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The Viet Cong

Their Story

The Viet Cong D445 Battalion: Their Story

Ernest Chamberlain

Ernest Chamberlain



The Viet Cong

D445 Battalion

their story

Ernest Chamberlain 2011

Published in Australia in 2011 by Ernest Chamberlain, Point Lonsdale VIC 3225. Copyright Ernest Chamberlain 2011 email -

This monograph is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of private study, research, criticism or review as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any process, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical photocopying or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the author. Inquiries should be made to the publisher. The author has also published: The Struggle in Iliomar: Resistance in rural East Timor; Editions - 2003, 2004 and 2008 (ISBN 9780980562309). Perjuangan di Iliomar: Perlawanan di Pedesaan di Timor-Leste, 2004 (ISBN 0-97503501-0). Faltering Steps Independence Movements in East Timor in the 1950s and 1960s; 2005 (ISBN 0 97500350 2 9). Faltering Steps: Independence Movements in East Timor 1940s to the early 1970s; Editions 2007, 2008 and 2010 (ISBN 9780980562330). Rebellion, Defeat and Exile: The 1959 Uprising in East Timor; Editions - 2007 and 2009 (ISBN 9780980562316). Forgotten Men: Timorese in Special Operations during World War II, 2010 (ISBN 978-0-9805623-2-3) National Library of Australia : Cataloguing-in-Publication Entry Chamberlain, Ernest, 1944 The Viet Cong D445 Battalion: their story. Bibliography; Index. ISBN 978-0-9805623-4-7 Mt trn dn tc gii phng min nam Vit 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 To date, the Australian War Memorial has published two volumes of an official history on Australias military involvement in the Vietnam War.1 Each of the nine Australian Royal Australian Regiment (RAR) infantry battalions that served in Vietnam has produced histories of their tour or tours, of duty. This modest work on a battalion on the other side will hopefully complement those publications and the official histories. This 145,000-word work presents a translation and examination of The Heroic 445 Battalion : its History and Tradition (Tiu on 445 Anh Hng : Lch S/Truyn Thng) ie the 445 Battalion History published in 1991. As near as possible to a literal translation of the Vietnamese text has been attempted - without any omissions. As a result, the English prose may appear somewhat stilted in parts.2 Nevertheless, it is hoped that this work will bring an understanding of D445s story to a wider readership. As comments on the text - and to add context, a considerable number of Translators Notes have been added as footnotes to the translation. The original footnotes (14) in the Vietnamese text have been retained and are indicated with an asterisk eg 6 *.The Translators 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 other Vietnamese histories that have somewhat different accounts of events - including engagements with the Australian forces eg: the ng Nai History 1986, the ng Nai Monograph 2001, the Military Region 7 History 2006, the History of the 5th Infantry Division 20053, the Long t District History 1986, The Minh m Base 2006, the History of the Ha Long Village Party Chapter 2009, and a major Vietnamese work on the War: The History of the Anti-American Resistance War of National Salvation 1997/1999. As Part II of this work, a series of annexes have been offered that cover a range of aspects of probable interest. These annexes include translated extracts from the 5th Infantry Division History - 2005, the organisation of 445 Battalion in mid-1966, casualties at the Battle of Long Tn, outline biographies of key 445 Battalion cadre, and information on the Battalions Party organisation and activities that also includes age and social data on the Battalions personnel. The work includes a comprehensive index. Many of the comments on the 445 Battalion History are based on an examination of captured North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and Vit Cng (VC) documents and the debriefs of prisoners and ralliers (ie defectors). During the Vietnam War, this material was collated centrally by the Combined Intelligence Center Vietnam (CIC-V) in Si Gn
McNeill, I., To Long Tn The Australian Army and the Vietnam War 1950-1966, Allen & Unwin in association with the Australian War Memorial, St Leonards, 1993; McNeill, I. & Ekins, A., On the Offensive, Allen & Unwin in association with the Australian War Memorial, Crows Nest, 2003. The third volume Fighting to the finish, is planned for publication in April 2012. 2 The Vietnamese text uses as an equivalent for the English etc and also for pauses and this original expression has been retained in the translation of the 445 Battalion History ie Part I. 3 A Vietnamese language copy was provided by Colonel (Retd) Bruce Davies. Unlike the 445 Battalion History 1991, the 5th Division History 2005 relates that the Vit Cng forces at the Battle of Long Tn were not fully prepared for the engagement against the Australian forces on 18 August 1966, see Annex I.

with the captured documents processed by its Combined Document Exploitation Center (CDEC).4 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 very 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. Among other issues, the text of the 445 Battalion History and access to VCAT/CDEC material has enabled the resolution of several minor queries on the Battle of Long Tn fought on 18 August 1966 in Phc Tuy Province. The two volumes of the official Australian history on the Vietnam War5 have cited Nguyn Vn Kim (Nm Kim)6 as the commander of D445 Battalion at the Battle based on interviews by a senior Australian military historian7 with Kim in Vietnam in June 1988. However, Kim was not present at the Battle.8 Subsequently, this error has been repeated in several other published works and on Internet websites. Kim also met and guided visiting Australian dignitaries, and participated in other interviews in which he described the fighting at Long Tn.9 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 445 Battalion history. At Annex J, this aspect is examined in relation to 275 Regiment the major Vit Cng element at the Battle of Long Tn on 18 August 1966. 445 Battalion still exists. In late February 2011, a meeting of officials and the Liaison Committee for a proposed D445 Memorial determined that a stela and memorial would be completed by December 2011. A more comprehensive edition of this work is planned following a further research visit to Vietnam and the examination of additional captured and recovered documents of the 1969-1975 period. Ernie Chamberlain July 2011
At the Australian Task Force base in Ni t, captured documents were processed by the Detachment of the 1st Divisional Intelligence Unit before on-forwarding to CDEC in Si Gn. 5 McNeill, I., To Long Tan , op.cit., 1993; McNeill, I. & Ekins, A., On the Offensive, op.cit., 2003. 6 Biographies of key 445 Battalion cadre are included at Annex B. Almost all NVA/VC cadre, soldiers and infrastructure personnel had two-word nicknames/aliases/pseudonyms (t, b danh). Invariably, these comprised a number (from 2 to 10) or occasionally t (meaning youngest), followed by their given name. Party members sometimes also had a secure cover-name ie an additional full Vietnamese name of three words. 7 The transcripts of interviews conducted in the mid-1980s are held in the Official Historians Collection in the Australian War Memorial (AWM), and several are not yet accessible as they are still within the closed period of 30 years advice to the author by the AWM Research Centre, RCIS26101, 9 April 2010. 8 At the time of the Battle of Long Tn, Nguyn Vn Kim was the commander of the Chu c District Unit, and he did not join 445 Battalion until late 1967/early 1968 - see: Chamberlain, E. P., Research Note 23, Vietnam War: Commander of D445 Battalion at Long Tan Not Nguyen Van Kiem but Bui Quang Chanh, 23 September 2010 (to the Australian War Memorial and the Australian Army History Unit). 9 Including, for example, the television documentary and DVD: Long Tan The True Story: - Horsefield, B. (Director/Producer), Australian Broadcasting Commission/Film Australia, Lindfield, 1993.

CONTENTS Part I The Heroic 445 Battalion : its History and Tradition an English translation of Tiu on 445 Anh Hng : Lch S/Truyn Thng, with translators notes. Chapter IChapter II Concealed Among the Forces of the Sects. Coming of Age during the Concerted Uprising Movement and Attacking the Strategic Hamlets. Chapter III We Will Fight and Defeat any Enemy. Chapter IV The Attack on the Enemy during the Mu Thn Spring Phase in B Ra. Chapter V Destroying the Australian Militarys Bunker and Barrier-Shield Strategy; Holding Ground Staunchly; Sticking to the People and Standing Firm in the Main Areas. Chapter VI Towards the Day of Total Victory. Chapter VII A Confident and Deserved Victory. Part II Annex A Senior Cadre: D445 Battalion. Annex B Key Cadre: D445 Battalion Outline Biographies. Annex C D445 Battalion: Strength Figures. Annex D Probable Organisation of D445 Battalion - Mid-1966. Annex E The Battle of Long Tn: Casualties. Annex F The Party in D445 Battalion. Annex G D445 Command and Political Reports mid-1966. Annex H Higher Headquarters. Annex I The History of the 5th Infantry Division (1965 2005): Extracts. Annex J 275 Main Force Regiment. Annex K D440 Local Force Battalion. Annex L Long t District History 1986: Extracts. Annex M The Minh m Base 2006: Extracts. Annex N The History of the Ha Long Village Party Chapter 2009: Extracts. Bibliography Index

This Giy Khen Letter of Appreciation was awarded to Trnh Vn Lim a section commander in the 2nd Company of D445 Battalion. Lim was born in Long Phc village, Chu c [sic] District, B Ra Province. The Letter recognises his bravery and other achievements in the battle at Phc Hi. Dated 10 January 1967, the Letter is signed by the D445 Battalion Political Officer, Vn Lin (CDEC Log 051407-67). Subsequently, while serving as the Political Officer of the 2nd Company, Trnh Vn Lim was killed in an Australian ambush at C Thi (Xuyn Mc) on 31 December 1970 (see footnote 262.)

The Heroic 445 Battalion : its History and Tradition
Tiu on 445 Anh Hng : Lch S/Truyn Thng Nguyn Thanh Tng (ed), published by the Military Headquarters of ng Nai Province, ng Nai, 1991 (B Ch Huy Qun S Tnh ng Nai, ng Nai, 1991) Compilation Guidance: ng Nai Province Military Headquarters Major General Nguyn Thanh Tng Commander Colonel Tin m Deputy Commander responsible for Historical Science Colonel Nguyn Cng Hnh former Deputy Commander responsible for Historical Science Implementation Historical Science Section Staff Department Compilation Phm Thanh Quang1 Participation in Document Production L Rn m c Thung

Phm Thanh Quang is cited by the ng Nai Library (Bin Ha) as the principal author.


Shaped and developed at the peak of our uprising and bearing arms against the enemy in order to liberate the Fatherland, 445 Battalion was a core armed force from its inception a fist and a driving force in Bin Ha-B Ra.2 Throughout the war, 445 Battalion fought on this extremely dangerous and critical battlefield under constant enemy attack. Under the leadership of the Party and shielded and protected by the mountains and rivers of the Fatherland, in all situations the cadre and soldiers of 445 Battalion firmly grasped their weapons to confront the invading American troops, the Australian vassals and the puppets and defeating their many plots and tricks, we inflicted heavy casualties and panic upon them. Throughout the stages of the fighting that were full of hardship and sacrifice, 445 Battalion achieved many great feats-of-arms and combat exploits. These are memories that cannot fade in the minds of the cadre and soldiers - nor be forgotten by the cadre, Party members, and the people in the two provinces of Bin Ha and B Ra. The Battalion displayed intelligence and resolve, a will to struggle, and confidence and belief in the Party and has been worthy of the noble accolade: Hero Unit of the Peoples Armed Forces. To introduce our readers to the Heroic 445 Battalion, the ng Nai Publishing House has produced this work. While it is possibly inadequate - and has its shortcomings, we hope that it satisfies in some part the long wait by the cadre, the soldiers and our fellowcountrymen who have been associated with 445 Battalion - as well as the wider readership. ng Nai Publishing House

Translators (E. Chamberlain) Note: B Ra Province the Si Gn Governments Phc Tuy Province, was 445 Battalions principal area of operations. Occasionally, the Battalion also operated in Long Khnh Province and Bnh Tuy Province respectively to the immediate north and northeast of Phc Tuy/B Ra Province. Phc Tuy Province was about 55 kilometres from east-to-west and about 35 kilometres from north-to-south (an area of about 1,958 sq km about 83% of the size of the Australian Captial Territory). The Province capital - Phc L/B Ra Town, was about 110 kilometres by road southeast of Si Gn via Route 15 (nowadays Route 51). In 1967, the population of the Province was about 103,000 - including B Ra Towns population of about 15,600; and was 112,683 in January 1970. An historical summary of Phc Tuy Province from the late 18th century can be found in OBrien, M., Conscripts and Regulars with the Seventh Battalion in Vietnam, Allen & Unwin, St Leonards, 1995, pp.14-22. A detailed political history of the Phc Tuy-Vng Tu region from 1930 can be found in Lin on Lao ng tnh B Ra Vng Tu, Lch s Phong Tro Cng Nhn, Vin Chc, Lao ng va Hot ng Cng on B Ra Vng Tu Giai on 1930-2006 The History of the Workers, Public Servants and Labourers Movement and Trade Union Activities in the Period 1930-2006, Vng Tu, 2011.

CONTENTS Pages Chapter I Chapter II Concealed Among the Forces of the Sects. 1-5

Coming of Age during the Concerted Uprising 5-23 Movement and Attacking the Strategic Hamlets. 23-54 54-63

Chapter III We Will Fight and Defeat any Enemy. Chapter IV The Attack on the Enemy during the Mu Thn Spring Phase in B Ra. Chapter V Destroying the Australian Militarys Bunker and Barrier-Shield Strategy; Holding Ground Staunchly; Sticking to the People and Standing Firm in the Main Areas. Chapter VI Towards the Day of Total Victory. Chapter VII A Confident and Deserved Victory.

63- 85

85-96 96-99

Attack !

(A Vit Cng soldier armed with a MAT-49 submachine gun)

CHAPTER I CONCEALED AMONG THE FORCES OF THE SECTS On 20 July 1954, the Geneva Agreement on Vietnam was signed. The long and heroic resistance war by our people against the French colonialists had been completely victorious.3 Our country was temporarily divided into two regions: North and South, with the calm Bn Hi River on the 17th parallel as the border. The North had been completely liberated. The South was temporarily controlled by our adversaries. Almost all the revolutionary cadre and soldiers in the South had to regroup to the North (in accordance with the Agreement). Our happiness at our coming together was still fresh when this sadness of division broke upon us. However, our countrymen and soldiers in the South believed that - in a not too distant time, the North and the South would be one. In July 1954, the American imperialists installed Ng nh Dim as the Prime Minister of the puppet government, and immediately leapt to annex the South and elbow aside the French-appointed officials from the puppet regime. In November 1954, the American imperialists appointed General Collins4 to Si Gn as an Ambassador with the aim of fulfilling the six-point plan of the Eisenhower Government. In defiance of the international agreement, the Americans and Dim shamelessly sabotaged the Geneva Agreement. They savagely suppressed the revolutionary people. It was a time of arrests, imprisonment and deportation. Blood flowed and heads fell all of the South was faced with the Machiavellian schemes and cruelty of the new enemy. Apart from purging the revolutionary organisations, the Americans and Dim launched many campaigns to attack the forces of the pro-French religious sects: the Cao i, Ha Ho and the Bnh Xuyn. At the end of 1955, over 4,000 Bnh Xuyn troops in the Rng Sc5 (Long Thnh) were attacked and dispersed by Dims forces. In the face of the enemys schemes and tricks, the revolutionary cadre remaining in Bin Ha and B Ra had to revise their strategy and activities. The B Ra Province Committee whose cover-name at that time was Miss Hai, advocated a daring policy to win over the few disintegrating Bnh Xuyn units in order to take their weapons and organise long-term armed revolutionary resistance forces.
Translator Note: For a brief history of Vit Minh activity post-World War II to 1954 in Phc Tuy Province - see Lu Dng, Nhng chng ng pht trin ca lc lng v trang B Ra-Vng Tu - The Stages of Development of the Armed Forces B Ra-Vng Tu, C Quan ca ng B ng Cng Sn Vit Nam Tnh B Ra-Vng Tu, Vng Tu, 17 December 2009; and Lch s ng b x Ha Long (1930-2005) - The History of the Ha Long Village Party Chapter (1930-2005), 25 April 2009 (see Annex N). 4 Translators Note: General J. Lawton Collins was appointed as the United States (US) Presidents Special Envoy to Si Gn with the diplomatic rank of Ambassador. He arrived in Si Gn on 8 November and replaced the US Ambassador in the Republic of Vietnam Donald R. Heath (June 1952 November 1954). 5 Translators Note: For the early history of the Bnh Xuyn ie to late 1955, see Chapter 19 in Department of Army, Minority Groups in the Republic of Vietnam, Pamphlet 550-105, Washington, 1966. The Rng Sc/Rng St lies about 32 kilometres south-southeast of Si Gn and comprises about 1,250 square kilometres of tidal swamp. Its population in 1968 was about 18,000. The Lng Tu River runs through the Rng Sc and connects Vng Tu/South China Sea and Si Gn. For a very detailed US report (circa mid1968) on the Rng Sc and the Vit Cng on 10 Group (997-strong, including 211 guerrillas) see Rung Sat Special Zone Intelligence Study VCAT Item No. 4000105007. For a comprehensive history of the conflict in the Rng Sc to 1975 in Vietnamese, see H S Thnh, c Khu Rng Sc, Nh Xut Bn Tr, 2003. See also the following footnote 127. 1 ATF conducted its first combat assault and a search and destroy operation (Operation Hayman) into Long Sn island adjacent to the Rng Sc, in the period 8-12 November 1966 1 ATF Opord 1-14-66, 4 November 1966, AWM95, 1/4/16.

2 In Nhn Trch in the Long Thnh area, there was still a Bnh Xuyn company led by Nguyn Vn Ph as company commander. The company had been dispersed by Dims forces, but there were still about 17-18 personnel. Ph was frightened and was preparing to surrender to the Dim regime. Following a directive from above, comrades Ba Hng and Ba c the two Party members assigned from Nhn Trch District, won over Company Commander Ph. The problem was how to incorporate our people and develop this force and whom to choose ? On receipt of the higher directive, Nguyn Vn By the Party member from Phc Khnh village, lost sleep worrying to find an optimum solution. He personally made a number of decisions to resolve this important responsibility. The 15th of December 1955 was a very bright moon-lit night with the Milky Way like an immense and brilliant road traversing the heavens. From the wharf at L t Nh B, a small boat appeared cleaving the water silently and carrying Nguyn Vn By accompanied by a young woman. The boat also carried a small group of strong young men including Nm Ninh Bys son, and Nguyn Tn Thnh, his grandson. There were silent and regretful farewells no one spoke a sentence, but the perplexed mood had a spark of hope. The boat continued to quietly and secretly cross the Lng Tu River skimming past the enemy posts on the rivers banks. At 2am, the boat reached Rch Bng, the Ch L River and close to dawn, arrived at S Da (Phc Khnh) and delivered the group of youths to Ba Hng and Ba c (who were waiting at the agreed location). By grasped Nm Ninhs hand and, shaking it strongly, said: Now you are not only my son, but you are a revolutionary soldier ! Strive to listen - Nm ! Strive to listen, all of you ! Please rest assured, father ! Nm Ninh replied briefly, then he and his companions alighted and watched the boat with By and the girl move away from the bank unnoticed ! On 16 December 1955, the first three revolutionary soldiers were incorporated into the Bnh Xuyn force. Seven days later, Ba Hng and Ba c guided By C, Minh, Su Sang, Hai R, Hng, Tu, Hai Xun, T , Mi Tng to Phs Company. In this way, in the period of only one month, 15 revolutionary youth were incorporated into the Bnh Xuyn force. Following this, Comrade Nguyn Quc Thanh (Ba Thanh) - the first Communist Party member, was placed in Phs Company in the position of its second-incommand. Nguyn Vn Ph and a number of his Bnh Xuyn men had not yet been won over completely to the Revolution. However, faced with the threat of disintegration, they were forced to cooperate in order to fight Dim. Our people comprised half the strength of the Bnh Xuyn Company. After convincing Ph, Comrade Nguyn Quc Thanh quickly arranged for the force to take additional weapons from Phs storehouse in the Rng Sc. The weapons had been placed in three drums that had been heavily smeared with grease and placed on a small watch-tower. The weapons were sufficient to equip over 30 personnel - and included three medium machineguns (American) and a 60mm mortar. The armed group was very well manned and armed, but still without a common aim. All the operations of the group at this time were termed as being conducted by: the armed forces of the sect. Immediately after the first phase of strengthening, reorganising and stabilisation, in about February 1956 the armed forces of the sect prepared an attack on Long Thnh to kill Second Lieutenant Hi and Lm the village chief of Phc Th, together with another wicked second lieutenant in the region. These three thugs were widely notorious in the Phc Th (Long Thnh) area and were tried and punished an initiative that elated the local people. On 4 March 1956, Ng nh Dim organised an election for the puppet National Assembly. In support of the strong wave of struggle by the people, the armed sect group was dispersed in several elements to sabotage the election employing the 60mm mortar to

3 shell Long Thnh Town, firing medium machineguns at the ballot boxes in Phc L village and attacking the post at Phc Khnh etc . With these operations, the Long Thnh area was the only place in the Province that experienced armed activities in opposition to Ng nh Dims National Assembly elections. The enemy was not able to conduct elections in many hamlets and villages. In this series of operations, Nguyn Vn Ph was killed in action. Comrade Nguyn Quc Thanh then assumed command. With a clear understanding of the units heavy responsibilities, he quickly consolidated the force and allowed a number of Bnh Xuyn who were in weak health or who had not yet been won over to the Revolution, to return to their families. At that exact time, By Mn and T i the Bnh Xuyn superiors, appointed Mi i to replace Ph. However, Nguyn Quc Thanh remained in command. Although Mi i revealed his intention to upset matters, he was alone ! Nguyn Quc Thanh cleverly suggested that Mi i command a Bnh Xuyn unit in Rng Dng (Chu Pha Hc Dch). In this way, all of the weapons and equipment for half of a Bnh Xuyn company fell into the hands of the Revolution. From that time, these armed forces took the title: armed self-defence force. In October 1956, the armed self-defence force received a directive from the Provincial Committee to cross Route 15 6*, occupy a base in the Hc Dch, and take the title: armed propaganda unit. On 2 December 1956, the American-Dim Tn Hip Prison was attacked and broken wide open. Over 500 revolutionary cadre escaped from detention and, like birds, flew off in all directions to the areas that had continued to operate. In the Hc Dch base, the armed propaganda unit welcomed hundreds of comrades who had escaped from prison. Following this, Comrade Nguyn Quc Thanh received an order from the Provincial Committee to continue in command of the armed propaganda unit and return to the Rng Sc to prepare to guide a group of cadre who had escaped from prison in the Western Region to cross the Lng Tu River to G Cng and safely return to Military Region 9. After a campaign of attacks by the sect forces, the Americans and Dim launched a campaign titled: Trng Tn Bu7 - employing main-forces, the Civil Defence Force8 and the police in coordination with the Denounce the Communists groups, to attack and destroy the revolutionary organisations in the Eastern Nam B Region9. Bin Ha B Ra was the main target of their attacks. Hundreds of cadre and countrymen were captured, exiled, beaten and savagely murdered. The enemy was increasingly revealing his true cruel nature. In the face of this situation, the B Ra Provincial Committee continued to send personnel to join the Bnh Xuyn force stationed in the Rng Dng in order to build up the armed force. In January 1957, Comrade L Minh H (Tm H) Deputy Secretary of the Provincial Committee, directly appointed Comrade V Tm (Su Tm) to meet with the prison escapees and to escort Comrades: Ba Lin10, Tn, Vinh, Bn who had just escaped from the Tn Hip Prison, to join the Bnh Xuyn unit - then at Chu Pha and
* Nowadays titled Route 51 (Si Gn Vng Tu). Translators Note: Trng Tn Bu (1752-1827) was a general of the Nguyn dynasty. 8 Translators Note: The Bo An Civil Defence Force/Civil Guard (also translated as Provincial Guard) were established in 1955. They were a local force who were both armed and uniformed and were replaced by the Regional Forces in 1964. 9 Translators Note: The Nam B Region constituted that area of Vietnam south of the Central Highlands equating to the French colonial Cochin China region. 10 Translators Note: For a biography of Ba Lin - ie Vn Lin (real name Vn Chng/ng Vn Chng), who became the political officer of 445 Battalion, see Annex B Key Cadre.
7 6

4 commanded by Mi i. Since leaving Nguyn Quc Thanhs unit and taking charge of the Bnh Xuyn unit there, Mi i had continued to reveal that he had not been won over to the Revolution and only fought for his own personal aims, and liked to eat and over-indulge . Although they understood Mi is aims and attitude, the Provincial Committee still directed that Mi i be treated in a respectful manner. The lives of our cadre and soldiers were still very difficult and they were forced to eat vegetables and gruel. Each day however, we continued to provide Mi i with a litre of liquour and two packs of C Tp cigarettes . At the same time, the Provincial Committee continued to send additional cadre, Party members and youth to Mi is unit including, in this phase, Comrades: Hai Thun, Nm Kin, Nm Nhn (Trung), Du, n, Yn , and slowly our numbers placed in the unit reach 30 comrades. A Party Chapter was established comprising nine Party members and a Chapter Committee of three comrades - with V Tm as the secretary and Ba Lin and Hai Thun as members of the Chapter Committee. At this time, we had clearly enunciated the Partys position and path and the responsibilities of the unit to a number of the Bnh Xuyn personnel in order that they might firm their ideals and resolve when the time came to oppose the Americans and Dim and save the nation. We allowed Mi i and a number of his men who lacked the revolutionary spirit and were in weak health to return to their families in accord with their wishes. So, in the B Ra Province area, two armed propaganda units had come into being - and these forces were the predecessors of 445 Battalion. To achieve the directive of the Provincial Committee, at the end of 1957, the armed propaganda unit led by Comrade V Tm attacked the Bu Lm Forced Resettlement Camp which, in fact, was Dims Civil Service Training School in Phc Tuy.11 The aim of destroying the Bu Lm camp was to both break up this disguised military organisation and to acquire finances and solve some of the difficulties in the basic life of the Province. The secret elements of the Party Chapter in Bu Lm village had closely studied the enemy situation and provided information to the armed propaganda unit including on the enemys operational methods. The armed propaganda unit then prepared an ambush on the enemy. At 3pm, when the directors jeep had just reached the gate of the camp, it was struck by a sudden volley of shots. The driver of the vehicle was killed on the spot. We assaulted and captured the director and seized 500,000 piastres (in Indochina currency). In the following days, the secret Bu Lm Party Chapter mobilized the people to struggle and to strike from their work. The Bu Lm Forced Resettlement Camp in B Ra a disguised Dim military organisation, disintegrated. At the end of 1957, the B Ra armed propaganda unit killed Cn a wicked thug who was widely notorious in the Ha Long region. He was a former member of the Party Chapter and commander of the Ha Long village public security element during the antiFrench period but, in an act of betrayal, he had surrendered to the enemy. Also at this time, the armed propaganda unit was given the task to strike the post at Bng Ring and to liberate the two villages of Bng Ring and Bnh Chu. However, although having studied the battlefield, the unit was ordered to cancel the operation on the Bng Ring post and implementation of the plan to kill the wicked thug was specifically forbidden. The directives prohibiting the above combat operations upset a number of the men in the armed propaganda unit. Many of them asked the leadership: Why can the enemy
Translators Note: On 22 October 1956, the Si Gn Government (ie the Republic of Vietnam) retitled B Ra Province as Phc Tuy which included the adjacent Cn Gi District and Vng Tu. However, the communist side preferred the earlier title of B Ra Province. While the Province capital was officially titled Phc L, it was commonly referred to as B Ra Town by both sides. Cn Gi District and Vng Tu were subsequently detached from the Province which thereafter had an area of 1,958 sq km about 55km from east to west and 35km from north to south (ie about 83% of the size of the Australian Capital Territory).

5 attack us, but were not allowed to attack them ? Why are we armed with weapons, but must stand by and watch the enemy kill our countrymen and comrades ?

CHAPTER II COMING OF AGE DURING THE CONCERTED UPRISING MOVEMENT AND ATTACKING THE STRATEGIC HAMLETS With the coming into force of the American-Dim Law 10/59, the Americans and Dim killed people by guillotine ! Guillotines were taken everywhere. Thousands and tens of thousands of nation-loving people in the South were decapitated by the guillotine ! Countrymen in the South, countrymen in Bin Ha and B Ra, could no longer believe in the General Consultative Election to Unite the Nation that had been determined by the Geneva Agreement. Hundreds of political struggles opposing the Americans and Dim arose in Bin Ha B Ra Xun Lc and the rubber-growing regions. However, these hundreds of political struggles were stamped out with bayonets and gun barrels and great grief and death ensued across the land. In January 1959, the 15th Conference of the Executive Committee of the Partys Politburo was convened. The Conference affirmed: The fundamental way forward for the Vietnamese revolution in the South is through an uprising to secure the government in the hands of the people It is essential to employ the strength and political force of the masses in coordination with the armed elements .12* The Central Committee Conference stressed: With their bellicose nature, the American imperialists can intervene militarily to recover the situation. In those circumstances, the uprising will have to adapt to a protracted armed struggle. Resolution 15 of the Executive Committee of the Partys Politburo was like a brilliant beacon showing the way forward for the battlefield in the South. The two provincial armed propaganda units were concentrated in the Hc Dch base area to deeply study Resolution 15. Comrade Nm Hoa a Military Region cadre, disseminated the Resolution. Listening to each section of the Resolution, our men leapt up with happiness and then embraced one another in a circle, and their tears overflowed. They cried with joy at being able to take up their weapons and kill the enemy. Having studied Resolution 15, the Provincial Committee and the Eastern Region Military Committee13 decided to merge the two provincial armed propaganda units and create a concentrated unit for military training, the study of sapper and reconnaissance tactics, and armed propaganda operations in order to support the political struggle of the masses. In February 1960, the 40th Company the first concentrated mobile unit in Bin Ha and B Ra in the Anti-American/National Salvation period, was formed under the direct leadership of the Province and the Eastern Region Military Committee. The 40th
* The Vietnam Military History Institute, The Resistance War Against the Americans to Save the Country, p.52. 13 Translators Note: The Eastern Region - ie Min ng, was the eastern half of Nam B. As noted, Nam B 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 Vit Cng political geography in the South from 1954 is detailed in United States Mission in Vietnam, 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 B Region changed five times in the period 1967-1972 see Communist Territorial Organization in the "Eastern Nam B" and the SaigonCholon-Gia-Dinh from 1966 to Date VCAT Item No. 2310510003.

6 Company (C40) was commanded by Comrade L Thnh Cng (Su Thnh) a cadre of the staff branch of the Eastern Region Military Committee. Comrade Nguyn Quc Thanh the first Communist Party member to join the Bnh Xuyn force, was appointed as the Companys political officer (C40 was officially established in August 195814 but to maintain secrecy it was only officially announced in February 1960. At its inauguration, C40 was given the title: Liberation Force of the B Ra Long Khnh region). At the end of February 1960, the Provincial Committee and the Eastern Region Military Committee decided to select the 40th Company to attack the enemy at the Bnh Ba plantation in order to support the rubber workers in the region to rise up and kill the tyrants, destroy the oppressors, and give sovereignty to the people of the B Ra Long Khnh region. The first company-level attack in the Province was urgently prepared. The Bnh Ba camp lay on Inter-Provincial Route 2, 18 kilometres north of the town of B Ra. At Bnh Ba, the enemy had employed the Civil Defence Force ((Bo An)) combined with a Self-Defence Corps platoon ((Dn V15)) and many sections of gendarmerie ((hin binh)) to block access to Route 2, to operate deep into our base areas, oppress the struggle movement of the rubber workers and to defend the Bnh Ba rubber plantation16 one of a number of large French colonial plantations. The enemy had constructed three large posts, many blockhouses - and the strong defensive works were surrounded by a fence. With the support of the rubber workers who drew sketches and knew the enemy situation, on the night of 30 March 1960, C40 deployed to attack the Bnh Ba camp. At the time, C40s organisation comprised two platoons and an administrative staff section (C cell). Comrade L Hng Sn a platoon commander, led one assaulting spearhead while comrade Hng a platoon commander, led another. The administrative section was also responsible for an attack axis. Within 24 hours, all three assault groups had closed-in to the objective. When the two medium machineguns in the two principal attacking spearheads had just fired their resounding bursts of fire, grenades and explosive charges flew thick-and-fast into the enemy camp. At the same time, our soldiers assaulted one and all. Comrade Mi Hng led a spearhead that rushed straight towards the enemy headquarters. The enemy were caught by surprise, did not have enough time to respond, and quickly disintegrated. Entering the enemy headquarters, Mi Hng put aside the grenade in his hand in order to strike a match to light a lamp (as it was very dark). He then suddenly remembered that the pin of the American ducks bill grenade17 had been removed. At that moment, Comrade Nguyn Quc Thanh and many of our men also entered the area. Comrade Mi Hng only had the time to think to swiftly grab the grenade and rush outside. However, as he reached the door the grenade exploded. The grenade tore open part of Mi Hngs stomach, and another two comrades were wounded.

Translators Note: According to the ng Nai History - 1986: In the middle of 1958, at the Sui Qut T-junction, the armed forces of B Ra led by V Tm and the Long Thnh (Bin Ha ) group led by Nguyn Quc Thanh united as one unit and took the title of the 40th Unit ((b i)) with a strength of almost 30 Subsequently, they established a number of bases at Phc Thi, Cm M, Gia Ray, V c, nh Qun, Xuyn Mc Footnote 1: The Commander of the 40th Unit was L Thnh Cng and the Nguyn Quc Thanh was the Deputy Commander. - Phan Ngc Danh, Trn Quang Toi & Phm Van Hy, ng Nai 30 Nm Chin Tranh Gii Phng (1945-1975) - The 30-year Liberation Struggle in ng Nai (1945-1975), Nh Xut Bn ng Nai, ng Nai, 1986, pp.86-87. 15 Translators Note: The Dn V were replaced by the Popular Forces (PF) in 1964. 16 Translators Note: The principal plantation in the area was the French-owned Gallia plantation. 17 Translators Note: Either the US Mk I or Mk II fragmentation grenade.


7 Comrade Mi Hng was the first of C40s soldiers to be heroically sacrificed while saving the lives of his companions-in-arms. The heroic revolutionary qualities of this cadre platoon commander exemplified the first military exploit of the Provinces first concentrated unit. In coordination with our troops, the rubber plantation workers lit torches, beat drums and struck wooden bells to hunt down the enemy soldiers and killed many wicked thugs including Nui, a thug who was widely notorious in the Bnh Ba region. The victory at Bnh Ba was not large in terms of wiping out the enemys strength or its means of war-fighting, but it strongly supported and mobilized the political struggle of the rubber workers. Also the movement spread out from there, with all the people of the Province rising up, and subsequently the three spearheads form of attack was utilized throughout the countryside. Following the Bnh Ba victory, the 40th Company continued to attack the enemy in the plantations and the villages in the Route 2 region such as: Ngi Giao, Xun Sn, X Bang, Hc Dch . The rubber plantation workers and the people used sticks and canes, swords, rubber-tapping knives to rise up and kill the thugs and destroy the enemy oppressors thus becoming masters of many villages and hamlets contiguous to our base areas. From then on, the Hc Dch region became a secure base area for the Province, the rubber-growing districts and Chu c throughout the whole campaign to oppose the Americans and save the nation. Enlightened by the Partys Politburo Resolution 15 and emulating the Concerted Uprising by the people of Bn Tre and the whole of the South, the Party organisations in Bin Ha B Ra rose up to seize mastery of the villages and hamlets adjacent to War Zone D (Bin Ha) and along Routes 2, 23 and 52 (B Ra). The political struggle expanded in many places after our battle victory at Bnh Ba and, in the uprisings by the masses of the people, hundreds of youth volunteered to join the armed revolutionary forces. The revolutionary momentum of the attacks signaled a comprehensive change. The political struggle developed widely in the regions of the Province, demanding the support of the armed forces. In April 1960, the Provincial Committee and the Eastern Region Military Committee decided to establish the 45th Company. Personnel and weapons and especially the cadre personnel, were shared with the 40th Company to provide a core element. Consequently, in the Bin Ha B Ra Long Khnh region, there were then two companies as the concentrated mobile force for the Province. The 40th Company was commanded by Comrade Su Thnh, with Comrade Ba i as its political officer. The 45th Company was led by Comrade Nguyn Quc Thanh, and Comrade Ba H was the political officer. The two company commanders18 were members of the Provincial Committee and held very important positions in the Provincial Military Section.19* The 40th Company was stationed to the east of the Route 2 area (My Tu [sic] Xuyn Mc) with responsibilities for armed propaganda in the villages in the coastal area and the region of Routes 23 and 52. The 45th Company was located west of Route 2 and operated as a mobile element to destroy a number of the enemys concentrated forces and
Translators Note: Vit Cng 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 cn b (cadre ie officer-ranking) or chin s (combatant or soldier). Prior to 1958, the Peoples Army of Vietnam (ie 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. 19 * Comrade Su Thnh was concurrently the head of the Provincial Military Section. Comrade Ba Thanh was the deputy of the Provincial Military Section. Translators Note: L Thnh Cng (Su Thnh) was also known as L Minh Thnh.

8 to defend the Hc Dch base area while conducting armed propaganda and supporting the political struggle of the people in a number of villages and hamlets on Routes 2 and 15. In May 1960, the 40th Company coordinated with our fifth-column agents to destroy a puppet commando section led by the wicked thug Ti, who was the most widely notorious in the region. They had killed 30 former resistance personnel and had attacked, injured and crippled over 70 people. This commando section had been dispatched to Xuyn Mc by the Phc Tuy Sector.20 Comrade Su Chin21 was our underground agent in the Self-Defence Corps ((Dn V)) post at G C. Chn T was the one who had directly proselytized and educated Su Chin from being a Self-Defence Corps soldier to becoming our clandestine revolutionary agent. Su Chin provided a lot of important news on the enemy to us and, on this occasion, directly coordinated with the 40th Company to kill Ti and his commando unit. Having firmly grasped the operational methods of the puppet commando unit, Su Chin advised the 40th Company on how to develop a plan to destroy the enemy while, at the same time, telling Ti that he could guide him to where there were Vit Cng22. At 7am, the whole commando section - led by Su Chin and Ti, fell into the 40th Companys ambush (at a place that had been coordinated with Su Chin). Ti was holding on fast to Su Chins belt so close that he was always within half a step of Su Chin. How could we guarantee that Su Chins life would be safe ? The only way was to separate Su Chin far from Ti. When Su Chin and Ti were only a few tens of metres away, the medium machinegun of our forward blocking group fired a short volley over the heads of Su Chin and Ti. Ti moved very quickly. He dropped down close to the ground and shouted for his soldiers to take up defensive positions. Like lightning, Su Chin moved away from where Ti was lying. At the same time, our soldiers rushed out and fought hand-to-hand with the enemy. Ti and the commando section resisted stubbornly, and a few of our soldiers became casualties. However, after a few minutes of fighting, all 12 of the enemy commando section were killed - as well as Ti. We recovered all their weapons and a radio. That very afternoon, Su Chin guided the 40th Company to kill the enemy in the G C Self-Defence Corps post. These concentrated attacks were highly successful for the 40th Company and were known throughout the Xuyn Mc Phc Bu Cy Cm Slope B T region - and became the first step in destroying the enemy oppression in the coastal area. Also in May 1960, the Provincial Committee directed the 45th Company to deploy for its first battle with the aim of destroying an important element of the enemys strength and to force their withdrawal from the Hc Dch post and guarantee security for our base area. Every day, on the section of the unsealed road from Ph M to Hc Dch, a Civil Defence Force company scoured the area of the route and rotated with another company. Knowing these enemy traits well, we prepared an ambush at Bn Tu.

Translators Note: A Sector (Tiu Khu) was the regional Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) military command covering a province; Sub-Sector (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. 21 Translators Note: It is unclear whether Su Chin was Trn Van Chin (Su Chin) who later became the commander of the Battalions 1st Company see footnotes 65 and 160; and Annex A Senior Cadre. 22 Translators Note: The Vietnamese communists did not refer to themselves as Vit Cng (Cng Sn Vit Nam - Vietnamese Communists) this was a pejorative term initiated and used by the Republic of Vietnam (RVN - ie South Vietnam).


9 At that time, the 45th Company only comprised one platoon with little more than ten weapons but the principal weapon was the Mantis23. The Company also had all types of mines, 82mm mortar ammunition and a 61mm home-made mortar which were all concentrated for the attack. To guarantee the 45th Companys victory in the engagement, the Provincial Committee reinforced the 45th Company with the defence unit of the Provincial Committees administrative section. At the same time, the local armed forces such as the village guerrillas of Long Phc, Ha Long led by Comrade Tm Vit, coordinated with the Company. Comrade Nguyn Quc Thanh the second-in-command of the Provincial Unit and concurrently the Company Commander, was the commander of the operation. Also involved were Comrade L Thnh Ba (Ba Bi) a Provincial Committee cadre, Comrade V Tm the Provincial Committee cadre responsible for the masses movement in the villages along Route 15, Comrade T , and Comrade Ba H as the second-in-command. Although his wound had not yet healed and he was on crutches, Comrade Nguyn Quc Thanh still led the action. Comrade Nguyn Quc Thanh directly commanded the medium machinegun and the 10 comrades in the forward blocking group. Comrade L Thnh Ba commanded the 10 comrades in the rear blocking group. Comrades Ba H, T and V Tm led the main forward element (along the edge of the road). At 8am, a Civil Defence Force company stumbled into our ambush site and at the same time, another Civil Defence Force company appeared that was returning from its searching operation. They met, discussed their tasks and sat scattered around right in our ambush site although they had not completed their deployments (which stretched beyond the two ends of our ambush site by a couple of tens of metres). A surprise situation had arisen beyond our anticipation with the enemy strength ten times ours and their formation was quite spread out in length. After a few minutes consideration, Comrade Nguyn Quc Thanh crawled to the side of Comrade T Chnh the section second-in-command who directly controlled the medium machinegun in the forward element, in order to change the attack plan. At that time, one of the enemy carrying a medium machinegun placed the weapon against a bush while he went to relieve himself. Comrade Tng in the guard element immediately killed the enemy soldier and seized his medium machinegun. At the same time, T Chnhs machinegun opened up with resounding bursts of fire into the midst of the enemy formation. Next, Comrade T Chnh turned the machineguns fire on the small groups of enemy who were still beyond the extent of our ambush site. At that time, our attack groups in the killing zone24 simultaneously rushed forward and fought decisively. The enemy machinegun that had just been seized by Comrade Tng also fired bursts thick-and-fast, into the groups of enemy beyond the ambush site. Consequently, in only a blink of an eye, the enemys formation was broken into three clusters. The enemy had been surprised and, panicstricken, disintegrated. We killed over 30 and seized 15 weapons, including three medium machineguns. The remaining enemy took flight. The other enemy forces in the Hc Dch were also fearful and abandoned their posts. The next morning, hundreds of countrymen gathered at Hc Dch carrying a pig, many chickens and ducks, and cakes as a feast for our troops - and to see the Soldiers of the Forty-Fifth first-hand. We held a large meeting to proselytize the victory that we had won. Hc Dch had become the first liberated village in B Ra. The Battle of Bn Tu the first combat victory of the 45th Company, was not only a battle of the highest effectiveness by the provincial armed forces at that time, but also
Translators Note: The Vit Minh and later the Vit Cng, manufactured over 40 different types of sng nga tri 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. 24 Translators Note: Literally quyt chin im decisive point.

10 created a spirit of affection and confidence among our countrymen for their young people who had only just come of age. The term Soldiers of the Forty-Fifth was popularized from that time. Also as a result of the Bn Tu battle, we had been able to seize enough weapons to establish an additional two platoons and so the 45th Company was fully constituted with three platoons. A month after the Bn Tu success, the 45th Company deployed to fight a battle at Khnh Lm (Phc Thi) and destroyed a commando section and a section of the SelfDefence Corps, seizing many weapons. The enemy mounted sweeping operations into the Hc Dch base area in the last months of 1960, but these were all driven back by the 45th Company. In one engagement, a whole Civil Defence Force company was destroyed. At the end of 1960, the 45th Company coordinated with the district forces to wipe out an enemy platoon at the Bu p post. This was the first battle in which the 45th Company employed a tactic of coordinating with clandestine elements among the workers in the post resulting in a great victory and the seizure of 30 weapons of all types that were passed to the district troops and the village guerrillas. On 20 December 1960, the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam was formed. Following this important event, on 15 February 1961 a military conference was held in War Zone D during which the armed revolutionary forces in the South were officially united to become the South Vietnam Liberation Forces. The COSVN25 Military Committee became the Headquarters of the Liberation Forces of South Vietnam. The Revolution in the South had entered a new phase. At the beginning of 1961, the revolutionary movement in the countryside had expanded across a wide area requiring that our armed forces strike the enemy in many places in support of the masses. It was necessary to raise district forces and self-defence guerrilla elements in a number of critical areas. The Provincial Committee decided to transfer a number of our cadre and soldiers in the provincial concentrated unit to build the core of the armed forces in the districts. Comrade Bin together with a section of troops, moved to Long t District; Comrade Nhn and a section, joined Xun Lc District. Comrade Mi Nng - and a section, went to Long Thnh District. Comrades Hai Thun and Nm Kin together with a section, were allocated to Chu c District. From that time, the concentrated mobile forces in a number of the critical districts became the core of the process of setting up the district companies. After reinforcing the districts with a large number of troops, the Provincial Committee combined the 40th Company and the 45th Company and designated the new unit with the title of the 445th Company.26 Comrade T was appointed as the company commander of the 445th Company27, and Comrade Nm Ninh28 became its political officer and concurrently operated as the
Translators Note: COSVN the Central Office for South Vietnam (Vn Phng Trung ng Cc Min Nam), directed from H Ni, was the communist political and military headquarters responsible for Vietnam south of the Central Highlands - an area termed Nam B (equating to the French colonial Cochin China region). Sometimes abbreviated to Min, COSVNs principal cover designators were R and Nm Trng. 26 Translators Note: The formation of the 445th Company at the beginning of 1961 is also related in the publication: The Armed Forces of Military Region 7 50 Years, 1995. Military Region 7 (Eastern Region) founded in 1945, was re-established in May 1961 to encompass the provinces of: Ty Ninh, Bnh Dng, Bnh Long, Phc Long, Phc Thnh, Bin Ha and B Ra. 27 Translators Note: The ng 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 Nm Ninh and T Chnh. - Phan Ngc Danh , ng Nai 30 Nm , op.cit.,1986, p.101. Note: a draft version - ie S Tho, is also available, see Bibliography. 28 Nguyn Minh Ninh (Nm Ninh), see biographical detail at Annex B Key Cadre.

