” when Australian troops attacked the unit’s base camp on 4 and 5 June 1969 - resulting in one C41 soldier killed and one wounded, and in which “six Australian enemy were killed.” - Annex A to 1 ATF INTSUM No.241-69, Núi Đất, 29 August 1969. 116 Translator’s Note: For the official Australian account of the Battle of Bình Ba, see Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, pp.210-240. The D440 account is related in Chamberlain, E.P., The Viet Cong D440 Battalion: Their Story, 2013. The 33rd NVA Regiment’s account of the Battle of Bình Ba is related in an undated “Summary History” - Tóm Tát Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33: Đon Vị Anh Hùng Lực Lượng Vũ Trang Nhân Dân, circa 2010; and also in Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57), Quá Trình Hình Thành Và Chiến Đấu Của Trung Đoàn 33 Anh Hùng – Từ năm 1965-2010, Vũng Tàu, 2010 (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57), The Development and Combat History of the Heroic 33rd Regiment – from 1965 to 2010. Several Vietnamese media articles have included material on the Battle based on accounts by 33rd Regiment veterans – see Chamberlain, E.P., … D445 …, op.cit., 2011, footnotes 229 and 271. There is a 33rd Regiment memorial (khu tưởng niệm) with a stela (bia) to the 53 fallen soldiers of the 33rd Regiment in Bình Ba village. In a 2010 article, 33 rd NVA Regiment veterans related that at battle of “B nh Ba on 6 June 1969 more than 50 members of the Regiment fell in an unequal battle with the enemy.” - Lê Đ nh Thìn, “Trung Đoàn 33 – một thời hào hùng …” – “The 33rd Regiment – an heroic time …”, Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu (magazine), Vũng Tầu, 30 April 2010, p.18.

71 from Đức Mỹ hamlet to Bình Ba village and despatched a company to the centre of Bình Ba to attack the post of the 664th Regional Forces118 unit with the aim or luring the Australians to provide reinforcements - and for our elements to then ambush and destroy them. However, the Australians did not enter our ambush as planned119, and our company in the hamlet suffered heavy casualties – consequently tens of our cadre and soldiers were killed, and we were forced to withdraw our troops.120

117

Translator’s Note: A 2010 33rd NVA Regiment History – see Appendix 2, related that 440 Battalion was tasked for the engagement at B nh Ba in early June 1969, “but before the time to deploy, they (440) had to defend against an enemy sweep into their base area – and consequently the 33rd Regiment’s 1st Battalion replaced them in that urgent situation. … Not counting those wounded in the battle, 53 of our comrades were killed in that place.” – Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57), Quá Trình …, op.cit., 2010, p.9. The D440 Battalion account of their involvement in Battle is related in Đảng Ủy – Bộ Chỉ Huy Quân Sự Tỉnh Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu, Lịch Sử Tiểu Đoàn 440 Anh Hùng - Bà Rịa-Long Khánh (1967-1979) – The History of the Heroic 440 Battalion - Bà Rịa-Long Khánh (1967-1979), Nhà Xuất bản Chính trị Quốc gia - Sự thật, Hà Nội, 2011, pp.87-89. As noted, that account also states that 440 Battalion was replaced as the main combat force for the Battle by elements of the 33 rd NVA Regiment, and D440 was in a minor supporting role. For a translation of the D440 History – with commentary, see Chamberlain, E.P., … D440 …, op.cit., 2013. 118 Translator’s Note: There was no 664 Regional Force (RF) Company in the B ình Ba area. 655 RF Company – strength 106, was located in Đức Trung hamlet (YS 446747), the northern hamlet of Bình Ba village; and 626 RF Company – strength 98, was located at Suối Nghệ (YS 434716) about two kilometres south of Bình Ba village. The D440 Battalion History (2011), p.91 similarly in correctly cites “664 RF Company”. 119 Translator’s Note: The 1ATF Ready Reaction Force (the 65-strong D Company/5RAR mounted in 13 APCs of 13 APCs of 3/B/3 Cavalry Regiment) deployed from Núi Đất at 1000hrs moving north on Route 2 initially to Ấp Suối Nghệ (four kilometres) “to await further orders” – where they were joined by three Centurion tanks (and later a fourth). When the Force moved 1.5 kilometres further north to Đức Mỹ (600m south of Bình Ba), it was engaged by enemy automatic-weapon fire. – Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, p.213. At 1120hrs, B Company/5RAR moved from Núi Đất north to an initial blocking position south of Bình Ba and then to the east of the village. For detail, see also Cameron, B., Canister ! On ! Fire !, Big Sky Publishing, Newport, 2012, Chapter 13. 120 Translator’s Note: The Australian after-action report for the “Battle of Bình Ba” (6-8 June 1969) claimed 43 enemy killed (1st Battalion of the 33rd NVA Regiment) – later amended to 126 killed after Popular Forces troops reportedly found many more bodies beneath the rubble of destroyed houses – Battle, M.R. & Wilkins, D.S. (eds), The Year of the Tigers, Trojan Press, Thomastown, 2009, p.346, p.350. Another Australian military record relates that the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 33rd Regiment of the 5th Division – together with the local force D440 Battalion, was engaged by battalions of the Australian Task Force in the B nh Ba area (Phước Tuy Province) in the period 5-11 June 1969 - Johnson, L., “Operation Lavarack - Phước Tuy Province, Vietnam, 1969”, op.cit., Winter 2010, pp.89-114. 1 ATF contemporary reporting identified the 1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment – together with the Regiment’s heavy machine gun and recoilless rifle elements – 1ATF Vietnam Digest No. 22-69 (covering the period 1- 6 June 1969) and listed 71 enemy killed, six wounded and 12 POWs. In July 1969, a 440 Battalion rallier (Lê Văn Nhanh – platoon commander) stated that 440 Battalion had fought at Bình Ba on 6-7 June 1969 – together with the 33rd Regiment, and that 440 Battalion suffered “about 60 casualties” – 1 ATF INTSUM No. 198/69, Núi Đất, 17 July 1969. Subsequently, 1ATF reported “51 NVA KIA (BC), 11 POWs” – 1ATF INTSUM No.268/71, Núi Đất, 25 September 1971.

72 The Đất Đỏ District History (2006) 121 From October 1973, the District Committee ordered the implementation of the 1973-1974 dry season operational plan with three objectives: control the people, control the rice, and control the ground – with the aim of inflicting an important defeat on the enemy’s rural pacification plan, recovering and expanding the liberated zones and those that had been disputed before the signing of the Paris Accords. The Military Region 7 Headquarters deployed their main-force 33rd Regiment to operate on the Long Đất battlefield. The armed forces of the Province and the District coordinated closely with the main-force troops and changed their operating procedures, moving from passively resisting encroachments to actively attacking the enemy. ((In February 1974)): “Having discovered the enemy preparing to encroach into Long Tân and Long Phước, the Military Region 7 Headquarters gave the Province the task of holding the puppet main-forces in Long Tân so that the campaign on Route 2 could be secretly launched as planned. The Military Region reinforced the Long Đất Front with the 7th Infantry Company (of the 9th Battalion of the 33rd Regiment) and two artillery companies (of the 24th Battalion) with the task of holding the enemy main-force elements and creating the conditions for the Military Region troops (the 33rd Regiment and the 4th Regiment) to prepare for the Route 2 campaign as planned and achieve the intended results.” … “On 18 March 1974, the enemy’s 48th Task Force launched a second incursion into Long Tân. Although supported by tanks and artillery, the enemy’s advance was not easy. Spike traps, nail traps, mines and booby traps were everywhere in Long Tân, forcing the enemy to advance step-by-step, and who then fell into our ambushes. … The 7th Company (of the Military Region’s 33rd Regiment) suffered a large number of wounded due to the enemy’s artillery fire. On the afternoon of 21 March, the enemy and our forces were still fighting back-and-forth in Long Tân.” Long Đất District History (1986) 122 “On 17 February ((1974)), the 48th Regiment of 18th Division deployed from Biên Hòa to Long Đất with artillery and tank support to seize Long Tân and Long Phước. After the victory at Bầu Tây (Long Mỹ), D445 returned to Long Phước and Long Tân – together with the Châu Đức unit C34 and the Military Region main-force 33rd Regiment, to block the enemy’s advance. We inflicted heavy casualties on an enemy company – and on the afternoon of 26 February, the enemy withdrew from Long Tân to
121

Đặng Tấn Hương Dang Tan Huong (ed), The History of the Struggle and Development of the Party Committee, the Forces and the People of Đất Đỏ District (1930 -2005), Đồng Nai Collective Publishing House, Biên Hòa 2006. 122 Phan Ngọc Danh, & Trần Quang Toại, Lịch Sử Đấu Tranh Cách Mạng Của Huyện Long Đất - The History of the Revolutionary Struggle in Long Đất District, Nhà Xuất Bản Đồng Nai (Đồng Nai Publishing House), Đồng Nai, 1986. Under the auspices of the Party Chapter Executive Committee of the Vietnamese Communist Party – Long Đất District.

73 prepare for another operation. On 18 March, the 48th Regiment again attacked Long Tân, but was again forced to withdraw on 23 March. In the engagements at Long Tân (26 February to 5 March) we killed 201 enemy, including a major, and destroyed an enemy company … .” Xuân Lộc District History (1985) 123 ((In mid-1971)): “Apart from local forces, in the Xuân Lộc area at that time, there was also the Military Region’s 33rd Regiment that joined in operations. The unshakeable loyalty of the North had resulted in the 33rd Regiment moving to Eastern Nam Bộ.” … At Hầm Hinh – on the two days of 15 and 16 September 1971, the 7th Battalion of the 33rd Regiment laid an ambush on the road from Hầm Hinh to Bảo Chính, and in four continuous battles killed 46 Regional Force and Popular Force troops, and damaged eight military vehicles.” … “On 17 October 1971, 33rd Regiment’s Sapper Company attacked hamlets 1, 2 and 3 at Bảo Bình village, killing 40.” ((In March-April 1972)): “The 33rd Regiment attacked the 313th Regional Forces Group on Route 1 and a Regional Forces Company at the Lạc Sơn post – forcing them to abandon the Già Lao post.” “On 17 March 1975, the Route 3 Campaign began … with the participation of the rd 33 and 4th ((274th)) Regiments of the 6th Infantry Division …” Translator’s Comment – the 33rd Regiment is not mentioned in: Hồ Sơ Đài &Trần Quang Toại, Đồng Nai: Những Đơn Vị Anh Hùng (Trong Thời Kỳ Chống Mỹ Cứu Nước 19541975) ((The Heroic Units of Đồng Nai – During the War of National Salvation Against the Americans 1954-1975), Nhà Xuất Bản Đồng Nai (Đồng Nai Publishing House), 1985.

123

Đảng Bộ Đảng Cộng Sản Việt Nam – Huyện Xuân Lộc, Lịch sử Đấu Tranh Cách Mạng Huyện Xuân Lộc (The History of the Revolutionary Struggle of Xuân Lộc District), Nhà Xuẩt Bản Đồng Nai, Biên Hòa, 1985.

74

75 Appendix 9 The 33rd NVA Regiment : Casualties at the Battle of Bình Ba and Vicinity in June 1969 – and Prisoners of War (POW) Documentation On total deaths, a 33rd NVA Regiment history monograph124 states that 3,050 were martyred125 and a July 2012 media report126 has cited 3,056. It is highly likely that the number of deaths in the Regiment – in combat, and following wartime injury and illness, is considerably greater. The number of formally-classified invalid veterans (thương binh) of the Regiment is not known. There are two comprehensive and “thick” Martyrs’ List documents: a “Southern Version” – sponsored by the Military Region 7 Headquarters and the Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Chapter of the 33rd Regiment Veterans’ Association; and a “Northern Version” on the Internet sponsored by Hanoi-based Nguyễn Sỹ Hồ. There are also three far shorter subsequent “sub-lists”:

124

Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), Quá Trình …, op.cit., 2010, p.11 – See Appendix 2. Also: “The Regiment had 3,050 martyrs - including 2,008 who bravely fell on the Eastern Nam Bộ battlefield. In particular, in the fighting to liberate Bình Ba in the 1969 Spring Campaign, close to 50 cadre and fighters bravely died." - Thanh Tùng, "Lễ cầu siêu và dâng hương tưởng nhớ các anh hùng liệt sỹ Trung đoàn 33” (“A Buddhist Mass and Ceremony to Remember the Heroic Martyrs of the 33rd Regiment"), Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Television, late August 2009. 125 The Vietnamese term “liệt si” is translated as “martyr”, and their deaths – ie “hy sinh”, is translated in dictionaries as “to be sacrificed”. Following the First Indochina War against the French, Vietnamese regulations defined “martyrs” as only those killed in direct combat with the enemy. Subsequently, qualifications were broadened considerably to include those who were killed in indirect actions – eg by enemy artillery and air power, and those who died from wounds, injury, illness, or in prison. Regulations were recently re-promulgated by the Vietnamese Government in its Decision No. 31/2013/NĐ-CP – Defining Details for Guidance on Implementing a Number of Articles Regarding the Law on Privileges for Those Who Served the Revolution, Hanoi, 9 April 2013 (see particularly Article 17). In some 33 rd Regiment Martyrs’ Lists, the deceased is noted as having died in hospital or, for example, died as a result of “malignant/pernicious malaria” (“bị sốt rét ác tính”). 126 Quang Việt, “250 đoàn viên, thiếu niên huyện Châu Đức rước nến tri ân các anh hùng liệt sĩ tại Nhà tưởng niệm trung đoàn 33”, Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Television website, 29 July 2012. Stating: “nơi 53 chiến sĩ của trung đoàn 33 hy sinh trong trận đánh ngày 6 tháng 6 năm 1969 và xung quanh nhà bia, nơi ghi danh 3.056 liệt sĩ của trung đoàn 33 đã hy sinh trên chiến trường miền Nam.” – (“where the 53 soldiers of the 33rd Regiment died in the battle on 6 June 1969 – and around the memorial where the names of 3,056 33rd Regiment martyrs who died on the southern battlefields are recorded.”). The remains that were buried in a mass grave by Australian forces in Bình Ba village immediately after the battle were “disinterred and reburied in the Province martyrs’ cemetery in 1986.” Each year on 24 April (Lunar Calendar) a remembrance ceremony is held at the Memorial in Bình Đức hamlet of Bình Ba village - Lý Lịch Di Tích Khu Tưởng Niệm … Trung Đoàn 33 (33rd Regiment - Background Memorial History), op.cit., 2011 – see Appendix 3.

76 List of 33rd Regiment Martyrs killed/missing in Châu Đức District of Phước Tuy Province127; List of 33rd Regiment Martyrs Sacrificed on the B3 Front; and List of E33 (A57) Martyrs Sacrificed in the South-West Border (1978-1979)/List of Martyrs of a Number of Provinces Who Served in the 33rd Regiment (303rd Division).

Additionally, the names of the Regiment’s deceased and missing are inscribed on the six large double-panelled stelae in a pavilion in the Regiment’s Memorial Complex in B nh Đức hamlet of Bình Ba village. Note: When martyrs’ names are listed “alphabetically” – the listing is ordered by “given” (ie “last” names) - eg in an alphabetic sequence: “Nguyễn Văn Bảy” would be listed before “Đinh Xuân Chiến”. The “Southern” List The Southern Version – of 161 pages, was published by the Military Region 7 Political Department on 10 April 2002 and lists 1,949 33rd Regiment personnel that fell in Eastern Nam Bộ in the period 1968-1975 from records held by Military Region 7 (MR7). The List’s Introduction – written by Lê Bá Lộc (a former 33rd Regiment 2ic and Chief of Staff) in October 2000, notes that there were then no documents covering personnel who had died in the periods 1965-67 or post-30 April 1975 – but that such might be available in the future, and the List would be then revised. Lê Bá Lộc also noted that “due to the passage of time, there could be some inaccuracies in the List, and requested readers to contact the editorial team to advise any changes.” A summary table in that List (see the following p.87/footnote 154) notes that it comprises 1,949 (or 1,951) names listed by 16 province groups – with notes that in the Central Highlands there were 718 martyrs in the period October 1965 to June 1968, and 327 martyrs in the South-West Border War and Cambodia from June 1975 to 1985 – see the final page of the Appendix. However, within the List only 96 names are included for the Central Highlands, and only136 names are included for the South-West Border War – which is signed by Nguyễn Khánh Phùng.128 Unlike the Northern Internet Version (see the following paragraph), the Southern Version includes a column noting Party status and decorations/awards. The List summarizes that the total number of 33rd Regiment personnel killed was 2,996 (1,951 + 718 + 327). The “known” copies of the Southern Version include: the MR7-stamped copy129; the copy under glass in the Museum at the 33rd Regiment’s Memorial Complex in B nh Ba; the

127

Danh Sách Liệt Sỹ E33 (A57) Hy Sinh tại Huyện Châu Đức – Tỉnh Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu. This eight-page list of 263 names was compiled by Nguyễn Tuấn Khanh on 16 October 2008. 128 The List is noted as having been collated in Ban Mê Thuột City in April 2002. 129 In mid-September 2013, a photocopy of the MR7 Version was provided to the author by Dr R. Hall and Mr D. de Heer of the Australian Centre for the Study of Armed Conflict and Society, UNSW, Canberra. Dr Hall had earlier examined the List in November 2011 and compared it with 1ATF records.

77 copy held by the 33rd Regiment Stock Company130 in Hồ Chí Minh City; and a copy held in the Cổ Lễ Pagoda in Nam Định Province.131 The “Northern” List The Northern Internet Version - “Danh sách liệt sĩ thuộc biên chế E33_F303” (“List of Martyrs of the 33rd Regiment of the 303rd Division) was produced by Vũ Đ nh Luật - phó đoàn CCB tình nguyện Phú Thọ-Bình Phước (the honorary deputy head of the Phú Thọ-Bình Phước 33rd Regiment Veterans’ Group), and was placed on the Internet on 16 July 2013 by Nguyễn Sỹ Hồ on his website “Người đưa đò …”.132 It lists those killed/missing in 15 province categories - totalling 1,949; and also in two categories: “E33 MT B3” (“33rd Regiment Central Highlands B3 Front”) – totalling 96, and “Một Số Tỉnh Khác” (“A Number of Other Provinces”) – totalling 137. A Comparison – “Northern” and “Southern” Lists Differences between the Northern and Southern Versions include: the Northern Version includes a category for Tuyên Quang Province – while the Southern Version appears to include those personnel in its Hà Tuyên Province - and possibly Vĩnh Phú Province, categories. This difference can probably be ascribed to changes in adminstrative divisions in Vietnam over the years.133 The Northern Version combines the provinces of Yên Bái/Quảng Ninh and – as noted above, has the additional categories of “E-33 MT B3” (“33rd Regiment Central Highlands B3 Front”) – totalling 96, and “Một Số Tỉnh Khác” (“A Number of Other Provinces”) – totalling 137 – while the Southern Version does not have these two categories and only deals with those killed in Nam Bộ (ie 1,949 or 1951 - but noting that 718 were killed in the Tây Nguyên (Central Highlands) in 1965-68 and 327 were killed in the South-West Border War 1976-79). The Northern Version does not include an “Awards” column (Khen Thương) - nor any “Joined the Party” (Vào Đảng) dates. However, its “Place of Death” detail includes “Place of Burial” – which is noted extensively in its South-West Border War category. Between the two Versions, there are also several differences in the spellings of names, the dates of death, and the rank/functions of personnel. The “Sub-Lists” The List of 33rd Regiment Martyrs killed/missing in Châu Đức District of Phước Tuy Province: of eight pages was compiled by Nguyễn Tuấn Khanh on 16 October 2008,
130

Held by 33rd Regiment veteran Phan Đức Chi, the Director of the 33rd Regiment Stock Company (Công Ty Cổ Phẩn Trung Đoàn Ba Ba). 131 Held by the Honourable Thích Tâm Vượng. 132 “Danh sách liệt sĩ thuộc biên chế E33_F303” (“List of Martyrs of the 33 rd Regiment of the 303rd Division”), http://teacherho.vnweblogs.com/post/9313/424599 . 133 Hà Tuyên was formed in December 1975 by the combination of the two provinces of Hà Giang and Tuyên Quang. In August 1991, Hà Tuyên was re-split into the two province of Hà Giang and Tuyên Quang.

78 and appears based on the Southern Version and comprises 263 names in 13 province categories (with some different to the Southern Version - ie no Yên Bái, Bắc Thái or Hà Tuyên – but has Hà Tĩnh). The List of 33rd Regiment Martyrs Sacrificed on the B3 Front: This Sub-List comprising four pages (96 names) was compiled in Ban Mê Thuột City, Darlac Province in April 2002 – and is signed by Nguyễn Khánh Phùng. The names of the fallen are arranged in province groupings. This list is also included at the end of the Northern Version – but arranged in “name order”. List of E33 (A57) Martyrs Sacrificed in the South-West Border (1978-1979): 24 pages (136 names) with an introduction by Lê Bá Lộc, dated September 2002 – thanking the Political Office of the 303rd Division (1st Corps) for their assistance. This list is also included at the end of the Northern Version – but titled “List of Martyrs of a Number of Provinces Who Served with the 33rd Regiment of the 303rd Division”. Both lists are in “name order”. Replies to Queries – by Nguyễn Sỹ Hồ On his website, Nguyễn Sỹ Hồ responds to queries from relatives of martyrs including the checking of spellings of names etc in order to resolve identifications.134 For example, his review of several headstones in the Martyrs’ Cemetery in Bà Rịa notes detail on: - Nguyễn Văn Bảy, soldier, 7th Battalion, b. 1942, d. 16 June 1969 – as possibly Nguyễn Văn Bảy of Vĩnh Phú Province, d. 18 March 1969 at Tân Lập. - Bùi Minh Thuận, section 2ic, 8th Battalion, b. 1949, d, 2 June 1969 – as possibly Bùi Mạnh Thuận, section 2ic, 8th Battalion, b. 1944 in Hòa Binh, d. 2 June 1969 at Cao Su Bà Rịa. - La Văn Châu, section 2ic, 7th Battalion, b. 1933, d. 6 June 1969 – as possibly Tạ Văn Trân, section 2ic, 7th Battalion, b. 1933 in Hà Tây Province, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba. Nguyễn Sỹ Hồ relates that a total of 2,181 personnel of the 33rd Regiment died in the “Anti-American Resistance War”. Ranks and Functions In the Rank/Functions column - ie “CB/CV” (Cấp Bậc/Chức Vụ) in the Northern Version and “Chức Vụ” (Functions) in the Southern Version, a large number of abbreviations (viết tắt) are used – but no key or explanation is provided. The “standard” terms include: AP (section 2ic), AT (section commander), BP (platoon 2ic), BT (platoon commander), CP (company 2ic), CT (company commander), CS (Chiến Sĩ - soldier), ĐP
134

See posting dated 9 October 2013: http://teacherho.vnweblogs.com/mobile.php?op=ViewArticle&blogId=9313&articleId=435083 .

