General Hieu and Richard Peters

Richard Peters, US Consul General of Bien Hoa, often visited ARVN III Corps HQ, or Charles Lahiguera, the Vice Consul, on his absence, to discuss the current military situation in the region with either General Thuan or General Dong or General Toan - the Corps Commanders, depending on the period, with either Colonel Ngo Van Minh or Brigadier General Le Trung Tuong - the Corps Chief of Staff, depending on the period, and General Hieu - the Deputy Commander. Following are some cablegrams Peters or Lahiguera dispatched to Graham Martin or Lehman, in Martin's absence, of the US Embassy in Saigon after talking with General Hieu.

April 01 1974

R 010620Z APR 74

SUBJ: MILITARY ACTION AT DUC HUE AND ELSEWHERE IN MR 3

1. A RANGER COMPANY AT DUC HUE WELL SUPPORTED BY AIR STOOD OFF A DETERMINED BATTALION-SIZE ATTACK BY THE 5TH NVA DIV MAR 27 AND 28, AFTERWARD COUNTING AT LEAST 96 COMMUNIST KIA AGAINST ONLY 29 FRIENDLY KIA, 27 WOUNDED AND 6 MIA. FRIENDLY LOSSES WERE AUGMENTED BY AN ADDITIONAL 16 DEPENDENTS KIA AND TWO WOUNDED IN THE DEPENDENTS LIVING AREA NEAR THE RANGER BASE. THERE ARE INDICATIONS THAT WITH THIS ACTION THE COMMUNISTS HAVE OPENED UP A NEW AREA OF LONG TERM OPERATIONS BASED IN THE PARROTS BEAK AREA OF CAMBODIA.

2. DEPUTY III CORPS COMMANDER MGEN HIEU DISCUSSED THE DUC HUE ENGAGEMENT AND THE HIGH LEVEL OF MILITARY ACTION ELSEWHERE IN MR 3 WHEN WE MET AT NOON TODAY. THIS REPORT IS ALSO BASED ON INFORMATION OBTAINED BY OUR RLO/DAO FROM THE 25TH DIV G-2 MAR 29.

3. THE ACTION AT DUC HUE BEGAN AT 0330 MAR 27 WHEN THE NVA ATTACKED THE RANGER BASE CAMP ABOUT FIVE MILES FROM THE CAMBODIAN BORDER AFTER A STRONG ARTILLERY AND MORTAR BARRAGE. SAPPERS PENETRATED THE BASE PERIMETER WHEN THE GROUND ACTION BEGAN AND HELD ON FOR SEVERAL HOURS BEFORE THE RANGERS REESTABLISHED CONTROL. ONLY ONE OF THREE RANGER COMPANIES WAS IN THE CAMP AT THE TIME. THE OTHER TWO RETURNED FROM LONG RANGE PATROLS AFTER THE COMMUNISTS BROKE OFF MAR 28. CAPTURED DOCUMENTS IDENTIFY THE ATTACKING FORCE AS A BATTALION OF THE E-6 REGIMENT, 5TH NVA DIV. ACCORDING TO MGEN HIEU, ANOTHER BATTALION FROM THE 5TH DIV (NOT YET IDENTIFIED) DEPLOYED INITIALLY ALONG THE SINGLE ACCESS ROAD FROM THE NORTH, PRESUMABLY TO AMBUSH ARVN RELIEF UNITS. THIS BATTALION AS WELL AS SOME AMPHIBIOUS TANKS SPOTTED NEARBY ON THE CAMBODIAN BORDER WITHDREW WHEN NVA FORCES FAILED TO TAKE THE RANGER BASE.

4. THE COMMANDER OF THE ARVN 46TH REGIMENT (25THDIV) WAS UNFORTUNATELY LOST WHEN A 107MM ROCKET SCORED A DIRECT HIT ON HIS BUNKER IN BIVOUAC NORTH OF THE RANGER BASE CAMP ALONG THE ACCESS ROAD AT 0400 HOURS MAR 29. ELEMENTS OF THE 25TH UNDER HIS COMMAND HAD GONE TO THE DUC HUE AREA TO REINFORCE BUT HAD NOT BEEN INVOLVED IN THE ACTION THROUGH MAR 28.

5. AIR ACTION INCLUDING PARTICULARLY A-1'S AND AC-119'S APPARENTLY PLAYED AN IMPORTANT ROLE NOT ONLY AGAINST ENEMY PERSONNEL BUT ALSO IN ELIMINATING SEVERAL 75MM RECOILLESS RIFLE POSITIONS. AN INTERESTING FEATURE OF THE AIR ACTION WAS THE EVASION OF FOUR SA-7 ROUNDS BY AN AC-119. SEEING THE ROUNDS FIRED WHILE HE WAS AT 9,500 FEET, THE PILOT TURNED SHARPLY AND SIMULTANEOUSLY DROPPED HIGH INTENSITY FLARES WHICH DREW TWO OF THE SA-7 ROUNDS. THE OTHER TWO BY-PASSED THE AC-119 AND EXPLODED AT 10,000 FEET.

6. OTHER REPORTING HAS RECORDED THE LOSS OF A POL STORAGE TANK FROM AN NVA ATTACK ON CU CHI BASE CAMP MAR 27 AND HEAVY ABF (200 ROUNDS) ON TRUNG LAP OUTPOST NORTHEAST OF TRANG BANG THE NIGHT OF MAR 28. MGEN HIEU THOUGHT THIS SHARPLY INCREASED NVA ACTIVITY IN NORTHERN HAU NGHIA WAS DIRECTLY RELATED TO THE DUC HUE ATTACK, INTENDED TO DIVERT GVN FORCES FROM RELIEF OF THE DUC HUE GARRISON. HE DID NOT, HOWEVER, SEE ANY RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THIS ACTIVITY IN HAU NGHIA AND THE SHARP INCREASE OF INCIDENTS IN PHUOC TUY PROVINCE (13 ON MAR 28 ALONE). HE ALSO BELIEVES THAT THE DUC HUE ATTACK NOW EXPLAINS THE ESTABLISHMENT OF AN NVA 5TH DIV FORWARD CP AT CU PHI IN THE PARROTS BEAK OF CAMBODIA AND HE EXPECTS FURTHER ACTION FROM THE 5TH EITHER IN THE DUC HUE AREA OR IN TAY NINH. (RECENT OB DATA SHOWS THE 174 AND 275 REGIMENTS OF THE 5TH NVA DIV STILL TO BE IN TAY NINH.) THE EVIDENT PRESENCE OF NVA ANTI-AIRCRAFT CAPABILITY IN THE ACTION AT DUC HUE INDICATES THE CAREFUL PREPARATION OF AN ATTACK WHICH WAS EXPECTED TO DRAW VNAF REACTION. MGEN HIEU SAID MR 3 IS NOW ALSO ALERT TO THE POSSIBILITY THAT THE NVA 9TH DIV MAY PUSH OUTWARD FROM ITS POSITIONS IN NORTHWEST BINH DUONG PROVINCE SOUTHWARD ALONG THE SAIGON RIVER CORRIDOR TO PUT PRESSURE IN THIS AREA ON GVN FORCES. ACCORDING TO G-2 OF THE 25TH DIV, DOCUMENTS CAPTURED IN THE DUC HUE ACTION SHOW THE E-6 REGIMENT NOW TO HAVE A MISSION (A) TO SECURE THE AREA WEST OF THE VAM CO DONG RIVER IN DUC HUE DISTRICT OF HAU NGHIA AND ADJACENT HIEU THIEN DISTRICT OF TAY NINH, AND (B) TO ESCORT RESUPPLY UNITS FROM THE CAMBODIAN BORDER (PRESUMABLY PARROTS BEAK AREA) TO NVA/VC BASE AREAS TO HO BO AND BOI LOI WOODS.

