The Viet Cong

D445
Battalion
Their Story

(and the Battle of Long Tan)
Ernest Chamberlain - 2016

Nui Dat – June 1969
Ernie Chamberlain – a Vietnamese linguist, served in South Vietnam as an
intelligence officer from April 1969 to November 1970. He later 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 – visiting
Vietnam in mid-1974. Ernie Chamberlain later served as the Defence Attache in
Cambodia (1991-1993) and Head of the Australian Defence Staff 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. His earlier published works on the Vietnam
War include: D445 Battalion (2011); D440 Battalion (2013); and the 33rd NVA
Regiment (2014).

D445 Battalion – S k etc h M ap : Battle of Long Tan
(18 A u gu st 1966 – f or analysis, s ee footnote 275)

The Viet Cong

D445 Battalion

Their Story

(and the Battle of Long Tân)

Ernest Chamberlain – 2016

Published in Australia in 2016 by Ernest Chamberlain, Point Lonsdale VIC 3225.
Copyright  Ernest Chamberlain 2016

email - chamber@pipeline.com.au

This work 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 author/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, 2011 (ISBN 978-0-9805623-4-7).
The Viet Cong D440 Battalion: Their Story, 2013 (ISBN 978-0-9805623-5-4).
The 33rd Regiment – North Vietnamese Army: Their Story, 2014 (ISBN 978-0-97503505-4).
National Library of Australia : Cataloguing-in-Publication Entry
Chamberlain, Ernest, 1944 –
The Viet Cong D445 Battalion: Their Story – and the Battle of Long Tan.
Bibliography; Index.
ISBN 978-0-9805623-4-7
Mặt t n dân tộ giải ph ng miền nam Việt Nam.
Vietnam War, 1961-1975 – History.
Vietnam War, 1961-1975 – Participation , Australian.
Dewey number:

959.7043394

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 the Việt Cộng’s 2 D445 Battalion3 - a battalion
on “the other side”, will hopefully complement those publications and the official
histories – and also those of the Việt Cộng D440 Battalion and the 33rd NVA Regiment.4
This work of some 348,200 words presents a translation and close examination of
The Heroic 445 Battalion : its History and Tradition (Tiểu Đoàn 445 Anh Hùng :
Lịch Sử/Truyền Thống) – ie the “445 Battalion History” published in 2004.5 As near as
possible to a literal translation of the Vietnamese text has been attempted.
As comments on the text – and to add context, a considerable number of
“Translator’s Notes” have been added as footnotes to the translation, creating an
“exegesis”. The original footnotes in the Vietnamese text (totaling 39) have been retained
– ie translated, and are indicated with an asterisk eg “6 *”.The large number of
“Translator’s Notes” include detailed references to enable interested readers to readily
access primary source material – much of it now available via the Internet. Many of these
comments relate to intelligence material – such as captured NVA/VC documents, and
also cite other Vietnamese and Australian histories that have somewhat different accounts

1

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
In this work, the People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN) is referred to as the “North Vietnamese Army”
(NVA); and the People’s Liberation Armed Forces (PLAF), guerrillas and infrastructure are termed the Việt
Cộng (VC) – as the general readership is more familiar with the terms “NVA” and “VC”. The term “Việt
Cộng” is avoided in Vietnamese communist writings. The Vietnamese communists did not refer to
themselves 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
World” allies.
3
NVA/VC formation and unit nomenclatures included prefix letters to designate size eg “A” for
section/squad; “B” – platoon; “C” – Company; “D” – battalion; “E” – regiment (also “Q”); “F” and “CT” –
division; and “T” – Military Region. “B” was also used as a prefix for some fronts – eg B2, B3. “K” was
often used as a prefix designation for hospitals. Sometimes abbreviated to “Miền”, COSVN’s principal
cover designators were “R”, “Năm Trường”, and “Chín Nam”. “U” was a designator for provinces (eg: U1
and U3 were cover designators for the Biên Hòa Province Unit. The Bà Rịa Province Unit’s designator was
U2, Bình Dương Province was U4, Tây Ninh was U5, Long Khánh was U8, and Phước Thành was U9).
4
See: Chamberlain, E.P., The Viet Cong D440 Battalion: Their Story, Point Lonsdale, 2013; and
Chamberlain, E.P., The 33rd Regiment - North Vietnamese Army: Their Story (and the Battle of Bình Ba),
Point Lonsdale, 2014.
5
An exegesis – a translation with a comprehensive commentary, of a 1991 edition was published as:
Chamberlain, E.P., The Viet Cong D445 Battalion: Their Story, Point Lonsdale, 2011.

of events - including engagements with the Australian forces eg: the “History of the 5th
Infantry Division” (2005). 6
A series of 18 discrete annexes have also been included that cover a range of
aspects of probable interest. These include translated extracts from the 5th VC Division
History; the organisation of 445 Battalion in mid-1966 before the Battle of Long Tân; an
examination of the casualty figures for that Battle; outline biographies of nine key 445
Battalion cadre 7; and information on the Battalion’s Party organisation and activities –
that also includes age and social data of the Battalion’s personnel in mid-1966. As the
275th VC Main Force Regiment was the principal VC element at the Battle of Long Tân,
an annex on the history and operations of that formation has also been included – together
with an extract on the Battle of Long Tân from the Regiment’s mid-2015 History8, a
biography of the Regiment’s commander – Nguyễn Thới Bưng, and appendices with the
personal details of 176 of the Regiment’s personnel killed at the Battle of Long Tân. The
work includes a comprehensive index – with the names of over 400 NVA/VC personnel.
Many of the comments on the 445 Battalion History are based on an examination
of captured NVA and VC documents and the debriefings 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).9 A very large
quantity of CIC-V material is held by The Vietnam Center and Archive (VCAT) at the
Texas Tech University, Lubbock – Texas, United States. Without access to the records
held by the VCAT, it would have been quite difficult to comment meaningfully on the
text of the 445 Battalion History. Accordingly, access to the records held by Texas Tech
University is gratefully acknowledged and noted in this work as “VCAT” material.
This account of the D445 Battalion History differs in several aspects from their
1991 version – made available in English in 2011 (see footnote 5). This later 2004 edition
is less descriptive of military engagements than the 1991 version, and has less direct
speech. 10 Usefully however, it includes sketch maps not presented in the 1991 version –
including of the Battle of Long Tân (18 August 1966) – see the reverse of the front cover
and page 76. On that Battle – see pages 71-80, the Vietnamese writers have quoted long
passages on the Battle of Long Tân from the work of the late British military academic
The 5th Division History relates that the Việt Cộng forces at the Battle of Long Tân in August 1966 were
not fully prepared for the engagement against the Australian forces on 18 August 1966, see Annex K.
7
Almost all NVA/VC cadre, soldiers and infrastructure personnel had two-word nicknames/aliases/
pseudonyms (tự, bí danh). Invariably, these comprised a number (from 2 to 10) – or occasionally “Út”
(meaning “youngest”), followed by their given name. Party members sometimes also had a secure -name –
ie an additional “full” Vietnamese name of three words.
8
Hồ Sơn Đài - Colonel (ed), Lịch sử Trung Đoàn Bo Binh 5 (1965-2015) - The History of the 5th ((275th ))
Infantry Regiment, Nhà Xuất Bản Quân Đội Nhâ Dâ (The People’s Armed Forces Publishing House), Hà
Nội, 2015 – a Vietnamese-language copy was provided to the authro (Chamberlain) by Blair Tidey in late
September 2015.
9
At the Australian Task Force base in Núi Đất, captured documents were processed by the Detachment of
the 1st Divisional Intelligence Unit before on-forwarding to CDEC in Sài Gòn.
10
The Vietnamese text of this 2004 edition lacks professionally editing – there are several errors of
Vietnamese grammar and spelling, chronology, and dates. Some sketch maps lack an accompanying text.
6

and author, Dr John Pimlott – but not accurately. The Vietnamese text of this edition also
implies that the D445 commander at the Battle was Vũ/Võ Quốc Chánh (Tư Chánh) – ie
not Bùi Quang Chánh, which I consider highly unlikely.
All published Vietnamese histories and senior Vietnamese veterans describe the
Battle of Long Tân as a “mobile ambush” – with the Australian forces having been
lured11 into the Bà Điếc Plantation in the Long Tân area. Some Australian writers
however have contended that the Việt Cộng force had planned to attack the base of the 1st
Australian Task Force at Núi Đất, and that the Long Tân engagement was an “encounter
battle” that preempted such a planned attack on the base. These two views were examined
in the Australian Official History published in 1993, and the late Dr Ian McNeill
concluded that: “Too much information is missing to make a conclusive assessment of the
enemy intentions and motives.”12 The Vietnamese view of a planned ambush is
unchanged. On 18 December 2014, senior Vietnamese veterans in Hồ Chí Minh City
published an updated “official account” of “The Ambush Battle at Long Tân” – and an
English translation and commentary on that article is provided for readers’ interest at
Annex Q. Perhaps this 445 Battalion History – and the examining comments offered, will
assist readers to reach a view on that aspect – and others. A very brief description of the
Battle Long Tân by a D445 rallier is at Annex R.
As with the Battle of Bình Ba (June 1969)13, the recent availability of some new
Australian and US SIGINT (signals intelligence) material on NVA/VC operations in
Phước Tuy Province has provided further insights into the Battle of Long Tân – and this
is examined in Annex E, including “Top Secret” material declassified and released to the
author in February 2016.
While their 1991 D445 History concluded with victory in April 1975, this edition
reaches out to 2004 - and covers operations against the “Saigon military remnants”, postWar “counter-revolutionaries”, and the Battalion’s operations against the Khmer Rouge
forces in Cambodia. In their Preface to this edition, the Vietnamese writers acknowledge
that “many documents were mislaid during the War and as it has not been possible to
gather sufficient witnesses, the book no doubt has been unable to avoid shortcomings.”
445 Battalion’s strength varied considerably during the War. On its founding – ie
as a battalion, its strength was reportedly 350-450, and it was at its strongest in January
1968 at 608 – just before the Tết Mậu Thân General Offensive. However, in January 1971
– according to their 1991 History, the “strength of a company was only about 20
riflemen.” According to the Battalion’s 2004 History: “Based on the reality of the
battlefield situation, at the beginning of September 1971, the Sub-Region decided to
disperse 445 Battalion, breaking it into three companies and allocating these as core
elements for our campaign in the two critical regions. … In May 1972, the Sub-Region
11

The tactic is described in the Vietnamese accounts as “luring the tiger from the mountain” – a Chinese
and Vietnamese saying (Vietnamese: Dẫn hổ/cọp khỏi núi; Sino-Vietnamese: Điệu hổ ly sơn; Chinese: 調

虎 離 山). See also footnote 270 in the main text and Annex R.
12
McNeill, I., To Long Tan, op.cit., 1993, p.364. Recently, Dr Peter Edwards has similarly summarised
that: “The debate continues to this day.” – Edwards, P., Australia and the Vietnam War, Australian War
Memorial/New South Publishing, Sydney, 2014, p.151.
13
Chamberlain, E.P., The 33rd Regiment – North Vietnamese Army: Their Story, op.cit, 2014.

Headquarters decided to re-concentrate 445 Battalion after almost a year of dispersed
operations.” – Annex C provides detail on 445 Battalion’s strength figures over-time.
The 445 Battalion History lists 539 “martyrs”. However that list only includes one
of its soldiers killed in action at the Battle of Long Tân - Trần Văn Chiến, a company
commander (for a detailed examination of casualty figures for the Battle, see Annex F).
Another interesting aspect is that while the combat effectiveness of NVA/VC
forces was seriously hampered by high malarial rates, malaria is not mentioned at all in
the text of the 445 Battalion History. At Annex O, this aspect is examined in relation to
the 275th VC Regiment – the major Việt Cộng element at the Battle of Long Tân.
445 Battalion was formally deactivated in 2008. A memorial to the Battalion has
been mooted for several years. In July 2015, a Joint Province Committee determined that
the D445 Memorial would be built on a two hectare site in Bà RịaTown adjacent to the
Province Administrative Offices and the Public Security Headquarters.
In November 2014, a 23-minute Vietnamese “documentary film” on the War in
Phước Tuy Province was released that featured D445 Battalion and the Battle of Long
Tân.14 An Australian feature-length film on the Battle at Long Tân – titled “Danger
Close”, was planned for release in mid-2016 but its production is now uncertain.15
Annexes to the earlier exegesis of the D445 Battalion History (1991) – published
in 2011, included translations and commentaries on several District and other local
histories. These – together with additional material, will be re-published in 2016 as a
“compendium” - ie as: “Phước Tuy: the Việt Cộng District and Local Histories”.16
For “ready reference”, a map of Phước Tuy Province is provided on the rear
cover; and the Vietnamese sketch map of the Battle of Long Tân has been included at the
reverse of the front cover. Vietnamese-language histories rarely, if ever, include an index.
However, as noted, an extensive index and a bibliography have been prepared and
included at the end of this English-language publication.

Ernie Chamberlain
March 2016

14

Võ Văn Cầm - Director, “Trưởng thành từ trong chiến đấu” - “Coming-of-age during combat”, Bà Rịa Vũng Tàu Television, 4 November 2014 – see the photographs at footnote 18 and at page 179.
15
Walsh, Martin (Producer)/Red Dune Films, “Danger Close – the Battle of Long Tan”.
16
The History of the Revolutionary Struggle in Long Đất District (1986); The History of the Struggle …
of Đất Đỏ District (2006); The History of the Revolutionary Struggle … of Châu Đức District (2004);
The Resistance War in Xuyên Mộc (1989); The History of the People’s Revolutionary Struggle in Tân
Thành District (2014 ?); The Minh Đạm Base (2006); Châu Thành District – Struggle and Development
(1988); The History of the Hòa Long Village Party Chapter (25 April 2009).

Lê Chính & Lưu Thành Luân (eds), 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 Quang Định)

The Party Committee – Military Headquarters
Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Province

The History of 445 Battalion:
An Heroic Unit of the People’s Armed Forces
(1965-2004)
(internal distribution)

The People’s Armed Forces Publishing House

Content Guidance (Chỉ đạo nội dung):
The Party Committee – Province Military Headquarters
Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Province
Editors (Biên soạn):
Lê Chính – Lưu Thành Luân
with the assistance of Major General Nguyễn Minh Ninh
and the war veterans of 445 Battalion.
Manuscript finalization (Hoàn chỉnh bản thảo): Nguyễn Đình Thống.
Responsible for publishing: Phạm Quang Định.

CONTENTS
Introduction
The Beginning
Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu, The Land, The People, The Military Tradition
and the Layout of the Battlefield – the Cradle of 445 Battalion.

1
3

PART 1
The Birth of 445 Battalion, Making an Important Contribution to the
Victory of the Anti-American Resistance War of National Salvation
on the Bà Rịa – Long Khánh Battlefield.
Chapter 1
Founding 445 Battalion, fighting while coming-of-age (1965-1968).

46

Chapter 2
445 Battalion in the period of opposing the strategy of the
“Vietnamization of the War” (1969 – 1972).

110

Chapter 3
Attacking the encroaching enemy, participating in the campaign to liberate
Bà Rịa – Long Khánh (1973-1975).

156

PART 2
445 Battalion in the task of developing and defending the Fatherland (1975-2004).
Chapter 1
Defending the Government and the revolution, pursuing the puppet military
remnants, and undertaking our international duty (1975 – 1989).

180

Chapter 2
High combat readiness, effective training, and developing a solid and complete
unit (1989 – 2004).

196

Conclusion

209

Addendum

217

ANNEXES 17
Annex A – Key Cadre: D445 Battalion – Outline Biographies (nine).
Annex B – Senior Cadre: D445 Battalion.
Annex C – D445 Battalion: Strength Figures.
Annex D – The Probable Organisation of D445 Battalion – Mid-1966.
Annex E – The Battle of Long Tân: A Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) Summary.
Annex F – The Battle of Long Tân: Casualties and Losses.
Annex G – The Party in D445 Battalion.
Annex H – D445 Command and Political Reports – mid-1966.
Annex I – D445 Battalion: Medals Submission – 10 July 1966.
Annex J – Higher Headquarters.
Annex K – The History of the 5th Infantry Division (1965 – 2005): Extracts.
Annex L – The Battle of Long Tân 18/8/66 – NVA/VC Revisited
(a listing of participating elements).
Annex M – The Battle of Long Tân: D445 History – 1991.
Annex N – The 274th Regiment - Not at the Battle of Long Tân.
Annex O – The 275th Main Force Regiment.
Appendix 1: 275th Regiment Personnel KIA - Battle of Long Tân (140 names).
Appendix 2: Lieutenant General Nguyễn Thới Bưng – A Biography.
Appendix 3: The History of the 5th ((275th)) Infantry Regiment (2015) – Extract.
Appendix 4: List of Martyrs Killed at Long Tân – “18.8.66”.
(Gò Cát Cemetery List of “36” – February 2016).
Annex P – D440 Local Force Battalion.
Annex Q – The “Ambush Battle” at Long Tân (December 2014).
Annex R – The Battle of Long Tân – as related by the D445 rallier Huỳnh Văn Hoa.
Bibliography
Index

17

These Annexes were not part of the 2004 D445 History but have been included as additional reference
material – as explained in the Preface.

This Giấy Khen – “Letter of Appreciation” was awarded to Trịnh Văn Liêm
– a section commander in the 2nd Company of D445 Battalion. Liêm was born in “Long
Phước village, Châu Đức [sic] District, Bà Rịa Province.” The Letter recognises his
bravery and other achievements in the battle at Phước Hải. Dated 10 January 1967, the
Letter is signed by the D445 Battalion Political Officer, Đổ Văn Liên (CDEC Log 051407-67). Subsequently, while serving as the Political Officer of the 2nd Company, Trịnh
Văn Liêm was killed in an Australian ambush at Cà Thi (Xuyên Mộc) on 31 December
1970 (see footnote 478). Awards for the Battle of Long Tân are related in Annex F.

A D445 (?) soldier (left foreground) firing an RPG-2 (B40) rocket launcher.18
18

This photograph – and the photograph at page 179, were included in a late 2014 “Documentary Film” on
the history of D445 Battalion – ie: Võ Văn Cầm - Director, “Trưởng thành từ trong chiến đấu” (“Comingof-age during combat”), Bà Rịa - Vũng Tàu Television, 4 November 2014.

1

Introduction
On 19 May 1945 [sic – Translator’s Note: should be “1965”], in an area of jungle
at the Suối Rao Stream (Long Tân – Long Đất), the 445 Battalion – the local Bà Rịa
Province1 troops, was officially formed. The birth of 445 Battalion was a milestone
marking the growth of the revolutionary movement in the region - and marking the
coming-of-age of the armed forces of Bà Rịa Province that were greatly loved and helped
by the people. Fighting right on its very own homeland, in every situation – including the
most difficult and violent, the cadre and soldiers of the Battalion were always united and
closely bound in taking up arms and confronting the Americans, puppets, Australians and
New Zealanders. Despite the enemy’s wicked warfare of plots and schemes, our troops
fought and won. The feats of arms, the memories, the painful losses throughout the AntiAmerican War of National Salvation, and the period of our International Duty in
Cambodia have all left marks that will never fade in the hearts of the generation of cadre
and soldiers of 445 Battalion – as well as in the Party chapters, the authorities, and the
people of Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Province. The honourable title of an “Heroic Unit of the
People’s Armed Forces”2 – that the Party3 and the Nation bestowed on the unit, will
forever be a highly valued legacy of the armed forces of Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Province for
the development and defence of the nation – the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
From its very founding until today, 445 Battalion has always been worthy of its
title as the “Main Force Fist/Punch” of the Province. The Battalion operated effectively

1

Translator’s (E. Chamberlain) Note: Bà Rịa Province – the Sài Gòn Government’s Phước Tuy Province,
was 445 Battalion’s principal area of operations. Occasionally, the Battalion also operated in Long Khánh
Province and Bình Tuy Province – respectively to the immediate north and north-east of Phước Tuy/Bà Rịa
Province. “Post-War”, the Battalion also operated in Cambodia. Phước Tuy Province was about 55
kilometres from east-to-west and about 35 kilometres from north-to-south (an area of 1,958 sq km – about
83% of the size of the Australian Capital Territory, or 21.3% of the size of Tasmania). 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. An historical summary of Phước Tuy
Province from the late 18th Century can be found in O’Brien, M., Conscripts and Regulars – with the
Seventh Battalion in Vietnam, Allen & Unwin, St Leonards, 1995, pp.14-22. A detailed political history of
the Phước Tuy-Vũng Tàu region from 1930 can be found in Liên đoàn Lao động tỉnh Bà Rịa Vũng Tàu,
Lịch sử Phong Trào Công Nhân, Viên Chức, Lao Động va Hoạt Động Công Đoàn Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Giai
Đoạn 1930-2006 (The History of the Workers’, Public Servants’ and Labourers’ Movement and Trade
Union Activities in the Period 1930-2006), Vũng Tàu, 2011.
2
Translator’s Note: 445 Battalion is included as an “Heroic Unit” in Hồ Sơn Đài & Trần Quang Toại, Đồng
Nai Đơn Vị Anh Hùng (The Heroic Units of Đồng Nai), Nhà Xuất Bản Đồng Nai (Đồng Nai Publishing
Company), Đồng Nai, 1985, pp.14-20.
3
Translator’s Note: The Communist Party of Vietnam was disbanded in 1945 and re-emerged as a party –
ie the Vietnam Workers’ Party (VWP – ie Lao Động Party), 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 59 for detail on COSVN organisation and activities. Việt Cộng military units and
the National Liberation Front were directed and controlled by the People's Revolutionary Party through its
organs at all levels. In 1976, the PRP in South Vietnam was merged with the VWP of “North Vietnam” to
reconstitute the Communist Party of Vietnam. For the functioning of the Party – including its Youth Group,
and in North Vietnamese and Việt Cộng units, see Annexes G and H.

2
on an important battlefield of the Eastern Nam Bộ Region4 (comprising Biên Hòa, Bà
Rịa, and Long Khánh5) – wiping out the enemy, destroying their grip, coordinating with
higher main-force troops, fighting in many battles of annihilation, and contributing
towards the bankrupting of the enemy’s war strategy . The title “445 Battalion” became
symbolic of a spirit of revolutionary attack, a will for self-reliant strength, a proficiency in
applying the methods of the people’s warfare of the Party and Uncle Hồ, and
embellishing the legacy and the excellent nature of the “Troops of the Great Uncle Hồ”.
With feelings of unbounded gratitude for the dedicated sacrifices of earlier
generations – and the agreement of Province Standing Committee and the People’s
Committee of Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Province, the Party Committee of the Military
Headquarters of Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Province organised the writing of this book on “The
History of 445 Battalion – An Heroic Unit of the People’s Armed Forces (1965 – 2004)”
with the aim of recounting the process of the Battalion’s founding, its coming-of-age, and
development through the historic stages by the Heroic 445 Battalion. In this way,
valuable lessons and experiences in the process of developing a rich, solid and
comprehensive region can contribute to the teaching of revolutionary history for today’s
generation and for those that follow. The book: “The History of 445 Battalion – An
Heroic Unit of the People’s Armed Forces (1965 – 2004)” is one contribution in a
program to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Heroic 445
Battalion (1965 – 2005).
As many documents were mislaid during the War - and as it has not been possible
to gather sufficient witnesses, the book no doubt has been unable to avoid shortcomings.
It is hoped that comrades and country-men will contribute constructive ideas to enable an
opportunity to include revisions when republishing. The Party Committee of the Military
Headquarters of Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Province respectfully introduces this book: “The
History of 445 Battalion – An Heroic Unit of the People’s Armed Forces (1965 – 2004)”,
to the broader readership.
The Party Committee of the Military Headquarters
Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Province

4

Translator’s Note: “Nam Bộ” was the communist term for the region of Vietnam south of the Central
Highlands - equating to the earlier French colonial “Cochin China” region. The US historian and author,
Merle Pribbenow translated “Nam Bộ” as “Cochin China”.
5
Translator’s Note: 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
(double that of Phước Tuy) – 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).

3

The Beginnings
Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu : The Land, The People, Its Military History
and the Layout of the Battlefield
The Cradle of 445

1. The Geographical Position, Historical Characteristics, and the Layout of the
Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Province Battlefield.
The Province of Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu comprises eight administrative units: the city
of Vũng Tàu, the town of Bà Rịa and the districts of Tân Thành, Châu Đức, Long Điền,
Đất Đỏ, Xuyên Mộc, and Côn Đảo. Geographically, Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu lies between the
geographic coordinates of 10 degrees 19 minutes to 10 degrees 18 minutes of latitude,
and from 106 degrees 50 minutes to 107 degrees and four minutes of longitude –
excepting the island of Côn Đảo which lies at 8 degrees 35 minutes to 8 degrees 45
minutes of latitude and 106 degrees 50 minutes to 107 degrees 4 minutes of longitude.
The total surface area of the Province is 2,047.66 sq km. To the north, it borders Đồng
Nai Province; and to the north-east Bình Thuận Province. To the west and to the southwest, it borders Hồ Chí Minh City – and to the south and south-east, the Eastern Sea ((ie
the South China Sea)).
In terms of its geographical position, Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu is the gateway to Eastern
Nam Bộ. It lies astride a cross-Asia axis, with a system of seaports, airfields, and a
convenient system of waterways. National Routes 51, 55, and 56 – together with a system
of inter-provincial roads and inter-district lines of communication, comprehensively links
Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Province with other provinces within the country, and also
internationally. Because the terrain was advantageous for military activities (both for us
and the enemy), Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu routinely had changes in its administration. For the
revolutionary authorities - from 1945 onwards, there were up to 14 changes in
administrative borders:
-

In 1945 (August): Bà Rịa Province and Cấp Province (Cape St Jacques) ((ie
Vũng Tàu)) included Cần Giờ District.
In 1945 (December): Bà Rịa Province.
In 1951: Bà Chợ Province (Bà Rịa – Chợ Lớn).
In 1955: Bà Rịa Province was re-established.
In 1963 (at the beginning of the year): Biên Hòa Province was incorporated
into Bà Rịa to form Bà Biên Province.
In 1963 (at the end of the year): Bà Rịa Province was reformed.
In 1966: Long Bà Biên Province (Bà Rịa, Biên Hòa, and Long Khánh) was
formed.
In 1967: Biên Hòa was removed from Long Bà Biên Province, and Bà Rịa –
Long Khánh Province was established.
In 1971: Bà Rịa – Long Khánh Province was disbanded, and Bà Rịa SubRegion formed.
In 1972: Bà Rịa Sub-Region was disestablished, and Bà Rịa – Long Khánh
Province was re-instituted.

4
-

In 1975 (April): Vũng Tàu City was established as directly subordinate to the
Eastern Region Committee, while Cần Giờ District became directly
subordinate to Hồ Chí Minh City.
In 1976: Bà Rịa – Long Khánh was incorporated with Biên Hòa to form Đồng
Nai Province.
In 1979: Vũng Tàu City was removed from Đồng Nai Province and Côn Đảo
was removed from Hậu Giang Province to form the Vũng Tàu Special Region
– and Côn Đảo was made directly subordinate to the Centre.
In 1991: The three districts of Xuyên Mộc, Châu Thành, and Long Đất of
Đồng Nai Province – together with the Vũng Tàu Special Zone - Côn Đảo,
were formed into Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Province.

In the period of the Americans and their puppets, the area always comprised three
distinct provinces: Phước Tuy, Long Khánh, and Biên Hòa.
Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Province lies in a region with a tropical monsoonal climate
that is influenced by the ocean. Consequently, its climate is relatively comfortable. More
than 60 percent of its land area is composed of solid ground with mountain tops and high
ranges that are difficult to access and lie scattered from the north of the Province down to
the coast. Skirting a region of the Eastern Nam Bộ coastal plains, it is an area of special
military advantage that includes the Mây Tào Mountains6, the Núi Dinh7 and Núi Thị Vải
Mountains and the Minh Đạm8 Mountains.
There are many rivers and streams in Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu. These include large
rivers such as the Thị Vải River, the Xoài River (the source of the Dinh River), and the
Sông Ray River. However, the principal sources of fresh water for the lives of the people
and our troops during the Dry Season9 were the Xoài River (west of Route 2) and the
Sông Ray River (east of Route 2).
Before 1975, the jungle areas in Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Province ran for some
distance along both sides of Route 15 (which today is Route 51), Route 23 (nowadays
Route 55), Route 44, and Inter-Provincial Route 2 (now Route 56) – and these joined up
with the jungles in Đồng Nai Province (Xuân Lộc, Long Khánh, Long Thành) and in
Bình Thuận (Bình Châu, Mây Tào). In particular, the Hội Bài, Phú Mỹ, and Long Sơn
mangrove jungle areas joined up with the Rừng Sác jungle10 (Cần Giờ – Hồ Chí Minh
6

Translator’s Note: The Mây Tào Mountains straddle the Phước Tuy/Long Khánh/Bình Tuy tri-border area.
Translator’s Note: The Núi Dinh Mountains were colloquially called “The Warburtons” by Australian
troops – see White A.T., Starlight, Copyright, Brisbane, p.60 and http://www.malnral.com/Warbies.htm .
8
Translator’s Note: The Minh Đạm is a range of hills – and a Việt Minh/Việt Cộng base area/secret zone
within the areas/boundaries of the villages of Tam An, Phước Long Hội, Phước Hải and Long Hải (of Long
Đất District in modern-day Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province). The Minh Đạm area is more than nine kilometres
long and almost five kilometres at its widest. See: Phạm Chí Thân, Căn Cứ Minh Đạm 1945-1975 - The
Minh Đạm Base 1945-1975, Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province Information and Cultural Office, 2006 - see
translated extracts at Annex M to Chamberlain, E.P., The Viet Cong D445 Battalion: Their Story, Point
Lonsdale, 2011. Australian forces referred to the Minh Đạm area as the “Long Hải Hills”.
9
Translator’s Note: The Dry Season in southern Vietnam begins in November; and the Wet Season begins
in April/May. The season timings are: Spring – January/February, March, April; Summer – May, June,
July; Autumn – August, September, October; Winter – November, December, January.
10
Translator’s Note: The Rừng Sắc/Sác/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
Lòng Tàu River runs through the Rừng Sác and connects Vũng Tàu/South China Sea with Sài Gòn. For a
very detailed US report (circa mid-1968) on the Rừng Sắc and the Việt Cộng Đoàn 10 Group (997-strong,
including 211 guerrillas) see Haines, E.B., Rung Sat Special Zone Intelligence Study, 1968 – VCAT Item
No.4000105007. For a comprehensive history of the conflict in the Rừng Sắc to 1975 – in Vietnamese, see:
Hồ Sĩ Thành, Đặc Khu Rừng Sác, Nhà Xuất Bản Trẻ, 2003. 1 ATF conducted its “first combat assault” and
7

5
City) and all have been resistance base regions, areas for rear service stocks, and
regrouping and concealment areas for the revolutionary forces.
A special area was the Nam ((South)) Xuân Sơn base (north of the old Route 23)
that was a base for 445 Battalion during the resistance war against the Americans and that
quite fully satisfied the requirements of clement weather, favourable terrain, and concord
with the local people etc.
The Suối Rau base was about five kilometres to the north-east of the centre of
Long Tân village, about 10 kilometres from the Đất Đỏ District Sub-Sector11 to the south,
with the Long Lễ – Hòa Long Sub-Sector 12 kilometres to the south-west, Đức Thạnh
(Ngãi Giao) 12 kilometres to the north-west, and to the east and the north-east it bordered
the Xuân Sơn jungle (Châu Đức District). The base had an area of about 20 square
kilometres and was located in the basin of the Lồ Ồ Lớn Stream and so the trees there
were green throughout the year.12* Along both sides of the stream, were the slopes of
hills with an average height of about 50 metres (above the water level), and there was a
degree of cover from the older jungle that included many types of trees such as cò ke, lá
buông, and paperbark etc. These were types of trees that did not drop their leaves and had
thick foliage. The paperbark trees were a species of tree whose bark was easy to peel off.
It had an acrid taste, and the villagers used to peel off the bark and sell it to people who
ate betel nut.
Along the rivers and streams in the Province, bamboos grew thickly, and this was
a source of food supply (fresh bamboo shoots) for our troops. In the jungle areas, there
were many types of animals such as: monkeys, mouse deer, sambar deer, and weasels.
Thanks to these natural advantages and our close relationships with the people in the Tam
Long area13 (especially Long Tân and Long Phước) and Đất Đỏ (Phước Thọ, Phước
Thạnh, Phước Lợi, Long Mỹ, Hội Mỹ) etc, the business of rear service supplies for the
troops of 445 Battalion and the revolutionary forces was ensured - although at times there
were difficulties when the enemy attacked fiercely and blocked our supply routes. Later,
445 Battalion created a number of new bases in Xuyên Mộc (in the Lê Phú rubber
plantation) and the rear services area at Tà Lon Stream – but the Suối Rau base area
remained the principal base for our troops, and the place from which the Battalion was
launched into the General Offensive and Uprising in Spring 1975 that completely
liberated Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Province.
The fertile rice paddies were concentrated in the Don Fields (Hòa Long village)
and the fields in Long Điền, Đất Đỏ, Cu Nhí, and Lâm Sang (Xuân Lộc) that bordered the
revolutionary base areas – places that were termed the “breast milk” of the revolution.
The Province contained many pools and swamps such as Bàu Nhám, Bàu Sấu, Bàu Ngứa,
and Bàu Ma (in Xuyên Mộc District) that were within our base areas. These were places
with large numbers of fish and prawns – a source of food supply for the revolutionary
forces, including the 445 troops.
a “search and destroy” operation (Operation Hayman) into Long Sơn island – adjacent to the Rừng Sắc, in
the period 8-12 November 1966 – 1 ATF, Opord 1-14-66, 4 November 1966 in file AWM95, 1/4/16.
11
Translator’s Note: “Chi khu” – a military sub-sector, encompassing a Republic of Vietnam - ie Saigon
Government, district. In Phước Tuy Province, these sub-sectors/districts were: Long Lễ, Long Điền, Đất
Đỏ, Đức Thạnh and Xuyên Mộc. For detail on the functions of Phước Tuy Province Sector and its SubSectors, see: 1 ATF, Standard Operating Procedures, Núi Đất, November 1969 (revised) – AWM95, 7/3/88.
12
* The jungle and hill area of Long Tân – Hòa Long had Bù Lộp trees that were green throughout the year,
and a very sweet soup could be made from the trees without needing spices. In 1966, the American
imperialists spread poisonous chemicals, but the trees remained green. Our Province liaison personnel
broke off some branches to make soup but were poisoned – with one comrade dying. The Province
Committee then advised that units were not to use that type of tree.
13
Translator’s Note: Tam Long – ie the “Three Long” villages of: Hòa Long, Long Phước, and Long Tân.

6
The jungle and mountainous areas were where our countrymen the Châu Ro14
people cultivated slash-and-burn fields – which were concentrated in the Hắc Dịch15, Gia
Cốp, Long Tân, Cu Nhí, and Bàu Lâm areas etc. These were the rear service production
bases – self-sufficient and self-supporting, for the troops of 445 Battalion throughout the
anti-American resistance war.
The population of Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Province was not large if compared to other
provinces.16* However, within the Province, all the religions and beliefs were
represented, such as: Buddhism, Christianity, Protestantism, Cao Đài17, the “Ông Trần”
religion18, and the customs of the worship of ancestors, saints, heroes and ascetic
luminaries etc. As a fertile, populous and wealthy region in Eastern Nam Bộ, since time
immemorial refugees from many different regions have gathered here to work and re-start
their lives. No matter from which elements of society, they all had a common spirit of
attachment, compassion and chivalry. This tradition was increasingly expressed from the
time that the Vietnam Communist Party came into being.
On 3 February 1930, the Vietnam Communist Party was founded, marking a turn
in the revolutionary history of Vietnam. The first Communist Party chapter in the Bà Rịa
– Vũng Tàu region was established in Phước Hải village (1934). Subsequently, three
chapters were developed as: the Phước Hải Party Chapter, the Long Mỹ Party Chapter,
and the Bình Ba – Xà Bang – Xuân Sơn Plantations Party Chapter. The establishment of
the two earliest Party Chapters in Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Province in the two villages on the
edge of the Châu Long – Châu Viên Mountains (Minh Đạm) was an extremely important
event that had a great influence on subsequent developments in the local revolutionary
movement.
In Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu at the time - apart from fishermen, salt workers, and
farmers, a large group of rubber workers toiled in the rubber plantations and played an
important role in the local revolutionary struggle. As their working conditions were
extremely hard and miserable – and they were badly exploited, the rubber workers were
14

Translator’s Note: The Châu Ro are a minority Mon-Khmer ethnic group of about 26,800 (2009) of
whom about 85% live in Đồng Nai, Bà Rịa and Long Khánh provinces.
15
Translator’s Note: The Hắc Dịch/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 Bình Sơn
Rubber Plantation and east of Route 15 to Route 2, with the Núi Thị Vải Mountains on the south. The
small village of Hắc Dịch was located in the vicinity of YS 3477, about 11 kilometres west of the Đức
Thạnh District Sub-Sector.
16
* The total population of the Province was 821,912 (in 2000). Under the American-Diệm regime, the
concentration areas (khu tập trung) and the Agrovilles (khu trù mật) were places where the assembled
people lived surrounded by barbed wire and minefields that the enemy set up to closely manage the
population and not allow them any contact with the revolution. “Concentration area” was the term the
enemy used before the “Đồng Khởi” uprising – into which they gathered their opponents, their families, and
those associated with the revolution. Agroville was the term that the enemy used after we had risen up and
destroyed camps in our “Đồng Khởi Movement”. The demagogic enemy recreated and used these to
counter their problems in social and economic development in order to lure and entice the people.
Translator’s Note: For the Đồng Khởi Movement – the Simultaneous/Concerted Uprising, see footnotes 26,
58, and 639.
17
Translator’s Note: Almost solely a Vietnamese religion, the Cao Đài - Đại Đạo Tam Kỳ Phổ Độ (The
Great Faith for the Third Universal Redemption) was formally founded in southern Vietnam in 1926. With
several million adherents, the “Holy See” of this syncretic religion is in Tây Ninh Province. The Cao Đài
Sect’s armed forces fought against the French colonial regime and that of President Ngô Đình Diệm. For a
history of the Cao Đài, see Chapter 19 in Department of Army, Minority Groups in the Republic of
Vietnam, Pamphlet 550-105, Washington, 1966 – VCAT Item No.13450205001. For a May 1968 report by
US Colonel (Retd) E.G. Lansdale on the Cao Đài leadership see VCAT Item No.23970224008.
18
Translator’s Note: The “Ông Trần” religion was founded by Lê Văn Mưu (1855-1935) - associated with
the Tứ Ân Hiểu Nghĩa sect in An Giang Province that had resisted the French in the period 1887-1890. Lê
Văn Mưu led 20 disciples to Long Sơn Island in 1900 and established the religion’s group there.

7
soon won over to the ideas of the class struggle and the revolutionary struggle. This
provided the conditions for the early establishment of the Vietnam Communist Party, and
the propagation of the revolutionary path and Marxist-Leninist ideology among the ranks
of the workers and labourers.19 The large number of rubber workers were concentrated in
an important area – that was occupied by our minority countrymen the Châu Ro people,
and this saw the coming-into-being of the Bình Ba – Xà Bang – Xuân Sơn InterPlantation Party Chapter which was the precursor to the revolutionary struggle and the
process of creating the local armed forces for the two periods of resistance.20
The people of Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu have always had a tradition of patriotism and
revolutionary struggle – linked closely to their constant and wedded affection to their
native land:
“When there is no mud left in Bưng Bạc,
and Bàu Thành is empty of water, only then will my love fade”.21
Despite having to live under the domineering enemy – and forced to abandon their
fields and homes and live in the concentration camps and Agrovilles, the people’s hearts
and minds were still with the revolution – and with the young fighters of 445 Battalion.
When the villagers were forced to leave, they buried and concealed their property and
food – leaving it completely for the use of our cadre and soldiers. Regarding those youth
who left to join the war of resistance, our Party chapters and infrastructure cadre led the
people in legal ways to prevent the enemy from oppressing the families of those youths
who had joined us. Broad movements among the people were initiated – such as
“Collecting agricultural contributions” and “The Mothers’ Association for the Soldiers”,
and these provided additional strength for our resistance forces. Many generations of
cadre and soldiers of 445 Battalion were deeply moved by our countrymen in Hòa Long –
Long Phước when the villagers were forced to part with our unit. Uncle Ba Rớ (Nguyễn
Văn Rớ) in Ấp Bắc (Long Phước) said – emotionally: “My family is leaving – but take
any of the remaining chickens for your food.” Mother Tư (Võ Thị Ngày) said: “I’ve left
my rice in the large pottery jar – take it, and cook some rice for yourselves.” Many
families gave their children to the revolution. They earnestly - and with peace of mind,
entrusted them to the “troops of 445”.
Indeed, during the most violent and difficult situations, the honest-minded farmers
took many very original initiatives to avoid the harsh inspections by the enemy and
brought a lot of food, supplies and goods to the troops. Popular methods were: hollowing
out the bamboo handles of hoes and machetes to conceal medicines and bandages within;
concealing rice in hollow bamboo tubes (used to channel water from the flooded fields);
carrying panniers with rice and medicine hidden underneath piles of pig and buffalo dung.
19

Translator’s Note: As noted, a detailed political history of the Phước Tuy-Vũng Tàu region from 1930
can be found in Liên đoàn Lao động tỉnh Bà Rịa Vũng Tàu, Lịch sử Phong Trào Công Nhân, Viên Chức,
Lao Động va Hoạt Động Công Đoàn Bà Rịa Vũng Tàu Giai Đoạn 1930-2006 (The History of the Workers’,
Public Servants’ and Labourers’ Movement and Trade Union Activities in the Period 1930-2006), Vũng
Tàu, 2011.
20
Translator’s Note: For a brief history of Việt Minh activity post-World War II to 1954 in Phước Tuy
Province - see Lưu Dương, “Những chặng đường phát triển của lực lượng vũ trang Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu”
(“The Stages of Development of the Armed Forces Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu”), Cơ Quan của Đảng Bộ Đảng Cộng
Sản Việt Nam Tỉnh Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu, Vũng Tàu, 17 December 2009; and Lịch sử Đảng bộ xã Hòa Long
(1930-2005) - The History of the Hòa Long Village Party Chapter (1930-2005), 25 April 2009 - see
translated extracts at Annex N to Chamberlain, E.P., The Viet Cong D445 Battalion: Their Story, Point
Lonsdale, 2011.
21
Translator’s Note: This short piece of “lục bát” poetry – ie a traditional “6-8 word” verse form, also
appears in the D440 Battlion History (2011), p.19 – see Chamberlain, E.P., The Viet Cong D440 Battalion:
Their Story, Point Lonsdale, 2013, p.15.

8
On many occasions, the women and children would bring rice to the fields for their
midday meal, but – going hungry, would pass it to the troops.
There were families who encouraged many of their children to join 445 Battalion
– such as the family of Mrs Trần Thị Hai (of Long Phước) whose two sons were
heroically killed; the family of Mrs Nguyễn Thị Trọng (of Long Phước) whose three sons
that were sent to 445 all died courageously; and the family of Mrs Nguyễn Thị Côi (of
Long Phước) whose four children joined 445 and three died heroically … etc.
Additionally, there were hundreds and thousands of other circumstances that symbolized
the militia spirit of whole country and that between the people of the Districts in the
Province and 445 Battalion.
The feelings of the people of Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu for the revolution and the
resistance war gave further strength to 445 Battalion – from its very first toddler-like
steps and its continuous development with gun-in-hand to protect the people and defend
the Fatherland. The people did not shrink from hardships in order to provide cover for and to nourish, 445 Battalion as it came-of-age.
After the Geneva Agreement was signed in July 1954, the American imperialists
installed Ngô Đình Diệm as President of the “Republic of Vietnam” making South
Vietnam their new type of colony. Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu was created into a military base
and rear area for their invasion. The Americans and their puppets built many military
bases, ports, and rear bases for their main-force units in Bà Rịa. They strengthened a belt
around sensitive locations that - together with Biên Hòa, protected their centre – Sài Gòn.
To create a secure shield for their military installations and their pleasure centres
at Vũng Tàu and Long Hải, from the middle of 1964 “the combined AmericanVietnamese headquarters” (established in August 1964) decided to militarily incorporate
the provinces of Bà Rịa and Biên Hòa into a military area directly subordinate to
Headquarters III Corps, which they called the “Phước Biên Special Zone”.22 This
combined both military and civilian management under the authority of the officer
commanding the Special Zone. Apart from the local forces, the enemy added to this
region the 36th Ranger Battalion stationed at Phú Mỹ, a mechanised squadron at Phước Lễ
(Bà Rịa), and two platoons of 105mm artillery. The mobile forces of III Corps ready to
support the Phước Biên Special Zone comprised: the 30th, 33rd and 35th Ranger Battalions;
the 3rd and 4th Marine Battalions - and additionally there were a number of units of the
Airborne Brigade and an armoured cavalry regiment.
The Phước Tuy Sector23 and the Sub-Sectors of Long Lễ, Long Điền, and Đất Đỏ
formed a “shield in the barrier” defending the Province capital. From this arc, Route 23
ran at an angle to the north-east out to the Xuyên Mộc Sub-Sector that obstructed access
into our revolutionary base areas and towards the sea in the farthest area of Eastern Nam
Bộ. From Phước Tuy [sic], Route 2 ran north to Xuân Lộc, dividing Bà Rịa into two parts
– East and West, and connecting with Route 1 that ran from the jungle areas down to the
sea. Along Route 2 were the Đức Thạnh Sub-Sector in the north - about 18 kilometres as
the crow flies from the Phước Tuy Province capital, with the Phước Tuy [sic] Special

22

Translator’s Note: Phước Biên Special Zone – comprising Phước Tuy and Biên Hòa Provinces, was
promulgated by Ministry of the Interior Instruction No.023/TTL/I/TC/M, 11 May 1964.
Translator’s Note: As noted earlier, for detail on the functions of the Phước Tuy Province Sector and its
Sub-Sectors, see: 1 ATF, Standard Operating Procedures, Núi Đất, November 1969 (revised) - AWM95,
7/3/88. Phước Tuy Sector was subordinate to the 33rd Tactical Area (Khu 33 chiến thuật) that – with its
headquarters in Xuân Lộc Town, encompassed the four provinces of Phước Tuy, Bình Tuy, Long Khánh,
and Biên Hòa, and the city of Vũng Tàu. In the period 1961-1969, the ARVN 10th/18th Infantry Division –
based at Xuân Lộc, had responsibility for the 33rd Tactical Area.

23

9
Zone and the strategic hamlet of Bình Giã creating the pincer claws that threatened our
Hắc Dịch base.
For our side, the Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu territory also held an extremely important
position. It was one of the important supply gateways by sea for our armed forces located
in the Eastern Nam Bộ and the Region 6 areas. It was also a strategic corridor connecting
the coastal plain of the Eastern Nam Bộ region with War Zone D and the far areas of
Southern Trung Bộ. It created a very large and connected battlefield for our revolutionary
forces to continuously attack and wipe out the enemy, and to directly threaten Sài Gòn –
the centre from which the Americans and their puppets managed the war.
In the years following the signing of the ((1954)) Geneva Agreement, we strictly
implemented the Agreement under the conditions that neither our government, military
forces, armed forces - nor our weapons, had to be regrouped to the North.24 The political
mission of the whole Party did undergo a basic change: from armed struggle to political
struggle. These were extremely difficult months and years for the revolution in the South
in general.
As for many of the provinces in Eastern Nam Bộ, the armed forces of Bà Rịa –
Vũng Tàu were reformed quite early – before the Politburo’s Resolution 15.25* Our
armed forces came into being in the difficult situation and straitened circumstances on all
sides. However, from the very first days, we had the direct leadership of the Party and –
for that reason, we quickly merged our organisations; conducted armed propaganda; built
the revolutionary infrastructure; and created the nucleus for the revolutionary movement
of the masses to rise up, kill the cruel oppressors, and advance towards initiating the
Đồng Khởi Movement26 across the whole of the South. That was the precursor – the very
important condition, that allowed the Party and the people of Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu to create
the Province’s concentrated armed forces – the predecessors of the Heroic 445 Battalion.

24

Translator’s Note: Article 14 (d) of the 1954 Geneva Agreement allowed for a “change of zone of
residence” – a 300-day period to 19 May 1955. In that period, 888,127 people (or 892,876 to 20 July 1955)
reportedly moved from the North to the South. The Việt Minh leadership reportedly ordered 90,000 of its
Southern troops to move to the North – see Zasloff, J.J., Political Motivation of the Viet Cong: the
Vietminh Regroupees, Rand Corporation, Santa Monica, May 1968. According to a 1954 Top Secret US
report, in 1954-55 there were 130,000 “Viet Minh departures for the North” (“87,000 Warriors, 43,000
Admin cadre, liberated POWs, and families”) – of whom 16,000 had assembled at Hàm Tân/Xuyên Mộc. –
The 1954 Geneva Agreement: A Retrospective View, VCAT Item No.2410403028. Bùi Tín, “Fight for the
Long Haul”, in Wiest, A (ed), Rolling Thunder in a Gentle Land (Wiest, A. ed), Osprey Publishing, Botley,
2006, p.56 – notes 42,000 of the regroupees to the North were military and, in North Vietnam, made up the
350th, 324th, and 325th Divisions. Bùi Tín notes that North Vietnam “did not send whole units to the South”
in “1959 and early 1960”, but infiltrated selected regroupees - Bùi Tín, Following Ho Chi Minh: The
Memoirs of a North Vietnamese Colonel, Crawford House Publishing, Bathurst, 1995. The Xuyên Mộc
History (1989) relates that the Nam Bộ Committee selected the Xuyên Phước Cơ base area – near Cơ Trạch
village, as a regroupment centre for about 12,000 troops. They later “moved to Phú Mỹ where they boarded
vessels to regroup to the North.” Võ Kim Hanh (et al), Xuyên Mộc Kháng Chiến 1945-1975, Nhà Xuất Bản
Đồng Nai, Biên Hòa, 1989, p.89. For “regroupees”, see also footnotes 135 and 274.
25
* The Politburo’s Resolution 15 on: “The Way for the Vietnamese Revolution in the South” (January
1959). Translator’s Note: Although Resolution 15 was approved in January 1959, the guidelines for the
implementation of the Resolution reportedly “went through three more drafts before it was finally presented
in May” 1959. In May, Group 559 – that was to manage “the Trail” was also established. See: Nguyen,
Lien-Hang T., Hanoi’s War, The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 2012, p.45.
26
Translator’s Note: The Đồng Khởi Movement – or the “Simultaneous/Concerted Uprising” against the
Diệm regime (beginning in very late 1959 and peaking in 1960), is cited by communist sources as the start
of the armed struggle in the South. The Uprising reportedly began in Mỏ Cày District of Ben Trế Province
in mid-January 1960.

10
2. The Organisation and the Activities of the Predecessor Units of 445 Battalion.
In 1956, after many armed clashes with the Sài Gòn armed forces, the Bình
Xuyên27 were defeated, fled, and lodged their troops scattered throughout the Rừng Sác
(Long Thành), the Núi Thị Vải Mountains, and the Giồng Châu Pha jungle etc. The
Eastern Nam Bộ Inter-Provincial Committee assigned a number of military proselytising
cadre to meet with the Bình Xuyên General Staff and discuss their joining with the
revolution in opposing the American-Diệm regime. Our delegation persuaded Colonel Võ
Văn Môn – the leader of a Bình Xuyên battalion, to break away and locate to Bàu Lâm
(Xuyên Mộc) for a period. Subsequently, the group moved to War Zone D.
At the same time, the Eastern Region28 Inter-Provincial Committee appointed
Comrade Nguyễn Quốc Thanh – a member of the Communist Party, to operate within a
Bình Xuyên unit – following the persuasion of Nguyễn Văn Phú, a Bình Xuyên company
commander.29* Comrade Nguyễn Quốc Thanh was appointed as a company second-incommand ((2ic)). In a short time, the Long Thành District Committee (Biên Hòa
Province) had selected 15 core youths in the Rừng Sác area (now part of Nhơn Trạch
District, Cần Giờ) to join the break-away Bình Xuyên armed unit.30* When Nguyễn Văn
Phú was killed in an engagement, Nguyễn Quốc Thanh took control as the unit
commander with more than 30 men under arms. These included 19 comrades – our
infrastructure members that we had introduced into the unit (eight Party members and 11
members of the Labour Youth Group31) to build a secret base and to operate in the Rừng
Sác area (now part of the Districts of Nhơn Trạch and Cần Giờ).32
In December 1956, almost 500 political prisoners destroyed the Biên Hòa prison –
a victorious prison break-out. A group of political prisoners from Bà Rịa Province
(comprising 20 comrades) led by Trần Ngọc Bửư (ie Sáu Tâm) cut through the jungle and
27

Translator’s Note: The Bình Xuyên gangster group first emerged in the early 1920s in Sài Gòn. In the
1950s - under “General” Lê Văn Viễn (aka "Bảy Viễn"), the Bình Xuyên was an independent military force
within the Vietnamese National Army whose leaders once had lived outside the law and had sided with the
Việt Minh. During its heyday, the Bình Xuyên funded itself with organized crime activities in Sài Gòn/Chợ
Lớn while effectively battling communist forces. For the early history of the Bình Xuyên – ie to late 1955,
see Chapter 19 in Department of Army, Minority Groups in the Republic of Vietnam, op.cit., 1966 – VCAT
Item No.13450205001. On the Bình Xuyên, see also the interviews of General Edward G. Lansdale by T.
Gittinger, 5 June and 15 September 1981, VCAT Item No.23970331002 and No.23970332001.
28
Translator’s Note: The Eastern Region - ie “Miền Đông”, was the eastern half of “Nam Bộ”. As noted,
Nam Bộ comprised those provinces in the Republic of Vietnam from the Central Highlands to the south. A
Military “Ban” – literally “Section”, has been translated as “Committee” at echelons above Province. A
history of Việt Cộng political geography in the South from 1954 is detailed in: United States Mission in
Vietnam (USOM), Viet-Cong Political Geography of South Viet-Nam – March 1971, Viet-Nam Documents
and Research Notes No. 93, March 1971. The organisation of the Eastern Nam Bộ Region changed five
times in the period 1967-1972 – see Communist Territorial Organization in the "Eastern Nam Bo" and the
Saigon-Cholon-Gia-Dinh from 1966 to Date, June 1973 – VCAT Item No.2310510003. In late 1965, the
Military Staff of Eastern Nam Bo (Military Region T.1) numbered 450 – including its organic headquarters
support elements. For its senior cadre, see CDEC Bulletin No.250, 22 March 1966.
29
* Nguyễn Văn Phú had been our military proselytising agent since the war against the French.
30
* At Liberation, a number of those comrades were still active: Nguyễn Minh Ninh, Nguyễn Thanh Hiếu,
and Đào Văn Tuấn.
31
Translator’s Note: The organisation of the People’s Revolutionary Party (PRP) included Party Labour
Youth Groups (“Đoàn”) at all levels whose members aspired to Party membership. Selected members could
graduate to probationary membership of the Party (at about age 24) – then full membership of the People's
Revolutionary Party. See details at Annex G – “The Party” and the reports in Annex H for detailed numbers
in mid-1966 for 445 Battalion before the Battle of Long Tân on 18 August 1966.
32
Translator’s Note: This early “Bình Xuyên” period, is covered in greater detail in the 1991 edition of the
D445 Battalion History eg: “On 16 December 1955, the first three revolutionary soldiers were incorporated
into the Bình Xuyên force.” See: Chamberlain, E.P., … D445 …, op.cit., 2011, pp.2-3.

11
returned to the Hắc Dịch base.33 Comrade Lê Minh Hà – representing the Province
Committee, gave Comrade Trần Ngọc Bửư the task of organising political classes for the
escapees, building a secret base, and undertaking armed propaganda activities. The terrain
to the west of Route 2 became their base, and they created the first armed unit in the Bà
Rịa area of the anti-American period.34
At the beginning of 1957, the Eastern Region Inter-Provincial Committee
deployed the unit led by Nguyễn Quốc Thanh from the Rừng Sác (Long Thành) to the
Giồng jungle (Hắc Dịch) to build a base - and to receive and protect the group of political
prisoners who had broken out and fled into the countryside. After they had completed the
task of protecting the political prisoners and guided those from Western Nam Bộ back to
Gò Công, Nguyễn Quốc Thanh’s unit returned to their Hắc Dịch base. From May 1957,
six comrades from that group of political prisoners from Western Nam Bộ and Sài GònGia Định volunteered to remain and joined the C.40 unit – including Comrade Đỗ Văn
Chương (Ba Liên)35 who was later the Political Officer of 445 Battalion for a time.
At the beginning of 1958, the Military Committee of the Eastern Region
appointed Comrade Lê Minh Thịnh (Sáu Thịnh) to take a section and a radio to Bà Rịa
and organise an armed force. After more than 20 days of cutting through the jungle and
crossing hills, the group of Eastern Region military cadre safely reached the Suối Cả
Stream.
In June 1958, C.40 was established in the Suối Quýt region with the title of the
“Eastern Nam Bộ Liberation Forces”.36 Comrade Lê Minh Thịnh was its commander,
with Comrade Nguyễn Quốc Thanh as its deputy commander.37 C.40’s military strength
came from three sources - comprised about 40 cadre and soldiers, and was structured as
33

Translator’s Note: This period is related in Trần Văn Khánh (et al/đtg) and Ban Chấp Hành Đảng bộ tỉnh
Bà Rịa - Vũng Tàu (Executive Committee of the Bà Rịa - Vũng Tàu Party), Lịch sử Đảng bộ tỉnh Bà RịaVũng Tàu (1930 - 1975) (The History of the Party in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu), Nhà Xuất bản Chính trị Quốc gia
(National Political Publishing House), Chương V (Chapter 5), Hà Nội, 2000. Trần Ngọc Bửư is shown as
Trần Văn Bửu.
34
Translator’s Note: On 22 October 1956, the Sài Gòn Government (ie the Republic of Vietnam) retitled
their Bà Rịa Province as “Phước Tuy” – which included the adjacent Cần Giờ District and Vũng Tàu.
However, the communist side preferred the earlier title of “Bà Rịa Province”. While the Province capital
was officially titled “Phước Lễ” (until 1982), it was commonly referred to as “Bà Rịa Town” by both sides.
Cần Giờ District and Vũng Tàu were subsequently detached from the Province which thereafter had an area
of 1,958 sq km – about 55 kilometres from east-to-west and 35 kilometres from north-to-south (ie, as noted,
about 83% of the size of the Australian Capital Territory; or 21.3% of the size of Tasmania).
35
Translator’s Note: For a biography of Đỗ Văn Chương - “Ba Liên” (also as Đỗ/Đổ Văn Liên and
sometimes incorrectly as Đồng Văn Chương), who became the political officer of 445 Battalion, see Annex
A – Key Cadre (nine outline biographies).
36
Translator’s Note: According to the Đồng Nai History (1986): “In the middle of 1958, at the Suối Quýt
T-Junction, the armed forces of Bà Rịa led by Vũ Tâm and the Long Thành (Biên Hòa ) group led by
Nguyễn Quốc Thanh united as one unit and took the title of the 40 th Unit ((bộ đội)) – with a strength of
almost 30 … Subsequently, they established a number of bases at Phước Thái, Cẩm Mỹ, Gia Ray, Vũ Đắc,
Định Quán, Xuyên Mộc … Footnote 1: The Commander of the 40th Unit was Lê Thành Công, and Nguyễn
Quốc Thanh was the Deputy Commander.” - Phan Ngọc Danh, Trần Quang Toại & Phạm Van Hy, Đồng
Nai 30 Năm Chiến Tranh Giải Phóng (1945-1975) - The 30-year Liberation Struggle in Đồng Nai (19451975), Nhà Xuất Bản Đồng Nai, Đồng Nai, 1986, pp.86-87.
37
Translator’s Note: Việt Cộng personnel did not have formal military ranks or insignia. Rather, they were
referred to by the functional title of their position. Generically, they were also referred to as “cán bộ” (cadre
– ie “officer-ranking”, ie section commander and higher) or “chiến sĩ” (combatant or soldier). Prior to 1958,
the People’s Army of Vietnam (ie PAVN, the North Vietnamese Army – NVA) did not have rank insignia.
Until the early 1970s, infiltrating NVA personnel routinely discarded their rank insignia - although some
were still referred to by their NVA ranks – ie lieutenant, major etc. see Advanced Research Projects
Agency, Basic Profile: NVA PW – MR3, Summary Report No.15, Washington, 14 January 1971, VCAT
Item No.2321314001.

12
four sections directly subordinate to the company headquarters. However, weapons and
equipment were only sufficient to arm about half of its strength. The unit established a
Party Chapter (of eight Party members) and a Labour Youth Group. The unit’s base was
set up in the Bưng Lùng (Hắc Dịch) area. The coming-into-being of C.40 was an
important marker in the process of re-establishing the Bà Rịa armed forces in the war of
resistance against the Americans.
In May 1959, the Ngô Đình Diệm government promulgated Law 10-59 that
placed Communists outside the law. Many cadre, Party members and patriotic
countrymen continued to be murdered, arrested, suffer every form of corporal
punishment, and were disposed of secretly. The cruelty of the enemy increasingly
inflamed a hatred of the enemy and heightened the resolve of the people of Bà Rịa to take
up arms for the uprising.38
The Politburo’s Resolution from the 15th Conference (January 1959) affirmed that
the basic path for revolution in the South was through an uprising that put the government
in the hands of the people. Resolution 15 was a large step and a watershed for the
revolution in the South in general and for the revolutionary movement in Bà Rịa – Vũng
Tàu in particular.
On the night of 12 March 1960, C.40 of the “Liberation Forces of Eastern Nam
Bộ” coordinated with our Secret Self-Defence elements39 and the masses to attack the
post at Bình Ba on Route 2 (nowadays Route 56) 14 kilometres north of the
administrative capital of Phước Tuy Province. This began the armed uprising movement
across the whole Province. Participating in the attack were 30 cadre and soldiers of C.40
led by Comrade Lê Minh Thịnh and Nguyễn Quốc Thanh. After only 15 minutes of
combat, our forces had control of the battlefield, wiped out the gendarmerie ((hiến binh))
post commander, and seized weapons (including a medium machinegun). In this battle,
Comrade Mười Hương was killed and two comrades were wounded (Mười Quang and Ba
Khôi).40

38

Translator’s Note: For a 1959 administrative survey of Phước Tuy Province, see: Local Administration in
Vietnam – the Number of Local Units, USAID/Michigan State University, 1963 – VCAT Item No.
1490116001. Province population: 132,202; 7 cantons; 44 villages; 284 (or 277) hamlets.
39
Translator’s Note: Below the level of D445 Battalion and the local district companies, the Việt Cộng
“irregulars” in Phước Tuy Province included village guerrillas, “self-defense forces”, and “secret selfdefense forces”. In early December 1966, the United States Sector S-2 (Intelligence) advisor in Bà Rịa
Town estimated the strengths of these elements respectively as: guerrillas – 467; self-defense forces – 245;
secret self-defense forces – 207; Total – 917. The ARVN estimates were respectively 420; 1,445; 410; Total
– 2,275. The MACV Order-of-Battle estimates were 405; 575; 410; Total 1,390. See – CICV, Estimate of
Việt Cộng Irregular Forces Strength in SVN, 24 March 1967 – VCAT Item No.0240612012. Disagreement
between MACV and the CIA on irregular force numbers continued until mid-September 1967 – ie until a
MACV/DIA/CIA conference in Saigon, see footnote 244. USMACV removed “secret self defense forces” –
“essentially low level fifth columnists, used for information collection” from their order-of-battle reporting
in late 1967 – USMACV Briefing, 1 November 1967 – VCAT Item No.2120907019. The “CIA v MACV”
disagreement was reported in the US media ie: CIA “reported enemy strength 150,000 NVN and VC troops
in the South, Pentagon claimed 100,000, … White House said about 70,000” – “Know Your Enemy: The
Numbers Game”, Newsweek, 4 March 1968, p.13 – VCAT Item No.F029200050770. An agreed
assessment was formalised in: Director of Central Intelligence, Capabilities of the Vietnamese Communists
for Fighting in South Vietnam (Special National Intelligence Estimate 14.3-67), Langley, 13 November
1967, pp.15-16. VCAT Item No.F029200050309. For a summary, see Adams, S., (CIA), Chronology of
VC/NVA Problem, 22 Oct 1969, VCAT Item No. F029200060698. See also footnotes 318 and 534. For
assessments of D445 strengths over time, see Annex C.
40
Translator’s Note: The engagement at Bình Ba is described in more detail in the 1991 D445 Battalion
History – which states the attack occurred on 30 March 1960: “the first military exploit of the Province’s
first concentrated unit.”

13
The victory at Bình Ba had a strong impact on the revolutionary movement across
the whole Province. Immediately after the battle, C.40 was strengthened by a further 15
recruits. The total number of cadre and soldiers in the unit was then 61.
In April 1960, the Province Committee decided to remove key cadre from C.40
and also to recruit new troops to establish C.45 as an additional Province unit. C.45
became a Province unit with Comrade Nguyễn Quốc Thanh as its Commander and
Comrade Ba Hà as the Political Officer. C.45 was stationed to the west of Route 2 and
also was tasked as a mobile unit to wipe out a number of ((enemy)) units, and to defend
the Hắc Dịch base ((see footnote 15)). It was also to conduct armed propaganda and
support the political struggle of the people in a number of villages along Route 2
(nowadays National Route 56) and Route 15 (now National Route 51).
C.40 continued to be termed a unit of the Eastern Nam Bộ Liberation Forces and
was commanded by Comrade Sáu Thịnh41 as Company Commander with Comrade Ba
Đại as its Political Officer. C.40 was stationed to the east of Route 2 (in the Mây Tào
area, Xuyên Mộc) with the tasks of armed propaganda in the villages along the coast and
the region of Route 23.
In May 1960, C.40 coordinated with our infrastructure to wipe out a section of
puppet commandos42 led by Tài – a notorious thug in the Xuyên Mộc region. They had
killed 30 people involved in the old resistance war; and had beaten, injured, and crippled
over 70 people. This commando section had been detached to Xuyên Mộc by the Phước
Tuy Sector.43 Assisting with this attack was Comrade Trần Văn Chiến (Sáu Chiến)44 - one
of our three underground agents in the ((enemy’s)) Self-Defence Corps ((Dân Vệ))45 post
at Phước Bửư who had been recruited by Huỳnh Văn Tờ (Chín Tờ). Huỳnh Văn Tờ had
been a Xuyên Mộc District cadre from the time of the anti-French resistance, and had
been organised to stay behind to build our forces. Trần Văn Chiến had provided important
information on the enemy to us, and this time directly coordinated with C.40 to kill Tài
and his commando unit. Having determined the activity routine of the puppet commando
unit, Trần Văn Chiến reported to C.40 and developed a plan to strike the enemy – while
telling Tài that “there were Việt Cộng46 about” and, guiding him to round them up, went
from Bà Tô to Bưng Môn. At about 8am, the whole commando section led by Tài – with
Trần Văn Chiến leading, fell into C.40’s ambush (at the agreed site). Tài kept close to
Trần Văn Chiến – not letting him get even a step away. When the commando group
reached the middle of a clearing and came into view, Comrade Tư Minh fired a burst
from his medium machinegun into about the middle of the enemy formation. When that
firing ceased, our unit immediately assaulted, surrounding and killing 11 of the enemy on
41

Translator’s Note: Lê Thành Công (Sáu Thịnh) was also known as Lê Minh Thịnh. According to the
1991 D445 History, Sáu Thịnh was concurrently the head of the Province Military Section
Translator’s Note: The text uses the term “biệt kích” – a term used by the communist forces for enemy
commando/special forces-type troops eg the Civilian Irregular Defence Groups/Mobile Strike Force
(CIDG/Mike Force) elements, the Special Air Service, and earlier Diệm-era forces. In February 1960,
President Diệm established 75 150-man commando companies – later to become ARVN Ranger units (ie
the Biệt Động Quân). 1 ATF infantry patrols were also routinely referred to by the VC as “commandos”.
43
Translator’s Note: A “Sector” (Tiểu Khu) was the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) regional
military command covering a province; “Sub-Sectors” (Chi Khu) were the subordinate district-level ARVN
military commands. These regional levels commanded “territorial forces” - ie the Civil Guard/Regional
Forces and Self-Defence Corps/Popular Forces.
44
Translator’s Note: Trần Van Chiến (Sáu Chiến) later become the commander of the Battalion’s 1 st
Company – see footnotes 152, 163, 218, 278, 453 and Annex B – Senior Cadre.
45
Translator’s Note: The Dân Vệ were replaced by the Popular Forces (PF – Nghĩa Quân) in 1964.
46
Translator’s Note: The Vietnamese communists did not refer to themselves as “Việt Cộng” (a contraction
of “Cộng Sản Việt Nam” - Vietnamese Communists) – as this was a pejorative term initiated and used by
the Republic of Vietnam (RVN - ie South Vietnam).
42

14
the spot. As for Tài, he turned and ran off, but Chín Hương rushed out and captured him.
Before being shot and killed, Tài resisted determinedly - wounding Comrade Chín Hương
and killing Comrade Sáu Tấn. The engagement ended after a determined exchange of
about 30 minutes in which Tai’s commando section was completely wiped out. On our
side, two comrades were killed – Sáu Tấn and our medic Hùng. Four comrades were
wounded: Tám (Tám axit), Tư Minh, Tư Tuấn, and Chín Hương.
That very afternoon and evening, Trần Van Chiến (Sáu Chiến) guided an element
of C.40 that coordinated with our underground agents to completely wipe out the enemy
in the Self-Defence Corps post at Phước Bửư – including the chief of the post, Lé.47
These concentrated attacks were important combat outcomes for C.40 in the areas
of Phước Bửư, the Cây Cám Slope, and Bà Tô etc as they were the first steps in
destroying the enemy’s grip in the coastal region of Xuyên Mộc District.
Also in May 1960, C.45 attacked the Xà Bang Plantation, seizing 120,000 đồng
(in puppet currency).48 This was quite a large amount of money at that time, and was used
to further strengthen the unit’s rear service supply reserves.
After the attack on Xà Bang, the Province Committee ordered C.45 to fight a
batttle that had decisive characteristics and was aimed at wiping out an important part of
the enemy’s capability by forcing them to withdraw from their Hắc Dịch post - and thus
expand our base area region in the Province. Our agents advised that there were 55 enemy
– equivalent to two platoons, in the Hắc Dịch post. With a change-over monthly, they
were to rotate a similar force on Friday. The Hắc Dịch post was occupied by a Civil
Guard/Civil Defence Force ((Bảo An))49 platoon - that was directly subordinate to the
Special Sector ((yếu khu)) at Phú Mỹ, and by a section of Self-Defence Corps ((Dân
Vệ))50. Every two weeks, they changed-over their troops. Each time when changing-over,
the enemy conducted an operation with two platoons from the Special Sector at Phú Mỹ
into the Hắc Dịch. One platoon would remain at the post, and the other would be replaced
by a newly-arrived platoon.
After some planning, our unit decided on a method of attacking the enemy outside
their post at a point and time that the enemy were changing their troops in the area of the
Bến Tàu Stream in July 1960. The area chosen was the Bến Tàu area which was quite
open. There was jungle growing on the higher side of the area – with a small clearing
opposite with only sparse jungle. The headquarters for the attack comprised: Comrade
Nguyễn Quốc Thanh as its commander; with Comrades Lê Thành Ba, Trần Văn Bửư, Hai
Súng, Ba Hà, and Tư Ù as deputy commanders.
At that time, C.45 only had two sections armed with weapons – including an
FM.51 The Province Committee reinforced the unit from the District’s armed propaganda
elements and the defence element of the Province Committee. Long Đất District provided
a team of three comrades led by Trần Lương; the Cao Su Party Affairs Committee sent
three comrades led by Nguyễn Văn Cao; and the defence element from the Province
Committee participated with three comrades led by Trần Văn Cường – a total of 41 armed
47

Translator’s Note: These actions are described in less detail in the Xuyên Mộc History (1989) that notes:
“Following the two victories at Phước Bửư village, a village guerrilla section was established.” Võ Kim
Hanh (et al), Xuyên Mộc Kháng Chiến 1945-1975, op.cit., 1989, p.106.
48
Translator’s Note: In May 1960, the black market rate was 1 USD equivalent to 90 đồng/piastres. The
attack is also recounted in the Châu Đức Duc History (2004).
49
Translator’s Note: The Vietnamese text above uses the term “Bảo An” – ie the Civil Guard/Civil Defence
Force – which was restructured/replaced by the Regional Forces (“Địa Phương Quân”) in 1964. However,
even after 1964, the communists often still referred to the Regional Forces as “Bảo An”.
50
Translator’s Note: As noted earlier, the Dân Vệ (Self-Defence Corps) were replaced by the Popular
Forces (PF – Nghĩa Quân) in 1964.
51
Translator’s Note: An “FM” is probably a “fusil mitrailleur” (French) – “machinegun”.

15
comrades. The Province’s military weapons section was able to make a “Mantis” gun52
and provided locally-made mines to be used in the battle. Comrade Nguyễn Quốc Thanh
had been wounded in the leg in the battle at Xà Bang but – with a determination to lead
his unit victoriously in its first battle, used a walking stick to enable him to participate and
command at the engagement.
As our force was small and the enemy was more numerous, the agreed plan was to
wait until after the enemy had changed over its troops and then open fire on the element
that was returning to the post. Comrade Nguyễn Quốc Thanh commanded our element
that would block the enemy column; Comrade Lê Thành Ba commanded our group to
block the enemy’s rear; and Comrades Ba Hà, Tư Ù and Vũ Tâm53* led the main group in
the killing zone54. At 8am, a Civil Guard/Civil Defence Force platoon from the Hắc Dịch
post moved to their change-over site and fell into our ambush. Immediately afterwards
[sic], the two Civil Guard/Civil Defence Force platoons that had patrolled from Phú Mỹ
reached their assembly position.55 There, they discussed their change-over of tasks and sat
down in scattered groups – right at our ambush position, but not quite fully within our
ambush site.
This situation was not as had been planned. Usually, the enemy changed-over a
platoon - but this time they had added an extra platoon to clear the way and to then escort
the platoon that had just been relieved back to Phú Mỹ. The enemy force was many times
larger than ours, and they were spread out over a large area. Comrade Nguyễn Quốc
Thanh at the forward position crawled over to Comrade Võ Quốc Chánh – our comrade
with the medium machinegun at the forward blocking position, to discuss changing the
plan for our attack.
At that time, an unexpected event suddenly occurred. An enemy soldier armed
with a machinegun leaned his weapon against a tree while he relieved himself. Comrade
Tùng in the guard group was forced to open fire immediately and killed the enemy
soldier. Faced with this situation, the commander – Nguyễn Quốc Thanh, decided to give
the order to attack. The medium machinegun carried by Võ Quốc Chánh (Tư Chánh) fired
successive loud bursts of fire into the enemy ranks. The ambush element in the killing
zone simultaneously engaged the enemy decisively. The firepower of the medium
machinegun that Comrade Tùng in the guard group had just seized, was used by Comrade
Sáu Chiến to add to our firepower, firing rounds thick and fast into the enemy who were
outside the ambush site. Attacked by surprise, the enemy panicked and quickly
disintegrated. We killed more than 30, captured 10, and seized 15 weapons – including
three medium machineguns. The remaining enemy fled.
The next day, the enemy still in the Hắc Dịch post also abandoned their post in
fear and fled. Our underground agents in Hắc Dịch - who were Châu Ro minority people,
brought two of the village’s Self-Defence Corps sections to hand over their weapons and
to join the revolutionary armed forces.
The C.45 unit’s battle at Bến Tàu was not only an engagement that was highly
successful – killing many enemy and seizing a large number of weapons and also
52

Translator’s Note: The Việt Minh – and later the Việt Cộng, manufactured over 40 different types of
“súng ngựa trời” – ie “mantis guns”. These were locally-produced tube-type recoilless rifles or rocket
launchers – dubbed “mantis guns” as their thin supporting legs resembled those of the mantis insect.
53
* Comrade Nguyễn Quốc Thanh - the deputy commander of the Province Unit - and concurrently the
company commander, was the commander. Comrade Lê Thành Ba (Ba Bùi) - a cadre of the Province
Committee; Comrade Vũ Tâm - a Province Committee cadre with responsibility for the masses movement
in the villages along Route 15; Comrade Tư Ù; and Comrade Ba Hà were deputy commanders.
54
Translator’s Note: Literally: “quyết chiến điểm” – “decisive point”.
55
* Usually, the enemy changed-over one platoon, but on this occasion they had added an extra platoon to
clear the way and to then escort the platoon that had just been relieved back to Phú Mỹ.

16
securing the revolutionary base area and liberating a village (the first village liberated in
the Province), but it had greater meaning as it created an affection and a belief in us
among the people.56 The title : “Four Four Five troops”57 came into being at that time.
With the weapons we had seized, the Province Committee directed the recruitment of
additional new troops for C.45 in order to establish two platoons. Accordingly, one month
after the victory at the Bến Tàu Stream, we had three fully-constituted platoons.
One month after the victory at Bến Tàu, C.40 deployed for an engagement at
Khánh Lâm (Phước Thái) and wiped out a Self-Defence Corps section, seizing all their
weapons.
At the beginning of 1961, C.45 joined with the local Long Đất District armed
forces to eliminate an enemy platoon at the Bờ Đập post. In this battle, C.45 employed
both internal and external tactical methods – and so achieved a great victory, seizing 30
weapons of various types and equipment for the District troops and the village guerrillas.
The Đồng Khởi Uprising58 across the whole of the South from 1960 created an
extremely important change. The form of the revolution’s armed struggle in the South
became clearer each day and expanded rapidly. Our military proselytising elements and
agents who had previously been active among the ranks of the Self-Defence Corps were
withdrawn and formed into armed forces at the Province and local level.
On 15 February 1961, COSVN59 decided to unite the armed forces across the
whole of the South into the South Vietnam Liberation Armed Forces. Our forces and the
people of Bà Rịa were elated and joined the fighting with a new momentum. The
Province Military Committee was established with Comrade Lê Minh Thịnh as the Head
of the Province Military Committee - with Comrades Nguyễn Quốc Thanh60 and Nguyễn
Văn Đại as deputies.
At this time, the revolutionary movement in the countryside had expanded widely
and required an armed force as its core to support the masses. The Province Committee
decided to assign a number of cadre and soldiers in the Province’s concentrated force to
become this nucleus in order to create District armed forces. Comrade Biên and a section

56

Translator’s Note: This battle is also related in less detail in Chapter 5 of: Trần Văn Khánh (et al/đtg),
Lịch sử Đảng … (The History of the Party in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu), op.cit., 2000. – but the “special weapon”
is described as a “Moọcchê” – ie mortar.
57
Translator’s Note: This claim is incongruous as “445” was not an entity until about six months later - ie
in about March 1961 – see the following footnote 64. The 1991 D445 History makes a similar claim – but
not until after the battle of the Long Phước tunnels in April 1963 ie: “The term ‘Soldiers of Four Four Five’
began to echo resoundingly throughout the region.”
58
Translator’s Note: As noted earlier, the Đồng Khởi Movement – or “Simultaneous/Concerted Uprising”
against the Diệm regime (beginning in very late 1959 and peaking in 1960), is cited by communist sources
as the start of the armed struggle in the South. The Uprising reportedly began in Mỏ Cày District of Ben Trế
Province in mid-January 1960.
59
Translator’s Note: The Central Office for South Vietnam (COSVN – Văn Phòng Trung Ương Cục Miền
Nam) - 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 South Vietnam south of the Central
and Southern Highlands - an area termed “Nam Bộ” (as noted earlier, 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%); 53% of its land mass; and 83% of the rice-growing 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. Sometimes abbreviated to “Miền”, COSVN’s principal cover
designators were “R”, “Năm Trường”, and “Chín Nam”.
60
Translator’s Note: In a Letter of Introduction dated 12 July 1966, Nguyễn Quốc Thanh was noted as
having been “newly reassigned” to the Province Military School. CDEC Log 09-1864-66.

17
were sent to Long Đất District61; and Comrade Nhẫn and a section went to Xuân Lộc
District. Comrade Mười Nông and a section went to Long Thành District. Comrade Hai
Thuận and Năm Kiên [sic] – together with a section, went to Châu Thành District.62
Armed propaganda groups were organised to become the concentrated armed forces of
the Districts, and were equivalent to platoons.
At this time, the concentrated armed forces of the Province were also consolidated
and re-organised in order to coincide with the developing situation and the move to a
higher combat posture. At the direction of the Eastern Region Military Committee, the
Province Committee decided to combine the C.40 and C.45 units into one company –
C.445 Company, based in the Bưng Lùng base (Hắc Dịch village63). All the weapons and
equipment of the cadre and soldiers of the two units were merged to form the first
Province-level armed unit that carried the title 445 Company. That company-level title
was formally promulgated and used from that time.64
445 Company was structured with four platoons (three infantry platoons and a
combat support platoon); communications, reconnaissance, and production management
sections; a medical treatment team; and a Western bugle team.65 Comrade Nguyễn Văn
Thanh (Tư Thanh) was the Company Commander66, Comrade Vũ Quốc Chánh (Tư
61
Translator’s Note: The Đất Đỏ District History (2006) relates an earlier founding ie: “The armed
propaganda unit became a District local unit with the title of the 25 th Long Đất District Company”, and in
late November 1960 “led by Comrade Lê Văn Việt laid an ambush at Đá Giăng (on Route 44) … Two
enemy in the vehicle were killed – including an American advisor..” Đặng Tấn Hương (ed), The History of
the Struggle and Development of the Party Committee, the Forces and the People of Đất Đỏ District (19302005), Đồng Nai Collective Publishing House, Biên Hòa, 2006.
62
Translator’s Note: The Châu Đức District History (2004) relates at p.108: “The armed forces of Châu
Thành District were established on 5 February 1961 – and, titled C.20, at first only comprised seven
comrades with insufficient weapons and ammunition.” The communist Châu Thành District was
restructured and renamed in 1965 – ie according to the Châu Đức District History (2004): “In 1965, to
contend with the battle against the Americans, the Bà Rịa-Long Khánh Province Committee combined the
two districts of Châu Thành and Đức Thạnh to form Châu Đức District.” - 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 (19302000), Nhà Xuất Bản Chính Trị Quốc Giả, Hà Nội, 2004. A local Party History notes that Châu Đức
District was formed on 24 May 1965 with Nguyễn Văn Tiến (Năm Tiến) as the Secretary of the District
Committee – with the Committee’s base in the jungle at Bằng Lăng (Đồng Nghệ). Trần Văn Khánh (et
al/đtg), Lịch sử Đảng …(The History of the Party in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu), op.cit., 2000, Chapter VII. A draft
history of Châu Thành District was prepared in 1988 ie: Trần Văn Cường (et al/đtg) , Châu Thành Đấu
Tranh và Xây Dựng (1945-1985) – Sơ Thảo (Châu Thành District – The Struggle and Development – 19451985 - Draft), Nhà Xuất Bản Đồng Nai/Nhà In Thanh Niên, 1988.
63
Translator’s Note: The small village of Hắc Dịch was located in the vicinity of YS 3477, about 11
kilometres west of the Đức Thạnh District Sub-Sector that was situated beside Route 2.
64
Translator’s Note: The formation of the 445th Company at the beginning of 1961 is also related in the
publication: 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. The Military Region 7 (Eastern
Region) area – founded in 1945, was re-established in May 1961 to encompass the provinces of Tây Ninh,
Bình Dương, Bình Long, Phước Long, Phước Thành, Biên Hòa and Bà Rịa.
65
Translator’s Note: The Đồng Nai History (1986) similarly relates that in 1962, “the 445th Company – the
concentrated Province Unit, was established with three platoons (120 troops) and sufficient weapons – and
led by Năm Ninh ((Nguyễn Minh Ninh)) and Tư Chánh ((Vũ Quốc Chánh)).” - Phan Ngọc Danh …, Đồng
Nai 30 Năm …, op.cit., 1986, p.101. Note: a draft version - ie “Sơ Thảo”, is also available, see
Bibliography. For biographical detail on Nguyễn Minh Ninh (Năm Ninh) and Vũ Quốc Chánh (Tư Chánh)
– and seven other key 445 Battalion cadre, see Annex A – Key Cadre.
66
Translator’s Note: However, according to the earlier 1991 D445 History, at the founding of the 445th
Company: “Comrade Tư Ù was appointed as the company commander of the 445 th Company and Comrade
Năm Ninh ((Nguyễn Minh Ninh)) became its political officer and concurrently operated as the secretary of
its Party Chapter. Comrade Tư Chánh ((Vũ Quốc Chánh)) was made second-in-command, and Comrade Ba

18
Chánh) was the Company second-in-command, Comrade Nguyễn Minh Ninh was the
Political Officer, and Comrade Ba Quang was the Deputy Political Officer. The
Company’s main base was at Bưng Lùng (Hắc Dịch).
In its first days after being established, the unit faced many thousands of
difficulties – with most of those difficulties arising from external sources which were
unavoidable for any small unit when converted into a larger unit. This included the
perception of the unit’s leadership regarding its role, function, mission, management
capabilities, direction of the unit’s build-up, training, and combat activities etc – as well
as the psychological readiness of older cadre and soldiers – who had just arrived from
many different sources, to accept the merger and conversion.
Getting a timely grip on that situation, the Province Committee ordered agencies
and the associated units of the two branches – military-civil and political-Party, to focus
on coordinating with the Company Headquarters to find ways of resolving each issue by
stages and steps. Next, the Province Military School and the Province Party School began
a large number of training classes to rapidly create cadre in order to raise the standards of
training, technical combat techniques, management capabilities in building the unit, and
to create a new political awareness for the 445 Company cadre. The folk song and dance
group from the Province Committee’s Political Propaganda Section was located close to
the unit and regularly visited – at times in our base, at other times right on the battlefield.
They raised the morale of the cadre and soldiers in a timely way – after every victory in
battle, as well as when facing difficulties, challenges, losses, and sacrifices.
Immediately after its founding – and while it was still consolidating, 445
Company engaged in its first battle against an enemy sweeping operation at Le [sic] Hill
(about 1.5 – 2 kilometres as the crow flies from the Bưng Lùng base). On hearing that a
puppet Civil Guard/Civil Defence Force battalion was moving into our base area, the
Company Headquarters actively organised for a reconnaissance element to follow them
closely to their temporary bivouac position at Le [sic] Hill (Đá Vàng Stream). Having
swiftly organised our forces, a group of approximate platoon strength – that was heavily
armed, quickly moved through the jungle in the darkness and rain to attack the enemy at
first light. They attacked the battalion headquarters and inflicted considerable losses,
forcing them to disperse, distracting them from their attack on the base of the Province
Committee – and the enemy finally abandoned their operation. In this engagement,
although not many of the enemy were killed or weapons seized, it was significant in
defending our base – a site of concern to the unit as it was where we re-organised and also
trained and familiarised our recruits. Additionally, it evidenced the Company’s spirit and
determination to “dare to attack” and for “one to strike twenty” of the enemy – and it
opened the first page of the Battalion’s subsequent tradition of resolving to fight and
win.67 After that counter-sweeping operation, 445 Company operated across a wide area
from Long Thành to Xuân Lộc and from Bà Rịa to Long Đất, coordinating with the local
District troops and village guerrillas to attack the enemy and to liberate a number of areas.
With the strong support of the armed forces, the people in many places rose up, took
control, and created many new organisations in the hamlets etc. The momentum of the
revolutionary struggle in the Province increased strongly.
Representative of our operational activities at that time was the attack on the Bình
Sơn post. In May 1961, 445 Company moved secretly from the Bưng Lùng base to attack
the Bình Sơn post (in the Bình Sơn Plantation, Long Thành District) with the aim of
Quảng was appointed deputy political officer.” See also the preceding footnote that notes “Năm Ninh and
Tư Chánh” as the 445 Company commanders.
67
Translator’s Note: The engagement at Le [sic] Hill – probably Núi Lê (YS 6263), by 445 Company is not
related in the 1991 D445 Battalion History.

19
seizing a lathe for use in the engineer’s workshop. The enemy troops stationed in that post
were paid by the plantation owner to protect his property, so their fighting spirit was not
particularly high. Consequently, when we attacked the plantation, we merely fired a few
shots – showed the flag68, and the troops in the post fled. We quickly took control of the
plantation, threatened and captured the plantation owner and his deputy, and seized many
weapons and a lot of equipment from the enemy’s post – together with a large amount of
supplies and food. In particular, we took a large-sized lathe and provided it to the
engineer’s workshop. In this engagement, we mobilised about 200 workers to carry
material off for us - machinery, food, and supplies. Our unit told the families of the
plantation owner and his deputy – both French, to bring money in order to ransom them.
In July 1961, 445 Company deployed its 2nd Platoon – led by Comrade Sáu Chiến,
together with a section of the Châu Thành District troops, to ambush the enemy in an area
near the Phước Hữu T-Junction. Our aim was to strike the Self-Defence Corps at the
Long Phước post that regularly conducted patrols to show their flag. However, on the
afternoon that the unit had planned the ambush, the Self-Defence Corps element in the
post did not come out. Our agents reported on the situation and proposed attacking a
group of quisling69 administrators returning from Bà Rịa - as a warning. Comrade Sáu
Chiến agreed, re-organised our forces, and - stopping their vehicle, killed Luông and
Tuồng – members of Long Phước village’s Administrative Council, at about 1630hrs to
1700hrs. On hearing this news, the wicked Commando Platoon of the Phước Tuy Sector
immediately deployed about 30 minutes later. They blocked our withdrawal route
eastward from the Phước Hữu T-Junction. When our 1st Section withdrew past that spot,
they encountered the enemy who opened fire first – but we suffered neither killed nor
wounded. Our 2nd Section – that included Comrade Sáu Chiến, heard the sound of
gunfire – and knowing that our 1st Section had been contacted by the enemy, hurriedly
returned and attacked the enemy Commando Platoon from the flank and the rear and
encircled them. Panic-striken, the commandos fled in the direction of the ricefields. The
result of this engagement was that we killed a number of the enemy, seized seven
weapons, and wounded Kiềm – breaking his leg (very afraid, he later left the commando
unit to work as a civilian, and was subsequently imprisoned).
At the end of 1961, the Staley-Taylor “Pacification” plan – aimed at pacifying the
South in 18 months, was launched. This was basically the first plan of the Americans’
“Special Warfare” strategy.70 The gathering of the people into “Strategic Hamlets”71 was
68

Translator’s Note: Presumably, the flag of the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam – the
Front was formed in December 1960.
Translator’s Note: The term “quislings” (“bọn tề”) – a synonym for traitors, was applied by the
communists to Vietnamese who served the Sài Gòn government. The English term “quisling” has its origins
with the infamous World War II Norwegian Nazi collaborator, President Vidkun Quisling (1887-1945). For
government administration in Phước Tuy Province in 1969 – see USAID, Public Administration Bulletin,
No.50, Saigon, 1 August 1969. For the Village and Hamlet Reorganization (Decree No.093-TT/NV), 2 June
1969, see pp.41-58. The Bulletin also includes Province and District appointments.
70
Translator’s Note: The “strategy” was announced in May 1961 – and, together with its component
“Pacification program”, was colloquially referred to as the Staley/Taylor plan - ie after the Stanford
University academic Eugene Staley and US General Maxwell Taylor (later US Ambassador in the Republic
of Vietnam 1964-1965). For a useful contemporary review of “Pacification” to the end of 1968, see Young,
E.J., Stability in Rural Vietnam, December 1968, VCAT Item No.13510141001.
71
Translator’s Note: The “Strategic Hamlet” (Ấp Chiến Lược) program was wider than the earlier
“Agroville” resettlement program begun by President Diệm in 1959. In 1964 – ie post-Diệm, the “Strategic
Hamlets” program was “revitalized” as the “New Life Hamlets” (Ấp Đời Mới) - and in 1965 retitled
“Secure Hamlets” (Ấp Tân Sinh – ie “New Life Hamlets”, but in Sino-Vietnamese). For a communist
account, see: The Failure of Special War 1961-65, Vietnamese Studies, No.11, Hanoi, 1965 – VCAT Item
No.2120201001.
69

20
elevated to become a national policy. In March 1962, the Americans and Diệm
commenced their “Sunrise Campaign”.72 They combined their regular main-force units,
Civil Guard/Civil Defence Force, Self-Defence Corps, and police on a large scale from
company-level up to regiment-level to launch highly destructive attacks into the
provinces of the Eastern Nam Bộ Region in order to round up the people into “strategic
hamlets”. In Bà Rịa, the enemy concentrated a large force and launched a sweeping
operation – “Thunder and Wind”, into the Hắc Dịch base.73
In April 1962, the enemy began to build model strategic hamlets at An Nhứt (in
Long Điền Sub-Sector), Hòa Long (Long Lễ Sub-Sector), and at Bình Giã (Đức Thạnh
Sub-Sector). They established the Vạn Kiếp Training Centre74 in Bà Rịa; consolidated the
Long Lễ Sub-Sector; further strengthened their 611th and 612th Civil Guard/Civil Defence
Force Companies under the Xuyên Mộc Sub-Sector; and established posts from Núi Nhọn
Mountain to the bridges at Cầu Dài, Cầu Trọng and Suối Cát to support the gathering up
of villagers and the setting-up of strategic hamlets in that area. Our armed forces and the
people of Bà Rịa Province were forced into great hardships by these schemes and plots of
the enemy.
To confront the enemy’s scheme to gather the people and establish strategic
hamlets in the territory of Bà Rịa, the Province Committee gave the task to the Province
armed forces to join together with the local armed forces and actively strike the enemy
and support our political forces and those of the masses of the three villages of Hòa Long,
Long Phước, and Long Tân in Châu Đức District; and a number of villages in Long Đất
District.
In Long Phước, the 445 Company Headquarters tasked Nguyễn Văn Lài to kill
Đội Đẹt. Đội Đẹt was a wicked thug who owed many blood debts to our countrymen in
Long Phước. As a youth, Lài had volunteered to join our troops and was quickly trained
in reconnaissance techniques – and was sent to work tending buffaloes for a family in
Long Phước. After many days of closely studying our ways of fighting, Lài was given a
long-barrelled revolver by our Political Officer Nguyễn Minh Ninh. He hid the weapon
under a basket of mangoes and went off to sell them. Lài got close to Đẹt in a tailor’s
shop near the Self-Defence Corps post in Long Phước where Đẹt usually sat and chatted
with the owner. Lài fired very suddenly – shooting and wounding Đẹt in broad daylight.
After his attack on that thug, Lài went into the jungle permanently with the unit and was
appointed into 445 Company’s bugle group – although he was only 13 years of age. Đẹt
avoided being killed but did not dare to be as bold as before. The villagers of Long Phước
were very elated by this incident.
After the shooting of the thug in Long Phước, 445 Company studied ways of
attacking the Self-Defence Corps at the post in the Phước Tỉnh market. From studying the
information provided by our infrastructure agents, it was apparent that the enemy there
were very subjective and lacked awareness. They would routinely leave the post, stroll
into the market, eat and drink, and prey on the people. At the same time, we also learnt
that the routine and activities of a commando group – led by Mười Dẩu, included
regularly travelling to the Phước Tỉnh market by civilian bus. With forward and
innovative planning, in June 1962, 445 Company prepared a platoon disguised as troops
72

Translator’s Note: “Operation Sunrise” – launched in Bình Dương Province in late March 1962, began
the Strategic Hamlet Program. In 1962, the focus of the Program was the six provinces around Sài Gòn
(including Phước Tuy) and Kontum Province. Initially, 11,316 strategic hamlets were planned – but the
program faltered with the assassination of President Ngô Đình Diệm in November 1963.
73
Translator’s Note: The 1991 D445 History adds: “but they were driven back by the 445th Company.”
74
Translator’s Note: The ARVN Vạn Kiếp National Training Centre was located on Bà Rịa Town’s eastern
outskirts and included the US MACORDS Team 89 compound.

21
of Mười Dẩu’s commando group. Our disguised platoon was led by Comrade Tư Ù – the
Company Commander. By night, our men moved secretly down from the Minh Đạm base
to occupy an area of new jungle (on Đức Mẹ Hill) near the Lò Vôi T-Junction. In the
morning - at between about 7.30am and 8.00am, the first bus from the direction of Long
Điền appeared. We intended to stop the bus, but we feared being discovered because at
the time a section of Self-Defence Corps troops were opening up the road. So, we held
our ground and waited to stop the second bus at about 9.30am to 10.00am. At that time,
the Self-Defence Corps element on security patrol would have returned to rest at their
post. Our “false commando” platoon was set down by the bus at the top of the market,
and then crossed the crowded market and entered the Phước Tỉnh post without raising any
suspicions at all. In the post at that time, there was only a communications soldier – as all
the others had gone out, and were scattered about seeking something to eat. Having
threatened and captured the soldier - and seized the armoury, our Platoon Commander
Sáu Chiến struck the drum that the enemy soldiers used for training, warning, etc - then
our troops departed the place. We seized 15 weapons of various types and all the military
equipment - and withdrew in the direction of the Cửa Lấp River. There, our infrastructure
agents had prepared two boats to ferry our troops across the river for the move back to the
Minh Đạm base.75 Having crossed the river, our troops withdrew in the direction of Gò
Sầm (in Vũng Tàu) and waited until dark before crossing the river and then returning to
the Minh Đạm base. On the withdrawal route, we distributed pamphlets and
propagandized to encourage the villagers.
That was 445 Company’s first engagement using deception. It was very daring,
and we had been able to maintain secrecy and surprise for quite a long period of time –
thus enabling us to achieve a complete victory, particularly in political terms. The unit
had successfully and openly conducted armed propaganda in an area settled by Christian
refugees – ie all Catholics.76 On our side, everyone was safe. The armed propaganda
action at Phước Tỉnh evidenced the thoughtful preparation of the unit in a new way – a
public attack by day using disguises. If they had been discovered – no matter at what
stage, when moving into their assembly area, then they could have been surrounded by
the enemy and wiped out.
In August 1962, 445 Company employed a platoon to conduct an ambush at Đá
Giăng (Long Hải) to wipe out Sáu Lỏ and his wicked commando platoon. Sáu Lỏ led a
commando platoon in Long Điền District. Every day, he would lead his platoon on search
operations, destroying our revolutionary infrastructure in the nearby areas. Capturing our
cadre or infrastructure members, Sáu Lỏ would cut open their stomaches and remove the
livers – and then return to the Long Điền market and eat them during a drinking session.
Determined that Sáu Lỏ and his commando group must suffer retributive punishment, 445
75

Translator’s Note: As noted, the Minh Đạm is a range of hills – and was a Việt Minh/Việt Cộng base
area/secret zone within the areas/boundaries of the villages of Tam An, Phước Long Hội, Phước Hải and
Long Hải (of Long Đất District in modern-day Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province). The Minh Đạm area is more
than nine kilometres long and almost five kilometres at its widest. See: The Minh Đạm Base History (2006)
ie: Phạm Chí Thân, Căn Cứ Minh Đạm 1945-1975 (The Minh Đạm Base 1945-1975), Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu
Province Information and Cultural Office, 2006 – translated extracts at Annex M in Chamberlain, E.P., …
D445…, op.cit., 2011. Australian forces commonly referred to the area as the “Long Hải Hills”.
76
Translator’s Note: The villagers of Phước Tỉnh were almost all Catholic – principally comprising
refugees from the North following the 1954 Geneva Accords. In 1970, its population was 10,697 in four
hamlets. The Catholic percentages of the hamlets were recorded as: 97%, 97%, 66%, and 96% respectively.
The village was supposedly founded by Emperor Gia Long in the very early 19th Century when he stopped
there to take on water. In the modern era, it was “re-founded’ by 2,000 Catholics from the North in 1954.
Bình Giã village (see footnote 122) in central Phước Tuy Province was also founded by Northern Catholic
refugees.

22
Company devised a plan to ambush and wipe out the enemy in the Đá Giăng area when
Sáu Lỏ and his commando platoon were conducting a search operation at Long Hải.
Falling into our ambush, Sáu Lỏ and his group were wiped out, ending the days of
brutality that they had inflicted on the people and our infrastructure agents in the Long
Điền area.77
Following that action, a platoon of 445 Company conducted an ambush to kill Thu
and his pacification group78 in the area of the Hòa Long T-Junction. Thu was the group
leader – a Sub-Sector pacification cadre who had engaged in many wicked crimes deceiving, enticing, and trying to win-over the people. He had raped women and
destroyed much of our revolutionary infrastructure in the Hòa Long area. Once, on a
pacification operation, he had shot and killed Miss Bửu – one of our movement’s cadre in
Ấp Bắc hamlet of Hòa Long. After she had been killed, Thu heartlessly raped her. His
vile act greatly outraged the local people. With the assistance of the villagers, a
reconnaissance team from 445 Company – led by Lê Văn Tranh79, concealed themselves
in a scorpion tree for several days in order to determine Thu’s routine and movements. As
a result of that reconnaissance of the enemy, the unit devised a suitable plan to completely
wipe out the pacification group and Thu by surprise in an open area of ground.80
At the beginning of 1963, COSVN decided to establish Bà Biên Province by
merging the two provinces of Bà Rịa and Biên Hòa – with Comrade Nguyễn Văn Kiệm
[sic] as the Secretary of the Province Committee, and Comrade Lê Minh Thịnh (Sau
Thịnh) as the Province Unit Commander.81 Subsequently, Lê Minh Thịnh was assigned to
the Military Region’s Central Rear Services Agency, and Comrade Nguyễn Việt Hoa
(Mười Thà) was appointed as the Province Unit Commander. The central task of the
whole Party was affirmed as speeding up our three-pronged attacks82 and destroying the
strategic hamlets across the Province. Our method of struggle was to coordinate the threepronged attacks, use our weapons as leverage, kill the thugs, destroy their oppression, and
move towards the disintegration of the enemy’s system of strategic hamlets.

77

Translator’s Note: According to the Đất Đỏ District History (2006): “Long Đất District’s C25 Company
coordinated with the Province’s C445 unit to mount a daylight mobile ambush on the road at Đá Giăng
joining An Ngãi to Long Hải wiping out an eight-man commando section led by Sáu Lỏ and seizing eight
weapons.” Đặng Tấn Hương (ed), The History … Đất Đỏ District (1930-2005), op.cit., 2006.
78
Translator’s Note: The killing of Thu in August 1962 is very similarly related in The History of the Hòa
Long Village Party Chapter (1930-2005), op.cit., 2009, except that Thu is described as a member of the
“Popular Forces”. For translated extracts of the Hòa Long Village History, see Annex N in Chamberlain,
E.P., … D445 …, op.cit., 2011.
79
Translator’s Note: Lê Tranh (Lê Văn Tranh, aka Năm Tranh) was interviewed by T. Burstall in
November 1987 – see Burstall, T., A Soldier Returns – A Long Tan veteran discovers the other side of
Vietnam, University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, 1990, pp.141-145. Lê Tranh claimed to have later been
the deputy commander of 445 Battalion in 1972-1974 – see Annex B. In both the 1991 and 2004 D445
Histories, Lê Tranh (Năm Tranh) was cited for his exploits in the defence of the Long Phước base on 21
May 1966. In this 2004 D445 History, he is later noted as one of two Battalion 2ics in May 1972.
80
Translator’s Note: A passage appears to have been inadvertently omitted. The 1991 D445 History adds:
“Following this, we deployed a platoon to secretly ambush and eliminate Thu in Hòa Long. A further seven
enemy were captured. The most notorious and wicked thugs in the Long Điền, Hòa Long region had been
judged and punished – and this limited the brutal and cruel activities of the other thugs.”
81
Translator’s Note: The Việt Cộng Bà Biên Province – encompassing Bà Rịa–Long Khánh–Biên Hòa was
first established in April 1963 – see Annex J, Higher Headquarters. Nguyễn Văn Kiệm was also known as
“Nguyễn Sơn Hà” – see the Châu Đức District History (2004).
82
Translator’s Note: Three-pronged or three spearhead attacks - literally: “ba mũi giáp công”, was a
commonly-used term descibing a strategy of: military action, political action, and propaganda/proselytising/
agitation among enemy troops. The term “three-pronged attacks” was also applied to describe attacks by:
“local troops, militia, and guerrillas.”

