The Battle of Binh An was a battle during the Vietnam War that took place on 27-8 June 1968 in Quảng Trị Province when the US 3rd Squadron, 5th Cavalry Regiment and Troop D, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment defeated the People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN) K14 Battalion, 812th Regiment.
On 27 June Troop C, 3/5th Cavalry, with Troop D, 1/9th Cavalry, the dismounted ground troop of the air cavalry squadron of the 1st Cavalry Division, had advanced from the northwest to within 150 meters of the village of Binh An (
16.848°N 107.246°E), on the South China Sea, 13km north of Quảng Trị. Suddenly, small arms fire and Rocket propelled grenades hit the US forces as several PAVN soldiers withdrew into the village. Both troops began firing to maintain pressure on the PAVN while scout sections from Troop C swung to the north and south of the village to cut off the escape routes. Hundreds of civilians fled from the village as Lieutenant Colonel Hugh Bartley ordered Troops A and B to reinforce the attacking units and start the pile-on. Shortly, thereafter a captured PAVN soldier reported that the 300-man K14 Battalion of the 812th Regiment was dug in at Binh An. Realizing that he now had a PAVN battalion with its back to the sea, Bartley ordered Troop B to positions north of Binh An. Troop C moved into the center of a horseshoe-shaped cordon along with Troop D, 1/9th Cavalry. By 10:30 the four cavalry troops were in position around Binh An. The South China Sea blocked the PAVN’s escape east, and a United States NavySwift boat was also summoned to seal the seaward escape routes.: 145–6
Colonel Bartley’s requests for fire support brought tactical aircraft, aerial rocket artillery and 105mm. artillery. The cruiser USS Boston and the destroyers USS O’Brien and USS Edson took station offshore. When Bartley gave the order to open fire the area inside the cordon erupted as hundreds of shells crashed in on the target. A naval observer reported the shelling to be so fierce that PAVN soldiers could be seen diving into the sea to escape. In order to strengthen the cordon and complete the pile-on, Bartley requested the airlift of 2 infantry companies from the 1st Cavalry Division. The two companies arrived early in the afternoon: Company C, 1/5th Cavalry, reinforced Troop B on the north side, while Company C, 2/5th Cavalry joined Troop A on the south. The supporting fire continued for the rest of the afternoon, and was lifted only long enough for a psychological operations team to fly over Binh An, urging the PAVN to surrender. There was no response and the shelling was resumed.: 146
To prevent the PAVN from escaping by night Bartley ordered Troops C and D to attack towards the sea. The cavalrymen assaulted the village but were stopped short by an impassable drainage ditch covered by PAVN fire. Troop B, with its attached infantry dispersed between the tracked vehicles then moved out on line to attack the village from the north. To allow Troop B to use all weapons to its front Troop A soldiers on the south side of the cordon climbed inside their armored vehicles. Troop B swept forward until its fire began to ricochet off the Troop A vehicles, then turned around and fought its way back to its original blocking positions. Bartley then called for resumption of supporting fire. The attack of Troop B apparently ended any possibility of a mass breakout through the cordon. Thereafter only small groups of PAVN tried to escape by sea; tank searchlights illuminated the beaches, exposing the fugitives. Along the inland sides of the cordon, troops using night vision devices between flares occasionally spotted PAVN moving in the dark. Small arms fire stopped them or drove them back. Artillery rounds continued to explode in the village all night.: 146–7
Morning brought an increase in the shelling, and when the fire was lifted the entire cordon tightened toward the center of Binh An. A short time later the final attack by Troop B was met by no more than scattered resistance. Stunned PAVN soldiers began to emerge from the wreckage and surrender.: 147