Chapter 1

In mid October, Phase II of Operation Attleboro was launched. Now the pace picks up. The overall operation goal was to search through a part of War Zone C, east of Nui Ba Den and north of the large Michelin rubber plantation belived to be one the enemy's largest storage and shipping areas. The objective was to find the 9th VC Division's supply caches and concealed installations.

On 17 October, Lt. Col. Charles "Pete" Weddle, Commander of the 2d Bn., 1st Infantry took to the field. For the first few days, the enemy evaded contact. The grunts (GI's) slogged through the double-and-triple canopy jungle in the muggy 95-degree heat. The search was slow-paced, but they found evidence of enemy presence; sampans, construction materials, tunnels, and documents. One large hospital complex was found containing 27 structures above and below ground, with stores of medical supplies, clothing, rice, salt, canned milk, and peanuts.

Acting of Intelligence information, General de Saussure ordered 2/1 Infantry to airlift a rifle company (about 100 men or better) into a nearby area suspected of being a large VC supply dump. Company A flew into the landing zone (LZ) on 29 October. Within four hours, the troops uncovered more than 200 tons of rice, 440 gallons of gasoline, and 10 tons of salt.

The other companies of the 2/1 Infantry flew into the site and immediately found tons of supplies concealed in the jungle. At this time, the enemy's reaction was limited to harassing a small arms fire. In four more days the 2/1 Infantry captured more than 820 tons of rice, 1600 cans of milk, 25 tons of salt, and 1200 pounds of fish, with smaller quantities of other supplies and equipment.

Since this operation appeared to be a major discovery to our forces and a huge setback to the enemy, a decision was made on 1 November for the 196th to expand this operation to brigade size (3,000 - 5,000 men). Its other two Infantry Battalions (500-1200 men each) joined the 2/1 in the jungle. An additional battalion from the 25th Division, 1st BN 27 Infantry (The Wolfhounds) was put under the 196th control. Certainly, The Wolfhounds were a welcomed relief, but at the same time, the 196th lost an essential man: Colonel Frank Conaty was transferred to command 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division.

Captured enemy documents showed that they planned to take the Special Forces Camp at Soui Da, then lure the relief forces into an ambush and counterattack. The Third Corps "Mike Force" was dispatched to reinforce Soui Da on 2 November. The Americans also organized an additional 530 Nung tribesmen into three Companies led by a Special Forces Officer and several NCOs (noncommissioned officers).

Copyright © 2000 Marion L. Ellard - All Rights Reserved