23
The punishment of the most notorious and brutal thugs in the Long Điền and Hòa
Long areas made the other wicked thugs stay their hand, and they didn’t dare show their
faces as boldly as before. Many of the Self-Defence Corps posts on the outskirts were
automatically abandoned. The people were elated and increasingly had confidence in the
struggle against the enemy who had been dragging the villagers into “strategic hamlets”.
By the middle of 1963, the enemy’s system of strategic hamlets in Long Đất was
relatively complete. Apart from the “model” strategic hamlet at An Nhứt (Phước Tỉnh), in
Long Điền the fences of the strategic hamlets ran from the Bàu Thành T-Junction past
Long Phượng up to the grave of Mr Huyện and to Dinh Cố – joining with the strategic
hamlet at An Ngãi village. In Đất Đỏ, the fences encircled the three villages of Phước
Thạnh, Phước Thọ, and Phước Hòa Long - with hamlet gates set up on Routes 52 and 23.
In the sandy areas at Phước Lợi, Long Mỹ, and Phước Hải, the fences of the strategic
hamlets cut across Routes 44 and 52 and ran along the coast to the Con Ó post up to Hàng
Dương and past the Ếch post (the Sập post). Depending on the terrain, the fences of the
strategic hamlets had at least three rows of barbed wire. Outside the fences, there were
ditches with a width of two to three metres, two-and-a-half metres deep, with bamboo
panji stakes and illuminating flares.
In the Xuyên Mộc area83, at Bình Châu village, they built two strategic hamlets:
Láng Găng and Bến Lội. The village of Bưng Riềng had two strategic hamlets: Ấp Một
and Ấp Hai; Phước Bửu village had three hamlets: Xóm Rẫy, Bà Tô and Núi Nhọn – on
Route 23; Ba Mẫu village had one hamlet; Láng Bè village had one; and Bàu Lâm village
had three. The strategic hamlets for refugees were wholly for refugees from Quảng Nam
and Quảng Ngãi Provinces. Strategic hamlets were established for Nùng84 refugees of
1954. Phước Bửu village had two hamlets: Gò Cà and Bà Tô [sic]. In Xuyên Mộc village
- in the centre of the Sub-Sector, the enemy built a large strategic hamlet with strong
fences surrounding the hamlets of Nhơn Nghĩa, Nhơn Trí, Nhơn Đức, and Nhơn Tâm.85
In Châu Thành District, the enemy established the strategic hamlets of Phú Mỹ,
Mỹ Xuân, Hội Bài, Phước Hòa (three hamlets), Chu Hải, Kim Hải, Hòa Long, Long
Phước, Sông Cầu, Bình Ba, Xuân Sơn, Ngãi Giao, Bình Giã (three hamlets) – located
along Routes 15 and 2. Among these, the strategic hamlet of Bình Giã was regarded as a
model hamlet – an inviolable fortress.
Supporting the movement to destroy the strategic hamlets, the Province armed
forces regularly deployed to the principal areas to attack the enemy with raids and
ambushes. On the night of 24/25 August 1963, 445 Company joined with the Long Đất
District forces and the Military Region’s 800th Battalion86 – together with the guerrillas of
Tam Phước and Phước Tỉnh villages, to concentrate for an attack on Ngô Đình Diệm’s
palace at Long Hải, the officers’ convalescence centre, and the offices of the public
security police at Long Hải. We killed tens of the enemy – including Second Lieutenant
Đề. This was a large-scale battle with combined and relatively large forces that had a
83

Translator’s Note: The Xuyên Mộc District Unit – the 51st Company, had been founded in October 1962
in the village - Võ Kim Hanh (et al), Xuyên Mộc Kháng Chiến 1945-1975, op.cit., 1989, p.115.
84
Translator’s Note: As noted, the Nùng are a Chinese ethnic minority – 50,000 fled as refugees to the
South from North Vietnam in 1954, led by General Vong A Sang. Separately, there is a Vietnamese Nùng
minority people whose homeland is in the northern border provinces of northern Vietnam.
85
Translator’s Note: This paragraph is included in Võ Kim Hanh (et al), Xuyên Mộc Kháng Chiến 19451975, op.cit., 1989, pp.115-116.
86
Translator’s Note: In June 1962, the title of the 500 th VC Battalion changed to the 800th Battalion/Đồng
Nai Battalion. When the 274th VC Regiment was later founded in March 1965 at the “Phước Thành Festival
Place” – ie “Sân Lễ Phước Thành”, in War Zone D, the 800th Battalion was an inaugural unit – and was
initially retitled as “H-12 Battalion”. CDEC Log 08-076-66. For the 500th Battalion formed in 1972, see
footnotes 532, and 538.

24
great impact on the psychology of the revolutionary masses - and on the puppet troops
and administration as well.87
To further fulfil the above mission, the Province Committee assigned Comrade Lê
Thành Ba as the head of the Committee to destroy the strategic hamlets. The 1st Platoon
(445 Company, Bà Rịa [sic] Province) was deployed to Long Phước to assist the villagers
in digging tunnels and to stay close to, and attack, the enemy. The Long Phước Party
Chapter mobilised the villagers and the forces to participate in the digging of the tunnels.
The Committee also mobilised the participation of labourers88 from Hòa Long and from
many of the villages along Route 2. Having just restored the stretches of tunnels
remaining from the time of the resistance war against the French, the Committee directed
the construction of a main tunnel from Ấp Đông hamlet to Ấp Bắc hamlet. Off this main
tunnel, there were many side branches that all joined together to create a solid and linked
complex. Within the tunnels, there were storehouses full of weapons, food89, tanks of
water, and first-aid stations etc.90
Having discovered that our forces were restoring the Long Phước tunnels, on 5
March 1963, the enemy deployed a Civil Guard/Civil Defence Force Company, a Combat
Support Platoon from the Sector, and a Self-Defence Corps Platoon from the Long Phước
post – together with M113 support, to sweep into Long Phước. Having predicted this
situation, the Province and District reconnaissance elements and the village guerrillas
took the initiative and blocked the enemy’s advance at some distance. Meanwhile, our
remaining forces manned the tunnels, organised a large number of fighting pits, and set
many minefields in order to wipe out the enemy. The enemy was strong in number and
heavily equipped – but were completely surprised by their inability to access the tunnel
systems. They were forced to withdraw to the main roads, re-group, and fire their artillery
into the hamlets. In more than 20 days of fierce combat, the enemy’s plan to gather the
people into strategic hamlets could still not be achieved. On our side, combined with our
armed activities, the village Party chapters mobilised our core comrades – members of the
Women’s Association, to constantly demonstrate against the enemy firing their artillery,

87

Translator’s Note: These attacks in late August 1963 are related out of chronological sequence, but are
referred to in several other communist histories. The Minh Đạm Base History (2006) relates that on 24
August 1963, the “45 [sic] Company Provincial Unit” in conjunction with Long Đất District guerrillas and
elements of the Military Region’s 800th Battalion attacked an officers’ recreation facility at Long Hải –
killing and wounding 19 and seizing 40 weapons – see Phạm Chí Thân, Căn Cứ Minh Đạm 1945-1975 The Minh Đạm Base …, op.cit., 2006, p.45. The Đất Đỏ District History (2006), p.79 – omitting reference
to 445 Company relates: “on the night of 24-25 August 1963, the District troops (C25), Eastern Region
troops (D800), and the Long Hải guerrillas attacked Ngô Đình Diệm’s holiday centre and the puppet
officers’ recreation area (the Huy Hoàng hotel – now the holiday centre for the Province union). We killed
and wounded 19 enemy – including the wicked Second Lieutenant Để, and seized more than 40 weapons
and a large amount of military equipment. A similar account appears in The Long Đất District History
(1986), p.113 – see translated extracts at Annex L to Chamberlain, E.P., … D445 …, op.cit., 2011.
88
Translator’s Note: For “Civilian Labourer Policies” – probably issued by VC Military Region 5, that
includes: categories (A, B, C), ages, work periods, exemptions, privileges, load weights (eg adult male:
25kg in lowland areas for trips of 20 days or more) including for pack bicycles, awards, disciplinary action,
etc - see VCAT Item No.2311603006.
89
Translator’s Note: Literally “lương thực” – translated as “grain”. This term is sometimes more broadly
translated as “cereals” – encompassing rice, corn/maize, manioc, potatoes and beans; and is also
occasionally translated in other contexts more generally as “rations”, “provisions”, or “supplies”.
90
Translator’s Note: The other major Việt Cộng tunnel systems in Phước Tuy Province were at Kim Long
in the Việt Cộng’s Châu Đức District and at Hắc Dịch in today’s Tân Thành District. The Long Phước
tunnels were declared an historical site by the Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu authorities on 9 January 1990 – see “Đia
Đạo Long Phước”, 26 September 2010 – note that the item also claims two Australian battalions were
destroyed at the Long Tân battle in August 1966.

25
stealing property, and arresting innocent villagers – and also encouraged enemy soldiers
to oppose the war.
Taking advantage of the enemy’s failure to attack, the Committee directed the
mobilisation of the people in the villages and our labourers to continue repairing and
expanding the tunnels, and strengthening the fighting positions and the firing loop-holes
in Ấp Bắc and Ấp Tây hamlets – and preparing for new battles.
On 1 April 1963, the enemy reinforced and deployed a Ranger battalion and Civil
Guard/Civil Defence Force elements – equivalent to an infantry regiment, supported by a
platoon of M113 armoured vehicles, a flight of combat aircraft, and artillery fire support
to launch a new attack on the entrances to the tunnels at Ấp Bắc.91 A column of enemy
vehicles advanced violently. The leading M113 struck a home-made mine created by
Comrade Thái Văn Cho – a 445 Company reconnaissance soldier, at the Cây Me culvert
and burnt fiercely. The column of M113s stopped suddenly, not daring to move towards
the tunnels. Seizing the moment, our troops launched several counter-attacks on the
enemy infantry. In the afternoon, the enemy withdrew from the area of the entrances to
the tunnels.
On 8 April 1963 (the fiercest day of fighting in the 44 days and nights), the enemy
rushed headlong to destroy the tunnels with the aim of forcing the people into the
strategic hamlet at Long Phước. On our side, the Company’s fighting troops were
reinforced with a platoon. At 8am, the enemy concentrated to attack. The main thrust of
their infantry and tanks was focused to seize the firing loop-holes around our combat
positions at the entrance to the Ấp Bắc tunnels. Two of our Company’s reconnaissance
soldiers – Comrade Tốt and Comrade Tranh, used grenades to destroy a M113 at the
Tranh Clearing (behind Ấp Bắc). The enemy had to temporarily halt their attack and reorganise their formations. At 10am, they continued with a new attack attempting to seize
the tunnel entrance and eight of our firing loop-holes. In the afternoon, the enemy
grouped for a strong attack against the defensive positions of 445 Company’s 2nd Platoon
in Ấp Tây (about 400 metres from the Ấp Bắc battlefield). There, the enemy were
decisively opposed, but at the end of the afternoon we had expended almost all our
ammunition and had used all of our grenades – so we had to withdraw into the tunnels.
The enemy then seized that battleground and converged their forces to take Ấp Bắc.
In the Ấp Bắc area, we had 12 firing loop-holes (set among banana trees – and
covered with thick planks, earth, and grass). At about 11am, the situation became
extremely dangerous as the enemy used 12 M113s to tightly cover over the 12 loop-holes
with the vehicles’ underbellies pressing down on the loop-holes – which were also the
main entrances that we used for entry and exit. The enemy used megaphones to call on us
to surrender – threatening that if we didn’t surrender then they would throw petrol bombs
into the tunnels and burn everyone to death. At this time, there were about 250 people in
the tunnels – comprising our civilian cadre, guerrillas, core agents, and a platoon of 445
Company. All were trapped – and, unable to escape, were forced into a last-ditch defence.
It was pitch black in the tunnels, and the silent and pervading atmosphere was stifling.
Comrade Nguyễn Minh Ninh – 445 Company’s Political Officer who was personally
leading our combat platoon, was also trapped underground. In this dangerous situation,
Comrade Nguyễn Minh Ninh discussed the circumstances with Võ Quốc Chánh (Tư
91

Translator’s Note: The 1991 D445 History describes these engagements at the Long Phước tunnels in
greater detail – eg: on the enemy: “the 38th Ranger Battalion and the 61st Civil Guard/Civil Defence Force
Battalion coordinated with Self-Defence Corps elements and aircraft and artillery support to launch an
operation over several days with the aim of wiping out the Long Phước liberated zone. At this time, the 445
Company’s strength was over 120 – organised in three platoons. One platoon was operating with the local
combat force at An Ngãi (Đất Đỏ) – with the other two platoons in Long Phước.”

26
Chánh) – the Company Commander [sic] to find a way of escape. There was only one
anti-tank mine left that had earlier been locally-manufactured from a 15 kilogram bomb.
It had been used previously, but had failed to detonate. The bomb was opened for
inspection, and it was seen that the wires had been incorrectly joined. Nguyễn Minh Ninh
– the Political Officer, rejoined the wires and then decided to task two of our soldiers
(Mười Dậm and Sáu Bảo)92 to use a wooden plank to affix the mine to the underside of
the vehicle blocking the tunnel entrance. Until the two soldiers returned to their hiding
positions, Comrade Nguyễn Minh Ninh and Comrade Võ Quốc Chánh (Tư Chánh) waited
– one holding the battery and the other the electric detonating device. A resounding
explosion split the air, and the enemy vehicle was thrown up into the air, and fell on its
side with its tracks broken.
Exploiting the situation, many of the cadre and soldiers of 445 Company leapt up
from the tunnel entrances and loop-holes and hurled grenades at the enemy. These
included Comrade Sáu Bảo who threw an illuminating incendiary grenade at an M113
nearby and – in conjunction with our sniping fire, forced the enemy to withdraw in panic
from the area of the tunnel entrances. From then until the afternoon, the enemy launched
a large number of attacks but did not dare to again place their vehicles over our firing
loop-holes. They were constantly met with strong resistance from our forces defending
the tunnels – with the fiercest resistance coming from the cadre and soldiers of 445
Company. At about 4pm, the enemy withdrew from the area of the tunnels and returned
to their positions at the Long Lễ Sub-Sector.
That night, as ordered from above, the platoon from 445 Company and the
majority of the cadre and people secretly left the tunnels and dispersed into the
countryside to consolidate our forces. A section of 445 led by Comrade Bảy Sáng was
detached to remain behind and coordinate with the Long Phước village guerrillas and the
District troops (20th Company93) to stick close to the enemy and continue the fight.
In the following two days, the enemy continued with many attacks. They used
their M113 armoured vehicles, recoilless rifles, and various types of mortars to fire from a
distance into the area of the tunnels. At the same time, they also conducted
reconnaissance patrols and caused stress and psychological and physical exhaustion for
our forces still holding the tunnels. The enemy’s aim was to prepare for a decisive attack
if the opportunity arose.
On 11 April 1963, the enemy assembled a large force (including armoured
vehicles and bulldozers) to attack into the tunnel complex. They used their recoilless
rifles to destroy our fighting positions, and used their bulldozers to cover the tunnel
entrances and to collapse the coverings of our communication trenches. The M113s
crushed and flattened the surface of the ground. Our buried mine-detonating electrical
cables were all completely cut and destroyed. In the tunnels, our effective strength, and
our weapons and equipment became casualties and represented a large loss as they could

92

Translator’s Note: Nguyễn Mười Dậm - probably Quá h Văn Mười – was later noted as the commander
of the Battalion’s 1st Company in February 1968 – see footnotes 95, 96 and 325*. Nguyễn Văn Bảo (Sáu
Bảo), noted above as a section commander, was interviewed post-War by T. Burstall in August 1987. Bảo –
b.1943 near Long Mỹ, declared that he had “joined the guerrilla army” at 16, and had been a company
commander in 445 Battalion in the period 1966-1968 (but “had not been involved personally” in the Battle
of Long Tân) – then posted to 5th VC Division - Burstall, T., A Soldier Returns, op.cit., 1990, pp.65-66. See
also the following footnotes 96, 143*, 325*, 334, 360*, and 396* - and also Annex B.
93
Translator’s Note: The “20th Company” was the Châu Thành/Châu Đức District Unit – ie as noted: “The
armed forces of Châu Thành District that were established on 5 February 1961 – and, titled C.20 (C20, C20), at first only comprised seven comrades with insufficient weapons and ammunition.” - Châu Đức
District History (2004) ie: Nguyễn Công Danh …, … Châu Đức District, op.cit., 2004, p.108.

27
not be replaced in a timely way. In this adverse situation, our forces defending the tunnels
decided to withdraw completely to save our strength.
As a result of the 44 days and nights of staunchly hanging-on and fighting in the
tunnels, 445 Company and the local armed forces had defeated the enemy – although at
the peak of the fighting (8 April), we were outnumbered by ten to one. The enemy also
had a powerful armoured force in support. However, we drove hundreds of enemy from
the battleground and destroyed four M113 armoured vehicles.
Following that battle, many of the cadre and soldiers of 445 Company were
recommended by our higher command for the award of medals94 and for letters of
appreciation. In particular, two soldiers – Nguyễn Văn Bảo and Quách Văn Mười95, were
proposed by our Political Officer – Nguyễn Minh Ninh, for admission into the Party on
the battlefield. This was approved by our higher authority, and Comrade Đỗ Văn Chương
(Ba Liên) – as the representative of the Party Committee, organised the admission of
Comrades Bảo and Mười at the unit’s base camp at Đất Gai (Long Phước).96
The battle at the fighting tunnels of Long Phước had proved the courage, will, and
perseverance of 445 Company to attack and to wipe out the enemy. 445 Battalion had
endured long days of fighting against a more numerous and better equipped enemy. In our
role as a premier force, we had coordinated harmoniously with the District troops, militia,
and guerrillas to fight a large battle, had wiped out much of the enemy’s capability, and
staunchly held-on and fought. The battle had clearly evidenced that the features of
people’s war and the coordination of the three forces (provincial, district, and
militia/guerrillas) were completely compatible. This battle also showed the united spirit of
our forces and the people (“the fish and the water”) fighting together side-by-side to
defend our homeland. The battle of the tunnels and the creation of combat villages
produced a jagged saw-toothed pattern of control97 across the Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu
battlefield from the very first years of the anti-American resistance war of national
salvation.
In May 1963, 445 Company was given the task of destroying the strategic hamlet
at Bàu Lâm ((Xuyên Mộc District)), expanding the liberated zone, and creating
favourable conditions for the corridor used to move weapons from the landing wharf at
Lộc An98 to the bases. Bàu Lâm was a hamlet located on the border of our base area
94

Translator’s Note: USMACV/CDEC translators in Saigon were not always consistent in translating
terminology for NVA/VC medals. The author has translated Huân chương quân công as the Military
Exploits Medal, and the lower grade Huân chương chiến công as the Military Feats Medal.
95
Translator’s Note: Quá h Văn Mười (aka Mười Dậm, real name: Quá h Văn Tâm) – born in Phước Hải
village in 1941, was noted as a platoon commander in the 1 st Company. See his Personal History Statement
dated 25 August 1965 at CDEC Log 12-2394-66.
96
Translator’s Note: The fighting at Long Phước is also described in the local Party history – including the
admission into the Party of Nguyễn Văn Bảo and Quá h Văn Mười. Trần Văn Khánh (et al/đtg), Lịch sử
Đảng …(The History of the Party in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu), op.cit., 2000, Chapter VI.
97
Translator’s Note: According to an early 1964 US report: “A recent report from COMUSMACV … states
that the Viet Cong exercise 80% control in Phước Tuy, a non-critical province. It thus appears that Phước
Tuy should be considered as a possible addition to the list of critical provinces” ((ie with the critical 13 of
the total of 43 provinces)). Central Intelligence Agency, Memorandum: The Situation in South Vietnam
(OCI 1061/64), 28 February 1964. VCAT Item No.F029100030389. For areas of control as assessed by
USMACV at 31 May 1966 (11.5% of the Phước Tuy population under VC control), see footnote 229.
98
Translator’s Note: Lộc An is located on the coast in the Sông Ray River estuary about five kilometres
north-east of Phước Hải village. The first landing of weapons and equipment from North Vietnam in May
1961 is related in the Đất Đỏ District History (2006) ie Đặng Tấn Hương (ed), The History of … Đất Đỏ
District , op.cit., 2006, p.179; and also in the earlier Long Đất District History (1986) - ie Phan Ngọc Danh
…, Lịch Sử Đấu Tranh Cách Mạng Của Huyện Long Đất, op.cit., 1986, pp.114-115 – giving the landing
date as 29-30 November - see Chamberlain, E.P., … D445 …, op.cit., 2011, Annex L. However, according

28
region at Xuyên Mộc. At Bàu Lâm, the enemy had created a “model” strategic hamlet.
The hamlet was surrounded by a two-metres wide communication trench that was twometres deep and protected by a barbed-wire fence. The hamlet had two entrance gates that
were guarded throughout both the day and the night. The enemy had decided to turn that
place into an anti-Communist fortress by creating divisions among our minority people
and religious people – and arousing the villagers to oppose and destroy the revolution.
Previously – on 30 December 1963 [sic], our Company had attacked the enemy at Bưng
Riềng.
Having been provided with information by our underground agents on the
activities of the enemy in the strategic hamlet, 445 Company secretly deployed and
concealed three platoons within the village. Comrade Nguyễn Việt Hoa (Mười Thà)99 –
the Commander of the Province Unit, personally accompanied the Company. On the night
of 15 January 1964 [sic]100, 445 Company split into three groups and suddenly broke into
the Bàu Lâm strategic hamlet. It was dark and difficult to distinguish between friend and
foe, and when we opened fire one of our comrades was accidentally killed (Comrade
Liêm from Hòa Long village). With this surprise casualty – and unable to further develop
our attack, the Headquarters ordered our troops to withdraw back to our assembly area.
There, the Headquarters met and exchanged ideas. Our Political Officer – Lê
Minh Việt101, put forward the idea: that as we had deployed - but had not yet been able to
attack the enemy and had suffered a casualty - we needed to consolidate immediately and
attack the enemy directly in order to maintain the fighting will of our men in the unit. We
could exploit the aspect that the enemy were subjective and complacent, thinking that we
usually came into the hamlets to conduct armed propaganda during the night and

to the The Minh Đạm Base History (2006), the vessel arrived at Lộc An on the night of 3 October 1963 –
see Phạm Chí Thân, Minh Đạm Base, op.cit., 2006, p.45. A political/labour history also cites 3 October and
relates that the onward movement was managed by Group 1500 (“Đoàn 1500” - previously Group 555) –
assisted by the 5th Company of 800 Battalion (a “Regional” element) - Liên đoàn Lao động …, Lịch sử …,
op.cit., 2011, p.16. A detailed account of this supply operation - confirming the date as 3 October, can be
found in Nguyễn Quý Đại, “Hành trình từ những con tàu không số”, in Hàng hải VN - Một thời hào hung
(“Những tập thể và cá nhân tiêu biểu ngành GTVT 1945-2005”) eg – the vessel, Number 41, was captained
by Lê Văn Một and landed 40 tonnes of weapons and stores. This landing is briefly described in McNeill,
I., To Long Tan – The Australian Army and the Vietnam War 1950-1966, Allen & Unwin/Australian War
Memorial, St Leonards, 1993, pp.219-220 citing the Long Đất District History (1986). However, in that
official Australian history, “Đoàn 1500” (ie “Group 1500”) - a logistics element of the 84th Rear Services
Group (Đoàn 84), was incorrectly translated as “1500 cadres”. Further landings at Lộc An (29 November,
1 February 1965) are related in extracts from the Đoàn 125 History ie - Phan Lữ Hoàng Hà, “Chuyện kể về
‘đường mòn Hồ Chí Minh’ trên biển: Huyền thoại những con tàu”, vietbao.vn, 30 April 2005. For the
landings at Lộc An and the operations of Đoàn 1500 see also the detail in: Nguyễn Đình Thống, Trần Toản,
Trần Quang Toại, Hồ Sơn Đài (eds), Đường Hồ Chí Minh Trên Biển – Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu, (The Hồ Chí
Minh Trail by Sea - Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu), Nhà Xuất Bản Văn Hóa – Văn Nghệ, TP Hồ Chí Minh, 2014; and
footnotes 119 and 131.
99
Translator’s Note: “Mười Thà - a military cadre, returned ((ie from North Vietnam)) at the end of 1962
and became the Province Commander.” - Phan Ngọc Danh ..., Đồng Nai 30 Năm …, op.cit., 1986, p.101.
In late 1963, Nguyễn Việt Hoa (Mười Thà) was noted as the Province Unit Commander - ie of then Bà Rịa
Province.
100
Translator’s Note: The date “15 November 1964” is out of “chronological sequence” and is patently
incorrect. In the similar account of the attack on Bàu Lâm in the 1991 D445 History, that date is not
included.
101
Translator’s Note: Lê Minh Việt - nickname: Sáu Việt (“Six Việt”), was subsequently (1966) the Deputy
Political Officer of the Bà Rịa Province Unit.

29
withdrew before dawn. Accordingly, if we returned and attacked strongly, the enemy
would be surprised and unable to react in time.
With the agreement of Võ Quốc Chánh – the Company Commander, and the
approval of Nguyễn Việt Hoa – the Province Unit Commander, the unit regrouped and
deployed back to the “C” strategic hamlet. Following their routine, every morning before
going on their clearing patrol, the enemy gathered to have breakfast in the market. Our
unit deployed two platoons to ambush both sides of the road, with a platoon at the rear.
Comrade Bé (Bé Giò)102 had the heavy machinegun with our leading group at the
“military barrier” in the market. When the enemy fell into our ambush, Bé Giò pulled the
trigger on the heavy machinegun. At the same time, the 445 Company soldiers all opened
fire together. Despite being attacked by surprise, the enemy stubbornly returned fire.
After a few minutes of fighting, we had killed 27 of the enemy (including the brutal
Hương). In our rear group led by Platoon Commander Bảy Sáng, Nguyễn Phi Hùng
staunchly held back the enemy and died courageously. Nguyễn Phi Hùng was a new
soldier – from Phước Bửu village, and was young, handsome, and fought very bravely.
Before dying, he raised his head up and shouted three times: “Long live Hồ Chí Minh”.
Nguyễn Phi Hùng’s courageous sacrifice will be sung about by future generations. Our
Political Officer Lê Minh Việt wrote a poem in praise of him that included the verse:
You fell as the sun was just rising,
Dawn came and the grass in the early morning was covered in dew … .103*
After the battle, the cadre and soldiers of 445 Company – together with the
villagers under the leadership of the Party Chapter, rose up and destroyed the Bàu Lâm
strategic hamlet. Having completed its task outstandingly at Bàu Lâm, 445 Company was
deployed to the Route 2 battlefield to join with the Cao Su District104 Unit in conducting
armed propaganda and mobilising the masses. Immediately on the first day of our
deployment, C.445 won a resounding victory in a chance encounter with the forces of
Đức Thạnh District in the area of Đức Mỹ hamlet (Bình Ba). This engagement was
unforeseen by both sides.
The Đức Thạnh District Chief had received intelligence information that at about
2pm each day Việt Cộng disguised as civilians would stop vehicles and conduct armed
propaganda activities. The Đức Thạnh District Chief - with “forward and innovative
planning”, intended to capture that Việt Cộng group. He was not aware that the group
included the commander of the Cao Su District Unit, Mười Quang – a dangerous
opponent that the District Chief had been hunting for frenetically. The District Chief and
102

Translator’s Note: Trần Văn Bé (Tư Bé, aka Bé Giò) was reportedly later a company commander in 440
Battalion in mid-1968 and appointed a 2ic of 445 Battalion on 4 November 1969. Subsequently, when
Commander of the Châu Đức District Unit, Trần Văn Bé (Tư Bé) was killed by Australian forces on 4
February 1971 at YS 593877. Annex B to 1 ATF INTSUM No. 35/71, Núi Đất, 4 February 1971.
103
* A number of comrades still remember that this poem was published in the cultural pages of the
magazine of the Bà Rịa – Long Khánh Propaganda and Education Committee.
104
Translator’s Note: The principal Việt Cộng districts (huyện) in the Bà Rịa (ie southern) half of Bà Rịa –
Long Khá h (ie “Bà Long”) Province were Long Đất (ie Long Điền and Đất Đỏ were combined in April
1960), Xuyên Mộc, and Châu Đức – see the map at the back cover. Châu Đức District was formed from
Châu Thành and Đức Thạnh Districts on 24 May 1965 [sic] – see the The History of the Hòa Long Village
Party Chapter (1930-2005), op.cit., 25 April 2009. Occasionally, Cao Su (ie “Rubber”) District –
encompassing the rubber plantations from Bình Ba to the north, including the Courtenay Plantation and
several others in southern Long Khánh Province, operated as a discrete district. For the boundaries of Việt
Cộng “sub-districts”, see the map: 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. The boundaries of the Việt Cộng “Bà Rịa” area were adjusted during several re-organisations – see
Annex J, Higher Headquarters.

30
his Deputy both led this operation personally. The Deputy District Chief and a section of
enemy soldiers - disguised as civilians and with their weapons concealed, travelled on a
three-wheeled Lambretta ready to “greet” Mười Quang. The District Chief also had a
platoon of soldiers mounted on another vehicle – with rounds in the chambers of their
weapons, ready to respond.
The enemy’s intelligence information was completely accurate. Mười Quang – the
District Unit Commander, was waiting for the vehicle carrying the group of soldiers
disguised as civilians (about whom he was unaware) and ready to conduct armed
propaganda. However – unknown to both Mười Quang and the Đức Thạnh District Chief,
on that very day and in accord with their plans, 445 Company had also sent a force (a
platoon) into the Bình Ba rubber plantation with the intention of acquiring a lathe for their
engineering workshop. Our unit was regrouping in the rubber plantation about 500 metres
away. Our Company Commander – Võ Quốc Chánh (Tư Chánh), and three of our
reconnaissance soldiers led by Nguyễn Văn Bỉ105 (the soldiers were: Lài and Nam), went
to the edge of the road to check the situation. There, they met Mười Quang. They only
just had time to greet him when the Lambretta carrying the group of soldiers disguised as
civilians approached. The Commander of the Cao Su District Unit – Mười Quang, said
farewell to our men and stepped forward onto the road to halt the vehicle. A volley of
medium machinegun rounds fired from the vehicle passed over his head. Mười Quang
immediately crouched very low to the ground.
Immediately, Comrade Võ Quốc Chánh and Nguyễn Văn Bỉ’s reconnaissance
team opened fire to assist Mười Quang. The enemy returned fire determinedly but were
unable to match our marksmen. The vehicle rolled over, and we seized a medium
machinegun and captured one of the enemy soldiers.
Hearing the sound of gunfire, the Đức Thạnh District Chief reacted by rushing
down in a military vehicle from the Đức Thạnh Sub-Sector. Meanwhile, our platoon in
the rear heard the gunfire and – reacting, moved swiftly forward from the rubber
plantation. The Company second-in-command – Nguyễn Văn Xuân (Hai Xuân), and the
Platoon Commanders: Lê Minh Kiên, Ba Lòng and Mười Sinh, went forward quickly
with our men to the edge of the road and fired fiercely on the enemy’s reaction force. As
a result, the Civil Guard/Civil Defence Force Platoon was wiped out completely
(including the District Chief).106 Võ Quốc Chánh alone shot and killed five of the enemy
with his familiar .45 Colt pistol. We seized a large number of weapons including a 60mm
mortar, a Colt .45 pistol, and a PRC-10 radio107. Bảo – the Deputy Chief of Đức Thạnh
105

Translator’s Note: Nguyễn Văn Bỉ (aka Phục and Phúc) - born in Long Phước in 1934, had been a
member of C445 since July 1961. See his Personal History Statement dated 25 August 1965 at CDEC Log
12-2394-66.
106
Translator’s Note: According to the Châu Đức District History (2004), ie Nguyễn Công Danh …, …
Châu Đức District, op.cit., 2004, p.122: “In July 1964, the enemy continued to deploy infantry and Civil
Guard troops from the Đức Thạnh District capital to seize Bình Ba. Troops from C.445 and the Bình Ba
guerrillas resolutely opposed the enemy and killed the District Chief – Nguyễn Vĩnh Trinh, who had
personally led the operation, and captured 11 of the enemy – including the Deputy District Chief, destroyed
a jeep, and seized weapons including a 60mm mortar.” An account in the local Party history is similar Trần Văn Khánh (et al/đtg), Lịch sử Đảng bộ tỉnh Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu (1930 - 1975) (The History of the Bà
Rịa-Vũng Tàu Party Chapter), Chapter VI, 2000. The MACV account shows the engagement on 9
September 1964 and includes a Ranger company commander KIA, see VCAT Item No.F015800030379.
107
Translator’s Note: A US-manufactured AN/PRC-10 VHF FM manpack radio (.9 watt output). Its
planning range was 8 kilometres with its short aerial. With RC-292 antennae at each end of a link, the range
was 19 kilometres. As noted earlier, due to the PRC-10’s unsatisfactory performance, in mid-1965 General
W.C. Westmoreland – COMUSMACV, ordered the replacement of the PRC-10 held by US forces in
Vietnam with the more effective AN/PRC-25 radio. D445 reportedly also held the earlier - and less capable,
PRC-6 “walkie-talkie”-style radio (range “less than a mile”) – see also footnote 200.

31
District, was captured and taken prisoner. This chance-encounter battle became a great
victory that even also surprised our comrades in the Province Unit.
The fate of the prisoner was unanticipated. It was thought that District Chiefs and
Deputy District Chiefs had committed enough crimes to be sentenced to death. It was
known that Bảo had earlier passed his baccalaureate education, and had just graduated
from officer training. Lê Minh Việt – the Political Officer, proposed that Bảo be reeducated then released. The unit organised a small meeting at our forward springboard
base at Long Phước, displaying the momentum of our victory and deterring anyone from
becoming lackeys and obstructing or opposing the revolution. Then, we made Bảo sign a
promise abandoning the road of being a lackey of the enemy, and write a letter to his
parents asking them to come to the base to ransom him. Through our liaison
infrastructure, Bảo’s family (his mother and father, wife, and sister) came to the base and
asked the revolution to spare him. They also promised to educate Bảo against following
the enemy and opposing the revolution. His re-education and release had a great impact
on our enemy proselytising effort at that time, raising the profile of the lenient policy of
the revolution with the people in the region that had been temporarily seized. At the same
time, this assisted the unit in gaining further experience in applying our three-pronged
attack against the enemy in the future.
Based on that victory, 445 Company108 operated continuously across all the
important areas of the Province, coordinating with the District armed forces and the
village guerrillas to attack and force the withdrawal from a series of enemy posts, and
destroying a number of strategic hamlets.109 The people enthusiastically returned to their
old areas to make their livings.
On 11 November 1963, the internal factions in the puppet government conducted
a coup and overthrew the dictatorial regime of Ngô Đình Diệm. Taking immediate
advantage of the situation, on that night of 11 November, 445 Company joined with the
Cao Su District forces to attack the strategic hamlet at Đồng Ngọc Khải. In this battle,
Comrade Võ Quốc Chánh – the Company Commander, used his pistol (Colt .45) to kill
108

Translator’s Note: In October 1963, a 445B transport unit was formed – ie distinct from 445 Company.
A supply route had been established from Bến Tre in the Mekong Delta north to Cần Giờ (Rừng Sắc) then
to Phú Mỹ, across Route 15 and up into the Hắc Dịch base area – and extended northward into War Zone D.
445B – commanded by Lê Minh Thịnh (Sáu Thịnh), transported material – including arms, on the sector
from Phú Mỹ into the Hắc Dịch. In February 1964, 445B was subsumed into a new K-10 regimental-sized
transport organisation – which became the 84th Rear Services Group in June 1965 (commanded by Lê Minh
Thịnh). - Nguyễn Đình Thống (ed, et al), Đường Hồ Chí Minh Trên Biển – Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu, (The Hồ Chí
Minh Trail by Sea - Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu), op.cit., 2014, pp.77-97. The activities of 445B - and the Hắc Dịch
base area as a “Thành Địa” (“Citadel”) of Eastern Nam Bộ, are also related in the Tân Thành District
History (2014 ?). For captured documents related to 445B, see CDEC Bulletin No.1422, 8 November 1966;
and CDEC Log 11-1293-66.
109
Translator’s Note: As noted at footnote 87, a major attack by Việt Cộng forces in late August 1963 is
related earlier in this 2004 D445 History – but out of “chronological sequence”. According to The Minh
Đạm Base History, on 24 August 1963, the “45 Company Provincial Unit” in conjunction with Long Đất
District guerrillas and elements of the Military Region’s 800 Battalion attacked an officers’ recreation
facility at Long Hải – killing and wounding 19 and seizing 40 weapons – see The Minh Đạm Base History,
op.cit., 2006, p.45. The Long Đất District History (1986) also relates that: “on 25 August 1963, C25, C45
and Khu (D800) attacked the Long Hải complex – killing 19.” - 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, p.113. The Đất Đỏ
District History (2006) relates: on the night of 24-25 August 1963, the District troops (C25), Eastern Region
troops (D800) and the Long Hải guerrillas attacked the Ngô Đình Diệm’s holiday centre and the puppet
officers’ recreation area (the Huy Hoàng hotel – now the holiday centre for the Province union). We killed
and wounded 19 enemy – including the wicked Second Lieutenant Để, and seized more than 40 weapons
and a large amount of military equipment.”

32
four of the enemy. Our troops surrounded and wiped out a Self-Defence Corps platoon
and seized a pistol and a 60mm mortar. The people rose up and destroyed the Đồng Ngọc
Khải strategic hamlet. Exploiting the impetus of that victory, 445 Company continued to
coordinate with the Cao Su District troops and attacked the strategic hamlet at Xuân Son,
liberating Xuân Son village (Châu Thành).
At this time in Bà Rịa – Long Khánh, the liberated zone was expanded in almost
all areas of the countryside. The enemy only held posts in the towns, Sub-Sectors and
District capitals, and a number of key positions along the communication axes.
Employing flexible combat techniques – sometimes concentrating our forces and
sometimes splitting into small teams and sections, 445 Company joined with the District
and village forces to strike at the enemy and to support our countrymen resisting the
enemy’s efforts to drag them into strategic hamlets. We coordinated with the armed
forces and the people to hold a number of villages and hamlets in the critical areas.
Map: The Attack on the Phước Hải Village Council Offices by 445 Company and C25
Company (on the day/night of 1 December 1963)110

At the end of 1963 - prompted by the favourable changes in the situation, COSVN
decided to re-establish Bà Rịa Province with Comrade Nguyễn Việt Hoa (Mười Thà) as
the Province Unit Commander. Implementing COSVN’s instructions to continue the
destruction of the strategic hamlets, the Bà Rịa Province Committee decided to begin a
series of large-scale attacks on strategic hamlets across the whole Province. The armed
forces of the Province were tasked to attack and wipe out the enemy, and support the
struggle movement of the masses to rise up and destroy the strategic hamlets.
At the beginning of 1964111, the Province Committee decided to deploy a number
of cadre and soldiers from 445 Company to become the core of 440 Company led by
110

Translator’s Note: There is no text in the 1991 D445 History nor this 2004 D445 History describing an
an attack on Phước Hải in December 1963. The Đất Đỏ District History (2006) does not relate such an
attack, nor does the Long Đất District History (1986) – ie the higher headquarters for C25 Company. The
map indicates: the 1st Platoon of 445 Company and the 1st Platoon of C25 Company attacking a post at
Long Phước Hội; breaching the wire obstacles north-east of Phước Hải village; and attacking objectives
within the village area - including the Village Council (“HD xã”). A Buddhist pagoda (“Chùa Thất”) and
the South China Sea (“Biển Đông” – literally: “Eastern Sea”) are also indicated on the map.

33
Comrade Năm Đành as Company Commander with Nguyễn Minh Ninh as its Political
Officer.112
After moving a number of cadre and soldiers to create 440 Company, 445
Company again consolidated and adjusted its organisation. Comrade Võ Quốc Chánh
remained Company Commander, Comrade Lê Minh Việt (Sáu Việt) was the Political
Officer, and Comrade Nguyễn Văn Xuân (Hai Xuân) was the Company second-incommand.
The attack at Sông Cầu by 445 Company in October 1964 had a large and
significant impact. We not only wiped out the enemy capability, expanded our area of
control, but also had a strong effect on mobilising the masses. We had received
intelligence113 from our infrastructure agents that a Regional Forces114 platoon routinely
entered the Sông Cầu strategic hamlet (Hòa Long) at night and stayed among the people.
During their stay, the enemy troops would check on the people, and obstruct and capture
any of our cadre entering the village. The Company Headquarters put forward a plan to
wipe out this group of enemy soldiers. Our Political Officer – and concurrently Party
Chapter Secretary Lê Minh Việt, participated directly in creating the plan to attack the
Sông Cầu strategic hamlet. At first, the plan intended we attack on the Saturday, but it
was deferred until Sunday night as on the Saturday the enemy usually went out “on the
town” until late – making it difficult to choose a place where we could attack them as a
group.
Nguyễn Văn Tâm (Tâm Méo) – a Platoon Commander, armed with a medium
machinegun was tasked with suppressive fire and signalling the commencement of the
attack. In the middle of the night, the whole of 445 Company moved in close to the
objective. According to our combined plan arranged between the unit and our
revolutionary infrastructure within hamlet, Comrade Nguyễn Văn Tâm fired a short burst
over the roofs of the houses to warn the villagers to go down into their shelters. Next, he
lowered the barrel of his weapon and fired at the intense rate into our targets. The enemy
were unable to react in time, and fled in fear for their lives – and fell into our ambush.
Having thrown grenades, the whole reconnaissance team followed Nguyễn Văn Bỉ in
assaulting the enemy. A number of the enemy were killed, a number surrendered, and the
reconnaissance team shot three.
After a few minutes of combat, we had complete control of the battlefield, having
wiped out a Regional Forces platoon, seized all their weapons (comprising 30 rifles of
various types and two medium machineguns), and captured seven. The villagers in the
Sông Cầu – Hòa Long area greatly admired 445 Company’s skilful method of attack as
not one villager was wounded. From generation to generation, our countrymen sang: “The
weapons carried by the troops of 445 Company have eyes.” That very night, the cadre and
111

Translator’s Note: The 1991 D445 History and the local Province Party history relate that the ARVN
officer responsible for Route 15 security – Major Nguyễn Văn Phước, came to an accommodation/détente
(hòa hoãn) with the local communist forces – and provided 50 M.26 grenades and 2,000 rounds of
ammunition to Võ Văn Lọt (commander of intelligence unit 316) in April 1964. Trần Văn Khánh (et
al/đtg), Lịch sử Đảng … (The History of the Party in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu), op.cit., 2000, Chapter VI. Phước’s
“local détente” is also related in the Đất Đỏ District History (2006), pp.187-188 and in the Tân Thành
District History (2014). See also footnotes 306, 410 and 448 for accommodations and local détente.
112
Translator’s Note: List 1 in the Addendum to this 2004 D445 History states that this change occurred in
“10-1964”.
113
Translator’s note: Việt Cộng sketch maps of Sông Cầu hamlet were made on 31 July and 5 October 1963
by “agent 980” – CDEC Log 12-1845-66.
114
Translator’s Note: The Vietnamese text above uses the term “Bảo An”. However, as noted earlier, the
Civil Guard/Civil Defence Force (“Bảo An”) was restructured/replaced by the Regional Forces (“Địa
Phương Quân”) in 1964. However, as shown in the above text, the communists continued to routinely
referred to the “new” Regional Forces as “Bảo An”.

34
soldiers of 445 Company and the villagers tore down the barbed-wire fences of the Sông
Cầu strategic hamlet.
The Battle of Sông Cầu was swift, wiped out the enemy completely – and we
suffered no casualties because of our successful preparation and the assistance and close
coordination with our infrastructure agents and the people. At the same time, we had an
effective reserve support element. With the experience of the attack on the Bàu Lâm
strategic hamlet (May 1963) and the attack on the Sông Cầu strategic hamlet (October
1964), the unit clearly saw the utility of a reserve support element ((mũi vu hồi)) and
exploiting the thrust of an attack.
At the end of the 1964 Wet Season, 440 Company coordinated with our Secret
Self-Defence115 elements in the Bình Ba rubber plantation to attack the post at Bình Ba
(Châu Thành). We wiped out a platoon of Popular Forces116, and seized 51 bags of rice
(about five tonnes).117 This rice provided a timely solution to our difficult situation by
providing food for our Province concentrated armed forces and our political, Party, and
infrastructure agencies.
Also at this time, in implementing tasks assigned by our higher headquarters, a
platoon of 445 Company joined with a Province labour unit118 to safely move over 20
tonnes of weapons sent from North Vietnam - that had been landed at Lộc An119, back to
the our bases.
3. Contributing to the Victory of the Bình Giã Campaign.
In 1964, the people’s war movement was developing strongly across the whole of
the South. Our military and the people had defeated an important part of the enemy’s
“national policy” of establishing strategic hamlets. The two-year plan - aimed at
strengthening the “Staley-Taylor plan”, had its origins in the Americans’ plan for a
“general attack to achieve a decisive victory in 1963” and to push forward with their
“special warfare” to a peak – but they were unable to save the situation in either the
political or military spheres.
The above situation required that we urgently build the revolution objectively and
with real strength in order to catch up with the requirements of our mission. In particular,
on the military front, we needed a sufficiently strong punch to create a new complexion
115

Translator’s Note: See footnotes 39 and 244, and 314.
Translator’s Note: The Vietnamese text uses the obsolescent term “Dân Vệ” – ie: Self-Defence Corps.
The Dân Vệ - together with the “Hamlet Combat Youth”, were replaced by the Popular Forces (PF – ie:
Nghĩa Quân) in 1964. However, the communists often still referred to the Popular Forces as “Dân Vệ”.
117
Translator’s Note: According to a contemporary US report: “On 9 September 1964 near Bình Ba, Việt
Cộng forces ambushed a Ranger Company and two Popular Force squads/sections led by the Đức Thạnh
District Chief. Government forces suffered 12 killed – including the District Chief and the Ranger
company commander – the Việt Cộng force suffered two killed. A 60mm mortar, 15 weapons and a radio
were seized by the Việt Cộng force.” USMACV Military Report, Saigon, 5-12 September 1964 – VCAT
Item No.F015800030379. The 1991 D445 History relates that both 445 and 440 Company were involved in
this attack on Bình Ba village. It also mentions that each bag of rice weighed one “quintal” (ie 100
kilograms), and that: “This quantity of rice overcame the food difficulties of the provincial concentrated
armed forces – and was also sufficient to support over 500 people in our civilian labour group within the
Province.” See also the following footnote on “civilian labour” capabilities.
118
Translator’s Note: The organisation and management of civilian labour is detailed in the Bà Rịa-Long
Khánh Province Forward Supply Council report of 25 August 1969 – that report also covers the purchasing
and requisitioning of rice and other foodstuffs. - CDEC Log 02-1480-70.
119
Translator’s Note: As noted, Lộc An is located on the coast in the Sông Ray River estuary about five
kilometres north-east of Phước Hải village. For the movement of weapons and supplies by sea to Lộc An,
see footnote 98.
116

35
for the revolution in order to move forward and win a decisive victory. In executing the
policy of the Politburo and COSVN for the tasks in the Winter-Spring period of 19641965, the Military Committee and Headquarters of COSVN decided to launch its first
campaign in B2120 on the Eastern Nam Bộ and the far Southern Trung Bộ battlefields
with the objective to:
- Wipe out a part of the enemy’s capability, make changes in the balance of
forces, and change the complexion to our advantage;
- Support the political struggle movement of the masses to enable them to rise
up and destroy the enemy’s tight control, destroy the strategic hamlets, and
speed up the people’s war;
- Expand the Hắc Dịch base to the east and west of Route 2, connect the Eastern
Region with the coastal region of Military Region 6, construct landings and
wharves to receive weapons from the North by the sea route; and
- Train the regular troops to a technical and tactical standard, raise the standard
of leadership at all levels, and apply our experiences in organising and
commanding a campaign.
In implementing the above objectives, the terrain chosen for the campaign had an
area of about 500 square kilometres within the provinces of Bà Rịa, Biên Hòa, and Bình
Thuận (ie the titles of those provinces at that time – nowadays the provinces of: Bà Rịa –
Vũng Tàu, Đồng Nai, and Bình Thuận). The main focus of the campaign was in Bà Rịa
Province, with the lesser and associated areas being Nhơn Trạch – Long Thành (Biên
Hòa), and Hoài Đức and Tánh Linh (Bình Thuận). The area south-east of Sài Gòn was a
place that the enemy regarded as its rear area and close to its nerve-centre installations. If
attacked there, they would surely concentrate their forces in response. We had the
opportunity to wipe out the enemy’s capability outside their defensive networks. Our
campaign would have a large impact on the political movement in the towns – and even
in the “capital” of the enemy itself.
Before the curtain was raised on the campaign, COSVN Headquarters directed the
Eastern Region and Region 6 battlefields to move strongly and wipe out the enemy – as
well as drawing the enemy’s attention away from the main object of the campaign, in
order to ensure surprise. In particular, the Biên Hòa airport was shelled (on the night of 31
October/1 November 1964), and heavy casualties were inflicted on the American forces –
as was admitted in the American media: “for which there was no precedent in the history
of the American Air Force”.
Within Bà Rịa at this time, 440 Company and 445 Company had each been
coming-of-age, getting a firm grip on their political tasks, staying close to our
infrastructure elements, and truly becoming the “regular punch” of the Province. They
effectively supported the struggle movement of the masses and the people to rise up,
destroy the strategic hamlets, and to take control. The majority of the strategic hamlets in
the Province had been destroyed, and there only remained a number of “model” strategic
hamlets adjacent to the Sub-Sectors and District capitals which were difficult for us to
attack. Among these was the strategic hamlet of Bình Giã.
Having been provided with information on the situation by our agent who was a
member of the Châu Ro minority, 440 Company Headquarters decided to attack the Bình
Giã strategic hamlet – a site that the enemy usually boasted of as being “inviolable”. Our
120

Translator’s Note: Created in 1961, the B2 “Bulwark” Front encompassed all the provinces of Nam Bộ,
as well as the five southern provinces of Military Region 5 in Southern Trung Bộ: ie Ninh Thuận, Bình
Thuận, Quảng Đức, Tuyên Đức, and Lâm Đồng. See: Trần Văn Tra, Vietnam: History of the Bulwark B2
Theatre, Văn Nghệ, Hồ Chí Minh City, 1982.

36
unit’s determination was approved by the Province Committee and the Province Unit
following their thorough and careful consideration and discussion.
Bình Giã121 village lies on Route 327 – off Provincial Route 2 ((to the east)), and
adjacent to the Đức Thạnh Sub-Sector and 18 kilometres to the north of Bà Rịa Town.
The village had three hamlets: Vinh Hà, Vinh Châu, and Vinh Trung (usually called:
Village 1, Village 2, and Village 3). The population of Bình Giã village (in 1964) was
5,726 – of whom 90 percent were Catholic refugees.122 The enemy had built the village as
a strategic hamlet with a system of strong defences, communications trenches, weapon
pits, fighting bunkers, barbed-wire fences, and panji-stake traps. There were also thick
minefields around very solid natural fences of bamboo.
There - apart from the quisling administrators, the enemy had organised a military
force comprising 147 Regional Force personnel (organised in several strongly-armed
platoons), and a “Combat Youth”123 force of 108 who were well-equipped (including with
PRC-10 radios). Additionally, there was also a Ranger Company (2nd Company, 38th
Ranger Battalion) with a strength of 131 that was permanently in the field to defend the
Bình Giã strategic hamlet. Principally for these reasons, the enemy declared that: “Bình
Giã is a fortress of anti-communism”, and “The Bình Giã strategic hamlet is inviolable”.
In October 1964, 440 Company124 opened fire and attacked Bình Giã for the first
time. In that battle, Ba Lù (of the Châu Ro minority) acted as a guide, and our forces hid
near the main gate of the strategic hamlet (towards Đức Mẹ Hill, the church in Village 2).
At exactly 6am, the enemy soldiers opened the gate, and our forces simultaneously
opened fire and poured through the gate. The bodies of many of the enemy were
abandoned at the gate. Exploiting our surprise factor, our forces seized Village 2 and
exploited towards Village 3. The fighting was fierce and decisive as the enemy regrouped
their forces and counter-attacked. At 9am, they forced a number of reactionary religious
villagers to demonstrate - demanding that we release the thugs that we had captured. A
number of the more extreme villagers were armed with sticks and assaulted our troops.
Comrade Trần Văn Chiến opened fire into the air to disperse the group of demonstrators.
Our troops expanded their methods of attack on the enemy – propagandising the Party’s
policy on religion and the United Front’s platform.
In the Bình Giã strategic hamlet, more than 90 percent of the population were
Christian refugees, and we had no infrastructure cadre in the villages. For this reason,
before attacking Bình Giã, the cadre and soldiers of 440 Company – and other
participating forces (comprising cadre involved with refugees and Assault Youth125) were
121

Translator’s Note: In Vietnamese histories of Bình Giã, there are orthographic discussions on the
“correct” spelling of the village complex - ie either “Bình Giả” or “Bình Giã”. The village was founded in
November 1955 – with 2,100 Catholic refugees from Nghệ An (North Vietnam) led by their priests including Nguyễn Viết Khai, via – initially, Bình Đông and Xuân Trường in the Sài Gòn area.
122
Translator’s Note: According to the account in a principal Vietnamese military history, the population of
Bình Giã comprised “more than 400 families – religious refugees from the North, and almost all were the
families of officers and soldiers of Ranger and Marine units.” - Nguyễn Văn Minh Colonel (ed), Lịch sử
Kháng chiến chống Mỹ cứu nước – The History of the Anti-American Resistance War for National
Salvation, Tập 3 (Vol 3), Nhà Xuất Bản Chính Trị Quốc Giả, Hà Nội, 1999.
123
Translator’s Note: In the 1991 D445 History, this group is titled: “Defenders-of-the-Church Youth”.
124
Translator’s Note: In the 1991 D445 History, both 440 and 445 Companies are described as attacking the
village in October 1964 ie: “In October 1964, our two companies attacked Bình Giã. … A few days later,
the two companies – the 445th and the 440th, continued to attack Bình Giã for a second time.”
125
Translator’s Note: First activiated in April 1965, “Assault Youth” were discrete elements – comprising
mostly “full-time” males and females aged 16-35, that assisted NVA/VC forces principally in liaison and
logistic tasks such as portering and battlefield clearance. For a Việt Cộng report, see: VCAT Item
No.2311008007; and for formal US assessments see: Director of Central Intelligence, Capabilities of the
Vietnamese Communists for Fighting in South Vietnam (Special National Intelligence Estimate 14.3-67),

37
carefully instructed on the policy of the People’s Liberation Front on religion. When our
forces attacked Bình Giã, they executed the policy very seriously and were received with
consideration by the villagers. However, as the people had been incited and exploited by
the enemy, a number of the villagers came out and demonstrated and hindered our attack.
Further, we had to face the determined resistance of the enemy. Facing this situation, the
Company Headquarters decided to withdraw. However, the next day, we organised an
attack on Village 3 and wiped out a number of Rangers. Our refugee affairs cadre used
megaphones to call on the enemy soldiers to surrender and conducted armed propaganda
targeting the religious villagers who had been deceived by the enemy. Following those
activities, our troops withdrew to regroup our forces.
440 Company attacked Bình Giã twice, but were unable to completely liberate it –
only seizing Village 2 and Village 3 and wiping out part of the enemy’s capability.126
Most important of all, our local armed forces were able to gain invaluable experience and
lessons on attacking the enemy in a place where they had their most reliable defences.
The Bình Giã strategic hamlet was no longer “inviolable”. At the same time, we were
able to determine the enemy’s operational routine and methods. Every time that we
attacked the Bình Giã strategic hamlet, the enemy would immediately mobilise a relief
force of their mobile strategic forces from the Sub-Sector and Sector. This was a factor
that the cadre staff group at COSVN Headquarters – who were investigating the
battlefield in preparation for the 1964-1965 Winter-Spring Campaign, paid utmost
attention.127 The cadre staff group at COSVN Headquarters proposed conducting a much
larger attack and holding-on in the strategic hamlet with the aim of sounding out the
enemy’s reaction in order to choose our combat procedures and methods for the large
campaign across the whole of the COSVN region.
Only one week later, the third attack on the Bình Giã strategic hamlet
commenced. This time, Comrade Nguyễn Việt Hoa (Mười Thà) – the Commander of the
Bà Rịa Province Unit, directly participated in commanding the operation. Our forces
comprised 440 Company, 445 Company – Province troops, Châu Thành District’s 20th
Company, Ngãi Giao village guerrillas, and a section of our refugee affairs cadre – as in
the previous attack. The enemy reacted decisively. On that very afternoon, they mobilised
60 helicopters to land a Ranger battalion at Bình Giã to break the blockade.128 Our troops
dug trenches and hung-on for five days and nights against the enemy counter-attacks.
Langley, 13 November 1967 - VCAT Item No.F029200050309; and USMACV/JGS, Assault Youth, ST
67-060, 1 July 1967 – VCAT Item No.F015900240978. For the actions of the C.12-65 Assault Youth
Company in the Battle of Long Tân – 18 August 1966, see Annex F, pp.12-13.
126
Translator’s Note: As noted above, according to the 1991 D445 History, both 440 and 445 Companies
were involved in this second attack. That History relates: “However, this time the enemy deployed 60
helicopters in the afternoon to insert a Ranger battalion to relieve the encirclement. ... The 445th Company
itself suffered over 20 casualties …”. The local Party history, also related that both 440 and 445 attacked
Binh Giã “twice more” - Trần Văn Khánh (et al/đtg), Lịch sử Đảng … (The History of the Party in Bà RịaVũng Tàu), op.cit., 2000, Chapter VI.
127
Translator’s Note: According to the 1991 D445 History, following the second attack: “When the 445 th
Company and the 440th Company withdrew from Bình Giã to consolidate their forces and to prepare for
subsequent attacks, Comrade Năm Ninh and Comrade Sáu Việt met a group of COSVN staff cadre who had
come to reconnoitre battlefields in the area. This group of COSVN staff cadre was led by Comrade Trần
Đông Hưng and had come to study the battlefields in preparation for a large campaign in the Xuyên MộcLong Đất region. Having listened to the ideas put forward by Năm Ninh and Sá Việt – ie: ‘We should
launch a large campaign against Bình Giã’, the COSVN staff cadre remained in the Route 2 area to follow
the situation.” Sáu Việt – the nickname for Lê Minh Việt, was subsequently (1966) the deputy political
officer of the Bà Rịa Province Unit.
128
Translator’s Note: In the 1991 D445 History, the Ranger insertion is related as having occurred during
the second attack – see the preceding footnote 126.

38
This unequal combat became fiercer each day. Our casualty numbers continued to rise –
in 445 Company alone we had 20 casualties, and Comrade Lê Minh Việt (Sáu Việt) – the
Political Officer, had to personally carry the wounded.129 Facing such adverse conditions,
the Province Unit Headquarters ordered a withdrawal to Đức Mẹ Hill to conserve our
forces.
Having attacked Bình Giã many times130 – although we had not achieved our goal
as planned, we had discovered the enemy’s strong points and their weak points. This
became the basis for COSVN Headquarters to decide that Đức Thạnh – Xuyên Mộc was
the principal area, and that Bình Giã was to be the point of attack to raise the curtain on
the 1964-1965 Winter-Spring Campaign in which we would employ our tactic of
“attacking a position and defeating the relief forces” – and wiping out puppet regular
forces. 445 Company was chosen as the detonator for “attacking the position”, holding-on
in the strategic hamlet, and creating the conditions for our regular COSVN troops to
“wipe out the relief forces”. Because of the importance of the initial attack task, 445
Company was reinforced with the 2nd Company of the 1st Battalion of Q761 ((271st VC
Regiment)) – a regular COSVN formation, commanded by Sáu Cháy and with Sáu Mùi
as the Company’s Political Officer. 440 Company was ordered by the Province Unit to
withdraw and conduct operations in the Đá Giăng area (Long Hải) and undertake
diversionary tasks while defending the Lộc An131 coastal landing site and preparing to
receive weapons there to resupply the Bình Giã Campaign.
129

Translator’s Note: The 1991 D445 History relates the “20 casualties” and the actions by Lê Minh Việt
(Sáu Việt) as occuring during the second attack.
Translator’s Note: According to the 1991 D445 History, the two Companies attacked Binh Giã twice in
October 1964 – then, observed by the COSVN group, “The 445th Company and the 440 th Company
launched three further attacks against Bình Giã. In the final phase, we held on for five days in the hamlets.”
131
Translator’s Note: For activities at Lộc An, see also footnote 98. According to an ARVN Marine officer:
“On 22/12 [sic], a NVA cargo ship carrying 44 [sic] tons of weapons landed at Lộc An. The most notable
guns were the CTC [sic] personal firearms, AK 47 rifles, K50s ((sub-machineguns)), RPD ((medium))
machineguns and the B40 anti-tank rockets.” - Trần Ngọc Toàn, “The 4th Marine Battalion and the Battle
of Binh Gia”, 24 July 2014. A Marine officer also stated that as the Marines moved south-east from Bình
Giã to the site of a downed US helicopter: “Second Lieutenant Huệ came to me and said: ‘It seems as if the
2nd Company is surrounded by an enemy battalion. But First Lieutenant Tùng is standing firm ... they've
captured three B40 rocket launchers, five AK-47 rifles and have killed seven enemy.’ ” – Trần Vệ: Tiểu
Đoàn 4 - Bình Giã Oi ! – Còn Nhớ Mãi, 2 September 2012. A US account relates that on 31 December
1964 east of Bình Giã: “most individual Viet Cong were armed with a new AK-47 assault rifle”. - Price,
D.L., The First Marine Captured in Vietnam – A Biography of Donald G. Cook, McFarland & Company,
North Carolina, 2007. Translator’s Note continues: The foregoing indicates that elements of the Việt Cộng
forces at the Battle of Bình Giã were armed with the “highly effective” AK-47 automatic assault rifles. The
9th Division History (2010) states: “On 1 February 1965, … at Lộc An (Bến Tranh Landing, Sông Ray
River), Group (Đoàn) 1500 and 271st Regiment elements landed 70 tonnes of weapons (including a large
number of AK-47 rifles). The 271st Regiment was the first unit to be equipped with the AK-47.” Nguyễn
Thanh Nhàn, Lịch sử Sư đoàn bộ binh 9 (1965-2010) (The History of the 9th Infantry Division), Nhà xuất
bản Quân đội Nhân dân, Hà Nội, 2010. A history of Đoàn (Group) 125 notes that Vessel 56 landed 44
tonnes of weapons and equipment at Lộc An “in time for Military Region 6 units to use in the 2 nd Phase of
the Bình Giã Campaign (January 1965)”. Vessel 56 landed 47 tonnes of weapons at Lộc An on “1 February
1965 for the militia of Region 6 to participate in the 3rd Phase of the Bình Giã Campaign”. Phan Lữ Hoàng
Hà, “Chuyện kể …, op.cit., 30 April 2005. A recent press item relates” “On 1 February 1965, the third
vessel – Vessel 46 [sic], carrying 70 tonnes of weapons landed safely at Lộc An. Most of the weapons in
this phase were AK-47s, B40s and B41s [sic].” - Lưu Dương, “Bến Lộc An, một điểm đến của Đoàn tàu
không số”, 22 November 2011. For the “final battle” of the Bình Giã Campaign at Chòi Đồng, see footnotes
151 and 154. See also the detail in: Nguyễn Đình Thống (ed, et al), Đường Hồ Chí Minh Trên Biển – Bà
Rịa-Vũng Tàu, (The Hồ Chí Minh Trail by Sea - Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu), op.cit., 2014. For the ARVN, the USsupplied M-16 rifles “only began to arrive in April 1967” – “but only in sufficient quantities for ARVN
Airborne and Marine units”. Westmoreland, W.C. General, Report on the War in Vietnam (as at 30 June
1968), Section II, pp.215-216.VCAT Item No.168300010017. See also: USMACV, An Evaluation of the
130

39
The Campaign Headquarters132 that was established comprised the following
comrades: Trần Đình Xu – Commander; Lê Văn Tưởng – Political Comissar; Nguyễn
Hòa – Deputy Commander/Chief of Staff; Nguyễn Văn Bứa – Deputy Commander; and
Lê Xuân Lựu (Sáu An) – Deputy Political Commissar. Others participating in the Party
Committee for the Campaign were Comrade Nguyễn Văn Chí – of the Standing
Committee of the Eastern Nam Bộ Regional Committee, and comrade Lê Minh Hà – the
Secretary of the Bà Rịa Province Committee. For the main attacks, the forces to be
employed133 comprised two infantry regiments (Q761134 and Q762135), four combat
support battalions (regular COSVN elements), and two companies ie 440 and 445
Impact of Arming the Vietnamese Army with the M-16 Rifle, 30 June 1968. VCAT Item
No.F015800240227.
132
Translator’s Note: Some contemporary US histories incorrectly cite the 9 th VC Division as the
commanding headquarters at the Battle of Bình Giã – eg: Westmoreland, W.C. General, Report on the War
…, op.cit., pp.84-86 . However, the 9th VC Division was not formally founded until 2 September 1965 –
with Hoàng Cầm as its first commander. See: Hoàng Cầm, Chặng Đường Mười Nghìn Ngày (Stages in a
10,000-day Journey), Nhà Xuất bản Quân đội Nhân dân, Hà Nội, 2001; and Nguyễn Thanh Nhàn, The
History of the 9th Infantry Division, op.cit., 2010.
133
Translator’s Note: An official Vietnamese history relates that the forces in the Campaign – led by Trần
Đình Xu, comprised: the 1st and 2nd Regiments, the 80th Artillery Group, 445 Local Forces Company, and
the Hoài Đức Local Forces Platoon (Bình Thuận). - 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 (see also as: Pribbenow, M.L., Victory in Vietnam, University Press
of Kansas, 2002). A recent Vietnamese history also adds the following to the VC forces: “two infantry
battalions – Military Region 7 (500th and 800th), the 186th Artillery Battalion (Military Region 6), and the
Biên Hòa Artillery Squadron with four 75mm artillery pieces … .” - Phạm Vĩnh Phúc, Colonel (ed - et al),
Operations in the US Resistance War (Tóm Tắt Các Chiến Dịch …), Thế Giới Publishers, Hà Nội, 2009,
p.2. A recently-published major Vietnamese history states that the Bình Giã Campaign involved “7,000
troops” and “was waged widely across four provinces: Bà Rịa, Long Khánh, Biên Hòa, and Bình Thuận –
with the main efforts [sic] in Bình Long [sic] and Phước Long [sic] … involving five regimental-level
battles and two battalion-level battles … killing 1,755 enemy, capturing 293 (including 60 American
advisors) …” - Lê Mậu Hãn (ed), Đại Cương Lịch Sử Việt Nam (The Fundamentals of Vietnamese History)
- Tập III (1945-2006), Nhà Xuẩt Bản Giáo Dục Việt Nam, Hà Nội, 2010.
134
Translator’s Note: Q761 Regiment (founded in July 1961) – also known as the “1st Regiment”, was later
re-titled the 271st Regiment (the Bình Giã Regiment) and was subsequently a founding formation of the 9 th
VC Division in early September 1965. Q761was reportedly commanded at Bình Giã by Nguyễn Thế
Truyện (aka Năm Truyện and also aka Năm Sài Gòn). Truyện later commanded the 5th VC Division from
1966 until late November 1967 - and was killed in combat in early February 1968 during the NVA/VC Tết
Mậu Thân (1968) Offensive while serving as Commander of Sub-Region 1. Bùi Thanh Vân (Út Liêm) was
the second-in-command of Q761 at the Battle of Bình Giã. For the activities of the 271st (Q761) Regiment
at Bình Giã - “Trung đoàn Bình Giã”, see an account by its political commissar – Nguyễn Văn Tòng, at:
http://vietbao.vn/Chinh-Tri/Trung-doan-Binh-Gia/40060434/96/ .
135
Translator’s Note: Q762 Regiment – also known as the “2nd Regiment”, C.58, and the Đồng Xoai
Regiment, was later re-titled the 272nd Regiment and was subsequently a founding formation of the 9 th VC
Division in early September 1965. Q762 was raised in 1961 from former Việt Minh troops who had
“regrouped” (“tập kết”) to North Vietnam in 1954-1955 and infiltrated back into the South - ie were
“returned cadre” (“cán bộ hồi kết”). For a comprehensive booklet on the history of the 272nd Regiment
(dated 19 May 1967) that includes the Regiment’s major ambush on Route 2 on 9 [sic – probably 13]
December 1964 and an ambush on Route 15 on 17 December 1964 - see CDEC Log 03-2284-68, CDEC
Log 03-2656-67, and also footnotes 149 and 154. At Bình Giã, Q762 Regiment was led by Tạ Minh Khâm
with Nguyễn Thới Bưng (Út Thới) as the Regiment’s second-in-command. Subsequently, Nguyễn Thới
Bưng is believed to have commanded the 275th Regiment at the Battle of Long Tân on 18 August 1966. In
the period August-October 1966, Bưng was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff of the 5 th VC Division until
reportedly moving to the COSVN staff in January 1967. Nguyễn Thới Bưng later served as Commander 9th
VC Division – and on retirement in the late 1990s, was Vietnam’s Vice Minister of Defence (as a
Lieutenant General). Born in 1927 in Tây Ninh Province, he passed away on 22 January 2014. For further
information, see his biography at Appendix 2 to Annex O – The 275th VC Regiment.

40
Companies (Bà Rịa). Regional and local forces would also cooperate.136 The primary
combat method137 of the Campaign was to attack the enemy outside their defences,
employ ambush tactics, and deploy to attack and defeat the enemy’s tactic of “heliborne
movement” and “armoured vehicle transport”.
On the night of 4-5 December 1964, the curtain went up on the Bình Giã
Campaign.138 Our participating forces included: 761 ((271st)) Regiment, 762 ((272nd))
Regiment, COSVN artillery combat support units139, and 445 Company (Province
troops). Among these, 445 Company had the mission of attacking directly into Bình Giã.
The two COSVN regiments were the principal forces to wipe out puppet reserve troops
attempting any relief operation.
At this time, 445 Company’s numbers had been strengthened to 140 comrades
(with 120 comrades to directly participate in combat). The Company’s weapons were
almost all Thompson sub-machineguns, carbines, and Garand rifles. Our fire support was
quite strong, comprising: 14 medium machineguns, two 60mm mortars, and two heavy
machineguns. The Long Đất District Unit had seized a heavy machinegun140 from a
“Cotcach” vehicle during the battle at the An Nhứt bridge (in August 1963), and this had
been given to Comrade Nguyễn Văn Quang141 to use. Comrade Nguyễn Văn Quang and
his heavy machinegun were inseparable during the years of fighting the Americans during
which he achieved many outstanding feats in combat.
136

Translator’s Note: As noted above, a 2009 translation of a 2003 official Vietnamese publication
identifies the participating forces as: the 271st and 272nd VC Regiments; “two infantry battalions of Military
Zone 7 (500th and 800th), 186th Artillery Battalion (Military Region 6), the Biên Hòa Artillery Squadron
[sic] with four 75mm artillery pieces, 53 60-82mm mortars, 41 57-75mm recoilless rifles, and eight
12.7mm anti-aircraft guns; and local militia.” - Phạm Vĩnh Phúc, Colonel (ed - et al), Operations in the US
Resistance War, op.cit., 2009, p.2. However, the Châu Đức District History (2004) clarifies that: “Military
Region 6 was responsible for the secondary objective (Hoài Đức-Tánh Linh); and the forces responsible for
the coordinating attack at Nhơn Trạch-Long Thành comprised the 500th Battalion, main-force troops from
Military Region 7, and Bien Hòa regional forces.” The Battle is also recounted in - Trần Đoàn Lâm, The 30
Year War, Thế Giới Publishers, Hà Nội, 2012 (English), pp.537-540. The account in the Châu Đức District
History (2004) also includes a detailed coloured sketch map of the Battle – see pp.124-129 of that work.
137
Translator’s Note: The political and logistic preparations for the Campaign are related in the local Party
history – including the establishment of the K76A Hospital in Base Area 1 (Bàu Lâm village) and the K76B
hospital west of Route 2 at Gia Cốp etc. Trần Văn Khánh (et al/đtg), Lịch sử Đảng …(The History of the
Party in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu), op.cit., 2000, Chapter V. For later detail on K76A Hospital in the Mây Tào
Mountains – including organisation and sketch maps, see Annex A to the 6RAR/NZ After Action Report –
Operation Marsden, Núi Đất , 23 February 1970 (file AWM95, 7/6/30).
138
Translator’s Note: According to the 9th VC Division History (2010): “On 20 November 1964, the 271st
Regiment assembled to the east of Route 2 south of Xuân Sơn; and the 272nd Regiment was located southeast of Núi Nghệ. On 2 December 1964, the artillery troops shelled the headquarters of the Đức Thạnh SubSector, and 445 Company (Bà Rịa local forces troops) attacked the Bình Giã ‘strategic hamlet’ killing 60
Regional Force personnel and seizing control of the whole ‘strategic hamlet’.” Nguyễn Thanh Nhàn, The
History of the 9th Infantry Division, op.cit., 2010. A US cryptological history of the War notes: “The Binh
Gia Campaign at the end of 1964 showed the first extensive use of Morse to set up and coordinate a local
campaign” by the VC. The first US signals intelligence (SIGINT) personnel had arrived in Saigon in May
1961 and provided direction-finding and analysis support to the South Vietnamese forces. - Thomson, R.J.,
United States Cryptological History, Series VI, Book II: Centralization Wins, 1960-1972, NSA – Fort
Meade, 1995, p.504, p.539.
139
Translator’s Note: The 1991 D445 History cites the supporting “COSVN Artillery Regiment” as “Q563”
[sic]. The COSVN Artillery Regiment’s title was Q763 (cover designator: Đoàn 80) – and comprised four
battalions.
140
Translator’s Note: A photograph of Nguyễn Văn Quang’s “heavy machinegun” at p.80 of this 2004
D445 History shows a US .30 calibre medium machinegun.
141
Translator’s Note: Nguyễn Văn Quang (1944-2000) – see also footnotes 140, 220, 228, 309, and 613,
was later declared a “Hero of the People’s Armed Forces” and - after training in North Vietnam from 1968
to 1972, returned as the second-in-command/Chief of Staff of 445 Battalion in March 1972.

41
At 3am on 5 December 1964, 445 Company was divided into two groups for the
attack on Bình Giã.142 At this time, because of the requirements of our battlefield tasks,
the unit’s military cadre had been sent for training at the Military Region143*, so our
leadership during the battle were almost all political cadre. The principal attacking group
– the 1st Platoon, was under the direct command of its commander, Ba Lòng. Our Political
Officer – Lê Minh Việt (Sáu Việt) and the Deputy Company Commander – Đào Thanh
Xuân, also went with this group. The secondary group – the 2nd Platoon, was under the
direct command of its Platoon Commander Lê Minh Kiên (Ba Kiên) and its Platoon
Political Officer Tô Dũng. Both groups concentrated on attacking through the main gate
of Village 2.
The enemy had been attacked many times, and so they were very vigilant and had
taken precautions. They regularly changed the configurations of their mines and their
defensive system. The 1st Platoon group had approached close to the hamlet gate when
they tripped a grenade, wounding three comrades. Hearing the sound of the exploding
grenade near the hamlet - and suspecting that we were again going to attack, all calibres
of the enemy’s firepower fell upon our troops. At that moment, Nguyễn Văn Quang’s
heavy machinegun – which he had set up 60 metres from the hamlet gate, fired long
bursts that restrained the enemy’s firepower and allowed our reconnaissance soldiers to
place explosives against the hamlet gates that then blew them apart. When Comrade
Hường’s bazooka had blown apart the hamlet gates, the two infantry groups – one-andall, assaulted through the gates. The heavy machinegun in the hands of Nguyễn Văn
Quang fired resoundingly and stamped out many of the enemy’s firepower groups.
Thanks to his strength, burly stature, and his technical mastery of the weapon, from his
very first use of the heavy machinegun, Nguyễn Văn Quang had brought into play the
firepower superiority of that weapon. He carried the heavy machinegun and actively
supported assaults on decisive positions, effectively supporting our attacking elements.
After more than 10 minutes of fighting, our assault groups had beaten the Regional Force
platoon into disarray and – expanding our attack, had seized in turn Village 2 and Village
3 – and wiped out tens of the enemy.
Cooperating closely with 445 Company, the regular troops of the 2nd Company of
Q761 ((271st)) Regiment’s 1st Battalion - led by Company Commander Sáu Cháy and
Political Officer Sáu Mùi, attacked and seized Village 1.144 The Campaign’s “pointattacking” force had successfully completed its mission and created favourable conditions
for the “relief-destroying” forces that were ready to strike the enemy in many other
locations.
Implementing the orders of the Campaign Headquarters145, 445 Company –
together with the 2nd Company (1st Battalion, Q761 Regiment) consolidated their defences
Translator’s Note: “On 2 December 1964, in support of 445 Battalion’s [sic] attack on Bình Giã, the 1st
Battalion of Q761 and COSVN artillery attacked the Đức Thạnh Sub-Sector headquarters” - Nguyễn Văn
Minh Colonel (ed), Lịch sử Kháng chiến …, op.cit., Tập 3 (Vol 3), 1999.
143
* These included the Company Commander – Võ Quốc Chánh (Tư Chánh); and Comrades Nguyễn Minh
Khanh (Hai Khanh), Nguyễn Văn Bảo (Sáu Bảo) and Đào Văn Tổng (Tám Tổng).
144
Translator’s Note: The 1991 D445 History similarly notes: “On the same night, a battalion of 761
Regiment attacked and seized Village 1.”
145
Translator’s Note: The Campaign Headquarters was located in the Núi Nưa Hill area (YS 540745) about
5 kilometres south-east of Bình Giã. As noted, for an account of the Battle of Bình Giã by the 1964-65
political commissar of the 271st “Bình Giã” Regiment – see Nguyễn Văn Tòng, “Trung đoàn Bình Giã”, 18
December 2004. http://vietbao.vn/Chinh-Tri/Trung-doan-Binh-Gia/40060434/96/ . The article also
includes a group photo of commanders – left-to-right: Bùi Thanh Vân (2ic 271st Regiment), Tạ Minh Khâm
(Commander 272nd Regiment), Nguyễn Văn Tòng (political commissar 271st Regiment), and Nguyễn Thới
Bưng (2ic 272nd Regiment). The article is also http://tuoitre.vn/tin/chinh-tri-xa-hoi/chinhtri/20041218/trungdoan-binh-gia/60434.html (Tuổi Tre Online, 18 December 2004).
142

42
and hung on. In the face of the strong enemy counter-attacks, in two days of fighting, 445
Company lost nine comrades killed (including Comrade Hoàng Văn Tín – a platoon cadre
and member of the Châu Ro minority from Hòa Long village), and tens of other comrades
were wounded.
Holding-on – together with 445 Company and the 2nd Company regular troops (of
the 1st Battalion, Q762) [sic – an error, should be Q761], was a platoon of Assault Youth
(front-line conscripted labourers) led by Ba Lèo who carried the wounded. This large
front-line labour force comprised Assault Youth from the villages who had volunteered to
serve in the Campaign. They were very brave - crossing through the enemy artillery fire
and air attacks to move our wounded to the rear. A forward surgery section - under
Assistant Doctor Nguyễn Thanh Hiếu146, was constantly at the side of the unit – both
conducting surgery in-place for our wounded while also ready to fight the enemy and
defend the Company Headquarters. Although only recently an Assistant Doctor, Hiếu
came-of-age in the fighting and learned much from the experience. Assistant Doctor
Nguyễn Thanh Hiếu – having accumulated this experience and whole-heartedly treating
the wounded, gained the confidence of the cadre and soldiers of the unit.
In the second [sic] day of the Campaign, the enemy used helicopters to lift the 38th
Ranger Battalion from Phú Mỹ and landed them south-west of Đức Thạnh (near Ruộng
Tre). This force was attacked by 762 ((272nd)) Regiment and scattered.
At 6pm, the remaining elements of the 38th Ranger Battalion had huddled together
in the church at Village 2 (comprising about two companies). They exploited the church
precinct to fire on 445 Company. Implementing our religious policy, our troops did not
fire into the church, and so we were unable to advance. The Company Headquarters had a
rushed meeting and decided to deploy two recoilless rifles opposite the church and to fire
the weapons along the two corridors in order to support our troops in assaulting the
enemy. At the same time as these assaults, the unit’s civilian proselytising element and
the refugee affairs section spoke with the religious villagers around the church explaining
the Front’s policies and the tricks of the enemy.147
After five days and nights of attacking the enemy in the Bình Giã strategic hamlet,
the unit was ordered to withdraw and to cooperate with the regular regiments in attacking
the enemy relief forces. The Campaign Headquarters assessed the fighting spirit of 445
Company as very high and unyielding. As a local armed force participating in a large
COSVN campaign for the first time with an “attacking-point” role, 445 Company had
combined very effectively with the regular troops. We had fought courageously, held-on
doggedly, and completed our mission outstandingly as the detonator of the Campaign.
146

Translator’s Note: Also as “Nguyễn Văn Hiếu” (Năm Hiếu) – later in this 2004 D445 History. For detail
on 445 Battalion’s medical equipment and stores as at 5 July 1966 and 8 August, see the signed report by
the Battalion’s doctor on D445’s medical supply holdings – Nguyễn Văn Hiếu, that includes several
thousand chloroquine tablets for malarial prophylaxis and treatment. CDEC Log 12-2427-66.
147
Translator’s Note: According to a 9th VC Division History (2010): “On 8 December, the 1st Battalion of
the 271st Regiment attacked the Đất Đỏ Sub-Sector, killing 100 and seizing 32 weapons.” Nguyễn Thanh
Nhàn, The History of the 9th Infantry Division, op.cit., 2010. As noted at footnote 135, on 9 (or 13)
December 1964, the 272nd Regiment ambushed a squadron of the ARVN’s 3rd Battalion/1st Armored
Regiment clearing Route 2 on the southern edge of Bình Ba village (in the area of the Sông Cầu crossing).
14 M1113 vehicles were reportedly destroyed, and 107 killed (including seven US personnel). See a secret
internal-distribution 272nd Regiment booklet (No.121/T-T dated 15 May 1967) – CDEC Log 03-2284-68,
VCAT Item No.2310206019 - and also CDEC Log 03-2656-67 for an 11-page report on the ambush by VC
Military Region 1. On 14 December, the 4th Marine Battalion – a III Corps Tactical Zone (CTZ) reaction
force, was deployed to Đức Thạnh Sub-Sector, cleared Bình Giã and Route 2 south to the ambush site, and
recovered the bodies of those ARVN killed. The Marine battalion then cleared Route 2 to Phước Lễ/Bà Rịa
Town, and returned via Route 15 to its base at Dĩ An. See: Trần Ngọc Toàn (Lieutenant, 4th Marine
Battalion, 1964) – The Bình Giã Front, 10 January 2000 – http://www.k16vbqgvn.org/tranbinhgia.htm .

43
In Phase 1 of the Campaign, 440 Company had a diversionary mission in the Long
Hải area (Long Đất District) with the aim of attacking and deceiving the enemy in order
to maintain the secrecy and surprise for the main attack of the Campaign on Bình Giã. On
25 December 1964 [sic], 440 Company launched an attack on the enemy “Mai Phoọc”
and “Tép Phoọc” troops at Đá Giăng, inflicting heavy casualties on them.148 We
significantly depleted an enemy company, killed a company commander, seized 10
weapons of various types, and a PRC-25 [sic] radio.149
Exploiting Phase 1 of the Campaign, at 4am on 28 December 1964, the sounds of
gunfire heralded the start of Phase 2 of the Bình Giã Campaign. 445 Company again
attacked into Bình Giã to lure the enemy into pouring in troops. Afterwards, the Company
again joined with 761 ((271st)) Regiment and 762 ((272nd)) Regiment to attack and to
disintegrate the 33rd Ranger Battalion and the 4th Marine Battalion – crack forces of the
enemy’s Strategic Reserve, that came to the relief of Bình Giã.150
148

Translator’s Note: This engagement is related in the Đất Đỏ District History (2006): “On 24 December
1964, the Provincial 445 [sic] Company joined with District troops to ambush the enemy at Đá Giăng
(Route 44) from An Ngãi to Long Hải. … The Military Region’s 800th Battalion provided two 75mm
recoilless rifles (RCL). … On 25 December at 0030hrs, the enemy vehicles fell into our ambush. … In 30
minutes, we destroyed two enemy companies – there were 150 enemy corpses, including an American
advisor. We destroyed four armoured vehicles, captured 18 enemy, and seized 48 weapons and a PRC-25
[sic] radio. These were two companies of corporals being trained to become post commanders in the
villages as part of plan to strengthen the enemy’s pacification program.” The ambush is also described in
the Long Đất District History (1986): Phan Ngọc Danh …, Lịch Sử Đấu Tranh Cách Mạng Của Huyện
Long Đất, op.cit., 1986, p.121.
149
Translator’s Note: According to the 1991 D445 History: “The 440th Company was then ordered to
deploy down to Long Đất – together with 761 Regiment, to attack the enemy at the Đất Đỏ Sub-Sector and
the surrounding area, and to create the conditions for 762 Regiment to destroy a squadron/company ((chi
đoàn)) of armoured vehicles advancing on Route 2 [sic] to relieve Đất Đỏ [sic – should be Bình Ba, 9
December 1964]. After the fighting, only three of the enemy’s 14 armoured vehicles remained intact and
100 enemy had been killed – including nine American advisors. The first phase of the Bình Giã Campaign
had concluded in victory.” This is a confused and incorrect reference – probably meant to refer to the
ambush of ARVN armour on Route 2 at Bình Ba on 9 (or less likely 13) December 1964 by the 272 nd VC
Regiment – see footnotes 135 and 147. However, a later engagement in the Đất Đỏ area is related in the
Long Đất District History (1986): “At the end of December 1964, the 445th Company (Province) assisted
the Đất Đỏ area – attacking at Đá Giăng on Route 44 between Long Hải and An Ngãi on 24 December
1964. Long Đất was provided with two 75mm recoilless rifles (RCL) by 800 Battalion; two companies
from the Long Hải training centre were destroyed (150 killed - including a US advisor).” - Phan Ngọc Danh
…, Lịch Sử Đấu Tranh Cách Mạng Của Huyện Long Đất, op.cit., 1986, p.121. AN/PRC-25 radios were not
introduced into Vietnam until late 1965 – accordingly, AN/PRC-10 radios were probably seized.
150
Translator’s Note: On 28 December 1964, two Ranger companies with armed helicopter support
reportedly failed to retake Bình Giã village (elements of the 30th and 38th Ranger Battalions). On 29
December 1964, the 33rd Ranger Battalion and a company of the 30th Ranger Battalion were landed from
helicopters in the Bình Giã area, followed by the 38 th Ranger Battalion on 30 December. The 4 th Marine
Battalion (428-strong) moved from Biên Hòa on 30 December and joined the Ranger battalions at Bình Giã.
The Marines secured Bình Giã and a company was deployed to the south-east on 31 December to secure the
site of a downed US helicopter – and were engaged by Việt Cộng main-force elements. Having suffered
heavy casualties, the 4th Marine Battalion elements fell back to Bình Giã that evening. On 3 January 1965,
elements of the ARVN Airborne Brigade (1st, 3rd and 7th Battalions) deployed to Bình Giã to secure the
area. See: Battle of Binh Gia, Project CHECO Southeast Asia Report No.47, January 1965 – VCAT Item
No. F031100170123. See also the account – with maps, by an ARVN Marine Corps participant - Trần Ngọc
Toàn, Lieutenant, “The Bình Giã Front”, 10 January 2000. The 4th Marine Battalion suffered 112 killed –
including the Battalion commander and his 2ic, 71 wounded, and 13 missing. In the Battle of Bình Giã,
three US servicemen were captured (two advisers with the 33 rd Rangers, one with the 4th Marine Battalion).
Four US helicopter crewmen were also killed when their aircraft was shot down on 30 December 1964. See
also: Trần Vệ, Second Lieutenant, “Tiểu Đoàn 4 – Bình Giả ơi! Còn nhớ mãi” (“I Still Recall Binh Gia”), 2
September 2012; and Moyar, M., Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War 1954-1965, Cambridge University
Press, 2006, pp.336-340.

44
Supported by COSVN and Province troops, the people and the District and village
armed forces had destroyed a series of strategic hamlets along Routes 2, 52 and 44 - and
the coast near Xuyên Mộc. We had opened up the resistance bases from Châu Pha to Hắc
Dịch, and the east and west of Route 2 were joined with War Zone D and the provinces of
Military Region 6. On 3 January 1965, Phase 2 of the Bình Giã Campaign was completed
successfully.151
The military feats of 440 Company and 445 Company152 that contributed to the
general victory of the Bình Giã Campaign were extremely important.153 However, our
sacrifices were not small – 30 of our cadre and soldiers fell, and many comrades were
wounded.154
151

Translator’s Note: The 1991 D445 History summarized the Campaign: “We had removed 1,755 enemy
from the battlefield – including 60 American advisors. We had captured 293 enemy, destroyed 45 military
vehicles, shot 56 aircraft down in flames, and completely destroyed two battalions and one armoured
vehicle company. We had inflicted heavy casualties on six other battalions. Importantly, for the first time
we had destroyed an armoured company and a battalion of the puppet strategic reserve (the 4 th Marine
Battalion). The puppet forces’ tactic of deployment by helicopters and armoured vehicles had been
bankrupted by our great Campaign.” The Đất Đỏ District History (2006) relates: “In the Bình Giã
Campaign, we wiped out (removed from the enemy order-of-battle) the 33rd Ranger Battalion; the 4th
Marine Battalion – that had come as a reinforcement from Vũng Tàu; an M113 armoured squadron at Sông
Cầu; shot down an aircraft piloted by an American lieutenant colonel in the rubber plantation at Xuân Sơn
village; and killed Major Nguyễn Văn Nho – the commanding officer of the 33rd Ranger Battalion.
According to the official history of the 5th VC Division (2005), the communist forces at the Battle of Bình
Giã inflicted the following casualties: “2.000 enemy captured; 45 M113s destroyed; 56 aircraft shot down;
611 weapons seized; and three battalions, an armoured company and two detachments of mechanized
vehicles destroyed.” - Hồ Sơn Đài – Colonel (ed), 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. A principal
Vietnamese military history cites enemy losses similar to the 1991 D445 History cited above ie: the Sài
Gòn Government’s forces suffered: 1,755 killed; 193 captured; 45 vehicles destroyed (mostly M113
armoured personnel carriers); and 56 aircraft - Nguyễn Văn Minh Colonel (ed), Lịch sử Kháng chiến …,
Tập 3 (Vol 3), op.cit., 1999. The 9th Division History (2010) also relates that subsequently - on 9 February
1965, the 272nd Regiment under its 2ic Nguyễn Thới Bưng, attacked two ARVN Airborne battalions that
had been inserted in the Chòi Đồng area (Cù Bi village, west of Route 2 – about eight kilometres north-west
of Bình Giã). In a three-hour battle, “more than 300 enemy including 30 Americans” were reportedly
“eliminated from the fighting”, and the 272nd Regiment suffered “43 killed and 84 wounded”. “This was the
final battle that concluded the victorious Bình Giã Campaign.” - Nguyễn Thanh Nhàn, The History of the
9th Infantry Division, op.cit., 2010. According to ARVN Airborne histories, the 5 th and 6th Airborne
Battalions were deployed into the Hắc Dịch area on 9 February 1965 – with the 7th Airborne Battalion in a
blocking position to prevent VC withdrawal towards Route 15. The date for the end of the Campaign is also
stated as “7 March 1965” – Phan Lữ Hoàng Hà, “Chuyện kể về ‘đường mòn Hồ Chí Minh’ trên biển:
Huyền thoại những con tàu.”, 30 April 2005. The 1991 D445 History – as in several Vietamese histories,
concludes: following “the victory of the Bình Giả Campaign, General Secretary Lê Duẩn stated “… ‘With
the Battle of Ấp Bắc in 1963, the enemy realized that it would be difficult to defeat us – after the Bình Giả
Campaign, the enemy realized that they had lost to us.’ ” The foregoing statement is inscribed on the “Bình
Giã Victory” memorial in Bình Giã village – which includes a “North Vietnamese” flag, ie not a “National
Liberation Front (NLF)” flag.
152
Translator’s Note: An Order by the Eastern Nam Bộ Military Region Headquarters dated 22 March 1965
awarded Certificates of Commendation to the following “C.445” personnel: Trương Văn Van – Assistant
Squad Leader; Nguyễn Văn Thu - Platoon Leader; and Trần Văn Chiến – Company Executive Officer.
CDEC Log 03-1342-66.
153
Translator’s Note: Hồ Văn Phong - a reconnaissance team leader of “445”, was awarded a Certificate of
Commendation by the Bà Rịa Province Unit for his achievements during the Bình Giã Campaign – having
“killed seven enemy, including one officer during the attack on Bình Giã hamlet.” CDEC Log 12-2405-66.
154
Translator’s Note: Other VC casualties are unclear. However, in April 2013, the remains of some of the
fallen 271st and 272nd Regiment personnel were recovered from the Bình Giã battlefield and reinterred in
the Châu Đức cemetery (271st Regiment: 25, killed in the period 28-31 December 1964; 272nd Regiment:
one killed on 9 December 1964, seven on 3 January 1965, and 22 on 9 February 1964 at Chòi Đồng – “the
last of the battles of the Bình Giã Campaign”).

45

*

*

*

The predecessors of the Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu armed forces were created from many
different sources – comprising a force of Long Thành District’s core youth, an element of
the Bình Xuyên forces that had been won over to our ideals by the Party, a group of
political prisoners who had escaped from the Tam Hiệp prison, and about a section
provided by higher headquarters. When first established, our weapons and equipment
were rudimentary and inadequate. Our main task was armed propaganda and supporting
the people’s political struggle movement. However, thanks to the direct leadership of the
Party and the protection and mutual help of the people, the predecessor armed forces of
445 Battalion developed and swiftly came-of-age.
From our first armed propaganda unit (C.40) established in 1958, we developed
into two Companies (440 and 445) in 1964. The combat capability of these predecessor
units continued to strengthen and develop in leaps and bounds: from killing tyrants,
destroying the oppression, small independent attacks employing deception and
diversionary tactics etc – then up to concentrated combat actions closely combined with
local forces (comprising District troops, militia, and guerrillas). Higher level forces
(regular troops) fought relatively larger battles, wiping out much of the enemy’s
capability (such as the counter-sweeping operations in the Long Phước tunnels, attacking
the enemy at Sông Cầu and Bình Giã, and - most of all, the attack on the Bình Giã
strategic hamlet).
The combat achievements of the predecessor units of 445 Battalion made an
important contribution to the success of the Đồng Khởi movement in our home Province,
destroying the American-Diệm strategic hamlet plan in Bà Rịa Province – and, most of
all, achieving the victory of the Bình Giã Campaign. This was indeed an historic time
marking the coming-of-age of the concentrated armed forces of Bà Rịa Province, and
heralding a new and stronger capability to be developed into the future.

46

PART ONE (p.67)
The Founding of 445 Battalion; Contributing Significantly in the
Victory of the War of National Salvation against the Americans on the
Bà Rịa – Long Khánh Battlefield
Chapter 1

Founding 445 Battalion, Fighting While Coming-of-Age (1965 -1968)
1. Founding 445 Battalion – the Pillar of the Bà Rịa-Long Khánh Armed Forces;
Combat Activities and Support of the Revolutionary Movement (1965 – 1967).
Following the defeat of their “Special Warfare” strategy - with the aim of saving the
situation and avoiding the collapse of the Sài Gòn puppet regime, the Americans moved
to a strategy of “Limited War” and brought in American expeditionary forces and their
vassals to fight directly on the battlefields in the South.
By the beginning of 1965, the regional revolutionary movements had developed quite
strongly. The majority of the strategic hamlets155 in the Province had all been destroyed –
including the important model strategic hamlets on Route 15 adjacent to the Bà Rịa
Sector.156
The liberated areas of the Province had expanded – with the Minh Đạm157 base
joining the liberated areas of Long Đất and Châu Đức158 Districts to Xuyên Mộc District
155

Translator’s Note: As noted, the “Strategic Hamlet” (Ấp Chiến Lược) program was wider than the
“Agroville” resettlement program begun by the Republic of Vietnam’s President Ngô Đình Diệm in 1959.
“Operation Sunrise” – launched in Bình Dương Province in late March 1962, began the Strategic Hamlet
program. In 1962, the focus of the program was the six provinces around Sài Gòn (including Phước Tuy)
and Kontum Province. Initially, 11,316 strategic hamlets were planned country-wide. In Phước Tuy, as at
31 July 1963, reportedly 135 of the Province’s planned 162 strategic hamlets had been completed –
covering 121,000 (87% of the Province’s population), see USOM, Notes on Strategic Hamlets, VCAT Item
No. 2397021101. However, the program faltered with the assassination of President Ngô Đình Diệm in
November 1963. On 23 February 1964, the program was “revitalized” as the “New Life Hamlets” (“Ấp Đời
Mới”) program - and in 1965 retitled “Secure Hamlets” (“Ấp Tân Sinh” – ie still “New Life Hamlets”, but
in Sino-Vietnamese).
156
Translator’s Note: A Sector (tiểu khu) was the military area equivalent to a province; a Sub-Sector (chi
khu) equated to a district. In mid-1966, the Phước Tuy Sector Commander was Lieutenant Colonel Lê Đức
Đạt – with the Sub-Sector Commanders: Long Lễ – Lieutenant Trần Tấn Phát; Đất Đỏ – Captain Lương
Đình Chi; Đức Thạnh – Captain Nguyễn Văn Bé; Long Điền – Captain Trần Thanh Long (ex Xuyên Mộc);
Xuyên Mộc – Captain Lê Văn Đức. USOM, Office of Rural Affairs, 1 July 1966 - VCAT Item
No.23970222002. In the 1970s, a Sub-Sub-Sector (phân chi khu) covered a village or group of villages. The
Long Đất District History (1986) states that in 1974 11 military Sub-Sub-Sectors (phân chi khu quân sự)
were established in that District (ie then VC Long Xuyên District).
157
Translator’s Note: As noted, the Minh Đạm is a range of hills – and a Việt Minh/Việt Cộng base
area/secret zone within the areas/boundaries of the villages of Tam An, Phước Long Hội, Phước Hải and
Long Hải (of Long Đất District in modern-day Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province). The Minh Đạm area is more
than nine kilometres in length and almost five kilometres at its widest. See also: Phạm Chí Thân (ed), Căn
Cứ Minh Đạm 1945-1975 - The Minh Đạm Base 1945-1975, Sở Văn Hóa Thông Tin Tỉnh Bà Ria-Vũng
Tàu - Bà Ria-Vũng Tàu Province Information and Cultural Office, 2006.
158
Translator’s Note: As noted at footnote 62, the communists’ Châu Thành District was restructured and
renamed in 1965 – ie according to the Châu Đức History (2004): “In 1965, to contend with the battle
against the Americans, the Bà Rịa-Long Khánh Province Committee combined the two districts of Châu
Thành and Đức Thạnh to form Châu Đức District.” A local Party History notes that Châu Đức District was

47
and up to War Zone D. The recruiting movement in the regions of the Province was
extremely active – particularly in the two districts of Long Đất and Châu Đức, and
hundreds of youths volunteered to serve in the armed forces of the Province and the
Districts. Provincial armed forces were created and expanded in all three categories. The
number of troops and weapons were notably increased after the victory at Bình Giã.
To implement the Resolution of the Military Region and the Province Committee
and to establish concentrated armed forces, on 19 May 1965 the Bà Rịa Province force
was officially established at the Suối Rao Stream (Long Tân village – Long Đất District)
– on the basis of combining two units: 440 Company and 445 Company, enlisting recruits
from the two districts of Long Đất and Châu Đức; and further strengthening the force
with elements taken from organisations of the Province Committee and the Province Unit.
The total force numbered about 450 comrades. Comrade Bùi Quang Chánh (Sáu
Chánh)159 was the Battalion Commander; Comrade Lê Thành Ba (Ba Bùi) was the
Political Officer160 – and concurrently Secretary of the Battalion’s Party Committee;
Comrade Võ Quốc Chánh (Tư Chánh) was the Battalion’s second-in-command161; and
Comrade Nguyễn Minh Ninh was the Deputy Political Officer.162 The Battalion was
structured with four companies – including a fire support company (C4).163 It included a
formed on 24 May 1965 with Nguyễn Văn Tiến (Năm Tiến) as the Secretary of the District Committee –
with the Committee’s base in the jungle at Bằng Lăng (Đồng Nghệ). Trần Văn Khánh (et al/đtg), Lịch sử
Đảng …(The History of the Party in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu), op.cit., 2000, Chapter VII.
159
Translator’s Note: Earlier on 23 February 1965, as “Nguyễn Quang Chánh”, Bùi Quang Chánh had been
assigned to the “Bà Rịa Province Concentrated Unit” as the “Battalion Commander” – see captured
document: T1 Headquarters, Decision 015/QD, CDEC Log 09-1863-66, Bulletin No.1063. According to
the Đồng Nai History (1986): “On 19 May 1965 in the Long Tân base (Long Đất), the Bà Rịa Province
Committee established the Provincial Main Force [sic] Battalion with the title of 445 – with Comrade Tư
Chánh ((ie Võ Quốc Chánh)) as the Battalion Commander and Comrade Lê Thành Ba as its political
officer.” – Phan Ngọc Danh ..., Đồng Nai 30 Năm …, op.cit., 1986, p.123. However, it appears that both the
1991 D445 History and this 2004 D445 History (ie the text above) have corrected the name of 445
Battalion’s inaugural commander to “Bùi Quang Chánh (Sáu Chánh)”. Bùi Quang Chánh’s appointment as
the inaugural Battalion Commander is also related in the local Party history - Trần Văn Khánh (et al/đtg),
Lịch sử Đảng …(The History of the Party in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu), op.cit., 2000, Chapter VII. However, a
number of other publications have cited “Tư Chánh” as the initial 445 Battalion Commander – probably
influenced by the Đồng Nai History (1986) eg: the Đồng Nai Monograph (2001) ie: Địa Chí Đồng Nai, Nhà
Xuẩt Bản Tồng Hợp Đồng Nai, Biên Hòa, 2001. For biographical notes on Bùi Quang Chánh (Sáu Chánh)
– and eight other key 445 Battalion cadre, see Annex A – Key Cadre.
160
Translator’s Note: According to the Military Region “Decision 015/QD” document of 23 February 1965
noted above, Tư Nghĩa was initially appointed as the Political Officer of D445 Battalion - ie the “Bà Rịa
Province Concentrated Unit” – ie by T1 Headquarters, Decision 015/QD, 23 February 1965 - CDEC Log
09-1863-66, Bulletin No.1063.
161
Translator’s Note: Company Commander Võ Quốc Chánh was appointed as the Deputy Commander of
D445 Battalion - ie the “Bà Rịa Province Concentrated Unit”, by T1 Headquarters, Decision 015/QD, 23
February 1965 - CDEC Log 09-1863-66, Bulletin No.1063.
162
Translator’s Note: Nguyễn Văn Chợ – alias Ninh, was appointed Assistant Political Officer of D445
Battalion - ie the “Bà Rịa Province Concentrated Unit”, by T1 Headquarters, Decision 015/QD, 23 February
1965 -CDEC Log 09-1863-66, Bulletin No.1063. See also the following footnote on subsequent political
officer appointments.
163
Translator’s Note: According to a footnote in the 1991 D445 History: “The four companies were three
infantry companies and one fire support company - 1st Company: Sáu Chiến as company commander and
Tô Dũng as political officer; 2nd Company: Sáu Thu as commander and Hai Khanh as political officer; 3 rd
Company: Năm Thành as commander, Khởi as political officer; 4th Company: Tư Như as commander,
Thống as its political officer.” Translator’s Note continues: Subsequently on 20 October 1965, the Bà Rịa
Province Unit formally promoted: Trần Văn Chiến (Sáu Chiến) from company executive officer to
company commander; Tô Dũng from platoon leader to assistant political officer; Nguyễn Minh Khanh (Hai
Khanh) from assistant political officer to political officer; Nguyễn Đức Thu (Sáu Thu), Trần Văn Khởi, and
Nguyễn Văn Thống from platoon leaders to executive officers - CDEC Log 09-1876-66. Note however, that

48
headquarters and staff, political and rear services sections – together with a surgical
section led by Assistant-Doctor Nguyễn Văn Hiếu.164
The Battalion’s Party Chapter had five cells. Every company had a cell and a
branch of the Youth Group. At the beginning, innumerable difficulties and straitened
circumstances had to be faced.165 However, with the Province Committee and the
Province Unit paying the utmost attention to assisting us, the Battalion quickly
consolidated all aspects in order to commence operations. Cadre were provided to
strengthen the Headquarters and the Surgical Section, and personnel were withdrawn
from some organisations to reinforce the Battalion’s numbers. The Province Committee
provided 100,000 piastres (Sài Gòn currency) – the equivalent of seven tonnes of rice,
and that was put aside in three storehouses as a precaution against any contingencies.
In the process of combat operations, development, and coming-of-age, 445
Battalion’s rear services were able to inherit the experience of building the people’s rear
services organisation, the in-place rear services, the creation of storehouses among the
people, and the operational transportation of principal supplies by shoulder-borne
porterage.166 The unit put away reserves in preparation for each engagement and
operational phase – the most important being burying rice in ammunition containers and
tin cans right in its area of operations. Because the operational area was very large and the
people’s rear services organisation and the in-place rear services covered a wide area,
there were times when each element of 445 Battalion suffered hunger. However, this did
not last long – even when the enemy attacks were at their fiercest.
The Battalion’s military equipment service was created immediately after the
Battalion was established. The Battalion had two sewing machines – one was provided by
the rear services, and the other belonged to Năm Mỹ (born in Hòa Long). When she fled
to join the Battalion, she asked her family to let her take a sewing machine with her so
that she could make clothes for the troops. During both operations and the period of
development, the Battalion’s rear services requested and were given an additional 6-7
sewing machines by the people, and recruited a number of skillful craftsmen such as
Comrade Trương Thanh Tùng (from Tây Ninh), Comrade Tư Chúc (a native of Long
Điền), Comrades Bảy Kiên and Tám Tùng (from Phước Lợi), and a number of other
comrades with skills in making uniforms for the troops.
the date on that document (Command Committee T.1 No. 602/TB) was incorrectly written as 20 October
1966, instead of 1965. See CDEC Bulletin No.1064, 21 September 1966.
164
Translator’s Note: For Nguyễn Văn Hiếu – see CDEC Log 12-2427-66. However, note that earlier in this
2004 D445 History, he is also referred to as Nguyễn Thanh Hiếu. Also, a discrete medical history reports
his name as Nguyễn Thanh Hiếu – see: 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.
165
Translator’s Note: The 1991 D445 History notes: “The issue of rear services support required immediate
attention and was resolved in stages. Comrade Ba Tâm was appointed the staff officer responsible for rear
services, and Comrade Nguyễn Tuấn Giải (Mười Giải) became its adjutant.” For Nguyễn Thanh Tâm (aka
Ba Tâm), see CDEC Log 05-1808-67, and Log 05-1797-67. For his correspondence with the 445 Battalion
adjutant - Nguyễn Tuấn Giải (Mười Giải), see CDEC Log 05-3474-67, and Log 05-3406-67. Subsequently,
Nguyễn Thanh Tâm – as the Battalion 2ic, was killed in an ambush by 1 ATF’s 7th Battalion (7RAR) on 31
December 1970 at Cà Thi in the Xuyên Mộc area – see footnotes 382, 383, 396, 476, 478, 479, and 641.
Nguyễn Tuấn Giải (Mười Giải - b. Quảng Ngãi, North Vietnam) was noted as a platoon commander in the
5th Company of 445 Battalion in January 1966, attended a COSVN training course at the H21 Rear Services
School in February-early August 1966, and was formally appointed adjutant (quản lý) of 445 Battalion in
September 1966. The Battalion adjutant was responsible for managing rear services support - including
finances. Nguyễn Tuấn Giải’s captured diary indicated that he was enroute from H21 back to Phước Tuy
Province at the time of the Battle of Long Tân on 18 August 1966.
166
Translator’s Note: Several US references calculated NVA/VC porterage on a basis of 50lb (22.72kg)
loads per porter and a trip of 30km per day. See also footnote 88 for VC labourer policies.

