THE 92nd BORDER RANGERS
CIDG CAMP TONLE-CHAN


        The 92nd battalion defended camp Tonle Chan, a CIDG camp near the Cambodia border.  It located in the Binh Long province, fifteen kilometers southeast of An Loc city.  Beginning as a CIDG camp built and supported by US Special Forces since 1967.   The first commander of the camp was Major Dang Hung Long, until the end of November 1970, camp Tonle Chan (A-334) was transferred to the ARVN Rangers High Command and became the 92nd border ranger battalion.

        The AO (area of operation) of the camp was the communist sanctuary war zone C, blocking infiltration route from the north and route 246 linked war zones C and D.  Because of its important tactical location, camp Tonle Chan was an irritable pike for the Central Directorate COSVN or R (The supreme HQ of the National Liberation Front NLF).  The communists have been trying to up-root or flatten the camp unsuccessfully many times.

        During the Easter Offensive, it was clear that the isolated outpost near Cambodian border was sitting duck.  The RVN ordered the 92nd to abandon the camp but the battalion commander was convinced that the enemy already sealed the retreating routes and his battalion would felt into an ambush if they tried to evacuate.  The 92nd border ranger battalion held out at the lonely outpost throughout the offensive.  On the 10th of May 1972, after sapper commandos already got inside the defensive position of the rangers, the enemy used human wave tactic with tanks support attacked camp Tonle Chan.  The valiant rangers of the 92nd under the leadership of Major Le Van Ngon fought ferociously and pushed back many waves of attacks until the communist gave up their plan of crushing the 92nd. Maj. Ngon was promoted to Lt. Col. in 1973 and became the youngest Lt. Col. of the ARVN (25 years old), after 1975 he was sent to labor camp in north Vietnam and died there according to Col. Nguyen Thanh Chuan former commander of the rangers in MR-III and other high ranking rangers who also served in the same labor camp with Lt. Col. Ngon.

BDQ Tran Tien San dang trnh by truoc Dai Hoi         After the Paris cease fires agreement 01-29-1973, again the communists began to seize camp Tonle-Chan since March 25th and from that day all the logistic supplies for the 92nd were done by parachuting from the air.  The enemy artillery pounded the camp very often caused difficult, almost impossible to evacuate of wounded soldiers and to re-supply the rangers.  Their AAA fire power positioned in the area chased away the ARVN choppers. Landing the helicopter inside the camp to unload supplies or evacuating wounded soldiers was a serious problem.

        Within 16 weeks since March 25th, the communists bombarded camp Tonle Chan nearly 300 times with more than 13,000 shells of 82mm and 122mm.  Their ground troops attacked 11 times, also sapper commandos attacked 9 times.  The rangers of the 92nd fought valiantly and held their positions. Failure in utilizing forces, the enemy turned to psycho-logistic-warfare.  Using loud speakers, they persuaded the rangers to abandon their defensive positions and requesting the battalion commander to lead his men to move out of the camp on a pre-arranged path.

        Until early of July, the 92nd ranger remained inside camp Tonle Chan and two small out-posts counted 224 men, included 34 wounded or illnesses whom were not evacuated.  The casualties listed 16 KIAs, 4 seriously wounded and 192 wounded and illnesses from malaria. In exchange, even have been isolated, tensed in morality, the rangers eliminated 86 enemies, captured 10 weapons, destroyed one AAA gun and one 105mm battery (captured from the ARVN by communist forces at the battle of An-Loc 1972).

        In 16 weeks mentioned above, the RVN Air Forces flew more than 3000 sorties supporting the defenders at the camp Tonle Chan, dropping more than 300 of 400 pounds packages of food and logistic supplies.  The rangers recovered only 134 packages, the rest lost into the enemy hands.

        The communists forces seized camp Tonle Chan included one battalion of the 271st regiment, 9th division, later was replaced by another battalion of the 201st separated regiment. The NVA/VC also had in the area AAA batteries of the 42nd and 271st regiments and the 28th artillery battalion with 130mm field guns.  After more than a year of suffering.  On the 5th of April 1974, the enemy infantry with tanks and artillery supported attacked with determination of flattening camp Tonle Chan.  The rangers of the 92nd battalion fought back bravely until the 11th then retreated to An-Loc, where they were picked up by other rangers of the 32nd (old 5th) group.  The heroic of the 92nd ranger battalion was considered a lesson of bravely, endurance of the rangers.  A Vietnamese writer Phan Nhat Nam had written The 92nd ranger had fought more bravely than any other infantry units in the history of warfare.

        From the books:
                - Phan Nhat Nam, Tong Le Chan, Maroon berets special issue, Houston Texas, 1994.
                - Gen. Cao Van Vien, The Final Collapse, Washington DC, 1983.
                - Col. Le Gro, Vietnam from Cease Fire to Capitulation, Washington DC, 1981.

        Dallas Texas 06-05-1995

        Hieu dinh Vu


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