79 (battalion 2ic), ĐT (battalion commander), EP (regiment 2ic). Less common abbreviations include: CT Tổ Chức (company commander – organisational), TLĐV (unit staff), Cơ yếu – BTM (headquarters staff), VB CTDP, TLĐ (Vận), QLÝ (administration), TMT (staff), TLCTE (political adminstration – regiment), TLTC (operations staff), CTAP, TLC Bo (cadre administration), QS (military), QP (intelligence), LLAC (Liên Lạc Liaison), ĐVP (artillery unit), ĐT, Y Tá (Medic), Y Sĩ (Medic), Trợ lý pháo, CVT (head political staff), CVP (deputy political cadre), CBT and TLPáo. For the Tây Nguyên B3 Campaign, the Northern Version also uses: B1, C Vien Truong, D1, E1, H1, H2, H3, U1, Uo B, Uo C; and for the “Some Other Provinces” listing (including the South-West Border War): Không Ct, Không C phó, B1,H1, H2, H3, quản lý (management/administration), TrL bảo vệ, hce and dvp. Malaria While the causes of death are not routinely included in the Martyrs’ Lists, a number are noted as having died as a result of malignant/pernicious malaria (sốt rét ác tính). The dangerous faliciparum strain was endemic in the Central Highlands135 – and later became increasingly prevalent in the Nam Bộ Region.The diary of Nguyễn Tuấn Tùy of C26/E33 – a reinforcement element for the 33rd Regiment, notes the high incidence of malaria suffered by the troops.136 While COSVN - the communist command covering most of the South, had directed a system of malarial prophylaxis based on paludrine, chloroquine, and nivaquine tablets, medicines were always in very short supply. Even when available, such chloroquine-based prophylaxis was not particularly effective. A comprehensive US study - based on captured communist medical records, assessed that 11 percent of a communist unit’s strength would routinely be bedridden with malaria and – and for diseases and illnesses, almost 50% of hospitalizations were for malaria.137 An analysis of 274th VC Regiment documents recovered from its

135

According to a 33rd Regiment medic – a senior non-commissioned officer in the 1st Battalion, in mid1966 about 500 ill and lightly wounded personnel – including 33rd Regiment and cadre, were being treated at the Lê Lợi Division (ie 325th Division) Hospital across the border in Cambodia following operations in the Central Highlands. “Most deaths were caused by malaria.” Patients reportedly re ceived two antimalarial quinine tablets each week. Sometimes four paludrine or two nivaquine tablets were given as a substitute. “Malaria incidence in the Division was about 90%. More deaths were caused from malaria than battle wounds.” – VCAT No.F034601482497. According to a US study – based principally on captured documents, the diagnostic rate for malaria in the 33 rd Regiment in Pleiku in the period September to November 1965 was “300 per 1000 per month”; and in Kontum in May 1966, it was “1000 per 1,00 0 per month” - Combined Intelligence Center Vietnam, Medical Causes of Non-Effectiveness among VC and NVA Troops, Technical Intelligence Study ST 67-018, 15 February 1967 – VCAT Item No.F015900300918. 136 “Đi tìm kiếm và quy tập 14 liệt sĩ của C26, E33 hy sinh tại xã Đắc Ơ …” (“Searching for and Recovering the 14 Martyrs of the 26th Company of the 33rd Regiment at Dac O village …”), Hà Nội, 18 March 2013. Extracts from the diary of Nguyễn Tuấn Tùy – on the Nhắn Tìm Đồng Đội (MARIN) Website that notes a large number of casualties to malaria. – see footnote 451 in the main text. 137 The US Study assessed that: “44% of a unit’s strength will have malaria at any given time, 20% of these will be hospitalized – for an average of 13 days; 2% will die. 11% of a unit’s strength will be hospitalized

80 Convalescent Company indicated that, of those hospitalised in late 1968 and early 1969, 70 percent were for malaria – and only 13 percent were patients wounded in action.138. List of Martyrs in June 1969 (Battle of Bình Ba) Using the Northern List, the martyrs are firstly listed below by Province-of-birth groups in last-name (ie given name) alphabetical order – preceded by their serial numbers on the List. Those included in this List are assessed as having died at the Battle of Bình Ba – or in closely associated actions. The possible “associated actions” might assist in determining the locations of the Regiment’s battalions during the first half of June 1969 ie other than the 1st (D7) Battalion that occupied Bình Ba village itself. Several selected senior cadre who died elsewhere – and other than in June 1969, have also been included. Tuyên Quang Province 57 - Phan Trọng Nghĩa, AT D7, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba. 72 - Hoàng Văn Phúc, CS D7, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba. 101 - Bùi Đức Túng, AP D7, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba. 125 Nguyễn Viết Trung, CS D7, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba. Vĩnh Phú Province 2 - Nguyễn Văn Bân, CS D7, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba. 6 - Nguyễn Văn B nh, CT D7 , b.1935, d. 6 June 1969 at B nh Ba. 32 - Phạm Minh Đạo, AT D7, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba. 94 - Tô Xuan Lương, AT D7, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba. 1156 - Trương Văn Phước, CVP D8, b.1936, d. 8 June 1969, in the Mây Tào Mountains. … - Trương Văn Thực, CS D8, d. 9 June 1969 at Việt Cương. 172 - Nguyễn Thắng Trại, AT D7, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba. 181 - Nguyễn Đình Sinh, CS D7, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba. Hà Sơn Bình Province 28 - Nguyễn Văn Cố, CS D7 b.1951, b.1935 in Tân Lac, enlisted April 1968, d. 5 June at Bình Ba (to be confirmed). 38 - Hoàng Văn Dẹm, b.1935 AP D8*, b.1935 in Tân Lac, enlisted April 1968, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba (to be confirmed). 39 - Hà Văn Dẹn, AP D7, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba. 61 - Trần Văn Hào, CS D7, d. 15 June 1969 at Lộc An (possibly associated with the 274th VC Regiment attack against Thai forces at Lộc An on 16 June 1969). 68 - Lê Đức Hoa, CS C26, d. Route 2 Châu Đức, 19 September 1971. 89 - Bùi Văn Lai, AP C2, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba (or possibly captured) 87 - Đào Bạch Kim BT D8*, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba.
(or in a dispensary, convalescent center, or aid station) at any given time.” USMACV, Medical Causes of Non-Effectiveness Among VC/NVA Troops, op.cit., 31 August 1969. 138 1ATF, INTSUM No.199-69, Núi Đất, 18 July 1969.

81 101 - Bùi Văn Lườn AP D8*, d. 8 June 1969 at Bình Ba (noted as d. 6 August 1969 on the Châu Đức District List). 128 - Trương Văn Phức, CP D8, Cao Su Ông Quế, d. 8 June 1969. 149 - Bùi Văn Sửu, CS D8, d. 8 June 1969 at Việt Cương. 173 - Bùi Mạnh Thuận, AP D8, d. 2 June 1969, Cao Su Bà Rịa. 188 - Tạ Văn Trân, AP D7, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba. 205 - Nguyễn Báo Tuấn, CS D9, d. 5 June 1969 at Bình Son. Hà Nội 1934 - Nguyễn Trọng Quyết, BP D7, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba. Hải Hưng Province 337 - Hoàng Kim Cương, AT D7, d. Bình Ba, 6 June 1969. 340 - Bồ Xuân Cúc – D9*, ie 3rd Battalion/33rd Regiment, d. Bình Ba on 6 June 1969 was a 3rd Battalion AP – ie section commander. 371 - Bùi Văn Đố – AP D7, d. Bình Ba, 6 June 1969. 388 - Ngô Văn Hà – AT D7, d. Bình Ba, 6 June 1969. 451 - Bùi Quang Miên, b.1942, enlisted February 1964, function DP D7 (ie Battalion 2ic, 1st Battalion), d. Bình Ba on 6 June 1969 (noted in the text).139 518 - Nguyễn Duy Tạc – AT C19, d. Bình Ba on 6 June 1969 (also on the Southern Version, but as d.6 July1969 on the Châu Đức List*). 539 - Hoàng Kim Tuy – AT D7, d. Bình Ba on 6 June 1969. Plus: - Bùi Văn Đỗ (b.1950 - Hải Hưng, Corporal – 1st Battalion, ie D7) – possibly d. 6 June 1969, see the following MARIN NGO paragraph. Thanh Hóa Province P.4: Two DT (cadre of battalion commander rank)140: - 123 Phạm Như Lạc, d. 17 March 1970 ( location unclear); - 124 Hoàng Văn Lam, d. 9 April 1973, at Bình Ba – DT C18 [sic]. P.7: – Quách Thái Sơn, E Pho (Regiment second-in-command), b.1946, d. 27 May 1972 at at Việt Cương, Châu Đức. (Sơn commanded the 2nd Battalion at the Battle of Bình Ba) P.8: 234 - Nguyễn Văn Tiểu, DP (Battalion 2ic, battalion not noted), b.1941, enlisted 1962, d. 29 November 1970 at Hàm Tân/Bình Tuy. 19 - Lê Đông Biệt, BT C19, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba. 45 - Lê Sỹ Chứ, AT E33, d. 20 September 1971, Long Khánh. 70 - Hoàng Bùi Đông, CP D7, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba. 74 - Nguyễn Hữu Gia, AP D7, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba. 80 - Lạc Văn Hệt, CS D7, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba. 91 - Nguyễn Văn Huệ, AT D7, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba. 105 - Hoàng Đình Khương, AT D7, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba.
139 140

See p.75 in the main text – and also p.62 as “Comrade Miền” and Appendix 22 as “Miện”. Both of these deaths have been included in the main text.

82 108 - Ngô Xuân Kiểu, YSĩ (Medic), D8, d. 20 September 1970 at Gia Ray. 189 - Trần Ngọc Mạnh, CS D7, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba. 189 - Trần Đăng Phong, DT (Battalion commander, battalion not cited) KIA 19 April 1975 – Hưng Nghĩa, Long Khánh (his death has been noted in the main text). 233 - Lê Văn Tiêu, AT D7, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba. * Trịnh Xuân Xứ, AP D7, d. 20 October 1971, Suối Sau – Long Khánh. Bình Trị Thiên Province 23 - Đinh Xuân Soán, AT D7, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba. Cao Lạng Province 4 - Triệu Minh Cấm, DP D8 (Battalion commander 8th Battalion), d. 26 October 1968 at Ta Keng, Tây Ninh Province (included in the text). 125 - Hoàng Văn Vuông, AT D8, d. 7 June 1969, Xuân Lộc (but on Southern Version and Châu Đức Sub-List as KIA at Bình Ba). Hà Bắc Province 9 - Bùi Văn Chấm, AT D7, d. 15 June 1969 at Bình Son. 11 - Vũ Đình Chất, AT D7, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba (Minh Đức, Việt Yên, no dob, enlisted Dec 67) – see also serial 103 below. 29 - Nguyễn Văn Đáng, AT D7, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba. 33 - Nguyễn Văn Đựng, AP D7, d.6 June 1969 at Bình Ba. 34 - Trần Quang Định, CS C19, d. 7 June 1969 at Bình Ba (or 6 July 1969 on the Châu Đức List - Southern Version notes d. 7 June 1969 at Bình Ba). 54 - Nguyễn Quốc Hùng, BT E33, d. June 1969 (no date) at Bình Ba. 66 - Giáp Văn Lừng, AT D9, d. 3 October 1971 at Bình Ba. 103 - Vũ Đình Thất, AT C18, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba (b.1949, enlisted September 1967, village Minh Đức, Việt Yên). Bắc Thái Province 1824 - Nguyễn Duy Oanh, D8, d. 5 June 1969 at Túc Trưng/Định Quán. Hải Phòng 2 - Vũ Công Chiến, BP E33, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba. 6 - Phan Ngọc Đến, AT D7, d. 16 June 1969, Bình Son. 14 - Phạm Văn Khẩu, CVP D7, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba. p.2 - Trần ThiThức, PCUY, b.1928, enlisted September 1945, d. 28 April 1975 at Hố Nai (his death has been noted in the main text). Plus: Vũ Công Chiến (b.1935 – Hải Phòng, Platoon 2ic), d. 6 June 1969 – see MARIN paragraph below. Thái Bình Province 2 Vũ Ngọc Anh, AT D7, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba.

83 12 - Trần Văn Chiến, AT C21, d. 5 June 1969 at Cao Su Bà Rịa (but noted as d. at Bình Ba on 6 May on the Châu Đức District List, and on the Southern Version as KIA on 5 June at Cao Su Bà Rịa). 65 - Phi Văn Phê, AP C22, d. 8 June 1969 at Bà Rịa (same on Southern Version - but KIA at B nh Ba on 6 August on the Châu Đức District List – but 8 June on MARIN list, see paragraph below). 75 - Nguyễn Đức Sánh, BT D8, d. 5 June 1969, Long Thành. Hà Nam Ninh Province 2 - Nguyễn Hữu Cơ, AP D7, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba. 25 - Vũ Văn Kích, AT D7, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba. 33 - Nguyễn Văn Liễu, AT D7, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba. 53 - Trần Văn Sản, AT D7, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba. 61 - Trần Văn Tài, BT D7, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba. 77 - Lê Văn Thục, CP D7, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba. 78 - Thân Quy Trầm, CVT, d. 9 May 1974 at Bình Ba. 80 - Lê Văn Trụ - b. 1937, CT D7, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba. Hà Tây Province … - Tạ Văn Trân, AP D7, b. 1933, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba. Plus: Đào Bạch Kim (b.1944, Hà Tây, Platoon Commander) – killed on 9 June 1969. Also listed with the Hà Sơn Bình Province group – and see the MARIN paragraph below. Nghệ Tĩnh Province 18 - Nguyễn Văn Chỉnh, CS D9, d. 19 October 1971, Route 2 - Châu Đức. 19 - Trần Văn Chính, CS D9, d. 19 October 1971, Route 2 - Châu Đức. 35 - Lê Quang Cửu, BT D8, d. 5 June 1969 at Long Phước, Long Thành District. 104 - Phạm Văn Ly, DVP D8, d. 8 May 1972, Chi Khu Đức Thạnh. 136 - Lê Thạc Phụ, ST CNHC B3, b.1930, enlisted May 1965, d. 23 February 1970 at Hoài Đức. 148 - Nguyễn Xuân Sang, BT D7, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba. (document recovered, see 1ATF INTSUM No.160/69, Núi Đất, 9 June 1969, para 7 – as “Nguyễn Xuân Song”.141 191- Đoàn Minh Thi, AT D7, d. 6 June 1969 at Bình Ba. 219 - Dương Văn Vượng, AT C19, d. 7 June 1969 at Bình Ba. Other Sources In May 2012, a Hanoi-based Vietnamese NGO (MARIN)142 sought details on the deaths of 33rd Regiment cadre and soldiers – but without citing the locations of their
141

The recovered documents included a certificate promoting Sang to a company commander position in “A57” signed on 27 May 1969 by a MR7 cadre (Đang Quang). 142 “Tìm thân nhân của 06 liệt sĩ thuộc trung đoàn 33 hy sinh năm 1969”, 2 May 2012. http://www.nhantimdongdoi.org/?mod=chitiet&subcate=3&id=3767 . See also footnotes 112, 219, 237, and

84 deaths. Those cited were: Bùi Thanh Khê (b.1950 – Hải Hưng, Lieutenant, Section 2ic – 1st Battalion) and Phạm Văn Thi (b.1942 – Hải Hưng, Platoon Commander – 1st Battalion) – killed on 27 May 1969; Bùi Văn Đỗ (b.1950 - Hải Hưng, Corporal – 1st Battalion) and Vũ Công Chiến (b.1935 – Hải Phòng, Platoon 2ic) – killed on 6 June 1969; Phí Văn Phê (b.1950 - Thái Bình, soldier) – killed on 8 June 1969; and Đào Bạch Kim (b.1944, Hà Tây, Platoon Commander – also listed with the Hà Sơn Bình Province group) – killed on 9 June 1969. A Vietnamese Internet blogsite143 noted four 33rd Regiment personnel (of the C-18 12.7mm heavy machine gun company) had been killed at Tam Phước on 23 February 1969 during the Regiment’s Tết 1969 operation against the Long Bình complex: 1 - Nguyễn văn Nghinh, Tân Yên-Hà Bắc, b. 1938, enlisted 4/66, Section 2ic. 2- Tống văn Giáp, Đô Lương-Nghệ An, b.1945, enlisted 12/67, Platoon 2ic. 3- Trần văn Lược, Ý Yên-Nam Định, b.1945, enlisted 1/66, soldier. 4- Nguyễn trọng Tý, Đức Thọ-Hà Tĩnh, b.1948, enlisted 12/67, soldier. “False Remains” – the “cậu Thủy Affair”, 2012-2013 In late 2012, Nguyễn Văn Thúy (“cậu Thủy”) – a mystic and soothsayer (“nhà ngoại cảm”), claimed to have discovered 31 sets of remains of soldiers near Ea H’leo village in Đắk Lắk/Darlac Province in the Central Highlands. Some of the remains were purportedly those of 33rd Regiment personnel – and a 33rd Regiment veteran (Colonel Trương Quốc Khởi) was asked to verify the remains. The files of all the “328” 33rd Regiment martyrs killed in the Central Highlands/3 Corps Front in Đắk Lắk in 1968 were reportedly passed to the Đắk Lắk Military Headquarters to support an investigation by the authorities.144 However, in late 2013, Nguyễn Văn Thúy was arrested and charged with falsely claiming to have found human remains - and other related offences. The Battle of Bình Ba – Australian and US Accounts of “Enemy Casualties” The Australian 5RAR After-Action Report for the Battle of Bình Ba 145 claimed 43 enemy killed (1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment). 1ATF contemporary reporting identified the 1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment – together with the Regiment’s heavy machine gun and recoilless rifle elements – and listed 71 enemy killed, six wounded and
340 in main text. Neither Bùi Văn Đỗ (Corporal – 1st Battalion) nor Vũ Công Chiến (Platoon 2ic) – killed on 6 June 1969, appear in the Regiment’s Martyrs’ Lists . 143 http://www.vnmilitaryhistory.net/index.php?action=printpage;topic=20130.0 . 144 Tr ng Dương, “Đề nghị khai quật 73 mộ liệt sĩ 'cậu Thủy' tìm thấy” (“Proposal to excavate the graves of 73 martyrs found by 'cậu Thủy' ”), Vietnam net, 4 November 2013. 145 Khan, C. N. Lieutenant Colonel, 5RAR Combat After Action Report 6/69, op.cit., 11 June 1969, p.3. “43 KIA (BC), 6 WIA (blood trails), 8 PW, 1 Hoi Chanh.” Weapons recovered were: 1 x 75mm RCL, 1 x RPD machine gun, 6 x AK-47, 3 x SKS, 1 x Garand rifle, 1 x Mosin Nagant rifle, 3 x K-54 pistols, 2 x RPG-7, 1 x RPG-2, 1 x 60mm mortar tube, 1 x 82mm mortar base plate and tripod. COMUSMACV also subsequently reported “43 KIA” in the Battle – COMUSMACV, Quarterly Evaluation Report (Second Quarter 1969: 1 April 1969 – 30 June 1969), MACJ3-051, Saigon, 20 August 1969.

85 12 POWs.146 Subsequently – a few years after the Battle, 1ATF reported enemy casualties at Bình Ba as “51 NVA KIA (BC), 11 POWs”.147 According to a 5RAR Regimental History, the enemy casualty figure was later amended to 126 killed after Popular Forces troops reportedly found many more bodies beneath the rubble of destroyed houses in the village.148 The official Australian military history cites a total of 99 enemy killed – 56 of whom were credited to Territorial Force troops (RF and PF) who lost four killed and seven wounded. The official Australian military history also notes: “6 wounded/escaped, PW 8, rallier 1, detainees 28”.149 A 2008 history of the Royal Australian Regiment cites “at least 91 enemy soldiers” killed.150 In 2009, at the 40th Anniversary of the Battle, an Australian commemorative booklet assessed: “it seems that more than 100 VC and NVA, possibly many more, lost their lives in the battle.”151 In August 1969, the US Headquarters II Field Force Vietnam reported that: “One company of the 5th RAR plus Regional Forces and Popular Forces cordoned the village, while another company, supported by tanks and armored personnel carriers, assaulted the enemy in the village. Results of the operation were 43 enemy killed, 8 prisoners and 8 small arms, 3 rocket launchers and 1 mortar captured.”152
146

1ATF, Vietnam Digest, Issue No. 22-69 (period 1st to 6th June 1969), Núi Đất. Not all 12 prisoners were necessarily processed by 1ATF. As noted in the footnote above, the report by the commander of 5RAR – Lieutenant Colonel C.N. Khan, stated: “8 PW, 1 Hoi Chanh”. Subsequent official Australian records indicated that only the following POWs were captured at Bình Ba by Australian forces on 7 June 1969: “Nguyễn Văn Dụy, Pte - C2/1/A/ 57B [sic - more probably 3/2/1/A57) , NVA; B i Văn Lai (sometimes incorrectly as “B i Văn Lan”) – see also the following footnote , C2/B2/A1/D1/33 Regiment - wounded; Trần Văn Thanh - a platoon leader, K1 Battalion/33 Regiment (hospitalised – died of wounds on 26 June 1969); Trần Voi, Pte - C25 Transport Coy, NVA; Lam Văn Bach, B nh Ba Guerrilla Unit; and Hoàng Văn Thanh, B nh Ba Guerrilla Unit.” – AWM98, 493 – HQ AFV (Barcode 904597). In mid-2013, Nguyễn Văn Dụy was living in Phúc Thọ District, Hà Nội; but B i Văn Lai and Trần Voi had deceased in about 2011 – advice to author from 33rd Regiment veterans (28 May 2013). 147 1ATF, INTSUM 268/71, Núi Đất, 25 September 1971. A “B i Văn Lai - b.1937 in Hà Sơn B nh Province” is also listed in the 33rd Regiment’s Martyrs’ List as KIA at B nh Ba on 6 June 1969 (see Appendix 9). 148 Battle, M.R. & Wilkins, D.S. (eds), The Year of the Tigers, op.cit., 2009, p.346, p.350. 149 Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, 2012, p.225 and p.736. Australian POW records show six POW captured by Australian forces at Bình Ba: four members of the 33rd Regiment (including a platoon commander of K1 Battalion) and two members of the Bình Ba Guerrilla Unit. In summary, NVA/VC histories, captured documents, and rallier reports indicate the following casualties: 33rd Regiment: 53 killed; D440 Battalion: possibly 1 killed, or “about 60 casualties” (rallier Lê Văn Nhanh), or “two WIA” – Annex A to de Cure, P.F. Major, D440 LF Battalion, HQ 1ATF – Núi Đất, 29 September 1969 ; C195 Company: 12 killed and 11 wounded ; Châu Đức District Committee: 1 killed; Bình Ba Guerrilla Unit and Village Committee: about 7 killed; Bà Long Province cadre: one killed. 149 40th Anniversary …, op.cit., 2009, p.17. 150 Haines, R. and Breen, B, Chapter 10 – “Main Force Operations – Vietnam 1968-69” - in Horner, D. & Bou, J., Duty First: A history of the Royal Australian Regiment, Allen & Unwin, Second Edition, 2008, p.218. 151 40th Anniversary …, op.cit., 2009, p.17. 152 II Field Force Vietnam, Operational Report – Lessons Learned, Period ending 31 July 1969, 17 December 1969. For the Australian force, results were: 43 enemy KIA, eight prisoners, six AK-47s, three rocket launchers, two K-54 pistols, one 82mm mortar base plate and bipod – see: COMUSMACV, Quarterly Evaluation Report (Second Quarter 1969: 1 April 1969 – 30 June 1969), MACJ3-051, Saigon, 20 August 1969, Annex E, p.63.