7. COMMENT: WITH INDICATIONS OF AN INCREASED SCALE OF NVA/VC INITIATED ACTIONS IN THE NEAR TERM, WITH THE POSSIBILITY OF INCREASED NVA/VC PRESSURE IN HAU NGHIA/TAY NINH AREA, THE SAIGON RIVER CORRIDOR, AND PHUOC TUY PROVINCE TO THE EAST, AND WITH SIGNS OF GREATER SAPPER SABOTAGE EFFORTS BY THE COMMUNISTS IN THE NEAR FUTURE, THE PROSPECT IS FOR AN INTERESTING APRIL IN MR 3.

PETERS

May 20, 1974

O 200905Z MAY 74

SUBJECT: NVA/VC ATTACKS AT PHU GIAO AND BEN CAT

REF: BIEN HOA 264

1. NVA/VC HAVE REOCCUPIED AND CONTINUE TO HOLD AN DIEN HAMLET ONE KM SOUTHWEST OF BEN CAT DISTRICT TOWN BUT OTHERWISE SITUATION SEEMS FAIRLY STABLE FOR THE MOMENT IN BEN CAT AND PHU GIAO.

2. IN CONVERSATION AT 0930 HOURS MAY 18, DEP CMDR MR 3 MG HIEU DISPLAYED NO DOUBT THAT GVN WOULD RECOVER AN DIEN IN TWO-PRONGED ACTION OF 43RD MOVING NORTHWEST ON ROUTE 14 (REFTEL) AND OTHER GVN FORCES MOVING WEST FROM BEN CAT WHICH HE SAID WOULD GET UNDERWAY TODAY OR TOMORROW UNDER COMMAND OF ARVN 18TH DIV CMDR, BG DAO. THERE WERE GOOD INDICATIONS THAT T-54 TANKS TJD OPERATED IN BEN CAT DISTRICT ALTHOUGH GEN HIEU SAID HE HAD NOT HIMSELF SEEN POSITIVE EVIDENCE. HIEU THOUGHT NVA/VC REOCCUPATION OF AN DIEN WAS PERHAPS PRELIMINARY TO AN EFFORT TO THRUST MORE DEEPLY SOUTHWARD IN THE IRON TRIANGLE (SOUTHERN HALF OF BEN CAT DISTRICT) TOWARD PHU CUONG CAPITOL OF BINH DUONG PROVINCE. BEN CAT DISTRICT TOWN IS TAKING FAIRLY HEAVY ABF'S BUT HIEU AND OTHER SENIOR MR3 OFFICERS BELIEVE IT UNLIKELY COMMUNISTS WOULD ATTEMPT TO TAKE IT AND ARE CONFIDENT ANY SUCH EFFORT WOULD FAIL.

3. IN PHU GIAO, IMMEDIATE THREAT TO SONG BE BRIDGE APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN LIFTED AND HIEU REPORTED GVN FORCES CONTINUE TO NUDGE THE NVA/VC BACK WHEREVER THEY HAVE ATTACKED. THE COMMUNISTS CONTINUE TO HOLD TWO ROADBLOCKS INTERDICTING ROUTE 1-A SOUTH OF SONG BE BRIDGE (ONE ROADBLOCK JUST NORTH AND ONE JUST SOUTH OF BO LA VILLAGE). THERE HAS STILL BEEN NO CONTACT WITH NVA 165TH (EXCEPT SAPPERS) AND 141ST REGIMENTS OF 7TH NVA DIV THOUGHT TO BE IN THE PHU GIAO AREA, ACCORDING TO HIEU.

4. MR3 REPORTS THAT 7TH RANGER GROUP IS BEING MOVED TO PHU CUONG TO REINFORCE AND SHORE UP DEFENSES IN THE IMMEDIATE AREA OF THE PROVINCIAL CAPITOL (THE BRIDGE ACROSS THE SAIGON RIVER AT PHU CUONG IS AMONG TARGETS THAT MIGHT ATTRACT THE NVA/VC IN THIS PERIOD). THE 7TH MAY LATER RELIEVE THE 52ND REGIMENT OF THE 18TH ARVN DIV IN TAN UYEN DISTRICT (NORTHERN BIEN HOA PROVINCE) PERMITTING THE 52ND TO JOIN THE 43RD, ALSO OF THE 18TH DIV, IN OPERATIONS IN BEN CAT WEST OF ROUTE 13.

5. RELIABLE WORD JUST RECEIVED AS THIS MESSAGE IS BEING SENT IS THAT VNAF HAS DESTROYED TWO T-54 TANKS, ONE AT OUTPOST 82 AND ONE AT AN DIEN HAMLET WEST OF BEN CAT DISTRICT TOWN, WITH POSITIVE IDENTIFICATION FROM PHOTOGRAPHS.

6. COMMENT. THREE REGIMENTS OF THE NVA 7TH AND 9TH DIVS HAVE NOT YET SHOWN THEMSELVES IN THEME LATEST ACTIONS IN BINH DUONG PROVINCE. THE MAY 19TH BIRTH ANNIVERSARY OF HO CHI MINH COULD PROVIDE THE OCCASION FP THESE FORCES TO ATTEMPT TO STAGE SOME SPECTACULAR ACTION. ATTEMPTS COULD INCLUDE DESTRUCTION OF MAJOR BRIDGES, INTERDICTIONS OF ROUTES 13, 1-A AND 16 WELL SOUTH AND POSSIBLY ABF'S ON THE PROVINCIAL CAPTIOL.

PETERS.

June 05, 1974

O 050240Z JUN 74

SUBJ: GVN FORCES TAKE AN DIEN HAMLET IN BINH DUONG FIGHTING

REF: BIEN HOA 295

1. DEPUTY MR 3 COMMANDER MG HIEU TELEPHONED AT 1530 HOURS TO SAY THAT GVN FORCES HAD TAKEN AN DIEN HAMLET IN HEAVY FIGHTING DURING WHICH ARVN'S 52ND AND 48TH REGIMENTS HAD DESTROYED FOUR TANKS WITH INFANTRY WEAPONS. HIEU HAD JUST RETURNED FROM BEN CAT.

