6 commandos vs 30,000 enemy troops

Editor’s word: this text by Stavros Atlamazoglou first appeared on Sandboxx.

Thanksgiving Day, 1968.

As households throughout America gathered collectively to take pleasure in their Thanksgiving dinner within the chill of late fall, a six-man crew of commandos from covert particular operations models have been combating for his or her very lives towards 30,000 North Vietnamese troops within the jungles of Southeast Asia.

The six commandos belonged to MACV-SOG, a extremely labeled particular operations unit that carried out among the most harrowing missions within the Vietnam Struggle.

The covert males and mission of MACV-SOG

The Army Help Command Vietnam-Research and Observations Group (MACV-SOG) was a particular operations group that carried out covert cross-border operations in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, North Vietnam, and elsewhere.

From 1964 to 1972, MACV-SOG took the struggle to the enemy with an enviable grit, decision, and guile, usually turning up in essentially the most sudden locations.

A MACV-SOG crew. (arsof-history.org by way of Sandboxx)

MACV-SOG primarily went after the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong provide routes that fed the Communist onslaught into South Vietnam. The Ho Chi Minh Path, which snaked from North Vietnam west into Laos and Cambodia solely to show east once more in South Vietnam, was an above-ground and underground complicated that stretched for a whole lot of miles. What was sinister in regards to the Ho Chin Minh Path was that nominally, North Vietnamese troops weren’t purported to be there, as Hanoi had repeatedly introduced its intentions to respect the neutrality of Laos and Cambodia.

But when the North Vietnamese have been there, so needed to be American commandos. Because of this, MACV-SOG groups operated in nations that successive U.S. administrations had insisted that no American troops have been in.

The particular operations unit was comprised solely of commandos from throughout the U.S. particular operations neighborhood, together with Navy SEALs, Recon Marines, and Air Commandos. Nevertheless it was the Army Special Forces operators—nicknamed “Inexperienced Berets”—that shaped the cornerstone of the unit. Utilizing their unconventional warfare and international inner protection—the coaching and advising of international troops—capabilities, Inexperienced Berets recruited, skilled, and led groups of native mercenaries towards the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong.

The covert outfit cooperated carefully with the U.S. intelligence neighborhood and ran among the most daring particular operation missions in U.S. navy historical past. The operation of Spike Workforce Idaho in the course of the closing days of November 1968 was such a mission.

Turkey, gravy, and the North Vietnamese

Following the Tet Offensive in January 1968, the U.S. intelligence neighborhood was involved about virtually all North Vietnamese troop actions. So when three complete North Vietnamese divisions went lacking in November, Army intel and the CIA have been keen to seek out them.

Composed of six commandos, two Inexperienced Berets, and 4 native mercenaries, ST Idaho went after the lacking North Vietnamese divisions. Main the MACV-SOG recon crew was John Stryker Meyer, a legendary Inexperienced Beret who has written extensively about his expertise within the elite particular operations group.

John Stryker Meyer macv-sog
John Stryker Meyer (left) and Lynne Black Jr. on the firing vary. (Courtesy image vis Sandboxx)

Their job was to seek out the first, third, and seventh North Vietnamese Army divisions, about 30,000 troops, that had gone lacking someplace on the border with Cambodia. These troops have been a part of an roughly 100,000-strong North Vietnamese presence within the neighboring nation, and the Pentagon feared that they may stage an assault on Saigon from their protected haven in Cambodia.

As soon as they’d situated the North Vietnamese troops, ST Idaho was to relay their place and exfiltrate as shortly and quietly as attainable (in different phrases, get out of dodge). If they may snatch an enemy prisoner whereas they have been at it from whom very important intelligence might be gleaned, that a lot the higher.

If going after 30,000 enemy troops with simply six males wasn’t sufficient, the MACV-SOG commandos have been additional hindered by the truth that they couldn’t name in fixed-wing shut air help as a result of the State Division had imposed very strict guidelines of engagement for the realm of operations. They might solely go 12 miles inside Cambodian airspace.

Not your common Thanksgiving

On Thanksgiving morning, ST Idaho inserted and began patrolling towards the place they believed the North Vietnamese could be. After a couple of minutes, they noticed campfires, and moved of their path.

ST Idaho quickly discovered itself inside an enormous North Vietnamese camp. Nevertheless it was an empty camp… and nobody challenged them—not less than for now. The commandos began snapping photos and trying to find paperwork and maps that might show helpful to their intelligence retailers. Whereas many of the commandos have been targeted on their treasure-hunting expedition, their level man, an indigenous mercenary, actually sensed the enemy’s method and alerted the crew. Meyer, who trusted his teammates along with his life, took him at his phrase and made the choice to exfiltrate.

meyer macv-sog
John Stryker Meyer (center again) surrounded by indigenous mercenaries. (Courtesy image by way of Sandboxx)

However as they have been leaving camp, a whole lot of North Vietnamese troops poured into view from seemingly out of nowhere. Earlier than lengthy, it was clear that they have been coming straight at them from each the north and south. Their level man had been proper, ST Idaho was now going through an completely overwhelming enemy pressure. In the event that they have been going to outlive, they wanted to get out of there in a rush.

ST Idaho ran for its life, solely stopping to place down suppressive fireplace or to plant Claymore mines in a useless try at stopping the Communists’ pursuit. The crew was made up of extremely skilled and skilled particular operations warfighters, usually greater than a match for even essentially the most unfair fights, however regardless of what number of North Vietnamese they killed, extra appeared to take their place.

The MACV-SOG commandos reached their touchdown zone and unexpectedly dug in, ready for the helicopters to exfiltrate them. However by now, the Communists have been nearly on prime of them.

Green Hornet UH-1P Huey
A Inexperienced Hornet UH-1P Huey assigned to the Inexperienced Hornets (Courtesy image)

At that very second, UH-1P Hueys from the Air Pressure’s twentieth Particular Operations Squadron—nicknamed the “Inexperienced Hornets”—arrived; actually simply as ST Idaho was about to be overrun by the North Vietnamese hordes.

Firing their M134 miniguns and M-60 machineguns, the Inexperienced Hornets have been in a position to stem the North Vietnamese advance, giving the MACV-SOG commandos some valuable respiration house to regroup. With the enemy pressure nonetheless making an attempt to advance, the Inexperienced Hornets poured rounds of their path, curbing their progress for simply lengthy sufficient to permit the exhausted warfighters to board the ready choppers.

As in a film, the North Vietnamese flooded ST Idaho’s perimeter because the crew was flying away into the sundown and security. They’d discovered the enemy—and survived. For the lads of ST Idaho, that was one thing to be glad about.

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