86 Australian Military Records In recent years, a group of Canberra-based Australian military historians has conducted an analytical study of about 3,900 engagements by 1ATF during the War against NVA and VC forces (see footnote 475 in the main text) – and produced a “Vietnamese Missing In Action Database”. The Database “identifies the approximate burial site of more than 3,790” NVA and VC soldiers killed in action by elements of 1ATF. The Database also includes cadre and soldiers of units of provincial elements – D440 and D445 local force battalions, district forces, village guerrillas - as well as personnel from the 274th, 275th and 33rd Regiments, rear service personnel, and those killed in engagements outside Phước Tuy Province by 1ATF. This data was formally passed to Vietnamese authorities in March 2010, and the Australian military historians are continuing to refine their study - see: Hall, R., “Operation Wandering Souls”, Wartime, Issue 55, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, July 2011, pp.25-29. Continuing the project, two of the historians – Dr R. Hall and D. de Heer, from the Australian Centre for the Study of Armed Conflict and Society (University of New South Wales – Canberra), visited Vietnam in August 2013.

The Martyrs’ List of the 33rd (A57) Regiment From 1968- 1975 (Eastern Nam Bộ Region.153

153

The stamp is that of the 33rd Regiment Stock Company (Công Ty Cổ Phẩn Trung Đoàn Ba Ba). The photograph - courtesy of the Company’s Director - Phan Đức Chi, was taken by Matthew Chamberlain on 6 November 2012 in Hồ Chí Minh City.

87

Summary of the Martyrs – by Province, Who Died on the Battlefields Fighting the Americans in the Period from July 1968 to May 1975.154

POWs Bình Ba – June 1969 As noted in the main text at footnotes 325 and 328, official Australian records indicate that only the following POWs were captured at Bình Ba by Australian forces on 7 June 1969: Nguyễn Văn Dụy, b.1937, Pte 1st Class – 2nd Company, 1st Battalion, 33rd Regiment (only joined 33rd Regiment in May 1969). Captured at Bình Ba on 7/6/69 by 5RAR. To S2 Baria on 7/6/69, to III CTZ Biên Hòa on 13/6/69, to Phú Quốc on 18/6/69. B i Văn Lai/Lan, b.1937, Pte 1st Class – 2nd Company, 1st Battalion/33rd Regiment. Captured (wounded) at Bình Ba on 7/6/69 by 5RAR. To 74th Field Hospital - Long Bình (No.01306, Bed 323) on 7/6/69, to III CTZ Biên Hòa on 5/7/69, to Phú Quốc on 18/6/69. Deceased post-War. Trần Văn Thanh , b.?, a platoon leader - K1 (ie 1st ) Battalion/33rd Regiment. Captured (wounded) at Bình Ba on 7/6/69 by 5RAR. To 74th Field Hospital – Long Bình (No.01305, Bed 203) on 7/6/69. Died of wounds on 26/6/69.
154

This table appears in the Martyrs’ List book published by Military Region 7 – the stamp of their headquarters is included on the table.

88 Trần Voi, b.1936, Pte - C25 Transport Coy/33rd Regiment. Captured at Bình Ba on 7/6/69 by 5RAR. To S2 Baria on 7/6/69; to III CTZ Biên Hòa on 13/6/69, to Phú Quốc on 18/6/69. Deceased post-War. Lâm Văn Bach, b.1951, Guerilla - Bình Ba Guerrilla Unit. Captured at Bình Ba on 7/6/69 by 5RAR. To S2 Baria 7/6/69; to III CTZ Biên Hòa 13/6/69, to Phú Quốc 18/6/69. Hoàng Văn Thanh, b.1949, Guerilla - Bình Ba Guerrilla Unit. Captured at Bình Ba on 7/6/69 by 5RAR. To S2 Baria 7/6/69; to III CTZ Biên Hòa 13/6/69, to Phú Quốc 18/6/69. Other 33rd Regiment POWs in Australian Records (Two as “NVA” - ie yet to be confirmed as 33rd Regiment personnel): Nguyễn Xuân Trương, b.1951, Pte 1st Class, 2nd Battalion/33rd Regiment, Captured 22/2/69 at YS 153280 by A/3rd Cav Regt. To 74th Field Hospital on 22/2/69 (Hospital No.00672, Bed 611); to II CTZ 17/7/69, to NIC 29/11/69, to Phú Quốc on 19/12/69. Lê Văn Dung, b.1944, Pte 1st Class, 3 Coy/1st Battalion/33rd Regiment, Captured on 28/2/69 at YT 183088 by 4RAR. To 119 LIB on 28/2/69, to III CTZ on 4/3/69, to Phú Quốc on 21/4/69. Nguyễn Văn Xuân, b.1949, Pte – Mail Courier, NVA, Captured (wounded) on 4/6/69 at YS 472889 by 6RAR. To 1 Australian Field Hospital on 4/6/69, to 74th Field Hospital (Hospital No.01289) on 6/6/69, to Cộng Hòa Hospital on 28/6/69, to III CTZ on 19/9/69, to Phú Quốc on 24/4/70. Nguyễn Quang Son, b.1950 – Pte, NVA, Captured on 5/6/69 at YS 437889 by 6RAR. To 74 Field Hospital (No.01292) on 6/6/69, to III CTZ in 7/69, to Phú Quốc on 19/12/69. Võ Minh Khang, b.1945, Pte 1st Class, A57 (33rd Regiment), Captured on 20/12/69 at YS 747906 (K76A Hospital) by 6RAR (poor condition – leg wound). To 8 Fd Amb on 20/12/69, to 24th Evac Hospital (No.561) on 21/12/69, to Cộng Hòa Hospital on 30/12/69, to Biên Hòa on 29/4/70, to Phú Quốc on 1/6/70. Lê Đình Ai, b.1947, Pte, 2nd Battalion/33rd Regiment. Captured on 24/12/69 at YS 750904 (K76A Hospital) by 6RAR. To 8 Fd Amb on 24/12/69, to 24th Evac Hospital on 24/12/69, to III CTZ on 13/2/70. Deceased at Biên Hòa on 4/1/73. Trần Văn Đang, b.1949, Pte, 2nd Battalion/33rd Regiment. Captured (amputee - left foot) on 24/12/69 at YS 750904 (K76A Hospital) by 6RAR. To 8 Fd Amb on 24/12/69, to 24th Evac Hospital on 24/12/69, to Cộng Hòa Hospital on 30/12/69, to III CTZ on 10/170.

89 Appendix 10 Party Cadre’s Notebook: Critique of the 33rd Regiment155 (from a Political Cadre’s156 Notebook: covering October 1969-February 1970)

“5 January 1970 E33/F5 ((33rd Regiment of the 5th VC Division)) Status of Morale This unit is displaying pessimism. They complain about the rigours that they have endured, the fierceness of the War, and the intense destruction of their areas of operation. They were unable to go into action. T7 ((Military Region 7)) could not hold its ground. They have effectively noted the two tendencies ((possibly relating to courses of action in COSVN Resolution 9)). They have under-estimated the balance of power between us and the enemy. They wanted to move out for re-organisation. During the conferences held by their Party Committee, the participants fought each other ((meaning had dissensions)). Cadre were non-conformist in behaviour and skeptical. Their ideological guidance was poor. Instead of acting as a mobile force, the 33rd Regiment only took part in food supply missions, saying that they were frequently stricken by the enemy and their personnel suffered a constant shortage of rice. Indoctrination on Resolution 9 157 Not one regimental cadre of the 33rd Regiment has attended the training on the methods of conducting indoctrination on Resolution 9. They depend on 84’s ((probably

155

CDEC Log 06-2469-70 as VCAT 2121212007 (primary reference) – and also VCAT 2121508002 and VCAT 2121513001. Notes in double brackets - ie (( )) are the contemporary comments by the CDEC analysts. The notebook was captured on 11 June 1970 in Kompong Cham Province – Cambodia (XU 486106) by the US 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment. The notebook’s author appears to have been a senior political cadre at COSVN – or, less likely, at Military Region 7. Most of the entries appear related to Military Regions 6 and 7 – ie reporting on the 33rd Regiment, the 10th Regiment (ie in the RSSZ), and also elements in Tuyên Đức and Lâm Đồng provinces. 156 Vietnamese communist terminology does not use a term for officer or non-commissioned officer (cf the Republic of Vietnam’s “sĩ quan” for officer etc). The communist term “cadre” (“cán bộ”) – ie as distinct from soldier (“chiến sĩ”), is generally applied to personnel in leadership positions of section/squad deputy leader (and above) in armed elements; and to cell leaders (and above) in political infrastructure and front organisations. Vietnamese communists also use a unique collective term for communist “troops” – ie “bộ đội”. 157 COSVN Resolution 9 was issued in July 1969. Following the major attacks of 1968, the Resolution directed the conservation of unit strengths, scaling back the size of attacks, reverting to more guerrilla warfare, and disrupting the pacification programme. Larger units were to be broken down into smaller ones, and sapper tactics emphasised.

90 the 84 Rear Services Group)) cadre to tell them the training contents and to prepare training materials for their elementary cadre. Result of the Political Re-orientation They agreed with the policy line ((of Resolution 9)). They have determination – but not much. D7 ((probably the 1st (aka) 7th Battalion)) has succeeded in restoring the unity of its personnel. Their combat achievements have been poor and their leadership weak. Battalion Political Officer Liêm158 and Battalion Commanding Officer Lanh did not have faith in the effectiveness of the political re-orientation. The cadre of the Command Committee distrusted each other. During the Party Congress held after the re-orientation, the participants argued among themselves. Actual Problems Their estimation of the enemy’s power and our capability is inaccurate. They believe that the enemy is still strong. X Lộc ((sic – probably meaning Xuân Lộc District)) battlefield is an example. They think the difficulties which confront us are too numerous. Such a state of mind has adversely affected their determination to fight. Some personnel were inclined to conduct separate attacks. We encountered many difficulties and many of our personnel were hungry. Thirty percent of the food was substitute rations. At present, we only have 20% of the quantity of rice allowed. This shortage can be substituted with green beans and soy beans. D/Dq + 7 ((sic)): The personnel believed that with this system of food supply, they could not fight effectively and win the battle. Strengthening of Forces The headquarters must convene all battalions and companies for a meeting. Recapitulation: Party Chapters must recapitulate the achievements attained based on the criteria prescribed for the “Four-Good-Qualities”159 Party Chapters and outstanding emulators.
158

A “Liêm” is noted as the Regiment’s political commissar 1966-1969 – before moving to the 5th VC Division in 1969 – see footnotes 145, 207, and 218 in the main text; and later as the political director (chủ nhiệm) of the Regiment in 1977-1979 – see Tổ Chức Ban Chỉ Huy Trung Đoàn 33 Qua Các Thời Kỳ (The Headquarters Organisation of the 33rd Regiment in Past Years) – in Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), Quá Trình Hình Thành Và Chiến Đấu Của Trung Đoàn 33 Anh Hùng – Từ năm 1965-2010 – (The Development and Combat History of the Heroic 33rd Regiment – from 1965 to 2010), Vũng Tàu, 2010 – as Appendix 2. 159 The “Four Good Qualities” for Party Chapters (“Chi Bộ 4 Tốt”) were described in a captured notebook. They required Party Chapters to be: “Good in ideological guidance; Good in leadership of the unit; Good in promoting solidarity between the people and the Army; and Good in the recruitment and training of Party members and improvement of Party Chapters.” The noteboo k described the “Code of Discipline” (12

91 Counter-psywar and Open Arms activity courses should be conducted for the personnel. Technical and military training should be given to its personnel. Improve the political cadre. Review the management of material facilities. Disseminate the Uncle’s virtuous examples to personnel and use these examples as training material for indoctrination. Only 50 percent of the personnel participated in combat activities. Half of the personnel strength is composed of specialists. D7 ((7th Battalion)): 50 ((personnel)) were still weak. Improve the specialised skills for 47 members. D8 ((8th Battalion)): Organise a meeting of all key cadre of the unit. Elect the number of outstanding emulators and brave soldiers. The personnel must be full determined to fight on any battlefield. Cadre: Battalion cadre: 3dbv ((possibly: three NVA battalions)) have 24 cadre. Yen of T2; D7 ((7th Battalion)). Ngũ160 is a DF ((Battalion Executive Officer)). Sử is a DVF (Battalion Assistant Political Officer)). D9 ((9th Battalion); Phan Thi ((Battalion)) Commander; Duyên (Assistant Battalion Political Officer), Dương (Battalion Political Officer). The cadre in charge of training: Dương, Chuyên, Duyên and Châu 5 of D cadre ((sic)). C cadre ((Company cadre)): D7 ((7th Battalion)): Two CT ((company commanders)), one CF ((company executive officer)), and one CV ((political officer)). Two company commanders are qualified specialised company commanders. D ((Battalion)) cadre have a better political than military knowledge. Concerning the personnel of the three battalions: The company cadre are poor in the military and ideological fields. Cadre of D9 ((9th Battalion)): Five C ((company)) cadre - which comprised two-thirds of the cadre, abandoned their combat activities to perform specialised tasks. One political officer, one assistant political officer, and one company executive officer are still weak in skills.

precepts), an “Oath of Honour” (12), the “Rules of Secrecy” (15), the “Three Main Rules of Discipline and the “Eight Points of Attention”; and the “Four Good Qualities” required of Party Chapters. The owner of the notebook was a cadre: Bùi Văn Hiền – probably the political officer, of C12 Company of the 33 rd Regiment’s 9th (ie 3rd) Battalion – see VCAT Item No.2300811008. 160 A Comrade “Ngự” is noted as the political director (chủ nhiệm chính trị) of the Regiment in 1969-1973 – see Tổ Chức Ban Chỉ Huy Trung Đoàn 33 Qua Các Thời Kỳ (The Headquarters Organisation of the 33rd Regiment in Past Years), op.cit., 2010 – see Appendix 16.

92 Defectors: Six servicemen and three of our agents defected. Four personnel moved to an area under enemy control. Two personnel deserted from the ranks. There were no defectors from Jan to Feb to date ((year unspecified)) because of the enemy’s decrease in military activities. We suffered six KIAs during the first six months. Political Indoctrination: Party Chapter activities: Party cell members maintained their activities. The Group Chapter did not hold their caucuses for the last two months. Democracy in economy could not be implemented. The critique for internal improvement was poor. Self sufficiency was not equally practised. The chief of the Rear Services Section was corrupt. D8 ((8th Battalion)) has 100 ((probably unit members)) who have not attended a political re-orientation course. Cadre have displayed a militaristic attitude. The cadre at C ((company)) level are very weak which has adversely affected the cadre and the soldiers’ solidarity. Organisation and Discipline The personnel were lax in maintaining discipline and many were selfish. Many of them stole government property, things which belonged to their comrades-inarms, and the people’s crops. Party Organisation. There are 800 Party members. The number of Chapter Party Committees is adequate. Party members are of good quality. Conscription: Youths from 18 to 20 will be mobilised. Party Committee echelons and Party cells are weak in leadership. 6 January 1970 Military Region 7 … … etc.

93 Appendix 11 THE BATTLE OF BINH BA - a baffling “Mystery” and SIGINT failure ? – NO !161 Brigadier (Retd) E.P. Chamberlain162 On 6 June 1969, the Australian Task Force’s Ready Reaction Force (RRF) engaged the 33rd North Vietnamese Army (NVA) Regiment at Binh Ba village – about six kilometres north of the 1st Task Force’s (1ATF’s) Nui Dat base. The official Australian history – “Fighting to the Finish” (2012), contends that: “(in) the enemy mystery” … “there seemed to be no clear rationale for their ((NVA/VC)) actions. Australian commanders and intelligence officers were baffled. During the initial occupation of Binh Ba, 33 NVA Regiment had apparently maintained strict radio silence, eluding task force signals intelligence.” – p.237. That account in the official history is incorrect and needs clarification. With Presidents Nixon and Thieu scheduled to meet on Midway Island on 8 June 1969 and the communists’ Provisional Revolutionary Government (PRG) to be formally announced on 10 June, 1ATF intelligence reporting from the period indicated that Hanoi planned a period of “high point” attacks in the South from early to mid-June 1969 “to emphasize the enemy’s ((ie NVA/VC’s)) continuing capability to conduct offensive action.” The Viet Cong’s Military Region 7 established a “Campaign Headquarters” to direct the “high point” activity in their Ba Ria-Long Khanh Province, including a major attack against the village of Binh Ba – and lesser attacks on both Hoa Long and Hoi My villages. The attack would include an ambush of any 1ATF Ready Reaction Force. At the end of May 1969, the 1,100-strong 33rd NVA Regiment was “fixed” by signals intelligence (SIGINT) direction-finding in south-eastern Long Khanh Province about 55 kilometres north-east of Nui Dat.163 33rd Regiment’s principal radio station was intercepted and tracked by 1ATF’s 547 Signal Troop as the Regiment then moved southwest into Phuoc Tuy Province – crossing the Song Ray River on 2 June and located just north of Binh Ba village near Duc Trung hamlet on 4 June. The Task Force commander and the senior staff were progressively briefed on the 33rd Regiment’s movements. The VC’s D440 Local Force Battalion was initially scheduled to occupy Binh Ba village – with the 33rd NVA Regiment to then ambush the expected 1ATF relief force as it moved north up Route 2 from Nui Dat. However, D440 was attacked by an Australian element while in its pre-assembly area, and the “occupation task” was re-assigned to the

161

This article appeared in The Bridges Review – Journal of the Australian Intelligence Corps, Issue 1, January 2013, p.91. 162 In June 1969, Lieutenant E.P. Chamberlain served as the 1ATF intelligence liaison officer in Baria. 163 The SIGINT “fixes” of the 33rd NVA Regiment’s movements towards Binh Ba village were declassified by the responsible Canberra-based agency in early 2011 and provided to the author.

94 33rd Regiment’s 1st Battalion. D440 later played a limited “cameo” role in the Battle – losing several killed and a 75mm RCL captured. Recently available Vietnamese material indicates that the 2nd Battalion of the 33rd Regiment occupied ambush positions south of Binh Ba awaiting the 1ATF Ready Reaction Force. However, that ambush was reportedly not “triggered” by the Regiment’s tactical headquarters as “the Australians were too dispersed - in groups of two to three vehicles”. It appears that the commanders of both the 33rd Regiment and its 2nd Battalion were subsequently chastised for that failure. In July 2003, the 33rd NVA Regiment established a memorial complex at Binh Ba as, post-War, many of Regiment’s soldiers settled in the South. Their monument lists the names of 53 of their soldiers who were killed in the Battle. The conduct of the Battle of Binh Ba is described in the recently-published official history “Fighting to the Finish” and in 5RAR’s “The Year of the Tigers” (2009) – ie: “99” NVA/VC were reported killed, and one Australian soldier was killed in action. The foregoing account evidences that – contrary to the recently-published Australian official history, the 33rd Regiment was not on “strict radio silence”. The 1ATF intelligence staff had indeed processed the SIGINT provided by 547 Signal Troop and informed the Commander of the movements of the 33rd NVA Regiment. Intelligence staff were not “baffled”. Regrettably, it is unlikely that the official history will be formally amended to reflect a more accurate record of the intelligence and SIGINT history of the Battle of Binh Ba.

95 Appendix 12 33rd Regiment Organogram – 3 July 1968164

164

Produced by 1ATF: Cameron, G.C. Major, Outline ORBAT Details: 32 and 33 NVA Regts, Núi Đất, 3 July 1968. For an earlier US organogram of the 33 rd Regiment dated 1 January 1966, see footnotes 14 and 129 in the main text.

96

97 Appendix 13

3rd Battalion, 33rd Regiment: Outline Organisation - 1971165

165

3 BN 33 NVA REGT, Annex F to 1ATF INTSUM No. 122/71, Núi Đất, 2 May 1971.

98

99 Appendix 14 Outline Organisation of the 33rd Regiment - 1971166

166

1ATF, 33 NVA Regiment Order of Battle, Outline Organisation of 33 Regt, Appendix 3 to Annex F to 1ATF INTSUM No.264/71, Núi Đất, 21 September 1971.

100

101 Appendix 15 Outline Organisation of the 33rd (A57) Regiment During the Hồ Chí Minh Campaign in 1975167

167

This organogram has been extracted from the 33rd Regiment “Summary History” – ie: Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), Quá Trình …, op.cit., 2010 – see Appendix 2.