49
Uniforms, camouflage hats, hammocks, and webbing straps were all beautifully
made. Following suggestions from the troops, the Battalion Headquarters agreed to direct
the rear services to create light and compact equipment for the men. In stages, nylon
hammocks replaced the canvas hammocks. Uniforms were sewn with nylon thread – thin
and quick-drying, and replaced the cotton cloth that had been provided by the Province
rear services.167*
Immediately after its founding, the Battalion quickly determined its structure, and
organised military and political training for its troops. This included technical aspects,
tactics, and tasks – and the plots and schemes of the enemy, all in response to the
requirements of the battlefield. In only a short period of time, the technical and tactical
standards – and the political consciousness, of the Battalion’s cadre and soldiers had been
clearly raised.168
After a short period of basic training within the unit, the Battalion organised an
ambush of the enemy at the Láng Cát strategic hamlet on Route 15. In this first
engagement, the impetus and fighting resolve of the Battalion was very high – but the
outcome of that attack on the enemy didn’t result as had been wished. At the end of the
battle, we had only seized two weapons, and many of our comrades had been wounded.
Following that battle, the Battalion headquarters was able to draw a number of
experiences, including:
Number One: Our reconnaissance study did not fully appreciate that the enemy
could hide among the people, and our troops were confused and unable to develop the
thrust of the attack – thus creating opportunites for the enemy to organise a counterattack.
Number Two: The troops advanced, but selecting the point of attack was too
complicated, and it was difficult to “score a goal”.
Number Three: A strong and basic point for the Battalion was that it achieved
relatively good cooperation between the attacking thrusts.
In this period, the 2nd Company was ordered by the Province Unit and the
Battalion Headquarters to deploy to Cần Giờ to coordinate with the local District troops
to attack the enemy and support the guerrilla movements – while at the same time
destroying the enemy’s grip and setting up and expanding a revolutionary region there.
As the commander of the 2nd Company (Comrade Nguyễn Đức Thu) was absent on
training, Comrade Trần Văn Chiến – the commander of the 1st Company was given the
task of leading the 2nd Company to fight in Cần Giờ. In 40 days and nights of operations
in Cần Giờ, the 2nd Company fought three battles and liberated two villages.
In the first battle, two platoons of the 2nd Company coordinated with an element of
the District troops to attack an enemy platoon stationed in the council offices of Đồng
Hòa village. At that location, the enemy had built posts and fighting trenches to defend
the village council. We used 57mm recoilless rifles (RCLs) placed at the jungle’s edge to
fire on the enemy’s posts – creating the conditions for our infantry to assault and seize the
post and take control of the village council. A large number of weapons and military
167

* In the middle of 1969, the enemy fiercely attacked 445 Battalion, and its ordnance organisation was
transferred to the Province’s rear services. From that time, the Province rear services accepted and
developed the military equipment function.
168
Translator’s Note: According to a principal Vietnamese history of the War: In May 1965, “the troops of
Xuân Lộc District – together with 445 Provincial Battalion and Military Region main force elements,
attacked and liberated Route 1 from Gia Ray to Rừng Lá ((Long Khánh Province)), and the hamlets of Trà
Tân 1 and Trà Tân 2 on Route 3” - Nguyễn Văn Minh Colonel (ed), Lịch sử Kháng chiến …, Tập 3 (Vol 3),
op.cit., 1999, footnote 16. Neither the 1991 nor the 2004 D445 Battalion Histories record any Battalion
involvement in such engagements in Long Khánh Province in mid-1965.

50
equipment were seized - enemy were wiped out, a number were wounded, and the
remainder fled in terror. We completely liberated the village of Đồng Hòa.
In the second battle – following the attacking tactics employed at the battle at
Đồng Hòa, we used two platoons in conjunction with the District troops to strike an
enemy platoon in Long Thành village. The 1st Platoon of the 2nd Company – together with
District forces, attacked the village council. The 2nd Platoon – together with a group of
60mm mortars and 57mm RCLs from the Rừng Sắc troops169 fired upon and wiped out
the enemy blockhouses and the strong points within the post. Our infantry assaulted and
seized the objective. There, the enemy resisted resolutely, and it took an hour before they
abandoned the position and fled. We took control and were able to liberate the village of
Long Thành.
In the third battle, our intention was to ambush a group of Popular Force troops
((“Dân Vệ”))170 that usually patrolled on the road from Cần Thạnh to Ven hamlet. Our
ambush formation comprised two platoons. The 2nd Platoon had the task of blocking the
enemy’s leading elements, while the 1st Platoon had the mission of attacking from the
flank. Our organisation and preparations for the ambush were all completed before
sunrise. At 6am (when the sun was up), we could see across to the other side of the fields
– our ambush position was about 100 metres in length; and we saw many groups of the
enemy wearing steel helmets and green uniforms advancing straight towards us. We
realised that they were not Popular Forces, but the Company Headquarters was still
determined to attack them. The enemy platoon opened fire first – and a number were
killed on the spot. They withdrew - taking cover in the villagers’ houses and behind trees,
and resisted resolutely. Our 1st Platoon, hearing the sound of gunfire, quickly deployed
and launched a flanking attack on the enemy’s position. The enemy was attacked by two
pincers and, unable to resist, suddenly fled across the fields back to Cần Thạnh – but
leaving behind the bodies of many who had been killed. We took control of the battlefield
after an hour of decisive combat, protecting the village, and liberating Long Thành.
After 40 days and nights of fighting on new grounds characterised by waterways
and constricted terrain, 445 Battalion’s 2nd Company doggedly overcame difficulties, took
the initiative to successfully attack the enemy, supported the revolutionary struggle of the
Party Chapters and the people of Cần Giờ, and outstandingly completed the tasks directed
by the higher authorities.171
169

Translator’s Note: The Rừng Sắc/Sác/Rừng Sát lies about 32 kilometres south-southeast of Sài Gòn and
comprises about 1,250 square kilometres of tidal swamp – for detail, see footnote 10.
170
Translator’s Note: As noted earlier, the Dân Vệ (Self-Defence Corps) - together with the “Hamlet
Combat Youth”, were replaced by the Popular Forces (PF – ie: Nghĩa Quân) in 1964. However, many
communist writings continued to use the term “Dân Vệ” for the Popular Forces – ie forces that operated
within a district.
171
Translator’s Note: These engagements in mid-1965 in Cần Giờ are not related in the 1991 D445 History.
However, in July 1965, the Bà Rịa Province Unit reported that, during June, their forces in the Province
were involved in 169 engagements in which 148 enemy were killed, 134 wounded - while suffering 15
killed and 34 wounded. Almost all activity involved district forces and village guerrillas. – CDEC Log 122987-66. More specifically, two subsequently captured Letters of Appreciation signed by Lê Thành Ba - the
445 Battalion political officer, commended two personnel of the 4 th Company for their “outstanding combat
exploits” in a successful attack on Bà Rịa on 16 (or 26) July 1965. – CDEC Log 12-2425-66. Morale
problems were later discussed at a four-day political conference held by the Bà Rịa Province Unit in midSeptember 1965, and it was reported that 44 personnel in the Province had deserted in the preceding twomonth period (July, August) – including eight from 445 Battalion, 10 from the Long Đất District Unit, eight
from the Châu Đức District Unit and four from the Bình Châu (Xuyên Mộc) guerrilla unit. The main
reasons cited for desertion were: fear of death, shelling - particularly enemy aircraft attacks, hardship - and
a preference for the “easy” life at home – CDEC Log 09-2601-66 (signed by Bá [sic] Liên – Head of the
Political Section of the Bà Rịa Province Unit) – The signature is identical to that of Đổ Văn Liên - aka Ba
Liên (Đỗ Văn Chương), who became the 445 Battalion political officer soon after (ie replacing Lê Thành

51
After the battle at Láng Cát, the unit returned to the Lồ Ô base172 (Long Tân) to
consolidate.173 Comrade Lê Thành Ba – the Battalion’s Political Officer, was posted for
duty on the Province Committee. Comrade Đổ Văn Chương (Ba Liên) was appointed as
the Political Officer of the Battalion.
On 23 August 1965, the whole of the Battalion deployed for a second battle, with
the determination to achieve victory and develop momentum. Our opponents this time
were elements of the police in Long Điền Sub-District, stationed in the Five-Building
Complex.174 As this was a battle in a town, the Province Unit reinforced our unit with a
sapper-reconnaissance team from Province.
Having carefully studied the terrain, the Battalion Headquarters ordered a surprise
attack using both firepower and an assault. Our forces used in the engagement comprised
two companies - with comrades selected from our companies for their battle-experience,
courage, technical expertise, skill and spirit. That force combined with the reconnaissance
element from the Province Unit and the Battalion reconnaissance unit to form the main
pillar. It was divided into three groups: two groups as the main thrust and a group to block
any enemy reinforcements. The Headquarters was set up in Long Điền Town about 500
metres from the objective and under the command of Comrade Bùi Quang Chánh (Sáu
Chánh) – the Battalion Commander, and Comrade Đổ Văn Chương – the Political
Officer.175
The battle unfurled favourably in the first period as the enemy was surprised from
the time we moved to the assembly area, cut the fences, placed explosives, and opened
fire – and we were able to seize the ground floor of the Five-Building Complex. The
enemy retreated up to the higher floors to set up last-ditch defences, and hurled down
grenades thick and fast. Losing the initiative, we suffered quite a large number of
wounded. Two of our reconnaissance comrades were killed – including Comrade Ninh, a
province sapper cadre.176* At the same time, our reinforcement blocking group wiped out
more than 10 of the enemy who had tried to break through. After an hour of fighting, the
Battalion withdrew to Long Phước, tended to the wounded, buried our martyrs, and
carried rice and the wounded back to the base.
The Battle of the Five-Building Complex (in Long Điền Town) was our first joint
combat action at battalion-minus level in a town. High combat efficiency was achieved,
much of the enemy’s vitality was destroyed, and a Sub-Sector’s police force was crippled.
We intimidated and damaged the morale of the enemy officers and soldiers, and proved
Ba - ie Ba Bùi, who appears to have been posted to the Political Section of Bà Rịa Province Unit). – CDEC
Log 09-1883-66, see footnote 175.
172
Translator’s Note: The Lồ Ô Streams – the “Large” and the “Small”, are north-east of Long Tân village.
173
Translator’s Note: As noted above, a report by the Bà Rịa Province Headquarters - following a
conference on 15 September 1965, recorded that in July and August 44 personnel had “deserted to the
enemy” including 18 from D445 Battalion. The main reasons for desertion were cited as: “fear of death,
enemy aircraft, hardships, and personal disappointment with immediate commanders.”- CDEC Log 092601-66.
174
Translator’s Note: The “Five-Building Complex” or “the Five-Storey Centre” – in Vietnamese: “Phố
Năm Căn”. In the 1991 edition of the D445 History, it is termed the “Lầu Năm Căn”, and the attack was
described in greater detail.
175
Translator’s Note: Ba Liên - ie Đỗ Văn Chương (also as Đổ Văn Liên), had been the Head of the
Political Section of the Bà Rịa Province Unit up until at least late September 1965 – see footnote 171 and
his biography in Annex A – Key Cadre. Ba Bùi (Lê Thành Ba) appears to have been posted to the Political
Section of Bà Rịa Province Unit – CDEC Log 09-1883-66, and subsequently to Long Đất District. For a
biography of Đỗ Văn Chương (Ba Liên) - also as Đổ Văn Liên (and incorrectly as Đồng Văn Chương), who
became the political officer of 445 Battalion, see Annex A – Key Cadre.
176
* The unit had only just held a declaration ceremony (a wedding) for him and Ms Lê Thị Bich Thủy at
the base less than a month previously.

52
445 Battalion’s ability to infiltrate and conceal a large number of troops (two companies)
in the base and lair of the enemy. However, the attack also revealed failures in tactical
and technical aspects, and the selection of attack objectives. Our troops were not yet
familiar with the tactics of storming defended positions - and consequently were confused
and unable to exploit attacks on strong-points. These were valuable experiences and the
lessons strengthened our instruction and the training of the unit’s personnel.177
Not long after the battle at the Five-Building Complex, the Battalion178 joined
with troops of Long Đất District’s 25th Local Force Company179 to set an ambush and
attack the enemy at Đá Giăng (Long Hải).180 The Battalion’s opponents in this battle were
the enemy’s Non-Commissioned Officers (NCO) Battalion from the Phước Tuy NCO
training school at Long Hải. Each day, the enemy troops moved from Long Hải to the
edge of Cống Quỳnh – Đá Giăng, and their column stretched out over several kilometres.
Their movement was poor – they shuffled along, and they were not very alert. Having
confirmed their activities and routine, the Battalion resolved to attack the enemy and
submitted a plan to the Province Unit for consideration.181
On the night of 24 December 1965 [sic]182, 445 Battalion coordinated with the
25th Company (Long Đất) to set a mobile ambush183 on the enemy in the Đá Giăng area
(Route 44 Upper). Our ambush configuration covered a stretch of the road for more than
one kilometre – about 500 metres from the edge of Lò Vôi. The 2nd Company had the task
of blocking the head of the enemy column (near the base of the Minh Đạm Mountains)
and was strengthened with a 75mm RCL. The 1st Company had the mission of wiping out
the enemy in the killing zone (in the central area) and was reinforced with two 57mm
RCLs and a “fish-tail” heavy machinegun. The 3rd Company had the task of sealing the
rear of the ambush – together with Long Đất District’s 25th Company, at the Long Hải
end.
In the salt pans – opposite the killing zone, the Battalion deployed a platoon in the
Rừng Sắc led by Comrade Đặng Công Quang (Quang Hổ) with the task of attacking the
177

Translator’s Note: Soon after the attack, on 28 August 1965 the Commanding Officer of 445 Battalion –
Bùi Quang Chánh, promoted 16 junior personnel (named) to squad/section leader or assistant squad/section
leaders in C4 Company. – CDEC Log 04-1397-66.
178
Translator’s Note: According to the 5th Division History (2005), in mid-December 1965, a coordinating
conference was held between the staffs of the 5th Division, “the 445th Bà Rịa Battalion, the 25th Long Đất
Company and the 240th Company” to plan future activity.
179
Translator’s Note: The involvement of the Long Đất District unit in this – and other, operations is
described in the Long Đất District History (1986) ie Phan Ngọc Danh …, Lịch Sử … Huyện Long Đất,
op.cit., 1986 – for translated extracts, see Annex L in Chamberlain, E.P., … D445 …, op.cit., 2011; and in
the Đất Đỏ District History (2006) - ie Đặng Tấn Hương (ed), The History … Đất Đỏ District (1930-2005),
op.cit., 2006.
180
Translator’s Note: Đá Giăng is sometimes misspelt in communist sources as “Đá Vắng” – and on some
maps appears as Núi (Mount) Đá Dung. The ambush occurred in the vicinity of grid reference YS 432549.
181
Translator’s Note: On 11 November 1965, the 3 rd Battalion of the 275th VC Regiment attempted to
ambush a 52nd Ranger Battalion convoy on Route 15 at Kim Hải hamlet (Phước Hòa – about 10 kilometres
north-west of Bà Rịa Town) but suffered heavy casualties – for detail, see Annex O (The 275th Regiment).
182
Translator’s Note: In the 1991 edition of the D445 Battalion history, the Đá Giăng ambush is related
more fully and as having occurred on 7/8 January 1966. The US MACV Military History Branch’s
“Chronology of Significant Events during 1966”, 27 April 1967 - recorded: “8 January 1966, VC ambush
RF convoy in Phuoc Tuy Province, 31 RF KIA, 3 US KIA, 30 RF WIA, 10 MIA.” - VCAT Item No.
13370149004. This 2004 D445 History - citing the date as “24 December 1965”, has probably confused the
action with the D445 Battalion ambush on “24 December 1964” – see earlier footnotes 148 and 149, when
it actually occurred on 8 January 1966. The authors of the 2004 edition may have been misled by the date
in the Đồng Nai Monograph (2001), see footnote 186.
183
Translator’s Note: “phục kích vận động” – see a discussion of the “mobile ambush” tactic at footnotes
187 below and 267.

53
enemy when they attempted to flee. The Battalion’s Political Officer – Đổ Văn Chương
(Ba Liên) had encouraged a number of cadre and soldiers in this platoon to overcome the
difficulties and bear the hardship of getting soaked as the tide rose – and to hold-on and
stick it out in their positions until the time for action came. The Province Unit
Commander – Nguyễn Việt Hoa184, participated directly by commanding the engagement
– together with the Battalion Commander – Bùi Quang Chánh, and the Battalion Political
Officer – Đổ Văn Chương. At 12pm midday the next day, the enemy moved towards the
Battalion’s ambush position. Our combined ambush groups fought valiantly. After 10
minutes of combat, we had complete control of the battlefield, and had wiped out two
companies of the NCO training battalion, seized 46 weapons, set fire to four armoured
vehicles, seized two PRC-25 radios185, and captured 18 of the enemy.186 This was the
first Battalion-level mobile ambush187 - a resounding victory, and one among 445
Battalion’s annihilation battles.188
Following that battle189, the Battalion’s prestige increased greatly. The enemy
were alarmed and afraid. On our side, the people and the revolutionary organisations were
184

Translator’s Note: Captured Việt Cộng documents show the commander of the Bà Rịa Province Unit in
1965 to mid-1966 was Nguyễn Văn Mười - ie the cover name for Nguyễn Việt Hoa (Mười Thà). Nguyễn
Văn Mười – as the commander of the Bà Rịa Province Unit, signed several Letters of Appreciation
including for a sapper/reconnaissance member of the 445 Battalion’s 5 th Company for exploits at the Đá
Vắng [sic] battle on 8 January 1966 – CDEC Log 06-1013-66.
185
Translator’s Note: The US AN/PRC- 25 VHF military manpack radio. This radio was introduced in late
1965 to replace the less effective AN/PRC-10 – see footnote 107. The 1991 D445 History does not record
any seizure of PRC-25s in this ambush – ie on 7/8 January 1966, nor 24 December 1965. However, the
seizure of an AN/PRC-25 is also related in the Đất Đỏ District History (2006) – see the following footnote.
It is possible that such only recently-available AN/PRC-25 radios were carried by US advisors – three were
killed in the engagement.
186
Translator’s Note: The Đất Đỏ District History (2006) relates that: 120 enemy were killed – including
two Americans, 46 weapons were seized, four armoured vehicles destroyed, two PRC-25 radios seized, and
18 prisoners taken. A captured Việt Cộng document claims that at Đá Giăng, the communist forces
“appealed to US troops to surrender” unsuccessfully, so they “shot and killed them all” – see CDEC Log
03-1270-66. According to the Đồng Nai Monograph (2001): on 24 December 1965, 445 Battalion with C25
Company (Long Đất) destroyed two companies of NCOs from the Long Hải Regional Forces Training
Centre - Địa Chí Đồng Nai, op.cit., 2001. The Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Party History (2000) relates the Đá
Giăng ambush similar to the account in the Đất Đỏ District History (2006) but cites the date of the ambush
as 25 February 1966. As noted in the preceding footnote 182 above, a US report relates the ambush date as
8 January 1966 – see also the awards related at footnotes 184 and 188.
187
Translator’s Note: Việt Cộng ambushes were generally classified as either area, static, mobile or
manoeuvre. Detailed discussion on such from a Việt Cộng doctrinal publication is in McAulay, L., The
Battle of Long Tan, Arrow Books, London, 1987 – see Appendix 4: “The Vietcong Ambush”. For static
and mobile ambushes, see also: USMACV/CICV, VC Ambush Tactics, OB Study 67-026, Saigon, 6
January 1967. VCAT Item No.F015900210563. For published contemporary Australian military doctrine
on enemy ambush tactics, see: Army Headquarters, The Enemy – 1964, Canberra, 1 July 1964, pp.37-38.
188
Translator’s Note: Several “Letters of Commendation” were awarded by the 445 Battalion Commander
– Bùi Quang Chánh (Sáu Chánh), for exploits at the Đá Giăng battle on “Route 44” – including for the
57mm recoilless rifle section of the 4th Company – see CDEC Log 12-2425-66. On 15 May 1966 – vide
Decision #49/QD-KT, the Headquarters of the South Vietnamese Liberation Army awarded the Liberation
Military Exploits [sic – but probably “Military Feats”] Medal 2nd Class to the “Concentrated Battalion of Bà
Rịa Province” for its “destruction of the Long Hải NCO School students on 8 January 1966” and its
“superior performance of duties in the Phước Thành Battle on 26 April 1966.” – CDEC Log 09-1972-66.
Letters of Commendation were also awarded to 445 Battalion personnel for the Đá Giăng battle – including
to platoon commander Nguyễn Văn Ái and squad leader Hồ Văn Phong – see CDEC Log 12-2413-66. On
10 January 1966, the Battalion Political Officer – Đỗ Văn Liên (Ba Liên), wrote a letter of condolence to
the parents of section commander Nguyễn Quốc Thống “killed in a battle on Route 44 on 8 January 1966” –
CDEC Log 01-1032-67.
189
Translator’s Note: The Đá Giăng battle of early January 1966 is not mentioned in the published history
of the Minh Đạm “Secret Zone” Base – ie Phạm Chí Thân, Căn Cứ Minh Đạm, op.cit., 2006. However, on

54
even more elated in spirit, supported our troops, and brought their children into the jungle
to join the resistance war. The Battalion returned swiftly to its base area, studied
engagements to draw further experience and lessons, and rewarded comrades for their
outstanding performance. The Battalion structure was reviewed – and its strength,
weaponry, equipment, and supplies increased, in order to continue to achieve tasks in the
subsequent series of operations.
Through its involvement in combat, 445 Battalion had drawn a lot of valuable
experience in organising appropriate combat operations against a range of opponents
based on the special characteristics of each enemy element. Consequently, the Battalion’s
combat performance increased daily. Additionally, there were many other active support
activities. Our military intelligence organisation was able to organise a network of covert
agents in those areas temporarily occupied by the enemy, and provided us with timely
information on the enemy situation. Military intelligence also organised observation posts
and employed technical means190 to follow the enemy’s movements and attacks – and
thereby support the Battalion’s combat operations.
The system of military proselytising among the enemy’s armed forces was
strengthened. All of the political sections from the Battalion level to the Province Unit
and District Unit had cadre specialising in the military proselytising of the enemy.
Assistant-level political cadre were assigned with this task at company level and in
village units. Depending on the requirements of each engagement, our military
proselytising forces received specific instructions and were allocated to our elements to
conduct proselytising of the enemy. At times, our unit employed a section-sized, platoonsized, or company-sized force to conduct armed propaganda and military proselytising
activities. This was carried out routinely, and was thoroughly understood by each of our
soldiers. It was included in the tactical plan of each and every operation and attack. Our
enemy proselytising sections studied documents and the thoughts and ideology of the
22 March 1966, a force comprising Việt Cộng sappers (240C Company) and an artillery element from the
5th VC Division moved from the Minh Đạm base and attacked and shelled the Vũng Tàu airfield and the
Chí Linh Rural Development Cadre Training Centre in Vũng Tàu – see Phạm Chí Thân, Căn Cứ Minh Đạm
(The Minh Đạm Base), op.cit., 2006, pp.47-48. The Eastern Năm Bộ Region citation for the attack on
Vũng Tàu shows the date of the attack as 12 March – CDEC Log 09-1880-66; as does the COSVN award of
the Liberation Military Exploits Medal 3rd Class – CDEC Log 09-2189-66. See also the account of the
attack in the 5th Division History (2005) at Annex K, footnote 13. According to a rallier (hồi chánh) from
240C Sapper Company, the unit incorporated a platoon from 445 Battalion and had undergone training
directed by Sáu Chánh - the commander of 445 Battalion, prior to the attack on Vũng Tàu. The organisation
of 240C Company and preparations for the attack on “13 March 1966” are detailed in a USMACV report VCAT Item No.F034600931151. See also the account in the 5th Division History (2005) at Annex K, and
the Đất Đỏ District History (2006) - pp.195-196 that cites the attacking unit as “A.65”.
190
Translator’s Note: This is highly probably a reference to signals intelligence intercept of the radio
communications of South Vietnamese, US, and other forces. On 24 October 1966, Australian forces
captured a female radio operator on Núi Dinh Mountain (YS 332657) – ie Tô Thị Nâu, equipped with a
Type RT-77/GRC-9 radio (believed to be a 5th VC Division equipment used to report movement on Route
15) – 1 ATF, Intelligence Review, Núi Đất, 29 October 1966; McNeill, I., To Long Tan, op.cit., pp.395398. For detail, see Hartley, R.W., AM & Hampstead, B.V., The Story of 547 Signal Troop in South
Vietnam 1966-1972, Googong, 2014, pp.72-75. For detail – also see: See VC/NVA Electronic Warfare
(EW) Capability – MACV ST 67-061, CICV, 1 July 1967, VCAT No. 2250110001; and for the B-28
Technical Reconnaissance Unit of Military Region 7, see VCAT Item No.2311214015. The Đất Đỏ District
History (2006), p. 193, p.242 relates: “The Province military intelligence elements established observation
posts on the Minh Đạm Mountains, and used technical means to follow the activities of the enemy. …
According to the enemy’s messages that we intercepted …”. For 1 ATF’s awareness of the intercept threat,
see: 1 ATF, Troops Information Sheet, No.79, Núi Đất, 14-20 January 1968; 1 ATF, INTSUM No.150/69,
Núi Đất, 30 May 1969; and 1 ATF, Vietnam Digest, Issue No.26-69, Núi Đất, 28 June – 5 July 1969. 1
ATF advised its units of the responsibilities of 547 Signal Troop – “the Australian Radio Research Unit”,
for communications security aspects – see: 1 ATF, Signal G223, Núi Đất, 28 February 1967.

55
local enemy soldiers, and created a document: “The Six Essences of Military
Proselytising in Combat” – comprising:
- Miltary propaganda and proselytising in combat;
- Capturing prisoners;
- Exploiting and utilizing prisoners and defectors in battle;
- Implementing prisoner and defector policy;
- Moving prisoners and defectors to assigned concentration sites;
- Putting up posters, spreading pamphlets.191*
Strengthened military proselytising activities in combat also contributed towards
combat procedures. Calling on the enemy to surrender and the taking of prisoners were
regarded as one of the important objectives and norms of our battles. In combat, military
proselytising work played an important role by supplementing resources for the
revolution and reducing bloodshed in combat.
From the middle of 1965, after their heavy defeats in the Bình Giã campaign in Bà
Rịa – Long Khánh, the puppet military disintegrated in large part, and the puppet
authorities at all levels were in a situation of serious crisis.The enemy troops concentrated
and huddled together in their bases and rear areas in the towns and cities (Bà Rịa, Vũng
Tàu, Long Khánh).
To save the puppet regime – both at its centre and in the regions, the American
imperialists brought their expeditionary forces – and those of its vassals192, into South
Vietnam. On 5 May 1965, the Americans’ 173rd Airborne Brigade – followed by a New
Zealand artillery battery and an Australian infantry battalion, landed at Vũng Tàu and
were concentrated at Biên Hòa.193
In April 1966, the Royal Australian Armed Forces [sic] completed the deployment
of a task force into South Vietnam.194 Confronted by this new situation, the Bà Rịa
Province Committee convened a conference to thoroughly examine COSVN195
191

* A summary of military proselytising activities in Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Province in the Anti-American
Resistance War – approved manuscript, p.45.
192
Translator’s Note: Vassals – literally: “chư hầu”, was a term routinely used to refer to Australian, New
Zealand, Korean, and Thai armed forces.
193
Translator’s Note: The US 173rd Airborne Brigade arrived at Biên Hòa in early May 1965.
194
Translator’s Note: At the end of 1965, the “American plan” to build up combat forces had included “an
Australian element consisting of a balanced force of two infantry battalions, an S.A.S. squadron …”.
During “informal discussions” in Saigon, possible “deployment areas” “suggested” were: “the Mekong
Delta; Phan Rang ((on the central coast)), or Vung Tau.” The Australian military representative (Brigadier
K. Mackay) expressed a “preference” for “Vung Tau where a task force is required to keep open the southeastern end of the road ((Route 15)) to Saigon …” – Defence Liaison Branch, Department of External
Affairs, Canberra, 4 January 1966. The 1st Australian Task Force (1 ATF) “opened” at Vũng Tàu on 20
May 1966 – having initially been commanded by Brigadier O.D. Jackson from Saigon for several days due
to that city’s superior communications links. Following Operation Hardihood to secure the area, 1 ATF’s
5RAR infantry battalion occupied the Núi Đất site on 2 June 1966 - with elements of the 173rd Airborne
Brigade in adjacent positions to the west across Route 2 until their departure on 8 June.
195
Translator’s Note: As outlined in the earlier footnote 59, 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%); 53%
of its land mass; and 83% of the rice-growing areas (in 1968) – USMACV briefing, Saigon, 9 January 1970
- Sorley, L., Vietnam Chronicles: The Abrams Tapes, op.cit., 2004, p.336. COSVN however, did not
control the area of its “geographic coverage” described above. For US and ARVN operations into
Cambodia from April to June 1970, see: II FFORCEV, Commander’s Evaluation Report – Cambodia
Operations, 31 July 1970, VCAT Item No.4900110003.

56
Resolution 4196 and to disseminate the policy to: “Continuously attack the enemy forces,
strive to consolidate and build revolutionary organisations, hold fast onto the resistance
bases, strike against the enemy’s pacification activities, and coordinate with the people’s
forces in the Eastern Region to defeat the enemy’s Dry Season counter-attack, and wipe
out the Americans’ combat capacity and means.”
The ideological guidance by the Province Committee at this time was that
although the situation was both difficult and complicated, we must resolutely hold onto
our ground and the people – and strongly maintain an attacking posture. The Province
Committee directed the development of armed forces at all three levels, the creation and
consolidation of bases, the establishment of positions in areas surrounding the
Australians’ base, blocking their attacks in order to defend our bases, protecting our
Province organisations, and re-organising the battlefield (Xuyên Mộc, Long Đất, and
Châu Đức).
At this time, the Province armed forces were strengthened at all three levels. The
cadre and soldiers – while determined, were also worried and concerned about our
combat methods when confronting a strong enemy with modern fighting methods,
modern weapons, and a maximum of fire support. Our Province armed forces were given
the task to: “Study the Americans’ fighting methods, strike straight into their lairs, attack
the American invaders and their means of warfare, and resolve to be victorious from the
very first battle.”
445 Battalion launched an emulation movement to kill the enemy throughout 1966
– divided into several phases. The first phase was a movement to: “Resolve to fight and
defeat the American invading aggressors during the Winter-Spring seasons.” To ensure
the outcome of this emulation campaign, the Battalion Headquarters and the companies
created concrete targets for each separate unit and between units and individuals – who all
shook hands very enthusiatically and pledged to compete with one another.
In January 1966197, the American military launched their first Dry Season strategic
offensive with two pincers: “search and destroy”198 and “pacification” – hoping to wipe
out our main-force elements and recover the initiative on the battlefield. Bà Rịa Province
was on the main axis of the Americans’ strategic counter-offensive – and the fighting
there was very decisive.199
196

Translator’s Note: COSVN Resolution 4 of March 1966 reportedly implemented the Lao Động Party’s
(Vietnam Workers’ Party – ie “communist party”) Politburo Resolution 12 of December 1965 – see CDEC
Bulletin No.2561. For a US CIA analysis of these Resolutions, see VCAT Item No.0240904006. For an
index of Resolutions, see VCAT Item No.2320732001.
197
Translator’s Note: According to the 1991 D445 History: “… at the beginning of 1966, the Battalion
conducted an ambush on Route 15 with the aim of destroying military transport vehicles and seizing war
booty to equip our unit’s logistic personnel who lacked equipment. The Battalion destroyed six trucks of the
South Korean forces and seized a quantity of white cloth (lengths of cloth) which was later dyed and made
into uniforms.” That mention of South Korean troops may be a reference to the major RVNAF Operation
Dân Tâm 36 (late February-early March 1966) that extended into the Minh Đạm Mountains. A Republic of
Korea engineer company participated in that operation – part of the Republic of Korea’s “Dove Force”
based at Biên Hòa from late February 1965. A Việt Cộng account of that operation by their C.900
intelligence staff and dated 16 March 1966 is at CDEC Log 09-2497-66.
198
Translator’s Note: For a later revision of the term – “search and destroy”, see footnote 208.
199
Translator’s Note: In March 1966, a US military report assessed the population of Phước Tuy Province
as 100,000 – with a further 38,000 living in Vũng Tàu. Of Phước Tuy’s population, 87% reportedly lived in
government-controlled areas, 22% in areas “undergoing pacification”, 12% in areas considered “relatively
free of VC”, and 17% “living in VC-controlled areas. A curfew was in effect between 10pm and 4am – but
was “not rigidly enforced.” “VC infrastructure was established down to village and hamlet level.” The VC
had “a high degree of control over the rural population and had little difficulty moving throughout the
Province.” - see: US 1st Infantry Division, Combat Operations After Action Report – Operation Abilene,
April 1966 at: http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/387599.pdf . A mid-1966 US CIA memorandum cited

57

((Translator’s Note: Between pp.80-81, there are 24 photographs – titled as follows))
-

On 3 June 1976, the Party and the Nation awarded 445 Battalion with the
commendation: “Heroic Unit of the People’s Armed Forces”.
A letter by the 445 Battalion Political Officer Nguyễn Minh Ninh calling upon
the puppet troops to join the revolution. (Photograph – Minh Lê).
A 445 Battalion bugle used to give commands for assaults in every battle –
displayed in the museum of the Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Province People’s Armed
Forces. (Photograph – Đoàn Sơn).
Heavy [sic US .30 calibre] machinegun (No.52919-45-1963) associated with
the combat feats of Nguyễn Văn Quang – Hero of the People’s Armed Forces.
The Sập Post (at Phước Hải) – destroyed by 445 Battalion in 1966 ((f.299)).
The main attacking force of 445 Battalion deploying in depth to cut-off and
destroy the enemy in the battle at Long Phước village. (Photograph – from
records).
People of Bà Rịa – Long Khánh supplying food and provisions to the troops of
445 Battalion. (Photograph – from records).
Comrade Kiều An – a 445 Battalion mortar crewman, who had wiped out
many enemy targets. (Photograph – from records).
A 445 Battalion mortar crew – with a hatred of the enemy, raining fire down
on the invaders’ heads. (Photograph – from records).
Recovering battlefield booty and capturing the enemy during the Long Mỹ
battle – 1974. (Photograph – from records).
Battlefield booty seized from the encroaching enemy at Long Phước on 14
June [sic] 1973. (Photograph – from records).
Taking inventory of battlefield booty seized from the enemy. (Photograph –
from records).
Cadre and soldiers of 445 Battalion on parade in 1976 at the ceremony for the
presentation of the honourable title: “Heroic Unit of the People’s Armed
Forces”. (Photograph – from records).
Farewelling 445 Battalion troops departing for International Duty – to assist
our Cambodian friends. (Photograph – from records).
445 Battalion marching on parade at the 10th anniversary of the founding of Bà
Rịa – Vũng Tàu Province. (Photograph – Hoàng Chương).
A cultural and literature exchange between 445 Battalion and the Bà Rịa –
Vũng Tàu Cultural Department on 22 December 2002. (Photograph – Hoàng
Chương).
Reviewing experiences following a training activity. (Photograph – Hoàng
Chương).
Moments of relaxation on the training ground. (Photograph – Hoàng Chương).
A group of cadre studying the history with witnesses beside the “Soldiers’
Well” in the Lồ Ô base – Long Tân. (Photograph – Hoàng Chương).
Preparing the book: “The History of 445 Battalion – witnesses meeting and
exchanging experiences in Hòa Long village. (Photograph – Minh Lê).

the population of Phước Tuy Province as 116,995 in 35 villages. VC armed militia and political cadre in the
villages were assessed as numbering 2,956 – but these figures were not considered “completely accurate”
due to “input limitations”. See: CIA – Director of Current Intelligence Memorandum, Viet Cong Strength
by Village, 12 May 1966, VCAT Item No.F029200030138.

58
-

A conference preparing for the writing of “The History of 445 Battalion” – 16
May 2003. (Photograph – Minh Lê).
A workshop on “The History of the Heroic 445 Battalion” – 25 November
2003. (Photograph – Hoàng Chương).
Representatives and witnesses following the second workshop on “The
History of 445 Battalion” – 15 May 2004, (Photograph – Minh Lê).

In the spirit of continuously attacking and wiping out the enemy in order to
achieve the tasks directed by the Province Committee and COSVN Headquarters, the
Battalion Headquarters - under the direct orders of the Province Unit200, re-organised,
strengthened, and adjusted the employment of its forces.201 This applied to unit tactical
and technical aspects; and dividing our forces into teams, sections/squads (small units) in
order to more easily attack the enemy at lightning speed - while at the same time
coordinating closely so that - when needed, our forces could be quickly concentrated to
strike, wear down, and wipe out the enemy in larger engagements.202
On 8 April 1966, the Battalion’s reconnaissance elements reported that the
Americans were deploying troops to the Bà Lang tactical airfield (Bình Giã – Châu
Đức).203 The Headquarters ordered our 4th Fire Support Company – under the direct
200

Translator’s Note: The 1991 and 2004 D445 Histories recount capturing PRC-25 and PRC-10 VHF
radios. However, a 1967 US MACV study lists the Battalion’s signal equipment as comprising only five
PRC-10 and two earlier model PRC-6 walkie-talkie”-style radios (range “less than a mile” – see footnote
107) – and ten field telephones. - US MACV, VC/NVA Signal Order of Battle - Update, Study 67-021,
Saigon, 16 September 1967 - VCAT Item No.F015900250094. In 1969, 445 Battalion had HF morse radio
communications with the Province Headquarters – see footnote 417. However, a primary means of contact
was by courier (ie “commo-liaison’) and employing a postal system utilizing “Letter Box Numbers (LBN)”
– see footnotes 495 (personal letters) and 527. 445 Battalion’s LBNs included 6142.VT; 61,202/VT D12 –
from March 1969; and 61.450/VT (as “1st Local Force Battalion” from July 1970). For a history of the
postal system (covering Bà Biên Province with Sub-Region 9) – including “safe conduct pass” modalities,
see CDEC Log 01-1367-69 (VCAT Item No.2311201008). A comprehensive instruction on passes and mail
management (circa mid-1969) - apparently recovered in Cambodia in May 1970, is at CDEC 05-2772-70
(VCAT Item No.2310907010). LBNs changed from a “five-digit” system to a “six digit” system on 1 July
1970 – for a June 1972 RVNAF JGS analysis, see: VCAT Item No.2311005037.
201
Translator’s Note: On 15 February 1966, Bà Rịa Province Order #101/QD commended eight 445
Battalion personnel (named) among a total of 33 personnel. Additionally, the Bà Rịa Province Unit awarded
445 Battalion’s 1st Company and the Long Đất District Unit the rotating “Determined to Fight and Defeat
the Americans” flag. - CDEC Log 04-1394-66.
202
Translator’s Note: As noted earlier, neither the 1991 D445 History – nor this 2004 History mentions the
major ARVN operation Dân Tâm 36 (22 February-5 March 1966) into the Đức Thạnh, Xuân Son, Bình Ba,
Tam Long (Tam Long = the three villages of: Hòa Long, Long Phước, Long Tân), and Minh Đạm areas. A
detailed report by an element of the Bà Rịa Province Committee (C900 – ie the intelligence staff) dated 16
March 1966 is at CDEC Log 09-2447-66. That report claimed that 206 enemy were killed, 73 wounded and
two weapons seized in the engagements. Subsequently, on 29 March 1966, the Political Section of the Bà
Rịa Province Unit produced a directive on “political activities” deemed necessary following “counter-sweep
operations” in the Long Tân area in the period 23-28 February indicating morale problems in 445 Battalion
– CDEC Log 09-1882-66.
203
Translator’s Note: The Bà Lang airfield/airstrip is located on the north-western edge of Bình Ba village –
not Bình Giã village. The US 1st Infantry Division conducted Operation Abilene in Long Khánh and Phước
Tuy Provinces in the period 30 March-15 April 1966. Forces included the US 173rd Airborne Brigade’s
Australian battalion, 1RAR. Operation Abilene had the aim of “destroying the 94th ((274th)) VC Regiment,
the 5th ((275th)) VC Regiment, and the Mây Tào Secret Zone” – 1RAR Op Ord 7/66, Biên Hòa, 24 March
1966. Initially operating in the Courtney Plantation area (YS 4591) from 29 March, 1RAR departed the
Bình Ba logistic base area on 8-9 April 1966 by road/air to Biên Hòa – and US forces continued Operation
Abilene. On 13 April, 1RAR joined the 173rd Airborne Brigade on Operation Denver in the Sông Bé area of
Phước Long Province until 22 April. A VC activity report dated 24 April 1966 – signed by Lê Quang
(probably of Châu Đức District) - and covering the period 23 March to 23 April 1966, described the

59
command of its leader Comrade Tư Như 204, to quickly deploy its mortars (81mm and
61mm [sic] to attack the airstrip at Bà Lang and exploit the enemy’s weaknesses as the
enemy was in the process of setting-up. Immediately on the night of 8 April, the mortar
section of the 4th Company moved more than four kilometres along jungle tracks to the
enemy positions. Employing the “improvised fire”205 method, the Battalion’s mortars
rapidly fired 35 rounds into the designated grid reference. The Bà Lang tactical airstrip
was enveloped in smoke and flames – and successive explosions boomed out. 12 enemy
helicopters and four M113 armoured vehicles were set ablaze, and more than 20
American troops were killed or wounded.206 This was a military feat207 by 445 Battalion
in its first clash with the American military in the Bà Rịa homeland, and it fired the
enthusiasm of the cadre, the soldiers, and the people of the Province. It was also symbolic
of the defeat of the Americans’ “search and destroy” tactics on the Eastern Nam Bộ
battlefield.
Also in April 1966, while resisting an enemy sweeping208 operation on Route 2,
our military intelligence provided information on the activities of the puppet Panther Skin
commando company209 stationed at the Thầy Ba base (Đất Đỏ). To support the local
occupation of the Bình Ba airfield (ie as Logistic Base 1 at YS 435741) by two brigades of the US 1st
Infantry Division on 2 April 1966 ((ie: Operation Abilene – which also involved the Australian 1RAR)). –
CDEC Log 08-1664-66. That VC report noted VC casualties as “four killed, three wounded, and 13 youths
captured”. On “Morale”, the report related: “Guerrillas were afraid of the enemy armored vehicles and
aircraft and dared not to fight. Cadre failed to motivate the population and the guerrillas to overcome their
fear of enemy war equipment.” – CDEC Log 08-1664-66. 117 C-123 Provider sorties were flown into the
“Binh Ba South” airstrip during Operation Abilene. The US 1 st Infantry Division After Action Report listed
the strength of D445/860 Battalion as 500. See: 1 st Infantry Division, Combat Operations After Action
Report – Operation Abilene at: http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/387599.pdf .
204
Translator’s Note: Phan Văn Như (aka Tư Như) was formally appointed Company Commander of the 4 th
Combat Support Company by the Bà Rịa Province Unit on 9 December 1965 – CDEC Log 09-1830-66,
Item 7. He is also noted as the Company’s inaugural commander – see footnote 163. The local Party history
relates this action, noting that Đỗ Văn Chương was also involved. - Trần Văn Khánh (et al/đtg), Lịch sử
Đảng bộ tỉnh Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu (1930 - 1975) (The History of the Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Party Chapter),
Chapter V, 2000. Hoàng Văn Lý of the 4th Company was awarded a Certificate of Commendation by the
Bà Rịa Province Unit for his role in the attack on Bà Lang. – CDEC Log 09-1830-66, Item 10.
205
Translator’s Note: The Vietnamese-language term used is: “ứng dụng” – improvised, opportune, or
quick-reaction fire.
206
Translator’s Note: During Operation Abilene – see the preceding footnotes 199 and 203, on 8 April the
1st Division artillery forward command post “received ten rounds of mortar fire between 0406 and 0410
with negative casualties or damage.” “During the night 7-8 April, the ((2nd)) Brigade base received 24
rounds of 81mm mortar fire with insignificant damage or casualties. Counter-battery radar was unable to
detect the location of the enemy mortars.”
207
Translator’s Note: Letters of Appreciation were awarded by the Bà Rịa Province Unit to soldiers of the
1st, 2nd and 4th Companies of 445 Battalion for action in counter-sweep operations in the Đồng Ngọc
Khải/Xuân Sơn area of Châu Đức District in the period 1-8 April 1966 – see CDEC Log 09-1830-66, Items
9 and 15; CDEC Log 12-2405-66, Items 8 and 10; CDEC Log 09-1863-66, Items 8 and 10.
208
Translator’s Note: Most often, the Vietnamese-language 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 (1 ATF) changed the terminology for such “search and destroy” operations to “reconnaissance
in force” – 1 ATF, 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 the jungle and destruction of property.” – Doughty, R.A., The
Evolution of US Tactical Doctrine, Leavenworth Papers, Fort Leavenworth - Kansas, August 1979. General
Westmoreland also stated that “search and destroy” – a term that he had introduced in 1964, had become
“tainted and unsavory” and was “discontinued” and replaced by “traditional mission statements” – for
“Definitions”, see VCAT Item No.F015800080078; and PERINTREP at VCAT Item No.2130906001.
209
Translator’s Note: The text uses the term “biệt kích” – a term used by the communist forces for enemy
commando/special forces-type troops, see footnote 42: eg CIDG/Mike Force elements, the 1 ATF Special

60
revolutionary movement, the Battalion swiftly concentrated and deployed to Đất Đỏ and
coordinated with Long Đất District’s C.25 troops and the guerrillas of Phước Thạnh
village (who were to have a forward blocking role) to strike the enemy at Bà Kỳ Slope on
Route 2 [sic] (Đất Đỏ).210
We determined that the routine activities of the “Panther Skin” commandos
comprised sweeping operations or raids into the base areas of the villages and the Đất Đỏ
District area – and, whenever sniped at by guerrillas or their operations were blocked, the
commandos would concentrate their forces to surround their opponents, or pursue and
wipe them out. So, the Battalion developed a plan to ambush and wipe out this enemy.
The ambush site was set about two kilometres north-east of the Đất Đỏ Sub-Sector
and was configured in accord with our tactic of a “mobile ambush” – surrounding the
enemy and “closing the bag” (as it was called by our 445 Battalion troops). This was also
the Battalion’s forté tactic. We deployed three companies to surround the enemy in their
Thầy Ba combat base, while our 3rd Company – as a deception tactic, fired mortars into
the Sub-Sector in order to lure the enemy out from the defences of their Thầy Ba base to
come to the rescue of the Sub-Sector. Just as predicted, when Đất Đỏ was attacked, the
enemy hastily organised a relief mission. As soon as they came out of the gates, they were
immediately engaged by 445 Battalion’s two pincers. We used suppressive fire
techniques and bravely closed with the enemy. The enemy entered the killing zone, and
the “bag was closed”. After nearly an hour of fighting, the enemy’s Panther Skin
Company was completely wiped out – including its commander, a captain. We captured
16, seized 53 weapons of various types (including three AR15s – an American weapon
only just supplied to the puppet troops). We also seized two PRC-25 radios and a large
quantity of other equipment – while our casualties were hardly noticeable.211 The victory
at the Battle of Bà Kỳ Slope evidenced a new stage in the coming-of-age of the
Battalion.212 The unit had coordinated effectively with the local armed forces to form a
Air Service squadrons, the Province Reconnaissance Unit (PRU - see footnote 352). In February 1960,
President Diệm established 75 150-man commando companies – later to become ARVN Ranger units (ie
the Biệt Động Quân). A “1st Commando Company” (“Lực Lượng Biệt Kích Nhân Dân/Liên Đội Thám Sát
Chống Khủng Bố”) was based in Hòa Long village adjacent to 1 ATF in June 1966 and also in Bình Ba
village – these elements were later incorporated into the PRU. In the engagement related above, the ARVN
“Panther Skin” unit is highly likely to have been an ARVN Ranger element – ie Biệt Động Quân. The
ARVN Ranger insignia was a snarling black panther’s head superimposed over a large yellow star.
210
Translator’s Note: The attack at Bà Kỳ Slope is related in the Đất Đỏ District History (2006) as occuring
on 26 April 1966. The account in the earlier 1991 D445 History cites the date of the attack as 24 April 1966
– see: Chamberlain, E.P., … D445: Their Story, op.cit., 2011, p.33. The Bà Kỳ slope is not on Route 2 –
rather “Route 52” is more likely.
211
Translator’s Note: The Đất Đỏ District History (2006) relates the attack on 26 April 1966 in detail and
summarizes: “The outcome was that we killed 99 commandos, seven Popular Force troops, captured 19
commandos and 16 Popular Force, seized 53 weapons (including four medium machineguns), one PRC-10
radio and two HT-1 radios, destroyed a GMC vehicle, and damaged an L-19 aircraft. Our side suffered one
killed and 18 wounded”. According to a 1 ATF report: “Ambushes occurred in Feb (1966) at the Ba Ka
[sic] Slope (Horseshoe). 10 Rangers KIA and their weapons were captured. However, an airstrike was
called in and D445 suffered 25 KIA and 5 WIA. … In Apr, the Bn ambushed a civic action team at YS
488610 north of Đất Đỏ YS 4860 killing 40 and wounding 18. VC losses were 9 KIA. 40 weapons were
captured by the VC. See: 1 ATF, Short History D445, 13-page briefing paper, Núi Đất, early 1968; and the
1 ATF Study: D445 VC Local Force Battalion (Ba Long Province), Núi Đất, 6 May 1971. The “L-19” was
a US Cessna L-19/O-1 “Bird Dog” aircraft used for reconnaissance and forward air control tasks. During
the Vietnam War, 469 L-19/O-1 aircraft were lost to all causes.
212
Translator’s Note: Letters of Appreciation were awarded by the Bà Rịa Province Unit to soldiers of the
of 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Companies of 445 Battalion for action in the Đất Đỏ/Phước Thạnh area in the period
24-26 April 1966 – see CDEC Log 09-1830-66, Items 8, 11 and 14; Log 12-2405-66, Item 9; Log 09-186366, Items 1, 2, 4, 5, 9, 11 and 14.

61
joint force combining the three types of troops, and had launched a three-pronged
attack213 on the enemy.
Prior to 445 Battalion’s battle at Bà Kỳ Slope, on 10 April 1966214, the 4th
th
((274 )) Regiment of the 5th Division joined with forces and the people of Châu Đức
District to fight a model battle and drove an American expeditionary battalion from the
battlefield that had launched a sweeping operation into the Regiment’s base area at the
Tầm Bố Stream.215 In that battle, our forces seized a large number of weapons. After the
Tầm Bố battle, the Province Committee assessed that the enemy would conduct large
sweeping operations into the Tam Long216 area in continuation of their operations to
“search for and destroy” our forces and destroy our bases in the Bà Rịa area. Accordingly,
on the day following the attack at the Bà Kỳ Slope, 445 Battalion was deployed back to
the Route 2 region (east of Long Phước) to prepare to counter the sweeping operation.
There, the Battalion fought model battles against the Americans and destroyed much of
their combat potential.
The Battalion’s battle against the Americans in the Vườn Mít (Jackfruit Gardens)
- Sông Cầu area about two kilometres from Route 2 was one of 445 Battalion’s
outstanding engagements in confronting the American expeditionary forces.217 On 17
213
Translator’s Note: As noted earlier, three-pronged or three spearhead attacks - literally: “ba mũi giáp
công”, was a commonly-used term meaning military action, political action, and propaganda/proselytising/
agitation among enemy troops. However, in this context, it probably refers to three types of armed forces: ie
“local troops, militia, and guerrillas.”
214
Translator’s Note: As noted, the 1991 D445 History cites the engagement as occurring on 24 April 1966,
and the Đất Đỏ District History (2006) cites 26 April 1966.
215
Translator’s Note: This battle in the Tầm Bố/Tầm Bó area – on 10-11 April 1966 between US forces and
the 274th Regiment (ie 4th Regiment of the 5th VC Division) is described in greater detail in the 5 th VC
Division History (2005) - Hồ Sơn Đài – Colonel (ed), Lịch Sử Sư đòan …, op.cit., 2005; and in the Châu
Đức District History (2004) - Nguyễn Công Danh …, … Châu Đức District, op.cit., 2004. Both histories
relate the same US casualty figures (ie “drove 300 enemy from the battlefield and seized 40 weapons …
destroyed a battalion”), and correctly note the US formation as “anh cả đỏ” (“The Big Red One” – ie the
US 1st Infantry Division). For detail of the 274th Regiment’s operation at Tầm Bó (“10 kilometres southwest [sic – an error, it should be north-east] of Đức Thạnh Sub-Sector” on “11 April 1966”) - as described
in the captured notebook of the 2ic of the 274 th Regiment (Nguyễn Nam Hưng), see VCAT Item No.
F03460056029 (CDEC Log 11-1253-66 – Vietnamese text in CDEC Log 11-1259-66). The Battle of Tầm
Bố is also recounted in Hưng’s 2006 memoir: Nguyễn Nam Hưng – Major General, Một Đời Chinh Chiến
(A Life at War), Nhà Xuất bản Chính trị Quốc gia, Hà Nội, 2006: “We wiped out a whole battalion of the
US 199th Brigade and seized a large quantity of weapons and equipment”. A monument to the victory at
Tầm Bố – and the Kim Long and Chòi Đồng campaigns, was inaugurated in Xà Bang village in January
2006. As noted, the 1st US Infantry Division (and including – for a period, the Australian 1RAR Battalion)
conducted Operation Abilene in Phước Tuy and Long Khánh Provinces in the period 30 March-15 April
1966 – see the preceding footnotes 199 and 203. The Tầm Bố battle is termed by US forces as the Battle of
Cẩm Mỹ – ie: On 11 April 1966, Charlie Company/2nd Battalion of the 16th Regiment of the 1st US Infantry
Division engaged a Việt Cộng force that included “800 Battalion” ((ie 1/274th Regiment)) at GR YS
540862. Initially unsupported by other companies, the 134-strong Charlie Company suffered 48 KIA and 58
WIA. Reportedly, the bodies of 41 VC were found on the battlefield – and 100-150 VC were assessed as
having been killed or wounded in the engagement. See the US account at:
http://www.angelfire.com/ar3/charlierangers/Documents/Narative2.html . The Tầm Bố engagement is
mentioned very briefly in 1 ATF, INTSUM No.1/66, Vũng Tàu, 21 May 1966.
216
Translator’s Note: Tam Long comprised the villages of Hòa Long, Long Phước, Long Tân – ie “Tam” is
“Three” in Sino-Vietnamese.
217
Translator’s Note: This battle is also related in the Bà Rịa - Vũng Tàu Party History (2000) with the
“enemy” noted as elements of the US 173rd Airborne Brigade sweeping south from Xuân Sơn to Hòa Long
and Long Phước, see: Trần Văn Khánh (et al), Ban Chấp Hành Đảng bộ tỉnh Bà Rịa - Vũng Tàu, Lịch sử
Đảng bộ tỉnh Bà Rịa - Vũng Tàu, Tập II, 1954-1975, Nhà xuất bản Chính trị quốc gia (National Political
Publishing House), Hà Nội, 2000. In a Directive on 19 May 1966, the Bà Rịa Province Unit noted that the
US forces “from Biên Hòa” had commenced a “sweep operation” in the Province on 16 May, and on 17

62
May 1966 - when all our military cadre (from company and battalion-level) had gone to
study and prepare the battlefield, only political cadre remained at the base developing
political study material for the Battalion’s cadre and soldiers. Our reconnaissance element
discovered an American battalion moving into the base area (near the 1st Company’s
sector). Comrade Đổ Văn Chương (Ba Liên) – the Battalion Political Officer, sought an
immediate meeting with cadre of the Party’s Standing Committee, and then passed an
order for the companies to fight determinedly.
The 1st Company was the Battalion’s duty defence company – led by Trần Văn
Chiến (Sáu Chiến) with Tô Dũng as its Political officer.218 Our reconnaissance element
was ordered to lure the enemy towards the defensive positions manned by the 1st
Company. When the Americans were close – at a distance of only 50 metres, the whole
Company suddenly opened fire. Immediately in those first volleys, dozens of Americans
fell. The firepower from the 4th Company’s 57mm RCLs and 82mm mortars provided
timely support219 – raining down fire on the enemy formation. The heavy machinegun
carried by rifleman Nguyễn Văn Quang220 came into action, “firing to the left and to the
right”, and wiping out a large number of the enemy and their fire support teams. This
created the opportunity for the 2nd and 3rd Companies to assault and attack from the
flanks. Caught by surprise, the Americans had to regroup and call in artillery fire support.
From that point, the battle was waged violently with the Americans who regrouped their
forces to attack from many directions against 445 Battalion’s defences, and employed
bombs and artillery fire. The Battalion continued to resist staunchly and held its battle
positions until the end of the day. We drove hundreds of enemy from the battlefield
before withdrawing safely back to our reserve bases.
That first direct engagement with the American forces was a great victory and
further reinforced our confidence – of 445 Battalion’s cadre and soldiers in particular and
of the Bà Rịa – Long Khánh Province armed forces in general, in defeating the
Americans. Immediately after military cadre had returned from studying the engagement,
the Battalion Headquarters convened a politico-military conference and drew the
following lessons on our first defeat of the Americans: The Americans’ firepower was
May had clashed with the Provincial Battalion at Long Phước. The Châu Đức, Long Đất and Xuyên Mộc
District units were directed to interdict, respectively: Routes 15, 2 and the Bình Ba airstrip; Routes 44 and
52; and Route 23 – CDEC Log 09-2499-66. The battle is also recounted in the Châu Đức District History
(2004) - Nguyễn Công Danh …, … Châu Đức District, op.cit., 2004..
218
Translator’s Note: On 20 October 1965, the Bà Rịa Province Unit formally promoted: Trần Văn Chiến
(Sáu Chiến) from company executive officer to company commander; and Tô Dũng from platoon leader to
assistant political officer. Note however that the date on that document (Command Committee T.1 No.
602/TB) - CDEC Log 09-1876-66, was incorrectly written as 20 October 1966, instead of 1965. See CDEC
Bulletin No.1064, 21 September 1966.
219
Translator’s Note: Earlier - on 10 October 1965, 445 Battalion’s 4th (ie Support/Heavy Weapons)
Company was noted as being equipped with three 57mm recoilless rifles (RCL) with 50 rounds; two 81mm
mortars – with 28 rounds/bombs; three MG-34 machine guns – with 8,000 rounds; and 17 individual
weapons. – CDEC Log 04-1322-66.
220
Translator’s Note: Nguyễn Văn Quang (aka Quang Hùm – 1944-2000; see also footnotes 140, 228, 309,
and 613), was awarded a Certificate of Commendation by the Bà Rịa Province Unit for his exploits at
Phước Thạnh (Long Đất District) on 26 April 1966 (as a squad leader/2/3/445), and was recommended for a
“Third Class Liberation Military Feats Medal” for his exploits as a “machinegun team leader” in
engagements against ARVN forces in the period 16-24 May 1966 – CDEC Log 09-1863-66. His citation
recommendation dated 3 June 1966 noted that in an engagement on 17 May 1966, his heavy machinegun
team had killed 65 Americans, and Quang had personally killed 35 Americans - CDEC Log 09-1885-66. As
noted, Nguyễn Văn Quang was later declared a “Hero of the People’s Armed Forces” and - after training in
North Vietnam from 1968 to 1972, returned as the second-in-command/Chief of Staff of D445 Battalion in
March 1972. See also his citation dated 3 June 1966 at CDEC Log 09-1885-66.

63
very strong – including their infantry fire and that of their artillery and airpower. Their
armed helicopter – the Lẹp Fish 221, was very dangerous. The American infantry moved
slowly, and their attacking formations were not flexible. When suffering heavy casualties,
they worried about recovering the bodies and were especially afraid of close combat. If
we want to defeat the Americans, we need to be daring, exploit surprise, take the initiative
to attack, engage in close combat, and grab their belts and strike them 222 – in order to
render their firepower ineffective.
The American military launched a large sweeping operation into Long Phước
village with the aim of “scooping up” the people from the liberated regions.223 445
Battalion – reinforced with a platoon, coordinated with Châu Đức District’s 21st
Company (a belt224 unit) and the Long Phước village guerrillas to strike the enemy
continuously over three days (19, 20 and 21 May 1966).225 On the morning of the third
day, faced with the enemy’s superior numbers and firepower, the District’s armed forces,
221

Translator’s Note: The fish species “Cá Lẹp” – ie: “Lẹp Fish” (Parapelecus argenteus) was the
communist forces’ nickname for the US AH-1G Cobra helicopter, The AH-1G was equipped with
miniguns, 2.75 inch rockets, and 40mm grenade launchers.
222
Translator’s Note: “Grabbing the enemy’s belt and striking them” was an expression that exhorted
communist fighters to close tightly with the enemy in order to negate the enemy’s artillery and air support,
and was popularized by COSVN head General Nguyễn Chí Thanh in his “Nguyễn Vịnh” directive ie:“Take
them by the belt and kill them” – 17 February 1966. He reportedly borrowed the expression from General
Chu Huy Mân – “Bám/Nắm thắt lưng địch mà đánh”, Battle of Vĩnh Huy (MR5) in April 1965 – see: “Đại
tướng Chu Huy Mân: Mạnh chỉ huy, mạnh chính trị”, http://baodatviet.vn/quoc-phong/dai-tuong-chu-huyman-manh-chi-huy-manh-chinh-tri-2219633/ . See also the statement by Nguyễn Thanh Hồng – 5th VC
Division staff officer, in relation to the Battle of Long Tân – see footnote 287, and Annex E footnote 131.
223
Translator’s Note: The 5th Division History relates that on “6 May, the 1st Battalion ((of the 274th
Regiment)) combined with the 445th Battalion to drive back two battalions of the US 2nd Brigade sweeping
into the Long Phước base … The 4th ((274th)) Regiment was given the mission – together with the 445th Bà
Rịa Battalion and local troops to counter the enemy and defend the Long Phước War Zone. From 15 May
continuously to 15 August, the Regiment coordinated with the Bà Rịa local forces in combat against the
Americans – with its 2nd and 3rd Battalions operating in the Route 2 and 15 areas, and the 1st Battalion of the
274th Regiment fighting alongside the 445th Battalion in Long Phước from 5 May until 4 June.” However,
the D445 Battalion Histories make no mention of the 274th Regiment’s involvement at Long Phước. For the
Australian official history’s account of the fighting at Long Phước, see McNeill, I., To Long Tan, op.cit.,
1993, pp.243-246 - ie the 173rd Airborne Brigade (Operation Abilene) attacked Long Phước on 17 May –
and lost 12 KIA and 35 WIA against a Việt Cộng company on the day of arrival and inflicted 16 enemy
KIA. Two days later, the clearance of Long Phước began – including participation by 3/43/10th ARVN
Division (ie later retitled 18th Division) – joined by the recently-arrived Australian 5RAR for Operation
Hardihood a few days later (24 May). Half of Long Phước village’s 3,000 inhabitants were resettled to Hòa
Long village - others to Đất Đỏ and to Long Điền. Long Phước village was reported as having been
“cleared” on 24 May 1966.
224
Translator’s Note: On 22 February 1966, the Political Section of the Bà Rịa Province Unit issued a
directive on establishing “Anti-American belts” (ie defensive zones) and the “Killing Americans
Campaign” – CDEC Log 09-1879-66. A week earlier on 15 February 1966, the Bà Rịa Province Unit
awarded 445 Battalion’s 1st Company and the Long Đất District Unit the rotating “Determined to Fight and
Defeat the Americans” flag – CDEC Log 04-1394-66. For the criteria for the award of the title “Valiant
Killer of Americans”, see the Group 84 Circular dated 5 July 1966 with the attached COSVN memorandum
dated 5 February 1966 – CDEC Log 12-1913-66. In September 1966, the Military Political Department of
the National Liberation Front promulgated a clarifying instruction on awards – by grade, for the “Valiant
Killers” program that noted American vassals (ie “chu hầu” – comprising troops from Australia, New
Zealand, the Philippines, and Korea) were included in the program – VCAT Item No.23119093001.
225
Translator’s Note: According to the Hòa Long History – ie The History of the Hòa Long Village Party
Chapter (1930 - 2005), op.cit., 25 April 2009, elements of the Châu Đức District Unit – under the command
of Nguyễn Văn Kiềm, also fought the US 173rd Airborne Brigade in the “Jackfruit Gardens at Sông Cầu”
from 18 May 1966 – “Nguyễn Văn Kiềm, the commander of the District Unit led six members of the
sapper-reconnaissance element and used six home-made DH-10 mines to kill a whole group of Americans
in six collapsed houses” at Gò Rùa (Hòa Long).

64
village guerrillas, and the people retreated down into their tunnels. The American forces
surrounded the area and sealed the tunnel entrances – and hundreds of local cadre and
villagers were trapped underground in an extremely dangerous situation.
On the night of 21 May, on the direct orders of the deputy commander of the
Province Unit, the Battalion Headquarters organised two infantry sections and a sapper
sub-section (seven comrades led by Nguyễn Văn Bỉ and Lê Văn Tranh226) that were
lightly-armed with only hand grenades, sub-machineguns, and parachute grenades.227
They were tasked to rescue the local troops and villagers trapped underground. However,
due to the darkness and the rain, the two infantry sections became lost – and only the
sapper sub-section got close to the target. When they were only a few metres from the
entrance to the tunnels, the Americans appeared and opened fire first. Three of the four
comrades in the leading element – including Comrade Lê Văn Tranh, were wounded at
once. The following element – that included Comrade Nguyễn Văn Bỉ, was able to crouch
down in time behind a tree trunk and a mound of earth, and avoided the rain of fire from
the Americans. They observed the Americans’ fire positions and the direction of their
attack – and, having determined the enemy’s positions, Comrade Bỉ gave a signal to the
other two soldiers to pass him their grenades so that he alone could launch an attack.
Comrade Bỉ threw more than 20 grenades at the enemy and wiped out all of them in their
fire positions. At the same time, the comrades in the leading element – although
wounded, heard the sound of the exploding grenades and – knowing that the rear group
was still alive and fighting the enemy, swiftly closed with the enemy and struck as a
“blossoming flower among the enemy” (a very popular sapper tactic). This daring method
of attack by the sapper group created panic among the American troops and drew them
away from their encirclement of the area of the tunnel entrances. Having inflicted many
casualties on the enemy – while withdrawing, the two sapper elements fired on the
Americans to attract their attention. On their withdrawal route, a further two of Comrade
Nguyễn Văn Bỉ’s sapper element were wounded – including Comrade Bỉ.
The effective surprise raid by 445 Battalion’s sappers destroyed an important part
of the enemy’s capability. More importantly, it had caused ferment among the enemy
ranks and created the conditions for our forces below in the tunnels to burst out through
the entrances and withdraw safely. All seven of the sappers involved in the rescue were
casualties (included two who died). That self-sacrificing engagement to free hundreds of
cadre, soldiers and villagers in the Long Phước tunnels left an impression that could never
fade in the hearts of the comrades and the people of Long Phước. At the conclusion of
that phase of operations, many comrades in the unit were awarded the title of “Valiant
Killer of Americans”.228
226

Translator’s Note: As noted in footnote 79, Lê VănTranh (Lê Tranh/Năm Tranh) was interviewed by T.
Burstall in November 1987 – see Burstall, T., A Soldier Returns, 1990, pp.141-145. He was reportedly
wounded on 15 July 1968 in the engagement at the Cây Vừng T-Junction. Lê Văn Tranh claimed to have
later been the deputy commander of 445 Battalion in 1972-1974 – see Annex B – Senior Cadre.
227
Translator’s Note: The RKG anti-armour grenade – this was a shaped-charge grenade with a stabilizing
drogue parachute that deployed from the grenade’s throwing handle once thrown - ie for a stabilized and
controlled descent onto an armoured vehicle or bunker. Sometimes referred to as a “stick grenade”.
228
Translator’s Note: Sub-units of 445 Battalion and individuals (37) were noted as being awarded “Valiant
Killers of Americans” status. For having successfully “checked the RVNAF sweep operations” in the
period 16-24 May 1966, on 14 June 1966 the Bà Rịa Province Unit sought Liberation Military Feats medals
from T.1 Region Headquarters for 445 Battalion, for its 1st and 2nd Companies, C20 and C21 Companies
(Châu Đức) and for Nguyễn Văn Quang (“machinegun cell leader”) – CDEC Log 09-1863-66. C20
Company was reported to have killed 143 Americans and wounded 50 – while suffering five wounded;
while C21 Company reportedly killed 180 Americans in the Long Phước battle (19-23 May). Separately,
the Bà Rịa Province Unit Headquarters sought medals from T1 (Military Region 1) for counter-sweep
operations in the period 16-24 May 66 (including at Long Phước) comprising a Liberation Forces Military

65
In June 1966229, the 1st Royal [sic] Australian Task Force – comprising 7,080
troops , deployed to conduct “pacification” tasks in the Bà Rịa area (of the puppet’s
Phước Tuy Province).231 Its combat headquarters was established at Núi Đất (which
encompassed the Sở Cai Tám Plantation and Bàu Lùng – Hòa Long regions). The
Australian force232 – under the direct command of Brigadier Herderson233* [sic]234
230

Feats Medal (Huân chương Chiến công) - First Class for 445 Battalion, Second Class Medals for its 1 st and
2nd Companies, and Third Class Medals for the C20 and C21 Châu Đức District Companies - see detailed
medal citations dated 3 June 1966 at CDEC Log 09-1885-66 and - for C21, at CDEC Log 09-1887-66. On
28 May 1966, a 445 Battalion bugler – Nguyễn Văn Lắm, was killed in an attack at Cầy Trường, Hội Mỹ
village – see Annex F p.15 for his death certificate (Giấy Báo Tử) and a letter of condolence.
229
Translator’s Note: As at 31 May 1966, USMACV assessed that - of Phước Tuy Province’s population of
102,500: 63.6% of the population were “secured”; 1.3% lived in hamlets that were “undergoing securing”;
23.6% in hamlets “undergoing clearing”; and 11.5% of the population were “under VC control.” –
USMACV, Monthly Report of Rural Development Progress: Population and Area Control, 17 June 1966 –
VCAT Item No.F015700010098.
230
Translator’s Note: According to Australian records - as at 30 June 1966, the strength of 1 ATF at Núi
Đất was 2,830 (168 officers and 2,662 other ranks). In Saigon, Australian military personnel numbered 397
(63 officers and 313 other ranks). At Vũng Tàu, numbers were: 1,011 (73 officers and 938 other ranks) –
plus 270 RAAF and Army Aviation personnel (43 officers and 227 other ranks). The total Australian
defence personnel in-country under the command of HQ AFV numbered 4,487 (347 officers and 4,140
other ranks (Army: 4,192; RAAF: 295) – HQ AFV Monthly Report, June 1966, 8 July 1966 – file AWM98,
R723/1/13, Vol I, Part I. A Royal Australian Navy (RAN) element – Clearance Diving Team 3 (CDT 3 –
strength 7) commanded by Lieutenant M. Shotten RAN, arrived in Saigon on 6 February 1967 and was
deployed initially to Nhà Bè and Thủ Đức before moving to Cát Lở (Vũng Tàu) in mid-February 1967.
231
Translator’s Note: As noted, the 1st Australian Task Force (1 ATF) “opened” at Vũng Tàu on 20 May
1966. Following Operation Hardihood to secure the area, 5RAR occupied the Núi Đất area on 2 June – with
elements of the 173rd Airborne Brigade in adjacent positions to the west across Route 2 until their departure
on 8 June. That US formation reportedly “lost 23 killed and 160 wounded in helping establish the 1 st
Australian Task Force (1 ATF)” - O’Neill, R.J., Vietnam Task: The 5th Battalion – Royal Australian
Regiment 1966/67, Cassell Australia, Melbourne, 1968, pp.48-49. See also: 173rd Airborne Brigade
(Separate), Operational Report – Lessons Learned – period 1 May – 31 July 1966, 15 October 1966.
http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/388152.pdf . Headquarters 1 ATF - commanded by Brigadier O. D.
Jackson, arrived at Núi Đất on 5 June 1966. When deploying Australian forces from Vũng Tàu to Phước
Tuy Province in May 1966, 1 ATF noted the local Việt Cộng battalion as “860 Battalion” – with “Code
Names” of “C860 Battalion” and “D445 Battalion”, and a strength of 550 – 1 ATF Intelligence Summary
(INTSUM) No.1/66, Vũng Tàu, 21 May 1966 (the intelligence information was based on the US 173 rd
Airborne Brigade, OPORD 7/66 - Operation Hardihood). That 1 ATF INTSUM did not mention Việt Cộng
district companies nor village guerrilla elements.
232
Translator’s Note: The 1991 D445 History also mentioned Headquarters Australian Force Vietnam (HQ
AAFV) under “Major General Priro’ (Parasen)”. HQ Australian Army Force Vietnam (AAFV) moved
from Trần Hoàng Quân Street on 1 December 1965 to the Free World Military Assistance Forces
(FWMAF) building at 12 Trần Quốc Toản Street (Sài Gòn). HQ Australian Force Vietnam (AFV) under
Major General K. Mackay, MBE replaced HQ AAFV on 3 May 1966. Earlier – from May 1965, the
commander of AAFV had been Brigadier O.D. Jackson. The passage in the 1991 D445 Battalion History
appears to have been borrowed from Phan Ngọc Danh ..., Đồng Nai 30 Năm …, op.cit., 1986, p.132 that
refers to a “Major General Fraser” - but “Fraser” was apparently corrupted to “Parasen” in the 1991 D445
Battalion History. Major General C.A.E. Fraser served as the commander of AFV from March 1970 to
March 1971.
233
* From March 1967, Brigadier Maidonalt [sic] took command. On 24 April 1984, Dr Brigadier
Maidonalt and his wife visited Vietnam to work with 445 Battalion war veterans at the Châu Thành District
People’s Committee. Nguyễn Văn Kiềm – a former commander of 445 Battalion, participated and provided
much additional detail on the Royal Australian Forces operating in Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu. Nguyễn Văn Kiềm
provided documents at the workshop on 24 May 2004 at the Headquarters of the Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu
Province Military Headquarters on the history of the Heroic 445 Battalion. Translator’s Notes: Brigadier
B.A. MacDonald served as the 1 ATF commander from February to November 1971 – and retired as a
Major General.
234
Translator’s Note: As noted above, the initial commander of 1 ATF from May 1966 was Brigadier O.D.
Jackson – replaced by Brigadier S.C. Graham in January 1967. Brigadier W.G. Henderson served as the 1

66
comprised two battalions (the 5th and the 6th), 13 companies of the 3rd Air Force Task
Group, and two artillery batteries. Additionally, there were support elements comprising:
three air force squadrons numbered 2, 9, and 35 with 31 aircraft of different types
commanded by Air Commodore Sterucron [sic].235 The headquarters of the Australian
Logistic Group was in Vũng Tàu under Colonel Hoostan [sic].236 An Australian naval
group was located in Vũng Tàu with 56 personnel commanded by Commander Hall. A
task group of about 100 – that specialised in counter-guerrilla warfare for the puppet
forces, was located at the Vạn Kiếp Training Centre (Bà Rịa). A New Zealand artillery
battery of 21 guns provided fire support for the Núi Đất base. This was a strong capability
– with a rapid rate of fire that was very destructive. The people came to call it: “The New
Zealand Orchestra”.237
Apart from their main base at Núi Đất, in August 1966, the Australian military
established two additional forward bases at Da Quy (Đất Đỏ)238 and Bầu Lùng (Sông
Cầu)239 on Route 2 with the equivalent of a reinforced battalion in each location (about
ATF commander from June 1970 to February 1971. Similar errors on Australian commanders and
Australian forces in Vietnam appear in the Đồng Nai History (1986); the 5th Division History (2005); the
Đất Đỏ District History (2006); and The History of the Hòa Long Village Party Chapter (2009). The Đồng
Nai History (1986), op.cit., p.132 (footnote 2) adds that the Task Force’s strength was “7,824 troops” and
was supported by 31 Australian aircraft”. The Hòa Long History (2009) adds that the Task Force occupied
Núi Đất on “29 May 1966”, and the “Royal Australian Task Force” comprised 8,080 troops with a New
Zealand artillery company of 20 “106.7mm” guns.
235
Translator’s Note: This passage is almost identical to text in the Đồng Nai History (1986) - ie Phan Ngọc
Danh ..., Đồng Nai 30 Năm …, op.cit., 1986, p.132, footnote 2. Air Commodore C.H. Spurgeon served at
HQ AFV in Sài Gòn from March 1970 to April 1971.The commander of RAAF elements in Vietnam from
mid-June 1966 was Air Commodore J. Dowling.
236
Translator’s Note: Colonel J.G. Hooton commanded the 1st Australian Logistic Support Group (1 ALSG)
at Vũng Tàu in the period November 1970 to September 1971. This error also appears in the Đồng Nai
History (1986). In 1966, the Australian Logistic Support Group (ALSG) in Vũng Tàu was commanded by
Lieutenant Colonel D. Rouse – see: McNeill, I., To Long Tan, op.cit., 1993, pp.230-233.
237
Translator’s Note: Several Vietnamese histories refer to the New Zealand artillery “orchestra” or “band”,
and it is described in a press article: Hưu Thanh (as related by H.B.), “Miền Đông Nam Bộ khói lửa” (“Fire
and Sword in the Eastern Region”), 28 August 2008. The New Zealand artillery element – ie 161st Battery
Royal New Zealand Artillery (RNZA) had earlier been attached to the US 173 rd Airborne Brigade since
June 1965. In mid-1966, it joined the Australian Task Force and was located in the 1 ATF base at Núi Đất –
not “in Bà Rịa”. Two New Zealand infantry companies were later integrated into Australian battalions – the
first arriving in April 1967. For New Zealand forces in Vietnam, see Rock, J.R., Kiwis Under Fire: The
New Zealand Armed Forces in South Vietnam c.1965-1972, University of Auckland, Auckland, November
1995.
238
Translator’s Note: Sometimes also spelt as “Gia Quy/Qui” – this feature was an ancient partiallycollapsed volcano about 8 kilometres south-east of the 1 ATF base, and was termed “The Horseshoe”, or
“Horseshoe Hill” or “the Horseshoe Feature” by the Australians. Located at YS 494620 on the northern
edge of Đất Đỏ Town, the height of its rim was about 60 metres, and the crater floor was about 550 metres
across. The Horseshoe was first permanently occupied by D Company of 5RAR on 6 March 1967.
Artillery in The Horseshoe base extended the range of 1 ATF fire support. ARVN units were also trained
by 1 ATF elements at The Horseshoe. The Horseshoe was handed over to the 302nd RF Battalion on 10 June
1971.
239
Translator’s Note: Bầu Lùng (Lùng Pool/Pond) on the Sông Cầu (Cầu River) is almost certainly in the
vicinity of the Route 2 bridge over the Sông Cầu at YS 437692 - but is not marked on maps. It is just north
of the hamlet of An Phú – which, uninhabited, was incorporated within the 1 ATF base perimeter (initially
occupied by 5RAR). There was no discrete Australian base at Bầu Lùng. Far less likely, “Bầu Lùng” could
possibly be a confused reference to “Bầu Lun” – where a US Special Forces element established a camp (B36) in January 1967 to train Vietnamese Mobile Strike Force (MSF - Mike Force) elements. That camp was
located on Route 44 west of the Long Hải Mountains – about a kilometre north of Long Hải village. The
Long Đất District History (1986) relates that, in 1970, the Australians “set up a battalion-level training
centre at Bầu Lun for the Lon Nol troops and used them for patrolling on Routes 23-44.” Australian
personnel trained Khmer Republic soldiers at the Long Hải camp from January 1972. The Đồng Nai

67
1,000 troops). Our forces and the people of Bà Rịa faced a new challenge: having to deal
directly with the American expeditionary troops and their military vassals.240
------------------Confronting the American expeditionary forces and their vassals was an especially
difficult time. The Royal Australian Task Force was a mercenary force with much
experience in counter-guerrilla warfare in Malaya. They were very skilled in ambush
tactics and in small-scale attacks and commando-type operations deep into our base area
regions241 – and on our trails and tracks that we used to traverse the jungle. If they
discovered us – whether our force was large or small, they would attack or call for
artillery or air support to fire upon and destroy us. These perfidious tricks242 of the
Australian military created many difficulties for the revolutionary forces – especially
when we had yet to gain experience of them.243
History (1986) also refers to a base at “Bàu Lùn … with more than one thousand” troops. - Phan Ngọc
Danh ..., Đồng Nai 30 Năm …, op.cit., 1986, p.132.
240
Translator’s Note: On 15 June 1966, 1 ATF commenced clearing operations from its Núi Đất base under
OPLAN 1/66 (OPS 633) “to dominate its Tactical Area of Responsibility (TAOR) … initially out to Line
ALFA.” An annex to the OPLAN noted: “During the 173 AB Brigade operation in Long Phước, elements
of D445 Battalion and local guerrillas fought tenaciously in the north-eastern section of Long Phước.” The
OPLAN included an annex on the tunnel systems discovered in Long Phước and Long Tân villages - and an
annex detailing Vietnamese Government forces in Phước Tuy Province. See file – AWM95, 1/4/3.
241
Translator’s Note: The local Party history described the “evolving” and dangerous Australian tactics –
noting that “in 10 months the Australian commandos [sic] had suddenly broken into our base areas 80
times.” Trần Văn Khánh (et al/đtg), Lịch sử Đảng bộ tỉnh Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu (1930 - 1975) (The History of
the Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Party Chapter), Chapter VII, 2000.
242
Translator’s Note: Both the 1991 D445 History and the Đồng Nai History (1986) referred to the
Australians as “Machiavellian” (ie “xảo quyệt”), and both related the Australian troops’ “raincoat/poncho,
piggy-back ruse”. The Đồng Nai History noted that, as a result, “many cadre and soldiers were wounded or
captured.” - Phan Ngọc Danh ..., Đồng Nai 30 Năm …, op.cit., 1986, p.152. The Đất Đỏ History (2006)
includes: “The Australian soldiers (most of whom were Australian aborigines) were very experienced
mercenaries having fought a counter-guerrilla war in Malaya, and were given a pilot pacification program
in Long Đất District. Different to the Americans, the Australian troops were very proficient in ambush
tactics, small-scale raids, operating dispersed in half-section and section groups, and striking deep into our
bases. They acclimatised to the weather and adapted to the tropical jungle terrain. They could cut through
the thick, thorny jungle and would hide in the swamps and marshes – lying in ambush for many days at a
time.” According to the Australian Department of Veterans’ Affairs, about 300 servicemen of Aboriginal or
Torres Strait Islander ethnicity served in the Australian forces in Vietnam during the War – email to
author/translator, 8 December 2011; and Australian War Memorial advice, 4 June 2015.
243
The 5 Division History (2005) relates: “In June 1966, the 4th ((274th)) Regiment received orders to move
to the Châu Pha-Hắt Dịch with the task of attacking the enemy and defending the supply areas of Group 84.
The 5th ((275th)) Regiment moved from Long Khánh to east of Route 2 to protect the offices of the
Divisional Headquarters and to prepare its forces to attack the Australian forces developing their base at
Núi Đất – Bà Rịa.” In June 1966, the total strength of the 274th Regiment’s battalions was 1,128 (D1/800
Bn/H12 – 411 personnel; D2/265 Bn/H14 – 401; D3/308 Bn/H16 – 316) – CDEC Log 09-1854-66. Several
months later on 20 October 1966, Australian 5RAR troops in an operation in the Núi Thị Vải mountains
recovered the notebook/diary (completed to 7 October 1966) of Nguyễn Nam Hưng – the second-incommand of the 274th Regiment - see CDEC Bulletins 1413 and 1418; CDEC Log 11-1253-66 and 111259-66 (translated text); 1 ATF, INTSUM No.142/66, Núi Đất, 21 October 66; and 1 ATF Troops
Information Sheet No.31, Núi Đất, 13-19 February 1967 (for a three-page commentary). The capture of the
diary and an outline of its contents is related in O’Neill, R.J., Vietnam Task, op.cit., pp.48-49 and pp.155156. A 71B radio was also recovered from the cave at YS 288715 – probably belonging to the 274th
Regiment’s C-20 Reconnaissance Company. According to Australian sources, the diary reportedly related
that, in the period 9-11 June 1966, the 274th Regiment had lain in wait to ambush an Australian sub-unit
expected to recover a US observation aircraft shot down in the Núi Nghệ area. Similarly - according to the
Australian Official History, the diary indicated that the 274th Regiment “had planned to ambush Australian
troops near the Núi Nghệ feature in early June 1966.” – see McNeill, I., To Long Tan, op.cit.,1993, p.249.

68
After developing their base at Núi Đất, the Australians began to launch sweeping
operations deep into our base area regions and liberated zones intending to completely
destroy our rear support areas and storehouses, and to wipe out our capabilities. At the
same time, the enemy aimed to “scoop up” the people from the liberated zones and base
areas to cut off the revolutionary forces from the people. On 30 June 1966, an Australian
battalion swept into our liberated zone to the west of Route 2, but was attacked by the
District forces in the Đồng Nghệ area ((vicinity of YS 395693 about six kilometres northeast of Hòa Long village)), and dozens of the enemy were killed and weapons seized. At
the same time, the Australian military joined with the puppets in the Long Lễ area to
conduct sweeps, to lie in wait to ambush and capture our cadre, and to terrorise anyone
suspected of being part of our revolutionary infrastructure.244
Author Paul Ham interviewed Nguyễn Nam Hưng in Vũng Tàu in mid-November 2005, but Hưng could
not “recall the loss of his diary.” – Ham, P., Vietnam – The Australian War, HarperCollinsPublishers,
Pymble, 2007, p.710.
244
The Việt Cộng infrastructure (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 that formally initiated the Phượng
Hoàng (Pheonix) program. Delayed, the program was not launched until July 1968 – see footnote 437. It
was preceded by the US ICEX program - see: MACV Directive 381-41, 9 July 1967 (VCAT Item
No.2234306060) and United States Mission in Vietnam, The Viet Cong Infrastructure, Saigon, June 1970.
In mid-1968, total VCI in South Vietnam were assessed as 98,658 – see MACORDS – Director Pheonix
Staff, Analyzing Size of the VC Infrastructure, Saigon, 22 June 1968 – VCAT Item No.F029200060426.
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. MACV and the CIA disagreed on the numbers of irregular forces until “formal
agreement” in mid-September 1967 – see CIA cable at VCAT Item No.F029200050043. Following a
MACV/CIA/DIA meeting in Saigon, in October 1967, the MACV J-2 Order of Battle Summary removed
the “political” category (39,175 in May 1967) from the MACV enemy military threat assessments 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, ‘homeguards’ 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 –
see also footnote 39. However, on 31 January 1968, a senior analyst in the office of the CIA’s Special
Assistant for Vietnamese Affairs complained of acquiescence to “MACV half-truths, distortions, and
sometimes outright falsehoods” on VC manpower figures – VCAT Item No.F029200050637. Earlier, 1
ATF records indicated that in Phước Tuy in 1969, of the estimated 635 VCI – 378 were identified by name.
- L’Epagniol, J.L. Captain, R459-5-2 - “Summary of VCI Personalities Ba Long Province”, Núi Đất, 2
April 1969 - AWM98, 257. As at 31 January 1969, MACV had 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. The “CIA v MACV” disagreement on enemy
strength figures was also reported in the media – Newsweek, 4 March 1968, p.13 – VCAT Item
No.F029200050768. 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.
In late 1970, 1 ATF reported that the infrastructure remained “the key to the situation”, and its strength in
Phước Tuy was assessed as: “some 1,500 to 1,800 members scattered throughout the villages … elusive and
difficult to isolate.” - Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, pp.476-477.
Subsequently, the MACV Summary of VCI Activities: Report 10-71 cited 658 VCI in Phước Tuy at 15
August 1971; and Report 3-72 dated 9 June 1972 reported 63,295 VCI country-wide as at 15 November
1971 - VCAT Item No.F015800190914. That Summary included 830 VCI in Phước Tuy Province. See also
Training Information Letter 14/70, “Background paper to MR7” – that includes Vũng Tàu and Bà Long HQ
in its VCI total of 635. In 1971, 17,690 VCI were reportedly neutralised countrywide (7,057 killed). For
Phước Tuy Province – see also 1 ATF’s anti-VCI “Acorn operations”, in Ekins, A. with McNeill, I.,
Fighting to the Finish, Allen & Unwin/Australian War Memorial, Crows Nest, 2012, pp.35-39; and in
Palazzo, A., Australian Military Operations in Vietnam, Australian Army Campaigns Series – 3, Second

69
In the middle of 1966, Comrade Bùi Quang Chánh (Sáu Chánh)245 – the Battalion
Commander, and Comrade Đổ Văn Chương (Ba Liên)246 – the Battalion Political Officer,
were posted to appointments at the Province Unit. Comrade Võ/Vũ Quốc Chánh (Tư
Chánh) was appointed Battalion Commander247, and Comrade Nguyễn Minh Ninh
became the Political Officer248 – with Comrade Lương Thế Tình249 as the Battalion
second-in-command and Chief of Staff.
On 15 June250 1966, an Australian company launched a sweeping operation to the
east of Route 2 in the direction from our Lồ Ô base to Mả Mẹ – Mả Con251* and attacked
Edition, Army History Unit, 2009, pp.149-151. Captured or detained VCI were not classified as POWs but
were processed as civil detainees subject to Vietnamese civil law. Confirmed VCI were tried by province
security committees, whose proceedings were closed to the public, and the defendant had no right to an
attorney or to review his dossier. Security committees could release a suspect or send him to prison under
the An Trí (administrative detention) Laws or to a special court. “Hard-core” VCI were imprisoned on Côn
Sơn Island – see footnote 590. “VC Supporters” (ie VCS) were also subject to arrest and detention.
245
Translator’s Note: It is unlikely that Bùi Quang Chánh was moved to the Province Unit “in the middle of
1966”. On 8 July 1966, he signed the Battalion’s Bi-Annual Political Report – see Annex H. Đổ Văn
Chương (Ba Liên – see the following footnote), declared that Sáu Chánh (Bùi Quang Chánh) was the
“commander of D445” at the Battle of Long Tân on 18 August 1966 – as has Nguyễn Thới Bưng – the
probable commander of the 275th VC Regiment at the Battle of Long Tân. Subsequently, on 2 February
1968 - during the Tết 1968 Offensive, Bùi Quang Chánh was noted as the Commander of the Châu Đức
District Unit - leading an attack on Long Lễ Sub-Sector installations and the shelling of the Australian 1
ATF base at Núi Đất. A biography of Bùi Quang Chánh has been included in Annex A – Key Cadre.
246
Translator’s Note: As the Battalion Political Officer, Đổ Văn Chương (Đổ Văn Liên/Ba Liên) wrote
formal reports on 10 July and 9 August 1966 – see Annex H; and a Medal Submission on 10 July 1966 –
see Annex I. In a post-War interview, he also stated that he was at the Battle of Long Tân on 18 August
1966, and – in the 1991 D445 History, he is noted as the political officer during the chemical attack on the
Battalion base in the last months of 1966 (see footnote 309) – see his biography at Annex A. Also, Đổ Văn
Liên signed a Letter of Appreciation – ie as the D445 political officer, on 12 November 1966 – see the
photocopy at Annex D, p.6. Accordingly, it is highly doubtful that Đổ Văn Chương (Đổ Văn Liên/Ba Liên)
moved to the Province Unit in “the middle of 1966” as claimed in this 2004 D445 History.
247
Translator’s Note: See the preceding footnote 245 indicating that Bùi Quang Chánh probably continued
as the Battalion Commander up until late 1966. The official Australian Army history incorrectly identifies
Nguyễn Văn Kiềm as “the commander of D445” Battalion in mid-1966 – ie during Operation Hobart II in
late July 1966, see: McNeill, I., To Long Tan, op.cit.,1993, p.283. As noted, see the biographies of the
Battalion’s principal cadre at Annex A – including Võ/Vũ Quốc Chánh (Tư Chánh).
248
Translator’s Note: See the preceding footnote 246 indicating that Đổ Văn Chương (Đổ Văn Liên, Ba
Liên) continued as the Battalion’s Political Officer until at least early 1967. As noted in the 1991 D445
Battalion History, Ba Liên is recorded as the Battalion’s Political Officer at the time of the reported
chemical attack on the Battalion base in the last months of 1966 (see footnote 309); and - as noted in the
preceding footnote 246, Đổ Văn Liên signed a Letter of Appreciation – ie as the D445 political officer, on
12 November 1966 – see the photocopy at Annex D, p.6. It is probable that in very early 1968, Đổ Văn
Liên was replaced as the 445 Battalion political officer by Năm Ninh (Nguyễn Minh Ninh) – ie about 18
months later than the date claimed in this 2004 D445 History.
249
Translator’s Note: Lương Thế Tình was noted on the staff of 445 Battalion in March 1967 in relation to
financial issues – see CDEC Log 05-3474-67. In April 1968, captured documents identified the senior cadre
of 440 Battalion with Lương Thế Tình as the Battalion Commander – see CDEC Log 04-1530-69. Born in
Nam Định, Lương Văn Tình was killed in 1973 – as included in the annexed List of 440 Battalion Martyrs,
p.258, Serial 397 – see Chamberlain, E.P., … D440: Their Story, op.cit., 2013.
250
Translator’s Note: The date is incorrect – it should be July 1966, ie as in the earlier 1991 D445 History.
1 ATF records show 6RAR engaged “a VC company group at YS 509682” on 25 July 1966. The VC
elements employed bugle calls, returned fire, and withdrew. 6RAR were later shelled by mortar fire. On 26
July, 6RAR regained contact with the VC elements – up to 120-strong, and armed Chinook (CH-47)
helicopters provided fire support to 6RAR. The bodies of six VC killed by artillery fire were recovered – 1
ATF, INTSUMs No.54 and No.55, Núi Đất, 25 and 26 July 1966. The 1 ATF Commander reported: “He
((D445)) was found to be much more skillful than the local guerilla, capable of quick offensive action and
rapid manoeuvre. D445 appears to be a well trained and well led force.” – 1 ATF Commander’s Diary
Narrative (AF-C2118 – Adapted), Núi Đất, 1-31 July 1966. A report by Đổ Văn Chương/Liên (Ba Liên) –

70
the Battalion base. The Australians had an unexpected and chance encounter with a
reconnaissance element. Our 1st Company was in defensive positions at the edge of the
stream – one field away from Mả Mẹ – Mả Con, when they heard the sound of
gunfire.They immediately deployed along the edge of the jungle to respond, blocked the
enemy, and wiped out dozens of the enemy soldiers. The 2nd and 3rd Companies attacked
the enemy’s flanks and killed a further number. However, the enemy then immediately
called for artillery fire support which struck our formation and wounded a number of
comrades252 – including Comrade Tô Dũng253 – the Political Officer of the 1st Company,
who died on the way back to our base. That was our first engagement with the Australian
troops from the time that they established their base in the Bà Rịa – Long Khánh region.
The battle confirmed our ability to deploy swiftly254 and to employ appropriate tactical
formations when facing an enemy with superior fire support and experience in counterguerrilla warfare.255
the 445 Battalion Political Officer, shows the date of the engagement as “25 July 1966” – see Annex H. In
an interview in March 1989, Đổ Văn Chương/Liên claimed to have been the “commander on the ground”
and stated that 445 Battalion’s losses “had not been more than six, but one had been a company
commander” – Burstall, T., A Soldier Returns, op.cit., 1990, pp.116-117 (and connect with the following
footnote 253 on the death of Tô Dũng). For the official Australian account, see McNeill, I., To Long Tan,
op.cit.,1993, pp.280-281: “At Suối (stream) Đá Bang; Australian forces (B/6RAR) suffered two KIA; the
enemy reportedly suffered 6 KIA including possibly the commander of the 1 st Company of D445.” In
May 1971, in an historical review of 445 Battalion, the 1 ATF Intelligence Staff noted that in June 1966,
445 Battalion had been “caught in a 1 ATF counter-sweep in the Long Tân area and lost 50 KIA, 20 WIA
and 10 weapons CIA ((captured in action)).” – see the 1 ATF study: Peters, C.C.M. Major, D445 - Order of
Battle, 1 ATF Battle Intelligence Section, Núi Đất, 6 May 1971 – ie a repeat of the “50 VC KIA (BC)” cited
in an earlier 1 ATF study: Graham, N.F., D445 LF Battalion ORBAT, Núi Đất, 29 May 1970. USMACV
CICV studies of D445 were published as: D445 VC Local Force Battalion, MACJ231-6, 17 April 1970, and
11 November 1971.
251
* An area of Long Tân village, south-west of the Lồ Ồ base.
252
Translators Note: According to a 2008 medical history, “18 comrades in 445 Battalion were wounded
and evacuated to the medical detachment – including three burned by napalm bombs.” - Lê Thanh Dũng (et
al), The History of the Bà Rịa-Long Khánh Medical Services (1945-2006), op.cit., 2008.
253
Translator’s Note: “Tô Dũng” was noted earlier in this 445 Battalion History as the deputy political
officer of 440 Company in December 1964. He was formally promoted from “platoon leader to assistant
political officer” by Military Region 1/Bà Rịa Province Unit on 20 October 1965 – CDEC Log 09-1876-66.
However earlier in the 1991 445 Battalion History, Tô Dũng is shown in May 1965 as the 1st Company
political officer. He was also noted in a captured document conducting a motivational campaign as the 1 st
Company’s political officer in December 1965 - that included a quite detailed history of the then 117-strong
1st Company (85 combatants in three platoons; 31 Party and 40 Group members) - CDEC Log 05-1293-66.
In mid-1966, a “Tô Văn Dũng” was recommended for promotion to political officer of the Battalion’s 1 st
Company – CDEC Log 12-2393-66. 1 ATF reported the recovery of the body at YS 516670 of an “officer
of D445 Battalion, possibly the commander of C1/445 Company” who had been “badly wounded … and
executed by VC troops … VC had searched the body and removed weapon” – 1 ATF, INTSUM No.55, Núi
Đất, 26 July 1966. According to a captured Military Region 1 (T.1) document, on 23 June 1966 the
“provincial battalion shelled the Đất Đỏ Sub-Sector” – Communique, 17 July 1966, CDEC Log 08-118766. A captured report by the Eastern Nam Bộ Military Region relates counter-operations in Long Đất
District in the period 9-28 June 1966 against “5,000 US troops” – including a raid by the Đất Đỏ unit into
Đất Đỏ Town on the night of 28 June, and the shelling of the Đất Đỏ Sub-Sector by the “province
battalion”. – Ba Sinh (Chief of Staff) - Military Staff, Eastern Nam Bộ Military Region, 17 July 1966. CDEC Log 08-1187-66.
254
Translator’s Note: According to a senior NVA officer who rallied in 1970: “during the Dry Season, VC
units could move approx 20 to 25 kilometers in one night. Normally, they travelled four kilometers per hour
and marched for five to five and one-half hours per night; during the Rainy Season, it took the units approx
33 percent more marching time to cover the same distance.” VCAT Item No.11271006005.
255
Translator’s Note: According to the 5th Division History (2005), see Annex K: “On 15 July, the
Australian 3rd Battalion secretly attacked the base of the 445th Battalion at Lồ Ồ stream. In this first
engagement, we lacked tactical experience against the Australians – and although the cadre and soldiers of

71
In August 1966, COSVN decided to establish Long – Bà – Biên Province by
combining the three provinces of Long Khánh, Bà Rịa, and Biên Hòa. Although the
geographical extent of this new Province was larger, these were still familiar battlefields
and consequently the thought processes256 and the tactical methods of the Battalion’s
cadre and soldiers required no major changes.
With the aim of blocking the frenzied escalation by the Australian military and
their daily increasing threat, the COSVN Military Committee reinforced the Bà Rịa –
Long Khánh region with the 5th ((275th)) Regiment257 of the 5th Division and local armed
forces in order to counter the enemy’s sweeping operations.
In the Wet Season258 of 1966, the 5th Division Headquarters and the Long – Bà –
Biên Province Unit united in developing a plan259 to attack the Australian troops in the
the 445th Battalion fought very bravely, they were unable to destroy many of the enemy. Rather, the unit
suffered heavy casualties from the enemy’s artillery firepower.” Note that the initial Australian infantry
battalions of 1 ATF were 5RAR and 6RAR - ie not 3RAR, which arrived in Vietnam in December 1967.
256
Translator’s Note: In mid-1966, the Liberation Armed Forces promulgated a requirement for a system of
“Revolutionary Military Councils” (“Hội Đồng Quân Nhân Cách Mạng”) to be managed by Party Chapters
at company-level in order to “democratise” decision-making in units and stiffen political resolve. The
Directive issued by the 5th VC Division (Vietnamese text only - undated) is at CDEC Log 09-1749-66. A
translation of the program’s main points is at CDEC Log 09-1865-66.
257
Translator’s Note: The earlier 1991 D445 History incorrectly cites the “4 th Regiment” (ie the 274th VC
Main Force Regiment) – rather than the 5th (275th Regiment), as the principal Việt Cộng formation involved
in the Battle of Long Tân. The 274th Regiment is also incorrectly cited (in lieu of the 275th Regiment) in the
history of the C.12-65 “Bình Giã Victory” Assault Youth Group – see Annex F, Long Tân Casualties,
pp.12-13. The official histories of the 5th Division (2005) and the Đồng Nai History (1986) – as well as the
major Vietnamese history of the War ie: Nguyễn Văn Minh Colonel (ed), 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 – all correctly cite the 275th Regiment (ie the 5th Regiment) as
the principal Việt Cộng formation at the Battle of Long Tân.
258
Translator’s Note: 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.
259
Translator’s Note: In its “Operational Report … for the period ending 31 July 1966”, the US II FFV had
assessed: “it appears that the 5 th VC Division has shifted its attention to the 1st ATF north of Phuoc Le ((ie
Bà Rịa Town)) … The probable location of the 274th and 275th Regiments in Phuoc Tuy Province indicates
a possible threat to the 1st ATF. … It is likely that small VC reconnaissance and intelligence groups are
maintaining surveillance of the 1st ATF while the main force regiments are awaiting a suitable opportunity
to attack. … The 274th Regiment, the 860th (LF) Battalion ((ie an aka of D445 Battalion)), and possibly the
275th Regiment may attack the 1st ATF in Phuoc Tuy Province.” - HQ II FFV, Operational Report for the
Quarterly Period ending 31 July 1966, 15 August 1966. However, the 1 ATF INTSUM No.60 of 31 July
only assessed a far lower level of possible threat ie: “Within or immediately adjacent to 1 ATF TAOR
((Tactical Area of Operational Responsibility)), the following VC forces are operating: approximately 100
guerrillas, 2 district companies, 1 provincial battalion, 1 (possible) main force battalion (possibly from 274
Regt) … 1 ATF patrols operating east and west of the Nui Dat base camp could contact up to a battalion
size force in each case.” That assessment – from 1 ATF INTSUM No.60, was repeated verbatim in: 6RAR,
Enemy – 1 ATF Area, Núi Đất, 3 August 1966 (AWM95, 7/6/ 5). Subsequently, the 1 ATF INTSUM of 9
August 1966 further lessened the threat assessed in 1 ATF’s INTSUM No.60 of 31 July 1966 by
significantly understating the enemy in, and adjoining, Phước Tuy Province ie: “Within or immediately
adjacent to 1 ATF TAOR, the following VC forces are operating: approx 100 guerrillas, 2 district
companies, 1 provincial battalion.” – ie that INTSUM No.69 omitted the earlier references in INTSUM
No.60 to: “1 (possible) main force battalion (possibly from 274 Regt)” and the final sentence from
INTSUM No.60 ie: “… 1 ATF patrols operating east and west of the Nui Dat base camp could contact up to
a battalion size force in each case.” – see: 1 ATF, INTSUM No.69, Núi Đất, 9 August 1966. Post-War, it
was asserted that, pre-Long Tân: “Intelligence reports had indicated at least two main-force enemy
regiments, the 274th and the 275th, together with the local D445 battalion, were operating in the vicinity of
the Task Force base.” - Rowe, J., Vietnam – The Australian Experience, Time-Life Books – Australia,
North Sydney, 1993, p.70. As a major, John S. Rowe had been the GSO2 (Int) at 1 ATF in mid-1966.

