Armed with that knowledge, the VC battalion commander determined to stand and fight, in part to convince the local peasants that the guerrilla government was there to stay in the province. Judi Dench (Dame Judith Dench), actress; known to James Bond fans for her role as M in Bond films beginning with Golden Eye (1997), her many awards include an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress (Chocolat, 2000). The South Vietnamese troops suffered approximately 80 killed and more than 100 wounded in a battle that might have been, but was not, a decisive one against the Viet Cong. Perhaps the casualties themselves would not have been enough, but Cao had also been so indiscreet as to be unusually successful during his tenure at My Tho. The loss should have caused U.S. policy makers to question the value of their efforts to train and equip the ARVN troops, but they failed to perceive the battle's significance. A STORY OF AP BAC January 2, 1963 By: Charlie Ostick These are the words that the 93rd Helicopter Company wrote in January ’63 after The Battle of Ap Bac. The home district of the 514th VC Regional Battalion, it was an area where villages were fortified with well-prepared foxholes and bomb shelters. He found Vann’s subsequent report on the action to be too critical of the South Vietnamese commanders and refused to accept the journalists’ accounts of what happened at Bac. I reckon that the current title is … So far, the killing had been done at arm’s length, by air power, by artillery and by heavy weapons fire. (From the game's Consimworld folder) The Battle of Ap Bac was the first large-scale fight waged between the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) and the National Liberation Front (NLF). Small-scale mil­i­tary ac­tions, which would even­tu­ally es­ca­late into the Viet­nam War, started in the late 1950s, when South Viet­namese Pres­i­dent Ngo Dinh Diem in­sti­tuted an anti-Com­mu­nist cam­paign aimed at root­ing out "left be­hind" Viet Minh forces. Even in the much vaunted 7th Division, the standard of individual training was very low. The Battle of Ap Bac was a major battle of the Vietnam War which was fought on 2 January 1963. Harkins, about to climb into his aircraft to fly back to Saigon after receiving a briefing on the action from Brigadier General Huynh Van Cao, the Vietnamese IV Corps commander, remarked to New York Times correspondent David Halberstam that ‘we’ve got them in a trap and we’re going to spring it in half an hour.’, Halberstam and Peter Arnett, an Associated Press correspondent, had just landed at the same airfield after flying over Bac in a helicopter, but they had seen no fighting there, much less evidence of a trap about to be sprung. The helicopter gun ships never managed to bring fire on the Viet Cong effectively because the enemy was careful to avoid disclosing its positions when the helicopters attacked. This was one of the turning points in a long war. Battle of An Loc North Vientnamese and Vietcong battle for Loc Ninh, a town 15 miles from An Loc. The infantry on board took cover in the paddy dikes. If the dismounted troops were pinned down, then perhaps the armored unit could break the stalemate. The Battle of Ap Bac II. These arguments consumed even more precious daylight because the senior commanders were at their headquarters, rather than in the field with their troops. In fact, the fire that was falling on Bac was doing nothing but inflicting more casualties on South Vietnamese troops, a fact observed by Neil Sheehan, who happened to be there at the time. In what year did the Battle of Ap Bac take place? The Civil Guard battalions, like the infantry company mounted in M-113s to the west, were under command of Major Lam Quang Tho, the province chief. He, rather than the general staff, named key commanders, and he always chose men on the basis of their personal loyalty to him. Western Dinh Tuong Province was very definitely ‘Injun country,’ as American advisers liked to call Viet Cong strongholds. Successful military commanders, men whose units got headlines by defeating the Viet Cong regularly, became threats, the sort of popular figures around whom other officers might rally to depose the government. Surprised by helicopters in the past, the Viet Cong had by now learned how to deal with them. It was not until 1300 until the first APCs reached the battle area. https://historica.fandom.com/wiki/Battle_of_Ap_Bac?oldid=202547. John Milton, British writer and poet (Paradise Lost). Vigorous operations still netted good results for the 7th Division in late 1962, but Vann knew that the trend would not last. Evidently using his intelligence sources to send his troops to areas where he was certain they would not find the Viet Cong, Cao diligently obeyed Diem’s orders to be more ‘prudent’ — his regulars suffered only four casualties in the entire period. Advertisement. What was Operation Rolling Thunder a response to? The US and ARVN troops mounting their helicopters. This article was written by Charles E. Kirkpatrick and originally published in the June 1990 issue of Vietnam Magazine. In 