102

103 Appendix 16

The Organisation of the Headquarters of the 33rd Regiment in Past Years168 The Regiment was established on 19 February 1965, comprising three battalions and seven directly-commanded companies. The 1st Battalion was from the 308th Division, the 2nd Battalion from the 305th Division, and the 3rd Battalion from the 320th Division. Regiment Commander: Regiment Political Commissar: Chief of Staff: Deputy Political Commissar; Deputy Chief of Staff: 1st Battalion: Commander: Political Officer: 2nd Battalion: Commander: Political Officer 3rd Battalion: From 1966 to 1969: Regiment Commander: Deputy Regiment Commander: Political Commissar: Chief – Political Section Deputy Chief – Political Section Chief of Staff Deputy Chief of Staff Comrade Vũ Sắc Comrade Hồ Trọng Bá Comrade Nguyễn Đức Khôi Comrade Nào Comrade Định

Comrade Nguyệt Comrade Phùng

Comrade Dực Comrade Định [sic] Văn Đạt

Comrade Tô Đình Khản [sic]169 - Comrade Ma Văn Minh. Comrade Cảo Comrade Liêm Comrade Nam Comrade Đinh Văn Đạt Comrade Hải Comrade Xa

Tết Mậu Thân 1968 – Comrades Khôi and Liệu, and the 3rd Battalion were re-assigned to strengthen the 320th Regiment.170
168

Translator’s (Chamberlain’s) Note:This is a verbatim translation of the two-page listing titled: Tổ Chức Ban Chỉ Huy Trung Đoàn 33 Qua Các Thời Kỳ (The Organisation of the Headquarters of the 33 rd Regiment in Past Years) – in: Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), Quá Trình Hình Thành Và Chiến Đấu Của Trung Đoàn 33 Anh Hùng – Từ năm 1965-2010 – (The Development and Combat History of the Heroic 33 rd Regiment – from 1965 to 2010), Vũng Tàu, 2010 – see Appendix 2. 169 Translator’s Note: ie Tô Đình Khảm.

104

1st Battalion: Commander: Comrade Phương Political Officer: Comrade Thường In the second phase of 1968, Comrade Phương was killed; Comrade Thản replaced Comrade [sic – name omitted]. 101, B3 replaced D92 (8th Battalion). Commander: Comrade Triệu Political Officer: Comrade Vĩnh 3rd Battalion171: At the end of 1965, Comrade Xảo was killed and replaced by Comrade Doan; Political Officer Comrade Cử was wounded and replaced by Comrade Thái. The 39th [sic] Battalion replaced the 2nd Battalion. Commander: Comrade Rợ Political Officer: Comrade Kha  After the second phase in1968, the 1st and 2nd Battalions remained. The 3rd Battalion became a Regiment.172 The Regiment established a new 1st Battalion. The 101st Battalion of the B3 Front combined with the 39th Battalion173 and was called the 8th Battalion.  After the third phase in 1968, the 39th Battalion remained in Đắc Lắc and was replaced by the 3rd Battalion. Political Officer: Chief – Political Section: Chief – Rear Services: Spring 1969, 1970, and 1971: Comrade Cao Hỷ174 replaced Comrade Ma Văn Minh as Regiment Commander – with Ma Văn Minh assigned to the Military Region. Comrade Đinh Văn Đạt became the Political Commissar replacing Liêm who was transferred to the 5th Division. Chief of Staff: Comrade Nguyễn Huy Thản Deputy Chief of Staff: Comrade Lê Bá Lộc Deputy Chief of Staff: Comrade Nguyễn Văn Chau and Comrade Quách Thái Sơn Chief – Political Section: Comrade Ngụ
170

Comrade Hồ Sỹ Tường Comrade Đinh Văn Đạt Comrade Thụy

Translator’s Note: The 320th Regiment (aka 32nd Regiment) ambushed the ARVN relief column north of the Plei Me camp on 23 October 1965. It later became a formation of the 1 st NVA Division. 171 Translator’s Note: The 2nd Battalion is not separately listed. 172 Translator’s Note: Typing errors make this unclear ie: “D3 dei62u sang E.” 173 Translator’s Note: A VC “39th Battalion” with a strength of “350 Montagnards” was located in Quảng Ngãi Province in April 1967 – VCAT Item No. F034600852422. 174 Translator’s Note: Hoàng Cao Hỷ - see footnotes 232, 276, 466, and 472 in the main text.

105 Deputy Chief – Political: Chief – Rear Services: Deputy – Rear Services: 1972, 1973: Commander: Deputy Commander: Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff: Chief – Political Section: Deputy Chief – Political: Rear Services: Deputy – Rear Services: 1974, 1975175: Commander: Comrade Nguyễn Huy Thản Deputy Commander: Comrade Triệu Kim Sơn Acting Political Commissar: Comrade Vũ Phat – replacing Comrade Đinh Văn Đạt who was assigned to 6th Division. Deputy Commander and Comrade Lê Bá Lộc – replacing Chief of Staff: Comrade Đào assigned to Military Region. Chief – Political Section: Comrade Trần Thi Thức (d. 26 April 1975). Deputy Chief – Political: Comrade Trần Văn Luận Deputy Chief – Political: Comrade Phan Trọng Dương Rear Services: Comrade Phan Văn Vĩnh 1976, 1977: Commander: Deputy Commander: Acting Political Commissar: Rear Services: Comrade Chu Kim Thạch Comrade Triệu Kim Sơn Comrade Vũ Phát Comrade Hải Comrade Nguyễn Văn Thường Comrade Triệu Kim Sơn Comrade Lê Bá Lộc Comrade Ngụ Comrade Trần Thi Thức Comrade Hải – replacing Comrade Lê Thạc Phụ. Comrade Đỗ Trọng Vượng Comrade Hồ Sỹ Tường Comrade Lê Thạc Phụ Comrade Hải

175

Translator’s Note: Further 33rd Regiment cadre are noted in the: Outline Organisation of the 33rd (A57) Regiment During the Hồ Chí Minh Campaign in 1975 – see Appendix 15.

106 1977, 1979: Commander: Political Commissar: Chief of Staff: Chief – Political Section: Rear Services Section: Comrade Vũ Viết Cam – from the 5th Division. Comrade Nguyễn Văn Luận Comrade Nguyễn Văn Khán – from Group 500. Comrade Liêm Comrade Vĩnh.

Lê Bá Lộc : 33rd Regiment 2ic and Chief of Staff – 1971

107 Appendix 17 33rd Regiment Headquarters Locations: 29 April - 2 July 1969

In April 2011, the Australian Department of Defence declassified and released several of their weekly “Summary of V.C. and N.V.A. Military Activities in Bien Hoa, Long Khanh and Phuoc Tuy Provinces” (Summaries 9/69 to 17/69). These indicative locations of the Headquarters of the 33rd NVA Regiment in the period 29 April to 2 July 1969 are shown on the composite map above – with dates indicated as “day/month”. They represent the “end-of-the week” locations - based on SIGINT direction-finding information provided by 1ATF’s 547 Sig Tp, of the 33rd Regiment Headquarters’ principal radio communications site (Chicom 102E HF radio – 15w, a copy of the US AN/GRC9) which was routinely sited at least one kilometre distant from the Regiment’s Headquarters. On the map, while these locations have been connected by “straight lines”, they do not represent the actual movement routes of the Regiment between the weekly summarised locations of the Headquarters.

108

109 Appendix 18 Military Region (MR) 3/III Corps Tactical Zone (CTZ)176 Republic of Vietnam

176

In July 1970, each of the four Corps Tactical Zones (CTZ) became a Military Region – Presidential Decree 614b TT/SL, Military Repartition of National Territory, Saigon, 1 July 1970.

110

111 Appendix 19 Phước Tuy Province

Phước Tuy Province177 was about 55 kilometres from east-to-west and about 35 kilometres from north-to-south (an area of about 1,958 sq km – about 83% of the size of the Australian Captial Territory). The Province capital - Phước Lễ/Bà Rịa Town, was about 110 kilometres by road south-east of Sài Gòn via Route 15 (nowadays Route 51). In 1967, the population of the Province was about 103,000 - including Bà Rịa Town’s population of about 15,600; and was 112,683 in January 1970. The Government districts in Phước Tuy Province were: Long Lễ (40,529), Long Điền (36,465), Đất Đỏ (23,597), Đức Thạnh (9,791), and Xuyên Mộc (2,301). The population lived in 22 villages (106 hamlets). Occupationally, 45% of workers were farmers, 20% were fishermen, and 10% were classified as labourers. The communist (PRG/NLF) districts (underlined on the map above – and with solid-line boundaries) were: Châu Đức, Long Đất, Xuyên Mộc, and the Bà Rịa Special Zone – and briefly Long Xuyên (a combination of Long Đất and Xuyên Mộc Districts).
177

1ATF, Phuoc Tuy Information Brief, Fourth Edition, Núi Đất, July 1970 – see AWM95, 1/4/201; 1 ATF, Provincial Data Handbook – Phuoc Tuy Province and Long Thanh District, Núi Đất, 30 October 1969; 1 Psyops Unit, Province Survey – Phuoc Tuy Province, Núi Đất, 1971.

112

113 Appendix 20 Long Khánh178 and Bình Tuy Provinces

178

Long Khánh Province had a total land area of 4,000 square kilometres – with a maximum length of 90 kilometres and an average width of 70 kilometres. It comprised two Districts: Xuân Lộc and Định Quán – its population of 131,300 (1965) lived in 18 villages (107 hamlets). For further data on Long Khánh Province, see footnotes 11 and 144 in the main text.

114

115 Appendix 21 The Battle of Bình Ba – June 1969 : NVA/VC Deployments179

179

Source: Chamberlain, E.P., The Viet Cong D440 Battalion: Their Story, op.cit., 2013.

116

117 Appendix 22 Personal Accounts of the Battle of Bình Ba by 1st Battalion Veterans: Bùi Đức Phong, Nguyễn Văn Dụy Document : The 33rd Heroic Regiment Name: B i Đức Phong Date of Birth: 1948 Residence: Thái Giang village, Thái Thụy District, Thái Bình Province I enlisted in November 1965, moved South in January 1968, and joined the 1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment in about August-September 1968 in Tay Ninh Province. Soon after joining the Battalion, the unit was hit by a B52 strike. I was knocked down by the blast – I was about two metres from my bunker but was unable to reach it. After the bombing, I was able to go down into the bunker but there was still artillery fire. Very luckily, no one in the unit was wounded. The 33rd Regiment was a main-force unit that operated in six provinces of Eastern Nam Bo. It operated very close to the enemy and created a reputation and legacy on the battlefield. The Regiment fulfilled the mission assigned by the Central Military Committee. In combat, it held tightly to the enemy’s belt, put the enemy under pressure and destroyed them. The Regiment did not allow the enemy to easily reinforce one another. The first battle in which I participated was the attack on the logistics complex at Long Bình at the end of 1968 and the beginning of 1969. This was followed by the Battle of Bau Coi in which the Regiment was reinforced by H12 rockets from the 75th Artillery Group, and we completely wiped out a Thai battalion positioned in an open cleared area at Bau Coi. Then, we attacked the hamlet [sic] of Bình Ba, ambushed the enemy on Route 25, attacked Dinh Quan, struck the enemy on Route 20, attacked the enemy on operations outside the Ong Que plantation, struck Bình Loc and Bao B nh … The battle that I can never forget is the battle with the tanks at Bình Ba hamlet. In that battle, we lost a battalion, only I, comrade Hung – the Signals Platoon Commander, and Comrade Bao – a liaison soldier, escaped death and returned (today, I am probably the only one left). At that time, Bay180 was the Battalion second-in-command and Miện181 was the Battalion’s deputy political officer. They received orders from above – I’m not clear when, but two days before ((the battle)) they organised a force to reconnoitre the terrain and deployed the Battalion to positions close to the battlefield on the night of 5 June ((1969)). The 1st Company and the 2nd Company – together with the Battalion Headquarters and our medical group, attacked Bình Ba, while the 3rd Company attacked

180

Translator’s Note: Probably Nguyễn Văn Tiểu (Bảy Tiểu) – see f.273 in the main text for his involvement at the Battle of Bình Ba – and also Appendix 9 (reportedly killed in action on 29 November 1970 at Hàm Tân/Bình Tuy). 181 Translator’s Note: It is highly likely that “Miện” is Bùi Quang Miên, b.1942 - Hải Hưng, enlisted February 164, function DP D7 (ie Battalion 2ic, 1st Battalion), noted in the Martyrs’ List (see Appendix 9) as killed in action at Bình Ba on 6 June 1969. He was awarded the Military Feats Medal 2nd Class: Huân Chương chiến công hạng nhì. See also p.62 and p.75 in the main text.

118 Bình Ba Lang [sic].182 At first, the Battalion concentrated at the edge of the village in an area of recently harvested rice fields and dug combat positions at the edges of the fields. At exactly H-hour, the whole unit opened fire on the battlefield. The enemy was caught by surprise – and, apart from those killed and left on the battlefield, the remainder fled. Bay ordered the companies to exploit the on-site terrain of the village and defend against enemy coming up the road from Nui Dat. The 1st Company manned the outer defences, and the 2nd Company was in the hamlet. The 3rd Company was unable to make contact – so, after the fighting, Moc - the Company Political Office, withdrew it to back to the base. At first, my surgery team was at the edge of the village but when the Battalion Headquarters entered the hamlet, Mien took us with it – afraid to leave us behind in an exposed position without any force to defend us. So, together with the Battalion Headquarters, we occupied a house about 200 metres from the initial concentration point, from which to command the troops. In the house, there was an above-ground bunker. At about 0600-0630hrs on 6 June 1969, our reconnaissance element returned and reported that enemy tanks were approaching. Bay gave orders that the approaching tanks had to be attacked and prevented from advancing. In the first minutes, our troops fired on and set fire to three tanks. The enemy stopped to consolidate, and our reconnaissance element reported that the enemy tanks were continuing to advance. At this time, Bay told Mien: you stay here and I’ll go directly down to the companies and then return with the wounded. I finished treating the wounded – those with light wounds returned to the fighting. Of those with heavier wounds, some walked themselves, while some had to be helped or carried back. However, there were a large number of helicopters overhead that fired fiercely on the tracks preventing our troops from moving. It continued like that – we fired on and set fire to the enemy’s tanks that withdrew to consolidate, and then advanced again. In the sky, the helicopters circled and fired down on us – and we had no antiaircraft weapons. The two sides engaged decisively from 0700hrs to 1900hrs. Our defending troops had run out of anti-tank ammunition. At that time, Mien announced: That’s it – you leave first. Together with a number of our wounded and the courier Comrade Bao, I ran past a pig pen that had a chicken coop on top of it – and then past a roof-less latrine. The enemy’s tanks were firing even closer – tiles were flying everywhere, falling branches from the trees were causing casualties, and in the sky the circling helicopters in turn fired on the battlefield. Comrade Ba and I were unable to run through the gate, but were forced to turn right and run from the rubber plantation towards Bình Ba Lang. After running for a distance, enemy tanks and infantry in Bình Ba Lang engaged us – and at this time, I was wounded and the flowing blood made me slip in my sandals. We ran back and then hid in a small church. I told Bao: it’s not safe here, let’s run back to the former place. On the way running back past a grassed area, there was a rubbish pit more than 100 metres from a villager’s house – where we crawled in and covered ourselves with rubbish. Lying on our backs, we saw an enemy tank moving towards us. Then, the battlefield became silent, and we could just hear a buzzing sound –
182

Translator’s Note: Bình Ba Lang was the area of the village near the school – where the fiercest fighting reportedly took place and the site of the mass grave of the 33 rd Regiment personnel killed in action. Bình Ba Xăng was an area in the village directly opposite Bình Ba Lang – ie on the eastern side of Route 2.

119 but not very clearly. Luckily, nobody came to throw out their rubbish or came to the pit where we were. Only a hen with its chicks came to fossick for food where we were hidden. It intended to nest there, saw us, and clucked continuously. I was a little scared at that time. A few minutes later, it started to rain, and the hen led its chicks away. The two of us held our breath until 2200hrs that evening. We couldn’t see anyone taking out their rubbish, so we got up and followed a path skirting the rubber plantation that led out of the village. When about 100 metres from the village, we suddenly heard a shout of “who’s there ?” – and comrade Bao also shouted back “who’s there ?”. We recognised that it was Hung – the signals platoon commander. So, the three of us together left the rubber plantation, moved into the jungle, crossed a stream, and returned to our base. Early the following morning, I was taken to the Regiment’s medical company and had my wounds treated. They operated, but were unable to remove a bullet. Then, the enemy launched a sweep towards us, and I was carried to the regional Military Region 7 hospital. I was there for about ten days, before returning to the unit. In March 1973, I was sent to study in the North. Many times when I think about the war against the Americans, I get goose bumps. Apart from the violence and ferocity, there was also a great amount of hardship and sickness. We routinely had to eat cassava and green bananas in lieu of rice. Missing meals was common. I avoided death three or four times. Thankfully our Party was marvellous in being able to mobilise all the people across the country to very heroically participate in the fighting with a great outcome. For me personally, I studied to Level 3 as the son of a martyr who fought the French, and enthusiastically volunteered to serve as a soldier and was able to ask to go to fight in the South. I deployed by foot from Hà Bắc down the Annamite Mountain Chain to Katum in Sông Bé. There was hunger, it was cold, and there was illness – but we marched on without any complaint at all.

NguyễnVăn Dụy and B i Đức Phong at the 33rd Regiment’s Reunion

120 Phúc Thọ, Hà Nội - 21 July 2013. Socialist Republic of Vietnam Independence, Freedom, Happiness A First-Hand Personal Account183 Nguyễn Văn Dụy Born: 1937. Resident of Ngọc Tảo village, Phúc Thọ, Hà Nội 2. Now retired and living in my home village. Service history: From 1962 to 1968, I was a teacher at Level I and taught in the schools in the local district. In June 1968, I enlisted in the regional troops unit at the Level I School at Thạch Đà village in Phúc Thọ, Hà Nội 2. My military training period was from June to December 1968 at Quảng Mào in Ninh Bình Province – after which I was sent as a reinforcement to Military Region 7 ((T 7)). The battle in Bình Ba village occurred as follows. On 5 June 1969, after we had finished our meal, the unit deployed to strike the Australian military who had a defensive position at Núi Đất. The unit moved to its forward positions at 9pm – when all the Australian troops had withdrawn completely. The unit deployed to launch the attack to assist the local troops with the aim of luring out the enemy relief force to be ambushed by the 2nd Regiment [sic]184 and attacking the enemy’s tanks. We were assigned by the headquarters as the forward element to enter the hamlet and concealed ourselves in the edges of the rubber plantation. When we heard the enemy open fire, we were to assault in unison – that was at 5am. However, the time to attack had passed, and we had not heard any explosions. Although we had no order to open fire, all the columns of the unit attacked en masse. When we got there, we found only empty gardens and houses – the Regional Forces and the villagers had fled to the District Headquarters – but we didn’t know when. There was just us – so the headquarters raised the liberation flag and, using a loud-speaker, called on the villagers to return as our troops had come to liberate the people. As for our defensive plan of digging pits and setting up fighting posts – we were also unable to implement that. At about 8am on the 6th, a reconnaissance aircraft flew overhead and directed artillery fire towards us. From outside the village area, tanks, armoured vehicles, and infantry poured into the hamlet. We had to allow the enemy to get close before we could engage them. I was assigned – together with section deputy commander Hoan, to fire the B40 from the main position. When two M113s came into the hamlet, Comrade Hoan fired and disabled the leading vehicle – and we then moved to another position. The enemy used the cannon fire from their tanks to shoot into and destroy the people’s houses because they knew that we had set up fighting posts in the houses. By 2pm, Comrade Hoan had set fire to six tanks. However, because the enemy was so numerous, they were able to overrun the hamlet. At this time, we were interspersed with the enemy.
183

Author/Translator’s Note: This account – “Bản Tự Thuật Cá Nhân”, was provided to the author/translator in late March 2014. 184 Translator’s Note: Other accounts note that the Australian force was to be ambushed by the Regiment’s 2nd Battalion.

121 There were times when they had us trapped in houses. By then, the headquarters had also lost contact with its elements and was unable to command. We were forced to make our own contact. If the headquarters needed to make contact, they had to use couriers to run through a scene of falling bombs and exploding ammunition. There were casualties in all the chaos because there was no one who knew this area at all - or any routes for our withdrawal. Comrade Hoan ran in one direction – and I ran in another. At this time I was struck on the left side of my temple by fragments from a cannon shell fired by an enemy tank. The battalion medic bandaged me, and we ran off seeking an escape route. When we got to the top of the hamlet, we were discovered and came under intense enemy fire. At this time, we were still together. Outside the hamlet, I became surrounded – and heavy rain began to fall. I was shivering with cold because I was wet. Moreover, blood was continuing to flow from the bandage on my head. I realized that the situation was dangerous, and I would be captured. I hid my AK in some bushes – as by now I had no ammunition left. I was less than about 40 metres from the attacking enemy, and - when they advanced and captured185 me, I was empty-handed. Seeing that I was wounded, they re-bandaged me, gave me an injection, and then bound me and took me to their headquarters. There I saw our battalion medic and some local force comrades sitting on the ground near me. The enemy then held us temporarily in an armoured vehicle until the fighting had ended. They took me to the District Headquarters186 where a Northerner - and even some women, tried psychological tricks with the aim getting me to join them. These games went on for quite a while – and being unsuccessful, they threatened to beat me. My arms and legs were tied to a table. Angrily, they cursed me and kicked me on the body and in the face – then left me like that through the night. The next morning – 7 June 1969, they completed an affidavit on my statements in which they declared that they had not struck me at all, and I was taken to the Phước Tuy Province 2nd Department187 and held there. In the afternoon, I was taken for questioning. At first, they tried to entice me by using psychological tricks as before. If I were to follow the national government, I would be happy – with money and girls to serve me. However, they saw that their enticements were unsuccessful and left – and another entered and continued to threaten me with implements of torture. In particular, I heard one of them – a Northerner, say quietly that whatever I had declared previously – I should repeat or else I might end up dead. Accordingly, I followed his words and restated what I had said at the District. Then they became angry, questioned me for some time, and whipped me on the back. However, I continued to claim that I had told the truth – so later they stopped beating me, and I was returned to the cell where I had been held. Although I saw that there were others in the rooms, no one looked at each other. Lying down, I could hear the moans and cries of my comrades in the rooms above. The next morning when I was questioned, they put forward three proposals. If I spoke the truth, I would be well-treated and - by returning to the national government,
185

Translator’s Note: Australian military records indicate that Nguyễn Văn Dụy– born 5 July 1937, was captured at 4pm on 6 June 1969 by elements of 5RAR at YS 450740 (ie the north-eastern section of Bình Ba village) – see L’Epagniol, J.L. Major, Interrogation Report, Det 1 Div Int Unit, Núi Đất, 19 June 1969. 186 Translator’s Note: Đức Thạnh District/Sub-Sector Headquarters. 187 Translator’s Note: S2 – the Intelligence Section at the Phước Tuy Province Sector Headquarters.