72
rubber plantation area of Long Tân village.260 Quite careful thought was given to the
preparation of the battlefield – including: the steps in coming to grips with the enemy, the
terrain, combat rehearsals on models, a thorough understanding by the cadre and soldiers
of their tasks, the arrangements for first-aid, and the establishment of a forward surgical
team etc. 445 Battalion261 was given the mission by the Forward Headquarters262 to strike
Translator’s Note: The 5th Division History (2005) also relates the Battle of Long Tân in some detail –
see the translated extracts at Annex K, pp.6-13. In August 1966, the Headquarters of the 5 th Division moved
three kilometres south from its base at Suối Đu Đủ (YS 780820 – in Base Area 301) to the vicinity of YS
790785. The 1991 D455 Battalion History also related planning and reconnaissance aspects ie: “Comrades
Năm Truyện ((ie: Nguyễn Thế Truyện - aka Năm Truyện and Năm Sài Gòn)), Năm Tâm ((ie: Trần Minh
Tâm – alias Sư Năm, the founding commander of the 274th Regiment)), Ba Út ((ie: Nguyễn Đức Hoạt,
Deputy Commander of the Bà Rịa Province Unit – also reportedly known as Nguyễn Văn Út)), Út Đặng
((ie: Đặng Hữu Thuấn - also known as Võ Đặng and Thiêm – Bà Rịa-Long Khánh Province Unit)) –
together with the staff elements of the two units, held many meetings to carefully consider and assess the
situation - while delegating Comrade Nguyễn Hữu Nghĩa ((ie: probably more correctly Lê Hữu Nghĩa either the commander or the 2ic of the reconnaissance company of the 275th Regiment)) - the second-incommand of the reconnaissance company of the 5 th Division, and the 445 Battalion’s reconnaissance
element to go and examine the battlefield in the Long Tân and Long Phước region of Bà Rịa. After three
days, the reconnaissance elements of the two units had completed their study of the battlefield.” For further
detail and biographic information on the cadre mentioned above, see Chamberlain, E.P., … D445: Their
Story, op.cit., 2011, footnotes 124-128 inclusive. On the afternoon of 16 August 1966, A Coy of 6RAR
killed two VC about four kilometres north-east of the 1 ATF base (YS 479693 and YS 483693) - 1 ATF,
INTSUM No.76, Núi Đất, 16 August 1966. Captured documents indicated probable elements of the 33strong Bà Rịa Town Unit (C.982) and possibly a Province intelligence element (C.187).
261
Translator’s Note: In a post-War interview, the 445 Battalion political officer – Đổ Văn Liên (Ba Liên),
stated that he and Sáu Chánh (Bùi Quang Chánh – 445 Battalion Commander) “coordinated with the 275 th
Regiment and the element of 5th Division headquarters” – Burstall, T., A Soldier Returns, op.cit., 1990,
p.117. According to the official Australian history, 1 ATF assessed the strength of 445 Battalion as 550 –
McNeill, I., To Long Tan, op.cit., 1993, p.351, p.559 (endnote 114). Dr Ian McNeill has apparently cited
the 1 ATF estimate as at late May 1966 – see footnote 231. However, 445 Battalion’s strength was probably
no more than about 380 – see the “social data” on the Battalion’s personnel at Annex G and extracts of the
recovered 445 Battalion Command and Political Reports of July and August 1966 at Annex H.
262
Translator’s Note: Trần Minh Tâm is noted in a major Vietnamese account of the War as leading the 5th
Division elements at Long Tân – ie Nguyễn Văn Minh Colonel (ed), Lịch sử Kháng chiến …, Tập 4 (Vol
4), op.cit., 1999 – see footnote 283. He is also noted as the commander in the account in the 5th VC
Division History (2005) - see footnotes 292 and 302; and Annex K. However, Trần Minh Tâm is not
mentioned as the senior 5th Division Headquarters representative during the Battle by Nguyễn Thanh Hồng
(born 1932, Hội Mỹ - aka Hai Hồng) – a 5th Division operations officer, who has strongly implied that he ie Hồng, played the premier 5th Division role at the Battle – eg: claiming that “it was left to him to plan the
attack” at Long Tân and that he was the on-site commander throughout from Phước Hưng hamlet.
NguyễnThanh Hồng also stated that he chose a tactic for the Battle that he described as “the luring of the
tiger from the mountain” (see footnote 270) – as related in T. Burstall’s interview with Nguyễn Thanh Hồng
in Biên Hòa City on 10 November 1987 – pp.99-112 in Burstall, T., A Soldier Returns …, op.cit., 1990.
According to Nguyễn Thanh Hồng, during the Battle, the headquarters of the 275th Regiment was on Núi
Đất 2 Hill “under the command of Senior Captain Út Thới” ((ie Nguyễn Thới Bưng))”, while he (Hồng)
commanded the forward element of the 5th Division Headquarters “in a small deserted hamlet just on the
eastern side of the Long Tân plantation called Ấp Phước Hưng” – ie about two kilometres east of the Long
Tân battlefield at YS 495670 – see footnote 274. Hồng made no mention of the presence of Trần Minh Tâm
– the Chief of Staff of the 5th Division, at the Battle – Burstall, T., A Soldier Returns …, op.cit., 1990,
pp.99-112. For a December 2001 statement in the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia citing Hồng
as the “master-mind” of the Battle, see footnote 41 in Annex K – the 5th Division History (2005). Post-War,
Nguyễn Thanh Hồng appeared in an Australian DVD/video documentary describing his role and aspects of
the Long Tân battle including his “luring the tiger” tactic - Horsefield, B. (Director/ Producer), Long Tan –
The True Story, Australian Broadcasting Commission/Film Australia, Lindfield, 1993. The combat
headquarters would appear to have been on the southern slopes of Núi Đất 2 (GR YS 485676) – a small
wooded hill about 126 metres in height, also called “Núi Thơm”. For Núi Thơm/Núi Đất 2 and Phước
Hưng, see the map at page.216. During the Battle, a Việt Cộng heavy machinegun and a medium/light
260

73
the enemy in the forward blocking position and in the rear blocking position. The 2nd
Company was tasked as the forward blocking group, and was reinforced with a B-40, a
57mm RCL, and a reconnaissance platoon from the 5th Division – all under the direct
command of Vũ Quốc Chánh (Tư Chánh) – the Battalion Commander.263 The 1st and 3rd
Companies were directly commanded by a company commander – Nguyễn Đức Thu (Sáu
Thu)264. This force265 – together with the 1st Battalion of the 5th ((275th)) Regiment266, had
the rear blocking task. The 3rd Battalion of the 5th ((275th)) Regiment was positioned to

machinegun fired on Australian troops from Núi Thơm, and “the enemy command element” was thought to
be “on the forward slopes of Nui Dat 2” – McNeill, I., To Long Tan, op.cit., 1993, p.328 and p.323.
263
Translator’s Note: In the 1991 D445 Battalion History’s account of the Battle of Long Tân, the name of
the 445 Battalion commander during the Battle is not specifically mentioned. The Australian Official
Histories cite Nguyễn Văn Kiềm (see footnote 247) as the 445 Battalion commander at the Battle – ie rather
than Bùi Quang Chánh (Sáu Chánh) – see Chamberlain, E. P., Research Note 23, “Vietnam War:
Commander of D445 Battalion at Long Tan – Not ‘Nguyễn Văn Kiềm’ but ‘Bùi Quang Chánh’ ”, 23
September 2010 (to the Australian War Memorial and the Australian Army History Unit - Canberra) - and
discussion in outline biographies at Annex A – Key Cadre. Note however that an “Australian intelligence
document” (an organisational chart) in September 1966 included “Sau Chanh” as the commander of 445
Battalion – reproduced in Burstall, T., Vietnam – The Australian Dilemma, University of Queensland Press,
St Lucia, 1993, p.94. As noted, for further detail on Bùi Quang Chánh, Vũ Quốc Chánh (Tư Chánh), and
Nguyễn Văn Kiềm (Năm Kiềm) see their biographies at Annex A.
264
Translator’s Note: Nguyễn Đức Thu (Sáu Thu) – was previously noted as commander of the 2 nd
Company at the founding of 445 Battalion. Post-War, Nguyễn ĐứcThu appeared in an Australian
television documentary and described aspects of the Battle of Long Tân - Horsefield, B. (Director/
Producer), Long Tan – The True Story, op.cit., DVD, 1993; and recently in a Vietnamese video: Võ Văn
Cầm, “Coming-of-age during combat”, 4 November 2014. See Thu’s biography at Annex A.
265
Translator’s Note: In briefings in Vietnam to the official Australian Army historian in June 1988,
Nguyễn Văn Kiềm – a commander of 445 Battalion from early 1968, claimed that 445 Battalion was the
“prime force” in the battle at Long Tân. Dr Ian McNeill noted that: “the Vietnamese did not concede ((their
troops at Long Tân)) as more than two battalions, a total of some 700-800 men … The total was 720
troops.” – see: McNeill, I., To Long Tan, op.cit., 1993, p.367. For discussion on Vietnamese sources in the
late 1980s minimizing the involvement of the 275th Regiment in the Battle - see Annex O, pp. 12-15.
266
Translator’s Note: As noted, in the 1991 D445 History, the “VC Regiment” at the Battle is incorrectly
cited as the “4th Regiment” (ie 274th Regiment). At Long Tân, the 275th Regiment was reportedly
commanded by Nguyễn Thới Bưng (also known as Út Thới – see footnotes 135, 145, 151, 245, and Annex
O including his biography at Appendix 2) with Nguyễn Văn Cúc (Ba Cúc) as the Regiment’s political
officer. The 2ic of the 274th Regiment – Nguyễn Nam Hưng, noted in his diary on 28 September 1966: “the
5th Regiment ((ie the 275th Regiment)) attacked Núi Đất … 600 Australians” were killed and “1 Australian
battalion exterminated” – CDEC Log 11-1259-66. For detail on the 274th Regiment activity at that time –
see Annex N. Hưng related that “for most of August and September, the ((274 th)) Regiment was
transporting rice.” Hưng’s statement conflicts with claims – including by Nguyễn Văn Kiềm (Commander
D445, early 1968-1969), that the 274th Regiment was tasked in mid-August 1966 to interdict any US forces
moving south on Route 2 to relieve Australian forces during the Long Tân battle – see Kiềm’s statement in
Horsefield, B. (Director/Producer), “Long Tan – The True Story”, DVD, 1993. On the 274th Regiment’s
activities, see also extracts of the 5th Division History (2005) at Annex K, footnote 34. The 275th Regiment
commander during the Battle of Long Tân - Nguyễn Thới Bưng, had his 275th Regiment headquarters
located “on the small feature of Núi Đất 2” – see the map at page 216, and he was accompanied by his
executive officer/2ic “Major Ba Du” (ie Ba Đức) - see the interviews in Burstall, T., A Soldier Returns,
Book 2, op.cit., 1990, p.100, p.102, pp.122-123, and p.206. According to the Australian official history: “In
the final evaluation, including forces held in depth, the task force assessed the enemy as 275 Main Force
Regiment of three battalions reinforced by at least one battalion from the North Vietnamese Army together
with 445 Battalion. … The total strength of 275 Regiment was 1600 … The strength of the NVA battalion
was 500 and the strength of D445 Battalion was 550.” – McNeill, I., To Long Tan, op.cit., 1993, p.351 and
p.559 (endnotes 113 and 114). A contemporary account reported that: “At least one North Vietnamese
battalion was attached to 275 Regiment for the operation.” - Townsend, C. Lieutenant Colonel, 6 RAR
After Action Report – Operation SMITHFIELD: 18-21 August 1966, Núi Đất, 7 September 1966.

74
strike the enemy in the killing zone – and our ambush site267 was about three kilometres
in length. On the night of 17 August 1966, all our combat forces268 for the battle paid
close attention to preparing the ambush site, digging positions and getting ready for
combat. The 4th Company was ordered by the Battalion to set up two 82mm mortars and a
75mm recoilless rifle (RCL) and shell the Australian military base at Núi Đất.269 The
267

Translator’s Note: Vietnamese accounts describe the engagement as a planned “ambush” (see footnotes
187, 270, 283, 296 and Annex Q). The 5th Division History (2005) - see Annex K, p.12, describes the tactic
as a “mobile ambush to destroy the Australian force – a new combat objective on the battlefield.” For
“mobile ambush”, see the earlier footnote 187 and the title of the D445 Battalion sketch map of the Battle
of Long Tân – footnote 275. Several Australian works – and the writings of Major H.A. Smith, contend
that an “encounter battle” is a more appropriate description of the engagement – see McNeill, I., To Long
Tan, op.cit., 1993, pp.362-371 (that 1993 History concludes however that: “Too much information is
missing to make a conclusive assessment of the enemy intentions and motives”). See also: Burstall, T., A
Soldier Returns, op.cit., 1990, Book 1 - p.160, Book 2 – p.99, pp.109-110, pp.122-123; Ekins, A.,
“Unravelling the riddles of Long Tan”, Wartime, Issue 55, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, July 2011,
pp.42-47; Fairhead, F., A Duty Done: A Summary of Operations by the Royal Australian Regiment in the
Vietnam War 1965-1972, Linden Park, 2014, pp.30-33. In his report – citing intelligence indications, the
Commanding Officer of 6RAR wrote that D Company “contacted 275 Regiment plus elements of D445 Bn
which was moving to attack 1 ATF base on the night 18/19 Aug 66.” - Townsend, C.M. Lieutenant
Colonel, 6 RAR After Action Report, op.cit., 7 September 1966. The 1 ATF Report similarly implied that
the Việt Cộng force intended to attack the Núi Đất base - 1st Australian Task Force - Vietnam, Combat
Operations After Action Report – Operation Smithfield, R723-1-5, December 1966. In recent publications,
Lieutenant Colonel (Retd) H. A. Smith SG, MC (the officer commanding D/6RAR at the Battle of Long
Tân) and David Sabben (a platoon commander at the Battle) have argued strongly that the Việt Cộng force
had planned a ground attack against the 1 ATF base at Núi Đất - ie rather than an “ambush” at Long Tân –
eg see Smith, H.A., Long Tan – the start of a lifelong battle, Big Sky Publishing Pty Ltd, Newport, 2015 ;
Grandin, R., The Battle of Long Tan: As Told by the Commanders to Bob Grandin, Allen & Unwin, Crows
Nest, 2004, pp.275-293; and Sabben, D., Was the Battle of Long Tan a VC ambush? : A presentation,
Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1996. The state of the 1 ATF defences at Núi Đất – including
shortfalls, is examined in Annex E, footnotes 126 and 133. For comments on “ambush or attack”, see
Annex E pp.26-27 and Annex O pp. 9-12. On 17 August – the day of the shelling of the Núi Đất base, a
soldier in the 275th Regiment was awarded a Letter of Appreciation – see Annex O, footnote 76.
268
Translator’s Note: The 1991 D445 History lists the units and elements involved in the Battle in detail –
see Annex M: The Battle of Long Tân: D445 History - 1991. The issue of NVA/VC participants is also
considered further in Annex L – The Battle of Long Tân 18/8/66 – NVA/VC Revisited; and Annex N – The
274th Regiment - Not at the Battle of Long Tân.
269
Translator’s Note: The earlier 1991 D445 History did not mention the shelling of the Australian Núi Đất
base on 17th August. However, according to Đổ Văn Liên – the 445 Battalion political officer, 445 Battalion
provided “guides for the units that mortared the Task Force” – Burstall, T., A Soldier Returns, op.cit., 1990,
p.117. The 5th Division History (2005) - see Annex K, p.9, relates: “Continuously through 16 and 17
August, the local forces and the Division’s reconnaissance cells fired mortars into Núi Đất”. The 1 ATF
Commander’s Diary for August 1966 described the impact on 17 August of “63 VC 82mm mortar bombs
and five 70mm howitzer rounds” based on “crater analysis” – Headquarters 1 ATF - Commander’s Diary,
August 1966 – see also 1 ATF, INTSUM No.77, Núi Đất, 17 August 1966 that reported the shelling “as
probably by D860 Battalion”; and McNeill, I., To Long Tan, op.cit., 1993, p.305 that related the 22-minute
shelling that began at 0243hrs on 17 August. The shelling - from the east of the 1 ATF base, comprised 6367 82mm mortar rounds (from baseplates at YS 459671), 23 75mm RCL shells (from YS 473673, YS
469668), and five 70mm howitzer rounds. At 4.10am on 17 August, Major H.A. Smith – OC D/6RAR, had
reported hearing “a gun fire three rounds towards the end of the mortar firing.”– 6RAR, Operations Log,
17 August, Sheet 1 – Serial 3, 0410hrs. An unexploded 70mm round was recovered within the Núi Đất base
– 1 ATF, INTSUM No.77, Núi Đất, 17 August 1966. The 70mm rounds were probably fired from an
obsolescent Japanese Model 92 howitzer – most likely by an element of the Z-39 Artillery Battalion of
Group 89 which had been noted in the Xuyên Mộc area in March 1966. Four weeks after the Battle of Long
Tân, 1 ATF reported the Z-39 Artillery Battalion – 400-500 strong, as located at YS 6781 (about 13
kilometres north of Xuyên Mộc Town). - 1 ATF, Intelligence Review No.1, Núi Đất, 13 September 1966.
COSVN had produced a manual for the howitzer (“Hướng Xử Dựng Bộ Binh Pháo 70mm Nhật”) which
weighed 470lb and could be broken down into three pack-loads. 1 ATF suffered 24 wounded – two
seriously. On 17 August, patrols from B Company of 6RAR found the firing site of Việt Cộng 75mm RCLs

75
Australians fell for our plan “to lure the tiger from the mountain” 270 – and early the next
morning, they mounted a sweeping operation.271
At 1500hrs on 18 August 1966272, an Australian battalion – with a squadron of
armoured vehicles273 in support, split into three columns and advanced into Long Tân
where they fell into the ambush position that had been prepared by our troops. Our
forward elements in the ambush fought bravely, effectively coordinating with one

(at YS 469668) with 23 discarded 75mm shell cases, “bits of bodies and blood-stained clothing”; and an ox
cart destroyed by the 1 ATF artillery counter-battery fire. - Mollison, C.S., Long Tân and Beyond – Alpha
Company 6 RAR in Vietnam 1966-67, Cobb’s Crossing, Woombye, 2006, pp.124-125. As noted above,
mortar base-plate positions were also found in the vicinity of YS 459671. Post-War, a Việt Cộng medic Chung, related that three of the Việt Cộng RCL party from the 275th Regiment were killed in the 1 ATF
counter-battery fire and were buried nearby. - Horsefield, B. (Director/Producer), Long Tan – The True
Story, op.cit., DVD, 1993. The detail of the shelling was later included in: Cubis R.M. Lieutenant Colonel,
1st Field Regiment (RAA) - Operational Report Number 3 (R569-1-2), Núi Đất, 14 September 1966 –
Annex B: Report of Enemy Artillery Action – Night 16/17 Aug 66; including a map overlay showing
impact areas and assessed firing points by the enemy 82mm mortars (five: 63-67 shells), RCLs (three: 23
shells), and the 70mm howitzer (five shells). Despite the failure of 1 ATF’s AN/KPQ-1 mortar locating
radars, effective suppressive counter-battery fire struck the VC firing positions in seven minutes.
270
Translator’s Note: The tactic is described in several Chinese and Vietnamese military documents ie:
“luring the tiger from the mountain” – a Chinese and Vietnamese saying (Vietnamese: Dẫn hổ/cọp khỏi núi;
Sino-Vietnamese: Điệu hổ ly sơn; Chinese: 調 虎 離 山). Post-War, several Vietnamese veterans –
including Nguyễn Văn Kiềm and Nguyễn Thanh Hồng, have explained this as the tactic for the Long Tân
Battle rather than any attack against 1 ATF’s Núi Đất base itself - McNeill, I., To Long Tan, op.cit.,1993,
pp.366-367. See also Annex R. In late 2014, an article by Military Region 7 and 5th Division veterans also
cited the “lure and ambush” tactic as “dụ hổ ly sơn”. Nguyễn Văn Bạch, “Trận Phục Kích Long Tân” (“The
Ambush Battle at Long Tân”), Cựu Chiến Binh (War Veterans) – Thành Phố Hồ Chí Minh – On-line,
Thành Phố Hồ Chí Minh (Hồ Chí Minh City), 18 December 2014 – see a full translation at Annex Q.
271
Translator’s Note: The Australian official account of the Battle of Long Tân – including discussion of
casualties, is in McNeill, I., To Long Tan , op.cit., 1993, pp.305-375. Other relevant Australian works on
Long Tân include: Smith H.A., Long Tan: the start of a lifelong struggle, op.cit., 2015 (citing “293” VC
KIA); Burstall, T., A Soldier Returns (Book 2), op.cit.,1990, pp.92-124; McAulay, L., The Battle of Long
Tan, op.cit., 1987; Grandin, R., The Battle of Long Tan …, op.cit., 2004, pp.275-293; Davies, B. with
McKay, G., Vietnam: The Complete Story of ther Australian War, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, 2012,
pp.207-250; Ham, P. Vietnam …, op.cit., 2007, pp.219-250; and Ekins, A., “Unravelling …”, op.cit., July
2011. A contemporary 1 ATF post-Battle summary account is at 1 ATF, Troops Information Sheet, No.5,
Núi Đất, 15-21 August 1966 (245 VC KIA, 3 VC PW) – together with the 1 ATF Monthly Summary
(MONEVAL) for August 1966, Núi Đất, 5 September 1966 - to II FFV (AWM95,1/4/7). The account of the
Long Tân battle as related in the 5th Division History (2005) is included in Annex K, pp.6-13; and the
account in the 1991 D445 History is at Annex M. The 2014 account by Vietnamese war veterans is at
Annex Q. The purported 2006 account by the “Chinese General” is addressed in Annex F, pp.10-11.
272
According to the official Australian account of the Battle in McNeill, I., To Long Tan, op.cit., 1993,
pp.305-375, the ground battle commenced at 4.08pm on 18 August 1966. According to the 5th Division
History (2005), the Australian force was sighted: “at 3.30pm” by “the 2 nd Battalion’s reconnaissance cell”
(of the 275th Regiment) and engaged soon after. A comprehensive contemporary Australian report of the
Battle is at: 1st Australian Task Force - Vietnam, Combat Operations After Action Report – Operation
Smithfield, R723-1-5, December 1966 (Internet-accessible, see Bibliography). According to that Report, the
first contact between the two forces was at 1540hrs (3.40pm). Maps and sketches attached to the Report
illustrate the phases of the Battle and also note the Việt Cộng shelling positions and the 1 ATF counterbattery targets.
273
Translator’s Note: “Armoured squadron”: literally – “chi đoàn xe bọc thép”. The initial Australian force
at Long Tân – ie the 108-strong D Company of 6RAR (infantry, and three artillery personnel) was not
mounted in armoured personnel carriers and was not accompanied by armoured vehicles. Australian
armoured personnel carriers (APCs - M113A1 11-tonnes) - carrying infantry reinforcements, only arrived at
Long Tân towards the end of the Battle – at approximately 1850hrs (ie 6.50pm) on 18 August 1966.

76
another. They destroyed much of the enemy’s combat power, setting fire to many
armoured vehicles, and were able to drive the enemy into our decisive killing zone.274

Map: The Mobile Ambush at Long Tân (Châu Đức – Bà Rịa) by the
5th Infantry Regiment and a Company of 445 Infantry Battalion (18 August 1966)275
274

Translator’s Note: In the 1991 D445 History, the NVA/VC participants in the Battle are listed – see
Annex M: The Battle of Long Tân; and Annex L : NVA/VC Revisited. Regarding the “killing ground”, the
1991 D445 History relates that the 3rd Battalion (of the 275th Regiment of the 5th VC Division – ie formerly
D605 NVA Battalion) had “the responsibility for the flanking thrust (the decisive point). … We reinforced
the area of the killing ground with a minefield comprising 12 DH5 and DH10 mines ((DH: Định Hướng directional mines)), and 42 American Mk1 mines.” The “decisive point” – literally “quyết chiến điểm”,
equates to “killing ground”. The 5th Division History (2005) - see Annex K, footnote 38, similarly states
that: “The 3rd Battalion was deployed about 800 metres to the north-west of Route 52 with the task of
attacking into the main killing zone at the Thất Pagoda.” For the site of the “Thất Pagoda”, see Annex O –
footnotes 65, 66 and 88. However, as noted earlier, Nguyễn Thanh Hồng (footnote 262) stated that at the
5th Division forward headquarters element in the small deserted hamlet of Phước Hưng to the east of Long
Tân, he “had there the third battalion of the 275th as a reserve element.” - Burstall, T., A Soldier Returns,
Part 2, op.cit., 1990, p.99. According to the senior NVA defector Lê Xuân Chuyển (Lieutenant Colonel ,
Chief of Staff of the 5th VC Division – see VCAT Item No.4080124002), the 3rd Battalion of the 275th
Regiment was “fairly good” because it consisted entirely of North Vietnamese who had been recalled to
active duty and infiltrated into the South. The 3rd Battalion was previously the North Vietnamese Army’s
D605th Battalion and had initially been raised as the 4th Battalion of the 32nd Regiment in Thanh Hóa on 15
April 1965 – of its 500 members, two-thirds were “Southerner regroupees” – ie “cán bộ hồi kết” (soon
joined by 200 Northern recruits). On 10 September 1965, the Battalion was redesignated D605 and began
its 2,000km/112-day infiltration on 13 September – CDEC Bulletin No.3975. D605 Battalion (commanded
by Nguyễn Văn/Định Thiệu, and with Vũ Ngọc Khuyến as its political officer) was incorporated into the
275th Regiment in May 1966 following the Regiment’s heavy casualties at the second battle of Võ Su (Bình
Tuy Province) in mid-March 1966 which had forced the amalgamation of the Regiment’s 2 nd and 3rd
Battalions to form a restructured 2nd Battalion. The Australian Official History notes that 1 ATF estimated
that the 275th Regiment “of three battalions ((had been)) reinforced by at least one battalion from the North
Vietnamese Army together with D445 Battalion.” - McNeill, I., To Long Tan, op.cit., 1993, p.351. Nguyễn
Văn Thiệu did not command the 275th Regiment’s 3rd Battalion at Long Tân as he had been killed in the
Ông Đồn engagement in March 1966 in Long Khánh Province – as related in the 5th Division History
(2005). Vũ Ngọc Khuyến or Nguyễn Văn Đức probably commanded the 3rd Battalion at the Battle – see
Annex O, p.11. A major Vietnamese history of the War incorrectly cites the “6 th Battalion of the 275th
Regiment”– ie rather than the “3rd Battalion”, and “a company of 445 Battalion” destroying a “company of
Australian soldiers” at Long Tân - Nguyễn Văn Minh Colonel (ed), Lịch sử Kháng chiến …, Tập 4 (Vol 4),
op.cit, 1999. For futher detail on the 275th Regiment, see Annex O.

77
However, due to heavy rain276 and the enemy’s superior firepower and heavy
artillery shelling277, the enemy was able to block the momentum of our attack and
inflicted many casualties and losses on us. The battle concluded at 1800hrs on that same
day. Our total number of dead and wounded in the battle was more than 100 comrades
(445 Battalion and the 5th Regiment). In particular, the 2nd Company of 445 Battalion
suffered 23 wounded and three killed. Comrade Trần Văn Chiến (Sáu Chiến) – the 1st
Company commander, was wounded in the battle.278 However, when he was taken by his
275

The Vietnamese military use “Warsaw Pact-style” map-marking symbols (with some variations) – ie not
the “Western” NATO STANAG 2019 AAP-6A map-marking symbols. Red symbols indicate VC elements,
and blue represents 1 ATF elements. “Ta” is “Us”, and “Địch” is “Enemy”. The number “5” within a
rectangular flag represents the 5th VC Regiment – ie the 275th VC Main Force Regiment - with its battalions
(1, 2, and 3) shown as triangular flags. The symbols of an arrow with two “cross-bars” represent a company
assault. The “diamond” symbol represents a medium tank. The text in the 1991 D445 History literally
referred to Australian “xe tăng” at the Battle. However, Australian tanks – ie 51-tonne Centurion tanks, did
not arrive in Vietnam until February 1968 (by August 1968, the Squadron was at full strength with 28
tanks). The Australian armoured vehicles at the Battle were M113A1 armoured personnel carriers. The
Long Tân rubber plantation – ie the Long Hiệp/Bà Điếc plantation in the “Đất Gai area”, comprised fiveyear old trees. No mortar base-plate positions are indicated on the map, and no Vietnamese communist
account mentions VC mortar fire during the Battle – although D/6RAR received heavy mortar fire (60mm
and 82mm) during the Battle beginning at 1626hrs from YS 483665. Outside the plantation area, the terrain
varied between open paddy fields and thick scrubby timber with dense bamboo thickets in places. To the
north-east of the 1 ATF base, part of the Route 2/Hòa Long village bypass road is shown on the sketch map.
However, that bypass was constructed later – ie in the period from late January to late April 1967. In the
lower right corner of the map, The Horseshoe feature – “Núi Da Qui”, is shown as being occupied by
Australian forces – but see footnote 238: ie The Horseshoe was not occupied by Australian forces until 6
March 1967. The Battle of Long Tân took place just outside the south-eastern boundary of the Việt Cộng’s
Châu Đức District – ie within the neighbouring Việt Cộng Long Đất District. See also Annex O, f.41.
276
The Australian Official History notes “the monsoon broke” at 4.08 p.m, “reducing visibility to 50
metres” – McNeill , I. To Long Tan, op.cit., 1993, p.318. The effect of the heavy monsoonal rain was also
mentioned in the 1991 D445 History – see Annex M p.9 ie: “it was difficult for our infantry and artillery to
support one another. Rain began to come down in buckets”. The 5th Division History (2005) related: “there
was very heavy rain and the forward elements encountered difficulties.” – see Annex K, f.46. See also
Annex Q, f.15. The 1 ATF After Action Report included: “Weather: The battle was fought in a heavy
monsoonal rain storm which reduced visibility to thirty metres or less during the late afternoon and early
evening.” - 1st Australian Task Force – Vietnam, Combat Operations After Action Report – Operation
Smithfield, R723-1-5, December 1966, sub-par 9.e. The D Company/6RAR commander wrote: “Visibility
was about 150 metres but fell to 100 metres when the heavy rain started about 1730hrs.” – Major H.A.
Smith, D Coy After Action Report: Operation Smithfield, Enclosure to the preceding 1 ATF After Action
Report. Second Lieutenant David Sabben – a D/6RAR platoon commander at the Battle, later described the
“mud mist” and “splash” effect of the heavy monsoonal rain that created a red mist “up to 50 cm high and
thick enough lower down to hide a person laying on the ground. The soldiers’ uniforms were also stained
red ((from the mud)) adding to the camouflage effect.” – The Battle of Long Tan (Powerpoint presentation),
The ANZAC Day Commemoration Committee of Queensland.
www.anzacday.org.au/history/vietnam/longtan.pps .
277
Translator’s Note: Artillery units in the 1 ATF base at Núi Đất comprised: the Australian 1st Field
Regiment RAA (105mm M2A1 howitzers – maximum range 10,575 metres), the 161st Battery RNZA
(105mm), and A Battery of the US 2/35th Regiment (155mm M109 medium self-propelled guns –
maximum range 14,600 metres). A total of 3,198 105mm and 242 155mm rounds were reportedly fired in
support of the Long Tân battle on 18 August 1966 – McNeill, I., To Long Tan, op.cit., 1993, p.351. In
December 2014, a Vietnamese on-line article noted that despite the heavy Australian artillery fire – which
included “naval gunfire support” … “the casualties were limited because we had prepared carefully, and
when deploying to the battlefield every soldier had carried a shovel – and on their shoulders they each were
bearing a bundle of about 10 branches (each as thick as a wrist and about a metre long) to make antishrapnel covers for their individual pits and shelters to protect against enemy artillery fire.” Nguyễn Văn
Bạch, “Trận Phục Kích Long Tân” (“The Ambush Battle at Long Tân”), op.cit., 18 December 2014 – see
the full translation at Annex Q.
278
Translator’s Note: Post-War, in June 1988, Nguyễn Văn Kiềm stated: “dead and wounded were
approximately 30, mainly from artillery fire.” - McNeill, I., To Long Tân, op.cit., 1993, p.368. For a review

78
comrades to a forward aid post, it was shelled and he suffered a further wound and
died.279 Comrade Nguyễn Đức Thu was seriously wounded (an enemy round passed
through his right ear and out through his jawbone) – but luckily he avoided being
killed.280 After nearly a day and a night of staggering back, he reached near to Đất Đỏ
where he fell unconscious. He was taken to the province hospital for treatment281, and it
took almost two months for him to recover from his wounds.282
In this first large battle with the Australian forces, 445 Battalion had inflicted
heavy casualties on the Royal Australian 6th Battalion.283 Their survivors were

of casualty claims for the Battle from a wide range of sources, see Annex F and Appendix 1 to Annex O
(including the list of “139/140” 275th Regiment personnel named as “KIA” on “18-08-1966”).
279
Translator’s Note: Trần Văn Chiến (Sáu Chiến) was appointed - from Executive Officer, to command
the 1st Company on 20 October 1965 - CDEC Log 09-1876-66. He was awarded a Certificate of
Commendation in March 1965 – see footnote 152; and a Certificate of Commendation by the Bà Rịa
Province Unit in mid-February 1966 - CDEC Log 04-1394-66, as an “outstanding emulator of 1965”CDEC Log 05-1294-66 (very unusual for such a high-ranking military cadre); and had been formally
promoted to Commander of the 1st Company on 15 February 1966 - CDEC Log 05-1294-66. Sáu Chiến’s
death at Long Tân is noted in: Trần Văn Khánh (et al/đtg), Lịch sử Đảng … (The History of the Party in Bà
Rịa-Vũng Tàu), op.cit., 2000, Chapter V, footnote 34. For his death at Long Tân, see footnote 644.
280
Translator’s Note: Post-War, in an Australian television documentary, Nguyễn Đức Thu (Sáu Thu)
spoke on the Long Tân battle and displayed his head wound - Horsefield, B. (Director/Producer), Long Tan
– The True Story, op.cit., DVD, 1993 – see also the biographical notes on Nguyễn Đức Thu at Annex A.
281
Translator’s Note: Some Australian accounts relate that the NVA/VC forces withdrew to the Mây Tào
Mountains. However, following an interview on 18 March 1989 in Biên Hòa with Đổ Văn Liên (Ba Liên) –
the 445 Battalion political officer, Terry Burstall wrote that after the battle: “Ba Lien’s part of the D445
went to the area of the Song Rai [sic] forest and moved around the area telling the people all about the big
battle in the rubber plantations. They did not go anywhere near the Nui May Taos [sic]” – Burstall, T., A
Soldier Returns, op.cit., 1990, p.117. After the battle, the 275th Regiment elements reportedly “moved back
to the Lá Jungle base camp” (ie the Rừng Lá – vicinity YT 7610 in Xuân Lộc District of Long Khánh
Province). “The Regiment remained in camp for a week after which the entire Regiment – minus the 1st
Battalion, moved to Bình Thuận Province … in search of rice … and returned to the Lá Jungle base camp in
early November 1966.” – NVA Captain Trần Văn Tiếng - CMIC No.2550, VCAT Item No.2310305007,
see Annex O, The 275th Regiment.
282
Translator’s Note: These casualties are also related in Lê Thanh Dũng (et al), The History of the Bà RịaLong Khánh Medical Services (1945-2006), op.cit., 2008.
283
Translator’s Note: For Vietnamese reports of Australian casualties – see also Annex F, pp.15-18. As
noted, in his 53-page diary (to 7 October 1966 - recovered by Australian forces on 20 October 1966),
Nguyễn Nam Hưng (2ic of the 274th Regiment) related that: “the 5th Regiment attacked at Núi Đất” and
“600 Australians” were killed and “1 Australian Battalion” was “exterminated” – CDEC Log 11-1259-66.
The Đồng Nai History (1986) relates: “As planned, on 19 August 445 Battalion ambushed (“phục kích”) the
Australian group at Vườn Xoài. Their 3rd [sic] Battalion advanced with tank support from Núi Đất and fell
into our ambush. 275 and 445 manoeuvred to decisively strike the enemy. Our troops killed 500 Australians
and destroyed 21 tanks.” - Phan Ngọc Danh ..., Đồng Nai 30 Năm …, op.cit., 1986, p.132. A recent article
on the 5th Division Veterans’ Association website relates that: “The 3rd Royal Australian Battalion came out
to break our blockade just as we had intended. … The 5 th Regiment and 445 Battalion inflicted heavy
losses on the Australian battalion.” - Major General Nguyễn Hồng Phúc, Truyền thống chiến đấu của Sư
đoàn BB5 Anh hùng (The Combat History of the Heroic 5th Infantry Division), 12 May 2013. The Battle in
the “Long Hiệp/Bà Điếc Plantation” is not described in detail in the local Party History. However, it relates
that: D445’s 4th Company shelled the Núi Đất base on “14 August”; the 275th Regiment is not mentioned at
all - only D445; in the D445 “ambush”, 6RAR was “wiped out with only about a platoon remaining”; and
6RAR had to be “helilifted to Vũng Tàu and 8RAR brought from Australia to replace it” - Trần Văn Khánh
(et al/đtg), Lịch sử Đảng …(The History of the Party in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu), op.cit., 2000, Chapter VII. A
major Vietnamese account of the War relates: “On 18 August, the troops of the 5th Regiment of the 5th
Infantry Division led by Deputy Divisional Commander Trần Minh Tâm set an ambush and attacked the
Royal Australian Battalion [sic] which was sweeping the Núi Đất-Đất Đỏ area. After 30 minutes of
fighting, the 6th [sic] Battalion (of the 5th Regiment) – supported by a company of the 445th Battalion (Bà
Rịa Province Unit) destroyed a company of Australian soldiers. As a result, this Australian mercenary force

79
helicoptered back to their rear base at Vũng Tàu – and after which they were taken back
to Australia, and the Royal Australian 8th Battalion replaced them.284* 445 Battalion was
awarded the Military Feats Medal 3rd Class ((Huân chương chiến công hạng ba)) by
COSVN Headquarters.285 As a result of this battle, the Battalion was able to draw a lot of
experience286 in fighting the Australians – we had to hang on to their belts287, counter
their on-call ((phân tuyến)) artillery fire, and create the conditions to mount counterassaults.288
We fought our battles with particular courage and resourcefulness, and the cadre
and soldiers of 445 Battalion came to haunt and panic the Royal Australian Forces.
Regarding the Battle of Long Tân – at Núi Đất on 18 August 1966, J. Pimlott289– a former
Australian [sic] soldier who had fought on the Eastern Nam Bộ battlefield, wrote the
following in a book290:
- renown for its experience in counter-guerrilla warfare, became panic-stricken and fled to Đất Đỏ.” Nguyễn Văn Minh Colonel (ed), Lịch sử Kháng chiến … , Tập 4 (Vol 4), op.cit., 1999.
284
* In March 1987, a group of Australian war veterans visited and worked with the Long Đất District
People’s Committee. Comrade Nguyễn Văn Kiềm – a former commander of 445 Battalion, participated;
and former Lieutenant Colonel Zohhn [sic] – a former commander of the Royal Australian 8th Battalion
confirmed these events. Translator’s Note: The “6th Battalion” - ie 6RAR returned to Australia at the
conclusion of its planned 12-month tour-of-duty and was replaced by 2RAR in May-June 1967. 8RAR
served in Vietnam from November 1969 to October 1970 under the command of Lieutenant Colonel K.J.
O’Neill. The identity of “former Lieutenant Colonel Zohhn [sic]” - mentioned above, is unknown.
285
Translator’s Note: This award by COSVN is also related in the earlier 1991 D445 History. Several 445
Battalion soldiers were awarded Letters of Appreciation (Giấy Khen) for their exploits when “fighting the
Australians on 18 Aug 66” at Long Tân including Đào Văn Trung – section 2ic/2nd Company - CDEC Log
12-2368-66; Trần Văn Tranh – section 2ic/2nd Company; Phạm Văn Đương - 2nd Company – CDEC Log
01-1673-69, see Annex F pp.22-23. Soldiers of the 275th Regiment also received medals, letters of
appreciation and commendation certificates for their actions in the battle at Long Tân – see Annex O.
286
Translator’s Note: 1 ATF also summarised its experience of engagements with 445 Battalion: “Enemy –
Local Force VC: Our experience continues to be that as a rule these will only stand and fight if they think
they have the friendly force outnumbered, or if they consider they are sure of victory. Main Force VC. Our
sole experience with Main Force, gained in the contact near Long Tanh [sic] on 18 Aug 66, was that they
are the complete opposite and will attack very aggressively when they make contact. On this occasion, they
made a series of mass attacks, reminiscent of the Chicom Force in Korea, in spite of heavy artillery and
automatic fire being directed at them. This contributed to their failure and to the large number of casualties
they suffered. Their aggressive but somewhat foolhardy tactics are attributed, at least in part, to the
indoctrination they received about their superiority over the enemy and the certainty of victory.” HQ 1
ATF, 1 ATF Vietnam: Lessons Learnt, Núi Đất, 10 September 1966. (AWM95, 1/4/12 Part 2).
287
Translator’s Note: For this tactic, see footnote 222. In response to a query on 10 November 1987 by
Australian author T. Burstall to the 5th VC Division staff officer present at the Battle of Long Tân - Nguyễn
Thanh Hồng, on why the VC forces engaged D/6RAR within the range of 1 ATF’s artillery, Hồng
responded: “We thought that we could ‘grab their belts’ and it would be over in a couple of hours. … He
said that at that time their policy was not to let a confrontation develop any longer than two hours.”
Burstall, T., A Soldier Returns, op.cit., 1990, p.100.
288
Translator’s Note: 1 ATF reported on 21 August that: “The 275 VC Regt, 605 Bn 250 Regt and C860 Bn
((ie D445)) withdrew east and north-east following the 18 Aug operations against 6RAR.” 1 ATF, OPS204:
Annex (Intelligence) to Frag Order 1-8-66 to Op TOLEDO, Núi Đất, 211800H Aug 66. II FFV’s Operation
Toledo attempted unsuccessfully to “trap” “remnants of the 275 th Regiment” following the Battle – II FFV,
Operational Report for Quarterly Period Ending 31 October 1966, 15 November 1966. For detail on the II
Field Force Vietnam Operation Toledo, see also the 274 th Regiment study at Annex N, footnote 26.
289
Translator’s Note: Dr John L. Pimlott (1948-1997) was an English civilian academic who served at the
British Army’s Sandhurst Military Academy from 1973. The head of the Academy’s War Studies
Department from 1994, he was a prolific author on military matters. He was killed by an exploding war
souvenir at his home on 24 October 1997. Dr Pimlott’s obituary makes no mention of him ever having
served in the military, and he is not known to have ever visited Vietnam.
290
Translator’s Note: This 2004 D445 History does not cite the title of Pimlott’s book. However, Pimlott
covers the Battle of Long Tân in detail in: Pimlott, J., Vietnam: The Decisive Battles, Michael Joseph,

80
“Early on 17 August, the Viet Cong fired mortars and recoilless rifles into the
base killing a number of soldiers and wounding 13.291 Suspecting that the enemy’s
shelling was preparatory to a large attack, General Jackson ordered B Company of 6RAR
to sweep the area to the east of the base – but they found no trace of the Viet Cong and
were ordered to return again on 18 August. To that time, the Australian forces still did
not know that there were seven battalions of Viet Cong (more that 4,000 troops)
advancing towards Núi Đất and had tightly surrounded an area of the Long Tân
plantation. D Company of 6RAR - led by Major Henry [sic] Smith and comprising108
troops divided into three platoons: 10, 11, and 12; was given the mission to continue the
sweeping operation in the Long Tân area – and fell into the Viet Cong’s killing zone.292
Although suffering casualties 293 from the Australian artillery fire support 294, the Viet
Cong remained determined to wipe out the Australian troops and so deployed 445
Battalion to move around to the west to tightly close the encirclement and fire into the
defeated Australian remnants.”
In summarising the defeat of the Australian military in the Battle of Long Tân on
18 August 1966, J. Pimlott wrote:
“Núi Đất became an arc-shaped grave mound – a tomb for the Australian Task
Force’s belligerent war in Vietnam. 17 soldiers of the Australian Task Force from D
Company’s 11 Platoon led by Lieutenant G. Sharp had been killed in the first clash, and
lay in an arc as in an exercise on a piece of ground about the size of three soccer fields
that had been devastated for a day and a night by bombs and artillery – now desolate and
quiet …”
Although there are differences in points of view and estimates on the correlation
of force numbers295, those who were directly involved in the fighting have affirmed one
fact: The Australian forces suffered a big defeat at Long Tân.296
London, 1990, pp.60-71; and Chartwell Books, Edison, 2003. There is no mention of Australian military
forces or the Battle of Long Tân in: Pimlott, J., Vietnam: The History and the Tactics, Orbis, London, 1982.
291
Translator’s Note: See footnote 269 – 24 Australian personnel were wounded in the shelling attack.
292
Translator’s Note: The 5th Division History (2005) - see Annex K, p.9, p.10, f.42, indicates that the 275th
Regiment elements were caught off-guard by the Australian advance because Trần Minh Tâm (Năm Tâm) –
who was “directly commanding the battle”, had “directed the observation element to temporarily withdraw”
… “We had committed an error in our observation of the enemy, and in arranging our formations to start to
attack from a far distance – because of this, we were unable to surround and destroy the enemy battalion.”
293
Translator’s Note: For detail and a review of casualties – including POWs, see Annex F. Only one
member of 445 Battalion was captured at the Battle of Long Tân – Lê Văn Trung (reportedly a 57mm RCL
gunner); and two members of the 275th Regiment were captured (Nguyễn Văn Thanh and Nguyễn Văn
Huy) – who declared themselves as members of “Đoàn 45” (then the principal cover designator for the
275th Regiment). Later on 19 August, 1 ATF reported that the two “Northern” POW “were members of
NVA 45 Regiment while the other was a member of D445 Battalion Local Provincial Mobile ((Unit)). The
North Vietnamese prisoners revealed that 45 Regiment formally [sic] 23 Regiment (possibly means 33
Regiment) moved into Phuoc Tuy Province in May this year and is allied to 66 Regiment. … Captured
documents revealed that D3 Battalion, D605 Battalion, and C14/D3/Q5 Regiment were in contact with
elements of 6RAR on 18 August” – 1 ATF INTSUM No.79, Núi Đất, 19 August 1966. Translator’s Note
(continues): Some published Australian accounts have misinterpreted the foregoing to indicate that
elements of a North Vietnamese formation or unit titled “45” – ie separate to the 275th VC Regiment, was
involved at Long Tân. The foregoing designators: “Đoàn 45” and “45 Regiment” both relate to the 275th
Regiment of the 5th VC Division – and “D605” and “D3” were the 3rd Battalion of the 275th Regiment. For
an outline history of the 3rd Battalion of the 275th Regiment (ie formerly D605 Battalion) see footnote 274;
and also Annex O for detail on the 275th Regiment (including a very brief account of the Long Tân battle by
the NVA POW Captain Trần Văn Tiếng).
294
Translator’s Note: See footnote 277 for Australian, New Zealand, and US artillery support.
295
Translator’s Note: The account of the Battle on the website of the Australian Department of Veterans’
Affairs notes that: “Captured documents and information from prisoners suggested that D Company had
faced some 2,500 Viet Cong.” http://vietnam-war.commemoration.gov.au/combat/battle-of-long-tan.php .

81
In September 1966, the Americans deployed their 11th Armored Cavalry Task
Force [sic]297 – with hundreds of tanks and armoured vehicles, to a base at Suối Râm, to
The official Australian history similarly relates: “The total enemy strength, if just one North Vietnamese
battalion was involved, was therefore approximately 2500 men. An estimated 1,000 from this force had
directly engaged D company”. McNeill, I., To Long Tan, op.cit., 1993, p.351. However, the account in that
Official History also refers to 1 ATF’s assessment of : “275 Main Force Regiment of three battalions
reinforced by at least one battalion from the North Vietnamese Army together with D445 Battalion.” p.351. As related earlier, at the Battle, the 275th Regiment comprised three battalions – ie with the former
D605 NVA Battalion having been incorporated as the 275th Regiment’s “3rd Battalion” a few months
earlier. Lieutenant Colonel H.A. Smith SG, MC (Retd) has written: “Headquarters tallied the reports of 245
VC bodies. We found three wounded, one VC and two from the North Vietnamese battalion reinforcing two
battalions of 275 VC Main Force Regiment. These plus D445 and D400 [sic] made around 3,000 enemy
troops.” - Smith, H., “No Time for Fear”, Wartime – Issue 35, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 2006.
Lieutenant Colonel Smith also earlier contended that “D440”, “D445”, and “860 Battalion” – were elements
of the enemy force at the Battle. - Grandin, R., The Battle of Long Tan …, op.cit., 2004, p.85. The D440
error - and an “NVA 806 [sic] Battalion”, appear in the “Harry Smith (Australian Soldier)” item in
Wikipedia. See also: Smith H.A., Long Tan: the start of a lifelong struggle, op.cit., 2015, p.126, p.169,
p.170 and p.173. A contemporary US account reported that: “two reinforced Viet Cong battalions attempted
to overrun an Australian company.” USMACV, Summary of Major Developments, 3d Quarter 1966,
Saigon, October 1966. VCAT Item No.168300010718. The US Presidential Citation awarded to D
Company/6RAR states that the Company was: “surrounded and attacked on all sides by an estimated
reinforced enemy battalion using automatic weapons, small arms, and mortars.” - Johnson, L.B. President,
The Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for Extraordinary Heroism, The White House - Washington, 28 May
1968. For discussion of D445’s strength at the Battle – see footnotes 231, 261 and 266: ie the Australian
Official History assessment of 550, and the unit’s probable strength of about 380. For a summary of
NVA/VC forces involved in the Battle, see also Annex L: The Battle of Long Tân 18/8/66 - NVA/VC
Revisited; and also Annex D: The Probable Organisation of D445 Battalion – Mid-1966.
296
Translator’s Note: This 2004 D445 account of the Battle of Long Tân is not as detailed as that of the
1991 D445 History - nor that in the 5th Division History (2005). Extracts from those two histories on the
Battle have been included at Annexes M (D445 - 1991) and K (5th VC Division - 2005) respectively.
Neither the Long Đất District History (1986) nor the main text of the Đất Đỏ District History (2006) make
any reference to the Battle of Long Tân that was fought just within the northern boundary of the VC’s Long
Đất District. However, in the 2006 Đất Đỏ District History’s annex on Long Tân village, the Battle is
mentioned: “On 18 August 1966, Regional troops (of the 5 th Division) coordinated with Province forces and
Long Tân village guerrillas to conduct an ambush on the Australian military at Long Tân, wiping out an
Australian platoon and wounding hundreds of the enemy. This battle was a very great victory that created a
stir in the Australian Parliament and among the Australian people.” The passages quoted in this 2004 D445
History as translations of writings by Dr J. Pimlott, do not appear in his books on the Vietnam War cited at
footnote 290. Rather, in his 1990 and 2003 books, Dr Pimlott concludes: “Altogether the ATF lost 17 dead
at Long Tân, VC casualties were heavy: 245 bodies were found and buried, with evidence of many more
having been dragged away. The battle of Long Tan gave the initiative to the Australians in Phuoc Tuy.
They did not waste it, forcing the VC 5th Division back into the May Tao hills and gradually extending
control over the entire province.” - Pimlott, J., Vietnam: The Decisive Battles, op.cit., 1990, p.71. For a
detailed review of casualties at the Battle, see Annex F. Some post-War discussion of the Battle – including
casualty numbers, is included in blog postings on a Vietnamese military website: Dựng nước - Giữ nước
(Build the Nation, Maintain the Nation). Almost all postings are skeptical of Australian accounts of the
Battle – see: http://www.vnmilitaryhistory.net/index.php/topic,2976.10.html .
297
Translator’s Note: The 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (11 ACR) arrived in Vietnam in September
1966 – ie after the Battle of Long Tân. Beginning on 20 October 1966, the Regiment 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 11 ACR
base was about 30 kilometres north of the 1 ATF base at Núi Đất. For detail on 11 ACR’s deployment in
1966, see Annex N: The 274th Regiment - Not at the Battle of Long Tân. The 11th Armored Cavalry
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.

82
participate in their second Dry Season strategic counter-attack. This Task Force routinely
joined with Australian and puppet forces in sweeping operations into our liberated zones
and bases in the Châu Đức region and areas east and west of Route 2.
The Province Committee promulgated a Resolution: “Focus on the Key Areas”, to
counter the schemes by the Americans and their puppets to gather the people and reestablish strategic hamlets. The tasks of the Province’s armed forces were to stick close to
and attack the enemy in order to destroy their tight control, and to support the
revolutionary movements in the less developed local regions (opposing enemy sweeps,
killing oppressors, and breaking their grip).
Throughout the Wet Season ((to November 1966)), the Battalion was unable to
organise any large battle (battalion-level) operations as we had to continuously counter
sweeping operations , and the situation was very strained and tense. Our troop numbers
had declined298 – and, while our morale was still good, our combat capabilities were
uneven. At the end of the Wet Season ((November 1966)), the Battalion Headquarters
decided to strike a painful blow against the puppet forces deep within their area of
control. The site selected was the Đồn Sập post299 ((Phước Hải)) that obstructed our
movement routes from Lộc An300 in the Đất Đỏ area to our Minh Đạm base. This was our
first attack on a Regional Forces301 post, so the Province Unit paid close attention, and
cadre came to provide direct leadership.302

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.
298
Translator’s Note: A captured document showed 445 Battalion’s strength in November 1966 as 409
comprising: Headquarters and 1st Company – 110, 2nd Company – 42, 3rd Company - 41, 4th Company - 75,
th
5 Company - 81 (CDEC 05-1754-67). The official Australian history shows the Battalion’s strength as 350
in November 1966 - McNeill, I., To Long Tan, op.cit., 1993, p.48 and p.501 (endnote 56).
299
Translator’s Note: The Đồn Sập post – at YS 515536 on the northern edge of Phước Hải village, was
occupied by elements of the 612th Regional Forces Company. A photograph of the post is at p.57.
300
Translator’s Note: Lộc An – is not “in the Đất Đỏ area”, but is located on the coast about five kilometres
north-east of Phước Hải village - see footnote 98.
301
Translator’s Note: The Vietnamese text uses the term “Bảo An” – ie the term for the Civil Guard/Civil
Defence Force (under the Ministry of Defence from December 1960 and which became the Regional Forces
in 1964). However, communist writings continued to call both the Civil Guard/Civil Defence Force and the
successor Regional Forces – “Bảo An”. At the end of 1966, there were 17 Regional Force (RF - “Địa
Phương Quân”) companies and 46 Popular Force (PF – “Nghĩa Quân”) platoons in Phước Tuy Province
(totaling 4,500 troops) – together with an understrength ARVN battalion (1/43/10 th Division – ie later
retitled 18th Division) – McNeill, I., To Long Tan, op.cit., 1993, p.403. The locations of all ARVN –
including RF and PF elements, in Phước Tuy Province as at mid-June 1966 are recorded in the 1 ATF
document: OPS 633 “ARVN, RF and PF Dispositions in Phước Tuy Sector” (see file: AWM95, 1/4/3) and
as at 30 November 1966 in 1 ATF, R92-1-2, Núi Đất, 31 December 1966 (see file: AWM95, 1/4/20, folio
40) - both files are Internet accessible.
302
Translator’s Note: The 1991 D445 History relates that “Comrade Út Đặng – the Province Unit
Commander, and many of the Province cadre staff specifically came down to the Battalion to provide
guidance.” Đặng Hữu Thuấn was also known as Út Đặng, Võ Đặng, Đặng, and Thiêm. He had infiltrated
into the South in 1961, and in 1965-1966 he served at Military Region 1/T.1 (Eastern Nam Bộ Military
Staff) as the Chief of Operations and Training with the grade of “regimental executive officer” – CDEC
Bulletin 257, Log 03-1253-66. Thuấn was transferred from T.1 to Bà Rịa on 30 June 1966 – CDEC Log 122459-66. Đặng Hữu Thuấn (Út Đặng) is noted in the 5th Division History (2005) as the commander of the
Bà Rịa Province Unit. According to that History: on “10 August 1966, the Combined Battle Headquarters –
comprising Trần Minh Tâm and Comrade Đặng Hữu Thuấn (Commander of the Bà Rịa Unit) met to
determine the fighting tactics to destroy an Australian battalion in the Long Tân region.” Út Đặng is also
later described in the 1991 D445 History at p.67, pp.75-76 as the commander of the Bà Rịa Province Unit –
apparently replacing Nguyễn Văn Mười/Nguyễn Việt Hoa (Mười Thà) in late June 1966 – see CDEC Log
12-2459-66. He was the chief of staff of Military Region 7 in January 1969 – VCAT Item No.2310510003.

83
The post was built on a small hill of white sand, with strong defences including
many bunkers with firing loop-holes, communications trenches, minefields, and barbed
wire fences up to 15 metres deep. To guarantee our success, the Battalion constructed a
sand model of the battleground, carefully rehearsed our combat plans in the Suối Rao
base, and tested our 57mm RCLs on targets. The attack was allocated to the 2nd Company
(the premier company) and a reconnaissance section of seven who were strengthened
with a 57mm RCL – all under the command of Nguyễn Đức Thụ [sic]303, the Battalion
second-in-command (who had just recovered from his wound and returned from the
hospital). The attack was launched exactly in accordance with the plan. At midnight on 20
November 1966, two groups from the 2nd Company guided by the reconnaissance element
moved to a concealed position close to the the perimeter fences of the Đồn Sập post.
After firing many 57mm RCL rounds at the principal targets in the post, the
reconnaissance element led by Comrade Nguyễn Văn Bỉ moved swiftly to a position
beside the “mother bunker” and used handgrenades to completely wipe out the enemy
manning the bunker and the loop-holes. This created the opportunity for our infantry to
assault and take control, and in only a few minutes of combat we had complete mastery of
the post. However, as we had erred by not pursuing and completely wiping them out, the
situation arose where two surviving enemy soldiers retreated into a corner of their
defensive trenches and hurled grenades at our troops while they were gathering war booty
– and 12 were wounded. These losses were very regrettable.304
From that battle, the Battalion gained experience in attacking posts and strongpoints. Our employment of fire support had further repercussions with a strong negative
impact on the morale and spirit of the puppet troops around the region. Moreover, we had
been able to destroy the encirclement and isolation of our Minh Đạm base, and to support
the local revolutionary movement in Long Đất District.
From the end of 1966305 to the beginning of 1967, American aircraft continuously
spread poisonous chemicals on our base areas in Long Đất, Xuyên Mộc306 and Châu Đức

303

Translator’s Note: As note earlier, Nguyễn Đức Thu (Sáu Thu) had been wounded at the Battle of Long
Tân – see his biography, including a late 2014 photograph, at Annex A.
304
Translator’s Note: The account of the attack in the 1991 D445 History is more detailed. A captured
document shows that 445 Battalion’s 2nd Company lost four personnel killed on 20 November 1966 - ie the
date of the attack on the Đồn Sập camp at Phước Hải. - CDEC Log 05-1754-67. At 0650hrs on 21
November, ARVN Phước Tuy Sector advised 1 ATF that VC elements had launched a small arms attack at
Phước Hải. At 1035hrs, Sector reported “15 KIA and 12 WIA” (presumably RF), but APC-borne assistance
from 1 ATF was not required – 1 ATF Operations Log, Sheets 66 and 68, 21 November 1966 (file:
AWM95, 1/4/19).
305
Translator’s Note: A major incident on the eastern outskirts of Bà Rịa Town in December 1966 is not
mentioned in the 445 Battalion Histories (1991 nor 2004) – ie on 9 December 1966, 180 ARVN recruits
were captured at the Vạn Kiếp National Training Centre’s firing range. The VC subsequently released 62
elderly and sick ARVN POWs on 9 January 1967 – see the report by the Phước Tuy Sector S-2 on 5 Feb 67
– VCAT Item No.F03460044108. See also the S-2 debriefing report of POWs at VCAT Item
No.F034600441082 and 1 ATF, INTSUM No.192, Núi Đất, 10 December 1966 (ie: ARVN casualties: 11
KIA, 26 WIA, 184 MIA; VC: 2 KIA). VC possibly “265 Bn/274 Regiment or D445 Provincial Battalion”.
According to the 5th Division History (2005), this attack on Vạn Kiếp was conducted by the 2nd Battalion of
the 274th Regiment and the “Châu Đức Company” on 18 November 1966 – resulting in 187 ARVN
captured and 71 weapons of various types seized. The 274th Regiment reportedly “organised an education
program for the prisoners and chose 80 of the soldiers who had volunteered to join the revolutionary forces.
40 were incorporated into the Bà Rịa local forces and 40 into the units of the 4th Regiment” (ie the 274th
Regiment). See also further detail in the 5th Division History (2005) at Annex K. The incident is also related
in the Châu Đức District History (2004), and in Major General (Retd) Nguyễn Nam Hưng’s 2006 memoir:
Nguyễn Nam Hưng – Major General, A Life at War, op.cit., 2006. As at 31 December 1966, the strength of
US and Free World Military Assistance (FWMAF) Forces in Vietnam was 441,190 – including: 388,568

84
Districts with the aim of completely destroying our bases and wearing down our forces.
The jungle was stripped of leaves, and water sources in the base areas were poisoned
giving rise to kidney and stomach ailments – with some personnel dying from heavy
exposure.307
The 445 Battalion base was discovered by the enemy and shelled with chemical
rounds308. 445 Battalion’s 2nd Company suffered the heaviest casualties with 42
comrades poisoned and 11 who died.309 The medical personnel of both the Battalion and
the Province Unit strove day and night to treat and save our remaining troops.
After this painful event310, the Battalion Headquarters concentrated more strongly
on Party and political work including strengthening our organisational structure311,
US troops; 4,533 Australian; 30 Republic of China; 45,605 Republic of Korea; 155 New Zealand; 2,063
Philippines; 12 Spain; 224 Thailand. The FWMAF totalled 52,622. See VCAT Item No.13370149004.
306
Translator’s Note: For “mutual self-limitation” – ie “accommodation” between communist and
government forces in Xuyên Mộc District – see: Race, J., "Mutual Self-limitation in Civil War”, Southeast
Asia, II : 2, Spring 1973, pp. 211-230. VCAT Item No.2131902016. Jeffrey Race served with a US
advisory team in Xuyên Mộc from late 1966 to early 1967. For “accommodations/local détente”, see also
footnotes 111, 410, and 448.
307
Translator’s Note: At about this time – 445 Battalion’s strength was approximately 415. A captured
finance report for “D/445” listed the strength of the Battalion’s companies in December 1966 as follows: 1 st
Company: 104 personnel; 2nd Company: 88; 3rd Company: 38; 4th Company: 73; and 5th Company: 91 =
Total 394 (ie not including a discrete figure for Battalion Headquarters and some support elements - which
may have been included in the “5th Company” figure). - CDEC Log 05-1724-67.
308
Translator’s Note: A directive from the Bà Rịa Province Unit - signed by Deputy Chief of Staff Nguyễn
Kim Trào on 9 May 1966, warned of the US use of poisonous products on the battlefield (reportedly
employed on 11 April 1966 against elements of the 274 th VC Regiment). The directive was not to be
disseminated to village militia and guerrillas fighters “lest they be confused”, but included advice on
protective measures. - CDEC Log 12-1826-66. Subsequently in October 1966, a circular advised personnel
in Châu Đức District of preventative measures and first-aid against CH and BZ chemicals – CDEC Log 102443-66. Rudimentary masks were available to VC local force and guerrilla units. In September 1966,
1,000 gas masks were landed at Hồ Tràm on the Phước Tuy coast to supply the 274th VC Regiment. See the
recovered notebook of Nguyễn Nam Hưng – the 274th Regiment 2ic at VCAT Item No.F034600560223.
309
Translator’s Note: These incidents – including a ground attack by US and Australian forces, are related
in greater detail in the 1991 D445 History – which also notes that a B-52 strike hit the Battalion’s base area
soon afterwards; and that Nguyễn Văn Quang was awarded the title of “Hero of the People’s Armed
Forces” for reportedly destroying a US tank – and other achievements. The 1991 D445 History relates that:
“Comrade Ba Liên ((Đỗ Văn Liên /Chương)) – the Battalion political officer, wept his heart out at the
enemy’s extremely wicked act.” According to the Đất Đỏ History (2006): “In March 1967, American
warships fired chemical shells into the Suối Rao base. 42 members of the 2nd Company of 445 Battalion
were poisoned, and 11 died.” The local Party History similarly relates that: “In March 1967, a US warship
fired chemical shells into the Suối Rao base poisoning 42 members of the 2nd Company of D445.” - Trần
Văn Khánh (et al/đtg), Lịch sử Đảng bộ tỉnh Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu (1930 - 1975) (The History of the Bà RịaVũng Tàu Party Chapter), Chapter VII, 2000.
310
Translator’s Note: The date of this event is unclear – it may have occurred in February 1967 and be
associated with the fighting against 1 ATF’s 6RAR (Operation Bribie, 17-18 February) east of Hội Mỹ and
probably at Lò Gốm on 17-18 February 1967. A 1 ATF report noted that - supporting an ARVN operation,
6RAR elements had assaulted a VC position following an airlanding at YS 542572 on 17 February 1967
and reportedly killed 35-50 VC, later identified as D445 Battalion personnel. – 1 ATF Troops Information
Sheet No.44, Núi Đất, 15-21 May 1967. In Operation Bribie, 6RAR suffered seven killed and 27 wounded
– and among the six VC bodies recovered on the battlefield were reportedly the officer commanding
D445’s 3rd Company – and his 2ic. In January 1968, 1 ATF reported that 445 Battalion had “not operated as
a battalion since February 1967.” - “Discussion Point: The Enemy In and Around Phuoc Tuy”, Troops
Information Sheet No.77, Núi Đất, 31 December 1967 - 6 January 1968, Section 3, p.4.
311
Translator’s Note: Within the unit - additional to the Party Chapter system, solidarity, cohesion and
control were assisted by the communist system of three-man cells within sections – and self-criticism (kiểm
thảo). The cells were intended as harmonious three-man cooperatives that fought, ate and quartered
together. For the influence of the cell system, see footnote 506. Political officers also exhorted their troops
on the basis of several codes – including: “Code of Discipline” (12 points), “Oath of Honour” (12), “Three

85
commending comrades who had performed well, and improving material living
conditions. The Battalion also initiated a series of activities312 entitled “Remember and
Respond” in order to change the deep grief into revolutionary action. As a result, after a
short time, the impetus, resolve, and the will to fight of the Battalion’s cadre and soldiers
was restored and maintained. Many of our wounded and disabled soldiers in the rear areas
– although not yet fully recovered – and along with our comrades in the Battalion’s
production units313, all enthusiastically rushed to return to the unit in order to directly
participate in the fighting.314
At the beginning of 1967315, the Australians sought all means to pacify the Long
Đất area. Their main focus in Phước Tuy was building a 11 kilometre-long concertina
barbed-wire fence from Da Quy Mountain ((The Horseshoe)) to Phước Hải with the aim
of cutting our commo-liaison routes between Province and the Districts, and isolating the
Minh Đạm base – our foothold and the location from which the revolutionary forces of
Long Đất District and Vũng Tàu City launched their attacks. This fence was destroyed for
Main Rules of Discipline and the Eight Points of Attention”, “Rule of Secrecy” (15). See also: Combined
Intelligence Centre Vietnam – US MACV, VC/NVA Political and Ideological Training, Study ST 67-054,
18 May 1967. VCAT Item No.F01590024072. In mid-1966, the Liberation Armed Forces promulgated a
system of “Revolutionary Military Councils” to be managed by Party Chapters at company-level in order to
“democratise” decision-making – CDEC Log 09-1749-66. See also footnotes 256, 635 and “The Party” at
Annex G.
312
Translator’s Note: Neither the 1991 D445 Battalion History nor this 2004 D445 Battalion History
mentions the Battalion’s reported major attack on the Regional Forces outpost near Phước Hải village on 17
February 1967 – nor the subsequent heavy fighting against Australian elements noted in the preceding
footnotes (ie 6RAR - Operation Bribie) that ensued east of Hội Mỹ and Lồ Gồm. As noted, 6RAR suffered
six killed and 27 wounded in Operation Bribie, while the “official estimate” of Việt Cộng killed was
“between 50 and 70” - see McNeill, I & Ekins, A., On the Offensive, pp.90-115. According to Nguyễn
Thanh Hồng – a 5th VC Division operations staff officer interviewed in November 1987 (see footnotes 262
and 274), the initial attack at Phước Hải in February 1967 was undertaken by 445 Battalion, but he
recounted that 5th Division elements lured Australian troops into the prepared VC defensive positions east
of Hội Mỹ. Hồng stated that – “from his recollections”, the 275th Regiment was the 5th Division formation
involved – Burstall, T., A Soldier Returns, op.cit., 1990, pp.110-111. The 5th Division History (2005) does
not mention any 5th Division participation in the engagements, nor was it mentioned in the comprehensive
POW debrief of the 3/275th Regiment political cadre, NVA Captain Trần Văn Tiếng – see Annex O.
However, the 2nd Battalion of the 275th Regiment attacked the Popular Force outpost at Lồ Gồm several
weeks later on 20/21 March 1967 – McNeill, I. & Ekins, A., On the Offensive, op.cit., pp.146-148. ,
O’Neill, R.J., Vietnam Task, op.cit., 1968, pp.236-239 and VCAT Item No.F034600701813. Accordingly,
it is most probable that 445 Battalion attacked the Phước Hải RF post on 17 February and the 2nd Battalion
of the 275th Regiment attacked Lồ Gồm on 20/21 March – with Nguyễn Thanh Hồng conflating aspects of
these engagements – which were close both in time and physical location, when he was interviewed 20
years later. Nguyễn Thanh Hồng served as the commander of the 5th Division in Cambodia in 1979-1980.
313
Translator’s Note: For an April 1967 review of 445 Battalion’s morale, base camps in the Xuyên Mộc
area, and the resupply system – including a sketch map, see the debrief of Nguyễn Văn Hách (G.4544
Province Ordnance Company). – CDEC Log 9-0038-67, VCAT Item No.F034600701360.
314
Translator’s Note: Below the level of 445 Battalion and the local district companies, the Việt Cộng
“irregulars” in Phước Tuy Province included village “guerrillas”, “self-defense forces”, and “secret selfdefense forces”. In early December 1966, the United States Sector S-2 (Intelligence) advisor in Bà Rịa
Town estimated the strengths of these elements within the Province respectively as: guerrillas – 467; selfdefense forces – 245; secret self-defense forces – 207; Total – 917. The ARVN estimates were respectively
420; 1,445; 410: Total – 2,275. The MACV Order-of-Battle estimates were 405; 575; 410: Total 1,390. See
- Estimate of Việt Cộng Irregular Forces Strength in SVN, VCAT Item No.0240612012, 24 March 1967.
The US Central Intelligence Agency and MACV disagreed significantly on irregular forces strength
estimates until late1967 – see footnotes 39, 244 and 315. See also Annex C, pp.6-7.
315
Translator’s Note: In January 1967, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) assessed communist
strength in Phước Tuy Province as: “Main/Local Force: 3,800 (5th VC Division, 275 Regt); Guerrillas
1,390 – Total 5,190.” Central Intelligence Agency, Confirmed NVA/VC Order of Battle, 3 January 1967 –
VCAT Item No. F029200031071.

86
the first time by the Long Đất militia in May 1967 before the enemy had time to emplace
mines. Immediately thereafter, the Australians strengthened the fence with steel posts and
M16-E3 mines. The new 11-kilometre fence was completed in July 1967 and was from
50 to 100 metres wide, complex, and very difficult to destroy.316 Our forces in Long Đất
had to suffer the loss of dozens of comrades before they found a way to dismantle the
mined fence called the “Fence of Death”. A combat engineer from the local Long Đất
troops – Nguyễn Hùng Mạnh, was the first to find out the way that the Australians had
booby-trapped the M16-E3 mine, and the experience was widely shared. By December
1967, the Australian minefield and fence was ineffective.317
In the 1967 Wet Season ((April-May to November)), COSVN Headquarters
directed the 5th Infantry Division to deploy the 4th ((274th)) Regiment for combat on the
Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu battlefield (Routes 2 and 15) and to coordinate with the local armed
forces to attack the enemy. At this time, after its combat losses, 445 Battalion had
concentrated and restructured its organisation, and trained its soldiers in the use of a range
of new weapons that had been provided from North Vietnam.
The Battalion paid immediate attention to reorganising and preparing all facets to
participate in a general attack. As reinforcements, 445 Battalion continued to receive a
number of recruits from the North318 – while, at the same time, the Province Committee
withdrew personnel from a number of their organisations to provide additional forces for
445 Battalion. At this time, there were a number of changes in the Battalion
Headquarters. Comrade Võ Quốc Chánh (Tư Chánh) was killed319, and we lacked a
316

Translator’s Note: In the 1991 D445 History, there was no mention of the 11 kilometre-long fence and
minefield until 1969. The Australian forces began constructing the 11 kilometre-long minefield and
associated fences in mid-March 1967 from The Horseshoe (ie Da Quy on the northern edge of Đất Đỏ
Town – see footnote 238) south to the coast at Phước Hải, with mines added in May. The Australian forces
laid 20,292 M16 “Jumping Jack” mines (lethal radius: 25 metres, dangerous out to 200 metres) – of which
12,700 (about 25%) were fitted with an anti-lifting device below the mine. The anti-lifting device – an M5
pressure release switch, was screwed into an M26 fragmentation grenade. There was a 4-5 kilometre gap in
the minefield - from the southern outskirts of Đất Đỏ south to Hội Mỹ, due to the inability to lay mines
effectively in the wet and sandy soil in the area of the Sông Bâ Đáp/Bờ Đập Stream; and a smaller gap
immediately east of the hamlet of Lò Gốm. For a detailed account of the minefield see: Lockhart, G., The
Minefield: An Australian tragedy in Vietnam, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, 2007. The minefield is also
comprehensively covered in the Australian Official History ie McNeill, I. & Ekins, A., On the Offensive,
Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, 2003, pp.127-145, p.155, p.169 and pp.183-184. The minefield is reported
extensively in the Long Đất District History (1986), and the Đất Đỏ District History (2006). According to
the Đồng Nai History (1986): “On 1 May 1967, COSVN ordered the Long Đất District Unit under Lê
Thành Ba to destroy the initial minefield and fence – and this was successful as no anti-lifting devices had
been attached to the mines. The Australians then ‘rebuilt’ the minefield.” - Phan Ngọc Danh ..., Đồng Nai
30 Năm …, op.cit., 1986, pp.137-139.
317
Translator’s Note: According to the official Australian military history: “… the minefield proved
effective for less than six months … ‘The fence’ became a hazard and a burden to the task force as the
enemy lifted the mines and redeployed them. … By early 1968 … the minefield was considered no longer
effective and had become a liability. … By 1969, mine casualties became a serious concern in the task
force, and a highly-charged political issue in Australia” - McNeill, I. & Ekins, A., On the Offensive, op.cit.,
2003, pp.183-184.
318
Translator’s Note: On the increasing number of NVA in the South, in September 1968, the US CIA
assessed: “46 of the 58 known enemy regiments are completely North Vietnamese, and nine of the 12 Viet
Cong regiments are believed to be 50% North Vietnamese.” CIA, Research Memorandum: Increasing Role
of North Vietnamese in Viet Cong Units, 17 September 1968. VCAT Item No.F029200060548. For the
dispute between USMACV and the CIA on NVA/VC strength figures see footnotes 39 and 244.
319
Translator’s Note: The death of Võ Quốc Chánh (Tư Chánh) – as “Võ Văn Khai (Tư Chánh) b.1935”, is
noted at page 301 (Serial 175) in the 2004 D445 History’s annexed “Martyrs’ List” as occurring in
September 1967. According to the Australian author, Terry Burstall – based on interviews in Vietnam in
1987 and 1989: “The second ((D445)) battalion commander was Tu Chanh, who was ambushed by the
Australians and killed by a mine (most likely a claymore) during an engagement in 1967.” It is possible that

87
Battalion Commander (Comrade Nguyễn Văn Kiềm 320 was appointed Battalion
Commander). Comrade Nguyễn Minh Ninh (Năm Ninh)321 was the Political Officer and
concurrently the Secretary of the Battalion’s Party Committee; Nguyễn Minh Khanh (Hai
Khanh) was the Deputy Political Officer322; and Comrade Nguyễn Đức Thu (Sáu Thu)323
and Comrade Lê Minh Kiên (Ba Kiên)324 were the Battalion seconds-in-command. The
Battalion still had four companies325* and five Party chapters326. Additionally, the
Battalion passed a number of core cadre to a battalion ((D440)) of Northern recruits that

Võ Quốc Chánh may have been killed in a contact with Australian troops on 13 September 1967 at YS
506826 during which a .45 calibre pistol was recovered. 1ATF, INTSUM No.256-67, Núi Đất, 13
September 1967. See Võ Quốc Chánh’s outline biography at Annex A.
320
Translator’s Note: As with the 1991 D445 History, this is the first mention of Nguyễn Văn Kiềm (Năm
Kiềm) in this 2004 D445 History. Kiềm had been the commander of the Châu Đức District Unit since early
1966 – he signed a document as the Commander of the Châu Đức District Unit on 28 January 1968 (CDEC
Log 01-1333-69), two days before 445 Battalion’s attack on Bà Rịa Town at Tết Mậu Thân in 1968. As
noted earlier, a number of published Australian works incorrectly cite Nguyễn Văn Kiềm as the D445
Battalion commander at the Battle of Long Tân on 18 August 1966 – including the Australian Official
History which describes Nguyễn Văn Kiềm as the “most important witness” among the “former enemy” on
the Battle - McNeill, I., To Long Tan, op.cit, 1993, p. 365. However, Dr Ian McNeill did note that: “There
were some ambiguities about the precise nature of Kiem’s command of D445 Battalion, though, and his
actual role in the battle at Long Tan.” - Ekins, A., “Unravelling …”, op.cit., July 2011. Subsequently, a
captured VC document has revealed that Nguyễn Văn Kiềm signed a Directive on 19 August 1966 – the
day after the Battle of Long Tân, as the Châu Đức District Unit Commander – CDEC 10-2284-66, copied at
Annex A. Kiềm also appeared in a DVD/video as the purported former on-site D445 Commander at Long
Tân describing the battle in detail - see Horsefield, B., Long Tan – The True Story, op.cit., 1993. For
biographical detail on Nguyễn Văn Kiềm and discussion of his career, see Annex A – Key Cadre.
321
Translator’s Note: Nguyễn Minh Ninh (Năm Ninh) was probably not the Battalion Political Officer at
this time. Other reports indicated that Đổ Văn Liên was still 445 Battalion’s Political Officer in February
1968 and led the VC attack on Long Điền – see footnote 354, and earlier footnotes 175, 246, 248, and 261.
322
Translator’s Note: Nguyễn Minh Khanh had been formally promoted to “Political Officer” status from
Assistant Political Officer on 20 October 1965 – see Military Region T.1, Directive 602/TB, CDEC Log 091876-66. Note however that the date on that document was incorrectly written as 20 October 1966, instead
of 1965. See CDEC Bulletin No.1064, 21 September 1966.
323
Translator’s Note: Nguyễn Đức Thu had been formally promoted to “Executive Officer” status from
platoon commander on 20 October 1965 – see Military Region T.1, Directive 602/TB, CDEC Log 09-187666. Note however that the date on that document was incorrectly written as 20 October 1966, instead of
1965. See CDEC Bulletin No.1064, 21 September 1966.
324
Translator’s Note: Lê Minh Kiên had been formally promoted to “Executive Officer” status from platoon
commander on 20 October 1965 – see Military Region T.1, Directive 602/TB, CDEC Log 09-1876-66.
Note however that the date on that document was incorrectly written as 20 October 1966, instead of 1965.
See CDEC Bulletin No.1064, 21 September 1966. Lê Minh Kiên was later killed in action on 7 June 1968 –
at the Battle of Assault Youth Hill.
325
* 1st Company: Comrade Hai Bỉ as Company Commander; Chín Phấn as Political Officer. 2nd Company:
Comrade Bốn as Company Commander; Nguyễn Văn Bảo (Sáu Bảo) as Political Officer. 3rd Company:
Comrade Quá h Văn Mười (Mười Dậm) as Company Commander; Lâm Phương (Sáu Phương) as Political
Officer. 4th Company: Comrade Tư Đức as Company Commander; Sáu Thống as Political Officer.
Translator’s Note: The foregoing appointments were also “* footnoted” in the 1991 D445 History. As in
that History, the Battalion’s 5th Company is omitted. However, the 5th Company was noted as active in 1965
(CDEC Log 04-1431-66 – commendation for Lê Văn Lơi; CDEC Log 12-2451-66 – promotion of Hồ Văn
Phong); and in 1966 (see previous footnotes 165, 184, 298 and 307). The Military Affairs Committee
Roster document (CDEC Log 12-2393-66) of mid-1966 lists promotions for nine junior personnel of the 5th
Company. In December 1966, according to a captured finance report, the 5 th Company’s strength was 91 –
CDEC Log 05-1724-67. As mentioned earlier at footnote 307, the 5 th Company appears to have
compromised the Battalion Headquarters and support elements – other than firepower support (the 4th
Company).
326
Translator’s Note: See Annexes G and H for detail on Party membership, and the Party’s organisation
and activities in 445 Battalion.

88
had just been allocated to the Province – with the title of 440 Battalion (also called the 2nd
Battalion).327
After having been reinforced - and with good training and equipment, the
Battalion fought many victorious battles against the Australians’ bases and those of the
puppet military in Long Điền, Phước Long Hội and Phước Hải, and wiped out a large
amount of their capability.
On the night of 18-19 June 1967, the 3rd Company of 445 Battalion combined
with the 4th ((274th)) Regiment of the 5th Infantry Division and the local troops of Châu
Đức District to attack an outpost of the American mechanised infantry in the flat fields at
Kim Long. We drove hundreds of enemy from the battlefield, and destroyed dozens of
tanks and military vehicles.328
In October 1967, COSVN reorganised the battlefield, establishing five SubRegions with the aim of setting up five thrust lines to attack Sài Gòn. The two districts of
Long Thành and Nhơn Trạch that were part of Long – Bà – Biên Province were
incorporated with Thủ Đức into the 1st District of Sài Gòn and became Sub-Region 4. The
remainder became Bà Rịa – Long Khánh Province. Comrade Lê Đình Nhơn (Chín Lê)329
327

Translator’s Note: In November 1967, 1 ATF at Núi Đất reported that on 22 May 1967 the Bà Biên
Province Committee had ordered 41 cadre from 445 Battalion and other local VC units to assemble on 10
June 1967 for the formation of 440 Battalion – and its first Political Officer was Nguyễn Hữu Thi, and its
first Assistant Political Officer was Trần Văn Khồi. – 1 ATF Troops Information Sheet No. 69, Núi Đất, 511 November 1967. Recent (2008) Vietnamese sources relate that: “440 Battalion’s antecedent was the 2nd
Battalion of the 9th Regiment of 340B Division, and was established on 14 September 1965.”– see Annex P
for detail. According to a local Party History, 440 Battalion was 600-strong on its arrival in the South, and
200 of its personnel were transferred to 445 Battalion. - Trần Văn Khánh (et al/đtg), Lịch sử Đảng … (The
History of the Party in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu), op.cit., 2000, Chapter VII. For D440 - see Annex P, and for a
comprehensive history of D440 Battalion, see: Chamberlain, E.P., … D440: Their Story, op.cit., 2013.
328
Translator’s Note: This engagement is not mentioned in the 1991 D445 History. The Châu Đức District
History (2004) notes that its C-41 Company and 274th Regiment elements “destroyed 16 tanks and hundreds
of enemy” in a battle at Kim Long in June 1967 - Nguyễn Công Danh …, … Châu Đức District, op.cit.,
2004. The Đồng Nai Monograph (2001) relates: “On 19 June 1967, troops of the 5 th Main Force Division
coordinated with the sappers of the Bà Rịa-Long Khánh 445 Provincial Battalion to ambush the enemy on
Route 2 and inflicted heavy casualties on an American infantry battalion and destroyed the headquarters of
the 11th Armored Regiment.”- Địa Chí Đồng Nai, op.cit., 2001. On 20 June 1967 – according to the 5th
Division History (2005), the 2nd Company of 445 Battalion was employed as a reserve element for the
attack on an ARVN force at Hê An-Kim Long (about 5 kilometres north-west of Đức Thạnh Sub-Sector) by
two battalions of the 274th Regiment. A recent media article relates that on 19 June 1967 at a battle at Hê
An [sic] Hill, the 274th VC Regiment and 445 Battalion “destroyed the headquarters of the US 11 th
Armoured Cavalry Regiment, killed many Americans, set fire to or damaged 67 tanks and armoured
vehicles, and three artillery batteries (mortar, 107mm, 175mm).” – Nguyễn Thị Thiện, “Di Tích Lịch Sử
Căn Cứ Cách Mạng Bàu Sen”, 24 April 2012. In his 2006 memoir, Nguyễn Nam Hưng - the former Chiefof-Staff of the 274th Regiment, relates the battle at Kim Long/Hê An in detail - including having “wiped out
an American mechanized infantry battalion” and “destroying 78 vehicles of various types”. However,
Hưng makes no mention of D445’s involvement. - Nguyễn Nam Hưng – Major General, Một Đời … (A
Life at War), op.cit., 2006. The 4th ((274th)) Regiment History (2015) relates that D445’s 2 nd Company – a
reserve element, was blocked and did not join the engagement in time – p.96. According to a US report,
very early on 19 June 1967, two battalions of the 274 th Regiment – with 5th VC Division heavy weapons
support, attacked the 3rd Squadron/11 ACR. The US force was supported by artillery – including 175mm
and 8 inch guns from the Australian base at Núi Đất, and by attack helicopters from the Suối Râm base. 56
Việt Cộng were reported killed, and two prisoners taken; US forces suffered 9 killed and 32 wounded. The
engagement was referred to by 11 ACR as the “Battle of Slope 30” – see 3/11th ACR, Annual Historical
Summary – 1967, 25 February 1968 - VCAT Item No.3400136001 and 3400149001. The boundaries of the
Slope 30 area are: YS 4681 – YS 4781 – YS 4784 – YS 4584. The 11 ACR engagement in the Đức Thạnh
area was noted in the 1 ATF Ops Log from 190014H – see Sheets 262-278: including air missions, “attack
on CP at YS 449825”, and “274 Regt augmented by D445” – file AWM95, 1/4/43.
329
Translator’s Note: Lê Đình Nhơn (Chín Lê/Chinh Lê/Lê Chính) was posted from U1 (Biên Hòa)/MR1 to
Bà Rịa Province as Secretary of the Party Committee and political officer of the Bà Rịa Province Unit. “Lê

89
was its Secretary; Đặng Hữu Thuấn (Út Đặng) commanded the Province Unit; and
Comrades Phạm Lạc and Đổ Văn Chương (Ba Liên) were Deputies of the Province Unit.
At this time, the situation was serious330 – the enemy was decisively scooping up
and gathering the people. Our liberated zones were being reduced331, and the Province’s
battlefield was tightly constrained. The Province Committee directed that both our forces
- A and B, were to be strengthened; and – among these, the strengthening of the A forces
was to be essential with the aim of creating underground political elements to become the
springboard to guide and join with our external forces in attacking the enemy. The core
spirit of the policy was “Hold-on and rise up” and “Expand and develop our areas” with
guidelines of: one battlefield, two forces, and two ways of striking the enemy. These
guidelines were disseminated widely to our infrastructure organisations as targets for
action.
In achieving the Province Committee’s guidelines, 445 Battalion constantly
deployed to strike the enemy332, and – strongly supporting the local revolutionary
movements in the Province’s two main areas of Long Đất and Châu Đức, achieved many
outstanding combat feats.333
Chính” was noted on 21 June 66 and 22 July 1966 as Secretary of the Province Civil Affairs Committee see CDEC Log 9-2049-66; and also later in January 1967 – CDEC Log 05-2647-67. Lê Chính was also
noted holding the position in 1971 and 1972 - CDEC Log 07-1132-72. See also Annex J, Higher
Headquarters.
330
Translator’s Note: A report by the Bà Biên Province Forward Supply Council dated 3 October 1967
noted that because of enemy operations, “units and agencies faced a critical shortage of food supplies”,
“exit and entry” points – including at Ngãi Giao, were constrained, and recruiting civilian labourers was
becoming increasingly difficult. CDEC Log 11-1560-67, VCAT Item No.2130915030.
331
Translator’s Note: According to the local Party History, in July 1967 in Xuyên Mộc District, two cadre
were leading a large group of villagers from Bàu Non when they were ambushed by Australian
“commandos” and 39 were killed – “this was the greatest crime committed by the Australians and the
Americans in Xuyên Mộc District.” - Trần Văn Khánh (et al/đtg), Lịch sử Đảng … (The History of the
Party in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu), op.cit., 2000, Chapter VII. The incident is similarly described in the Xuyên
Mộc Resistance History (1989), p.142. The Australian Official History relates that during Operation
Paddington in the Xuyên Mộc area against elements of the 274th VC Regiment: “On about 11.30 p.m. on
the night of 10 July, a group of Viet Cong, screened by Vietnamese women and children carrying torches,
had managed to pass through the American 9th Division’s cordon. When another band attempted the same
tactic, the Americans opened fire, killing 13 Viet Cong and probably inflicting casualties on the escaping
women and children.” - McNeill, I. & Ekins, A., On the Offensive, op.cit., 2003, p.205. “On 10 July …
against elements of the VC 274th Regt in the vicinity of YS 6580. The VC moved with their women and
children at night and were able to avoid major contact with allied forces.” - 9th US Infantry Division,
Operational Report – Lessons Learned for the Quarterly Period Ending 31 July 1967, 7 November 1967.
VCAT Item No.22830106001. “During the night about 100 people in three parties tried to slip out through
the two northern LZs. An ambush was sprung and 13 VC were killed and two weapons captured.” 1 ATF,
Troops Information Sheet No.52, Núi Đất, 9-15 July 1967. The US unit involved appears to have been 4/39
Battalion, 9th Division. See also 1 ATF Ops Log, Serials 287, 289 and 292, 10 July 1967 (AWM95, 1/4/9).
332
Translator’s Note: On the night of 26-27 November 1967, the 3rd Company of 445 Battalion raided the
Farmers’ Bank and a number of government installations on the western outskirts of Bà Rịa Town – and
seized 250,000 piastres (equivalent to USD 2,119) – 1 ATF, “Discussion Point: The Enemy In And Around
Phuoc Tuy”, Troops Information Sheet No.77, Núi Đất, 31 December 1967 - 6 January 1968, Section 3,
p.4.
333
Translator’s Note: The Đất Đỏ District History (2006), p.210 relates: “In November 1967, thanks to the
assistance in the hamlet, Comrades Ba Thuận – the Phước Thọ village unit commander, and Tư Thôi – a
secret village security cadre, guided an armed element of the Province forces (from the 1 st Company, D445)
– led by Comrade Lê Minh Kiên ((Ba Kiên)), into the hamlet to attack the enemy. Our forces had just
deployed when an Australian military vehicle approached from the Cống Dầu intersection. An accurate
round from a B40 halted the vehicle. The whole team then attacked and killed five Australians, and
wounded another – and our men withdrew safely.” This incident occurred on 30 September 1967, when –
according to 1 ATF records, a vehicle moving from The Horseshoe base to Route 23 was ambushed by
elements of C-25 Company and D445 Battalion in Đất Đỏ (YS 499607) killing two Australian soldiers, and

90
Symbolic of the these outstanding battles, at the beginning of the 1967-1968 Dry
Season ((December 1967)), was the ambush of a 12-vehicle armoured column of the
Americans’ 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment on 31 December 1967 on Route 2 (in the
area of the Quang Minh Plantation).334 In preparation for that attack, the Battalion had
deployed a platoon to join with the Châu Đức local forces to attack the enemy at Đức
Thạnh in order to lure the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment down from Suối Râm to
relieve Đức Thạnh.
The Battalion’s main ambush group stretched along the road for about 1,000
metres. Both sides of this stretch of Route 2 had been bulldozed clear for about 500
metres. Accordingly, we resolved to achieve our aim of wiping out the Americans’ tanks
and armoured vehicles with our B40s and B41s (Soviet-made weapons with which we
had just been equipped)335, and so the firepower of these weapons - and the skill levels of
our soldiers and cadre in their use, were tested. The Battalion mobilised our troops to
overcome any difficulties by digging trenches and pits in order to “disappear into the
earth”, in order to bear the heat of the sun throughout the day, and to hold their ground
there until 4am the next day in order to attack the enemy.
Exploiting a stretch of the paved road at the beginning of our battle positions that
had been heavily damaged - and where the ground was rough, we planted two very
powerful mines. At 4am, the whole squadron of American armoured vehicles fell into our
ambush. When the mines detonated and destroyed an armoured vehicle, our B40 and B41
teams at the head of the ambush - in the main position and at the end of the ambush, all
attacked to wipe out the enemy. The momentum of the attack was very high – everyone
wanted to become a “Valiant killer of armoured vehicles”, and so many of our soldiers
forgot the order for coordinated action and mutual support in order to pursue the enemy
tanks and destroy them at all costs. After about an hour of fighting, we had complete
control of the battlefield and had completely wiped out a squadron of enemy armoured
vehicles. With this great victory, the soldiers and cadre of 445 Battalion were very elated
– and becoming complacent, exposed themselves while withdrawing. Consequently, they

wounding one Australian and two ARVN soldiers. 1 ATF, INTSUM No.273-69, Núi Đất, 30 September
1967; 1 ATF, Intelligence Review No.13, Núi Đất, 1 October 1967.
334
Translator’s Note: This was highly likely to have been the attack at 0300-0400hrs on 31 December 1967
– also related in greater detail in the 1991 D445 History – including the exploits of the 1st Company
commander: Đào Văn Tổng (Tám Tổng) and its political officer: Nguyễn Văn Bảo (Sáu Bảo), against a US
armoured column (two troops of the 3rd Squadron of the 5th Cavalry Regiment/9th US Infantry Division
comprising two M48 tanks, 12 APCs) moving south on Route 2 just north of Xà Bang at YS 454864
resulting in ten US killed and up to 25 wounded. Two US tanks and five APCs were reportedly “gutted” or
“put out of action”. No VC casualties were reported. 1 ATF assessed that the VC unit involved was “likely
the Cẩm Mỹ District Company”, possibly strengthened either by sub-units of the 274th Regiment or D445
Battalion. - 1 ATF Intelligence Review No.16, Núi Đất, 3 January 1968. The US 3/5th Cavalry Squadron
was stationed at the Blackhorse base of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (11th ACR - see footnote 297)
while 11th ACR conducted Operation Fargo in War Zone C north of Lai Khê from late December 1967 to
mid-January 1968. Email advice from Don Snedeker (Lt Col, US Cavalry, Retd) - Historian, 11th Armored
Cavalry Regiment, 30 January 2016, see also http://www.3-5cav-blackknights.org/Timeline-024.html
335
Translator’s Note: The NVA/VC employed two types of Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs). 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 – see the photograph
at page 10 in the Preface. The RPG-7 (B41) was an 85mm (warhead), 2.25kg (warhead weight), shoulderfired RPG with a maximum effective range of 500 metres and capable of penetrating 300mm of armour.
The RPG-7 was first noted by US forces in Vietnam on 21 April 1967 – III MAF Perintrep 21-67. Both
RPGs were also effective anti-personnel weapons – ie by fragmentation.

