Operation Masher

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Operation Masher/White Wing
Part of the Vietnam War
Date January 28 – March 6, 1966
Location Bồng Sơn Plain, Kim Sơn Valley, An Lão Valley, Bình Định Province, South Vietnam
Result Allied victory
 United States
Flag of South Vietnam.svg South Vietnam
Flag of South Korea.svg Republic of Korea
Flag of Vietnam.svg North Vietnam
FNL Flag.svg Viet Cong

United States 1st Cavalry Division: 5,700
South Vietnam 22nd Division: ~10,000
South Korea Capital Mechanized Infantry Division

Vietnam 3rd Division: ~8,000
Casualties and losses
Flag of the United States.svg 288 killed and 990 wounded
Flag of South Korea.svg 10 KIA, 40 WIA
Flag of South Vietnam.svg Unknown
14 aircraft shot down, 241 aircraft damaged.[1]:Incl 1–5
US reported 2,150 killed

Operation Masher was a combined U.S., Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), and Republic of Korea Army (ROKA) operation that began on January 28, 1966. The name "Operation Masher" was changed to "Operation White Wing", because the name was deemed too crude for 'nation-building'. The mission was a search and destroy mission, and had little to do with nation-building. The operation was divided into four Phases. The operation linked in with the U.S. Marines' Operation Double Eagle.

Masher/White Wing lasted 42 days and ended on March 6. The U.S claimed 1,342 enemy soldiers had been killed by the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) at the cost of 288 United States' troops killed and 990 wounded. The ARVN and ROKA forces killed an additional 808 enemy soldiers. 65 crew-served and 289 individual weapons were captured.[1]:Incl 1–2 The U.S claimed the 3rd NVA Division was destroyed; however, later it was back in action elsewhere on the battlefield.

On 25 January a C-123 carrying troops of the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry from Camp Radcliff to Bong Son in preparation for the operation crashed into mountains near An Khe, killing all 4 crewmen and 42 passengers onboard.[1]:13

On 28 January 2/7th Cavalry air assaulted in bad weather into Landing Zones 3 and 4. The assault into Landing Zone 4 (14°31′48″N 109°01′23″E / 14.53°N 109.023°E / 14.53; 109.023) was met with heavy small arms and mortar fire.[1]:13 An attempt to reinforce LZ 4 was forced back by heavy antiaircraft fire. On the morning of 29 June 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry was air assaulted near LZ 4 to relieve enemy pressure. Napalm strikes were conducted around LZ 4 producing numerous secondary explosions. Enemy fire around LZ 4 continued until the morning of 30 June when the 2/7 Cavalry and 2/12 Cavalry linked up and cleared the area around LZ 4.[1]:14 The engagement at LZ 4 is sometimes referred to as the "Battle of Cu Nghi."

ROKA troops were involved in the Tay Vinh and Gò Dài massacres during the operation.[2]


The US Government summarized the amount of firepower deployed during Operation Masher/White wing. 1352 strikes coupled with 1126 fighter sorties dropped 1.5 million pounds of bombs. 292,000 pounds of napalm was also used. Operation Masher left over 1884 refugees.

By 1967, the number of Communists captured in Vietnam numbered 17,000 but there were over 1.2 million civilian refugees.


  • Summers, Harry G. Historical Atlas of the Vietnam War. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.
  • The Ten Thousand Day War Imperial War Museum Dept of Printed Books

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