1-8 January 1966: Operation Marauder

The Plain of Reeds (Đồng Tháp Mười) had long been used as a regional base in South Vietnam for resistance fighters when it frequently served as a safe haven for the Việt Minh from the First Indochina War. During the Second Indochina War, the area was again used as a base for the resistance forces of the National Liberation Front (NLF) and People’s Liberation Armed Forces of South Vietnam (PLAF).

Operation Marauder marked the first time American forces operated in the Plain of Reeds. Together with Australian troops, infantry and artillery battalions were deployed from Hậu Nghĩa Province and dropped by air into
Ba Tri airfield, Bến Tre Province, on 1 January 1966.

On 2 January 2/503rd Battalion landed at Landing Zone Wine where they were engaged by an entrenched PLAF force. After a daylong battle, supported by artillery fire and air support, the 2/503rd overran the PLAF position, finding 111 dead. On 6 January the 2/503rd located the abandoned headquarters of the PLAF 506 Battalion, recovering arms, ammunition, maps and personnel rosters.

Operation Marauder officially concluded on 8 January with claims of heavy losses having been inflicted on the PLAF 267 Battalion and the headquarters of the 506 Battalion.

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