91
were discovered by the enemy’s aircraft and suffered a number of casualties. Two key
cadre of the 1st Company were wounded, and Comrade Hùng – a medic, was killed.336
That was our first battle against American tanks, and 445 Battalion’s largest
engagement up to that time. The battle evidenced the very high resolve and will of our
Battalion’s cadre and soldiers. Our performance – and the outcome of the battle, made our
cadre and soldiers very enthusiastic, even more zealous, and increased their belief in the
new range of fire support weapons before we moved into the General Offensive and
Uprising of Tết Mậu Thân in 1968.
Over the two years of fighting, the Battalion had overcome many difficulties and
challenges, had grown further, and had come-of-age in many aspects. Our combat
capabilities and skills had increased day-by-day. The Battalion had always completed its
tasks in an outstanding manner as the main-force punch of the Province’s armed forces –
striking the enemy; supporting the local revolutionary movement; holding our ground and
base areas; and defeating the many plots and schemes of the enemy – especially their
pacification program and the building of their strategic hamlets in the Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu
region.
In preparation for the strategic General Offensive in the Spring of 1968, the
Province Committee and the Province Unit paid attention to restructuring the Battalion
and its weapons and equipment. With this quite strong build-up and reinforcement, the
Battalion’s numbers reach their highest levels since its founding.337 At this time, the
Battalion Commander was Comrade Nguyễn Văn Kiềm, and the Political officer was
Comrade Nguyễn Minh Ninh.
3. PARTICIPATING IN THE GENERAL OFFENSIVE AND UPRISING
AT TẾT MẬU THÂN IN 1968 IN BÀ RỊA – LONG KHÁN .
At the end of 1967, the situation on the battlefields in the South evidenced basic
advantages for us and – on this basis, the Party’s Politburo promulgated new guidelines
for the revolution in the South: “Mobilise the greatest strength of the whole Party, our
whole forces, and all the people of the two regions to bring our nation’s revolutionary war
to its highest level through a General Offensive and Uprising and to achieve a decisive
victory.” The Politburo clearly indicated: “The important and urgent task of the whole
Party, all the armed forces, and the whole people of both of the two regions of our
country is to conduct the General Offensive and Uprising across the whole of the South
and to win a new strategic victory.”
To implement the Politburo’s directions, the Bà Rịa – Long Khánh Party
Committee convened a conference extending over two days (26 and 27 January 1968) at a
location north of the Suối Thề Stream (near the Sông Ray River).338 The Conference
336

Translator’s Note: As noted above, the engagement is described in greater detail in the 1991 D445
History – including: the Battalion “set fire to and destroyed 12 tanks and armoured vehicles and completely
destroyed an armoured squadron of the American 11 th Armored Regiment”; and that: “Tám Tổng – a
company commander”, was wounded.
337
Translator’s Note: According to the 1991 D445 History: “The strength of the Battalion reached 608. This
was the highest strength figure for the Battalion from its inception to its coming-of-age.” When interviewed
by Dr I. McNeill in Vũng Tàu in June 1988, Nguyễn Văn Kiềm stated that 445 Battalion had an effective
strength at Tết 1968 of “over 600 soldiers”- McNeill, I. & Ekins, A., On the Offensive, op.cit., 2003, p.305.
For a listing of the strengths of D445 Battalion over-time, see Annex C.
338
Translator’s Note: According to the Đồng Nai Monograph (2001): On 26-27 January 1968 – preparatory
to the Tết 1968 Offensive, a Command Committee was established for the Bà Rịa-Long Khánh Front. For
Bà Rịa Town and the districts of Bà Rịa: Lê Đình Nhơn – the Secretary of the Province Committee (since

92
listened to the COSVN representative339 transmit the resolve and guidance of COSVN
and, at the same time, confirm the planning tasks for the attacks and uprising in the
Province. The key elements were that the attacks and uprising were to take control of two
towns: Bà Rịa and Long Khánh.340
445 Battalion was given the mission – together with the armed forces of Bà Rịa
Town341, to attack the enemy in Bà Rịa Town. The Secretary of the Province Committee
and the Commander of the Province Unit gave direct instructions.342 The specific tasks of
the Battalion were: to attack and seize the Province base of the Regional Forces, the
police logistics area, the military Sub-Sector, the prison, and a number of large
commanding positions in Bà Rịa Town. This higher direction by the Province Committee
and the Battalion’s combat tasks were quickly and thoroughly disseminated down to
every cadre and soldier in order to create a great spirit and single-minded determination.
Everyone was enthusiastic. Many comrades - although still suffering painful wounds and
illnesses, still insistently requested that they be allowed to join the fighting. Many of the
troops were also extremely optimistic. They wore their new uniforms and rolled up the
remainder and threw them into a corner of their weapon pits - together with their personal
military equipment - including their bowls and pots that they had pierced with their
bayonets. Everyone believed that this time they would enter the towns and never return
to their bases. Everyone said a “farewell to the jungle”.343*

late 1966) was appointed political commissar (chính ủy); and Đặng Văn [sic] Thuấn (Út Đặng) – the
commander of the Bà Rịa–Long Khánh Province Unit, was made the commander (tư lệnh). For Long
Khánh Town: Phạm Lạc (Tư Lạc – the deputy commander of the Bà Rịa–Long Khánh Province Unit) was
made commander (tư lệnh) with Lê Sắc Nghi of the Bà Rịa–Long Khánh Standing Committee as the
political commissar (chính ủy). The towns and districts all established command committees led by their
secretaries. - Địa Chí Đồng Nai (Đồng Nai Monograph), Tập 3 (Vol 3) – Chương 6 (Chapter 6), op.cit.,
2001, footnote 21. 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.
339
Translator’s Note: According to the History of the Armed Forces of Đồng Nai, the COSVN
representative was Nguyễn Ngọc Tân (Hai Lực): “On 26 and 27 January 1968 at the Suối Thề base (Sông
Ray), Comrade Hai Lực disseminated the plan to the Bà Rịa – Long Khánh Province Committee.” Trần Thị
Minh Hoàng (foreword), The History of the Armed Forces of Đồng Nai Province 1945-1995 (Lịch sử Lực
Lượng Vũ Trang Tỉnh Đồng Nai 1945-1995), Nhà Xuất Bản Quân Đội Nhân Dân, Hà Nội, 1999, p.146.
340
Translator’s Note: Detail on the Tết Mậu Thân (1968) attacks on the Long Khánh Province capital - ie
Xuân Lộc Town, can be found in Annex I (III Corps Advisory Group) to Tết Offensive After Action Report
(not dated) – VCAT Item No.13680112021. See also Annex P - and Chamberlain, E.P., … D440: Their
Story, op.cit., 2013.
341
Translator’s Note: In the 1991 D445 History, this element is noted as: “the Bà Rịa Town Special Action
Unit” - literally the “biệt dộng thị xã Bà Rịa”. The US III Corps Advisory Group After Action Report (see
the footnote above – VCAT Item No.13680112021) referred to the “C610 Baria City Company”.
342
Translator’s Note: According to the 1991 D445 History, on the “last day of January” … Comrade Lê
Đình Nhơn (Chín Lê) – the secretary of the Province Party Committee, and Comrade Út Đặng - the
Commander of the Province Unit, came down directly to 445 Battalion to thoroughly brief on the orders for
the fighting.” According to the Đồng Nai History (1986): “Út Đặng ((Đặng Hữu Thuấn)) – the Province
Unit Commander, directed the political officer Lê Đình Nhơn ((Chín Lê)) to directly control the attack on
Bà Rịa City.” - Phan Ngọc Danh ..., Đồng Nai 30 Năm …, op.cit., 1986, p.142. For the Australian Official
History’s account of the attack on Bà Rịa at Tết Mậu Thân, see McNeill, I. & Ekins, A., On the Offensive,
op.cit., 2003, pp.304-320.
343
* This excessive romanticism had a deep influence on the psychology and spirit of the cadre and soldiers
of 445 Battalion when the prospects and a treaty did not eventuate and the war became progressively more
violent.

93
At the time that 445 Battalion deployed to its concentration area344, the sound of
gunfire attacking the enemy in Bà Rịa Town could be heard. This was more than one day
and one night later than the H-hour that had been ordered for the General Offensive and
Uprising in the South. The reason for this was that the Chief-of-Staff of the Province Unit
had mislaid the key to codes and consequently was unable to decode the combat orders
from above.345
Only at 1600hrs on the first day of Tết ((30 January 1968)), did the Battalion
receive an order from the Province Unit to cook rice rations preparatory to deploying. At
1700hrs, the whole Battalion assembled at the M Base in Châu Đức District on the northwestern [sic] slopes of the Dinh Mountains. Comrade Đặng Hữu Thuấn – the Commander
of the Province Unit, directly communicated the combat orders. At 2100hrs, the complete
Battalion began to deploy across the slopes of the Núi Dinh Mountain, down the Châu
Pha, across the Sông Xoài River, and arrived adjacent to our positions from which to
launch the assaults.346 As there had been obstacles along this difficult route and the rocky
344

Translator’s Note: A D445 POW subsequently related a briefing on the attack plan to platoon
commanders by “Bảy Sáng” on a sand model on 31 January 1968, and the move later that day of the
Battalion from a camp about three kilometres north of Bình Giã village. – 1 ATF, Short History D445, 13page briefing paper, early 1968 (from the Directorate of Military Intelligence - Canberra archives), para 40.
345
Translator’s Note: According to the D445 History (1991): “The whole ((D445)) Battalion was in
readiness and awaiting the order to deploy, but we waited and waited and still received no word. It was past
the first day of Tết and approaching the afternoon of the second when we heard a radio broadcast and knew
that the attacks had begun almost everywhere else.” – Chamberlain, E. P., … D445: Their Story, op.cit.,
2011, pp.56-57. The Châu Đức District History (2004) relates: “On 31 January 1968, 445 Battalion and the
Châu Đức District armed forces assembled in the base east of Núi Dinh Mountain in readiness to receive
orders. However, because the General Staff Section of the Province Unit had mislaid the key to our codes,
the Bà Rịa forces started their operations later than other provinces.” - Nguyễn Công Danh …, … Châu
Đức District, op.cit., 2004, p.164. An official media article following the 2008 conference presided over by
the former Deputy Secretary of Bà Rịa - Long Khánh Province Phạm Văn Hy to commemorate the 40th
anniversary of the Tết 1968 Offensive, included the following: “H-hour on D-Day for the whole of the
South was set as 0000hrs (giao thừa) of the Lunar New Year (Tết Nguyên đán). The calendar calculation in
the North that year was one day earlier than that in the South. The Nam Bộ Region opened fire according to
the Southern calendar – one day late, and so the B2 battlefield did not have the element of surprise as the
enemy was forewarned, had organised their defences, and had ordered all their troops to remain in camp. In
Bà Rịa – Long Khánh, as the key to the codes had been lost, we began our attacks a further day later, losing
the surprise factor. - 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.
According to the US historian Merle Pribbenow: “According to the calendar issued by the Saigon regime,
the first day of the Tet Lunar New Year in 1968 was 30 January on the Western calendar, one day later than
the date for Tet given in the calendars used in North Vietnam. On the afternoon of 29 January 1968,
Military Region 5 received a cable postponing the attack until the night of 30-31 January. Military Region 5
only had time to alert the 2nd and 3rd Divisions, the 10th Regiment, and Quang Nam and Quang Ngai
provinces of the postponement. The provinces of Quang Da, Phu Yen, Binh Dinh and Khanh Hoa did not
receive the postponement order, so they opened fire during the night of 29-30 January, according to the
schedule in our initial plan.” - Pribbenow, M.L., Victory in Vietnam, University Press of Kansas, 2002,
p.466, endnote 15. See also the account in the Long Dất District History (1986). A recent Vietnamese
account relates that: “Across all the regions it was decided that H-hour on D-Day was from 0000hrs to
0200hrs on 31 January 1968, that is the night of 1-2 of Tết in the old calendar. The Military Regions and the
special forces groups were advised 48hrs prior to H-hour. It was regrettable that because of the change of
the calendar in the North that MR5 and the Central Highlands opened fire beforehand according to the new
calendar (The order to postpone was received but the troops had already taken up their concealed positions
and asked to be able to attack before time). The B2 Front received the order to postpone action, and opened
fire in accord with the old calendar.” - Nguyễn Đôn Tự - Major General, Mậu Thân 1968 - Cuộc đối chiến
lịch sử , Nhà Xuất Bản Lao Động, Hà Nội, 2008.
http://www.vnmilitaryhistory.net/index.php?action=printpage;topic=26599.0.
346
Translator’s Note: According to the Châu Đức District History (2004): “At first light on 2 February
1968, the Battalion commander - Nguyễn Văn Kiềm, and the political officer - Nguyễn Minh Ninh, swiftly

94
slopes of the Mountain were difficult to traverse – and the troops were unable to use
torches and were carrying heavy loads, the pace of our approach march was very slow.
Consequently, it was only at 4am on the morning of the second day of Tết ((31 January))
that we reached our assembly area. When it had just become light – in accordance with
with the Battalion’s combat plan, the 1st Company attacked the base of the enemy’s selfpropelled artillery. The 2nd Company fought from the Red and White Light intersection,
seized the American interrogation centre, and continued to seize all of the New Market
(Bà Rịa) area. Our 3rd Company took the Province Regional Forces Group, and the
Battalion’s reconnaissance element seized the Bà Rịa jail and then the Province
administrative building.347
The attack went advantageously for us initially with the 3rd Company’s attack
seizing its target of the Province Regional Forces Group. There – after 10 minutes, we
had seized and held three-quarters of the objectives in that base. We continued to hold our
positions while driving back many counter-attacking waves from the 52nd Ranger
Battalion from Hòa Long and a squadron of Australian armoured vehicles from Núi
Đất348 – until the Battalion ordered a withdrawal.
Our attacking groups from the 1st Company, the 2nd Company, and our
reconnaissance platoon had opened fire later – but, due to the morning light, they were
unable to maintain surprise and were discovered by the enemy and blocked before they
could get close to their objectives. The 2nd Company deployed relatively more
successfully and struck deep into the Commando349 Training Centre (at the T-Junction of
today’s Nguyễn Thanh Đằng and Hai Bà Trưng streets).
The Reconnaissance Platoon led by Comrade Nguyễn Văn Bỉ was given the task
of attacking and seizing the area of the jail, the Province administration buildings, and the
self-propelled artillery base. However, due to a lack of troops, passive attitudes, and the
enemy there having had time to harden their defences, the reconnaissance elements were
unable to seize their nominated objectives - and could only pin the enemy down and
prevent them from supporting one another.
While the 2nd Company was able to overcome the enemy resistance pockets at the
crossroads and seize a number of positions in the New Market, they were unable to wipe
out the pockets of enemy resistance in the Lưới Hamlet area where the enemy’s
opposition was determined. Casualties among the cadre and soldiers of the 2nd Company
were quite considerable.
The enemy launched determined counter-attacks – including with helicopters and
F-5 fighter aircraft. Their fire overpowered our Headquarters and created the conditions

led 445 Battalion from the slopes of the hills in the area of Phước Hòa (Route 15) across the hills to Châu
Pha, and - in a very fast march, approached the Bà Rịa Sub-Sector very close to their objective."
347
Translator’s Note: In a 22 June 1988 interview in Bà Rịa, Nguyễn Văn Kiềm – the D445 Commander,
related that the Battalion “couldn’t manage to capture the other targets - ie including the jail, the Province
Headquarters building, and the market area.” McNeill, I., Major, “Post Script to the Battle of Ba Ria”,
Australian Infantry Magazine, Part 2 (April 2012 – October 2012), Singleton, 2012, pp.80-81.
348
Translator’s Note: At this time, the tactical headquarters of 1 ATF and its 2RAR and 7RAR infantry
battalions - and a company from 3RAR, were deployed about 55 kilometres to the north-west of Núi Đất on
the approaches to the Biên Hòa and Long Bình base areas (Operation Coburg: 24 January – mid-February).
In early February, 3RAR (-) and APC elements engaged in the fighting in Bà Rịa and Long Điền. In an
interview on 18 March 1989 in Biên Hòa, Đổ Văn Liên (Ba Liên) – the 445 Battalion political officer,
stated that “D445 were unaware that most of the Task Force was away at Long Bình in Biên Hòa province,
but Ba Liên said that would hardly have mattered.” - Burstall, T., A Soldier Returns, op.cit., 1990, p.117.
349
Translator’s Note: The text uses the term “biệt kích” – a term used by the communist forces for enemy
commando/special forces-type troops – see footnotes 42 and 209.

95
for 52nd Ranger Battalion and the Australian troops350 to launch assaults. In the area of the
Electricity Power House, our forces set fire to six tanks351. Our troops defending the
Headquarters suffered heavy casualties, and were no longer combat effective. Facing such
a situation, the 445 Battalion Headquarters ordered the hero Nguyễn Văn Quang to
reorganise our forces. Our anti-aircraft defence elements – armed with two 12.7mm
machineguns and one Maxim heavy machinegun, responded with very effective fire
against the teams of rocket-firing helicopters that had been firing on the Battalion
Headquarters. Many of the enemy helicopters were hit and forced to move far away.
Nguyễn Văn Quang continued to fire the heavy machinegun and destroyed groups of the
enemy, and – together with his companions, drove back many of the enemy’s counterattacks, defending the Headquarters and holding the battlefield until dark.352
350

Translator’s Note: For a detailed account of the fighting – written by the Australian on-site commander,
see: Howard, B.W. Major General AO, MC, ESM (Retd), “The Battle for Ba Ria: 1-2 February 1968”,
Australian Infantry Magazine, Part 1 (October 2011 – April 2012), pp.76-83; and Part 2 (April 2012 –
October 2012), pp.72-81, Singleton, 2012. The engagements in Bà Rịa Town – including at the Vạn Kiếp
camp, reportedly involving 445 Battalion, C41 Company, Hòa Long village guerrillas, and the Bà Rịa
Town Platoon were summarised in a 1 ATF report as: “Baria City – attack began 010500H, two VC
companies, 54 VC KIA (BC); Van Kiep - attack 010700-1030H, approx 50 VC in two platoons, 47 VC
KIA (BC).” – 1 ATF, INTSUM No.33-68, Núi Đất, 2 February 1968. A captured Châu Đức District PRP
Party Committee report on their attacks in the period 31 January-10 February 1968 – including against
Australian troops at Hòa Long, is at CDEC Log 02-1882-68, VCAT Item No.2131111007. On 10 February
1968, the People’s Liberation Front of Châu Đức published a lengthier account of the fighting in Phước Tuy
and Long Khánh Provinces in the period 1-5 February 1968 – 1 ATF, Troops Information Sheet 82, Núi
Đất, 4-11 February 1968. See footnote 352 for US reports (including the III Corps Advisory Group), and
footnote 362 for a USMACV account – ie an “After Action” report.
351
Translator’s Note: In an interview in Bà Rịa on 22 June 1988, Nguyễn Văn Kiềm claimed that the “608strong” D445 had “set on fire and destroyed six Australian tanks” – later amended to “six Australian
APCs”. See: McNeill, I., Major, “Post Script to the Battle of Ba Ria”, op.cit., 2012, pp.80-81.
352
Translator’s Note: A detailed US summary of the fighting in Bà Rịa and Vạn Kiếp includes: In Bà Rịa,
“D445 and C610 – numbering about 140”, attacked “JUSPAO, PRU HQ, MSS Adv HQ, MP Station,
National Police HQ, and the Vietnam Information Service offices … one platoon occupied the Province
hospital, Catholic church and the Town theater.” After C1/D445 seized the airstrip at the Vạn Kiếp
Training Center, the then resident 11th Airborne Battalion counter-attacked – together with the 4/48th
Battalion (from Long Điền) and the 910 RF Company. Subsequently, the 2/52 Gia Ray Battalion and the
52nd Ranger Battalion was airlifted into the area and secured the Town. “With daylight on 2 February, the
52nd Ranger, 3/52 Inf Bn and RAR ((3RAR)) conducted search and clear operations in Ba Ria.” “206 VC
were killed and 61 weapons found in the Town and in the vicinity of the A & L Coy. At the Van Kiep
Training Center, 52 VC were killed, 2 VC and 53 weapons were captured”. On 4 February, “in the Ba Ria
area … an additional 44 VC bodies were found and four more VC were captured.” - Annex I (III Corps
Advisory Group) to Tet Offensive After Action Report (not dated) – VCAT Item No.13680112021. A cable
from US Ambassador Bunker to the US Secretary of State on the “Situation in Phuoc Tuy Province” (11
February 1968) reported comments by the Province Chief (Major Nguyễn Bá Trước – see footnote 593)
and noted “plenty of popular support” for the VC in Long Điền – where “townspeople allegedly showed
enemy troops where GVN civil servants, cadre and soldiers lived, and hid the Viet Cong when Australian
troops entered Long Dien. The same sources suggest that misrule by a succession of corrupt District chiefs
had done much to foster anti-government sentiment in the town.” – VCAT Item No.0010244001, see also
footnote 354. The Provincial Reconnaissance Units (PRU - formerly Counter Terror Teams), were units
managed by the US CIA, that operated principally against the communist political infrastructure. In Phước
Tuy Province, the Unit was headquartered in Bà Rịa Town at the “OSA House” (OSA = “Office of the
Special Assistant” to the US Ambassador - ie a euphemism for the CIA station; and also as the “Combined
Studies Division”). The CIA left the program in July 1972, and the PRU passed to the Vietnamese as the
Special Reconnaissance Group - then as the D-7 Section of the National Police Special Branch. Australian
advisors (AATTV) served with the PRU – including in Bà Rịa. In 1970, PRU strength country-wide was
5,170 indigenous personnel. It was “Clearly identified as an American program despite the cover
arrangements … paid and basically led by the US.” - Office of the Secretary of Defence – South Vietnam’s
Internal Security Capabilities, Washington, May 1970. VCAT Item No.2121516002. For the PRU program,
see also: Valentine, D., The Pheonix Program, William Morrow and Company, New York, 1990 and 2000.

96
At about 4am on the third day of Tết ((1 February 1968)), the Battalion withdrew
its troops to Phước Chánh hamlet (the present-day Phước Hưng village in Bà Rịa Town)
and, having buried our martyrs, returned to the base in the Núi Dinh Mountains.
Three days later, on the orders of the Province Commander, 445 Battalion split
into two groups. The first group – comprising the 1st Company and the 2nd Company led
by Comrade Nguyễn Minh Ninh (the Battalion Political Officer) and Nguyễn Đức Thu
(the Battalion second-in-command) went with the Province Commander to provide
support for Long Đất District and attack the enemy353 attempting to break our blockade of
Long Điền.354 The second group– comprising the 3rd Company, the 4th Company, and the
Reconnaissance Platoon, was led by the Battalion Commander (Comrade Nguyễn Văn
Kiềm) and the Deputy Political Officer (Comrade Nguyễn Minh Khanh) remained to
support Châu Đức District355 by attacking the enemy post at the Rạch Váng Bridge356. A
week later, the whole of the Battalion assembled back in the area of Xa Bridge of Hội Mỹ
village (Long Đất) to reorganise, restructure, and restore our forces.
The General Offensive and Uprising of Tết Mậu Thân in 1968 was a decisive
blow against the enemy’s strategy of a “Limited War” and displayed the strength of the
People’s Liberation Armed Forces. For the first time, the People’s Liberation Armed
353

Translator’s Note: At 0205hrs on 2 February 1968, the VC Long Đất District’s C25 Company attacked
objectives in Long Điền Town (District HQ, National Police HQ, the Vietnam Information Service offices),
but “local RF/PF forces repulsed the attacks.” The Town was cleared by the ARVN 3/25 th Battalion, the
2/52nd and 3/52nd Battalions of the 18th Division, and A Company of 1 ATF’s 3rd Battalion (3RAR) – Annex
I (III Corps Advisory Group) to Tet Offensive After Action Report (no date) – VCAT Item
No.136801112021.
354
Translator’s Note: The 1991 D445 History relates that: “We fought the enemy at Long Điền for a full
week.” According to the Đồng Nai History (1986): “For the attack on Long Điền, the Standing Committee
strengthened our forces which were led by Ba Liên (445 Battalion political officer) and the Secretary of the
District Committee.” - Phan Ngọc Danh ..., Đồng Nai 30 Năm …, op.cit., 1986, p.142. The “three-platoon
attack on Long Điền led by the Long Đất District Secretary - Lê Thành Ba, together with Đỗ Văn Chương
((Đổ Văn Liên/Ba Liên)), Nguyễn Văn Hoạt and Nguyễn Hoan”, was related in a 2008 media article - 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 Agency, 29 January 2008. That account
notes the attack commencing on 3 February. The Australian Official History noted a “pro-Viet Cong
attitude in Long Điền” - McNeill, I. & Ekins, A., On the Offensive, op.cit., 2003, p.309 and p.315.
355
Translator’s Note: As noted, the official Australian account of VC attacks at Tết Mậu Thân in 1968 in
Phước Tuy Province is in McNeill, I. & Ekins, A., On the Offensive, op.cit., 2003, pp.304-320. Dr I.
McNeill interviewed the former 445 Battalion commander Nguyễn Văn Kiềm in Vũng Tàu on 18 June 1988
– and some information from Kiềm is included at p.305 of the Official History. As noted earlier, Kiềm
stated 445 Battalion had an effective strength of “over 600 soldiers”. Neither the 1991 D445 History - nor
this 2004 D445 History account, mentions that “at 5am on 2 February 1968, Comrade Bùi Quang Chánh
((the former D445 Battalion Commander)) - the commander of the Châu Đức District Unit, led the
District’s armed forces to attack the Long Lễ Sub-Sector Headquarters ((in Hòa Long village)) and the
enemy’s post at the Long Xuyên T-Junction.” – The History of the Hòa Long Village Party Chapter (1930 2005), op.cit., 2009. Bùi Quang Chánh is also reported as leading the Châu Đức District Unit in attacks in
the first days of February 1968 on Hòa Long and shelling the Australian base at Núi Đất with 82mm
mortars - Hà Nhân, “Bà Rịa-Long Khánh và ký ức …, op.cit, 29 January 2008. Those actions involving
Bùi Quang Chánh are also described in a local Party history. - Trần Văn Khánh (et al/đtg), Lịch sử Đảng
…(The History of the Party in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu), op.cit., 2000, Chapter VII. 1 ATF records show that
about 50 82mm mortar rounds fired from YS 395658 impacted near the perimeter of the 1 ATF base
(location of the US 1/83rd Artillery Regiment) before dawn on 1 February (of which 25 with delay fuses did
not detonate) - with a further pre-dawn shelling and small-arms fire on 2 February 1968. - 1 ATF,
INTSUMs No.32-68, No.33-68, Núi Đất, 1 and 2 February 1968. As noted, Châu Đức District reported on
VC attacks in this period – see footnote 350. In particular, “At Núi Đất, our troops fired hundreds of
mortars to contain the Australian vassals, and we silenced their guns for the night of 1 February 1968.” The People’s Liberation Front of Châu Đức, 10 February 1968.
356
Translator’s Note: The 1991 D445 History relates that: “The 3 rd Company attacked the enemy at the
Rạch Ván [sic] bridge on Route 15.”

97
Forces had simultaneously attacked more that 40 cities and towns – striking deep into the
lairs of the Americans and their puppets, including places where for a long time they
believed were inviolable. The enemy was forced to de-escalate the War and commence
the Four-Sided357 Peace Conference in Paris.
Within the Province, this was the first time that the whole of the Battalion had
attacked objectives within a town and had to develop new complex methods of combat.
We faced sudden changes as the enemy’s strength was more than ten times our number,
and we lacked the factor of surprise. However, the cadre and soldiers of 445 Battalion
fought doggedly, and we wiped out much of the enemy’s capability (over 300 of the
enemy), and set fire to 14 tanks and armoured vehicles. The Battalion fulfilled its mission
of attacking into the centre of the town, crippling the enemy’s nerve-centre in Phước Tuy
Province, destroying a large quantity of their weapons and means of waging war. We
shared the battlefield with the whole Southern Front and contributed to the great victory
of the historic General Offensive and Uprising of Tết Mậu Thân.358
In the General Spring Offensive, the Battalion suffered up to 38 comrades killed
and a further 81 comrades were wounded.359 The 2nd Company had two commanders
killed – the Company Commander Trần Văn Gõ (also known as Năm Lựu Đạn) who had
only just moved from the Châu Đức District Unit); and the Company second-incommand, Ba Lồng. A very large number of cadre and soldiers of the 2nd Company were
casualties, including Nguyễn Văn Bảo (Sáu Bảo) – its Political Officer.360*
Many examples of valiant combat highlighted our heroic and lofty revolutionary
ideology and our honourable sacrifice. One is that of Comrade Phạm Văn Đương who –
with his B40, had “attacked to the left and attacked to the right” and set fire to four enemy
tanks at the one time. This Section Commander had fired seven rounds in a row to destroy
enemy pockets of resistance – and the blast of the firing had made our Comrade’s ears
bleed, and he was deaf after that battle. Comrade Nguyễn Á Sửu – of Phước Hải (Đất
Đỏ), the Deputy Political Officer of the 3rd Company, used his medium machinegun to
hold back the enemy, and forced the retreat of dozens of the enemy’s counter-attacks
during the day. Although wounded, he still did not leave the battlefield. Until late
afternoon, the enemy concentrated their fire at his bunker but he still held on –
determined to fight to his very last breath. These lofty examples will forever be a source
of pride for the cadre and soldiers of 445 Battalion.
During the General Spring Offensive of Mậu Thân itself, the Rear Services of 445
Battalion used the occasion to advantage while the enemy was forced to huddle together
357

Translator’s Note: Four Sides: the US, Republic of Vietnam (ie South Vietnam), North Vietnam, and the
NLF. At the Paris negotiations on 15 and 16 January 1969, a compromise was reached with: a round table
with two smaller rectangular tables at opposite sides, and no flags or name-plates.
358
Translator’s Note: As noted, for the activities of the Châu Đức District Unit during the Tết 1968
Offensive, see its “Recapitulation” report 01/TB dated 10 February 1968 - CDEC Log 02-1882-68, VCAT
Item No.2131111007. Also - as noted at footnote 350, The People’s Liberation Front of Châu Đức
published a lengthier account of the fighting in Phước Tuy and Long Khánh Provinces in the period 1-5
February 1968 – 1 ATF, Troops Information Sheet 82, Núi Đất, 4-11 February 1968.
359
Translator’s Note: According to the Đồng Nai History (1986): “after one day of fighting in Bà Rịa, we
had suffered 50 casualties.” - Phan Ngọc Danh ..., Đồng Nai 30 Năm …, op.cit., 1986, p.142. For 1 ATF
and US reports on total Việt Cộng casualties during the Tết 1968 attacks on Bà Rịa, Vạn Kiếp and Long
Điền, see footnotes 340, 350, 352 and 353. In a post-War interview in Bà Rịa on 22 June 1988, Nguyễn
Văn Kiềm – the D445 Commander in the attack, claimed that D445 had “suffered 80, killed and wounded
… but many of them only suffered minor wounds, so they could walk and fight.” See: McNeill, I. Major,
“Post Script to the Battle of Ba Ria”, op.cit., 2012, p.81.
360
* Political Officer Nguyễn Văn Bảo (Sáu Bảo) was wounded in the side and the hand. Commo-liaison
soldier Phạm Như Tu carried him to the rear, across the Dinh River, and took him back to our rear base for
treatment.

98
and was too afraid to confront our attacks militarily. Our Rear Services personnel spread
out into the local areas to gather, collect, and purchase a large amount of food supplies for
our combat troops - and also established large reserves. These active preparations had
great significance when violent conditions again returned and the enemy counter-attacked
determinedly following Tết.
Faced by a situation where the unit’s resolve had a tendency to develop badly after
that period of combat, the Party’s Current Affairs Committee in the Battalion held an
urgent meeting of the leaders and focused on ideology. This was followed by a Party
Committee conference broadened to include all of the political cadre in the Battalion. The
conference unanimously agreed on the key ideological aspects put forward by the
leadership : to wipe out the atmosphere of introspection, pessimistic thoughts, and a
decline in confidence. Discipline must continue for each stage of the war, and the enemy
must not be under-estimated. The belief had to be reinforced that, while the war would
continue to be arduous and protracted – victory was certain. The activities of the Youth
Group361 Chapters had to be increased. In each unit, art and cultural events had to be
accentuated, and the initiative taken to improve the mental and material lives of the
troops. In a short time, the resolve of the unit was raised to a new level in preparation for
the tasks to come.
Any victory in battle however entails losses, sacrifices and death.362 Any soldier
who takes up arms for the battlefield must also accept this. The most optimistic thing and final hope, is that a battle or a campaign will be successful. … And, if success is not
achieved, then that’s very harmful to the combatants’ psychology. The attack on Bà Rịa
Town was not the final battle. The victory at Tết Mậu Thân was not yet the final victory !
To implement the resolution of the Party Committee, the Battalion’s leadership
focused every effort on the political and ideological work before them. The Battalion’s
leaders regularly went down to the companies, participated in their daily routine, joined in
cultural activities, listened to them closely, grasped the inner most feelings and sentiments
of the cadre and soldiers, and - in a timely manner, resolved any knotty problems and
requests. Funds were increased and provided to the companies to purchase guitars,
“Croky” paper with which to make posters and news bulletins to hang in their units, and
volley balls for internal competitions etc. On another front, the Battalion continued to
guide the companies in organising hunting and fishing; and growing, collecting and
harvesting vegetables and fruit to improve the troops’ daily meals. Spirits and material
conditions improved - and along with the political and ideological education, the
361

Translator’s Note: The communist People’s Revolutionary Party organisation had Party Labour Youth
Groups (“Đoàn”) at all levels whose members aspired to Party membership. Selected members could
graduate to probationary membership of the Party (at about age 24) – then full membership of the People's
Revolutionary Party. See details at Annex G - “The Party” ; and Annex H – “Reports” for official
numbers of Party and Group members in mid-1966, before the Battle of Long Tân on 18 August 1966.
362
Translator’s Note: As noted, for a USMACV report noting 445 Battalion’s activities during the Tết 1968
Offensive, see Weyand, F.C. Lieutenant General, Military Assistance Command – Vietnam, Combat
Operations After Action Report (RCS: MACJ3-32) (K-1) - Tet Offensive After Action Report (31 January
– 18 February 1968), Saigon, 1968 – VCAT Item No.13680112021 or 168300010351. As noted at footnote
352, Annex I (II Corps … ), p. I-14 related: “206 VC were killed and 61 weapons found in the town ((Bà
Rịa)). … At the Van Kiep Training Center, 52 VC were killed, 2 VC and 53 weapons were captured. … On
4 February, “in the Ba Ria area … an additional 44 VC bodies were found and four more VC were
captured.” 1 ATF reported the total Việt Cộng casualties during the Tết attacks on Bà Rịa, Vạn Kiếp and
Long Điền as: “43 enemy KIA (BC) and 17 possible”. – 1 ATF, Intelligence Review No.17, Núi Đất, 23
February 1968. According to the analysis in the USMACV After Action Report, the pre-Tết Offensive
strength of D445 Battalion was estimated as 350, and the post-Offensive strength was 225. – see Weyand,
F.G., Combat Operations …, op.cit 1968, VC Order of Battle, Appendix I to Annex A, p.A-1-4, VCAT
Item No.13680112004.

99
atmosphere in the Battalion’s units was again very ebullient. The will, morale, and
ideology of our cadre and soldiers were quite satisfactory. In April 1968 (before the
beginning of Phase II of the General Offensive363) – that is after almost two months of
consolidation, structural reorganisation, and conducting a complete review of all
ideological aspects, the ideological and organisational situation of the Battalion had been
basically stabilized and our combat capability had been restored. However, it was not yet
as fully capable as before the first phase of the General Offensive.
At the end of April 1968, the Battalion divided into four groups to attack the
enemy, and to support the local units to destroy the grip of the enemy that had tightened
since Tết Mậu Thân. Each comrade on the Battalion Headquarters was allocated to each
of these four groups:
- Battalion Commander Nguyễn Văn Kiềm and the Deputy Political Officer
Nguyễn Minh Khanh went with the 3rd Company commanded by Quách Văn
Mười (Mười Dậm) – and joined with a company of the Châu Đức District
troops to attack the Post 64 in Bình Ba village.364
- Political Officer Nguyễn Minh Ninh went with the 4th Company (the
Battalion’s support company) with the task of employing a 75mm RCL and
two 82mm mortars to shell the Đức Thạnh Sub-Sector.
- One of the Battalion seconds-in-command – Nguyễn Đức Thu, joined the 2nd
Company led by Comrade Năm Vũ to attack the Ông Quế post (in Long
Khánh).
- The other Battalion second-in-command (and concurrently Chief-of-Staff) –
Lê Minh Kiên (Ba Kiên) remained behind with the 1st Company led by
Comrade Nguyễn Văn Thành (Thành Rị) to join with the 25th Company in
attacks on the enemy in Long Đất.
The attacks by these 445 Battalion groups at about this time – apart from their aim
of wiping out part of the enemy’s capability and supporting the political struggle
movement and the local guerrillas, were aimed at creating in the cadre and soldiers of the
Battalion a will to fight and win at a time when we were countering the extremely fierce
pacification campaign.365
At daybreak on 5 May 1968, our forces across the whole Province received the
orders for Phase 2 of the attack and uprising. Beforehand, the Province Committee had
convened a conference to review and assess the results of our activities in the first phase
and to discuss operational methods for the second phase. The conference praised the great
Translator’s Note: 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, L., Vietnam Chronicles: The Abrams Tapes, … op.cit., 2004, p.173.
364
Translator’s Note: The Châu Đức District History (2004) records that: “On 19 April 1968, 445
Battalion’s 3rd Company joined with Châu Đức District local troops to conduct a mortar attack on the Đức
Thạnh Sub-Sector – and at the same time attacked the 604th Regional Force Company in Bình Ba.” That
Châu Đức District History also notes attacking: “Building 64, the main offices of Bình Ba”, and that:
“Comrade Trần Trung Be – the company commander of the Châu Đức District troops, was killed. 1 ATF
records do not include such an engagement in April 1968.
365
Translator’s Note: The dispersal and activities of D445 noted above were not described in the 1991
D445 History. In late April 1968, the only significant Việt Cộng-initiated activities in Phước Tuy and
surrounds noted in 1 ATF records were a brief mortar attack (17 x 82mm) on a RF post (YS 376615) in Bà
Rịa; and the shelling from Long Sơn Island of Vũng Tàu (12 x 122mm rockets, nine 75mm RCL rounds) on
the night of 22/23 April 1968. 1 ATF, INTSUM No.114/68, Núi Đất, 23 April 1968. As noted earlier, in
January 1968, 1 ATF intelligence staff reported that: “D445 has not operated as a battalion since February
1967.” – 1 ATF, “Discussion Point: The Enemy In and Around Phước Tuy”, Troops Information Sheet No.
77, 31 December 1967 - 6 January 1968, Section 3, p.4.
363

100
victories won by our armed forces and the people of the whole Province during the
General Offensive and Uprising at Tết. We had strongly employed the three-pronged
attack strategy366, victoriously struck into the enemy’s lairs and dens, wiped out and worn
down much of the enemy’s war-making capability and means, and given a deadly hiding
to the aggressive desires of the American imperialists and their lackeys. However, this
victory was not complete – it had been limited by negligence and subjectivity.
Moving into Phase 2, the Province Unit tasked 445 Battalion to coordinate with
440 Battalion367 to wipe out the enemy’s capabilities along Route 2, and block the enemy
and not allow them to relieve their companions in the main areas of attack. This was the
first time that the Province Unit directed coordination between the Province’s two mainforce battalions – and also the first time that the Province deployed a large force in a
tactical encirclement operation to attack a position and wipe out relief forces. The
Province Committee ordered the concentration of weapons from people’s militia elements
– principally to provide additional equipment for the two battalions. 440 Battalion was to
strike the enemy at their strongpoint on Con Chim Hill – Cẩm Mỹ, and 445 Battalion was
to ambush the enemy’s relief forces at the edge of the rubber plantation at the foot of Con
Chim Hill,
When 440 Battalion opened fire on the enemy on Con Chim Hill, the American
forces immediately deployed the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment from its base at Suối
Râm. They left their base and concentrated in the Hoàng Quân rubber plantation
preparatory to coming to the relief of the puppet troops on Con Chim Hill. As we had
been focused on attacking enemy troops landing from helicopters, our reconnaisssance
elements did not pay attention to, guard against – or discover, the advancing American
relief forces with their tanks and armoured vehicles. Only when they approached close to
our Battalion’s positions, did we discover them. Faced with that surprise, 445 Battalion
Headquarters was not perplexed - but immediately applied its methods of countering airlanded troops to attacking the American tanks. The battle was waged decisively from the
very first minutes. The enemy had the considerable firepower superiority of their tanks,
and also had maximum artillery and air support. On the other hand, 445 Battalion’s cadre
and soldiers fought extremely bravely – taking advantage of every tree trunk and ditch in
the rubber plantation, and moved quick-mindedly to employ our B40s, B41s and 75mm
RCLs to wipe out the enemy’s tanks and armoured vehicles. From our very first volleys,
we set fire to many tanks – and alarmed the American forces.
An assault team led by Comrade Tài – a platoon commander, which was
supported by Comrade Lợi – a B40 grenadier, and Comrade Nhứt - armed with an AK47, attacked and pursued the enemy tanks. An American on a tank – seeing the danger,
suddenly jumped down and struggled with Comrade Lợi and tried to draw and fire his
revolver. However, Comrade Lợi bit his hand, forcing him to drop the pistol. At the same
time, Comrade Tài leapt up, came to the rescue just in time, and shot the American
dead.368
At that time, our other attacking groups were repelling dozens of enemy counterattacks and held the battlefield from early morning until 3pm. At one time, the American
366

Translator’s Note: As noted earlier, three-pronged or three spearhead attacks - literally: “ba mũi giáp
công”, was a commonly-used term meaning military action, political action, and propaganda/proselytising/
agitation among enemy troops. See also page 108 for “three types of forces”.
367
Translator’s Note: In late April 1968, a US report noted: “D440 MF Bn – Strength 320, Marginally
Combat Effective, majority equipped with new series of weapons.” – 9th US Infantry Division, Operational
Report - Lessons Learned - to 30 April 1968 - dated 21 August 1968.
368
Translator’s Note: In the account in the 1991 D445 History, the American soldier is not killed – rather
Lợi breaks free from the American and: “still had time to grab his B40 and disappear into the jungle.”

101
forces were able to penetrate the fighting positions of the 1st Company. However, the
outcome of the battle was that the Battalion set fire to and destroyed 16 M41 and M113
tanks [sic], and killed dozens of Americans. As for our Battalion, 11 comrades were
killed – with the heaviest losses in the 1st Company. This victory over the American
forces - with their tanks and armoured vehicles, at the foot of Con Chim Hill was a
significant “morale boost” for all the cadre and soldiers of 445 Battalion after the very
great sacrifices and losses at the time of Tết Mậu Thân.369
Following this victory, the Battalion continued to receive orders for countersweeping operations in the Route 2 area.370 One of the Battalion’s most outstanding
counter-sweeping operations in this phase was the attack on an external post of a battalion
of the enemy’s 18th Division at the Cây Vừng ((Sesame Bushes)) T-Junction (adjacent to
Xuân Lộc District) as they prepared to sweep into the base of the Province Unit.
On the morning of 15 July 1968 (at about 7am), having heard a lot of gunfire in
the direction of the base of the Province Unit and the Province Committee, the whole
Battalion swiftly deployed from the Assault Youth371 Hill to recover the situation. The 1st
369

Translator’s Note: The battles at Cẩm Mỹ, Con Chim Hill, and Route 20 are related in further detail in
the 2011 D440 Battalion History – see Chamberlain, E.P., … D440: Their Story, op.cit., 2013, pp.45-47.
That account relates that we wiped “out much of the enemy’s capability – setting fire to 24 tanks and
armoured vehicles.” Contemporary Australian military records relate that on 5 May 1968, the US 11th
Armored Cavalry Regiment (11 ACR) reported heavy contact with elements of 440 Battalion in the vicinity
of Cẩm Mỹ (YS 4888) – 1 ATF, INTSUM No.126/68, Núi Đất, 5 May 1968. 1 ATF reported that in the
attack by 445 and 440 Battalions at Cẩm Mỹ (YS 4692) on 5 May 1968, Việt Cộng casualties were 36
killed (by body count), a further 57 killed by artillery, and five prisoners taken. US losses were five killed
and nine wounded, one M48 tank destroyed and two damaged – 1 ATF, INTSUM No.127/68, Núi Đất, 6
May 1968. According to CICV Report MACJ231-6, op.cit., 14 July 1969: On 5 May 1968, ARVN
elements at Cẩm Mỹ were attacked by the 6th Company of 440 Battalion and 445 Battalion – six ARVN
were killed and 21 wounded. 440 Battalion reportedly suffered 35 killed and 445 Battalion suffered 72
killed. Also according to the US CICV Report, on 6 May 1968, a 2/43 rd Regiment convoy on Route 20 from
Định Quán to Xuân Lộc was ambushed by 440 Battalion and elements of the 274 th and 275th Regiments.
The 11 ACR History relates that: “Elements of the D440 LF Bn and the D445 LF Bn attacked Cẩm Mỹ
Village in the early morning hours of 5 May, penetrating the perimeter and briefly occupying positions
within. E/2/11th Cav, F/2/11th Cav reinforced and routed the enemy, killing 75 VC/NVA and capturing four
VC and one NVA. Assorted weapons and equipment were also captured… The attack on Cẩm Mỹ Village
was the second major effort against this remote hamlet since 9 Mar. The psychological or military
objective to be attained from a successful attack on this target is minor at best. More likely, this assault was
designed as a diversionary tactic from the suspected increase of enemy activity.” In “the Slope 30… Cẩm
Mỹ Village was again harassed on 9 May with light RPG, AW and mortar fire.” See: 11 ACR, INTSUM
132-68, Annex A (11th Armd Cav Regt SUPINTREP 7-68)”, Headquarters, 11th Armored Cavalry
Regiment, 11 May 1968, pp. 1, 2-3. Further reporting by 11 ACR summarised casualties as: “4 US KIA, 11
US WIA, 1 ARVN interpreter KIA, 3 RF/PF KIA, 8 RF/PF MIA, 11 RF/PF WIA, 75 VC KIA, and 5 VC
POW” – email advice to the author/translator (Chamberlain E.P.) from Snedeker, D.C. Lieutenant Colonel
(Retd) – 11 ACR Historian, 21 May 2014. In May 1968 - under HQ 1 ATF (Fwd), 1RAR, 3RAR, 12 Fd
Regt and minor units deployed into Biên Hòa and Bình Dương Provinces and fought the Battle of Coral (13
May – Tân Uyên District, Biên Hòa ) and the subsequent Battle of Balmoral (26 May – Phú Giao District,
Bình Dương) as part of Operation Toàn Thắng.
370
Translator’s Note: 1 ATF records indicate that on 7 June 1968 445 Battalion attacked a night defensive
position of the 43rd ARVN Regiment (at YS 580931 – about 2 kilometres north of the Phước Tuy/Long
Khánh border) and suffered 58 killed (by ARVN body count) – four enemy weapons were recovered.
ARVN casualties were reported as three killed and 26 wounded – 1 ATF, INTSUM No.158-68, Núi Đất, 7
June 1968. In early June 1968, intelligence staff at 1 ATF reported: “… D445 LF Bn should now be
regarded as a Main Force unit which is well armed, well led, and well motivated and possesses expert
knowledge of the terrain and its target areas.” - Cameron, G.C. Major, Enemy Situation – Phước Tuy
Province (as at 11 June 1968).
371
Translator’s Note: “Assault Youth” were discrete elements – comprising mostly “full-time” males and
females in the age bracket 16-35, that assisted NVA/VC forces principally in liaison and logistic tasks such
as portering and battlefield clearance – for detail, see footnotes 125 and 257.

102
Company and the Reconnaissance Platoon led the Battalion’s deployment – together with
Comrade Lê Minh Kiên, the Battalion’s second-in-command. This group was followed by
the 2nd Company and the 3rd Company. However - before the tail of our column had
moved, massive enemy artillery fire impacted in the base area. In the very first volley,
Comrade Kiên and Comrade Tiến (reconnaissance) were killed; and Comrade Lê Văn
Tranh and a number of other comrades were wounded.
The Battalion had to halt and divide into two elements. One stopped to treat the
wounded, take them back to the medical unit for treatment, and to bury our dead. This
element was led by the Battalion Political Officer – Nguyễn Minh Ninh, and the Battalion
second-in-command – Nguyễn Đức Thu. The other group commanded by the Battalion
Commander – Nguyễn Văn Kiềm, and the Deputy Political Officer – Nguyễn Minh
Khanh, continued with the operation. At 5pm, the Battalion reconnaissance group came
upon the enemy where the enemy had halted to set up a tactical camp. Having heard the
report of the reconnaissance group, the Battalion Headquarters resolved to attack
immediately, and the companies moved into their assembly areas for the assault, waiting
for the order to open fire. It was not yet completely dark when all of the Battalion opened
fire at once. The enemy was struck by surprise, panicked, and suffered casualties.
However, as the Battalion fought from the first trenches to the second trenches, the enemy
had time to recover - and they regrouped, dug in, and organised a counter-attack. After a
few minutes of fighting – and seeing that our forces were unequal (with the enemy being
three times stronger than the Battalion’s combat elements), the Battalion gave the order to
withdraw in order to husband our forces.
As a result of that battle, 445 Battalion inflicted heavy casualties on a battalion of
the 52nd Regiment of the puppet 18th Division - forcing them to abandon their sweeping
operation that had sought to wipe out the Province nerve-centre. In the battle, Lê Minh
Kiên – the Battalion second-in-command, and a number of comrades died (including
Comrade Phạm Văn Giáo of Long Điền – a platoon commander in the 1st Company; and
Comrade Tiến – a Battalion reconnaissance soldier; and two soldiers from the 2nd
Company). However, the morale and the fighting spirit of the Battalion did not weaken
because of this. Comrade Nguyễn Văn Tâm ((Hai Tâm)) replaced the deceased Comrade
Lê Minh Kiên (Ba Kiên).
Within the territory of Long Đất District, in the second phase of the General
Offensive and Uprising, the District’s armed forces – comprising C25 Company and
village guerrillas, had fought a number of battles deep in the Đất Đỏ and Long Điền SubSectors, and wiped out and worn down an important part of the enemy’s capabilities
there. They had shaken the morale of the enemy soldiers and their leaders. However,
after discovering that our forces were thin on the ground and without main-force support,
the Australians and the puppet military counter-attacked fiercely, launched sweeping
operations, and struck deep into our base areas – especially the District’s base area in the
Minh Đạm, forcing the District’s forces to again counter their sweeps in the spirit of
“Resolving to hold the Minh Đạm”.
Facing this very critical and urgent situation, 445 Battalion was directed by the
Province Committee to move to Long Đất to share the burden of defending the Minh
Đạm and to provide support for the local revolutionary movement. Continuously
throughout three months, 445 Battalion fought the enemy side-by-side with the Long Đất
District forces – warding off the enemy’s sweeping operations and inflicting a large
number of heavy casualties on them.372 They were forced to abandon their sweeping
372

Translator’s Note: The Đất Đỏ District History (2006) relates that: “The main-force 445 Battalion was
deployed back to Long Đất to take part in the fighting in the Minh Đạm. On 26 June, aided by our
infrastructure agents, the Battalion secretly deployed its troops close to the Đất Đỏ Sub-Sector and

103
operations and withdraw from the Minh Đạm base after 100 days of investing and striking
into the base.373
With the assistance of the people in the hamlets of the three villages of Phước
Thọ, Phước Thạnh and Phước Hòa Long, 445 Battalion struck the enemy on Provincial
Route 52. The ambush site was only about 300 metres from the Phước Hòa Long Post (a
place that the enemy would not suspect). We completely wiped out the “Thunder and
Lightning Battalion” ((1st Battalion, 48th Regiment)) - the premier battalion of the puppet
18th Division.374*
Prior to the ambush, the Battalion’s troops were concealed in the villagers’
houses. The 2nd Company – commanded by Comrade Hai Bỉ, was tasked as the forward
blocking force and covered the killing zone (opposite the Cao Đài temple to the west) and
the 1st Company led by Comrade Nguyễn Văn Vũ (the uncle of Comrade Hai Bỉ) had the
responsibility as the rear blocking element. At 8am on 8 August 1968, the Thunder and
Lightning Battalion led by two American advisors swept down into the Long Mỹ, Hội Mỹ
area to find and wipe out 445 Battalion. There, they were held up for a full day by attacks
by the guerrillas of those two villages. Having to fight back, extended and tired the
enemy. At about 5pm, when they were only about 300 metres from the Regional Forces
post at Phước Hòa Long, the enemy were blocked and attacked by 445 Battalion.
Exhausted and surprised – and attacked from three sides, the enemy were quickly
destroyed, and only about a platoon was able to flee helter-skelter. The two American
advisors met a similar fate – and were killed. Having won the battle, 445 Battalion
quickly cleared the battlefield, treated the wounded, and organised elements to recover
the many weapons and equipment.375
completely wiped out a puppet company of the enemy’s 18 th Infantry Division. In July 1968, one of the
Battalion’s elements struck deep into Long Sơn hamlet of Long Bình (Long Điền) and killed a group of
Regional Force and Popular Force troops based there. The Long Điền village guerrillas and an element of
the District troops ambushed a platoon of Regional Forces at the memorial in Long Phượng hamlet – killing
15, and seizing 15 weapons and a PRC-25 radio.
373
Translator’s Note: In the second half of 1968 in VC Long Đất District, 1 ATF conducted the following
operations: Operation Blue Mountains (6-10 July – 1st Armoured Regiment); Operation Albany (12-16 July
– 1RAR); Operation Nowra (8 August-24 September – 1RAR, 3RAR); Operation Goodwood (3 December
1968 - 19 February 1969 – 1RAR, 4RAR/NZ, 9RAR); Operation King Hit (10-11 December – 9RAR);
Operation Boundary Rider (27-31 December – 9RAR); and land clearing operations by the 1 st Field
Squadron (Beaver Dam III, VII, and VIII) – see the operational summaries in Ekins, A. with McNeill, I.,
Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, pp.715-729.
374
* On 8 August 1968, the commander of the “Thunder and Lightning Battalion” had written a provocative
letter to 445 Battalion challenging 445 Battalion to enter Đất Đỏ and face annihilation.
375
Translator’s Note: The 1991 D445 History notes that on 8 August 1968 – following a “provocative letter
from the commander of the 18th Division’s “Crazy Buffalo Battalion” , 445 Battalion wiped out the “Crazy
Buffalo Battalion” – killing two US advisors, “in an ambush on Route 52 about 300 metres from the Phước
Long Hội camp.” That 1991 History subsequently recounts that: “almost a month later, the 18 th Puppet
Division sent the ‘Thunder and Lightning Battalion’ of its 52nd Task Force [sic] to Đất Đỏ to exact revenge.
However, as soon as they set foot there, they were ambushed by 445 Battalion and two of the enemy’s
companies were wiped out.” According to the Long Đất District History (1986), “At the beginning of
August 1968, Phước Tuy Sector deployed the “Thunderbolt Battalion” of the 18 th Division to Phước Hòa
Long to support pacification. ... On Route 52, we ((D445)) ambushed them between Phước Lợi and Triên
Vườn – the battalion was destroyed in 30 minutes.” The later Đất Đỏ District History (2006) relates: “At the
end of July 1968, the ‘Thunderbolt Battalion’ of the puppet 18 th Division was deployed and stationed at
Phước Hòa Long” … 445 Battalion “completely wiped out the ‘Thunderbolt Battalion’ at Triên Vườn.”
Such engagements by 445 Battalion in the Đất Đỏ area are not recorded in 1 ATF records. These actions
might possibly be a reference to the Việt Cộng attack farther north later in August ie: on the afternoon of 23
August 1968 in southern Long Khánh Province (Courtenay Plantation area – YS 579958), a Việt Cộng
force attacked the Headquarters of the 43rd ARVN Regiment, 3rd Battalion/43rd Regiment and 3rd
Battalion/52nd Regiment. The ARVN force was reportedly surrounded, and their casualties were reported as

104
A few days after the ambush that wiped out the “Thunder and Lightning”
Battalion, 445 Battalion - led by the An Nhứt guerrillas, tasked the 3rd Company
(reinforced with fire support from the 4th Company) to join with the local troops of Long
Đất District to attack a Rural Development (RD) Cadre376 group stationed in An Nhứt and
to pin down a nearby Popular Force377 element. The enemy was completely taken by
surprise when we opened fire to attack. After about ten minutes, our forces had taken
control of the battlefield, seized a large quantity of weapons, military equipment, and
military materiel. Dozens of RD cadre were killed, and two were captured. Directed and
initiated by the Long Đất District Committee, this victorious battle evidenced strong
support for the revolutionary movement of the masses, the development of guerrilla
warfare, the destruction of the enemy’s communications, and the killing of the enemy
oppressors.378
In August 1968, the Standing Committee of the Province Committee met following which the Executive Committee of the Province Party Chapter (the Province
Committee) convened a plenary meeting to review and evaluate the results of work
undertaken and yet to be achieved during the two phases of the General Offensive and
Uprising. The Province Committee concluded that: the greatest victories were the
destruction of the enemy’s capability, creating an advantageous position, and the
resounding attack on the enemy’s nerve-centres and lairs. We had held-on and had been
able to strike the enemy right in the cities and the towns. However, there were still many
shortcomings – such as a need to strengthen the revolutionary ideology of the cadre and
soldiers who were tending towards subjectivism and not yet giving sufficient importance
to the mobilisation of the masses to rise up. A particular focus was defining our
objectives.
Regarding our direction: The Province Committee affirmed our capability for
Project 1 (the Project to Win) - in that we were unable to achieve this in 1968. Moving to
Project 2, the Province Committee advocated a continuation of attacks and uprisings – but
that the preparation of the mass organisations must be good, and uprisings coordinated
with our armed elements in order to liberate the hamlets and villages whenever to our
advantage. At the same time, there was a need to actively strengthen the infrastructure,
avoid exposing our forces, maintain clandestine forces, and overcome “excessively
optimistic” thoughts when preparing for operations – as well as pessimistic thoughts and
alarm when the enemy counter-attacked strongly. The Province Committee directed a
continuation of the strengthening of our base areas, a continuation of production
activities, and coordination between the three-prongs of the attack for timely strikes on
the enemy.
14 killed and 80 wounded. Việt Cộng casualties were reportedly 13 killed (by body count) – 1 ATF,
INTSUM No.236/68, Núi Đất, 24 August 1968.
376
Translator’s Note: The Rural Development (RD) Cadre - earlier termed the Revolutionary Development
Cadre, were established on 4 January 1966 in New Life hamlets to train village self-defence elements - see
VCAT Items No.13510124002 and No.13510123005. The 59-man RD Cadre teams in the villages – first
deployed in May 1966, progressed the Sài Gòn Government’s political, social and economic programs. See:
The R.D. Cadre System 9/66 – including directives and re-organisation at VCAT Item No.2120613006. The
original RD Cadre group of 59 was scaled down to 30 during the Accelerated Pacification Program (ACP),
and then 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.
377
Translator’s Note: The Vietnamese text uses the obsolescent term “Dân Vệ” – ie: Self-Defence Corps.
As noted, the Dân Vệ - together with the “Hamlet Combat Youth”, were replaced by the Popular Forces (PF
– ie: Nghĩa Quân) in 1964.
378
Translator’s Note: This engagement at An Nhứt village (YS 4559) is not related in the 1991 D445
History, nor in the Đất Đỏ District History (2006), nor in the Long Đất History (1986).

105
Following the instructions from the Province Unit, the 445 Battalion Headquarters
drew lessons from our experiences, and thoroughly grasped the requirements and the
directions of the Province Committee. We acknowledged that the mission had changed to
“Project 2”. Consequently, the Battalion Headquarters produced an operational plan to the
end of the year with the Long Đất District as our principal battlefield.
After our effective attacks on the enemy in Đất Đỏ, at the request of the Long Đất
District Committee, the Battalion moved to attack the enemy on the Long Điền battlefield
with the aim of wearing down the Australian and puppet forces and destroying their grip
while supporting the local movement and the people in that region. To achieve the tasks
of these requests from Long Đất, at 2am on the morning of 30 September 1968, 445
Battalion’s 2nd Company attacked Phố Năm Căn and a number of Popular Force outposts
in Long Điền Town in order to “lure” – and then strike, the enemy relief forces. The
Battalion organised its remaining elements as an ambush force at the Long Điền TJunction (in the area of Long Bình hamlet).
Just as we had planned, when the positions in Long Điền were attacked, the
enemy rapidly deployed two squadrons of tanks and armoured vehicles (about 50
vehicles) – together with a platoon of Australian soldiers from Núi Đất; a main-force
battalion of the 18th Division stationed in the Vạn Kiếp Training Centre; and two Ranger
battalions (the Mai Phoọc and Tép Phoọc Battalions)379 to surround and attack 445
Battalion’s defensive positions. The force comprising the tanks, armoured vehicles and
the Australian company came from the direction of Long Phượng hamlet and fell into the
Battalion’s ambush sites in the area of Xóm Bún and Cầu Đức. The battle was waged
decisively. Although our forces were unequal to those of the enemy - as we had the
initiative and the advantage of initial surprise, our combat results were quite good. The
companies of 445 Battalion struck the enemy in this area and set fire to eight tanks and
armoured vehicles, and inflicted heavy casualties on the Australian infantry company.
Elated at our victory, the Battalion decided to stick together with the aim of “striking
strongly and fighting to the utmost”. However, the terrain was exposed, the enemy was
numerous, we were being bombed by aircraft and being fired upon fiercely, and the
enemy tanks were firing intensely from a distance into our defences and wounding and
killing many comrades. Facing such a situation, the Battalion Headquarters decided to
withdraw. In this battle, we had 21 comrades wounded or killed (comprising a guerrilla
from Long Điền village and 20 soldiers and cadre of 445 Battalion).380
379

Translator’s Note: Earlier, this 2004 D445 History related 440 Company ambushing enemy “Mai
Phoọc” and “Tép Phoọc” troops on Route 44 at Đá Giăng on 25 December 1964 – see footnote 148. In that
ambush in late 1964, those ARVN troops were described as comprising junior NCO trainees from the Long
Hải camp.
380
Translator’s Note: These passages of the D445 History probably refer to engagements in August 1968 –
not 30 September as stated above. On 11 August 1968, a company-sized Việt Cộng force attacked Long
Điền Town – 1 ATF, INTSUM No.223/68, Núi Đất, 11 August 1968. On 22 August 1968, Đất Đỏ Town
was “shelled by forty 82mm mortar rounds and RPG rounds by an estimated two Việt Cộng platoons …
Long Điền was attacked by about 100 enemy of C2, C3 - and probably C4, Companies of D445 Battalion
on 22 August. 1RAR assisted RVNAF forces and reported 29 enemy killed.” – 1 ATF, Enemy Situation Phước Tuy Province, Núi Đất, 23 August 1968. According to the Long Đất District History (1986): “on 22
August 1968, D445 attacked Long Điền – and inflicted heavy casualties on a relieving Australian company
– D445 lost 11 killed.” The Đất Đỏ District History (2006) relates that: “on 22 August, 445 Battalion took
the initiative and attacked Long Điền Town to draw off the enemy forces preparing a new sweep into the
Minh Đạm base. The enemy forces comprised two battalions of Australian infantry, an infantry battalion
from the 18th puppet Division, a Regional Forces battalion from Vạn Kiếp, a commando company from
Long Hải - with a squadron of tanks in support, that swept immediately into the base and split into many
attacking columns. The balance of forces was extremely uneven. However, 445 Battalion took the initiative
and attacked the enemy, concentrating its firepower to set fire to eight tanks and inflict heavy casualties on

106
After the “Thunder and Lighting Battalion” had been driven from the battlefield,
the puppet 18th Division deployed its “Mad Buffalo Battalion” of the 52nd Task Force
down to Đất Đỏ to restore the situation. However, as soon as they arrived, they were
struck by 445 Battalion and two of the enemy’s companies were wiped out. The puppet
18th Division’s intention to seek out and destroy 445 Battalion had gone up in smoke.381
On the Long Đất battlefield, the Battalion had coordinated with the local District
troops and the village guerrillas in the Đất Đỏ region, sabotaged lines of communication,
killed oppressors, and supported the development of guerrilla warfare and the political
struggle of the masses as directed by the Long Đất District Committee. The series of
victories by 445 Battalion in Đất Đỏ at that time frightened and dismayed the wicked
thugs, the Regional Forces and the Popular Forces – and all were forced to stay their
hand. Exploiting this psychology, the guerrillas in the villages of Đất Đỏ – whenever they
contacted the enemy, would usually declare themselves loudly as “445 Battalion troops”
in order to threaten the enemy and make them flee.
In October 1968, the Battalion was ordered to withdraw back to Láng Cà Thi
(Bủng [sic] Riêng – Xuyên Mộc) in order to consolidate, study, and train – after almost a
year of continuous combat, and to prepare for missions to attack the enemy during the
1968-1969 Dry Season.382 In this period, we gave priority to conducting Party and
political work with the aim of creating Party Chapters and “Four Good Qualities” Youth
Groups (good in combat; good in political ideology; good in study, training, and labour;
and good in unity). The training program strove to produce “Four Good” Party members,
“Four Good” Party Chapters, and “Four Good” Youth Groups – which would
subsequently continue their activities in an orderly routine of Party and political work in
445 Battalion. At the same time, cadre activities were given special importance,
strengthened, and arranged to be in accord with the Battalion’s practical situation.
One phase of the recreational and rebuilding period for the troops was that while
some cadre and soldiers were undertaking political studies, others would be transporting
rice, catching fish, hunting animals, or harvesting vegetables to improve their conditions.
The Battalion’s Party Committee met to develop missions and to prepare all aspects for
the Battalion’s upcoming operations. Suddenly, there was the sound of a lot of gunfire
and rounds flying in the direction of the Headquarters. Recognising that the enemy could
be sweeping into the base, the Battalion quickly organised its forces (those elements still
in the base area) to deploy for combat in accordance with the previously-arranged tactical
plan to defend the base. The units deployed to surround and counter-attack the enemy.
After a few minutes of decisive fighting, we had complete control of the battlefield, and
the enemy had left dozens of bodies behind. Subsequently, according to the reports of our
an Australian company. The Australian commando force was overwhelmed near An Ngãi, and the battalion
from the 18th puppet Division was forced to retreat to Long Điền and call on aircraft to fire rockets into the
battlefield. Our 445 Battalion withdrew swiftly into the base area. The bodies of the 11 445 Battalion
soldiers who were killed during the withdrawal were recovered by the people and buried at the base of the
cast-iron bridge at Long Điền. On the night of 22 August, on the orders of the District Committee, Long Đất
District’s C25 unit and village guerrillas coordinated with the people to simultaneously attack and rise up in
Đất Đỏ.” The 1991 D445 History recounted the attack on Long Điền and concluded pessimistically: “The
Battalion learnt a bloody lesson in the battle at Long Điền: Be daring - but you must seek advantageous
terrain and prepare everything with circumspection to ensure success in combat. Hanging-on in open
terrain, that is sandy and water-logged - against a heavily-armed enemy with air and artillery support, is a
road leading only to defeat.”
381
Translator’s Note: This passage appears to be somewhat out-of-place – ie it probably belongs earlier
with the engagements described in early August 1968.
382
Translator’s Note: Láng (“Waterfall”) Cà Thi is in the vicinity of YS 6966. The 1991 D445 History
similarly relates the Battalion withdrawing in November 1968 “to Bàu Nhám (Xuyên Mộc) to consolidate
and train” preparatory to “to attacking the enemy in the 1968-1969 Dry Season.”

107
agents, we became aware that among the enemy killed in this engagement was Captain
Đức, the District Chief of Xuyên Mộc. That day, he had led a wicked District Regional
Forces platoon on a sweep aimed at finding and wiping out the Xuyên Mộc village
guerrillas. They came across two of the Battalion’s soldiers - who had been carrying rice,
and were having a rest break and shot them dead – and cut off the ear of Comrade Quang.
District Chief Đức was a widely notorious and wicked thug – so on hearing that he had
been killed by 445 Battalion, the people and our revolutionary infrastructure personnel in
the Xuyên Mộc region were very elated. Conversely, the enemy in the Xuyên Mộc SubSector were like headless snakes – alarmed and fearful.383
After that engagement, 445 Battalion moved to Bầu Lâm384 (Xuyên Mộc) to
conduct political training, rejuvenate our forces, and consolidate in accord with our plans.
From the end of 1968, the situation on the Bà Rịa – Long Khánh battlefield
became extremely difficult and decisive. The Americans and their puppets adjusted the
implementation of their Accelerated Pacification Program385 with the aim of winning
back the populated areas, plotting to dislodge our revolutionary organisations, and
consolidating the enemy’s oppressive machinery and infrastructure. They began testing
this program from July 1968 and conducted it comprehensively from December 1968 concentrating on critical areas, populated regions, and along the key axes and lines of
communication. To implement their program in the Bà Rịa – Long Khánh region, they
brought in 11 Rural Development Cadre groups (with each group numbering from 30 to
60 personnel), and employed all their mobile forces in the Military Region including the
2nd Airborne Brigade, the 18th Division, the Royal Australian Task Force, local Sector
Regional Forces, and mobile police elements386 to conduct their pacification operations.
With superior forces and maximum support from artillery and air assets, the enemy was
able to launch many large sweeping operations in October and November ((1968)),
striking deep into our base areas in the Mây Tào Mountains, east and west of Route 2, the
383
Translator’s Note: According to the Xuyên Mộc District History (1989), “Captain Đức” ((ie Lê Văn
Đức)) – the District Chief, was killed in an engagement with 445 Battalion in the Láng Cà Thi area “at the
end of 1969”, and “almost a platoon of Regional Forces were killed on the spot. … A whole enemy
battalion was deployed to sweep the area and recover the bodies.” - Võ Kim Hanh (et al), Xuyên Mộc
Kháng Chiến 1945-1975, op.cit., 1989, pp.158-159.
384
Translator’s Note: The Bàu/Bầu Lâm Base Area “33” was in the vicinity of YS 6180 – west of the
abandoned village of Thừa Tích which was about 13 kilometres directly north-west of Xuyên Mộc District
Town. Bàu Lâm was the preferred Việt Cộng title for the Thừa Tích area. A captured document dated 18
August 1967 related that there were 118 families in the “Bàu Lâm locality” of whom “92 – with a total of
371 members, are suffering from a shortage of food supplies.” CDEC Log 11-2289-67. In mid-1970, about
170 civilians remained under communist control in the Bàu Lâm and nearby Bình Châu (YS 632859) areas
– CDEC Log 10-1993-70, VCAT Item No.2311013003. See also: Võ Kim Hanh (et al), Xuyên Mộc Kháng
Chiến 1945-1975, op.cit., 1989.
385
Translator’s Note: 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 programed 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 33 rd 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,
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, p.80 – in English with commentary and additional annexed information see:
Chamberlain, E.P., … D440: Their Story, op.cit., 2013, p.53.
386
Translator’s Note: This appears to be a reference to the National Police Field Force (NPFF). That Force founded in January 1966, was organised similarly to infantry sub-units, was armed with M-16 rifles, trained
in infantry minor tactics – and a company was assigned to each of the 44 provinces. Its strength in 1970 was
about 16,000. The NPFF was also the primary riot-control element of the National Police.

108
Núi Dinh Mountains area, the Minh Đạm Mountains, and they tightly blockaded the exit
and entry points for our logistic supplies. The Districts of Cao Su and Xuyên Mộc were
unable to purchase food, supplies, or medicines. Our cadre and troops routinely had to
oppose the enemy’s sweeping operations. Life was difficult, there was much illness and
many casualties – including deaths, and our combat capabilities declined markedly.
While the Battalion was consolidating and training at Bầu Lâm (Xuyên Mộc), we
heard that the enemy was conducting a sweeping operation – supported by B-52 bomber
strikes387, in the Minh Đạm Mountains. Many cadre, soldiers, and villagers in the area
around the base became casualties. To assist our fellow countrymen and comrades, the
Battalion Headquarters deployed back to the territory of Long Đất – to both block and
attack the enemy, coordinate with the local forces, and evacuate our wounded in a timely
manner back to the rear services area at the Sông Ray River for treatment. Beforehand
however, we received news that our people in the Phước Bửu liberated zone ((Xuyên
Mộc)) were suffering serious hunger following enemy sweeping operations. Although we
were still in very difficult circumstances – with our rations mixed with vegetables and
roots more than the rice, the Battalion Headquarters still decided to scrape 800 litres of
rice from our stores to give to the people. Comrade Nguyễn Tấn Giải (Mười Giải) – the
Political Officer of the 4th Company, and 14 soldiers carried the rice and gave it to
them.388 With such great magnanimity and sentiment, the timely action of the Battalion’s
cadre and soldiers further portrayed our image as the “Troops of the Great Grandfather
Hồ” in the hearts of the local Party Chapter and the people. It also created further trust
and love towards the troops and the revolutionary movement, while helping the people
and the local area.
At the end of November and December 1968, we were faced by the poisonous
pacification schemes of the Americans and their puppets – as well as the ferocious
destruction by the enemy of the local revolutionary movement. Following the directions
of COSVN, the Bà Rịa – Long Khánh Province Committee directed a policy to:
concentrate our three kinds of forces, coordinate with COSVN’s main-forces, and
actively conduct operations to oppose and destroy the Accelerated Pacification schemes
of the enemy. A series of high points was launched from 5 to 20 December 1968 to
counter the enemy’s sweeping operations while striking directly at the enemy’s towns,
cities, rear areas, and important principal communications axes. Beforehand, the COSVN
Headquarters reinforced us with the 33rd Regiment389 to join in the fighting together with
our local troops.
* * *
Emerging during the progress of the war and as a requirement to be a pillar of the
local revolutionary movment, 445 Battalion developed by leaps and bounds – in both its
organisation and its standard of combat effectiveness. The Battalion’s most outstanding
387

Translator’s Note: B-52 sorties comprised either four or six aircraft, with the usual bomb load of 51
750lb bombs per aircraft. For a ground eye-witness description of the effect of a B-52 strike (late March
1970), see Trương Như Tảng, Journal of a Viet Cong, Jonathan Cape, London, 1986, p.160.
388
Translator’s Note: As noted, a captured document dated 18 August 1967 related that there were 118
families in the “Bàu Lâm locality” of whom “92 – with a total of 371 members, are suffering from a
shortage of food supplies.” CDEC Log 11-2289-67.
389
Translator’s Note: The 33rd Regiment of the North Vietnamese Army entered South Vietnam on 20 July
1965 and fought initially in the Central Highlands at the battles of Plei Me and the Ia Drang Valley in
October- November 1965. The Regiment moved into the III Corps Tactical Zone in June 1968 and fought in
Phước Tuy Province from early-mid 1969. See footnotes: 385, 389, 405, 491, 505, 509, 511, 528, 532, 546,
549, 550, 553, 556, 572, and 643. For further detail see: Chamberlain, E.P., The 33rd Regiment - North
Vietnamese Army: Their Story (and the Battle of Binh Ba), Point Lonsdale, 2014.

109
aspect in this period was its attacking spirit against the Americans and their military
vassals (the Australian troops) and defeating them. We overcame a large number of their
plots, schemes, and the wicked and poisonous tactics that they applied for the first time in
Vietnam on the Bà Rịa – Long Khánh battlefield. As the Province’s concentrated mainforce unit, the Battalion always deployed to attack the enemy in the most difficult and
critical places and provided effective, close and timely support to the local revolutionary
movement. We had the absolute trust of the Party and the local people – who helped and
protected us wholeheartedly, and created favourable conditions for our unit to overcome
difficulties and successfully achieve our given missions in an outstanding manner. The
combat feats of the Battalion contributed significantly to the defeat of the Americans’
“Limited War” on the Bà Rịa battlefield.

110
Chapter 2

445 Battalion in the period of opposing the strategy of the
“Vietnamization of the War” (1969 – 1972).
1. Supporting the local forces in the destruction of the Accelerated Pacification
Program of the Americans and their puppets; Defeating the bunker and barrier
shield390 of the Australian forces.
The great victory of the General Offensive and Uprising at Tết Mậu Thân in 1968
– and the Spring-Summer Campaign that followed, combined with the defeat of the
Americans’ first destructive war against the North, had forced the Americans to sit down
at the peace negotiations table and de-escalate the War. However, they still never
abandoned their wicked intention of invading Vietnam. Following the occupation of the
“White House” by Nixon and his clique, they developed the wicked strategy of the
“Vietnamization of the War”391 and tried to train the puppet forces with the aim of
replacing the American expeditionary troops and their vassals on the battlefield.
To achieve their scheme on the battlefields of Bà Rịa – Long Khánh – apart from
increasing the destruction from bombing and artillery fire, the enemy forces used many
types of chemical poisons which they spread to wipe out areas of mature jungle and
dropped on our base areas. They bulldozed the verges on both sides of Routes 2, 44, 52,
and 15 (clearing each side to a depth of 300 - 500 metres) – particularly in the region of
the Hắc Dịch base. The invading professional armies of the Americans such as: “The Big
Red One”392, the 9th Infantry Division, the 173rd Airborne Brigade, and the 11th Armored
Cavalry Regiment all launched operations continuously to destroy our bases.
To counter these destructive activities of the Americans and their vassals – while
at the same time implementing COSVN’s Directive 71393, from the very first days of
1969394 the Province Committee convened a conference to develop the spirit of the
Directive with the District Committees and to provide guidance to the armed forces in the
390

Translator’s Note: Literally, in Vietnamese: “chiến thuật ụ ngầm và hàng rào lá chắn”. The “barriertactic/human barrier-shield fence” is described in the Long Đất District History (1986) see translated
extracts in Chamberlain, E.P., … D445 …, op.cit., 2011: in 1970: “The Australians continued their ‘chiến
thuật hàng rào lá chắn’ ((‘barrier shield tactic’)), but in a more limited fashion.” This is also explained in a
footnote to p.186 of the Long Đất District History (1986) as a tactic in which the Australians used “tanks
and commandos [sic]” to make a fence/barrier to block the Việt Cộng moving from their bases into the
hamlets and villages. The later Đất Đỏ District History (2006) relates: “By night, they ((the Australians))
would deploy their tanks and commandos to create a ‘barrier shield’ outside Đất Đỏ.”
391
Translator’s Note: The term “Vietnamizing” reportedly emerged in late January 1969; and President
Richard Nixon used the term “Vietnamization” in his “Silent Majority” speech on 2 November 1969.
392
Translator’s Note: The US 1st Infantry Division – see Operation Abilene (principally in Phước Tuy
Province) at footnotes 199, 203, 206, 215, and 223.
393
Translator’s Note: For COSVN Directive 71, see VCAT Item No.23130007064. For Directive 72/CTNT
dated 2 February 1969 that discusses “problems” with Directive 71, see VCAT Item No.2121209014. For a
discussion of finances, see also Directive 70 (19 January 1969) at CDEC Log 05-2407-70, VCAT Item
No.2311201003.
394
Translator’s Note: In January 1969, 1 ATF produced a 13-page “history” of 445 Battalion – ie: De Cure,
P.F. Major, D445 Local Force Battalion, HQ 1ATF – Núi Đất, 18 January 1969, that assessed the
Battalion’s “actual strength” … “to be in the vicinity of 350.” The study did not include any detail on 445
Battalion personalities. Reviewing 1966, that study also related: “Combined with elements of 5 VC Div, the
Battalion attempted to ambush Australian forces at Long Tân ((18 August 1966)). They were surprised by
an encircling movement and suffered very heavy casualties in the order of 70 KIA and 100 WIA.”

111
Province. The conference directed that: the three-pronged attacks were to be pressed
strongly with a priority against the Accelerated Pacification scheme of the Americans and
their puppets.
445 Battalion had been through a phase of consolidation and training. Its strength,
equipment, and tactical standards had all been increased. However, when the time came
to move into the Spring 1969 phase, the ideological spirit, resolve and will of the
Battalion was still not equal to that as at Tết Mậu Thân 1968.
Before entering this next phase, the command organisation of 445 Battalion had
changed. Comrade Nguyễn Đức Thu was the Battalion Commander - having replaced
Comrade Nguyễn Văn Kiềm (Năm Kiềm) who was appointed to command the Châu Đức
District Unit; and Comrade Nguyễn Minh Khanh held the position of Political Officer –
replacing Comrade Nguyễn Minh Ninh who was appointed the Deputy Political Officer
of the Province Unit. Nguyễn Văn Kiềm and Nguyễn Minh Ninh were moved to Province
to fill new appointments.395 The Deputy Political Officer of the Battalion was Comrade
Nguyễn Văn Bảo (Sáu Bảo) and the Battalion seconds-in-command were Comrade Đào
Văn Tổng (Tám Tổng) and Comrade Chín Long.396*
When on the march in Spring 1969, 445 Battalion was ordered to simultaneously
attack four objectives in Bà Rịa Town: the Regional Forces Group base, the self-propelled
artillery base, the Province Chief’s palace, and the Vạn Kiếp Training Centre. Different to
our attacks at Tết Mậu Thân in 1968, this time 445 Battalion attacked principally by
indirect fire in coordination with our infantry. However, at the conclusion of the attack,
we withdrew immediately and did not hold on.
At 1am on the third day of Tết397, the Battalion’s firepower fell simultaneously on
its objectives – the enemy’s important bases in Bà Rịa Town. Following the shelling
attacks398, our infantry group assaulted and seized a number of important pre-determined
targets - most importantly, the base of the Regional Forces battalion. Having learnt the
lessons of Tết Mậu Thân (1968), the enemy in Bà Rịa Town were more vigilant and had
taken tight defensive measures around the important objectives. Accordingly, when our
infantry attacked the targets, they floundered against the enemy’s fierce resistance. The
enemy’s firepower fell like rain and stopped short our attacks. Australian tanks from Núi
Đất came to their aid and assisted the puppet infantry to counter-attack the Battalion from
the rear and into our positions. The Battalion’s formation was split by the enemy. The
battle became more decisive with every minute, and our casualties increased by the
moment. The Battalion Headquarters concluded that we did not have the capability to
strike any deeper, so gave the order to withdraw immediately during the night in order to
395

Translator’s Note: This sentence is repetitive – and contradictory; it appears to be an editorial error.
*At the end of 1969/beginning of 1970, Comrade Chín Long was moved to the Province Military
Intelligence Unit; Comrade Nguyễn Anh Vũ was appointed Battalion second-in-command; Comrade
Nguyễn Văn Bảo (Sáu Bảo) was appointed Political Officer of 440 Battalion; and Comrade Nguyễn Văn
Oanh was appointed as the Battalion Deputy Political Officer. After Comrade Nguyễn Văn Tâm (Ba Tâm)
was killed at Láng Cà Thi (1970), Comrade Đào Văn Tổng (Tám Tổng) was appointed as the Battalion’s
Deputy Commander.
397
Translator’s Note: According to 1 ATF records, 445 Battalion attacked Bà Rịa Town on 23 February
1969 and suffered 10 killed and 12 wounded. 445 Battalion elements noted in the attack included the 1 st and
rd
3 Companies and a reconnaissance element – 1 ATF, INTSUM 54-69, Núi Đất, 23 February 1969; and
Graham, N.F. Major, D445 - Order of Battle, 1 ATF Battle Intelligence Section, Núi Đất, 29 May 1970.
398
Translator’s Note: On 26 February 1969, over-calibre 107mm rockets were fired into the Vạn Kiếp
National Training Centre on Bà Rịa Town’s eastern outskirts – the 4th Company of 445 Battalion was
believed to have been responsible – 1 ATF, Enemy Situation in Phước Tuy Province, Núi Đất, 11 March
1969. “H12” was the nomenclature for the H12 Type 63 multiple rocket launcher - ie a 12-tube 107mm
rocket launcher. It is highly probable that over-calibre 107mm rockets were fired from a single tube
launcher or a field-expedient launcher.
396

112
husband our forces. The outcome of the 1969 attack was not on the scale as the attack at
Tết Mậu Thân, but was still quite resounding and affirmed the existence of the Bà Rịa –
Long Khánh armed forces and their capability to attack deep into the enemy’s rear areas,
administrative facilities, and military nerve-centres at any time.399
In 1969, when the Americans and their puppets were forced to change the
direction of their strategy and de-escalate the War, Bà Rịa – Long Khánh Province was a
base from which to withdraw their troops. Châu Đức and Long Đất Districts became
principal areas for the development of their Accelerated Pacification Program. An
extreme test of strength between us and the enemy ensued.400
The enemy launched a series of sweeping operations, clearing along Routes 2, 15
and 23. They used bombs and chemical poisons to destroy the mature jungle where they
suspected that we had bases and stationed our troops. The enemy employed bulldozers to
clear the land along the roads and deep into our bases in the Minh Đạm, Châu Pha, and
the Hắc Dịch. Australian commandos and puppets – in teams and sections, continuously
scoured deep into the jungle for many days at a time. Almost all the tracks and junctions
to and from the jungle were ambushed by the enemy.
Together with the increase in sweeping operations and attacks in those areas, in
the populated zones the enemy urgently advanced their pacification schemes. They
divided up the territory, increased their oppression and blockades, separating the people
from the revolution in order to block supplies – “isolating the necessities of life” from our
forces on the outside. The enemy organised intelligence networks (secret agents) to
follow all activities among the people associated with the revolution. They arrested and
beat anyone that they suspected of being involved in supply activities for the revolution.
They strictly forbade the people from storing rice in their houses and taking rice out into
the fields. Pictures of our cadre were pasted up everywhere with monetary rewards for
informing the enemy of their location – or capturing or killing our cadre. The reward for
capturing a District Committee member was 10,000 piastres ((USD 85)), and if shot and
killed – 5,000 puppet piastres. The Australian and puppet troops would regularly lie in
wait, patrol, prod the ground searching for tunnels - all trying to discover any external
infiltration, and scare the people. More dangerously, the enemy used psychological
warfare “White Swan”401 agents - and also traitors who had surrendered broadcasting
from aircraft – both night and day, to call upon our cadre and soldiers to surrender or to

399

Translator’s Note: According to the 1991 D445 History: “In this attack on the enemy in Bà Rịa Town,
the Battalion destroyed 13 tanks and armoured vehicles, two artillery pieces, and a large quantity of
ammunition - and removed from the battlefield almost 100 puppet soldiers.” A 1985 Đồng Nai Province
publication relates that D445 “wiped out 330 enemy in Bà Rịa Town on 22 February 1969” - Hồ Sơn Đài &
Trần Quang Toại, Đồng Nai … (The Heroic Units of Đồng Nai), op.cit., 1985, pp.14-20.
400
Translator’s Note: On 16 May 1969, the Commander of the US II Field Force Vietnam (IIFFV) at Long
Bình issued a new directive to the Commander 1 ATF that changed the operational priorities of the Task
Force. The first priority was now to be pacification, the second – upgrading of the South Vietnamese forces,
and the third was to be military operations – see Horner, D.M., Australian Higher Command in the Vietnam
War, Canberra Papers on Strategy and Defence No.40, Australian National University, Canberra, 1986. See
also Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, pp.132-133. For a useful review of
“Pacification” to the end of 1968, see Young, E.J., Stability in Rural Vietnam, December 1968, VCAT Item
No.13510141001.
401
Translator’s Note: The “Biệt Đội Thiên Nga” (White Swan Special Unit) comprised female Republic of
Vietnam police personnel tasked to covertly infiltrate the Việt Cộng infrastructure organisation and base
areas. Formed in August 1968, in 1972 the unit’s title was changed to Special Mission Group G4231g. See
Nguyễn Thanh Thủy (a former unit commander), “Nhớ Đến Biệt Ðội Thiên Nga” – “Remembering the
White Swan Special Unit”, 17 June 2008.

113
rally402 to the enemy. They disseminated distorted information from our unit’s cadre and
soldiers – and infrastructure members, who had given up etc – in order to shake the
morale, will, and psychology of our remaining personnel.
To restore the adverse situation on the battlefield, the Province Committee
directed an increase in our forces in the two critical districts. Châu Đức District was
directly supported by COSVN’s main-force 33rd Regiment, and 445 Battalion was alloted
to support the Long Đất battlefield. Consequently, immediately following our attack on
Bà Rịa Town, the whole of the Battalion swiftly deployed to Đất Đỏ to coordinate with
the local forces and continue attacks on the enemy, blocking their sweeping operations,
and defending the liberated zones and the revolutionary bases. In the Spring – Summer
phase in 1969403, 445 Battalion fought three large battles that had resounding results.
In the first battle, we joined with 440 Battalion to attack the post at Phước Hòa
Long on 16 May 1969.404 We wiped out a Regional Force company at the post and held it
402

Translator’s Note: Begun in 1963, the Chiêu Hồi (“Open Arms”) program encouraged North Vietnamese
and Việt Cộng forces and infrastructure members to “rally” – ie 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: for seven years 1,071 (National: 176,756). The 1963 and 1964 rallier figures were
not broken up by province. There were reportedly 20,242 ralliers in 1966, and a US “cost-benefit” analysis
reported an assessed overall cost of USD 125 for each rallier – that had saved the lives 3,000 “Free World
Forces”. Williams, O., Some Salient Facts …, 14 February 1967. - VCAT Item No.19600209008. The Đất
Đỏ District History (2006) related that: “The enemy’s poisonous psychological warfare practices caused us
considerable damage. In the Province in the first six months of 1966 - in Châu Đức District alone, there
were 22 cases of surrendering to the enemy. From January to October 1966 – in the whole of the Province,
66 cadre and soldiers surrendered – abandoning their duty ie to return and make their living with their
families – Report of the Province Committee dated October 1966, Party Central Office Archives, Office of
the Eastern Nam Bộ Regional Committee.” However, in May 1972 – after the withdrawal of 1 ATF, the US
Province Senior Advisor in Phước Tuy Province declared the program 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. See also Koch, J.A., The Chieu Hoi Program in South Vietnam 1963-1971, Rand
Corporation, Santa Monica, January 1973.
403
Translator’s Note: COSVN directed a 1969 Summer-Autumn Campaign beginning on 5 May 1969 –
with the principal front in Tây Ninh and Bình Long Provinces, and a secondary front against the 18th ARVN
Division and areas east of Sài Gòn. – see Hồ Sơn Đài (ed), History of the 5th Infantry Division, Armed
Forces Publishing House, Hà Nội, 2005 – ie the 5th Division History (2005), see extracts at Annex K.
404
Translator’s Note: Several communist histories – including the D440 History (2011), relate an attack on
the Phước Hòa Long post and the Đất Đỏ Sub-Sector on 15 May 1969. The D445 History (1991) does not
specifically relate a Việt Cộng company-strength attack on Đất Đỏ Town on 15 May 1969. However, a
captured report - signed by the 445 Battalion Political Officer (Nguyễn Minh Khanh), related an attack by
445 Battalion on Đất Đỏ on 14-15 May 1969 – by all four companies and with elements of 440 Battalion
(as “D2”), resulting in six D445 personnel killed and 31 wounded. The report claimed to have “put out of
action 107 enemy, seized five weapons and captured a PW”. - CDEC Log 07-2146-69. On the morning of
15 May, 1 ATF ready-reaction elements (9RAR) deployed to assist the Regional Forces at Đất Đỏ. A
“consolidated report” on the morning of 16 May by 1 ATF on the engagements in Đất Đỏ listed the
“friendly losses” as: “ARVN KIA: 7, ARVN WIA: 26, ARVN MIA: 12 – 12 M-16 rifles missing”; and the
“enemy losses” as: “ 2 KIA (possible), one M2 rifle and one pistol captured.” – 1 ATF, INTSUM No.13669, Núi Đất, 16 May 1969. 1 ATF assessed that the “company-strength attack” comprised elements of 445
Battalion and the C25 Long Đất District Company. 1 ATF also later reported that 440 Battalion “had
combined with D445 to attack Đất Đỏ – results 3 WIA.” – Annex A to de Cure, P.F. Major, D440 LF
Battalion, HQ 1 ATF – Núi Đất, 29 September 1969. According to the 2012 volume of the Official
Australian Army History: “D445 Battalion and part of D440 Battalion occupied part of Đất Đỏ in midMay” 1969. – p.154; and “at broad daylight, a large group of Viet Cong (estimated at a composite company
of D445 Battalion and C25 Company) infiltrated Đất Đỏ and occupied part of the village.”, Ekins, A. with
McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, p.160. The attack is not mentioned in the Long Đất District
History (1986), nor in the later Đất Đỏ District History (2006). For 440 Battalion’s involvement in the
attack on Đất Đỏ, see Chamberlain, E.P., … D440: Their Story, op.cit., 2013, footnotes 134, 137, and 194.

114
for a day and a night. Our forces suffered 17 wounded. The Battalion’s medical element –
led by Comrade Năm Hiếu, worked tirelessly both day and night to wholeheartedly care
for and treat the wounded soldiers.
The second battle occurred on 12 June 1969405 when the 1st Company of 445
Battalion independently attacked an Australian commando company at the Cây Vằng –
Đập Thầu T-Junction. That attack did not go well as the element of surprise was soon lost
- we were unable to seize our objectives, and the Australians counter-attacked decisively.
Comrade Bé Năm – the commander of the 1st Company was killed.406
In the third battle – on 13 August, an element of 445 Battalion slipped into Đất Đỏ
and attacked the enemy at the Phước Thới communal hall. The engagement was drawn
out, and the gunfire only ceased in the afternoon. Although not many of the enemy were
killed, that attack deep into the enemy’s rear area evidenced and affirmed the existence of
the Battalion and the revolution. It also created faith and belief among the people in the
revolutionary movement at a time regarded as the darkest.407
Also at this time, although the Battalion had to routinely deal with large sweeping
operations conducted by the Australians and puppet forces, we still launched effective
operations in support of local elements. However, having to oppose many of these large
and violent sweeping operations that lasted over many consecutive days, our strength
numbers underwent some loss. The most difficult aspect was food and supplies – and our
reserves and rear service stocks were gradually emptied. Towards the end of 1969, there
were serious deficiencies, and rice was essentially reserved to cook gruel for the
wounded. On many days, the troops had to eat yams, sprouting tubers, and vegetable
leaves instead of rice – and then even eat types of vegetable roots and fruits (both
common and scarce). Many people ate these despite damage by the bombs and the
chemical poisons of the Americans and their puppets.
Those were the days of the greatest hunger ever since the Battalion had been
founded. However, our situation was more favourable if compared with the circumstances
of our infrastructure and our Party agents. The Battalion was always close to the people
and so had assistance and protection from them. The source of rear services supplies for
the Battalion for some time was principally from the people, especially from the people of
the Route 2 region (Châu Đức) and Long Đất District. These sources of supply were like
405

Translator’s Note: Neither the 1991 D455 History nor this 2004 D445 History mentions the 6-8 June
1969 “Battle of Bình Ba” between the 33rd NVA Regiment and 1 ATF elements – probably because 445
Battalion did not participate in that engagement. 440 Battalion participated briefly in the fighting at Bình Ba
in early June 1969. For detail, see: Chamberlain, E.P., The 33 rd Regiment …: Their Story, op.cit., 2014, pp.
47-84; and Chamberlain, E.P., … D440: Their Story, op.cit., 2013, pp.61-70. At 0015hrs on 6 June 1969,
about 20 kilometres south-southeast of Bình Ba village, 25-30 82mm mortars rounds were fired into
9RAR’s Fire Support Base Thrust at YS 500550 near the Long Hải Mountains – one Australian soldier was
killed and seven wounded. This appeared to be in support of an attack by elements of D445 Battalion on a
Rural Development Cadre compound (YS 512544) and an ARVN outpost (of the 2nd Battalion/52nd
Regiment) in the Hội Mỹ area. On 7 June 1969, Châu Đức District’s C- 41 Company attacked Hòa Long
village. These attacks were part of a COSVN-directed “High Point” campaign intended to impact on the
Midway meeting on 8 June between Presidents Thiệu and Nixon and to herald the founding of the
Provisional Revolutionary Government (PRG) on 8 June 1969.
406
Translator’s Note: This engagement in the Đất Đỏ area is not noted in either the 1991 D445 History nor
1 ATF records covering mid-June 1969. The Đất Đỏ District History (2006) relates that: “In the two months
of June and July 1969, our secret infrastructure agents in Phước Hải guided the Province’s 445 Battalion
into the village where they concealed themselves among the people’s houses before attacking the enemy’s
pacification group and the People’s Self-Defence Force. In Hải Trung hamlet (the area of the present-day
market), they killed six of the Rural Development Cadre and the group leader of the People’s Self-Defence
Force. They also captured and lectured 30 other enemy before releasing them.”
407
Translator’s Note: This engagement is not related in the 1991 D445 History - nor in the Đất Đỏ District
History (2006), nor in 1 ATF records.

115
“never-dry mother’s milk” that nourished the Battalion and ensured that we could
continue to fight and win. However, from the beginning of 1969, the enemy employed
every scheme and means to ensure a stifling blockade. Supplying us – whether overtly or
covertly, became extremely difficult, and there were times it seemed not possible.
In this difficult situation, the Battalion Headquarters and our comrades in the rear
services element lost many nights’ sleep thinking of measures, but were unable to find a
suitable solution. Subsequently, it was agreed to withdraw a number of our soldiers and
cadre who were in poor health and allocate them to the Battalion’s self-sufficiency
production units in the rear areas, and expand the cultivation and production of quickgrowing food plants. They also actively hunted and caught jungle animals to ward off
hunger. Parallel solutions included our rear services personnel connecting with
infrastructure cadre and opening up exchange points farther afield - where the enemy’s
surveillance and blockades were less tight. Here, they could purchase rice, necessities,
and medicine etc to supply us. However, these methods were manpower-intensive – and
included loss of lives, as the farther they travelled the greater was the risk of ambush by
enemy commandos.
The Battalion Headquarters concluded that the most basic way to resolve our food
difficulties was to destroy the enemy’s control by concentrating on the destruction of their
bunker systems so that we could contact our infrastructure agents, open local supply
points, and take advantage of the local people as a plentiful source to supply our rear
services. This approach was to be complemented by attacks on the enemy, the support of
the revolutionary movement by the Province Committee, and attacks on the enemy’s
Accelerated Pacification Program. Preparations were made - and swiftly and actively
progressed.
Daily, the enemy’s control of rice became even more strict, and – with our troops
unable to enter the hamlets, the villagers sought every way of bringing food and grain into
the jungle. Rice was hidden under baskets of faeces. Salt was dissolved in water and
carried in cans. Rice was hidden in buckets of rubber latex. Sodium glutamate and
medicine were hidden in blouses and shirts and in the hems of trousers etc. But slowly
the enemy also discovered these measures. They checked the blouses and trousers of all
women as they left the hamlet gates. It was very difficult, and only a few people got
through. Mr Sáu Chất of Long Phước was carrying very large handfuls of food into the
jungle for the 445 troops, when he was stopped by the enemy. He told them that it was for
his own consumption – but a soldier forced him to sit down and eat the lot. Sáu Chất tried
to eat it all - to the point where he couldn’t get up and fainted, and he nearly died from
“over-eating”. If a handful or a small can408 of rice was slipped out by the villagers in
1969-1970, it was paid for in blood.
At that time when the situation in the rear services areas was very difficult, the
Province Economic and Finance Committee made many efforts to gather contributions to
guarantee supply to the Province Committee and provide a portion for the soldiers. The
Trade Sub-Committee was also further strengthened, re-organised and given additional
tasks. Relying on the vehicles controlled by the forestry workers, our trade cadre gave
them the task of purchasing merchandise – detailing which products were to be purchased
by each individual vehicle. The Province trade cadre organised a purchasing network for
these products in response to the requirements of each unit.409 The Province Unit directed
408

Translator’s Note: Literally: “Lon” – a re-usable aluminium powdered milk can (capacity 275 grams or
1/3 litre) – usually “Guigoz” brand, that was routinely used for measuring quantities/volumes of rice and
also for storage.
409
Translator’s Note: Large quantities of rice and other foodstuffs were acquired by the Province Forward
Supply Council through “purchasing agents”. For example in the first half of 1969, the Council reported: -

116
our armed forces to control the enemy posts in the area of the Tà Lú exchange point (the
enemy’s Base 4 on Route 1) to support our trade efforts. By offering a price higher than
normal, through the wives and children of the puppet officers, we could purchase food in
large quantities as well as a large amount of necessary combat-related material such as
batteries, electric wire, medicine, and medical equipment. The wives and children of the
puppet officers even colluded with us to steal military Jeeps and Honda vehicles and sold
these to us very cheaply as no paperwork was required.410
2. The Defeat of the “Bunker” Strategy
The direct and dangerous combat opponents of 445 Battalion in this period were
still the Australian and American forces, the 18th puppet Division, and the Phước Tuy
Province Regional Forces.
At this time the M16-E3 mine fence was completely ineffective. Not only had it
been breached and unable to block our forces infilitrating, but the M16-E3 minefield had
become a “mine warehouse” from which 445 Battalion and the local armed forces were
able to lift mines and deploy these against the enemy. Within the minefield, the Party
Chapter and the guerrillas of the villages of Phước Thạnh, Phước Thọ, and Phước Hòa
Long built many secret tunnels in which to store food, rice, provisions, and medicines –
and also to guide our troops in their attacks on the enemy. This was where the troops,
cadre, guerrillas and the cadre of the District Committee met, reviewed the situation, and
developed plans to strike the enemy. Our guerrillas and secret Party members of the three
villages of Phước Thạnh, Phước Thọ, and Phước Hòa Long also daringly came in and out
of the minefield with our troops – although crawling through was more difficult for them
than the troops because their hair and clothing would catch on the wire (our troops only
wore short trousers when crawling through the fence). Many young women had to wear
short trousers and short-sleeved shirts, and smear mud all over their bodies in order to
cross through the minefield on missions to fight beside our troops (because their skin was
very white and easy to see).
The M16-E3 minefield could not block the attacks by 445 Battalion and the armed
forces of Long Đất District on the Đất Đỏ battlefield at the beginning of 1969. With the
aim of strengthening their minefield which had proved ineffective, from the beginning of
1969, the Australians developed a “bunker tactic”.411 Along with the minefield, the
on 25 August 1969, having purchased or requisitioned: 66,000 litres of rice in Long Đất, 18,775 in Châu
Đức; 1,630 in Xuyên Mộc - CDEC Log 02-1480-70. With effect from 1 November 1969, the Bà Rịa-Long
Khánh Province Unit directed that the ration entitlements for 445 and 440 Battalions were 27 litres of rice
per man/month when on operations and 25 litres when in base areas or training – CDEC Log 06-2911-70.
For detail on NVA/VC rice and salt rations, see 1 ATF, Troops Information Sheet No.33, Núi Đất, 21
February-5 March 1967: VC rations – combat troops 750gm of rice per day, but 875gm for artillery troops.
For a unit-level report, see 6RAR/NZ, VC/NVA Food Supplies, Núi Đất, February 1970 – including use of
tapioca/cassava, bread fruit, bananas, and bamboo shoots (AWM95, 7/6/30). For NVA/VC use of flour as a
food staple, see Annex F to 1 ATF INTSUM No.166/71, Núi Đất, 16 June 1971.
410
Translator’s Note: For other examples of “accommodation” with the VC, see: footnote 111 for claims of
Major Nguyễn Văn Phước – the ARVN officer responsible for Route 15 security, being involved in an
“accommodation/local détente” (hòa hoãn) in 1964 with the local communist forces - including providing
grenades and ammunition; footnote 306 on “mutual self-limitation” in Xuyên Mộc District; footnote 448 on
the VC penetration of the Regional Forces and the 1 ATF response; and the Châu Đức District History
(2004) on the VC’s suborning of ARVN “Captain Bé of Đức Thạnh Sub-Sector” who the VC claim to have
“used as a crux to purchase and transport food and supplies.”
411
Translator’s Note: Construction of bunkers for the 1 ATF project around Đất Đỏ village began on 21
May 1969. The 38 bunkers included seven 15-man bunkers and 30 four-man bunkers – with 10,500 metres
of wire obstacles. An artillery observation tower was constructed at Fire Support Base Thrust (YS 499549)

117
Australian military emplaced a system of bunkers - comprising 36 bunkers, around three
villages in the Đất Đỏ area: Phước Thạnh, Phước Thọ and Phước Hòa Long.412 Twothirds of each bunker was constructed below ground level. On top, and surrounding the
bunker, the enemy placed thick sand-bags. Each bunker had many firing loop-holes at
ground level facing the direction from which our revolutionary forces would come.
Surrounding the large bunkers were protective concertina barbed-wire fences, while the
small bunkers had single-strand barbed-wire fences. In front of the bunkers was an 8metre wide track to allow tanks to deploy in support when necessary – which was also
used for inspection and control by their commanders. Outside the track, the enemy
constructed a 20-metre wide fence with a communications trench 1.5 metres wide. On the
bund of the trench and beneath the wire, mines were planted to block our attacks on the
bunkers. Each large bunker was manned by a section, and the small bunkers were manned
by a half-section. They were armed with heavy machineguns, light rapid-fire
machineguns, and M79 grenade launchers.413 The bunkers were connected by telephone
lines – and ready to provide mutual support. This “bunker” tactic was built urgently in a
period of six months – and by July 1969 it was basically complete.
Along with their fenced minefield and system of bunkers, the Australians proved
to be extremely dangerous, creating a barrier with solid defensive works and heavy
firepower to interdict all routes and to inflict heavy casualties on 445 Battalion and our
forces operating in Long Đất District.
445 Battalion found it very difficult to operate against the Australians’ new
tactical scheme. For many months, there was no way to enter the hamlets to collect
information, or to purchase food, necessities, or medicine. Our reserve stocks were
empty, and we were hit by a situation of hunger never before experienced. Contacts
between the unit and the people were completely severed, the local revolutionary
movement was cut off – and we entered a period of decline. In the hamlets, the enemy
divided into teams and sought out our secret tunnels and terrorized those families that
they suspected of being in contact with the revolution.
Enduring hardship and violence was the yardstick of a person’s spirit and
integrity. At the time that the great majority of the Battalion’s cadre and soldiers held
their ground, overcame difficulties, and staunchly fought on, there were a small nunber
who feared the hardship and sacrifice and whose confidence had declined – and there
were even a number who were traitors414 and surrendered. This was not only a painful
blow to the morale of the cadre and soldiers of the unit, but in a number of circumstances
also resulted in serious losses for us. The defection of the deputy commander of the 2nd
Company415 and the Battalion’s personnel staff officer were major blows.416 Several times
“four kilometres south of Đất Đỏ to command the whole area.” - Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the
Finish, op.cit., 2012, p.161. In that work, there is a detailed sketch map (Map 6.2) of the 38 bunker
locations at p.162; and Sketch 6.1 at p.164 illustrates the bunkers’ construction.
412
Translator’s Note: The 1991 D445 History adds that: “The large bunkers were about 300-500 metres
apart, and interspersed between them were the small bunkers about 100-200 metres apart.” The Đất Đỏ
District History (2006) relates: “by night, a system of brilliant searchlights operated.”
413
Translator’s Note: The M79 grenade launcher is a single-shot, shoulder-fired, break-action grenade
launcher that fires a 40mm x 46mm grenade. With an effective range of 350 metres, the M79 can fire a
wide variety of 40mm rounds, including explosive, anti-personnel, smoke, buckshot, flechette, and
illumination.
414
Translator’s Note: “Traitors” were reportedly colloquially termed by the communists as: “tụt” (to have
slipped), or “tạt” (to have turned). Bùi Tín, From Enemy to Friend, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, 2002,
p.98.
415
Translator’s Note: In the 1991 D445 History, this passage is followed by a harsh criticism of “traitors” –
Battalion personnel who defected to the enemy ie: “This hardship and the violence was also the ‘travelling
companion’ of betrayal. 445 Battalion had traitors who surrendered to the enemy. These included Lộc ((ie:

118
they guided the enemy on sweeping operations that attacked and destroyed many of the
Battalion’s rear service installations and storehouses.
On one occasion, they led two puppet battalions – in coordination with Australian
troops, to strike into the Battalion’s base at Long Tân causing a number of losses to the
Battalion. The Battalion had to withdraw back to the Hội Mỹ area to consolidate. Due to
the urgency of the situation, we were unable to inform the Province authorities. At the
time, Comrade Nguyễn Minh Khanh – the Battalion Political Officer, was at a meeting at
the Province Headquarters and unaware of the situation in our base. Only when Comrade
Nguyễn Minh Khanh was escorting Comrade Tạ Hồng Sinh ((Mười Sinh)) back to the
base did the Province Committee receive the radio417 message from the Battalion
informing them that the enemy had seized our base.418 The Province Committee was
extremely worried about the fate of the key cadre and the protective troops escorting
them, and despatched people to follow the group – but they did not catch up with them in
time.
Nguyễn Văn Nhường - aka Lộc, the commander/deputy of the 2nd Company, rallied on 29 July 1969 and
was debriefed by Lieutenant E.P. Chamberlain, see AWM photographs)); and Quốc Hùng – the Battalion’s
political adjutant. They guided enemy battalions on sweeping operations that destroyed many of the
Battalion’s bases and storehouses.” For detail on the defection and activities of Nguyễn Văn Nhường, see
Annex B – Senior Cadre, footnote 18 and p.9. For Chiêu Hồi (“Open Arms”) statistics, see footnote 402.
416
Translator’s Note: As noted in the footnote above, the “personnel staff officer” was probably either:
“Quốc Hùng – the Battalion’s political adjutant”, see Annex B – Senior Cadre, p.6; or Trần Văn Kinh – a
445 Battalion Assistant Political Officer, who rallied on 8 September 1969 – see: Graham, N.F. Major,
D445 - Order of Battle, 1 ATF Battle Intelligence Section, Núi Đất, 29 May 1970.
417
Translator’s Note: NVA/VC communications were intercepted by 1 ATF’s signals intelligence
(SIGINT) unit - 547 Signal Troop. The radio message (HF morse code) from 445 Battalion to the Province
Unit was probably encrypted and transmitted on one of the following radio types: Chicom 102E (15w HF),
US AN/GRC-9, Chicom K-63 (2w, AM with CW capability – that had replaced by the Chicom 71B) – or
less likely, by voice (VHF) using the US AN/PRC-25 (VHF) set. A 1 ATF study in early 1969 reported that
D445 possibly had a US-manufactured SCR-694 HF radio (AM, 17w). – De Cure, P.F. Major, D445 Local
Force Battalion, HQ 1ATF – Núi Đất, 18 January 1969. In February 1970, a rallier related that each
company of 445 Battalion “had one PRC-25 and section headquarters have PRC-10s.” – 1 ATF, INTSUM
No.56/70, Núi Đất, 25 February 1970. A 445 Battalion rallier in mid-September 1970 stated the Battalion’s
communications equipment comprised: “a 15w set – using only morse” ((ie: a Chicom 102E or a US
AN/GRC-9)), three PRC-25 sets, one PRC-10 set, and three field telephones with 2,000 metres of cable. - 1
ATF, INTSUM No.263/70, Núi Đất, 20 September 1970. The encrypted HF morse communications of 445
Battalion were in a “four figure (one-time letter) code, with five figure and five letter ((code)) mainly used
in traffic to higher formations that was in a higher encryption.” – email to author from Major R.J. Hartley,
AM (Retd) – 29 April 2012. For 1 ATF SIGINT operations in mid-1966 related to the Battle of Long Tân,
see Annex E. The location of NVA/VC radio transmitters were “fixed” by direction-finding (DF)
techniques – with both ground-based and airborne equipment. For security, SIGINT reports were
euphemistically referred to as “Special Agent Reports (SPARs)”. Battalion commanders in 1 ATF
considered these “fixes” as as extremely useful “but accurate only to approx 1,500 metres.” – O’Neill, K.J.
Lieutenant Colonel, 8RAR Combat After Action Report - Operation Cung Chung I and Operation Petrie,
Núi Đất, 10 August 1970, paras 16, 26. Units of 1 ATF, were enjoined to forward any captured signal or
“cryptologic” documents quickly to 1 ATF Headquarters for exploitation – and advised related “key words”
and “key abbreviations” to assist in identifying such – 1 ATF, Troops Information Sheet No.79, Núi Đất,
14-20 January 1968.
418
Translator’s Note: The more detailed account in the 1991 D445 History relates that Nguyễn Minh Khanh
(Hai Khanh) was escorting Tạ Hồng Sinh (Mười Sinh - who had just been appointed as the Party Secretary
of the Long Đất District Committee) and Sinh’s predecessor: Lê Thành Ba (Ba Bùi) then “a provincial
cadre dispatched to give direct on-the-spot guidance.” In mid-1971, when Xuyên Mộc District was
absorbed into Long Đất District - ie to become Long Xuyên District, Tạ Hồng Sinh (Mười Sinh) was
appointed Secretary of Long Xuyên District – see The Minh Đạm Base History (2006) – see the translated
extracts at Annex M to Chamberlain, E.P., … D445 …, op.cit, 2011. Mười Sinh may also have served as
the Chief of Staff of 440 Battalion in early 1970 - Appendix II to Annex A to 1 ATF INTSUM No.84/70,
Núi Đất, 25 March 1970.

