Mang Yang Pass and Dak Po KM15 mark
The Mang Yang pass was the main choke point along QL19 between Pleiku and An Khe, located about halfway, convoys had to negotiate this narrow and steep pass as they supplied the large bases in Pleiku. VC and PAVN troops would often stage ambushes or at least place snipers that would harass the passing convoys. It was a never ending mission for the U.S. forces to protect the convoys from Quy Nhon via the An Khe Pass and The Mang Yang Pass up to Pleiku. Countless operations, small and large, were launched including patrolling and clearing the mountain tops overlooking the passes.
Please click images for slideshow
Along the road a number of camps were established such as LZ Schueller and LZ Action to protect the convoys and keep the enemy at bay. They would also cover the pump stations for the oil pipeline that supplied Pleiku.
7 kilometers east of the Mang Yang Pass at the Kilometer 15 site on the 24th June 1954 the French Mobile Group 100 force were in a controlled retreat from the east highland plains from Anh Khe to the town of Pleiku. Here The Viet Minh sprung a major ambush on the French force, who for their survival fled south into the jungle. The Viet Minh aggressively pursued and by the time the French survivors arrived in Pleiku 50% of the force had been killed or wounded
Other names for this event are the Battle for Mang Yang or the Battle of Anh Khe. But arguably the most accurate location description would be the Battle of Dak Po. Today, a large monument to the Viet Minh stands at the site 15km west of Anh Khe.
Also worth a short stop is the bridge over the Dak Ya ayun river just west of the Mang Yang pass. This is where the 108th Viet Minh Regiment again hit the Mobile Group 100 as they had assembled in to a column again to break through to Pleiku. There is not a monument on the site as we know of.
Today, the drive through the pass down to An Khe and all the way out to Quy Nhon by the coast is a beautiful and easy ride. The road is in relatively good condition and there is not too much traffic.
How to get there
The Mang Yang Pass is located about 22 kilometers west of An Khe town and the ambush site is located 15 kilometers west of An Khe. Anyone who travels along the QL19 between Pleiku and Quy Nhon will pass both locations. The monument at the ambush site is on the south side of the road on the small pass. On the top of the hill one is presented with a great view of the surroundings in all directions with the Mang Yang Pass in the west.Back to II Corps
40 thoughts on “Mang Yang Pass”
Early 68 to early 69 A/5/22nd Artillery (8 inch/175) was at Firebase Blackhawk at western end of Mang Yang at Soui Doi. Battalion was at An Khe making for exciting rides thru the pass for anyone on R&R, sick call, etc. One trip one of our 2 1/2s took a mortar on the hood and both occupants survived.
Any of you brothers remember what unit was at the base of the Many Yang in November of 1970. Lived through a ambush there,broke out and came down to that base..
Earlier in 1970, LZ Action was just east of Mang Yang pass 2bn 17th Field artillery north side of road
LZ Action was supported in November of 1970 by C Battery 5/16 FA . We had 6 guns of 155mm SP’s. I was on a gun named “Chucks Coffin. The 1st of the 10th Cav mechanized was also there….
LZ Action was at the base of Mang Yang supported by C Battery 5/16th FA in November of 1970.We had 6 guns of 155mm self propelled howitzers. My gun was named Chucks Coffin. The 1st of the 10th mechanized was the other support group at Action at that time…
There’re two pics described as “Sculpting one of the dragons at staircase leading up to the monument” and “Monument being built in 2015” In fact, these two pics are parts of the temple that was being built in Kon Plong, Kontum Prov. The temple named Khanh Lam. located on the top of a hill by the highway 24 (AH 132). This road leads to Quang Ngai Prov.
We ran the Mang Yang pass often and sat on brideges… 4-2-1CAV, A troop, 2nd platoon, A-25
Were you out of Blackhawk? Was with A-Troop there when Cpt. Abrams was CO. I was with 5/22 Arty Aug 68-Feb 69
I think it is mentioned in the book “ The Last Valley” that the Viet Minh buried the casualties standing up and facing France as a mark of respect for their bravery ?.