2. IN CONVERSATION WHICH FOLLOWED, HIEU SAID THAT IN EARLY MORNING HOURS OF JUNE 4, NVA/VC FORCES INCLUDING TANKS, HAD LAUNCHED A COUNTER-ATTACK AGAINST GVN FORCES AROUND AN DIEN. THE GVN COMMANDER OF THE OPERATION, BG DAO OF ARVN 18TH DIVISION, HAD THEN ALSO LAUNCHED A COUNTERATTACK AND AFTER HEAVY FIGHTING HIS TROOPS HAD SECURED AN DIEN BY MID-DAY. WHEN COMMUNIST TANKS JOINED THE ATTACK, ONE WAS KNOCKED OUT BY THE 48TH REGIMENT, TWO BY THE 52ND, AND ONE, DAMAGED BY UNIDENTIFIED FIRE, WAS LAST SEEN MOVING AWAY FROM AN DIEN TOWARD COMMUNIST LINES BURNING BADLY. HIEU SAID HE THOUGHT TWO OF THE TANKS WERE T-54'S AND TWO WERE PT 76'S. ONE OF THE T-54'S APPARENTLY NOSED INTO A DITCH WITH ONLY LIGHT DAMAGE AND IS IN NEAR PERFECT CONDITION. (NOTE: HIEU SAID GVN FORCES WILL SEEK TO EXTRACT THIS TANK AS PROMPTLY AS POSSIBLE AND PLACE IT ON DISPLAY PROMINENTLY IN SAIGON.)

3. ENGINEERS ARE ALREADY AT WORK REPAIRING THE PERMANENT BRIDGE OVER THE THI TINH RIVER WEST OF BEN CAT. HIEU THOUGHT THE 318TH ARMORED TASK FORCE MIGHT BE ABLE TO MOVE WESTWARD FROM BEN CAT DURING THE AFTERNOON OF JUNE 4 TO JOIN THE 52ND AND 48TH REGIMENTS IN A PUSH WESTWARD DOWN ROUTE 7 TOWARD RACH BAP. THE 52ND REGIMENT WAS UNDER ORDERS TO EXPAND THE PERIMETER AROUND AN DIEN ON THE WEST SIDE ON THE AFTERNOON OF JUNE 4 TO PREPARE FOR THE ARRIVAL OF THE 318TH.

4. GENERAL DAO BELIEVES THAT THE AREA NORTHEAST OF BEN CAT THUS FAR HELD BY THE 7TH RANGERS IS SECURE AFTER GVN CAPTURE OF AN DIEN. HIEU THOUGHT THAT DAO WOULD, THEREFORE, MOVE THE 7TH RANGERS TO SOUTHERN BEN CAT DISTRICT WEST OF THE ONG CO BRIDGE ON ROUTE 14 TO RELIEVE THE 43RD REGIMENT WHICH COULD THEN JOIN ITS SISTERS THE 48TH AND 52ND REGIMENTS OF THE 18TH DIVISION IN THE FIGHTING WESTWARD ALONG ROUTE 7. HIEU WAS HOPEFUL THAT DESPITE INDICATIONS THAT THE 271ST NVA REGIMENT HAS NOW COME INTO THE AREA NORTH OF ROUTE 7 TO REINFORCE THE 272ND AND 95-C NVA REGIMENTS, GVN FORCES WOULD REACH RACH BAP AND BRING THIS OPERATION IN BEN CAT TO A CLOSE WITHIN A WEEK.

5. HIEU WAS VERY GENEROUS IN HIS PRAISE OF BG DAO AND THE 18TH DIVISION WHICH HAD MOVED OUT OF ITS ASSIGNED AREA OF OPERATIONS AND AGAIN PULLED OFF A SUCCESSFUL OPERATION AGAINST THE ENEMY.

6. GVN CASUALTIES IN JUNE 4 FIGHTING WERE RELATIVELY LIGHT ACCORDING TO HIEU. HE THOUGHT THAT NVA/VC CASUALTIES IN THE 95-C REGIMENT AT AN DIEN HAD BEEN VERY HEAVY.

PETERS

December 10, 1974

O 100135Z DEC 74 ZFF4

SUBJECT: MILITARY ACTIVITY AND PROSPECTS IN MR3

REF: BIEN HOA 624

1. SUMMARY. WITH THE NVA/VC 1974-75 DRY SEASON CAMPAIGN NOW UNDERWAY, THE SITUATION NORTHEAST OF TAY NINH CITY APPEARS STABILIZED FOR THE MOMENT WITH TERRITORIAL FORCES PERFORMING EXTREMELY WELL. FURTHER HEAVY ATTACKS IN TAY NINH CAN BE PRECONFIDENTIAL PREDICTED. HEAVY ATTACKS BY THE 7TH AND 9TH NVA DIVS IN OTHER AREAS CAN ALSO BE PREDICTED IN THE COMING WEEKS, WITH CU CHI AND TRANG BANG ON ROUTE 1 IN NORTHERN HAU NGHIA LIKELY TARGETS. PHU GIAO IN NORTHEAST BING DUONG PROVINCE AND THE HOAI DUC AREA OF BINH TUY PROVINCE ARE OTHER LIKELY MAIN FORCE TARGETS. SAPPER ATTACKS CAN BE EXPECTED IN BOTH NORTHERN AND SOUTHERN BIEN HOA PROVINCE AS WELL AS IN THE ENVIRONS OF SAIGON. FREQUENT ROAD INTERDICTIONS ON THE MAIN ARTERIES SHOULD BE EXPECTED. THE POSSIBILITY OF AN ATTACK BY THE 5TH DIV ON THE WESTERN BORDER OF HAU NGHIA AND LONG AN PROVINCES IS NOT TO BE EXCLUDED. END SUMMARY.

2. IN THE HEAVY NVA/VC ATTACKS AT SUOI DA AND BA DEN MOUNTAIN, DESCRIBED REFTEL, TERRITORIAL FORCES HAVE GIVEN BETTER THAN THEY HAVE TAKEN, SUFFERING ONLY LIGHT CASUALTIES WHILE INFLICTING AN ESTIMATED 200 KIA ON COMMUNIST FORCES IN THE PERIOD FROM FRIDAY NIGHT TO MONDAY MORNING. NO DAMAGE HAS BEEN REPORTED TO EQUIPMENT AT THE GVN BASE ATOP NUI BA DEN. AT SUOI DA ALONE, RF TROOPS COUNTED MORE THAN 100 BODIES OUTSIDE THE PERIMETER AND THE COUNT IS EXPECTED TO INCREASE SUBSTANTIALLY WHEN NVA CASUALTIES INFLICTED BY AIR AND ARTILLERY BEYOND THE PERIMETER FENCE CAN BE COUNTED. TWO NVA PRISONERS CAPTURED AT SUOI DA FIRST SAID THEY WERE FROM THE 7TH DIV BUT UNDER FURTHER INTERROGATION DECLARED THEY WERE FROM THE 205TH REGT. JUDGMENT ON THE POSSIBLE SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS IS BEING RESERVED PENDING RELIEF OF THE GARRISON AT SUOI DA AND INTERROGATION BY EXPERIENCED INTELLIGENCE EXPERTS. RF TROOPS AT SUOI DA HAVE CAPTURED INTACT AN UNUSUAL ARTILLERY PIECE WHICH THEY DESCRIBE AS HAVING A "LONG TUBE" BUT WHICH OTHERWISE THEY CANNOT POSITIVELY IDENTIFY.