122 my life would be happy and I would not have to fight any longer. However - if I lied, they would torture me painfully, I would be starved, and I would be shot.

1

BIBLIOGRAPHY Films, Videos, DVDs and Websites 33rd Regiment Veterans’ Association, Trung Đoàn 33 (A57): Một Thời Hào Hùng (The 33rd (A57) Regiment: An Heroic Time) – 26 April 2013. The video includes Australian film footage of the Battle of Bình Ba. You Tube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqFZp42kwJE Australian Screen, Terrain Study of Phuoc Tuy Province – South Vietnam 1967, National Archives of Australia, Canberra – NAA: A12724, 350. Video – 29 minutes, 59 seconds. For extract see http://aso.gov.au/titles/sponsored-films/terrain-study-phuoc-tuy/ Australian War Memorial, The Binh Ba Symposium – 5 June 2009, Canberra (list six videos – length 7.39min to 40min)). https://www.awm.gov.au/education/talks/binh-ba2009/ Australian War Memorial, Battle of Binh Ba, AWM Film, F04342, silent, DPR/TV/114, 11 MB. Australian War Memorial, Rebuilding Binh Ba, AWM Film F04344, silent, 23 MB. Australian War Memorial, The Binh Ba Symposium – 5 June 2009, Canberra (list six videos – length 7.39min to 40min)). https://www.awm.gov.au/education/talks/binh-ba2009/ Bellis, C. (McJannett, R.), The Battle of Binh Ba, Australian War Memorial, You Tube – 3.35 minutes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pK8TJFMs51c Columbia Broadcasting System, CBS News Special Report: The Battle of Ia Drang Valley, 29 November 1965, 27 minutes https://archive.org/details/gov.archives.arc.653177 Cựu Chiến Binh Sư đoàn 5 (5th Division Veterans) – ((Website for 5th Division veterans resident in the “North” – includes historical articles)) http://www.cuuchienbinhf5.vn/ Hartley, R.W., 547 Signal Troop: Vietnam 1966-1971, Googong, 2011 ((three DVD set)). Hartley, R.W. & Hampstead, B.V., The Story of 547 Signal Troop in South Vietnam 1966-1972, Googong, 2014, ((DVD)). Nguyễn Văn Ba, Trung đoàn 33 Lễ Cầu Siêu liệt sĩ (33rd Regiment – Buddhist Religious Ceremony for the Martyrs), YouTube, April 2013 – Video, 28 April 2013. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flhv6O1trDI . Nguyễn Sỹ Hồ, Người đưa đò …, Danh sách liệt sĩ thuộc biên chế E33_F303 (List of Martyrs of the 33rd Regiment of the 303rd Division) – ((Website - posted on the Internet

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on 16 July 2013 with data provided by Vũ Đình Luật)). http://teacherho.vnweblogs.com/post/9313/424599. Tạ Tường Mạnh, Gặp mặt CCB Trung Đoàn 33 anh hùng lần thứ 3 - Hà Nội (Họp Mặt Truyền Thống Cựu Chiến Binh-Bạn Chiến Đấu Trung Đoàn 33 – TP Hà Nội, Lần Thứ 3, Ngày 21/7/2013) (The 3rd Meeting of the Heroic 33rd Regiment in Hanoi), 21 July 2013, published 6 October 2013. The video includes Australian film footage of the Battle of Bình Ba. You Tube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTv88UxE4pQ – 22 minutes, 10 seconds. Walker, M. (Director), Private Terrence ‘Hippo’ Hippisley – Vietnam, In Their Footsteps, Channel 9, Melbourne, 12 June 2011 ((television programme)). Books and Monographs …, 40th Anniversary of the Battle of Binh Ba – Vietnam 6-8 June 2009, Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Canberra, 2009 (a 40-page booklet). …, 60 Năm Quân đội nhân dân Việt Nam anh hùng (hỏi và đáp) – 60 Years of the Heroic People’s Army of Vietnam (questions and answers), Nhà Xuất bản Chính trị Quốc gia (National Political Publishing House), Hà Nội, 2004 (revised 2007). http://www.vnmilitaryhistory.net/index.php?topic=353 Lịch sử Đảng bộ tỉnh Bà Rịa - Vũng Tàu (1930 - 1975) (History of the Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Party Chapter), Chương VIII: Đánh Thắng Chiến Lược Việt Nam Hóa Chiến Tranh Của Mỹ - Ngụy (1969-1972), (Chapter 8: Defeating the US and Puppet Strategy to Vietnamize the War), 2011.
…,

…, Đảng bộ xã Hòa Long, Lịch sử Đảng bộ xã Hòa Long (1930-2005) (The History of the Hòa Long Village Party Chapter (1930-2005) ), 25 April 2009 ((also as translated extracts at Annex N to Chamberlain, E., The Viet Cong D445 Battalion …, op.cit., 2011)). …, Lịch sử Kháng chiến chống Mỹ cứu nước (The History of the Anti-American Resistance War for National Salvation), Tập 4 - Vol 4, Nhà Xuất Bản Chính Trị Quốc Giả, Hà Nội, 1999. …, The Viet Cong Infrastructure: Modus Operandi of Selected Political Cadres, Saigon, December 1968. …, Trung đoàn 101 Cao Vân (1945-1995) (The 101st Cao Van Regiment 1945-1995), Nhà Xuẩt Bản Quân Đội Nhân Dân (Armed Forces Publishing House), Hà Nội, 1995 ((on the founding of the 33rd NVA Regiment)). 1 ATF, Provincial Data Handbook – Phuoc Tuy Province and Long Thanh District, Nui Dat, 30 October 1969.

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1 Psyops Unit, Province Survey – Phuoc Tuy Province, Nui Dat, 1971. Anderson, P., When the Scorpion Stings: The history of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment - South Vietnam 1965-1972, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, 2002. Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) (Veterans’ Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment), Danh Sách Liệt Sỹ Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) Từ 1968–1975 (Miền Đông Nam Bộ) – (List of the Martyrs of the 33rd Regiment (A57) – From 1968-1975 (Eastern Nam Bộ Region), Vũng Tàu, 2010. The List includes at p.1: “Tổng Hợp Số Liệt Sỹ Các Tỉnh Hy Sinh Ở Các Chiến Trường Chống Mỹ Thời Gian Từ Tháng 7/68 Đến Tháng 5/75" (“Consolidated List of the Martyrs who died on the Battlefields during the AntiAmerican War from July 1968 to May 1975”). Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) (Veterans’ Liaison Committee), Quá Trình Hình Thành Và Chiến Đấu Của Trung Đoàn 33 Anh Hùng – Từ năm 1965-2010 (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57) – ie author, The Development and Combat History of the Heroic 33rd Regiment – from 1965 to 2010 – ie title), Vũng Tàu, 2010. ((The “Development History” – see Appendix 2)). Báo Điện Tử Đảng Cộng Sản Việt Nam, Chapter VIII, 26 March 2009 ((for the founding of the A32 Water Sapper Company in the Rừng Sác)). Battle, M.R. and Wilkins, D.S. (eds), The Year of the Tigers: The Second Tour of 5th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment in South Vietnam 1969-70, Third Edition, Australian Military History Publications, Loftus, 2009. Bộ Quốc phòng - Viện Lịch sử Quân sự Việt Nam (Vietnam Military History Institute – Department of Defence), Tóm tắt các chiến dịch trong kháng chiến chống Mỹ cứu nước 1954-1975 (Summary of the Campaigns in the Anti-American Watr of National Salvation 1954 - 1975), NXB QĐND (People’s Army Publishing House), 2003. ((for 39 campaigns)). Cameron, B., Canister ! On ! Fire !, Big Sky Publishing, Newport, 2012. Chamberlain, E. P., The Viet Cong D440 Battalion: Their Story, Point Lonsdale, 2013. Chamberlain, E. P., The Viet Cong D445 Battalion: Their Story, Point Lonsdale, 2011. Combined Document Exploitation Center – US MACV, Identification of VC/NVA Documents, Saigon, circa 1966. Cựu Chiến Binh Trung Đoàn 33 (The 33rd Regiment Veterans), Tóm Tắt Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33: ((Đơn Vị)) Anh Hùng Lực Lượng Vũ Trang Nhân Dân (A Summary of the Heritage of the 33rd Regiment: A Heroic Unit of the People’s Armed Forces), Hà Nội, July 2010 ((ie: the “Summary History” – see Appendix 1)). Đảng Bộ Đảng Cộng Sản Việt Nam – Huyện Xuân Lộc (The Communist Party of Vietnam - Xuân Lộc District), Lịch sử Đấu Tranh Cách Mạng Huyện Xuân Lộc (The

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History of the Revolutionary Struggle of Xuân Lộc District), Nhà Xuẩt Bản Đồng Nai, Biên Hòa, 1985. Đặng Tấn Hương (ed), Lịch Sử Đấu Tranh Và Xây Dựng Của Đảng Bộ, Quân Và Dân Huyện Đất Đỏ (1930-2005) (The History of the Struggle and the Building of the Party Chapter, the Forces and the Militia of Đất Đỏ District), Nhà Xuất Bản Tổng Hợp Đồng Nai (Đồng Nai Collective Publishing House), Biên Hòa, 2006. Đảng Ủy – Bộ Chỉ Huy Quân Sự Tỉnh Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu, Lịch Sử Tiểu Đoàn 440 Anh Hùng - Bà Rịa-Long Khánh (1967-1979), Nhà Xuất bản Chính trị Quốc gia - Sự Thật, Hà Nội, 2011 – ((translated exegesis with commentary as: Chamberlain, E. P., The Viet Cong D440 Battalion: Their Story, Point Lonsdale, 2013)). Đặng Vũ Hiệp - Colonel General, Ký Ức Tây Nguyên (Central Highland Memories), Nhà Xuẩt Bản Quân Đội Nhân Dân (Armed Forces Publishing House), Hà Nội, 2000. Davies, B. with McKay, G., Vietnam: The Complete Story of the Australian War, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, 2012. Đồng Sĩ Nguyễn, The Trans-Trường Sơn Route, Thế Giới Publishers, Hà Nội, 2005. Dương Thanh Tân (ed), Lịch sử Đảng bộ (Đảng Cộng Sản Việt Nam) tỉnh Đồng Nai (1930-2000) (The History of the Communist Party Chapter of Dong Nai Province – 19302000), Tập (Volume) II (1954-1975), Chương (Chapter) IV, 2003. ((Note: No reference to the 33rd Regiment in the Battle of Binh Ba on 6 June 1969, nor to the attack on the Thai position at Lộc An by the 274th VC Regiment on 16 June 1969)). Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish: The Australian Army and the Vietnam War 1968-1975, Allen & Unwin – in association with the Australian War Memorial, Crows Nest, 2012. Fairhead, M. F. Lieutenant Colonel (Retd), A Duty Done: A Summary of Operations by the Royal Australian Regiment in the Vietnam War 1965-1972, 2014. Hanyok, R.J., Spartans in the Darkness: American SIGINT and the Indochina War (19451975), Center for Cryptologic History – National Security Agency, Maryland, 2002. http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a483675.pdf . Hartley, R.W. & Hampstead, B.V., The Story of 547 Signal Troop in South Vietnam 1966-1972, Googong, 2014. ((DVD)) Headquarters 1st Australian Task Force, Ba-Ria Sub Region, Vung Tau, 10 December 1971 (70-page booklet). Hồ Khang - Colonel/Dr (ed), Lịch sử Kháng chiến chống Mỹ cứu nước 1954-1975 (The History of the Anti-American War of National Salvation), Tập (Volume) 6, National Political Publishing House, Hà Nội, 2002.

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Hồ Sĩ Thành, Đặc Khu Rừng Sác (The Rừng Sác Special Zone), Nhà Xuất Bản Trẻ, Cần Giờ, 2003. Hoàng Minh Thảo, Military Operation [sic] in the Central Highlands, Thế Giới Publishers, Hà Nội, 2012. ((In English)). Hoàng Dung, Chiến tranh Đông dương 3 (The Third Indochina War), Văn Nghệ, California, 2000. http://lichsuvn.net/forum/showthread.php?t=7977 Horner, D. & Bou, J., Duty First: A history of the Royal Australian Regiment, Allen & Unwin, Second Edition, 2008. Hua Yen Len, Colonel, The Line of Steel at Xuân Lộc (Long Khánh), Seattle, 5 February 1988. Lanning, M.L. & Cragg, D., Inside the VC and the NVA – The Real Story of North Vietnam’s Armed Forces, Fawcett Columbine, New York, 1992. Larsen, S.R. Lieutenant General & Collins J.L. Brigadier, Allied Participation in Vietnam, Vietnam Studies – Department of the Army, Washington, 1975. Lê Bá Ước, Một thời Rừng Sác (A Time in the Rừng Sác), Nhà Xuẩt Bản Đồng Nai, Biên Hòa, 2000. Le Gro, W. E. - Colonel, Vietnam from Cease-Fire to Capitulation, US Army Center of Military History, Washington D.C., 2011. Lê Hoàng Quân, Chiến thắng Xuân Lộc-Long hánh trong cuộc tổng tiến công và nổi dậy mùa xuân 1975 (The Xuân Lộc-Long hánh Victory in the eneral Offensive and Uprising of Spring 1975), Bộ Tư lệnh Quân khu 7 (Military Region 7 Headquarters), Nhà Xuẩt Bản Tồng Hợp Đồng Nai, Biên Hòa, 2004. Lê Thanh Dũng (et al), Lịch Sử Ngành Y Tế Bà Rịa-Long Khánh (1945-2006) (The History of the Bà Rịa-Long Khánh Medical Services : 1945-2006), Vũng Tàu, 2008. Lien-Hang Thi Nguyen, Hanoi’s War: An International History of the War for Peace in Vietnam, The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 2012. McNeill, I., To Long Tan: The Australian Army and the Vietnam War 1950-1966, Allen & Unwin – in association with the Australian War Memorial, St Leonards, 1993. McNeill, I. & Ekins, A., On the Offensive: The Australian Army in the Vietnam War – January 1967-June 1968, Allen & Unwin – in association with the Australian War Memorial, Crows Nest, 2003.

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Military Region 7 Headquarters (Quân Khu 7), 50 Năm Lực Lương Võ Trang Quân Khu 7 - The Armed Forces of Military Region 7: 50 Years, Wattpad, 1995. Military Region 7 (Quân Khu 7), Chiến Thắng Xuân Lộc-Long Khánh (The Xuân LộcLong Khánh Victory), Nhà Xuẩt Bản Tồng Hợp Đồng Nai, Biên Hòa, 2004. Ngô Quang Trường - Lieutenant General, Territorial Forces, Indochina Monographs, U.S. Army Center of Military History, Washington D.C., 1981. Nguyễn Công Danh & Lê Minh Nghĩa (et al), Lịch sử Đấu Tranh Cách Mạng Của Đảng Bộ Và Nhân Dân Huyện Châu Đức (1930-2000) – (The History of the Revolutionary Struggle of the Party Chapter and the People of Châu Đức District (1930-2000) ), Nhà Xuất Bản Chính Trị Quốc Giả, Hà Nội, 2004. Nguyễn Duy Hinh, The South Vietnamese Society, Indochina Monographs, U.S. Army Center of Military History, Washington D.C., 1980. Nguyễn Hữu An – Colonel General, Chiến Trường Mới (New Battlefield), People’s Army Publishing House, Ha Noi, 2002, p.86. VCAT Item No. 16900105001. Nguyễn Hữu Thọ (et al), Chung Một Bóng Cờ: Về Mặt trận Dân tộc Giải phóng miền Nam Việt Nam (Together Under One Flag: the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam), Nhà Xuất bản Chính trị Quốc gia, Hà Nội, 1993. Nguyễn Huy Toàn & Phạm Quang Định, 304th Division, Vol II, People’s Army Publishing House, Hanoi, 1990. Nguyễn Minh Nhựt, Hỏi Đáp Lịch Sử Việt Nam (Questions and Answers on Vietnamese History), Tập 9 (Vol 9), Nhà Xuất Bản Trẻ, TP Hồ Chí Minh, 2013. Nguyễn Nam Hưng - Major General, Một Đời Chinh Chiến (A Life at War), Nhà Xuất bản Chính trị Quốc gia, Hà Nội, 2006. ((Nguyễn Nam Hưng commanded the 274th VC Regiment in 1968-1969 and the 303rd Division in 1978)). Nguyễn Thanh Tùng – Major General (ed), Tiểu Đoàn 445 Anh Hùng : Lịch Sử/Truyền Thống (The Heroic 445 Battalion: its History and Tradition), Bộ Chỉ Huy Quân Sự Tỉnh Đồng Nai, Đồng Nai (Military Headquarters of Đồng Nai Province), Đồng Nai, 1991 ((for an exegesis – ie: English translation, analysis and commentary – see Chamberlain, E. P., The Viet Cong D445 Battalion: Their Story, Point Lonsdale, 2011). Nguyễn Thới Bưng Dr (et al), Biên Niên Sự Kiên Lịch Sử Nam Bộ Kháng Chiến 19451975 (Chronicle of the Historic Events during the Resistance in Nam Bo), Nhà Xuất bản Chính trị Quốc gia - Sự Thật, Hả Nội, 2012. Nguyễn Văn Minh (ed), Lịch sử Kháng chiến chống Mỹ cứu nước (The History of the Anti-American Resistance War of National Salvation), Tập 3 (Vol 3), Nhà Xuất Bản Chính Trị Quốc Giả, Hà Nội, 1997.

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Palazzo, A., Australian Military Operations in Vietnam, Australian Army Campaign Series – 3, Second Edition, Army History Unit, 2009. Palmerlee, A.E., The Central Office of South Vietnam, Vietnam Documents and Research Notes – Document No.40, August 1968. Phạm Chí Thân (ed), Căn Cứ Minh Đạm 1945-1975, Sở Văn Hóa Thông Tin Tỉnh Bà Ria-Vũng Tàu, 2006. ((for an English translation of references to Australian operations, see Chamberlain, E.P., … D445 …, op.cit., 2011, Annex M)). Phạm Quang Đinh, Lịch Sử Sư đòan Bộ Binh 5 (1965-2005) (History of the 5th Infantry Division 1965-2005), Nhà Xuẩt bản Quân đội Nhân dân (Armed Forces Publishing House), Hà Nội, 2005. ((see translated extracts at Appendix 7)). Phạm Quang Định, Lịch Sử Tiểu Đòan 445: Đon Vị Anh Hùng Lực Lượng Vũ Trang Nhân Dân (1965-2004) – (The History of 445 Battalion: An Heroic Unit of the People’s Armed Forces – 1965-2004), Nhà Xuẩt bản Quân đội Nhân dân (Armed Forces Publishing House), Hà Nội, 2004. Phạm Vĩnh Phúc (ed - et al), Operations in the US Resistance War, Thế Giới Publishers, Hà Nội, 2009 – NLA YY 355.0330597 O61 Bib Id: 4738734 – ((ie a translation of: Bộ Quốc phòng - Viện Lịch sử Quân sự Việt Nam (Vietnam Military History Institute – Department of Defence), Tóm tắt các chiến dịch trong kháng chiến chống Mỹ cứu nước (A Summary of Campaigns in the Anti-American Resistance War of National Salvation), People’s Army Publishing House, Hà Nội, 2003)). Phan Ngọc Danh, Lịch Sử Đấu Tranh Cách Mạng Của Huyện Long Đất (The History of the Revolutionary Struggle in Long Đất District), Nhà Xuất Bản Đồng Nai (Đồng Nai Publishing House), Đồng Nai, 1986. Phan Ngọc Danh & Trần Quang Toại, Đồng Nai 30 Năm Chiến Tranh Giải Phóng (19451975) - (The 30-year Liberation Struggle in Đồng Nai), Nhà Xuất Bản Đồng Nai, Đồng Nai, 1986. Picken, B., Fire Support Bases – Vietnam: Australian and Allied Fire Support Base Locations and Main Support Units, Big Sky Publishing, Newport, 2012. Pribbenow, M.L., Victory in Vietnam, University Press of Kansas, 2002 – ie a translation of: Lịch sử Quân đội nhân dân Việt Nam, Tập III: Thời Kỳ Trưởng Thành của Quân Đội Nhân Dân Việt Nam trong cuộc Kháng chiến Chống Mỹ Cứu Nước (1954-1975) (The History of the Vietnam People’s Armed Forces, Vol III, The Coming of Age of the People’s Armed Forces of Vietnam during the Resistance War against the Americans for National Salvation (1954-1975) ), Military History Institute of Vietnam, People’s Armed Forces Publishing House, Hanoi, 1994.