That’s true, I was a Crew Chief and Door Gunner with 7/17th Air Calvary there in 1971. Flew over the graves many times. When my unit moved from Pleiku in March 1971 I rode through the AnKhe Mang Yang Pass as a gunner on a 5 Ton truck. It was a very dangerous area.
Company stand down from Pleiku to PhuCat on coast March 1971
was on a track called a Duster , did strong points in the Mang Yang Pass every other day for the convoy — was at Pumpstation 8 at night below the pass 68 69 –always thought of the fuel tanker drivers
Hey Joe, Thanks for recognizing fuel tanker drivers. I was stationed with the 560th Maint unit at An Khe in early 1968. I spent most of my time on the road hauling parts from An Khe to Qui Nhon and back. Like an idiot, I volunteered to go TDY to make one fuel run to Pleiku with the 359th Trans Co. I am currently writing a fictionalized novel of my different experiences as a trucker over old Colonial Route 19. I say fiction, because my memory is not what it used to be. I was only 20 yrs old at the time and I’m 75 now. I want the story to be accurate within the time period it took place, and trying to remember the different units I had contact with is stressful.
I see its been over a year since you posted on here as I just happened upon this page yesterday. Just wanted to say Thanks again for recognizing the fuel haulers!! Those that made those trips regularly deserve the accolades!
Hi, this is steve eberhard again. I came through your web site through Google and thought I found a small blag, but after sending a message I started looking around at namwartravel.com realizing there is much more. Even better!
I edited my first message to say:
Jonas and Team,
This is a great web site you have created, just right for my mindset, thank you. I’m impressed with your visits to hollowed grounds, gathering more memories, information and capturing nice modern photos. I’ve rarely looked for Vietnam stuff on the internet, but just found this enormous site today. I served in the same area as some of the commentators, spending many months at LZ Schueller. I was with the 173rd Airborne Brigade minesweeper team. We went to work every morning on Hwy 19 towered Pleiku preparing areas for the convoys to pass. Our team started in March 68 doing our sweeps on that ground.
After more than 50 years my Vietnam photos came-out this month, scanned and posted on my web site photocogitator.com You can find my Nam photos link on my bio page. Who would’ve known we could meet on the web this way after all these years.
Thank you for your service,
Steve, thank you for your comment. I am happy you have discovered the amount of material we have on the website. We are about to re-structure the content a bit to make it easier to find. During 2021 we will also make sure to add article from plenty of more locations around the country as we can start travel again. I will make sure to check out your website. Please note though that we are not veterans, we are modern day history travelers, we have connected with many veterans over the years and many of them are of great help, giving advice and making sure we get our facts straight as we write the articles.
I flew as an aerial scout with C troop 7/17 Cav in 1969-70 in Vietnam and was based at An khe. Flew over the Mang Yang everyday.. and could see all the Graves. Also flew as convoy escort.
It’s a great Blog you created. Just right for my mindset, thank you. I’m impressed with your visit in 2015 to hollowed grounds, gathering more memories, information and capturing nice modern photos.
I’ve rarely looked for Vietnam stuff on the internet, but just found yours. I served in the same area spending many months at LZ Schueller. I was with the 173rd Airborne Brigade minesweeper team. We had our sweep every morning on Hwy 19 towered Pleiku preparing areas for the convoys to pass. Our team started in March 68, doing our sweep on that ground.
After more than 50 years my Vietnam photos came out this month, scanned and posted on my web site photocogitator.com You can find my Nam photos link on my bio page. Who would’ve known we could meet this way after all these years.
Best wishes for Christmas and the new year,
Steve I was the medic with bravo battery 2/17th field artillery on 1968 on LZ Schuller. If you are the Eberhard I remember you Was on Schuller April 10,1968 when we got hit with a lot mortars and rockets at noon that day. I as joking with you as we sat on your bunker, You went disarmed a gernade bought it back and pulled the pin and tossed at me. There was a Guy with the last name Hart. Hart came by and visited me at Celina Tx where I lived . My E-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. My cell is 940-727-9453
in 1970 I was assigned to the supply section of th 119th AHC. Part of my duty was to drive a two and a half ton truck from camp Halloway in Pleiku to camp Radcliff in An Khe on highway 19. it was a very dangerous job. I was never told that I had to join up with a convoy escorted by heavily armed escort vehicles. i only had a shotgun driver and we both carried our M16 weapons. I made this trip on three occasions carrying aircraft parts and picking up the same. I hated this assignment. my shotgun w
rider was a kid named Zuber.