3. AT ONE POINT DURING DEC 7, VC WERE INSIDE SUOI DA VILLAGE BUT WERE SUBSEQUENTLY DRIVEN OUT. GROUND ASSAULTS CONTINUED THERE RELENTLESSLY DURING DAYLIGHT HOURS DEC 8. MR3 COMMANDER, LTG DONG, TOLD ME THIS MORNING THAT SPOTTER L-19S OPERATED WHEN THE NVA/VC CARRIED OUT RE-SUPPLY OPERATIONS BETWEEN ASSAULTS AND THAT FRIENDLY AIR WERE THUS SHOWN GOOD TARGETS WHERE NVA FORCES WERE CONCENTRATED.

4. PHUOC HOI HAMLET BETWEEN TAY NINH AND SUOI DA WAS STILL OCCUPIED BY NVA/VC FORCES THE MORNING OF DEC 9, BUT GVN TERRITORIAL FORCES WERE AT BOTH THE SOUTHWESTERN AND NORTHEASTERN EDGES OF THE HAMLET ON ROUTE 13. IT WAS NEAR PHUOC HOI ON DEC 8 THAT AN ARVN BATTALION MINUS (2ND BATTALION, 49TH REGT, 25TH DIV) MOVING TO THE RELIEF OF SOUI DA AND PHUOC HOI OUTPOSTS WAS BADLY HURT BY AN NVA AMBUSH AND ARTILLERY BARRAGE. THE BATTALION WAS TEMPORARILY ELIMINATED FROM FURTHER EFFECTIVE ACTION WITH A REPORTED 11 KIA, 32 WIA, AND ABOUT 45 MIA. TERRITORIAL FORCES IN OR NEAR THE SAME ACTION APPEAR TO HAVE HELD STEADY.

5. A LARGER QUESTION AT THIS JUNCTURE IS WHETHER, WHEN AND WITH WHAT FORCES THE NVA WILL CONTINUE THE ASSAULT NORTH AND NORTHEAST OF TAY NINH CITY. ON PAST PERFORMANCE, IT WOULD BE UNLIKELY THAT THE COMMUNISTS WOULD FAIL TO FOLLOW UP WITH SUSTAINED HEAVY ATTACKS, AND SPECULATION CURRENTLY CENTERS ON WHAT FORCE THEY WOULD SEND AGAINST SUOI DA OR OTHER GVN OUTPOSTS NORTH OF TAY NINH CITY WITH THE 205TH NOW SO BADLY HURT. ONE POSSIBILITY BEING CONSIDERED IS THAT THE 201ST REGT, WHICH HAS BEEN IN THE AN LOC AREA FOR MANY MONTHS, MAY HAVE MOVED TO TAY NINH TO COME IN BEHIND THE 205TH. MR3 HQ IS ALSO CLOSELY WATCHING ROUTE 22 NORTHWEST FROM TAY NINH CITY TO XAMAT. OB HOLDINGS CURRENTLY PLACE TWO TANK BATTALIONS IN THE XAMAT AREA (TWO MORE AT LOC NINH) AND THERE IS RECENT INTELLIGENCE SHOWING RADAR-CONTROLLED 57MM ANTI-AIRCRAFT WEAPONS ON THIS ROAD SOUTH OF THIEN NGON AIRFIELD. IT IS ASSUMED THAT FURTHER ASSAULTS FROM THE NORTH OF TAY NINH CITY WILL BE COORDINATED WITH ATTACKS BY THE D-14 OR D-16 BATTALION OR BOTH IN THE TRUONG HOA MARKET AREA ON THE SOUTHEAST EDGE OF TAY NINH CITY AND PROBABLY BY ATTEMPTS TO CUT ROUTE 22 LEADING TO SAIGON.

6. IN THE LARGER FRAME OF THINGS, GENERAL DONG IS CONSCIOUS THAT THE 9TH AND 7TH NVA DIVS ARE YET TO BE COMMITTED AND THAT THE HEAVIEST ATTACKS ARE STILL TO COME. THERE ARE STRONG INDICATIONS THAT THE 7TH DIV WILL STRIKE PHU GIAO IN NORTHEAST BINH DUONG PROVINCE (AT LEAST THE 209TH OR 165TH REGT OR BOTH). THERE IS NO CLEAR INTELLIGENCE INDICATION WHERE THE 9TH DIV MAY ATTACK, BUT ONE STRONG TARGET POSSIBILITY WOULD BE THE SOFT AREA BETWEEN ROUTE 1 AND THE SAIGON RIVER AND BETWEEN TRANG BANG AND HOC MON. THIS AREA, ENCOMPASSING TRANG BANG AND CU CHI DISTRICTS OF HAU NGHIA PROVINCE AND PHU HOA DISTRICT OF BINH DUONG PROVINCE HAS LONG BEEN HEAVILY VC-INFESTED AREAS. STRONG ATTACKS IN THIS AREA WOULD HAVE THE FURTHER OBJECTIVE OF INTERDICTING ROUTE 1 BETWEEN SAIGON AND TAY NINH. THERE ARE AS YET NO STRONG INDICATIONS OF 9TH NVA DIV FORCES SOUTH OF THE SAIGON RIVER. THIS LEAVES OPEN THE POSSIBILITY THAT THE 9TH MIGHT INSTEAD INITIALLY ATTACK TRI TAM (NOT MILITARILY SIGNIFICANT) OR RENEW ATTACKS IN THE BEN CAT-LAI KHE AREA OF WESTERN BINH DUONG, WITH ONLY THE 101ST NVA REGT AND LOCAL FORCE ATTACKING IN THE TRANG BANG/CU CHI AREA.

7. FOUR SIMULTANEOUS SAPPER ATTACKS ON ROUTE 24 BETWEEN CONG THANH DISTRICT TOWN AND DAI AN VILLAGE TO THE NORTHEAST OF BIEN HOA AIR BASE ON THE NIGHT OF DEC 7-8 COULD WELL BE A HARBINGER OF HEAVIER SAPPER ATTACKS IN THE BIEN HOA AREA BY THE 113 SAPPER BATTALION, WHICH IS ALMOST CERTAINLY IN EASTERN CONG THANH DISTRICT. ALL CONCERNED EXPECTED A RESUMPTION OF ROCKET ATTACKS ON BIEN HOA AIR BASE WHICH HAVE NOT OCCURRED SINCE OCTOBER 31.

8. IT SEEMS VIRTUALLY CERTAIN THAT THE HEAVY MILITARY ACTIVITY IN STORE FOR MR3 WILL INCLUDE ATTACKS IN SOUTHERN BIEN HOA AT THE NEW THI THIEN RESETTLEMENT SITE AND IN NHON TRACH DISTRICT WHICH IS ON THE EASTERN FLANK OF SAIGON. CAPTURED INTELLIGENCE INDICATES THAT THE NVA/VC HAVE SET AN OBJECVE OF ESTABLISHING SOME SMALL LIBERATED AREAS IN EXISTING HAMLETS IN NHON TRACH DISTRICT.