11 secretary of its Party Chapter. Comrade T Chnh was made second-in-command, and Comrade Ba Qung was appointed deputy political officer. Immediately after being established and although its organisation had not yet been fully set up, the 445th Company was deployed over a wide area in Long Thnh Xun Lc B Ra Long t to operate in concert with a number of local district platoons and companies and village guerrillas that had recently been formed to fight the enemy and who had liberated a number of villages such as: Tam An, Phc Nguyn, Bnh Sn (Long Thnh) Tam Phc, Phc Th, Long Tn (Long t) With the strong support of the armed elements, the people in many places had risen up and become the masters of their areas and set up a large number of new organs in their hamlets. Everywhere in the Province, the momentum of the revolutionary struggle was advancing strongly. At the end of 1961, the Staley-Taylor Pacification plan to pacify the South in 18 months, was launched. This was the first plan in the Americans Special Warfare strategy.29 The gathering of the people into Strategic Hamlets30 was elevated to become a national policy. In March 1962, the Americans and Dim began their Sunrise campaign.31 On a large scale, they coordinated their regular main-forces, Civil Defence Force, Self-Defence Corps and police from company to regiment level in devastating attacks in the provinces of the Eastern Nam B Region, and they forced the people to establish strategic hamlets. In B Ra, the enemy concentrated a large force and launched a sweeping operation termed Thunder and Wind into the Hc Dch base area but they were driven back by the 445th Company. Our armed forces and the people in Bin Ha B Ra Long Khnh faced a serious challenge caused by these tricks and plots of the enemy. The 445th Company launched concentrated attacks and also at times operated in a dispersed mode in coordination with the district and village-level forces to attack the enemy and support our countrymen to resist the destruction of their homes and forced relocation into strategic hamlets. We strove to coordinate our armed forces and the people in order to retain a number of villages and hamlets in critical areas. However, we were faced by the enemys sweeping campaigns, massed attacks, the destruction of houses and the forced relocations - and everywhere our forces were thin on the ground. Consequently, in 1962 about 70% of the people in the Province were regrouped to live in the strategic hamlets. Large numbers of those in our political apparatus were captured or were unable to operate any longer. In such a serious situation, the Provincial Committee ordered the 445th Company to return to Long Phc in order to defend the liberated region and support our countrymen oppose the relocations and the setting up of Strategic Hamlets in the Central area of Long t. Immediately on its arrival in its newly-designated area, the 445th Company

Translators Note: The strategy announced in May 1961 and, together with its component Pacification program, was colloquially referred to as the Staley/Maxwell plan - ie after the Stanford University academic Eugene Staley and US General Maxwell Taylor (later US Ambassador in the Republic of Vietnam 19641965). 30 Translators Note: The Strategic Hamlet (p Chin Lc) programme was wider than the Agroville resettlement program begun by President Dim in 1959. In 1964, post- Dim, it was revitalized as the New Life Hamlets (p i Mi) - and in 1965 retitled Secure Hamlets (p Tn Sinh ie New Life Hamlets, but in Sino-Vietnamese). 31 Translators note: Operation Sunrise launched in Bnh Dng Province in late March 1962, began the Strategic Hamlet programme. In 1962, the focus of the program was the six provinces around Si Gn (including Phc Tuy) and Kontum Province. Initially, 11,316 strategic hamlets were planned but the program faltered with the assassination of President Ng nh Dim in November 1963.


12 organised an operation to kill many of the notorious and wicked thugs in the Long in and Ha Long region and to strike at the enemys oppression of the people. In August 1962, 445 Company employed a platoon to conduct an ambush at Ging Long Hi to kill the thug Su L together with his commando platoon. Su L led a commando platoon that was part of the enemy force at Long in. Each day, Su L would lead his platoon on search operations from Long in to Long Hi to destroy our revolutionary apparatus. Whenever suspected Vit Cng were captured, Su L would shoot them right away then cut open their stomaches and remove the livers. On returning to Long in, he would give the livers to the innkeeper to cook - and then Su L would eat these in a drinking session. The evil Su L and his vicious commando platoon had to be captured, and retributive punishment enacted for the people. With that resolve, the 445th Company eliminated this platoon and Su L at Ging Long Hi. Next, the 445th Company prepared an ambush at the Ha Long intersection to kill the thug, Thu. Thu was a Pacification cadre32 who deceived, enticed and tried to win over the people, raped women, and attacked our underground apparatus. He had shot and killed Miss Bu a cadre of our movement in Bc Ha Long hamlet. After she had been killed, Thu then raped her dead body. This vile act greatly outraged the local people. With the assistance of the people, a reconnaissance cell from the 445th Company led by Comrade L Tranh33 concealed themselves in a scorpion tree for several days in order to determine Thus routine and movements. Following this, we deployed a platoon to secretly ambush and eliminate Thu in Ha Long. A further seven enemy were captured. The most notorious and wicked thugs in the Long in, Ha Long region had been judged and punished and this limited the brutal and cruel activities of the other thugs. The people were extremely elated and increasingly believed in the struggle to oppose the enemys attempts at the destruction of their homes and concentrating them into strategic hamlets. At the beginning of 1963, in the Long t area, only the villages of Long Tn and Long Phc were liberated villages. There, a tunnel system had been dug in order that our armed elements could staunchly stand their ground and, with the people, counter the enemys violence.34 The tunnel system in ng Long Phc had been begun in 1948 by Comrades V Tm, Chn Sanh, By Th Party members; together with: L Vn T, Trn Th K, Trn Th Tc, Nguyn Th Da, T Ng, Mi Hn, Ba Lung who played their roles by digging the first tunnels with their hoes. At that time, Party Chapter 116 (the Long Phc Party Chapter) had 48 Party members leading the people of Long Phc to achieve this marvellous feat-of-arms. The Soldiers Mothers Organisation mobilized the people to contribute grain35, foodstuffs, fruit and vegetables, sugar and milk The Womens
Translators Note: The killing of Thu in August 1962 is very similarly related in The History of the Ha Long Village Party Chapter (1930-2005), op.cit., 2009, except that Thu is described as a member of the Popular Forces. 33 Translators Note: L Tranh (Nm 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. L Tranh claimed to have later been the deputy commander of 445 Battalion in 1972-1974 see Annex A. 34 Translators Note: The other major Vit Cng tunnel systems in Phc Tuy Province were at Kim Long in the Vit Cng Chu c District and at Hc Dch in Tn Thnh District. The Long Phc tunnels were declared an historical site by the B Ra-Vng Tu authorities on 9 January 1990 see ia o Long Phc, 26 September 2010 note the item also claims two Australian battalions were destroyed at the Long Tn battle in August 1966. 35 Translators Note: Literally lng thc 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 or supplies.

13 Organisation organised the cooking of the food for the hundreds of people engaged in digging the tunnels. Every night, hundreds of candles spread light within the tunnels. Throughout the night, there were the sounds of movement and the digging of shovels within the area controlled by the enemy. The earth that was removed was spread and scattered about in family garden plots, disguised as the foundations for new houses At first, the tunnel complex in ng Long Phc hamlet was 300 metres long, 1.5 metres in height and .8 of a metre wide and many entrances were dug. In 1949, the women and children continued to dig the tunnels at Bc Long Phc. Throughout the whole period of Resistance against the French, the tunnels of Long Phc silently protected hundreds of people on the road to victory ! In the times of opposing the Americans, the provincial troops (C445) helped develop the tunnels in Bc Long Phc hamlet to a length of more than 800 metres and a depth below ground level of five metres. The tunnels were two metres in height and a metre wide. On the surface, on both sides of the tunnels there were communication trenches, fighting positions, spike traps and minefields. This area was used as the base for the District Committee and also the Provincial Committee. At the time, it was a firm rear area where the 445th Company could stand its ground and deploy to other locations to strike the enemy in support of the district troops, guerrillas and the people in its task of destroying the enemys plans to concentrate the populace into strategic hamlets in particular in the two important areas of Long in and Ha Long. Acknowledging those areas as critical, L c t the Phc Tuy province chief, announced on many occasions that he would mow down Long Phc. To implement the province chiefs order, the captain in command of Long L District Mai Lang Lung, had led Civil Defence Force battalions on sweeping operations into Long Phc village on several occasions. At the beginning of March 1963, the 38th Ranger Battalion and the 61st 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 Phc liberated zone. At this time, the 445th Companys strength was over 120 organised in three platoons. One platoon was operating with the local combat force at An Ngi (t ) with the other two platoons in Long Phc. On the very first day, the enemys vanguard elements flooded violently into Long Phc. The village guerrillas and the 445th Company occupied their defensive positions (in the outer perimeter) to drive the enemy back and the fighting waged back-and-forth for weeks. At night, the enemy would withdraw, and we would control the area. We would repair and consolidate the defences to ensure their effectiveness for the next day. After more than ten days of the enemys failure in their attempts to take Long Phc, the enemy reinforced its strength to the equivalent of a regiment supported by a squadron of armoured vehicles and aircraft and artillery, to bomb and shell Long Phc. Their firepower cratered the ground not one tree or metre of dirt in the hamlet of Bc Long Phc was left intact. Our trenches and fighting revetments were devastatingly blown apart. Our soldiers fought on doggedly, blocking each forward step of the enemy troops. At that time, we did not have anti-tank weapons and could only use mines and grenades against their tanks and armoured vehicles but our weapons were ineffective. Many of our comrades were wounded and - unable to be evacuated, had to be treated in the tunnels. Slowly, our ammunition ran out. The situation was extremely tense and dangerous. The 1st of April 1963 was a very decisive day - and an historic day for the 445th Company at Long Phc. The lives of hundreds of people would be decided in a few short seconds. Faced by continuing mass attacks day-after-day by almost a full enemy infantry regiment, an armoured vehicle squadron and very heavy fire support, the fighting spirit of our soldiers never wavered but our ammunition was down to its last bullet and shell. The

14 enemy assaulted en masse, and we had to ensure that each of our bullets brought down an enemy soldier. Using our sniping skills, every round struck one of the enemy. Nguyn Vn Bo (Su Bo) second-in-command of a section, shot and killed tens of enemy. All our communications trenches and external defensive works had been seized by the enemy. Our 12 loopholes had been blocked by 12 of the enemys armoured vehicles. The two major entrances to the tunnel system were covered over by two armoured vehicles. Below in the tunnels, there were 250 cadre, soldiers and Long Phc villagers. The enemy used megaphones to call on them to surrender if not, in an hour, the enemy would pump poisonous gas down into the tunnels and collapse the whole tunnel system. The fate of our provincial main-force unit and hundreds of villagers would be decided in a few final decisive minutes. Our soldiers below in the tunnels crawled to the entrance and saw with growing hate, the underbelly of an enemy tank. But how to remove it ? They couldnt just give up and die. The Company headquarters gave the last remaining bazooka to Comrade Nm Tranh and Comrade Tt of the reconnaissance team, to crawl forward and place the weapon beneath the armoured vehicle and detonate it. However, the blast of but one bazooka against an armoured vehicle was ineffective. Down in the darkness of the tunnels, the atmosphere was silent. For many tens of minutes, Comrade Nm Ninh was unable to either sit or stand as if ants were biting all over his body. He checked and remembered that there was a lone Cm mine remaining and thought of the recent attempt by the reconnaissance team. The mine had been manufactured from a 15 kilogram cluster bomb to attack tanks - but because its fuze was faulty, it had not exploded. Comrade Nm Ninh consulted with Comrade T Chnh on a method of attack and delegated the task to Comrades Mi Dm and Su Bo.36 With a clear understanding of their heavy responsibility towards the fate of hundreds of people, Mi Dm and Su Bo quickly carried the mine to the tunnel entrance. Having crawled up to the entrance and groped for a while examining the underbelly of the tank, Mi Dm used a plank of wood to affix the mine to the bottom of the tank. With the mine attached, he took a very deep breath, then jumped back down into the tunnel and followed the detonating wire back to the firing position. An explosion violently shook the earth and erupted from the mouth of the tunnel. The tank was blasted aside. Immediately, in a wink, Comrade Su Bo crawled up and pulled out the pin on a Sng fruit grenade and threw it at the enemy infantry. Flames burst out everywhere, and the enemy - screaming, fled helter-skelter. With the smoke and fire obscuring the tunnel entrance, one our soldiers shouted Attack, and with grenades, weapons of all calibres and illuminating grenades, they attacked the enemy and occupied the entrance to the tunnel. At the other tunnel entrances, the enemys armoured vehicles also withdrew in panic. Our soldiers seized the opportunity and sprang forward to seize the entrance to the tunnel. It was then 2pm. At 3pm, the enemy again attacked, but their armoured vehicles only fired on us from a distance and didnt dare approach close to the tunnels. At 5pm, all of the enemy withdrew to B Ra. The lives of 250 cadre, soldiers and villagers in the tunnels were saved. That night, although the enemy shelled sporadically, our countrymen of Long Phc flocked to the

Mi Dm - probably Quch Vn Mi ie noted as the commander of the Battalions 1st Company in February 1968 see footnote 197*. Nguyn Vn Bo (Su Bo), noted above as a section commander, was interviewed post-War by T. Burstall in August 1987. Bo b.1943 near Long M, declared that he had joined the guerrilla army at 16, and had been a company commander in 445 Battalion in the period 19661968 (but had not been involved personally in the Battle of Long Tn) then posted to 5th VC Division Burstall, T., A Soldier Returns, op.cit., 1990, pp.65-66. See also the following footnotes 37, 188 and 197 and also Annex A.


15 tunnels to warmly greet the victorious men of Four Four Five. They joyfully embraced one another, chatting happily and were bathed in tears ! The people and our troops remained awake throughout the night - evacuating the people, consolidating our positions, gathering weapons and ammunition and preparing for the next days battle. After 45 days of staunchly holding out in the Long Phc tunnels against enemy forces that outnumbered us by tens of times, the 445th Company proved that it had matured in leaps and bounds especially in morale and its will to fight doggedly. In both body and will, they had proven themselves worthy of the boundless affection of the people. In summary, after 44 days and nights of holding out in the Long Phc tunnels, many cadre and soldiers of the 445th Company were nominated by the Province authorities for medals and letters of appreciation. In particular, Comrade Mi Dm and Comrade Su Bo37 were accepted into the Party on the field of battle. Also, after the Battle of the Long Phc Tunnels, people everywhere requested that the 445th Company come to their assistance. The term Soldiers of Four Four Five began to echo resoundingly throughout the region. Many of our countrymen brought their children and entrusted them to the 445th Company so that they might join the Revolution. Also from that time, the 445th Company was able to form five platoons and continue its fight to defend the Fatherland. From the beginning of 1963 after the victory of p Bc (M Tho), the movement to destroy the strategic hamlets across the South gained strong momentum. The B Ra Long Khnh Provincial Committee continued to direct the 445th Company to strongly attack the enemys posts and to support our countrymen to wipe out a number of the American-Dim model strategic hamlets. In May 1963, the 445th Company was tasked to destroy the Bu Lm strategic hamlet. Comrade Nguyn Vit Hoa (Mi Th)38 the commander of the Provincial Unit, personally accompanied the 445th Company. Bu Lm was a hamlet contiguous to our base area in Xuyn Mc. The enemy had used bulldozers to flatten the terrain. They had built a church, tile-roofed houses, houses roofed with steel sheets and thatched houses for the inhabitants (according to their political classification). Our Christian countrymen who had emigrated from the North lived on both sides of the road - our nationalist countrymen and revolutionary families were in a separate area. The enemy exploited the contradictions of religion and nationalism to create divisions. They contrived hatred against the Revolution hoping to convert each person into a shock-troop soldier and destroy the Revolution in this border area. Surrounding the hamlet, there was a system of communication ditches two metres deep and 1.5 metres wide with a barbed-wire fence. The whole hamlet only had two gates and these were guarded. Everyone entering or leaving the hamlet was monitored and checked. Rations for every family were calculated for each member. Schools and an infirmary were built and Bu Lm was the second model strategic hamlet in the Province (after Bnh Gi). This false scene of prosperity created by the ideology of the new American colonialists now appeared throughout the villages and hamlets. With information on the enemys activities and routine provided by our agents within Bu Lm, three platoons of the 445th Company secretly entered the hamlet and concealed themselves. Each morning, the enemy soldiers would leave their post and, carrying their weapons, swagger down to the market for breakfast and then go off on search operations. We placed two platoons in ambush positions on each side of the road,
See footnote 36. Translators Note: Mi Th - a military cadre, returned ((from North Vietnam)) at the end of 1962 and became the Provincial Commander. - Phan Ngc Danh ..., ng Nai 30 Nm , op.cit., 1986, p.101. In late 1963, Nguyn Vit Hoa (Mi Th) was noted as the Provincial Unit Commander ie of then B Ra Province.
38 37

16 with one platoon to block the rear. Comrade B (B Gi)39 carried the heavy machinegun and was in the lead element at the Bng Binh market. Waiting until the whole enemy group had entered the ambush site, B Gi then pulled the trigger and the machinegun sprayed rounds into the enemy. At the same time, the soldiers of the 445th Company simultaneously rushed forward from both sides and the rear and, from close quarters, shot each of enemy. Although attacked by surprise, the enemy went to ground and took up defensive positions. Comrade Nguyn Phi Hng was struck by a bullet and was killed. Before his heart stopped beating, Nguyn Phi Hng tried to lift his head up and shouted three times: Long live H Ch Minh. After only a few minutes of fighting, 27 enemy were killed in the engagement including Hng, a wicked thug in charge of pacification. The people were extremely elated and gathered to assist our soldiers in clearing the battlefield, destroying the barbed-wire fence, and pulling out the steel pickets The Bu Lm strategic hamlet had been destroyed and the enemy was never able to rebuild it. With the Bu Lm strategic hamlet destroyed, the 445th Company moved to operate in the Route 2 area. At this time, our armed forces routinely interdicted traffic on the roads in order to conduct propaganda among the people sometimes disguised as civilians, and on other occasions publicly as revolutionary forces. The c Thnh district chief had discovered that Comrade Mi Quang the commander of our Cao Su District40 Unit, often disguised himself and propagandized the people on Route 2. Exploiting Mi Quangs weak point when stopping vehicles, the enemy planned an operation to capture him. Both the c Thnh district chief and his deputy directly participated in the operation. They placed a medium machinegun in a three-wheeled Lambretta which they disguised as a civilian vehicle. Back in the camp, there was a vehicle-mounted enemy platoon ready to move as a rapid reinforcement element once the machinegun opened fire. Comrade Mi Quang had just waved down the Lambretta when the machinegun fired a burst past his ears. Mi Quang dived to the ground. At that moment, the military vehicle in the camp rushed out in support. At this time, the 445th Company was about 400-500 metres from Route 2 and deploying towards the road to conduct armed propaganda activities. Comrade T Chnh the company commander41, Comrade Nm Tranh and three reconnaissance soldiers heard the sounds of the gunfire and moved forward to the road where they saw the Jeep carrying the enemy troops. We opened fire. Realizing that they had been attacked by guerrillas, the enemy stopped their vehicle and were engaged fiercely by the 445th Companys reconnaissance element. The Jeep was overturned, and all the troops on the vehicle were eliminated except for one who fled. Hearing the sound of the reconnaissance teams fire, the 445th Company deployed to the road and immediately engaged a vehicle carrying
Trn Vn B (T B) - Trn Vn B (T B aka B Gi) was reportedly later a company commander in 440 Battalion in mid-1968 and appointed a 2ic of 445 Battalion on 4 November 1969 Annex B to 1 ATF INTSUM 35/71, 4 February 1971. Subsequently, when Commander of the Chu c District Unit, Trn Vn B (T B) was killed by Australian forces on 4 February 1971 - Annex B to 1 ATF INTSUM No. 35/71, Ni t, 4 February 1971. 40 Translators Note: The principal Vit Cng districts (huyn) in the B Ra (ie southern) half of B Ra Long Khnh (ie B Long) Province were Long t (ie Long in and t were combined in April 1960), Xuyn Mc and Chu c see map at back cover. Chu c District was formed from Chu Thnh and c Thnh Districts on 24 May 1965 [sic] see the The History of the Ha Long Village Party Chapter (1930-2005), op.cit., 25 April 2009. Occasionally, Cao Su (Rubber) District encompassing the rubber plantations from Bnh Ba to the north, the Courtenay plantation and several in southern Long Khnh Province, was included as a discrete district. For the boundaries of Vit Cng sub-districts, see 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 Vit Cng B Ra area were adjusted during several re-organisations see Annex H, Higher Headquarters. 41 Translators Note: Previously, T had been the Commander of the 445th Company.

17 enemy reinforcements. We opened fire and killed all the troops aboard the vehicle. As a result, a Civil Defence Force platoon was destroyed and the district chief and his deputy were captured. We seized a large number of weapons, including a 60mm mortar and a PRC10 radio.42 A chance combat engagement that was never intended, involving the 445th Company and the forces of Cao Su District had resulted in a big victory. The senior leadership of an enemy district ((qun)) had suffered retributive punishment, and their soldiers were now extremely fearful. It was not a very large victory, but those who were directly involved in the fighting would not easily forget the Battle of ng Ngc Khi. Also, from this time, the 445th Company and our Cao Su District elements increased their cooperation in attacking the enemy, and our armed propaganda was more effective.43 In October 1963, the people told 445 Company that there was a Civil Defence Force platoon that usually came to the Sng Cu44 strategic hamlet in Ha Long and stayed overnight among the people. The 445th Companys reconnaissance element crept in to check and saw the enemy erecting their hammocks in the peoples houses and gardens. A plan for an attack on Sng Cu hamlet was quickly approved by the Companys Party Chapter. Comrade L Minh Vit (Su Vit)45 the company political officer and concurrently the Party Chapter secretary, represented the Party Committee and ratified the basic elements of the attack plan: the battle must be successful and force the enemy to abandon its practice of staying overnight among the people in the hamlet; in order to maintain the Companys prestige, no villagers must be killed; and the attack would take place on Sunday night when the enemy would be more complacent and off-guard. Comrade Tm (Tm Mo) was given the responsibility for the medium machinegun. All the orders for the engagement were concretely coordinated with each planned firing of the machinegun to be controlled by Comrade Tm. In the middle of the night, the whole Company entered the hamlet and infiltrated to within a few metres of the enemy. The silvery moonlight lit up each of the enemy hammocks clustered together. Comrade Tm elevated his machinegun to 45 degrees and fired a short burst (as warning shots so that the villagers would seek safety in their bunkers). He then lowered his weapon and swept its fire thick-and-fast at the enemys positions. Our soldiers then threw a large number of grenades and assaulted into the main area of the enemy - while Comrade Tm moved his machinegun to a new position and fired sweeping bursts into pockets of enemy resistance. The attack was conducted in a very business-like manner. The enemy had no defensive positions and resisted passively so in a few minutes they were completely wiped out. We seized two medium machineguns and tens of other weapons, and captured seven of the enemy.
Translators Note: A United States AN/PRC10 VHF manpack radio. Translators Note: A major attack by Vit Cng forces in late August 1963 is not included the 445 Battalion History. According to The Minh m History, on 24 August 1963, the 45 Company Provincial Unit in conjunction with Long t District guerrillas and elements of the Military Regions 800 Battalion attacked an officers recreation facility at Long Hi killing and wounding 19 and seizing 40 weapons see The Minh m History - 2006 ie Phm Ch Thn, Cn C Minh m 1945-1975 - The Minh m Base 1945-1975, B Ra-Vng Tu Province Information and Cultural Office, 2006, p.45 translated extracts are at Annex M. The Long t District History - 1986 also relates that: on 25 August 1963, C25, C45 and Khu (D800) attacked the Long Hi complex killing 19. - Phan Ngc Danh & Toi, Trn Quang Toi, Lch S u Tranh Cch Mng Ca Huyn Long t -The History of the Revolutionary Struggle in Long t District, Nh Xut Bn ng Nai (ng Nai Publishing House), ng Nai, 1986, p.113 See Annex L. 44 Translators note: Vit Cng sketch maps of Sng Cu hamlet were made on 31 July and 5 October 1963 by agent 980 CDEC Log 12-1845-66. 45 Translators note: Su Vit (Six Vit) the nickname for L Minh Vit, was subsequently (1966) the deputy political officer of the B Ra Provincial Unit.
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18 Not one villager was wounded, and the villagers greatly admired the fighting skill of the 445th Company. Many people happily remarked: The soldiers bullets must have eyes. On that night, our countrymen assisted the soldiers to destroy the strategic hamlets barbed-wire fence. And, from that time, the enemy never dared to stay in the hamlet overnight. With the impetus of that victory, the 445th Company immediately deployed to other critical areas of the Province to coordinate with the district platoons, companies and village guerrillas to attack the enemys posts, and to assist our countrymen to destroy a series of enemy strategic hamlets allowing our people to return to their former homes and make a living. On 11 November 1963, a coup broke out in Si Gn. Ng nh Dim and Ng nh Nhu were both killed, and the nepotistic and dictatorial regime in the South was overthrown. There were internal conflicts within the puppet regime, and there had been a continuous struggle for power and influence. Immediately on 11 November 1963, the 445th Company in coordination with the forces of Cao Su District, attacked the ng Ngc Khi strategic hamlet, wiped out a Self Defence Corps platoon, and supported the people to rise up, destroy the strategic hamlet and liberate ng Ngc Khi. Exploiting this victorious achievement, a few days later the 445th Company coordinated with the Cao Su District forces to attack the enemy in the strategic hamlet at Xun Sn and, in the day, wiped out an enemy platoon. The people were elated and joined our soldiers in up-rooting hundreds of steel pickets, destroying the strategic hamlets barbed-wire fence and liberating the village of Xun Sn. The victories related above provided the impetus for cooperation between the armed forces and the people to destroy a whole series of enemy strategic hamlets across B Ra. The Revolution in the South had moved forward and undergone a comprehensive change with the liberated regions expanding in almost all the rural areas. On the main communications axes in B Ra Long Khnh, the enemy only maintained its posts in the towns, the sub-sectors46, the province capital and a number of key points. This revolutionary momentum saw attacks breaking out everywhere. In these circumstances and in response to the requirement to further develop the Revolution, our Provincial Committee decided to establish an additional company as a concentrated mobile force. At the beginning of 1964, the 440th Company came into being. This Company was commanded by Comrade Nm nh, with Comrade Nm Ninh as its political officer. The 445th Company transferred a number of cadre and soldiers to the 440th Company to build its nucleus and then was itself additionally strengthened. Comrade T Chnh remained its company commander, and Comrade Su Vit was its political officer. At the end of the 1964 Wet Season, the 445th Company and the 440th Company combined in an attack on the enemy post at Bnh Ba Xng with the aim of seizing quantities of rice to support later larger attacks. We wiped out a Self-Defence Corps platoon at Bnh Ba Xng and seized 51 bags of rice (each weighing a quintal).47 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.48 At this time, the 445th Company also continued to provide a platoon to protect the civilian labour group. Together with the labour group, that platoon from the 445th
Translators Note: Chi khu military sub-sectors, meaning the RVN Government district capitals/ centres. In Phc Tuy Province: Long L, Long in, t , c Thnh and Xuyn Mc. 47 Translators Note: One quintal equals 100 kilograms. 48 Translators Note: The organisation and management of civilian labour is detailed in the B Ra-Long Khnh 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.

19 Company safely moved over 20 tonnes of weapons provided from the North that had been moved by sea through the port of Lc An (in November 1963) and had taken this materiel to our base area.49 By this time, the liberated zone had expanded greatly, and the enemys strategic hamlet system within the Province had basically been destroyed. The B Ra Long Khnh armed forces had increased, but were not yet strong enough to liberate the towns. Having assessed the situation, the leadership cadre of the 445th Company and the 440th Company decided to attack Bnh Gi. This resolution was agreed by the Province authorities but there were still a few aspects on which there was not yet unanimity. Bnh Gi - a village on Route 2 (18 kilometres north of B Ra Town), comprised three hamlets and had a population of 5,726. 99% of its inhabitants were Christian refugees. Exploiting religious and ethnic contradictions, the enemy had created divisions and hatred among the populace towards the Revolution and built Bnh Gi into its premier strategic hamlet in the Province.50 Enemy strength in Bnh Gi comprised 147 Popular Force troops ((Dn V))51 organised in many platoons, and a Ranger company ((Bit ng Qun)) from the 38th Battalion. Additionally, there were 108 well-armed Defendersof-the-Church Youth. Different to other strategic hamlets, at Bnh Gi the enemy had mobilized the people to grow bamboo in groves to form a thick fence around the village. Beyond, there was a system of deep trenches with spikes and mines - both within the trenches and on the ramparts. The enemy regarded Bnh Gi as an Inviolable place. And, in fact, none of our units had ever struck Bnh Gi. In October 1964, our two companies attacked Bnh Gi. We organised two forces: one force comprised a company (minus) to strike at the main gate at the Our Lady ((c M)) church in Village 2. The remaining elements were kept in reserve. At exactly 6am, the enemy soldiers opened the hamlet gates. Our force had secretly concealed itself and - as one, opened fire and poured through the gate. The bodies of many enemy soldiers fell right beside the gate. Exploiting the advantage of surprise, our force advanced like lightning to directly seize Village 2 and captured a wicked gendarme ((hin binh)), before moving on to Village 3. The fighting became increasingly fierce as the enemy were able to reinforce

Translators Note: Lc An is located on the coast about five kilometres northeast of Phc Hi village. The landing is also related in the Long t District History 1986 - ie Phan Ngc Danh , Lch S u Tranh Cch Mng Ca Huyn Long t, op.cit., 1986, pp.114-115 giving the landing date as 29-30 November (see Annex L). However, according to the The Minh m History - 2006, the vessel arrived at Lc An on the night of 3 October 1963 see Phm Ch Thn, Cn C Minh m, op.cit., 2006, p.45. A political/labour history also cites 3 October and relates that the onward movement was managed by Group 1500 (on 1500 - previously Group 555) assisted by the 5th Company of 800 Battalion (a Regional element) - Lin on Lao ng , Lch s , op.cit., 2011, p.16. A detailed account of this supply operation - confirming the date as 3 October, can be found in Nguyn Qu i, Hnh trnh t nhng con tu khng s, in Hng hi VN - Mt thi ho hung (Nhng tp th v c nhn tiu biu ngnh GTVT 1945-2005) eg the vessel, Number 41, was captained by L Vn Mt 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 t District History 1986. However, in the Australian work on 1500 (ie Group 1500 see also footnote 140) - a logistics element of 84 Rear Services Group (on 84) was incorrectly translated as 1500 cadres. A further two landings at Lc An (29 November 1964, 1 February 1965) are related in extracts from the on 125 History ie - Phan L Hong H, Chuyn k v ng mn H Ch Minh trn bin: Huyn thoi nhng con tu,, 30 April 2005. 50 Translators Note: According to a principal Vietnamese military history account, the population of Bnh Gi 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. - Lch s Khng chin chng M cu nc - Tp 3 (Vol 3), Nh Xut Bn Chnh Tr Quc Gi, H Ni, 1997. 51 Translators Note: As noted earlier, the Dn V were replaced by the Popular Forces (PF) in 1964.


20 their units. At 9am, they coerced a number of reactionary Catholics to arm themselves with sticks and canes and demonstrate to demand that we release the wicked gendarme. Our force had to disperse - while at the same time fighting the enemy who were counterattacking the objectives and conducting armed propaganda among the Catholics who they had exploited. Two days later, we again launched an attack, striking into Village 1 and destroying much of the enemys capability before withdrawing to consolidate our forces. Although we didnt completely liberate Bnh Gi, we had been able to seize both Village 2 and Village 3 in our first attack, and had destroyed an important part of the enemys strength and energy. The enemys No.1 model strategic hamlet in B Ra was no longer Inviolable. A few days later, the two companies the 445th and the 440th, continued to attack Bnh Gi for a second time, with the targets still Village 2 and Village 3. However, this time the enemy deployed 60 helicopters in the afternoon to insert a Ranger battalion to relieve the encirclement. Our forces dug trenches in order to hold on in the hamlet and repelled all the enemys counter-attacks. This unequal fighting was extremely fierce, and we suffered increasingly heavy casualties. The 445th Company itself suffered over 20 casualties. Comrade Su Vit52 the company political officer, had to take direct charge of the wounded. When the 445th Company and the 440th Company withdrew from Bnh Gi to consolidate their forces and to prepare for subsequent attacks, Comrade Nm Ninh and Comrade Su Vit 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 Trn ng Hng and had come to study the battlefields in preparation for a large campaign in the Xuyn Mc-Long t region. Having listened to the ideas put forward by Nm Ninh and Su Vit ie: We should launch a large campaign against Bnh Gi, the COSVN staff cadre remained in the Route 2 area to follow the situation. The 445th Company and the 440th Company launched three further attacks against Bnh Gi. In the final phase, we held on for five days in the hamlets. Each time that we attacked, helicopters would swarm like flies to insert enemy support forces for Bnh Gi. Despite the fierce fighting and large casualties after our many attacks - which had not been able to completely liberate Bnh Gi, the 445th and the 440th Companies had however, from that time, given the higher echelons the main idea for the Bnh Gi Campaign.53 On the night of 2 December 1964, the Bnh Gi Campaign began.54 Our forces comprised: 761 Regiment55, 762 Regiment56, the COSVN artillery regiment (ie Q761,
Translators note: As noted earlier, Su Vit (L Minh Vit) was subsequently (1966) the deputy political officer of the B Ra District Unit. 53 Translators Note: The attack on Bnh Gi was an element of COSVNs 1964-65 Dry Season campaign. 54 Translators Note: The Battle of Bnh Gi is cited in most Vietnamese communist histories as a major victory. It is related in Lch s Khng chin , op.cit., Tp 3 (Vol 3), op.cit., 1997; in the History of the 5th Infantry Division (1965-2005) - Lch S S an B Binh 5 (1965-2005), The Peoples Army Publishing House, H Ni, 2005; and also in the Long t District History 1986: ie from 2 December 1964 to 7 January 1965, in Phan Ngc Danh , Lch S u Tranh Cch Mng Ca Huyn Long t, op.cit., 1986, p.119 see Annex L. 55 Translators Note: Q761 Regiment (founded in July 1961) also known as the 1st Regiment, was later retitled 271 Regiment (the Bnh Gi Regiment) and was subsequently a founding formation of the 9th VC Division in early September 1965. Q761was reportedly commanded at Bnh Gi by Nguyn Th Truyn (aka Nm Truyn and also aka Nm Si Gn). Truyn 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 Tt Mu Thn 1968 offensive while serving as Commander of Sub-Region 1. Bi Thanh Vn (t Lim) was the second-incommand of Q761 at the Battle of Bnh Gi. 56 Translators Note: Q762 Regiment also known as the 2nd Regiment and the ng Xoai Regiment, was later re-titled 272 Regiment and was subsequently a founding formation of the 9th VC Division in early

21 Q762 and Q56357), the 445th Company, the 440th Company (Provincial), and the Chu c District armed force. The 455th and the 440th Companies had the mission of attacking directly into Bnh Gi.58 The two COSVN regiments were the main force to destroy the puppet troops that would be sent as a relieving force. At this time, the 445th Company had been strengthened to 140 comrades (of whom 120 participated directly in the fighting). The Companys weapons were almost all Thompsons, carbines and Garands. Our fire support was quite strong, comprising 14 medium machineguns, two 75mm recoilless rifles, two 60mm mortars and two heavy machineguns. This included a .30 calibre US heavy machinegun that was usually mounted on an armoured vehicle. This weapon had been seized by the Long t District Unit from an armoured vehicle at An Nht bridge (August 1963). The heavy machinegun was quite heavy weighing 24.7 kilograms, so Long t District had sent it to the Province storage facility. Then, it was given to Nguyn Vn Quang (Quang Hm)59 to use. From that point on, Nguyn Vn Quang and the heavy machinegun were inseparable throughout the long years of fighting the Americans, and together they achieve many outstanding feats-of-arms. In the first days, the 440th Company was the reserve unit. At 3am on 2 December 1964, the 445th Company was divided into two forces to continue the attack against Bnh Gi. The main force was the 1st Platoon under the direct leadership of platoon commander Ba Lng. Comrade Su Vit the political officer, and Comrade o Thanh Xun (Hai Xun) the Company second-in-command, also accompanied this force. The secondary force was the 2nd Platoon led by its platoon commander - Ba Kin, and the Company deputy political officer - T Dng. Both forces attacked on an axis through the main gate of Village 2. The enemy at that site had been attacked many times and were therefore very vigilant, regularly changing the location of their mines and their system of defence. When the 1st Platoon force approached the hamlet gate, they struck grenade traps - and three comrades were wounded. All types of enemy firepower began to fall like rain. Immediately, Nguyn Vn Quang set up his heavy machinegun 60 metres from the hamlet gate and fired waves of volleys thick-and-fast to pin down the enemys firepower so that the Companys reconnaissance element could plant explosives to destroy the hamlet gate. When a round from Comrade Hngs bazooka blasted the hamlet gate wide-open, the two infantry forces poured through as one and, crossing through the gate, fought their way forward in two directions. In his first engagement with the heavy machinegun, Nguyn Vn Quang brought into play his bravery and strength. He was strong - like a nimble tiger, constantly on the move and carrying his heavy machinegun swiftly from one point to
September 1965. Q762 was raised in 1961 from former Vit Minh troops who had regrouped (tp kt) to North Vietnam in 1954-1955 and infiltrated back into the South - ie were returned cadre (cn b hi kt). A comprehensive booklet on the history of 272 Regiment (dated 19 May 1967) is at CDEC Log 03-2284-68. The Regiments major ambush on Route 2 on 9 December 1964 is related in more detail in a captured document at CDEC Log 03-2656-67. At Bnh Gi, Q762 Regiment was led by T Minh Khm with Nguyn Thi Bng (t Thi) as the Regiments second-in-command. Subsequently, Nguyn Thi Bng commanded 275 Regiment at the Battle of Long Tn on 18 August 1966. In October 1966, he was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff of the 5th VC Division until moving to COSVN staff in January 1967. Nguyn Thi Bng later served as Commander 7th VC Division and on retirement in the late 1990s , was Vietnams Vice Minister of Defence (as a Lieutenant General). For further information, see Annex J - 275 Regiment. 57 Translators Note: The COSVN Artillery Regiments title was Q763 (cover designator: on 80) and comprised four battalions. 58 Translators Note: On 2 December 1964, in support of 445 Battalions [sic] attack on Bnh Gi, the 1st Battalion of Q761 and COSVN artillery attacked the c Thnh Sub-Sector headquarters - Lch s Khng chin , op.cit., Tp 3 (Vol 3), 1997. 59 Translators Note: Nguyn Vn Quang see also footnotes 105, 112, 113, 175, 280 and 296, was later declared a Hero of the Peoples 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.

22 another in order to provide effective support to the infantry. After a few minutes of fighting, an enemy Regional Forces ((Bo An60)) platoon was in disarray and we moved on to seize Village 2 and Village 3, and killed over 60 enemy. On the same night, a battalion of 761 Regiment attacked and seized Village 1. In this way, our force had struck the Objective of the Campaign and successfully achieved the mission to create advantageous conditions for the Reinforcement Killing force that was ready to meet and strike the enemy from many different directions. After having seized Village 2 and Village 3, the 445th Company consolidated its defensive works in order to hold out and repel all the enemys counter-attacks. In withstanding the strong enemy counter-attacks, in only two days of fighting the 445th Company had suffered nine comrades killed in action (including Comrade Tn - a platoon-level cadre from the Chu Ro ethnic group61) and tens of other comrades were wounded. On the second day of the Campaign, the enemy employed their helicopters to insert the 38th Ranger Battalion from Ph M (Long Thnh) into an area southwest of c Thnh (in the direction of the bamboo fields along the Soi River). This enemy force was struck into disarray by 762 Regiment. At 6pm, the remaining elements of the 38th Ranger Battalion - which had huddled together, were attacked by the 445th Company and 20 enemy were killed. After four days of holding out in Bnh Gi, the 445th Company was ordered to withdraw from the area and coordinate with the main-force regiments to attack the enemys relief forces. The Company joined with 761 Regiment to strike and disintegrate the 30th Ranger Battalion. The 440th Company was then ordered to deploy down to Long t together with 761 Regiment, to attack the enemy at the t Sub-Sector and the surrounding area, and to create the conditions for 762 Regiment to destroy a squadron/company ((chi on)) of armoured vehicles advancing on Route 2 to relieve t . After the fighting, only three of the enemys 14 armoured vehicles remained intact and 100 enemy had been killed including nine American advisors.62 The first phase of the Bnh Gi Campaign had concluded in victory. At 4am on 28 December 1964, the sounds of gunfire opened the second phase of the Bnh Gi Campaign. The 445th Company again struck Bnh Gi to lure the enemy into inserting troops. In this phase, the Company again fought alongside 761 and 762 Regiments to destroy the 33rd Ranger Battalion and the crack 4th Marine Battalion of the puppet forces General Reserve that had been deployed to relieve Bnh Gi. Supported by COSVN and provincial troops, the people, and the armed forces of the districts and villages, we had blasted wide-open the strategic hamlets on Route 2, Route 52, Route 44 and the coastal areas of Xuyn Mc and further developed the resistance bases from Chu Pha to Hc Dch, east and west of Route 2, to join up with War Zone D and the provinces of Region 6. The momentum of the Revolutions attacks resounded everywhere.
Translators Note: The Bo An (Civil Defence Force/Civil Guard) established in 1955, were a local force who were both armed and uniformed. As noted earlier, in 1964, the Bo An and the Dn V were replaced respectively by the Regional Forces (RF) and the Popular Forces (PF). However, communist writings continued to use the term Bo An for the Regional Forces. For detail, see the MACV RF/PF Advisors Handbook: January 1971 - VCAT No. 2171811002; 1970 2171811001; 1969 VCAT No. 0440319001. 61 Translators Note: The Chu Ro are a minority Mon-Khmer ethnic group of about 26,800 (2009) of whom about 85% live in ng Nai, B Ra and Long Khnh provinces 62 Translators Note: This engagement is related in the Long t District History 1986: At the end of December 1964, the 445th Company (Province) assisted the t area attacking at Ging on Route 44 between Long Hi and An Ngi on 24 December 1964. Long t was provided with two 75mm recoilless rifles (RCL) by 800 Battalion; two companies from the Long Hi training centre were destroyed (150 killed including a US advisor). - Phan Ngc Danh , Lch S u Tranh Cch Mng Ca Huyn Long t, op.cit., 1986, p.121 - see Annex L. 800 Battalion of 272 Regiment was later retitled H-12.

23 On 3 January 1965, the second period of the Bnh Gi Campaign had concluded in victory.63* COSVN Headquarters now directed that the Campaign be developed along Route 1 and into Bnh Tuy Province. With a will to continuously and tirelessly attack, all the concentrated mobile forces of the Province had come of age very quickly. From an armed propaganda force, we had created many companies to strengthen the districts, and then deployed in continuous combat. From our very beginnings, we had grown by steps - as demanded by the Fatherland, and had played an important role in armed propaganda and the fulfillment of our mission to effectively support the peoples political struggle movement. We had been the decisive Fist that destroyed the strategic hamlets. Our combat capability had grown unceasingly by leaps and bounds from destroying the wicked thugs, to small attacks by sections, platoons and companies and then joining in the combat of a very large campaign. We had to continuously oppose numerous enemies that were better armed than us but we still won. Having contributed importantly to the victory of the Bnh Gi Campaign, General Secretary L Dun stated With the Battle of p Bc in 1963, the enemy realized that it would be difficult to defeat us after the Bnh Gi Campaign, the enemy realized that they had lost to us.