Rene I was assigned to the 119th AHC at Camp Radcliff An Khe from May to November 1970 when the unit was deactivated and the unit colors were sent home. From there I was reassigned to the 114th AHC in Vinh Long. While I was with the 119th my duties included being part of the ground maintenance crew, PE crew lead and crew chief of the Swamp Rat. I can remember volunteering to be a gunner for SSG Bob Harder on a run to Pleiku to pickup a load of aircraft engines, that was a trip and a half and one to be remembered.
I went through the Pass in late 1968 and remember the remains of French (Renault?) armored vehicles still visible from Hwy 19
Was reminiscing this afternoon, here at my home in Palmdale, Ca. A good day to contemplate and stumbled upon this website.
Yours is the first website with many a comment and comments on the area I spent a year of my life.
I was attached to Charlie and Delta Battery’s , 5/16th Arty, 4th ID, early April of ’69 to late March of ’70 and part of both battery’s FDC.
Traveled Mang Yang Pass, convoys and march orders, many times from Pleiku to An Khe,. Spent time with both Charlie and Delta at LZ Schueller. I have a couple photos I could send to you taken at LZ Schueller. One of friendly fire out of Camp Radcliff and another of a pipeline that was hit on the Pass.
Too young and stupid to think how dangerous this pass was. And yes, aware of the French Legions massacre there in ’54 and stories of ghosts that were heard throughout the pass.
Thank you for your service, brother. I was there at the end of your tour, working the pass daily as a “spook.” I would have been the guy in a lone ARVN marked jeep with my “yard” interpreter and dog collecting counterintelligence info for convoy security. So, when you heard the 155s and 105s from Radcliff hammering the jungle near you at night, that was me working probable NVA artillery positions. Possibly you were called upon to provide fire on my markers as well. When the operation into Cambodia ended, I moved over to the east side of Radcliff providing CI for base security until the 4th Infantry’s flag was lowered in Dec 1970. I didn’t know then about the 1954 ambush and the ghost stories. Coincidentally, it was 7 klicks east of the pass that I had my first close call. While walking through the defoliated area alongside Hwy. 19 to talk to one of my cowboy sources, I walked into a bunch of unexploded “grasshoppers.” My interpreter made it back to the highway but couldn’t operate the radio. He flagged down a convoy escort who called the EOD guys out of Radcliff. In the meantime I stood there not moving a muscle for the better part of two hours until the EOD team arrived and removed several dozen of those little bastard Bouncing Bettys, all of them live. That had to be very close to the 1954 ambush site. I’m glad I didn’t know about the ghosts. Thanks again.
My Name is Paul Shepherd..
GUN 1 AND
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7 kilometers east of the Mang Yang Pass at the Kilometer 15 site on the 24th June 1954 the French Mobile Group 100 force were in a controlled retreat from the east highland plains from Anh Khe to the town of Pleiku. Here The Viet Minh sprung a major ambush on the French force, who for their survival fled south into the jungle. The Viet Minh aggressively pursued and by the time the French survivors arrived in Pleiku 50% of the force had been killed or wounded.
Not sure your description of mang yang pass, km15 is accurate. Ambush site is not 7 km from mang yang pass. it is 7 km from km22. Please verify
Hey, not much to say. The ambush took place at the km 15 marker. They have even built a large monument on the site. Many Yang pass is 22 km west of An Khe town.
I was with the 538 engineers land clearing we would yo-yo down the mountain pass and shave all the tops of the hills mostly remember the giant dragonflies they were all over the pass I was there 69 and 70
How is it I have never met you at one of the 35th LCT/538 LCC at any of the reunions. I was with the 35th LCT before it became the 538th. We were the first land clearers to clear the pass. A big thankless job for a handful of SAPERS.. The convoyers will remember us for saving their ass a couple of times during TET 68 when the convoys came under fire and Charlie shot b-40 rockets into their fuel trucks. Some caught on fire and on one occassion I took my bulldozer up on the road and pushed a burning tanker over into a french drain along the road so the convoy could continue on. I wish someone else remembered that!!