9. A MORE SPECULATIVE POSSIBILITY IS COMMUNIST ATTACK ON THE WESTERN FLANK OF HAU NGHIA AND LONG AN PROVINCES. THE NVA/VC FOR MORE THAN A YEAR HAVE DECLARED CONQUEST OF AREAS WEST OF THE VAM CO DONG RIVER IN TAY NINH, HAU NGHIA AND LONG AN TO BE AMONG THEIR MAJOR GOALS. SOME AREAS WEST OF THE RIVER ARE GOOD AGRICULTURE LAND, AND CONQUEST OF "RICE-GROWING LANDS" ARE AMONG DECLARED GOALS FOR THE 1974-75 DRY SEASON. SUBSTANTIAL PARTS OF THE AREA WEST OF THE RIVER ARE UNPOPULATED. THIS WOULD SEEM TO EASE THE POSSIBILITY OF THEIR BEING TAKEN OVER BY THE COMMUNISTS. ON THE OTHER HAND, THE MR3 COMMANDER AND OTHER SENIOR MR3 OFFICERS HAVE DECLARED CONFIDENTLY THAT THE GVN CAN READILY COPE WITH ANY LARGE-UNIT ATTACKS IN THIS AREA BECAUSE THERE IS NO COVER FOR LARGE FORCES. THE DEPUTY CORPS COMMANDER HAS TOLD ME HE WOULD WELCOME LARGE UNIT NVA/VC ATTACK THERE BECAUSE GVN FORCES COULD INFLICT HEAVY CASUALTIES.

10. THE COMMUNISTS COULD STILL TURN ON A DIVERSIONARY ACTION IN THE HOAI DUC AREA OF BINH TUY PROVINCE WHERE THE 33RD AND 812 NVA REGTS HAVE BEEN IN PLACE FOR SOME TIME READY TO ATTACK TO ISOLATE THE HOAI DUC RICE BOWL AREA. THE WELL-CONCEIVED NVA/VC PLAN, DISCLOSED WHEN A 33RD REGT BATTALION COMMANDER WAS CAPTURED, HAS UNDOUBTEDLY BEEN POSTPONED BY THE TIMELY PLACEMENT OF GVN REINFORCEMENTS IN THE TARGET AREAS, AND THE PLAN MAY IN DUE COURSE BE SCRUBBED BY THE COMMUNISTS. GENERAL DONG TOLD ME THIS MORNING, HOWEVER, THAT HE BELIEVES THE COMMUNISTS ARE HOPING THAT HE WILL PULL HIS REINFORCEMENTS OUT OF THE AREA IN THE NEAR FUTURE, AT WHICH TIME THEY WOULD ATTACK. HE DOES NOT INTEND TO OBLIGE.

11. IN FURTHER SUMMARY, STRONG NVA/VC ACTION IN THE TRANG BANG CU CHI AREAS ON AND NORTH OF ROUTE 1, AND IN PHU GIAO, AS WELL AS IN TAY NINH PROVINCE, IS VIRTUALLY CERTAIN IN THE COMING WEEKS. IT WOULD BE PRUDENT TO EXPECT DURING THIS PERIOD FREQUENT SAPPER AND LOCAL FORCE ACTIONS IN THE ENVIRONS OF SAIGON AS WELL AS FREQUENT INTERDICTION OF ROUTE 1/22 BETWEEN SAIGON AND TAY NINH, ROUTE 1 EAST OF BIEN HOA, ROUTE 20 TO DALAT, AND ROUTE 15 TO VUNG TAU.

PETERS.

December 26, 1974

R 261107Z DEC 74

SUBJ: MILITARY SITUATION IN MR-3

1. MR-3 COMMANDER LTG DONG AND BOTH HIS DEPUTIES REGARD THE PRESENT MILITARY SITUATION IN MR-3 AS "EXTREMELY SERIOUS". MAJOR NVA ATTACKS ARE CONTINUING IN PHUOC LONG AND BINH TUY AND BOTH TANH LINH DISTRICT AND DONG XOAI HAVE FALLEN INTO COMMUNIST HANDS IN THE LAST 48 HOURS.

2. BINH TUY: THE LAST REMAINING GVN FORCE IN TANH LINH SECTOR HQS ABANDONED THEIR POSITION AT APPROXIMATELY 0100 HOURS ON CHRISTMAS DAY. THE DISTRICT CHIEF ACCOMPANIED BY 20 MEN HAVE REPORTED IN TO AN OUTPOST SEVERAL KMS TO THE SOUTH OF TANH LINH HQS AND ANOTHER 70 RF TROOPS HAVE APPEARED IN HAM TAN DISTRICT BY NOON ON DEC 26. THE MR-3 DEPUTY COMMANDER MG HIEU INFORMED ME THAT NO ARVN TROOPS WOULD BE INSERTED INTO HOAI DUC AND THAT HE PERSONALLY EXPECTED HOAI DUC TO FALL IN THE NEAR FUTURE. THE SIX ARVN BNS IN PLACE BETWEEN GIA RAY AND CHINH TAM ARE STILL BEING BLOCKED BY THE 33RD NVA DIV AND ALTHOUGH SOME 30 NVA WERE KILLED BY ARVN FORCES YESTERDAY IN THIS AREA, GENERAL HIEU DOES NOT EXPECT THEM TO BE ABLE TO BREAK THROUGH AND RELIEVE HOAI DUC SECTOR.

3. PHUOC LONG. DONG XOAI, THE CAPITAL OF DON LUAN DISTRICT IN PHUOC LONG, FELL INTO COMMUNIST HANDS DURING THE MORNING OF DEC 26. THE ATTACKING COMMUNIST FORCES ARE BELIEVED TO BE THE 165TH REGT AND THE 141ST REGT OF THE 7TH NVA DIV. THIS ESTIMATE IS MAINLY BASED UPON INFORMATION OBTAINED FROM A PRISONER CAPTURED NEAR PHU GIAO ON DEC 25. THIS PRISONER WAS A MEMBER OF THE 209TH NVA REGT (7TH NVA DIV) AND CLAIMED THAT IT WAS THE TASK OF THE OTHER TWO 7TH NVA DIV REGTS TO TAKE DONG XOAI. THE SONG BE/PHUOC BINH AREAS CONTINUED TO RECEIVE HARASSMENT SHELLING BUT HAVE NOT YET RECEIVED ANY GROUND ATTACKS. GENERAL HIEU BELIEVES THAT THE 1500 RVNAF TROOPS OCCUPYING THE PHUOC LONG CAPITAL, IF PROPERLY EMPLOYED, COULD HOLD OFF A TWO-REGIMENT ATTACK FOR SOME TIME BUT EXPECTS IN THE LONG RUN THAT THE CAPITAL WILL FALL SHOULD THE ENEMY MAKE A DETERMINED EFFORT. A C-130 AIRCRAFT DEPARTING PHUOC BINH AIRFIELD AT 1150 HOURS DEC 25 MADE AN INCORRECT TURN OVER THE AIRFIELD AND WAS HIT BY 37MM AA AND CRASHED AND BURNED NEARBY.

