FB Los Banos
Along one of the most beautiful stretches of road in Vietnam, between Da Nang and Hue, there used to be a large number of bases covering the QL 1 and keeping it open for supply convoys and other traffic.
Some of these bases were also tasked with providing artillery support for infantry operating in the mountains to the west as they were used as infiltration routes for PAVN and VC forces trying to reach Da Nang or disturb the traffic along QL 1.
As we were going to be traveling along this road again I started doing more research on bases along the way that were possible to visit and where it might actually be something to see. Among many others there was a small base called FB Lang Co just where the road comes down from the Hai Van pass on the northern side. There really is nothing left at the site although it is easy to understand why they put a base here as it covered the southern end of the Lang Co Lagoon from infiltrating boats as well as providing cover for the road as it continues north along the flat stretch through the lagoon. There was also a small base called FB Beach just the lagoon road on the east side but that seems to now be a built up area.
In the end we decided to try to reach FB Roy and FB Los Banos. In between them was also the larger artillery base FB Tomahawk, but we didn't have time to go for three bases this time.
As we left Hue early in the morning on our way south we settled in for the first 35 or so kilometers down to FB Roy which is located on a peninsula just north of the road out in the lagoon. On the south east side of the peninsula today is a resort. We approached the hill from the road on the south west side and were met with a ”No Entrance” sign which made this a record short visit.
From there we continued along the QL1, following the old stretch as there are newly built tunnels through both passes north of the Lang Co Lagoon. Just north of the pass is the Phu Gia Pass where FB Los Banos was located. Finding the base is very easy. There is a small road leading up to the old base area, assumingly this was the access road serving the base when it was active.
While walking up this little abandoned road toward the base area we came across what looked like a piece from a tiger stripe camouflage uniform as well as some old metal scraps that seemed to be from the era.
From the road we walked towards the base area which partly was on the slope overlooking the Lang Co Lagoon. The area is largely overgrown with low scrubs and bushes but walking around there, we found plenty of remains from the base. Especially from what we understand are old French concrete bunkers, but the ground also reveals that it was once dug up for mainly fighting positions and bunkers. On the site is also an old concrete watch tower, we assume was French built as well.
The views over the lagoon are stunning and well worth the brief climb. The troops here were well placed to keep an eye on the pass and the waterways to protect the convoys between Da Nang and Hue.
We are not sure of the complete layout of the base but some pictures indicates it also covered the ridge stretching west as well as part of the northern ridge. About where we entered the base area is an old concrete pad. Around it are what seem to be remains of fortified fighting positions. The small base road will take you around the southern part of the base with even more to discover around this little base.
All in all, this is a very nice and educational visit where one gets to see one of the small bases that fulfilled a very important and specific task during the war. Combined with it being very accessible and also along a road that many visitors travel we do recommend making a stop here. We look forward to learn more about this base and will keep updating the page over time.
How to get there
Getting to the sites is described in the text above, but below we list the decimal coordinates for respective base.
FB Roy: 16.290566 107.857069
FB Tomahawk: 16.276361 107.912333
FB Los Banos: 16.261960 108.031432