Chapter 1


WHEN I began compiling this book, I thought Operation Attleboro started exclusively in November. I was astonishingly surprised to learn that it (Phase 1) began back in, or around September 2.

This operation started in the area of a 3,235 foot mountain; Nui Ba Den (nicknamed The "Black Virgin") located seven miles northeast of Tay Ninh. The area is approximately 52 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of Saigon, near the Cambodian border, and is flat for forty miles in all directions, about 60 feet above sea level.

This made the summit a perfect observation post and radio relay site. The slopes and surrounding countryside were threatened by local and main-force units of the Viet Cong. Some units lived in tunnels and caves inside of the routes of the VC and North Vietnamese Army (NVA) regulars from their nearby Cambodian sanctuary to the populous areas around Saigon.

The main mission of the newly arrived 196th Light Infantry Brigade (August) was to locate and engage the enemy units in this area. General William C. Westmoreland, U.S. Commander in Vietnam, put the 196th under the control of the 25th Infantry Division, commanded by Major General Frederick C. Weyand.

On the flipside of this, halfway around the world, on 15 October 1965, in the jungle hills of the Annamite Chain, the 2d Division of the NVA was also being activated. Its main fighting force were the 1st and 21st regiments. Five months later, infantrymen of the 3d NVA regiment arrived from North Vietnam to become the third fighting regiment.

I am sure you have heard, history is stranger than fiction bears this out as the 196th and 2d NVA Divisions were unaware of each other's preparation. Yet, the two units were destined to annihilate each other countless times in the years ahead.

Copyright © 2000 Marion L. Ellard - All Rights Reserved