1962, Diem remained fearful of military coups like the earlier abortive paratrooper coup. More than a dozen operations were launched, not one of which succeeded in finding the enemy. Ground fog delayed the next two lifts, and the Viet Cong had ample warning of the direction the attack would take. The Battle of Ấp Bắc was a major battle fought on January 2, 1963, during the Vietnam War. What Went Wrong: The Battle of Ap Bac – Boardgame Review By Rick Martin. The real outcome of the battle at Bac was sobering. In the south, the two Civil Guard battalions ran into security forces the VC commander had set out against just such an attack. Redd Foxx (John Sanford), comedian, actor; best known for his starring role in the TV series Sanford and Son. Under pressure himself to limit casualties, Tho refused to order his units to advance against the Viet Cong, and the only result of the contact was a continuing exchange of fire that produced a slow but steady stream of killed and wounded. The Viet Cong did not have such a tight grip on the villages, and firm, positive government action could still sway the two million inhabitants away from Communist forces, which the United States estimated at 2,000 main force and 3,000 regional guerrillas. Frustrated American advisers reported to Vann that the individual soldier was brave, willing and cheerful in the main, but that his training was woefully deficient. HistoryNet.com contains daily features, photo galleries and over 5,000 articles originally published in our various magazines. In an attempt to get the attack moving, Vann called for artillery and air support. The battle at Bac, however, was more than just another case of official optimism. On December 28, 1962, US intelligence detected the presence of a radio transmitter along with a sizable force of National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (NLF/Viet Cong) soldiers, reported to number around 120, in the hamlet of Ap … $11.95, unmounted counters; $16.95 with mounted counters. one day. Vann convinced the new division commander to try to trap main force Viet Cong units that his intelligence showed him to be concentrating in that area, hoping that Dam might be more aggressive than Cao had been. The Battle of Ap Bac was an early war battle that took place on a forgotten field deep in to the Mekong Delta. One infantry battalion of the 7th Division would land just to the north of the villages of Tan Thoi and Bac, while two Civil Guard battalions would move up from the south to block any attempt of the VC to withdraw in that direction. Jean de Brunhoff, illustrator and author, creator of the Babar series of books. The confident Americans were there to do what seemed elementary: help the South Vietnamese army defeat a ragtag guerrilla enemy. If not altogether rosy, the situation at least looked hopeful in the months before the battle at Ap Bac. It became something of a cause celebre that changed American views on the war. The enemy also had the advantage that their fighting positions were higher than the surrounding rice paddies, with the effect that they could deliver grazing fire across the fields. Thereafter, the 7th Division moved from success to success. Anticipating Lyndon Johnson’s later characterization of them, General Harkins and his staff called the Viet Cong ‘raggedy-ass little bastards,’ a contempt that Vann and his advisory team did not share. Many thought that the war would be won or lost in these provinces, lying just to the south of the capital. By late in the afternoon, there was still no progress against the enemy. The Viet Cong ambushed them when they reached within 100 feet, and several ARVN soldiers were killed, while survivors hid behind the dike. September 28, 1999. In the last months of 1962, the great prize in Vietnam was the Mekong Delta, an incredibly rich area producing most of the rice and a wealth of other crops in South Vietnam. By that point, the battle was mostly over. 10 days. They learned that the fighting had ended the day before, and that it had not been a success. Vann, flying over the battlefield in an observation aircraft, saw what was happening and tried desperately to get the units to move. During a routine battalion sweep, Alpha company from the 2nd Brigade crossed an open rice paddy and encountered Viet … HistoryNet.com is brought to you by Historynet LLC, the world's largest publisher of history magazines. On December 28, 1962, U.S. intelligence detected the presence of a radio transmitter along with a sizable force of National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (FNL/Viet Cong) soldiers, reported to number around 120 in the hamlet of Ap … The Battle of Ap Bac. The Vietnamese troops piled out of the aircraft and went to ground against the paddy dikes, where strenuous efforts by their American advisers failed to move them for the remainder of the day. Those areas that had been under marginal control began to slip away, and the Viet Cong main forces had the opportunity to recruit and train to make up the losses of the previous four months. 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