I was in the 4th Infantry 1969-1970 and traveled through the Mang Yang pass as we withdrew from Pleiku to An Khe. It was a sobering experience knowing what happened to the French. Even though its beautiful in the mountains, I have NO desire to return. My travel home involved a few hospitals. Again, quite a bit of history there.
Thank you for your comment Tommy and for sharing some insight in to how it was to travel through this area during the war. I am happy you made it out. Thank you also for visiting our website, I hope you enjoy reading our articles and looking at the pictures. We’ll add more over time, we have a few more II Corps locations coming up soon also.
I was on a convoy that was moving 4th Infantry Division to An Khe in March of 1970. I spent 3 months with Alpha Company 2nd Battalion 35th Infantry Cacti Blue. Then 4 months with G1, 4th Infantry at Camp Mark Enari before helping us move to An Khe for my last 7 months in country.
The thing I remember most other than loading all the desk and chairs form our office in 4th Division headquarters was that the French (and Germans I guess) soldiers killed there were burried standing up facing France. I was thinking “Great” but if I am killed go ahead and let me lay down please.
I was with the 4th Inf/Mech , travel through the pass in 1969, it was a weird feeling, I didn’t like it , but the scenery was amazing!
Bernie Foster/ 4th lnf Div/Mech 13 track
Hello- just discovered your site via the Washington Post article. So happy to see this, and this is a project I’ve long wanted to do. I live in Saigon and sometimes take motorcycle trips to lesser known sites. I may be doing a trip from Saigon to Hanoi this summer; let me know if there’s anything I can recon for you! Stephen
Hi Stephen. Thank you for your nice comment. Send me an email on email@example.com and we can talk there.
I commanded a 5-man MAT (Mobile Advisory Team) in Pleiku Province in 1970-71. Mang Yang Pass was the eastern end of our Area of Operations. From the top of the mountain overlooking the pass, we could look north to see the rows-and-centers grave sites of the French Foreign Legion soldiers that were buried there. I was told there were 1800 graves, and mostly Germans, as they had joined their old enemy’s Army after WW II, having no homes or jobs to go home to. My Montagnard counterpart spoke German, as well as French, Vietnamese, and seven dialects of Montagnard, with no formal education. I had advised the small Vietnamese unit posted there to improve their poorly-kept defenses, to no avail. Two weeks later, they were annihilated. We were also ambushed just west of the pass in our team Jeep, after we caught up to an American convoy that had a fuel truck damaged by a mine. There were quad .50 calibers on the front and rear gun trucks of the convoys. One Vietnamese civilian truck was between us and the rear gun truck. We took fire from small arms and B-40 rockets, which exploded to both sides of us. I had initially thought that they were mortars. The convoy and the VN truck all stopped and we were sitting ducks for a few moments. A Vietnamese M-48 tank on a stationary road guard position barrelled toward the fray and we quickly quelled the source of fire. I remember the full auto hot M-16 casings pouring down the back of my shirt from my Montagnard interpreter as I was driving and shooting to the left, or south. Our great Light Weapons Advisor Sergeant was firing his M-79 grenade launcher from the shotgun seat, across the front of the windshield, as we had a canvas top. Fun times. It ended with no friendly casualties, just some holes in the tanker gasoline truck, which the soldiers plugged with wood pegs. Fun times, exciting.
Monty, thanks for sharing. That is quite a story. That road from Pleiku towards Mang Yang, An Khe and eventually Quy Nhon is filled with history. I hope to get back there one day and spend even more time documenting more places. Thank you for visiting our website. I hope you found it informative.
That is informative post …
I added your web into my favourites!
P.S.: Looking forward for new updates!
Thanks Thomas.More is definitely coming. We have recently added some more pages to the III Corps and IV Corps sections. A few more will be added there during the next few weeks as we finish everything up. Make sure to check out the videos as well. Lots of great info there.This is a long term project for us so we will keep adding information over time.