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Sorley, L., Vietnam Chronicles: The Abrams Tapes, 1968-1972 (Modern Southeast Asia Series), Texas Tech University Press, 2004. Thạch Phương & Nguyễn Trọng Minh (eds), Địa Chí Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu (The Baria-Vung Tau Monograph), Nhà Xuẩt Bản Khoa Học Xã Hoi, Hà Nội, 2005. Thái Phương Huy (et al/dtg), Sư đoàn 303 - đoàn Phước Long (The 303rd Division – Phuoc Long Group), Quân đội Nhân Dân, Hà Nội, 1989. ((for 33rd Regiment activities from 1978)). Tidey, B., Forewarned Forearmed: Australian Specialist Intelligence Support in South Vietnam 1966-1971, Canberra Papers on Strategic and Defence No.160, Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University, Canberra, December 2007. Trần Đình Thọ, Brigadier General, Pacification, Indochina Monograph, U.S. Army Center of Military History, Washington D.C., 1980. Trần Đoàn Lâm, The 30 Year War, Thế Giới Publishers, Hà Nội, 2012. Trần Lê, Khu VI kháng chiến chống Mỹ cứu nước 1954-1975 (Region VI during the Anti-American Resistance War of National Salvation), Nhà xuất bản Chính trị quốc gia (National Political Publishing House), Hà Nội, 2002. Trần Thị Minh Hoàng (foreword), Địa Chí Đồng Nai (The Đồng Nai Monograph), Nhà Xuẩt Bản Tồng Hợp Đồng Nai, Biên Hòa, 2001 – ((5 ” – five volumes)). Trần Toán, Thị Trấn Xuân Lộc – Những Chặng Đường Đấu Tranh Cách Mạng Vẻ Vang (Xuân Lộc Town - Stages on the Road of the Glorious Revolutionary Struggle), Nhà Xuẩt Bản Đồng Nai, Biên Hòa, 1984. Trần Văn Khánh (et al), Ban Chấp Hành Đảng bộ tỉnh Bà Rịa - Vũng Tàu, Lịch sử Đảng bộ tỉnh Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu (The History of the Party in Baria-Vung Tau Province), Tập II (Vol II), 1954-1975, Nhà xuất bản Chính trị quốc gia (National Political Publishing House), Hà Nội, 2000 – (Chapter VII and Chapter VIII). Trần Văn Tra, Vietnam: History of the Bulwark B2 Theatre, Văn Nghệ, Hồ Chí Minh City, 1982. Trần Quang Toại (et al), Lịch sử Đảng bộ Đảng Cộng sản Việt Nam tỉnh Đồng Nai 1930 – 1995 (The History of the Communist Party of Vietnam in Đồng Nai Province 19301995), Tập I, II (Vol I, II), Nhà Xuẩt Bản Đồng Nai, Biên Hòa, 1997 and 2000. United States Mission in Vietnam, The Party In Command: Political Organization and the Viet Cong Armed Forces, Viet-Nam Documents and Research Notes - Document No.34, Saigon, May 1968.

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United States Mission in Vietnam, The Viet Cong Infrastructure, Saigon, June 1970. United States Mission in Vietnam, Viet-Cong Political Geography of South Viet-Nam, Viet-Nam Documents and Research Notes – Document No. 93, Saigon, March 1971. US MACV/JGS RVNAF, Chiến Cụ – Việt Cộng Đã Xử Dụng Tại Nam Vĩ-Tuyến 17 (War Material Used By Viet Cong in South Vietnam [sic]), Edition 2, Saigon, 1964. US MACV, Viet Cong Terminology, Saigon, circa 1965. US MACV, Phung Hoang Advisor Handbook, Saigon, 20 November 1970. Veith, V.J., Black April: The Fall of South Vietnam 1973-1975, Encounter Books, New York, 2012. Võ Kim Hanh (et al), Xuyên Mộc Kháng Chiến 1945-1975 (The Resistance War in Xuyên Mộc), Nhà Xuất Bản Đồng Nai, Biên Hòa, 1989.

Reports and Dissertations 1ATF documents: Situation Reports (SITREP), Intelligence Summaries (INTSUM), Vietnam Digests, Troop Information Sheets, Order of Battle studies. 1ATF, 33 NVA Regiment – Order of Battle, Nui Dat, 21 September 1971. (Annex F to 1ATF INTSUM No. 264/71 - 11 pages). 1st Air Cavalry Division, Combat After Action Report - The Pleiku Campaign, 4 March 1966 ((a comprehensive US report on the Campaign with annotated maps)). 1st Air Cavalry Division, Operational Report – Lessons Learned 3-66, The Pleiku Campaign, 10 May 1966 ((a comprehensive US report on the Campaign with annotated maps)). VCAT Item No. 1070422001, 0600201001, or DTIC Pdf URL AD0855112. 45th Military History Detachment (US), Combat After Action Report, Defense of Loc An Base Camp – 16 June 1969, San Francisco, 3 July 1969. ((Thai force v 274th VC Regiment)). Bảo Tàng Tỉnh - Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu (The Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province Museum), Lý Lịch Di Tích Khu Tưởng Niệm Trận Đánh Ngày 6/6/69 CủaTrung Đoàn 33 (The Background History of the Memorial Area for the Battle on 6/6/69 by 33 Regiment) at Bình Ba Village, Châu Đức District, Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province. Vũng Tàu, 2011 ((ie Memorial Background History, see Appendix 3)). Bùi Đức Phong, Tư Liệu Trung Đoàn Bội Binh 33 Anh Hùng (Statement – The 33rd Heroic Infantry Regiment), Thái Giang, February 2014.

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Combined Intelligence Center Vietnam (CICV) – US MACV, various reports and bulletins – principally by the Combined Document Exploitation Center (CDEC), most sourced through The Vietnam Center and Archive, Texas Tech University, Lubbock – Texas, USA. Combined Intelligence Center Vietnam (CICV) - US MACV, Area Analysis Report 6466: Pleiku and Kontum Provinces, January 1966. VCAT Item No.F015900190007. ((33rd Regiment assessment at pp.4-8)). Combined Intelligence Center Vietnam (CICV) - MACV, D440 NVA Infantry Battalion – Unit OB Summary, Report MACJ231-6, Saigon, 14 July 1969. Combined Intelligence Center Vietnam (CICV) – US MACV, Medical Causes on NonEffectiveness among VC/NVA Troops (Third Update), Study 69 II, MACJ231-7, Saigon, 31 August 1969. Combined Intelligence Center Vietnam (CICV) – US MACV, NVA/VC Signal Order of Battle - Update, Study 67-021, Saigon, 16 September 1967. VCAT Item No.F015900250094. ((33rd Regiment at p.C-53)). Combined Intelligence Center Vietnam (CICV) – MACV, Update: The NVA Soldier in South Vietnam, Research & Analysis Study ST67-013, 3 October 1966. VCAT Item No.F015900230173. Combined Intelligence Center Vietnam (CICV) - MACV, VC/NVA Electronic Warfare (EW) Capability – MACV ST 67-061, Saigon, 1 July 1967. de Heer, D., Record of Australian Forces Captured Prisoners of War July 1966 to July 1971, email to author- 19 December 2012 ((based on data in Australian War Memorial file: AWM98, 493, Barcode 904597)). Director of Military Training, Background Paper to the Viet Cong Military Region 7, Training Information Letter 14/70 (Notice 4), Canberra, November 1970. Doughty, R.A., The Evolution of US Tactical Doctrine, Leavenworth Papers, Fort Leavenworth - Kansas, August 1979. Hampstead, B.V, 547 Signals Troop in Vietnam: The Soldiers’ Perspectives – Deployment, Early Days and the Lead-up to Long Tan, Toowoomba, July 2008. Joint Intelligence Organisation – Office of Current Intelligence, South Vietnam: Activity in Phuoc Tuy Province, OCI Report No. 2/71, Canberra, 27 September 1971. Lê Bá Lộc - Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) - (The Heritage Liaison Committee of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), Báo Cáo Tóm Tắt Quá Trình Chiến Đấu và Hoạt

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Động Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) Từ 1965-2010 (A Summary Report on the Combat Activities and Operations of the 33rd Regiment (A57)), Long Khánh, 15 July 2010. ((see Appendix 4)). Lê Thanh Dũng, ỷ Yếu Liệt Sĩ Huyện Long Điền (The Summary Record of the Martyrs of Long Điền District), Long Điền District People’s Committee, 2011. Military Region 7 and the 33rd Regiment History Liaison Committee, List of the Martyrs of the 33rd Regiment (A57) – From 1968-1975 (Eastern Nam Bộ Region), Ban Liên Lạc Truyền Thống Trung Đoàn 33 (A57), Danh Sách Liệt Sỹ Trung Đoàn 33 (A57) Từ 1968– 1975 (Miền Đông Nam Bộ),Vũng Tàu, 2010 – p.1: “Tổng Hợp Số Liệt Sỹ Các Tỉnh Hy Sinh Ở Các Chiến Trường Chống Mỹ Thời Gian Từ Tháng 7/68 Đến Tháng 5/75" (“Consolidated List of the Martyrs who died on the Battlefields during the Anti-American War from July 1968 to May 1975”). ((Note: When published, this Martyrs’ List had a total of 2,996 martyrs who had died in the South – subsequently, names have been added and reported in media articles – eg 3,050; 3,056 etc)). Nguyễn Văn Dụy, A First-Hand Personal Account (Bản Tự Thuật Cá Nhân), Ngọc Tảo village (Phúc Thọ, Hà Nội 2), March 2014. Sykes, C.S. Captain (compiler) - 1st Cavalry Division Association, Interim Report of Operations – 1st Cavalry Division – July 1965 – December 1966, Albuquerque, 1967. VCAT Item No. 22030101001. US Defence Attache Office (DAO) - Saigon, PLAF/PAVN Troop Strength by Unit May 1973 , Saigon, 31 May 1973. Weyand, F.C. Lieutenant General, Military Assistance Command – Vietnam: Combat Operations After Action Report (RCS: MACJ3-32) (K-1) - Tết Offensive After Action Report (31 January – 18 February 1968), Saigon, 1968. Zasloff, J.J., Political Motivation of the Viet Cong: the Vietminh Regroupees, RM4703/2-ISA/ARPA, Rand Corporation, Santa Monica, May 1968. Articles and Chapters Bảo Định, “Võ Đắc Trong Biển Lửa” (Vo Dac in a Sea of Flames), Michigan, 4 July 2006. http://www.sudoan18bobinh.com/#/vo-dac-nhc-p1/4519724701 . Chamberlain, E., “The Battle of Binh Ba: a baffling mystery and SI INT failure – No!”, The Bridges Review, Issue 1, Canungra, January 2013, pp.91-92. Chamberlain, E.P., A Vanguard Disguised, Denied, Dissolved: the People’s Revolutionary Party and Hanoi’s Control of the War in the South (Essay), Canberra, 1 May 1987.

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Danh Trường, “Bắt Sống Tỉnh Trưởng Long Khánh – 1975” (“Long hánh Province Chief captured alive”), Đồng Nai, 19 April 2010. Hà Nhân, “Bà Rịa-Long Khánh và ký ức không thể quên” (“Bà Rịa-Long Khánh and Unforgettable Memories”), Communist Party of Vietnam - Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Communist Party Agency, Vũng Tàu, 29 January 2008. Haines, R. and Breen, B, “Chapter 10 – Main Force Operations – Vietnam 1968-69”, pp.196- 219 in Horner, D. & Bou, J., Duty First: A history of the Royal Australian Regiment, Allen & Unwin, Second Edition, 2008. Hall, R. (Bob), “Operation Wandering Souls”, Wartime, Issue 55, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, July 2011, pp.25-29. Hall, B. & Ross. A., “ ‘Landmark’ Battles and the Myths of Vietnam”, pp.186-209 in Stockings, C., ANZAC’s Dirty Dozen: 12 Myths of Australian Military History, University of New South Wales Press, Sydney, 2012. Hart, S. with Chamberlain, E.P., “A Tactical SI INT Success Story”, Pronto in South Vietnam, January 2014. http://pronto.au104.org/547Sigs/547story3.html. Hoàng Phương – Ma or eneral, "Các Bài Học về Hoạch Định Chiến Dịch và Thực Thi Chỉ Huy trong Chiến Dịch Plây Me" (“Lessons on Campaign Planning and Command in the Plây Me Campaign”), Chiến Thắng Plây Me: Nhìn Lại sau 30 Năm (The Plây Me Victory: Looking back after 30 Years), Học Viện Lịch Sử Quân Sự và Quân Đoàn III (The Military Science Institute and the 3rd Corps), Armed Forces Publishing House, Hà Nội 1995. Hồng Quốc Văn, “Gặp gỡ một chiến sĩ của Trung đoàn 33 Anh hùng” (“Meeting a Soldier of the Heroic 33rd Regiment”), Báo Cựu Chiến Binh Viet Nam, 17 Dec 2010. http://www.cuuchienbinh.com.vn/index.aspx?Menu=1333&Style=1&ChiTiet=7151 . Hữu Minh, “Nước mắt ngày gặp lại” (“Tears on Meeting Again”), Báo Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu điện tử, 10 August 2012. Johnson, L., “Operation Lavarack - Phuoc Tuy Province, Vietnam, 1969”, Australian Army Journal, Vol VII, No.2, Winter 2010. Lê Đình Thìn, “Trung Đoàn 33 – một thời hào hùng …” (“The 33rd Regiment – an heroic time …”), Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu (magazine), Vũng Tầu, 30 April 2010. Lưu Dương, “Những chặng đường phát triển của lực lượng vũ trang Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu” – (“The Stages of Development of the Armed Forces of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu”), Cơ Quan của Đảng Bộ Đảng Cộng Sản Việt Nam Tỉnh Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu, Vũng Tàu, 17 December 2009.

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http://www.baobariavungtau.com.vn/vn/chinhtrixahoi/69525/index.brvt Mai Thanh Xuân, “Bắt Đại Tá Tỉnh Trưởng Ngụy Phạm Văn Phúc” (“Capturing the Puppet Province Chief Colonel Phạm Văn Phúc”), in Military Region 7 (Quân Khu 7), Chiến Thắng Xuân Lộc - Long Khánh ..., op.cit., 2004. Mc ay, ., “The last battle”,Wartime Magazine, Issue 55, July 2011, pp.15-19. Minh Hưng, “Đồng Nai kỷ niệm 35 năm ngày giải phóng Xuân Lộc” – “Đồng Nai remembers the 35th anniversary of Xuan Loc’s liberation”, Báo Mới, 21 April 2010. Nguyễn Đình Thống, “Những ký ức không thể nào quên” (“Memories that can never be forgotten”), Communist Party of Vietnam - Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Agency, Vũng Tàu, 1 February 2008. Nguyễn Hồng Phúc - Ma or eneral, “Truyền thống chiến đấu của sư đoàn BB5 Anh hùng” (“The Fighting History of the Heroic 5th Infantry Division”), Ký ức người lính Sư đoàn 5 – 2010 (Memories of the 5th Division Soldiers - 2010), Hồ Chí Minh City, November 2005. Nguyễn Văn Tín, Vài Điều Cần Nên Biết Về Trận Đánh Pleime-Iadrang (A Few Things You Need to Know About the Plei Me-Ia Drang Battles), 8 March 2010 http://nguyentin.tripod.com/pleime_thacmac-u.htm . Phạm Đình Bảy, “Mobile Attacks Conducted by the 66th Regiment and 1st Battalion, 33rd Regiment in the Ia Drang Valley”, Những Trận Đánh Trong Chiến Tranh Giải Phóng (Battles During the Liberation War), Vol 5 – 2nd Corps, People’s Army Publishing House, 1986, pp.7-23 (Lưu Hành Nội Bộ – Internal Distribution Only). 1996 translation at VCAT 16900104001. Phạm Văn Hy, “Tỉnh Ủy Bà Rịa-Long Khánh Với Chiến Trường Xuân Lộc-Long Khánh” (“The Bà Rịa-Long Khánh Province Committee and the Xuân Lộc-Long Khánh Battlefield”), pp.161-164 in Military Region 7 (Quân Khu 7), Chiến Thắng Xuân LộcLong Khánh (The Xuân Lộc-Long Khánh Victory), Nhà Xuẩt Bản Tồng Hợp Đồng Nai, Biên Hòa, 2004. Phan Minh Châu, “Mình là lính e55 (e732)” (“I was a soldier in E55 – E732)”, 29 April 2010. ((for the 33rd Regiment – as 731st Regiment, in Cambodia as a formation of the 303rd/73rd Division – ie in 1978)). http://www.vnmilitaryhistory.net/index.php?topic=7742.270 Pimlott, J., “The Ia Drang Campaign: October 26 – November 29 1965”, pp. 48-59 in Vietnam: The Decisive Battles, Michael Joseph Limited, London, 1990; Chartwell Books Inc, Edison, 2003. ((for the Plei Me and Ia Đrăng battles in late 1965)).

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Pribbenow, M.L., "General Vo Nguyen Giap and the Mysterious Evolution of the Plan for the 1968 Tet Offensive”, Journal of Vietnamese Studies, 3 – Summer 2008, pp.1-33. Pribbenow, M.L., “The Fog of War: The Vietnamese View of the Ia Drang Battle” (also as “Sa Mù của Cuộc Chiến: Cái Nhìn Việt Cộng về Trận Đánh Ia Đrăng”), Military Review, January-February 2001. http://www.generalhieu.com/e66pleime-u.htm . Quang Việt, “250 đoàn viên, thiếu niên huyện Châu Đức rước nến tri ân các anh hùng liệt sĩ tại Nhà tưởng niệm trung đoàn 33” (250 Group members and youth of Chau Duc march in gratitude of the martyred heroes at the 33rd Regiment Memorial) , Baria-Vung Tau Television website, 29 July 2012. Thái Hưng, “Một đời binh nghiệp” (“A life of military service”), Yên Bái, 18 May 2009. http://www.baoyenbai.com.vn/210/53802/Mot_doi_binh_nghiep.htm Thayer, C.A., “The Vietnam People’s Army: Victory at Home (1975), Success in Cambodia (1989)”, pp.149-175 in: Victory or Defeat, The 2010 Chief of Army Military History Conference, Big Sky Publishing, 2010. Wirtz, J.J., “Intelligence to Please: The Order of Battle Controversy during the Vietnam War”, Political Science Quarterly, Vol 6, No.2, Summer 1991, pp.239-263. Thanh Tùng, "Lễ cầu siêu và dâng hương tưởng nhớ các anh hùng liệt sỹ Trung đoàn 33” (“A Buddhist Mass and Ceremony to Remember the Heroic Martyrs of the 33rd Regiment"), Bà Rịa Vũng Tàu Television, late August 2009. US Embassy – Saigon, “Asian Allies in Vietnam”, Viet-Nam Bulletin, Series No.26 (370), US Embassy Vietnam, March 1970. VCAT 16530102001 and 2143302026. Veith, .J and Pribbenow, M.L., “Fighting is an Art: The Army of the Republic of Vietnam's Defense of Xuan Loc, 8-20 April 1975”, The Journal of Military History 68 (January 2004), pp 163-214. Vietnam News Agency, “Dazzling Military Feats During June”, Nhân Dân, Hà Nội, 1 July 1969, p.3. Vĩnh Tường, “Giao Lưu ‘ ý Ức Mùa Xuân Đại Thắng’ ” (“Exchanges on ‘Memories of the reat Spring Victory’ ”), Cơ Quan của Đảng Bộ Đảng Cộng Sản Việt Nam Tỉnh Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu, Vũng Tàu, 25 April 2005. Xuân Thanh, “Tiểu Đoàn 445 Trong Tấn Công Xuân Lộc-Long Khánh” (“445 Battalion in the Attack on Xuân Lộc-Long Khánh”), in Military Region 7 (Quân Khu 7), Chiến Thắng Xuân Lộc-Long Khánh (The Xuân Lộc-Long Khánh Victory), Nhà Xuẩt Bản Tồng Hợp Đồng Nai, Biên Hòa, 2004.

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Presentations Chamberlain, E.P., “Tougher than us: The NVA/VC Soldier”, Conference – Vietnam: International Perspectives on a Long War, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 16 August 2013. Hall, R. (Bob), 1st Australian Task Force – A new operational analysis 1966-1971, Vietnam Center & Archives – Seventh Triennial Symposium, Session 5A, Lubbock – Texas, 11 March 2011. VCAT Item No. 999VI3155. Maps 1st Australian Task Force (1 ATF), VC Districts and Sub-Districts, Special Overprint AFV/MISC/ 2187, Special Use S.E. Asia 1:100,000 – Sheet 6430 Series L607, circa 1971. 1st Australian Task Force, (1 ATF), 1 ATF Special Overprint (Sheet 1), Edition 8, Special Use S.E. Asia 1:100,000 – Sheet 6430 Series L607, Correct as at 20 February 1971.

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INDEX (Note: Items are listed by page numbers, footnotes. Appendix 9 also separately lists the names of casualties associated with the Battle of Bình Ba. The 33rd Regiment history monographs – see Appendices 1 to 4 inclusive, do not have discrete indices). 1st Armoured Regiment – p.76, f.282, 283. 1st Australian Task Force (1ATF) – p.3, 42, 72-73, f.195, withdrawal f.274. 1st Battalion (33rd) – p.11, 18, 19, 2425, 43, 45, 46, 48, 55, 58-60, 62-63, 68, 73, 75, 78-80, 83, 85, 87-88, 95, 98, 106107, 111, 113, f. 28, 29, 31, 35, 69, 102, 124, 192, 212, 235, 258, 265, 267, 275, 332, 336, 389, 401, 402, 431, 442, 453, 487, 528, 530, 551. 1st Corps – f.546. 1st Divisional Intelligence Unit – Preface f. 7. 1st NVA Division – f.93, 104. 1st US Air CavalryDivision – p.13, 2122, 32, f.39, 48, 62, 69, 434, 477. 2nd Battalion (33rd) - p.11, 13, 19, 24, 27, 30, 45, 59, 62, 65, 71, 75, 78-83, 9293, 96, 99, 108, 111, f.23, 28, 29, 35, 56, 62, 63, 73, 163, 260, 268, 296, 362, 379, 385, 411, 442, 453, 530. 2nd Marine Brigade (Korea) – f.429. 3RAR – p.98. 3rd Air Cavalry Brigade – p.44, 47. 3rd Battalion (33rd) – p.11, 15, 17, 19, 23, 31, 42-43, 45, 75, 78, 79, 80, 83, 92, 95-96, 98-99, 102, 103, 111, f. 29, 51, 121, 145, 196, 259, 355, 446, 453, 458, 530, App.13 (organogram). 3rd Brigade (US) – p.3, 97, f.68, 69, 434, 467. 3rd Cavalry Regiment – p.76, f.284, 288, 289, 291, 300, 304, 458. 3rd Ranger Group – f.494. 4RAR – p.43, f.195, 196, 264. 4RAR/NZ – p.99, 102, 103, f.259, 458, 459, 462, 469, 470, 475. 4th (275) Regiment, VC – p.36, 37, 43, 45, 56, 74, 84, 85, 86, 96, 97, 90, 104, 108-113, f.152, 162, 163, 204, 247, 248, 266, 332, 354, 388, 485, 511, 515. 4th US Division – p.21, 27, f.59, 83, 115. 5RAR – p.64, 67-74, 76, 79, 81, f.269, 290. 5th (275) Regiment, VC – p.29, 31, 37, 85, f.130, 136, 163, 178, 392. 5th Division, VC – p.2, 29-31, 37, 43, 44, 45, 47-49, 52, 56, 77, 80, 86, 93-94, 117, f.127, 128, 187, 215, 218, 362, 419, 430, 431, 535. App.7. 6th Battalion (Bà Rịa Sub-Region) – p.98 – see 6th Sapper Battalion. 6RAR/NZ – p.60, 62, 63, 82, 90, f.247, 257, 260, 264, 265, 266, 269, 285, 306, 364, 376, 378, 380, 385, 410. 6th Division, NVA – p.113, 114, 120, f.514, 530. 6th Sapper Battalion – p.96, 99, 106108, f.485, 487. 7th Division, NVA/VC – p.115, 120. 9RAR – p.61, f.313. 9th US Division – f.168. 9th VC Division – f.181. 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment – p.37, 52, 53, 86, f.166, 167, 235, 236, 237, 364, 394, 399, 418. 18th ARVN Division – p.47, 48, 83, 105, 110, 112, 114, f.166, 206, 237, 250, 494, 511, 517, 527. 18th Sapper Battalion – p.112. 21st Company – p.106, 107. 22nd RCL Battalion – p.31, 45. 23rd ARVN Division – p.25, 27. 24th Battalion – p.111, f.218, 223, 508. 24th Regiment – f.107. 24th Sapper Company – p.107, 109, f.413. 25th Company – p.112, f. 413.

