On this day 18 August Vietnam

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1965 Marines launch Operation Starlite

After a deserter from the First Vietcong Regiment had revealed that an attack was imminent against the U.S. base at Chu Lai, the Marines launch Operation Starlite in the Van Tuong peninsula in Quang Ngai Province.

In this, the first major U.S. ground battle of the Vietnam War, 5,500 Marines destroyed a Viet Cong stronghold, scoring a resounding victory. During the operation, which lasted six days, ground forces, artillery from Chu Lai, close air support, and naval gunfire combined to kill nearly 700 Vietcong soldiers. U.S. losses included 45 Marines dead and more than 200 wounded.

1966 Australians defeat VC at Long Tan

The First Australian Task Force (ATF) inflicts a major defeat on Viet Cong forces in Phuoc Tuy Province. Australia had first sent troops to Vietnam in 1962 and eventually expanded its commitment in response to President Lyndon Johnson's call for "Free World Military Forces" to form an alliance of "Many Flags" in South Vietnam. By 1966, the First Australian Task Force included two infantry battalions and associated logistical support elements; it had also been joined by a New Zealand unit made up of two infantry companies and a Special Air Service troops. In the Battle of Long Tan, the ATF acquitted itself very well, inflicting a major defeat on the communist forces, killing 245 while sustaining 17 dead.

1968 Communists launch new offensive

The North Vietnamese and Viet Cong launch a limited offensive in the south with 19 separate attacks throughout South Vietnam. In the heaviest fighting in three months, Communist troops attacked key positions along the Cambodian border in Tay Ninh and Binh Long provinces, northwest of Saigon. In Tay Ninh, 600 Viet Cong, supported by elements of two North Vietnamese divisions, attacked the provincial capital, capturing several government installations. U.S. reinforcements from the Twenty-fifth Infantry Division were rushed to the scene and after a day of house-to-house fighting expelled the communists from the city.

1971 Australia and New Zealand decide to withdraw troops from Vietnam

Australia and New Zealand announce the end of the year as the deadline for withdrawal of their respective contingents from Vietnam. The Australians had 6,000 men in South Vietnam and the New Zealanders numbered 264. Both nations agreed to leave behind small training contingents. Australian Prime Minister William McMahon proclaimed that the South Vietnamese forces were now able to assume Australia's role in Phuoc Tuy province, southeast of Saigon and that Australia would give South Vietnam $28 million over the next three years for civilian projects. Total Australian losses for the period of their commitment in Vietnam were 473 dead and 2,202 wounded; the monetary cost of the war was $182 million for military expenses and $16 million in civilian assistance to South Vietnam.
 

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