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Cedar Falls (Operation Niagara - Cedar Falls)

 Operation
Title
Cedar Falls (Operation Niagara - Cedar Falls)
Start Date
1/8/1967
End Date
1/27/1967
CTZ
III
TAO
Iron Triangle, 25 miles northwest of Saigon including the Thanh Dien Forest Reserve; VC Military Region 4 Headquarters; Ben Suc and surrounding villages; Binh Duong, Hau Nghia and Tay Ninh Provinces
Objective
To interdict VC control of the transportation and communications network in the area; search and destroy operation to seal off the Iron Triangle and crush everything within it
Description
The II Field Force (IIFFV) chose a hammer-and-anvil attack to be used on the target, with the anvil along the Saigon River at the southwestern boundary of the Iron Triangle and the hammer to swing through the triangle. The local residents were evacuated and the area was cleared of vegetation. The plan was only known to a few IIFFV personel and ARVN was not brieffed until two days beforehand. During Phase I, from 5-8 January, the anvil was positioned with the ARVN VNN forces, the 25th Infantry Division, and the 199th Light Infantry Brigade setting up south of the Saigon River. On 9 January, Phase II began with the hammer movement of the 11th Armored Cavalry and the 173d Airborne Brigade and the airmobile assaults of the 3d Brigade, 1st Infantry Division. With two U.S. and one ARVN infantry divisions, this was the largest operation to date. The 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry attacked Ben Suc, the VC headquarters in the secret base area, and three surrounding villages. The battalion was airlifted into the Ben Suc and by midmorning had secured the village. Meanwhile the forces involved in the hammer conducted search-and-destroy methods, searching by day and amsbushing by night. The VC avoided defensive positions as they tried to slip away from the Iron Triangle area. As the operation ended, the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry protected the engineer forces still clearing the area until 26 January. CEDAR FALLS provided lessons concerning the infantry and engineers working together to uncover the VC as well as refined the systems for clearing VC tunnel systems and preparing helicopter landings. VC documents revealed much to the Allies about their enemies and the VC were siginificantly setback in the area, though far from destroyed. There were 280 VC POWs.

Allied Units Involved

  • Unit
    2d and 3d Brigades, 1st Infantry Division
    Branch
    United States Army
    Branch Abbrv.
    USA
  • Unit
    3d Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
    Branch
    United States Army
    Branch Abbrv.
    USA
  • Unit
    1st Division, 26th Infantry
    Branch
    United States Army
    Branch Abbrv.
    USA
  • Unit
    2d Brigade, 25th Infantry Division
    Branch
    United States Army
    Branch Abbrv.
    USA
  • Unit
    199th Light Infantry Brigade
    Branch
    United States Army
    Branch Abbrv.
    USA
  • Unit
    196th Infantry Brigade (Light, USA)
  • Unit
    173d Airborne Brigade
    Branch
    United States Army
    Branch Abbrv.
    USA
  • Unit
    11th Armored Cavalry
    Branch
    United States Army
    Branch Abbrv.
    USA
  • Unit
    5th ARVN Division
  • Unit
    VNN 3d Riverine Company
  • Unit
    30th River Assault Group (VNN???)
Killed in Action
72 (USA); 11 ARVN
Wounded in Action
337 (USA); 8 ARVN

Enemy Units Involved

  • Unit
    165th and 272d VC Regiments
  • Unit
    VC Main Force Phu Loi Battalion
Killed in Action
720-750 (VC)

Sources

  • Author
    Shelby L. Stanton
    Title
    Vietnam: Order Of Battle
  • Author
    Spencer C. Tucker
    Title
    The Encyclopedia Of The Vietnam War: A Political, Social & Military History
  • Author
    Harry G. Summers, Jr.
    Title
    Historical Atlas Of The Vietnam War
  • Author
    National Archives and Records Administration
    Title
    Preliminary Checklist Of United States Military Operations In Southeast Asia