119
When the group was about 40 metres from the Battalion base at Tà Lon, a series
of the enemy’s Claymore mines419 exploded – with dozens of mines exploding at once.
The four leading soldiers were killed on the spot. Comrade Nguyễn Minh Khanh was
wounded in the stomach and the arm, while Comrade Tạ Hồng Sinh was wounded in the
thigh and in the stomach, and another comrade was seriously wounded. Comrade Hai
Khanh, Comrade Mười Sinh, and two liaison comrades buried their companions in an old
trench. Early the next morning, Comrade Lê Thành Ba (Ba Bùi) and the two liaison
comrades cut their way through the jungle to the new base, to inform the Battalion.
Remaining behind, Comrades Nguyễn Minh Khanh and Tạ Hồng Sinh and the two liaison
comrades did not passively lie down and wait for the unit to come to them, rather the four
comrades helped each other through the jungle – despite their wounds, hunger and thirst,
and while not knowing the way. 11 days later, the four comrades reached the unit –
thanks to the help of our countrymen. A Claymore mine ((mìn mo)) satchel containing
300,000 piastres420 had been retained intact by the comrades and was handed over to the
unit as planned. This money had been allocated to the unit by the Province Rear Services
to resolve our difficulties at a time of serious shortages and hunger.421
Comrade Nguyễn Minh Khanh’s wounds were quite serious, but he decided to be
treated in the unit so that he could implement the Province Committee’s guidance in our
new circumstances. The whole Battalion thoroughly grasped the Province Committee’s
spirit of “holding-on”. In particular, they understood its direction to destroy the Australian
military’s bunkers, and the Province Committee’s absolute faith in the Battalion for that
task. However, ideas on the method and means of destroying the bunkers were divided with many having opinions. At the time, the most important task given to the unit by the
Province Committee and the Province Unit was to swiftly destroy the bunkers by every
means possible and to cut the enemy’s close control in the Đất Đỏ region.422 Our supply
routes had to be re-established, and communications between areas in Long Đất with
other areas and battlefields in the Province had to be re-opened. The Battalion’s Party
Committee and Headquarters began planning to defeat the Australian military’s bunkers,
to restore the unit’s momentum, and to contribute to getting the District and the villages
back on their feet.
From 30 August to 5 September 1969, the Province Committee held a conference
to study the issues and produce a resolution on destroying the strategic hamlets and the
Accelerated Pacification Program. At the conference, Comrade Phạm Văn Hy was elected
as the Secretary of the Party Committee – replacing Comrade Lê Đình Nhơn423 who was

419

Translator’s Note: M18 Claymore – a US directional mine with a lethal range of 50 metres, remotely
detonated by wire.
Translator’s Note: At the official exchange rate (in 1969, 118 piastres = 1 USD), the 300,000 piastres
was equivalent to USD 2,542.
421
Translator’s Note: Food and monetary allowances were outlined earlier at footnote 409.
422
Translator’s Note: A captured 28-page Việt Cộng notebook (entries: August-October 1969) by a “D1”
cadre revealed that 445 Battalion received instructions in August 1969 from the Bà Rịa-Long Khánh
Province Party Committee – “Attacks on Đất Đỏ … to foil the enemy’s accelerated pacification effort in the
Province”, and three villages in the Đất Đỏ area (Phước Thạnh, Phước Thọ and Phước Vĩnh Long) were
chosen as the “pilot area for counter-pacification … to destroy the enemy blockhouse network thereby to
boost the local revolutionary movement.” – CDEC Log 11-2585-69, VCAT Item No.2131409011. That
CDEC document incorrectly linked “D1” with 440 Battalion. “D1” was a cover designator for 445
Battalion, and “D2” was a cover designator for 440 Battalion.
423
Translator’s Note: Lê Đình Nhơn (Chín Lê/Chinh Lê/Lê Chính) had earlier been posted from U1 (Biên
Hòa)/MR1 to Bà Rịa Province as Secretary of the Party Committee and political officer of the Bà Rịa
Province Unit. “Lê Chính” was noted on 21 June 66 and 22 July 1966 as Secretary of the Province Civil
Affairs Committee - see CDEC Log 9-2049-66; and also later in January 1967 – CDEC Log 05-2647-67.
420

120
given other tasks. While the conference was meeting, news was received that the beloved
Chairman Hồ Chí Minh had passed away (2 September 1969). The Province Committee
held a solemn memorial service for Him [sic] and launched a movement to turn the
deeply-felt grief into revolutionary action. One of the components was to render
ineffective the enemy’s “bunker” strategy. The Province Committee re-affirmed its
direction to strongly attack the Accelerated Pacification Program and the enemy’s system
of bunkers and weapon pits in Long Đất, and gave 445 Battalion the mission to attack
them.
To implement that direction, the Party Committee and the Battalion Headquarters
organised a series of studies and political activities to re-educate the troops with the aim
of creating a large change in the thinking and ideology of the cadre and soldiers before
embarking on these special and important attacks. Apart from training in sapper tactics
for the companies and democratic discussions on ideas for ways of attack, we initiated a
comprehensive emulation program among the elements of the Battalion. Converting the
deep grief into revolutionary action was concretized in the slogan “Strike the enemy and
open the way forward”.
Through that series of re-education activities, the ideology and combat standards
of the cadre and soldiers in the Battalion was raised. Overcoming the supply and rear
services difficulties after the enemy attacks into our base areas, the Battalion’s Party
Committee was determined to find all ways to cross Route 23, contact the people, and get
close to the “storehouses” of our combat rice supplies that the unit had buried in tin
containers all over Bà Bổn Hill and the Cầu Sa area of Hội Mỹ so that we had rice to eat
while implementing the plan to attack the bunkers.
Understanding the Party Committee’s direction, each of our companies organised
political activities to thoroughly review the situation and build the resolve of the cadre
and soldiers through ideological means. Through such political action, the cadre and
soldiers agreed to contribute their ideas democratically in order to implement the
measures to overcome the difficulties. Over many years, the Battalion had created our
rear services organisation widely across and around the Minh Đạm Mountains. If unable
to enter Long Điền or Đất Đỏ, we opened routes into Phước Tỉnh. If we could not enter
An Ngãi or An Nhứt, we would go into Hội Mỹ424, Long Mỹ, and Phước Hải. If we were
struck on the edge of the hamlets and were unable to enter, then we would wade through
the water along the beaches.
When there was no access, we would “Strike the enemy and open the way
forward”. Attacking the enemy in order to get rice, “the cadre and the soldiers of 445
Battalion were not content to just sit in the hills and give up because of hunger and the
enemy’s blockade.”
The unit had scraped up the last grains of rice in our reserves to enable our first
section to go into battle. One element - our “elite troops” of the 1st Company, was
deployed to attack the Regional Forces at Cống Dầu. The 1st Company was reinforced
with a 57mm RCL, two B40s, a B41, and a 12.7mm machinegun.425 Fighting from
Lê Chính was also noted holding the position in 1971 and 1972 - CDEC Log 07-1132-72. See also Annex J,
Higher Headquarters.
424
Translator’s Note: In 2012, former RD cadre stated that the D445 Battalion Commander – “Trần Hồng”,
was killed during an attack on Hội Cửu hamlet, Hội Mỹ village on 5/6 September 1969. He was reportedly
identified by documents on his recovered body. RD cadre suffered three killed and six wounded in the
attack – see: Hương Quế & Hoàng Vũ,“Hồi ký của cán bộ xây dựng nông thôn vùng xôi đậu”, Người Việt,
13 March 2012, http://www.nguoi-viet.com/absolutenm2/templates/?a=145830 . The incident is not
recorded in the 1 ATF Operations Logs or INTSUMs.
425
Translator’s Note: The Minh Đạm Base History (2006), p.55 (see translated extracts at Annex M to
Chamberlain, E.P., … D445 …, op.cit, 2011) relates the attack by an “elite force from 445 Battalion’s 1st

121
midnight to 4am, they fired all 10 RCL rounds and more that ten B40s and B41s as well
as several magazines [sic] of 12.7mm ammunition. However, they were still not
successful, and moreover, a further number of cadre and soldiers were wounded at a time
when each of our companies only had a little more than 10 riflemen.
After the attack, the Province Committee and the Battalion Headquarters
continued meetings to determine a best way to attack. Finally, a method to destroy the
bunkers with sapper tactics was approved. The Province Committee wholeheartedly
welcomed this approach and designated Comrade Tư Lôi – a sapper cadre, to come down
and instruct the Battalion. After more than two weeks, Comrade Tư Lôi and the
Battalion’s reconnaissance element had completed training in the basic techniques – in
particular, the sapper “infiltration” approach, to a number of the Battalion’s cadre and
soldiers.
On 21 September 1969426, the Battalion organised a section of 25 soldiers427 led
by the Battalion’s second-in-command – Nguyễn Văn Tâm (Hai Tâm) to go forth and
attack the bunkers. On this operation, the Battalion employed the sapper techniques that
had only recently been studied. The force - comprising 25 soldiers, all had good
infiltration skills, were brave, and its core element was the Battalion reconnaissance
troops. They were armed principally with grenades and B40s. To avoid being seen by the
enemy on open ground – and also because of the obstructing wire in front of the enemy
defences, our group relied on guerrillas and underground Party members from Phước Thọ
village to guide them to their concealed positions in Phước Sơn hamlet very close to Da
Quy ((The Horseshoe)). From behind the enemy’s bunkers in the area of Phước Sơn
hamlet of Phước Thọ village, they would then move closer to their objectives.
Our reconnaissance element crawled forward and secretly cut the telephone lines
between the bunkers. Hearing a sound, a guard called out to see who was there. Comrade
Company – that included the use of 122mm rockets: “Our attacking force fired 10 DKB ((122mm)) rocket
rounds, more than ten B.40-B.41 rounds and several cases of 12.7mm heavy machinegun rounds - but we
were unable to finish off the bunkers.” That History records the “second attack” on 21 September 1969, and
a subsequent attack on 28 September.
426
Translator’s Note: Rather than “21 September”, according to the captured notebook (see footnote 422
above), “the first attack was made at 2200hrs on 4 September 1969 and carried out by 34 selected
outstanding cadre – including the 445 Battalion executive officer” (presumably Hai Khanh). They
reportedly killed 20 enemy while suffering one killed and one wounded. The second attack was mounted by
24 “hard-core” 445 Battalion personnel at 2400hrs on 2 October 1969 – in which they reportedly killed 25
enemy and captured 11 “AR-15” rifles. The third attack occurred on the night of 21 October 1969 in which
14 bunkers were reportedly destroyed. While the dates in the notebook do not exactly match the dates in the
445 Battalion History’s account above, the notebook detail – being a contemporary record, is likely to be
more accurate. – CDEC Log 11-2585-69, VCAT Item No.2131409011. 445 Battalion’s attacks on the
bunkers are also related in the Minh Đạm Base History (2006) ie Phạm Chí Thân (ed), Căn Cứ Minh Đạm
…, op.cit., 2006 - which records attacks on 21 September (the second) and on 28 September. Regarding the
early September 1969 attacks, 1 ATF reported that in the Việt Cộng attacks on bunkers north-east of Đất
Đỏ on 5-6 and 6-7 September 1969, three bunkers were over-run – and four soldiers of 613 RF Company
were killed and four wounded. One Việt Cộng was killed – the leader of a sapper/reconnaissance platoon –
1 ATF, INTSUM No.252-69, Núi Đất, 9 September 1969. The Australian Official History relates: “On the
night 4/5 September, D445 Battalion penetrated the perimeter fence and attacked the north-eastern bunker
line from the rear. They killed two RF soldiers, wounded three Australians and destroyed three bunkers by
fire.” - Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, p.166. Subsequently, a captured Việt
Cộng letter dated 11 September from “Ba Anh” (a Long Đất District cadre) discussing these attacks noted
that, in Đất Đỏ, they: “hit four bunkers …and about one enemy squad was wiped out … and five M-16s
were seized”, but “in Đất Đỏ, we lost one of our platoon commanders due to one of our shells.” Ba Anh’s
assessment on the availability of rice from the villages was very sanguine ie: “The food situation in the
villages had gone back to normal … ((our people were)) going in-out all the time.” – Annex A to 1 ATF
INTSUM No.262-69, Núi Đất, 19 September 1969.
427
Translator’s Note: The 1991 D445 History cites this group as being “15-strong”.

122
Hai Tâm quickly replied: “They’ve ((derogatory term)) got into the rice”. As soon as he
had answered, the enemy in the main bunker responded: “The mễn have got into it.”428
With the telephone wires cut, our troops placed explosives against the walls of the
bunkers and threw hand grenades through the loop-holes. A series of large explosions
rang out, and the six enemy bunkers collapsed.
Surprised by our daring method of attack, the enemy immediately fired
illuminating rounds from Da Quy Hill and the Đất Đỏ Sub-Sector. Australian tanks from
Da Quy tightly blocked the ways out of Đất Đỏ. Our infrastructure agents and the
guerrillas of Phước Thọ village swiftly guided our 25 soldiers to withdraw to Phước Thới
hamlet. From there, they returned safely to the base. By attacking in this way, the enemy
was caught completely by surprise, and was unable to react in time. Our unit wiped out
six bunkers and only lost one comrade killed. The Battalion’s second-in-command –
Comrade Nguyễn Văn Tâm, was afterwards called the “king” of bunker attacks.429
Immediately after the attack, the Battalion held a meeting and shared the
experiences of that bunker attack broadly among the whole unit and the units of Long Đất
District. The sapper technique was chosen as the optimum form of attack. The Battalion
advised methods to distract the enemy and to conceal our attacking force where the
ground was open and enemy defences were strong.
Almost a week later, when we heard that the enemy had refurbished the bunkers
attacked by the Battalion in Phước Sơn hamlet, the Battalion Headquarters – specifically
Political Officer Nguyễn Minh Khanh, directly tasked Comrade Nguyễn Văn Bỉ (Hai Bỉ)
to lead a Battalion reconnaissance group to study and devise a method of attack. At that
time, Comrade Hai Bỉ was a combat cadre of the Province Unit reinforcing the Battalion
while a large number of the Battalion’s military cadre were undergoing training.
Accepting the mission, Comrade Nguyễn Văn Bỉ and the reconnaissance group led by
Comrade Thanh (Thanh Chàm) went and studied the terrain of the bunkers at Phước Sơn
over two nights and confirmed that the enemy had re-occupied five. The two comrades
discussed the matter and came up with an acceptable plan which they reported to the
Headquarters. Following approval by the Battalion Political Officer – Nguyễn Minh
Khanh, orders were given for the attack. While preparing the weapons and explosives,
Comrade Thanh (Thanh Chàm) was injured - so Political Officer Nguyễn Minh Khanh
directed that he be replaced by his deputy, Comrade Nhất.
At 5pm on 28 September 1969, Comrade Nguyễn Văn Bỉ led 15 reconnaissance
troops – organised in five groups, from the Lồ Ô base (Long Tân) across Route 23 to
launch a surprise attack on Phước Sơn hamlet at 7pm. As Comrade Nhất had not had an
opportunity to reconnoitre the terrain, Comrade Nguyễn Văn Bỉ tasked Comrade Nhất
and two other soldiers to crawl towards the target and identify it in order to ensure a
satisfactory attack. On returning, Comrade Nhất did not retrace the path that they had
used and – detonating a grenade trap laid by the enemy, he was killed. This worried a
number of the cadre and soldiers in the reconnaissance group who were then afraid that
the enemy would have discovered them and – having lost the element of surprise, the
enemy would have increased their defences.

428

* Mễn are a type of small animal – there were many in that region. Translator’s Note: “Mễn” are small
deer – also known as Hoẵng Nam Bộ (Muntiacus muntjak annamensis) weighing up to 30 kilograms.
Translator’s Note: This attack on the bunkers led by Nguyễn Văn Tâm on 21 September 1969 is also
described in the 1991 D445 History. However, that work relates: “However, the explosive charges only
detonated outside the wire, and no enemy troops were killed. Rather, they returned fire fiercely. Without
any defences, we suffered casualties. Although we fought throughout the night, only one of the teams was
able to destroy one bunker – the other two teams were unsuccessful. Once more, we had been defeated.”

429

123
Facing this situation – and based on his own experience and judgement, Comrade
Nguyễn Văn Bỉ assessed that they had not yet been discovered and urged his men to
attack and revenge Nhất. To be more certain, Comrade Nguyễn Văn Bỉ ordered the
reconnaissance soldiers to crawl forward and confirm the situation. Just as he had judged,
the enemy had abandoned two bunkers (including a command bunker), while the other
three bunkers were still firmly occupied by the enemy. Having re-organised his force, at
exactly 12-midnight on 25 [sic] September, the whole group moved close to their target.
There was a sudden sound as all of the grenades that had been crammed into the firing
loop-holes exploded, and the whole enemy force within the bunkers was wiped out. The
results of that night were that we destroyed three bunkers, killed 19 of the enemy on the
spot, and seized 14 weapons. Our group swiftly swept the battlefield, buried our dead, and
then withdrew safely to the base before dawn.430
At the beginning of October 1969431, in implementing the directive of the
Province Committee, 445 Battalion coordinated with Long Đất District and launched a
general attack on the Australians’ bunker system. The Battalion was aware of the
alarmed psychological state of the bunkers’ defenders, and that the enemy had no
solutions apart from increased patrolling and closer liaison between their bunkers.
Accordingly, on the night of 7 October 1969, the Battalion launched a third series of
attacks in the area of Phước Hòa Long village. In those attacks, our 12 teams attacked 12
bunkers. That night, we were again successful – the 12 bunkers were flattened.432
So, in a period of over two weeks – with the determination to convert our deep
grief into revolutionary action, the Battalion had deployed its troops in three series of
attacks and destroyed 21 bunkers. In coordination with 445 Battalion, the local forces of
Long Đất District had supported the people and the underground infrastructure to take
advantage of the enemy’s fear - to the extent that the enemy would not sleep overnight in
the bunkers. We blew up a further four bunkers, raising the total of destroyed bunkers to
25 of the 36 bunkers. After our general attack, the remaining bunkers numbered 11 – but
neither the Australians nor the puppet troops dared stay in them overnight. Basically, the
bunker tactic – that had been regarded as the most effective defensive tactic by the
Australians in Đất Đỏ, had failed completely.
Our great victory in attacking the bunkers had broken the enemy’s blockade and
encirclement, destroyed their tight control of the three villages of Đất Đỏ, and created the
conditions for the local movement to develop. Immediately after the bunker system had
been destroyed, each night the Battalion could arrange for its companies to enter the
hamlets, meet the people, purchase food and provisions, and make contact to get
430

Translator’s Note: The 1991 D445 History also described a bunker attack on 28 September in which
Comrade Nhất was killed and 14 weapons seized. That account also related that Nhất had “crawled up to
the loop-hole and saw that the enemy in the bunker were playing cards.” The account in the Đất Đỏ District
History (2006) related: “Having studied the lessons of the first attack, on 28 September, two secret Party
members – Miss Tửu and Miss Đáng, guided 445 Battalion into Phước Hòa Long village. Using five
explosive charges, we collapsed three bunkers, killed 19 enemy, seized 14 weapons, and withdrew safely.”
431
Translator’s Note: During October 1969, a B-52 strike “was targeted against D445 Battalion in the Long
Hải area … resulted in 46 secondary explosions, suggesting that the area was probably being used for the
storage of vast quantities of munitions.” – II FFV, Operational Report: Lessons Learned - Period Ending 31
October 1969, 17 November 1969, see: DTIC AD507319. For B-52 strikes, see also footnote 387.
432
Translator’s Note: The official Australian Army history notes that on 3 October 1969, “an element of
D445 Battalion assaulted four bunkers from within Đất Đỏ; they killed five RF soldiers, wounded two and
seized M16 mines and weapons before withdrawing, leaving the bunkers partially destroyed. On the night
16/17 October, Viet Cong sapper teams destroyed another four bunkers. Four days later, in the early hours
of 20 October, the enemy attacked again with small arms and RPGs. They blew up three bunkers using
large petrol charges that completely destroyed them. On the following night, they attacked and destroyed
two more.” - Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, p.167.

124
information from our infrastructure cadre. Following in the footsteps of the 445
Battalion’s troops, the Party political cadre of Long Đất District and Vũng Tàu City
located in the Đất Đỏ and Minh Đạm base areas also re-established contact in order to
rebuild their agent networks, and to purchase food, provisions, and medicines etc. Having
made contact with the people, the hunger issue was basically resolved, and the strength of
our troops was gradually restored.
With the system of bunkers at Đất Đỏ destroyed and the enemy’s steel defensive
net punctured, our communications, command and liaison networks from Province to the
districts and from the districts to the villages was now open again. In particular, the local
revolutionary movement in Long Đất District – especially in Đất Đỏ and the nearby
region, had the opportunity to consolidate and recover. Our guerrillas launched many
armed propaganda activities, and the people rose up and took control - even family
members of puppet soldiers in the People’s Self Defence Force (PSDF)433 were involved.
They gathered at the posts and at the Sub-Sectors demanding that their husbands and
children leave the PSDF and not bear weapons as mercenaries for the Americans. As a
result of such good military proselytising against the enemy, in a short period of time we
had forced the disintegration of 400 [sic] PSDF in Phước Hải and 80 PSDF in the villages
of Hội Mỹ, Đất Đỏ, and Phước Lợi.
Exploiting our success, 445 Battalion organised an attack on a post at Phước Hòa
Long. With the defensive bunkers in Phước Hòa Long village now destroyed, the
Battalion launched an attack on the post while, at the same time, ambushing the enemy
relief force. In that battle, the Battalion wiped out a Regional Forces company – and
killed Major Bé, the Sector second-in-command, who had led the enemy’s relief force.434
The cadre and soldiers of the Battalion – together with the Long Đất District
troops, infiltrated into the minefield, and for many nights de-activated and lifted mines435,
and took them back to use in the defence of our bases – thus using the enemy’s weapons
against them. Following many clearing operations into the Minh Đạm base area - in
which the Australians lost many killed by the E3 mines that we had lifted and replanted,
433

Translator’s Note: The Sài Gòn Government’s People’s Self-Defence Force (PSDF- Nhân Dân Tự Vệ and termed Phòng Vệ Dân Sự by the communist side) was established in July 1968 after the mid-year
General Mobilisation (ie post-Tết 1968). The PSDF superseded earlier militia – ie the Combat Youth, the
Popular Militia, and the Revolutionary Development People’s Group. Operating under the village chief, the
PSDF encompassed able-bodied males aged 16-17 and 39-50 years. See the PSDF Handbook – 1969,
VCAT Item No.14040111001. Women were also allowed to volunteer. PSDF comprised “combat defence”
(“phòng vệ xung kích”) and “support elements”, with Combat PSDF organised in 134-strong groups
consisting of three “inter-teams” of 44. In three-man cells, the principal tasks of the PSDF were static
guard-type duties. At the end of 1970, the PSDF reportedly had 3.8 million members country-wide,
comprising 1.4 combat defence members (37%) armed with 463,750 weapons, and 2.4 million support
members (63%).
434
Translator’s Note: The 1991 D445 History similarly related that: “The Battalion destroyed the camp at
Phước Hòa Long and wiped out a 70-strong Regional Forces company – including Major Bé, the deputy
commander of the Sector, who was killed while leading a relief force.” Although not mentioned in the Đất
Đỏ District History (2006), according to the D440 Battalion History (2011) – pp.105-106: “At the end of
November or the beginning of December 1969, the Battalion ((440)) joined with 445 Battalion in an
excellent coordinated attack on the Phước Hòa Long post at the Đất Đỏ Sub-Sector … Just as our tactical
plan had anticipated, at 9am an enemy relief force ((from Bà Rịa Sector)) was deployed and fell into the
ambush set by our two battalions. In only 15 minutes of combat, we wiped out one company completely
…”. However, neither the 1991 nor the 2004 D445 Histories cite the participation of 440 Battalion in the
attack on the Phước Hòa Long post.
435
Translator’s Note: On the disabling and lifting of these mines, the official Australian Army history
relates: “According to various estimates, the Viet Cong eventually lifted between 5,000 and 10,000 mines
and thousands of M26 anti-lift grenades.” - Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012,
pp.247-251.

125
they had to abandon their M.16-E3 minefield. At the end of 1969, the Australians brought
M41436 tanks to sweep away their mines and destroyed the 11-kilometre long M.16-E3
minefield that they had built in 1967. The tracks on their M41 mine-sweeping tanks were
damaged, and they had to replace these with M48 tanks which they drove at a higher
speed to completely clear the minefield.
At the end of 1969, the enemy had perfected their “Pheonix”437 machinery at all
levels, while at the same time hectically implementing their “Accelerated Pacification
Program” and their “Supplementary Pacification Program” with many new schemes. On
the basis of its operations and organisation, “Pheonix” operations were the centre of
gravity of pacification. Combined with these determined internal attacks against us and
their continuous external sweeping operations, the enemy increasingly employed
commando tactics. With these types of attacks, the enemy inflicted many losses on us –
our agents continued to be thinned out, and our cadre could not maintain their grip on the
people.438
436

Translator’s Note: 1 ATF was equipped with a squadron of British-made 50-tonne Centurion tanks – and
did not operate either M41 or M48 tanks. For the clearance by 1 ATF of the minefield see “Lifting the
Minefield” – Chapter 8 in Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, pp.241-275.
437
Translator’s Note: The Pheonix (“Phượng Hoàng”) program was targeted against the communists’
political infrastructure - ie termed the Việt Cộng Infrastructure (VCI), see footnote 244 and USMACV,
Phung Hoang Advisor Handbook, Saigon, 20 November 1970. As noted, in mid-1968, total VCI in South
Vietnam were assessed as 98,658 – see MACORDS – Director Pheonix Staff, Analyzing Size of the VC
Infrastructure, Saigon, 22 June 1968 – VCAT Item No.F029200060426. The US author Stanley Karnow –
on the effectiveness of the Pheonix program, quotes Nguyễn Thị Định, (Major General – Communist Party
Central Committee) and General Trần Độ (a dissident, 1923-2002) eg: “extremely destructive”; Nguyễn Cơ
Thạch (Vietnam Foreign Minister 1980-91) – it “wiped out many of our bases” – see Andradé, D., Ashes to
Ashes – The Pheonix Program …, Lexington, 1990, pp.278-279. “Our side also suffered seriously from the
subsequent pacification dreamed up by the Americans, such as Operation Pheonix and the Chieu Hoi
campaign which was designed to induce our troops and supporters to defect.” - Bùi Tín, Following Ho Chi
Minh: The Memoirs of a North Vietnamese Colonel, op.cit., 1995, p.63. However, distrust, lack of
cooperation and “over-lap” between Vietnamese intelligence agencies in the Pheonix program were a major
difficulty, and in Phước Tuy Province it had only marginal impact. In April 1970, 1 ATF reported that the
Pheonix “program was achieving very little results … there had been a reduction in the VCI as a result of
((1 ATF)) ambushes, contacts, air strikes and hoi chanhs ((ralliers)) , but remarkably little that can be
attributed to the Phung Hoang Programme.” - Pacification Review: Jun 69 – Jul 70, Annex A to HQAFV
R723-1-13, 23 June 1970. “Most VCI eliminations are a direct product of Task Force operations and
identification from captured documents, Hoi Chanhs and PW. … Few of those eliminated have been
important cadres at village level, most being low level supply organisers … The intelligence community is
fragmented and uncoordinated.” – VC/VCI Activities and Capabilities in Phuoc Tuy – May 1970, Annex B
to HQAFV R723-1-13 of 23 June 1970. For an assessment of the VCI and 1 ATF counter-VCI operations,
see also Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, pp.35-39. For a critical review of
the Pheonix program, see also: Valentine, D., The Pheonix Program, William Morrow and Company, New
York, 1990 and 2000; and, as noted above, Andradé, D., Ashes to Ashes – the Pheonix Program, Lexington
Books, Massachusetts, 1990.
438
Translator’s Note: In a review dated 10 December 1969, VC Military Region 7 declared that “…
Australian troops also suffered bitter failures in 1969. They are no longer as aggressive in their sweeping
operations as before, and they have often told the people that they will withdraw their troops as soon as the
US forces leave, and they have requested the Việt Cộng not to attack them. … During the year …
approximately 2,509 Australian troops were killed, resulting in six companies and five platoons destroyed.
Five other companies and six platoons were depleted. They admitted that the 5 th Australian Battalion has
lost its combat effectiveness. … We successfully eliminated enemy control in Long Đất (Bà Rịa) … We
thwarted the Australian tactic of planting M16 mines and completely destroyed the bunker and watchtower
networks in the areas surrounding strategic hamlets in Long Đất.” - CDEC Log 07-1632-70/CDEC Report
No. 6 028 0700 70 (note also footnote 465 – Military Region 7 cited 2,701 Australians killed in 1969).
Earlier in 1969 – on 3-4 April 1969, 5RAR elements had attacked the Military Region 7 Headquarters at YS
312984 (west of the Ông Quế Plantation) – killing 14, wounding 16, and capturing important documents
including codes – see Annex A to 1 ATF INTSUM No.146-69, 26 May 1969.

126
While the enemy were making a fuss about having pushed us away from the
villages - and our forces no longer had the capability to infiltrate into the zones that they
controlled, 445 Battalion organised a night-time armed propaganda operation that excited
the people of the Đất Đỏ area.
On Christmas Eve – 24 December 1969, the Battalion selected a group of strong
comrades – stalwart, well-built, and well turned out; equivalent in number to a company,
to suddenly break into the church at Đất Đỏ and conduct an armed propaganda activity.
Having sited soldiers to protect against an enemy approach, the Battalion second-incommand – Nguyễn Thanh Tâm (Hai [sic]439 Tâm), led a section into the densely
crowded church. Having requested permission from the priest, our Comrade Sáu Liên (a
cadre of the Farmers’ Association of Long Đất District) and Comrade Mười Cường spoke
directly to their countrymen for about an hour. They explained the policies of the
National Liberation Front of South Vietnam, accused the Americans and their puppets for
persistently waging war through their new schemes and plots, and called on the people to
support the revolution, and to oppose the invading American imperialists and their
reactionary clique of lackeys. Comrade Tư Oanh – the leader of 445 Battalion’s political
cadre, called upon the puppet soldiers present at the service to hand over their weapons.
The results of that armed propaganda at the Đất Đỏ church were wholly successful. The
religious villagers in Đất Đỏ were impressed by the image of our revolutionary cadre who
dealt with them in a close, worldly, confident, and dignified manner. Our liberation
soldiers were good-natured, polite, fresh-faced, likeable, and nice – quite unlike that
depicted in the government’s propaganda. This armed propaganda action had a deep
effect on the psychology of the soldiers and officers of the puppet military and the puppet
authorities in the whole of Đất Đỏ District - and more broadly across the whole of Phước
Tuy Province.440
3. Defeating the Barrier Shield Tactic
After the armed propaganda action at the Đất Đỏ church, the unit regrouped back
in the Rừng Lá and Sông Ray area, and 445 Battalion continued to fight against the
Australian commandos who entered our base areas. The Australians sought us out and
launched section-strength sudden attacks into our bases. At 2pm on 31 December 1969 at
Láng Bè (Rừng Lá, Sông Ray), our 1st Company struck an Australian force and inflicted
heavy casualties on a Royal Australian company. We seized three automatic Malaysian
guns441, an AR15442, a M19 [sic]443, and shot down five combat helicopters.444
439

Translator’s Note: Nguyễn Thanh Tâm had the aka/nickname “Ba Tâm”; and Nguyễn Văn Tâm had the
aka/nickname “Hai Tâm”. There also appears to have been a Nguyễn Văn Tâm (Hai Méo) – noted as a
platoon commander in 445 Company’s attack on the Sông Cầu strategic hamlet (Hòa Long) in October
1964.
440
Translator’s Note: This armed propaganda action by 445 Battalion is related similarly in the 1991 D445
History and the Đất Đỏ District History (2006), but those accounts only cite Nguyễn Thanh Tâm as
addressing the congregation. – see Chamberlain, E.P., … D445: Their Story, op.cit., 2011, p.74. 1 ATF
reported that at 2155hrs on 24 December 1969, the ARVN Đất Đỏ Sub-Sector reported that about 60 Việt
Cộng – comprising C25 Long Đất Company elements and local guerrillas, “surrounded a church and spread
propaganda to the people” in the northern part of the Town – 1 ATF, INTSUM No.359/69, Núi Đất, 25
December 1969. See also Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, p.363.
441
Translator’s Note: The 1991 D445 History also refers to the unit being equipped with a “Malaysian
heavy machinegun (an American weapon).” A captured report by a Bình Thuận Party Committee referred
to Popular Forces troops possessing a “Malayan machine gun” in mid-1970 – VCAT Item No.
23130011001. The “Malayan/Malaysian” weapon may have been a Bren light machinegun – used by the
CIA-managed PRU (see footnotes 209 and 352); and a number were also “home-made” by the VC – see

127
At the beginning of 1970, in order to confront the enemy’s new destructive
schemes and plots, and to restore the disadvantageous situation on the battlefield, the
Province Committee decided to establish the 1st Key Area Vanguard Headquarters445 with
the aim of strongly attacking the special pacification program of the Americans and their
puppets on the Long Đất battlefield. Comrade Nguyễn Đức Thu – the 445 Battalion
Commander, was appointed as the Second Deputy Commander of the Vanguard
Headquarters. The mission of the Vanguard Headquarters was: to mobilise and organise
the activities of the District armed forces in coordination with elements of the Province
forces to undertake armed propaganda operations, to destroy the PSDF system in the
District, and to mobilise the people to rise up and take control. The Province Committee
directed the Province Unit to create a plan to attack the enemy and recover territory and
people, and regain control of the Bà Rịa battlefield – especially in the critical area of
Long Đất. Under the leadership of the Vanguard Headquarters446, a series of attacks was
initiated, striking forcefully at the special programs of the Americans and their puppets.
The people’s war on the Long Đất battlefield was firmly consolidated.447
VCAT VAA03036. It is unlikely to have been a L4A4 Bren gun (with chrome barrel) as these weapons was
first issued to 1 ATF troops in February 1971.
442
Translator’s Note: Initially, Australian personnel were equipped with the 5.56mm AR-15 rifle, and later
with the very similar - but improved with a “Forward Assist Device”, M-16 rifle. One AR-15 was not
recovered after the August 1966 Battle of Long Tân. In mid-1967, the established strength of an Australian
infantry battalion was 876. The ratio of M-16s to Australian-made Self Loading Rifles (SLRs) in a battalion
was 32% M-16s, 68% SLRs – and a battalion had 79 GPMG M60 medium machine guns. On ARVN use of
the M-16, see footnote 131 and: USMACV, An Evaluation of the Impact of Arming the Vietnamese Army
with the M-16 Rifle, 30 June 1968. VCAT Item No.F015800240227.
443
Translator’s Note: Probably a typographical error – it is highly likely to have been a “M79” grenade
launcher, see footnote 413.
444
Translator’s Note: No such action is related in the 1991 D445 History - nor referred to in 1 ATF records
of late December 1969/early January 1970.
445
Translator’s Note: While not mentiioned in the 1991 D445 History, the formation of this 1 st Key Area
Vanguard Headquarters is also related in the D440 History (2011), p.111: “The Headquarters comprised:
Comrade Lê Văn Việt – the deputy commander of the Province Unit as its commander; Comrade Phan
Thanh Hà – the chief of staff of the Province Unit, as the first deputy commander; Comrade Nguyễn Đức
Thu – the commander of 445 Battalion, as the second deputy commander; Comrade Trần Công Khánh – a
member of the Standing Committee of the Province Committee, as political commissar; and Comrade
Huỳnh Văn Sinh – the secretary of the Long Đất District Committee, as the deputy political commissar.”
Referring to the establishment of the Headquarters, the Đất Đỏ District History (2006) included the
footnote: “Document No.3/QĐ, 4 January 1970 – signed by Comrade Phạm Văn Hy, secretary of the
Province Committee – from the archives of the Party History Office, Propaganda Section of the Bà RịaVũng Tàu Province Committee.” That Document No.03/QD on the formation of the Headquarters – citing
“akas”, is illustrated in Trần Văn Khánh (et al/đtg), Lịch sử Đảng …(The History of the Party in Bà RịaVũng Tàu), op.cit., 2000, Chapter VIII. In the Đất Đỏ District History (2006) account, “Huỳnh Văn Sinh” is
shown as “Tạ Hồng Sinh” - Đặng Tấn Hương, Lịch Sử Đấu Tranh … Huyện Đất Đỏ (1930-2005), op.cit.,
2006.
446
Translator’s Note: 1 ATF appears not to have been fully aware of this re-organisation – see Ekins, A.
with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, pp.428-432; and it is not specifically reflected in
contemporary 1 ATF intelligence reports and studies. However, 1 ATF did know of the dispersal of D445’s
companies – see the following footnote 447.
447
Translator’s Note: According to a rallier (4th Company of 445 Battalion), on about 22 February 1970, the
Chief of Staff of the Bà Rịa-Long Khánh Province Unit – Phan Thanh Hà (Hai Hà), visited 445 Battalion
and together with Hai Khanh (Nguyễn Minh Khanh) – the Battalion’s Political Officer, conducted a 1½-day
political re-orientation course in the Battalion’s Suối Rau base (YS 555694). For the coming “rainy season”
(ie beginning about April 1970), the Battalion was to stay in the Minh Đạm area “to support the people in
Long Đất”, and the Battalion was to “split up and operate in company-strength for these missions.” The 1st
Company was to operate in Long Điền District [sic], the 2nd Company was to cooperate with the village
guerrillas and operate in Phước Hải village and Can Ba Mia hamlet (Hội Mỹ), the 3rd Company was to join
with the village guerrillas for operations in Đất Đỏ Distrct, and the 4th Company was to “receive its

128
At the beginning of 1970, the Australian military448 implemented a new form of
tactics – the “barrier shield”449 tactic in lieu of the “bunker” tactic that had failed
completely.450 Based on the arc of old bunkers, when night came the Australians
coordinated with the puppet soldiers to site ambushes in clusters around this belt. There
were clusters in close, and others farther out. Every three to five metres, there was a
soldier in an ambush position – and every one was armed with dozens of Claymore mines
arranged to form a wide defensive zone facing the direction of approach of our
revolutionary forces. About 10 to 20 metres away, the enemy sited a strong fire support
group ready to provide support to anywhere that there was a clash or a mine was
detonated. Additionally, in areas that were difficult to ambush, they used sound-sensitive
sensors451 to discover us.
The “barrier shield” was even more dangerous than the “bunkers” as their
ambushes could move during the night, and it was difficult to determine their exact
position. At this time, there was no night when our local forces did not have people
wounded, captured, or killed – and we usually were unable to recover the bodies of those
killed. One night, the Long Đất District Committee organised seven groups to go into the
hamlets, but all seven fell into ambushes. On the night of 15 January 1970, a group of
cadre from Long Đất District entered Long Điền to set up an infrastructure cell, and seven
were killed and three committee members were missing-in-action. The next day (16
January452), 445 Battalion – together with Long Đất District and village troops, entered
the hamlets to get food but hit the Australian barrier shield, and 12 comrades were killed.
On the night of 27 February, a group of District infrastructure agents moving out of a
hamlet back to the base with information were ambushed and eight comrades were
killed.453
missions from the Battalion Headquarters and the Long Đất District Unit for mortar attacks”. - Appendix II
to Annex A to 1 ATF INTSUM No.127/70, Núi Đất, 7 May 1970. See also the earlier footnote 365 for the
division of D445 into “four groups” in April 1968.
448
Translator’s Note: “Joint operations begun in May 1969 with RF were terminated in November 1969
because of clear VC penetration of the RF and difficulty to ensure the security of individuals attached to RF
Companies. In May 1970, 15 RF/PF companies were redeployed with the aim of disrupting accommodation
with the VC.” - Pacification Review: Jun 69 – Jul 70, Annex A to HQAFV R723-1-13, 23 June 1970. For
“accommodation” and “mutual self-limitation”, see also the preceding footnotes 111, 306 and 410.
449
Translator’s Note: For this “fresh concept” of “close ambushing” and “village barriers” by 1 ATF under
Operation Phối Hợp – initially near Hòa Long village and then in late April 1970 in the Đất Đỏ area, see
p.405 (Hòa Long) and p.437 (Đất Đỏ) in Ekins, A. with McNeill, A., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012.
450
Translator’s Note: In a footnote in the 1991 D445 Battalion history, the Vietnamese authors noted:
“From first arriving in the Bà Rịa region up until their withdrawal, the Australians implemented three basic
tactics – all of which caused us difficulties and losses:
1. The 16-E3 minefield; 2. The bunkers; and 3. The barrier-shield fence.”
451
Translator’s Note: 1 ATF employed Patrol Seismic Intrusion Devices (PSID) to cover “dead ground” - ie
ground not covered by direct sight. A PSID set comprised four conical-shaped detectors – each with a 20metre detection radius, and a receiver. Additionally, “Duffel Bag” sensors – ground-based personnelsensing strings: motion, seismic and magnetic, were controlled by the Artillery Headquarters at 1 ATF.
452
Translator’s Note: In the 1991 D445 History and the Đất Đỏ District History (2006), the incident is
recorded as occurring on 16 February 1970.
453
Translator’s Note: These losses on 15 January, 16 February, and 27 February 1970 are also noted in the
the 1991 D445 History – see Chamberlain, E.P., … D445: Their Story, op.cit., 2011, p.75 ; in the Long Đất
History (1986), p.15; and in Phạm Chí Thân (ed), Căn Cứ Minh Đạm 1945-1975 - The Minh Đạm Base
1945-1975, op.cit., 2006, p.4. However, the ambush on 15 January 1970 is not reflected in 1 ATF reporting.
The ambush on “16 February” is probably the ambush by 8RAR elements at YS 458564 on 15 and 16
February 1970 resulting in 10 Việt Cộng killed (including a D445 Battalion company commander (C-1): Hồ
Thanh Phong; and Dương Quang Nghĩa: Party Committee member – Propaganda and Training, Long Đất).
– 1 ATF, INTSUM No.47/70, Núi Đất, 16 February 1970; Ekins, A. with McNeill, A., Fighting to the
Finish, op.cit., 2012, pp.371-372. A “Hồ Văn Phong (b. 1939, Phước Hải – Company Commander)” is

129
These were days of misery and hunger – and extreme violence. The Long Đất
District454 and Vũng Tàu City forces were isolated in the Minh Đạm Mountains by the
Australian commando barrier and belt coordinated with the puppet forces. Our guerrilla
bases were pushed deep into the jungle, and our guerrillas were unable to maintain
contact with the villagers.455 During the day, 445 Battalion continued to send cadre and
soldiers to search for and dig up bamboo shoots and sprouting tubers – and even types of
edible leaves, in order to supplement their meals. At nightfall, they entered the hamlets to
attack the enemy, but each time they were ambushed by the enemy and suffered
casualties. At this time, every grain of rice had to be paid for in blood.456
Faced by this situation, the Bà Rịa – Long Khánh Province Committee and the
Province Unit directed that 445 Battalion had to destroy the Australian military’s “barrier
shield” by any means. After much discussion and changing of plans and methods and
means of attack, the Battalion Headquarters unanimously agreed on a plan to attack the
enemy through a counter-ambush tactic. The difficult problems in implementing this
tactic were how to compel the enemy to reveal his force and their ambush position; and
how to create the conditions for us to then bring our supporting firepower to bear
accurately and to wipe out the enemy.
noted in the martyrs’ list of this 2004 D445 History as having been killed on “9 March 1970”) – p.314,
Serial 403. The ambush on “27 February” is probably the two 8RAR ambushes on the morning of 28
February 1970 at YS 453536 resulting in a total of seven Việt Cộng killed (three KIA at 0723hrs, and four
KIA at 1045hrs) – 1 ATF, INTSUM No.59/70, Núi Đất, 28 February 1970. Post-War, on 8 November 2011,
the remains of 10 Việt Cộng soldiers were re-interred in the Long Điền cemetery – nine were reportedly
members of the 1st Platoon of C-25 Company who – returning from Long Điền, were “200 metres from
their base” in the Minh Đạm, when ambushed near Chop Rock by Australian troops on “at 4am on 26
March 1970.” – “Huyện Đất Đỏ an táng 10 hài cốt liệt sĩ” (“Đất Đỏ District buries the remains of 10
martyrs”), 21 December 2011. Three of the “martyrs” noted in the article – Trần Văn Chiến, Nguyễn Văn
Đệ, and Trần Minh Hùng, were identified from captured documents as among the seven killed in the two
8RAR ambushes on 28 February 1970. The positions of those three KIA were identified respectively as:
section commander - sapper/recce platoon; medic – C-25 Company; and platoon commander - C-25 Long
Đất District Company. 1 ATF, INTSUM No.59/70, Núi Đất, 28 February 1970. As a martyr, Trần Văn
Chiến was awarded the title: “Hero of the People’s Armed Forces” vide Decision 212/Q Đ-CTN, 23
February 2010.
454
Translator’s Note: In June 1970, the 1 ATF Intelligence Staff assessed that the total strength of Long Đất
District was 444 personnel – comprising: 202 personnel in the District-level organisation and its associated
cells and sections (eg including postal, medical, detention, finance, supply and front associations); 42
personnel in C25 District Company; 122 in 15 village Party Chapters; and 78 in 15 village guerrilla units. Graham, N.F. Major, Long Đất – Order of Battle, 1 ATF Battle Intelligence Section, Núi Đất, 24 June 1970
(28 pages: including history, organisation, tactics, personalities, cover names and cover designators etc).
455
Translator’s Note: The Đất Đỏ District History (2006) relates: “The Australians’ ‘barrier shield’ tactic
created an extremely tense situation. Up to 245 Long Đất cadre and soldiers were killed. In the hamlets, 188
of our patriotic infrastructure members were arrested and imprisoned, and 162 youth were forcibly
recruited. There was a critical shortage of food, and the cadre and the soldiers had to eat bamboo shoots and
‘aeroplane’ leaves – with thin watery gruel reserved for the wounded.”
456
Translator’s Note: The Đất Đỏ District History (2006) records several additional engagements by D445
with Australian troops in the first half of 1970 as follows. On 30 April, “445 Battalion – guided by our
secret infrastructure in Phước Lợi, entered the hamlet and attacked the Australians on a sweeping operation.
An Australian platoon fell into an ambush and six were killed and a further 14 were wounded.” –
Translator’s Comment: On 30 April 1970, an Australian 7RAR element contacted a small Việt Cộng group
at YS 487570 (one kilometre west of Phước Lợi village) – resulting in one Australian killed and four
wounded. – 1 ATF, INTSUM No.120/70, Núi Đất, 30 April 1970. “On the night of 3 May 1970 … 445
Battalion attacked a group of Australians stationed in Đất Đỏ. … Our Battalion’s elements surrounded and
cut-off the enemy, wiping out an Australian platoon, and wearing down another platoon.” Translator’s
Comment: On the evening of 3 May 1970, an 8RAR platoon ambush position at YS 475585 (on the
southern outskirts of Đất Đỏ Town) was attacked by 40-50 Việt Cộng – resulting in six Australian soldiers
wounded, two Việt Cộng killed and three wounded – 1 ATF, SITREP, Núi Đất, 5 May 1970.

130
The decision and the thinking of the Headquarters was swiftly passed to the whole
Battalion and democratically discussed. Many of the cadre and soldiers of our
reconnaissance group and in the companies wanted to participate in attacks on the
enemy’s ambush positions, but the Battalion’s Party Committee chose only a section for
the operation in order to gain experience. The Political Officer, Nguyễn Minh Khanh was
selected to command this suicide operation.457
One afternoon in June 1970, the group left the base in the Minh Đạm Mountains
for the attack. Led by Comrade Nguyễn Minh Khanh (Hai Khanh), the seven soldiers
were divided into three teams – one leading assault team, and followed by two fire
support teams. On reaching the fields between Phước Lợi and Phước Hòa Long villages,
the leading team was ambushed by the enemy, and three comrades were killed. The
enemy’s fire support fell like rain. Following our plan, the following elements calmly
went to ground, taking advantage of the bunds of the paddy fields for protection from the
enemy’s fire – while, at the same time, taking the opportunity to determine the location of
the enemy ambush. Having accurately fixed the enemy’s ambush site and their fire
support positions, the Battalion’s Political Officer – Nguyễn Minh Khanh, crawled
forward and ordered the two B40 grenadiers to wipe out the enemy’s two closest fire
support positions – and then ordered the whole group to counter-attack the enemy fire
support positions that had been exposed. After fighting for 10 minutes, our soldiers had
breached the enemy’s “barrier shield”, killed a number of the enemy, destroyed two
heavy machineguns, and seized three AR15 rifles etc.
While assisting a wounded comrade, the four remaining comrades carried our
three dead back to Thanh Tân hamlet of Phước Thạnh village. There, the villagers
bandaged the wounded comrade and buried those killed. Close to dawn, the Battalion’s
Political Officer – Nguyễn Minh Khanh, and the three remaining comrades swiftly
gathered supplies from the villagers. With their arms fully loaded with rice, medicine,
torch batteries, sodium glutamate etc, they returned back safely to the base.458
The blood of our four soldiers who fell in that battle helped the Battalion gain
experience in “counter-ambush” engagements. Immediately after the battle, the
Battalion’s Party Committee used that experience to replicate the model and resolved to
conduct a Battalion-level counter-ambush attack.
Three days after the initial attack, 445 Battalion decided to use two companies
(but in strength only a bit more than two platoons because not all were chosen to go) and
the reconnaissance group to deploy from the Minh Đạm Mountains base to Đất Đỏ to
destroy the Australian military’s “barrier shield” defensive line. The Battalion’s force was
divided into three groups: Group 1 (the 1st Company) led by Comrade Hoàng; Group 2
(the 2nd Company) led by Comrade Sáu Thu; and Group 3 (the reconnaissance element).
When they had reached the edge of the stream beside the Ông Long dam (the border
between An Nhứt village and the Sub-Sector), they met the barrier shield, and the
Australians fired intensely at our suspected positions. Our leading element lost one
comrade killed and one wounded. With our experience and a ready plan, the Battalion
quickly adopted a combat formation: with the 1st Company lining up to attack frontally,
while the 2nd Company attacked from the right flank, and the reconnaissance group
deploying to the enemy’s rear to open fire and attack the Australians.
457

Translator’s Note: The 1991 D445 History relates at length a discussion between “Sáu Thu (the
Battalion commander) and Hai Khanh (the political officer)” – with each wishing to lead the “suicide”
group.
458
Translator’s Note: The 1991 D445 History claims that “15 Australians were killed, two heavy
machineguns were destroyed, and three AR-15 rifles were seized.” 1 ATF records for June 1970 do not
include any such engagement.

131
Attacked from three sides, the Australian commandos were alarmed and
dispirited, and fled down the dam wall calling for their tanks and aircraft to come to their
rescue. 445 Battalion fought exhaustingly with an Australian battalion throughout the
night, using all its B40 rounds. We wiped out dozens of enemy and set fire to a Sioux
helicopter459. The Battalion then withdrew into the hamlet to collect food and provisions
which we carried safely back to the base. The reconnaissance group was stuck in the
hamlet, and the next morning the enemy poured in troops to tightly encircle the area.
Hard-pressed, the reconnaissance section had to hide in a stack of straw (in Mr Tư Ngân’s
house) and hold their breaths while awaiting a fight to the death with the enemy at
daybreak. Finally however, thanks to their remaining silent and the resourcefulness of the
house-owner, the enemy did not discover anything and were forced to abandon their
searching. At nightfall, the reconnaissance section returned safely to the base, carrying a
number of armloads of rice, food, medicines – and indeed even coffee and cigarettes, to
celebrate our victory. In this battle, the Battalion only had one comrade wounded and one
comrade killed.460
Our great victory with the Battalion’s “counter-ambush” tactics resounded across
all the Districts, the Province, and the Military Region. The Battalion’s combat
experiences were studied, widely disseminated, and became a symbol for the counterpacification movement across the whole Military Region.461 With this combat success,
the Battalion was awarded the Military Feats Medal 2nd Class.462
After that battle, the enemy almost abandoned its “barrier shield” tactic as they
were unable to withstand the pressure of the continuous attacks by our forces. Afraid of
being attacked, and afraid of being killed – the enemy was forced to huddle in defensive
groups. If enemy ambushes were discovered, our cadre and soldiers could simply find
another route – avoiding casualties and unnecessary bloodshed.463
We had destroyed their defensive belt and tight control over the three villages464
of Đất Đỏ and over a number of other regions in the Province. The 1st Phase of the
Accelerated Pacification Program in Long Đất District in particular – and in Bà Rịa –
Long Khánh Province in general, had been challenged and was forced to slow down.
According to the Province Committee’s report for the 3rd Quarter of 1970, in September
459

Translator’s Note: Literally a “lồng kẽm” (“zinc wire cage”) aircraft. The D440 History (2011)
specifically used that term to refer to Australian Army Bell H-13 (47G-3B1) Sioux helicopters.
460
Translator’s Note: 1 ATF records for June 1970 do not include any such action. In the 1991 D445
History and the Đất Đỏ History (2006), the D445 force only comprises: “1 st Company – together with a
reconnaissance section” – ie the 2nd Company is not mentioned. In the 1991 D445 History, “Comrade On –
a reconnaissance soldier” participates in the engagement. In the “List of Martyrs” annexed to this 2004
D445 History, “Nguyễn Văn On” – a section 2ic, is noted as being killed on 16 June 1970 – ie probably the
“one comrade killed” above. In the 1991 D445 History, Tư Ngân is described as “Comrade Hai Khanh’s
uncle”. On this engagement, the Đất Đỏ District History (2006) related: “According to the enemy’s
messages that we intercepted, they lost 80 killed, and two aircraft were shot down.” For radio interception
by the NVA/VC – and 1 ATF COMSEC awareness, see Annex E, footnotes 6, 7, 29 and 76.
461
Translator’s Note: In the 1991 D445 History, the influence of 445 Battalion’s reported tactic only
extended to “across the Province”.
462
Translator’s Note: Literally: Huân chương Chiến công hạng hai. This award is not mentioned in the
1991 D445 History. However, a Party History states that the Battalion was awarded the higher medal: Huân
chương Quân công hạng hai (Military Exploits Medal 2nd Class) - Trần Văn Khánh (et al/đtg), Lịch sử
Đảng … (The History of the Party in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu), op.cit., 2000, Chapter VIII.
463
Translator’s Note: On 16 July 1970, Trần Văn Đức – the acting platoon commander of B3/C3/445,
rallied at An Nhứt (Long Điền), and provided detailed information on 445 Battalion’s movements from
May to mid-July 1970 – as well as information on collecting supplies from Hội Mỹ and Đất Đỏ. 1 ATF,
Annex A to INTSUM No.197/70, Núi Đất, 16 July 1970.
464
Translator’s Note: The three villages in the Đất Đỏ area were: Phước Thạnh, Phước Thọ, and Phước Hòa
Long.

132
1970, the Province’s armed forces had engaged in 50 counter-attack battles, and driven
636 enemy from the battlefield – including 291 Americans and 51 Australians.465 We had
attacked 18 strategic hamlets, eight targets in the suburbs of towns and cities, killed 31
evil oppressors – include a quisling administrator, a cell of intelligence informants, 17
Popular Force personnel, six police, and five RD cadre.466 We continued to attack and
disperse the PSDF in several places, and the remainder were but a shell - existing in name
only, and their activities were ineffective. We had control over many villages in the Đất
Đỏ, Route 44, and Route 52 areas. Having been strengthened, the liaison systems within
the Province – and between Provinces and back to the Region, operated smoothly, and
our supply stations were operating quite effectively.
4. The Destruction of the Supplementary Pacification Program of the Americans
and their Puppets.
From July 1970, in the face of our enduring strength in holding our ground and
continuously attacking with our three-pronged attacks in all areas of the Province, the
enemy concluded the first phase of their Accelerated Pacification Program and moved to
implement the second phase of their Program with more subtle and poisonous means.
They were determined to be more brazen and to also employ larger forces in conducting
their Program. A report from the Province Committee advised that Phase 2 of the
enemy’s “Accelerated Pacification Program” (the “Supplementary Pacification”) had five
principal components:
- Urgently restoring the machinery of quisling administrators in the villages,
strengthening the PSDF, guaranteeing the security of the strategic hamlets, and
preventing our infiltration.
- Increasing their network of spies and their information service, discovering
and wiping out our secret infrastructure in the strategic hamlets.
- Employing the Regional Forces and Popular Forces – in coordination with the
National Police Field Force467, to strengthen operations in support of
pacification and defensive operations instead of using main-force units which
would be employed on external operations.
- Encouraging the building and reform of the economy, expanding animal
husbandry, lending funds to develop production, and constructing new villages
and hamlets.
465
Translator’s Note: On Australian casualties, a Military Region 7 (ie Đoàn 12-B) communique dated 5
February 1970 had earlier claimed that “2,701 Australians” were killed in 1969 in the Region and included
a lieutenant colonel – see CDEC Log 05-1067-70. See also the earlier MR7 claim at footnote 438 of 2,509
Australians killed in calendar year 1969; and the claim of Australian casualties at footnote 514 of “10,000
wounded and killed” during the Vietnam War. For Australian official casualty figures, see footnote 515 ie:
414 killed in action and 2,348 wounded – see McNeill, I. & Ekins, A., On the Offensive, op.cit., 2003,
Appendix F, "Statistics”.
466
Translator’s Note: Early on 13 April 1970, the RD Cadre Team 1 at YS 515533 (Phước Hải) was
attacked by a Việt Cộng company-sized force. One RD cadre was killed, five wounded, and one reported
missing-in-action - and five carbines, two HT-1 radios and a typewriter were lost to the attacking force. 1
ATF, INTSUM No.103/70, Núi Đất, 13 April 1970. On the evening of 15 April 1970, the Mobile Strike
Force (MSF) base at YS 436516 (Long Hải) was impacted by 18-20 82mm mortar rounds – resulting in one
Cambodian soldier killed, seven wounded, and damage to all buildings. 1 ATF, INTSUM No.105/70, Núi
Đất, 15 April 1970.
467
Translator’s Note: As noted, the National Police Field Force (NPFF) – founded in January 1966, were
organised similarly to infantry sub-units, armed with M-16 rifles, trained in infantry minor tactics – and
with a company assigned to each of the 44 provinces. With a strength of about 16,000 in 1970, it was also
the primary riot-control element of the National Police.

133
-

Putting effort into declarations of love-of-country and of one’s village,
boosting information on the rallier program and promoting that in many ways.

The most dangerous aspect of this second phase program was that it was not
begun wholly in areas where the enemy had tight control and terrorised the people, but in
places where the enemy had implemented its demagogic policy quite smoothly, thus
making the people - including our infrastructure agents among the masses, to mistakenly
believe that the enemy were good, had changed their ways, were concerned for the
people, and were lenient and kind etc. There were even a few families that had previously
been sympathetic to the revolution who wrote letters calling upon their children in the
resistance to return from the jungle in order to enjoy the advantages of this leniency, and
to move forward quickly towards a reconciliation and concord of the populace.
The enemy’s second phase of their pacification program was developed across a
wide geographic area in the last months of 1970468, causing us many new difficulties and
complications. Elements of the masses and our infrastructure agents were alarmed and
wavering.
At the end of 1970 469, Xuyên Mộc District was incorporated into Long Đất
District which was one of the Province’s weak regions. To implement the Province

468

Translator’s Note: In September 1970, there were major changes in 445 Battalion that are not related in
this 2004 D445 History. Earlier, in August-September 1969, personnel had been withdrawn from 445 and
440 Battalions to form a Bà Rịa-Long Khánh province reconnaissance company – Annex A to 1 ATF
INTSUM No.51-70, Núi Đất, 23 February 1970. In July 1970, the Province Headquarters directed that “all
units – including the two battalions of the Province … become trained as sappers as soon as possible.” –
Annex B to 1 ATF INTSUM No.40/71, Núi Đất, 9 February 1971. In August 1970, the 1 st and 3 Companies
of 445 Battalion – and probably the 2nd Company, undertook sapper training; and in September almost all of
the 3rd Company joined with 40 personnel from the K6 Company of 440 Battalion to form the Bà Rịa-Long
Khánh provincial sapper/reconnaissance company – ie the C36 Company, under Hai Bỉ (ie probably
Nguyễn Văn Bỉ, a former commander of 445 Battalion’s 1 st Company) – Annex A to 1 ATF INTSUM
No.51/71, Núi Đất, 20 February 1971. On 11 January 1971, the Chief of Staff of the Province Unit – Phan
Thanh Hà, sent a congratulatory letter to the C36 Sapper Company for its “5 January achievements”
(probably the attack on La Van hamlet, Đức Thạnh) and praised the Company as the “Province’s punch”
and as a “never-lose” sapper unit - Annex B to 1 ATF INTSUM No.35/71, Núi Đất, 9 February 1971. With
removal of the 3rd Company personnel to form C36 Company, in September 1970 a “new” 3 rd Company of
445 Battalion was created by the integration of 440 Battalion’s K9 Company (all North Vietnamese) together with some members of other 440 Battalion companies, into 445 Battalion. – Annex A to 1 ATF
INTSUM No.17/71, Núi Đất, 17 January 1971. The 3rd Company – then 27-strong, reportedly retained its
former company commander. - 1 ATF Battle Intelligence Section, D445 Order of Battle, Núi Đất, 6 May
1971. On 17 September 1970, Năm Vũ (Nguyễn Văn Năm) – the second-in-command and acting
commander of 445 Battalion was reportedly killed in an Australian (7RAR) ambush in Đất Đỏ. Reportedly
a northern NVA cadre who had served in Cambodia, Năm Vũ had been assigned to 445 Battalion as its
Chief of Staff and acting Commander on 19 June 1970 – O’Brien, M., Conscripts and Regulars – with the
Seventh Battalion in Vietnam, op.cit., 1995, pp.219-220. See also Annex B to 1 ATF, INTSUM No.262/70,
Núi Đất, 19 September 1970; and for a summary of his diary entries: Annex B to 1 ATF, INTSUM
No.264/70, Núi Đất, 21 September 1970. A diary entry of 28 August 1970 detailed the strengths of D445
elements, totally 176 – see Annex C. According to the Martyrs’ List in this 2004 D445 History, “Nguyễn
Văn Năm – Battalion Deputy Commander, b.1940 in Phước Hải (Long Đất)”, was killed on “31 August
1970” – List II, p.315, Serial 426. See also his outline biography at Annex A.
469
Translator’s Note: According to the Long Đất District History (1986), “At the end of 1970, D445
ambushed the Australians at Phước Hòa Long, killing 80. At Phước Lợi, village guerrillas used E3 mines to
wipe out an Australian section moving into their base.” - p.184. The Đất Đỏ District History (2006)
similarly relates: “In Phước Lợi village on the night of 5 November 1970, our village guerrillas used an E3
mine to completely wipe out an Australian section on a sweeping operation into our base.” In 1 ATF
records, there are no indications of such incidents.

134
Committee’s policy of “Move to focus on the weak areas”470, 445 Battalion deployed
from Long Đất to Xuyên Mộc to support the local revolutionary movement. This was also
undertaken to consolidate the Battalion’s structure and its political and ideological
aspects, and for training to heighten our technical and tactical capabilities. We needed to
raise the combat strength of the Battalion by a level following the many months of
continuous fighting against the enemy in Long Đất that had markedly reduced our
numbers.
To prepare for the battle that would lift the curtain on the Dry Season in the
Xuyên Mộc area, the two Battalion seconds-in-command – Comrades Đào Văn Tổng and
Lâm Phương, went and studied the enemy at the old Sub-Sector on the road to Bà Tô. The
aim was to draw out the Sub-Sector’s Regional Forces and then attack them. Our force
observing the enemy discovered a puppet special forces company 471 stationed in the Cây
Da area on the edge of the strategic hamlet at Xuyên Mộc village. As it was a field
position, the enemy had dug a quite large system of communication trenches and fighting
bunkers with firing loop-holes etc. On the night of 30 November to daybreak on 1
December 1970, the Battalion rehearsed the attack on the enemy at Cây Da. This was
based on thorough case studies, training in combat techniques, striving collectively to a
common aim, and practising on a model. The forces utilized in this attack comprised two
companies and the reconnaissance section (but the total only numbered about 25
comrades) – divided into three groups, with all to fight as sappers. The reconnaissance
section crawled forward first and slipped through behind the enemy’s position. They were
followed by three infantry groups who took up positions less than 100 metres from the
objective. At exactly the planned time – the sound of the exploding grenades thrown by
the reconnaissance section as a command signal and other firepower from 445 Battalion’s
three infantry groups, all resounded simultaneously. Being their pay day, the enemy were
quite drunk – and, completely caught by surprise, were unable to react in time. As a
result, after four minutes of fighting, the Battalion had won complete control of the
battlefield, wiped out an enemy company, killed 45 on the spot (including the lieutenant
commanding the company), captured six (including a second lieutenant – the company
second-in-command), seized 48 weapons of various types, three PRC-25 radios, two
telephones, and a large quantity of military equipment and food etc. The Battalion only
had one comrade slightly wounded.472
470

Translator’s Note: Literally: “Chuyển vùng yếu”. This policy had earlier been promulgated by the
Province Committee in mid-1966 – see: 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), Chapter VI, 25 April 2009. For the 106page Bà Biên Province booklet on the policy dated October 1966, see VCAT Item No.23125038001.
471
Translator’s Note: Literally “biệt kích” – usually a reference to a Mobile Strike Force (“Mike Force’) or
an ARVN Ranger element. However, the unit was an RF company – see footnote 472.
472
Translator’s Note: The 1991 D445 History similarly relates an attack on a “commando company” at Cây
Da on an unspecified date in “December 1970” in which: “The Battalion had wiped out an enemy company,
killed over 80 enemy, seized 59 weapons, and captured 11 of the enemy. We only suffered one comrade
slightly wounded.” The Đồng Nai Monograph includes: “In December 1970, the 445 section [sic]
concentrated its forces and destroyed a Regional Forces company at the Cây Da post in Xuyên Mộc.”- Địa
Chí Đồng Nai, op.cit, 2001. The Xuyên Mộc Resistance War History briefly relates the attack on Cây Da
on “30 November 1970” by “30 D445 personnel and District troops” – “killing 45 RF” and seizing “48
weapons”. - Võ Kim Hanh (et al), Xuyên Mộc Kháng Chiến 1945-1975, op.cit., 1989, p.160. According to
Australian accounts, on 29 November 1970, 440 Battalion elements joined with 445 Battalion to attack the
Sub-Sector Headquarters and the 386th Regional Force Company compound in Xuyên Mộc Town. The
attack - reportedly guided by the Xuyên Mộc C70 Company, involved the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Companies of
D445 reinforced by K8 – the heavy weapons company of 440 Battalion – and their attack precipitated the
deployment of the 1 ATF Ready Reaction Force from The Horseshoe – see Anderson, P., When the
Scorpion Stings, op.cit., 2002, pp. 243-244; O’Brien, M., Conscripts and Regulars …, op.cit., 1995, p.226;
and CDEC Log 01-1468-71. The 1 ATF intelligence staff reported the attack in detail ie: an RF Company

135
The Battalion’s sudden attack using sapper tactics on the enemy in the Cây Da
area (Xuyên Mộc) was a complete victory that had a great significance for both our
tactics and our ideology – particularly for our ideology. The Battalion had undertaken this
battle in extremely difficult circumstances – the unit had lost a significant part of its
fighting strength, had to suffer many days of insufficient food, had been pursued by the
enemy, had to move constantly, and our numbers had diminished. However, the cadre and
soldiers of 445 Battalion still always successfully completed their mission exactly in
accordance with the Battalion’s tradition that: “when ordered we go; if there are enemy,
we attack – and we win.” This victory created great enthusiasm among the revolutionary
movement of the masses and the guerrilla warfare movement in the villages in the Xuyên
Mộc area who rose up to attack and break up the enemy’s control mechanisms.
Following the deadly attack on the enemy in the Cây Da area, the Australian
military were able to assess the operational direction of the Battalion. On one hand, they
decisively increased their attacks and pacification efforts in the Long Đất region - and on
the other, they threw their forces into searching for, discovering, and trying to wipe out
445 Battalion. Once, 445 Battalion was surrounded by the Australian forces but – thanks
to the protection and assistance of the people, the Battalion was able to continue to stay
close to the villagers and the armed forces of Xuyên Mộc, accelerate the political and
armed struggle to wipe out and wreck the enemy’s tight control, and make changes in the
“weak zone”.
445 Battalion next moved to its base area to the south of Bưng Riềng ((YS
715685)). Before we had time to establish ourselves there, on 2 December 1970, an
Australian company moved to within about 100 metres of our camp. Having discovered
our well-worn trail, the Australians sited an ambush along that route. Hearing the
enemy’s helicopters landing troops, the Headquarters tasked the reconnaissance element
to hold-on and to determine the Australians’ next moves. Subsequently, listening to the
reconnaissance section’s report that the Australians had placed mines along the tracks into
our base, we were still unsure – but were calculating an appropriate response, when an
order was received from Comrade Tư Lạc (commander of the Province Unit) directing
that we must use all means to attack and destroy the enemy. To be more certain of the
choice of a method of attack, Lâm Phương (Sáu Phương) – the Battalion second-incommand, tasked Comrade Tuấn – the commander of the reconnaissance section, to
return and again check on the enemy’s activities. Having gathered firmer information on
the enemy, the Battalion Headquarters decisively ordered an attack to wipe out the
Australians. The 4th Company employed its 82mm mortars in concentrated fire and its
12.7mm heavy machineguns to fire directly into the enemy’s ranks, wiping our their fire
support elements and frightening the Australian troops to death. This created the
opportunity for two of our infantry groups from the 1st and 2nd Companies to attack from
the flank and the rear and destroy much of the enemy’s combat capability. The battle
lasted for almost an hour, after which the Battalion withdrew from the battlefield. The
post (YS 650673) was over-run and their casualties were six RF/PF killed, five wounded, 10 RF MIA –
with ten .45 calibre pistols, 39 M-16 rifles, one M-60 machine-gun, and other weapons and equipment lost
including two AN/PRC-25 radios. Seven 90kg bags of rice, approximately 100 cans of food, medical
supplies and money were also taken by the attackers. – see 1 ATF, INTSUM No.334/70, Núi Đất, 30
November 1970; 1 ATF, SUPINTREP No.47/70, Núi Đất, 1 December 1970; Annex A to 1 ATF INTSUM
No.17/71, Núi Đất, 17 January 1971; Peters, C.C.M. Major, D445 - Order of Battle, 1 ATF Battle
Intelligence Section, Núi Đất, 6 May 1971 – including a sketch map of the attack on the 386th RF Company.
That detailed “Order of Battle” study also relates – with a sketch map at p.C-7, a subsequent attack on 9
December by 445 Battalion elements – believed to be 25-30 strong, on a 7RAR platoon seven kilometres
east of Xuyên Mộc (YS 731694) – in which one VC was killed and two Australians were wounded. – see
also 1 ATF, SUPINTREP No.49/70, Núi Đất, 15 December 1970.

136
outcome was that we had worn down two Australian companies that had been on a
sweeping mission, and had been able to preserve our force strength without any
casualties.473
In the following days, 445 Battalion was forced to move several times, but
remained in the jungle to the south of Bưng Riềng until the end of 1970 when it received
orders to withdraw back to the base at Núi Bể Mountain (Mây Tào)474 to re-organise its
structure and its forces, and to prepare for an important new future task.
On the afternoon of 22 [sic]475 December 1970, the Battalion moved from south of
Bưng Riềng back to Núi Bể. At about 2am - when the unit was in the middle of Láng Cà
Thi ((YS 690668))476, two-thirds of the Battalion fell into an Australian ambush. After the
explosions of a series of the enemy’s Claymore mines, grenades, and a range of weapons,
445 Battalion suffered 19 killed on the spot and another 22 wounded – including many
comrades who were seriously wounded.477 The heaviest casualties were suffered by the

473

Translator’s Note: This engagement is not recorded in the 1991 D445 History. It is highly likely to have
been the engagement on 9 December 1970 at YS 731694 (about two kilometres north-east of the abandoned
Bưng Riềng hamlet at YS 715684 – about five kilometres east of Xuyên Mộc Town) with a platoon of B
Company/7RAR. The 7RAR platoon was shelled by “12 60mm mortar rounds followed by a ground assault
by 25-30 enemy.” The enemy engaged a supporting Australian fire support UH-1H Bushranger helicopter
that was forced to land. One VC was killed in the engagement (Nguyễn Văn Sang, formerly of K9/D440 –
serving in D445’s 3rd Company) and two Australians were wounded. Nguyễn Văn Sang’s ring was
returned by Australian veterans to Vietnamese officials in July 2013 under the “Wandering Souls” project –
see: “Tìm các thân nhân liệt sĩ có các kỷ vật CCB Australia lưu giữ”. During the 9 December 1970
engagement, a large bunker system (1000 metres x 300 metres) – including over 120 weapon pits and
12.7mm firing positions, was discovered nearby. 1 ATF assessed that the VC force probably comprised
D445 and K9 Company of D440 which was believed to have been under command of D445 since late
August/early September 1970. – 1 ATF, INTSUM No.343/70, Núi Đất, 9 December 1970. The 9 December
1970 engagement – including a sketch map, was featured in the “Tactics” annex in the 1 ATF study:
Peters, C.C.M. Major - 1 ATF Battle Intelligence Section, D445 VC Local Force Battalion (Ba Long
Province), Núi Đất, 6 May 1971. Subsequently, 1 ATF assessed that: “It now appears a possibility that both
the K8 Heavy Weapons Company and K9 Company may have been subordinated to D445. However,
further information is required before any definite conclusions can be made.” – 1 ATF, SUPINTREP
No.49/70, period 7 Dec – 13 Dec 70, Núi Đất, 15 December 1970. A few weeks later, 1 ATF assessed that
- with the removal of the 3rd Company personnel from 445 Battalion to form the C36 Bà Rịa-Long Khánh
Province Sapper/ Reconnaissance Company in September 1970, a “new” 3rd Company of 445 Battalion
was created by the integration of 440 Battalion’s K9 Company (all North Vietnamese) - together with some
members of other 440 Battalion companies, into 445 Battalion. – Annex A to 1 ATF INTSUM No.17/71,
Núi Đất, 17 January 1971. For the reorganisation and dispersal of D440 Battalion and the formation of C36
Company under Hai Bỉ (ie probably Nguyễn Văn Bỉ, a former commander of D445’s 1st Company), see
Chamberlain, E.P., …. D440: Their Story, 2013, including footnotes 188, 204, and 209.
474
Translator’s Note: The Núi Bể Mountains (summit 874 metres - YS 8690, Base Area 302) are in southeastern Bình Tuy Province, about 10 kilometres east of the Mây Tào Mountains that straddle the Phước
Tuy/Long Khánh/Bình Tuy tri-border area.
475
Translator’s Note: This date is incorrect. The 1991 D445 History states more generally: “One afternoon
at the end of 1970 …”. 1 ATF records cite 31 December 1970. Rather, according to 1 ATF records on 22
December 1970 at 0030hrs, 445 Battalion’s 1st Company – assisted by Long Đất District elements, attacked
a post (YS 479598) in Phước Thạnh village (Đất Đỏ). That 22 December 1970 attack by D445 elements
was featured in the “Tactics” annex in the 1 ATF study: Peters, C.C.M. Major - 1 ATF Battle Intelligence
Section, D445 VC Local Force Battalion (Ba Long Province), Núi Đất, 6 May 1971.
476
Translator’s Note: Termed by the Australians as the “Waterfall Clearing”, Láng (Waterfall) Cà Thi (YS
690668) was about six kilometres south-east of Xuyên Mộc Town. According to the account in a Party
history, when made aware that a cadre – Nam, had rallied and reported the presence of the Battalion in the
Cây Da base, the Battalion then left Cây Da and was moving to their Đá Bàn base. - Trần Văn Khánh (et
al/đtg), Lịch sử Đảng … (The History of the Party in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu), op.cit., 2000, Chapter VIII.
477
Translator’s Note: The 1991 D445 History adds: “at that time, the personnel strength of a company was
only about 20 riflemen.” This implies a significant decline in 445 Battalion’s personnel strength in the

137
2nd Company. Senior company cadre were casualties: Comrade Trịnh Văn Liêm – the
Company Political Officer (from Long Phước), and Comrade Trần Văn Long – the
Company Commander (from Long Tân village). Comrades Hoàng Thanh and Năm – both
Company seconds-in-command, were killed. These were the largest casualties yet
suffered since the Batttalion was established. The 2nd Company was almost wiped out. It
was an expensive lesson – resulting from a perfunctory attitude and a subjective underestimation of the enemy by a number of cadre and soldiers. Even now, the painful
memories of the engagement at Láng Cà Thi are still deep scars in the hearts of all the
cadre and soldiers of 445 Battalion.478
After the Battalion had returned to its base, the ideological situation of a number
of cadre and soldiers was not good. In these circumstances, the Battalion Headquarters
acted in time, organising a review, drawing upon our experiences, and remedying all
facets of political and ideological work – such as putting effort into treating the wounded
and respectfully burying the dead. At the same time, they encouraged a vindictive hate for
the enemy, aroused feelings and a resolve to convert deep grief into concrete
revolutionary action in fighting, studying, duty, training, and the rebuilding of the unit.
second half of 1970. In early July 1970, based on captured documents, 1 ATF had assessed D445’s strength
as 182 in five companies – see O’Brien, M., Conscripts and Regulars …, op.cit, 1995, p.204.
478
Translator’s Note: The Láng (Waterfall) Cà Thi ambush (at 0353hrs on 31 December 1970) - conducted
by B Company/7RAR and 1/1/ 3rd Cavalry Regiment, is related in detail in O’Brien, M., Conscripts and
Regulars …, op.cit., 1995, pp.232-234; and also in Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish,
op.cit., 2012, pp.482-483 (that also relates the earlier 7/B/7RAR clash with D445’s 2nd Company on the
morning of 30 December). The Việt Cộng casualties are also identified in 1 ATF INTSUM 365/70, Núi
Đất, 31 December 1970. In 1994, (then) Colonel M. O’Brien interviewed a former 445 Battalion
commander - Nguyễn Văn Kiềm, in Vũng Tàu, and Kiềm commented that 445 Battalion “was dealt a heavy
blow” at Cà Thi. In the days immediately preceding the Cà Thi ambush, troops of the 1 ATF’s 7RAR had
forced 445 Battalion elements from a bunker system five kilometres south-west of Cà Thi. The bodies of 21
members of 445 Battalion were recovered by 7RAR from the Cà Thi ambush site – and a further two were
found nearby several days later. All were buried on-site. Several senior cadre were identified among the 445
Battalion personnel killed, including: Nguyễn Thanh Tâm (Ba Tâm) – the Battalion second-in-command;
Nguyễn Thành Long – the 2nd Company Commander; Trịnh Văn Liêm – the 2nd Company Political Officer;
as well as Phan Thanh Chiến (Mười Chiến) – the Secretary of the Long Điền District Party Chapter. The
1991 D445 History does not name any of the Láng Cà Thi casualties, but cites the “political officer of the
2nd Company” for failing to have “checked the route carefully” – and implies his: “perfunctory attitude,
subjective thinking and under-estimating of the enemy.” The “Martyrs Annex” to the 2004 D445 History
only lists two personnel killed on 22 December 1970 – including Trần Văn Long; one on 23 December; and
five on 25 December. In accord with a MACV Directive, 1 ATF had ordered the cessation of offensive
operations over the New Year period ie: from 1800hrs on 31 December 1970 to 1800hrs on 1 January 1971.
The 1 ATF Directive (1ATF OPS 1719 of 23 Dec 70) noted that “defensive ambushing on routes to
defensive positions was to continue”. – 1 ATF, OPS1719, Núi Đất, 23 December 1970. As noted at footnote
476, the ambush is described in the Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Party History that relates that, following the defection
of a cadre - Nam, 445 Battalion was warned “to leave its base at Cây Da and move to the Đá Bàn base” –
and was ambushed by the Australians at Láng Cà Thi while enroute. - Trần Văn Khánh (et al/đtg), Lịch sử
Đảng …(The History of the Party in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu), op.cit., 2000, Chapter VIII. The ambush is also
briefly mentioned in the Xuyên Mộc History (1989) - Võ Kim Hanh (et al), Xuyên Mộc Kháng Chiến 19451975, op.cit.,1989, pp.160-161: “24 comrades killed and many others wounded”. An Australian report
noted that D445 elements “returned fire with RPDs and small arms”, and remained in contact for “2 and ¾
hours. They consistently attempted to withdraw their dead and wounded, suffering additional heavy
casualties in the process.” - 2RAR/NZ, Weekly Intelligence Review 718/14, Núi Đất, 17 March 1971, p.1A-4. On 2 August 2013, Australian veterans visiting Vietnam provided D445 veterans with a detailed
“post-ambush” sketch map of the Láng Cà Thi ambush – ie drawn by Major G. P. Warland - OC B Coy
7RAR, and extracted from the contemporary Contact/Incident After Action Report in file AWM 95, 7/7/72
- see also the email by the author/translator (Chamberlain) to Dr R.A. (Bob) Hall - Lieutenant Colonel
(Retd), 2 August 2013. On 15 November 2014, Dr R.A. Hall discussed the Cà Thi ambush with several
D445 veterans in Saigon – who believed, incorrectly, that the Australian M113s at the ambush site had been
“dug-in”. – Email: Dr R.A. Hall to author/translator (Chamberlain), 16 November 2014.

138
The headquarters of the 2nd Company was the first to be rebuilt - with Comrade Quý
appointed as the Company Commander, and Comrade Tư as its Political Officer.
With this timely re-organisation, the Battalion was then able to achieve an
outstanding feat when we broke up a large American sweeping operation into the Núi Bể
base, driving from the battlefield a company of the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Air Cavalry
Division. We seized 11 weapons of various types and a large quantity of military
equipment. The engagement occurred while the Battalion was actively engaged in
preparations to move and attack the enemy in Long Đất (following orders from the
Province Unit).479
At the end of 1970480 and the beginning of 1971, across the whole of Bà Rịa –
Long Khánh Province - including Xuyên Mộc, the enemy simultaneously launched many
operations with the aim of “strangling the life” out of the population and forcing the
people in the liberated zones and in the base area regions into the enemy’s strategic
hamlets far from the revolutionary forces. The enemy’s scheme was to blockade our
forces in the jungle, including 445 Battalion. Medicines, food, and provisions all became
scarce and almost exhausted.481 Guaranteeing food and clothing – and medical treatment
for our soldiers and those sick or wounded, now rated as highly as our combat tasks.
Indeed, at times, those non-combat demands were regarded as even more important and
consumed more manpower.
Starting from the general situation and the specific characteristics of our rear
services to guarantee self-sufficiency for quite some time (through the supply of money
and not by commodities), the Battalion Headquarters482 and our rear service elements
needed to thoroughly consider and discuss other ways to overcome these difficulties. The
requirement was that we needed to worry about sustaining the troops (albeit only at a
minimal level) at a time of consolidating our forces while still giving special importance
to conserving our strength. We also needed to allocate time and effort to study, to
training, and to swiftly recovering and increasing the Battalion’s fighting strength. In
479
Translator’s Note: According to the 1991 D445 History: “Two days later ((ie presumably after the Láng
Cà Thi ambush)), while the Battalion was reconstituting in the Núi Bể base, an American unit launched a
sweeping operation into the area. The Battalion hung on to the base and, fighting determinedly, eliminated
nearly 100 Americans in the engagement and was able to firmly defend the base area.” However, this
appears to be a reference to the operation launched by the 3 rd Brigade/1st US Air Cavalry Division into the
Núi Bể area in south-eastern Bình Tuy Province in late January 1971 – that seized over 19 tons of flour and
foodstuffs in the period late January-early February (in the vicinity of YS 832937 – 445 Battalion’s camp in
the western Núi Bể area was reportedly in the area of YS 7990). In a subsequent engagement nearby on 7
February 1971, US forces suffered six killed and 10 wounded – 1 ATF, SUPINTREP No.6/71, Núi Đất, 8
February 1971. For detail on the US 3rd Brigade operations in the Núi Bể/Mây Tào area in the period 26
December 1970 – 13 January 1971 – see 1 ATF, INTSUM No.88/71, Núi Đất, 29 March 1971.
480
Translator’s Note: According to the Long Đất District History (1986), “At the end of 1970, D445
ambushed the Australians at Phước Hòa Long, killing 80. At Phước Lợi, village guerrillas used E3 mines to
wipe out an Australian section moving into their base.” – p.184. The Đất Đỏ District History (2006)
similarly relates: “In Phước Lợi village on the night of 5 November 1970, our village guerrillas used an E3
mine to completely wipe out an Australian section on a sweeping operation into our base.” In 1 ATF
records, there is no indication of such an incident.
481
Translator’s Note: The captured diary of Lê Thanh Khoan (platoon commander, 3rd Company/D445)
related that on 3 January 1971 – the day before deploying north to Núi Bể, rations had been reduced to
“Scale 15” - ie each soldier’s ration was reduced to a subsistence level of 1½ cans of rice gruel per day. Lê
Thanh Khoan (ex-D440) was killed by 3RAR troops at YS 634734 on 17 March 1971 – 1 ATF, INTSUM
No.76/71, Núi Đất, 17 March 1971; and 2RAR/NZ, Weekly Intelligence Review 718/14, Núi Đất, 17
March 1971.
482
Translator’s Note: Trần Tấn Huy has been incorrectly cited as a “former Lieutenant Colonel
commanding 445 Battalion in 1971” – see the interview by Lieutenant Colonel G. McKay MC (Retd), 23
September 1993 - Australian War Memorial ID Number SO1932. For background on Trần Tấn Huy, see
Annex B - Senior Cadre.

139
order to satisfactorily resolve these requirements, the Battalion’s Rear Services Section on one hand, made contacts and purchased rice and foodstuffs from distant sources (on
Route 1, in the Hàm Tân, Hàm Thuận, and Tánh Linh areas etc) – and on the other hand,
organised hunting and fishing activities. With all these solutions, the Battalion did not
suffer severe hunger like other units, but rather was able to provide even a little
confectionery and medicinal tea for our cadre and soldiers to celebrate Spring and Tết for
1970-1971.483
On 31 March 1971 (two days after the engagement with the Americans at Núi Bể
484
), when deploying back to the Minh Đạm, the Battalion halted at the Láng Bè base
(west of the Sông Ray River, north of Núi Lê – nowadays within the territory of Phước
Tân village in Xuyên Mộc District). Following a review indicating that we did not have
sufficient foodstuffs to reach our new camp site, the Battalion Headquarters assigned an
element to move through the jungle around Xóm Cát hamlet and collect additional food.
On the morning of the third day, when that element emerged near the bank of the Sông
Ray River, it was ambushed by the Australians – with both sides opening fire. Our
element broke through the Australian encirclement, returned to the Battalion, and
reported to our Headquarters that the Australians were on a sweeping operation.
Assessing that the Australians could attack our base, the Battalion Headquarters ordered
our companies and elements to swiftly strengthen their fighting positions, shelters, and
trenches. When it was almost midday, an Australian company crossed the Sông Ray
River and attacked the Battalion’s defensive positions from the rear flank - the area
occupied by the 2nd Company. The Headquarters ordered the 2nd Company to wait until
the enemy was really close before opening fire – and then to decisively resist the enemy
in order to lure the enemy forward. When the Australians were about 8-10 metres distant,
our troops opened fire and wiped out each of the enemy groups.
At the same time, the 3rd Company and our reconnaissance group moved along the
Sông Ray and came around to the rear of the advancing Australians. In the face of this
type of attack by the Battalion, the Australian force was soon in disarray and had to call
for the assistance of artillery and air support – and then withdrew. In this battle, the
Battalion inflicted heavy casualties on an Australian company, killing many on the spot
and wounding many others.485 We seized nine AR15 rifles, a heavy machinegun, two
M79s, two PRC-25 radios, and shot down three “Lẹp Fish” helicopters.486 In this battle,
we seized more weapons from the Australians than ever before. For the Battalion, the
Political Officer of the 2nd Company was wounded and - when the enemy’s artillery fired

483

Translator’s Note: At a Pacification Conference held at Núi Đất on 15 February 1971, it was reported:
“Throughout February, the main elements of D445 remained in the Nui Be area north-east of the Province
border. The Battalion had a series of contacts with US troops in Nui Be on 7 February (YS 807906). C1
Company – with the Battalion Commander, remained in the Long Hais.” – Pacification Conference Phuoc
Tuy Province: Period 1-28 February 1971 (AWM95, 1/4/215). As noted, the Núi Bể Mountains (summit
874 metres - YS 8690, Base Area 302) are in south-western Bình Tuy Province.
484
Translator’s Note: This implies that the clash with the Americans had occurred on 29 March 1971 – not
in late January/early February 1971 as indicated in US reports – see the preceding footnotes.
485
Translator’s Note: According to a 1985 Đồng Nai Province publication, in an engagement “on 31 March
1971, D445 killed 57 Australians, seized nine weapons, and set fire to 10 aircraft at Láng Bè (Long Núi
Đất).” - Hồ Sơn Đài & Trần Quang Toại, Đồng Nai … (The Heroic Units of Đồng Nai), op.cit., 1985, p.17.
486
Translator’s Note: Literally “Cá Lẹp” – ie the Parapelecus argenteus fish species. As noted, this was the
communist forces’ common nickname for the US AH-1G Cobra helicopter. The AH-1G was equipped with
miniguns, 2.75 inch rockets and 40mm grenade launchers. However, the armed helicopters in this
engagement were three RAAF UH-1H Bushranger gunships. One RAAF crewman was hit by ground fire
and subsequently died of wounds. A Bell Sioux helicopter (carrying the Commanding Officer of 3RAR)
was hit by ground fire and forced to make an emergency landing – it was later recovered and repaired.

140
into our base during the night, one of the 4th Company’s shelters collapsed and a further
number of comrades were wounded.487
The following morning, the Battalion left the Láng Bè base and continued its
deployment to the Minh Đạm as previously planned. During the move, the 4th Company
carried our wounded – escorted by our reconnaissance element and Nguyễn Văn Tâm (the
Battalion Second-in-Command), but they lost their way and became separated from the
Battalion. Following the directions of the Province Unit, that group then returned to the
base at Bảo Bình (Xuân Lộc). The 2nd and 3rd Companies - with Comrades Đào Văn Tổng
(Tám Tổng) and Lâm Phương (Sáu Phương) moved during the night to the Suối (Stream)
Nước Nhĩ base (Long Tân). At 2pm the next afternoon, as ordered by the Province Unit,
the Battalion moved north to Bảo Bình to join up with the elements led by Comrade
Nguyễn Văn Tâm. However, it was another three days before the Battalion reached there
as the route was very tough, and we continuously encountered enemy sweeping
operations.
In the Bảo Bình (Xuân Lộc) base, we concentrated on reorganising the Battalion
and resting the troops for close to one month. The Battalion was then ordered to deploy to
Long Đất to attack the enemy, and to support and lessen the pressure on the local guerrilla
forces in that critical area.488 There, the Battalion actively coordinated with C25 Company

487

Translator’s Note: This engagement is not related in the 1991 D445 History. It is almost certainly the
engagement when elements of 1 ATF’s 2RAR/NZ and 3RAR (Operation Briar Patch) encountered a VC
force near a large camp of 32 bunkers on the afternoon of 31 March 1971 at YS 584722 near the Sông Ray
River. The base was occupied by D445 elements – less its 1st Company then located in the Minh Đạm/Long
Hải hills. An Australian platoon was counter-attacked from three sides – and supporting tanks were unable
to cross the Sông Ray River to assist. Withdrawing under heavy fire, the Australians abandoned the
weapons of their wounded – including: three SLR rifles, one M60 machinegun, two M72 LAWs, and 30
Claymore mines. Nine Australians were wounded in the engagement: one soldier and one helicopter
crewman died from their wounds. – 1 ATF, INTSUM No.90/71, Núi Đất, 31 March 1971; Ekins, A. with
McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, pp. 543-545; Church. J.M., Second to None, Army
Doctrine Centre, Mosman, 1995, pp.135-136; Annex F to 2RAR/NZ (ANZAC) Battalion, After Action
Report, Núi Đất, 16 May 1971 (AWM95, 7/2/86); and 3RAR, Appendix 4 to Annex Q to After Action
Report – Op Briar Patch 1, Núi Đất, 29 April 1971 (AWM95, 7/3/74). That engagement also appears to
have been related in the D440 History (2011): “Also in that Wet Season, K8 joined with K9 and the 1 st
Company of 445 Battalion to wipe out an Australian company on an ambush operation in Xuyên Mộc
District. Having first discovered the enemy, we used two 12.8mm machineguns to fire right into the middle
of the enemy – overpowering them with the fire from two ammunition magazines. The enemy were still
stunned when K9 and the 1st Company attacked them from a flank and completely paralysed them. A
number were able to flee, but the remainder were wiped out. This engagement was a complete success, and
while withdrawing we were able to shoot down three Australian helicopters that had arrived to extract the
enemy’s dead.” – see Chamberlain, E.P., … D440: Their Story, op.cit., 2013, p.91. Documents captured by
3RAR on 2 April 1971 nearby at YS 554723 included a D445 tactical aide memoire written on 20 March
1971 and a D445 strength state for January 1971 totalling 160 (“HQ – 24, Sapper/Recce – 11, Sig Sect – 20,
Med Sect – 90, C1 – 24, C2 – 22, C3 – 26, C4 – 18”) – ie compared to the 1 ATF assessment of “approx
148”. – 1 ATF, INTSUM No.92/71, Núi Đất, 2 April 1971. Another captured document included the names
of five soldiers of C3/D445 who had been wounded in the engagement on 31 March 1971. – 1 ATF,
INTSUM No.93/71, Núi Đất, 3 April 1971.
488
Translator’s Note: According to the Đất Đỏ District History (2006): “The Bà Rịa Sub-Region deployed
two companies of 445 Battalion and a combat reconnaissance team to the Long Đất battlefield. The 1st
Company of 445 Battalion was responsible for the Đất Đỏ area (south-west of Routes 23 and 52) and
linking with and supporting the sandy areas of Phước Lợi, Long Hội Mỹ and Phước Hải. The 3rd Company
of 445 Battalion was responsible for the area north of Route 23 – joining with and supporting the Xuyên
Mộc and Phước Bửu areas. The combat reconnaissance team (four comrades) had responsibility for the
villages of Phước Lợi, Long Hội Mỹ, and Phước Mỹ and Route 44 Lower. The District’s 25th Company
operated in the Long Điền area, and linked with and supported the villages of An Ngãi, An Nhứt, Tam
Phước, and Phước Tỉnh.”

141
– the local District unit, to launch dozens of daring attacks on Route 23 and Route 44
(Upper).489
The attack on the PSDF in Long Điền Town on the night of 25 May 1971 was an
interesting attack that symbolized the effective combined tactical operations between
Province and District forces at that time. With our forté tactic of a sudden assault, 10
comrades of 445 Battalion joined with eight comrades from C25 to thread their way in
two groups through many obstacles to get close to the objective (close to the Long Điền
market). We opened fire simultaneously, overpowering the enemy with heavy firepower.
The enemy were alarmed and passive - and fled in panic. So, after only 11 minutes of
fighting, we took control of the whole market area, captured 21, seized 19 weapons and
all their military equipment, and then withdrew safely to our rear base area.490
5. Holding on Tightly in the Main Battlefield.
In May 1971, COSVN decided to establish the Bà Rịa Sub-Region491 comprising
nine districts (Xuân Lộc, Cao Su, Châu Đức, Long Đất, Xuyên Mộc, Long Thành, Nhơn
Trạch, Duyên Hải, and Thủ Đức) and the three towns of: Long Khánh, Bà Rịa, and Vũng
Tàu.492 The Bà Rịa Sub-Region Committee consolidated its organisation and declared the
489

Translator’s Note: According to the 1991 D445 History: “445 Battalion was temporarily divided-up in
order to reinforce the Districts: the 1st Company and the 2nd Company returned to Long Đất, the 3rd
Company moved to Châu Đức, and the principal Battalion cadre strengthened the two Districts of Châu
Đức and Long Đất. A number of comrades were withdrawn to Province control and sent for study and
training.” According to the Đồng Nai History (1986), with the dispersal of 445 Battalion: the 1st Company
went to Long Đất, the 2nd Company to Xuyên Mộc, and the 3rd Company to Châu Đức. - Phan Ngọc Danh
..., Đồng Nai 30 Năm …, op.cit., 1986, p.164. According to 1 ATF records, 445 Battalion had “continued to
operate as a mobile battalion until July 1971.” 1ATF first became aware of the break-up of 445 Battalion
from captured documents in early September 1971: a captured Việt Cộng document dated 3 July 1971
related that 445 Battalion’s 2nd Company, 3rd Company, Surgical Platoon, Signals Platoon and Recce
Platoon had been sent to reinforce the local forces of Long Đất and Xuyên Mộc Districts – 1 ATF,
INTSUM No.273/71, Núi Đất, 30 September 1971. For detail on the 1 ATF assessment of the “DeActivation of D445”, see Annex F to 1 ATF INTSUM No.302/71, Núi Đất, 29 October 1971; and the 70page booklet: Headquarters 1st Australian Task Force, Bà Rịa Sub-Region, Vũng Tàu, 10 December 1971,
pp.3-4 and p.7 – that noted however that the “fate of C4 and C5 is unknown”.
490
Translator’s Note: On the night 25/26 May 1971, D445 and C25 elements – estimated at “two squads”,
attacked the 54th Popular Force (PF) Platoon in Long Điền Town near the market at YS 427598 before
withdrawing at about 0240hrs. 19 of the 26 PF were captured, and 18 carbines and a machinegun (BAR)
were seized by the attackers. – 1 ATF, INTSUM No.146/71, Núi Đất, 26 May 1971.
491
Translator’s Note: In May 1971, COSVN Headquarters decided to disband Military Region 5 and U1
(the cover designator for the Biên Hòa Province Unit) and establish two Sub-Regions directly subordinate
to COSVN - ie the Bà Rịa Sub-Region and the Thủ Biên Sub-Region. The 1991 D445 History related that:
“The Bà Rịa Sub-Region comprised nine districts (in the provinces of Bà Rịa–Long Khánh, and Long
Thành, Duyên Hải, Thủ Đức and the three towns of Long Khánh, Bà Rịa and Vũng Tàu).” See also Annex J
– Higher Headquarters. The Long Khánh Town Party History relates that the Sub-Region’s “local forces
comprised three infantry battalions: 445, 440, and 240. The 4 th ((274th)) Regiment, the 33rd Regiment and
the 6th Engineer Battalion (MR7) reinforced the Bà Rịa and Thủ Biên Sub-Regions. 814 Rear Services
Group operated along National Routes 1, 15 and 20; and Inter-Provincial Route 2. - Trần Quang Toại &
Phan Đình Dũng, Lịch sử Đảng bộ Thị xã Long Khánh (1930 – 2007) (The History of the Party in Long
Khánh Town 1930-2007), Nhà Xuẩt Bản Đồng Nai, Biên Hòa, 2009, p.135.
492
Translator’s Note: Through a document captured on 16 June 1971, 1 ATF became aware of the
formation of the Bà Rịa Sub-Region – 1 ATF, INTSUM No.169/71, Núi Đất, 18 June 1971. On 29 October
1971, 1 ATF formally published a report on the formation of the Bà Rịa Sub-Region. Earlier on 10 October
1971, a captured document identified the units subordinate to the Bà Rịa Sub-Region and their cover
designators - Annex F to 1 ATF INTSUM No.302/71, Vũng Tàu, 29 October 1971. Subsequently, as noted
above, 1 ATF published a comprehensive 70-page booklet: Bà Rịa Sub-Region, Vũng Tàu, 10 December
1971.

