Operation Carentan

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Operation Carentan
Part of Vietnam War
Date 18 March – 18 April 1968
Location Thừa Thiên Province, South Vietnam
Result U.S. claims operational success
Belligerents
 United States Vietnam North Vietnam
Commanders and leaders
MG Olinto M. Barsanti
Strength
1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division
2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division
3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division
29th Regiment, 325C Division
Casualties and losses
58 killed US body count: 224 killed

Operation Carentan was a security operation conducted during the Vietnam War by the U.S. 1st and 2nd Brigades, 101st Airborne Division and the 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division in Thừa Thiên Province, South Vietnam from 18 March to 18 April 1968.

Background

Following the conclusion of the Battle of Huế, General William B. Rosson, the I Field Force commander ordered MG Olinto M. Barsanti, commander of the 101st Airborne Division to deploy the 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division and the newly deployed 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division to take over the Jeb Stuart operational area from the 1st Cavalry Division as it prepared for Operation Pegasus, the relief of Khe Sanh Combat Base.[1]

Operation

Operation Carentan I

The initial phase of the operations called for the 2nd Brigade, 101st and the 3rd Brigade, 82nd to secure Highway 1 between Landing Zone El Paso and PK-17 and then to secure Highway 547 which headed west from the city of Huế towards the A Shau Valley.[1]

On 18 March the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division established a command post at Firebase Birmingham, 10km southwest of Huế overlooking Route 547. The following day, the 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment was sent further west on Route 547 to seize an old French fort, while the 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry, advanced along the northern side of Route 547, and the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, screened the southern side of the road. These moves were unopposed and engineers began building Firebase Henry (16°20′56″N 107°30′58″E / 16.349°N 107.516°E / 16.349; 107.516) near the French fort.[1]:504[2]

The 1st Brigade continued moving west along Route 547 and on 21 March 8km west of Firebase Henry Company C 1/327th Infantry, ran into a small PAVN outpost on the north side of the road. After overrunning that position, Company C then found a larger group of bunkers. Company A moved to join Company C and they overran the position, losing 6 killed and twenty wounded. Several hundred meters further west they encountered more PAVN bunkers and this time their assault was repulsed for the loss of 6 killed and 52 wounded. The units were withdrawn so that air and artillery support could be brought in. When the assault resumed the next morning the PAVN had abandoned their positions. As the U.S. forces continued their advance they encountered small groups of PAVN who would usually abandon their positions rather than stand and fight.[1]:504

General Barsanti ordered the 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne to search the foothills west of Huế, that held the PAVN's Base Area 114. On 22 March, the 2nd Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment and the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment deployed into Base Area 114. Over the next few weeks 35 U.S. soldiers were killed in firefights with the PAVN, while a misplaced artillery barrage killed 11 more. PAVN losses were 175 killed.[1]:504

On 27 March the 1st Brigade established Firebase Bastogne which became the brigade’s forward operating base. More than 20 artillery pieces were soon in place putting the A Sầu Valley within artillery range.[1]:504

Operation Carentan II

At the end of March Operation Carentan II commenced, however there were few skirmishes with the PAVN who had apparently withdrawn further west into the A Sầu Valley and Laos.[1]:504–5

Aftermath

The operation ended on 18 April 1968, the US claimed PAVN losses were 224 killed.[1]:506

Immediately following the conclusion of Operation Carentan U.S. and South Vietnamese forces launched Operation Delaware into the A Sầu Valley.

References

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army Center of Military History.

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Villard, Erik (2017). United States Army in Vietnam Combat Operations Staying the Course October 1967 to September 1968. Center of Military History United States Army. p. 502. ISBN 9780160942808.
  2. ^ Kelley, Michael (2002). Where we were in Vietnam. Hellgate Press. pp. 5–219. ISBN 978-1555716257.
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