First Battle of Loc Ninh

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First Battle of Lộc Ninh
Part of the Vietnam War
CIDG compound & Loc Ninh airstrip.jpg

CIDG Compound and Airstrip in Lộc Ninh
Date October 29–December 10, 1967
Location Lộc Ninh, South Vietnamese-Cambodian border.
Result Disputed (Allied Tactical Victory; Viet Cong Strategic Victory)
 South Vietnam
 United States
FNL Flag.svg Viet Cong
Commanders and leaders
United States Major General John H. Hay, Jr. FNL Flag.svg Hoàng Văn Thái
Units involved
1st Infantry Division 273rd Division
Casualties and losses
50 dead
Unknown Wounded
U.S. claimed: ~1,000 casualties
PAVN claim: 852 casualties

The First Battle of Lộc Ninh was a battle during the Vietnam War that occurred between October 29 and December 10, 1967, fought by the Viet Cong, Civilian Irregular Defense Group (CIDG) and the United States Army.


Lộc Ninh is a town located in and the capital of the Binh Long province, approximately 9 miles east of the Cambodian border and 70 miles north of Saigon.[1] As a part of his strategic preparations for the Tet Offensive in early 1968, General Võ Nguyen Giáp began attacking isolated allied bases in the fall of 1967 in hopes he could draw U.S. and Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) forces outside of several major South Vietnamese cities. The principal forces left to guard Loc Ninh included three companies of the CIDG, a company of South Vietnamese Regional Forces, and a platoon of South Vietnamese Popular Forces.[2]

Battle of Loc Ninh[edit]

In conjunction with attacks on Dak To and Song Be, two regiments of the 9th Viet Cong Division left their base in Cambodia on October 29, 1967.[3] They encountered immediate and strong resistance in Loc Ninh from the defending South Vietnamese forces. By November 1, Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) forces and two battalions from the American 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division (approximately 1,400 men) arrive to reinforce the capital city. The reinforcements swing the momentum of the fight and by November 7 a majority of Viet Cong forces disengage and retreat back across the border.[4] The communist losses were significant during the Battle of Loc Ninh, with estimated totals of dead ranging from 850 to over 1,000.[5]


While American and South Vietnamese forces inflicted massive casualties to the advancing Viet Cong, the general outcome of the First Battle of Loc Ninh was not as one sided as initially believed. The battles at Loc Ninh, Song Be, and Dak To supported the belief that the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong were finally implementing more conventional tactics, however this was merely a ploy. Instead the attacks on remote villages throughout South Vietnam lured allied forces out of population centers and into the countryside, exactly as General Giap had hoped. The dispersal of troops throughout the south caused the Tet Offensive, beginning in late January 1968, to have a much greater impact, especially in cities like Saigon, My Tho, and Tay Ninh City.[6]


  1. ^ Kutler, Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War, p. 290.
  2. ^ Olson, In Country: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War, p. 313.
  3. ^ Olson, p. 313.
  4. ^ Bowman, The Vietnam War: An Almanac, p. 186.
  5. ^ Olson, p. 313.
  6. ^ Olson, p. 313.


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