The targets of the operation were Base Areas , , and located north and northeast of Tay Ninh, South Vietnam. Simultaneous with the launching of Toan Thang 44 , the two battalions of the 3rd Brigade, 9th Infantry Division, crossed the border 48 kilometers southwest of the Fishhook into an area known as the Dog's Face from 7 through 12 May. During the operation, the brigade lost eight men killed and 22 wounded.
The new relationship did not, however, prevent the Cambodian government from stripping the Vietnamese of their homes and other personal property before they left. A combined force of Republic of Vietnam Navy and 30 U. During these operations South Vietnamese and American naval forces evacuated about 35, Vietnamese from Cambodia. A 4,man ARVN armoured task force linked up with Cambodian ground troops and then retook the town.
The goal was to relieve the city of Kompong Cham, 70 kilometers northwest of the capital and the site of the headquarters of Cambodia's Military Region I. Aerial operations for the incursion got off to a slow start. Reconnaissance flights over the operational area were restricted since MACV believed that they might serve as a signal of intention.
The role of the Air Force in the planning for the incursion itself was minimal at best, in part to preserve the secrecy of Menu which was then considered an overture to the thrust across the border. On 17 April, General Abrams requested that the president approve Operation Patio , covert tactical airstrikes in support of Studies and Observations Group recon elements "across the fence" in Cambodia. This authorization was given, allowing U.
Patio was terminated on 18 May after sorties had been flown.
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During the incursion itself, U. These missions were limited to a depth of kilometers between the South Vietnamese border and the Mekong River. The real struggle for the U. Once again, the need for security before the operations and the rapidity with which units were transferred to the border regions precluded detailed planning and preparation. The tempo of logistical troops could be mind numbing. The U. Third Ordnance Battalion for example, loaded up to flatbed trucks per day with ammunition.
Logisticians were issuing more than 2, short tons almost five million pounds of supplies every day to support the incursion. Military engineers and aviators were kept in constant motion throughout the incursion zone. Due to the rapid pace of operations, deployment, and redeployment, coordination of artillery units and their fires became a worrisome quandary during the operations. The joint nature of the operation added another level of complexity to the already overstretched communications network. The North Vietnamese response to the incursion was to avoid contact with allied forces and, if possible, to fall back westward and regroup.
As foreseen by Secretary Laird, fallout from the incursion was quick in coming on the campuses of America's universities, as protests erupted against what was perceived as an expansion of the conflict into yet another country. On 4 May the unrest escalated to violence when Ohio National Guardsmen shot and killed four unarmed students two of whom were not protesters during the Kent State shootings.
Two days later, at the University at Buffalo , police wounded four more demonstrators. Earlier, on 8 May , protesters had gathered in Washington and another , in San Francisco on only ten days notice. National Guard units were mobilized on 21 campuses in 16 states. Simultaneously, public opinion polls during the second week of May showed that 50 percent of the American public approved of President Nixon's actions. On both sides, emotions ran high.
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In one instance, in New York City on 8 May, pro-administration construction workers rioted and attacked demonstrating students. Such violence, however, was an aberration. Most demonstrations, both pro- and anti-war, were peaceful. On 20 May , construction workers, tradesmen, and office workers marched peacefully through New York City in support of the president's policies. Reaction in the U.
Congress to the incursion was also swift.
Senators Frank F. The bill was defeated in the House of Representatives after U. The newly amended act did, however, rescind the Southeast Asia Resolution better known as the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution under which Presidents Johnson and Nixon had conducted military operations for seven years without a declaration of war.
This time the measure made it through both houses of Congress and became law on 22 December. As a result, all U. Air Force was ignored.
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President Nixon proclaimed the incursion to be "the most successful military operation of the entire war. A "decent interval" had been obtained for the final American withdrawal. John Shaw and other historians, military and civilian, have based the conclusions of their work on the incursion on the premise that the North Vietnamese logistical system in Cambodia had been so badly damaged that it was rendered ineffective. General Abrams claimed 11, enemy soldiers killed and 2, captured, but his death figure was disputed by CIA , who insisted that civilians death were figured into Abrams's total.
Due to the loss of its Cambodian supply system and continued aerial interdiction in Laos, MACV estimated that for every 2. However, the true loss rate was probably only around ten percent. Due to lack of verifiable sources in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, this figure is, at best, an estimate. The official Vietnamese history noted that "the enemy had established control over and successfully suppressed, to some extent at least, our nighttime supply operations.
Enemy aircraft destroyed 4, trucks during the dry season Our supply effort, conducted during a single season of the year and using a single supply route, was unable to keep up with our requirements and our night supply operations encountered difficulties. Per the same history, "in Group shipped 20 thousand tons of supplies to the battlefields, in this total rose to 40 thousand tons and in it increased to 60 thousand tons Air Force's best estimate for the same time period was that one-third of the total amount was destroyed in transit. South Vietnamese forces had performed well during the incursion but their leadership was uneven.
Other ARVN commanders, however, had not performed well. Even at this late date in the conflict, the appointment of ARVN general officers was prompted by political loyalty rather than professional competence. As a test of Vietnamization, the incursion was praised by American generals and politicians alike, but the Vietnamese had not really performed alone. The participation of U.
When called on to conduct solo offensive operations during the incursion into Laos Operation Lam Son in , the ARVN's continued weaknesses would become all too apparent. The Cambodian government was not informed of the incursion until it was already under way. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Military engagements during the Vietnam War.
Further information on history of Cambodia: Kingdom of Cambodia — Further information on the covert bombing of Cambodia: Operation Menu. Further information on the ouster of Sihanouk: Cambodian coup of Further information on the aerial campaign: Operation Freedom Deal.
Further information on the conflict in Cambodia: Cambodian Civil War. University of Kansas Press. Vo Nguyen Giap.
Potomac Books. Boston Publishing Company. The Vietnam Experience Fighting for Time.
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