A-109 Thuong Duc Location

Thuong Duc A-109


Map details

Camp A-109 was built near the junction of two rivers -- within sight of the high plateau area. The camp was located on an elevated area within the flat river valley. The red dot on map above indicates the position of the camp. The truncated bottom portion of the dot is intended to indicate that the camp lay behind the green ridge.

To the north and south were steep walls leading up to the plateaus, while the river valleys extended to the west and southwest. (This view is looking North.)

A-109 Thuong Duc was positioned west and south of Da Nang. The area to the east of the camp opened onto the western edge of the coastal plain. The coastal plain extends approximately twenty miles to the South China Sea. It helped protect Da Nang from an attack from the west. Additionally, it was positioned in a key river valley that enabled its patrols to monitor critical enemy activity.

Neutralization Fire Mission

The distance from the South China Sea cited above was critical. The US had WWII-vintage battleships stationed off the coast of Vietnam during the conflict. Some of these warships employed 16" guns. Allow me to digress for a moment and talk about these battleship weapons.

The 16-inch guns fired a 2000 pounbd shell. I'll pause while that fact sinks in... Yeas, you read correctly. These ships fired one-ton shells. And they did that with a maximum range of 26 miles. Up to the maximum range, the impact point was adjustable at 3 meter increments. The warship could adjust its fire by as little a nine feet! 2000 pounds at 24 miles with an adjustment factor of 9 feet... Incredible!

If the Americans at Thuong Duc camp were overrun, the plan called for team members to E&E -- Escape and Evade. Abandon the camp and escape north... escape south... escape east... but do not escape west! The commo guy was instructed to call for 'neutralization fire mission' as the last guys left the camp. This message put into action a sequence that resulted in a fire mission from one of the battleships. That fire mission was plotted with the coordinates of A-109 at Thuong Duc!

The camp would, effectively, be obliterated. No need for the last guy leaving to 'turn out the lights'. The camp would disappear as surely as it would had it been the target of an Arc Light strike!