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Operation Cedar Falls.

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Introduction

Operation Cedar Falls The operation to commence on 8 January was to be known as Cedar Falls, it was to be multidivisional, and was to include a parachute assault. The goal of the operation is to throw out Viet Cong base camps in the Iron Triangle. The plan assigned specific intelligence collection areas, tasks, and responsibilities to U.S. and allied units within the area; the objective was a closely integrated and coordinated effort by U.S. and allied agencies. Unit collection responsibilities were assigned on the basis of geographic areas. Close liaison was affected between U.S. and allied units from battalion level and between U.S. advisers and corresponding commanders of South Vietnamese Army units and district chiefs. Operation Cedar Falls was the first large scale operation to benefit from pattern activity analysis, a system begun in mid 1966. ...read more.

Middle

The Thanh Dien forest and the Iron Triangle were known to contain strongly fortified positions with the routes of approach mined and booby trapped. The terrain in the area consists of dense forests and wet, open rice lands. Cedar Falls was to be conducted in two distinct phases. Phase I: 5th-8th January, consisted of positioning units on the flanks of the Iron Triangle-Thanh Dien forest area. D-day was set for 8 January when an air assault on Ben Suc would take place. Ben Suc was to be sealed, searched, and, after evacuation of its inhabitants and their possessions, destroyed. Phase II of the operation was to start on 9 January with a force attacking west from the vicinity of Ben Cat to penetrate the Iron Triangle. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Viet Cong did not choose to fight. US Losses - 282 killed; 1,587 wounded; 3 tanks destroyed; 21 APCs destroyed; 12 trucks destroyed; 4 helicopters destroyed .VC/NVN Losses - 2,728 killed; 34 prisoners; 139 defectors to anti-Communist forces (in response to 9,768,000 air-dropped bombs and 102 hours of aerial about 16,000 US and 14,000 South Vietnamese troops were sent out to destroy Vietcong operations. In the course of the operation, 5,987 residents of Ben Suc are forcibly evacuated to refugee camps. In nineteen days, the US had converted the Iron Triangle from a haven for the VC to a battleground and then to a military no-man's-land. Years of work spent tunnelling and hoarding supplies were nullified. The civilian population was removed, making any enemy attempt to rebuild doubly difficult. Concealment, particularly along lines of communication, was stripped away, exposing the area to further surveillance. By all accounts Cedar Falls had to be one of the significant operations in the Vietnam War. ...read more.

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