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25th US Division – p.21, 29, 30, 95, f.59, 62, 82, 130, 132, 135, 140, 189, 263, 335, 434. 29th Regiment – p.47, f.218, 223. 31st Medical Battalion – p.31. 31st Regiment – f.23, App 1. 32nd Regiment – p.10, 13, 19, 23, 27, 29, f.41, 42, 50, 108, 124. 39 PF Platoon – f.283. 39th Battalion –p.27, App 2. 43rd ARVN Regiment – p.112, f.234, 517, 527. 44th Regiment – p.112. 45th ARVN Regiment – p.24, 27. 52nd ARVN Armored Regiment – f.528. 52nd ARVN Regiment – p.48, 62, 78, 80, 85, 113, 114, f.29, 313, 527. 55th NVA Regiment – p.116, 117, 118, f.543. 66th NVA Regiment – p.10, 17-19, 23, 25, f.43, 50, 67, 68, 75, 108. 68th Corps – f.546. 74th NVA Arty Regiment – f.313, 321. 77th Artillery Regiment – p.417. 84 Rear Services Group – p.78, 87, f.247, 401. 88th Regiment – pp.29-31, f.23, 130, 136, 263. 95B Regiment – p.114. 95th Regiment – f.163, 203. 101st Regiment – p.5, 7, f.22, 23, 24, 28, 29, 35, 36, 39, 56, 66, 103, 106, 123, 147. 105th Field Battery (RAA) – f.284, 313. 107mm rocket, NVA/VC – p.72, f.313, 321. 174th NVA Regiment – f.108, 163, 203. 199th US Infantry Brigade – p.87, 89, 92, 93, 95, 104, f.163, 399, 409, 419, 421, 422, 423, 425, 426, 431, 437. 209th Regiment – f.427. 260th Khmer Rouge Division – p.117.

270th Regiment – p.5, f.124. 275th VC Regiment (5th Regiment) – p.29, 31, 37, 85, f.130, 135, 163, 178, 392. 302 RF Battalion – p.108, f.250, 488, 492. 302nd Division – p.118. 303rd Division – p.116-118, 120, f.20, 539, 546. 304th Division – p.7, 11, 21, f.36, 39, 43, 51, 80, 90, 178. 308th Division – f.23, 123. 316th Regiment – p.117. 320th Regiment – p.10, 14, 19, 23, 25, f.50, 122. 325th Division –p.5, 7, 24, f.22, 23, 28, 124. 334th Battalion – f.42. 341st Division – f.23. 407th NVA Battalion – p.48. 440 VC Battalion – see D440. 445 VC Battalion – see D445. 476th Division – p.116. 479th Front – p.117. 505th Special Region (Khmer Rouge) – p.117. 520th Infiltration Group – f.29, 123. 547 Signal Troop – p.53, 55-56, 98, f.241, 242, 2444, 245, 248, 385, 386, 388, 393. 603rd Khmer Rouge Division – p.118. 626 RF Company – f.250, 459. 630th Division - p.21, f.89. 635 NVA Battalion – p.13, f.42. 655 RF Company – f.250, 283. 664 RF Company – p.57, 59, f.250. 731st Regiment – p.117, f.542. 732nd Regiment – p.117. 733rd Regiment – p.117. 734th Regiment – p.117. 945 RF Company – f.491. 966th Battalion – p.13. 2089th Infiltration Group – p.48.

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A55 Regiment – p.31, f.136. A57 Regiment – p.4, 28, 30, 31, 95, f.5, 92, 121, 145, 146, 266, 403. AAAGV – f.475. Accelerated Pacification Program – p.35, 87, f.158, 223, 270. Agent Orange – p.119. Aircraft, US losses – p.19, 93, f.55. Alias – f.273. Ampil village – p.118. An Khe – p.13. An Lộc – p.46, 52, f.235. An Ta village – p.7, 10 (map), 14, 16 (map), f.47, 48. Annamite Chain – App.2, 3, 5. Ấp Bắc – p.58, 71, f.231, 261. Appraisal, negative – p.91, f.418, App 10. Arrowsmith, T. H., Captain – p.69, 81, f.304. Assault Youth (17-30 years) - p.86 . Australian forces, casualties – p.1, 43, 68, 76, 78, 82, 99-100, 121, f.340, 453, 461, 475. Australian forces, comments on – f.257 – as vassals (chư hầu): App.3, 5. Australian forces, helicopters – p.67, 68, 83, f.301. Australian forces, withdrawal – p.101, 102, 103, 104, f.470, 475. B2 Front – p.28, 120, f.3, 39, 121, 122, 524, 527. B3 Front – p.6, 9, 11, 23, 120, f.3, 44, 87, 90, 156, 449. B-52 aircraft – p.19, 36, 48, 51, 83, 87, 89, f.67, 74, 234, 241, 384. Ba Bi – p.14, 18. Bà Biên Province – p.37, f.165. Bà Long Province – p.76, 96, f.249, 279, 328, 439. Bà Rịa Sub-Region – p.96, 98, 107, 109, 110, f.485, 502. Bà Rịa-Thủ Biên Sub-Region – p.110.

Bà Rịa Town – f.10, 475, App.19. Bà Rịa-Long Khánh Province – f.178, App 19, 20. Ba Tô – p.108. Ba, Lieutenant Colonel – p.24. Bắc Giang Province – p.119, App. 9. Bai [sic] Binh – f.469. Ban Don – p.23. Ban Mê Thuột – p.26, 113, 120, f.520. Bảo Bình – p.31, 36, 104, 108. Bảo Định – p.87. Base 10 – p.113. Base Area 302 – p.53, f.239. Battlefield clearance – p.85, f.395, 471. Bàu Cá – p.109. Bàu Cối – p.37, 43, f.352. Bàu Hàm – p.109 Bàu Lâm – f.249. Bàu Sen – p.103. Bảy Tiểu, Comrade – p.62, f.273, App. 22. Bearcat base – f.168, 388. Bến Cầu (Tây Ninh) – p.116. Bến Củi/Cùi – pp.29-30, f.130, 132. Bến Đình – p.116. Benge, Michael – f.111. Bennett G., Corporal – f.284. Bennier B., Corporal – p.81, f.284, 280, 302. Biên Hòa – p.32, 37, 43, 44, 56, 84, -86, 114-116, f.128, 161, 163, 165, 247 264, 388, 501. Biển Lạc – p.104. BIG MACK – f.251. Bình Ba Guerrilla Unit – p.76, f.325, 328, 343. Bình Ba Lang – App. 22. Bình Ba Xang – App.8. Bình Ba, Battle of – p.3, 4, 62, 63, 73, 75, 77, 80-83, 86, 101, 103, 119, f.6, 192, 212, 260, 275, 276, 297, 298, 300, 309, 355, 402, 443, 551, App. 9, 11, 22.

4

Bình Ba, NVA/VC casualties – p.73, 74, 75, 78, 82, 83, 86, f.371, 379, App. 9, 22. Bình Định Province – f.32. Bình Đức hamlet – p.75, 119, f.340. Bình Dương Province – p.28, 31, 38. Bình Lộc – p.87, 89. Bình Long Province – p.47, 11, f.216. Bình Phước – f.20. Bình Sơn – p.85, f.196, 247, 266, 388, 389. Bình Thuận Province – p.94, 113, f.150, 429. Bình Tuy Province – p.78, 92, 95-97, 104, 113-114, 116, 120, f.142, 420, 426, 431, 434, 437, 440, App. 20 (map). Binh, Comrade – p.63, f.343. Black Panther Division – p.45, f.168, 388. Blackhorse, base – p.37, 52, 62, 78, 85, 87, 95, 98, f.166, 235, 237, 364, 399. Blake, M.P., Major – p.64, f.290. Blue Dragon Brigade – p.93, f.429. Bồ Xuân Cúc – f.339. Bời Lời Woods – p.30. Bom Bo – p.116. Bon Ga – p.14. Bond W., Brigadier General – p.93, f.425. Bù Đrăng District – p.116. Bù Gia Mập – p.97. Buddhism – f.1, 246, 555. Buddhist ceremonies – f.340, 550. Bùi Đức Nhật – f.258, 402. Bùi Quang Miên – p.75, App.9, 22. Bùi Thanh Khê – f.218, 237. Bùi Văn Chấm – f.389. Bùi Văn Đỗ, Corporal – f.340. Bùi Văn Hiền – f.146, 149, 155. Bùi Văn Lai – f.325, 326, App.9 (POW). Bùi Văn Lườn – p.71, f.339. Bùi Văn Sửu – p.71.

Buôn Cang – p.24. Buôn Dơn – p.24. Buôn Hồ - p.25. Buôn Lung – p.24. Buôn Ma Thuột – see Ban Mê Thuột. C-18 Company – Preface (photograph). C-20 Company – p.49, f.62, 93, 189. C-25 Company (33rd) – p.95, f.325. C-26 Company (Long Đất) – f.439. C26/C-26 – p.97, f.451, 458. C-41 Company (Châu Đức) – p.72, f.243, 320, 323, 527. C-195 Company – p.61, 76, 78, f.269, 313, 342. Cẩm Đường, hamlet – p.43. Cẩm Ga – p.25. Cẩm Mỹ - p.98, 112, f.552. Cambodia – p.7, 19, 23-25, 27, 31-32, 94, 116-118, 120-121, f.40, 62, 75, 95, 98, 111, 123, 418, 430, 433, 499, 535. Camp Frenzell-Jones – f.399. Campaign, 1969 – f.216, 263. Campaign Headquarters 1969 – p.50, 56, 58, 59, 69, f.229, 269. Campaign 1975 – p.115. Campaign, Long Khánh – p.47, f.218. Cao Su District – p.98, f.338. Cara Ôm village – p.118. Casualties, 33rd Regiment – see Plei Me-Ia Đrăng – pp.17-22; the Bình Ba, NVA/VC casualties entry; Núi Sao/Núi Lê - pp.99-100; Eastern Nam Bộ Summary – p.116; Summary – pp.120121, f.543; App. 9; and Martyrs’ Lists. Casualties, Australian – p.1, 43, 68, 76, 78, 82, 99-100, 121, f.340, 453, 461, 475. Casualties, civilian – see Civilians. Catholics – f.246. Cậu Thủy, mystic, fraud – App.9. Cầu Trọng – p.56. CDEC – Preface p.2. Ceasefire, 1973 – f.22

5

Cedar Falls, Operation – f.415. Cell, Party – f.7. Central Highlands – p.4, 6-9, 11, 14, 21-25, 27-28, 120-121, f.22, 29, 30, 63, 70, 118. Certificate of Commendation – p.41 (copy), f.93, 189. Cessna, aircraft – f.280, 303. Chà Là – p.29, f.30. Chamkar lue, Cambodia – p.118. Châu Đức District – p.58, 59, 63, 71, 72, 76, 97, 98, 103, 107, 108, 111, 112, f.229, 243, 296, 328, 371, 485, 498, 527. Châu Lạc – f.249. Chhlong/Chơlong (Cambodia) – p.118. Chiêu Hồi (Open Arms) – p.43, f.17, 190. China, Border War – p.116, 118, f.121, 545. China Republic of (Taiwan) - f.347. Chinese troops, in Vietnam – f.41, 85. Chu Ba, post – p.24. Chữ Ho – p.11, 12 (map), f.51. Chu Huy Man, General – f.89. Chu Kim Thạch – f.530. Chư Kne – p.27. Chu Pong/Prong – p.11, 14, 17, 19, 24, f.40, 74. Chứa Chan Mountain – p.113. CIDG – p.9, 11, 14, 120, f.41, 106. Civil Affairs Unit – p.72. Civil Defence Force – f.250. Civilians, casualties – p.76, f.346, 535. CKC rifle – f.258, 402. Commandos (biệt kích) – p.24, 56, 74, f.257, 333. Communications, radio (33rd) – f.67, 241, 363, 364, 386. Communist Party of Vietnam – f.54. Côn Đảo Island – p.116. Conflict, Divisiveness, Tension NVA v VC – pp.38-40, f.178. Contents – p.5.

COSVN – p.28, 31, 33-35, 39, 45, 47, 49, 87-88, 91, 96, 113, 120, f.54, 123. COSVN Resolution 9 – f.403. Courtney Plantation – f.439. Cover-name – see Designator. Crook, FSB – p.86, f.263 D2 Baria (3rd Battalion) – p.96, f.446. D440 Battalion, History – Preface f.4. D440 Battalion – p.2, 39, 40, 54, 56, 58, 59, 63, 65, 69, 71, 76, 78, 81, 82, 87, 95, 105, f.158, 178, 184, 212, 229, 231, 242, 249, 253, 254, 255, 256, 257, 260, 265, 286, 293, 295, 296, 307, 310, 328, 341, 363, 439, 485, 486, App. 8. D445 Battalion, History – Preface f.4. D445 – p.2, 39, 61, 87, 96, 97, 110-112, f.152, 178, 184, 313, 449, 453, 508, 527, App.8. Đà Nẵng – f.520. Đắc Lắc Province – p.23, 26. Đắc Lung – p.25. Đắc Sắc – p.25. Đắc Tô – p.25. Dak Sut – f.39, 106. Dak To – p.25. Đầm Be District – p.118. Đang Quang, cadre – f.332. Đặng Quang Nguyên, Captain – p.24. Đặng Vũ Hiệp, General – f.51, 54, 60, 89. Đào Bạch Kim – f.339. Darlac Province – p.23, 26, f.111, 113, 123. Đất Đỏ - pp.109-112, App.8. Dầu Giây – p.114, f.521. De Vere R., Captain – p.69, f.288, 289, 290, 291, 300, 312, 313. Democratic Kampuchea – f.535. Den, FSB – p.93, f.431. Desertion – p.43, f.156 Designators, cover – p.5., f.3, 23, 28, 34, 35, 92, 93, 124, 129, 145, 146, 207, 209, 258, 273, 383, 446.

6

DF – see Direction-finding. Định Quán – p.114, f.11, 144, 223, 396, 408, 471. Dinh Two, FSB – p.93, f.431. Đinh Văn Đạt – f.142, 232, 441, 495, 530. Direction-finding – p.21, 55, 56, 80, 82, f.67, 241, 364. Directives – p.35, 38, 39, 42, 45, 46, 88, 96, f.145, 153, 157, 159, 172, 176, 185, 207, 209, 251, 263, 404. Discipline – p.3, 22, 34, 39, 40, 42, 43, 45, 74, 86, 102, f.51, 156, 385. Discrimination, VC v NVA – pp.38-40, f.175. Đỗ Xuân Kỷ - p.108, f.495, 497, 498. Đoàn – see Youth Group. Đoàn 45 – see 5th (275) VC Regiment. Đoàn 82C – f.145. Đoàn 94 - see 4th (274) VC Regiment. Đồi Dâu – p.43. Đồng Ban – p.29, f.125. Đồng Nai Province – p.77, f.501. Đồng Tâm – f.168. Dực, battalion commander – p.11. Đức Cơ – p.11, f.40. Đức Lập – p.27, 58. Đức Linh – p.94. Đức Mỹ, hamlet – p.58, 65, 71, 105, f.230, 246, 253, 288, 291, 296, 486. Đức Thạnh District – p.58, 62, 64, 99, 105-110, 112-113, f.246, 282, 283, 485, 492, 494, 495, 527. Đức Trung – p.55, 56, 71, 76, f.230, 246, 250, 318. Ducker, C., Major – f.323. E-301 Battalion – f.112. Eastern Nam Bộ Region – p.47, 77, 116, 121, f.19, 29, 122, 216, 340, 532. Entry/Exit Points – p.45, 109. Field Front – p.21, 120, f.44, 89.

Food, scarcity, hunger – p.15, 20, 25, 39, 40, 46, 75, 90-92, 108, f.31, 66, 184, 203, 251, 397, 413, 432, 437. Four Good Qualities – p.34. Free World Forces – f.347, 503. Ga Long Lạc – p.115. Gallia, plantation – f.230, 246. Gia Lai Province – p.7, 8 (map), f.32, 223. Gia Ray – p.48, 78, 80, 85, 113, 114, f.431, 434, 467, 553. Giep [sic], Comrade – f.412. Gò Da - p.29, f.130. Guerillas/Guerrillas – p.18, 37, 63, 76, 87, 103, 104, 109, 112, f.58, 125, 234, 251, 263, 325, 328, 343. Hà Đồng – f.496. Ha Hoàng Đức – p.43. Hà Nam Ninh Province – p.119, f.546. Hắc/Hat Dịch – p.48, 60, f.234, 266. Hàm Tân – p.95, f.440. Hàm Thuận District – p.93, f.429. Hammer, Operation – see Operation. Harring, R.E., Major – p.81, f.304. Hay, D. – f.290, 291. Headquarters Australian Force Vietnam – p.94, f.325, 412, 435. Heavy Fire Team – f.303. Hero, PLAF – p.46, f.210. High Point – p.50, 60, 62, 77, 84, 120, f.227, 262, 297, 335, 350, 388. History, 33rd Regiment 2014 – f.4. Hồ Chí Minh Campaign 1975 – p.115, 116, 120, f.530. Hồ Chí Minh City – p.119. Hồ Chí Minh Trail – f.450. Hồ Minh/Sỹ Tường – f.206, 232, 382, 419. Hố Nai – p.115, 116, f.528. Hồ Trọng Bá – p.6. Hòa Binh airfield – p.26. Hòa Long village– p.58, 71, 72, f.231, 243, 261, 320, 323.

7

Hoài Đức – p.92, 94. Hoàng Bùi Đông – p.85. Hoàng Cao Hỷ - p.62, 101 (photograph), f.232, 276, 466, 472. Hoàng Diệu, post – p.103. Hoàng Văn Chức – f.87. Hoàng Văn Dẹm – p.71, f.339. Hoàng Văn Thanh – f.325, App.9 (POW). Hoàng Văn Vuông – f.339. Hồi Chánh (ralliers) – p.17, f.190. Hội Mỹ, village – p.51, 62, f.313. Homesickness, NVA – p.40, f.184, 250, 488. Horseshoe base – f.250, 488. Horseshoe Hill – p.114. HQ AFV – see Headquarters … . Huế - f.22, 520. Hughes J., Major General – f.470. Hưng Lộc – p.109, 113, 114. Hưng Nghĩa – p.109, 114, 115. Hưu, Captain – political offr – p.24. Ia Đrăng – p.9, 10 (map), 14, 16 (map), 18 (map), 20, 21, 22, 23, 120, f.21, 68, 189. Ia Meur River – p.17. Infiltration – p.5, 8, 29, 39, 40, 48, 97, 109, f.24, 28, 29, 30, 31, 34, 46, 56, 90, 176, 178, 446, 450, 453. Infiltration Group 520 – f.29, 124. Infrastructure, VCI – p.90, f.171, 251. Joint Intelligence Organisation – f.465. Joint Share Company (33rd) – f.548. K-10 – p.42, 43, 45, 46, 83. K -10 Base – p.29, f.128. K-39 Battalion – p.26, 27, f.113. K-76A Hospital – p.90. Key Areas – f.553. Khan, C. N., Lieutenant Colonel – p.74, f.267, 300, 308, 314, 324, 325, 331. Khe Giao – p.48, 85. Khmer Rouge – p.117, 118, f.535.

Khôi, Major – p.6, 20 (Le Khoi), 24, f.27, 122. Kiêm Tân - p.87. Kiếu Văn Tý – f.497. Kim Long – p.43, 46, 71, 78, 112, f.357, 434. Koh Tia, island – f.535. Kompong Cham – p.117, 118, f.418. Kompong Thom – p.117. Korean forces – p.21, 93, f.111, 347, 429. Kratié – p.117, 118, f.430. Kro village – p.14. Kuoi, Captain – p.20 (organogram). Kỷ Dậu (Tết 1969) – p.36. La Ngà – p.48, 87-89, 114, f.408. Labourers – p.45, 86. Lai Văn Cứ - f.43, 36, 50, 63. Lâm Đồng Province – p.116. Lâm Văn Bach – f.325, App.9 (POW). Lâm Văn Doi – f.269. Landmark battles, 1ATF – f.298, 475. Lao Động Party – f.36, 54, 147, 159, 404. LBN – see Letter Box Number. Lê Ba Dinh – f.411. Lê Bá Lộc – p.2, 81, f.2, 8, 21, 276, 336, 372, 490, 530, App.4. Lê Đình Ai – f.412, App.9 (POW). Lê Đức Hoa – f.458, 467. Lê Duy Nai – f.411. Lê Lợi Division – p.24, f.103. Lê Lợi Hospital – p.16 (map), 24, f.98, 103. Lê Phú (Xuyên Mộc) – f.499. Lê Sỹ Chứ - f.458. Lê Tấn Phúc – f.541. Lê Thị Nga – f.323. Lê Văn Dung – p.43, App.9 (POW). Lê Văn Nhanh – f.328. Lê Văn Thục – p.75. Lê Văn Trụ - p.75. Lê Văn Xảo – p.11.

