5RAR Tiger Logo Phuoc Tuy Province

The 'Horseshoe' Phuoc Tuy Province

Chinook Landing on the Horseshoe

A Chinook helicopter laden with supplies approaches the landing pad of the newly defended "Horseshoe."

In his book 'Vietnam Task' Robert O'Neill, the battalion's intelligence officer first tour wrote:

The stretch of country from Nui Dat, through Long Tan, around to the east of Dat Do, and to the east of the villages on Route 44 between Dat Do and the sea, was the area through which Viet Cong movement into Central Phuoc Tuy could take place. Just to the north east of Dat Do, approximately half-way between Nui Dat and the coast rose the steep slopes of what had once been a small volcano. A crater rim, roughly circular in plan except that the southern sector had been blown out, rose to a height of two hundred feet above the surrounding plain. The crater was six hundred yards across and the defences of a complete rifle company, its administrative installations, and a gun position for artillery of any size could all be sited within it. The fields of fire for defenders on the lip of the crater were limitless while an attacking force would have to assault up a slope of two hundred feet on a gradient of nearly two in one. Thus an excellent defensive position was available for a small force at a convenient point for controlling the eastern approaches and for preventing Viet Cong movement into Dat Do from Long Tan. Furthermore the hill was well placed for launching operations to the east, particularly towards Xuyen Moc.   

Brigadier Graham's plans for interdicting to the east were completed in February 1967. They called for one rifle company and a troop of field artillery to be established permanently in the crater of what came to be called the Horseshoe Hill, because of its shape. The country between Nui Dat and the Horseshoe was to be controlled by patrolling from both bases and a barrier fence and mine­field was to be built from the Horseshoe to the coast, covering seven miles in its course. At the same time a massive thrust was to be made out to Xuyen Moc to clear the country from the coast to over fifteen miles inland of Viet Cong and their bases, caches and other installations.