CHAPTER III WE WILL FIGHT AND DEFEAT ANY ENEMY The Bnh Gi Campaign demonstrated the utter defeat of the Americans Special Warfare strategy. However, in accordance with their bellicose nature, the American imperialists moved from their Special Warfare strategy to a strategy of Limited War. With the strength of their wealth, weaponry and war-fighting means, this leading imperialist nation hoped to crush the morale and fighting will of the Vietnamese people. To implement their new strategic intrigue, the American imperialists began a destructive air power war against the North, massing ultra-modern weapons, and pouring American troops and those of their vassal nations into the South. The whole world turned its attention to Vietnam in fearful expectation. Together with the whole of the South, the armed forces and the people of B Ra Long Khnh Bin Ha 64, under the leadership of the Party, had determined that their strategic mission was to stand up and confront the invading American aggressors. Our armed forces at every level were swiftly consolidated and strengthened to respond to the requirements and demands of the battlefield.
* 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 4th Marine Battalion). The puppet forces tactic of deployment by helicopters and armoured vehicles had been bankrupted in our great Campaign. Translators Note: According to the official history of the 5th VC Division - 2005, the communist forces at the Battle of Bnh Gi 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. - Phm Quang inh, Colonel, Lch S S an B Binh 5 (1965-2005) The History of the 5th Infantry Division (19652005), The Peoples Army Publishing House, H Ni, 2005. According to a principal Vietnamese military history, the Si Gn Governments forces suffered: 1,755 killed; 193 captured; 45 vehicles destroyed (mostly M113 armoured personnel carriers); and 56 aircraft - Lch s Khng chin , Tp 3 (Vol 3), op.cit., 1997. 64 Translators Note: The Vit Cng B Bin Province encompassing B RaLong KhnhBin Ha was first established in April 1963 see Annex H, Higher Headquarters.

24 On 19 May 1965 in an area of jungle at Sui Rau (B Ra), the Provincial Committee founded 445 Battalion. Four Four Five was the title for a series of groups that had been used many times, split up and regrouped. Now on the birthday of our revered Uncle H, those numbers would go down in history as officially designating a local battalion ! In essence, the troops and weapons of the two companies the 440th and the 445th, were the core elements - together with additional recruits. The Battalion was fully structured with four companies65* totaling 350 personnel with Comrade Bi Quang Chnh (Su Chnh)66 as the battalion commander. Comrade L Thnh Ba (Ba Bi) a member of the Provincial Committee and the deputy political officer of the Provincial Unit, was appointed the political officer and was concurrently the secretary of the Battalions Party Committee. The Battalions Party structure was comprised of five Party Chapters. At its founding, the Battalion had innumerable problems and was in straitened circumstances. However, the Provincial Committee paid special attention to all aspects in order to ensure that the Battalion had sufficient to achieve its tasks.67 The issue of rear service support required immediate attention and was resolved in stages. Comrade Ba Tm68 was appointed the staff officer responsible for rear services, and Comrade Nguyn Tun Gii (Mi Gii)69 became its adjutant. The Battalion was provided with one hundred thousand piastres (Si Gn currency) by the Province together with seven tonnes of rice. The rice was placed in three storehouses in two areas one in the Sui Rau area and two in
* The four companies were three infantry companies and one fire support company: 1st Company: Su Chin as company commander and T Dng as political officer; 2nd Company: Su Thu as commander and Hai Khanh as political officer; 3rd Company: Nm Thnh as commander, Khi as political officer; 4th Company: T Nh as commander, Thng as its political officer. Translators Notes: Subsequently on 20 October 1965, the B Ra Provincial Unit formally promoted: Trn Vn Chin (Su Chin) from company executive officer to company commander; T Dng from platoon leader to assistant political officer; Nguyn Minh Khanh (Hai Khanh) from assistant political officer to political officer; Nguyn c Thu (Su Thu), Trn Vn Khi, and Nguyn Vn Thng from platoon leaders to executive officers - CDEC Log 09-1876-66. Note however, that the date on that document (Command Committee T.1 No. 602/TB) was incorrectly translated at CDEC as 20 October 1966, instead of 1965. 66 Translators Note: Earlier on 23 February 1965, as Nguyn Quang Chnh, Bi Quang Chnh had been assigned to the B Ra Province Concentrated Unit as the Battalion Commander - CDEC Log 09-186366, Bulletin 1063. According to the ng Nai History - 1986: On 19 May 1965 in the Long Tn base (Long t), the B Ra Provincial Committee established the Provincial Main Force [sic] Battalion with the title of 445 with Comrade T Chnh as the Battalion Commander and Comrade L Thnh Ba as its political officer. Phan Ngc Danh ..., ng Nai 30 Nm , op.cit., 1986, p.123. It appears that the 445 Battalion History 1991 (ie the text above) has corrected the name of 445 Battalions inaugural commander to Bi Quang Chnh (Su Chnh). However, a number of other publications have cited T Chnh as the initial 445 Battalion Commander probably influenced by the ng Nai History 1986 eg: the ng Nai Monograph 2001 - a Ch ng Nai, Nh Xut Bn Tng Hp ng Nai, Bin Ha, 2001. For biographical notes on Bi Quang Chnh (Su Chnh), see Annex B Key Cadre. 67 Translators Note: On 10 October 1965, 445 Battalions 4th (ie Support/Heavy Weapons) Company was 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 041322-66. 68 Translators Note: Nguyn Thanh Tm (aka Ba Tm) CDEC Log 05-1808-67, Log 05-1797-67. For his correspondence with the 445 Battalion adjutant - Nguyn Tun Gii (Mi Gii), see CDEC Log 05-3474-67, Log 05-3406-67. Nguyn Thanh Tm as the Battalion 2ic, was killed in an ambush by the Australian 7th Battalion (7RAR) on 1 January 1971 at C Thi in the Xuyn Mc area see footnotes 260 and 262. 69 Translators Note: Nguyn Tun Gii (Mi Gii - b. Qung Ngi, 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 (qun l) of 445 Battalion in September 1966. The Battalion adjutant was responsible for managing rear service support including finances. Nguyn Tun Giis diary indicated that he was enroute from H21 back to Phc Tuy Province at the time of the Battle of Long Tn on 18 August 1966.

25 the Sui L area. Additionally, the Battalion had two sewing machines to make uniforms for the troops. One sewing machine was provided by the Province, while the other belonged to Miss Nm M of Ha Long village who had left and joined our forces - and her family allowed her to bring the machine to support the Revolution. The Battalion was also allocated two assistant doctors ((y s)) in order to set up a surgical section under Comrade Nm Hiu.70 The surgical section had the capability to resolve and treat minor wounds, remove appendixes obviating treatment in a hospital. Each company had from two to three medics ((y t)). All of the companies organised their messes on a section basis. The Battalion immediately conducted tactical training for its soldiers aimed at responding to the combat requirements facing the unit. Special importance was given by the Battalion to training in individual combat tactics within the teams and sections in coordination with combat at the platoon and company level. Based on its tasks and the particular traits of the operational environment, the Battalion also conducted in-depth training in a range of basic tactics such as: ambush, mobile ambush71, attacks on camps and model-making - specific planning and training areas were also carefully addressed. There were training areas within the bases and training areas in the field training was conducted by day and night. All the companies were engrossed with the impetus of the training and utterly focused on being victorious in the first battle. Political studies were undertaken to thoroughly grasp the directives and resolutions of the Party at all levels and the Battalions responsibilities in the new environment. This included studying the current and longer-term plots of the American imperialists with political and military training alternating. In only a short period of time, the tactical and political standards of the cadre and soldiers in the Battalion had clearly risen. The Battalions training activities continued concurrently with reconnaissance of the enemys situation preparatory to our forces receiving orders for the first battle.72 With training completed, the Battalion organised its forces to attack the enemy at the Lng Ct strategic hamlet (on Route 15) but the number of enemy killed was not high, as they slipped away among the populace. We only seized two weapons, and a number of our comrades were wounded. Taking aboard the experiences of that battle, the Battalion concluded that, for this first deployment73, the target had been too complicated and
Translators Note: Nguyn Vn Hiu see CDEC Log 12-2427-66. However, a discrete medical history reports his name as Nguyn Thanh Hiu (T Hiu) see: L Thanh Dng (et al), Lch S Ngnh Y T B Ra-Long Khnh (1945-2006) - The History of the B Ra-Long Khnh Medical Services (1945-2006), Vng Tu, 2008. 71 Translators Note: Phc kch vn ng see discussion of the mobile ambush tactic at footnote 79. 72 Translators Note: According to a principal Vietnamese history of the War: In May 1965, the troops of Xun Lc District together with 445 Provincial Battalion and Military Region main force elements, attacked and liberated Route 1 from Gia Ray to Rng L ((Long Khnh Province)), and the hamlets of Tr Tn 1 and Tr Tn 2 on Route 3 - Lch s Khng chin , Tp 3 (Vol 3), op.cit., 1997, footnote 16. The 445 Battalion History does not record any involvement in such engagements in Long Khnh Province in 1965, 73 Translators Note: There is little in the 445 Battalion History on the Battalions activities in the period to December 1965. However, in July 1965, the B Ra Provincial 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 12-2987-66. More specifically, two subsequently captured Letters of Appreciation signed by L Thnh Ba - the 445 Battalion political officer, commended two personnel of the 4th Company for their outstanding combat exploits in a successful attack on B Ra 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 B Ra Provincial 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 t District Unit, eight from the Chu c District Unit and four from the Bnh Chu (Xuyn Mc) 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 B [sic] Lin Head of the

26 consequently our aim had not been achieved. But, more basically, we had been able to achieve mutual tactical support between our attacking elements.74 On 23 December 1965, the Battalion deployed to attack the enemy at the FiveBuilding Complex75 in the town of Long in (B Ra). An element of the Long in District police force occupied the Five-Building Complex. Its system of defences was rudimentary there were no defensive positions, blockhouses, or trenches, and there was only a single simply-constructed surrounding fence. To approach this Complex, we would have to cross open rice fields, and there were a large number of enemy guard posts on the tracks. The enemy had never been attacked here so consequently they were very complacent. We collected information on the enemy and also focused on our own capabilities. In order to guarantee victory and to create a momentum and resolve for the whole unit, the Battalion leadership decided to employ all of the Battalions companies in the battle with the reconnaissance force as a core element together with Party members, Youth Group members and a number of the local people who had a heroic fighting spirit. The selected force was in excess of two companies divided into three spearhead thrusts. The reconnaissance element led by Comrade Nm Tranh and Comrade By Bnh was divided into two teams that would lead the two infantry thrusts. The attacking elements were reinforced with a 57mm recoilless rifle set up 300 metres from the Five-Building Complex. A further 2nd Company group led by Nguyn Minh Khanh (Hai Khanh) was assigned the task of blocking any enemy reinforcements that might come from the direction of Vn Kip.76 The Battalion headquarters was established within Long in Town, about 500 metres from the objective. Comrade Su Chnh and Comrade Ba Lin were in direct command (Comrade Ba Lin had just replaced Comrade Ba Bi as the political officer).77 This was the first time that a battle had been commanded using a telephone system. Our communications soldiers had surmounted every obstacle to ensure constant liaison including the techniques for using the equipment and laying the telephone lines in enemycontrolled areas. By midnight, the attacking elements had completely concealed themselves in the Town and finalized their tactical deployments. Comrade Nm Tranh and Comrade Hng (the commanders of the two spearheading forces) used pliers to secretly cut sections of the barbed-wire security fence. Comrade Nm Tranh then crawled through with an explosive charge, placed it against the base of a wall, and moved back. An explosion resounded throughout the Town following which the 57mm recoilless rifle fired three rounds at its target. The enemy had been attacked by surprise some were killed, others were wounded, and a number of those remaining ran helter-skelter seeking somewhere to dig in. At the same time, our reconnaissance elements and infantry in the two spearhead groups simultaneously assaulted throwing a large number of grenades into the enemy buildings. Our grenades and the fire of our supporting weapons demolished one building. Over 30
Political Section of the B Ra Provincial Unit the signature is identical to that of Vn Lin - aka Ba Lin, who became the 445 Battalion political officer soon after, see footnote 77). 74 Translators 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 B Ra Battalion, the 25th Long t Company and the 240th Company to plan future activity. 75 Translators Note: Literally: lu Nm Cn possibly a five-storied building. 76 Translators Note: A few kilometres to the west of Long in, the ARVN Vn Kip National Training Centre was located on B Ra Towns eastern outskirts. 77 Translators Note: Ba Lin - ie Vn Lin, had been the Head of the Political Section of the B Ra Provincial Unit up until at least late September 1965 see footnote 73 and Annex B Key Cadre. Ba Bi (L Thnh Ba) appears to have been posted to the Political Section of B Ra Provincial Unit CDEC Log 091883-66 and subsequently to Long t District see Annex L, footnote 30.

27 enemy were eliminated from the battlefield. Our soldiers quickly seized the buildings oneby-one and continued to pursue the enemy. After a few minutes of our surprise attack, a number of the surviving enemy retreated to higher floors of the buildings. Blocking the stairways, they hurled down a large number of grenades, and our forces suffered many casualties. Comrade Hng the leader of one of the attacking groups, and Comrade Lc a very experienced soldier in the reconnaissance element, both died heroically ! In the darkness, we could no longer determine the enemys positions in the nooks and crannies of the stairwells and were therefore unable to rush up to the higher floors and wipe out the enemy. The 2nd Companys combat group was able to kill more than 10 enemy as the enemys relief elements advanced to destroy our blockade. After an hour of fighting, the Battalion headquarters ordered our attacking groups to withdraw their troops. Our wounded and our dead were taken back to Long Phc village. Mr H Vn Quang and the villagers in ng hamlet (Long Phc) prepared food and drink, resting places, bandages and medicine for our soldiers and treated the wounded and buried the dead. At daybreak, the people of Long Phc organised a group of labourers who together with our soldiers, carried the wounded on stretchers, as well as rice, back to our base area. The battle at the Five-Building Complex in Long in the first coordinated tactical battle at battalion-minus level in a town by 445 Battalion had destroyed much of the enemys strength and crippled an important element of the Sub-Sectors police forces. The repercussions were wide-ranging - intimidating the morale of the enemy troops and their officers. The battle proved our ability to organise, to infiltrate and conceal a quite large force and to defeat the enemy right in his lair. However, the battle also revealed our weaknesses in tactics, technical aspects and the choice of combat formations. We had only studied combat coordination at the section and platoon level within a company context but we had then fought at battalion level. We had trained on the individual techniques of deploying and fighting the enemy in jungle and mountain environments and in their camps - but then we had attacked them in a town that had the characteristics of city-fighting. The result was that we were confused when the enemy fought back from the higher floors of buildings using grenades and causing us many casualties and we were not able to achieve our goal. This was the first lesson that 445 Battalions Party Committee and leadership drew and planned to implement in future engagements. The victory in our first battle had the power to fire with enthusiasm the spirit and will-to-fight throughout the whole Battalion. Although we had suffered casualties, the troops never flinched death was something that had to be accepted. The Party Committee and the Battalions leadership continued to train and develop the units tactics while, on the other hand, deploying the reconnaissance group to study future battlefields in preparation for a large ambush action that would involve the whole Battalion. This would implement the slogan: Go forth for victory attack to the end and build the basis for the Battalions tradition. After three weeks of close and arduous observation of the enemy, the Battalions reconnaissance element had fully grasped the enemys deployment methods in a number of locations - including the ambush site at Ging. The tactical plan for the ambush at Ging was then approved by the Province cadre. Ging was a location on Inter-Provincial Route 44 that ran from Long in to Long Hi. The enemys Non-Commissioned Officers School for Phc Tuy Province was in Long Hi. Their training grounds were in the valley at the foot of Minh m Mountain.78

Translators Note: The Minh m is a range of hills and a Vit Minh/Vit Cng base area/secret zone within the areas/boundaries of the villages of Tam An, Phc Long Hi, Phc Hi and Long Hi - (of Long t District in modern-day B Ra-Vng Tu Province). The Minh m area is more than nine kilometres long and almost five kilometres at its widest. See The Minh m History 2006 at Annex M.

28 Every day, when moving to their training grounds, the enemy had to pass along the stretch of road at the Ging bend. They moved in a close formation with less than 10 metres between each soldier. On their way to the training area, hundreds of student soldiers would shuffle along in a column many kilometres long some singing aloud to themselves. The foregoing were the basic factors why we decided to mount a mobile ambush79 at Ging.80 On the night of 7 January 1966, the four companies of 445 Battalion together with an element of the Long t local troops81 secretly threaded their way past the enemy posts to Ging (Long Hi) to set the ambush. The 2nd Company was tasked as the forward group (located near the base of Minh m Mountain) and was reinforced with a 57mm recoilless rifle from the 4th (Fire Support) Company. The 1st Company had the task of killing the enemy at the Decisive point82 (the centre section). The 3rd Company was the rear element (close to the village of Long Hi). A platoon led by Quang H was stationed on the edge of the salt fields opposite the killing ground of the ambush (in the Rng Sc). The ambush site was almost 3 kilometres in length and about one kilometre from the road. The Battalions headquarters was located on Minh m Mountain. Comrade Nguyn Vit Hoa (Mi Th)83 the commander of the Provincial Unit, Comrade Su Chnh the Battalion commander, and Comrade Ba Lin the Battalion political officer, were in direct command. By midnight, all of the ambush groups had deployed into their ambush positions. At 1am, a team from the platoon in the ambush group located in the Rng Sc salt fields came to the headquarters and reported that the tide was coming in, and they would be unable to conceal themselves. This unexpected situation worried the command element: if there was no group in that area, the enemy would be able to escape into the area and fight back like trapped rats. After thinking for a while, Comrade Ba Lin said to Comrade Mi Th and Comrade Su Chnh : - I guarantee you that at first light the tide will slowly drop. I still remember the proverb by which our countrymen calculate the tide heights: In January, July its clear-cut, on the 5th and the 19th of the month it comes in between 7am and 9am then the ebb occurs from 9am to 11am. 84 - Is that correct ? Mi Th responded, slapping Ba Lin on the shoulder. - Yes, its right !
Translators Note: Vit Cng ambushes were generally classified as either area, static, mobile or manoeuvre. Detailed discussion on such from a Vit Cng doctrinal publication is in McAulay, L., The Battle of Long Tan, Arrow Books, London, 1987 see Appendix 4 The Vietcong Ambush. A recent analysis by a senior Australian military historian cites a Vit Cng annihilation /triple ambush plan that became an encounter battle - Ekins, A., Unravelling the riddles of Long Tan, Wartime, Issue 55, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, July 2011, pp.46-47. See also footnote 145 for discussion of ambush or attack. 80 Translators Note: Several Letters of Commendation were awarded by the 445 Battalion Commander Bi Quang Chnh (Su Chnh), for exploits at the Ging battle on Route 44 including for the 57mm recoilless rifle section of the 4th Company see CDEC Log 12-2425-66. Ging is sometimes misspelt in communist sources as Vng and on some maps appears as Ni (Mount) Dung. The ambush occurred in the vicinity of grid reference (GR) YS 432549. 81 Translators Note: The involvement of the Long t District unit is described in the Long t District History 1986 ie Phan Ngc Danh , Lch S Huyn Long t, op.cit., 1986 - see Annex L. 82 Translators Note: Quyt chin im as noted earlier, the ambush killing ground. 83 Translators Note: Captured Vit Cng documents show the commander of the B Ra Provincial Unit in 1965 to mid-1966 was Nguyn Vn Mi - ie the cover name for Nguyn Vit Hoa (Mi Th). Nguyn Vn Mi as the commander of the B Ra Provincial Unit, signed several Letters of Appreciation including for a sapper/reconnaissance member of the 445 Battalions 5th Company for exploits at the Vng [sic] battle on 8 January 1966 CDEC Log 06-1013-66. 84 Translators Note: Literally: Thng ging, thng by phn minh, mng nm, mi chn, thn sinh, ty hi. however, the last two words should read t hi.

29 Okay go down and directly encourage the men. They can climb into the trees or get soaked in the water as long as they hold that position. Remind them that to surprise the enemy, they must not open fire until the enemy is very close.

Ba Lin then returned with the troops to their ambush position. At 8am, the tide dropped, but the enemy had not appeared. By 10am, there was still no sign of them. The villagers were going to work in large numbers, and any who saw our troops were temporarily detained until the battle would be over. The atmosphere in the headquarters was becoming increasing tense and deeply worrying. At midday on 8 January 1966, two wheeled armoured vehicles (copper pot vehicles) appeared leading hundreds of enemy troops and moving into the battle area. The whole Battalion held its breath and waited in anticipation. The enemy had stumbled into our ambush site. The leading armoured vehicle was 200 metres from our forward group when the order was given to fire the 57mm recoilless rifle. The round hit the vehicles hull, and it slowly reversed while rapidly firing its heavy machinegun. The enemy column began to pile up. At that moment, Nguyn Vn Quang opened fire with his heavy machinegun, and the weapons of all calibres in the forward group also fired furiously into the enemy infantry. Not giving the enemy any time to regain their composure, the 2nd Company - as the leading spearhead, rushed out at the enemy. At the same time, the rear group also stormed forward. While rushing towards the enemy, our soldiers fired their weapons, threw grenades and loudly shouted: Attack. Screaming in panic, the enemy huddled in the middle of the road and returned fire. Then, the 1st Company rushed to attack the killing ground and spit scornfully in the faces of the enemy. A very large number of the enemy were killed and the remainder ran for their lives in the direction of the salt fields. Quang H and his platoon with their clothes soaked, were in the bushes of the Rng Sc and, wholly unexpected by the enemy, fired into their ranks. Bodies lay all around, and blood spread into the salt pans. After only ten minutes of fighting, the enemy had been wiped out, and our troops in the four groups met and shook hands. One enemy company and two other platoons had been eliminated - and we seized 32 weapons, set fire to two armoured vehicles and captured 25 prisoners.85 It took more than two days for the enemy to recover their dead. Weeks later, the villagers going to their fields were still picking up enemy weapons and ammunition which they handed over to our troops. The Ging Victory resulting from the first battalion-level mobile ambush conducted by the cadre and soldiers of 445 Battalion, will live forever in history.86 Even now at 445 Battalion anniversary celebrations, those soldiers who were present at Ging

Translators Note: A captured Vit Cng document claims that at Ging, the communist forces appealed to US troops to surrender unsuccessfully, so they shot and killed them all see CDEC Log 031270-66. According to the ng Nai Monograph 2001: on 24 December 1965, 445 Battalion with C25 Company (Long t) destroyed two companies of NCOs from the Long Hi Regional Forces Training Centre - a Ch ng Nai, op.cit., 2001. 86 Translators Note: On 15 May 1966 vide Decision #49/QD-KT, the Headquarters of the South Vietnamese Liberation Army awarded the Liberation Military Exploits Medal 2nd Class to the Concentrated Battalion of B Ra Province for its destruction of the Long Hi NCO School students on 8 January 1966 and its superior performance of duties in the Phc Thnh Battle on 26 April 1966. CDEC Log 09-197266. Letters of Commendation were also awarded to 445 Battalion personnel for the Ging battle including to platoon commander Nguyn Vn i and squad leader H Vn Phong see CDEC Log 12-241366. On 10 January 1966, the Battalion Political Officer Vn Lin (Ba Lin), wrote a letter of condolence to the parents of section commander Nguyn Quc Thng killed in a battle on Route 44 on 8 January 1966 CDEC Log 01-1032-67.


30 speak of the battle as a resounding combat exploit likened to the sound of waves crashing on the shore.87 Also 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 units 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. At this time, the Battalion also organised a production unit led by Comrade Hai H, comprised of those comrades who were disabled or feeble, and which was set up in overgrown bushy areas. In but a short time, the production unit had cultivated five so88 - principally growing vegetables, raising pigs, chicken and cattle and providing a place where our disabled and wounded could convalesce while producing some grain and food for our unit. As the area was close to the enemy, the cultivated area could not be extensive. Consequently, throughout its setting-up period and development, the production unit was only able to function as a Production improvement programme and was not able to provide Self-sufficient production. At the beginning of 1966, across the Southern battlefield, the Americans and their vassals had increased their strength to 200,000. The puppet troops numbered over 500,000. 44 American battalions had been brought into the South. In Bin Ha B Ra Long Khnh, the 173rd Airborne Brigade89 and an element of the 1st Big Red One Division had completed the deployment of their forces. Westmorelands search and destroy tactics together with Phase 1 of their Limited War strategy90* was being implemented in a hectic manner. The American military massed into the South with the rashness and bellicose characteristics of that leading imperialist nation. However, from the first days, they stumbled up against the fierce resistance of a people who had never submitted to any invading foreign aggressor.91 The resounding victories of our the troops and the people of the South at Vn Tng, Ni Thnh, Bu Bng and Plyme had all stirred public opinion world-wide. Hundreds of Americans and many of their battalions had been wiped out in a battle that made them panic. These feats-of-arms were increasingly a source of
Translators Note: The Ging battle of early January 1966 is not mentioned in the published history of the Minh m Secret Zone Base ie Phm Ch Thn, Cn C Minh m, op.cit., 2006. However, on 22 March 1966, a force comprising Vit Cng sappers (240C Company) and an artillery element from the 5th VC Division moved from the Minh m base and attacked and shelled the Vng Tu airfield and the Ch Linh Rural Development Cadre Training Centre in Vng Tu see Phm Ch Thn, Cn C Minh m, op.cit., 2006, pp.47-48. The Eastern Nm B Region citation for the attack on Vng Tu shows the date of the attack as 12 March CDEC Log 09-1880-66; as does the COSVN award of the Liberation Combat Achievement Medal 3rd Class CDEC Log 09-2189-66. See also the account of the attack in the 5th Division History 2005 at Annex I, footnote 10. According to a rallier (hi chnh) from 240C Sapper Company, the unit incorporated a platoon from 445 Battalion and had undergone training directed by Su Chnh - the commander of 445 Battalion prior to the attack on Vng Tu MACV Report 6 026 1864 7. The organisation of 240C and preparations for the attack on 13 March 1966 are detailed in the MACV Report. 88 Translators Note: One so is an area of 360 square metres. The cultivation method was lm ry ie the slash and burn technique. 89 Translators Note: The 173rd Airborne Brigade arrived at Bin Ha in early May 1965. 90 * Phase 1 (July-December 1965) - to destroy our Wet Season plans and rapidly deploy the American military and its vassals. Phase 2 (1966-1967) to launch a strategic counter-offensive to destroy our mainforce elements and control the rural areas. Phase 3 (1967-1968) - to finish off our main-force elements, destroy our bases (control the jungle and mountain areas) and withdraw American forces. Source: Selected Writings of H Ch Minh Book 2, S Tht Publishing House, 1980, p.367. 91 Translators Note: The Chinese occupied Vietnam on several occasions the longest being from 111 BC to 939 AD, see Bc-Thuc Thi-i (The Period of Northern Occupation) in Trn Trng Kim, Vit-Nam SLc - A Summary of Vietnams History , Edition 7, Tn Vit, Si Gn, 1964, pp.45-81.

31 strong encouragement for the morale and will-to-fight of our troops in their struggle for victory over the invading American aggressors. To complement the momentum of the whole nations resolve to fight the Americans, 445 Battalion launched an emulation movement to kill the foreign aggressors throughout 1966. This merit programme was divided into three phases (each of three months duration). The first phase was termed the Determined to fight and defeat the invading American foreign aggressors movement. The Battalion promulgated the emulation targets for each of the units and their personnel. Being the first to be granted the honourable title of Valiant Killer of Americans92 created noisy discussion. Across the whole Battalion, all unanimously registered as one to be Valiant Killers of Americans. The resolve within the Battalion had never been so enthusiastic. The companies shook hands pledging emulation competitions and loudly shouted the teachings of the revered Uncle H: Overcome every difficulty, fight and defeat every enemy !. Having developed its logistic base at Bin Ha, the Americans 173rd Airborne Brigade launched a very destructive sweeping operation into the base area of the Bin Ha Provincial Committee at Gang Ti (i An Vnh Cu), but they were given a hiding and dealt a warning blow by the troops and guerrillas of Vnh Cu (Bin Ha) - and lost 100 killed. At the beginning of April 196693, the 173rd Airborne Brigade deployed a force to sweep the Long Thnh and B Ra areas aimed at eliminating the nerve centres of our B Ra Long Khnh Province and guaranteeing the security of National Route 15 to transport the Americans weapons and war materiel from Vng Tu to Bin Ha Si Gn. Having thoroughly grasped the new combat guidelines promulgated by the Provincial Committee, the Military Region and COSVN headquarters, the leadership of 445 Battalion was directly instructed by the Provincial Unit to deeply examine all aspects and strengthen and adjust the units operating methods and tactics. Although the Battalion had yet to clash with the American infantry, the companies were directed to thoroughly absorb the combat ideology, develop a spirit of initiative and creativeness in their methods of attack, and increase the dispersal of their teams and sub-elements in order to swiftly attack the enemy. The companies were to coordinate orders for opening fire and, when necessary, concentrate their forces rapidly to strike the enemy blow-by-blow. They were to stand firm, strike a warning blow against the Americans and resolve to defeat them in the first battle. The companies would gain experience while fighting.

Translators Note: On 22 February 1966, the Political Section of the B Ra Provincial Unit issued a directive on establishing Anti-American Belts (ie zones) and the Killing Americans Campaign CDEC Log 09-1879-66. A week earlier on 15 February 1966, the B Ra Provincial Unit awarded 445 Battalions 1st Company and the Long t 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, of the Valiant Killers programme that noted American vassals (chu hu comprising troops from Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines and Korea) were included in the programme VCAT Item No. 23119093001. 93 Translators Note: The 445 Battalion history does not mention the major ARVN operation Dn Tm 36 (22 February-5 March 1966) into the c Thnh, Xun Son, Bnh Ba, Tam Long (Tam Long = Ha Long, Long Phc, Long Tn), and Minh m areas. A detailed report by an element of the B Ra Provincial 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 B Ra Provincial Unit produced a directive on political activities deemed necessary following counter-sweep operations in the Long Tn area in the period 23-28 February indicating morale problems in 445 Battalion CDEC Log 09-1882-66.


32 In implementing the Battalions combat concept, the companies were always organised into two elements. One element was dispersed by teams to conduct reconnaissance on the enemy and launch lightning attacks. Another element was ready to deploy for a coordinated attack when ordered. When conducting reconnaissance close to the enemy, the infantry teams were - at the same time, effective aircraft-hunters. Using all types of infantry weapons, the soldiers of 445 Battalion shot to smithereens tens of American aircraft during the Americans first sweeping operations. 445 Battalion regularly engaged American aircraft involved in heliborne operations east and west of Route 2. The aircraft-hunter team led by Comrade Chinh shot down four UH-1A American aircraft in one day. Comrade Nhan and Comrade Tr even shot down heavy-lift crane aircraft (CH5494 and CH4795) with oblique and flanking fire. On 8 April 1966, the Battalions reconnaissance elements reported that the Americans were landing troops on the tactical airstrip at B Lang (Bnh Gi). Assessing the weak points of the American force when it had just landed in this new area preparatory to launching a large sweeping operation, the Battalion headquarters directed a swift attack on the B Lang tactical airstrip using two mortars one 81mm calibre and the other 61mm [sic] calibre, of the 4th Fire Support Company with the company commander - Comrade T Nh96, in direct command. The reconnaissance element guided the 4th Companys mortar section, and assisted their survey activities and the selection of a firing base. On the night of 8 April, the mortar section traversed four kilometres of jungle pushing their way forward, and carrying their mortars and ammunition to a position 500 metres from the B Lang airstrip. From there, they fired their mortars by applied fire (observing and adjusting the fall-of-shot by sight and not requiring the optical aiming equipment and other technical elements of artillery troops). At 4am, when the enemy was soundly sleeping after a day of field operations and their aircraft, artillery and vehicles were in jumbled groups, 35 mortar rounds from 445 Battalion rent the air and plunged down on the enemy. The whole of the B Lang tactical airstrip was enveloped in smoke, fire and loud explosions. 12 helicopters and four M113 armoured vehicles were smashed to pieces, and 20 Americans were killed and wounded. On the next day, our Provincial authorities sent a message commending this latest combat exploit by the cadre and soldiers of 445 Battalion.97 This first feat-of-arms - that destroyed a large quantity of weapons, war materiel and Americans in B Ra, was a significant exploit by the reconnaissance troops and the artillery of 445 Battalion. This evidenced the failure of Westmorelands search and destroy tactics in those first years in which the whole nation attacked the Americans together. Secrecy, surprise ambushes - and using concentrated forces to wipe out large numbers of enemy in their very dens, were the versatile methods employed by our local troops who were familiar with the terrain and also thoroughly understood the enemys operational methods. These were our tactical strong points that - in the spirit and tradition of the earlier 445th and 440th Companies, were passed down and adopted by 445 Battalion. While still employing its forces against the enemys sweeping operations98 on Route 2, the
CH-54 Sky Crane helicopter. CH-47 Chinook helicopter passenger capacity 35. 96 Translators Note: Phan Vn Nh (aka T Nh) was formally appointed Company Commander of the 4th Combat Support Company by the B Ra Provincial Unit on 9 December 1965 CDEC Log 09-1830-66, Item 7. He is also noted as the Companys inaugural commander see footnote 65. 97 Translators Note: Hong Vn L of the 4th Company was awarded a Certificate of Commendation by the B Ra Provincial Unit for his role in the attack on B Lang. CDEC Log 09-1830-66, Item 10. 98 Translators Note: Letters of Appreciation were awarded by the B Ra Provincial Unit to soldiers of the 1st, nd 2 and 4th Companies of 445 Battalion for action in counter-sweep operations in the ng Ngc Khi/Xun
95 94

33 Battalion concentrated its elements to launch a surprise attack to wipe out the enemy deep in the t Sub-Sector and support the district troops, the guerrillas, and the political struggle movement of the people. Having been supplied by the people with information on the enemy, on 24 April 1966, the Battalion used its concentrated forces to mount a mobile ambush in the B K Slope area (Phc Thnh) less than one kilometre from the t Sub-Sector. After an hour of fighting, the Battalion had wiped out a Panther Skin commando99 company of the puppet military. One of the enemy captains was brought to justice, many other enemy soldiers were captured, and 53 weapons were seized together with two radios. Also, this was the first battle in which our Battalions soldiers seized the American rapid-fire light machinegun (AR 15).100 With the support of the Provincial Unit, the Phc Thnh village Party Chapter immediately led the people to destroy the New Life Hamlet101 set up by the enemy, and won a great victory by organizing almost 100 of our countrymen to flock to the t Sub-Sector demanding compensation for the lost lives of their husbands, children and property. Following our battle success in the t Sub-Sector, the whole Battalion deployed to the area of Route 2 to continue the fight against the enemys sweeping operations. We also fought a decisive battle there our first battalion-level engagement by the cadre and soldiers of 445 Battalion against the Americans in the Jackfruit Gardens base area of Sng Cu. For a long time, 445 Battalion had determined that the base areas were not only a place to billet its troops but rather they were a rear base, a training area, and a decisive point within which to inflict heavy casualties on the enemy in a battalion defensive battle. At this time, the Battalions rear base area was usually established in two locations - the primary rear base and the combat rear base. The combat rear base was normally set up on the axes of the enemys principal sweeping operations (as assessed by the Battalion) and a few kilometres away from the primary rear base. The positions of the companies were arranged in a formation like the feet of a cooking tripod102 - with defensive works, strongly-built shelters and trenches. Assumptions on the enemys attack tactics were included in our combat plans and practised daily. The companies were deployed 500-1,000 metres apart as the sides of a triangle, and ready to strike to the flank to aid each other if attacked by the enemy. On 18 May 1966, while all of the military cadre (company and battalion-level) were preparing the battlefield and only the political cadre were in the base arranging political study material for the Battalion, one of our reconnaissance soldiers ran into the base in panic:

Sn area of Chu c District in the period 1-8 April 1966 see CDEC Log 09-1830-66, Items 9 and 15; Log 12-2405-66, Items 8 and 10; Log 09-1863-66, Items 8 and 10. 99 Translators Note: The text uses the term bit kch 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 Dim-era forces. In February 1960, President Dim established 75 150-man commando companies later to become ARVN Ranger units (ie the Bit ng Qun). A 1st Commando Company was based in Ha Long village adjacent to 1 ATF in June 1966. In this case, the ARVN unit is probably an ARVN Ranger element ie Bit ng Qun. 100 Translators Note: Letters of Appreciation were awarded by the B Ra Provincial Unit to soldiers of the of 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Companies of 445 Battalion for action in the t /Phc Thnh 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 09-1863-66, Items 1, 2, 4, 5, 9, 11 and 14. 101 Translators Note: Literally p Tn Sinh see footnote 30. 102 Translators Note: Literally: Chn King but should be spelt as Chn King.

34 Comrade Commander, one of our minority countrymen has told me that there is a unit with a large number of strange-looking soldiers with blue eyes, aquiline noses, and including some with coal-black skin and speaking raucously like highland minority people, and they are moving tactically towards our base. Americans ! The Americans are here. Ba Lin bit his lips for a moment. Comrade, report back to the reconnaissance element - stay very close to the enemy and lure them slowly in the direction of the 2nd Company. It is imperative that you fire on them, then withdraw quickly and let them follow you. Remember, in the direction of the 2nd Company ! I understand ! After a very short reply, the reconnaissance soldier ran off.

Ba Lin called Hai Khanh the political officer of the 2nd Company, for a very brief meeting nominally a conference of the Standing Committee of the Battalions Party Chapter, to decide on tactics. Following this, orders for the deployment of the companies were sent down. The company political officer T Dng also ran off like a flying shuttle103 - running back to check the teams fighting positions for a last time. Nguyn Vn Quangs heavy machinegun was sited in the defences on the edge of the rubber plantations dyke and very carefully camouflaged. The Battalions reconnaissance element had fired on the enemy and correctly lured them in the direction ordered by the Battalion. In the whole base area, there wasnt a single shadow of anyone above ground all was ready awaiting the enemy. The American soldiers were huge in their flak vests and staggered into the battle area. When the enemy was only 50 metres away, the whole of the 2nd Company suddenly opened fire. From the very first volley, tens of Americans fell down headlong. In the pandemonium, they screamed raucously, fell to the ground, and crawled about in disorder trying to set up a defensive formation. Nguyn Vn Quang noticed an American 60mm mortar firing rounds into our positions. He quickly dragged his heavy machinegun in that direction, fired a burst, and many Americans writhed about in pools of blood. However, they still clustered around their mortar and continued firing and suddenly the mortar became a focus point for the destructive fire of Nguyn Vn Quangs machinegun. With a large number of American soldiers being killed, the enemy worried about retrieving their dead rather than fighting back. They were only concerned with recovering their comrades bodies under our fire and more fell. Bodies piled up on one another. The cadre and soldiers of 445 Battalion had discovered the Americans weak point as soon as the enemy had set foot on the B Ra battlefield. While the enemy was focused on its engagement with the 2nd Company, the 1st and rd 3 Companies sortied forth and attacked the enemys flank. However, our exposed forces were discovered by the enemy who quickly deployed into blocking positions. After a few minutes of combat and wiping out a number of Americans, the 1st and 3rd Companies withdrew to their defences. The enemy poured in additional troops, but were unable to seize our base. They dug commanding defensive positions and called in armed helicopters (AH1G)104 to fire fiercely into our formations. Follow this, their infantry attacked again, but they couldnt move forward an inch. Our soldiers held firm in their defences and repelled tens of counterattacks by the American infantry. Comrade Nguyn Vn Quangs machinegun alone shot
Translators Note: T Dng was the political officer of the 1st Company. A flying shuttle (Con thoi) ie is a reference to a shuttle used in weaving ie that is passed rapidly across the threads in the warp. 104 Translators Note: The AH-1G Cobra helicopter - equipped with miniguns, 2.75 inch rockets and 40mm grenade launchers.

35 down tens of Americans around their 60mm mortar. Late in the afternoon as it became dark, the whole Battalion abandoned the base.105 In 445 Battalions first face-to-face engagement with the American 173rd Airborne Brigade, the Battalion had removed over a hundred enemy from the battlefield. As a result of this victory over the Americans, our resolve was increasingly effervescent. Even when withdrawing, our men excitedly discussed the battle, laughed and chattered boisterously. When they heard the sounds of gunfire in the base area, our military cadre comrades who had gone to study future battlefields turned about and returned. Later, the Battalion organised a military affairs conference to gain experience from our first battle with the Americans. From this, the Battalion determined four problem areas: The Americans firepower was very strong comprising their infantry, artillery and air firepower. Their Lp Fish106 armed helicopters (AH1G) were very dangerous and capable of blasting our firing positions with their rockets. However, the American infantry were timorous; their individual mobility was slow; they only attacked on one axis; and when their soldiers were killed, they worried more about recovering the bodies than continuing the attack. They were also very afraid of close combat. If we were to confront the Americans in a conventional manner over a protracted period, we would be wiped out by their firepower. To be victorious over the Americans, we would have to exploit surprise and attack aggressively. By close combat grabbing them by their belts, we would be able to make their firepower ineffective. We needed to increase guerrilla-style attacks, deploy in small groups and deliver lightning attacks by both day and night whenever they were getting ready to attack us. In this way, their thinking would be affected they would become wary and apprehensive before setting out on operations and clearing sweeps. After the battle in the Jackfruit Gardens at Sng Cu107, the Americans deployed their forces to attack into the t Gai and Long Phc areas108 with the aim of gathering all the people of Long Phc into Long in t , and thereby expanding the security zone for their key position at Ni t. 445 Battalion continued to engage the Americans in this area. One of the Battalions platoons held the Long Phc tunnel system and, for a full day, engaged an American battalion. However, they were able to drive our platoon from the
Translators Note: In a directive on 19 May 1966, the B Ra Provincial Unit noted that the US forces from Bin Ha had commenced a sweep operation in the Province on 16 May, and on 17 May had clashed with the Provincial Battalion at Long Phc. The Chu c, Long t and Xuyn Mc district units were directed to interdict, respectively: Routes 15, 2 and the Bnh Ba airstrip; Routes 44 and 52; and Route 23 CDEC Log 09-2499-66. 106 Translators Note: The Parapelecus argenteus fish species was the communist forces nickname for the US AH-1G helicopter, see footnote 104. 107 Translators Note: According to the Ha Long History ie The History of the Ha Long Village Party Chapter (1930 - 2005), op.cit., 25 April 2009 (see Annex N), elements of the Chu c District Unit under the command of Nguyn Vn Kim, also fought the US 173rd Airborne Brigade in the Jackfruit Gardens at Sng Cu from 18 May 1966. 108 Translators Note: The 5th Division History relates that on 6 May, the 1st Battalion ((of 274 Regiment)) combined with the 445th Battalion to drive back two battalions of the US 2nd Brigade sweeping into the Long Phc base The 4th ((274)) Regiment was given the mission together with the 445th B Ra Battalion and local troops to counter the enemy and defend the Long Phc War Zone. From 15 May continuously to 15 August, the Regiment coordinated with the B Ra local forces. For the Australian official historys account of the fighting at Long Phc, see McNeill, I., To Long Tan, op.cit., 1993, pp.243-246 ie 173rd Airborne Brigade (Operation Abilene) attacked Long Phc on 17 May and lost 12 KIA and 35 WIA against a Vit Cng company on the day of arrival and inflicted 16 enemy KIA. Two days later, the clearance of Long Phc 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 Phc villages 3,000 inhabitants were resettled to Ha Long village - others to t and Long in. Long Phc village was reported as having been cleared on 24 May 1966.

36 Long Phc tunnels. Once again, hundreds of villagers and local cadre were trapped below in the tunnels while the American troops held the ground above. The people and our local cadre had to be rescued from the Long Phc tunnels. To achieve this, the Battalion employed sapper tactics striking with a blossoming attack among the enemy to save the people and local cadre in the Long Phc tunnels.109 On the night of 21 May 1966, the Battalion sent seven reconnaissance comrades with Comrade Nguyn Vn B (Hai B), Comrade L Tranh (Nm Tranh)110 and Comrade Nm leading the two teams, to crawl into the Long Phc base and attack the Americans. The whole Battalions stock of American ducks-bill grenades was gathered and given to the seven reconnaissance comrades. Each carried a bandolier of grenades and a submachinegun. The two reconnaissance teams both crawled towards the tunnels at Bc Long Phc hamlet where the Americans had most densely deployed their troops. By employing sapper infiltration techniques, our reconnaissance soldiers each crawled past the Americans three human fences. Close to the tunnels, our comrades crept through a flattened banana garden (that had been leveled by bombs), treading on the heads of a few sleeping Americans. They awoke screaming and fired at random. Two comrades in Nm Tranhs team were hit and killed. Nm Tranh stayed put, took out grenades and threw them into the enemys heavy machinegun positions throwing them one at a time to where the enemy were in great disorder. Having thrown 16 grenades, Nm Tranh was wounded in the buttocks. Using a large fallen tree, he crawled forward and fired the rounds in all seven of his carbines magazines before dragging himself beyond the encircling enemy. In the teams led by Hai B and Nm, everyone had thrown all their 20 grenades and all three in Hai Bis team had been wounded. Its unclear whether they had been wounded by the enemy or by their own grenades. With the explosion of more than a hundred grenades within throwing distance, the sound was ear-splitting like a heavy artillery barrage. The enemy screamed in pandemonium. At first, they fired indiscriminately and only their cries and the sounds of exploding grenades could be heard. Our soldiers ears were ringing and bleeding. Exhausted, they were unable to distinguish direction - and those strong enough dragged themselves slowly away from the screaming, the clamour, and the sounds of the enemys random firing. When they heard the gunfire, the exploding grenades and the screaming above ground, the local forces below in the tunnels knew that our forces had come to their rescue. A plan to escape their entrapment was implemented immediately. A small opening was made at the tunnel entrance only about five metres from where wounded Americans were moaning. A reconnaissance element crawled out first to take defensive positions to protect the wounded, women who, in turn, withdrew from the tunnels that very night. During the day, 445 Battalion blocked each sortie of the Americans sweeping operations. At night, we divided into many teams to attack their tactical bases. The Battalion fought continuously for weeks killing hundreds of Americans, seizing weapons and ammunition, and military equipment. With 15,000 American troops engaged in their sweeping operation, the enemy were able to seize Long Phc and a number of our bases in the jungle. However, they were unable to destroy our forces but rather were attacked
Translators Note: According to the 5th Division History - 2005, the Divisions 274 Regiment was given the mission together with the 445th B Ra Battalion and local troops to counter the enemy and defend the Long Phc War Zone. From 15 May continuously to 15 August, 274 Regiment coordinated with the B Ra local forces in combat against the Americans with its 2nd and 3rd Battalions operating in the Route 2 and 15 area, and the 1st Battalion of 274 Regiment fighting alongside 445 Battalion in Long Phc from 5 May until 4 June. However, the 445 Battalion History makes no mention of 274 Regiments involvement at Long Phc. 110 Translators Note: See footnote 33 and Annex A Senior Cadre.

