Operation Silver City

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Operation Silver City
Part of Vietnam War
US 173rd Airborne paratroopers near the Song Be March 1966.jpg
173rd Airborne troops patrol along the Sông Bé during the operation
Date7-23 March 1966
LocationBiên Hòa Province, South Vietnam
11°09′58″N 106°39′58″E / 11.166°N 106.666°E / 11.166; 106.666
Result U.S. claims operational success
 United States  Vietnam North Vietnam
Viet Cong
Commanders and leaders
BG Willard Pearson
BG Paul F. Smith
Col. Edgar N. Glotzbach
1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division
173rd Airborne Brigade
271st Regiment
Casualties and losses
11 killed US body count: 353 killed

Operation Silver City was an operation conducted by the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division and the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Biên Hòa Province, lasting from 7 to 23 March 1966.[1]


Operation Silver City was planned as a sweep of the southwestern sector of War Zone D by the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division and the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. The goal of the operation was to destroy the headquarters of the B2 Front's Military Region 1, a five-province area east and north of Saigon, and to engage the five major units currently under its command: the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) 9th Division's 271st and 273rd Regiments; the Viet Cong 5th Division's 274th and 275th Regiments; and the 308th Main Force Battalion, totaling almost nine thousand soldiers.[1]


On 7 March the 1st Brigade, commanded by Col. Edgar N. Glotzbach moved southeast of Phước Bình District into the area designated Nevada, while the 173rd, commanded by BGen Paul F. Smith moved to an area east of Sông Bé Province designated Arizona. The units patrolled their designated areas making limited contact with PAVN or VC.[1]:181–2

On 14 March Company C, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment located a well-entrenched enemy force east of Sông Bé. After calling in air and artillery strikes they overran the position, killing 9 PAVN/VC. The position was found to be a large field headquarters containing supplies and a hospital and was believed to be the headquarters of the B2 Front Military Region 1.[1]:182

On 15 March 2/503rd set up its night defensive position 6 km east of Bao Phung. During the night the 271st Regiment surrounded the position. At 07:30 on 16 March the VC shot down a UH-1 helicopter coming in to land on a supply mission, it was unclear if this was intended as a signal for a general attack, but this alerted the defenders and allowed them to man their positions before the VC launched a series of disjointed attacks on the perimeter. As the VC and U.S. forces became intermingled supporting fire could not be used and so instead was aimed at reserve formations. By 10:00 the VC were retreating leaving behind 303 dead and carrying away an estimated 150 dead. U.S. losses were 7 killed. Two Battalions were deployed south of the battle site in the hope of blocking escaping forces but made no contact.[1]:183

The Operation continued for another week with minimal contact.[1]:183


Operation Silver City officially concluded on 23 March, the US claiming that the PAVN/VC losses were 353 killed and a further 218 estimated killed, U.S. losses were 11 killed.[1]:183


 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 Carland, John (1999). Combat Operations: Stemming the Tide, May 1965 to October 1966. Government Printing Office. p. 181. ISBN 9780160873102.