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   Watercraft was a critical element in moving cargo throughout South Vietnam.  The long coastline of Vietnam made movement by vessel safer and more effective.

LCU taking on ammunition at Qui Nhon.

LCU taking ammo at Qui Nhon

   Transportation Corps heavy boat companies operation primarily LCUs (Landing Craft, Utility) and BARCs (Barge Amphibious Resupply Cargo). 

   The LCU could carry 184 tons of cargo, and was used to transport wheeled and tracked equipment and general cargo from ship to shore, and in retrograde operations.  It was valuable in LOTS operations (Logistics Over The Shore) and intratheater transport.  It was not capable of self-deployment over open oceans, but was deployed aboard Army and Navy vessels. 

    The BARC, later designated as the LARC LX, could carry 60 tons of cargo, and was used to transport wheeled and tracked vehicles, including beach preparation equipment and general cargo from ship to shore or to inland transfer points.  It was the only amphibian in the Army inventory capable of landing on a beach through breaking surf.  The BARC was deck-loaded on a commercial vessel of heavy lift ship for transport overseas.

   The 97th Heavy Boat Company at Cam Ranh Bay supported combat landings at Tuy Hoa, Phan Rang, Song Cau, and Cape Twain.  Its area of operation extended from Can Tho in the southern Mekong Delta to the north at DaNang with eight port facilities in between, including Saigon, Cam Ranh Bay, Qui Nhon and Chu Lai.

Korean troops coming ashore

Korean troops coming ashore at Qui Nhon


Soldiers coming ashore at Qui Nhon

US troops coming ashore at Qui Nhon

   The 329th  Heavy Boat Company first operated out of DaNang and delivered cargo up the Perfume River to the Navy ramp at Hue, and up the Qua Viet River at Dong Ha.

   In early 1967, the 329th headquarters moved to Vung Tau to provide additional LCU support to the IV Corps Tactical Zone.  The boats delivered cargo to units based at Dong Tam, Vinh Long and Saigon.

bridge of LCU Closeup of the bridge of an LCU, 329th Trans Co (Heavy Boat)
An anchored LCU of the 329th Heavy Boat Company. LCU at anchor
px supplies An LCU full of cargo for the PX at Saigon.
An LCU loaded with ammunition.


typical cargo on onboard

typical cargo 2 (offloaded)

 Typical cargo in the Mekong Delta, 329th Heavy Boat Company.

approaching University of Hue

Approaching the University of Hue LCU Beach, 1968


cargo of ammo

Left, typical cargo for the Perfume
and Cua Viet Rivers for the 329th Heavy Boat Company – 200 tons of ammunition. Photo taken by Robert Scott at the University of Hue beach, 1968.



M60 tank on LCM

LCM-8 loading a tank for a follow-on landing at Duc Pho, 1967.

105mm howitzer on LCM

105mm howitzers mounted on barges at Don Tam.  LCM-8s moved the barges around
the Mekong Delta in support
of the 9th Infantry Division.

LCU on beach

LCU-1581, 329th Transportation Company, on the beach
at Duc Pho.


The Most Significant LOTS Operation of Vietnam

   In January 1968, the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army launched their TET Offensive to overthrow the government of the Republic of South Vietnam.  They severed US lines of communication around Hue, destroying bridges and ambushing trucks.  POL storage tanks were destroyed at Tan My as was the 8-inch pipeline that ran up the coastline.

   The US counter-offensive ranked as the most significant US military campaign of the conflict.  General William C. Westmoreland deployed the 1st Cavalry Division and the 101st Airborne Division to the area, increasing the supply requirements to 2,600 tons per day.

   The 159th Trans Bn (Terminal) was tasked to set up LOTS (Logistics-Over-The-Shore) operations near Thon My Thuy on the beach.  Transportation of supplies was to play a key role in the counter-offensive.

location of Wunder Beach


   LTC Charles Sunder, commander of the 159th, needed a workable beach with a road connecting to Highway 1.  A desolate sandy beach at Thon My Thuy with an old French-built road was found with a sand dune 1-1/2 miles wide and over 1 mile deep.  Supply roads were repaired by the Seabees and the 14th Combat Engineer Battalion.

The staging road built originally by the French and connected the beach to Highway 1. staging road

  Task Force Sunder arrived in late March with the 159th Bn headquarters, 71st Trans Service Company and six fully loaded BARCs (LARC-60s) arrived at Wunder Beach.  They were later nicknamed “Sunder’s Wunders.”

   They were joined by the 625th Supply & Service Company, 129th Maintenance Detachment, and a Provisional GOER Company.

Sunder Himself and Sunder's Wunders jeeps

Jeeps of “Sunder’s Wunders” and “Sunder Himself”


HQ for Wunder Beach

Originally designated Utah Beach, the 159th renamed in Wunder Beach: Home of Sunder’s Wunders.”

   An 800-foot pontoon causeway was installed for LSTs to discharge cargo, primarily by LARC-Vs and LARC-XVs.

The causeway LARC-Vs and LARC XVs.


Closeup of the causeway.

causeway with vessel

   Movement through the sand was extremely difficult, yet, the task force exceeded their expected daily discharge of 350 tons.  Their first month they averaged 1,000 tons per day with a peak of 1,862 tons on March 21st.

LARC in background and home in foreground

A BARC (LARC-LX) works in the dunes beyond temporary housing (and laundry).

When the winds blew, sand was blown into the air, making visibility and working conditions at Wunder Beach very difficult.

poor visibility at Wunder Beach
BARC entering surg

A BARC enters the pounding surf, the only landing craft heavy enough to do so.

Changing the tire on a 60-ton amphibious cargo carrier, the BARC.

changing tire on BARC

maintenance crew

The BARC maintenance crew.


Goer company hq

The GOER Transportation Company (Provisional).  The Goer was an experimental 8-ton amphibious cargo carrier.


LARC-Vs and LARC-XVs lined up

Above, LARC-Vs and LARC-XVs from several companies line up near discharged cargo.


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