142
following mission: “The main-force element will concentrate on coordinating with the
local troops, militia, and guerrillas to strongly attack the enemy in the main areas: Xuân
Lộc and Long Đất – and wipe out a important proportion of the enemy’s combat power
and means of waging war; liberate a number of hamlets and villages; and expand the
liberated zones – beginning with the Route 23 and Route 2 areas.493
To achieve success in this mission, the Sub-Region Headquarters ordered a 15-day
series of high points comprising attacks on the puppet troops in the territory of Xuyên
Mộc and Long Đất to inflict heavy casualties on the enemy. In particular, we were to
conduct armed propaganda and combined three-pronged attacks in a series of villages and
in Long Điền Town of Long Đất District to alarm the enemy – especially the PSDF, and
to undermine their morale. We would create the circumstances in these two Districts that
would slow down the second phase of the enemy’s “Pacification” program.494
At the beginning of August 1971495, 445 Battalion was deployed by the SubRegion to attack the enemy and support the main Long Đất area. The Battalion’s task was
to coordinate with the village guerrillas around the base and launch attacks on enemy
engaged in sweeping operations – and support our forces in the Minh Đạm War Zone at a
time when the enemy had concentrated a combined American – Australian – Puppet force
for a large sweeping operation to wipe out the Minh Đạm War Zone.496
Having heard that 445 Battalion had returned to Long Đất, the enemy deployed 53
tanks – together with a combined force of Americans, Australians, and puppets (totalling
almost three battalions), to sweep from Route 44 down to the Đá Vang [sic] Pagoda
(Phước Trinh hamlet) with the intention of wiping out 445 Battalion. When they reached

493

Translator’s Note: A captured document detailed the strength of 445 Battalion – totalling 166 as at 27
June 1971. - Annex B to 1 ATF INTSUM No.273/71, Núi Đất, 30 September 1971. See also Annex C.
494
Translator’s Note: The official Australian history relates: “By mid July it was evident that elements of
D445 Battalion had slipped past the widely dispersed companies of 3RAR. Signals intelligence indicated
that they had joined up with the remainder of D445 Battalion and the Long Dat District Headquarters in the
Long Hai hills.” - Ekins, A. with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, p.585.
495
Translator’s Note: In a letter dated August 1971 captured by Australian forces, a member of 445
Battalion’s signals platoon in the Minh Đạm area wrote to a 445 Battalion colleague: “personnel (in Long
Đất) were able to purchase most items easily, including drugs, milk and fabrics. The situation was similar to
that of peace time. The rice ration was 20 litres per person per month. … Some members of the signal unit
had married local girls … although 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, 10 September 1971. Tensions
and “lack of cooperation” between “Southerners” and “Northerners” in units – and between 445 and 440
Battalions, were reported by a rallier - Appendix II to Annex A to 1 ATF INTSUM No.84/70, Núi Đất, 25
March 1970. For comment on “Discord between Northerner and Southerner cadre” by a senior NVA officer
who rallied in 1970, see VCAT Item No.11271006005. More generally, see also North South Divisiveness
in the PAVN/PLAF – April 1974 (within the 9th VC Division) – VCAT Item No.2310513021, and Division
in Communist Ranks in 1974 – VCAT Item No.2122902006. On personal letters, see Annex G – ie: the
mail system included letters to North Vietnam – and for detailed regulations on the postal system, see
CDEC Log 01-1367-69. On 15 July 1966, the Bà Rịa Province Unit’s Command Committee promulgated
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 a
July 1966, MR 1 Directive on letters between North and South Vietnam, see also CDEC Log 08-1555-66.
All letters were subject to censorship, and “no more than one letter a month to close relatives and friends in
North Vietnam” was allowed.
496
Translator’s Note: No such operation is noted in Australian records – see however, footnote 498.

143
Area 13 - Sở Bông 497*, the enemy split into two columns to sweep deep into the base of
the mountains. Here, they came up against the defences of 445 Battalion.498
Map: The Counter-Sweep Operation at Long Mỹ Hamlet (Phước Long Hội, Long
Đất, Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu) by D445 and Province Local Troops. 18 May 1970 [sic].499

497

* Base 13 was a geographical area that we established after 13 cadre and soldiers of the 5 th Division had
been hit by a B-52 strike and killed while on a operation in that location. Translator’s Note: Sở Bông can be
translated as “Cotton Plantation”. See also footnote 501 for a different – ie D440’s, explanation of the
origin of Base 13’s title – ie: the region of the 13 tank graves”.
498
Translator’s Note: The Đất Đỏ History (2006) records that: “In June 1971, the enemy launched a large
sweeping operation into the Minh Đạm base with a combined battalion [sic] of Americans, Australians, and
a Regional Forces Group.” Similarly, the Minh Đạm Base History records such a combined operation in the
period 14-18 June 1971 with “over 20 tanks and bulldozers destroyed” … “after the 25-day sweeping
operation and suffering heavy casualties, the Australians and the Americans were forced to withdraw.” Phạm Chí Thân (ed), The Minh Đạm Base 1945-1975, op.cit., 2006. pp.60-61 – see translated extracts at
Annex M to Chamberlain, E.P., … D445 …, op.cit., 2011. The D440 History (2011) relates a battle
occuring in June 1971 in the Minh Đạm – in some detail, including the involvement of D440 elements:
“The enemy force comprised an American battalion, vassal troops, and a Regional Forces Group … The
6th Company was ordered to block and attack the enemy group advancing on the Medical Services Cave …
In the first day of the fighting, the 6th Company lost one killed and one wounded.” In the D440 History,
that passage is followed by the description of a battle – together with D445, in “August 1971” against “40
tanks in an enemy sweeping operation comprising American and Australian forces into the Minh Đạm base
(August 1971)” - see also footnote 501.
499
This map is titled “18 May 1970” – but no such engagement is described in the text of this 2004 D445
History in that period. Rather, the map seems to represent the engagements described in the text as occuring
on the edge of the Minh Đạm Secret Zone in June 1970 or August 1971. The map shows D445 defensive
positions (in red) for its 1st and 3rd Companies being attacked by tanks on “18 May 1970”. This could
possibly be a reference to Operation Hammersley conducted in the period 10-21 February 1970 – Ekins, A.
with McNeill, I., Fighting to the Finish, op.cit., 2012, pp.370-389.

144
Before the day of the battle, the Battalion had gone into Đất Đỏ to collect rice.
Returning close to dawn, the group collecting the rice had almost reached our base – but
there were still a number of our comrades who had not yet returned. Hearing the sound of
engines getting closer and clearer, Nguyễn Đức Thu – the Battalion Commander, had our
reconnaissance men climb two tall trees to observe their approach. They discovered many
lamps shining in the area of the Đá Vàng Pagoda at Sở Bông. Associated with this, as a
soldier from the 1st Company had rallied, the Battalion Headquarters assessed that the
enemy would sweep into our base – and so orders were quickly given to deploy for
counter-sweep defence. At dawn, an enemy column led by tanks attacked the defences of
the 1st Company. Two B40 teams from the Company were sited off the track and set fire
to two enemy tanks. The enemy then changed direction and advanced towards the 3rd
Company commanded by Lê Văn Tranh. Nguyễn Văn Oanh, the Deputy Political Officer
of the Battalion was sent to command that area. As our defences had been coordinated,
Deputy Political Officer Nguyễn Văn Oanh directed our firepower at the track as the
enemy approached and set fire to a further five tanks.500 However, because of their
overwhelming superior forces – both tanks and infantry, the enemy was able to seize a
section of the 3rd Company’s defences.
Faced with a situation where we could be defeated, the Battalion Headquarters
quickly organised a group of reconnaissance troops with B41s to reinforce the 3rd
Company – together with Comrade Lâm Phương (Sáu Phương), the Battalion second-incommand. Now reinforced, the 3rd Company reorganised its deployments and repelled
several enemy attacks, setting fire to a further three tanks – bring the total number of
tanks destroyed in that area to eight. The battle waged fiercely back and forth until day’s
end. Enemy aircraft provided fire support, but the Battalion shot one down. The result of
the battle was that the Battalion forced back the assaults by enemy tanks and armoured
vehicles, and set fire to 13. These included three destroyed by Comrade Hòa – a platoon
commander of 440 Battalion, who had led a section on a rice-collecting mission and had
been forced to remain with 445 Battalion during the battle.501 We also shot down a
500

Translator’s Note: These August 1971 engagements are not included in the 1991 D445 History – see the
preceding footnote. However, the Đất Đỏ District History (2006) relates that: “445 Battalion was ordered to
return to fight the enemy and support the important Đất Đỏ area in Long Đất District. The enemy deployed
a column of 45 tanks from Dinh Cố and swept down to Cầu Tum, clearing the jungle on both sides of the
road. 445 Battalion fought the enemy for a full day, forcing back many assaults by the enemy forces and
setting fire to 13 tanks and shooting down a helicopter. The Battalion foiled the enemy’s plan of clearing
the jungle and surrounding and isolating the Minh Đạm base.” For the D440 account, see the following
footnote. As mentioned above, no Australian forces were engaged in the activities in August 1971 described
in this section of the 2004 D445 History. No Australian tanks were involved in operations in the area of the
Long Hải Hills in the second half of 1971. The Australian Centurion tanks were last employed in Operation
Iron Fox in northern Phước Tuy and southern Long Khánh in August 1971 - with all 28 tanks withdrawn to
Núi Đất by early September 1971.
501
Translator’s Note: As noted, the D440 History (2011) relates the battle in “August 1971” in some detail:
“At this time, the most representative of the 6th Company’s battles – in coordination with 445 Battalion,
was the engagement that opposed 40 tanks in an enemy sweeping operation comprising American and
Australian forces into the Minh Đạm base (August 1971 [sic]). The engagement ensued when the 6th
Company was completing the process of incorporation back into 440 Battalion. The night before the clash,
a platoon of the 6th Company led by its platoon commander – Hòa (code name: Hòa Con), transported the
Company’s wounded to the District infirmary. When returning to 445 Battalion’s location, Australian
troops struck. The whole platoon under its commander – Comrade Hòa, quickly joined 445 Battalion’s
combat formation, blocking the enemy’s approach in the north. … Following the battle, the combat exploits
of Comrades Hòa and the 6th Company were noted by the 445 Battalion Headquarters and proposed to
higher authorities for commendation. The area of the battle was later immortalized in history books and
became an historic place-name in Long Đất District (the region of the 13 tank graves).” – see the earlier
footnote 497 for a different – ie D445, explanation for the title of the area. For the D440 account of the

145
helicopter. We lost three comrades killed (including Comrade Khánh of the 1st Company,
and Comrade Tài – the second-in-command of the 3rd Company), and one wounded – and
a heavy machinegun was damaged.
The enemy continue their blockade until night, with their infantry and tanks
pressing 445 Battalion close to the base of the mountain. Above, flights of Dakota
aircraft502 fired their four-barrelled machineguns intensely, blocking our withdrawal
routes. Also overhead, enemy helicopters used loudspeakers calling for our surrender.
Their psychological warfare personnel told villagers along Route 52 that they had
decapitated 445 Battalion and buried us all. Many of the people of Phước Hải, Hội Mỹ,
and Long Mỹ looked up at the Minh Đạm Mountains and, seeing the smoke and flames,
cried and worried for the fate of the cadre and soldiers of 445 Battalion. At that time, the
unit secretly sent reconnaissance teams to find the enemy’s weak spots, and the whole
Battalion was led across the Long Phù rice fields into the hamlets of Ấp Cầu and Hội
Trường. All the villagers were extremely happy, and greeted their children who had
safely returned from the violent battlefield. All the women and girls made rice for our
troops to eat. At 3am, the whole Battalion moved back to our field base in the clay
lagoons south of Route 23 (nowadays part of Láng Dài village) and prepared for further
counter-sweep operations etc.
445 Battalion’s victory at Sở Bông was welcomed enthusiatically by the people
and the militia of Long Đất District. With the Minh Đạm War Zone firmly secured, the
confidence and fighting resolve of the armed forces of Long Đất District was
consolidated. Following this, a series of effective attacks were made by the District troops
(C25 Company) and the village guerrillas that wiped out a considerable part of the
enemy’s capabilities. This boosted the spirits and the power of the political struggle teams
and the military proselytising elements. Also at this time on the Châu Đức District503
battlefield, Sub-Region forces – such as the 33rd Regiment and the 6th Sapper Battalion504,
coordinated with local District troops and village guerrillas to deliver many painful blows
on the enemy. 505 However despite their painful defeats, the enemy remained vengeful increasing their pacification efforts in Long Đất and Châu Đức Districts, and using them
as testing areas for pacification in other regions. In these two Districts, our revolutionary
forces continued to suffer heavy casualties. The infrastructure in a number of hamlets and
villages was completely wiped out, our base areas were routinely attacked, and there were
even a number of cadre who – wavering in their ideology and unable to bear the hunger
August 1971 engagement – including the exploits of the decorated “tank-destroying hero” Đào Ngọc Hòa –
see Chamberlain, E.P., … D440: Their Story, op.cit., 2013, pp.85-86 and pp.132-133.
502
Translator’s Note: The US “Dakota” gunship – the AC-47D aircraft equipped with mini-guns, was
nicknamed “Spooky” and “Puff, the Magic Dragon”. By the end of 1969, the AC-47Ds had been transferred
to the Vietnamese Air Force under “Vietnamization”. The US Air Force also operated “Spectre” gunships –
ie: AC-130A and AC-119 aircraft.
503
Translator’s Note: On 23 October 1970, 1 ATF issued a comprehensive 27-page report: “Châu Đức –
Order of Battle”. The report assessed the total strength of Châu Đức District as at late October 1970 as 180
personnel – comprising: “Village Party Chapters and Guerrilla Units – 60; Châu Đức (less C41) – 94; C41 –
20.” Of the 180, only 86 personnel (48%) were considered to be combat effective.
504
Translator’s Note: For the foundation of the 6th Sapper Battalion, see 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.
505
Translator’s Note: Following engagements with 1 ATF battalions in northern Phước Tuy in late
September 1971, 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. 33 rd Regiment and 6th Sapper
Battalion operations in support of Châu Đức District did not commence until 1972. – Chamberlain, E.P.,
The 33rd Regiment – North Vietnamese Army: Their Story, Point Lonsdale, 2014.

146
and privations, surrendered to the enemy.506 This was the third wave of rallying since Tết
Mậu Thân in 1968.
Based on the reality of the battlefield situation, at the beginning of September
1971, the Sub-Region decided to disperse 445 Battalion, breaking it into three companies
and allocating these as core elements for our campaign in the two critical regions. The 1st
and 2nd Companies reinforced Long Đất District507; and the 3rd Company and part of the
4th Company reinforced Châu Đức District.508 Battalion cadre also strengthened these two
Districts, and a number of comrades were withdrawn to the Sub-Region to undergo study.
The Battalion was dispersed and attached to the revolutionary forces in the two Districts
in the vital regions.509
Although dispersed, the companies still operated under the title of 445 Battalion –
including: mobilizing the people; attacking the enemy; writing pamphlets calling upon the
enemy officers and soldiers to surrender and throw away their weapons; sending letters to

506

Translator’s Note: For 445 Battalion’s morale in April 1967, see the debrief of Nguyễn Văn Hách
(G.4544 Ordnance Company) that notes the “3-man team ((cell)) system, whereby one checks on the other
two … prevents them from taking the chance” to rally. – CDEC Log 9-0038-67, VCAT Item
No.F034600701360, and F034600701784. For the communist three-man cell system, see footnote 311 and
also: Combined Intelligence Centre Vietnam (CICV) – US MACV, VC/NVA Political and Ideological
Training, Study ST 67-054, 18 May 1967. VCAT Item No.F015900240721. For the Chiêu Hồi (“Open
Arms”) program, see footnotes 402 and 415.
507
Translator’s Note: According to the Long Đất District History (1986): “Two companies of the D445
Battalion were allocated to Long Đất District – together with a battlefield reconnaissance cell. … In 1971
the forces were organised as follows: The 1st Company of D445 was responsible for Đất Đỏ (south-west of
Routes 23, 52) and to support the coastal areas of Phước Lợi, Long Hội Mỹ, and Phước Hải. The 3rd
Company of D445 was responsible for the area north of Route 23 and to support Xuyên Mộc and Phước
Bửu. The Long Đất District Company C25 operated in the area of Long Điền and supported the villages of
An Nhứt, Tam Phước, Phước Tỉnh and An Ngãi. The four-comrade battlefield reconnaissance team was
responsible for activity in the villages of Phước Lợi, Long Hội Mỹ, Phước Hải and lower Route 44.” The
account in The Minh Đạm Base History, op.cit., 2006 of 445 Battalion’s dispersal is different – it states that
“Long Xuyên District” was “confirmed by the Sub-Region as the critical area and was strengthened with
two companies from 445 Battalion. … The Battalion Headquarters also supplemented Long Xuyên and
Châu Đức Districts” – p.59.
508
Translator’s Note: The Châu Đức District History (2004) relates: “In September 1971, Province
reinforced Châu Đức District with the 3rd Company of 445 Battalion with a strength of 36 cadre and
soldiers.” - Nguyễn Công Danh …, … Châu Đức District, op.cit., 2004.
509
Translator’s Note: The Battalion’s dispersal is similarly related in the 1991 D445 History – but without
mention of “part of the 4th Company” being allocated to Châu Đức District, and included: “The 3rd
Company coordinated with the 33rd Regiment, the 4th ((274th)) Regiment and the local forces of Châu Đức
District to take control along Route 2.” 1 ATF’s knowledge of D445 Battalion’s dispersal/disbandment was
confirmed by Nguyễn Văn Đang (a former 2ic of the Châu Đức District medical section, captured on 19
October 1971) who revealed that in September 1971, D445 Battalion had been disbanded and its C2 [sic]
Company sent to reinforce Châu Đức’s C-41 Company. Đang also revealed that Sáu Thu (ie Nguyễn Đức
Thu – the 445 Battalion Commander) operated as the Commander of the Châu Đức District Unit - Annex A
to 1 ATF INTSUM No.294/71, Vũng Tàu, 21 October 1971. According to the Đồng Nai History (1986),
with the dispersal of 445 Battalion: the 1st Company went to Long Đất, the 2nd Company to Xuyên Mộc,
and the 3rd Company to Châu Đức. - Phan Ngọc Danh ..., Đồng Nai 30 Năm (The 30-year Liberation
Struggle in Đồng Nai), 1986, p.164. As noted earlier, for detail on the 1 ATF assessment of the “DeActivation of D445”, see Annex F to 1 ATF INTSUM No.302/71, Vũng Tàu, 29 October 1971; and the 70page booklet: Headquarters 1st Australian Task Force, Bà Rịa Sub Region, Vũng Tàu, 10 December 1971,
pp.3-4 and p.7 – that noted however that the “fate of C4 and C5 is unknown”. For 445 Battalion earlier
being divided into four groups in April 1968, see pp.99-100 and footnote 365. For a rallier reporting higher
direction for the Battalion to “split up and operate in company-strength” for missions “to support the people
in Long Đất” during the 1970 Wet Season, see footnote 447.

147
each of their families’ homes, to their outposts, and to the people.510* During this period,
the companies regularly participated with local forces in mobilising the masses,
infiltrating the hamlets to organise meetings, warning the evil oppressors, and
propagandising the policies of the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam.
In almost a year of dispersed operations under the leadership and direct command
of the Districts, the companies of the Battalion still successfully continued their historic
and dogged holding-on and continued their attacks. They remained outstandingly brave in
the face of every enemy, playing their role effectively as the pillar in wiping out thugs
and oppression, and attacking the enemy in the vital areas. The 1st Company and the 2nd
Company coordinated closely with the troops of Long Đất District’s local C25 Company
and the village guerrillas to destroy groups of the PSDF, many evil oppressors, quisling
spies, and the tight control of the system of strategic hamlets. They were able to build up
the infrastructure, many “underground” bases, and to expand our control in the areas of
Long Điền, Đất Đỏ, the Route 44 and Route 23 regions, and Xuyên Mộc.
The 3rd Company coordinated with the 33rd Regiment511, the 4th ((274th))
Regiment512 (Sub-Region main-force units), and the local forces of Châu Đức District to
attack the enemy and gain control over Route 2 – and thereby connecting up the strategic
corridor from War Zone D513 to Long Đất, Xuyên Mộc, Vũng Tàu, and the Rừng Sắc.
The biggest achievement of 445 Battalion’s 3rd Company during this time operating in a
dispersed mode in Châu Đức District was the building-up of the District companies to
become solidly-based units. The constructive activities of 445 Battalion’s companies in
this period with Châu Đức and Long Đất Districts contributed to advancing the
revolutionary movement in these two areas to a new higher level.
* Comrade Nguyễn Tuấn Giải – the political officer of the 4th Company, still holds a letter written by
Comrade Nguyễn Minh Ninh signed as the 445 Battalion Political Officer of that period. In 2003, Comrade
Nguyễn Tuấn Giải presented the letter to the history collection of the Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Province Unit.
511
Translator’s Note: The 33rd NVA Regiment had participated in the Battle of Bình Ba in early June 1969
– see footnote 405, together with elements of 440 Battalion – but, as noted, that engagement is not
mentioned in this 2004 D445 History nor the 1991 D445 History. On 20-21 September 1971, the Australian
4RAR/NZ Battalion (Operation Ivanhoe) engaged the 3rd Battalion of the 33rd Regiment north-east of Đức
Thạnh in the Núi Sao/Núi Lê area (YS 513857) – five Australians were killed, and 33rd Regiment suffered
16 confirmed KIA – see 1 ATF SUPINTREP No.39/71, Núi Đất, 27 September 1971. Subsequently, the 7th
Company of the 33rd Regiment joined 445 Battalion in the fighting in the Long Tân area in February 1974.
The 33rd Regiment was reportedly formed in Tuyên Hóa District (Quảng Bình Province, North Vietnam) in
May 1965 based on 101B Regiment of the 325 th NVA Division and including a composite battalion from
the 308th NVA Division (The 101st Regiment of 325th Division had earlier moved to South Vietnam in
September 1964). The Regiment departed for South Vietnam in the second half of July 1965 and fought in
the Plei Me/Ia Drang battles in the Central Highlands in late October 1965. The 33 rd Regiment joined the
5th VC Division in July 1968 in Tây Ninh Province and moved into the Long Khánh-Bà Rịa-Biên Hòa area.
In June 1970, the 33rd Regiment became a subordinate formation of Military Region 7. A 12-page report –
“33 NVA Regiment”, was produced by 1 ATF – see Annex F to 1 ATF INTSUM No.264/71, Núi Đất, 21
September 1971. For a history of the 33 rd NVA Regiment, see: Chamberlain, E.P., The 33rd Regiment –
North Vietnamese Army: Their Story (and the Battle of Binh Ba), op.cit., 2014.
512
Translator’s Note: the 274th VC Regiment (known as the 4th Regiment, Q764, Q4, Đoàn 94, and Đoàn
49) had been the inaugural regiment of the 5th VC Division. For the Regiment’s early operations, see Annex
N; for its later operations, see Annex K, the 5th Division History (2005) – including its failed attack on the
Thai Armed Forces base at Lộc An in mid-June 1969. From April 1968, the 274th Regiment “continued to
operate independently on the Bà Rịa-Long Khánh-Biên Hòa battlefield strengthening the fighting
formations of the Eastern Military Region.” The 275th Regiment “and units directly commanded by the
Division were ordered to operate as mobile elements on the front north-west of Sài Gòn …” - see Annex K,
p.18 - the 5th Division History (2005).
513
Translator’s Note: War Zone D was a long-time communist base area located about 32 kilometres northeast of Saigon - covering about 325 square kilometres, and including portions of Biên Hòa, Bình Dương,
Phước Long, Long Khánh, and Hậu Nghĩa Provinces.
510

148
In November 1971, after seven years as mercenaries514 for the Americans, the
Royal Australian Task Force and the New Zealand force were forced to furl their flags
and return home.515 American units on the Bà Rịa – Long Khánh battlefield were also
gradually reduced, and consequently the threat and pressure of their bombing and artillery
fire also declined.
At the beginning of 1972, the enemy assessed that we would again attack as at Tết
Mậu Thân (1968). Accordingly, on one hand they strengthened their defences –
concentrating on defending the vital areas in the Sector and the Sub-Sectors of Long
Điền, Đất Đỏ, Long Lễ, Đức Thạnh, and Xuyên Mộc - and the two Special Sectors516 of
Phú Mỹ and Vũng Tàu. On the other hand, they launched a large number of police
operations in the towns of Vũng Tàu, Bà Rịa, and Long Khánh. They coordinated their
sweeping operations and bulldozed clear the terrain east and west of Routes 2 and 15, and
continued their program of uprooting the people (principally Catholics) and moving them
to the areas of Bà Tô (Xuyên Mộc), Suối Nghệ (Châu Đức), and Tam Phước (Long Đất).
On our side, the Sub-Region Headquarters began a series of attacks to destroy
pacification (from 18 February to 5 March 1972), coordinating three-pronged attacks to
destroy evil oppressors, mobilising the people’s struggle, and launching simultaneous
attacks on the Sub-Sectors of Xuyên Mộc517 and Đức Thạnh, the Đất Đỏ police offices,
514

Translator’s Note: The Đồng Nai History (1986) had earlier related that the Australians withdrew in
December 1971: “… after seven years as mercenaries (1965-1971) - with three generals directly
commanding the Task Force, and causing misery and loss to the people. However, they had to pay a price
of over 10,000 wounded and killed.” - Phan Ngọc Danh ..., Đồng Nai 30 Năm …, op.cit., 1986, p.167.
515
Translator’s Note: 1 ATF 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, 1 ATF 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 1 ATF Tactical Area
of Interest (TAOI). Headquarters 1 ATF 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. Australian trainers also
served in the two centres near Long Hải village – including the former B-36 3rd Mike Force camp (see
footnote 239). – AATTV Report: Jan 72, 1 February 1972 (AWM95, 1/2/80). After the Australian
Government formally declared a cessation of hostilities in January 1973, the AAAGV returned to Australia.
The “Embassy guard” platoon returned to Australia in July 1973. For a US media report on the withdrawal,
see: Braddick, K.J., “ ‘Jade’ Warriors – Aussies Leaving But Legend Stays”, Stars and Stripes, Saigon, 22
January 1972. According to the Australian Official History, Australian Army casualties in Vietnam were
414 killed in action and 2,348 wounded – see McNeill, I. & Ekins, A., On the Offensive, op.cit., 2003,
Appendix F, "Statistics”. The Australian Army History Unit website records that: “Army casualties in
Vietnam were 413 KIA/DoW, two MIA, 2026 WIA, 64 non-battle deaths and 999 other casualties”. Note
however, that the last two Australian Defence Force MIA (RAAF officers) were recovered in mid-2009. An
analysis of 1 ATF engagements (six major battles and over 3,900 contacts) can be found in Hall, R.A. Dr,
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. See also
the website: Hall, R.A. Dr (et al), – Australia’s Vietnam War: Exploring the combat actions of the 1st
Australian Task Force, University of NSW/Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra, 2015.
516
Translator’s Note: Special Sectors (yếu khu) were established by the government of the Republic of
Vietnam for several key areas including: Phú Mỹ, Cẩm Mỹ, Trảng Bom, Túc Trưng, Gia Ray, Tân Sơn
Nhứt etc.
517
Translator’s Note: The Đất Đỏ District History (2006) relates that: “On 19 February 1972, in three
successive engagements on Route 23, the 4th ((274th)) Main-Force Regiment wiped out three enemy
platoons, captured three enemy, and set fire to an armoured vehicle and an aircraft.” According to 1 ATF
reporting, the Việt Cộng ambush on Route 23 on 19 February 1972 - and associated engagements in the
following days, involved a multi-company enemy force that included elements of C3 Company/D445
Battalion, C25 Long Đất District Company, 2nd Battalion/274th VC Regiment, and the C70 Xuyên Mộc
District Company – 1 ATF, SUPINTREP No.7/72, Vũng Tàu, 24 February 1972. The Đất Đỏ District

149
and the offices of the quisling administrators in An Ngãi and Bình Ba villages.518 The
wave of attacks that broke out at the beginning of 1972 in Bà Rịa achieved many
successes, and brought forth requests to strongly develop the local revolutionary forces.
As for the enemy, although many in number, they were weak – their morale declined
daily, and their psychological defeat was clearly evident.
With opportunities arising for us in this situation, at the end of March 1972, the
Bà Rịa Sub-Region Standing Committee met and reviewed the situation, drew on
experiences, evaluated our strengths and capabilities, and approved a Plan II for “the
expansion of our territory”. The Regional Committee directed the: “Coordination of
three-pronged attacks, mobilisation for an uprising in 1972, the opening of an active front
south of Sài Gòn, a broad-ranging attack, encirclement of the enemy’s posts, the
destruction of a significant element of the enemy’s war fighting potential, destruction of
pacification by all three of our types of forces, the strengthening of the guerrilla warfare
movement, and the development of our revolutionary forces.”
From 12 April 1972, the Province armed forces began a series of new operations
with the important mission of “expanding our territory” in the critical areas of Route 2
and Route 23.519 The first operations aimed at achieving the objectives of the Nguyễn
Huệ Campaign520 as directed by COSVN and its Military Headquarters. The Region
deployed the 4th ((274th)) Regiment (Q4) to operate on Route 2 and Route 23, and in
Xuyên Mộc and Long Khánh, in order to support the local revolutionary movements in
implementing the “territorial expansion” plan.
6. Concentrating Our Forces and Supporting the Territorial Expansion Plan.
In May 1972, the Sub-Region Headquarters decided to re-concentrate 445
Battalion after almost a year of dispersed operations and reinforcing the Districts.521
Comrade Nguyễn Đức Thu was re-appointed as Battalion Commander; Nguyễn Minh
Ninh - the Deputy Political Officer of the Province Unit, became concurrently the
Battalion Political Officer522*; Comrade Lâm Phương became the Battalion second-incommand and concurrently the Chief-of-Staff; Comrades Lê Tranh (replacing Comrade
History (2006) also relates: “In late February, Long Đất District’s C25 unit coordinated with 445 Battalion
to ambush the enemy opening the road from Nước Ngọt to their post at the Hang Lầu pagoda, killing 11
enemy and seizing nine weapons and a PRC-25 radio.” Australian military records note that on 27
February 1972, there was a major engagement between the 2 nd Battalion of the Việt Cộng main-force 274th
Regiment and the ARVN 2nd Battalion/52nd Regiment/18th Division in the area east of Đất Đỏ to Xuyên
Mộc. - AATTV, Monthly Report of RF/PF Adviser – February 1972, 20 March 1972.
518
Translator’s Note: According to the Đồng Nai Monograph (2001): “On 15 February 1972, 445 Battalion
ambushed the enemy at Bàu Sấu (Long Đất) and wiped out the 4th Company of the 356th Regional Forces
Battalion – and captured 24 enemy and seized 34 weapons.”- Địa Chí Đồng Nai, op.cit., 2001.
519
Translator’s Note: The series of attacks along Route 23 are detailed in Võ Kim Hanh (et al), Xuyên Mộc
Kháng Chiến 1945-1975 (The Resistance War in Xuyên Mộc 1945-1975) , op.cit., 1989.
520
Translator’s Note: The Nguyễn Huệ Offensive by the communist forces (also known as the Easter
Offensive) began on 30 March 1972 with “conventional war” 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 were
north of Sài Gòn on northern Route 13 – where communist forces seized the district town of Lộc Ninh
about 97 kilometres north of Sài Gòn on 7 April, but their attacks against An Lộc Town (mid-April to midJune) were unsuccessful. Lộc Ninh Town became the capital of the Provisional Revolutionary Government.
521
Translator’s Note: According to the 1991 D445 History: “At the beginning of 1972, 445 Battalion was
reconstituted - with Comrade Sá Thu continuing as the Battalion commander. Comrade Năm Ninh was the
deputy political officer of the Province Unit and concurrently the political officer of the Battalion (having
replaced Comrade Hai Khanh who had gone for training and had not yet returned).”
522
* At this time, Comrade Lê [sic - probably Nguyễn] Minh Khanh (the former Battalion Political Officer)
had left for study duty.

150
Đào Văn Tổng who left for study duties) and Nguyễn Anh Vũ were Battalion seconds-incommand; and Comrade Ba Cải was appointed as the Deputy Political Officer of the
Battalion. The personnel strength of the re-concentrated Battalion was over 300. The
reason that our strength had increased so much was because the Sub-Region had provided
as reinforcements a company of recently-arrived new troops from the North.523
This company of new troops was led by Comrade Tuân as the Company
Commander and Comrade Thiệu as its Political Officer. The majority of the troops had
been teachers, school principals, and deputy principals of Level III schools – and one had
been the deputy of the Education Office for Thạch Thất in Ba Vì District of Hà Tây
Province.524* As the Battalion now had many new soldiers, a series of training activities
was quickly organised. The training method adopted at that time was linked closely to the
practical requirements of weapon-handling techniques, leadership, and our established
and forté combat methods - with the aim of attaining the highest levels of combat
effectiveness. The content of the training was comprehensive, but concentrated on attack
methods against strong defensive positions in cities, towns, hamlets and villages.
Reconnaissance skills were practised, as well as obstacle crossing, blocking tactics, and
attacking and seizing enemy posts and strongpoints etc. The troops participated in the
training and studies seriously and in an atmosphere of strict discipline. The psychological
state and the spirits of the cadre and the soldiers of 445 Battalion were very enthusiatic all were eagerly awaiting going into battle with a new posture and momentum.
At the beginning of Summer 1972, the Region ordered the liberation of Route 23 with the aim of creating the best conditions for our local forces along Route 23 from Đất
Đỏ to Xuyên Mộc in order to strongly attack the enemy’s pacification program and to
achieve “territorial expansion”. To achieve this, the Sub-Region used the whole of the 4th
((ie 274th)) Regiment to encircle the Xuyên Mộc Sub-Sector and Núi Nhọn ready to
attack the enemy relief forces moving along Route 23 from Đất Đỏ to Xuyên Mộc. In this
operation, the 2nd Battalion of the 4th ((274th)) Regiment was ordered – together with 445
Battalion, to attack the enemy within Đất Đỏ and force them to disperse and break up
their forces so that they would not be able to concentrate elements to come to the rescue
of Xuyên Mộc or other locations.
Implementing the Sub-Region’s orders, on the morning of 17 May 1972, the 2nd
Company of 445 Battalion opened fire and attacked the enemy at Cống Dầu; and the 2nd
Battalion of the 4th ((274th)) Regiment attacked the enemy at Da Qui.525 Heavy casualties
523

Translator’s Note: In May 1972, 445 Battalion received reinforcements from North Vietnam. One group
from the 325th NVA Division commenced infiltration from its base north of Hà Nội in December 1971 and
arrived in the Bà Rịa Province area in May 1972. Their journey down the “Trail” – ie Military Region 559,
through Laos and Cambodia, and then across the “Liberation Corridor Line” is detailed in the diary of
Corporal Đặng Lợi Ích - CDEC Report 6 028 0368 72, Log 06-1049-72, VCAT Item No.2132010057; and
Lieutenant Nguyễn Văn Phước, CDEC Log 06-1050-72, VCAT Item No.2132010056 – for detail, see also
footnote 30 in Annex C. For detailed Vietnamese accounts of the “Trail” from the North, see Đồng Sĩ
Nguyễn, The Trans-Trường Sơn Route, Thế Giới Publishers, Hà Nội, 2005 and Võ Bẩm (et al), Đường Về
Thành Phố Mang Tên Bác (The Road Back to the City Named After Uncle Hồ), Nhà Xuất Bản Quân Đội
Nhân Dân, Hà Nội, 2005. The recovered item noted above – ie CDEC Log 06-1050-72, VCAT Item No.
2132010056; also included a detailed personnel listing of 36 troops – probably a newly-established
company of 445 Battalion (comprising three personnel born in Phước Tuy Province, 32 in North Vietnam,
and one – not listed).
524
* Comrade Đỗ Tiến Khải – a Level III teacher, born in Hà Tây, was a member of this company.
Nowadays, he is a member of the Province Committee and Head of the Office of the Đồng Nai Province
Committee.
525
Translator’s Note: Also as “Da Quy” and “Gia Quy”, ie the “The Horseshoe Hill” feature at YS 494620
on the northern edge of Đất Đỏ Town - previously occupied by 1 ATF from March 1967, see footnotes 238,
275, and 316. In the 1991 D445 History, 445 Battalion is related as having attacked and “inflicted heavy

151
were inflicted on the enemy, and they were forced to withdraw from these two
strongpoints. During the night of the same day, our two forces entered and seized Đất
Đỏ.526
445 Battalion was to surround the Đất Đỏ police offices - with our Headquarters
sited one kilometre to the south of the objective.527 The 4th Company would deploy its 1st
Platoon into four groups with heavy firepower to encircle the enemy. Meanwhile, the 2nd
and 3rd Platoons dug blocking positions to attack enemy relief forces advancing from the
Sub-Sector [sic] (to the west). The 1st and the 2nd Companies were in blocking positions
about one kilometre to the south with the task of striking any enemy relief forces coming
from the Phước Hòa Long post.
At first light on 19 May 1972 – the first day of the operation, 445 Battalion
opened fire and attacked the Đất Đỏ police offices (nowadays the site of the memorial to
Võ Thị Sáu). Panic-stricken, the enemy fought back weakly while urgently calling for
rescue. At 5pm that day, the enemy deployed the 302nd Regional Forces Battalion from
Long Hội Mỹ as a relief force. However, when still one kilometre from their objective,
they were attacked by our 1st and 2nd Companies and, suffering heavy casualties, were
forced to withdraw to Long Hội Mỹ. The next day, the 43rd Brigade [sic] of the 18th
Division replaced them to relieve the blockade – deploying a force that was five to six
times larger than our forces in Đất Đỏ. With maximum firepower support, the enemy’s
tanks pushed forward. Over three to four days, they strove to get through from many
different directions to retake their objective and relieve their comrades-in-arms. However,
they were unsuccessful due to the resolute defence of 445 Battalion and the 2nd Battalion
(4th Regiment) ((ie 274th Regiment)) in the multi-storied buildings north of Route 23 near
the Đất Đỏ T-Junction.
After many days of fighting, the enemy in the police offices found a way to
escape, abandoning dozens of bodies, and all their equipment and stores. 445 Battalion
and the 2nd Battalion of the 4th Regiment still occupied Đất Đỏ ready to block any further
attempts at relief. The enemy next deployed the 5th Ranger Group to replace the 43rd
Brigade of the 18th Division that had lost its combat effectiveness. Continuously over the
next five days and nights, two Ranger battalions (the 30th and the 31st) alternately attacked
us while enemy aircraft constantly fired into our defensive positions (occupied by 445
Battalion and the 2nd Battalion of the 4th Regiment). Our forces became increasingly
weary and over-stretched. However, the enemy could still find no way to enter Đất Đỏ –
even though our blocking group on one approach (the 3rd Company of 445 Battalion) at
times had less than ten riflemen.
On orders from the Sub-Region, our forces in Đất Đỏ withdrew to consolidate our
strength – only leaving behind three companies comprising a company of 445 Battalion
led by Comrade Tư Châu – the Company Commander, and two companies of the 2nd
casualties on a Regional Forces company located at the base of Da Quy Mountain” on 17 May 1972. In that
account, the 274th Regiment is not mentioned as having participated in the attack.
526
Translator’s Note: The attack is also recounted in the Long Đất District History (1986), p.204: “D445
and the 2nd Battalion of the 4th Regiment and the Đất Đỏ guerrilla unit attacked the Sub-Sector and the Đất
Đỏ police centre – and we held the town of Đất Đỏ for 13 days before withdrawing to regroup in our base
area.” The later Đất Đỏ District History (2006) indicates that the fighting in Đất Đỏ took place in the first
half of April 1972, not May – ie “After 13 days of controlling Đất Đỏ Town, on 14 April [sic] 1972, our
forces withdrew from Đất Đỏ to consolidate our formations and to prepare for new attacks.”
527
Translator’s Note: The diary (recovered on 21 May 1972) of Nguyễn Văn Phước– see footnote 523,
described the plan for the attack on Đất Đỏ. Phước – an NVA Lieutenant (or Corporal) formerly of the 18 th
Regiment of the 325th Division, joined 445 Battalion in about March 1972 following a three-month
movement from North Vietnam via Laos and Cambodia. The Letter Box Number (LBN) for 445 Battalion
was disclosed as LBN 702993 - CDEC Log 06-1050-72, VCAT Item No.2132010056.

152
Battalion of the 4th Regiment. These forces were under the command of Comrade Lâm
Phương (Sáu Phương) – the Battalion second-in-command/Chief-of-Staff of 445
Battalion, and sited at Chòm Dầu (Đất Đỏ) to hold ground and to deceive the enemy.
The following day (the 12th day of the operation), our forces staunchly repelled 14
counter-attacks by the Rangers and continued to hold the battlefield. That night, as
ordered by the Sub-Region, we withdrew to prepare to attack the enemy attempting to
relieve the blockade on Route 23. 445 Battalion concentrated back in our Đập Thậu base
at Hội Mỹ and awaited further orders.528
Having rested for less than a full night, 445 Battalion received an urgent radio
message from the Sub-Region529*, directing that the unit reorganise quickly and
coordinate with the forces of the 4th Regiment to attack the enemy attempting to relieve
Xuyên Mộc on Route 23. The order was received at a time when the Battalion’s all-up
combat-capable strength was 17 comrades – as the majority of our troops were exhausted
after 14 days of continuous day and night fighting against an enemy five to six times
stronger, and our troops had not had any chance to sleep or to wash etc. Regardless,
Comrade Lâm Phương – the Battalion second-in-command, led the Battalion to Route 23.
On reaching the culvert at Bà Lá – and taking advantage of the enemy being off-guard,
we opened fire and attacked immediately, killing a number of the enemy on the spot. The
Battalion set up defences and continued to fight the enemy once more that day, killing a
further number. The remaining enemy fled in panic. Next, the Battalion joined with the
forces of the 4th ((274th)) Regiment to repel many enemy counter-attacks as they tried to
break through.
The Battalion had performed its tasks outstandingly, and had taken control of the
Đất Đỏ Sub-Sector for many days. It had cut and taken control of a stretch of Route 23
from Đất Đỏ to Xuyên Mộc, and created the conditions for the local troops, the village
guerrillas, and our covert forces in the villages along Route 23 in the districts of Long Đất
and Xuyên Mộc to enter the villages to conduct armed propaganda, mobilise the people,
gather finances, recruit new personnel, and strike the enemy more effectively. As a result
of that series of operations, 445 Battalion was awarded the Military Feats Medal 3rd
Class.530* The 4th Company and many cadre and soldiers in the Battalion were also
awarded the Military Feats Medal 3rd Class.
The first phase of the 1972 Summer campaign in the Bà Rịa Sub-Region
subsequently halted temporarily – to summarise, we had completely achieved the
objectives given to us for that phase. Specifically, over 14 days and nights of that phase,
445 Battalion had fought 79 engagements – large and small, worn down almost 500
enemy, set fire to four tanks, seized 71 weapons of various types and much military
equipment and materiel. This wave of attacks was particularly decisive and drawn out.
528

Translator’s Note: A USMACV report summarised that: “On 20 May, one-third of the town of Đất Đỏ in
southern Phước Tuy Province was lost to the 33rd NVA Regiment [sic]. … The Phước Tuy Province Chief
was replaced on 21 May. On the 22nd in a contact to east of Đất Đỏ, an ARVN battalion killed 31 enemy …
On the 24th May, the 6th Ranger Group with three battalions was deployed … and began conducting
operations in the vicinity of Đất Đỏ … the Ranger Group killed 75 enemy one kilometre west of Đất Đỏ on
28th May, and on the 29th in the same area killed 31 …”. - USMACV, 1972-73 Command History, Volume
I, 15 July 1973, p.59 – see DTIC ADA955103, or VCAT Item No.168300010829; and Davies, B. with
McKay, G., Vietnam: The Complete Story …, 2012, p.547. As noted earlier , the Đất Đỏ District History
(2006) relates that the fighting in Đất Đỏ took place in the first half of April 1972, not May – ie “After 13
days of controlling Đất Đỏ Town, on 14 April 1972, our forces withdrew from Đất Đỏ to consolidate our
formations and to prepare for new attacks.”
529
* The message was signed by Nguyễn Việt Hoa – the Deputy Commander.
530
* The BBC commented on this decisive battle in Đất Đỏ “… during the fiery Summer Campaign in 1972,
the battle at Đất Đỏ was like an ‘earthquake’.”

153
The Battalion suffered many comrades wounded and killed. The Battalion’s strength which had been reinforced and re-consolidated, continued to be deficient.
Moving into the second period of the phase, the 4th ((274th)) Regiment continued
its operations in the area to the north of Route 23. 445 Battalion swiftly consolidated its
forces; coordinated with the local District armed forces; successfully completed its
counter-sweep tasks, and maintained the liberated zone on Route 23 - while at the same
time attacking the enemy deeply in Long Điền, Đất Đỏ, Long Hải, and Phước Hải. We
liberated many hamlets in important locations close to the Sub-Sectors of Đất Đỏ, Long
Điền, and Xuyên Mộc – making the jagged sawtooth-patterned line between us and the
enemy in the Sub-Region’s vital areas even tighter.531
Following the orders of the Sub-Region – to exploit the strength of the Province’s
local forces with the aim of wiping out part of the enemy’s war-making potential as they
regularly conducted sweeps in the area of Route 2 (nowadays Route 56), in the middle of
August 1972 445 Battalion joined with the 500th Battalion to ambush the enemy moving
to relieve a blockade at the Letter-S Bend (near the Suối Cá Stream) at Cẩm Mỹ village in
the Hoàng Quân Plantation area. We inflicted losses on the puppet’s 324th Regional
Forces Battalion of Long Khánh Sector, seizing many weapons. Our force comprised 445
Battalion and the Sub-Region’s 500th Battalion.532* Our plan was to ambush enemy forces
coming to the rescue. Our tactical intention was to shell the enemy in the Con Rắn post,
draw out the 324th Regional Force Battalion – a Long Khánh Sector reaction unit, and
destroy it. In implementing our plan, 445 Battalion sited an ambush west of Route 2, and
the 500th Battalion set their ambush to the east of Route 2 (in the area of the Hoàng Quân
Plantation) – all with the intention that when the enemy’s relief operation reached that
area, our two battalions would strike from both the east and the west and draw the enemy
into the killing zone and wipe them out.
Exactly as we had assessed, when 445 Battalion’s 4th Company began shelling,
the enemy in the Con Rắn post (Cẩm Mỹ) rapidly radioed the Sub-Sector requesting aid.
At 1pm that afternoon, the 324th Regional Forces Battalion of the Long Khánh Sub-Sector
was deployed to give assistance. Reaching the Long Giao area, the enemy left Route 2
and cut across the jungle to the rear of the Hoàng Quân Plantation and approached Cẩm
Mỹ. With the enemy having gone off at an angle, the 500th Battalion was forced to

531

Translator’s Note: In July 1972, COSVN severely criticised the cadre in the Bà Rịa Sub-Region for their
poor performance in the mid-May 1972 attempts to over-run Phước Tuy Province. COSVN cited “a lack of
effective civilian proselytizing and cadre ineptness in assuming control of the populace in areas over-run by
military elements that caused the near defeat of the revolutionary forces” in Phước Tuy - VCAT Item
No.2122407002.
532
* The 500th Battalion was founded in the middle of June 1972 from the 500th Rear Services Group as a
direct command unit of the Bà Rịa Sub-Region – with Comrade Phạm Văn Còn (Tám Còn) as the Battalion
Commander and Comrade Nguyễn Văn Bính as the Battalion’s Political Officer. Translator’s Note: The
Military Region 7 History relates: “From August 1972, the 33 rd 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.” Military Region 7
Headquarters, 50 Năm … (50 Years), op. cit., 1995, p.46. According to the Đồng Nai History (1986), in
mid-1973: “500 Battalion of the Bà Rịa-Long Khánh Province was absorbed into 445 Battalion.” - Phan
Ngọc Danh ..., Đồng Nai 30 Năm …, op.cit., 1986, p.182. The Long Khánh Town Party Party History
relates that in mid-1973, “500th Battalion was incorporated into the 445th Battalion; and the 246th Engineer
Battalion and the 634th Sapper Battalion were reduced to companies.” - Trần Quang Toại & Phan Đình
Dũng, Lịch sử … (The History of the Party in Long Khánh Town 1930-2007), op.cit., 2009, p.145. As
noted in the following footnote 539, the US Defense Attache Office (USDAO) had estimated the strength of
“D.500 Battalion MR1” in Phước Tuy Province as “55 NVA” and “445 Bn Ba Ria Long Khanh Province
Unit” as 180.

154
withdraw and reconfigure. 445 Battalion remained in its ambush positions and awaited
the enemy’s approach.
On the morning of the third day (calculated from the day that the enemy left their
base as a relief force), the enemy began to return – but did not retrace their previous route
back to Long Khánh following Route 2. Having received intelligence from technical
sources533, the Sub-Region ordered 445 Battalion to block and attack the enemy. 445
Battalion swiftly adjusted its ambush formation, deploying the 3rd Company – led by
Comrade Tuân – the Company Commander, to positions east of Route 2 (in the area of
the Hoàng Quân Plantation) so that they could achieve their task of striking the enemy
and rolling them up. The 1st Company had the task of attacking the enemy tail. The 2nd
Company – led by Comrade Khải, the Company Commander, was to strike the enemy on
the main front from west of Route 2 creating the decisive killing zone on Route 2 in a
stretch of the Hoàng Quân Plantation.
Comrade Thiệu – the Political Officer of the 3rd Company, was killed immediately
the battle commenced (20 September 1972). Comrade Nguyễn Tuấn Giải – the Political
Officer of the 4th Company was assigned across to the 3rd Company as its Political
Officer.
At 1pm on the third day, the enemy battalion left Cẩm Mỹ along Route 2 to return
to Long Khánh and approached the 445 Battalion ambush area. From the west, the
leading element of the 2nd Company moved forward to strike at the same time as the 2nd
[sic] Company, and the 3rd Company also attacked from the east of Route 2. When the
order to start was given, Comrade Tuân – the 3rd Company Commander, was lightly
wounded and had to withdraw to the rear. Comrade Nghĩa took the responsibility as
Company Commander - together with Comrade Nguyễn Tuấn Giải, and led the Company
from the Hoàng Quân Plantation to strike across the rubber plantation to combine with the
2nd Company led by Comrade Khải as the Company Commander, and joined with the 4th
Company’s assault in the killing zone (the Hoàng Quân Plantation). Comrade Lâm
Phương – the Battalion second-in-command and Chief-of-Staff also moved forward with
this group. As the enemy’s returning column was long, it could not be completely rolled
up - and so we were only able to attack the leading company of the enemy battalion. The
battle lasted for more than an hour, with the result that we inflicted heavy losses on the
leading company – seizing four PRC-25 radios, three M79 grenade launchers, together
with a large number of other weapons and personal equipment. On our side, Comrade
Nguyễn Văn Thiệu – the Political Officer of the 3rd Company (born in Thái Bình) was
killed. The enemy fled in panic, withdrawing back to Cẩm Mỹ – and only returned back
to Long Khánh a few days later.
In August 1972, COSVN decided to disband the Sub-Regions and to re-establish
Bà Rịa – Long Khánh Province comprising the districts of Định Quán, Long Khánh, Cao
Su, Châu Đức, Long Đất, Xuyên Mộc – and the three cities of Xuân Lộc, Vũng Tàu, and
Bà Rịa. Comrade Phạm Lạc was appointed as Province Commander.
In implementing the Directive of the Province Committee, the Province’s armed
forces – including 445 Battalion constantly launched attacks against the enemy across the
whole territory, wiping out much of the enemy’s combat capability, liberating many
hamlets, creating additional springboards, and increasing the jagged lines between
contested areas. The attacking blows of our Province’s armed forces at this time
illustrated that our diversity and effectiveness was not just limited to Long Đất, Châu
Đức, and Xuyên Mộc – but also wider across the regions that until now the enemy had
533

Translator’s Note: This is highly probably a reference to the signals intelligence intercept of South
Vietnamese communications. For detail on the communists’ B-28 Technical Reconnaissance Unit, see
VCAT Item No.2311214015; and 1 ATF, Vietnam Digest, Issue No.26-69, Núi Đất, 28 June to 5 July 1969.

155
regarded as their base areas and restricted zones.That momentum developed into a climax
in the final months of 1972 – when the Province Committee and the Province Unit
ordered a series of actions to “rise up and seize control”. According to the Province
Committee’s report, by the end of 1972, across the whole Province, we had completely
liberated 80 hamlets, 6 villages, a number of rubber plantations - and expanded our
regions of control in the countryside, including many stretches along National Route 15
and Inter-Provincial Routes 2 and 23.
These victories were won by the Province’s armed forces during our wave of
“territorial expansion” – followed by the “rising up and seizing control” phase. The
outstanding contribution of 445 Battalion – both before and after it had been reconcentrated, was one of the important factors in creating a new posture and power for
the local revolutionary movement, contributing – together with the whole nation, in
creating the new situation and forcing the Americans and their lackeys to sign the Paris
Peace Accords on Vietnam.

156
Chapter 3

Attacking the Encroaching Enemy, Participating in the Campaign to
Liberate Bà Rịa – Long Khánh (1973 – 1975)
1. Attacking the Encroaching Enemy, and their Sabotaging of the Paris Agreement.
On 27 January 1973, the Agreement on concluding the War and restoring peace in
Vietnam was signed in Paris.534 According to the Agreement, the American imperialists
had to: withdraw all American forces – and those of their vassals, from the South535;
promise to honour the basic human rights of our people to independence, sovereignty, and
the unity of the whole territory; promise to honour the right of self-determination for the
people of the South; end all American military connections with - and interference in, the
South; and acknowledge two administrative authorities, two armed forces, two areas of
control, and three political forces536 in the South. This was an extremely great victory,
creating an important turning-point, changing the forces on the battlefield, and providing
a basic advantage for our people on the decisive road to liberate the South and unify the
country.
The signing of the Paris Agreement had a great impact on the sentiments and
feelings of all levels and classes of the people in the Province. The majority of the people
were enthusiastic, and the most enthusiastic were the people in the liberated zones and the
contested zones. In many places, very solemn ceremonies were held to welcome peace but these were hidden from enemy’s view. Our cadre and soldiers in the Province’s armed
forces (including the cadre and soldiers of 445 Battalion) greeted the news with different
emotions and feelings – but, in general, were optimistic. There were some who thought
that the war would be less violent once the American military withdrew from the South.

534

Translator’s Note: For a comprehensive discussion of the development of the Agreement, see Nguyen,
Lien-Hang T., Hanoi’s War, op.cit., 2012. After the Paris Peace Accords and the withdrawal of the “Free
World Forces” (see the following footnote), the number of NVA in the South had increased markedly
(three-fold over its estimated 55,744 strength in late January 1968 – see footnote 337) 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. A month
earlier, USMACV and CIA figures were respectively: Regular Combat: 128,000/154,000; Administrative
Support: 63,000/71,000; and Guerrilla: 26,000/50,000; Total: 217,000/275,000 - and “Dry Season
((armoured vehicles)) deployed into the South”: 314/450 tanks; 27/50 APCs – CIA Memorandum:
Comments on Differences Between MACV and CIA/OER Data on Communist Strength in South Vietnam,
9 April 1973. VCAT Item No.F029200060825.
535
Translator’s Note: US and Allied troops were to be withdrawn within 60 days. “Allied” forces comprised
US and Free World Military Assistance Forces (FWMAF). In mid-1969, US forces had reportedly
numbered 538,933 (111 infantry battalions). FMWAF comprised: Australia – 7,649 (three infantry
battalions); New Zealand – 556 personnel (including 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 Army/Marines totalled 168 battalions. COMUSMACV,
Quarterly Evaluation Report (Second Quarter 1969: 1 April 1969 – 30 June 1969), MACJ3-051, Annex E,
Saigon, 20 August 1969. 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 – VCAT Item No.1039042201. For earlier US and FWMAF
strengths at 31 December 1966, see footnote 305.
536
Translator’s Note: “Three political forces” were not specifically cited in the Agreement, but implied in
Article 12 of the Agreement that provided for consultations to establish a “National Council of National
Reconciliation and Concord (NCNRC) of three equal segments.” In May 1974, the Provisional
Revolutionary Government (PRG) unilaterally broke off talks on the establishment of a NCNRC.

157
However, after studying the document: “The situation and tasks in front of us”
produced by the Central Secretariat of the Party, they clearly understood the political path
and the guidelines and direction of the struggle in this new period of the revolution. Next
came orders and directions on the new struggle guidelines from the Province Committee,
and the political consciousness of the cadre and soldiers of the Province armed forces –
including those of 445 Battalion, became constructive and positive.
While we strictly observed the Paris Agreement, the puppet troops and the puppet
authorities severely sabotaged the Agreement. The enemy forces stationed in Bà Rịa –
Long Khánh were quite strong. They occupied 271 positions: posts, strong-points, bases
and rear bases in the Province, and check-points on the important routes and in the
populated areas. Moreover, the enemy’s machinery of tight control was almost as intact
as ever.
On 28 January 1973 – only one hour after the ceasefire came into effect, the
puppet forces fiercely counter-attacked and encroached into many of our areas that we
had only recently occupied before the signing of the Agreement – and even a number of
our areas that we had previously controlled. Their most savage incursions were into Hòa
Long and Phước Hải villages. The puppet 18th Division – together with Rangers,
Regional Forces and air and artillery support, had blatantly attacked many of our liberated
zones in Xuyên Mộc, Châu Đức, and Long Đất.
445 Battalion continued undertaking its tasks in the Đất Đỏ region. In particular,
the 4th Company was based in Phước Hải. There had been changes in the Battalion
Headquarters: Comrade Đào Văn Tổng (Tám Tổng) was appointed Battalion
Commander, replacing Comrade Nguyễn Đức Thu (Sáu Thu) who had been posted to the
position of Commander of Long Đất District. Comrade Nguyễn Minh Khanh returned to
become the Battalion Political Officer replacing Comrade Nguyễn Minh Ninh (who had
become the Commander of the Four Party Joint Group in Xuân Lộc).537 Comrade Nguyễn
Anh Vũ (Hai Vũ) had been appointed as the Commander of Châu Đức District Unit;
Comrade Lâm Phương was the Commander of the Xuân Lộc District Unit; and Comrades
Nguyễn Văn Quang (Hero of the People’s Liberation Armed Forces), Lê Văn Tranh, and
Vũ Thành Khải were appointed as Battalion seconds-in-command. Comrade Nguyễn
Tuấn Giải (Mười Giải) was the Deputy Political Officer. Subsequently, Comrade Nguyễn
Minh Khanh (Hai Khanh) returned to the Province Unit, and Comrade Tư Thuật became
the Battalion’s Political Officer.
Immediately from the first day, the Battalion opposed the enemy’s encroachments
and suffered casualties with two comrades being killed and one being wounded. The 4th
Company at Phước Hải – after half a day of fighting against the encroaching enemy, were
forced out and had to withdraw to Đất Đỏ. A week later, the enemy concentrated a large
force – dozens of times larger than our forces in Long Đất, and were able to drive 445
Battalion from the Đất Đỏ region – inflicting many losses and casualties on the Battalion.

537

Translator’s Note: Articles 10 and 11 of a Protocol to the Paris Agreement detailed the functioning of a
Four Party Joint Military Commission (the US; the Democratic Republic of Vietnam – ie North Vietnam;
the Republic of Vietnam – ie South Vietnam; and the Provisional Revolutionary Government - established
on 8 June 1969) to monitor the provisions of the Agreement. There were seven Regional Joint Military
Commissions with a total of 26 local Joint Military Teams – including one at Xuân Lộc. Each party was to
provide “four qualified persons” for each Joint Military Team – with the senior officer of each Party to be at
the rank of major or lieutenant colonel level. Similarly, the Agreement provided for 26 local teams of an
International Commission for Control and Supervision (ICCS) – comprising Canada, Hungary, Indonesia
and Poland (Canada withdrew and was replaced by Iran on 31 July 1973). For detail - including annotated
maps, see: Vietnam Agreement II, Commanders Digest, Department of Defense, Washington D.C., 22
February 1973 – VCAT Item No.2861224006.

158
From 16 March 1973, the enemy launched a series of mass encroaching
operations into our liberated zones in the Route 2 area (Châu Đức), at Bà Tô (Xuyên
Mộc), at Cầu Tum, and at Nước Ngọt (Long Đất) with the intention of returning us back
to the situation that existed before 1972. Parallel with these mass encroachments, across a
wide area from the end of March 1975, the enemy sped up the implementation of their
new pacification plan, and strengthened their machinery of tight control in those areas
that they had just seized - with the aim of confronting the uprisings by the masses and
wiping out our infrastructure. They also established additional military posts.
According to a report from the Province Committee, in the three months of the
Second Quarter of 1973, the puppet military had set up an additional 22 posts and towers;
restored 763 PSDF personnel; and set up an additional Regional Forces battalion and a
company. They brought many military personnel and police to set up village quisling
administrations, and to strengthen their machinery of tight control. Up to June 1973, the
enemy announced that they had completed elections for their quisling machinery across
the whole of Phước Tuy (Bà Rịa). Additionally, they laid thick minefields around hamlets
and along the main communication routes, and destroyed the terrain when cutting into our
base areas and our liaison and movement corridors. The situation had again become
violent and difficult.
In facing this situation, the Party Committee of the Battalion Headquarters
provided timely leadership and guidance by putting forward different solutions to remedy
a number of biased and negative manifestations among the cadre and soldiers.
From March 1973, 445 Battalion was deployed at Long Tân and Long Phước to
secure these two liberated villages. There, the Battalion coordinated with the village
guerrillas and the people to build a “Fighting Village”, and to practise coordinated combat
methods. We strengthened the defensive system of positions, and set spiked traps and
minefields etc – all ready to resist the encroaching enemy.
At the end of March, the enemy concentrated two Regional Force battalions –
with strong artillery and air support, to advance and seize the two villages of Long Tân
and Long Phước. For 15 days, the enemy continuously launched decisive attacks but were
unable to penetrate the defensive lines of 445 Battalion. Hundreds of enemy were driven
from the battlefield, and the enemy was forced to withdraw. This was a great victory, the
first in the Province since the Paris Agreement.
In opposing the enemy’s mass encroachments and their new pacification plan, the
Province armed forces coordinated with two battalions of the 4th ((274th)) Regiment and
launched many punishing attacks on the encroaching enemy. Calculated to the end of
April 1973, we had driven 208 of their troops from the battlefield; destroyed 108 RF and
PF elements, 58 PSDF elements; seized a large number of weapons; destroyed three
tanks; shot down one aircraft; and wiped out many wicked thugs and pacification officers.
However, the results of the Battalion’s strikes in reaction to the enemy’s encroachments
since the signing of the Paris Agreement were still not sufficient. The principal reason for
this was subjectivism, vague perceptions, and a lack of vigilance.
On 4 April 1973, 445 Battalion joined with the 500th Battalion to ambush the
enemy at Đức Mỹ hamlet of Suối Nghệ village – inflicting heavy casualties on a company
of the puppet 302nd Regional Force Battalion, and contributing – together with the forces
and people of Châu Đức District, to block the encroachment activities and the new
pacification program of the Americans and their puppets in the Route 2 area.538
538

Translator’s Note: The Châu Đức District History (2004) relates: “On 15 March 1973, the enemy
deployed the 48th Task Force and the 3rd Battalion of the 43rd Task Force of the 18th Division – together
with three companies of armoured vehicles, to invade the villages along Inter-Provincial Route 2. … The
445th Battalion and the 500th Battalion – both Bà Rịa-Long Khánh provincial units, also deployed to Inter-

159
Facing these new developments in encroachment activities and the poisonous
schemes of the enemy, the Province Committee directed the armed forces of the Province
and the Districts to change their combat methods from passively resisting incursions to
actively attacking the enemy.539 We coordinated with the struggle movement of the
masses to protect their crops, resist the seizure of rice, and were resolved to inflict defeat
on the enemy’s plans. Beforehand, the Province Unit had also convened a military
conference to discuss and agree on ways of opposing the enemy’s encroachments. The
agreed policy of the Province Committee and the Province Unit was to change our
resistance to enemy incursions to more active means. Following this policy, 445 Battalion
was deployed back to Đất Đỏ to join with the local armed forces and attack the
encroaching enemy. Next, our cadre and soldiers thoroughly studied the situation, the
policy, and our new mission.
The Province Committee chose the villages of Đất Đỏ (Long Đất), Hắc Dịch
(Châu Đức), and Cẩm Đường (Cao Su) as specific areas; and the Province and District
armed forces were concentrated in these areas to fight back against the enemy’s
incursions, support the people’s struggle movement, and drive back the enemy’s
pacification and resettlement plans. To support the movement, the Province Committee
deployed 445 Battalion back to Đất Đỏ. A series of political study activities raised the
consciousness of the whole unit before we undertook our new mission. The whole
community of cadre and soldiers of the Battalion were resolved to punish the enemy’s
encroachment operations.540
In the two months (November and December 1973), the Province armed forces –
with the active support of the 33rd Regiment (Military Region 7), attacked the enemy and
- operating effectively, switched the initiative into the hands of the revolutionary forces.
Half-way through the first phase, our forces had principally blocked the enemy’s
pacification and incursion operations, and in the second half we moved to more offensive
activity by attacking the enemy-controlled zone and strongpoints from which they
Provincial Route 2 and attacked the enemy south of the Đức Thạnh Sub-Sector.” Nguyễn Công Danh …, …
Châu Đức District, op.cit., 2004.
539
Translator’s Note: In May 1973, the US Defense Attache’s Office (USDAO) in Sài Gòn assessed
NVA/VC organisation and strength in Bà Rịa-Long Khánh Province as: “Independent Regiment (HQ
SVNLA) - 33 NVA: strength 700. Independent Companies: Cao Su Company – Bà Rịa-Long Khánh: 40;
C.1 and C.2 Engineer-Sapper Companies, Bà Rịa-Long Khánh: both 30; C.203 Company Xuân Lộc
District: 36. Phước Tuy Province: 274 Regiment: 810; comprising - HQ and specialized units: 300; 1st Bn:
230; 2nd Bn: 200, 3rd Bn: 80. Independent Battalions – 274 Arty Battalion, MR1: 100 NVA; 445 Bn Bà
Rịa-Long Khánh Province Unit: 180; 634 Battalion Bà Rịa-Long Khánh Province Unit: 50 VC; D.500
Battalion MR1: 55 NVA. Independent Platoons and Companies: C.41 (Châu Đức – Group 400): 26 VC;
C.20 Company Châu Đức: 22; C.25 Company Long Xuyên: 15; C.29 Company Long Xuyen: 18; C.30
Company Long Xuyên: 17; Special Action Company Xuyên Mộc: 9; A.31 Company Area 3: 20; A.32
Company Area 3: 19; C.610 Special Action Company: 15. 10th Rừng Sác Bn, MR1 (Biên Hòa): 300; 6th
Sapper Bn, MR1: 130. The RSSZ ((Rừng Sác Special Zone)) Regiment under Bà Rịa-Long Khánh in
1972.” - USDAO - Saigon, PLAF/PAVN Troop Strength by Unit - May 1973 , Saigon, 31 May 1973 VCAT Item No.2311006085. These USDAO figures were also been cited in 2009 on a Vietnamese military
history website: Rongxanh, Phân bố - quân số các đơn vị Quân Giải phóng miền Nam trên lãnh thổ miền
Nam Việt Nam đến 31/5/1973 (Deployment and Strengths of the South Vietnam Liberation Armed Forces
with the Territory of South Vietnam – 31 May 1973), Quân Sử Việt Nam, 6 February 2009.
540
Translator’s Note: This 2004 D445 History does not relate any specific combat activities in the period
April-November 1973. However, the Đất Đỏ District History (2006) states: “On 13 June 1973, the enemy
deployed a Regional Force battalion with air and artillery support to sweep into Long Phước and Long Tân.
Our 445 Battalion – together with District troops and village guerrillas blocked the enemy and attacked
them from 13 June to 20 June 1973. We defeated many of their advances - killing 76, wounding 79, and
seizing 13 weapons of various types. The Hội Mỹ and Phước Hải guerrillas – with District troop
reinforcements, attacked the enemy four times, killing 6.”

160
launched their operations. 445 Battalion joined successfully with the forces of our higher
headquarters and the armed forces of Long Đất District to recover liberated areas on
Route 23 – connecting the Minh Đạm base with the expanding liberated zones in the
Province.
On 24 December 1973, the Bà Rịa – Long Khánh Province Unit organised a
conference to review the situation following our resistance to the enemy’s incursions
during 1973, and produced a Resolution for our missions in 1973. That Resolution clearly
explained that: we had conducted a struggle movement of three-pronged attacks, but in
each area we had at times encountered difficulties and suffered casualties. Basically
however, we had held firm and risen up across the whole Province - especially towards
the end of 1973. We had been able to block each of the enemy’s encroachment schemes,
their destruction of jungle areas, and their resettlement efforts. Our base areas had been
held and expanded, creating a chain: Bình Châu – Phước Bửu – Bầu Lâm – Hắc Dịch –
Láng Lớn.
For our action guidelines in the two years 1974-1975, the Resolution confirmed
that we were to: “Step up three-pronged attacks in all three strategic areas and – within
the legal requirements of the Paris Agreement, thoroughly destroy the enemy’s
pacification and incursion efforts, and recover ground, people and control.”
2. Creating a New Posture and Power for the Revolutionary Movement in the
Countryside.
Moving into 1974, there were many changes in the complexion of the battlefield.
After nearly a year of sabotaging the Paris Agreement, the puppet military and authorities
fell into economic and political crises. There were internal conflicts, contradictions, the
morale of the enemy’s forces declined, and hopeful thoughts of a peaceful life increased
daily among the combat units of the puppet forces. However, the government of Nguyễn
Văn Thiệu remained obstinate and - maintaining a hope that battlefield circumstances
might change, continued its plans throughout the two years of 1973-1974. The enemy
increased their pacification efforts - in concert with incursions, as their principal
objectives. They strengthened a number of new pacification activities – such as
establishing military Sub-Sectors541 in the villages, and setting up integrated committees
and Pheonix centres542 to expand their intelligence networks and terrorism. The enemy
misrepresented events and accused us of violating the Agreement.
At the beginning of 1974, fighting with the enemy continued at an extremely
violent level. The enemy had established a large number of additional posts, bulldozed
the terrain, taken the people to strategic hamlets, and set up agricultural worksites along
541

Translator’s Note: The Vietnamese text uses literally “chi khu” ie Sub-Sector when “phân chi khu” – ie
Sub-Sub Sector is more accurate for the village level. 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 program. 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 Defense Attache, RVNAF Quarterly
Assessment – 1st Qtr FY 75, Saigon, 1 November 1974.
542
Translator’s Note: For the Pheonix (“Phượng Hoàng”) program, see footnotes 244 and 437. The
“Pheonix centres” were the Province Intelligence Operations Coordination Centres (PIOCCs) and at District
level, DIOCCs. – see USMACV, Phung Hoang Advisor Handbook, Saigon, 20 November 1970, VCAT
Item No.1370406001; and Silverstein, D., A Solution was at Hand, 11 December 1989, VCAT Item No.
8850608001.

161
the roads and corridors that we regularly used to go back and forth. They also frequently
burst out to attack, to encroach, and to trap us in ambushes in these areas. According to a
report of the Province Committee, in the first quarter of 1974, the enemy had achieved
some results in their incursion and pacification operations. The enemy’s frenzied
operations during the period at the beginning of the year caused us a number of
difficulties and losses in both personnel and property.
Faced with this situation, the Province Committee gave timely guidance to the
armed forces in the Province to actively and resolutely attack the enemy incursions. At
the same time, we thoroughly and deeply studied Resolution 12 543 and Directives 01, 04,
06 and 08 issued by COSVN. All Party members and cadre in the Province – including
cadre and soldiers of 445 Battalion, underwent this study.
As directed by the Province Committee and the Province Unit, we thoroughly
grasped the spirit of “Seizing the initiative and attacking !”. 445 Battalion launched
effective attacks in the critical area of Long Đất, firmly held the remaining liberated
zones, and blocked the enemy’s sweeping operations in that area.
On 15 February [sic] 1974, in accordance with their usual practice, a company of
the 365th [sic] “White Elephant” Regional Forces Battalion conducted a sweeping
operation into Long Mỹ. Understanding the enemy’s operational procedures, 445
Battalion sited an ambush to attack this company. However, that day, the enemy did not
advance on its usual route. Faced with this unpredicted approach, the Battalion
Headquarters very swiftly re-arranged its deployment – using the our reconnaissance
element to fire upon the enemy and lure them to the jungle fringe, while the companies of
our Battalion deployed to new ambush positions at the Long Mỹ crossroads.
When the enemy realized that they were surrounded, it was too late – and our
firepower blocked off their escape routes from the crossroads area. The enemy was forced
to huddle together, but in a situation of utmost panic their resistance was quite weak.
Exploiting the situation, our group simultaneously attacked and wiped out the enemy. The
battle concluded after about one and a half hours – and an enemy company was wiped out
on the spot with 27 killed, 23 captured, and 33 weapons of various types seized, together
with four PRC-25 radios. The Battalion quickly cleared the battlefield and withdrew
safely to its base before the enemy could call down destructive artillery fire. In this battle,
the Battalion lost three comrades killed. This was the most outstanding engagement
against the enemy by our armed forces and 445 Battalion since the Paris Agreement was
signed, and our victory had a very significant impact on the psychology of the enemy
troops.544

543

Translator’s Note: COSVN Resolution 12 was an adaptation of the Lao Động Party Plenum’s Resolution
21 of 15 October 1973. In January 1975, the USDAO in Saigon assessed Resolution 12 as having a
“somewhat conservative outlook” and “emphasising building Communist strength, rather than exercising it
on the battlefield.” COSVN Directive 1 indicated that it would take about two years to rebuild communist
forces to the point that they would be capable of “destroying the enemy”. COSVN Directive 8 was
subsequently issued in mid-1974 and reviewed the first half of that year – see US Embassy, Communist
Assessment and Strategy for 1975, Saigon, late 1974 – VCAT Item No.2123010002.
544
Translator’s Note: The Đất Đỏ District History (2006) relates: “In this phase of operations, 445 Battalion
conducted an exemplary mobile ambush at Long Mỹ, wiping out a company of the 356th [sic] puppet
Battalion, killing 100 of the enemy, seizing 60 weapons – including six pistols and five PRC-25 radios.
After this battle, the enemy did not dare to operate into our liberated zone.”

162
Map: The Conduct of the Ambush at Long Mỹ Hamlet (Phước Long Hội Village,
Long Đất, Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu) by 445 Battalion and Province Local Forces (15
March [sic] 1974).545

After this battle, the enemy forces in Đất Đỏ were more guarded in their sweeping
operations deep into the areas bordering the zones controlled by our revolutionary forces.
While we were preparing for the Campaign, we noted indications that the enemy
was concentrating forces for an incursion operation into Long Tân and Long Phước. The
Military Region Headquarters ((7)) tasked the Province to use its current forces to
constrain the puppet main-forces advancing on those two locations in order to allow the
Route 2 Campaign546 to occur exactly as planned and to surprise the enemy. The Province
545

Translator’s Note: The sketch map shows three companies of D445 Battalion (red) attacking a company
of the 365th Regional Forces Battalion (“BA” – Bảo An) south of Long Mỹ on “15 March 1974”. This
mobile ambush is also related in the local Party history – as occurring on “15 February 1974” - Trần Văn
Khánh (et al/đtg), The History of the Party in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu, op.cit., 2000, Chapter VIII. A photograph
of the “Long Mỹ Victory” “wiping out the 4th Company of 356” on “15 March 1973” is at p.179.
546
Translator’s Note: According to the Military Region 7 (MR7) 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

163
Unit gave the task of waging a defensive battle at Long Tân against the enemy to 445
Battalion – together with Châu Đức’s 34th Company547, Long Đất’s 25th Company548, two
artillery companies of the 24th Battalion549, and a company of the 9th Battalion of the 33rd
NVA Regiment.550
Our defensive battle positions at Long Tân – Long Phước were oriented towards
three directions and approaches. The principal direction was to the west-northwest of
Long Tân and was occupied by the 1st Company of 445 Battalion and the 7th Company of
the 33rd Regiment – supported by an artillery company and a section of 82mm mortars
from the Military Region’s 274th Battalion551. The first secondary position - to the eastsoutheast of Long Tân, was occupied by the 3rd Company of 445 Battalion. The second of
the secondary positions faced to the south-southwest of Long Phước and was held by 445
Battalion’s 2nd Company and the 34th Châu Đức Company. The Headquarters was sited
on Núi Thơm552 (Long Tân).
On 13 March 1974, the enemy force divided into two columns to encroach into
Long Tân – Long Phước. The first column - the 302nd Regional Forces Battalion,
advanced from Long Điền up to Long Phước along Route 52 towards the positions of our
2nd Company and the 34th Company. The 355th Regional Forces Battalion – as the second
column, moved from Đất Đỏ astride both sides of Route 52 into Long Tân to the positions
of our 3rd Company. Our forces in the two secondary positions: I and II, fought with
stamina throughout three days and nights and blocked all enemy attacks on those two
axes.

Đức). The Campaign began on 27 March 1974 and “after three 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.” The
Campaign was led by Colonel Lê Văn Ngọc, the MR7 Commander. Disbanded in 1971, MR7 had been
reformed in 1972.
547
Translator’s Note: The Châu Đức District History (2004) relates that: “With the aim of strengthening the
combat capabilities of the District’s concentrated forces, in April 1973, our C20 unit (code-named C300)
and our C41 unit (code-named C400) were combined as C34 (taking the first number of their respective
code-names).” - Nguyễn Công Danh …, … Châu Đức District, op.cit., 2004. That History however does
not mention the engagements at Long Tân and Long Phước in February 1974 – but relates an attack against
an RF Company at Đồng Nghệ (probably in the vicinity of YS 3972) by Châu Đức elements in April 1974.
A “34th Company” is noted in the Đất Đỏ District History (2006) in December 1974 fighting alongside the
District’s 25th Company at Phước Hải – see also footnote 565. For April 1975, see footnote 575.
548
Translator’s Note: The Đất Đỏ District History (2006) relates the engagements as occuring in June 1973,
not March 1974 ie: “On 13 June 1973, the enemy deployed a Regional Force battalion with air and artillery
support to sweep into Long Phước and Long Tân. Our 445 Battalion – together with District troops and
village guerrillas blocked the enemy and attacked them from 13 June to 20 June 1973. We defeated many of
their advances, killing 76, wounding 79, and seizing 13 weapons of various types. The Hội Mỹ and Phước
Hải guerrillas – with District troop reinforcements, attacked the enemy four times, killing 6.”
549
Translator’s Note: These elements of the 24th Battalion are also noted in the 33rd Regiment History (see
the following footnote). The 1991 D445 History states that these were “anti-aircraft artillery companies”. A
24th Battalion was an element of the 7th NVA Division in 1971.
550
Translator’s Note: The participation of the 7th Company of the 33rd NVA Regiment’s 9th (ie 3rd) Battalion
in the battle is detailed in: Chamberlain, E.P., 33 rd Regiment … Their Story, op.cit., 2014, pp.111-112.
551
Translator’s Note: A “274th Artillery Battalion (MR1) NVA – strength 100” is noted operating in Phước
Tuy Province in USMACV, Enemy Strengths – May 1973, 31 May 1973 listed – VCAT Item
No.2311006085.
552
Translator’s Note: The Australian forces referred to the 126 metre-high Núi Thơm Hill as “Núi Đất 2”.
Núi Thơm was immediately north of the site of the Battle of Long Tân fought on 18 August 1966.

164
Map: The Conduct of the Defensive Battle at Long Tân – Long Phước, Bà Rịa
Involving 445 Battalion and Bà Rịa Local Forces (14-28 February 1974 [sic]).553

553

Translator’s Note: While the map title shows the dates of the engagement as 14-28 February, the text
states that it began on 13 March 1974. The sketch map shows a 445 Battalion defensive position north of
Route 52. The 445 Battalion Headquarters is shown as a triangular flag marked “445” on a staff – and is
located at YS 482668, almost exactly at the site of the Battle of Long Tân against Australian forces on 18
August 1966. 445 Battalion’s four companies are indicated as “cBB” followed by the respective company
number. A local Châu Đức “battalion” [sic] – ie “dĐP/CĐ” is indicated immediately north-east of Long
Phước (however the symbol is for a company headquarters). On the left of the map, a Regional Force
battalion – the 302nd, with armour, is shown advancing north-east up Route 52 - past Long Phước and the
Châu Đức unit positions, towards the D445 Battalion positions. On the right of the map, another Regional
Force battalion – the 355th, is shown advancing up Route 52 from the south towards the D445 Battalion
positions. From the north-west, another battalion – from either the 43rd or 48th Regiment/18th ARVN
Division, is shown attacking the positions of the 7th Company of the 33rd Regiment (cBB7). Both “The 33rd
Regiment …: Their Story …, op.cit., 2014 (Chamberlain, E.P.); and the Châu Đức History (2004) also
detail the involvement of the 33rd NVA Regiment in the defence of Long Tân and Long Phước.

165

On 17 March, the enemy deployed a further two task forces [sic] (the 43rd and the
48th) from the 18th Division as reinforcements for the two Regional Force battalions from
Phước Tuy Sector in an effort to open up a third attacking drive into Long Tân from the
north-west. They were determined to completely seize our two liberated villages and wipe
out our forces there – focusing on 445 Battalion. Immediately from the first day, the
recently-arrived enemy were halted decisively on their two axes – from the north-west
and from the south-east, and were forced to suffer many casualties and heavy losses.
Dozens of their assaults were blocked, nearly one hundred of the enemy were killed and
wounded, and three tanks were burnt out on Route 52. In the following days, the enemy
launched further assaults and used even denser artillery and air support against our
positions. However, the cadre and soldiers of our 445 Battalion – together with the local
force companies of Châu Đức and Long Đất Districts, held on doggedly using the battle
positions in the combat villages that had been prepared by the people. Using the
advantageous terrain, the shelters and trenches, and the defensive works, we effectively
repelled all the enemy’s assaults from every direction. There were days when one of our
sections – about 20-strong, had to contend with many attacks from two enemy battalions
and still firmly held their ground. We did not rely just on our defensive positions - our
forces still remained flexible and attacked the enemy during the night – exploiting the
time when the enemy halted and huddled together. Principally as a result of our defending
by day and attacking by night, the 1st Company of 445 Battalion and the 7th Company of
the 33rd Regiment were able to firmly hold the battlefield on the main axis of the attack
against an enemy force nearly ten times our size.554
On 26 March 1974, the curtain rose on the Route 2 Campaign.555 In response, the
enemy hurriedly re-deployed their 18th Division elements in Long Phước – Long Tân
back to break the blockade on Route 2. The Phước Tuy Regional Forces were in a losing
position and also abandoned their operations encroaching into Long Tân and Long Phước.
Throughout a whole half-month, in all three of our defensive areas in Long Tân and Long
Phước, our Battalion had fought staunchly against an enemy more than ten times our size;
broken almost every enemy assault; driven hundreds of enemy from the battlefield
(including a major, a captain, and two lieutenants); defeated a battalion of the 18th
Division and several Regional Force companies; captured many prisoners; and set fire to
three M41 tanks etc. Our greatest victories were driving the enemy back from Long Tân;
tightly encircling two enemy groups in Long Phước; hobbling a large portion of the
puppet main-forces; and creating the conditions for the Military Region’s forces to strike
the enemy and achieve victory on Route 2.556
554

Translator’s Note: The fighting is described in greater detail in the 1991 D445 History.
Translator’s Note: “The Route 2 Campaign Headquarters was established in an area of over-grown
rubber to the east of Cẩm Mỹ village (Xuân Lộc) and was led by Colonel Lê Văn Ngọc of the Military
Region Headquarters as commander. Comrade Phạm Văn Hy - the Secretary of Bà Rịa – Long Khánh
Province, was the political commissar (chính ủy) and Comrade Phạm Lạc – the Province Unit Commander,
was the deputy commander.” - See Địa Chí Đồng Nai (Đồng Nai Monograph), Tập 3 (Vol 3) – Chương 6,
op.cit., 2001. Phạm Văn Hy (Tư Hy) was also known as Phạm Văn Hiểu; and Phạm Lạc was also known as
Tư Lạc.
556
Translator’s Note: The 1991 D445 History summarised: “After more than a month of vicious fighting
(from 26 March to 31 April 1974), Military Region 7’s Campaign on Route 2 was a resounding victory. We
had over-run 12 of the enemy’s posts on Route 2, retaken the liberated zone from Kim Long to the Bà Cùi
Plantation, and destroyed much of the enemy’s war materiel and strength. These victories had the power to
greatly encourage the fighting spirit and will of 445 Battalion as well as the other local armed forces in that
new revolutionary phase.” The Route 2 Campaign – from 26 March 1974 to mid-May 1974, is detailed in
the Châu Đức District History (2004) - Nguyễn Công Danh …, … Châu Đức District, op.cit., 2004, pp.275278. That work summarised: “After nearly two months of continuous fighting – with the close cooperation
555

166
With a thorough understanding of the Eastern Region Committee’s Resolution, in
March 1974 the Bà Rịa – Long Khánh Province Committee produced a Resolution to
strike and defeat the enemy’s incursions. That Resolution clearly enunciated a plan to:
exploit the combined strengths of the three-pronged attacks, strike deeply into the main
areas, increase the killing of evil thugs and oppressors, and recover control of the people
and secure areas – while at the same time developing our policy of participating in
agriculture and resisting the enemy’s schemes to destroy the crops and steal the people’s
rice. The Province’s armed forces attacked the enemy in the Campaign to liberate Route 2
[sic] – with Đất Đỏ557 as the crux, in order to over-stretch the enemy and liberate a
number of hamlets deep in the base areas and to expand our footholds.
In this phase, on the Long Đất battlefield, 445 Battalion joined with the local
District forces (the 25th Company) and our underground infrastructure in the villages of
Phước Lợi and Hội Mỹ – together with the support of the Military Region’s 18th Sapper
Battalion558, to constantly attack along Routes 44 and 52. As a result, in over a month of
fighting the enemy and participating in the Military Region’s Campaign, the Battalion
and the local armed forces of Long Đất District had attacked and seized three outposts on
Route 44; recovered the Cầu Tum and Nước Ngọt liberated zones; liberated six
kilometres of the Route; supported the local forces to convert 20 hamlets in the weak
category to contested status559; enlisted nearly 100 youths – both male and female, into
our revolutionary armed forces; and assisted our Long Đất District infrastructure to create
an additional local company – with the title of the 26th Company.560 Following this
phase, the enemy’s system of tight control became almost ineffective and no longer as
between all three types of our military forces, Châu Đức District’s revolutionary forces had recovered the
liberated zones from Kim Long to the Bà Cùi Plantation, either wiped out or forced the withdrawal from 12
enemy posts, stopped enemy forces from breaking through, and retained the liberated zones.” The Đồng Nai
Monograph relates: “At the conclusion of the Route 2 Campaign, we had killed 890 enemy, captured 37
prisoners – including a full colonel, six lieutenants/captains, seized 200 weapons and 20 radios, shot down
17 aircraft, destroyed 16 tanks, and liberated Route 2 forcing the withdrawal of 12 enemy posts. The
liberated areas of Bà Rịa–Long Khánh–Biên Hòa were now connected.” – See: Địa Chí Đồng Nai, Tập 3
(Vol 3) – Chương 6, op.cit., 2001. As noted in the earlier footnote 546, according to the Military Region 7
History - 1995, p.49, the following elements participated in the Campaign: 33 rd Regiment, 44th Regiment,
18th Sapper Battalion, 445th Battalion, 25th Company (Long Đất) and the 43rd [sic] Company (Châu Đức).
That History related that the Campaign began on 27 March 1974 and “after three months of fighting, the
first campaign by Military Region 7 in the resistance war against the Americans achieved great victories …
completely liberating 100 [sic] 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.” The Campaign
is also related in Chamberlain, E.P., The 33 rd Regiment … Their Story, op.cit., 2014, pp.112-113.
557
Translator’s Note: Đất Đỏ is not on, nor near, Route 2 – rather it is on Route 23 and Route 52.
558
Translator’s Note: The 18th Sapper Battalion’s participation is mentioned in the Military Region 7
History ie Military Region 7 Headquarters, 50 Năm … (50 Years), op. cit., 1995, p.49; the Đất Đỏ District
History (2006) – see the following footnote; and the 1991 D445 History.
559
Translator’s Note: The Đất Đỏ District History (2006) relates: “In implementation of the District
Committee’s Resolution, on 27 March 1974 the District troops and the guerrillas entered the hamlets to
attack the enemy and – together with the people, destroy and take control of sections of Route 52. On the
night of 20-21 April, the Military Region’s 18th Sapper Battalion coordinated with District troops to attack
and wipe out two platoon-level posts in Ấp Cầu hamlet (Hội Mỹ) and Cầu Tum (Phước Hải). On the same
night, District troops attacked the Dinh Cố post occupied by a company of the 355th Regional Forces
Battalion - wiping out the company headquarters and inflicting heavy casualties on a Regional Forces
company. In May, with the support of 445 Battalion, the District troops concentrated on the task of
attacking the enemy’s bunkers along Route 52 in coordination with the military proselytising activities of
our covert Party Chapters and secret infrastructure. … In this series of operations, the District’s armed
forces and guerrillas surrounded and forced the withdrawal from the Cầu Tum post and four enemy outposts
at Nước Ngọt – liberating six kilometres of Route 44 from Phước Hải to Long Hải.” – p.280.
560
Translator’s Note: While a “26th Company” is similarly mentioned in the 1991 D445 History, it is not
mentioned in the Đất Đỏ History (2006) nor in the earlier Long Đất District History (1986).

167
closely coordinated as before. The number of people who had the opportunity to break
out of the liberated zones to make their living was increasingly expanded. There were
families that stored their produce in huts in their slash-and-burn fields and returned to
sleep in the contested zones. By day, they were the enemy’s - but when night fell, they
were ours.
At the beginning of July 1974, in implementing the Regional Committee’s
Resolution, the Bà Rịa – Long Khánh Province Committee launched a series of Wet
Season operations with the mission of liberating a number of hamlets deep within the
base areas of the Province, expanding our footholds, defeating an enemy system of
bunkers and ambushes, extending our three-pronged attacks to destroy the cruel
oppressors, and increasing our areas of control. 445 Battalion was tasked to strike the
enemy in the principal areas of action.
In commencing the Wet Season campaign in Long Đất District, 445 Battalion was
strengthened with the 25th Company of the District local forces to attack the enemy
operating in Long Phù hamlet (Phước Hải village). Long Phù was a sandy area near the
seaside, with open terrain and only a few stunted trees. The enemy regularly moved
through there to maintain security for the region that they controlled or to site ambushes
against us. In order for us to ambush the enemy, the Battalion modified the terrain by
digging positions to conceal our troops (by “disappearing into the earth”).
On 11 July 1974, the 1st Company of the 356th Regional Forces Battalion fell into
445 Battalion’s ambush at Long Phù hamlet. Our soldiers leapt from their camouflaged
shelters, opened fire simultaneously wiping out the enemy, and swiftly driving them from
the battlefield. We killed 30 enemy on the spot (including a captain, a second lieutenant,
and three aspirant officers), wounded 15, captured 10, and seized 28 weapons of various
types (including four M79s and four “conbats” weapons), two PRC-25 radios, and a large
quantity of military materiel and equipment. For this combat victory, the Battalion was
awarded a Military Feats ((Chiến Công)) Medal 3rd Class.561
Inspired by 445 Battalion’s victory and the active support of the Battalion, the
District troops joined with the village guerrillas to press on strongly with their operations,
attacking the enemy at many of their strongpoints, breaking up their resettlement area at
Tam Phước, blocking the puppet forces attempting to bulldoze and encroach along Routes
23 and 44, and destroying the enemy’s checking and controlling systems. At the same
time, they defeated the enemy’s plan to steal the villagers’ rice.
In August 1974, COSVN re-organised the battlefield, with the Eastern Region still
comprising four provinces: Thủ Dầu Một, Bà Rịa – Long Khánh, Tân Phú, and Biên Hòa.
In September 1974, COSVN held a conference for the whole COSVN area to review the
experiences of attacking the enemy’s pacification program and to agree on the plan for
the 1974-1975 Dry Season.
The Party Committee of 445 Battalion routinely ensured its cadre and soldiers
understood the policies and resolutions of the Province Committee; strongly upheld the
Party’s views on revolutionary violence; asserted as correct our combat tasks in the new
circumstances; exploited a revolutionary spirit of attack; struck against the incursions of
the enemy; supported their countrymen to rise up in the struggle to force the enemy’s
surrender and withdrawal from a series of outposts; and firmly held and further expanded
the liberated zones. Additionally, the Party Committee of the Battalion - and all levels of
561

Translator’s Note: The Đất Đỏ District History (2006) relates: “ … on 11 July 1974, 445 Battalion
coordinated with Long Đất District’s C25 troops to attack the enemy at Long Phù (Long Hải) and wiped out
a Regional Force company, killing 30 enemy (including a captain, a second lieutenant, and three aspirant
officers), wounding 15, capturing 10, seizing 28 weapons of various types – including four M79s, and a
PRC-25 radio. The Battalion was awarded the Military Feats Medal, Class III.”

168
our Party Committees in the units, paid attention to strongly advancing the emulation
movements, and lauded good workers as symbols and models for study. The Committees
also coordinated to maintain an orderly routine of Party, administrative, and communal
activities. They aimed at exploiting the positive attributes of each person - and in all the
communities within a unit, to create a determined resolve to fight and to fulfil their tasks
outstandingly during this period of the revolution’s transition.
On 9 October 1974, 445 Battalion fought an outstanding mobile ambush
operation, defeating the enemy’s operational scheme to break the blockade on Route 23.
In order to achieve this victory, the Battalion had to successfully resolve two core
problems of a mobile ambush – these were: the open terrain, and the intensity of the
enemy’s heavy air and artillery support. As the enemy approached, we opened fire and
surprised them – wiping out a company of their 326th Regional Forces Battalion and
inflicting heavy casualties on another company. We captured two enemy personnel, and
seized 17 weapons and four PRC-25 radios. Our Battalion only suffered three men
wounded – including Comrade Khải, the Battalion second-in-command. Following this
battle, 445 Battalion was awarded a Military Feats Medal 3rd Class.562
It was a year of fighting against the enemy’s incursions and their sabotaging of the
Paris Agreement. However, with the light of the Resolution by the Bà Rịa – Long Khánh
Party Committee and Party Unit, 445 Battalion rapidly overcame all the difficulties and
challenges. We held on resolutely, ready to fight on the most difficult and violent
battlefields. We coordinated with the local forces to take the initiative and effectively
repel the enemy’s encroachment operations. The Battalion’s achievements in forcing
back their incursions created the conditions for the local elements - and those in the Route
2 area, to transition from a passive stance to being able to take the initiative against
pacification and incursions; to consolidate and build their infrastructure; to maintain the
revolutionary movement; and to prepare themselves for a new posture and power in the
stages to follow.
3. Participating in the Hồ Chí Minh Campaign and Liberating Bà Rịa – Long Khánh.
At the end of 1974, the battlefield circumstances in the South had changed
quickly, opening up opportunities to end the war. From 30 September to 8 October 1974,
the Party’s Politburo had met to comprehensively assess the ripening strategic
opportunities and the business of preparations. The meeting produced important
conclusions, and precipitated the bringing forth of a strategic resolution to conclude the
anti-American resistance that had been waged by our people for more than 20 years. This
resolution declared: “Mobilize the greatest strength of the whole Party, the whole
military, and the whole of the people in the two regions in the period 1975 and 1976 to
prepare all aspects and create ripe conditions for a simultaneous General Offensive and
General Uprising to wipe out and disintegrate the puppet forces, to strike down the puppet
authorities from their centre to the local level, and place the power in the hands of the
people, and liberate the South of Vietnam.”563

562

Translator’s Note: The Đất Đỏ District History (2006) similarly relates: “On 9 October 1974, 445
Battalion fought an exemplary battle on Route 23 wiping out the 1 st Company of the 326th Regional Forces
Battalion and inflicting heavy casualties on another company. Enemy dead and wounded numbered nearly
100, five were captured, and 17 weapons and four PRC-25 radios were seized.”
563
Translator’s Note: For the development of the plan, the Politburo meeting, and Lê Duẩn’s speech
summarizing the Politburo’s thinking, see Veith, G.J., Black April, Encounter Books, New York, 2012,
pp.85-89.

169
After attending the conference of the Eastern Region Committee to thoroughly
grasp the Politburo Resolution, on 2 November 1974 the Bà Rịa – Long Khánh Province
Committee quickly met and produced a Resolution on: “Methods, tasks, and measures for
1975 and the final months of 1974”. The Resolution affirmed: “Mobilize the resolve and
the utmost strength of all the Party Chapters, the military and the people of the Province
to firmly grasp the ideology of attacking, speed up three-pronged operations, overthrow
the enemy’s positions and destroy their capability, liberate a number of hamlets and
villages, defeat the enemy’s new pacification and encroachment plans, develop our forces
in every way, completely change the current situation, and achieve the greatest victory in
1975.”
At this time, the puppet Sài Gòn authorities still continued to strengthen their
military, political, and international relations positions, and to wage psychological
warfare activities with the aim of saving the situation. In Bà Rịa – Long Khánh Province,
they strengthened their military police, special police, Police Field Force, and all types of
intelligence elements. They also established teams and groups to tightly guard
government offices, factories, enterprises, churches, pagodas, markets, and schools in
order to block any infiltration activities by our revolutionary forces and to prevent any
uprisings by the people from within. In particular, on the main battlefield of Long Đất, the
puppet military and the puppet authorities coordinated to create a large force to bulldoze
the terrain and make encroachments along Route 23 and to relocate villagers back to Láng
Dài that had gradually moved into our base areas.
From 8 December 1974 to 10 March 1975, the whole Province began to undertake
a series of operations for the 1974-1975 Dry Season. Following the directions of the
Province Committee and Province Unit, 445 Battalion continued its deployment in Long
Đất and coordinated activities with the local District armed forces in that important area.
In implementing the directions of the Committee of the Eastern Nam Bộ Region,
Bà Rịa – Long Khánh Province established a Headquarters to resist and attack the
enemy’s incursions on Route 23. This was led by Comrade Phạm Lạc – the Commander
of the Province Unit, as its Commander; with Comrade Phạm Văn Hy – the Secretary of
the Province Committee, as its Political Commissar; and Comrade Lê Văn Việt – the
Commander of the Long Đất District Unit as its Deputy Commander. The Vanguard
Headquarters for the Campaign was sited at Bờ Đập. Our forces employed in the
Campaign comprised main-force troops from Province, local District troops, and village
guerrillas. Complying with the Province orders, 445 Battalion concentrated its forces in
Area II (in the territory of Phước Long Hội, Long Đất District) with the task of attacking,
surrounding, and forcing the withdrawal of the puppets from the post in Long Mỹ village
(Hội Mỹ) with the aim of expanding the liberated zone to join with the Minh Đạm base
area (Long Đất).564
At this time, there were changes in the organisation of 445 Battalion. Comrade
Khải – the Battalion second-in-command had been killed. Comrades Tư Thuật (the
Battalion Political Officer) and Comrade Ba Cải (a Battalion second-in-command) had
been appointed to the Province Unit. Comrades Nguyễn Tuấn Giải (the Battalion Political
Officer), Lê Văn Tranh, and Sáu Định had gone for training. The Battalion Headquarters
then comprised Comrades : Đào Văn Tổng (Tám Tổng)– the Battalion Commander; Bùi
Chín [sic] – the Battalion Political Officer; Phan Thanh Bình (Bảy Bình) – the Deputy
564

Translator’s Note: According to the Đất Đỏ District History (2006): “On 5 December 1974, the
Vanguard Headquarters and our forces moved secretly to a concentration area in Area 2 (Hội Mỹ, Phước
Lợi). On the afternoon of 7 December, the Headquarters held a pre-operational activity, carefully studied a
terrain model, and read the operational order from the COSVN Military Committee and Headquarters.”

170
Political Officer; Nguyễn Văn Quang – a Battalion second-in-command; and Tư Phát – a
Battalion second-in-command.
On the night of 8 December 1974, the Battalion prepared to attack the Đồn Sập
post and the Đồn Lớn post at Phước Hải village. However, on the first day, we were
unlucky as we were discovered by the enemy before we opened fire. At Đồn Sập, when
our forces were still about 40-50 metres from the enemy, we were discovered and their
firepower rained down on the troops of our 2nd Platoon – disabling the Platoon from the
very first minutes. We suffered five wounded and three comrades killed. At the Phước
Hải post, we were also discovered by the enemy from the start. The engagement dragged
on fiercely until dawn, and many comrades were wounded. Afterwards, the Battalion
reviewed these experiences and sought explanations. It appeared that two nights
previously - when our cadre had gone to examine the site and had infiltrated the position,
they had not swept away their tracks. The enemy had found these and taken defensive
measures – and so we had lost any surprise factor for that engagement.565
On the night of 12-13 December 1974, the Battalion infiltrated into Phước Lợi
village to drive away the puppet quislings, to hold the village by day, and strike the
puppet Regional Forces battalion that would come to break through to save the Popular
Forces platoon in the Phước Lợi post. Just as the Battalion had planned, our companies
occupied the village and awaited the enemy’s approach. The 2nd Platoon of the 2nd
Company was assigned to block access at the beginning of the hamlet - about 300 metres
from the Phước Lợi post. As it was getting light (at about 5.30am) the 2nd Platoon fired a
B40 rocket straight into the puppet Popular Forces platoon that was assembling its troops
for a reconnaissance patrol. In the fight against us, they lost 10 killed and wounded –
including the hamlet chief of Phước Lợi.
On the morning of 13 December 1974, the puppet Regional Forces battalion from
Đất Đỏ came to relieve the blockade. The engagement unfolded as we had expected, and
the enemy withdrew and huddled together in the people’s houses while calling down
heavy artillery fire. Many of the villagers’ houses caught fire and collapsed. Our
companies withdrew into our defences, and exchanged fire back-and-forth until 10am the
next day when we withdrew.566
After more than 20 days of fighting against the enemy’s sweeping and incursion
operations into our liberated zones, 445 Battalion had completed its assigned tasks in an
outstanding manner. In series of large and smaller engagements, the Battalion had
565

Translator’s Note: The Đất Đỏ District History (2006) relates the engagement in greater detail and
somewhat differently - including: “On 8 December 1974, the armed forces in Long Đất opened fire and
attacked the enemy in coordination with the Dry Season Campaign across the whole of the COSVN area.
445 Battalion – together with the 34th Company, attacked the Đồn Lớn and Đồn Sập (Phước Hải) posts. The
25th Company and the Long Hội Mỹ guerrillas attacked the Bờ Đập post, The Province’s 246 th Independent
Company deployed to block enemy reinforcements on Route 52 – in the Phước Lợi area. … On the
morning of 8 December, the enemy deployed three Regional Force companies (of the 308 th and 371st
Battalions) and a platoon of armour down Route 52 to relieve their position. When the enemy’s relief
column had reached the stretch of road between Phước Hòa Long and Phước Lợi, they fell into an ambush
by the Province’s 246th [sic] Company and were fiercely attacked. It was only at midday that day that the
enemy finally reached the posts at Bờ Đập, Đồn Lớn, and Đồn Sập.”
566
Translator’s Note: The Đất Đỏ District History (2006) relates: “On 12 December, the District troops
(C25) again launched an attack on the Bờ Đập post. At the same time, 445 Battalion attacked the Phước Lợi
Sub-Sub-Sector ((phân chi khu)) in order to lure out and destroy the enemy relief forces. As we had
anticipated, the enemy rushed to deploy its 355th Regional Force Battalion and two companies from the
308th Battalion – led by the Bà Rịa Sector Commander, to lift the siege. 445 Battalion swiftly split into
several groups to attack the enemy at Phước Lợi, inflicting heavy casualties on the 1st Company of the
enemy’s 308th Regional Force Battalion. On 13 December, due to an imbalance of forces, our elements had
to withdraw towards Hội Mỹ and Phước Hải to prepare for other engagements.”

