Battle of Đồng Hới
|Battle of Đồng Hới|
|Part of the Vietnam War|
|North Vietnam||United States|
unknown land forces
~2 torpedo boats
|Casualties and losses|
2 torpedo boats
1 destroyer damaged
1 cruiser damaged
The Battle of Đồng Hới was a clash between United States Navy warships and three North Vietnamese air force MiG-17F fighter bombers, several torpedo boats and shore batteries on April 19, 1972 during the Vietnam War. This was the first time US warships faced an air raid since the end of World War II.
The Battle for Đồng Hới Gulf involved fierce fire fights between Navy ships attempting to stop North Vietnamese troops and supplies transiting the coast highway in North Vietnam from reaching the battle front in Quảng Trị Province. The air raid described here marked the end of daylight raids by the Navy. Within a few weeks, however, all North Vietnamese resistance at Đồng Hới was suppressed.
The American warships were shelling North Vietnamese coastal targets around Đồng Hới, Quảng Bình Province, North Central Coast region when attacked by North Vietnamese aircraft. This was the first MiG attack on U.S. naval forces in the Gulf of Tonkin. The battle site is in the Gulf of Tonkin, near the DMZ along the 17th parallel, the provisional borderline of the Republic of Vietnam and Democratic Republic of Vietnam.
One of the MiG-17F's, flown by NVAF pilot Le Xuan Di, scored a direct hit on Higbee with a BETAB-250 (250 kg/551 lb) bomb, after failing to hit his target twice on two previous attack runs. The MiG was then shot down by a Terrier surface-to-air missile fired from Sterrett. The explosion destroyed Higbee's aft 5-inch gun mount and wounded sailors, according to DesRonNine staff present at the battle, in the gun mount's upper handling room. The gun mount itself was empty, the 12 man crew having been evacuated following a "hang fire" (a round stuck in one of the barrels). Oklahoma City received minor damage from shrapnel resulting from shore fire. Two of several North Vietnamese torpedo boats were sunk by gunfire when they engaged the U.S. ships as they escorted the Higbee from the area. However, the North Vietnamese claimed that all of their aircraft had returned safely to base after the sortie, and that the North Vietnamese navy had not involved in any engagement until August 27. Eye witnesses from USS Sterrett and DesRonNine staff visually confirmed that a Terrier missile from Sterrett directly impacted one of the MiG-17s at about 2,000 yards, the explosion completely disintegrating the aircraft. No parachute was observed.
After their bombing run, the North Vietnamese pilots retreated back to their air base. If there were any remaining torpedo boats, they withdrew as well. The U.S. warships would engage several more MiG-17s over the next few days, shooting down at least three more enemy aircraft, they also continued shelling North Vietnamese ground targets and rescuing downed aviators.
- "Trường Sơn kí sự – Bài 7: Ở hai mái đèo Đá Đẽo" (in Vietnamese), Tiền Phong Online, 20 April 2009
- Dr. Itsvan Toperczer "Air war over northern Viet Nam." Squadron/Signal Publications Inc. 1998.
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