37 continuously both by day and night. Their casualties and losses were heavy, and they were forced to withdraw to Ni t to consolidate.111 After almost two weeks of contesting with the Americans, 445 Battalion had gained additional experience. The momentum for the Kill Americans emulation programme in the Battalion became increasingly active. Tens of comrades were awarded the title of Valiant Killer of Americans. Many of the comrades in the reconnaissance element and the 1st Company received the title: Distinguished and Valiant Killer of Americans.112 These included Comrade Nguyn Vn Quang the exceptional heavy machinegunner, who was awarded the Liberation Forces Combat Achievement Medal.113 In April 1966, the Royal Australian mercenary forces deployed a task force into the South. The Australian Headquarters was located at 12 Trn Quc Ton Street (Si Gn) and commanded by Major General Priro (Parasen).114 At the end of May/beginning of June 1966, the Australian task force completed its deployment and moved to pacify the B Ra region. The tactical headquarters of the Australians was established at Ni t and commanded by Brigadier Henderson.115

Translators Note: The B Ra Provincial Unit Headquarters sought medals from T1 (Military Region 1) for counter-sweep operations in period 16-24 May 66 (including at Long Phc) comprising a First Class Liberation Forces Combat Exploits Medal for 445 Battalion, Second Class Medals for its 1st and 2nd Companies and Third Class Medals for the C20 and C21 Chu c District Companies. In a cited period of nine days of continuous combat - ie 17-25 May 1966, 445 Battalion was claimed to have killed a total of 423 Americans, wounded 25, and shot down seven helicopters see detailed medal citations at CDEC Log 091885-66 and, for C21, CDEC Log 09-1887-66. 445 Battalions casualties were reported as 10 killed and 20 wounded. For claimed US casualties, see footnotes 112 and 113 below. 112 Translators 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, the B Ra Provincial Unit sought Liberation Combat Exploit medals for 445 Battalion, its 1st and 2nd Companies, C20 and C21 Companies (Chu c) and Nguyn Vn Quang (machine gun 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 Phc battle (19-23 May). 113 Translators Note: Nguyn Vn Quang (see also footnotes 59, 105, 175, 280, and 296) was awarded a Certificate of Commendation by the B Ra Provincial Unit for his exploits at Phc Thnh (Long t District) on 26 April 1966 (as a squad leader/2/3/445), and was recommended for a Third Class Liberation Combat Exploits 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. 114 Translators Note: The Headquarters Australian Force - Vietnam (HQAFV) was established in the Free World Military Assistance Forces (FWMAF) building at 12 Trn Quc Ton Street (Si Gn) on 3 May 1966 under Major General K. Mackay, MBE. Earlier from May 1965, the commander of Australian Army Force - Vietnam had been Brigadier (from July 1965) O.D. Jackson. The above passage in the 445 Battalion History appears to have been borrowed from Phan Ngc Danh ..., ng Nai 30 Nm , op.cit., 1986, p.132 that refers to a Major General Fraser - but Fraser has been corrupted to Parasen in the 445 Battalion History. Major General C.A.E. Fraser served as the commander of AFV from March 1970 to March 1971. 115 Translators Note: The 1st Australian Task Force (1 ATF) opened at Vng Tu on 20 May 1966. Following Operation Hardihood to secure the area, 5RAR occupied the Ni t 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 1st Australian Task Force (1 ATF) - ONeill, R.J., Vietnam Task: The 5th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment 1966/67, Cassell Australia, Melbourne, 1968, pp.48-49. Headquarters 1 ATF - commanded by Brigadier O. D. Jackson, arrived at Ni t on 5 June 1966 (Brigadier W.G. Henderson took command in June 1970) the same error appears in both the ng Nai History 1986, the 5th Division History 2005, and The History of the Ha Long Village Party Chapter (1930-2005), op.cit., 2009. The ng Nai History 1986, op.cit., p.132 (footnote 2) adds that the Task Forces strength was 7,824 troops and was supported by 31 Australian aircraft. The Ha Long History adds that the Task Force occupied Ni t on 29 May 1966,


38 Like the Americans, having developed their base at Ni t, the Australians began to launch sweeping operations deep into the jungle with the intention of destroying our rear base areas, storehouses and fighting strength.116 On 15 July 1966 during one of their sweeping operations, an Australian company clashed with a reconnaissance team from the 1st Company of 445 Battalion that was closely following the Australians.117 Hearing the sound of the reconnaissance elements gunfire, the 1st Company independently moved swiftly from the base at the L stream (Long Tn) through the jungle for 2-3 kilometres to come to their aid, engage the enemy, and put into practice the Companys combat tactics. After advancing for 15 minutes, the leading platoon met the enemy and, opening fire immediately, killed almost all of the Australian militarys vanguard platoon that had left Ni t on the sweeping operation. Our other platoons followed in time to assist and inflicted heavy casualties on another Australian platoon. Hearing the sound of the 1st Companys bugles (at this time the Battalion used bugles to coordinate our actions), the Battalion ordered the 2nd and the 3rd Companies to attack from the flank. They struck another Australian column, and the 2nd and 3rd Companies inflicted heavy casualties on the enemys leading elements. However, the enemy quickly adopted a defensive formation, threw coloured smoke grenades, and called in artillery to break up and block us. The enemys artillery fell like rain, and we were unable to close with their infantry. The Australian force discovered the thrust of our attack and continued to call down artillery to strike deep into our formations. A number of comrades were wounded. Comrade T Dng the political officer of the 1st Company, died on the withdrawal route back to our base.118 The battle was our first test-of-strength with the Australian forces. We suffered a number of wounded, but we had inflicted heavy losses on an Australian company. This
and the Royal Australian Task Force comprised 8,080 troops with a New Zealand artillery company of 20 106.7mm guns. 116 Translators Note: When deploying Australian forces from Vng Tu to Phc Tuy Province in May 1966, 1 ATF noted the local Vit Cng battalion as 860 Battalion with Code Names of C860 Battalion and D445 Battalion, and a strength of 550 1 ATF Intelligence Summary (INTSUM) 1/66, Vng Tu, 21 May 1966 (the intelligence information was based on the US 173rd Airborne Brigade OPORD 7/66 - Operation Hardihood). The INTSUM did not mention Vit Cng district companies or village guerrilla elements. 117 Translators Note: A report by Vn Lin (Ba Lin) the 445 Battalion political officer, shows the date of the engagement as 25 July 1966 see Annex G. In an interview in March 1989, Vn Lin claimed to have been the commander on the ground and stated that 445 Battalions losses had not been more than six, but one had been a company commander (connect with the following footnote) Burstall, T., A Soldier Returns, op.cit., 1990, pp.116-117. For the Australian official Australian, see McNeill, I., To Long Tan, op.cit.,1993, pp.280-281: At Sui (stream) Bang; Australian forces (B/6RAR) suffered two KIA; the enemy reportedly suffered 6 KIA including possibly the commander of the 1st 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 Tan area and lost 50 KIA, 20 WIA and 10 weapons CIA ((captured in action)). - Peters, C.C.M. Major, D445 - Order of Battle, 1 ATF Battle Intelligence Section, Ni t, 6 May 1971 ie a repeat of the 50 VC KIA (BC) cited in an earlier 29 May 1970 edition of their D445 Order of Battle study. 118 Translators Note: T Dng was noted earlier in this 445 Battalion History as the deputy political officer of 440th Company in December 1964. He was formally promoted from platoon leader to assistant political officer by Military Region 1/B Ra Provincial Unit on 20 October 1965 CDEC Log 09-1876-66. However earlier in the 445 Battalion History, T Dng 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 1st Company political officer in December 1965 - that included a quite detailed history of the then 117-strong 1st Company (CDEC Log 05-1293-66). In mid-1966, a T Vn Dng was recommended for promotion to political officer of the Battalions 1st Company CDEC Log 12-2393-66. 1 ATF reported the recovery of the body 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, Ni t, 26 July 1967.

39 proved our capability to deploy and apply our combat tactics swiftly - and that 445 Battalions cadre and soldiers had the spirit and will to fight doggedly and defeat all enemies in any situation. However, from this first test-of-strength, the Battalion confirmed that it could not under-estimate the Australian forces particularly their application of artillery fire to break up counter-attacks and their ability to flexibly redeploy their own forces for counter-attacks.119 Following the coordinated sweeping operations by the Americans, Australians, and the puppet forces, tens of thousands of enemy troops struck into our base areas at Sng Cu, Sui L , Long Phc and Minh m with the aim of achieving victory in the first phase of their Counter-offensive Strategy on the B Ra battlefield but they were all defeated. From the 1966 Wet Season, the Americans transferred the responsiblility for pacification in all of Phc Tuy Province (B Ra) to the Australian forces.120 The New Zealand artillery was placed wholly in support of the Australians. In August 1966, the Australians set up two further major positions at Ni t and Bu Lng121. At the end of the 1965-66 Dry Season, COSVN reinforced the B Ra battlefield with a regiment from the 5th Division to join with the local forces against the enemys sweeping operations.122 In the 1966 Wet Season, the headquarters of the 5th Division123 coordinated with the military headquarters of B Ra - Long Khnh Province to direct a major destructive strike
Translators Note: According to the 5th Division History - 2005: On 15 July, the Australian 3rd Battalion secretly attacked the base of the 445th Battalion at L stream. In this first engagement, we lacked tactical experience against the Australians and although the cadre and soldiers of the 445th Battalion fought very bravely, they were unable to destroy many of the enemy. Rather, the unit suffered heavy casualties from the enemys artillery firepower. The initial Australian infantry battalions of 1ATF were 5RAR and 6RAR - ie not 3RAR which arrived in Vietnam in December 1967. 120 Translators Note: On pacification, see footnotes 29 and 225. 121 Translators Note: Bu Lng is probably a reference to Bu Lun where a US Special Forces element established a camp (B-36) in January 1967 to train Vietnamese Mobile Strike Force (MSF-Mike Force) elements. The camp was located on Route 44 west of the Long Hi Mountains about a kilometre north of Long Hi village. The Long t District History 1986 relates that, in 1970, the Australians set up a battalion-level training centre at Bu Lun for the Lon Nol troops and used them for patrolling on Routes 2344. Australian personnel trained Khmer Republic soldiers at the Long Hi camp from January 1972. The ng Nai History 1986 refers to a base at Bu Ln with more than one thousand troops. - Phan Ngc Danh ..., ng Nai 30 Nm , op.cit., 1986, p.132. 122 Translators Note: The 5 Division History - 2005 relates: In June 1966, the 4th ((274)) Regiment received orders to move to the Chu Pha-Ht Dch with the task of attacking the enemy and defending the supply areas of Group 84. The 5th Regiment moved from Long Khnh 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 Ni t B Ra. In June 1966, the strength of 274 Regiments 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. On 20 October 1966, Australian 5RAR troops in an operation in the Ni Th Vi mountains recovered the notebook/diary (completed to 7 October 1966) of Nguyn Nam Hng the second-in-command of 274 Regiment - see CDEC Bulletins 1413 and 1418; CDEC Log 11-1259-66 (translated text); and 1 ATF Troops Information Sheet No. 31, Ni t, 13-19 February 1967 (for a three-page commentary). The capture of the diary and an outline of its contents is related in ONeill, R.J., Vietnam Task, op.cit., pp.48-49 and pp.155-156. According to Australian sources, the diary reportedly related that, in the period 9-11 June 1966, 274 Regiment lay in wait to ambush an Australian sub-unit expected to recover a US observation aircraft shot down in the Ni Nghe area. Similarly - according to the Australian official history, the diary indicated that 274 Regiment had planned to ambush Australian troops near the Ni Nghe feature in early June 1966. see McNeill, I., To Long Tan , op.cit.,1993, p.249. Author Paul Ham interviewed Nguyn Nam Hng in Vng Tu in midNovember 2005, but Hng could not recall the loss of his diary. Ham, P., Vietnam The Australian War, HarperCollinsPublishers, Pymble, 2007, p.710. 123 Translators Note: The 5th Division History 2005 also relates the Battle of Long Tn in some detail see the translation at Annex I, pp.5-10. In August 1966, the Headquarters of the 5th Division moved three kilometres south from its base at Sui u (YS 780820 in Base Area 301) to the vicinity of YS 790785.

40 against the Australian forces on the B Ra battleground. Comrades Nm Truyn124, Nm Tm125 (S Nm), Ba t126, t ng127 (B Ra - Long Khnh Provincial Unit) together with the staff elements of the two units, held many meetings to carefully consider and assess the situation - while delegating Comrade Nguyn Hu Ngha128 - the second-incommand of the reconnaissance company of the 5th Division, and the 445 Battalions reconnaissance element to go and examine the battlefield in the Long Tn and Long Phc region of B Ra. After three days, the reconnaissance elements of the two units had completed their study of the battlefield.129 In the L stream base, the Provinces military
Translators Note: Colonel (Thng T) Nguyn Th Truyn (aka Nm Truyn and Nm Si Gn) had commanded the 1st Regiment (271/Q761 Regiment) during the successful battle of Bnh Gi in early 1965. He commanded the 5th Division until late November 1967. Nm Truyn was killed in combat in early February 1968 during the NVA/VC Tt Mu Thn offensive while serving as Commander of Sub-Region 1. 125 Translators Note: Trn Minh Tm (Nm Tm) was the founding commander of the 4th Regiment (274 Regiment) of the 5th VC Division. In August 1966, he was the Chief of Staff of the 5th Division confirmed by the NVA defector Lieutenant Colonel L Xun Chuyn. His participation in the planning and conduct of the battle at Long Tn as the Deputy Divisional Commander is also related in the 5th Division History 2005, see Annex I, p.5, p.8. That History relates Nm Tm meeting with Comrade ng Hu Thun (Commander of the B Ra Unit) on 10 August 1966 to plan the engagement, and Trn Minh Tm is described as the battlefield commander. Tms presence is also related later in the 445 Battalion History see footnotes 142, 149 and 162. Tm is also noted in a major Vietnamese account of the War as leading the 5th Division elements at Long Tn ie Lch s Khng chin chng M cu nc The History of the AntiAmerican Resistance War for National Salvation, Tp 4 (Vol 4), Nh Xut Bn Chnh Tr Quc Gi, H Ni, 1999. However, Trn Minh Tm is not mentioned as the senior 5th Division Headquarters representative during the Battle by Nguyn Thanh Hng (Hai) a 5th Division operations officer, who strongly implied that he - ie Hng, played the premier 5th Division role - see Burstall, T., A Soldier Returns, op.cit., 1990, pp.99104. According to Nguyn Thanh Hng, during the Battle, the headquarters of 275 Regiment was on Ni t 2 Hill (see footnote 142), and he commanded the 5th Division Headquarters forward element in p Phc Hng (GR YS 495670) see footnotes 137, 142, and 144. Post-War, Nguyn Thanh Hng appeared in an Australian DVD/video documentary and described aspects of the Long Tn battle - Horsefield, B. (Director/Producer), Long Tan The True Story, Australian Broadcasting Commission/Film Australia, Lindfield, 1993. 126 Translators Note: Ba t ie Nguyn c Hot, Deputy Commander of the B Ra Provincial Unit was also reportedly known as Nguyn Vn t. He was transferred to the staff of Military Region (MR) 7 in June 1969 VCAT Item No. 2310510003. Nguyn c Hot (Ba t) - Deputy Chief of Staff of MR7, was killed by Australian forces on 21 November 1969 in northwest Phc Tuy Province 1 ATF INTSUM No. 39/70, Ni t, 8 February 1970. 127 Translators Note: ng Hu Thun was also known as t ng, ng, and Thim. He had infiltrated into the South in 1961, and in 1965-1966 he served at Military Region 1/T.1 as the Chief of Operations and Training with the grade of regimental executive officer CDEC Bulletin 257, Log 03-1253-66. Thun was transferred from T.1 to B Ra on 30 June 1966 CDEC Log 12-2459-66. ng Hu Thun (t ng) is noted in the 5th Division History - 2005 as the commander of the B Ra Provincial Unit. According to that History: on 10 August 1966, the Combined Battle Headquarters comprising Trn Minh Tm and Comrade ng Hu Thun (Commander of the B Ra Unit) met to determine the fighting tactics to destroy an Australian battalion in the Long Tn region. t ng is also later described in the 445 Battalion History at p.67, pp.75-76 as the commander of the B Ra Provincial Unit apparently replacing Nguyn Vn Mi/Nguyn Vit Hoa (Mi Th) in mid-1966. Nguyn Vit Hoa (Mi Th) was transferred to command the Vit Cng on 10/Group 10 unit in the Rng Sc/St - CDEC Log 06-2022-67. on 10 was reportedly 64-strong Phan Ngc Danh ..., ng Nai 30 Nm , op.cit., 1986, p.132. However, see the detailed Rung Sat Special Zone Intelligence Study (circa mid-1968) of the Rng Sc and on 10 (997strong, including 211 guerrillas) VCAT Item No. 4000105007. 128 Translators Note: Nguyn Hu Ngha or probably more correctly L Hu Ngha, was either the commander or 2ic of the reconnaissance company of 275 Regiment see following footnote 153. A Nguyn Hu Ngha a member of the 9th VC Division, had been attached to B Ra but, as directed by the B Ra Provincial Unit on 19 July 1966, was returned via MR6 CDEC Log 09-1979-66. 129 Translators Note: The 445 Battalion political officer Vn Lin (Ba Lin), stated that he and Su Chnh (Bi Quang Chnh 445 Battalion Commander) coordinated with the 275 Regiment and the element of 5 Division headquarters Burstall, T., A Soldier Returns, op.cit., 1990, p.117.

41 command section and the headquarters of the Division convened a conference of cadres comprising the platoon commanders and above of the two units - ie 445 Battalion130 and the 4th [sic] Regiment131 of the 5th Division, to thoroughly study the tactical outline of the ambush battle to destroy the Australians at Long Tn.132 The forces to participate in the fighting comprised133:

Translators Note: According to the Australian official history, the Australian Task Force assessed the strength of 445 Battalion as 550 McNeill, I., To Long Tan, op.cit., 1993, p.351, p.559 (endnote 114). McNeill has apparently reported the 1 ATF estimate as at late May 1966 see footnote 116. However, 445 Battalions strength was probably no more than about 380 see social data on the Battalions personnel at Annex F and translated extracts of the recovered 445 Battalion Command and Political Reports of July and August 1966 at Annex G. In this 445 Battalion History - 1991 account of the Battle of Long Tn, the name of the 445 Battalion commander is not mentioned. The Australian official histories cite Nguyn Vn Kim (see footnote 195) as the 445 Battalion commander at the Battle ie rather than Bi Quang Chnh (Su Chnh) see Chamberlain, E. P., Research Note 23, Vietnam War: Commander of D445 Battalion at Long Tan Not Nguyen Van Kiem but Bui Quang Chanh , 23 September 2010 (to the Australian War Memorial and the Australian Army History Unit - Canberra) - and discussion in outline biographies at Annex B 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. 131 Translators Note: An apparent error as the 5th Regiment (275 Regiment) was the principal Vit Cng formation involved in the Battle of Long Tn ie not the 4th Regiment (274 Regiment). 274 Regiment is also incorrectly cited (in lieu of 275 Regiment) in the history of the C.12-65 Binh Gia Victory Assault Youth Group see Annex E: Long Tn Casualties. The official histories of the 5th Division - 2005 and the ng Nai History - 1986 as well as the major Vietnamese history of the War ie Lch s Khng chin , Tp 4 (Vol 4), op.cit., 1999 all cite 275 Regiment (ie the 5th Regiment) as the principal Vit Cng formation at the Battle of Long Tn. At Long Tn, 275 Regiment was commanded by Nguyn Thi Bng (also known as t Thi see footnotes 56, 142 and Annex J) and Nguyn Vn Cc was the Regiments political officer. The 2ic of 274 Regiment Nguyn Nam Hng, noted in his diary on 28 September 1966: the 5th Regiment ((ie 275 Regiment)) attacked Ni t, 600 Australians were killed and 1 Australian battalion exterminated CDEC Log 11-1259-66. On 274 Regiment activity, Hng related that for most of August and September, the ((274)) Regiment was transporting rice. Hngs statement conflicts with claims including by Nguyn Vn Kim (Commander D445, early 1968-1969), that 274 Regiment was tasked in mid-August 1966 to interdict any US forces moving south on Route 2 to relieve Australian forces during the Long Tn battle see Kims statement in Horsefield, B. (Director/Producer), Long Tan The True Story, op.cit., DVD, 1993. On 274 Regiments activities, see also extracts of the 5th Division History 2005 at Annex I, footnote 29. According to the 275 Regiment commander Nguyn Thi Bng, during the Battle of Long Tn, his 275 Regiment headquarters was located on the small feature of Ni t 2 see map at page 100, and he was accompanied by his executive officer Major Ba Du (ie Ba c) - see the interview in Burstall, T., A Soldier Returns, Book 2, op.cit., 1990, p.100 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 and114). 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, Nui Dat, 7 September 1966. 132 Translators Note: The Australian official account of the Battle of Long Tn including discussion of casualties, is in McNeill, I., To Long Tan , op.cit., 1993, pp.305-375. Other relevant Australian works on Long Tn include: 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: As Told by the Commanders to Bob Grandin, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, 2004; and Ekins, A., Unravelling , op.cit., July 2011. The account of the Long Tn battle as related in the 5th Division History - 2005 is included in Annex I, pp.5-10. 133 Translators Note: Additional to the elements listed below, according to Mr Quang: the Long Tan Village Guerrilla Group also participated see interview in Horsefield, B. (Director/Producer), Long Tan The True Story, op.cit., DVD, 1993. In 2006, the officer commanding the Australian forces at Long Tn (Major H. Smith) related Vit Cng forces involved as: 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,

42 the 2nd Company of 445 Battalion with the responsibility of being the forward blocking force at Hamlet 1 of Long Tn village reinforced with one B40134, a reconnaissance element from the 5th Division and a 57mm recoilless rifle from the Battalion. the 1st and 3rd Companies of 445 Battalion directly commanded by Comrade Su Thu (the Battalion second-in-command)135 together with the 1st Battalion (4th [sic] Regiment136 of the 5th Division) as the rear blocking group. the 3rd Battalion137 (4th [sic] Regiment of the 5th Division) with the responsibility for the flanking thrust (the decisive point138). We reinforced the area of the killing ground with a minefield comprising 12 DH5 and DH10139 mines, and 42 American Mk1 mines. the 80-strong V Th Su140 civil labour company comprised mainly of females from the Province and led by Chn Phng as company commander, to support the battle.

Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 2006. However, neither 440 Local Force Battalion (see Annex K) - nor a D400 were involved. A map of the battle site follows at page 100. 134 Translators Note: B40 a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG-2), effective range 150 metres; B41 a larger rocket propelled grenade (RPG-7), effective range 500 metres. 135 Translators Note: Su Thu (Nguyn c Thu) previously noted as commander of the 2nd Company at the founding of 445 Battalion. Post-War, Nguyn cThu appeared in an Australian television documentary and described aspects of the battle - Horsefield, B. (Director/Producer), Long Tan The True Story, op.cit., DVD, 1993. 136 Translators note: see footnote 131 above should be 5th Regiment throughout not 4th Regiment. 137 Translators Note: This indicates that 275 Regiments 3rd Battalion was allocated the killing ground at Long Tn as confirmed by the 5th Division History 2005, see following footnote 138. However, Nguyn Thanh Hng (footnote 125) stated that at the 5th Division forward headquarters element in the small deserted hamlet of Phc Hng near Long Tn, he had with him there the third battalion of the 275 as a reserve element. - Burstall, T., A Soldier Returns, Part 2, op.cit., 1990, p.99. According to the NVA defector L Xun Chuyn (Chief of Staff of 5th VC Division see VCAT Item No 4080124002), the 3rd Battalion of 275 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 Armys 605th Battalion and had initially been raised as the 4th Battalion of the 32nd Regiment in Thanh Ha on 15 April 1965 of its 500 members, two-thirds were Southerner regroupees ie cn b hi kt (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 3975. D605 Battalion (commanded by Nguyn Vn Thiu; and with V Ngc Khuyn as political officer) was incorporated into 275 Regiment in May 1966 following the Regiments heavy casualties at the second battle of V Su (Bnh Tuy Province) in mid-March 1966 which had forced the incorporation of the Regiments 2nd and 3rd Battalions as a restructured 2nd Battalion. The Australian official history notes that the Australian Task Force estimated that 275 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. Nguyn Vn Thiu did not command 275s 3rd Battalion at Long Tn as he had been killed in the ng n engagement in March 1966 in Long Khnh Province as related in the 5th Division History - 2005. A major Vietnamese history of the War incorrectly cites the 6th Battalion of 275 Regiment ie rather than the 3rd Battalion, and a company of 445 Battalion destroying a company of Australian soldiers at Long Tn - Lch s Khng chin , Tp 4 (Vol 4), op.cit, 1999. For detail on 275 Regiment, see Annex J. 138 Translators note: Literally Quyt chin im which equates to killing ground. The 5th Division History 2005 (see Annex I, footnote 33) similarly states that The 3rd Battalion was deployed about 800 metres to the northwest of Route 52 with the task of attacking into the main killing zone at the Tht Pagoda. 139 Translators note: DH10 was a directional mine equivalent to the US Claymore mine. 140 Translators Note: In May 1950, V Th Su, a member of the t Cng An Xung Phong was captured. She was born in 1933 in Phc Li (joined Vit Minh at age of 14), sent to Cn o (a prison island in the South China Sea), and executed in January 1952. V Th Su was made a member of the ng Lao ng Vit Nam (Vietnamese Labour ie Communist, Party) on day before being shot. A statue of the female martyr V Th Su was erected in t in 1985 see the Long t District History - 1986 at Annex L pp.64-65, p.99 for detail. According to its unit history, the C.12-65 Bnh Gi Victory Company also

43 a surgery element led by Dr Phong and Dr Knh.141 a forward command element was established two kilometres to the north of Long Tn142 by Comrades t ng and Nm Tm143 to directly command the battle.144

The ambush145 configuration for the battle was almost three kilometres long.

assisted at the Long Tn battle: ie as the enemy artillery was very heavy and destroyed the NVA/VC field telephone lines, they were employed in commo-liaison duties taking messages from the headquarters to the battlefront, repairing broken field telephone lines, and evacuating casualties to "Hospital 1500" in the area of the My To mountains. Reference to casualties being treated at on 1500 (ie on 555 until mid-late 1963) is also included in Hu Thanh, Min ng Nam B khi la, Thursday - 28 August 2008. For translated extracts related to NVA/VC casualty evacuation, see Annex E Battle of Long Tn: Casualties. 141 Translators Note: Comrade Hai Phong and Comrade Nguyn nh Knh. 142 Translators Note: The headquarters would appear to have been on the southern slopes of Ni t 2 (GR YS 485676) a small wooded hill about 126 metres in height, also called Ni Thm (see footnote 291). During the Battle, a Vit Cng heavy machinegun and a medium/light machinegun fired on Australian troops from that location, 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. As noted earlier however (see footnotes 125 and 137), Nguyn Thanh Hng related that the headquarters of the attacking force of the 275 Regiment under the command of Senior Captain Ut Thi (ie Nguyn Thi Bng) was located on the small feature of Nui Dat 2, just to the north of the ((Long Tn)) plantations edge., and that he (Hng) commanded the forward headquarters element of the 5th Division in a small deserted hamlet just on the eastern side of the Long Tn plantation called p Phc Hng ie about two kilometres east of the Long Tn battlefield at GR YS 495670. Hng made no mention of the presence of Trn Minh Tm the Chief of Staff of the 5th Division at the Battle see T. Burstalls interview with Nguyn Thanh Hng in Bin Ha City on 10 November 1987 pp.99-112 in Burstall, T., A Soldier Returns , op.cit., 1990. 143 Translators Note: Trn Minh Tm Chief of Staff of the 5th Division, See footnotes 125 and 127. 144 Translators Note: This passage notes t ng (ng Hu Thun the Commander of the B Ra Provincial Unit) and Nm Tm (Trn Minh Tm Chief of Staff /Deputy Commander of the 5th Division, see footnotes 125 and 127) directly commanded the battle from a position two kilometres north of Long Tn ie Ni t 2. However, as noted above, Nguyn Thanh Hng (born 1932, Hi M aka Hai Hng) - an operations staff officer on the Headquarters 5th Division, has claimed that it was left to him to plan the attack at Long Tn and that he was the on-site commander throughout from Phc Hng hamlet. NguynThanh Hng also stated that he chose a tactic for the Battle that he described as the luring of the tiger from the mountain see T. Burstalls interview with Nguyn Thanh Hng in Bin Ha City on 10 November 1987 pp.99-112 in Burstall, T., A Soldier Returns , op.cit., 1990. Subsequently, Hng also outlined his role including the luring the tiger tactic in Horsefield, B. (Director/Producer), Long Tan The True Story, op.cit., DVD, 1993. See also Annex J 275 Regiment, footnote 34 for information on Nguyn Thanh Hng. 145 Translators Note: Vietnamese accounts describe the engagement as a planned ambush (see footnotes 138 and 144). The 5th Division History 2005 (see Annex I, p.9) describes the tactic as a mobile ambush to destroy the Australian force a new combat objective on the battlefield. Several Australian works contend that an encounter battle is a more appropriate description see McNeill, I., To Long Tan, op.cit., 1993, pp.362-371; 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 , op.cit., 2011. See also footnote 79. In his report citing intelligence indications, the commander 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. Lieutenant Colonel, 6 RAR After Action Report Operation SMITHFIELD: 18-21 August 1966, Nui Dat, 7 September 1966. The 1 ATF Report similarly implied that the Vit Cng force intended to attack the Ni t base - 1st Australian Task Force - Vietnam, Combat Operations After Action Report Operation Smithfield, R723-1-5, December 1966. In recent publications, Lieutenant Colonel H. Smith (the officer commanding D/6RAR at the Battle of Long Tn) and David Sabben (a platoon commander at the Battle) have argued strongly that the Vit Cng force had planned a ground attack against the 1 ATF base at Ni t - ie rather than an ambush at Long Tn eg see Grandin, R., The Battle of Long Tan , op.cit., 2004, pp.275-293; and Sabben, D., Was the Battle of Long Tan a VC ambush? : A presentation, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1996.

44 At 10.15am on 18 August 1966146, two Australian battalions and an armoured vehicle squadron147 advanced in three columns (a main column and two subsidiary columns) that moved in parallel into our battle zone. The main column advanced along the dirt road to Long Tn with four tanks148 in the vanguard, followed by two infantry companies supported by two armoured vehicles. The two subsidiary columns advanced as pincers parallel with the main column and at a distance of 300 metres from it. Each of the pincers comprised a battalion with two tanks in support. All three enemy columns fell into our encircling ambush.149 Nguyn Vn Bng the commander of the observation post element reported the following to the headquarters: Report ! The enemy has appeared 650 metres from the rear blocking position of our battle zone. After having confirmed the situation with the observation group, t ng flicked the switchboard150 to another line and loudly and clearly ordered: Attention, forward
Translators Note: This 445 Battalion History does not mention the shelling of the Australian Ni t base on 17th August. However, according to Vn Lin the 445 Battalion political officer, the 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 I, p.7) relates: Continuously through 16 and 17 August, the local forces and the Divisions reconnaissance cells fired mortars into Ni t. The 1 ATF Commanders 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 - Commanders Diary, August 1968 see also 1 ATF INTSUM No. 77, Ni t, 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 comprised 82mm mortar, 75mm RCL and 70mm howitzer rounds (probably from an obsolescent Japanese Model 92 howitzer). 1 ATF suffered 24 wounded two seriously. On 17 August, patrols from B Company of 6RAR found the firing site of the Vit Cng 75mm RCLs (at GR YS 468655) with 23 discarded 75 mm 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 Tan and Beyond Alpha Company 6 RAR in Vietnam 1966-67, Cobbs Crossing, Woombye, 2006, pp.124-125. Mortar base-plate positions were also found in the vicinity of GR YS 459671. Post-War, a Vit Cng medic - Chung, related that three of Vit Cng RCL party from 275 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. According to the official Australian account of the Battle in McNeill, I., To Long Tan, op.cit., 1993 pp.305375, 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 2nd Battalions reconnaissance cell (of 275 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 the 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 Vit Cng shelling positions and the 1 ATF counter-battery targets. 147 Translators Note: Literally chi on xe bc thp. The initial Australian force at Long Tn ie the 108-strong D Company of 6RAR (infantry, three artillery personnel) was not mounted in armoured personnel carriers and was not accompanied by armoured vehicles. Australian armoured personnel carriers (APCs M113A1 11-tonne) - carrying infantry reinforcements, only arrived at Long Tn towards the end of the Battle at approximately 1850hrs (ie 6.50pm) on 18 August 1966. 148 Translators Note: Literally - xe tng. The Australian tanks (xe tng) ie 51-tonne Centurions, did not arrive in Vietnam until February 1968 (by August 1968, the squadron was at full strength with 28 tanks). Subsequently, in this 445 Battalion History, the Vietnamese term, xe thit gip has been translated as armoured vehicle this is almost always a reference to the M113A1 APC, and its variants. 149 Translators Note: The 5th Division History 2005 (see Annex I, p.8, p.9) indicates that the 275 Regiment elements were caught off-guard by the Australian advance because Trn Minh Tm (Nm Tm) 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. 150 Translators Note: Literally: t hp in thoi - probably a field telephone switchboard, most likely the Chicom Type 10.

45 blocking group: the enemy is advancing in three columns to the west-northwest straight into our battle zone. Comrades must strive to maintain complete secrecy. Wait until the enemy is truly close, and only open fire when the order is given by the headquarters. Nm Tm151 picked up his communications device and added: Attention Tail, the enemy force is very long. If there are any difficulties with the commands communications system, then automatically open fire on the enemy when they are 30 metres from the battle zones forward blocking position. Everything went without a hitch until the last minute. When an enemy tank was 50 metres from the forward blocking position, the trigger was pulled on a recoilless rifle (RCL) - but the round misfired ! The enemy then discovered our battle position. They fired thick-and-fast while withdrawing and redeploying their formations. Comrade L Thanh Trng a 5th Division reinforcement to D445152 and armed with a B40, had just got up to fire on a tank when he was shot through the chest by a round from an enemy heavy machinegun. The hero L Thanh Trng had fallen ! Nguyn Hu Ngha the commander of the reconnaissance element (from the 5th Division)153 came forward and grabbed the B40 and hit the leading armoured vehicle, setting it on fire. Comrade Vnh the number two154 of a 57mm RCL crew, followed up by loading a second round for Comrade Tn to hit and set fire to the second armoured vehicle. The third armoured vehicle was destroyed by two B41 rounds fired by the reconnaissance element from the 5th Division. The engagement at the forward blocking position became increasingly fierce. The situation was like a Battle Royal as the enemy massed quite close to our positions. The battle became close combat, fought in groups and by areas it was difficult for our infantry and artillery to support one another. Rain began to come down in buckets. Our 57mm RCL155 was nullified at a tactical distance of a few tens of metres, and many of the comrades in the weapon crew were killed and the crew commander was captured.156 After the first few minutes of
Translators Note: Trn Minh Tm (Nm Tm) Chief of Staff of the 5th Division, see footnote 125. As noted at footnote 144, Trn Minh Tm was reportedly collocated with t ng (ng Hu Thun) - the commander of the B Ra Provincial Unit, most likely on the southern slopes of Ni t 2 Hill (see footnote 142). 152 Translators Note: This is the only reference in this 445 Battalion History to the Battalion as D445. The NVA/VC used letter designators for their formations, units and sub-units - ie A for section/squad, B for platoon, C for company, D for battalion, E for regiment and F for division. 445 Battalion was referred to as D 445 in the reports by the Battalion commander and the political officer see Annex G. 153 Translators Note: Earlier see footnote 128, Nguyn Hu Ngha was described as the 2ic of the reconnaissance company of the 5th Division. The 5th Division History 2005 however relates that a L Hu Ngha as the officer commanding 275 Regiments reconnaissance company and who used a B40 to destroy the leading armoured vehicle at the Long Tn battle. 154 Translators Note: Literally: x th ph not the firer of the DKZ 57 (57mm recoilless rifle), but the support soldier who loaded the weapon. 155 Translators Note: The Vietnamese text implies a single weapon only. However, two 57mm recoilless (RCL) rifles were among the weapons captured by the Australian forces at Long Tn. Individual weapons recovered were 33 AK-47 rifles, five SKS rifles, two M1 carbines, one M1 Garand rifle, one Browning automatic rifle, seven RPD light machineguns, one PPSh M1941 sub-machinegun, one Thompson submachinegun, and four RPG-2 rocket launchers. Crew-served weapons captured were one 7.62mm SGM heavy machinegun (with shield/wheels) and two 57mm RCLs see McAulay, L., The Battle of Long Tan, op.cit., 1987, p.141 and McNeill, I., To Long Tan, op.cit., 1993, p.558, endnote 108. Several side-arms particularly K-54/Tokarev automatic pistols, were also recovered but retained by Australian personnel. 156 Translators Note: On the evening of 18 August 1966 ie at the conclusion of the Battle, 1 ATF reported that the VC unit was probably the 274 Regiment of the 5 Division 1 ATF INTSUM No. 78, Ni t, 18 August 1966. On the afternoon of the day following the Battle, a 6RAR situation report noted recovering ID cards issued in North Vietnam. Enemy units involved in battle identified as C14 Company, D3 Battalion, Q5 Regiment; D605 and 45 NVA Regiment. - Mollison, C.S., Long Tan and Beyond , op,cit, 2006, p.201. Only one member of 445 Battalion was captured at Long Tn (reportedly a 57mm RCL gunner); and two members of 275 Regiment were captured who declared themselves as members of on 45 (ie then a cover

46 confusion, our forward position was still able to force the enemy into the killing zone. They fell into our minefield and were killed in large numbers. Our rear element also began to storm into the enemy in the killing zone while, at the same time, our flank attacking group advanced. The enemy was in a miserable situation and surrounded, but the tanks and infantry in their subsidiary columns continued to press into our areas that lacked anti-tank firepower and counter-attacked us. Following this, the enemy regrouped and used coloured smoke to mark their positions and called in directed artillery fire. We were unable to move even a half-metre to finish off a number of the enemy because of their rain of artillery from the New Zealand orchestra (a term used by the enemy for their New Zealand artillery battalion in B Ra157). Almost all our attacking elements suffered casualties to the enemy artillery.158 Comrade Su Thu the commander of 445 Battalions rear blocking group, was seriously wounded by an AR15 round that passed through one ear lobe to the other.159 Comrade Su Chin160 the commander of the 1st Company was killed. After about an hour of fighting, the headquarters ordered our elements to withdraw.161 Miss Chn Phng and her comrades in the V Th Su civil labour company
designator for 275 Regiment). Later on 19 August, 1 ATF reported that the two Northern PW were members of NVA 45 Regiment whilst the other was a member of D445 Battalion Local Provincial Mobile. 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, Ni t, 19 August 1966. Translators note: Some published Australian accounts have misinterpreted the foregoing to indicate that a North Vietnamese unit titled 45 ie separate to 275 Regiment, was involved at Long Tn (see footnotes 131 and 137). The foregoing three unit/sub-unit designators in the captured documents all relate to the 3rd Battalion of 275 Regiment of the 5th VC Division for an outline history of 3/275 Regiment see footnote 137, and also Annex J for 275 Regiment (including a very brief account of the Long Tn battle by NVA Captain Trn Vn Ting). On 21 August, the 1 ATF intelligence staff were still unsure of the enemy elements engaged at Long Tn assessing that: The 275 VC Regt, 605 Bn 250 Regt and C860 Bn withdrew East and NE following the 18 Aug operations against 6 RAR Annex A to Op Toledo Frag Order 1-8-66, OPS204, 211600H Aug 60. As noted earlier at footnote 137, D605 was the earlier title of the 3rd Battalion of 275 Regiment that had joined the Regiment in May 1966, and C860 was believed by 1 ATF to be a cover-name for 445 Battalion. 157 Translators Note: The New Zealand artillery element ie 161 Battery - Royal New Zealand Artillery (RNZA) had earlier been attached to the US 173rd Airborne Brigade since June 1965. In mid-1966, it joined the Australian Task Force and was located in the Task Force base at Ni t not in B Ra. 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, November 1995. 158 Translators Note: Artillery units in the 1 ATF base at Ni t comprised: 1 Field Regiment (105mm M2A1 howitzer maximum range 10,575 metres), 161 Battery RNZA (105mm), A Battery of the US 2/35 Regiment (155mm M109 medium self-propelled gun maximum range 14,600 metres). A total of 3,198 105mm and 242 155mm rounds were reportedly fired in support of the Long Tn battle McNeill, I., To Long Tan, op.cit., 1993, p.351. 159 Translators Note: Some of the Australian troops at Long Tn were armed with the 5.56mm M16 rifle not the very similar AR15 model. Post-War, in an Australian television documentary, Nguyn c Thu (Sau Thu) spoke on the Long Tn battle and displayed his head wound - Horsefield, B. (Director/Producer), Long Tan The True Story, op.cit., DVD, 1993 see also notes on Nguyn c Thu (Su Thu) at Annex B. 160 Translators Note: Trn Vn Chin (Su Chin) 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 by the B Ra Provincial Unit in mid-February 1966 - CDEC Log 04-1394-66, was 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. 161 Translators Note: In an interview on 18 March 1989 in Bin Ha, Vn Lin (Ba Lin) the 445 Battalion political officer, related to Terry Burstall that after the battle: Ba Liens 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, 275 Regiment elements moved back to L Jungle base camp

47 unafraid of death, ran fearlessly through the enemys falling artillery and - together with the troops, carried the wounded to safety. In this large battle with the Australian forces, we wiped out an entire company and inflicted heavy casualties on one of their battalions.162 COSVN Headquarters awarded the Liberation Combat Exploits Medal Third Class for the battle.163 However, it was also a battle in which we suffered heavy casualties. In 445 Battalions 2nd Company alone, there were 23 casualties of whom three died.164 The 5th Division lost 30 comrades killed and over 60 wounded.165 Our casualties were mainly inflicted by the enemys artillery. Once
((ie the Rng L vicinity YT 7610 in Xun Lc District of Long Khnh Province)) see Annex J, 275 Regiment. 162 Translators Note: For an all-sources summary of casualty claims for the Battle, see Annex E Battle of Long Tn: Casualties. On Australian casualties, in his 153-page diary (to 7 October 1966, recovered by Australian forces on 20 October 1966), Nguyn Nam Hng (2ic of 274 Regiment) related that the 5th Regiment attacked at Ni t and 500 Australians were killed and 1 Australian Battalion was exterminated CDEC Log 11-1259-66. The 5th Division History - 2005 relates that the Long Tn battle: had a very important significance: it was the first time that we had destroyed an Australian company. The Military Region 7 History relates: The 5th Division fought many battles and - in particular, together with the B Ra 445 Battalion, for the first time struck the Australian forces in the rubber plantation at Long Tn (18 August 1966) and inflicted heavy casualties on an Australian company. - The Armed Forces of Military Region 7 50 Years, 1995, p.35. The ng Nai History 1986 relates: As planned, on 19 August 445 Battalion ambushed (phc kch) the Australian group at Vn Xoi. Their 3rd Battalion advanced with tank support from Ni t and fell into our ambush. 275 and 445 manoeuvred to decisively fight the enemy. Our troops killed 500 Australians and destroyed 21 tanks. - Phan Ngc Danh ..., ng Nai 30 Nm , op.cit., 1986, p.132. The ng Nai Monograph - 2001 similarly records: The B Ra-Vng Tu 445 Battalion attacked the Australian troops at Vn Xoi on 19 August 1966 and killed 500 and destroyed 21 tanks. - a Ch ng Nai, op.cit., 2001. 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 Trn Minh Tm set an ambush and attacked the Royal Australian Battalion [sic] which was sweeping the Ni t-t area. After 30 minutes of fighting, the 6th [sic] Battalion (of the 5th Regiment) supported by a company of the 445th Battalion (B Ra Provincial Unit) destroyed a company of Australian soldiers. As a result, this Australian mercenary force - renown for its experience in counter-guerrilla warfare, became panic-stricken and fled to t . - Lch s Khng chin , Tp 4 (Vol 4), op.cit., 1999. 163 Translators Note: Several 445 Battalion soldiers were awarded Letters of Appreciation (Giy Khen) for their exploits fighting the Australians on 18 Aug 66 at Long Tn including o Vn Trung section 2ic/2nd Company - CDEC Log 12-2368-66; Trn Vn Tranh section 2ic/2nd Company; Phm Vn ng - 2nd Company CDEC Log 01-1673-69. Soldiers of 275 Regiment also received medals, letters of appreciation and commendation certificates for action in the battle at Long Tn see Annex J. 164 Translators Note: The same casualty figures for the 2nd Company are cited in a medical history - L Thanh Dng (et al), Lch S , op.cit., 2008. A former commander of 445 Battalion (early 1968-1969) Nguyn Vn Kim, but who was not present at the Long Tn battle, claimed that 445 Battalions casualties both dead and wounded, were approximately 30, mainly from artillery fire McNeill, I., To Long Tan, op.cit., 1993, p.368. According to Nguyn Vn Nhng (alias Lc) a 445 Battalion platoon 2ic at Long Tn who subsequently defected under the Chiu Hi programme (see footnote 233), 445 Battalion casualties were 10 killed in action and 16 wounded in action. Pannell, B.W., Postscript to Long Tan, Australian Infantry, 16, No.2, May 1970, p.180. In mid- September 1966, 1 ATF reported: D445 had probably lost between 30-40 KIA. - 1 ATF Intelligence Review No.1, Ni t, 13 September 1966, para 4.c. Much later, in May 1971, the 1 ATF Intelligence Staff noted that returnees had stated 445 Battalions casualties were 70 KIA and 100 WIA. - Peters, C.C.M. Major, D445 - Order of Battle, 1 ATF Battle Intelligence Section, Ni t, 6 May 1971. At time of the Battle, 445 Battalions strength was probably 380-400 (see Annex G). Captured 445 Battalion documents detailed the Battalions strength as 392 in early August 1966, 409 in November 1966 and about 415 in December 1966 see Annex C D445 Battalion: Strengths. 165 Translators Note: For a summary of Long Tn battle casualty claims and assessments, see Annex E. On the 5th VC Divisions casualties in the Long Tn battle (ie almost all suffered by its 275 Regiment), the 5th Division History 2005 relates: The 1st Battalion and the 3rd Battalion ((of 275 Regiment)) suffered high casualties. Our forces suffered a large number of casualties 32 were killed and 60 comrades were wounded. - Phm Quang inh, Colonel (ed) Lch S , op.cit., 2005. A recent medical history has related that the 5th Divisions main forces suffered over 200 casualties - L Thanh Dng (et al), Lch S ,

48 more, 445 Battalions cadre and soldiers again discovered a dangerous trick: the use by the Australian forces of directed and counter-assault artillery fire. Throughout the 1966 Wet Season, the Australian forces coordinated with the puppet military to continuously launch deep clearing operations into our rear service bases located east and west of Route 2, in Long Phc, and the Minh m they had met our forces on the B Ra battlefield particularly 445 Battalion which they regarded as a Force to be afraid of. They coordinated with intelligence networks and the military intelligence of the puppet forces to find out 445 Battalions operating methods and the location our bases in order to attack us with artillery and airpower and launched large clearing operations using infantry with the aim of eradication. However, not only were they unable to achieve such, but there were many occasions on which they suffered heavy casualties. 445 Battalion continued to operate right beside them. In places where the enemys bombs, shell and tanks had flattened the earth, it looked like not even a mouse could exist. However from July [sic]166 1966 onwards, 445 Battalion did not conduct any large operations (at battalion-level) as we were continually on the defensive countering the enemys sweeping operations. Nevertheless, unplanned engagements occurred regularly and these were very tense. After almost a year of contending with the enemys counter-offensive strategy in the critical areas, many of our core soldiers and battle-experienced cadres had become casualties. The morale and the fighting will of the Battalion were still good but our combat strength was uneven. At the end of the 1966 Wet Season, 445 Battalion headquarters decided to strike a staggering blow against the puppet forces deep within the enemys area of control a blow that would resound across the region, while gaining experience for us to attack the Australians base on Da Quy Mountain.167 After our reconnaissance platoon had reported on the situation, the Battalion chose the n Sp camp (Phc Hi) as the target for its attack. The n Sp camp in a

op.cit., 2008. Nguyn Vn Nhng (see the preceding footnote) stated that the official casualty figure for the 5th Division was about 200 killed in action, but he believed the figure of 200 to be a gross under-estimate. - Pannell, B.W., Postscript , 1970, op.cit., p.180. Subsequently, a 5th Division POW NVA Captain Trn Vn Ting an assistant political officer in 275 Regiment at the Long Tn battle (captured on 26 February 1969), stated that 275 Regiment sustained over 200 casualties, including both KIA and WIA at the Long Tn battle on approximately 17 August 1966 VCAT Item No. 2310305007. The Australian official history relates that A diary of the enemy commander at Long Tan which was subsequently captured listed his losses as 500 - McNeill, I., To Long Tan, 1993, op.cit., p.351 and p.558 (endnote 110) - note however, that no copy or translation of that reported document is available. In 2008, Vietnamese contributors to an official Vietnamese military blogsite challenged the Australian figures for Vit Cng casualties as excessive see Altus, Trn Long Tn, Qun S Vit Nam website, 8 May 2008 and postings in August 2008 by sudoan, and in February and March 2011. None of the available Vietnamese district-level histories make any mention of the Long Tn battle - including the Long t District History - 1986 (although the battle took place on the far northern border of Long t District) - Phan Ngc Danh & Trn Quang Toi,, Lch S , op.cit., 1986; The History of the Ha Long Village Party Chapter (1930 2005), op.cit., 2009; nor The Minh m History, op.cit, 2006. As noted, for further discussion on aspects of the Battle, including Vietnamese and Australian casualty claims and assessments see Annex E, Battle of Long Tn: Casualties. 166 Translators Note: As the battle at Long Tn occurred on 18 August 1966, the reference to July 1966, may imply that 445 Battalion did not regard the battle at Long Tn as an engagement in which they had operated at battalion-level or, more likely July 1966 should perhaps have been September 1966. 167 Translators Note: Sometimes also spelt as Gia Quy was an ancient partially-collapsed volcano about 8 kilometres southeast of the Australian 1ATF base, and termed The Horseshoe, or Horseshoe Hill or the Horseshoe Feature. Located at YS 494620 on the northern edge of t 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 at The Horseshoe.

