Operation Junction City is launched to ease pressure on Saigon. It was an effort to smash the Viet Cong’s stronghold in Tay Ninh Province and surrounding areas along the Cambodian border northwest of Saigon.
The purpose of the operation was to drive the Viet Cong away from populated areas and into the open, where superior American firepower could be more effectively used. In the largest operation of the war to date, four South Vietnamese and 22 U.S. battalions were involved–more than 25,000 troops. The first day’s operation was supported by 575 aircraft sorties, a record number for a single day in South Vietnam. The operation was marked by one of the largest airmobile assaults in history when 240 troop-carrying helicopters descended on the battlefield. There were 2,728 enemy casualties by the end of the operation on March 17.