Battle of Ap Bau Bang

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Battle of Ap Bau Bang
Part of Vietnam War
Date12 November 1965
Location
Bau Bang, South Vietnam

11°11′42″N 106°37′01″E / 11.195°N 106.617°E / 11.195; 106.617
Result See Aftermath
Belligerents
 United States Viet Cong
Commanders and leaders
LCol. George Shuffer Senior Col. Hoàng Cầm
Strength
2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment
Troop A 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment
Battery C, 2nd Battalion, 33rd Artillery Regiment
272nd Regiment
273rd Regiment
Casualties and losses
20 killed
103 wounded
VC claim: 2,000 killed or wounded
39 tanks and 8 artillery pieces destroyed
U.S. body count:146 killed and 50 probably killed
VC claim:109 killed
200+ wounded

The Battle of Ap Bau Bang (Vietnamese: trận Bàu Bàng) took place on the morning of 12 November 1965 when two regiments from the Viet Cong (VC) 9th Division attacked a night defensive position of the United States 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment (2/2nd Infantry) at a small village (ấp) by the name of Bàu Bàng, 25 km north of Thủ Dầu Một.

Background[edit]

On 4 November the commander of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) 5th Division MG Phạm Quốc Thuần requested the 1st Infantry Division to secure Highway 13 north of Lai Khê to cover the movement of the ARVN 7th Regiment, 5th Division for an operation in the Michelin Rubber Plantation.[1]

1st Infantry Division commander MG Seaman ordered Col. William Brodbeck's 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division to undertake this mission. The mission in turn was given to Lt. Col. George Shuffer and his 2/2nd Infantry. Lt. Col. Shuffer established a Task Force consisting of his unit plus Troop A, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment and Battery C, 2nd Battalion, 33rd Artillery Regiment.[1]:80 Lt. Col. Shuffer divided Highway 13 into 3 sectors each secured by a company and with the command group, Cavalry and artillery in the middle sector. Each day patrols would be sent out to sweep the Highway and its surroundings and they would withdraw into night defensive positions.[1]:80

The commander of the VC 9th Division, Senior Colonel Hoàng Cầm decided to attack the American forces, gathering his units on the afternoon of 11 November. The main target would be the central American unit located just south of the village of Bau Bang, with the main assault by the 272nd Regiment supported by mortars and recoilless rifles and elements of the 271st Regiment. While the 273rd Regiment would attack from the south and block Highway 13 to the south preventing any reinforcement, while the 7th Battalion would be held in reserve.[1]:81

Battle[edit]

On the night of 11 November several mortar rounds hit Lt. Col. Shuffer's central position and a night ambush killed 2 VC[1]:81

At 06:05 on the morning 12 November, as Lt. Col. Shuffer's forces prepared to start patrolling Highway 13, the VC launched their attack. Starting with a barrage of 50 mortar rounds, a Battalion of VC attacked from the southwest. The attack was quickly met by return fire from Troop A's M113s which broke up the attack. A second attack from the south and a third attack from the southeast were similarly beaten back by the waiting American force.[1]:83

At 07:00 the main attack was launched from the village of Bau Bang to the north and initially succeeded in penetrating the American position, before this attack was also repulsed. Battery C used its guns in anti-personnel mode firing 50 rounds at ground level with 2 second fuses. Air strikes by US Air Force A-1Hs and US Navy A-4s were directed against the VC mortars and recoilless rifles positioned in and around Bau Bang.[1]:83–4

At 09:00 the VC launched a final assault from the north, but were met with concentrated artillery fire and air strikes and by 13:30 the Viet Cong had abandoned their attacks and withdrawn.[1]:84

Aftermath[edit]

Total US casualties were 20 killed and 103 wounded, while VC losses were 146 killed (body count) and a further 50 were believed to have been killed, but the bodies were removed.[1]:84 Vietnamese sources only acknowledged 109 killed and over 200 wounded for the VC and claimed to have killed or wounded 2000 Americans and destroyed 39 tanks and 8 heavy artillery pieces.[2] The 2/2nd Infantry and attached units received a Valorous Unit Award for this action. [3]

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army Center of Military History.

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Carland, John (2000). Combat Operations: Stemming the Tide, May 1965 to October 1966. Government Printing Office. p. 80. ISBN 9781782663430.
  2. ^ (in Vietnamese) Thu Thảo, "Chiến thắng Bàu Bàng: “Quả đấm thép” trên chiến trường miền Nam – Bài 3", Báo Bình Dương, 11 November 2015. The article says, "Our side had 109 cadres and soldiers killed in action and more than 200 comrades wounded."
  3. ^ "Lineage and Honors Information 2d Battalion, 2d Infantry Regiment". U.S. Army Center of Military History. Retrieved 18 September 2017.