Military Wiki
Battle of An Ninh
Part of Vietnam War
101st AB M60 Gunner Vietnam.jpg
Sergeant of 502nd Infantry, 101st Airborne Division.
LocationAn Ninh, Quảng Ninh District
Result Minor North Vietnam tactical victory
United States Vietnam North Vietnam
FNL Flag.svg Viet Cong
Units involved
United States 2d Battalion 502d of 101st Airborne Division and a company of Sudvietnamese ragers, 620 soldiers.[1] Vietnam Nordvietnamese 95º infantry battalion and some units of 94º
Casualties and losses
American figures:13 dead;
44 wounded
American estimate:226 dead;

The Battle of An Ninh (18 September 1965), was fought during the Vietnam War between regulars of the United States Army and regulars of the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN/NVA) of North Vietnam.[2] It occurred during an operation codenamed Operation Gibraltar, developed by MACV to clear the area around the 1st Cavalry Division's base at An Khe, South Vietnam.


Around 7 a.m., after a preliminary air raid, the first wave of helicopters dropped 224 men of 101st and a company of south Vietnamese rangers in a landing zone near the village of An Ninh, 30 km east of An Khe.[1]

When the second wave arrived on the landing zone, the Vietnamese troops started an intense fire forcing the commander officer, Lt. Col. W.K.G. Smith to call back the second wave without dropping the soldiers.[1]

The lack of artillery support posed dire difficulties for the American defence perimeter. Only shortly after 9:00 the requests for air support was answered with the first mission flown by F100 bombers.[1] Air support was the only help available on the first day of combat, with 50 missions of close support flown by dusk, hitting targets as close as 100 m from the defence perimeter, causing two casualties from friendly fire.[1] The continuous effort to reinforce the besieged paratroopers and evacuate the wounded, under enemy fire, involved 26 helicopters.[1]

In the afternoon a combat combined force was transported to a safe landing zone, not far from the area of the battle, but before they could regroup and start to advance, night fell, and they had to stop.[1]

After a night of fighting under the flares light, at dawn the Vietcong retreated.[3]

U.S. casualties were 13 dead and 44 wounded, for the Vietnamese side, a body count conducted after the battle by U.S. troops reached 226, most of them killed by air bombardment.[1]


The result of the engagement was discordantly evaluated, some greeted it as a great victory for the U.S. Army. Between those, General Westmoreland .[1] Subsequent valuation (among these Maj. J.C.W. Dyke of 101st), put out how the landing zone was in the middle of a training camp of a Vietnamese infantry battalion,[2] and consider the battle a tactical and strategic disaster.[1]


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