49 commanding position and manned by a Regional Forces168 platoon, obstructed our movement from the direction of Lc An169 to the Minh m base. While termed a platoon base, n Sp had all the strength characteristics of an entrenched defensive position. The camp was atop a white sand hill and comprised a large blockhouse with a large number of firing loopholes and three other blockhouses all connected by communications trenches. Alongside the fighting trenches, there were many bunkers constructed of sand bags.170* Heavy machineguns were placed at the loopholes and there were also bins full of grenades for the enemy to throw out around their blockhouses. Beyond the communications trenches, there were many barbed-wire fences (loose-wire fences, stackedroll fences, single-layer fences) 15 metres in depth and sown with many different types of mines and illumination flares. This was the first attack on a camp by our Battalion171, so the Provincial Party Committee and the Provincial Military Command Section were very concerned. Comrade t ng 172 the Provincial Unit Commander, and many of the Provincial cadre staff specifically came down to the Battalion to provide guidance. The Battalion had selected a reconnaissance detachment of seven soldiers - directly led by Comrade Hai B, and the whole of the 2nd Company for this task. All were under the general command of Comrade T Chnh, the Battalions second-in-command. The battle was practised on a tactical model and rehearsed in our Sui Rau base. For the engagement, the force was bolstered with a 57mm recoilless rifle from the 4th Company to suppress the enemy firepower, six DH10 directional mines, and two bazooka rounds. The bazooka rounds were to be used as large explosive charges to blow passages through the barbedwire and create two entrances for our assault forces to seize the camp. At midnight on 20 November 1966, our two columns had concealed themselves close to the n Sp fences. Late on that deserted and quiet night, an explosion resounded and a three-metre wide gap was blown in the array of fences. The sound of the explosion had not completed died away when Hai B carrying a pistol, had placed six grenades against the principal blockhouse; and was followed by Comrade Hng. With their grenades, the two comrades had crippled the main blockhouse and allowed our two infantry spearheads to pour into the camp. In only a few minutes, we had seized the complete camp. Such a victory was beyond our expectations. However, it had been too quick and unusually easy and this kindled complacency. Two of the remaining enemy in the corner of a trench threw grenades, and 12 of our comrades were wounded.173 It took another 15 minutes
Translators Note: Formerly termed the Civil Defence Force/Civil Guard ie until 1964. However, communist writings continued to call both the Civil Defence Force and the Regional Forces Bo An. At the end of 1966, there were 17 Regional Force (RF) companies and 46 Popular Force (RF) platoons in Phc Tuy Province (totaling 4,500 troops) together with an understrength ARVN battalion (1/43/10th 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 Phc Tuy Province as at 30 November 1966 are recorded in 1 ATF, ARVN, RF and PF Dispositions in Phuoc Tuy Sector, R92-1-2, Ni t, 31 December 1966 see AWM95, 1/4/20, folio 40 (Internet accessible). 169 Translators Note: Lc An is located on the coast about five kilometres northeast of Phc Hi village see footnote 49. 170 * A type of bag made of synthetic material that the enemy filled with soil or sand to build their bunkers each bag weighed about 30 kilograms. 171 Translators Note: A captured document showed 445 Battalions strength in November 1966 as 409: Headquarters and 1st Company 110, 2nd Company 42, 3rd Company 41, 4th Company- 75, 5th Company 81 (CDEC 05-1754-67). The Australian official history shows the Battalions strength as 350 in November 1966 - McNeill, To Long Tan, op.cit., 1993, p.48 and p.501 (endnote 56). 172 Translators Note: As noted earlier, ng Hu Thun ie as related in the 5th Division History 2005, was the commander of the B Ra Provincial Unit. 173 Translators Note: A captured document shows that 445 Battalions 2nd Company lost four personnel killed on 20 November 1966 - ie the date of the attack on the n Sp camp - CDEC Log 05-1754-67. At 0650hrs on 21 November, ARVN B Ra Sector advised 1 ATF that VC elements had launched a small arms

50 before we were able to grab these two and take hold of the whole battlefield. More than 30 men and women (civilian labourers) from three villages in the t area assisted our troops to collect all the weapons that included tens of boxes of grenades. Following the n Sp victory and through the example from the very beginning of the bravery of Comrade Hai B and Comrade Hng, the Battalion had gained the needed experience in attacking a camp. 30 seconds after an explosion had blasted a way in, our forces had to be right at the base of a blockhouse that was the most critical moment in which to seize victory. This experience helped in many subsequent attacks on camps in which the Battalion was victorious. Our elements that attacked the camp had achieved a significant military exploit. However, our troops in the base area were to suffer unimaginable losses. They were developing the barracks area when a number of seemingly aimless artillery rounds impacted. No one was able to count the number of rounds in that indiscriminate bombardment. Suddenly, a number of our people felt a heat gnawing at their insides, and they appeared quite exhausted. Following this, a few comrades died. The Battalion assessed that our base had been hit by chemical rounds174 and decided to move from the area. Our forces were just leaving the base when it was suddenly struck from the air by a B52 raid, and the base became a sea of fire. Next, American and Australian troops began a sweeping operation. On our withdrawal to a new base, many more comrades fell down without apparent cause and could not be saved ! Comrade Hai Ban - a doctor, and a number of comrades from the Provinces military medical group came to the Battalion and conducted surgery and tests and discovered that those who had died had pale livers and their lungs were full of blood. Looking at the poisoned soldiers, Comrade Ba Lin the Battalion political officer, wept his heart out at the enemys extremely wicked act. Something that we could no t fully comprehend. The outcome of the enemys chemical shelling was quite serious. Apart from burying its dead, the Battalion had to organise a group to transport a number of its soldiers who had been poisoned to our Province hospital. This evacuation group was led by Comrade Ba Kin, the Battalions second-in-command. However, the enemys aggressive sweeping operation was still ongoing - they had discovered the blood trails of the evacuation group and were in pursuit. Comrade Ba Kin delegated Comrades Thng, Thng and Nguyn Vn Quang to remain behind and block the enemy. At this time, Nguyn Vn Quang had cached his heavy machinegun and was armed with a B40 - that had been left behind by the 5th Division, to enable him to more easily carry the wounded. The three comrades climbed a large tree to observe the approaching enemy. Six tanks appeared each a few tens of metres apart, knocking down the trees and foliage as they advanced. The leading M41 tank halted when it was about 40 metres from the large tree. The enemy opened the turret hatch to look around. The situation was very dangerous. From a fork in the large tree, Nguyn Vn Quang raised his B40, aimed at the tank and pulled the trigger. Hit by the rocket, the tank burst into flames. As all three comrades were descending from the tree, the ammunition in the tank exploded. The explosion shook the surrounding area, and they were flung to the ground. Comrade Thng was killed. Comrade Quang was
attack at Phc Hi. 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 AWM95, 1/4/19. 174 Translators Note: A directive from the B Ra Provincial Unit - signed by Deputy Chief of Staff Nguyn Kim Tro on 9 May 1966, warned of the US use of poisonous products on the battlefield (reportedly used on 11 April 1966) . 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 Chu c District of preventative measures and first-aid against CH and BZ chemicals CDEC Log 10-2443-66.

51 seriously wounded and unconscious. Slightly wounded, Comrade Thng shouldered their three weapons and - with Comrade Quang leaning on him, dragged Quang 500 metres and hid in the undergrowth. Following this event, Province awarded Certificates of Commendation to all three comrades. For his exploit in destroying the tank and many other outstanding achievements175, Comrade Nguyn Vn Quang was declared a Hero of the Peoples Armed Forces. In the fighting, Party work and political work were routinely important tasks.176 In arduous, violent and difficult situations, our cadre had to strive even harder. After the losses in the chemical attack, the Party Committee and the Battalion Headquarters both reinforced the 2nd Company the sub-unit that had suffered the heaviest casualties.177 The Battalion transferred a number of Party cadre and key soldiers from the other companies to the 2nd Company. Party and Youth Group Chapters were also strengthened in both the quantity and quality of personnel to achieve their tasks. The Battalion initiated a series of activities entitled Remember and Respond in order to change the deep grief into revolutionary action, successful combat, training and other good activities - and to exact revenge for our comrades who had been killed by the enemy. The Province authorities also provided funds to purchase materials for political activities in the Battalion. Each company was given from one to two transistor radios and guitars, chess sets and packs of cards Art and cultural activities were strongly encouraged throughout the companies, and the morale and fighting spirit were soundly maintained. Many disabled comrades in the rear areas (production units) - who had not yet recovered from illness and injury, enthusiastically rushed back to their units to again take up arms.178 Youth in the villages of Long t and Chu c Districts volunteered to join the revolutionary armed forces179 in this period, and the Province authorities allocated them all to 445 Battalion (at the request of the youths). At this time, the Battalion had 21 sets of brothers (from two to three siblings) who fought alongside each other.180*
175 176

Translators Note: For Nguyn Vn Quang, see footnotes 59, 105, 112, 113, 280 and 296. Translators Note: In several captured documents, the political staff are described as non-combatants eg statements by Trn Vn Ting (3/275 Regiment), Vn Lin (445 Battalion). 177 Translators Note: As noted earlier, a captured document shows that the 2nd Company lost four personnel killed on 20 November 1966 - ie the date of the attack on the n Sp camp - CDEC Log 05-1754-67. Losses would have also included those in the fighting with 6RAR (Operation Bribie, 17-18 February) east of Hi M and probably at L Gm on 17-18 February 1967. An Australian 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, Ni t, 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 D445s 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, 31 December 1967 - 6 January 1968, Section 3, p.4. 178 Translators Note: At about this time 445 Battalions strength was about 415. A captured finance report for D/445 listed the strength of the Battalions companies in December 1966 as follows: 1st 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) - CDEC Log 05-1724-67. 179 Translators Note: Below the level of 445 Battalion and the local district companies, the Vit Cng irregulars in Phc Tuy Province included village guerrillas, self-defense forces, and secret self-defense forces. In early December 1966, the United States Sector S-2 (Intelligence) advisor in B Ra 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 - Estimate of Vit Cng Irregular Forces Strength in SVN, CIC-V Item No. 0240612012, 24 March 1967. See also Annex C. 180 * Xut - Ci Sinh Tranh, Hng, c B Mn, B Su, B By, - Ba Bi, Thng, Tm Tng T Dng, T S Oanh, V Huyn, Thanh Tng, Xun B, Lng , Bng Tinh, Minh Quang H,

52 With reinforcements and a period of consolidation, the Battalion launched many attacks directly against the bases of the Australians and the puppet forces in Long in, Phc Long Hi and Phc Hi182 and destroyed much of the enemys strength. These victories contributed importantly to the defeat of the enemys second counter-offensive (in the 1966-1967 Dry Season) on the B Ra battlefield.183 As the limited war of the American imperialists reached its peak, aid to the South from our fraternal brothers in the North progressively increased greatly All for our blood brothers in the South, Everything to defeat the invading American aggressors, Cross over the Annamite Mountains to save the country Share everything from your own lives to even potatoes.184 That feeling moved the hearts of millions in the South who loved their homeland. Make the Fatherland an impregnable fortress. This wholehearted assistance even reached 445 Battalion. The Battalion was completely re-equipped with new weapons and reinforced with a number of

Hng Linh Qu Tho T Bn, Li Xun, Tun Trung, T L, Ng Thi, L Hong Anh, Ngha T, Nht. 181 Translators Note: A major engagement on the eastern outskirts of B Ra Town in December 1966 is not mentioned in the 445 Battalion History ie on 9 December 1966, 180 ARVN recruits were captured at the Vn Kip National Training Centre, and the VC subsequently released 62 elderly and sick ARVN POW on 9 January 1967 see the report by the Phc Tuy Sector S-2 on 5 Feb 67 VCAT 6 075 3301 67. See also the S-2 debriefing report of POW at VCAT 6 075 3302 67 and 1 ATF INTSUM No.192, Ni t, 10 December 1966 (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 Vn Kip was conducted by the 2nd Battalion of 274 Regiment and the Chau c Company on 18 November 1966 resulting in 187 ARVN captured and 71 weapons of various types seized. 274 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 B Ra local forces and 40 into the units of the 4th Regiment (ie 274 Regiment). 182 Translators Note: The 445 Battalion History does not mention the Battalions reported major attack on the Regional Forces outpost near Phc Hi village on 17 February 1967 nor the subsequent heavy fighting against Australian elements (6RAR - Operation Bribie) that ensued east of Hi M and L Gm. 6RAR suffered six killed and 27 wounded in Operation Bribie, while the official estimate of Vit Cng killed was between 50 and 70 - see McNeill, I & Ekins, A., On the offensive, pp.90-115. According to Nguyn Thanh Hng a 5th VC Division operations staff officer interviewed in November 1987 (see footnotes 125, 137, 142 and 144), the initial attack at Phc Hi in February 1967 was undertaken by 445 Battalion, but he recounted that 5th Division elements lured Australian troops into their prepared defensive positions east of Hi M. Hng stated that from his recollections, 275 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 a 3/275 Regiment political cadre. However, the 2nd Battalion of 275 Regiment attacked the Popular Force outpost at L Gm several weeks later on 20/21 March 1967 McNeill, I. & Ekins, A., On the offensive, op.cit., pp.146-148. , ONeill, 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 Phc Hi RF post on 17 February and the 2nd Battlion of 275 Regiment attacked L Gm on 20/21 March with Nguyn Thanh Hng conflating aspects of these engagements which were close both in time and physical location, when interviewed 20 years later. 183 Translators Note: The ng Nai Monograph - 2001 relates: On 19 June 1967, troops of the 5th Main Force Division coordinated with the sappers of the B Ra-Long Khnh 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.- a Ch ng 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 He An-Kim Long (about 5 kilometres northwest of c Thnh Sub-Sector) by two battalions of 274 Regiment. 184 On the night of 26-27 November 1967, the 3rd Company of 445 Battalion raided the Farmers Bank and a number of government offices on the western outskirts of B Ra 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, Ni t, 31 December 1967 - 6 January 1968, Section 3, p.4.

53 new recruits from the North.185 Every section received a B40 or a B41 and parachute-fitted anti-tank grenades.186 AK assault rifles and RPD machineguns (of Soviet or Chinese manufacture) replaced almost all the types of obsolescent infantry weapons. The Battalion only retained a number of weapons: the AR15, M79 and the Malaysian heavy machinegun (an American weapon). Accordingly, the Battalions infantry weapons were of the most modern and up-to-date types (the most formidable weapons of both sides). In December 1967, the Battalion set an ambush to destroy enemy tanks on Route 2 (in the area of the Quang Minh plantation).187 An infantry detachment of the Battalion coordinated with the local district troops to attack the enemy at c Thnh in order to lure the American 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment at Sui Rm to come down to their relief. To ensure success against an enemy armoured unit in this battle and especially to create confidence in our new types of anti-tank weapons, the Battalion had chosen Party and Youth Group members from the companies to be armed with B40s and B41s. These personnel were quite capable in combat and in this first battle would be the core element of the tank-destroying teams. Each company organised from three to four teams. Each team was armed with a B40 or a B41 (and six rounds) and two AKs. Everyone had parachute grenades. In particular, the forward team was equipped with one B40, one B41 (12 rounds) and a large number of parachute grenades. The ambush site stretched out over 300 metres, and our forces were positioned about 50 metres from Route 2. The commander of the 1st Company o Vn Tng (Tm Tng), and its political officer Nguyn Vn Bo (Su Bo)188 were directly in charge of the forward element. The 2nd Company covered the killing ground, and the 3rd Company comprised the rear group. Exploiting broken sections of the sealed road and rough dirt patches, we buried two mines in the middle of the road. At 2am, an American armoured squadron from the 11th Regiment coming down from Sui Rm to aid c Thnh fell into the 445 Battalion ambush. In the very first minutes, three American tanks had struck the mines and been destroyed by our forward element. At the same time, our groups in the groves of trees and undergrowth burst forth and split the armoured column in order to destroy it. The 445 Battalion soldiers with B40s and B41s moved as swiftly as squirrels and, in a flash, engaged the bulky and imposing American M41 and M48 tanks. Almost all the Americans in the tanks huddled under cover in their
Translators Note: During infiltration into the South, Peoples Army of Vietnam (PAVN - ie North Vietnamese Army) military personnel routinely physically discarded their rank and other insignia and adopted functional titles. However, in many formations and units this was nominal, and their military ranks were used see Advanced Research Projects Agency, Basic Profile: NVA PW MR3, Summary Report No.15, Washington, 14 January 1971, VCAT Item No. 2321314001. 186 Translators Note: The RKG anti-armour grenade this was a shaped-charge grenade with a stabilizing drogue parachute that deployed from the grenades throwing handle once thrown - ie for a stabilized and controlled descent onto an armoured vehicle or bunker. Sometimes called a stick grenade. 187 This was probably the attack at 0300-0400hrs on 31 December against a US armoured convoy (comprising two M48 tanks, 12 APCs) moving south on Route 2 just north of X Bang at YS 454864 resulting in nine 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 Cam My District Company, possibly strengthened either by sub-units of 274 Regiment or D445 Battalion. - 1 ATF Intelligence Review No. 16, Ni t, 3 January 1968. The US 11th Armored Cavalry Regiments (11 ACR) Blackhorse base was located on Route 2 in the Sui Rm area about six kilometres south of Xun Lc Town. The Regiments combat power comprised: three armoured cavalry squadrons and an air cavalry troop. Each squadron comprised three cavalry troops, a tank company and a self-propelled (SP) 155m howitzer battery. Its principal equipments were: 51 M48A3 Patton medium tanks/M551 Sheridan light tanks, 296 M113 APCs and 18 M109 155 SP howitzers. - Chesney, E.J. Major, The 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Vietnam January 1969 through June 1970, Fort Leavenworth, 2002. VCAT Item No. 168300010420. 188 Nguyn Vn Bo (Su Bo) - see footnotes 36, 37, 197 and Annex A.

54 vehicles - relying on the steel armour and not daring to engage with our soldiers. It was a struggle between men and steel. One of our comrades dodged to one side, let a tank pass and then launched his rocket and set the vehicle on fire. The whole ambush site was clouded by smoke and dust, and the hulks of tanks and armoured vehicles were in a scattered disorder. Thus the battle was set. Many of our soldiers even forgot to support one another. They even forgot their orders to coordinate their actions and the combat plans thinking only of one thing, pursuing the tanks and destroying them. After nearly an hour of fighting, 445 Battalion had set fire to and destroyed 12 tanks and armoured vehicles and completely destroyed an armoured squadron of the American 11th Armored Regiment. With the battle over, enemy aircraft appeared while we were withdrawing. The L19 (Old Lady) aircraft189 focused on the tracks through the rubber plantation to the east of Route 2 (our withdrawal route) and fired rockets inflicting a number of casualties on us. Comrade Tm Tng a company commander, was struck in the mouth by a piece of shrapnel and half of his jaw was broken, and another piece passed through his neck rendering him unconscious. Comrade Su Bo was wounded in the hand. Su Bo carried Tm Tng on his back, and inched his way for a few hundred metres until he noticed that Tm Tng had ceased breathing. He then hid his comrade-in-arms in some bushes, took Tm Tngs weapon and some unit documents, and returned to the unit to report the situation. Near midday, Tm Tng regained consciousness and, waiting until dark, crawled in the direction of the firing and reached the units initial regrouping position. The following morning, villagers on their way to work found Tm Tng and told local guerrillas who carried him back to the unit. After two years of implementing their Limited War strategy that peaked with the two strategic offensives in the 1965-66 and 1967 Dry Seasons, not only had the American imperialists been unable to achieve their intention - but they had suffered a humiliating defeat. Hundreds of thousands of Americans, puppet troops and vassals had been driven from the battlefield. Many well-trained and battle-tested American units had been attacked and had disintegrated. A large number of their aircraft, tanks had been destroyed, resulting in heavy losses.190* Almost 3,000 of the most modern American aircraft had been shot down over the North, hundreds of pilots captured, and the number of American troops against the War grew larger every day. The American imperialists were at a strategic impasse.

CHAPTER IV THE ATTACK ON THE ENEMY DURING THE MU THN SPRING PHASE IN B RA While the American imperialists were bogged down in a stalemate in the war in Vietnam, the Politburo of the Partys Central Committee in H Ni directed:
Translators Note: The US Cessna L-19/O-1 Bird Dog aircraft was used for reconnaissance and forward air control tasks. During the Vietnam War, 469 L-19/O-1 aircraft were lost to all causes. 190 * In the first strategic counter-offensive (in the 1965-1966 Dry Season), the enemy deployed 200,000 troops, 2,200 aircraft, 1,400 tanks and armoured vehicles, and 1,200 artillery pieces And their troops driven from the battlefield and killed comprised 114,000 men (including 4,300 Americans), 1,440 aircraft and 1,300 armoured vehicles destroyed . In the second counter-offensive (in the 1966-1967 Dry Season), the enemy deployed 440,000 troops, 4,300 aircraft, 3,300 tanks and armoured vehicles, and 2,300 artillery pieces And their troops driven from the battlefield comprised: 175,000 men (including 70,000 Americans and 15,000 vassals) and 1,800 aircraft Vietnams Strength, Peoples Armed Forces Publishing House, 1977, p.157, p.159.

55 Mobilize the greatest effort from the whole Party, the whole armed forces and all the people in both parts of the country in order to bring our revolutionary war to its highest stage and through a general offensive and general insurrection seize the decisive victory.191* This major policy statement from the Politburo of the Partys Central Committee was promulgated widely to all the cadre and soldiers in the South Vietnam Peoples Liberation Armed Forces. The local units made every effort to prepare urgently to attack the enemy at Tt Mu Thn in 1968.192 445 Battalion also paid immediate attention to reorganizing and preparing every facet in order to participate in the general offensive. At this time, the whole Provincial Committee apparatus, the agency branch committees and 445 Battalion were moved from east of Route 2 to the west (the Ni Dinh region, B Ra). 445 Battalion continued to receive a number of recruits from the North while at the same time, the Provincial Committee reduced the establishments of a number of agencies and branches within the Province to provide reinforcements for 445 Battalion. The strength of the Battalion reached 608.193 This was the highest strength figure for the Battalion from its inception to its coming-of-age.194 At this time, Comrade Nguyn Vn Kim (Nm Kim)195 was the Battalion Commander and Comrade Nm Ninh196 was the political officer and concurrently the secretary of the Battalions Party Committee. The Battalion was still structured with four companies197* and five Party Chapters198. Additionally, the Battalion appointed a
* The Vietnam Military History Institute, The Resistance War Against the Americans for National Salvation, p.178. 192 Translators Note: According to the ng Nai Monograph - 2001: On 26-27 January 1968 preparatory to the Tt 1968 Offensive, a Command Committee was established for the B Ra-Long Khnh Front. For B Ra Town and the districts of B Ra: L nh Nhn the Secretary of the Province Committee (since late 1966) was appointed political commissar (chnh y) and ng Vn Thun (t ng) the commander of the B RaLong Khnh Provincial Unit was made commander (t lnh). For Long Khnh Town: Phm Lc (T Lc the deputy commander of the B RaLong Khnh Provincial Unit was made commander (t lnh) with L Sc Nghi of the B RaLong Khnh Standing Committee as political commissar (chnh y). The towns and districts all established command committees led by their secretaries. - a Ch ng Nai (ng Nai Monograph), Tp 3 (Vol 3) Chng 6 (Chapter 6), op.cit., 2001, footnote 21. 193 Translators Note: When interviewed by Dr I. McNeill in Vng Tu in June 1988, Nguyn Vn Kim stated that 445 Battalion had an effective strength at Tt 1968 of over 600 soldiers- McNeill, I. & Ekins, A., On the offensive, op.cit., 2003. p.305. 194 Translators Note: For a summary of 445 Battalion strength figures, see Annex C. 195 Translators Note: This is the first mention of Nguyn Vn Kim (Nm Kim) in the 445 Battalion History. Kim had been the commander of the Chu c District Unit since early 1966 and he signed a document as the Commander of the Chu c District Unit on 28 January 1968 (CDEC Log 01-1333-69), two days before 445 Battalions attack on B Ra Town at Tt Mu Thn. As noted earlier, a number of published Australian works incorrectly cite Nguyn Vn Kim as the D445 Battalion commander at the Battle of Long Tn on 18 August 1966 including the Australian official history which describes Nguyn Vn Kim as the most important witness among the former enemy on the Battle - McNeill, I., To Long Tan, op.cit, 1993, p. 365. However, Dr McNeill noted: There were some ambiguities about the precise nature of Kiems command of D445 Battalion, though, and his actual role in the battle at Long Tan. - Ekins, A., Unravelling , op.cit., July 2011. Kim also appeared in a DVD/video as the on-site D445 Commander at Long Tn describing the battle in detail - see Horsefield, B. (Director/Producer), Long Tan The True Story, op.cit., 1993. For biographic detail on Nguyn Vn Kim and discussion of his career, see Annex B. 196 Translators Note: Nm Ninh ie Nguyn Minh Ninh. Other reports indicated that Vn Lin was still 445 Battalions political officer in February 1968 and led the Vit Cng attack on Long in see footnote 210. 197 * 1st Company: Comrade Hai B as Company Commander; Chn Phn as Political Officer. 2nd Company: Comrade Bn as Company Commander; Su Bo as Political Officer. 3rd Company: Comrade Mi Dm as Company Commander; Su Phng as Political Officer. 4th Company: Comrade T c as Company Commander; Su Thng as Political Officer. Translators Note: The Battalions 5th Company is omitted the 5th Company was noted as active in 1965 (CDEC Log 04-1431-66 commendation for Le Vn Loi; CDEC

56 number of cadre as core elements for a battalion of northern recruits who had just been allocated to reinforce the Province and had been given the title: 440 Battalion.199 The plan for COSVNs Mu Thn Spring Offensive in the Bin Ha B Ra Long Khnh area was carefully studied by the local units and by each cadre and soldier, to ensure its unqualified implementation. The 5th Division (a COSVN main-force formation) and the Bin Ha armed forces were to attack the enemy in the city of Bin Ha and at the Bin Ha airfield.200 440 Battalion together with the armed forces of Long Khnh Town were to attack the enemy in Long Khnh Town.201 445 Battalion was to coordinate with the B Ra Town special action unit202 to attack the enemy in B Ra Town.203 At about 5pm on the last day of January 1968, Comrade L nh Nhn (Chn L)204 the secretary of the Provincial Party Committee, and Comrade t ng205 - the Commander of the Provincial Unit, came down directly to 445 Battalion to thoroughly brief on the orders for the fighting. Comrade Chn L stated: A thousand years of history comes down to this point. 445 Battalion must swear its resolve to die so that the Fatherland might live. The whole Battalion leapt up, calling out and resoundingly shouting slogans and their pledges of resolve in front of the Provincial Party Secretary. Having listened to the directives and orders for the fighting and the inspiring encouragement of the cadre from several levels, almost all the cadre and soldiers of 445 Battalion believed that this was the final battle. Everyone was extremely elated, and there was vigorous discussion. The prospects of returning to their home villages and meeting once again with their families after our victory which was only a few more days away, ran repeatedly through the hearts
Log 12-2451-66 - promotion of H Vn Phong) and in 1966 (see previous footnotes 69, 83, 171 and 178). 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 5th Companys strength was 91 CDEC Log 05-1724-67. 198 Translators Note: See Annexes F and G for detail on Party membership, organisation and activities in 445 Battalion. 199 Translators Note: In November 1967, 1 ATF at Ni t reported that on 22 May 1967 the B Bin Provincial Committee had ordered 41 cadre from 445 Battalion and other local VC units to assembly on 10 June 1967 for the formation of 440 Battalion and its first Political Officer was Nguyn Hu Thi, and its first Assistant Political Officer was Trn Vn Khi. 1 ATF Troops Information Sheet No. 69, Ni t, 5-11 November 1967. Recent (2008) Vietnamese sources however relate that: 440 Battalions antecedent was the 2nd Battalion of the 9th Regiment of 340B Division, and was established on 14 September 1965. see Annex K for detail. 200 Translators Note: The attacks at Bin Ha are detailed in the 5th Division History - 2005. 201 Translators Note: Detail on the Tt Mu Thn (1968) attacks on the Long Khnh Province capital - ie Xun Lc Town, can be found in Annex I (III Corps Advisory Group) to Tt Offensive After Action Report (not dated) VCAT Item No. 13680112021 and at Annex K 440 Local Force Battalion. 202 Translators Note: Literally the bit dng th x B Ra however, the US III Corps Advisory Group After Action Report (footnote 201) referred to the C610 Baria City Company. 203 Translators Note: According to the ng Nai History 1986: t ng ((ng Hu Thun)) the Provincial Unit Commander directed the political officer L nh Nhn ((Chn L)) to directly control the attack on B Ra City. - Phan Ngc Danh ..., ng Nai 30 Nm , op.cit., 1986, p.142. For the Australian official history account of the attack on B Ra at Tt Mu Thn, see McNeill, I. & Ekins, A., On the offensive, op.cit., 2003, pp.304-320. 204 Translators Note: L nh Nhn (Chn L/Chinh L/L Chnh) was posted form U1 (Bin Ha)/MR1 to B Ra Province as Secretary of the Party Committee and political officer of the B Ra Provincial Unit. L Chnh was noted on 21 June 66 and 22 July 1966 as Secretary of the Provincial Civil Affairs Committee see CDEC Log 9-2049-66; and also later in January 1967 CDEC Log 05-2647-67. L Chnh was also noted holding the position in 1971 and 1972 - CDEC Log 07-1132-72. See also Annex H, Higher Headquarters. 205 Translators Note: ng Hu Thun/ t ng also as V/V ng aka Thim. t ng became the chief of staff of Military Region 7 in January 1969 VCAT Item No. 2310510003.

57 and minds of everyone. No matter how ill or debilitated, no one wanted to stay at the base. Everyone picked out their newest uniform to wear. There were some who washed their only uniform. Left-over accoutrements were thrown into the corners of their trenches. There were some comrades who poked holes in their cooking and eating utensils - and shouted: Farewell Forever to the Forest. Mr Hai C who was over 60 years of age, and his 20-year old daughter were responsible for cooking the rice for the Battalions headquarters group. They both approached the headquarters in tears asking that they might accompany the unit and take part in this final battle. The Battalion cadre explained endlessly, but Hai C would absolutely not listen. Finally, only when ordered, did the father and daughter remain at the base but Hai C was still very melancholy. The whole 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 Tt and approaching the afternoon of the second when we heard a radio broadcast and knew that the attacks had begun almost everywhere else206 and that there had been great victories. Our forces had seized the imperial capital of Hu, the radio broadcast station in Si Gn, the American Embassy, and the city of Bin Ha. The Battalion then deployed over several tens of kilometres to attack B Ra Town.207 The Battalions reconnaissance detachment attacked the civil administrative headquarters building and the Province Chiefs official residence. The 1st Company attacked the self-propelled artillery base. The 2nd Company attacked the Police Field Force and the compound of the public security service. The 3rd Company attacked the provincial Regional Forces Group. The 3rd Company opened fire first and, with the advantage of surprise and the initiative, seized almost all of their objectives in the Regional Forces Groups complex only a few of the enemys fighting pits held out in a corner of the base. The Battalions reconnaissance detachment attacked and seized a number of objectives in the civil administrative headquarters building and the Province Chiefs residence and then took the jail (prison) and advanced to attack
Translators Note: An official media article following the 2008 conference presided over by the former Deputy Secretary of B Ra-Long Khnh Province Phm Vn Hy to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Tt 1968 Offensive, included the following: H-hour on D-Day for the whole of the South was set as 0000hrs (giao tha) of the Lunar New Year (Tt Nguyn n). The calendar calculation in the North that year was one day earlier than that in the South. The Nam B 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 ordered all their troops to remain in camp. In B RaLong Khnh, as the key to the codes had been lost, we began our attacks a further day later, losing the surprise factor. - Nguyn nh Thng, Nhng k c khng th no qun Memories that can never be forgotten, Communist Party of Vietnam - B Ra-Vng Tu Agency, Vng Tu,1 February 2008. See also Annex L, footnote 39. 207 Translators Note: As noted, the official Australian account of VC attacks at Tt Mu Thn in 1968 in Phc 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 Nguyn Vn Kim in Vng Tu on 18 June 1988 and some information from Kim is included at p.305. As noted earlier, Kim stated 445 Battalion had an effective strength of over 600 soldiers. The 445 Battalion History 1991 account does not mention that at 5am on 2 February 1968, Comrade Bi Quang Chnh ((the former 445 Battalion Commander)) - the commander of the Chu c District Unit, led the Districts armed forces to attack the Long L Sub-Sector Headquarters ((in Ha Long village)) and the enemys post at the Long Xuyn T-Junction. The History of the Ha Long Village Party Chapter (1930 - 2005), op.cit., 2009 (see Annex N). Bi Quang Chnh is also reported as leading the Chu c District Unit in attacks in the first days of February 1968 on Ha Long and shelling the Australian base at Nui Dat with 82mm mortars - H Nhn, B Ra-Long Khnh v k c khng th qun, B Ra-Vng Tu Communist Party Agency, 29 January 2008. 1 ATF records show 40 82mm mortar rounds impacted in the 1 ATF base on 1 February, with a further shelling on 2 February 1968. The Chu c District report on their attacks in the period 31 January-10 February 1968 including against Australian troops at Ha Long, is at VCAT Item No. 2131111007.

58 the self-propelled artillery base in coordination with the 1st Company. The 2nd Company attacked the Police Field Force area (at the Thnh Thi junction). This objective was in greater depth and attacked later and so the enemy had the opportunity to deploy all its troops to occupy the blockhouses and defensive positions. Our soldiers of the 2nd Company fought doggedly but were only able to seize one-third of the objective. By 3pm, all the Battalions attacking columns had still not been able to take all of the objectives that had been allocated. We moved onto the defensive. In the first minutes, the enemy had been confused, but they then relied on their blockhouses and strong defensive positions to hold out and then counter-attacked to retake in-turn each of their blockhouses and buildings within the Town. All types of enemy aircraft gathered and fired devastatingly into the rear of our attacking formations. At the same time, the enemys reinforcements also arrived from many different directions. A Ranger battalion advanced from the training centre at Vn Kip. A squadron of Australian armoured vehicles and an infantry battalion came down from Ni t208 At that time, we had no troops at all to repulse these enemy units. There was only the provincial reconnaissance company that was attacking the military training centre at Vn Kip, and our forces were too few. The fighting in B Ra became increasingly more tense and decisive. 445 Battalion had to simultaneously contend with the enemys forces counter-attacking out from their positions - while fighting against their elements arriving and attacking us from the outside. 35 of our comrades were killed and 108 were wounded209 but many of 445 Battalions cadre and soldiers still held on staunchly and repulsed tens of counter-attacks from all directions by the enemys infantry and tanks and were able to retain the objectives that they had seized. At the one time, Comrade Phm Vn ng of the 2nd Company set ablaze four enemy tanks with his B40. Comrade Tin a section commander in the 3rd Company, fired seven B40 rounds and destroyed several pockets of enemy resistance. As a result of the explosive force of the seven B40 warheads, blood flowed from both of Tins ears, but he still remained on the battlefield. Comrade Su the assistant company political officer, and three soldiers drove back tens of enemy counter-attacks. However, when the enemy retook their blockhouse, the brave Comrade Su was killed. And its unknown how many other comrades were seriously wounded and were unable to be evacuated from the battlefield. After a day and two nights of fighting in B Ra Town, we had set fire to 14 enemy tanks, eliminated over 300 enemy from the battlefield, crippled their self-propelled artillery and almost all of the important targets within the town (the Phc Tuy Province Chief was forced to flee to Vng Tu). At daybreak on the fourth day of Tt, the Battalion was ordered to withdraw from B Ra Town. The 1st Company and the 2nd Company were immediately ordered to Long in Town and together with the local force troops, to attack the enemy there and to defeat the enemys forces attempting to relieve the town.210 We fought the enemy at
Translators Note: The tactical headquarters of 1 ATF and its 2RAR and 7RAR infantry battalions - and a company from 3 RAR, were deployed about 55km to the northeast of Ni t on the approaches to the Bin Ha and Long Bnh base areas (Operation Coburg: 24 January mid-February). In early February, 3RAR(-) and APC units engaged in the fighting in B Ra and Long in. In an interview on 18 March 1989 in Bin Ha, Vn Lin (Ba Lin) the 445 Battalion political officer, stated that D445 were unaware that most of the Task Force was away at Long Bnh in Bin Ha province, but Ba Lin said that would hardly have mattered. - Burstall, T., A Soldier Returns, op.cit., 1990, p.117. 209 Translators Note: According to the ng Nai History 1986: after one day of fighting in B Ra, we had suffered 50 casualties. - Phan Ngc Danh ..., ng Nai 30 Nm , op.cit., 1986, p.142. For US and 1 ATF reports on total Vit Cng casualties during the Tt 1968 attacks on B Ra, Vn Kip and Long in, see footnote 213. 210 Translators Note: According to the ng Nai History 1986: For the attack on Long in, the Standing Committee strengthened our forces which were led by Ba Lin (445 Battalion political officer) and the Secretary of the District Committee. - Phan Ngc Danh ..., ng Nai 30 Nm , op.cit., 1986, p.142. The three-platoon attack on Long in led by the Long t District Secretary - L Thnh Ba, together with

59 Long in for a full week.211 The 3rd Company attacked the enemy at the Rch Vn bridge on Route 15.212 This was the first time that all of the Battalion had engaged in a large attack in a town and also a time when we had to develop new methods and structures for complex and rapidly changing combat situations during which we were forced to contend with enemy forces that outnumbered us by tens of times. However, the cadre and soldiers of 445 Battalion had fought doggedly and had worn down and destroyed large enemy forces from many of their units. The Battalion had achieved its tasks well, attacking into the centre of B Ra Town, crippling many of Phc Tuy Provinces key organisations, and destroying a large weapons warehouse and much of the enemys war materiel. We crushed many important enemy units and played our part in the conflagration across the whole battlefront. Any victory in battle however entails losses, sacrifices and death.213 Any soldier who takes up arms on 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 thats very harmful to the combatants psychology. The attack on B Ra Town was not the final battle. The victory at Tt Mu Thn was not yet the final victory. In that situation, a negative tendency arose in the resolve of the unit. The Battalions Party Current Affairs Committee held a very urgent meeting with the core leadership and convened a symposium on ideological work. Following this, a broader conference of the Party Committee was held for all of the political cadre in the Battalion. This conference unanimously ratified the key ideological aspects put forward by the leadership. The atmosphere of silence, vague thoughts and foolish optimism had to be eliminated. Discipline must continue for each stage of the war, and the enemy must not be underestimated. The belief had to be reinforced that, while the war will continue to be arduous and protracted victory is certain. The activities of the Youth Group 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. To implement the resolution of the Party Committee, the Battalions leadership focused every effort on the political and ideological work before them. Political funds were increased and provided to the companies to purchase guitars and Croky paper with which
Vn Chng (( Vn Lin/Ba Lin)), Nguyn Vn Hot and Nguyn Hoan, was related in a 2008 media article - H Nhn, B Ra-Long Khnh v k c khng th qun - B Ra-Long Khnh and Unforgettable Memories, Communist Party of Vietnam - B Ra-Vng Tu Agency, 29 January 2008. The Australian official history noted a pro-Viet Cong attitude in Long Dien - McNeill, I. & Ekins, A., On the offensive, op.cit., 2003, p.309 and p.315. 211 Translators Note: The Free World Forces engaged in Long in were elements of the ARVN 52nd Regiment of the 18th Division and A Company of 1 ATFs 3rd Battalion (3RAR). 212 Translators Note: As noted earlier, more detailed accounts of the Tt Mu Thn (1968) fighting at B Ra and Long in can also be found in McNeill, I. & Ekins, A., On the offensive, op.cit., 2003, pp.304-320 and the US MACV report cited at footnote 213. 213 Translators Note: For the US MACV report noting 445 Battalions activities during the Tt 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. At Annex I (II Corps ), p. I-14, the report relates: 206 VC were killed and 61 weapons found in the town ((B Ra)). At the Van Kiep training centre, 52 VC were killed, 2 VC and 53 weapons were captured. 1 ATF reported the total Vit Cng casualties during Tt attacks on B Ra, Vn Kip and Long in as: 43 enemy KIA (BC) and 17 possible. 1 ATF Intelligence Review No. 17, Ni t, 23 February 1968. According to the analysis in the US MAC-V After Action Report, the pre-Tt 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.

