25th Div Quarterly Operations report ending 30 April 1969

DIV ARTY 25 INF was a US Army unit
3 BDE 25 INF was a US Army unit
Primary service involved, US Army
Operation TOAN THANG
South Vietnam
Description: DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, HEADQUARTERS, 25TH INFANTRY DIVISION ARTILLERY, APO San Francisco 96225 AVCDA-RO 15 May 1969 SUBJECT: Operational Report of 25th Inf Div Arty For period Ending 30 April 1969. 1. Section 1, Operations: Significant Activities a. General. The 25th Infantry Division Artillery continued combat operations in support of Operation Toan Thang (Complete victory) II, which overlapped from the preceding quarter and ended on 16 February.

Toan Thang III began on 17 February. Div Arty also supported Operations in support of Operations Atlas Wedge and Rough Rider. Early in the quarter, the enemy launched his spring Offensive. Using new tactics, this offensive included NVA/VC sapper attacks on the 3d brigade Base camp at Dau Tieng and the Division Headquarters at Cu Chi. However, the offensive tapered off rapidly and was characterized by sporadic attack by fire.

During mid-quarter the enemy sustained heavy losses in foiled convoy ambush attempts and in numerous contacts in the Citadel area (center of mass XT2720). Reinforcement training of replacements, on-the-job, and proficiency training continued as described in the 31 October 1968 report. Refresher training for personnel performing bunkerline guard duty at Cu Chi Base Camp began on 28 February. Three men from Headquarters, Headquarters Battery attended the mandatory two-hour classes at the division Replacement Training School. These classes are held once every four days and covered the proper care and use of weapons, fire discipline, and general indoctrination on the responsibilities of bunkerline guards.

b. Organization for combat. The artillery organization for combat remained relatively stable throughout the quarter. The 7th Battalion 11th Artillery continued to provide direct support to the 1st Brigade; the 1st Battalion, 8th Artillery continued direct support for the 2d Brigade; the 2d Battalion, 77th Artillery remained in direct support of the 3d Brigade; and the 3d Battalion, 13th Artillery continued to provide general support to the division and for several periods had on battery in direct support of the 3d Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment. (1) The 7/11 Artillery maintained organic batteries and planned the fires of General Support Reinforcing (GSR) batteries at Fire Support Bases (FSB’s) Washington (XT1456), Buell III (XT2153), Mitchell (XT1645), Sedgewick (XT2430), Rawlins III (XT2948, Bragg II (XT3358), and at Tay Ninh Base Camp (XT1651).

(2) The 1/8 Artillery provided support from organic and GSR batteries located at FSB’s, Pershing (XT5125), Crockett II (XT7416), Reed II (XT4712), and Keene III (XT6001). (3) The 2/77 Artillery support came from organic batteries at FSB’s Wood II (XT4637) and Mahone II (XT5240( and GSR batteries at Dau Tieng Base Camp (XT4947). (4) B Battery, 5th Battalion 2d Artillery (Automatic weapons plus searchlight platoon) is attached to Div Arty less administration and logistical support of equipment peculiar to the battery. The complete activities of the battery are included in the Operational Report Lessons Learned (ORLL) of its parent battalion. This battery is armed with M42 (twin 40 mm cannon) “Dusters” and M55 (four .50 caliber machine guns mounted together) “Quad Fifty’s”. B/5/2 perform vital convoy and installation security missions continuously.

The attached searchlight platoon enhances the night defenses of key installations. c. Operations and Activities. (1) Headquarters and Headquarters Battery (HHB) (a) Colonel John s. Wieringa Jr. assumed command of the 25th Infantry Division Artillery from Colonel Lucius G. Hill Jr. in ceremonies at Division Artillery Headquarters, cu Chi Base Camp on 10 February. (b) On 26 February HHB troops manning bunker 19 on the Cu Chi Base Camp perimeter held the left flank of their sector of the perimeter against a two-pronged enemy attack, despite enemy fire from their rear. An account of this action is at Inclosure 1. (2) 7th Battalion 11th Artillery (a) During the period 1 February 1969 through 30 April 1969 the 7th Battalion 11th Field Artillery completed Phase II of Operation Toan Thang and commenced Phase III in the Tay Ninh area.

