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THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT THE 12 DECISIVE BATTLES OF THE THREE INDO-CHINA WARS.

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Presentation on theme: "THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT THE 12 DECISIVE BATTLES OF THE THREE INDO-CHINA WARS."— Presentation transcript:

1 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT THE 12 DECISIVE BATTLES OF THE THREE INDO-CHINA WARS presented by DAVE SABBEN MG 03 – The D.M.Z

2 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT BACKGROUND For the first Indo-China War (the “French War”), the main routes for the infiltration of men and materiel into South Viet Nam were: across the DMZ; by boat along the coastline, and: along the rudimentary Ho Chi Minh Trail. With the start of the second war (the “American War”), the Americans sealed off the DMZ by establishing a series of bases along Hwy 9, including (from east to west) Cua Viet, Gio Linh, Dong Ha, Con Thien, Cam Lo, Camp Carroll, The Rockpile, Ca Lu (now Dakrong), Khe Sanh and Lang Vei, with naval patrols off shore. CUA VIET § § § § § § § § § § D 2

3 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT So successful was this blockade that the NVA were forced to put more reliance on the Trail. What was in 1965 just a network of tracks and paths and ferry river crossings needed to be developed into roads with bridges and way-stops. This diverted vast amounts of manpower and materiel from the war in the south. 3 CUA VIET § § § § § § § § § § D

4 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT OFFSHORE & RIVERS The coastal stretches of water were patrolled by smaller naval vessels… The inland waterways were patrolled by a variety of small craft generally termed “PBF”s (Patrol Boat – Fast). CUA VIET § § § § § § § § § § D Helicopter patrols flew a mile or so off the beaches at irregular intervals. D 4

5 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT CUA VIET § § § § § § § § § § D The mouth of the Cua Viet River became the docklands for the DMZ. Freighters stood offshore and transferred their cargos to large Landing Craft. These fronted onto concrete ramps on the river’s banks. That’s the USS New Jersey off shore. § CUA VIET 5a

6 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT CUA VIET § § § § § § § § § § D 4 The cargo was then transferred to Dong Ha and thence to other bases by smaller landing craft, protected truck convoys or Chinook helicopters. 5b § CUA VIET

7 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT CUA VIET § § § § § § § § § § D The river mouth and docking facilities were protected by a large camp built on the sand dunes. The whole place was within range of NVA artillery and rockets and was regularly attacked. (Note flat land north to DMZ.) CUA VIET The cargo was then transferred to Dong Ha and thence to other bases by smaller landing craft, protected truck convoys or Chinook helicopters. § CUA VIET 45c

8 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT CUA VIET § § § § § § § § § § D OCEAN VIEW 10 Km up from the Cua Viet base was the northernmost permanently manned OP (Observation Post) in SVN. It was only a slight hill, but it gave a view over the DMZ to the Ben Hai River. It could only be reached by Amtrak or helicopter. From the OP, naval and artillery fire could be brought into the whole area under observation. The position was attacked several times. 6

9 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT VINH MOC TUNNELS Villages north of the Ben Hai River were on the supply route to the DMZ so were heavily bombed and shelled. Most villages moved north, but Vinh Linh went underground. Since they were in the DMZ, they didn’t have to camouflage their entrances except from the air metres of tunnel remains, on three levels and with many entrances & exits. The tunnels housed 60 families, with meeting & kitchen areas, a hospital, wells and a ventilation system. CUA VIET § § § § § § § § § § D 7

10 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT FREEDOM BRIDGE Under the Geneva Agreement on Vietnam signed in 1954 the Ben Hai River (17 th parallel) became the temporary demarcation line separating the two nations. The first steel bridge was built by French sappers in It is 178 metres long. The monument shown was erected after reunification. It depicts a mother and daughter staring across the divide, hoping to be reunited with family on the other side of the river. CUA VIET § § § § § § § § § § D 8 Looking North Looking South

11 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT GIO LINH One of the forward Fire Support Bases (FSBs), it was on a slight rise and could see over the DMZ to the river. Very isolated and subject to NVA attack, it comprised 6 guns and a Battalion of Marines – later the 1 st ARVN Infantry Div. There’s now a large NVA/VC cemetery across the road. (All ARVN dead were disinterred and reburied in family plots with no reference to military service.) CUA VIET § § § § § § § § § § D § GIO LINH 9a

12 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT GIO LINH The Fire Support Bases were always vulnerable to NVA artillery, just a few miles away in the DMZ. Here, a direct hit on the ammo dump. 9b

13 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT DONG HA Dong Ha served as the main US Marine Corps command and logistics centre from 1965 to 1969 and was therefore frequently shelled. In the 1968 Tet Offensive a division of North Vietnamese troops crossed the DMZ and attacked the city. Later it was the site of an ARVN base and was attacked and taken in the 1972 Easter Offensive (see a separate presentation), but was recovered in September 1972 after heavy fighting. It was one of the first main centres taken in the Third Indo-China War on 31 Mar CUA VIET § § § § § § § § § § D Dong Ha § DONG HA 10

14 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT CON THIEN (Means “Hill of Angels” in Vietnamese.) Twin 520 foot hills 2 miles from the DMZ were occupied by a reinforced battalion and were repeatedly attacked by the NVA who had 130 artillery pieces on the north bank of the Ben Hai River including 130mm and 152mm guns with a range of 19 miles. The peak week of the attacks had 3077 mortar, artillery and rocket rounds on the position – it looked like trench warfare from WW1. CUA VIET § § § § § § § § § § D Old French bunker B52 “Arclight” strike § CON THIEN 11

