Battle of Kham Duc

The Battle of Kham Duc was a major battle of the Vietnam War , also known in Vietnam as the American War. The event occurred in Quang Tin Province (now part of Quang Nam ), South Vietnam , between May 10 and May 12, 1968. During the Tet Offensive of 1968, the Vietnam People's Army (VPA) 2nd Division tried to capture Da Nang but their attacks were quickly blunted by elements of the U.S. 1st Marine Division , the Americal Division , and the Korean Brigade that were guarding the city. North Vietnamese General Chu Huy Man then decided to disengage from the fight in the outskirts of the city, and pull the 2nd Division into the mountains where they could rest, rebuild, and prepare for the next major operation. Kham Duc, a small district in the north of Quang Tin, was selected as the next target for the VPA 2nd Division. Following the defeat of the North Vietnamese in Da Nang, U.S. military intelligence agencies in I Corps Tactical Zone were confused by the movements of the North Vietnamese 2nd Division, because they could not track down the mysterious enemy unit.
During March and April, U.S. military intelligence began to detect elements of the VPA 2nd Division moving towards Kham Duc, but their opponent's true intentions were largely unknown. In response to what could be a major attack, General William Westmoreland decided to build-up the defenses of the Kham Duc Special Forces, by sending in U.S. Army engineers to upgrade the local airstrip for sustained use by large transport aircraft, as well as airlifting weapons and ammunition for the U.S.-led Detachment A-105. In addition, the Australian-led 11th Mobile Strike Force (MSF) Company was ordered to take up positions in Ngok Tavak, an outpost which served Kham Duc, in order to boost allied intelligence-gathering capabilities in the area. However, unbeknownst to the United States and other allied forces, the Viet Cong 1st Regiment had been watching the build-up around Kham Duc for some time, and were preparing to initiate the assault by taking out Ngok Tavak.
In the early hours of May 10, elements of the Viet Cong 1st Regiment attacked Ngok Tavak, and they successfully overran much of the outpost. By dawn, the 11th MSF Company was devastated, but they later received reinforcements which came in the form of the 12th Mobile Strike Force Company. Despite having received assurances that further reinforcements would arrive to relieve the outpost, the commander of the 11th MSF Company decided to evacuate his troops and move towards Kham Duc. By that time, however, the Viet Cong 1st Regiment had already turned their attention to the main target at Kham Duc, and they only left behind some local force units to destroy allied reinforcements. Meanwhile, elements of the Americal Division had been airlifted into Kham Duc as part of Operation Golden Valley, to bolster the strength of the Special Forces Camp there.
On the morning of May 11, the North Vietnamese 2nd Division surrounded Kham Duc, and they gradually forced United States-led forces into their bases after several outposts were overrun. Westmoreland then ordered Kham Duc to be evacuated, so the 834th Air Division was told to make an all-out effort to extract all the people in Kham Duc, both military and civilian. By the time the evacuation was completed, nine U.S. military aircraft had been shot down, including two C-130s. On May 12, the North Vietnamese were in complete control of Kham Duc, and the battle resulted in a major defeat for the United States military.