Ambush south of Blackhorse information
for C/3/5 CAV
D/3/5 CAV

For date 671231

C/3/5 CAV was a US Army unit
9 INF was a US Army unit
D/3/5 CAV was a US Army unit
Primary service involved, US Army
Long Khanh Province, III Corps, South Vietnam
Location, Blackhorse
Description: Two platoons from C Troop departed Blackhorse about 0300H and were ambushed about six miles south on QL 2 going to Vung Tau. Their mission was to escort the third and final convoy of 60 vehicles belonging to an aviation battalion from Vung Tau starting about 0900H. MAJ Mahler, the squadron XO, writes that at about 0400H on a straight stretch of road between two slight rises, the lead tank was hit by a rocket that instantly killed the driver. The vehicle spacing was 200 yards. The lead tank of the second platoon was hit and the last track in the column was blown up by a command-detonated mine. In ten minutes it was all over. The ambushing force had hidden in the clumps of fallen trees that remained, ironically, from the effort to clear the road edges of growth for 100 yards on both sides to prevent the enemy from lurking in the undergrowth. The enemy had been in this deadfall, no farther than ten yards from the road edge, and at that range, they could not miss. MAJ Mahler carefully outlines several of the ‘mistakes’ that collectively contributed to this event. Of the 45 troopers who had been out, 25 were WIA and 11 KIA. Three of the dead, from the last track, were beyond recognition and had to be listed as MIA because their remains could not be positively identified. Miraculously, many of the wounded had suffered only burn and would be coming back to duty in a day or so. Of the two tanks and nine ACAVs in the column, one tank and four ACAVs were good only for salvage. He does not list the aviation units that provided medevac and other support for the recovery effort, but one can assume D/3/5 Cav was involved. The CG of the 9th Infantry replaced the squadron commander three days after this event took place.

The source for this information was Ringed in Steel by Mahler :72-79

Additional information is available on CD-ROM.

Please send additions or corrections to: Gary Roush Email address:

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Date posted on this site: 05/16/2021