8

Lê Xuân Chuyển – p.39, f.150, 180, 395. Lê Xuân Phôi – p.18. Letter Box Numbers (LBN) – p.41, f.92, 123, 186. Letter of Appreciation – p.41, f.93, 189. Light Fire Team – p.67. List, Martyrs – see Martyrs. Lộc An – p.45, 84, 86, f.204, 354, 388, 389, 450. Lộc Linh – p.113. Lộc Tấn – p.118. Long Bình – p.35, 36, 37, 43, 44, 120, f.128, 162, 163, 203, 399, 434, 500, 527. Long Đất District (VC) – p.111, f.439, 508, App.8. Long Giao – f.166. Long Hải – p.61, 116, f.313, 499. Long Khánh Province – p.46, 48, 53, 54, 56, 79, 80, 87, 95, f.11, 144, 247, 266, 395, 399, 434, 471, App. 20 (map). Long Khánh Campaign – p.47, 49, 50, f.218, 229, 350. Long Khánh Town – f.223. Long Khánh, Battle of – p.100. Long Lễ Sub-Sector/District – p.58, 71, f.261. Long Tân – p.86, 111, 112, 113, f.508, 511. Long Tân, Battle 1966 – p.86, f.152, 178, 241, 250, 298, 510. Long Thành District – p.37, 38, 43, 84, f.168, 196, 352, 388, 392, 485. Luân, Comrade – p.18. Lương Văn Biêng – f.188, 210. Lương Văn Nho – f.162. Lữu Văn Chuông – f.497. Lưu, Commander – f.401. Lý Hoa Lâm – f.145. Lynch, US base – f.434. M113A1 APC – p.64, 69, 81, f.131, 166, 284, 290, 304, 320.

Ma Văn Minh – p.25, 28, f.128, 232. MacDonald, B.A., Brigadier – p.99, 102, f.470. Mai Văn Đà – f.128. Mail – f.41, 185, 186. Main Force – p.33, 52, 53, 56, 59, 74, 97, 109, 111, f.178, 218, 223, 229, 299, 432. Malaria – Preface p.2; Text p.15, 20, 24, f.63, 101, 451. Maps – p.8, 10, 12, 16, 18, 54, 80, App.17-21. Martyrs’ List – p.2, 22, 27, 71, 75, 82, 93, 108, 118, f.19, 118, 374, 409, 467, 532, App.9. Mây Tào Mountains – p.51, 53, 90, f.338, 410. McGuire K. – f.291. Medals – p.31, 41, 44, f.137, 138, 188. Medical, Medicine – p.15, 20, 24, 31, 72, f.31, 63, 66, 85, 103, 235, 391, 413. Mekong River – p.118, f.168. Memorial, 33rd Regiment – p.2, 4, 75, 78, 119, f.6, 340, App.3. Memorial History – p.2, f.6, App.3. Memorial Stelae – p.75, 119, f.549, App.9. Midway, Conference – p.50, 60, f.225, 227, 262, 297. Miền, Comrade, p.62, App.22. Military Region 1 - f.153, 273. Military Region 3 – p.47, f.546, 554, App.18 (map). Military Region 6 – p.93, 94, 104, f.22, 430. Military Region 7 – p.32, 33, 35, 49, 50, 55, 61, 77, 84, 87, 91, 94, 96, 104, 105, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 116, 117, f.19, 158, 165, 224, 229, 263, 269, 273, 350, 431, 515, 522. Mimot (Cambodia)– p.118. Mobile (Mike) Strike Force – p.26. Mobile Group RF – f.488.

9

Mondolkiri (Cambodia) – f.430. Montagnard – f.41. Morale (33rd Regiment) – p.3, 22, 32, 34, 40-43, 45, f.31, 51, 214, 472. Museum, 33rd Regiment – p.4, 75, 119. Mỹ Tho – f.168. Nam Bộ - p.27 (map), 28, f.118, 119, 121, 123, 544. National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (NLF) – p.6, f.54. National Police Field Force – f.488. New Zealand (NZ) forces – f.347 – see also: 4RAR/NZ, 6RAR/NZ. Nghệ An Province – p.119. Ngô Xuân Kiểu – f.467. Ngô Xuân Lợi – f.341, 374. Ngoan, Comrade – f.87. Ngụ, Comrade – f.156, 403. Ngư, Comrade – f.419. Ngự, Comrade – f.156. Nguyễn Đình Ước, General – f.39. Nguyễn Đình Ba – p.20 (organogram). Nguyễn Đức Khôi – p.6, f.27 – see also: Khôi, Major and Kuoi. Nguyễn Duy Thai – f.411. Nguyễn Duy Văn – f.497. Nguyễn Hoàng Mai – f.320. Nguyễn Huệ Campaign, 1972 – p.105, f.489, 501. Nguyễn Hữu An, General – p.11, f.44. Nguyễn Hữu Điểm/Đảm – f.21. Nguyễn Hữu Hoa – f.87. Nguyễn Huy Thản – p.120 (photo), f.187, 275, 276, 419, 490, 495, 530. Nguyễn Nam Hưng – f.247, 388, 539. Nguyễn Ngọc Khánh – f.411. Nguyễn Quang Son - App.9 (POW). Nguyễn Sỹ Hồ - f.20, App.9. Nguyễn Sỹ Tám – f.530. Nguyễn Thái Học – p.14. Nguyễn Thanh Cần – f.185. Nguyễn Thanh Liêm- f.218. Nguyễn Thị Mỹ - f.323.

Nguyễn Thị Thiên – p.63, f.343. Nguyễn Thị Thu – f.327. Nguyễn Trọng Hứa – f.530. Nguyễn Văn Bảy – f.389, App. 8. Nguyễn Văn/Huy Biền – f.218. Nguyễn Văn Cháu – f.187, 419. Nguyễn Văn Dụy – p.79, 120 (photo), f.325, 361. App.9 (POW), 22 (photo). Nguyễn Văn Hanh – f.410. Nguyễn Văn Hung – f.467. Nguyễn Văn Khánh – f.90. Nguyễn Văn Long – f.497. Nguyễn Văn Nhung – p.87. Nguyễn Văn O – p.46, f.188, 210. Nguyễn Văn Thiệu, President – p.50, f.158, 297. Nguyễn Văn Thường – p.46, f.209, 232, 276, 401, 490 (photo), 491 (photo), 495. Nguyễn Văn Tiểu – f.273, 440, App.22. Nguyễn Văn Trịnh – f.247. Nguyễn Văn Xuân - App.9 (POW). Nguyễn Xuân Sang/Song – f.332. Nguyễn Xuân Trương – p.43, App.9 (POW). Nguyên, Lieutenant – p.24. Nguyệt (1st Battalion) – p.11. Nhơn Trạch – p.38. Nicknames/Aliases/Pseudonyms – f.251, 273, Nixon R., President – p.50, f.225, 227, 297. Nomenclature/Prefix, NVA/VC units – Preface f.5, Text f.3, 122. Northern Border – p.118, 119, 121, f.545. Núi Đất – p.58, 62, 64, 65, 66, 69-72, 81, 112, f.166, 212, 230, 241, 253, 282, 286, 290, 292, 302, 312, 313, 321, 357, 475, 510. Núi Hốt – p.103, f.469. Núi Lê – p.98, f.459, 468 – see also Núi Sao/Núi Lê.

10

Núi Lớn – p.116. Núi Lop – f.437. Núi Moc – p.95. Núi Nhọn – p.108, f.499. Núi Ông – p.95, 96, f.437. Núi Sao/Núi Lê – pp.99-102, f.259, 458, 462, 467, 468. Núi Thị Vải Mountains – f.266. Nước Trong –p.41 NVA/VC unit nomenclatures – Preface f.2, Text f.3. Ông Đồn – p.114. Ông Hùng Stream –p.30. Ông Quế - p.103. Open Arms Programme – f.17, 190. Operation Hammer – f.267. Operation Ivanhoe – p.98, 99, 103, f.469. Operation Lavarack – f.245, 247, 257, 260, 264, 266, 361, 364, 381, 385. Operation Overlord – p.98, 99, 102. Operation Tong – p.72, f.323. Organisation/Organograms – p.20, 102, f.25, 28, 251, 472, App.12-16 incl. Pacification Program – p.38, 47, 87, f.158, 223, 270. Paris Conference, Agreement – p.110, f.503. Party – p.22, 32-35, 43, 88, 89, 106-107 (photos), 109, f.36, 54, 147, 251, 273, 343, 403, 409, App.10. Party members – p.12, 22, 32, 33-35, 43, 88, f.51, 152, 273, 403, 409. People’s Revolutionary Party – p.32, f.54. People’s Self-Defence Force (PSDF) – p.58, f.250, 252, 270, 488. Performance – p.34, 35, 45, 83, f.189, App.10. Phạm Minh Quyết – f .341, 374. Phạm Như Lạc – p.93, f.424. Phạm Văn Còn – f.502. Phạm Văn Khẩu – p.75.

Phạm Văn Phan, Captain – f.441, 453, 472. Phạm Văn Phúc – f.527. Phạm Văn Thi – f.219, 237. Phan Liêm – f.145, 207, 218, App.10. Phan Ngọc Bê – f.530. Phan Ngọc Đến – f.389. Phan Trọng Dương, Captain – f.441. Phase H – f.214. Phase X - f.214. Pheonix Program – p.57, f.251, see Phượng Hoàng. Phi/Phí Văn Phê – f.340. Philippines – f.347. Phnom Penh – p.117, 118, f.535. Phú Quốc, island – f.535, App.9 (POW camp). Phúc Thọ District – p.119 120, f.275, 325. Phước Long Group – f.539. Phước Long Province – p.28, 31, 97, 116, f.128, 161. Phước Tuy Province – p.2, 3, 4, 29, 39, 42, 48, 49, 51, 54 (map), 55, 56, 60, 61, 62, 77, 79, 86, 98, 99, 102, 103, 104, 111, 114, 116, f.10, 17, 239, 251, 259, 260, 434, 469, 475, 499, App.19 (incl map), Rear Cover (map). Phượng Hoàng Program – p.57, f.251. Plây Me - p.9, f.53, 65, 76, 96. Plei Me – p.9, 10, 14, 17, 20-23, 120, f.21, 23, 24, 26, 29, 33, 189. Plei Te/The – f.40, 42. Plei Ya Bo – p.7, f.48. Pol Pot – p.117, f.535. Popular Forces (PF) – p.71, 73, 76, 98, 105, 114, f.250, 283, 305, 488. Population figures – f.10, 11, 123, 144, 230, 246, 251, 253, 346, App.19, 20. POW/PW – p.70, 73, 79, f.23, 29, 33, 34, 35, 46, 85, 100, 101, 102, 112, 203, 219, 233, 278, 323, 324, 325, 328, 361, 412, 453, 458, 467, 471, 492. App.9

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Provisional Revolutionary Government (PRG) – p.50, f.210, 226. Q764 – see 4th (274) VC Regiment. Quách Binh – f.497. Quách Thái Sơn – p.59, 65, 79, 81, f.260, 296, 385. Quảng Đức Province – p.27, f.22. Quang Minh – p.45, 46, f.527. Quảng Nhiêu – p.25. Quynh Ko Lo – f.51. Quynh La/Kla – p.14, 15. Radios, NVA/VC – p.79 (photo), 99, f.241, 364, 386. Railway – p.48. Ralliers – p.8, 11, 15, 19, 31, 51, 73, 82, f.17, 23, 28, 29, 36, 45, 50, 56, 62, 63, 73, 94, 100, 142, 163, 178, 190, 234, 328, 341, 450. Rangers, ARVN – p.105, 113, f.41, 494, 539. Rank, NVA/VC – p.33, 90, f.32, 56, 94, 273, 407, 424, 549, App.9. Rations – see Food, Rice. Ready Reaction Force – p.64, 71, 72, f.248, 285. Recoilless Rifle (RCL) – p.13, 31, 45, 73, 82, 83, 100, f.51, 66, 145, 307, 313, 324, 341, 492. Records expunged – see Redacted. Recovery – see Remains, recovery of. Recriminations, rebuke – p.83, f.385. Redacted records – f.85, 163, 412. Regional Forces (RF) – p.57, 59, 70, 71, 73, 98, 99, 108, 112, 113, f.106, 210, 250, 282, 283, 305, 488. Regional Forces, Group – f.250, 488. Remains, recovery of - p.75, f.336, 337, App.3, 4, 9 – see also Cậu Thủy, fraud. Resolutions – p.33, 34, 35, 88, 107, f.31, 148, 151, 156, 159, 263, 403. Resolve to Win Regiment – p.93. Reunions – p.4, 119, 120 (photo), 121, f.259, 309, 551.

Rice – p.45, 75, 87, 90, 91, 92, f.31, 123, 146, 397, 401, 407, 415, 451. Rice Bowl – f.437. Richards, T. J., Captain – f.241, 248. Ritchie D., 2nd Lieutenant – f.284, 291. Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG) – p.64, 67, 74, 100, f.132, 281, 282, 291, 324, 330. Rockets, NVA/VC – p.60, 61, 64, 68, 70, 72, 74, 109, f.196, 312, 313, 321. Rogers, P., 2nd Lieutenant – f.301. Route 1 – p.37, 87, 109, 110, 113, 114, 115, f.162, 203, 432, 521. Route 2 (now Route 56) – p.29, 46, 53, 58-59, 60, 62-64, 67-68, 71, 79-81, 88, 97-98, 105, 107-108, 110-112, 115, f.166, 229, 230, 246, 249, 253, 257, 260, 266, 288, 290, 292, 296, 302, 306, 434, 449, 458, 467, 494, 499, 527. Route 2 Campaign – p.112. Route 3 – see Route 333. Route 10 – p.116. Route 13 – p.117. Route 15 (now Route 51) – p.44, 110, 111, f.10, 266. Route 20 – f.521. Route 22 – p.29, 30. Route 23 – p.56, 108, 110. Route 44 – f.488. Route 52 – f.488. Route 239 – p.30, f.132. Route 328 – f.249. Route 333 (3) – p.48, 78, 80, 92, 95, 104, 113, 114, f.419, 431. Route 335 – p.92, f.431. Rules, codes, oaths – p.34, f.31. Rừng Lá – p.114. Rừng Sắc – p.97. Rural Development Cadre – p.61, f.270, 313. Sa Thầy River – p.25, f.39, f.71, 72, 75, 76, 97.

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Sài Gòn – p.47, 77, 113-115, 120, f.10, 17, 168, 190, 198, 252, 270, 548, 554. Sappers – p.11, 43, 75, 83, 86, 93, 96, 99, 106, 107, 108, 109, 112, 145, f.269, 388, 413, 485, 487, 514. Sayce, R. L., Captain – f.471. Schofield FSB – p.31, f.132, 140. Seasons – p.28, 98, 105, f.5, 120, 174, 520. Secret Self-Defence Forces, VC – f.251. Sector – p.1, 109, 111, 121, f.105, 250, 320, 488. Self-Defence Corps – f.250. Self-mutilation – p.43, f.156. Shelling, Núi Đất – p.70, f.313, 321. SIGINT – see signals intelligence. Signals intelligence, 1ATF – p.3, 21, 48, 53, 56, 79, 80 (map), 82, 84, 85, 98, 99, f.67, 234, 238, 240, 242, 248, 363, 388, 392. Sino-Vietnamese Border War – p.116, 118, 121, f.545. Snoul (Cambodia) – p.117. Sông (River) Cầu – p.58, 65, 71, f.253, 292. Sông Lam – p.61, f.23. Sông Phanh – f.437. Sông Ray River – p.33, 42, 55. Sông Thao – p.109 South-Western Border – p.117, 118, 121. SPAR – f.67, 439. Sparrow Valley – p.96. Special Air Service (SAS) – f.257. Special Forces, ARVN – p.11. Special Forces, US – f.39, 41, 106. Special Sector – p.1, 121, f.553. Station 4 – p.16 (map), 23, f.94, 98, 103. Station 5 – p.16 (map), 24, f.85, 98, 103. Stela/stelae - 75, 119, f.548, App.9.

Stevens, J.P., Lieutenant – f.290. Strengths, 33rd Regiment – App.6. Strengths, NVA/VC – p.29, 31, f.110, 125, 136, 171, 503. Stung Treng (Cambodia) – f.430. Sub-Region 4 – p.43. Sub-Sector – p.1, 25, 44, 58, 64, 71, 99, 104, 105, 106, 107, 110, 113, 121, f.105, 261, 282, 486, 492, 495, 517. Sub-Sub-Sector – p.1, 103, 121, f.473, 554. Suicides – p.83, f.156. Sullivan, B., 2nd Lieutenant – f.284. Summary History – p.1, 71, 78, 104, 105, 115, f.1, 122, 212, 413, 429. Sun, FSB – p.95. Suối (Stream) Cao – p.113. Suối Cát – p.104, 114, f.409. Suối Kết – p.43. Suối Máu Bridge – p.115. Suối Mơ – p.48, 85. Suối Nghệ, hamlet – p.108, f.230, 240, 289. Suối Nghệ District/Sub-Sector - p.105, 106, 107, f.485, 487. Suối Nhác – p.98. Suối Râm – p.98, f.166. Supplies – p.90, 92, 108, f.31, 146, 432, 437. Svay Cheak (Cambodia) – p.117. Sweeping operation, defined – f.198. Tablet, Memorial – p.2, App.5. Tân Biên District – p.116, 118. Tân Hội – p.118. Tân Lạc – p.11. Tân Lập – p.48, 52, 98, f.235. Tân Sơn Nhứt, airfield - f.553. Tánh Linh – p.92, 104, 113, f.420, 431, 553. Tanks, Centurion, 1ATF – p.63, 65, 67-73, 81, 98, f.282, 284, 286, 289, 290, 291, 302, 306, 320. Tanks, NVA/VC – p.115.

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Tanks, US – p.1, 46, 92, 121, f.130, 165, 187. Tây Nguyên - p.27, f.29, 51, 54, 60, 89, 118. Tây Ninh Province – p.29, 30, 47, 60, 86, 116, 118, 120, f.121, 124, 128, 132, 135,139, 161, 263, 335, 428, 539, Tay, Comrade – p.61, f.268, 321. Teeling W.E., Private – p.68, 76. Tết 1968 – see Tết Mậu Thân below. Tết 1969 (Kỷ Dậu) – see below. Tết Kỷ Dậu attack, 1969 – pp.36-38, 120. Tết Mậu Thân Offensive, 1968 – pp.26-27, 29, 31, 32, 120, f.116, 134, 171. Thai Armed Forces – p.1, 37, 38, 43, 44, 84, 85, 86, 120, 121, f.168, 200, 210, 347, 352, 354, 388, 393. Thanh Sơn –f.150. Thế, 5th Division cadre – p.37. Third Indochina War – f.541. Third Regional Assistance Command – p.96, f.445, 453, 475. Thon Can – f.56. Thrust, FSB – p.61, f.313. Thừa Tích, ambush – f.249. Thừa Tích, village – f.239, App.19 (map). Tô Đình Khả [sic] – p.24. Tô Đình Khảm – p.23, 25, f.26, 53. Tong, Operation – see Operation Tong. Trà Phí – p.29. Trà Tân – p.103. Trà Vân – p.104. Trà Vong – p.118. TRAC – see Third Regional … . Trần Đăng Phong – p.115, f.528. Trần Đình Lê – f.550. Trần Lệ Xuân, route – p.116. Trần Minh Tâm – f.217, 218. Trần Ngư – f.157.

Trần Thi Thức – p.115, f.528. Trần Văn Biên – f.497. Trần Văn Chiến – f.323. Trần Văn Cot – f.476. Trần Văn Đang – f.412, App.9 (POW). Trần Văn Hào – f.389. Trần Văn Hợp – f.258. Trần Văn Nghiêp – f.102. Trần Văn Ngô, Major – p.64, 67, f.282. Trần Văn Thanh – f.325, App.9 (POW). Trần Văn Tra, General – p.114, f.524, 527. Trần Voi – f.325, App.9 (POW). Trảng Bom – p.45, 87, 110, f.163, 352. Trảng Lớn – p.29. Tre Base Area – f.249, 257. Triệu Kim Sơn – p.59, 62, 100, f.187, 259, 418, 441, 443, 453, 472. Triệu Minh Cấm – f.139. Trương Công Dinh – f.472. Trương Văn Thực – p.71. Tua Hai – p.29. Túc Trưng – p.87, f.223, 553. UH-1H, helicopter – p.67, f.303. US forces, Phước Tuy/Long Khánh Provinces – f.166, 399, 434. Vàm Khe Giao – p.85. Vạn Kiếp – f.474, 554. Veterans’ Association, 33rd Regiment – p.4, 11, 75, 78, 119, 120, f.1, 2, 276, 336, 467, 468, 552. Việt Cộng Infrastructure – p.90, f.171, 251. Việt Cộng and NVA terminology – Preface f.2, 6, Text f.3, 122. Việt Cộng, district boundaries Phước Tuy – p.54 (map), App.19 (map), back cover (map). Việt Cộng, pejorative – Preface f.3 Việt Cương – p.45, 46, 71, f.260, 338. Vietnam Center and Archive (VCAT) – Preface p.2.

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Vietnam Workers’ Party – f.54, 214. Vietnamization – f.223. Vĩnh Phu – f.124, 258, 259. Virginia, FSB – p.63, 82, f.266, 306, 364. Võ Đắt/Đắc – p.89, 93, 95, 104, 113, f.420, 426, 517. Võ Minh Khang - App.9 (POW). Võ Xu/Su – p.95, 113. Võ Xuân Thu – f.2, 21, 276, 467, 471. Vũ Công Chiến – f.340. Vũ Minh Thang – f.412, Vũ Như Năng – f.128. Vũ Sắc – p.5, 11, 12, 23, f.26, 44, 53. Vũ Viết Cam – f.530. Vũng Tàu – p.97, 103, 104, 116, 119, f.467, 468, 475. War Zone D – p.31, 36, 97, 98, f.167, 235, 408, 425. Weather, rain – p.25, 40. Westmoreland W., General – p.22, f. 58, 198. Worksite 33 – p.7, 23, f.35, 124. Xà Bang – p.99, f.249, 257, 458. Xuân Lộc District/Unit, VC – p.104, 108, App.8. Xuân Lộc District, GVN – f.11, 144. Xuân Lộc Town – p.48, 51, 62, 85, 87, 95, 104, 114, f.166, 233, 234, 235, 238, 364, 399, 485, 522, 527. Xuyên Mộc – p.55, 56, 108, 109, 110, f.239, 499. Youth Group (Đoàn), Party – p.12, 33, 34, 86, f.36, 147, 152, 156.