60 to make posters to hang in the units. Comrade Nm Ninh the Battalion political officer, Comrade Nm Kim the Battalion commander, and other comrades in the Battalion leadership group participated in-turn in up-lifting cultural events and group activities in the companies. At the same time, each company organised the hunting of wild jungle animals to improve the meals for their units In this way, the reasons behind these developments was correctly assessed and redressed in time by the leadership. The morale and material welfare of the soldiers was thoughtfully addressed, leading to a gradual strengthening and raising of the resolve of the whole Battalion. On the night of 4/5 May 1968214, 445 Battalion undertook its mission for the second phase of the Tt Mu Thn attacks. The Battalions task was to destroy the enemys facilities on Route 2 in order to hold back any enemy relief force that might move against the critical thrusts by our forces in this phase. 440 Battalion attacked the enemy at Courtenay Hill (Cm M) while 445 Battalion laid an ambush on Route 2. An armoured squadron of the American 11th Armored Brigade [sic] fell into the ambush, and a fierce engagement ensued. While engrossed in pursuing the enemy, Comrade Li a soldier in our reconnaissance element, became surrounded by enemy tanks. As he lifted his B40 to aim at an armoured vehicle, an American jumped down from another adjacent armoured vehicle. Li turned, intending to strike the American on the head with his B40. However, the American was too tall and strong, and was able to snatch the B40. After a few minutes struggling, the American grabbed Lis groin area and put his Colt pistol in Lis back intending to capture him. With the special skill of a reconnaissance soldier, Li flexed himself - then, suddenly raising his arm, stuck a swift and hard blow to the Americans private parts. The American gave a loud roar, and then stumbled away. Li still had time to grab his B40 and disappear into the jungle. After a few tens of minutes of fighting, 445 Battalion had destroyed 16 of the enemys tanks and armoured vehicles. Following this victory, 445 Battalion deployed its forces in a counter-sweep operation in the Route 2 area. The Battalion had attacked an outlying base of a battalion of the puppets 18th Division at the Sesame Bushes T-junction (close to Xun Lc).215 The Battalion inflicted casualties on this unit at a time when the enemy were preparing to launch a sweeping operation into the Provincial Units base. Having suffered a painful blow, the puppet forces frantically deployed two other battalions to continue their operation. However, they were attacked by 445 Battalion, suffered serious losses and were forced to abandon the operation. In this phase of the fighting, Comrade Kin the Battalions second-in-command, was killed ! In the Long t area, in a series of attacks and the uprising for the second phase of Tt Mu Thn, the local armed forces attacked the t and Long in Sub-Sectors and wore down and destroyed an important part of the enemys war-making capacity. Afterwards however, the Australian military and puppet forces discovered that our forces were too thin on the ground and that there were no main-force troops. Consequently, they counter-attacked deeply into our bases particularly into the Minh m base area. Our forces had to fall back and ward off large sweeping operations launched by the Australian
Translators Note: On 5 May 1968, the US 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (11 ACR) reported heavy contact with elments of 440 Battalion in the vicinity of Cm M (YS 4888) 1 ATF INTSUM 126/68, Ni t, 5 May 1968. 1 ATF reported that in the attack by 445 and 440 Battalions at Cm M (YS 4692) on 5 May 1968, Vit Cng casualties were 36 killed (by body count), a further 57 killed by artillery, and five prisoners taken. US losses were five killed, nine wound, one M48 tank destroyed and two damaged - 1 ATF INTSUM 127/68, Ni t, 6 May 1968. 215 Translators Note: 1 ATF records indicate that on 7 June 1968 445 Battalion attacked a night defensive position of the 43rd ARVN Regiment (at GR YS 580931) and suffered 58 killed (by ARVN body count) four enemy weapons were recovered. ARVN casulaties were reported as three killed and 26 wounded 1 ATF INTSUM No. 158/68, Ni t, 7 June 1968.

61 infantry and armoured elements. In these circumstances, 445 Battalion was ordered to return to Long t and assist the local forces. Over a three-month period, the Battalion coordinated with C25 (Long t), hamlet and village forces and the people to keep that key base secure. The enemy conducted many large sweeping operations scouring the Minh m War Zone, but the base remained secure and unyielding. In August 1968, 445 Battalion wiped out the 18th Puppet Divisions Crazy Buffalo battalion. These resounding victories by 445 Battalion since its founding, greatly enthused the people and the local armed forces in the Long t Chu c Xuyn Mc region. The Australian military and the puppet forces were extremely bitter. On many occasions, they had used every sort of trick to destroy the Battalion. This time, a well-credentialed battalion from the 18th Puppet Division with the title of Crazy Buffalo, sent a provocative letter threatening to destroy 445 Battalion in the open ground around t . The Battalions leadership group didnt respond with a declaration of war on the enemy, but resolved to wipe out this battalion at t . With the assistance of the people in the hamlets and villages of Phc Th, Phc Thnh and Phc Long Hi the Battalion prepared an ambush on Route 52 about 300 metres from the Phc Long Hi camp. The enemy was completely surprised and could not understand what had happened. The 2nd Company was our forward group. The 1st Company led by Comrade Hai B the company commander, was responsible for the killing ground. The 3rd Company led by Comrade Nguyn Vn V the uncle of Comrade Hai B, acted as the rear group. Comrade Hai B and his uncle had met before we deployed and had pledged to shake hands right in their home area after only 10 minutes of the fighting. At 8am on 8 August 1968, the Crazy Buffalo Battalion with two American advisors in command, had only just stumbled out of their camp on their clearing operation when they suddenly came under fire and were attacked from three sides. After more than 10 minutes of fighting, only an enemy platoon was able to break through our encirclement - and fled in disorder. We seized over 40 weapons.216 A top-notch puppet-force battalion together with its two American advisors, was wiped out right in t . Comrade Hai B and his uncle were able to honour their pledge and shook hands right in their own home area ! Our Battalion remained in t for two days and continued fighting - but none of the enemys forces dared come to the rescue. The people of Phc Th, Phc Thnh and Phc Long Hi had been able to witness with their own eyes the art of fighting the aggressors by people, who - as children, had been born in their dearly loved homeland of t . Angered and frenzied, almost a month later, the 18th Puppet Division sent the Thunder and Lightning Battalion of its 52nd Task Force [sic] to t to exact revenge. However, as soon as they set foot there, they were ambushed by 445 Battalion and two of the enemys companies were wiped out.217 The 18th Puppet Divisions plans to destroy 445 Battalion had gone up in smoke. Further from that time onwards, whenever our guerrillas
Translators Note: Such an engagement by 445 Battalion in the t area is not recorded in 1 ATF records. This action might possibly be a reference to the Vit Cng attack farther north later in August ie: on the afternoon of 23 August 1968 in southern Long Khnh Province (Courtenay plantation area YS 579958), a Vit Cng 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 14 killed and 80 wounded. Vit Cng casualties were reportedly 13 killed (by body count) - 1 ATF INTSUM 236/68, Ni t, 24 August 1968. 217 Translators Note: According to the Long t District History - 1986, At the beginning of August 1968, Phc Tuy Sector deployed the Thunderbolt Battalion of the 18th Division to Phc Ha Long to support pacification. ... On Route 52, we ((D445)) ambushed them between Phc Li and Trin Vn the battalion was destroyed in 30 minutes.

62 in the t area engaged the enemy, they would shout: 445 Battalion Attack !. And, on many occasions, the enemy just ran off. Such large victories consecutively defeating two elite puppet-force units, encouraged the Battalions resolve in the closing months of 1968. In September 1968, the Battalion moved its forces to directly attack the Australians at Long in.218 Here, we destroyed a number of tanks and inflicted losses on an Australian company. The Battalion was united and resolved to Strike strongly and fight to the utmost. However, the Australians employed a very large force and deployed in many columns. We became perplexed moreover, the terrain was sandy and water-logged, and our defences could not withstand the intensity of the enemys air and artillery firepower. As a result, 21 of our comrades were killed including Comrade Phn the political officer of the 1st Company, and a platoon commander (in a rear blocking group). The Battalion learnt a bloody lesson in the battle at Long in: Be daring - but you must seek advantageous terrain and prepare everything with circumspection to ensure success in combat. Hanging-on in open terrain, thats sandy and water-logged - against a heavily-armed enemy with air and artillery support, is a road leading only to defeat. In November 1968, after almost a year of continuous combat, the Battalion received orders to withdraw to Bu Nhm (Xuyn Mc) to consolidate and train, and to prepare to receive our tasks to attack the enemy in the 1968-1969 Dry Season. While strengthening and training, the Battalion received information that the Minh m base of the Long t District organisation had been fiercely attacked by B52 bombers. Many cadre, local soldiers and people had become casualties. So, the Battalion took the initiative and ordered the 1st Company to take up positions at t to threaten the enemy while the rest of the Battalion cut across into the Minh mWar Zone and assisted the local elements to carry the wounded back north to the Sng Ray. Also at this time, we became aware that the people in the Phc Bu liberated region - who had endured the enemys destructive sweeping operations, were now suffering serious hunger. The Battalion took 800 litres of rice from its storehouse and directed Comrade Mi Gii and 14 soldiers to take the rice there to help the people. The Battalions spirit of supporting one another - in the good times and bad, has always been praised by the local cadre and people. The Battalion would not have been able to come of age and be victorious in battle without that consideration. In the spring of 1969219 together with the attacks across the whole of the South, 445 Battalion was ordered to attack the enemy in B Ra Town.220 The firepower employed
Translators Note: These passages of the 445 Battalion History probably refer to engagements in August 1968 not September. On 11 August 1968, a company-sized Vit Cng force attacked Long in Town 1 ATF INTSUM 223/68, Ni t, 11 August 1968. On 22 August 1968, an estimated 100 Vit Cng attacked Long in and were engaged by 1RAR resulting in 29 Vit Cng killed (body count) and 11 Australians wounded. Vit Cng forces involved were reportedly the 1st and 3rd Companies of 445 Battalion, probably supported by the 4th Company. On 22 August 1968, t Town was shelled by forty 82mm mortar rounds and RPG rounds by an estimated two Vit Cng platoons 1 ATF, Enemy Situation - Phc Tuy Province, Ni t, 23 August 1968. According to the Long t District History 1986: on 22 August 1968, D445 attacked Long in and inflicted heavy casualties on a relieving Australian company D445 lost 11 killed. 219 Translators Note: In January 1969, 1 ATF produced a 12-page history of 445 Battalion ie: D445 Local Force Battalion, HQ 1 ATF Ni t, 18 January 1969, that assessed the Battalions actual strength to be in the vicinity of 350. The study did not include any detail on 445 Battalion personalities. The study related: Combined with elements of 5 VC Div, the Battalion attempted to ambush Australian forces at Long Tan ((18 August 1966)). They were surprised by an encircling movement and suffered very heavy casualties in the order of 70 KIA and 100 WIA. 220 Translators Note: According to 1 ATF records, 445 Battalion attacked B Ra Town on 23 February 1969 and suffered 10 killed and 12 wounded. 445 Battalion elements noted in the attack included the 1st and 3rd

63 by the Battalion included B40s, B41s, 61 [sic] mm mortars, 82mm mortars, recoilless rifles and H12s221 the attack was principally by firepower with a supporting ground assault, but once we struck, we withdrew immediately and did not hold any ground. At 1am on the third day of Tt, 445 Battalions firepower enveloped almost all the enemys important bases in B Ra Town. As soon as the shelling ceased, the Battalions infantry attacked and seized a number of the enemys important targets most importantly, the base of the Province Regional Forces Group. Comrade Nguyn a platoon commander in the 3rd Company, was given the task of placing the liberation flag on the flagpole of the Province Regional Forces Group. Defying the enemy fire that was as thick as rain, Nguyn tightly grasped the flag in his hand and - sometimes crawling, sometimes running and sometimes taking cover, rushed swiftly forward. When the flag with its yellow star and half-blue and half-red background222, was flying freely on the flagpole of the Province Regional Forces Group, Comrade Nguyns shirt had already become soaked in blood. He spent his last breath in a final farewell to his homeland and our nation beneath the proudly flying flag. In this attack on the enemy in B Ra 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. Afterwards, the Battalion moved down to Long t and continued to attack the enemy in the 1969 Spring-Summer Campaign.223 Three years after being formed with our spirit of self-reliance and self-sufficiency, a will to continuously attack the enemy, and under the leadership of the Party and the love and mutual support of the people, 445 Battalion had quickly reached its maturity and had sufficient strength to stand up to the Americans, the puppet forces and the vassals and to win many victories. From the beginning, we had fulfilled the teachings of the revered Uncle H: Well fight and defeat any enemy. The military exploits of the Battalion had played an important part in the defeat of the Americans Limited War Strategy on the B Ra battlefield.

CHAPTER V DESTROYING THE AUSTRALIAN MILITARYS BUNKER AND BARRIERSHIELD STRATEGY; HOLDING GROUND STAUNCHLY; STICKING TO THE PEOPLE AND STANDING FIRM IN THE MAIN AREAS The great victories in the General Offensive and Uprising of the Mu Thn Spring (1968) and the attacks launched in the Summer-Spring of 1969 by our armed forces and people across the whole Southern battlefield had destroyed the American imperialists
Companies and a reconnaissance element - 1 ATF INTSUM 54-69, Ni t, 23 February 1969; Graham, N.F. Major, D445 - Order of Battle, 1 ATF Battle Intelligence Section, Ni t, 29 May 1970. 221 Translators Note: On 26 February 1969, over-calibre 107mm rockets were fired into the Vn Kip National Training Centre on B Ras eastern outskirts the 4th Company of 445 Battalion was believed to have been responsible 1 ATF Enemy Situation in Phc Tuy Province, 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 or a field-expedient launcher. 222 Translators Note: The flag of the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam the Front was formed in December 1960. 223 Translators Note: The 445 Battalion History does not specifically relate a Vit Cng company-strength attack on t Town on 15 May 1969 see footnote 230, that reportedly involved elements of 445 Battalion and the C25 Long t District Company. The attack is also not mentioned in the Long t District History - 1986 - ie Phan Ngc Danh , Lch S u Tranh Cch Mng Ca Huyn Long t, op.cit., 1986 see Annex L.

64 Limited War strategy. We had forced them to de-escalate the war and move from a strategy of search and destroy (counter-offensive) to a strategy of clear and hold (the defensive). Nixon had become President, replacing Johnson in the White House. The policy of Un-Americanizing the war in Vietnam was adjusted by Nixon to a strategy of the Vietnamization of the war. The enemy was forced to scale-down the war, but in essence from the summer of 1969 fighting on the battlefield became extremely tense and decisive. In Bin Ha B Ra Long Khnh, the enemy did their utmost to counter-attack us everywhere. The main-force elements of the Americans, their puppets and their vassals launched attacks into the outer areas, while the Regional Forces and Popular Forces scoured the intermediate zones. The police, spies and Pheonix224 operatives pacified the inner area. Their drive for destruction and pacification was aimed at achieving their principal targets in the first phase of the Vietnamization strategy: to destroy our main-force units and wipe out our infrastructure, and to pacify almost all the rural areas in order to hand these over to the puppet forces as the Americans and their vassals were progressively repatriated. In the South, the Bin Ha B Ra Long Khnh zone was a close-knit element of the Fatherlands impregnable fortress and also the foot of the ladder for the Americans. Their climb up the ladder began there, and they were also forced to descend there. And so it was there that the fighting became decisive. The direct and dangerous combat opponents of 445 Battalion in this period were the Australian and American forces, the 18th Puppet Division and the Phc Tuy Regional Forces. The Australians were especially responsible for pacifying the Long t region and southern Route 2 an area that the enemy considered as the main area for their Accelerated Pacification Program225 and the backbone of their strategy to Vietnamize the war in the region northeast of Si Gn. Here, the Australian forces applied their utmost effort to turn the Long t and Route 2 area into a White Zone. At the one time, they focused on two aims: to conduct sweeping operations and to destroy our bases and forces in the outer areas; and to destroy our inner organisations through pacification operations in the hamlets and villages with the intent of cutting the connections between the revolutionary forces and the people. From the beginning of 1969, the Australian forces launched their bunker tactic an extremely dangerous tactic that replaced their M16-E3 minefield barrier-fence tactic226 which we had earlier destroyed. East-northeast of three villages in the t
Translators Note: The Pheonix (Phng Hong) programme was targeted against the Vit Cngs political infrastructure - ie the Vit Cng Infrastructure (VCI). For data and a listing of VCI in Phc Tuy Province, see the 1 ATF document: LEpagniol, J.L. Captain, Summary of VCI Personnel in Ba Long Province, Det 1 Div Int Unit, Ni t, 2 April 1969. 225 Translators Note: On 16 May 1969, the Commander of the US II Field Force Vietnam (FFV) at Long Bnh 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. 226 Translators Note: In the 445 Battalion History, there is no previous mention of the 11km-long minefield and associated fences, laid by the 1 ATF beginning in mid-March 1967 from The Horseshoe (t ) south to the coast at Phc Hi. The Australians 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 see Lockhart, G., The Minefield: An Australian tragedy in Vietnam, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, 2007, p.xvii. More extensively than the 445 Battalion History, the minefield is covered in the Long t District History 1986 - ie Phan Ngc Danh , Lch S u Tranh Cch Mng Ca Huyn Long t, op.cit., 1986 see Annex L. According to the ng Nai History 1986: On 1 May 1967, COSVN ordered the Long t District Unit under L Thnh Ba to destroy the initial minefield and fence and this was

65 area ie Phc Thnh, Phc Th and Phc Ha Long, a 15 kilometre-long area was closed off with a system of blockhouses, barbed-wire fences and mines. The enemy constructed 36 concrete blockhouses with two-thirds of each blockhouse below ground. Each of the blockhouses had numerous firing loopholes at ground-level. The largest of the blockhouses were manned by a section of troops, and the small blockhouses by a halfsection. The large blockhouses were about 300-500 metres apart, and interspersed between them were the small blockhouses about 100-200 metres apart. These were all connected with each other by telephone lines. The large blockhouses were surrounded by a barbedwire fence of concertina wire, while the smaller blockhouses had a single barbed-wire fence. Alongside the blockhouses barbed-wire fences ran a wide track about eight metres wide, for the movement of tanks that would come to the rescue when the positions were under attack. Beyond the track for the tanks, there was a system of barbed-wire fences (with all types of fence configurations) 20 metres wide and sown with mines. Finally, there was a communications ditch about 1.5 metres wide with mines in its bund. In the hamlets, the enemy laid out tape to divide the hamlet areas into small zones and tested the ground with sharp implements to search every house for hidden underground shelters which they suspected our secret cadre might be using. In a short time, many of our comrades and countrymen were captured, and many of our revolutionary organisations working among the people gradually dried up or were smashed. The revolutionary movement in the countryside sunk into a period of silence. 445 Battalion had to regularly contend with large sweeping operations launched by the Australian, American and puppet forces into our jungle base areas. However, they were unable to dislodge the Battalion from the Long t area. Nevertheless, over many day-long and successive large counter-sweep engagements, the Battalions numbers thinned out considerably. A basic factor was that the source of our food reserves and rear service support was gradually drying up. Different to the main-force units of the Military Region and COSVN, 445 Battalion did not rely on rations and rear service support from above but rather our development and our battlefield victories were a result of self-sufficiency and self-reliance. The Battalion survived thanks to the Hidden Rear Services Warehouse in the hearts of the people in the Long t area. At set times, the Provincial authorities provided funds, and the rear services cadre of the Battalion would enter the hamlets and entrust villagers to purchase material for us.227 When we didnt have any money, the people would let us purchase on credit or give us what we needed. Rice, ammunition, explosives, medicine were all hidden by the families of our underground organisations in the hamlets within the enemy-controlled areas. By night, the Battalion would enter the hamlets to pick up rice, and the next day the Battalion would go off to the fighting. If we needed a roll of electrical wire or a few batteries, we would just go into the hamlets. If we needed a shaving razor or just a

successful as no anti-lifting devices had been attached to the mines. The Australians then rebuilt the minefield - Phan Ngc Danh ..., ng Nai 30 Nm , op.cit., 1986, pp.137-139. 227 Translators 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 - on 25 August 1969, having purchased or requisitioned: 66,000 litres of rice in Long t, 18,775 in Chu c; 1,630 in Xuyn Mc - CDEC Log 02-1480-70. With effect from 1 November 1969, the B Ra-Long Khnh 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, Ni t, 21 February-5 March 1967: VC rations combat troops 750gm of rice per day, but 875gm for artillery troops. For NVA/VC use of flour as a food staple, see Annex F to 1 ATF INTSUM No. 166/71, Ni t, 16 June 1971.

66 few things with which to have a few drinks228 then we would also just go into the hamlets From the Battalions founding, no matter whether we had won victories, suffered losses, or endured hardships and violence we had never really been hungry often. We had never had to miss a few meals. Now however, the enemy was launching sweeping operations and setting up blockades everywhere. The hearts of the people in the Route 2, Chu Thnh and Long t areas were, for the Battalion, like a gourd of mothers milk. The three villages in the t area were the Battalions nipple, but these were now tightly blocked off by the enemys steel net. Difficulties, hardships and violence that we had never before experienced, then began. In those times229, organising any force even if it was very small, to attack the enemy in the t Sub-Sector, was not an easy thing to do. However, despite it not being an easy or a favourable situation, the Battalion attacked the enemy.230 Sometimes only a
Translators Note: Literally nhu lai rai, which implies a small social-type gathering at which a few drinks and nibbles would be consumed nibbles might include food such as dried squid, dried prawns, peanuts, pickled onions etc. 229 Translators Note: The 445 Battalion History does not mention the early June 1969 Battle of Bnh Ba probably because it did not participate in that engagement. The Australian after-action report claimed 43 enemy killed (1st Battalion of 33rd Regiment) later amended to 126 killed after Popular Forces troops reportedly found many more bodies beneath the rubble of destroyed houses Battle, M.R. & Wilkins, D.S. (eds), The Year of the Tigers, Trojan Press, Thomastown, 2009, p.346, p.350. Another Australian military record relates that the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 33rd Regiment of the 5th Division together with the local force D440 Battalion, was engaged by battalions of the Australian Task Force in the Bnh Ba area (Phc Tuy Province) in the period 5-11 June 1969 - Johnson, L., Operation Lavarack - Phc Tuy Province, Vietnam, 1969, Australian Army Journal, Vol VII, No.2, Winter 2010, pp.89-114. 1 ATF contemporary reporting identified the 1st Battalion of the 33rd Regiment together with the Regiments heavy machine gun and recoilless rifle elements 1 ATF Vietnam Digest No. 22-69 (covering the period 1- 6 June 1969) and listed 71 enemy killed, six wounded and 12 POWs. In July 1969, a rallier stated that 440 Battalion had fought at Bnh Ba on 6-7 June 1969 together with the 33rd Regiment, and that 440 Battalion suffered about 60 casualties 1 ATF INTSUM No. 198/69, Ni t, 17 July 1969. Subsequently, 1 ATF reported 51 NVA KIA (BC), 11 POWs 1 ATF INTSUM 268/71, Ni t, 25 September 1971. However, the 5th Division History - 2005 does not record any activity by the 33rd Regiment in Phc Tuy province in June 1969. Rather, the 5th Division History relates that its 33rd Regiment ambushed and destroyed an engineer company on Route 3 on 6 June 1969 and blocked a relief force from the ARVN 52nd Regiment destroying 11 armoured vehicles and inflicting casualties on two enemy companies. In 2009, a memorial article for the 33rd Regiment's Ex-Soldiers Liaison Section stated: The Regiment had 3,050 martyrs - including 2,008 who bravely fell on the Eastern Nam B battlefield. In particular, in the fighting to liberate Bnh Ba in the 1969 Spring Campaign, close to 50 cadre and fighters bravely died." - Thanh Tng, "L cu siu v dng hng tng nh cc anh hng lit s Trung on 33 (A Buddhist Mass and Ceremony to Remember the Heroic Martyrs of the 33rd Regiment"), Baria Vng Tu Television, late August 2009. There is a 33rd Regiment memorial (khu tng nim) with a stela (bia) to the 53 fallen soldiers of the 33rd Regiment in Bnh Ba village. In a 2010 article, 33rd Regiment veterans related that at battle of Bnh Ba on 6 June 1969 more than 50 members of the Regiment fell in an unequal battle with the enemy. - L nh Thn, Trung on 33 mt thi ho hng The 33rd Regiment an heroic time , B Ra-Vng Tu (magazine), Vng Tu, 30 April 2010, p.18. A subsequent article related that 33rd Regiment suffered 50 killed at Bnh Ba, and the Regiment had destroyed two Australian companies Hng Quc Vn Gp g mt chin s ca Trung on 33 Anh hng Meeting a combatant of the heroic 33rd Regiment, Bo cu chin binh online, 17 December 2010. A 2011 television program showed the 33rd Regiment memorial at Bnh Ba, and a 33rd Regiment veteran related that 55 of the Regiments personnel had been killed in the Battle and 54 were bulldozed into a mass grave by the Australian forces Walker, M. (Director), Private Terrence Hippo Hippisley Vietnam, In Their Footsteps, Channel 9, Melbourne, 12 June 2011. The D440 Long Khnh Battalion was formed in September 1965 from the 2nd Battalion of the 9th Regiment of the North Vietnamese 340B Division see Annex K: 440 Local Force Battalion. It remains somewhat unclear whether 440 Battalion was involved in the Battle of Bnh Ba in early June 1969. For an outline of the history of the 33rd NVA Regiment, see footnote 271. 230 Translators Note: Although not specifically mentioned in the 445 Battalion History, a captured report related the Battalions attack on t on 14-15 May 1969 by all four companies and with elements of 440 Battalion, resulting in six of their men killed and 31 wounded. The report claimed to have put out of action

67 small explosion in the enemys heartland could have resounding repercussions - regaining the momentum for us and restoring our resolve. In July 1969, 445 Battalion decided to coordinate with our underground elements and attack the police offices in t . The Battalion tasked two comrades to take with them a three-kilogram time-bomb that had been manufactured by the Battalions engineers. It took attempts over several successive nights before they were able to infiltrate into Phc Thnh hamlet and meet our agent, Nm ng. Taking the device, Miss Nm ng said: You two take this small amount of rice back to your comrades. I promise that Ill place the bomb in the police offices, even if I die doing so. Each of the two comrades took half an armful of rice and left the hamlet immediately that night. However, both were killed in the enemys minefield ! The next morning, Miss Nm ng shouldered her panniers of water-cress and went to the side of the t police offices. Here, she placed the bomb against the wall of a building and then safely returned home. However, after waiting for quite some time without hearing any explosion, she became very worried. Nm ng sent her younger sister Su C, to check. However, the bomb was still in its original position and untouched. Remembering our two soldiers who had died, Su C decided to put the bomb in one of the baskets on her carrying pole and take it back home despite knowing that she was carrying a live bomb that could explode at any time. The two sisters were both pleased and afraid when placing the live bomb in their home. They waited many months, but none of our soldiers entered their hamlet although every night mines could be heard exploding in the enemys minefields and a number of our soldiers were killed. The girls wanted to use the bomb to strike the enemy but as it was the first time they had seen a bomb, how could they prepare it ? On 13 August 1969, an element from 445 Battalion entered t and attacked the enemy at the Phc Thi communal hall. The sound of gunfire didnt cease until the afternoon. Mrs L Th Mus legs had been paralysed since she was little. For many years, she had been a reliable agent for 445 Battalion (as she was crippled, the enemy didnt suspect her). Mrs Mu was very fond indeed of our soldiers and - although she couldnt walk properly, she shuffled out to the site of the clash to see whether any of our wounded had been left behind. However, after she had dragged herself there, the enemy fired an intense artillery barrage, and a shell blew off both of Mrs Mus arms and also wounded her on the right side of her chest. She didnt die, but was completely incapacitated. The lack of rice became increasingly serious each day, and for months the cadre and soldiers of 445 Battalion had to eat bushes, leaves and jungle roots in lieu of rice. The people of Long t had always been deeply attached to 445 Battalion and had protected and nurtured the unit like members of their own family. These serious difficulties only made their commitment more unshakeable and constant. Although the enemy strictly controlled the rice, our countrymen were still able to hide rice in their homes to sustain our troops. Rice was buried below ground, hidden in the walls of houses, poured into American sandbags and disguised as bags of earth placed on the tops of bunkers and in front of house doors as protection against artillery fire and the enemy remained unaware. No one knows how many people were imprisoned, banished and killed for the crime of supplying the Vit Cng. But the rice was still moved to our bases. Miss Nm ng (of Phc Thnh village) and Miss Nguyn Th p (Phc Th village) regularly hid hundreds of
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 t . A consolidated report on the morning of 16 May by 1 ATF on the engagements in t listed friendly losses as: ARVN KIA: 7, ARVN WIA: 26, ARVN MIA: 12 12 M16 rifles missing; and enemy losses: as 2 KIA (possible), one M2 rifle and one pistol captured.) 1 ATF INTSUM No. 136-69, Ni t, 16 May 1969. 1 ATF assessed the company-strength attack as comprising elements of 445 Battalion and the C25 Long t District Company. The attack is also not mentioned in the Long t District History 1986 (Annex L).

68 litres of rice in their houses for the 445 troops. In the houses of T Ph, T Lu, Hai Nam there was always rice available or batteries, electrical wire, medicine The troops would enter the hamlets where the material was ready and carry it off. Miss T Mt (Hi M hamlet) in 1969 alone, provided the troops of 445 with 18.75 grams231 of gold. On many occasions, Mr Ba Tr (of Phc Thnh village) used his ox-cart to transport rice to the troops. Thanks to his clever camouflaging, the enemys check points were never able to discover his loads of rice Its impossible to relate in full the noble feelings of our Long t countrymen for the cadre and soldiers of 445 Battalion in those wartime years of hardship and violence. The peoples constancy and unshakeable loyalty manifested itself in many different acts both large and small, that exemplified their sacrifice. Daily, the enemys 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 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 Su Cht of Long Phc 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. Su Cht tried to eat it all - to the point where he couldnt get up but fainted, and he nearly died from over-eating. If a handful or a small can232 of rice was slipped out by the villagers in 1969-1970, it was paid for in blood. But not even this was enough to sustain a whole battalion. Enduring hardship and violence was the yardstick of a persons spirit and integrity. This hardship and the violence was also the travelling companion of betrayal. 445 Battalion had traitors who surrendered to the enemy. These included Lc233 the deputy commander of the 2nd Company, and Quc Hng the Battalions political adjutant.234 They guided enemy battalions on sweeping operations that destroyed many of the Battalions bases and storehouses. At this time, Comrade Su Thu235 was the Battalion commander and Comrade Hai Khanh236 was the Battalion political officer. On one occasion, Lc and Hng guided two battalions of Australian and puppet troops in an attack on the Battalions base area near Long Tn. Having suffered a number of casualties, the
Translators Note: Literally nm ch vng- five ch of gold. A ch was 3.75 grams. Translators Note: Literally Lon a re-usable aluminium powdered milk can (capacity 275 grams or 1/3 litre) usually Guigoz brand, routinely used for measuring quantities/volumes of rice and also for storage. 233 Translators Note: Nguyn Vn Nhng (aka Lc see also footnotes 164 and 165, and further detail at Annex A) rallied under the Chiu Hi programme on 29 July 1969 at a RF post and that evening revealed the locations of the headquarters of 445 Battalion and four of its companies. Nhng claimed to have been the commander of the 2nd Company of 445 Battalion see AWM photo P04667.589 for the author (Lieutenant E.P. Chamberlain 1TALU) in discussions with Nguyn Vn Nhng in B Ra on 31 July 1969. Nhng was also debriefed in Bin Ha on 17 August 1969 - see Report FVS-19,822 of 18 August 1969; and by 1 ATF intelligence staff , see - Pannell, B.W., Postscript , op.cit., 1970, p.180. Nhng was later employed as a Bushman Scout with the Australian 6RAR and subsequently was a member of a Chiu Hi Armed Propaganda Team in B Ra. For Chiu Hi statistics for all provinces see VCAT Item No. 2234403020. For Phc Tuy: 1965 77 ralliers (hi chnh); 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. 234 Translators Note: This may be a reference to Trn Vn Kinh a 445 Battalion Assistant Political Officer, who rallied on 8 September 1969 - Graham, N.F. Major, D445 - Order of Battle, 1 ATF Battle Intelligence Section, Ni t, 29 May 1970. 235 Translators Note: Nguyn c Thu (Su Thu) see his outline biography at Annex B. 236 Translators Note: Nguyn Minh Khanh (Hai Khanh) see his outline biography at Annex B.
232 231

69 Battalion withdrew towards Hi M. At this time, Comrade Hai Khanh the Battalions political officer, had gone to a provincial-level meeting and was unaware of the situation in our base area. When Comrade Hai Khanh, Mi Sinh237 (who had just been appointed as the Party secretary of the Long t District Committee replacing Ba Bi238) and Ba Bi (a provincial cadre dispatched to give direct on-the-spot guidance) were on their way to the 445 Battalion base, the Provincial Committee received a radio message from the Battalion that the enemy had seized the base. The Provincial Committee was extremely worried about the fate of the three key cadre of the Long t area and a number of our troops escorting them. The Provincial Committee dispatched someone to catch up with them, but Hai Khanhs group had left the base of the Provincial Committee two hours earlier. When Hai Khanhs group was about 40 metres from the Battalion base at T Loong, tens of Claymore mines239 exploded at once. Smoke and dust filled the air, and trees and bushes were blown down. The four leading soldiers were killed on the spot. Hai Khanh was wounded in the stomach and the arm. Mi Sinh was wounded in the thigh and the stomach, and another comrade was also seriously wounded. Before the dust and smoke had cleared, our comrades staggered to the rear and hid among the bushes and thankfully were not discovered by the enemy. When night came, our seriously wounded comrade died ! They buried their comrade-in-arms in an old bunker of decaying wood. Early the next morning, Ba Bi and one of the courier troops set off through the jungle to the new base to let the Battalion know what had happened. Meanwhile, Hai Khanh, Mi Sinh and two couriers remained behind in the thick bushes awaiting rescue by the unit. An extremely tense day passed. The enemy artillery fire was heavy. Their only cover was the old bunker in which they had buried their comrade. Hai Khanh and Mi Sinh decided that - no matter the cost, they had to find their way to the new base. They understood that - apart from the importance of their own positions in the unit and the local region, Hai Khanh was still carrying 300,000 piastres that had been provided by the provincial authorities. At this time, three thousand piastres was enough to sustain the whole Battalion for a while.240 On the first day, the four helped one another through the jungle and were able to move more than a kilometre. Their strength however gradually waned as they hadnt had even a grain of rice to eat. From the third day, they could only crawl forward slowly through the wild jungle inch-by-inch and metre-by-metre. Mi Sinhs courier became feverish and could crawl no more. Tearfully, they said good-bye to one another ! Hai Khanh crawled in front with Mi Sinh crawling behind him. Whosoever could crawl the strongest, it was essential that one of the two found their way back to the base. After 11 days and nights of crawling through the jungle and eating only leaves, their bodies and their clothes were scratched and torn. Then, Hai Khanh came upon some slash-and-burn fields tended by our countrymen and collapsed into unconsciousness. He only had time to remember that he still had his Claymore mine ((mn mo)) satchel full of the money. Mi Sinh also crawled out into the villagers fields. They were carried back to the base by the anonymous villagers and handed over the 300,000 piastres (Si Gn currency)241 - not knowing whom their benefactors had been.
Translators Note: In mid-1971, when Xuyn Mc District was absorbed into Long t District - ie to become Long Xuyn District, T Hng Sinh (Mi Sinh) was appointed Secretary of Long Xuyn District see The Minh m History 2006 at Annex M. Mi 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, Ni t, 25 March 1970. 238 Translators Note: L Thnh Ba (Ba Bi) see footnotes 66, 73, 77, 180, 210, 226 and Annex A. 239 Translators Note: M18 Claymore a directional mine with a lethal range of 50 metres, remotely detonated by wire. 240 Translators Note: Food and monetary allowances were outlined earlier at footnote 227, see also footnote 273. 241 Translators Note: At the official exchange rate, 300,000 piastres was about USD 2,542.

70 Hai Khanh got a bit of rice into him - and although his wounds became inflamed and swollen, he was determined to be treated at the unit so that he could brief all on the policies of the Provincial Committee in the new circumstances. The whole Battalion was briefed on the Provincial Committees call to hold on and especially the directive to destroy the bunkers constructed by the Australians.242 The Provincial Committee had absolute confidence that the Battalion could achieve this task. But how to destroy these bunkers, what methods might be used ? These questions troubled everyone. But, by giving it a go, we would find out. The Battalion declared its resolve for the task. An element of elite cadre and soldiers from the 1st Company was chosen as the first unit to attack and destroy the bunkers.243 The 1st Company was reinforced with a 57mm recoilless rifle, two B40s, one B41 and a 12.7mm heavy machinegun. In the attack that lasted from midnight to 4am, ten recoilless rifle rounds were fired along with over ten B40 and B41 rounds, and several containers of 12.7mm machinegun ammunition were also expended. However, the bunkers were unaffected as they were buried two-thirds below ground level. Moreover, a number of our cadre and soldiers became casualties at a time when each companys strength was only a little over 10 riflemen. Both Hai Khanh and Su Thu (respectively the political officer and the Battalion commander) were in anguish - and had to direct the unit to withdraw and bear the defeat of that first engagement. The Party Committee and the Battalions leadership held a meeting to determine a method of attack. Finally, the Battalions Party Committee agreed to use sapper tactics to destroy the bunkers. Over a 20-day period, Comrade T Li and the Battalions sapper section conducted training in the basic techniques especially sapper infiltration methods, for a number of the Battalions selected cadre and soldiers. On the night of 21 September 1969, 445 Battalion organised a group of 15 comrades based on the Battalions sapper detachment and a team from each of the
Translators Note: A captured 28-page Vit Cng notebook (entries: August-October 1969) by a D1 cadre revealed that 445 Battalion received instructions in August 1969 from the B Ra-Long Khnh Province Party Committee Attacks on t to foil the enemys accelerated pacification effort in the Province, and three villages in the t area (Phc Thnh, Phc Th and Phc Vnh Long) were chosen as the pilot area for counter-pacification to destroy the enemy blockhouse network thereby to boost the local revolutionary movement. VCAT Item No. 2131409011 (CDEC Log 11-2585-69). The 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. 243 Translators Note: According to the captured notebook (see the footnote 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 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 account above, the notebook detail being a contemporary record, is likely to be accurate. VCAT Item No. 2131409011 (CDEC Log 11-2585-69). 445 Battalions attacks on the bunkers are also related in The Minh m History 2006, see Annex M, which records attacks on 21 September (the second) and 28 September. Regarding the early September 1969 attacks, 1 ATF reported that in the Vit Cng attacks on bunkers northeast of t 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 Vit Cng was killed the leader of a sapper/reconnaissance platoon 1 ATF INTSUM No. 252-69, Ni t, 9 September 1969. Subsequently, a captured Vit Cng letter dated 11 September from Ba Anh (a Long t District cadre) discussing these attacks noted that, in t , they: hit four bunkers and about one enemy squad was wiped out and five M16s were seized but in t , we lost one of our platoon commanders due to one of our shells. Ba Anhs assessment on the availablility 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, Ni t, 19 September 1969.

71 companies comprising personnel of proven ability. The group to attack the bunkers was divided into three teams, and directly commanded by the second-in-command of the Battalion Comrade Tm. Crawling through the minefields, the soldiers of the reconnaissance detachment led the three infantry teams up to the barbed-wire fences. Passages were blown open in the fences with explosives, and the infantry applied suppressive fire on the enemy to allow the sappers to throw explosive charges into the bunkers. 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. In a meeting to examine our experiences in attacking the bunkers this time, Comrade On a brave and resourceful member of the reconnaissance detachment, voiced his opinions heatedly. Comrade On was the soldier who had crawled through all the barbed-wire fences and dense minefields surrounding the bunkers and had lain atop a bunker and listened to the enemy chatting, playing chess and gambling. And, it was On who had earlier proposed that the Battalion employ sapper tactics to destroy the bunkers. He outlined his views: When attacking to destroy the bunkers, no new method was needed we should just use the same tactics as when we attacked the Western camps. We just needed to ensure secrecy and surprise when getting into the enemys wire. From that point onwards, we must get flat to the ground and endure all types of heavy enemy firepower. Thats all there was to it. Following meetings reviewing our experiences in methods of attack, a democratically-decided viewpoint was broadly disseminated which then produced a satisfactory attack plan. On the night of 28 September (a week later), the Battalion organised five teams to destroy the bunkers. Five comrades from the reconnaissance element guided five infantry teams to attack the bunkers. On reaching the fences, the infantry personnel laid on the ground. The reconnaissance personnel disarmed the mines and crawled through up to loopholes of the bunkers and stuffed grenades into the bunkers. A popping sound was followed by an explosive boom in the bunker, and none of the enemy had time to cry out at all before blood flowed from their noses and mouths. The enemy soldiers in the bunkers were all killed and our reconnaissance troops then crawled outside the barbed-wire fence and joined with the infantry in placing explosives to destroy the fences and the bunkers. We seized 14 weapons and only lost one killed Comrade Nht, a reconnaissance soldier. Nht had led one of the teams, and when crawling up to the loophole he saw that the enemy in the bunker were playing cards. Nht turned around to crawl back, but didnt follow his earlier path. He struck a mine and was killed ! Following this very significant engagement, each night soldiers of the Battalions reconnaissance element crawled up to each of the bunkers in order to understand how best to destroy them. The enemy however, had only one plan of resistance they didnt dare sleep in the bunkers. At the beginning of October 1969, to implement the directive of the Provincial Committee, the Long t District Committee coordinated with 445 Battalion in a general attack to destroy the bunkers. 445 Battalion gathered together all its explosives and created 12 explosive charges (each 4-5 kilograms in weight). Again employing sapper tactics, the Battalions reconnaissance soldiers together with 12 infantry teams, crawled in and set explosives at each of the bunkers loopholes, and then reeled out the electrical detonating wire. When this was completed, they awaited the order - and then all 12 explosive charges were fired.