15 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT CAM LO Strategically important, it was the next bridge across the Cam Lo River inland from Dong Ha. It therefore had a major strongpoint to protect it. Interlocking FSBs all around gave it excellent support. Often probed but never directly assaulted (until Tet 1972). This was the bridge over which supply convoys went to support the outlaying FSBs like Con Thien. CUA VIET § § § § § § § § § § D § CAM LO 12

16 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT CAMP CARROLL Located on a plateau, it could see 15 miles to the ocean and to the DMZ about 7 to 9 miles in the north east direction. It was the largest Fire Support Base on Route 9. Conditions were virtually conventional warfare – it was constantly bombarded. It fired in support of the whole DMZ and its largest guns could fire across the river and into Laos. CUA VIET § § § § § § § § § § D Looking North § CAMP CARROLL 8” Guns 13

17 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT ROCKPILE As the name says – just a very steep pile of rocks. An OP on top was permanently manned and supplied from the air. Used to detect movement, direct artillery and as a radio relay into the valleys beyond. Coupled with Razorback (see next), the two features dominated five valleys, all approaches to other US bases, including Camp Carroll. Not surprisingly, the OPs were often shelled but never assaulted. CUA VIET § § § § § § § § § § D § ROCK PILE 14

18 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT RAZORBACK Like Rockpile, a series of sharp peaks on a narrow ridge. Honeycombed with caves, it was NVA territory. The Marines cleared it several times but did not try to hold it. Fighting up and along the ridges was difficult and costly. In the end, they just kept throwing artillery at it – as the pictures show. CUA VIET § § § § § § § § § § D § RAZOR BACK 15

19 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT CA LU (now DA KRONG) Cu Lu was a bend in the river where the valley narrowed enough for a bridge into the A Shau Valley. Ca Lu was a key location in the valley and acted as an FSB and a radio relay point to other hilltop FSBs. Note in the Chinook resupply pic the high angle of the gun barrels required to deliver shells into the narrow and deep valleys. CUA VIET § § § § § § § § § § D § CA LU (DaKrong) An FSB on a ridgeline 16

20 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT KHE SANH The site of the famous and controversial 75 day siege that will be the subject of a separate presentation The U.S. lost about 300 troops during the seige, while the NVA losses were estimated at between 10,000 and 15,000, mainly due to artillery shelling and over 100,000 tons of bombs dropped around the base. For a while the base was cut off from all but air resupply, but it was never in danger of falling, primarily because of massive U.S. air power. CUA VIET § § § § § § § § § § D § KHE SANH Aircraft wreckage Overgrown airstrip Khe Sanh Museum 17

21 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT LANG VEI A “bad luck” Special Forces camp 1.5 miles from Laos. Set up in Dec 1966, accidentally hit by napalm in March 1967, attacked by VC on May 4 who wiped out the whole command group in one bunker, attacked again in Jan 1968 with heavy losses, and again in Feb 1968 in the first NVA tank attack in the south. The position was over-run and abandoned. An NVA amphibious tank now marks the site. CUA VIET § § § § § § § § § § D 18 § LANG VEI

22 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT THE 12 DECISIVE BATTLES OF THE THREE INDO-CHINA WARS presented by DAVE SABBEN MG 03 – The D.M.Z. Questions?

23 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT THE FINE PRINT This Powerpoint show is copyright to Dave Sabben but is freely available for any non-profit use. It may be downloaded free from Dave’s website: It was prepared for presentation to those who join his Decisive Battlefields and Long Tan Trek Tours of Viet Nam (see green panel for the “commercial”) as introductions for the various battles. Because the shows are live presentations, much more is in the narrative than is included in the text on the slides. The shows are intended to be introductions and overviews – not detailed expositions or analyses. Views and conclusions are the author’s and are not offered as the only possible or even as fully comprehensive views. Where possible, permissions have been obtained to use maps or photos but some have been used without specific permission. Copyright holders who want their material either not used or credited, please contact Dave Sabben at Anyone wishing to make an anonymous donation towards the cost and time of putting this show together is invited to make a donation of any amount to (Australian) Westpac bank account BSB# , Account# (branch = 360 Collins St, Melbourne), or (Australian) CBA bank account BSB# , Account# (branch = Hampton, Victoria), either account in the name of David Sabben. If passing this slide show to others, please don’t remove this slide. THE “COMMERCIAL” As at 2011, Dave Sabben leads one tour per year (second half of October) to visit some of the areas of Australian/ANZAC operations of The highlight of these tours is to walk the Long Tan battlefield with Dave (a platoon Commander in that battle). The walk takes about 4 hours – about the time of the battle – so the group goes to all the key locations of the battle and hears about what happened pretty much in “real time”. For further enquiry into these tours, please visit: and select VN%20Long%20Tan%20Trek%20Tours.html orVN%20Long%20Tan%20Trek%20Tours.html VN%20Decisive%20Battlefields%20Tours.html An optional extension to the Long Tan Trek Tour takes in the main US battles of northern South Viet Nam including Da Nang, Hue, the DMZ (including Khe Sanh) and the A Shau Valley (Hamburger Hill), then visits both Hanoi (‘Hanoi Hilton’, War Museum) and the Dien Bien Phu valley (both Viet Minh and French positions). As well as the once –a-year-in-October tours, Dave can arrange a similar tour at any time of year for a group of 20 or more. Dates, durations, standards of accommodation, inclusions etc will be all your call. Please contact Dave (with numbers and preferences) at Note that these are “battlefield-oriented” tours – they do NOT go to the popular tourist sites. “Tourist” tours can be added before or after. If passing this slide show to others, please don’t remove this slide. PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE THIS SLIDE


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