4. IN TAY NINH HELICOPTER RE-SUPPLY EFFORTS TO NUI BA DEN FAILED ON DEC 25 BECAUSE OF EXTREMELY HEAVY COMMUNIST AA AND SMALL ARMS FIRE. ONE HELICOPTER WAS ABOUT TO MAKE A DROP WHEN THE CREWMAN DIRECTING THE OPERATION WAS KILLED AND THE CHOPPER ITSELF SUSTAINED 11 ROUNDS. EFFORTS WILL BE MADE AGAIN TODAY, DEC 26, TO RE-SUPPLY BUT THE SITUATION AT THIS POINT IS NOW CRITICAL SINCE THE UNITS ATOP NUI BA DEN ARE DOWN TO THEIR LAST DAY OF SUPPLIES.

5. BASED UPON RALLIER INFORMATION, GENERAL DONG BELIEVES THAT DUC PHONG AND BUNARD IN PHUOC LONG WERE TAKEN BY A RECENTLY ARRIVED DIVISION FROM HANOI, THE "3RD DIV" (THIS SHOULD NOT BE CONFUSED WITH THE NEWLY CONSTRUCTED 3RD DIV THAT WAS BELIEVED TO BE EMPLOYED IN THE RECENT TAY NINH ATTACKS). IT IS NOW THE VIEW AT MR-3 HQS THAT IT IS THE COMMUNIST GOAL TO WIPE OUT ALL THE GVN ISOLATED POSITIONS ON THE FRINGES OF MR-3 AND TO CONSOLIDATE THEIR TERRITORY FROM BINH TUY THROUGH PHUOC LONG TO TAY NINH. UNDER THIS THESIS, GENERAL DONG IS EXTREMELY CONCERNED ABOUT THE FUTURE SECURITY OF QL 1 AND QL 20 AND BELIEVES THAT DINH QUAN DISTRICT IN LONG KHANH WILL CERTAINLY BECOME A FUTURE TARGET IN COMMUNIST EFFORTS TO LINK UP THEIR AREAS BETWEEN NORTHERN BINH TUY AND PHUOC LONG.

LAHIGUERA

March 12, 1975

P 120445Z MAR 75

SUBJECT: TRI TAM BATTLE AND SITUATION IN TAY NINH CITY

REF: BIEN HOA 142

1. THE MR3 COMMANDER AND HIS 2 DEPUTIES WERE TRAVELLING MOST OF THE DAY MAR 11 AND REFTEL WAS BASED ON INFORMATION FROM LOWER LEVEL SOURCES AT MR3 HQ. DEPT CMDR, MG HIEU, AFTER RETURNING FROM EASTERN TAY NINH AT THE END OF THE DAY, REVIEWED THE TRI TAM AND TAY NINH PROVINCE SITUATION WITH ME OVER COFFEE AT 2100 HOURS MAR 11. HE GAVE A CONSIDERABLY MORE FAVORABLE ACCOUNT OF THE SITUATION THAN THAT SET FORTH REFTEL.

2. ACCORDING TO HIEU, THE NVA/VC BROKE OFF THE ATTACK AT TRI TAM AT THE END OF THE DAY AFTER THE ATTACKING 272ND NVA REGT HAD FAILED TO BREACH THE DEFENSES AND SAPPERS WHO HAD PENETRATED TO THE MARKET (HE SAID TANKS NEVER REACHED THE MARKET AREA) WERE THROWN BACK. THE SITUATION WAS QUIET AT 2030 HOURS. MOST OF THE ARVN THIRD ARMORED BRIGADE WAS DEPLOYED FROM BINH DUONG PROVINCE DURING THE DAY AND BY LATE AFTERNOON WAS IN PLACE ON ROUTE 26 IN EASTERN TAY NINH PROVINCE AROUND AND NORTH OF KHIEM HANH. ITS MISSION IS BOTH TO PUSH TO THE RELIEF OF TRI TAM AND TO COUNTER ANY HEAVY NVA/VC THRUST IN WESTERN TAY NINH PROVINCE. THE 3RD ARMORED COMMANDER, BG KHOI, HAS NOW BEEN GIVEN OPCON OF FORCES IN EASTERN TAY NINH AND TRI TAM. MR3 HAS ESTABLISHED A FORWARD CP AT GO DAU HA.

3. ON ROUTE 22, MEANWHILE, THE NVA/VC HAD BEEN PUSHED OUT OF 2 OF THE 3 POINTS OF INTERDICTION WITH SOME PROSPECT FOR RE-OPENING THE ROAD WITHIN A DAY OR TWO. AT THE SAME TIME, ACCORDING TO HIEU, MR3 HQ SEES NO SIGN OF ANY NEW MOVEMENT OF MAJOR NVA/VC FORCES IN A MENACING WAY NORTH OR WEST OF TAY NINH CITY.

4. HIEU SAID THE 3RD ARMORED BRIGADE HAD BEEN MOVED TO EASTERN TAY NINH IN THE BELIEF THAT THE TRI TAM ATTACK SIGNALLED AN INTENT ON THE PART OF THE OTHER SIDE TO HIT THAT AREA THEN SQUEEZE TAY NINH CITY RATHER THAN ASSAULT THE CITY DIRECTLY. HE SAID GEN TOAN HOPES HE HAS NOT OVERREACTED BY BRINGING MORE FORCES TO BEAR IN THAT AREA THEN ARE REQUIRED. TOAN RECOGNIZES THE POSSIBILITY THAT CURRENT ATTACKS IN THE TAY NINH AREA MAY ONLY BE LIGHT AND DIVERSIONARY TO SUPPORT THE HEAVY ACTION IN MR II, WITH HEAVIER ATTACKS IN MR III TO COME LATER. HIEU THOUGHT THAT ROCKETING OF BIEN HOA WOULD BE ONE IMPORTANT CLUE. FURTHER HEAVY ROCKET ATTACKS NOW WOULD SHOW AN INTENT TO NEUTRALIZE VNAF FOR IMMEDIATE NVA/VC ATTACKS WHILE A BREAK, OR SPORADIC LIGHT ATTACKS, WOULD INDICATE POSTPONEMENT OF HEAVY ATTACKS IN MR III.

5. LATEST WORD REGARDING TRI TAM AT 0730 HOURS MAR 12 FROM G-3 SOURCES AT MR3 HQ IS THAT THE NVA/VC RENEWED THE ATTACK WITH INFANTRY AND ARMOR AT 0200 HOURS AND FIGHTING CONTINUES.

