Allied Navies on the Offensive

The new year witnessed the strengthening of the border patrol barriers and the expansion of SEALORDS into three
regions: I Corps, the area north of Saigon, and the remotest reaches of the Mekong Delta. In April, Task Force
Clearwater's I Corps efforts were enhanced by Operation Sea Tiger in which Task Force 115 Swift boats, River Division
543 PBRs, Vietnamese Coastal Group 14 junks, and River Assault Group 32 units battled to secure the Cua Dai and Hoi An

Rivers in Quang Nam Province. Soon afterward, in June, naval river forces began patrolling the vital Saigon River from
Cuong to Dau Tieng, the latter in the hotly contested Michelin Rubber Plantation. This operation, designated Ready Deck,

tied in with the Giant Slingshot interdiction effort to the west.

In the Mekong Delta proper, Swift boat, PBR, riverine assault craft, SEAL, and Vietnamese ground units struck at the
Viet Cong in their former strongholds, which included the Ca Mau Peninsula, the U Minh Forest, and the islands of the
broad Mekong River system. From 7 to 18 April, ground, air, and naval units from each of the American services, the
Vietnamese Navy, and the Vietnamese Marine Corps conducted Silver Mace II, a strike operation in the Nam Can Forest
Ca Mau Peninsula. The enemy avoided heavy contact with the allied force, but his logistical system was disrupted. After
raiding and harassing operations like Silver Mace II, the combined navies often deployed forces to secure a more
permanent Vietnamese government presence in vital areas. In June 1969, for example, the U.S. Navy anchored a mobile
pontoon base in the middle of the Ca Mau region's Cua Lon River. This operation, labelled Sea Float, was made difficult
heavy Viet Cong opposition, strong river currents, and the distance to logistic support facilities. Still, Sea Float denied
enemy a safe haven even in this isolated corner of the delta. The allies further threatened the Communist "rear" area in
September when they set up patrols on the Ong Doc, a river bordering the dense and isolated U Minh area. Staging from
an advance tactical support base at the river's mouth, U.S. and Vietnamese PBRs of Operation Breezy Cove repeatedly
intercepted and destroyed enemy supply parties crossing the waterway.

By October 1969, one year after the start of the SEALORDS campaign, Communist military forces in the Mekong
Delta were under heavy pressure. The successive border interdiction barriers delayed and disrupted the enemy's
and troop replacement from Cambodia. The raiding operations hit vulnerable base areas and the Sea Float deployment
put allied forces deep into what had been a Viet Cong sanctuary. In addition, American and Vietnamese forces captured
or destroyed over 500 tons of enemy weapons, ammunition, food, medicines, and other supplies. Furthermore, 3,000
Communist soldiers were killed and 300 were captured at a cost of 186 allied men killed and 1,451 wounded.

For more history go to VIETNAMIZATION


These pages of history was downloaded from chapters 3 and 4 of the book: By Sea, Air, and Land; AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF THE U.S. NAVY AND THE WAR IN SOUTHEAST ASIA BY EDWARD J. MAROLDA.