Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Today In History: Son Tay.

On this day 37 years ago, US Army Special Forces soldiers and USAF aircrew conducted one of the boldest special operations missions in military history; the raid on the North Vietnamese prison camp at Son Tay. Opening the ball by deliberately crashing a helicopter smack in the middle of the prison compound, the Special Forces troops blew up guard towers, breached cell blocks, shot up the NVA guards by the hundred, searched the prison from top to bottom...

...and found no prisoners, as they had been moved to a nearby location a few months earlier.

Despite this, the raid has gone down as a textbook example of a SpecOps mission; US forces suffered no KIA and only two wounded despite being severely outnumbered and far behind enemy lines. The raid caused the North Vietnamese to move POWs to centrally located prisons, rather than the scattered camps that were now shown to be vulnerable.

6 comments:

staghounds said...

A little known fact is that a CIA analyst- maybe Frank Snepp?- went to his boss' boss two days before Son Tay and asked, 'Are we planning a prisoner rescue for day after tomorrow?'

He' put it together himself from signal and troop movement patterns.

Anonymous said...

Only the United States government has forgotten...

deadcenter said...

I sometimes wonder if one of the several spies in our intelligence community, we had working for the soviets passed the word along and the soviets passed the word on to the vietnamese.

staghounds said...

No, the NV moved the prisoners before there was definite enough planning. And they were DEFINITELY surprised.

Tennessee Budd said...

My girlfriend's grandfather, now deceased, was part of the op. She's rightfully proud of him.

Grunt said...

There is a possibility the POWs were moved due to flooding caused by the CIA seeding clouds over North Vietnam ,Laos and Cambodia instead of the commonly accepted reason that the harvest season was over.The CIA had a secret op going with the intent to turn the Ho Che Minh trail into a sea of mud and over did it with the cloud seeding causing much flooding that year.

This came out I believe in the Church Hearings as well as one of the Books by disenchanted left leaning CIA personnel in the 70s.