6. MG HIEU SHOULD NOT CITED AS SOURCE IN ANY DISCUSSION OF THIS MESSAGE'S CONTENTS WITH GVN OFFICIALS.

PETERS

March 25, 1975 (1)

P 250750Z MAR 75

SUBJ: MILITARY SITUATION IN MR3

REF: BIEN HOA 207

1. THIS MESSAGE IS BASED ON A CONVERSATION WITH MR3 CHIEF OF STAFF, COL MINH, AND DEPUTY MR3 COMMANDER, MG HIEU, AT 1000 HOURS MAR 25. APART FROM A RENEWED ATTEMPT TO CUT ROUTE 22 IN TAY NINH PROVINCE AT TRA VO, AND DESTRUCTION OF 7 MORE NVA TANKS AT CHON THANH, THERE WAS NO SIGNIFICANT CHANGE IN THE SITUATION IN MR3 AND MILITARY INCIDENTS DURING THE LAST 24 HOURS WERE AT AN UNUSUALLY LOW LEVEL OF 32.

2. DURING THE MORNING OF MAR 25 THE NVA/VC MOUNTED AN ATTACK ON ROUTE 22 AT TRA VO VIC XT325351. THE MR3 TOC LOG SHOWS THAT RADIO CONTACT WAS LOST WITH THE RF OUTPOST AT 0730 HOURS BUT MG HIEU CHARACTERIZED THIS AS A LIGHT ATTACK WHICH HE DID NOT REGARD AS OF MAJOR SIGNIFICANCE AT THE MOMENT. HE SAID IT DID NOT REPRESENT A BREAKTHROUGH TO ROUTE 22 BY THE NVA FORCES WHICH HAVE BEEN ATTACKING LTL-26 SOME 10 KMS TO THE NORTHEAST. AN AIR AMERICA HELO CARRING CONGEN PERSONNEL TO TAY NINH ALMOST GOT CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE IN THIS ENGAGEMENT AND ESCAPED WITHOUT DAMAGE OR INJURY BUT REPORTED HEAVY MORTAR FIRE AT TRA VO.

3. AT CHON THANH IN SOUTHERN BINH LONG PROVINCE, THE NVA/VC RENEWED THE ATTACK ON RANGERS AT 2200 HOURS MAR 24. MR3 HQ REPORTS THAT THE NVA/VC LOST ANOTHER 7 TANKS, 80 MEN KIA AND ONE CAPTURED BEFORE BREAKING OFF THE ENGAGEMENT. GVN LOSSES WERE 8 KIA AND 27 WIA.

4. IN THE EASTERN PROVINCES THE SITUATION WAS QUIET EXCEPT FOR AN NVA/VC MOVE TO INFILTRATE DONG TAM III RESETTLEMENT SITE IN EASTERN LONG KHANH PROVINCE WHICH HAS BEEN CUT OFF FROM THE REST OF THE PROVINCE BY NVA/VC INTERDICTION OF QL-1 TO THE WEST AT SUOI CAT.

5. WE LEARN THAT THE 3RD BN, 7TH ARVN REGT, WHICH SUFFERED VERY HEAVY CASUALTIES MAR 23 HAS BEEN WITHDRAWN FROM LTL-26 IN TAY NINH TO THE 5TH DIV BASE AT LAI KHE FOR REPLACEMENTS AND REFITTING.

6. AT 0930 HOURS ON MAR 24 AN RF COMPANY WAS AMBUSHED A FEW KMS SOUTHEAST OF CHOLON JUST OFF ROUTE 4 VICINITY XS743845 SUFFERING 15 KIA AND 5 WIA WITH UNKNOWN NVA/VC RESULTS.

7. BIEN HOA TOOK 2 ROUNDS OF ROCKETS AT 1015 MAR 25 (THE ONLY ROCKETS DURING THE PAST 24 HOURS). THEY FELL WITHOUT DAMAGE OR CASUALTIES JUST OUTSIDE THE NORTHEAST PERIMETER OF THE AIR BASE.

8. THE LOW LEVEL OF INCIDENTS IN MR3 IS GENERALLY BELIEVED TO BE DUE TO RESUPPLY OF THE NVA/VC IN PREPARATION FOR THE RENEWAL OF OFFENSIVE ACTION ON SEVERAL FRONTS IN MR3.

PETERS

March 25, 1975 (2)

P 250145Z MAR 75

SUBJ: MILITARY SITUATION IN MR3

REF: (A) BIEN HOA 203; (B) BIEN HOA 206

1. THIS MESSAGE IS BASED ON A CONVERSATION WITH THE MR3 CHIEF OF STAFF, COL MINH, AND THE MR3 DEPUTY COMMANDER, MG HIEU, AT 1730 HOURS MAR 24. IN TAY NINH PROVINCE THE SITUATION APPEARS TO BE STABLE FOR THE MOMENT ALONG LTL-26. AN NVA ATTACK, SUPPORTED BY TANKS, ON THE RANGER AND RF BNS AT CHON THANH, WAS SMASHED WITH 10 NVA TANKS REPORTEDLY DESTROYED. THERE IS NO SIGNIFICANT CHANGE IN THE SITUATION ELSEWHERE IN MR3.

2. DURING THE DAY OF MAR 24 GVN DEFENSES ALONG LTL-26 HELD AND THE SITUATION WAS STABLE THERE WITH LESS NVA PRESSURE TOWARD THE END OF THE DAY. MR3 HQ CONTINUES TO BELIEVE THAT THE NVA SIDE TOOK SUBSTANTIALLY HEAVIER CASUALTIES IN THE FIGHTING IN THIS AREA MAR 23 THOUGH GVN CASUALTIES WERE HEAVY, PARTICULARLY IN THE 3RD BN, 7TH REGT, WHICH FELL INTO AN AMBUSH AFTER INFLICTING ABOUT 200 CASUALTIES ON THE NVA.

3. AT ABOUT 1100 HOURS MAR 24 NVA FORCES LED BY TANKS ATTACKED CHON THANH FROM THE SOUTHEAST AND THE SOUTHWEST (NOT FROM THE NORTH AS PREVIOUSLY REPORTED). THE RANGERS AT CHON THANH HELD THEIR GROUND AND BY AFTERNOON THE NVA ATTACKERS HAD MAINLY WITHDRAWN, PERHAPS TO REGROUP WHILE MAINTAINING VERY LIGHT CONTACT. FOUR NVA TANKS ARE CONFIRMED DESTROYED AND THE DEFENDING RANGERS BELIEVE THAT A TOTAL OF 10 HAVE BEEN DESTROYED. THE TANKS ARE REPORTED TO HAVE BEEN KNOCKED OUT BY THE XM-202 WEAPON PLUS AIR STRIKES. THE AIR STRIKES WERE ALSO REPORTED TO HAVE DESTROYED NVA ANTI-AIRCRAFT WEAPONS DEPLOYED FOR THIS ENGAGEMENT.

