Phuoc Long Situation in December 1974

R 261107Z DEC 74

FM AMEMBASSY SAIGON

TO SECSTATE WASHDC 1389

C O N F I D E N T I A L SAIGON 15828

SUBJECT: MILITARY SITUATION IN MR 3

FOLLOWING TELEGRAM SENT ACTION EMBASSY SAIGON INFO USDAO SAIGON

FROM BIEN HOA DEC 26, 1974 H/W REPEATED TO YOU. QTE

C O N F I D E N T I A L BIEN HOA 659

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 UNQTE MARTIN

CONFIDENTIAL

Declassified/Released US Department of State EO Systematic Review 30 JUN 2005

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