72 With a resounding explosion, the 12 bunkers were blown to pieces. From that time on, no enemy soldier dared sleep in a bunker. The underground elements of the Long t District Committee active in the t region led the people in demonstrating against the enemys policy of oppressive control, and demanded the destruction of the bunkers and the lifting of the mines so that the people had the freedom to move about and make their living. Hundreds of people took up hammers, crowbars, and shovels to destroy four bunkers. In the middle of October 1969, 25 of the 36 Australian bunkers had been smashed to pieces. A few bunkers remained, and the Australians and the puppet troops joined together to guard them. However, they were on tenterhooks with worry and only dared to occupy the bunkers by day when night came, they sought a safe place to avoid any calamity. The Australians bunker tactic had been defeated. The bunker tactic the enemys extremely dangerous net of steel had been breached. Immediately in the following nights, 445 Battalion sent many of its companies into the hamlets to meet with the people and to bring out grain and food. This was not only sufficient to supply the Battalion, but also to assist even the provincial agencies. Every night, the Long t District local forces went in to make contact with the people and continued to build additional underground organisations in the villages. At a time when the general situation across the whole Southern battlefield was daily becoming more difficult and our people faced seriously straitened circumstances, there was still rice to eat here. After our victory in defeating the bunker tactic, 445 Battalion continued to attack the enemys Regional Forces and the Australian military and supported our local forces in destroying pacification. The Battalion destroyed the camp at Phc Ha Long and wiped out a 70-strong Regional Forces company including Major B, the deputy commander of the Sector, who was killed while leading a relief force. Following this, the Battalion inflicted heavy casualties on an Australian company. In these extremely difficult and violent situations with the support of 445 Battalion, Long t Districts 25th Company and the village guerrillas increased their attacks against the enemys oppressive system of control. Tens of the enemys Peoples Self Defence Force (PSDF)244 groups in Phc Hi, Phc Thnh, Phc Th, Phc Ha Long were destroyed; and tens of wicked pacification cadre245 were killed. In the Long in and Tam Phc regions, many PSDF groups abandon ned their guarding and patrolling functions. The Australian militarys bunker tactic had essentially been defeated.246 However, entry into the hamlets by our local armed forces and 445 Battalion was still not
Translators Note: The PSDF (Nhn Dn T V) ie additional to the RF and PF, was established in July 1968 after the mid-year General Mobilization (ie post-Tt 1968). The PSDF superseded earlier militia ie the Combat Youth, Popular Militia and the Revolutionary Development Peoples Group. The PSDF encompassed males aged 16-17 and 39-50 years. See the PSDF Handbook 1969, VCAT Item No. 14040111001. 245 Translators Note: The Revolutionary Development (RD) Cadre - later termed Rural Development Cadre, were established on 4 January 1966 in New Life hamlets to train village self-defence elements. See VCAT Item No. 13510124002 ; VCAT Item No. 13510123005. The 59-man RD Cadre teams in the villages first deployed in May 1966, also progressed the Si Gn Governments political, social and economic programmes. For RD Cadre organisation, numbers and activities in Phc Tuy Province to the end of 1966, see McNeill, I., To Long Tan, op.cit., 1993, pp.420-422. 246 Translators Note: In a 10 December 1969 review, Military Region 7 declared that Australian troops also suffered bitter failures in 1969. They are no longer as aggressive in their sweep 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 Vit Cng 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 5th Australian Battalion has lost its combat effectiveness. We successfully eliminated enemy control in Long t (B Ra) We thwarted the Australian tactic of

73 as easy as in past years. The Australian troops no longer lay waiting in the bunkers. Sometimes, they would set ambushes right in the gardens of families that they suspected we usually visited by night. Sometimes, their ambushes would be set on the edge of the jungle and on the tracks out to the fields. There were even times when they lay down in flooded paddy fields or in the spotlessly white salt pans to ambush our people. Hence, on any night, our forces suffered casualties. However, our underground agents and supportive families within the enemys areas of control also had clever ways of giving us secret warning signals of the enemys presence. Sometimes it was only a shirt drying on a fence, an upturned vessel on a well (by day), a small candle burning on an altar, or a pile of straw burning behind a house to drive off mosquitoes (by night) all these told our 445 Battalion soldiers that the enemy had set an ambush in the house or in its garden. Thanks to these warnings, the numbers of our comrades being killed declined. The Australians however became even more Machiavellian. When going on ambushes, they would parade past the villagers houses. Every soldier would be piggy-backing another soldier hidden under his raincoat (looking as if he was wearing a large backpack). One or two hours later, they would again parade back past the houses. This was essentially aimed at letting the people observe: Ah, six Australians went off on the ambush, and all six have returned . However, the fiendish backpacks that had been on their backs were now lying in ambush. Many of the cadre and soldiers of 445 Battalion and our local forces became casualties or were captured as a result of this wicked ruse.247 This also led our forces in the jungle to even suspect the most loyal people and families in the hamlets. How long would this situation have continued without the help of our people ? One evening at the beginning of November 1969, a section from 445 Battalion - led by Nguyn Sn Minh, entered a hamlet to collect rice. On their return, they fell into an Australian ambush at the edge of the hamlet. Four comrades were killed ! (The Australians deeply studied the psychology of our soldiers and applied this to their ambushes. If the number of Australians in their ambush were less than the number of our troops, then they would only ambush us when we were returning as when returning, we would usually be more complacent and less careful). Mr Ba Mnh was very angry: Very cunning How come all four Australians who went out on the ambush have returned but theres still gunfire in the area in which theyve been ? The following night, stumbling along, he followed five Australian soldiers wearing raincoats moving from Phc Thi (Phc Th village) to the stream near the temple. And indeed it was Ba Mnh who was first to discover the Australian militarys piggyback trick. Cutting through the jungle, he ran to report his discovery to our troops. With his stalwart spirit, the corpulent old man crossed swamps - slipping and falling and then getting up to run on. He continued to run with the essential aim of finding our troops and, very luckily, he met Nm Tranh a 445 Battalion cadre, and a number of our men enroute to the hamlet. Ba Mnh led Nm Tranh and our troops on another route, and they were able to pick up the rice from the hamlet and return safely. On that night, 445 Battalion had finally become aware of the Australian militarys extremely dangerous deception. Also from that time on, our forces never entered the hamlets on established tracks but entered on many minor and different routes. At a time when the enemy was conducting a ballyhoo of propanda among the people to the effect that they had driven our forces from the villages, and that we no longer

planting M16 mines and completely destroyed the bunker and watchtower networks in the areas surrounding strategic hamlets in Long t. - CDEC Log 07-1632-70/CDEC Report No. 6 028 0700 70. 247 Translators Note: The ng Nai History 1986 also notes that the Australians were Machiavellian (ie xo quyt) and briefly related the raincoat ruse noting that, as a result, many cadre and soldiers were wounded or captured. - Phan Ngc Danh ..., ng Nai 30 Nm , op.cit., 1986, p.152.

74 had the capability to infiltrate into the areas that they controlled 445 Battalion organised an armed propaganda night that stirred public opinion throughout the t region. On Christmas Eve (24 December) 1969, the Battalion selected a number of strong, well-regarded comrades from each of the companies with the force equivalent to a company and led by Comrade Tm the Battalion second-in-command, to conduct an armed propaganda operation in the church at t .248 A heavy machinegun was set up in front of the gate to the police compound - about 300 metres from the church, so that our forces had a well-developed position to threaten the enemy. Another 20 of our troops well-attired and led by Comrade Tm, burst into the church. At first, the people attending the service were very afraid of the Vit Cng. Comrade Tm approached the clergyman and requested permission for our armed revolutionary forces to directly address the Christian congregation on the policies of the National Liberation Front. With the clergymans agreement, Comrade Tm stepped forward, took the microphone, and spoke to all present. After speaking intimately with the people, Comrade Tm announced: Any puppet soldier who might have carelessly brought a weapon to this church service, should now hand it in. The revolutionary forces will treat you leniently. After a few minutes silence, a puppet second lieutenant raised his hand and handed in his pistol (revolver). Following this, two enemy soldiers surrendered two hand-grenades. The people cheered loudly. After propagandizing for an hour, we announced: You are free to continue the service, we will stay and provide security. We remained there until the service concluded, and then everyone crowded around our troops asking questions and wishing them good health . Many people said: This is the first time that weve seen the Vit Cng with our own eyes. Youre not at all like the nationalists claim in their propaganda. Such a major political victory at the t church evolved from a daring and clever plan that none of our units or local groups in the area had ever dared attempt. This evidenced the types of multi-faceted attacks undertaken by 445 Battalion in all situations and at all times. Although the enemy used all types of tricks: intensely searching the hamlets and arresting people, enclosing the villages tightly and conducting major sweeping operations against our jungle-based elements the revolutionary forces had still not been completely eliminated. The enemy concluded that, in essence, they had not yet been able to cut the links between the people - in the areas that they controlled, and our troops and this was first evidenced initially by the failure of their bunker tactic. Accordingly, the Australian military brought forth their third dangerous tactic: the barrier tactic249* that we usually termed the: human barrier-shield fence. At the beginning of 1970, the Australians began their barrier strategy250. Based on their old ring of bunkers, by night the Australians coordinated with the puppet troops to establish a system of minefields and soldiers to surround three villages in the t area.
Translators Note: At 2155hrs on 24 December 1969, the ARVN t Sub-Sector reported that about 60 Vit Cng comprising C25 Long t Company elements and local guerrillas, surrounded a church and spread propaganda to the people in the northern part of the Town I ATF INTSUM No. 359/69, Ni t, 25 December 1969. 249 * From first arriving in the B Ra 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. 250 Translators Note: The barrier-tactic/human barrier-shield fence is described in the Long t District History - 1986 (see Annex L) - in 1970: The Australians continued their chin thut hng ro l chn ((barrier shield)), but in a more limited fashion. This is also explained in a footnote to p.186 of the Long t District History - 1986 as a tactic in which the Australians used tanks and commandos [sic] to make a fence/barrier to block the Vit Cng moving from their bases into the hamlets and villages.

75 Their system was arranged in a circular-type formation (some close in, some further out). Every three to five metres, a soldier lay in ambush with tens of mines of various types and every 15 metres, there was a fire support team to provide emergency support if a mine detonated. They also even employed tropical trees (sound-activated sensors)251 that they placed in those areas that were difficult for them to ambush. Early in the morning, all their troops were withdrawn, and the mines de-activated and removed No sign remained at all of any weapon pit or trench. This barrier-shield tactic was even more dangerous for us than their bunkers. The local forces and 445 Battalion were almost never able to slip into the hamlets by night. The numbers of our casualties and those captured increased daily. Usually, we were unable to recover the bodies of those killed. One night, the Long t District Committee organised seven groups from the Minh m base to enter the hamlets, but all were ambushed by the enemy. On the night of 15 January 1970, a group of cadre from Long t District entered Long in intending to set up an underground element, but seven of the comrades were killed and a further three members of the District Committee were lost. On the night of 16 February, 445 Battalion joined with district and village elements to enter the hamlets for food but struck the Australians barrier-shield and 12 comrades were killed. On the night of 27 February, one of the Districts underground elements came to our base to report on the situation but they were ambushed and eight comrades were killed. 445 Battalion continued to organise attempts to enter the villages, but over two successive months no one was able to slip through. Whenever we were able to enter a hamlet, we had casualties among our cadre and soldiers. A time of hunger, difficulties and violence began. On many occasions, 445 Battalion mounted section-level operations complete with heavy firepower. These were intended to engage any enemy that they encountered, but we still didnt know where the enemys ambush teams were located. Sometimes our troops struck the Australian barrier immediately at the jungles fringe sometimes in the middle of the fields and there were times when we only engaged them at the very edge of the hamlet. No matter what track or route we took, we couldnt slip through. The enemy had all the initiative - so, if we struck them, we just had to handle matters and suffer their heavy firepower. We were lucky to stay alive and there was no thought of counter-attacking them. The Provincial authorities directed 445 Battalion to destroy the Australians barrier-shield tactic. Cadre from the Province staff even came down to assist the Battalion.252 However, after many months we still had no effective response. By day, our cadre and soldiers went out to dig up roots and also sought bamboo shoots to eat. When night came, we again mounted attacks against the enemy and attempted to enter the hamlets but again suffered casualties. It was an extremely worrying time.

251 Translators Note: The Australians 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 20-metre detection radius, and a receiver. 252 Translators Note: According to a rallier (4th Company of 440 Battalion), on about 22 February 1970, the Chief of Staff of the Ba Ria-Long Khnh Provincial Unit Phan Thanh H (Hai H), visited 445 Battalion and together with Hai Khanh the Battalions Political Officer, conducted a 1-day political re-orientation course in the Battalions Sui Rau base (YS 555694). For the coming rainy season, the Battalion was to stay in the Minh m area to support the people in Long t, and the Battalion was to split up and operate in company strength for these missions. The 1st Company was to operate in Long in District, the 2nd Company was to cooperate with the village guerrillas and operate in Phc Hi village and Can Ba Mia hamlet (Hi M), the 3rd Company was to join with the village guerrillas for operations in t Distrct, and the 4th Company was to receive its missions from the Battalion Headquarters and the Long t District Unit for mortar attacks. - Appendix II to Annex A to 1 ATF INTSUM No. 127/70, Ni t, 7 May 1970.

76 After many exchanges of views, one afternoon Su Thu (the Battalion commander) and Hai Khanh (the political officer) made a plan. Su Thu had been struck by a round from an AR15 rifle253 - that had passed through one ear lobe and out the other, during a battle with the Australians at Long Tn (in 1966) and he was deaf. In a loud and powerful voice, Su Thu said: One of the two of us must sacrifice himself in order to find a way to fight them. I think that I know a way that can work and its the only way. Im prepared to chance my arm, so let me try it now and see what happens. No way said Hai Khanh with a deliberate wave of his hand. You cant hear and what could you do when a clash occurs ? Political work is very important at present. You let me go The two of them debated back and forth, and finally Hai Khanh won. A suicide squad was set up and many comrades volunteered; but Hai Khanh only chose seven men - using the Battalions reconnaissance element as the squads core. The squad was quite heavily armed: two B40s, six AK assault rifles and a large number of grenades. The squad was divided into two detachments. The leading detachment was the bait. It was led by Comrade Ha - with two soldiers who had volunteered from our reconnaissance element, and all were armed with AKs. The rear element followed about 50 metres behind and was armed with three AKs, two B40s and many grenades. Hai Khanh directly commanded this resolved-to-die element. One afternoon at the beginning of the 1970 Wet Season, the cadre and soldiers of 445 Battalion bade a melancholy farewell to the suicide squad as they departed. Hai Khanh put his arm on Has shoulder and, looking fondly into his eyes, asked the young soldier: Have you any message that youd like to have passed on to anyone ? No he replied, theres nothing more. Is it time to go now ? Yes, said Hai Khanh, alls ready. Ha and the two reconnaissance soldiers slung their weapons over their shoulders in a lively manner, waved farewell to everyone and then set off leading the group. Nightfall came silently. Everything appeared dim in the half-light.There was only the light of the stars shining on the flooded paddy fields and glittering brightly. Occasionally, a puff of wind from the sea freshened their faces. From time to time, Hai Khanh tilted his head to hear the cu, cu sound (a coded signal) from in front of him in order to maintain a distance of about 50 metres from the leading group. When a few hundred metres from the hamlet, the three leading comrades encountered the enemy and were killed. Many strings of Claymores exploded, renting the night. This was followed by two heavy machineguns firing fiercely at the site where the mines had just exploded. M79 grenade launchers and 60mm mortars also rapidly fired in that direction. In our second element, nobody said anything as they hugged the ground closely. After a few minutes of observing the enemys fire, Hai Khanh crawled over to each of our soldiers and indicated to them which of the enemys firing positions they had to destroy. In the wink of an eye, two B40s rounds were launched accurately into their targets. The two enemy heavy machineguns were silenced. This was followed by volleys of AK fire and hand-grenades that exploded into the enemys positions. After 10 minutes of fighting, our 445 Battalion soldiers had forced a gap in the Australians barrier-shield and 15 were killed, two heavy machineguns were destroyed, and three AR15 rifles were seized. We had another comrade wounded. Our four remaining comrades carried their three dead companions and their wounded comrade into Thnh Tn hamlet of Phc Thnh village. Miss T Th and a number of villagers buried the dead comrades, bandaged the wounded soldier, and prepared

Translators Note: A number of the Australian personnel at the Battle of Long Tn were equipped with the 5.56mm M16 rifle - not the very similar AR15 model. Subsequently, larger numbers of M16s were made available. In 1968, 262 soldiers in an 800-strong Australian battalion were equipped with M16s ie 33%.

77 necessary materials for our troops to carry back with them. Hai Khanh and the three remaining soldiers quickly arranged their loads and carried four heavy armfuls: ie rice, sodium glutamate, batteries safely back over their previous route to the base. The blood of those four soldiers of the suicide squad helped the Battalion gain experience in counter-ambush fighting. Four days later, the Battalion deployed the 1st Company together with a reconnaissance section, to continue its destruction of the enemys barrier-shield tactic. Again, three comrades put up their hands and volunteered for the leading group. And also as before, the three clashed with the enemy - and two were killed on the spot. One comrade was seriously wounded. Once the enemys position was identified, the 1st Company made a frontal attack, while the reconnaissance section attacked from the flank. Under such a large and surprise attack, the enemy called for helicopters to support them. Comrade Tt raised his AK straight up to the sky and sprayed half a magazine, shooting down a helicopter. Comrade On a reconnaissance soldier, set fire to another helicopter. The enemys flares burned brightly in the sky. An enemy counter-attack was launched with tens of tanks. The enemy had their hackles up and was very upset - but they only found an extensive battlefield many kilometres wide littered with weapons and the bodies of their dead comrades. An Australian company suffered heavy casualties. While our soldiers were resting in the peoples houses in the hamlet, the enemys artillery band shelled the jungle fringe (thinking that we had withdrawn). The families in Phc Thnh village hastened to prepare grain and foodstuffs sufficient for more than a company, and which was carried back to the base. One of our sections became lost and wasnt able to withdraw in time. When morning came, Mr T Ngn (Comrade Hai Khanhs uncle) hid the whole section in a stack of straw in his garden, provided food and water, and looked after their health. The enemy began a detailed search. They even rested beside the hay stack. After some minutes of worrying, Mr T Ngn set out some trays of fruit in his house to entertain the nationalist soldier chaps. The enemy troops rushed into the house to eat the fruit and, thanks to that, were unaware of our soldiers presence. When night fell, T Ngn guided the whole section safely back to the base. The great success of these counter-ambushes resounded throughout all the districts and the whole Province at a time when the situation was very violent and tense. From then on, our local armed forces also launched a number of successful counterambush operations. Then, every night, 445 Battalion also attacked the Australians barrier-shield. And it was the same each time - with two to three comrades putting their hands up and willing to accept death so that their unit could successfully attack the enemy. The will-power and extreme bravery of these men was a critical factor the pistil of that blooming flower of military exploits that would remain fresh and beautiful for ever. Every night, the enemy had to lie out in the dew and wind without defences to protect them, and every night they were attacked. The basic weakness of mercenary soldiers their fear of death, had been exposed. However, they had clever tricks to protect themselves. When night came and they were forced to man the barrier-shield, they would dig defences and huddle in one place to counter our attacks. They didnt smoke or make any loud noises But there was one thing that they couldnt hide the smell of earth from the defences that they had dug. The warm and fragrant smell of our homeland told 445 Battalions reconnaissance troops where the enemy were. Knowing that, they could either attack the enemy or find another route into the hamlet. So, the enemys extremely dangerous barrier-shield tactic - that had spilled the blood of our revolutionary soldiers in the Long t area more than any other of their tactics, had now gone up in smoke. To implement the Province authorities directive to move to vulnerable areas, the whole of 445 Battalion deployed out to Xuyn Mc to fight a number of large concentrated

78 battles in support of the local revolutionary movement.254 In December 1970, the Battalion launched an attack against an enemy commando255 company at the Cy Da camp in Xuyn Mc.256 For the attack on the camp, the Battalion employed two companies and the reconnaissance element divided into three attacking columns. The reconnaissance section secretly lifted the mines and cut the barbed-wire to facilitate the passage of the three columns that then concealed themselves 100 metres from their targets. At exactly Hhour, the grenades of the reconnaissance section and the B40s and B41s of all three columns simultaneously erupted in a resounding explosion. The enemy was attacked by surprise and had no time to react. After only 15 minutes, we controlled the whole battlefield. Lieutenant Hi the commander of the camp, was killed in the battle. The use of sapper tactics to attack a camp was a highly efficient mode of combat, as evidenced by the victory at the Cy Da (Xuyn Mc) camp. The Battalion had wiped out an enemy company, killed over 80 enemy, seized 59 weapons, and captured 11 of the enemy.257 We only suffered one comrade slightly wounded. This success was highly encouraging, and we had efficiently supported the local guerrillas in destroying much of the enemys oppressive machinery in the hamlets around Xuyn Mc. With the destruction of the Cy Da (Xuyn Mc) camp, the Australians now knew 445 Battalions area of operations. On one hand, they increased their combat operations

Translators Note: In September 1970, there were major changes in 445 Battalion that are not related in the History. Earlier, in August-September 1969, personnel had been withdrawn from 445 and 440 Battalion to form a B Ra-Long Khnh provincial reconnaissance company Annex A to 1 ATF INTSUM No. 51-70, Ni t, 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, Ni t, 9 February 1971. In August 1970, the 1st 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 B Ra-Long Khnh provincial sapper/reconnaissance company ie the C36 Company, under Hai B (ie probably Nguyn Vn B, a former commander of 445 Battalions 1st Company) Annex A to 1 ATF INTSUM No. 51/71, Ni t, 20 February 1971. On 11 January 1971, the Chief of Staff of the Provincial Unit Phan Thanh H, sent a congratulatory letter to the C36 Sapper Company for its 5 January achievements (probably the attack on La Van hamlet, c Thnh) and praised the Company as the Provinces punch and as a never-losesapper unit - Annex B to 1 ATF INTSUM 35/71, Ni t, 9 February 1971. With removal of the 3rd Company personnel to form C36 Company, in September 1970 a new 3rd Company of 445 Battalion was created by the integration of 440 Battalions 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, Ni t, 17 January 1971. The 3rd Company then 27-strong, reportedly retained its former company commander. - 1 ATF Battle Intelligence Section, D445 Order of Battle, Ni t, 6 May 1971. On 17 September 1970, Nm V (Nguyn Vn Nm ?) the second-in-command and acting commander of 445 Battalion was killed in an Australian ambush (7RAR) in t . Reportedly a northerner NVA cadre who had served in Cambodia, Nm V had been assigned to 445 Battalion as its Chief of Staff on 19 June 1970 OBrien, M., Conscripts and Regulars with the Seventh Battalion in Vietnam, Allen & Unwin, St Leonards, 1995, pp.219-220. See also Annex A. 255 Translators Note: Literally bit kch a probable reference to a Mobile Strike Force (Mike Force) company. 256 Translators Note: This is probably the attack on the Regional Forces compound in Xuyn Mc Town on 29 November 1970 involving the 2nd , 3rd and 4th Companies of D445 reinforced by K8 the heavy weapons company of 440 Battalion see OBrien, 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: RF Company post (YS 650673) was over-run and their casualties were six RF/PF killed and five wounded with 36 M16 rifles lost see Peters, C.C.M. Major, D445 - Order of Battle, 1 ATF Battle Intelligence Section, Ni t, 6 May 1971 257 Translators Note: According to the ng Nai Monograph - 2001: In December 1970, the 445 section [sic] concentrated its forces and destroyed a Regional Forces company at the Cy Da post in Xuyn Mc.a Ch ng Nai, op.cit, 2001.


79 and pacification activities in Long t258 and, on the other, deployed forces to find and destroy 445 Battalion in the Xuyn Mc area. After our victory in wiping out the Cy Da camp, 445 Battalion fought many successful engagements in Xuyn Mc. The guerrilla warfare movement there also escalated. The Battalion was next given orders to withdraw to its Ni B base (My To Route 1)259 to re-organise and prepare to receive orders for a new mission. And, with this deployment, the Battalion was to suffer it greatest number of casualties to date. One afternoon at the end of 1970, the whole Battalion was organised to deploy back to the Ni B base area. Not knowing why - but on that day, Hai Khanh felt very anxious inside - although there was no engagement planned. Before the whole Battalion put their loads on their backs, Hai Khanh again asked the political officer of the 2nd Company: "Youve checked the route carefully, haven't you ?" The political officer of the 2nd Company angrily responded: "Don't you trust your subordinates, or what ? I'd bet my life on it for you." At 2am, the Battalion had all reached the open area at C Thi.260 The night was quiet and ethereal. Occasionally, a few owls hooted plaintively in the still and deserted night. The whole Battalion was in the middle of the open area when suddenly a ring of fire burst forth followed by a salvo of explosions. An Australian ambush had fired Claymores and this was followed by a thick hail of gunfire. All of the vanguard 2nd Company Headquarters and two-thirds of the leading formation of the Battalion were hit by the mines. 19 were killed on the spot - and 22 were wounded seriously (at that time, the personnel strength of a company was only about 20 riflemen261). From our founding, the Battalion had never suffered such large casualties as that in such a short time. Those who survived still recall the C Thi clearing with grief and pain and our never-before-suffered heavy casualties - brought about by a perfunctory attitude, subjective thinking and underestimating the enemy.262 Two days later, while the Battalion was reconstituting in the Ni B base, an American unit launched a sweeping operation into the area. The Battalion hung on to the

Translators Note: According to the Long t District History -1986, At the end of 1970, D445 ambushed the Australians at Phc Ha Long, killing 80 - p.184. At Phc Li, village guerrillas used E3 mines to wipe out an Australian section moving into their base. 259 Translators Note: The Ni B Mountains are in southeastern Bnh Tuy Province, about 10 kilometres west of the My To Mountains that straddle the Phc Tuy/Long Khnh/Bnh Tuy tri-border area. 260 Translators Note: Termed by the Australians as the Waterfall Clearing, C Thi (YS 690668) was about six kilometres southeast of Xuyn Mc. 261 Translators Note: This implies a significant decline in 445 Battalions personnel strength in the second half of 1970. In early July 1970, based on captured documents, 1 ATF had assessed D445s strength as 182 in five companies see OBrien, M., Conscripts and Regulars , op.cit, 1995, p.204. 262 Translators Note: The C Thi ambush (at 0353hrs on 31 December 1970) is related in detail in OBrien, M., Conscripts and Regulars , op.cit., 1995, pp.232-234. The Vit Cng casualties are also identified in 1 ATF Intsum 365/70, Ni t, 31 December 1970. In 1994, Colonel M. OBrien interviewed a former 445 Battalion commander - Nguyn Vn Kim, in Vng Tu, and Kim commented that 445 Battalion was dealt a heavy blow at C Thi. In the days immediately preceding the C Thi ambush, troops of the 1 ATFs 7th Battalion (7RAR) had forced 445 Battalion elements from a bunker system five kilometres southwest of C Thi. The bodies of 21 members of 445 Battalion were recovered by 7RAR from the C Thi ambush site and a further two were found nearby several days later. Several senior cadre were identified among the 445 Battalion personnel killed, including: Nguyn Thanh Tm (Ba Tm) the Battalion second-in-command; Nguyn Thnh Long the 2nd Company Commander; Trnh Vn Lim the 2nd Company Political Officer; as well as Phan Thanh Chin (Mi Chin) the Secretary of the Long in District Party Chapter. 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 noted that defensive ambushing on routes to defensive positions was to continue. 1 ATF, OPS1719, Ni t, 23 December 1970.


80 base and, fighting determinedly, eliminated nearly 100 Americans in the engagement and was able to firmly defend the base area.263 Having reorganised264, trained and having been reinforced, at the beginning of 1971 445 Battalion again received orders to return to the Long t area. At that time, the Australians joined with American and puppet troops in combined sweeping operations intending to clean out the Minh m War Zone for a last time. Together with village guerrillas in the Minh m Mountain area, 445 Battalion launched continuous attacks striking the enemy from beyond the area. The Battalion destroyed over 20 tanks and armoured vehicles, shot down five aircraft, and killed hundreds of the enemy. The Battalion supported the 25th Company and the Long t District organisation in the Minh m Mountain area to hold on doggedly for 25 days and nights and firmly retained the base. In April 1971, COSVNs Standing Committee issued Directive 01 that clearly set out the following requirements. In order to defeat the enemys current pacification plots, we had to implement two steps the first was to loosen the enemys oppressive and pincerlike grip across a broad area. We needed to build our armed and political forces into strong organisations, and change relationships between our forces in order to advance to the second step developing our forces and expanding our areas. To implement the COSVN policy for the new circumstances, in May 1971 COSVN Headquarters decided to disband Military Region 5 and U1265 and establish two SubRegions directly subordinate to COSVN - ie the B Ra Sub-Region266* and the Th Bin Sub-Region. The mobile concentrated units of the Sub-Regions were also re-organised to appropriately reflect the combat requirements in the field. 445 Battalion was temporarily divided-up267 in order to reinforce the districts: the 1st Company and the 2nd Company returned to Long t268, the 3rd Company moved to
Translators Note: The 3rd Brigade/1st US Air Cavalry Division launched operations into the Ni B area in southeastern Bnh Tuy Province in late January 1971 and seized over 19 tons of flour and foodstuffs in the period late January-early February (in the vicinity of YS 832937 445 Battalions camp in the western Ni B area was reportedly in the area of YS 7990). In an engagement nearby on 7 February 1971, US forces suffered six killed and 10 wounded 1 ATF SUPINTREP 6/71, Ni t, 8 February 1971. The US operations in the Ni B/My To area continued until late February 1971. 264 Translators Note: Trn Tan Huy has been incorrectly cited as a former Lieutenant Colonel commanding 445 Battalion in 1971 see the interview by Lieutenant Colonel (Retd) G. McKay MC, 23 September 1993 Australian War Memorial ID Number SO1932. For background on Trn Tan Huy, see Annex A - Senior Cadre. 265 Translators Note: U1 and U3 were cover designators for the Bin Ha Provincial Unit. The B Ra Provincial Units designator was U2, Bnh Dng Province was U4, Ty Ninh was U5, Long Khnh was U8, and Phc Thnh was U9. 266 * The B Ra Sub-Region comprised nine districts (in the provinces of B RaLong Khnh, and Long Thnh, Duyn Hi, Th c and the three towns of Long Khnh, B Ra and Vng Tu). Translators Note: For detail on the formation of the B Ra Sub-Region, see Annex H Higher Headquarters. 267 Translators Note: According to 1 ATF records, 445 Battalion had continued to operate as a mobile battalion until July 1971. 1 ATF first became aware of the break-up of 445 Battalion from captured documents in early September 1971: a captured Vit Cng document dated 3 July 1971 related that 445 Battalions 2nd Company, 3rd Company, Surgical Platoon, Signals Platoon and Recce Platoon had been sent to reinforce the local forces of Long t and Xuyn Mc Districts. For detail on the 1 ATF assessment of the De-Activation of D445, see Annex F to 1 ATF INTSUM 302/71, Ni t, 29 October 1971; and the booklet: Headquarters 1st Australian Task Force, Ba-Ria Sub Region, Vng Tu, 10 December 1971, pp.3-4 and p.7 that noted however that the fate of C4 and C5 is unknown. 268 Translators Note: According to the Long t District History 1986, see Annex L: Two companies of the D445 Battalion were allocated to Long t District together with a battlefield reconnaissance cell. In 1971 the forces were organised as follows: The 1st Company of D445 was responsible for t (southwest of Routes 23, 52) and to support the coastal areas of Phc Li, Long Hi M, and Phc Hi. The 3rd Company of D445 was responsible for the area north of Route 23 and to support Xuyn Mc and Phc Bu.

81 Chu c269, and the principal Battalion cadre strengthened the two Districts of Chu c and Long t.270 A number of comrades were withdrawn to Province control and sent for study and training. Throughout a year of dispersed operations and under the direct command of the Districts, 445 Battalions companies successfully fulfilled their key roles in the mission to kill the wicked thugs and to destroy the enemys pincer-like grip on the key areas. The 1st and 2nd Companies cooperated closely with the 25th Company (Long t) and the village guerrillas to destroy a mass of Peoples Self Defence Force groups, kill many wicked thugs, open up the control by our local forces in the Long in t region and along Route 23 in Xuyn Mc, and to build additional underground revolutionary organisations to give us control of many spots on the axes of Routes 23 and 44. The 3rd Company coordinated with the 33rd Regiment271, the 4th Regiment272, and the local forces of Chu c District to
The Long t District Company C25 operated in the area of Long in and supported the villages of An Nht, Tam Phc, Phc Tnh and An Ngi. The four-comrade battlefield reconnaissance team was responsible for activity in the villages of Phc Li, Long Hi M, Phc Hi and lower Route 44. The account in The Minh m History 2006 (see Annex M) of 445 Battalions dispersal is different it states that Long Xuyn 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 Xuyn and Chu c Districts p.59. 269 Translators Note: In late October 1970, 1 ATF assessed the total strength of Chu c District as 180 comprising Chu c District Unit: 94 personnel, C41 Company: 20, and village party chapters and guerrillas: 66. Of these, only 86 (48%) were considered as effective ie armed and free from injury or illness Peters, C.C.M Major, Battle Intelligence Section 1 ATF, Order of Battle Chau Duc, Ni t, 23 October 1970. According to a POW captured by 1 ATF on 19 October 1971, 445 Battalions 2nd Company was integrated into Chu c Districts C41 Company (see also footnotes 267 and 268), and Su Thu (ie Nguyn c Thu the 445 Battalion Commander) operated as the Commander of the Chu c District Unit - Annex A to 1 ATF INTSUM No. 294/71, Ni t, 21 October 1971. According to 1 ATF records, by May 1971, Vit Cng strength in Chu c District had been reduced to 93 (from 204 in October 1969) Headquarters 1st Australian Task Force, Ba-Ria Sub Region, Vng Tu, 10 December 1971, p.2. 270 Translators Note: According to the ng Nai History 1986, with the dispersal of 445 Battalion: the 1st Company went to Long t, the 2nd Company to Xuyn Mc, and the 3rd Company to Chu c. - Phan Ngc Danh ..., ng Nai 30 Nm , op.cit., 1986, p.164. 271 Translators Note: Troops from the 33rd NVA Regiment had participated in the Battle of Bnh Ba in early June 1969 see footnote 229, possibly together with elements of 440 Battalion but, as noted, that engagement is not mentioned in this 445 Battalion History. On 20-21 September 1971, the Australian 4RAR Battalion (Operation Ivanhoe) engaged the 3rd Battalion of the 33rd Regiment northeast of c Thnh in the Ni Sao/Ni L area (YS 513857) five Australians were KIA, and 33rd Regiment suffered 16 confimed KIA see 1 ATF SUPINTREP 39/71, Ni t, 27 September 1971 . Subsequently, the 7th Company of the 33rd Regiment joined 445 Battalion in the fighting in the Long Tn area in February 1974. The 33rd Regiment was reportedly formed in Tuyn Ha District (Qung Bnh Province, North Vietnam) in May 1965 based on 101B Regiment of 325th 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 July1965 and fought in the Plei Me/Ia Drang battles in the Central Highlands in late October 1965. The 33rd Regiment joined the 5th Division in July 1968 in Ty Ninh Province and moved into the Long Khnh-B Ra-Bin Ha 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 264/71, Ni t, 21 September 1971. As noted at footnote 229, postWar, a memorial to the 33rd NVA Regiment has been established at Bnh Ba. At its inauguration, it was stated that in the fighting to liberate Bnh Ba in the 1969 Spring Campaign, close to 50 cadre and fighters bravely died." Thanh Tung, L cu siu , op.cit., August 2009. 272 Translators Note: 274 VC Regiment (known as the 4th Regiment) had been the inaugural regiment of the 5th VC Division. For the Regiments operations from mid-1967, see Annex I, footnote 50 - the 5th Division History 2005. From April 1968, 274 Regiment continued to operate independently on the B Ra-Long Khanh-Bin Ha battlefield strengthening the fighting formations of the Eastern Military Region. 275 Regiment and units directly commanded by the Division were ordered to operate as mobile elements on the front north-west of Si Gn see Annex I, p.14 - the 5th Division History 2005.

82 take control along Route 2 - while at the same time joining up the strategic corridor from War Zone D to Long t, Vng Tu and the Rng Sc . With our spirit to hang on staunchly, to continuously attack the enemy in the important areas, and to suffer the violence and sacrifices, 445 Battalions companies successfully fulfilled their key role in contributing together with the local forces, to advancing the revolutionary movement to a new stage.273 After their heavy defeats on the battlefield, in December 1971, the Australian and New Zealand troops furled their flags and departed Phc Tuy to return to their countries.274 American units: the 9th Infantry Division, the 199th Brigade and the 173rd Airborne Brigade also packed up and left Bin Ha B Ra Long Khnh to return home. The weakened enemy became yet weaker. ((Seven photographs poor quality, omitted. Titled: 1. After a series of political studies at the base.275 2. Training to raise combat standards.276 3. All working to improve living conditions in the base. 4. Captured prisoners.277 5. War materiel seized in the defence of Long Phc.278 6. A number of key Battalion and company cadre after Liberation.279 7. Comrade Nguyn Vn Quang Hero of the Peoples Armed Forces.280))
Translators Note: In a letter dated August 1971 captured by Australian forces, a member of 445 Battalions signals platoon in the Minh m area wrote to a 445 Battalion colleague: personnel (in Long t) 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 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, Ni t, 25 March 1970. 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. 274 Translators Note: The ng Nai History 1986 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 Ngc Danh ..., ng Nai 30 Nm , op.cit., 1986, p.167. The Australian flag at the 1 ATF Headquarters in Ni t was lowered for the last time on 7 November 1971 see CUN/71/0536/VN . 1 ATF withdrew from Phc Tuy Province to Vng Tu and on 9 November 1971 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. An Australian Army training group remained in Phc Tuy Province until the Australian Government formally declared a cessation of hostilities in January 1973. The Embassy guard platoon returned to Australia in July 1973. 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., 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: Hall, R., Operation Wandering Souls, Wartime, Issue 55, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, July 2011, pp.25-29. 275 Translators Note: About 27 males and two females in black pyjamas-type clothing. 276 Translators Note: Two soldiers demonstrating sapper minefield-breaching techniques. 277 Translators Note: A soldier with about six ARVN prisoners. 278 Translators Note: Four AR15/M16 rifles and an unidentified weapon. 279 Translators Note: 11 cadre in civilian clothing in front of a building.


At the end of March 1972281, our strategic offensive was launched at ng H, Qung Tr and in the Northern Central Highlands. At the beginning of April, the Nguyn Hu Campaign broke out in Ty Ninh and Lc Ninh. In the provinces of the Eastern Region and the Southwestern Region, the enemy was simultaneously attacked in many locations in concert with the Nguyn Hu Campaign and many great victories were won right from the first days of the first phase. At the beginning of 1972, 445 Battalion was reconstituted282 - with Comrade Su Thu continuing as the Battalion commander. Comrade Nm Ninh was the deputy political officer of the Provincial Unit and concurrently the political officer of the Battalion (having replaced Comrade Hai Khanh who had gone for training and had not yet returned). Comrade Su Phng was the Battalion second-in-command and chief-of-staff. Comrade T Thut was the Battalions deputy political officer. In coordination with the Nguyn Hu Campaign, 445 Battalion was given the task of attacking the enemy in t Town and seizing a number of important objectives while at the same time blocking the enemys use of Route 23 and preventing them deploying their forces from t to relieve Xuyn Mc. To implement these important tasks, on 17 May 1972, 445 Battalion concentrated its forces to inflict heavy casualties on a Regional Forces company located at the base of Da Quy Mountain283 about two kilometres to the north of t . The enemy at Da Quy Mountain fled. With the enemys defensive position to the north of t now cleared, this was a good opportunity for us to deploy our troops to launch an attack into t . On the following day, the Battalions reconnaissance platoon led by Comrade Thanh (Thanh Chm), went with the Battalions second-in-command and chief-of-staff Su Phng, to study t Town. The police complex in t was chosen to be invested by the Battalion. At midnight on 19 May 1972, our reconnaissance element guided the whole Battalion into t . The Battalion headquarters was set up one kilometre to the south of the t police compound. The 1st Platoon (of the 3rd Company) was divided into four teams with each team comprising six heavily-armed men, and given the task of surrounding the t police complex. The remaining two platoons of the 3rd Company dug defensive blocking positions to eliminate any enemy relief force from the t SubSector that might try to aid the t police compound (from the west). The 1st and 2nd Companies established blocking positions a kilometre from the surrounded police complex in order to stop any enemy advancing up from their camp at Phc Ha Long (from the south) while at the same time were tasked to operate as our mobile force should any new developments evolve during the fighting.
Translators Note: Nguyn Vn Quang D445 second-in-command, in dress uniform wearing 10 medals see also footnotes 59, 105, 113, 175 and 296. 281 Translators Note: According to the ng Nai Monograph - 2001: On 15 February 1972, 445 Battalion ambushed the enemy at Bu Su (Long t) and wiped out the 4th Company of the 356th Regional Forces Battalion and captured 24 enemy and seized 34 weapons.- a Ch ng Nai, op.cit., 2001. 282 Translators Note: In May 1972, 445 Battalion received reinforcements from North Vietnam. One group from 325th NVA Division commenced infiltration from its base north of H Ni in December 1971 and arrived in B Ra 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 CDEC Report 6 028 0368 72, Log 06-1049-72 (diary of Corporal ng Li ch) see also footnote 25 in Annex C. For detailed Vietnamese accounts of the Trail, see ng S Nguyn, The Trans-Trng Sn Route, Th Gii Publishers, H Ni, 2005 and V Bm (et al), ng V Thnh Ph Mang Tn Bc The Road Back to the City Named After Uncle Ho, Nh Xut Bn Qun i Nhn Dn, H Ni, 2005. 283 Translators Note: The Horseshoe feature see footnote 167. With the preparations for the departure of the Australian forces, the Horseshoe had been occupied by elements of the 302nd Regional Force Battalion since 10 June 1971.

84 At daybreak, our team surrounding the police complex in t opened fire at ranges of 50 to 100 metres. The enemy were tightly surrounded on four sides but fought back while calling for assistance. However, after almost a day of fighting, no enemy force at all came to their rescue. After nearly 10 hours of following the situation, at 5pm the enemy ordered their 302nd Regional Forces Battalion from Long Hi M (from the south) to break through our siege of the t police complex. This enemy force fell into an ambush set by our 1st and 2nd Companies. After more than an hour of fighting, the 1st and 2nd Companies had smashed a company of the 302nd Regional Forces Battalion to pieces and the enemy were forced to retreat back to Long Hi M. That very night, our Battalion ordered the 1st and 2nd Companies to return to Phc Thnh hamlet to counter an enemy relief force advancing to t from the southwest. Just as we had foreseen, on the third day, the 18th Puppet Division ordered its 43rd Task Force to move down and relieve t . However, they fell into the ambush set by our 1st and 2nd Companies. The fighting waged fiercely throughout a full day. The enemy suffered heavy casualties and was blocked at the ambush site The following day, the 43th Task Force continued its attacks against the 1st and 2nd Companies key terrain with the intention of breaking through in that area and relieving the t Sub-Sector. However, for four successive days, the enemy suffered heavy casualties but still remained held up. Meanwhile, our 1st and 2nd Companies were exhausted. On the seventh day of the engagements, the enemy in the t police complex found a small gap that wasnt covered and escaped the encirclement leaving behind tens of dead, all their weapons and their storehouse. In that way, we had liberated Route 23 from east of the t Sub-Sector to Xuyn Mc. The enemy now brought up the 5th Ranger Group to replace the 18th Divisions 43rd Task Force and to continue efforts to break through to t . Two Ranger battalions (the 30th and 31st Battalions) advanced from new directions. They entered t from the northwest and were blocked by the 4th Regiment (a Regional main-force unit).284 The 1st and 2nd Companies were both quite worn-out after more than a week of continuous fighting against enemy forces that outnumbered them by six to seven times. The Battalion allowed the 1st and 2nd Companies to rest and refit right on the battlefield while at the same time ordering the 3rd Company to block the southeastern approach to t under the direct command of Comrade Su Phng the Battalion second-in-command and chief-of-staff. The enemys Ranger force had been blocked by the 4th Regiment, but the enemy still sought to bludgeon their way into t and were engaged by the 3rd Company. When deploying for combat, each of the Ranger troops was equipped with an anti-tank weapon - the M72.285 In their relief operation, the Rangers deployed successive companies in the vanguard of their attacks and counter-attacks and this progressively wore down our troops. However, over three successive days, they were still unable to force a gap through our 3rd Companys position. In the 11th day of the fighting, the 3rd Companys strength was only six comrades and each was using three different weapons to fight back the enemy (at the beginning of our attacks, the Company had 70 men). That night, the Battalion received orders to withdraw to its initial positions where we had blocked the 302nd Regional Forces Battalion. On the 12th day of our attacks, the Battalion
Translators Note: The 4th Regiment ie the 274 Vit Cng Main Force Regiment, was an original formation of the 5th Vit Cng Division. From about April 1968, the Regiment had operated independently on the Ba Ria-Long Khnh-Bin Ha battlefield (5th Division History 2005) as a subordinate of Military Region 7 and was later placed under the B Ra Sub-Region. The attack is also recounted in the Long t District History 1986, p.204 see Annex L: D445 and the 2nd Battalion of the 4th Regiment and the t guerrilla unit attacked the Sub-Sector and the t police centre and we held the town of t for 13 days before withdrawing to regroup in our base area. 285 Translators Note: The M72 66mm Light Anti-Tank Weapon (LAW) had an effective range of 200 metres. It was also used against defensive positions and personnel.

85 received orders to send the 1st Company with a company from the 4th Regiment, back to Phc Thnh and to attack the 5th Ranger Group. On the 13th day, the whole Battalion was ordered to deploy to the B L Culvert on Route 23 and to block an enemy force relieving Xuyn Mc. At this time, there were only 17 comrades in the whole Battalion who were fit enough to undertake this task. A few days later, our troop strength slowly increased (as a number of our men who had been lightly wounded or exhausted were by then well enough to rejoin the fighting). In the second phase, our Battalion consolidated its forces and - together with the District armed forces, satisfactorily achieved its task to hold the liberated regions of Route 23 while at the same time attacking the enemy in depth at Long in, t , Long Hi and Phc Hi liberating many important hamlets near the t Long in Xuyn Mc Sub-Sectors. The liberated region was broadened in the form of a dove-tailed saw-tooth pattern. These new combat exploits by the Battalion in the Long t area had contributed significantly to the whole of the South forcing the American imperialists to sign the Paris Accords on Vietnam. Throughout four years (1969-1972) of holding-on unyieldingly in the Long t area, the Battalion had depended on the people to survive and to win. The people and the local forces had relied on the Battalion to travel the tough and decisive revolutionary road that at times seemed impassable. The extremely dangerous tactics employed by the Australians had been bankrupted, wicked thugs and Peoples Self Defence Force troops had been wiped out, and the Battalion had launched small attacks deep into t but had suffered casualties there. However, all these represented significant military exploits and were fulcrums in a region of our dearly loved homeland that moved the revolutionary movement forward.286

CHAPTER VI TOWARDS THE DAY OF TOTAL VICTORY On 27 January 1973, the Paris Accords on ending the war and re-establishing peace in Vietnam were signed. However, in the liberation zone occupied by 445 Battalion, the guns were only silent for one hour. The headquarters of the Battalion and three of its companies (1st, 2nd and 3rd ) were stationed in t . The flag of the National Liberation Front flew from the rooftops and from the tops of the coconut palms in the villages of Phc Ha Long, Phc Thnh and Phc Th The flag of the puppet forces had been set up in the t Sub-Sector and in a number of enemy posts along Route 52. In almost all the hamlets and villages around the t District centre, we held half and the enemy also occupied half. The borders between our areas were delineated by the flags. The 4th Company of 445 Battalion directly commanded by Nguyn Tun Gii (Mi Gii) - the Battalions deputy political officer, occupied Phc Hi. There, our flag had been raised about 200 metres from the destroyed Phc Hi camp. An atmosphere of peace was felt in all the hamlets and villages, and in the streets and neighbourhoods. The people discussed the situation excitedly, and there was no end of
Translators Note: In July 1972, COSVN severely criticised the cadre in the B Ra Sub-Region for their poor performance in the mid-May 1972 attempts to over-run Phc 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 Phc Tuy - VCAT Item No. 2122407002.