PETERS

March 26, 1975

P 260230Z MAR 75

SUBJ: MILITARY SITUATION IN MR3

REF: BIEN HOA 208

1. THIS MESSAGE IS BASED ON A CONVERSATION WITH DEPUTY MR3 COMMANDER MG HIEU AT 1730 HOURS MAR 25.

2. THE NVA/VC HAVE CLUNG TO THEIR POSITION ASTRIDE ROUTE 22 AT TRA VO (XT315351) AND ARE RECEIVING REINFORCEMENT FROM THE SOUTH SIDE OF THE NEARBY VAM CO DONG RIVER, PRESUMABLY TROOPS FROM THE 205TH NVA REGT. GEN HIEU SAID THAT GVN ARTILLERY HAD STRUCK THE AMMUNITION DUMP OF THE FORCES BLOCKING THE ROAD, AND MR3 HQ IS HOPEFUL THAT 25TH DIV FORCES ATTACKING THE ROADBLOCK MAY BE ABLE TO REOCCUPY THE RF POSITION AND CLEAR THE ROAD.

2. THERE HAS BEEN NO RENEWAL OF ATTACKS ON THE RANGER AND RF BNS AT CHON THANH IN SOUTHERN BINH LONG PROVINCE WHICH IS QUIET FOR THE MOMENT.

3. IN THE EASTERN PROVINCES THE ONLY ACTIVITY WAS NVA/VC CONTINUED HARASSMENT OF RF POSITIONS ALONG ROUTE 1 NEAR DONG TAM III VIC YT6704 WHICH WAS INFILTRATED DURING THE NIGHT OF MAR 24-25.

PETERS

March 28, 1975

P 280300Z MAR 75

SUBJ: MILITARY SITUATION IN MR3

REF: BIEN HOA 219

1. THE MR3 DEPUTY COMMANDER, MG HIEU, INFORMED AT 1745 HOURS MAR 27 THAT THE MORNING'S NVA/VC ATTACK AT CHON THANH WAS THE ONLY MAJOR ACTION IN MR3 THROUGH THE DAY. HE SAID THAT THE OTHER SIDE BROKE OFF THE ATTACK AT 1600 HOURS AFTER TAKING EXTREMELY HEAVY CASUALTIES WHILE THE DEFENDING RANGERS AND RF TROOPS TOOK ONLY LIGHT CASUALTIES. CASUALTY FIGURES HAVE NOT BEEN RECEIVED, HE SAID, BUT REPORTS FROM CHON THANH WERE THAT THE ENGAGEMENT HAD BEEN HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL FOR GVN FORCES WITH NVA CASUALTIES GREATER THAN THE PREVIOUS TWO ENGAGEMENTS SEVERAL DAYS AGO. GEN HIEU SAID INDICATIONS ARE THAT THE ATTACKING FORCES, WHICH STRUCK FROM THE SOUTHEAST AND SOUTHWEST OF CHON THANH, WERE FROM THE 273RD REGT WITH THE TROOPS, AS BEFORE, GREEN AND INEXPERIENCED. CONTRARY TO EARLIER REPORTS, HIEU SAID, TANKS WERE NOT DEPLOYED IN TODAY'S ATTACK--PERHAPS BECAUSE OF THE HEAVY TANK LOSSES IN THE PREVIOUS ENCOUNTERS.

2. DURING MAR 26-27 ONLY TWO ROCKETS HAVE FALLEN IN THE BIEN HOA AREA. THEY STRUCK HARMLESSLY ON THE AIR BASE NORTH OF THE RUNWAY AT 0230 HOURS MAR 27.

PETERS.

April 01, 1975

O 010856Z APR 75

SUBJ: MILITARY SITUATION IN MR3

1. THIS MESSAGE IS BASED ON A CONVERSATION WITH THE MR3 DEPUTY COMMANDER, MG HIEU, AT 1030 HOURS APR 1. THERE HAS BEEN NO RENEWAL THUS FAR TODAY OF THE MASSIVE ARTILLERY ATTACK COMBINED WITH GROUND ASSAULT YESTERDAY AT CHON THANH, AND HIEU DESCRIBED THE SITUATION IN MR3 AS GENERALLY QUIET AND STABLE FOR THE MOMENT.

2. BETWEEN 0700 AND 2200 HOURS MAR 31, THE NVA/VC FIRED AN ESTIMATED 3,000 ROUNDS OF ARTILLERY (105MM, 155MM, 120MM MORTAR) AT THE RANGER AND RF BNS AT CHON THANH. THE ABF'S WERE ACCOMPANIED BY GROUND ATTACKS, INCLUDING BOTH INFANTRY AND TANKS. AVAILABLE INFORMATION INDICATES, HOWEVER, THAT THE TANKS AND INFANTRY DID NOT PRESS HARD CLOSE TO THE PERIMETER WHICH PRESUMABLY EXPLAINS THE ABSENCE OF ANY REPORTED NVA CASUALTIES. REPORTS INDICATE THAT VNAF DAMAGED 11 NVA TANKS. GVN CASUALTIES, THE HEAVIEST IN THE ATTACKS THUS FAR AT CHON THANH, WERE REPORTED AS 18 KIA, 101 WIA, AND DAMAGE TO TWO M-41 TANKS AND ONE 155MM HOWITZER. UP TO 1030 HOURS APR 1 THERE HAD BEEN NO FURTHER ATTACK AT CHON THANH. MR3 HQ NOW BELIEVES THAT SOME ELEMENTS OF THE 272ND REGT (9TH NVA DIV) RETURNED FROM THE TRI TAM AREA WITH TANK FORCES TO PARTICIPATE IN THE FIGHTING AT CHON THANH TOGETHER WITH THE NEW 273RD NVA REGT.

EM IN LONG KHANH, GVN FORCES TOOK THE INITIATIVE ON BOTH ROUTE 20 AND ROUTE 1 MAR 31. IN THREE GROUND CONTACTS SOME 10 KMS NORTHEAST OF KIEM TAN ON ROUTE 20, THE 52ND ARVN REGT HAD 2 KIA AND 7 WOUNDED COMPARED WITH NVA CASUALTIES OF 26 KIA. TWO BNS OF THE 48TH REGT MEANWHILE WERE PUSHED EASTWARD ON ROUTE 1 WITH A VIEW TO OPEN THE ROAD AND IN GROUND CONTACTS 9 AND 13 KMS EAST OF XUAN LOC INFLICTED NVA CASUALTIES OF 32 KIA. GVN CASUALTIES WERE NEGATIVE IN ONE ENGAGEMENT AND WERE "BEING FOLLOWED UP" IN ANOTHER WITH REPORTS THAT THE MAIN ARVN UNIT INVOLVED HAD LOST NO CASUALTIES.

4. IN THE TAY NINH AREA, ACTION IS STILL CONFINED TO MINOR ABF'S THROUGHOUT THE PROVINCE. THERE ARE SOME INDICATIONS THAT THE NVA MAY BE PREPARING FOR HEAVY OFFENSIVE ACTION NORTH OF TRANG BANG (ROUTE 1) BUT NOTHING DEFINITE HAS DEVELOPED YET.

5. BIEN HOA TOOK 3 ROUNDS OF 122MM ROCKETS AT 0555 HOURS APR 1. THEY STRUCK ON THE PERIMETER OF THE BASE WITH NO DAMAGE OR CASUALTIES.

PETERS

These documents were declassified/released by the State Department either on June 06, 2005 or July 05, 2006.

Nguyen Van Tin
17 October 2008

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