Battle of Duc Lap information

For date 680825

Primary service involved, US Army
Quang Duc Province, II Corps, South Vietnam
Location, Duc Lap
Description: This was day three of the battle. The NVA made another major effort to smash the camp just before dawn. Their ground assault was timed to take advantage of the temporary break in air cover between the nighttime AC-130 "Spectre" gunship and the daylight fighter bombers. The NVA attacked from the north hill and seized four bunkers on the main hill. Another NVA company approached from the southwest. They were stopped within grenade range of the main trenchworks. Airstrikes were directed on the captured positions. When a napalm strike hit a CIDG company, they paniced and raced up the hill. The SF and Australians worked hard and order was restored by 0930H. The fight had been expensive for both sides. Things looked very grim for the allies. At 1000H SP5 Class Childs and LLDB medical SGT Le Van Lai, on their own, attached and destroyed several NVA hard points. Caribou aircraft parachuted pallets of ammo and supplies. Two companies from the 5th Mobile Strike Force at Nha Trang airmobiled west of the camp during the morning. They moved through open fields and past piles of dead NVA. They were able to enter the camp through the breach blown by the NVA. Minutes later the 2d Mobile Strike Force was also able to enter the camp. Counterattack plans were made. At 1430H a Nung CIDG company attacked the NVA held bunkers and the Montagnard CIDG companies attacked directly up the NVA held hill. After two hours of hard fighting and great individual heroism, most of the northern hill was taken. One Montagnard commander Y-Gaul Nie was especially inspiring until he was killed by a grenade. The CIDG units hit the NVA positions from the top and sides as they cleared the hill. By late evening the NVA had either been pushed out of the camp or killed after five bloody hours. No prisoners were taken. The CIDG, nervous over several early encounters with bypassed NVA snipers, simply shot any wounded as they advanced. Duc Lap was a salutary Special Forces victory, achieved entirely by internal Special Forces lead mobile strike force CIDG units without outside infantry assistance. Casualties were KIA: 6 SF, 1 LLDB, 37 CIDG, 20 civilians; MIA: 9 CIDG; WIA: 13 SF, 7 LLDB, 80 CIDG. NVA losses were 303 by body count and probably much higher. The major camp weapons at the start of the battle were two 105mm howitzers, four 81mm mortars, one 4.2 mortar, and two 106mm RRs.

The source for this information was Green Berets at War P:205+

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