The 9th Infantry Division in Vietnam: Unparalleled and Unequaled

By Ira A. Hunt | Go to book overview

Chapter 7
The Take-off

By the end of the first quarter in 1969, the effectiveness of combat operations had peaked, preempting Communist efforts. The brave soldiers of the division displayed extraordinary heroism in conducting more than one hundred offensive operations daily, half of which were at night, in the extremely difficult and treacherous booby-trapped terrain; this resulted in over thirty contacts per day, eliminating thousands of Viet Cong. Almost all of the contacts were minor skirmishes, keeping a constant pressure on the evading enemy. However, during this exploratory period there were five major battles, which severely punished the Viet Cong and NVA main force units. Although these major contacts contributed less than 10 percent of the enemy losses, they were vital in diminishing the enemy’s command and control apparatus.

The review of these battles that follows vividly illustrates the techniques and tactics of the division, including airmobile assault (jitterbugging), seal and pile-on, ambushes, gunship, artillery and Air Force firepower, Night Searches, snipers, Tiger Scouts, RVNAF cooperation, usefulness of POWs and Hoi Chanhs, radar sightings, People Sniffers, and more.

When elements of the 3rd Brigade in Long An Province met and defeated the K-6 Battalion, 1st NVA Regiment, on 25–26 January, it initiated a period of unprecedented success brought about by the gallantry of the 9th Infantry Division soldiers. The unrelenting pressure of the division and its South Vietnamese allies crushed the Communist forces in the Upper Delta, inflicting defeat after defeat upon the hapless enemy, such as in the Battle of Phu My.

The 3rd Brigade “Go Devils,” on 25 January 1969, encountered fierce
enemy resistance in a two-day battle. The contact was initiated by a Long
Range Reconnaissance Patrol from Company E, 75th Infantry (Ranger).

-116-

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