A supply convoy of the United States First Infantry Division was badly damaged by a series of mines planted in the highway between Bien Hoa and Ben Cat.
A supply convoy of the United States First Infantry Division was badly damaged by a series of mines planted in the highway between Bien Hoa and Ben Cat. The action was one of a series of attacks on the daily convoys supplying the First Division.
The First Division, known from its shoulder patch as the Big Red One, is based at Ben Cat. It is linked to Bien Hoa near Saigon by Route 13, along which roll the division's daily supply convoys. The convoys are escorted by armored and armed personnel carriers and by armed helicopters.
On Thursday (9 December), the normal supply convoy was en route along Highway 13. As it neared Ben Cat, a mine planted by the Viet Cong in the highway blew up. The helicopter escort, seeing a burning truck below, moved in to spray the bush on both sides of the road with .30 caliber machine guns in case the Viet Cong tried to overrun the crippled convoy. The convoy got moving again, only to suffer two more mine explosions. At least three American soldiers were killed and sever were wounded. Helicopters put down beside the road to evacuate the injured.. and the bodies of the slain.
The Big Red One is heavily engaged in the fighting around the Mechelin plantation. Its trucks and jeeps are sniped at or blown up almost every day along Route 13, but the convoys are essential to keep up the needed flow of supplies.