171
inflicted many losses on the enemy. In a battle at 10am on 15 December 1974, the
Battalion surrounded and wiped out a company of the 326th Battalion in Long Mỹ village
led by Major Đề in which we seized four PRC-25 radios, 50 weapons of various types,
and captured four of the enemy. The enemy was forced to abandon a number of key
towers along Routes 23 and 52. We drove hundreds of the enemy from the battlefield,
destroyed dozens of bulldozers, and destroyed the organisation of the puppet quisling
administrators in the villages and hamlets, creating the conditions for the people to break
out, work their fields and provide food for the revolution.567
In the campaign against the enemy’s incursions at Láng Dài – although our forces
were unequal in number, 445 Battalion fought against three of the enemy’s Regional
Forces battalions: the 325th, the 355th, and the 302nd. However, due to our courageous
spirit and stamina, 445 Battalion repelled many of the enemy’s sweeping and
encroachment operations, and punished them with a deserved thrashing. With their three
battalions having suffered a series of heavy losses, the enemy was forced to abandon its
intention to make incursions into our liberated zones and our base areas.
In the last days of 1974, the puppet military and civil authorities in Phước Tuy
Province frenetically implemented their resettlement and encroachment operations. They
brought bulldozers and mechanised ploughs and laid waste to the Láng Dài area
(nowadays Láng Dài village of Long Đất District); moved refugees from other places to
establish hamlets; built new posts; and created a defensive belt to block our revolutionary
forces in Area I (south of Route 23, in the area of present-day Long Mỹ and Hội Mỹ
villages). Every day, a puppet Regional Forces battalion cleared the Route for the
enemy’s mechanised vehicles to conduct their bulldozing of the terrain. In a period of two
weeks, they had bulldozed flat tens of thousands of acres568 of jungle.
To destroy the enemy’s plans for incursions and resettlement, 445 Battalion
alternately deployed the 2nd and 3rd Companies to organise attacks on the enemy or
conduct section-level harassments – using their firepower against the enemy’s bulldozers
and causing them to bring their land-clearing to a stand-still. The enemy strengthened
their forces against us, bringing the 308th Regional Forces Battalion from Long An
Province to scour the area and wipe out our blocking positions along the edge of the
jungle in order to protect their bulldozers that continued to flatten the terrain. We were
determined not to allow the enemy to achieve their objective of bulldozing, making
incursions, resettling the people, and setting up posts in violation of the Paris Agreement.
445 Battalion implemented a plan of ambushing and attacking the newly-arrived and
reckless enemy.569
On 16 February 1975, in accord with its usual practice, the puppet 308th Regional
Forces Battalion (Long An) deployed to clear routes and protect the vehicles clearing the
terrain. At 10am, the enemy over-confidently regrouped at the jungle fringe to rest and
eat. 445 Battalion deployed for an attack and surrounded the surprised enemy. The
ensuing engagement was business-like and effective. We wiped out an enemy company,
567

Translator’s Note: The account in the Đất Đỏ District History (2006) is somewhat different: “On the
night of 16-17 December 1974, the 25th Company again attacked the Đồn Lớn post (Phước Hải), and seized
control of two hamlets: Hải Lạc and Hải Trung. From Phước Lợi, the enemy deployed a Regional Force
company as a relieving element, but fell into 445 Battalion’s ambush at Ấp Cầu hamlet and suffered heavy
casualties.”
568
Translator’s Note: Literally “mẫu” – a Vietnamese acre (3,600 square metres).
569
Translator’s Note: The Đất Đỏ District History (2006) relates an engagement in mid-January 1975: “On
two days - 12 and 16 January 1975, 445 Battalion had attacked the enemy clearing Route 23 and inflicted
heavy casualties on the 355th Battalion and two companies of the 308th Battalion. A movement to hunt
enemy armoured vehicles was begun across the whole Battalion. The enemy’s plan to clear Route 23 was
discontinued – on some days they didn’t clear one metre.”

172
captured 10, and seized many enemy weapons and two PRC-25 radios. The remainder of
the enemy fled back to Route 23 and then to their base – and then withdrew straight back
to Long An. From that time, the puppet authorities completely abandoned their intentions
of land-clearing, setting up resettlement hamlets, and building posts in the Láng Dài area.
With the continuous victories of our forces and the people across the whole of the
South in the 1974-1975 Dry Season Campaign – and, in particular, the victory of Phước
Long570 (on 6 January 1975) when for the first time we liberated a province and took
control of a city from a weakening enemy, the Politburo concluded that the balance of
forces on the battlefield had basically changed, had swung towards the side of the
revolution, and we now had the capability to achieve a final victory. They then issued a
strategic resolution: “Completely liberate the South within 1975-1976”. The Politburo
also foresaw that if opportunities arose, then the South could be liberated immediately in
1975.
The Central Highlands Campaign opened victoriously.571 Exploiting our victory,
we continued with a series of campaigns to liberate the delta provinces of Central
Vietnam. In the face of this strategic opportunity, on 25 March 1975, the Party’s
Politburo held a meeting and issued a resolution to liberate the South before the Wet
Season ((April-May)) in 1975.
On 29 March 1975, COSVN’s 15th Conference released their special resolution
that ordered direct and urgent tasks for its whole command. The Resolution affirmed:
“The revolution in the South is evolving in leaps and bounds, developing into a General
Offensive and General Uprising that can bring the whole government into the hands of
the people. We need to exploit the time available - District Committees must focus on
their Districts; Province Committees must concentrate against the Province capitals; and
Regional Committees must direct their efforts against the cities.”
At the beginning of April 1975, the Eastern Region Committee tasked the Bà Rịa
– Long Khánh Province Committee to prepare its forces to coordinate with the 6th
Division572 (of the Eastern Military Region) and the Fourth (IV) Corps to liberate Xuân
Lộc – Long Khánh, and to open the gateway from the north-east to Sài Gòn. Following
this, we were to liberate Bà Rịa and Vũng Tàu – and block the enemy’s withdrawal route
to the sea. Having received the mission from the Regional Committee – and fully
understanding COSVN’s Resolution 15, the Bà Rịa – Long Khánh Committee directed
the Party Chapters and the militias within the Province to prepare their forces, supplies,
and their areas to receive the main-force troops and coordinate with these main-force
elements to attack and rise up with the guidelines of: Districts liberate Districts, and
villages liberate villages”.
570

Translator’s Note: The battle for Phước Long Province – about 120 kilometres north of Sài Gòn and
bordering Cambodia, was waged from 13 December 1974 to 6 January 1975 – see Veith, G.J., Black April,
op.cit., 2012, pp.100-111. The Province capital – Phước Binh, fell on 6 January 1975. The 4th NVA Corps
was the major NVA formation in that Campaign that aimed to test US support to the Republic of Vietnam
following the January 1973 Paris Accords - and when in December 1974, the US Congress passed the
Foreign Assistance Act of 1974 that cut-off all military aid to the Republic of Vietnam.
571
Translator’s Note: The communists’ “2/75 Campaign” in the Central Highlands began on 4 March 1975,
and Ban Mê Thuột was seized on 11 March, for detail, see Veith, G.J., Black April, op.cit., 2012, pp.142170. 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 1975 – p.317; and Đà Nẵng - South
Vietnam’s second-largest city, fell on 29 March 1975 – p.328.
572
Translator’s Note: 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 NVA Regiment, the ‘4th’ ((ie 274th))
VC Regiment, and artillery, sapper and engineer battalions.” - Military Region 7 Headquarters, 50 Năm …
(50 Years), op. cit., 1995.

173
In accordance with the plan of the Province Unit, 445 Battalion struck the enemy
in the area south of Xuân Lộc.573 From 18 to 21 March 1975, 445 Battalion employed
encirclement and encroachment tactics to attack and wipe out a Regional Forces company
located in the post at the Ông Quế rubber plantation (about 10 kilometres west of the 12kilometre mark on Route 2). However, as our encirclement was not tight enough, the
enemy were able to secretly abandon their post and escape in the direction of Route 1.
Although their flight was discovered by 445 Battalion and we pursued them, we were not
able to inflict heavy casualties on them. Ông Quế village became the first village to have
been liberated in the 1975 Spring Campaign on the Bà Rịa – Long Khánh battlefield.574
With the momentum of that victory, 445 Battalion advanced across Route 2 and
liberated the hamlets of Bảo Bình 1 and Bảo Bình 2, and wiped out the enemy at Lò Than
Hill. We continued the attack towards Route 1 and liberated the hamlet of Bảo Hòa.575
In the following days in the middle of April 1975, 445 Battalion attacked the
enemy at Bảo Thị, Bảo Liệt, and the Gia Liêu Bridge etc on Route 1.576 445 Battalion’s
Translator’s Note: 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.” - Trần Văn Tra, Vietnam: History of the Bulwark B2 Theatre – Vol 5: Concluding the 30Years War, Văn Nghệ Publishing House, Hồ Chí Minh City, 1982, p.148.
574
Translator’s Note: The D440 Battalion History (2011) relates: “On 22 March 1975, the Cao Su District
troops coordinated with the 3rd Company of 445 Battalion and continued to surround and attack the enemy
in the Ông Quế post.” That History also adds that: “On 8 April 1975, the Standing Committee of the Region
Committee decided to divide the Bà Rịa-Long Khánh Party Chapter into three Party Chapters ie: Bà Rịa,
Long Khá h, and the Vũng Tàu City Committee (directly subordinate to the Region Committee). Comrade
Phạm Văn Hy was appointed as the Secretary of the Vũng Tàu City Committee, with Comrade Lê Minh Hà
as the Bà Rịa Secretary.” 445 Battalion’s “liberation” of Ông Quế on 21 March – with Cao Su District
elements, is also related in Đặng Tấn Hướng (ed), Lịch Sử Đấu Tranh Cách Mạng Của Huyện Xuân Lộc
(The History of the Revolutionary Struggle in Xuân Lộc District), Nhà Xuẩt Bản Đồng Nai, Biên Hòa,
1985, p.98.
575
Translator’s Note: According to a memoir, on 9 April 1975, “445 Battalion joined with the 9 th Battalion
(209th Regiment of the 7th Division) to attack and destroy two enemy battalions (3 rd/48th Regiment, 209th RF
Battalion) at Suối Cát.” – Phạm Thanh Quang , “Đập tan cánh cửa thép Xuân Lộc 1975 - Ký sự lịch sử”.
The 1991 D445 History relates the early part of the Campaign in greater detail: “445 Battalion – together
with K8 (Xuân Lộc), the 34th Company, the 41st Company (both of Châu Đức), and the 207th Company
(Cao Su District) formed a force equivalent to a regiment and - led personally by Comrade Phạm Văn Còn
(the deputy chief-of-staff of the Province Unit), joined the attack to liberate Xuân Lộc from the south. … At
5am on 9 April 1975, our main column began its attack on Xuân Lộc. To the north and west, we had won
great victories. In the east however, we were blocked by the enemy and suffered many casualties. In the
south, 445 Battalion significantly wore down two enemy battalions from Suối Cát (the 3rd Battalion of the
48th Regiment and the 234th [sic] Regional Forces Battalion) that had tried to break through to the Town. At
the same time, we seized the hamlet of Bảo Toàn. Each day, the encirclement of Xuân Lộc tightened. After
four days of unsuccessful attacks on Xuân Lộc, our forces in the north and the east were ordered to
withdraw from the Town and to change our methods of attack.” Phạm Văn Còn is also referred to as the
Chief of Staff of the Bà Rịa-Long Khánh Province Unit commanding the “Southern Front Headquarters” at
Cẩm Mỹ - see 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 (The Xuân Lộc-Long Khánh Victory), Nhà Xuẩt Bản Tồng Hợp Đồng Nai, Biên Hòa, 2004,
pp.185-189. He is possibly Phạm Văn Cõn – b. Long Phước 1941, probationary Party member 1963,
platoon 2ic/1st Company/445 Battalion in May 1965 – CDEC Log 12-2394-66.
576
Translator’s Note: According to the History of the Armed Forces of Đồng Nai: “To the south of the
Town, 445 Battalion firmly held the area of Bảo Hòa and Bảo Toàn and drove back the enemy’s counterattacks at the Gia Liêu Bridge and Bảo Thị – capturing 117 and seizing a large quantity of weapons and
military equipment.” Trần Thị Minh Hoàng (foreword), The History of the Armed Forces of Đồng Nai
Province, op.cit. 1999.
573

174
principal task was to block the east-southeast flank of Xuân Lộc from the Suối Cát Bridge
to the Tân Phong crossroads and not allow the enemy fleeing from Central Vietnam join
up with the enemy who were making a last-ditch defence at Xuân Lộc. In this series of
operations, 445 Battalion attacked and significantly wore down two enemy battalions (the
234th Regional Forces Battalion, and the 3rd Battalion of the 48th Task Force of the
puppet’s main-force 18th Division). Apart from the enemy killed, 445 Battalion captured
117 of the defeated remnants, and seized 43 radios of various types. These victories had
great significance for the Campaign, hobbling the enemy so that our great army577 on the
main axis was able to take the tactical advantage and concentrate its forces to break up the
puppet military’s strong defensive line in the north-east and to then advance to liberate
Sài Gòn.578
Judging that the enemy had the capability to withdraw and abandon Long Khánh,
the Province Unit sent a radio message to 445 Battalion directing the Battalion to deploy
back to Route 2 and block the fleeing enemy. To block the enemy in time, the cadre and
soldiers of 445 Battalion had to both walk and run for tens of kilometres through the
rain.579 This was difficult and strenuous, but everyone was enthusiastic and determined to
contribute to the common victory of the whole of the Province, the whole of the Region,
and the whole of the country. On the afternoon of 20 April 1975, the complete Battalion
had fully regrouped at its determined positions and set an ambush to block the enemy at
the Letter-C and Letter-S locations ((on Route 2)).
Our blocking positions on Route 2 – which incorporated the local District troops,
stretched over 10 kilometres from the area of the Letter-S bends to the Quang Minh
Plantation. At 11pm on 21 April 1975, a convoy of mixed vehicles – comprising hundreds
of vehicles with tanks and armoured vehicles leading, escaped from Long Khánh down
Route 2. Because our troops were over-tired and fell asleep, the Battalion allowed the first

577

Translator’s Note: In a footnote, the 1991 D445 History summarises: “For the attack on Xuân Lộc, our
participating forces were more than a corps in strength and attacked the enemy from four directions:
from the east: the 7th Division (of 4 Corps);
from the north: the 341st Division (of 4 Corps);
from the west: the 6th Division (of Military Region 7); and
from the south: the armed forces of Bà Rịa–Long Khánh.”
578
Translator’s Note: For the 1975 Xuân Lộc Campaign see: Veith, G.J., Black April, op.cit., 2012, pp.455461; and 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 Lộc-Long Khánh (The Xuân Lộc-Long Khánh
Victory), op.cit., 2004. Phạm Văn Hy was the Secretary of the Bà Rịa-Long Khánh Province Committee in
the period September 1972-1975 (b. Phạm Bàng, 1931, Nam Định; died Vũng Tàu 30 April 2010). For the
defence of Xuân Lộc, see: Veith, G.J. and Pribbenow, M.L. II, “Fighting is an Art: The Army of the
Republic of Vietnam’s Defense of Xuân Lộc - 9-21 April 1975”, The Journal of Military History, Vol 8,
No.1, January 2004, pp.163-213. The article includes clear annotated maps of key locations and
deployments. 445 Battalion’s participation in the Xuân Lộc campaign is also related in 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 ..., op.cit., 2004., pp.161-164.
579
Translator’s Note: According to the Long Khánh Town Party History, “it rained heavily on the afternoon
of 19 April ((1975)). Captain Phạm Văn Còn ((see footnotes 532 and 575)) – commanding the local forces,
deployed the K8 Xuân Lộc unit and the 2nd Company of 445 Battalion from Bảo Bình back to Route 2. On
20 April, our forces destroyed two Regional Force units at the Letter-S and Letter-C locations (Route 2) and
then deployed to block the fleeing enemy. The 3rd Company of 445 Battalion had to move tens of
kilometres [sic] from Bảo Hòa to strike the enemy at Con Rắn Mountain. Faced by the 3rd Company’s
strong attack, the enemy ran helter-skelter. We killed 83 enemy, and seized two 105mm artillery pieces.” Trần Quang Toại & Phan Đình Dũng, Lịch sử … (The History of the Party in Long Khánh Town 19302007), op.cit., 2009, p.159.

175
groups of the withdrawing enemy to pass – and could only use the Battalion’s mortars to
fire into the ranks of the withdrawing enemy.580
At 4am on 21 [sic] April 1975, the large fleeing enemy group reached the area of
the Quang Minh Plantation. Châu Đức District’s C41 Company581 – the forward element
of our ambush, set fire to two tanks and captured a number of the enemy – including
Phạm Văn Phúc, the Long Khánh Province Chief.582 Next, 445 Battalion together with the
C41 Company of Châu Đức District continued to pursue and attack the fleeing enemy,
capturing some of the remnants and seizing weapons and equipment etc. We took
complete control of a stretch of Route 2 from Xuân Lộc to Xà Bang which we held until
the launch of the Hồ Chí Minh Campaign. The “steel gate”583 of Xuân Lộc had been
shattered completely, and the gateway from the east into Sài Gòn had been opened.584
President Nguyễn Văn Thiệu was forced to resign and to pass power to Trần Văn Hương.
The puppet government and authorities were in chaos. Their General Staff was crippled –
with the general officers abandoning their responsibilities and their units to find a way to
flee overseas. A psychology of despair overwhelmed the whole of the puppet forces and
puppet administration.
At this time, in Bà Rịa and in Vũng Tàu, the enemy’s forces were still almost
intact. Apart from the Regional Forces, the police, the soldiers at the Vạn Kiếp Training
Center and the Trại Nhái camp ((Vũng Tàu)), and the troops of the Region 3 Coastal
Headquarters, there were still a large number of their remnants from several places that
580

Translator’s Note: On 21 April, the South Vietnamese forces abandoned Xuân Lộc Town and withdrew
southward down Route 2 through Phước Tuy Province. PAVN General Trần Văn Tra related: “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.” Trần Văn Tra, Vietnam: History of the Bulwark B2 Theatre, op.cit., 1982, p.176.
581
Translator’s Note: According to the Châu Đức District History (2004): “On 6 April 1975 in the Hắc
Dịch base, in response to requests and a new task, Châu Đức District’s 41st Company was re-formed – with
Comrade Bảy Cao as the company commander, and Comrade Châu as its political officer.” - Nguyễn Công
Danh …, … Châu Đức District, op.cit., 2004. The consolidation of C41 Company on 6 April 1975 in the
Hắc Dịch area - under Aspirant Officer Lương Văn Cao (Bảy Cao) - and detail on the fighting on Route 2,
is related in Mai Thanh Xuân, “Bắt Đại Tá …”, op.cit., 2004.
582
Translator’s Note: According to the 1991 D445 History: “The fate of Colonel (Ranger) Phạm Văn Phúc
– the Province Chief of Long Khánh, was also decided immediately in the field by those whom he had
oppressed.” - Chamberlain, E.P., … D445: Their Story, op.cit., 2011, p.95. The capture of Colonel Phúc –
including a photograph, is related in an article that also includes detail on the fighting on Route 2. - Danh
Trường, “Bắt Sống Tỉnh Trưởng Long Khánh – 1975” (“Long Khánh Province Chief captured alive”),
Đồng Nai, 19 April 2010; and also related in Mai Thanh Xuân, “Bắt Đại Tá …”, op.cit., 2004. Following
several years of post-War “re-education”, Colonel Phúc immigrated to the US in about 2002.
583
Translator’s Note: The term - “steel gate/door” (“cánh cửa thép”) ie blocking the NVA/VC’s northeastern approaches to Sài Gòn, was apparently coined by the commander of the 18 th ARVN Division,
Brigadier General Lê Minh Đảo. The 1991 D445 History included a D445 soldier’s poem: “We stand
dauntless and dignified beneath the Xuân Lộc sky. The ‘steel gate’ was burst wide-open with lightning
speed by our feet.”
584
Translator’s Note: For an ARVN account of the withdrawal on Route 2, see Hứa Yến Lến, Colonel
(Chief of Staff, 18th ARVN Division), The Line of Steel at Xuân Lộc (Long Khánh), Seattle, 5 February
1988 - ie: On 20 April 1975, the headquarters and elements of the 18 th 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 Long Bình to receive new equipment and
replacements.” According to Colonel Lến, 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: 5,000-6,000 killed or wounded, and 37 armoured vehicles
destroyed.” – VCAT Item No.3670101001.

176
had come from Central Vietnam and from Xuân Lộc – with the total numbering about
22,000. All of these forces were under the command of a brigadier – the commander of
the puppet Marines, Bùi Thế Lan, who had established a defensive line and last-ditch
defence while they sought opportunities to flee by sea.
On 23 April 1975, at the Cấm Mỹ base, Comrade Lê Minh Nguyện (the Deputy
Secretary of the Province Committee) and Comrade Nguyễn Minh Ninh (the Deputy
Commander of the Province Unit) representing the Bà Rịa – Long Khánh Province
Committee and the Province Unit met with the Headquarters of the 3rd Sao Vàng
((Yellow Star)) Division to produce a coordinated plan to liberate Phước Tuy Province
and Vũng Tàu. The agreed plan was in two phases: Phase I was to liberate the town of Bà
Rịa and the whole of Phước Tuy, and to seize the Cỏ May Bridge585; and Phase 2 was to
liberate Vũng Tàu. The Commander of the 3rd Sao Vàng Division gave his orders for the
fighting at 1200hrs on 26 April 1975 – at exactly the same time the campaign to liberate
Sài Gòn – Gia Định was titled as “The Hồ Chí Minh Campaign”.
After deferring H-hour three times to allow units time to get closer to their targets,
at 1700hrs on 26 April 1975, 19 heavy artillery guns of the Division simultaneously fired
at targets in the Phước Tuy Sector and the training centre at Vạn Kiếp – at the same time,
this was the signal to begin the attack to liberate Bà Rịa and Vũng Tàu.
While the 3rd Division attacked the Sub-Sector at Đức Thạnh586 and Bà Rịa
587
Town , the Province’s armed forces were given the task of launching the main attacks in
the two districts of Long Điền and Đất Đỏ. In accord with the tactical plan of the Bà Rịa
Province Unit, 445 Battalion divided into two forces. The first – comprising two of our
companies (the 1st and the 3rd Companies) and an element of our 4th Company combined
with Châu Đức District’s C41 Company, attacked Long Điền Town. The second –
comprising 445 Battalion’s 2nd Company and the remaining elements of the 4th Company,
coordinated with two companies of Long Đất District to attack and liberate Đất Đỏ.
At about 1800hrs on 26 April, the 1st and 3rd Companies of 445 Battalion attacked
Long Điền at the Long Điền T-Junction and the District Headquarters centre. After about
20 minutes of overpowering fire, our infantry simultaneously assaulted. The enemy’s
resistance was weak, so by 0900hrs in the morning our troops had taken complete control
of Long Điền Town – capturing hundreds of prisoners and seizing weapons. Our second
group was to attack the District Headquarters centre and the Đất Đỏ police station.
However, when they reached An Nhứt they heard that the enemy in Đất Đỏ had
disintegrated - so that group turned around and returned to Long Điền.
Both of the Battalion’s groups – in coordination with the local force companies of
Châu Đức and Long Đất Districts, had outstandingly completed the Phase I tasks of the
Campaign as assigned to us by the Province Unit and the Province Committee. Two
companies of 445 Battalion (the 1st and 2nd Companies) occupying the Long Điền T585

Translator’s Note: The Cỏ May Bridge – located at YS 379572, was a major bridge on Route 15 from Bà
Rịa Town to Vũng Tàu City. About five kilometres south of Bà Rịa, it crossed a river estuary surrounded by
mangroves. Post-War, a major PAVN/PLAF memorial was erected at the Cỏ May Bridge.
586
Translator’s Note: The Châu Đức District History (2004) notes: “At dawn on 27 April 1975, the 12 th
Regiment (of the 3rd Division) took control of the Đức Thạnh Sub-Sector, and then continued to advance
south and seized the Long Lễ Sub-Sector.” Nguyễn Công Danh …, … Châu Đức District, op.cit., 2004.
587
Translator’s Note: The D440 Battalion History (2011) notes: “The 3 rd Division’s 141st Regiment –
reinforced with the 4th Tank Company and the 5th Battalion also completed its task of seizing Bà Rịa Town
at 5.30am on 27 April 1975. According to the Đất Đỏ District History (2006): “The 141st Regiment was
strengthened with the 4th Tank Company and the 5th Infantry Battalion to move through the jungle to Hắc
Dịch and then attack straight into Bà Rịa Town and the Vạn Kiếp Training Centre – after which a column
drove along Route 15 (present-day National Route 51) and seized the Cỏ May Bridge.” – Đặng Tấn Hương,
Lịch Sử Đấu Tranh … Huyện Đất Đỏ (1930-2005), op.cit., 2006, p.287.

177
Junction had completely destroyed the enemy remnants fleeing from Vạn Kiếp and Bà
Rịa Town who had intended to regroup and resist in that area. We held that
communications zone firmly (Route 44 and Route 23), ensuring that the 3rd Division’s
units were able to continue their advance down to Long Hải and Phước Tỉnh and create a
springboard for the liberation of Vũng Tàu.
Having completely liberated the Bà Rịa area, on 28 April 1975 the Campaign
Headquarters decided to use the 3rd Sao Vàng Division and 445 Battalion to achieve
Phase II of the Campaign by liberating Vũng Tàu from two directions: by land, and by
sea.
The enemy had destroyed the Cỏ May Bridge on 27 April and developed a
defensive line there with the aim of blocking our attacks. The 3rd Sao Vàng Division
Headquarters decided to advance by: secretly crossing the Cửa Lấp River into Vũng Tàu
and also breaking through frontally on Route 51 ((ie Route 15)) with the Division’s fire
support. While the group crossing the Cỏ May River struck difficulties and suffered
casualties from a determined enemy counter-attack, the group crossing the Cửa Lấp River
had quite favourable circumstances as they were assisted by local villagers who guided
them. The people mobilised 50 fishing boats from Phước Tỉnh village to ferry the troops
across the river. After the 12th [sic] Regiment of the 3rd Division had crossed the river, a
detachment attacked Phước Thạnh village – isolating the enemy’s defensive line from the
Cỏ May Bridge to Cây Khế, and creating the conditions for the 3rd Battalion of the Sao
Vàng’s 2nd [sic] Regiment to attack and destroy the enemy’s defences to the south of the
Cỏ May Bridge, forcing the enemy to flee in panic back into Vũng Tàu.
With the momentum of the attack by the 3rd Sao Vàng Division, the 445 Battalion
Headquarters swiftly took the opportunity for part of the Headquarters and its 1st
Company to cross the Cỏ May River and advance into Vũng Tàu. The Battalion
coordinated with Party, militia, and political elements to seize and occupy the abandoned
enemy bases and installations, to mobilize the people to rise up and take control, pursue
and capture the enemy remnants, to seize weapons and military equipment, and to protect
the vital installations of Vũng Tàu City (such as the Electricity Generating Station, the
Central Hospital, and the water reticulation system).588 At 1130am on 30 April 1975, the
town of Vũng Tàu had essentially been liberated, and there were only a number of
stubborn enemy groups still resisting. The most difficult and determined resistance was
by a group in a strongpoint in the Palace Hotel. There, about 450 enemy had assembled as
a last resort – both officers and soldiers. These defeated thugs - in a last-ditch effort, were
still hoping to find a way to escape. The enemy were very wicked and had detained
refugees as hostages in the Hotel’s lower floors as a barrier and had constructed final
defences on the upper floors that included heavy machineguns, M79 grenade launchers,
and grenades. These weapons were sited in strongpoints, bunkers, and windows – and
caused us many casualties.
At midday on 30 April 1975 – when President Dương Văn Minh announced the
unconditional surrender and called upon the puppet officers and soldiers to lay down their
weapons, the enemy in the Palace Hotel continued to stubbornly resist. The 6th Battalion
of the 3rd Sao Vàng Division focused its firepower on the enemy on the upper floors. This
created the conditions for an element to fire through the windows on the lower floors,
wiping out the enemy there, and - using explosives to break through the entrances on the
lower floors, to escort the people out. It was only at 13.30hrs on 30 April 1975, that the
588

Translator’s Note: The 1991 D445 Battalion History includes only a very brief mention of the
Battalion’s participation in operations to seize Vũng Tàu ie: “On 29 April, 445 Battalion joined with the 3 rd
Division to liberate Vũng Tàu. The Battalion attacked the puppet’s 4 th Marine Battalion - and at 10am on 30
April, the liberation flag flew over the enemy’s Hoàng Hoa Thám base at Vũng Tàu …”.

178
enemy at the Hotel decided to put down their weapons, fly a white flag, and surrender.
The town of Vũng Tàu was then completely liberated.
On 1 May 1975, Major General Lê Trọng Tấn589 – the representative of the
General Staff and the Commander of the Coastal Zone, met with the representatives of
the Eastern Region Committee, the 3rd Sao Vàng Division, the Forward Headquarters of
the Vietnamese Navy, and the Vũng Tàu City Military Administration Committee to
discuss ways of liberating the island of Côn Đảo.590 Accepting this task, 445 Battalion
assigned Comrade Nguyễn Văn Quang – the Battalion second-in-command, to lead our
1st Company to participate in the operation, together with the 6th Battalion of the Sao
Vàng Division. The force embarked on three naval vessels to liberate Côn Đảo.
After three days at sea, the vessels carrying the liberation group landed on Côn
Đảo. At this stage, the situation on the Island had stabilized as the political prisoners had
risen up and liberated themselves during the night of 30 April with the assistance of a
number of civil officials and prison guards who had long been sympathetic to the
revolution and the communists. Cadre and soldiers of 445 Battalion’s 1st Company were
ordered to remain and defend the Island and the people, and to organise for boats to
transport the political prisoners back to the mainland.
*

*

*

15 years of fighting in the resistance war of salvation against the Americans was a
long road – full of tough challenges for the cadre and soldiers of 445 Battalion. Having
been raised as a Province concentrated unit with a mobile role to attack the enemy in the
main areas - and facing the most violent difficulties, 445 Battalion always had to contend
with battle-tested American forces, Australian vassal troops, and a great number of
puppet forces in our area of operations. Nevertheless, with an extra-ordinary and resolute
firmness of purpose and unsurpassable and courageous sacrifices by all levels of cadre
and soldiers, the Battalion combined with higher-level main-force units, District armed
forces, and village guerrillas, to successively defeat: the dangerous tactical tricks of the
Australian military; the strategic hamlet and pacification programs of the Americans and
their puppets throughout their strategies of “Limited War” and the “Vietnamization of the
War”; and the stubborn encroachment operations of the puppet forces after 1973. In
particular, the Battalion knew to rely on the people, and exploited the people’s strength to
multiply our own strengths. The great combat feats of the Battalion in the fighting
contributed importantly to maintaining the revolution’s bases, liberated zones, and the
local revolutionary movement. It created the conditions to expand the local people’s war
to a higher level that became the General Offensive. The General Offensive and Uprising
contributed – together with the militia of the whole country, to achieving the very great
victory of the General Offensive and Uprising of Spring 1975 that completely liberated
589

Translator’s Note: During the Spring 1975 Offensive, Lê Trọng Tấn (d. 1986) was the commander of the
Huế - Đà Nẵng Campaign and then commander of the 2nd Corps/Coastal Zone force that swept southwards
towards Xuân Lộc and Sài Gòn.
590
Translator’s Note: As noted, Côn Đảo is a small archipelago in the South China Sea about 185
kilometres south of Vũng Tàu - with its largest island being Côn Sơn (Poulo Condore – 52 sq km). The
islands were used as a prison by the French for political prisoners from 1861 - and subsequently by
successive South Vietnamese Governments, see footnote 244. In September 1973, the Spratly Islands
(Trường Sa) and Côn Đảo were incorporated into Phước Tuy Province Sector, and Regional Force
companies were stationed on several of the islands. In April 1975, there were about 7,000 prisoners on Côn
Đảo. The prisoners broke out and seized most of the Island on 1 May 1975. On 5 May, units of the 3rd Sao
Vàng Division landed on Côn Đảo, completing its occupation.

179
Bà Rịa – Long Khánh Province. This contributed towards the liberation of the South and
the unification of the country.591
*
*

*

The Victory at Long Mỹ – Wiping Out the 4th Company/356th RF Battalion 15-2-1973
(see f.544, f.545) – Source: Võ Văn Cầm - Director, “Trưởng thành từ trong chiến đấu” “Coming-of-age during combat”, Bà Rịa - Vũng Tàu Television, 4 November 2014.

591

Translator’s Note: A 2006 media article summarised 445 Battalion’s combat achievements: “In the
resistance war against the Americans, 445 Battalion wiped out more than 10,000 of the enemy (including
1,700 American and vassal troops), destroyed 120 military vehicles, shot down 20 aircraft, and seized more
than 1,800 weapons of various types …” Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Communist Party Magazine, “Một Ngày ở Tiểu
đoàn 445” (“A Day at 445 Battalion”), 21 June 2006. Note: 445 Battalion was formally deactivated in 2008.

180

PART TWO
445 Battalion in the Task of Building and Defending the Fatherland
(1975-2004)
Chapter 1

Defending the Government and the Revolution; Pursuing and Driving
Away the Puppet Remnants; and our International Duty (1975-1989)
1. Pursuing and Driving Away the Enemy Military Remnants, Defending the
Government, Stabilising Order and Security.
After 30 April 1975, the Districts of the old Bà Rịa Province (Châu Thành, Long
Đất, Châu Đức, and Xuyên Mộc) remained within the battlefield organisation of Bà Rịa –
Long Khánh – apart from Vũng Tàu which was a city directly subordinate to the Eastern
Military Region.
At the beginning of 1976, Bà Rịa and Vũng Tàu were incorporated – together with
Long Khánh and Biên Hòa, as part of Đồng Nai Province. The island District of Côn Đảo
came under the administrative control of Hậu Giang Province.592
This division of administrative control had a direct influence on 445 Battalion’s
combat missions and its work in building the local armed forces in general and the
Battalion in particular.
With a high sense of responsibility, the cadre and soldiers of the Battalion
rigorously implemented the instructions and orders from the higher authorities in matters
of taking over, recovering, and protecting the economic agencies, the system of
warehouses, and the rear bases left by the enemy. The most important of these were the
electricity installations, water reticulation systems, hospitals, and public offices in the
cities – and the situation was very complicated. A large number of the puppet military and
puppet authorities had surrendered in-place, some had arrived from other places and were
still in hiding, others had not yet reported for study and re-education – and there were
even still many organising armed resistance. Accordingly, the responsibilities of the
Province armed forces were very onerous. 445 Battalion was tasked as the Province
concentrated mobile force to be the nucleus to engage the stubborn puppet military and
puppet authorities who still held a desire to oppose the people and were bent on
resistance. The Battalion was to establish firm bases for the revolutionary administration
and the people in order that they might concentrate on building upon and protecting the
fruits of the recently-won revolution. 445 Battalion actively participated in the building
and training of the District militia forces and guerrillas in the local areas in which the
Battalion was located with the aim of protecting the infrastructure.
On 8 June 1975, the COSVN Military Committee promulgated Directive No. 27CT-75 on the pursuit and re-education of enemy officers and soldiers. That Directive
clearly stated: “We must resolutely attack and wipe out the ringleader groups of the
enemy that are still stubbornly hiding among the people and in the jungle. At the same
time, in accordance with the lenient policy of the revolution, we will establish re592

Translator’s Note: In January 1976, Phước Tuy (Bà Rịa) Province was incorporated into Đồng Nai
Province – with the Province capital at Biên Hòa. On 12 August 1991, several districts were detached and
the current Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province was established.

181
education camps for the puppet officers and soldiers and puppet authorities who had erred
and lost their way so that they can become honest citizens.”
Accordingly, the task of pursuing the enemy’s military remnants, and gathering
and managing individuals for re-education593 was the priority and most important task for
the armed forces in general and for 445 Battalion in particular.
Before 30 April 1975, Bà Rịa – Long Khánh contained a large number of the Sài
Gòn regime’s special forces and their most well-trained troops such as the 18th Division
stationed in Long Khánh, the Special Forces Training Centre (Chí Linh), and the NonCommissioned Officers’ Training Centre (Vạn Kiếp) etc. Additionally, there were still
the quisling spy organisations, the police, the Pheonix and White Swan intelligence
groups, and the Rural Development Cadre who had defended the south-eastern gateway
to Sài Gòn and the communications life-lines to the sea at Vũng Tàu. For these reasons,
the number of puppet soldiers and authorities who had surrendered in-place was quite
large (about 100,000). In that number, there was still a large proportion who had not
reported to the revolutionary administration (the majority of whom were wicked officers
who had a blood debt to the people). These people took the opportunity to hide in
religious zones and places that were difficult to access such as jungle areas in Xuyên
Mộc, the Minh Đạm Mountains (Long Đất), the Núi Nhỏ Mountain (Vũng Tàu), the Núi
Dinh – Núi Thị Vải Mountains (Bà Rịa), and the island of Long Sơn. The enemy’s
operational scheme was to make contact and consolidate their forces in order to conduct
activities to cause trouble, conduct sabotage, and to disrupt public order. They would also
conduct propaganda activities to discredit the regime etc. Most common were
indiscriminate shootings and sniping, stealing property, throwing grenades into crowded
places, and assassinating our cadre by poisoning their food.594*
In implementing the Directive of the COSVN Military Committee, the COSVN
Headquarters and Military Region 7 Headquarters reinforced the units of Bà Rịa – Long
Khánh in order to begin a campaign to pursue the enemy’s military remnants. The forces
conducting pursuit operations in the Vũng Tàu area comprised: an element of the 33rd
Regiment (a main-force Military Region formation); 445 Battalion (Bà Rịa – Long Khánh
Province), a company of military police, a reconnaissance section of the Vũng Tàu City
Unit, and a guerrilla militia force from the quarters and the wards595 of the City.
The pursuit phase in Vũng Tàu was conducted in June 1975 in the following
areas: Núi Lớn Mountain, Núi Nhỏ Mountain, and the jungle areas of Chí Linh and Gò
Găng etc.
445 Battalion had only just emerged from a violent war, and while its mood was
very elated, personnel desired to return to their families and home villages after many

593

Translator’s Note: Colonel Nguyễn Bá Trước (b. 1922) – the Phước Tuy Province Chief from September
1967 to September 1970, underwent re-education in a camp in Hà Nam Ninh Province (northern Vietnam)
from early June 1975 until his release on 9 September 1987. Soon after, he left Vietnam under the
UNHCR’s Orderly Departure Program (ODP). VCAT Item No.1849048040000. The ODP was initiated in
1979, and by 1998 about 623,000 Vietnamese had reportedly left Vietnam under the Program (about 74% to
the US, 3.1% to France – and 7.5% to Australia). Phước Tuy Province Chiefs from 1964 to April 1975 were
successively: Lê Đức Đạt, Nguyễn Bá Trước, Nguyễn Văn Tú, Trần Đình Bích, Huỳnh Bửu Sơn, and Phạm
Ngọc Lân. Colonel Lê Đức Đạt was killed in action on 24 April 1972 in Kontum Province while serving as
the commander of the 22nd Infantry Regiment/commander of the Tân Cảnh Front.
594
* On 18 May 1975, the enemy used poison to assassinate cadre in Vũng Tàu – killing one person and
seriously poisoning two others.
595
Translator’s Note: In urban or built-areas, administrative divisions were termed: Khóm – equivalent to a
rural hamlet, and Phường or Khu Phố (Ward or Quarter) – equivalent to a village. Quận (District) was
common to towns and the countryside.

182
years away. However, because of the duty requirements, they had to continue to carry
their weapons into battle.
In a period of only one month, 445 Battalion combined with allotted
reinforcements and local District troops to conduct 18 armed pursuit operations in the
main areas, capturing 118 individuals, seizing a 60mm mortar, an M79, seven light
machineguns, two pistols, and a mine. Following those pursuit operations, the
revolutionary administration quickly assessed those detained – immediately releasing 60
of the 118 suspects, to avoid creating any alarm among the people.
In the first pursuit phase in Bà Rịa – Long Khánh, quite successful results were
achieved. However, the armed resistance was not completely wiped out, and they
continued minor activities. They continued to exploit our weak spots and oppose the
revolution.
At the end of 1975, COSVN Headquarters, Military Region 7 Headquarters, and
the Military Headquarters of the Provinces of Biên Hòa and Bà Rịa – Long Khánh
launched three campaigns against the military remnants. The Provinces of Biên Hòa and
Bà Rịa – Long Khánh were divided into four main areas:
- Area 1: Hố Nai, Dầu Giây, Gia Kiệm.
- Area 2: Route 2, Long Khánh, the Ông Đồn T-Junction.
- Area 3: Lạc An, Đại An, Tân Uyên, Bà Đã Stream.
- Area 4: Núi Dinh, Thị Vải, Vũng Tàu.
In Area 4, we deployed our forces from 31 October 1975 (apart from in Vũng Tàu
where we began on 3 November as our preparations were not yet complete). 445
Battalion – together with the militia and guerrillas of the hamlets and villages, sought out
the enemy in the areas of the Núi Dinh Mountains, the Núi Thị Vải Mountains, and the
Minh Đạm Mountains. Next, we changed direction to sweep the region of the Sông Vĩnh
River agricultural worksite - including both within that area and outside in the jungle, but
we did not discover any enemy remnants. According to a number of Military Region 7
reports, from 7 to 10 November 1975 in Area 4, we captured 26 enemy who had hidden
themselves among the people.
To summarise the series of pursuit operations from 30 April to 15 December
1975, in the whole of Bà Rịa – Long Khánh, 445 Battalion combined with higher units
and our militia and guerrillas of the villages and the town wards to conduct hundreds of
pursuit operations – both large and small, capturing hundreds of surrendered soldiers and
seizing a large quantity of military equipment. 21,274 puppet soldiers were rounded up together with 9,490 puppet administrators, and all were taken to undergo study and reeducation.596
At the end of 1975, we implemented the Directive of the COSVN Military
Committee and the Military Region 7 Headquarters ordering the Provinces to boost the
mobilisation of the people to participate in the pursuit operations. Working groups were
established within 445 Battalion and a broad series of propaganda activities were
conducted among the people in areas where the Battalion was stationed. We actively
participated in building strong administrative organisations and called upon the people to
find under-cover counter-revolutionary individuals who aimed to hide within the ranks of
596

Translator’s Note: According to the D440 Battalion History (2011): “In Bà Rịa-Long Khánh, there was
one combined camp – comprising four camps in the area of Hoàng Diệu (the rear base of the 43rd Regiment
of the 18th Division) and a camp in the area behind Chứa Chan Mountain and the Rừng Lá area (Xuân Hòa
village beside Bình Trung and the Suối Râm area).” There were also apparently “study and re-education
camps” (“trại học tập cải tạo”) farther south in the former Phước Tuy Province – principally in Xuyên Mộc
District, including at Bàu Lâm (ie the Thừa Tích area), Hồ Tràm, Sau Ac, T345, and TH6.

183
revolutionary cadre – and were awaiting the opportunity for internal sabotage. The
Battalion managed areas597, purging individuals and resolutely trying and punishing
stubborn individuals unwilling to repent. On the other hand, we successfully mobilised
the “Soldiers of Uncle Hồ” Movement with 445 Battalion working groups implementing
a policy of civilian proselytising to help the local people in the areas of Long Điền and
Đất Đỏ to reclaim waste land, restore their fields and gardens, and focus on production –
all with the aim of stabilising their lives. Together with mine-clearing units, we rendered
safe many types of mines and explosives - and expanded the areas under cultivation in
order that families could work safely, produce their crops, and build new lives.
Through the propaganda activities of 445 Battalion’s cadre, soldiers, and the
people’s mass organisations, the great majority of families with children who were
remnants of the puppet forces and had opposed the revolution truly understood the
humanitarian and lenient policy of the revolution and voluntarily brought their children to
give themselves up and report to the authorities. At the same time as continuing with its
task of pursuing the defeated enemy remnants, in September 1975, 445 Battalion’s cadre
and soldiers participated in the X2 Campaign (re-educating the bourgeoisie and
comprador class); and the X3 Campaign (currency exchange involving cancellation of the
monetary system of the old Sài Gòn government and issuing the currency of the Vietnam
National Bank).598 We also contributed to the creation of a productive socialist
ideological system in the area. Together with the armed forces of all levels, 445 Battalion
satisfactorily fulfilled its mission of maintaining security and order while continuing its
combat training in readiness to deal with all situations that might occur within the Bà Rịa
area throughout the conduct of the Campaigns. As a result of the close cooperation
between all the forces, the X2 and X3 Campaigns were successfully completed.
Implementing Resolution 24 of the Party’s Central Executive Committee (January
1976), Đồng Nai Province was established on the basis of encompassing the three former
provinces of Biên Hòa, Bà Rịa – Long Khánh, and Tân Phú. In accord with that decision,
the armed forces in Bà Rịa – Long Khánh – Vũng Tàu came under the leadership and
direct command of the Đồng Nai Province Unit.599*
In implementing the Đồng Nai Province Unit plans on pursuing the enemy
military remnants, 445 Battalion focused on strengthening its structure and organisation
and accelerated its self-sufficiency in production, looked after its weapons and
equipment, and prepared everything to join with its fraternal units in a large pursuit
operation over an area of 120 square kilometres covering the districts of: Châu Thành,
Long Đất, Vũng Tàu, Duyên Hải – and most importantly the Sông Vĩnh River area.
The Sông Vĩnh area was part of the two villages of Phước Hòa and Phú Mỹ
(nowadays in Tân Thành District) and comprised 16 hamlets with about 36,000 people.
This area included Route 15 (nowadays Route 51) and was bordered to the east by the
Núi Thị Vải Mountain and Núi Ông Trịnh Mountain. The terrain was difficult to access,
cloaked in jungle, and there were many caves running deep into the mountains. To the
south were the Thị Vải River, the Đồng Tranh River, the Lòng Tàu River, and the salt597

Translator’s Note: Military Management Committees (MMC) were gradually replaced by the civiliandominated People’s Revolutionary Councils (PRC). The Sài Gòn/Gia Định MMC was replaced by the Hồ
Chí Minh City PRC on 21 January 1976. – see 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, p.151.
598
Translator’s Note: In late September 1975, the currency in South Vietnam – the Republic of Vietnam
piastre (đồng), was changed to a "liberation đồng" worth 500 former “Southern đồng”.
599
* The Headquarters of the Đồng Nai Province Unit comprised: Comrade Lê Văn Ngọc – the
Commander; Comrade Nguyễn Đăng Mai – the Political Commissar; Comrade Phạm Lạc – a Deputy
Commander; and Comrade Nguyễn Việt Hoa – a Deputy Commander.

184
water Rừng Sắc600 jungle. This was a very suitable area in which the enemy military
remnants could hide.
In accordance with the plan, 445 Battalion set up a blocking position within Bà
Rịa Town at the Long Hương Bridge. The pursuit operations lasted unit April 1976. This
was the very largest pursuit and sweeping operation within the territory of Eastern Nam
Bộ. 445 Battalion601* was reinforced with reconnaissance capabilities to search for the
enemy elements and equipped with heavy firepower to undertake its tasks: mobilising the
people to participate in the pursuit operations; recovering and closely managing all types
of weapons; consolidating and creating local authorities; and assigning a number of cadre
as a nucleus to strengthen the local machinery. Following each pursuit phase, the
Battalion conducted studies to gain further experience, to raise the level of joint
cooperation with our fraternal units, and to develop combat plans for all situations in
order to defend our territory, the borders, and the islands.
By June 1976, almost all of the large and stubborn armed groups of the enemy’s
remnants in the Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu area had been wiped out. The continuous pursuit
operations in the area had defeated their plots and their intention to organise groupings
and activities against us both then - and in the long-term.
The report of the Đồng Nai Province Unit clearly directed that the tasks of the
local armed forces in 1977 were to focus on the pursuit mission, put down counterrevolutionaries, and participate in activities to mobilise the masses to maintain security
and public order. We were also to stabilise the local situation in stages; and guarantee the
security of important targets, festival days, the Party Conference, and the voting days for
the elections of the People’s Committees that were conducted during the year.
The report of the Đồng Nai Province Unit also clearly advised that: in the Châu
Thành area there were groups and counter-revolutionary organisations such as: “The
Front to Destroy Communism”, “The National Front to Liberate the People”, and “The
Joint Anti-Communist Front”. Armed groups had the titles of the “318th Regiment” (in
the Dinh – Thị Vải Mountains) and the “Special Task Regiment” (in the Phước Thắng
road area). There were also the “Đông Sơn”, the “Hoàng Quỳnh” and the “Quý Sơn
Đằng” Secret Zones etc. These counter-revolutionary groups operated clandestinely making contacts and building their forces, and awaiting for the time to overthrow the
government.
In the first six months of 1977, the armed forces of Đồng Nai concentrated on
pursuit operations in the areas of Tân Phú, Thống Nhất, and Xuân Lộc Districts. 445
Battalion was reinforced to operate in the main areas of Tân Phú and Thống Nhất. The
Battalion Headquarters ordered our recconaissance element to coordinate with the
Military Region’s reconnaissance force to develop information on the area and produce a
specific tactical plan. Our 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Companies – and the combat support platoons,
were all divided into platoons and sections with heavy firepower and mounted mobile
ambushes in the areas in which the enemy remnants usually conducted robberies,
destroyed property, assassinated cadre, and assembled to distort our policies and arouse
hatreds.
In September 1977, 445 Battalion coordinated with the 6th Company (the armed
force of Tân Phú District) on a pursuit operation against the bandit group led by Lý Phá
Sáng602 in the area of the Lintaba Falls on the Đồng Nai River (in the area of modern-day
600

Translator’s Note: For detail on the Rừng Sắc, see footnote 10.
* The Battalion was conferred with the title of Heroic Unit of the People’s Armed Forces on 3 June 1976.
Translator’s Note: Lý Phá Sáng had reportedly been an ARVN captain on the intelligence staff of Long
Khánh Sector. Following the fall of Sài Gòn, he was reportedly appointed “Defence Minister” by Trần Văn

601
602

185
Định Quán, about 12 kilometres to the west of the Kilometre 18 mark on Route 20). This
bandit group was quite strong, numbering about 30. They operated quite brazenly.
Previously, they had been hunted by 445 Battalion and the troops of Tân Phú District’s 6th
Company several times in the area of the two villages along the border of Đạ Hoai
District (Lâm Đồng Province) and Đức Linh District (Bình Thuận Province) – ie: the
villages of Phú Bình and Phương Lâm. Pursued relentlessly in the north of the District,
the bandit group fled to the lower end of the District, exploiting the difficult terrain at the
end of the Nam Cát Tiên jungle to hide and coordinate with other small counterrevolutionary groups in the regions of Dốc Mơ, Gia Kiệm and Trang Bảm where they
continued their sabotage activities. On their way, they fled past the village of Tà Lài – a
village of the minority Châu Ro people. The bandit group stole food, chickens, and pigs –
and shot dead two people and captured a number of others. The village guerrillas
followed them closely and found them grouped at Cù Lao – at the Liên Ta Pa
Waterfall.603 Hearing this, the Military Headquarters of Tân Phú District sent a message
by signal and made a joint tactical plan to wipe out the Lý Phá Sáng bandit group together
with 445 Battalion. According to the plan, 445 Battalion would use its 1st Company and
its reconnaissance platoon led by the Battalion second-in-command – Hero Nguyễn Văn
Quang, to surround and attack the bandit group from the east. Meanwhile, the 6th
Company of Tân Phú District would strike the enemy from the north-west.
At about 2100hrs (on the day set for the attack), both forces departed from their
base positions. However, as they had the advantage of familiarity with the terrain, the Tân
Phú District’s 6th Company was able to reach the location of the bandit group first.
Regrettably, because of carelessness (a soldier accidentally pulled the trigger of his
weapon), the bandit group was warned and opened fire first, wounding one of our
soldiers. Having lost the factor of surprise, the attacking group was unable to continue the
operation.
When they heard gunfire from the western group, our Battalion was still about one
to one-and-a-half kilometres from the objective. Crossing quickly through the jungle, we
reached the objective from the east of the Đồng Nai River, coordinating with the 6th
Company to tightly encircle the area of the Waterfall.
The area of the Liên Ta Pa Waterfall was very difficult to access. Cù Lao – the
area in which the bandit group was based, was right at the head of the waterfall. In this
part of the river, the Đồng Nai splits into two branches.
The branch flowing to the west was wide and so deep that there were places where
it was thigh-deep and chest-deep. The branch flowing to the east where the engagement
occurred was tens of metres deep, about 70-100 metres wide, flowing swiftly, and with
whirlpools due to Cù Lao blocking the river’s flow.
From morning on the second day, the Battalion organised many crossings of the
river - but all these were unsuccessful. At about 10am, the Battalion – together with the
6th Company, opened fire to attract the attention of the bandit group, while at the same
time organising a force of about two sections to cross the river using floats at a position
about 150-200 metres above Cù Lao. However, as they approached close to Cù Lao they
were discovered by the bandits and fired upon intensively. One of our men trying to cross
was killed, and another two were swept over the Waterfall and later died. The remainder
were forced to turn around and return to the eastern bank. This situation forced the
Kính – the Chairman of the resistance group: “The Patriotic Militia Force” ("Lực Lượng Dân Quân Ái
Quốc”). A large number of the group were reportedly captured in May 1976 – including Trần Văn Kính.
603
Translator’s Note: The Liên Ta Pa Waterfall on the Đồng Nai River is in northern Long Khánh Province
about 45 kilometres in a direct line north of Xuân Lộc Town. “Cù Lao” means “island”.

186
Battalion to change its tactics, hold its positions, surround the enemy in coordination with
sniping and fire from our mortars and M79s, and to threaten and wipe out the bandits.
A further 24 hours were lost, and – only on the third day, was the Battalion able to
cross the river and get close to its objective. However, the bandit group had fled on the
previous night – after leaving behind the bodies of 13 who had been killed on the spot.
That was the pursuit engagement that resulted in the most enemy remnants and
reactionaries killed by 445 Battalion since having received its mission as a mobile unit
operating against armed reactionary groups within the Province. It was also our most
difficult and lengthy engagement (four days), and the one in which we suffered the most
killed (three comrades in one engagement) since the liberation of the South on 30 April
1975.
The recent deaths in 445 Battalion – especially as they occurred when our country
was at peace, more clearly affirmed the spirit of dedication and sacrifice to their mission
by the cadre and soldiers of 445 Battalion in response to the requirements and the heavy
responsibilities that the Party and the people had confidently given to us.
By successfully controlling the situation in the area and mobilising the people, in
1977 we had wiped out and captured more than 100 enemy troops, cut their liaison and
information networks – and their movement of food from the hamlets into the jungle.
Being encircled and constantly pursued, a greater number of them surrendered –
including three deputy commanders of the Lý Phá Sáng commando group.604 The
remainder fled to the Hố Nai and Gia Kiệm areas, or to Hồ Chí Minh City.
At the end of 1977, exploiting the strained situation on the South-Western
Border605, the enemy increased their activities across several areas: Thống Nhất, Xuân
Lộc, Châu Thành, Long Đất etc. They assassinated a number of cadre in Phước Thọ
(Long Đất), Phước Hòa, and Phước Lễ (Châu Thành). At the end of 1977 and the
beginning of 1978, in Bà Rịa – Long Khánh there were still about 23 groups of enemy
military remnants with a total strength of about 250 and armed with a range of weapons.
Their principal areas of activity were in Châu Thành and Long Đất. Accordingly, as we
entered 1978, the pursuit of these enemy remnants was still an important task for the
armed forces of the Province in general – and for 445 Battalion in particular.
For the pursuit task in 1978, the Đồng Nai Province Military Headquarters clearly
defined that we were to: continue to conduct pursuit operations to wipe out the external
armed counter-revolutionary groups (ie in the jungle); expose and break up the political
counter-revolutionary organisations hiding among the people and within our own
organisations; pursue and capture evil-doers and professional robbers; pursue infiltrators
conducting commando operations and crossing our borders; seize all types of illegal
604

Translator’s Note: According to a Đồng Nai Province Party website: “By the end of 1980, we had
completely wiped out the enemy remnants including the reactionaries led by Lý Phá Sáng and Vinh Sơn
and the FULRO forces comprised of some tens of puppet officers and soldiers that had been driven down
from Lâm Đồng Province. Đức Việt,“Vững bước xây dựng và bảo vệ Tổ quốc”, Đồng Nai, 4 May 2011.
605
Translator’s Note: This is an allusion to serious border tensions with Democratic Kampuchea (ie the
Khmer Rouge government of Cambodia) that began almost immediately post-War. On 3 May 1975, Khmer
Rouge forces attacked Phú Quốc 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.
Major Cambodian ground attacks occurred in the period 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 liberated on 7
January 1979” – Hồ Sơn Đài – Colonel (ed), Lịch Sử Sư đòan Bộ Binh 5 (History of the 5th Infantry
Division, op.cit., 2005.

187
weapons; participate in the building and consolidation of government authorities
stabilizing the security and political situation and social order; develop plans in readiness
to defend our territory, the coast, and airspace; and prevent any riots and subversive
activities.
To implement these tasks, the Province created two mobile regiments: one
regiment for inland operations and one regiment to defend the coast. One half of the
strength of the 5th Regiment606 that was engaged on economic and national defence tasks
in Vĩnh An was moved down to Long Hải (Long Đất) to create the coastal regiment (but
still retained the title of the 5th Regiment). The inland regiment – titled the 746th
Regiment, was stationed at Bà Tô (Xuyên Mộc)607 and comprised the 9th La Ngà
Regiment, 445 Battalion, and 440 Battalion.608*
As part of the 746th Regiment, 445 Battalion was given the task of operating in the
principal areas of Bà Rịa – Long Khánh Province. The Battalion directly participated in
five pursuit operations together with District forces, village and hamlet militia and
guerrilla elements, and higher-level forces. In 1978, within Bà Rịa – Long Khánh, we
captured and forced the surrender of 1,217, seized 151 weapons of various types, seven
grenades, more than 2,000 rounds of ammunition, and a number of documents. We also
stopped 193 illegal attempts to leave the country by sea, detaining 4,731 people, and
seizing 14 weapons, 11 grenades etc. Regarding the maintenance of social order, we
captured 774 criminals and violators of the social order. Together with the Province
armed forces, 445 Battalion contributed to the firm maintenance of political stability and
the social order in the countryside in circumstances where the nation had just emerged
from a 30-year long war, and had to face a border war as well as armed and political
resistance from within. This was also the most difficult time for our country in political,
economic, cultural, social and security/national defence terms.
Moving into 1979, both the internal and external situations became extremely
complicated. While we were striving to resolve the basic problems of the South-West
Border War609 and help the Cambodian people escape from genocide and assist our
friends to protect the fruits of their revolution, a war to defend the Northern Border610
broke out. Our country was in an economic crisis, the lives of all classes of the people and
our armed forces faced many difficulties and straitened circumstances. Further, the
natural disaster of floods affected agriculture, and the loss of crops led to shortages of
food and supplies. However, with a resolutely courageous spirit and a self-reliant and
Translator’s Note: This “5th Regiment” is not the 5th Regiment (ie 275th Regiment) of the 5th VC Division
that had fought at the Battle of Long Tân in 1966 and other major engagements. The 5th VC Division’s 5th
(275th) Regiment was re-organised in June 1970 during combat in Cambodia and retitled the “1 st Regiment”
– see The 275th Regiment - Annex O, pp.29-30.
607
Translator’s Note: According to the 440 Battalion History (2011), “The inland regiment was stationed at
Hố Nai 2 until August 1979 and then moved to Bà Tô (Xuyên Mộc) with the title of the 746th Regiment.” see Chamberlain, E.P., … D440: Their Story …, op.cit., 2013.
608
* 440 Battalion had been formed in 1968 in the North and came to the Bà Rịa – Long Khánh battlefield
as a reinforcement. It was later disbanded and reformed in 1978. Translator’s Note: See Annex P.
609
Translator’s Note: See the preceding footnote 605. The Vietnamese military drive into Cambodia was
launched on Christmas Day 1978 - with “Phnom Penh liberated on 7 January 1979”. According to the 5 th
Infantry Division History (2005): “The campaign pursuing the enemy ((the Khmer Rouge)) concluded on
20 March 1979. The General Offensive and Uprising of the Cambodian people achieved complete victory.”
610
Translator’s Note: 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. In earlier centuries, the Chinese had occupied Vietnam on several occasions – the longest
being from 111 BC to 939 AD, see Bắc-Thuộc Thời-Đại (The Period of Northern Occupation) in Trần
Trọng Kim, Việt-Nam Sử-Lược - A Summary of Vietnam’s History , Edition 7, Tân Việt, Sài Gòn, 1964,
pp.45-81.
606

188
strong will, the community of cadre and soldiers of the Heroic 445 Battalion still held
tightly to their weapons and strictly executed the combat orders of Military Region 7.
With the direct leadership and guidance of the Province Committee and the
Military Headquarters of Đồng Nai Province, 445 Battalion fought jointly with 440
Battalion in 62 pursuit operations in the Châu Thành area in many different types and
sizes of operations – extending to the areas bordering Long Thành and Long Đất. As a
result, we wiped out or captured 549 (killing 27, capturing more than 400, and forcing 46
to surrender etc). These included FULRO611, armed robbers, and armed counterrevolutionary groups etc. We destroyed many counter-revolutionary political groups and
cells such as the “National Restoration Front”, “Vietnam Restoration” and the “Military
Resistance Force”.612 Additionally the Heroic 445 Battalion coordinated with fraternal
forces (such as the Public Security and Border Defence Force) to capture more than 5,000
individual law-breakers (including 3,766 who had crossed the border illegally) and 1,745
criminal offenders.
*
* *
After four consecutive years (1975-1979) of implementing our mission of
pursuing the enemy military remnants, wiping out the groups of counter-revolutionaries,
and contributing to the creation and the consolidation of the revolutionary administration,
445 Battalion had satisfactorily completed all the tasks given to it in an outstanding
manner – and was bestowed with the title of “Heroic Battalion of the Resistance War of
National Salvation against the Americans” by the Party and the Nation.613* Although the
lives of our cadre and soldiers still faced hardships, and our installations and material
circumstances were poor and makeshift (in circumstances of constantly being on
operations in the field and fighting over a wide area) – the Party Committee and the
Military Headquarters of Đồng Nai Province routinely focused their leadership and
guidance on the Battalion. With the dynamism, initiative and the seasoned combat
experience of our ranks of Battalion cadre, the Heroic 445 Battalion overcame every
611

Translator’s Note: FULRO (Front Unifié de Lutte Des Races Opprimeés: The United Front for the
Liberation of Oppressed Races - 1964-1992) sought independence for ethnic minorities in Vietnam and
Cambodia. In September 1979, D445 troops were engaged in operations against armed FULRO elements
in the Chứa Chan Mountain/La Ngà River area east of Xuân Lộc – “Nhóm PV, Lật lại những vụ án do Công
an Đồng Nai triệt phá Kỳ 5: Đập tan âm mưu gây bạo loạn của Fulro” ( “Over-turning of the charges by
the Đồng Nai Public Security Service wiped out – Instalment 5: The FULRO plot for violent disorder
completely destroyed”), Báo Đồng Nai, Biên Hòa, 13 August 2010.
612
Translator’s Note: The D440 Battalion History (2011) similarly relates operations and activities against
named resistance groups including: the“Special Task Regiment” (“Trung đoàn đặc nhiệm”) of the
“People’s Restoration Militia” (“Dân Quân Phục Quốc”); the C22 Special Guard – part of the “People’s
Self-Determination Front” organisation; and FULRO elements “from Buôn Ma Thuột that had spread down
to Sông Bé”. See: Chamberlain, E.P., ... D440: Their Story, op.cit., 2013, pp.117-120, including: “The
Province Unit deployed 445 Battalion to Tân Phú to join with 440 Battalion to pursue reactionary groups.”
613
* On 3 June 1976, the Nation bestowed 445 Battalion with the title: Heroic Unit of the People’s Armed
Forces. Translator’s Note: A 1985 Đồng Nai Province publication summarised D445 Battalion’s awards as:
“Unit: one Military Exploits Medal 1st Class (Huân Chương quân công hạng ba), one Military Feats Medal
1st Class (Huân Chương chiến công hạng nhất), 10 Military Feats Medals 2nd & 3rd Class, four Companies
designated as Victorious Bulwark Units (Thành Đồng Quyết Thắng); Personal: One comrade cited as a
Hero ((ie Nguyễn Văn Quang)), 46 Military Feats Medals – various classes, and 1,777 Letters of
Appreciation (Giấy Khen). - Hồ Sơn Đài & Trần Quang Toại, Đồng Nai … (The Heroic Units of Đồng
Nai), op.cit., 1985, p.11. Translator’s Comment: The listing did not separately include Bằng Khen
(Certificates of Commendation) – ie a higher award than Giấy Khen (Letters of Appreciation), many of
which were awarded to D445 personnel.

189
obstacle and challenge, and concentrated on training, political study, and combat training.
We fought cleverly and contributed to the common achievements of the Bà Rịa – Vũng
Tàu armed forces in the early period of building and defending the Socialist Republic of
Vietnam, maintaining political security and social order across our region, and
consolidating the revolutionary administration in the countryside in our country’s most
difficult time.
2. Raising the Quality of all Facets of our Performance, and Participating in
International Duty.
After 30 April 1975, in the territory of Bà Rịa – Long Khánh – Vũng Tàu, our
local armed forces still comprised: 445 Battalion, a reconnaissance section, and the armed
forces of the Districts and the towns. The majority of these units were in a situation where
they lacked personnel as they had fought continuously and not had opportunities to
rebuild. Faced with the requirements of our new tasks, Bà Rịa – Long Khánh Province
provided more than 100 recruits to 445 Battalion from a total of 183 new troops recruited
from the Vũng Tàu area (in June 1975). The remainder were assigned to the Province
military school, reconnaissance elements, and direct command agencies.
The Battalion’s tasks at the time were to re-organise and bring the unit to full
strength for the new situation, and to consolidate the Party structures from Battalion-level
down to the companies. Political studies and education were stringently maintained, and
– through that, almost all of the cadre and soldiers were ideologically of one mind and
satisfactorily completed their tasks. However, due to stationing our troops in the field and
not yet having a concentrated camp, maintaining the discipline of the soldiers did have
some difficulties. In the soldiers’ activities, there still occurred a few breaches of
discipline that influenced the quality of administration and the internal development of
the unit.
At the end of 1975, to achieve the directive of the General Staff on resolving the
issue of demobilisation for soldiers and corporals whose health circumstances were not
adequate for service in the military, the Province allowed a number of cadre and soldiers
to demobilise or to transfer from their corps (about 20 percent of our troops). A further
number - because of difficult family circumstances, also abandoned the unit on their own
volition and returned home without waiting to complete the formalities. These factors had
a direct influence on the lives, attitudes, feelings, and aspirations of the cadre and soldiers
in the armed forces. In particular, units had a shortage of command cadre at section level
who had practical battlefield experience of fighting and combat duties.
At the beginning of 1976, 445 Battalion was part of the armed forces of Đồng Nai
Province – and under the command and leadership of the Đồng Nai Province Unit. The
Battalion’s principal task in this period was the training of recruits, coordinating in the
pursuit of the enemy military remnants, wiping out the reactionaries resisting the
revolution, and contributing to the stabilisation of the people’s lives in recently liberated
regions. Additionally, 445 Battalion participated in protecting the elections for the
National Assembly (conducted in April 1976), and also participated in the campaign to
transform bourgeois commercial enterprises (X2) and the currency exchange campaign
(X3).
20 June 1976 was an unforgettable day for the community of cadre and soldiers in
445 Battalion. In the assembly hall of the Đồng Nai Province Committee, the Province
Committee and the Đồng Nai People’s Committee solemnly held a ceremony to bestow
the title of: “Heroic Unit of the People’s Armed Forces” - by the Party and the Nation, on
445 Battalion in public recognition of its outstanding dedication during the resistance war

190
against the Americans, and its contribution to the liberation of our homeland and the
nation. The blood of countless cadre and soldiers had stained the Battalion’s historic flag!
The awe-inspiring military feats and the resolutely courageous sacrifices of the 445 troops
were recognised by the Party, the Nation, and the people ! Representing the Battalion,
Comrade Nguyễn Văn Bảo – the Battalion’s Political Commissar 614, pledged our resolve
to bring into play the history of our heroic unit, and to successfully complete all assigned
tasks. He also swore that the unit would continue to fight, study, and train in order to
remain worthy of the faith of the Party, the Government, and the local people.
In 1976, 445 Battalion participated in activities to render safe mines and bombs, in
order to free-up land for the people and enable them to boost their production and
stabilise their lives. We also helped the people of the Long Điền-Đất Đỏ area to repair
their houses, gardens, and the roads that had been damaged during the war. Additionally,
the cadre and soldiers of the Battalion also focused on production work – including in the
rear service areas of the Battalion that had been established during the resistance war
against the Americans, thereby improving self-sufficiency and their living conditions.
In more than a year of fighting, working, studying, and training in the new
conditions of peace and unity in our country, 445 Battalion had successfully fulfilled its
role in the Vietnam People’s Armed Forces as both a fighting unit and a working unit,
exploiting its tradition as a Heroic Unit in the new conditions and context.
In 1977, the consolidation work continued in all of the Battalion’s activities as we
entered a period of stabilisation and orderly routine with central and uniform guidance.
Specifically:
- We progressed the training of more than 100 new recruits allocated to the unit
(in 1975) in accordance with the regulations and achieved good results.
- The total training period for the soldiers in the second year was four months
for a total of 350 comrades.
- In terms of structure and organisation: The Province instituted a reorganisation and restructure of the Battalion so that it comprised: a Battalion
Headquarters, three companies under direct command (fully manned), combat
support platoons, and functional sections (medical, rear services, and technical
sections). The unit’s total strength was 350 comrades.
Having satisfactorily completed all its tasks, 445 Battalion had the power to
successfully complete its essential mission of pursuing the enemy military remnants, and
wiping out the reactionary groups during continuous pursuit operations in difficult terrain
and in the jungle and mountainous areas. The unit’s fighting strength was always kept
complete, and any casualties were treated in a timely manner and moved safely to the
rear.
On 30 April 1977, the Khmer Rouge authorities deployed five battalions of
infantry to attack 14 of our border posts in 13 villages along the border of An Giang
Province where they commited bloody crimes against the people of Vietnam. Even more
wickedly, on the night of 24-25 September 1977, exploiting our weak spot, a group of the
Pol Pot-Ieng Sary reactionaries deployed two divisions in a surprise attack into Bến Cầu
and Tân Biên Districts (Tây Ninh Province). Military Region 7 and the 4th Corps had to

614

Translator’s Note: The term “commissar” – (“chính ủy”), is routinely applied to political officers from
the regimental level (inclusive) upwards. At battalion level and below, the term “political officer” (“chính
trị viên”) is almost solely used.

191
employ a force of divisional strength to force the enemy to withdraw back across the
border.615
To implement the orders of the Party Politburo, the Ministry of National Defence,
and Military Region 7, the Military Headquarters of Đồng Nai Province urgently
organised an infantry battalion – with combat experience, appropriate weapons and
equipment and strong firepower, to support Sông Bé Province and directly fight to defend
the border.
In June 1978616, the “1st Đồng Nai Battalion” was formed and deployed to Sông
617
Bé with the task of defending the South-West Border of the Fatherland. As ordered by
the Province Headquarters, 445 Battalion contributed a company as the nucleus of the 1st
Đồng Nai Battalion. The Battalion was structured with three companies and two combat
support platoons. The strength of this Battalion was 300 comrades. Its Headquarters
comprised: Comrade Major Huỳnh Văn Tám (Tám Quyết) as Battalion Commander;
Comrade Captain Nguyễn Văn Bảo (Sáu Bảo) as the Battalion Political Officer;
Comrades Nguyễn Thanh Bình (Tư Bình) and Lâm Phuong (Sáu Phương) as Battalion
seconds-in-command; and Comrade Bảy Giúp as the Deputy Political Officer.
The 1st Company was comprised of a nucleus of cadre and soldiers from 445
Battalion; the 2nd Company was selected from the armed forces of Xuân Lộc District; and
the 3rd Company was from the Vũng Tàu City Unit. The two support platoons (firepower
and communications) were taken from 445 Battalion, the Biên Hòa City Unit, and the
Province Military Headquarters.618
The mission of the 1st Đồng Nai Battalion in Sông Bé was to join the 4th Regiment
th
((274 )) of the 5th Division to attack and wipe out the Pol Pot forces that had made
incursions across the border. The area of operations for the Battalion was to the westnorthwest of Bù Đốp619 – stretching from the White Bridge ((Cầu Trắng)) to the T615
Translator’s Note: As related earlier in footnote 605, on 3 May 1975, Khmer Rouge forces attacked Phú
Quốc 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 PotIeng Sary” troops in 1975, and 191 in 82 separate locations in 1976. - Hồ Sơn Đài – Colonel (ed), Lịch Sử
Sư đòan Bộ Binh 5 (History of the 5th Infantry Division), op.cit., 2005. Major Cambodian ground attacks
occurred in the period mid-March to May 1977 in Kiên Giang and An Giang Provinces, precipitating
significant Vietnamese military deployments.
616
Translator’s Note: The following eight paragraphs are almost identical to the text in: Trần Thị Minh
Hoàng (foreword), The History of the Armed Forces of Đồng Nai Province, op.cit., 1999.
617
Translator’s Note: Bordering Cambodia to its north, Sông Bé Province was founded in 1976 by
combining the provinces of Bình Dương, Bình Long and Phước Long. In 1997, Sông Bé became the
provinces of Bình Dương and Bình Phước. The Đồng Nai Party History (2007) adds that the 1st Đồng Nai
Battalion deployed to the border on 8 June 1978 and was subordinated to the “4 th Regiment” operating
west-northwest of Bù Đốp District – Lê Hoàng Quân (ed), Lịch sử Đảng bộ Đảng Cộng sản Việt Nam Tỉnh
Đồng Nai (1975-2000) – The History of the Vietnam Communist Party in Đồng Nai Province (1975-2000),
Nhà Xuẩt Bản Tồng Hợp Đồng Nai, Biên Hòa, 2007. See also the following footnote 618.
618
Translator’s Note: According to the D440 Battalion History (2011): “Beginning in June 1978 [sic], the
Province Unit deployed a well-armed battalion for its task - titled the 1st Đồng Nai Battalion. The
Battalion’s structure comprised three companies – with the 1st Company (of 445 Battalion) as its core, and
the District-level companies were reinforced with personnel from 440 Battalion and two combat support
platoons. ((p.185)): The Battalion’s total strength was 300. Subsequently, the Province Unit created the
2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Battalions with structures and strengths equivalent to those of the 1 st Đồng Nai Battalion
that, on rotation, were deployed to defend the Fatherland’s borders.” – see Chamberlain, E.P., … D440:
Their Story, op.cit., 2013.
619
Translator’s Note: Located about 90 kilometres north of Sài Gòn - and formerly a district capital, from
1977, Bù Đốp (known also as Bố Đức) was within Phước Long District of Sông Bé Province. From May
2003, Bù Đốp became a district of Bình Phước Province. As noted, according to the Đồng Nai History
(1986 and 2007), 445 Battalion left for the border area on 8 June 1978 as the “core” of the “1st Đồng Nai

192
Junction on Route 10 (bordering the Sông Măng River). The Battalion Headquarters was
sited at Hamlet 6 in Bù Đốp. On 15 June 1978, the Battalion employed raid tactics to
attack and disperse a company of the Pol Pot forces in the Hầm Đá area (at the Route 10
T-Junction).
Exploiting that battlefield success, the Battalion proposed to the 4th Regiment
Headquarters that the Battalion employ tactics of “attacking while in defence” (that is, to
use small forces of elite troops to infiltrate deep into the enemy’s rear areas – and, when
enemy forces are discovered, to use heavy firepower to wipe them out).
In July 1978, the Battalion organised a half-section of reconnaissance troops
(about 20 comrades) - equipped with a PRC-25 walkie-talkie620 operated by Comrade
Tòng (the Commander of the 1st Company), to cross the Sông Măng River and move deep
into the enemy’s rear area for a distance of about four-to-five kilometres to get close to
the enemy. Discovering a Pol Pot battalion at the Công Trôn T-Junction, the
reconnaissance troops radioed our rear area. The 3rd Company – under the direct
command of Lâm Phuong (Sáu Phương), a Battalion second-in-command, rapidly moved
to an advantageous position, opened fire, and wiped out the enemy.
Having suffered a surprise attack, the enemy did not have the time to flee back to
the Sông Măng River. Our forces pursued the enemy, and the half-section reconnaissance
element from the 1st Company also clashed with a Pol Pot company preparing positions in
a strong defensive system. Although they were less in number, our troops fought very
doggedly, defeated the enemy and drove them from their positions. The enemy fled from
their base. While they were returning, the enemy discovered the tracks of our forces and
prepared a trap to lure our troops into a mined area and wipe them out. Having discovered
the enemy’s intention, Comrade Tòng guided our troops back to the enemy base and used
their system of shelters, trenches and defensive positions to set up a defence. Then,
having determined the grid reference of the location of the enemy troops, he called down
105mm artillery support from the higher headquarters onto the battleground. As the
enemy were outside their defensive positions, over 30 of the enemy were killed – and the
remainder fled helter-skelter. After clearing the battlefield, our troops moved back safely
to the Bù Đốp base. In this battle, the Battalion suffered six comrades killed, with a
further 10 comrades wounded.
After this battle, the 1st Đồng Nai Battalion deployed its 1st Company to a post at
the border. The 2nd and 3rd Companies returned to the rear area and conducted training in
preparation to replace the 1st Company occupying the border post.
In August 1978, Đồng Nai Province established the 2nd Đồng Nai Battalion – with
the task of replacing the 1st Đồng Nai Battalion. 445 Battalion continued to provide a
company as the core of the newly-established 2nd Đồng Nai Battalion. Comrade Lâm
Phuong (Sáu Phương) and Comrade Tư Bình were again appointed to the command
positions in the 2nd Đồng Nai Battalion. The 1st Đồng Nai Battalion transferred a
reconaissance section to the new battalion. The remainder returned to their former units.
The 2nd Battalion successfully completed its task of defending the border and preventing
the Pol Pot forces from making incursions into our territory.

Battalion”. The Đồng Nai Monograph (2001) also relates that: “the Battalion was subordinated to the 4 th
Regiment operating to the west and north-west of Bù Đốp (from the White Bridge to the Route 10 Tjunction beside the Sông Măng River).” - Volume III, Chapter VII, 1.4.9: Bảo vệ biên giới Tây Nam.
620
Translator’s Note: The US-manufactured AN/PRC-25 VHF radio is significantly larger and more
powerful than a “walkie-talkie” (“máy bộ đàm”). The VHF FM AN/PRC-25 manpack radio 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).

193
From the end of 1978, Đồng Nai Province had established four battalions (with
the titles: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Đồng Nai Battalions) with a total strength of 1,300
comrades. On rotation, these battalions fought to defend the Fatherland’s South-West
Border. As each battalion was set up, 445 Battalion contributed a company as its nucleus.
Cadre and soldiers who had been transferred to the 1st Đồng Nai Battalion had proudly
maintained and employed their heroic tradition and had been central to every activity of
their new unit - always leading the disciplined training, and - planning combat operations
with initiative, achieved many outstanding battle feats.
At the beginning of 1979, we had essentially resolved the war on the South-West
Border.621 At the request of the Kampuchean United Front for National Salvation622, we
assisted our friends to liberate Cambodia, save the Cambodian people from the genocidal
disaster of the reactionary Pol Pot-Ieng Sary clique, and helped our friends to create a
revolutionary government and organise the building of a new life for their people.
Although they had been wiped out and disintegrated, Pol Pot’s military remnants
stubbornly fled to the Thailand-Cambodia border and re-organised their forces to oppose
the Cambodian Nation. During this time, the situation on our Northern Border623 and the
Eastern Sea624 was becoming complicated.
For this reason, our local forces were urgently re-adjusted, and our force structure
consolidated in response to the requirements of missions in this new situation.
Subsequently, Đồng Nai Province swiftly assigned the task of defending the Bà Rịa –
Vũng Tàu coast to the 5th Regiment. The 5th Regiment was restructured with 440
Battalion being incorporated into the 5th Regiment – while at the same time, 445 Battalion
became the Province’s mobile battalion.
Parallel with the Province’s urgent tasks – both within the Province and along the
coast, in implementing the directive of the Military Region 7 Headquarters, the Đồng Nai
Province Military Headquarters established a Đồng Nai Forward Headquarters in
Kompong Thom625 Province (Cambodia) under Colonel Nguyễn Thanh Tùng – the
Deputy Commander of the Province Military Headquarters, as the Commander of the
Đồng Nai Forward Headquarters. Colonel Nguyễn Thanh Tùng had the responsibility to
coordinate with the 317th Division and provide assistance to our friends in creating
administrative organisations, building their armed forces, and pursuing and wiping out the
enemy in that area. Our forces were deployed as three battalions: the 5th Đồng Nai
Battalion was stationed in the Ba Rài District - with Lâm Phương as its Commander and
concurrently the Ba Rài District Commander.626* The 6th Đồng Nai Battalion was
stationed in Săn Túc District, and the 3rd Battalion in Sau Dan District. The 5th Battalion
was fully-manned with four companies and stationed in Rùm Luông village (one
company), Thốt Nốt village (one company), Bacsana village (one company), and Kô Ky
621

Translator’s Note: On 25 December 1978, 150,000 Vietnamese troops invaded Democratic Kampuchea
and overran the Kampuchean Revolutionary Army in just two weeks. On 8 January 1979, a pro-Vietnamese
People's Republic of Kampuchea (PRK) was established in Phnom Penh. – Wikipedia.
622
Translator’s Note: Led by the Kampuchean People’s Revolutionary Party, the Kampuchean United Front
for National Salvation was founded in the Kratie area on 2 December 1978. Heng Samrin was its first
Chairman.
623
Translator’s Note: As noted, 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.
624
Translator’s Note: Literally: “Biển Đông” (“Eastern Sea”). While referred to internationally as the
“South China Sea”, that term is eschewed by Vietnam (using “Eastern Sea” or “National Sea”).
625
Translator’s Note: Kompong Thom Town – the capital of Kompong Thom Province, is about 175
kilometres north of Phnom Penh on Route 6 – about half-way to Siem Reap to the north-west.
626
* When established, the battalions each had a core company provided from 445 Battalion.

194
village (one company). This region was a base area for the Pol Pot forces. Apart from
deploying troops to watch the area, our forces also pursued the enemy’s military
remnants. The 5th Battalion also organised 10 task groups (each of six comrades) who
were carefully trained to mobilise the people and conduct propaganda activities in the
Khmer language (organised and trained by the 779th Front). These task groups were
stationed deep in the hamlets in distant areas where there were still “two-faced” elements
in the local administration (who both worked for us, and also for the enemy). By
effectively conducting civil proselytising and “three-pronged” activities among the
people, in only a short time, we were able to expel those reactionary elements in our
friends’ administration, strengthen our friends’ administration, and create village militias.
Consequently, the villages became stronger day-by-day. The Battalion also routinely
conducted pursuit operations against the Pol Pot military remnants who had taken refuge
in the area so that they no longer had hiding places in the villages and hamlets. The 5th
Battalion became expert in assisting our friends in setting up infrastructure organisations
(creating the Ba Ra [sic] People’s Committee); initiating and actively fostering plans to
present to our friends for them to develop; and admitting four of the best villagers into the
ranks of the Cambodian Revolutionary People’s Party. We also organised the structure of
the District Military Headquarters and created the District armed forces (a 100-strong
company). In 1982, as our mission required, the Đồng Nai Forward Headquarters
returned to Vietnam, transferring the local battalions to Group 7701 – including the 5th
Battalion. The 5th Battalion was re-titled by Group 7701 as the 14th [sic] Battalion.
Because of its outstanding achievements in helping our Cambodian friends, in 1983 the
14th [sic] Battalion was awarded the title of Hero of the People’s Armed Forces by our
Nation.627
Due to the wholehearted and sincere assistance of the Vietnamese military
volunteers in those four years (from 1981 to 1983), the political and security situation in
Kompong Thom Province was stabilised and maintained. The civilian administration at
all levels and our friends’ armed forces had grown stronger day-by-day. In coordination
with our friends’ forces, the Vietnamese military volunteers had continuously launched a
large number of attacks and pursuit operations against the Pol Pot military remnants
outside the area (in the jungle), and destroyed many of the enemy’s important bases that
they had built in regions that were difficult to access. On the other hand, we had
mobilised the people to clear and improve the land, and prevent the enemy forces getting
close to the people. Pursued by us, the enemy was forced to avoid contact in order to
preserve their forces.
Moving into 1984, the activities of the Pol Pot military remnants became rather
serious. They attacked a number of important places, conducted ambushes, emplaced
mines, and attacked positions where our friends in the far countryside were still weak.
These sabotage activities by the enemy inflicted a number of casualties on our friends. At
the request of our friends, Đồng Nai Province deployed 445 Battalion – which had been
operating as the Province independent mobile unit, to Kratie to assist them.
At this time, the Headquarters of the Battalion comprised: Comrade Lê Minh
Quang (Sáu Quang) as the Battalion Commander; Comrade Hảo as the Battalion Deputy
Political Commander; and Comrade Tung as the Battalion Deputy Military Commander
(an element of the Battalion remained at its rear base area to continue training tasks). The
strength of the Battalion was 350. It had the task of protecting the security of Route 13
627

According to a 2007 Đồng Nai Party History, for their service in Cambodia: “both 445 Battalion and 141
[sic] Battalion were bestowed with the title of Heroic Unit of the People’s Armed Forces.” - Lê Hoàng
Quân (ed), Lịch sử …, The History of the Vietnam Communist Party in Đồng Nai Province (1975-2000),
op.cit., 2007.

195
from Lộc Ninh to Kratie – an axis for the transport of weapons, food, and supplies for our
friends. Together with our friends, we pursued and wiped out the Pol Pot military
remnants within Kratie Province, and helped our friends create a strong civilian
administration. The Heroic 445 Battalion fought beside the Kratie armed forces and the
local people to pursue the enemy military remnants, and stabilised the lives of the people.
In that area, we helped our friends’ civil administration to boost production activities;
reclaim waste land; recover agricultural areas; and restore schools, hospitals, postal
services etc that had been destroyed during the war.
In 1984, the enemy’s base areas were destroyed, and our forces conducted more
than 800 pursuit operations - driving thousands of the enemy from the battlefield, and
forcing the surrender of 369 enemy. As for our friends, we had closely controlled the
situation; destroyed many of the enemy’s underground elements hiding among the people
and within administrative organisations; and sought out; captured, and purged 400
reactionaries.
In the following years, the Battalion both conducted operations and deployed
work teams to the countryside to assist our friends to conduct civil proselytising, and to
help the people in rebuilding their homes and gardens that had been destroyed by the Pol
Pot clique. By stringently implementing military discipline within the unit, there were no
circumstances in which the civil proselytising rules were violated. 445 Battalion was
regarded highly by the civil administration of our friends, and Front 779 (Military Region
7) awarded the Battalion a Certificate of Commendation for its oustanding achievements
in completing all of its assigned missions.
*

*

*

As part of the armed forces of Đồng Nai Province, the Heroic 445 Battalion had
completed all its assigned missions in an outstanding manner. This was achieved despite
the Battalion having to manage changes in its organisation and title as required by its
specific tasks. Overcoming all difficulties and hardships, 445 Battalion became stronger
day-by-day in all aspects, and continued to achieve many military feats during its tasks of
defending the South-West Border of the Fatherland and in completing its lofty
international mission. This was indeed a priceless spiritual asset for 445 Battalion to carry
with it and continue to dedicate to the building and defence of the Fatherland in the new
period.

196
Chapter 2

High Combat Readiness, Effective Training, and Developing a Solid and
Complete Unit (1989 – 2004)
1. Consolidating the Structure and Organisation, High Combat Effectiveness, and
Effective Training.
To implement the Directive of the Đồng Nai Province People’s Committee, the
Province Military Headquarters promulgated a resolution disbanding the Officer Cadet
School and implementing the procedures to receive the returning 141st Battalion from
Front 779 628*. The 16th Regiment of Front 479 629* and two artillery battalions of the
Military Region’s 75th Artillery Regiment returned to the Province. Following this, the
Đồng Nai Province Military Headquarters settled the policy aspects (demobilisation,
corps transfer, retirement etc) for 1,000 cadre, soldiers, and officers in the 5th Regiment,
the 19th Regiment, the 16th Regiment, and the 141st Battalion. Following this reduction in
forces, the Military Region established the Đồng Nai Regiment, with a standing force
structure at regiment and battalion level, reserve forces ready for mobilisation, and
organised to become fighting units and to serve in combat if contingencies arose.
In November 1989, the Đồng Nai Province Military Headquarters disbanded the
7th, 8th, and 9th Battalions (of the 16th Regiment) and focused its forces on creating a
battalion – titled 445 Battalion. Accordingly, the Đồng Nai Regiment had two battalions:
the 445th and the 141st.
Having fulfilled its lofty International Duty in Cambodia, the Heroic 445 Battalion
returned to our country with a mission as the Đồng Nai Province concentrated mobile
battalion, and was stationed at H.20 in Bà Rịa Town.
Having essentially determined the base locations of its units, the Đồng Nai
Province Military Headquarters directed the Battalion to restructure its organisation. The
Battalion Headquarters comprised: Captain Nguyễn Văn Sơn – Battalion Commander;
Captain Bùi Xuân Hùng – Battalion Political Deputy; Captain Chu Văn Huyển –
Battalion Military Deputy; and Senior Captain Bùi Thanh Hào – Battalion Military
Deputy. The Battalion had three directly subordinate companies (1st, 2nd, and 3rd); and the
strength of the whole Battalion was 360 comrades. In 1989, the Battalion had the task of
training its soldiers in the second year.
In December 1989, the Battalion was tasked to prepare all facets of training,
including training installations and areas for drill grounds in order to train the new
soldiers in 1990. According to the plan of the Đồng Nai Province Military Headquarters,
the total military strength of the Battalion (360 comrades) was moved to the 141st
Battalion (stationed in Xuân Lộc District).
Beginning from 25 February 1989 [sic], our unit was tasked to train new soldiers
in Phase I of 1990. The training lasted from March to 10 May. The total number of troops
was 280 - from the areas of Long Thành, Biên Hòa, Tân Phú, and Định Quán. In the tests
at the conclusion of the course, 100 percent achieved the requirements of the training. In
the live-firing (AK rifle and grenade-throwing) – 100 percent met the requirements, with
62 percent of them being assessed as quite skilled.
628

* Volunteer military forces subordinate to Military Region 7 that had served their international duty in
Cambodia.
* Volunteer military forces subordinate to Military Region 7 that had served their international duty in
Cambodia.

629

197
After concluding the Phase 1 training, the Battalion organised study, examined
lessons learned, and implemented the necessary solutions aimed at correcting training
issues – and combat readiness.
From September to November 1990, 445 Battalion trained its new soldiers (Phase
2) with 300 recruits participating in the training from: Biên Hòa, Tân Phú, Định Quán,
and Châu Thành. The results of the final tests for the course were: 100 percent met the
requirements. The unit was complete in terms of personnel, weapons, and equipment.
Following the training, all the new soldiers were assigned to units within the Province.
In this period, the Đồng Nai Province Military Headquarters made changes within
the ranks of our Battalion cadre: Captain Nguyễn Văn Sơn – the Battalion Commander,
was assigned as the General Staff Assistant in the Đồng Nai Regiment; and he was
replaced by Captain Nguyễn Văn Hiếu – the Battalion second-in-command. Continuing
with internal changes, the Province Military Headquarters assigned Captain Nguyễn Văn
Thọ to take up the position of Battalion Commander.
In 1991, the Đồng Nai Province Military Headquarters deployed 445 Battalion to
be stationed in the Núi Thị Vải Mountains area (Châu Thành).
The Núi Tóc Tiên - Núi Thị Vải area is a remote area, and the lives of the local
people there are very difficult. The Battalion occupied the facilities of the 19th Regiment
(which had been disbanded). With its solid leadership and guidance, the Battalion set up
living and eating facilities, made a plan for the defence of the base, and completed all
necessary arrangements. During the year, the Battalion organised the training of secondyear soldiers (250 comrades) and also trained new soldiers (who had enlisted in
September 1991) from the regions of: Long Đất, Xuyên Mộc, Biên Hòa, and Châu Thành
– with 300 participating in the training. The results were: 100 percent met the
requirements, with 60 percent assessed as quite proficient. Additionally, the Battalion
increased its production activities, improved living conditions, and participated in civilian
proselytising in the local area.
*
* *
In response to the requirements of economic and societal developments in the
region, on 12 August 1991 Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Province was established in accord with
the Resolution of the 9th Session of the VIII National Congress. In implementing that
Resolution, the Ministry of Defence promulgated a decision establishing the Bà Rịa –
Vũng Tàu Military Headquarters.
1992 was the first year of operations of the Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu armed forces
under the new Province organisation. The establishment of Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Province
created advantages in organisation, command, and unified management for the armed
forces in Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu, and responded to the requirements of our tasks in the new
situation. In the concluding months of 1991, the Đồng Nai Province Military
Headquarters prepared all aspects to transfer the local forces and units to the Bà Rịa –
Vũng Tàu Province Headquarters. The Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Province Military
Headquarters was established within the structure of the Vũng Tàu – Côn Đảo Special
Zone Headquarters. The Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Province Military Headquarters senior
personnel comprised:
- Major General Nguyễn Nam Hưng630: Commander.
630

Translator’s Note: In 1966, Nguyễn Nam Hưng served as the 2ic/Chief of Staff of the 274 th VC
Regiment. His diary/notebook was recovered by 5RAR in the Núi Thị Vải Mountains on 20 October 1966 –
VCAT Item No.F034600560223, see footnotes 215, 243, 266, 283, 305, 308, and 328 – and Annex N.

198
-

Colonel Nguyễn Văn Đức: Deputy Commander and concurrently Commander
of the Vũng Tàu City Military Headquarters.
Colonel Phan Chiến: Deputy Commander – Political.
Colonel Nguyễn Minh Trí: Deputy Commander.

The subordinate military agencies comprised the Vũng Tàu City Military Unit,
and the District Units of: Côn Đảo District, Long Đất District, Xuyên Mộc District, and
Châu Thành District.
The report of the Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Province Military Headquarters clearly
affirmed: “In the first five months of 1992, the mission of Bà Rịa - Vũng Tàu Province is
to continue to consolidate and strengthen the whole Party organisation, the
administration, and the armed forces. Party conferences will be held at all levels, and all
aspects of the situation in the Province will be studied in order to determine plans for the
following years.”
In general, social life still faced difficulties and complications. The nation’s new
renovation program631 was initiated and led by our Party, but the country had still not
emerged from a social and economic crisis. Taking advantage of the situation, hostile
forces continued to implement their schemes to “develop peace” with the aim of
eradicating the leadership role of the Communist Party and wiping out the socialist
ideological system.
In implementing the Polituro’s Resolution 02-BCT on the two strategic tasks of
building and defending our Vietnamese Socialist Fatherland, in the first six months of
1992, the armed forces of Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Province strove to complete their tasks on
all fronts: in training and combat readiness, by speeding up local military activities to
contribute towards the maintenance of political stability and public order, and preparing
all aspects for the Battalion to return to its original base.
445 Battalion was a unit that came into being and had grown up in the territory of
Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu during the resistance war against the Americans. Most of the
Battalion’s cadre and soldiers were the children of citizens of Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu. In the
process of development, coming-of-age, and fighting – although the battlefield and
leadership structures had changed many times, our basic advantage was that 445 Battalion
fought in its well-known terrain of Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu – Long Khánh.
Over 10 years (1979-1989), the Heroic 445 Battalion was the representative of the
people and the military of Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu, participating in the fighting to defend the
South-Western Border and undertaking its International Duty by helping our Cambodian
friends. 445 Battalion was deployed back to its familiar terrain when Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu
Province was established. From that time, 445 Battalion was the Province’s concentrated
mobile unit and maintained its role as the nucleus of the Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu armed forces.
In July 1992, in fulfilling its assigned mission, the Battalion conducted training for
second-year soldiers, totalling 216 comrades. We also trained new soldiers from the
Phase 1 cohort of 1992, numbering 240 personnel. The Battalion deployed the 1st Infantry
Company into the field, and conducted civil proselytising and activities in Xuân Sơn
village (Châu Đức District).
In September 1992, the Battalion received training tasks, deployed into the field,
and conducted civil proselytising and activities in Long Phước village (Bà Rịa Town).
631

Translator’s Note: “Renovation” (“Đổi Mới”) was the title of the Government’s economic program
initiated in 1986 with the aim of creating a socialist-oriented market economy. In this policy, the state
played a decisive role in the economy, but private enterprise and cooperatives played a significant role in
commodity production.

199
Summarising our civil proselytising and activities in 1992, the Battalion spent
more than 4,000 days of labour assisting the people harvest their crops, and repaired and
built thousands of metres of roads between the hamlets and between the villages. The
Battalion’s medical unit examined and treated the people on 50 occasions, conducted
charity school classes for 25 children of needy families in difficult circumstances who did
not have any opportunities to study. These classes were conducted over four years teaching from Class 1 to Class 4, and followed the syllabus of the Ministry for Education
and Training. Qualified cadre – who were both responsible and enthusiastic, conducted
these classes.
During 1993 and 1994, the Battalion continued its training mission and remained
combat-ready as the Province’s mobile unit. Major Đặng Văn Bình was the Deputy
Military Commander. The Party organisation within the Battalion comprised a Party
Chapter and three subordinate cells. Comrade Mai Chơn was the Party Chapter Secretary,
Comrade Nguyễn Văn Sơn was the Deputy Secretary, and Comrades Nguyễn Tuấn
Cường, Lê Quang Nghĩa, and Nguyễn Đình Quang were Committee members.
The Battalion trained 500 new soldiers (enlisted in Vũng Tàu, Long An, Bà Rịa
Town, and Châu Đức etc). While training these new soldiers, the Battalion deployed the
2nd Infantry Company into the field in coordination with civil proselytising and activities
in Suối Nghệ village (Châu Đức) – assisting the people with 2,500 days of labour, and
organising medical examinations for hundreds of local people.
In June 1993, the Battalion deployed the 1st Company of 43 personnel on a special
mission to Xuân Sơn village of Châu Đức District (V693). The unit stringently
implemented its civil proselytising task and successfully completed its assigned mission.
Afterwards, the unit remained in the local area to undertake military proselytising, and
coordinated with the local authorities to stabilise the situation. In 1993, the Province
completed the construction of a permanent camp for the Battalion, so that the Battalion
could establish itself as a regular and comprehensive unit.
In 1995, the Battalion solemnly commemorated the 30th anniversary of its
founding as a Battalion (1965-1995). Participants included representatives of the Province
Committee - the Bà Rịa Province People’s Committee, the Province Committee - the
Đồng Nai Province People’s Committee, the local agencies and groups from places where
the Battalion had served during the resistance war, the Heroic Vietnam Mothers’
Association, relatives and families of the Battalion’s martyrs, and hundreds of former
Battalion personnel. Over the 30 years of building, fighting, and coming-of-age, the
Battalion had overcome many difficulties and hardships, and had defeated every difficulty
in order to fulfill its tasks of creating peace as the Province’s outstanding mobile
concentrated battalion.
1996 was a year marked by stability and economic and social development in the
Province. The 2nd Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu Province Party Congress presented the direction
and tasks for the Party, the military, and the people of Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu over the five
years (1996-2000). The following conferences were next held: the 2nd Province Party
Military Affairs Conference, the Military Region 7 Party Conference, and the Party’s VIII
National Conference.
Trained and combat-ready, and having just trained 240 recruits from the local
areas of Châu Đức and Bà Rịa Town, the unit established a training and combat-readiness
plan, prepared a drill and exercise ground, and sent cadre to study training methods.
Those undergoing training achieved 97 percent. In the tests, 100 percent met the standard,
and 65 percent were assessed as quite effective. The new soldiers were well trained in
tactical deployment in combat – in both attack and defence, movement on the battlefield,
and exploiting the terrain and ground.

200
Group632 work: We admitted 60 youths into the Group, and organised exchange
activities with the local areas – in which 100 percent of the Group members participated.
These included organising youth forums titled: “Our youth follow the words taught by
Uncle Hồ”. Large numbers of Group youths in the unit participated in these forums. In
that way, we reviewed and learnt from our experiences in building up the unit, creating a
new cultural environment, and managing and educating the soldiers.
However, at this time, the management of the cadre and unit finances was
insufficiently disciplined, and this led to a number of incidences of violation of discipline
and violation of management and financial principles that impacted on our internal unity
and our fighting strength. Based on the reality of the situation in the unit, the Party
Committee and the Province Military Headquarters gave immediate attention to
developing solutions in order to consolidate the unit’s structure and stablilise the situation
within the unit.
In 1997633, there were changes in the unit’s structure and personnel strength.
There was a large turn-over of 70 percent of the cadre (including: at Battalion level –
three comrades; at company level – three comrades; at platoon level – seven comrades).
The masses’ organisations were also consolidated such as the People’s Assembly and the
Emulation Section. Regarding the principal cadre, the Battalion Commander was Major
Đặng Văn Bình (replacing Comrade Sơn who was assigned to other duties); the Deputy
Commander – Political was Major Mai Chơn; and the Deputy Commander – Military was
Captain Nguyễn Tuấn Cường. From November 1998, Captain Lê Quang Nghĩa – the
Commander of the 1st Company, replaced Comrade Mai Chơn as Deputy Commander
(Comrade Mai Chơn was assigned to other duties).
Although there were changes in the Battalion Headquarters – and also in the
companies and in the platoons, the unit remained focused on stabilising its organisation,
and maintaining its successful system of alert leadership, duties, combat-readiness, and
mobility – according to regulations. The training system for the soldiers was maintained
with combat-readiness marches over long distances carrying heavy