86 happiness. They had confidence in the international treaty. However, after only an hour of the Paris Accords coming into effect, a flight of enemy AD6 aircraft287 suddenly appeared in the skies above t . They massed and then poured their bombs down on the hamlets where the liberation flag was flying. Flames and dark smoke enveloped the ruined houses. In panic, the villagers picked up their children and belongings and fled the area. After tens of bombing runs by the AD6 aircraft, the Regional Forces began to fire indiscriminately and, shouting and screaming, invaded the liberated zones. The fighting had recommenced. At this time, 445 Battalion was commanded by Comrade o Vn Tng (Tm Tng) and Comrade Hai Khanh was the political officer. The whole Battalion now had to face the cunning and bellicose enemy and hold every inch288 of our liberated homeland. In Long t, the Battalions companies had to dig lines of trenches and defensive positions to block the enemy. Gunfire was continuous across the battleground. Our soldiers held on staunchly and repelled almost all of the enemys invading thrusts. Each time the enemys penetration attempts failed, their infantry would call in artillery support and bombers to attack our positions for several hours. Following the bombardment, they would recommence their attacks. In the afternoon, the enemy reinforced their efforts with the 326th Regional Forces Battalion led by Major , in their resolve to dislodge 445 Battalion from t Town. The fighting in the town now became increasingly decisive. At 8am on 27 January, a helicopter appeared in the sky over Phc Hi, following which enemy artillery from their surrounding posts fired into our positions. The 4th Company dug shelters on each side of Route 44 about 200 metres from the n Sp (Phc Hi) camp. Each platoon dug a shelter, and there was also a shelter for the company headquarters. Although the villagers provided wood and planks for the shelters, the shelters were on a dry sand hill - and no matter how we tried to camouflage the positions, they still look like toy shelters. The company headquarters ordered Comrade Vngs mortar platoon to fire five warning rounds into the enemys Con post. But the enemys other positions shelled us more intensely. One of our soldiers armed with a B41 was ordered to fire a round into the n Sp camp - but as the grenade left the launcher, our comrade was seriously wounded as the blast from the B41s exhaust had bounced back off the wooden revetment to his rear. The two sides maintained their positions and exchanged fire throughout the day. Two of our men were killed. At 8am the next day, the enemy aircraft continued their intensive bombing attacks on the 4th Company, and their infantry again assaulted our positions. We lost a further B40, and at midday on 28 January the enemy dislodged the 4th Company from Phc Hi. The 4th Company withdrew back to t , and the whole Battalion fought against the advancing enemy. However, with their overpowering fire support from the air and their infantry outnumbering us by tens of times, the enemy inflicted heavy losses on us. There were many casualties, and our ammunition was gradually running out. After holding on in t for close to a week, the Battalion was ordered to withdraw to our base at Hi M. Only one week after the signing of the Paris Accords, the Machiavellian and warmongering enemy in Long t had driven out 445 Battalion from the t and Phc Hi regions important liberated areas within Long t that we had won during the Nguyn Hu Campaign (1972). The Long t area now only contained just two liberated villages - Long Tn and Long Phc. The enemy also began to advance their plan to invade our zones intending to force us back to the pre-1972 situation. In March 1973, 445 Battalion was ordered to return to Long Tn and Long Phc to defend the liberated zones. There, the Battalion joined with the village guerrillas and the
Translators Note: The Douglas AD-6 (A-1H) Skyraider AD6 aircraft was a piston-powered, propellerdriven close support aircraft provided by the US. 288 Translators Note: Literally tc ie one tenth of an old Vietnamese measure for a yard.

87 local people to set up combat villages. A system of spiked pits, minefields, lines of fighting trenches and tunnels were urgently established and camouflaged. Coordinated combat actions between the Battalion and the guerrillas were regularly practised. The Battalion now employed sparrow tactics to defend the liberated zones. The companies were dispersed in teams and sections in order to coordinate with our guerrillas in blocking the enemy at some distance and in all directions, from our areas of control. The Battalions tactical guidance was to wear down the enemys strength beginning at our outer defensive lines. We established close coordination between the blocking teams and our mobile attacking forces always maintaining the initiative to split the enemys formations and then to separately destroy each of their component elements. This would create the conditions for our other forces to completely destroy the enemy forces. A number of concrete plans were made and, with close coordination between our troops and local guerrillas, these were regularly practised. Accordingly, we were able to attain a high degree of combat efficiency. At the end of March, the enemy concentrated two Regional Force battalions together with strong air support assets, to strike into Long Tn and Long Phc. In the very first days, we drove hundreds of enemy from the battlefield, and they were forced to regroup in the open fields where they became prey for the artillery firepower of our 4th Company and destroyed. Throughout a 15-day period, the enemy were unable to force their way through our outer-most defensive lines around Long Tn and Long Phc. Rather, worn down significantly, they were forced to withdraw to B Ra having suffered a defeat in their drive to occupy Long Tn.289 In July 1973, the Partys Central Executive Committee promulgated Resolution 21. This was like a brilliant spotlight that illuminated for us a change in direction on the battlefield. The mirage of peace and relaxation - that had been held by some, was no more. 445 Battalion was no longer in two minds and hesitant in the face of the gunfire and shelling at a time when there was a ceasefire agreement. We clearly understood the enemys mind and their intentions and were elated when we received the Partys new policy. In implementing the directions of the Provincial Committee and the Military Region to strike directly at the enemy bases from which they launched their operations, the Battalion conducted a large number of attacks on the enemys bases in the Sub-Sectors of t , Long in and Ni t to destroy the enemys capabilities. These punishing blows were able to limit many of the enemys attacks into our liberated zones.290 At the beginning of 1974, the Eastern Military Region (Military Region 7) ordered a campaign on Route 2 to recover liberated regions from c Thnh up to Cm M that had been occupied by the enemy following the Paris Accords. While the Military Region was directing our forces to implement the Route 2 Campaign, the puppet 18th Division concentrated two task forces (the 43rd and the 48th) to join with Regional Forces and Popular Forces to move into and occupy Long Tn and Long Phc. This was a good opportunity for us engage the enemys main-forces and disrupt their campaign. The
Translators Note: In May 1973, the US Defense Attache Office (DAO) estimated the strength of 445 Bn Ba Ria-Long Khanh Province Unit as 180 and also in Phc Tuy Province: D.500 Battalion MR1 with a strength of 55 NVA and 634 Battalion Ba Ria-Long Khanh Provincial Unit with a strength of 50 VC USDAO, PLAF/PAVN Troop Strength by Unit - May 1973 , Saigon, 31 May 1973 USDAO Report No. 6 918 5093 73. These USDAO figures have also been cited on a Vietnamese military history website: Rongxanh, Phn b - qun s cc n v Qun Gii phng min Nam trn lnh th min Nam Vit Nam n 31/5/1973 (Deployment and Strengths of the South Vietnam Liberation Armed Forces with the Territory of South Vietnam 31 May 1973), Qun S Vit Nam, 6 February 2009. 290 Translators Note: According to the ng Nai History - 1986, in mid-1973: 500 Battalion of the B RaLong Khnh Province was absorbed into 445 Battalion. - Phan Ngc Danh ..., ng Nai 30 Nm , op.cit., 1986, p.182. As noted in the footnote above, the US DAO had estimated the strength of D.500 Battalion MR1 in Phc Tuy Province as 55 NVA and 445 Bn Ba Ria Long Khanh Province Unit as 180.

88 Military Region strengthened our forces in Long t with the 7th Company of the 33rd Regiment of the 9th Division and two anti-aircraft artillery companies from the 24th Battalion. In a very important role, our Battalion had to achieve two tasks simultaneously: to stoutly defend Long Tn and Long Phc, and to lure the enemy and block their mainforce elements. The Battalion together with the 34th Company (Chu c District), the Long t District Unit and two companies from the Military Region, now faced their greatest tests of strength in this period of countering the offensive launched by the puppet forces. In early February 1974, two task forces of the puppet 18th Division and an armoured squadron came and occupied Long in and t and together with seven Regional Forces battalions (B Ra), prepared to invade Long Tn and Long Phc. The two villages of Long Tn and Long Phc were in hilly terrain - with Route 52 running from east to west. The boundary between the two villages was the Bn [sic] stream that ran alongside wide areas of open fields for about one kilometre. To the south of Long Tn and Long Phc, there was a field contiguous to Long in and t . To the north, there were gardens of fruit trees leading to a rubber plantation next to a forest of tall, old-growth trees. Standing in the centre of the village, one had a clear view down on all the surrounding terrain. The Battalions defensive positions at Long Tn and Long Phc were arranged facing three directions. The main defences faced the west-northwest and were the responsibility of the 1st Company and the 7th Company (of the 33rd Regiment). These were supported by our 4th Artillery Company and an 82mm mortar detachment from the Military Regions 274th Artillery Unit. In this sector, the companies dug their defensive positions as small team sites facing in many directions in order to launch surprise attacks against any enemy airborne forces. The 7th Companys positions faced the northwest and were located about two kilometres from Long Tn. The first of our secondary defences faced east-southeast from Long Tn and was occupied by the 3rd Company. The positions were arranged in three lines. The first line was at the edge of the hamlet; the second was half-way up the hill; and the third was on the summit of the hill (in the centre of the village). The defensive lines and the defensive works were set out in an arc and carefully camouflaged. Two steel bolt teams were located on Route 52 to block any enemy tanks that might advance from t - and were equipped with two B40s, a B41, an American heavy machinegun, and a 60mm mortar. The second of our secondary defences faced south-southwest from Long Phc and was held by our 2nd Company and the 34th Company (Chu c). All of the Battalions battlefield positions were laid out on the apexes of a triangle with sides from two to three kilometres long. The headquarters of the Battalion was set up east of Ni Thm291 and about three kilometres to the north of Long Tn. On 14 February 1974, the puppet forces launched an operation to take Long Tn and Long Phc. The 302nd Regional Forces Battalion moved from Long in along Route 52 towards the 2nd Companys position (Long Phc). The 355th Regional Forces Battalion advanced from t on both sides of Route 52 to Long Tn and engaged the 3rd Company. From the very first day, the two enemy columns manoeuvred exactly as our tactical plan had anticipated. The 3rd and 2nd Companies together with the 34th Company, fought doggedly throughout three successive days and halted the enemys operation.


Australian forces referred to the 126 metre-high Ni Thm Hill as Ni t 2 see footnotes 125, 142 and 151 - and also footnote 9 in Annex L.

89 On 17 February, the puppet 18th Division now formally joined the fighting at Long Tn and Long Phc. At 5am, a pale white mist hung over the rubber plantations the atmosphere was peaceful, and there no sound at all of gunfire. A few quite loud bird-calls could be heard greeting the new day. The 7th Companys sentries were silently re-checking their combat materiels for the anticipated battle when suddenly they saw grey shadows moving forward in the mist. These were enemy troops from the 18th Divisions reconnaissance company from Ni t intending to insert a group into Long Tns flank and facilitate a larger enemy force to launch a surprise attack. However, they didnt suspect the presence here of the soldiers of the 7th Company a unit of the 33rd Regiment whose fort was the mobile ambush, and the elite 1st Company of 445 Battalion who were all in wait for them. The sentries urgently threw small lumps of soil at the entrances of the Companys defensive shelters and, now alerted, the whole of the 7th Company took off the safety catches on their weapons. In the Company Headquarters shelter, the PRC25 radio292 was not used in order to ensure absolute security. When the advancing grey shadows were about 10 metres from our DH10 mines, there was a blinding flash - followed by a ground-shaking explosion that blew down the vegetation and kicked up dust and smoke. Following this, the call to attack rang out. The 7th Company soldiers - who had been below ground, leapt out and attacked directly into the enemy formation firing bursts from their AK submachineguns. Meanwhile, at the 1st Companys commanding position beside a banyan tree, Hng the radio operator who was high in its luxuriant green branches, used his field telephone to contact Vngs 61mm [sic] mortar platoon and report the direction in which the enemy was regrouping and taking flight. Tens of mortar rounds rained down on the grey-clad shadows at the edge of the rubber plantation. The 1st Company was ordered to attack and drive off the enemy near the 7th Companys location. After a few minutes fighting, the enemys fire fell silent. Our soldiers quickly cleared the battlefield and then returned to their trenches. Half an hour after the battle, our political officer Nguyn Minh Khanh took the field telephone in the Battalion Headquarters and informed all of our positions that, with the support of our 1st Company, the 7th Company had eliminated the 18th Divisions reconnaissance company, seized tens of weapons, and captured two of the enemy. News of this victory encouraged all our troops on the battlefield. There was an air of excitement everywhere, and all competed with one another to destroy the enemy, capture prisoners and seize weapons. At 2pm, tens of helicopters appeared and landed the 48th Task Force of the 18th Division in the open ground at By Mu about four kilometres to the north-northwest of Long Tn. The enemy divided into many columns and advanced straight at the positions of the 7th Company. The enemys M72 anti-tank weapons struck many of the 7th Companys defences. With their overpowering strength, the enemy inflicted a large number of casualties on the 7th Company. The 1st Company was ordered to attack the enemys flank and support the 7th Company, but was blocked by an enemy battalion. The enemy then over-ran the 7th Company and the situation was extremely dangerous. At the Battalion Headquarters, Tm Tng consulted urgently with Hai Khanh then ordered all of the 7th Company to get below ground. Our 82mm mortars then heavily shelled the 7th Companys position, and tens of enemy soldiers fell down headlong at the edge of our defences. The enemy were forced to rush back. At the same time, an infantry team from the 3rd Company arrived in time to aid the 7th Company in clearing the battlefield and carrying away our

Translators Note: United States AN/PRC25 VHF military manpack radio.

90 wounded and our dead. After a day of tense fighting, all the three helicopter-inserted battalions of the 18th Division were pinned down northwest of Long Tn (at a distance of three kilometres). That very night, the 1st Company was ordered to divide up into a large number of detachments and attack the dispersed elements of the 48th Task Force, and we inflicted many casualties on the enemy. Also on 17 February, at about 8am in the 3rd Companys area, a squadron of 15 enemy armoured vehicles (that included both M41 and M48 tanks) advanced along Route 52 and struck directly into the 3rd Company. On both sides of the road (at about 100 metres distance), two enemy infantry battalions (of the 18th Division and the Regional Forces) moved forward in parallel. The commander of the 3rd Company and Comrade T Kia the 1st Platoon commander, personally joined a steel bolt team beside Route 52, and both led their troops in engaging the enemy. T Kia raised his B41 and aimed at the leading tank. When it was 200 metres from the team, the B41 on T Kias shoulder shook and ejected a jet of flame. The tank was brought to a halt and emitted clouds of pitch-black smoke. The following tanks pulled back and returned fire randomly into our positions. The tanks then recommenced their advance, firing while on the move. Our B40 and B41 grenadiers in the 3rd Company set fire to a further two enemy tanks. The enemy were then forced to disperse into the fields to find positions from which to return fire, and did not dare move further forward. At the same time, our artillery and infantry fired fiercely at each of the groups of enemy in the open fields. Enemy bodies were strewn in disorder all over the fields. Unable to advance, the enemy regrouped, dug defensive positions and re-constituted their units. Then, having called down heavy air attacks against our troops, they re-commenced their move forward. However, regardless of whether they advanced or huddled together, the enemy still had to hug the ground in the fields under all types of fire from the 3rd Companys solid defences that had been dug into the red soil. After tens of enemy assaults had been beaten back, their dead soldiers lay scattered along both sides of Route 52. Unable to recover their dead, as darkness fell both their infantry and tanks withdrew to t . Early the next day, the enemy again advanced on their previous axis of attack, but were again driven back. The situation for our 1st Company was different from that at the 3rd Companys position. Because of the distance from their rear support, the enemys 48th Task Force was unable to advance by day. So during the night, they sought areas to regroup and to launch operations the following day. As a result, they were attacked during the night by the 1st Company both by ground assaults and our artillery fire. Principally by their methods of fighting defensively by day and then attacking by night, the 1st and 7th Companies were able to firmly hold our main positions in the face of an enemy force that was almost ten times stronger. Over a period of two weeks, all three zones of the Battalions defences at Long Tn and Long Phc had fought with great stamina and smashed almost all of the enemys operations to break-in to the area. We had killed hundreds of enemy and firmly held the battlefield. Apart from the factor of the doggedly brave spirit of our people, we must also acknowledge the red soil of Long Tn. For indeed it was that red earth as bright as blood, hard but malleable, that formed those solid defensive positions for 445 Battalions cadre and soldiers and that enabled us to be victorious. On the night of 25-26 March 1974, the curtain was raised on the Route 2 Campaign293 launched by the Military Region against the enemy at the Kim Long camp
Translators Note: The Route 2 Campaign Headquarters was established in an area of over-grown rubber to the east of Cm M village (Xun Lc) and comprised Colonel L Vn Ngc of the Military Region Headquarters as commander. Comrade Phm Vn Hy - the Secretary of B RaLong Khnh Province, was the political commissar (chnh y) and Comrade Phm Lc the Province Unit Commander, was the deputy

91 a stroke that flabbergasted the puppet military in B Ra and Long Khnh. The enemy hurriedly ordered two of the 18th Divisions task forces to move from Long t and to break through our interdiction of Route 2. They now abandoned their plan to occupy Long Tn. Regional Forces troops from B Ra replaced the withdrawing 18th Division forces, and they never again dared to come near to Long Tn and Long Phc. After more than a month of vicious fighting (from 26 March to 31 April 1974), Military Region 7s campaign on Route 2 was a resounding victory.294 We had over-run 12 of the enemys posts on Route 2, retaken the liberated zone from Kim Long to the B Ci plantation, and destroyed much of the enemys 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. With the impetus of our punishing success over the enemy and the support of the Military Regions 18th Sapper Battalion, 445 Battalion joined with the 25th Company (Long t) to attack and seize three posts and seven enemy positions on Inter-Provincial Route 44, and recover the six kilometre-long Cu Tum Nc Ngt liberated zone. This victory also effectively supported and strongly encouraged the village guerrillas of Hi M, Phc Thnh, Phc Th and Long in who attacked the enemy, killing over 200 Pheonix pacification operatives, wicked thugs and Popular Forces troops while expanding our control over the villages and hamlets in the Long t area. In these operations, 445 Battalion had supported our local people who were able to upgrade the status of 20 hamlets from weak to that of being disputed with the enemy. Nearly 100 youths both male and female, volunteered to join the revolutionary armed forces, establish underground organisations in Long t District, and to raise an additional local company which bore the title: 26th Company. The number of people of the Long t region rushing into the liberated zone to make their living increased daily. Many families built houses and huts right in the rice paddies and the slash-and-burn fields. In the enemy-controlled areas, at 7pm every night our revolutionary armed forces visited the families that had clandestinely supported us. The enemys pincer-like grip over the people was now only nominal and almost completely ineffective. In the 1974-1975 Dry Season, the situation on the Southern battlefield became increasingly advantageous for us. On the B2 Front295 alone, the enemy lost 2,373 military posts. The liberated zone extended uninterrupted from Lc Ninh (Bnh Long) down to Bn Ct, Ty Ninh, B Ra and Long Khnh. The political and internal situation of the puppet central government became increasingly confused, and it was in serious crisis. In B Ra Long Khnh Province, following the success of the Route 2 Campaign296, the Military Region mounted a series of victorious operations on Route 1
commander. - See a Ch ng Nai (ng Nai Monograph), Tp 3 (Vol 3) Chng 6, op.cit., 2001. Phm Vn Hy (T Hy) was also known as Phm Vn Hiu; and Phm Lc was also known as T Lc. 294 Translators Note: According to the Military Region 7 History - 1995, p.49, the following elements participated in the Campaign: 33rd Regiment, 44th Regiment, 18th Sapper Battalion, 445th Battalion, 25th Company (Long t) and 43rd Company (Chu c). 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 c Thnh to Cm M and restoring the situation on the B Ra-Long Khnh battlefield to the situation before 28 January 1973. 295 Translators Note: Created in 1961, the B2 Bulwark Front encompassed all the provinces of , as well as the five southern provinces of Military Region 5 in southern Trung B: ie Ninh Thun, Bnh Thun, Qung c, Tuyn c, and Lm ng. See Trn Vn Tra, Vietnam: History of the Bulwark B2 Theatre, Vn Ngh, H Ch Minh City, 1982. 296 Translators Note: 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

92 and launched the Route 3 Campaign to surround and isolate Xun Lc (the principal town of Long Khnh). At the end of 1974, the Partys Central Executive Committee promulgated the Resolution: Resolve to liberate the whole of the South in the two-year period of 75-76. This Resolution was disseminated to all the cadre and soldiers of 445 Battalion. Everyone was extremely elated, and all were resolved to strive towards the day of final and complete victory. In coordination with the Military Regions Route 3 Campaign, 445 Battalion attacked and destroyed the enemy at the B p (Hi M) camp, seized the n Ln camp (Phc Hi) and occupied the hamlets of Hi Lc and Hi Trung. Panic-stricken by the Battalions attacks, the enemy were forced to withdraw and abandon their outlying posts on Routes 23 and 52. To strengthen our forces in important areas of the Military Region - and also those of COSVN, 445 Battalion was deployed from the Long t area up to Xun Lc. At this time, the momentum of the Revolutions attacks was like a rising tide or a crashing waterfall. Our troops and the people of the whole South were preparing to launch the Historic 1975 Spring Campaign. Now, liberating a strategic area was not just the sole responsibility of a local unit or a main-force unit. It demanded high-level tactical coordination between all forces. The peak of the multi-faceted peoples war waged by the whole nation had arrived, and the time was ripe. The significance of this prodded 445 Battalions cadre and soldiers to improve themselves in all aspects and strive to keep pace with events. At this time, there were also changes among the principal cadre of 445 Battalion. Comrade Tm Tng was the Battalion commander. Comrade Nguyn Vn Quang an armed forces hero, had studied in the North in the period from 1968 to March 1972 and returned to 445 Battalion to take up the position of Battalion second-in-command. Now, he was both second-in-command and chief-of-staff. Comrade Bi Chnh was the political officer - and concurrently was the secretary of the Battalions Party Committee. On 21 March 1975, 445 Battalion attacked a Regional Forces company at ng Qu village (the ng Qu plantation) on Route 2 in Xun Lc.297 At 8am, when the last rounds fired by the 4th Company had exploded, the whole Battalion simultaneously attacked on three axes (with a company on each axis) and cut the Regional Force companys position into many small clustered groups. The enemy had not been unable to recover from this surprise shelling - when they were unexpectedly assaulted in daylight. Although the enemys defensive positions were well-developed, after only 20 minutes the Regional Force company in the ng Qu plantation had disintegrated. ng Qu was the first village on the B Ra Long Khnh battlefield to be completely liberated in the 1975 Spring Campaign. With the impetus of that victory, only a few days later 445 Battalion advanced along Route 2 and liberated the hamlets of Bo Bnh 1 and Bo Bnh 2, destroyed the enemy at L Than Mountain - and then turned to Route 1, liberated Bo Ha hamlet, inflicted heavy casualties on two battalions of Regional Forces at Bnh Ph and Bo Ton, and interdicted two kilometres of Route 1 isolating Long Khnh Town (Xun Lc) from the
areas of B RaLong KhnhBin Ha were now connected. - See a Ch ng Nai (ng Nai Monograph), Tp 3 (Vol 3) Chng 6, op.cit., 2001. 297 Translators Note: For the 1975 Xun Lc campaign see Phm Vn Hy, Tnh y B Ra-Long Khnh Vi Chin Trng Xun Lc-Long Khnh - The B Ra-Long Khnh Province Committee and the Xun LcLong Khnh Battlefield, pp.161-164 in Military Region 7 (Qun Khu 7), Chin Thng Xun Lc-Long Khnh - The Xun Lc-Long Khnh Victory, Nh Xut Bn Tng Hp ng Nai, Bin Ha. Phm Vn Hy was the Secretary of the B Ra-Long Khnh Provincial Committee in the period September 1972-1975.

93 south. During this time, the devastating attack to smash the steel gate of Xun Lc298 also took shape. 445 Battalion together with K8 (Xun Lc), the 34th Company, the 41st Company (both of Chu c)299, and the 207th Company (Cao Su District) formed a force equivalent to a regiment and - led personally by Comrade Phm Vn Cn (the deputy chiefof-staff of the Provincial Unit)300, joined the attack to liberate Xun Lc from the south.301* The essential task for 445 Battalion302 was to interdict Route 1 and Inter-Provincial Route 2 three kilometres from Long Khnh Town and block the enemys forces from Sui Ct (Route 1) and Sui Rm (Route 2) from reinforcing Xun Lc. At 5am on 9 April 1975, our main column began its attack on Xun Lc. 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 Sui Ct (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 Bo Ton. Each day, the encirclement of Xun Lc tightened. After four days of unsuccessful attacks on Xun Lc, our forces in the north and the east were ordered to withdraw from the Town and to change our methods of attack. In the south, 445 Battalion continued to invest the hamlets of Bo Ha and Bo Ton while at the same time attacking the enemy in Bo Th, Bo Lit and the Gia Liu bridge At these locations, we captured 117 prisoners, seized 43 radios and satisfactorily completed our task of holding the enemy and thus enabling our large forces on the main thrust line into Xun Lc to change to a more effective operational method. The enemys 1st Airborne Brigade (part of the Thiu governments General R eserve) was inserted south of Tn Phong to rescue Xun Lc. Only a few hours afterwards, they were heavily shelled by the 4th Companys artillery and suffered heavy losses. Next, the Battalion joined with the local district companies and launched continuous ground and artillery attacks on small groups of the 1st Airborne Brigade, killing hundreds of enemy and preventing them from entering Xun Lc to reinforce the rear areas of the 18th Division. While the 52nd Task Force (of the puppet 18th Division) was being eliminated at Kim Tn (Gia Kim on Route 20), the enemys defensive line at Phan Rang was also being shattered by our 2nd Corps and the puppet forces at Xun Lc became extremely alarmed. According to statements by the enemys Colonel Bo the deputy commander of
Translators Note: The term - steel gate/door (cnh ca thp) ie blocking the NVA/VC northeastern approaches to Si Gn, was apparently coined by the commander of the 18th ARVN Division, Brigadier General L Minh o. 299 Translators Note: The consolidation of C41 Company on 6 April 1975 in the Hc Dch area - under Aspirant Lng Vn Cao (By Cao), and detail of the fighting is related in Mai Thanh Xun, Bt i T Tnh Trng Ngy Phm Vn Phc - Capturing the Puppet Province Chief Colonel Phm Vn Phc, in Military Region 7 (Qun Khu 7), Chin Thng Xun Lc - Long Khnh ..., op.cit., 2004, pp.185-189. 300 Translators Note: Phm Vn Cn is also referred to as the Chief of Staff of the B Ra-Long Khnh Provincial Unit commanding the Southern Front Headquarters at Cm M - see Mai Thanh Xun, Bt i T , op.cit., 2004. He is possibly Phm Vn Cn b. Long Phc 1941, probationary Party member 1963, platoon 2ic/1st Company/445 Battalion in May 1965 CDEC Log 12-2394-66. 301 * For the attack on Xun Lc, 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 B RaLong Khnh. 302 Translators Note: 445 Battalions participation in the Xun Lc campaign is also related in Xun Thanh, Tiu on 445 Trong Tn Cng Xun Lc-Long Khnh - 445 Battalion in the Attack on Xun Lc-Long Khnh, in Military Region 7 (Qun Khu 7), Chin Thng Xun Lc ..., op.cit., 2004., pp.161-164.

94 the puppet 18th Division, on the afternoon of 18 April the headquarters of the 18th Division had decided to flee Xun Lc and consolidate their forces on a defensive line at Trng Bom. On the afternoon of 19 April, there was heavy rain, and on the unpaved roads south of Xun Lc the muddy water surged like streams and rivers. In the howling storm, the sounds of the enemys artillery boomed repeatedly to the west of Xun Lc. The headquarters of our local forces group (to the south of Xun Lc) assessed that the enemy were firing diversionary barrages and were preparing to abandon Xun Lc. At the headquarters, Comrade Phm Vn Cn the deputy chief-of-staff of the Provincial Unit, consulted very briefly with the key cadre of 445 Battalion, and a plan to interdict the fleeing enemy was formed. So, immediately on the night of 19 April, the 2nd Company was ordered to deploy from Bo Bnh to the S-bend on Route 2. The 3rd Company and the 1st Company moved from Bo Ha (Route 1) to Con Rn Mountain (Cm M Route 2). With legs that had been toughened over 10,000 miles303 and after more than 10 years of hardships, maturing and winning victories, the cadre and soldiers of 445 Battalion now focused on running across tens of kilometres in order to interdict the enemy in time. The heavy afternoon rains further increased the difficulties. Kilograms of the thick red soil stuck to the soles of our soldiers sandals and shoes. The straps on their sandals snapped. There were sounds of stumbling, falling and exhausted breathing. Then sandals and shoes were cast off into the jungle. Bare-footed, they raced on over all obstacles. The red soil of the tracks was imprinted with their blood-stained footsteps. Everyones hearts and minds were firmly focused on completing every stage of the journey. Fire-flies twinkled brightly, and the final victory was also a dazzling light before them calling and urging them on Their bare feet would have to win - they had to arrive before the enemys armoured columns. On the morning of 20 April, the 2nd Company arrived at the S-shaped bend and the C-shaped bend on Route 2 (in the area of the Hong Qun plantation) and, on that very afternoon, we destroyed two Regional Force posts and deployed to stop the enemy. Would the enemy flee through here and had they already gone past ? No matter what this had been our plan. The 1st, 3rd and 4th Companies had also reached Cm M. The 1st Company deployed immediately for the attack and eliminated an enemy platoon on Con Rn Mountain. The 3rd Company killed 83 enemy and seized two 105mm howitzers at Cm M junction. We then established our headquarters on Con Rn Mountain. A helicopter from Bin Ha planned to land on Con Rn Mountain - but as it descended, the enemy saw that the liberation flag was flying and hurriedly climbed and flew away. On the afternoon of 20 April, 445 Battalion and a number of the local district companies completed their deployments to block the enemy on Route 2 from the area of the Hong Qun plantation to the Quang Minh plantation a distance of about 10 kilometres. The accurate assessments by the leadership of the group of local forces south of Xun Lc - and the first-rate efforts of the cadre and soldiers who ran for tens of kilometres to block the enemy, produced a very satisfactory outcome. At 2am on 21 April, a mixed convoy of mechanized vehicles led by tanks and armoured vehicles fled noisily south down Route 2. This convoy of the Xun Lc puppet military and puppet civil authorities was divided into two groups of about 70 vehicles. They were blocked and attacked by 445 Battalion and the local companies. A vehicle carrying enemy troops was set on fire, and the soldiers leapt down in panic seeking shelter on both sides of the road. In the area from the

Translators Note: Literally dm - a Vietnamese mile of 444.4 metres.

95 S-bend to Cm M, we captured more than 100 prisoners. Still, the enemy fled onwards fleeing and firing aimlessly before them, and leaving the hulks of their vehicles and the bodies of their fallen soldiers along the road. An hour later, another convoy of over 60 vehicles also fled down Route 2. These were also stopped and destroyed. We faced a large enemy force more than a division with hundreds of vehicles, fleeing with tactics of opening a road of blood. Our forces were not able to stop them all only to attack and destroy elements of their convoys over several kilometres. We hadnt assessed that the enemy vehicles would carry the enemys nerve centre or that they would have included their important units in the fleeing convoys.304 Chu c Districts 41st Company was the unit that stopped the head of the enemys formation (south of the Quang Minh plantation) and set fire to two enemy tanks and captured a number of prisoners including a vehicle carry Colonel Phc, the Province Chief of Long Khnh. At that point, our attacks against the steel gate of Xun Lc - that had gone on for 12 days and nights, now ended. The fate of the Colonel the Province Chief of Long Khnh, was also decided immediately in the field by those whom he had oppressed. That day, a 445 Battalion cadre boldly wrote a few stanzas of poetry in his notebook (diary) to express his happiness and pride in the victory in which he had played a part: We stand dauntless and dignified beneath the Xun Lc sky. The steel gate was burst wide-open with lightning speed by our feet. Uncle has returned ! Solemnly from the centre of the city, he looks upon his free children ! After the victory at Xun Lc, the campaign to liberate Si Gn Gia nh took shape and was given Uncle Hs revered name: THE H CH MINH CAMPAIGN ! In the province of Bin Ha B Ra Long Khnh, two attacking columns comprising two corps, were formed to strike into Si Gn. After tens of years of hardship, sacrifice and holding-on in a strategic area close to Si Gn, the cadre and soldiers of 445 Battalion together with the local armed forces and the people, had frequently thought about and waited for this day. This was the day when the lightning-fast steps of the main-force units symbolized the will of the whole people and the whole Party as they passed through their homeland to sweep away the enemy in their final lair. While the 3rd Division (of the 2nd Corps) attacked the c Thnh Sub-Sector and B Ra Town, 445 Battalion attacked the Sub-Sectors of Long in and t . Long in and t very well-loved names and the homeland of almost all of the cadre and soldiers of 455 Battalion, had been downtrodden by aggressors for years. It was also the place where the order to wipe out 445 Battalion was first issued. A Battalion that now stood before all and was now facing the final battle.
Translators Note: For an ARVN account of the withdrawal on Route 2, see Hua Yen Len, Colonel, The Line of Steel at Xun Lc (Long Khnh), Seattle, 5 February 1988 - ie: On 20 April 1975, the headquarters and elements of the 18th ARVN Division successfully withdrew south down Route 2 to an assembly area at c Thnh and enroute - easily brushed aside the enemy road-blocks and ambushes and arrived the next morning. They were soon joined by the 1st 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 c Thnh assembly area, the entire 18th Infantry Division was transported by trucks to its rear base at Long Bnh to receive new equipment and replacements. During the 12-day battle at Xun Lc, ARVN losses were 30% for all units participating in the battle, except for the 52nd Task Force which suffered 60% losses; North Vietnamese casualties : 5000-6000 killed or wounded and 37 armoured vehicles destroyed. VCAT Item No. 3670101001.

96 The 1st Company attacked the Long in junction. The 3rd Company attacked the Long in District Headquarters. The 2nd Company attacked the t Sub-Sector together with two companies of the Long t local forces. The 4th Company (the fire support company) was dispersed to strengthen our two forces attacking the two District capitals. In the half-light of 27 April, the companies opened fire and attacked the enemy. After 20 minutes of shelling by our 4th Company on two locations at the junction and the Long in District capital, the infantry of the 1st and 2nd Companies simultaneously assaulted the enemys last-ditch defences and trenches. With our overpowering strength, after only half an hour we had seized all of the Long in District capital buildings, captured hundreds of prisoners, seized their weapons and then released them all. At midnight, the 2nd Company and our local forces also occupied the t Sub-Sector. On 28 April, the 1st and 2nd Companies seized the Long in junction and eliminated the enemy units from Vn Kip and B Ra Town that had fled there intending to regroup. Our companies held the junction to secure that position and enable the 3rd Division to advance and attack the enemy at Long Hi and in Vng Tu. On 29 April, 445 Battalion joined with the 3rd Division to liberate Vng Tu. The Battalion attacked the puppets 4th Marine Battalion - and at 10am on 30 April, the liberation flag flew over the enemys Hong Hoa Thm base at Vng Tu symbolizing the strength and will of 445 Battalion after tens of years of development, reaching maturity and combat victories. Following this, the Battalion continued to coordinate with the 3rd Division to cross the sea and liberate Cn Sn island305 the last part of the South to rejoin the Fatherland.

CHAPTER VII A CONFIDENT AND DESERVED VICTORY The red soil region extends across B Ra Long Khnh, the homeland of tens of thousands of people who had indomitably endured calamities and dauntlessly opposed invading foreign aggressors. This was the homeland of such heroes as: V Th Su, H Th Hng, Nguyn Thanh ng, L Thnh Duy and produced the heroic 445 Battalion ! Throughout its history of nearly 20 years developing and maturing from a time when it was concealed within the forces of the sects, the Battalion had come of age during the Concerted Uprising Movement and had destroyed the strategic hamlets to become a force that fought and was victorious over every enemy. In the strategic coastal area to the northeast of Si Gn, in all its combat exploits whether large or small, and even when suffering casualties that seemingly would not be overcome, the Battalion unceasingly strove to create a reliable and firm base for the local armed forces and the people to advance along the tough and decisive road to reach the day of total victory. The blood and intellectual effort of many had been laid down to create the glorious tradition of 445 Battalion. In its development, coming-of-age, and combat successes, the Battalion had always held to the maxims of: belief in the Party, for the people, holding-on, and fighting dauntlessly. Each of the Battalions victories was based on the clear-sighted and flexible application of the peoples war strategy of the Party. The leadership of the Military Region,
Translators Note: Cn Sn (Cn o) is an island in the South China Sea about 180 kilometres south-east of Vng Tu that had been used as a prison island since early French colonial times.

97 the Provincial Committee and the District Committees of Long t, Chu Thnh of the Battalions Party Committee, the Party Chapters and Party members were always to the fore when facing the violent and difficult challenges and were like a red thread that ran through all of our distinguished military exploits. The people of the Long t region, Route 2, Long Thnh were like a gourd of sweet mothers milk that nurtured the growth of its sturdy 445 child. The more violent the difficulties, the more the spirit of the people became even more unshakeably faithful. In these extremely difficult and violent periods of the Revolution, the Battalion paid a price in holding on to our strategically important region. This deep and intimate attachment was like an electric current that powered the lights of the Revolution in the countryside. We dared to strike all our opponents, we knew how to fight and to fight well. The American imperialists escalated the war and the first rung on their ladder was the land for which the Battalion was responsible. Every colour of enemy soldier and all the combat arms of the Americans, their puppets and vassals operated in our area. And in this region, the enemy also evolved many of their designs, plots and tactics as pilot schemes for the whole battlefield and for Americas war. We confronted the Americans and fought the Americans; we confronted the Australians and fought the Australians despite lacking guidance and experience, we still fought them. Every experience had to be bought in blood. We sought out the similarities and differences between the types of enemy soldiers, and then focused on their weaknesses when fighting them. Consequently, their troops who sought to destroy us and who used all types of schemes to wipe out 445, became afraid of us. Many tactics were employed by these expeditionary forces and trialled in the war but all were defeated by the Battalion. The Battalions combat victories multiplied day-byday and had their source in our psychology of daring to fight, knowing how to fight, and fighting well. The Battalions coming-of-age was linked to our military exploits on the battlefields and the development of the peoples war. As the enemy became progressively more Machiavellian and the war became more violent, the Battalion quickly came up with more effective ways of fighting. The fires of tens of years of warfare on end had toughened the ranks of our cadre and soldiers who had become inured to hardship and were staunch, intelligent and creative. Many generations of Battalion and company cadre had passed on leaving behind many effective fighting techniques. We used small forces, surprise attacks on the enemy in their dens, and ambushes and mobile ambushes to destroy large enemy forces all these were the basic tactics that were the fort of the cadre and soldiers of 445 Battalion. The enemy became aware of this and took precautions but they were still destroyed. From year-to-year, from one period to the next, the enemy floundered and continued to suffer the same casualties. Many times they would reoccupy positions - but were still unable to hold them. While conversely, 445 Battalion became famous in the region for its combat methods. Each of the Battalions battles and victories had different properties and outcomes, but all were proof of our ability to employ our leadership cadre at all levels: always having a firm grasp on our tactical strong points; being daring; attacking by surprise on several fronts; manoeuvring flexibly; and concentrating and dispersing in a timely manner. Our combat abilities and flexibility in manoeuvre were very appropriate in a region that comprised both coastal areas and jungle, as well as rural areas and towns. Our combat exploits and the missions that we achieved were the unique marks of a unit that was both a local force - but yet very much main-force.

98 We relied on the people as our rear and clandestine storehouses, we seized enemy materiel to fight the enemy, and we employed people in the rear areas to support those in the frontline this was the Battalions tradition of self-reliance and self-sufficiency along that long road over several tens of years of development and fighting. All this was in concert with the special characteristics of a local unit whose families and relatives were part of the region and whose families and children also had to take up arms against the enemy. The help, protection and unqualified support of the people was founded on their revolutionary ideals - and also based on their love and deep admiration for the quality of our soldiers. Great-grandfather H would approve of 445 Battalions soldiers. Our soldiers had a spirit of sharing hardships eating whatever was available, and although hungry still fighting the enemy and bearing all the hardships and violence to complete their missions. Even if they lacked weapons, our soldiers still fought the enemy and seized enemy weapons to arm themselves. Almost all of the Battalions weapons before 1967 had been seized from the enemy. We fought skilfully and also manufactured and cultivated skilfully. In the Battalions rear areas, one quarter of the Battalions strength was engaged in manufacturing materiel and growing produce to improve the soldiers living standards. At the same time, the rear areas were a place of convalescence and rest for our incapacitated troops and, when necessary, were the most rapid source of reinforcements The Battalions traditions were built on willpower, blood and toil, and intellect. Hundreds of people fell306 for the Four Four Five- but they will live forever in their now free and independent homeland ! Today, tens of the children of 445 Battalion are high level cadre in the Party and the Peoples Armed Forces of Vietnam. Acknowledging our Battalions military exploits, 445 Battalion was honoured to have conferred upon it by the Party and the Nation the title of Heroic Unit of the Peoples Armed Forces.307 Following in their elder brothers footsteps, since 1976 the young soldiers of 445 Battalion have overcome new and difficult challenges and fulfilled their mission to assist our fraternal neighbour Cambodia, and to build and defend the fruits of the Revolution in ng Nai Province.308 The achievements and combat exploits of our young cadre and

Translators Note: On 23 February 2011, at a formal meeting to discuss arrangements for a memorial for 445 Battalion by the Battalions veterans committee and government officials, it was stated that during the War the Battalion had wiped out more than 10,000 enemy soldiers, destroyed 120 military vehicles, shot down 20 aircraft, and seized more that 1,800 weapons of different types. More than 1,000 cadre and soldiers of the Battalion had heroically sacrificed themselves. A stela and memorial for the Battalion is planned to be completed by December 2011 - Bi Xun, Xy dng tng i v bia tng nim cn b, chin s D445 Erecting a Memorial and Commemorative Stela for the Cadre and Soldiers of D445, B Ra-Vng Tu (C quan ng b ng cng sn Vietnam BR-VT), 24 February 2011. In recent years, a group of Australian military historians has conducted an analytical study of about 3,900 engagements by 1 ATF during the War against NVA and VC forces (see footnote 274) and produced a Vietnamese Missing In Action Database. The Database identifies the approximate burial site of more than 3,790 NVA and VC soldiers killed in action by elements of 1 ATF. The Database includes cadre and soldiers of units other than 445 Battalion eg other provincial elements, district forces, village guerrillas, personnel from 274, 275 and 33rd Regiments, rear service personnel, and those killed in engagements outside Phc Tuy Province by 1 ATF. This data was formally passed to Vietnamese authorities in March 2010 and the Canberra-based Australian military historians are continuing to refine their study - see: Hall, R., Operation Wandering Souls, Wartime, Issue 55, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, July 2011, pp.25-29. 307 Translators Note: The title was awarded on 3 June 1976. 308 Translators Note: In January 1976, Phc Tuy (B Ra) Province was incorporated into ng Nai Province with the Province capital at Bin Ha. On 12 August 1991, several districts were detached and the current B Ra-Vng Tu Province was established.


99 soldiers 10 years after liberation309 have continued to build the traditions of the heroic 445 Battalion in a manner worthy of the confidence and affection of the Party and the people. --------------------------------------------------------------------------

Translators Note: In September 1979, D445 troops were engaged in operations against armed FULRO elements in the Cha Chan Mountain/La Ng River area of Xun Lc Nhm PV, Lt li nhng v n do Cng an ng Nai trit ph K 5: p tan m mu gy bo lon ca Fulro - Over-turning of the charges by the ng Nai Public Security Service wiped out Instalment 5: The FULRO plot for violent disorder completely destroyed, Bo ng Nai, Bin Hoa, 13 August 2010. FULRO (The United Front for the Liberation of Oppressed Races - 1964-1992) sought independence for ethnic minorities in Vietnam and Cambodia.


100 Translators Endnote: Long Tn Map

Scale: each grid square is 1km x 1km. The site of the engagement on 18 August 1966 is indicated by the dotted lines based on Major H. Smiths sketches (see Annex E footnote 13, and the preceding footnotes 132 and 146 in Part I). There are no maps of the Long Tn area in either the 445 Battalion History 1991 or the 5th Division History 2005. The 1 ATF base at Ni t was about five kilometres to the west of the battle site.