The battalion continued to use Tay Ninh as its base camp. In addition to being direct support to the 1st Brigade 25th Infantry Division, the battalion provided support for the 1st ARVN Airborne Division. Effective support for allied and US operations required forty-seven artillery moves. At the beginning of February, Battery A was located at FSB Washington (XT1456), Battery B was located at FSB Buell III (XT2153), and Battery C was located at FSB Mitchell (XT1645). (b) On 18 February Battery C at FSB Mitchell (XT1645) moved by road to FSB Stoneman (XT3037) in order to provide artillery support for FSB Sedgewick (XT2430). (c) Battery B made one of its many one-day moves on 21 February. This time Battery B occupied a position in vic WT 975574. As a result of this operation a 320-ton rice cache was found and destroyed.

(d) A change of command ceremony was held for the 7th Battalion, 11th Field Artillery on 5 March. LTC Walter A. Wood III departed the battalion and LTC Carl M. Mott Jr assumed command. (e) Between 9 – 14 March one platoon from Battery C was sent from FSB Stoneman (XT3037) to Tay Ninh Base Camp daily to be used as direct fire weapons for the base camp defense. The platoon rejoined its battery in the daytime, but at night would return to Tay Ninh Base Camp. On 14 March the platoon permanently returned to Battery C. (f) In order to support a combined operation between 1st Brigade and 1st ARVN Airborne Division elements, Battery B moved from FSB Buell III (XT2153) to FSB Buell II (XY2256) on 15 March, Battery B shared FSB Buell II with a battery from the ARVN Airborne Division. The operation was concluded on 17 March at which time Battery C moved back to FSB Buell III.

(g) After a period of sustained rocket attacks against Tay Ninh Base Camp, the 1st Brigade Commander requested on the morning of 27 March that the 7th Battalion, 11th Field Artillery take control of the program for defense against rocket and mortar attack (DARMA) for Tay Ninh Base Camp. By nightfall on the 27th the necessary communications and coordination had been established and the battalion was in full control of the DARMA program. (h) On 2 April Battery C moved from FSB Stoneman to Tay Ninh Base Camp in order to support a combined 1st Brigade and ARVN airborne operation. The battery made daily RSOP’s (Reconnaissance, Selection, Occupation, of Position) on the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th to vicinity FSB Mitchell (XT1645) to support these operations. (i) Early on the morning of 7 April Battery B conducted an RSOP from FSB Buell III (XT2153) to vicinity XT127664 in order to support 1st Brigade operation Rough Rider, a road-opening operation to FSB Ord vicinity XT0881. After the road was opened, Battery c moved by road from Tay Ninh Base Camp to FSB Ord. Battery C’s mission was to provide the artillery support while the engineers worked on improving the airstrip for the special Forces Camp at Thien Ngon vicinity XY0881.

(j) Batteries A and B each sent one complete howitzer section to Tay Ninh Base Camp on 10 April. On 11 April both howitzers under the control of the Battery B Executive Officer occupied Fire Patrol Base Dallas (XT294281). The mission of these two howitzers, along with one Infantry Company was to protect the local farmers in the area from incursions by NVA/VC elements across the border in Cambodia. (k) 14 April found battery B conducting RSOP from FSB Buell III (XT2153) to FSB Washington (XT1456) to cover the move of Battery A from FSB Washington to establish FSB Crook (XT0559). At the end of the day Battery B moved back to FSB Buell III (XT2153). (l) On 24 April two howitzers from Battery B were moved by air to Patrol Base Frontier City (XT203292). The howitzers from Battery A and B at patrol Base Dallas (XT2928) were moved by air back to their respective batteries. Batty B minus the platoon at PB Frontier City moved from FSB Buell III and occupied FSB Rawlins III (XT2948).

(m) The platoon of Battery B located at PB Frontier city reported movement to the south and West of their position at 2000 hours on 25 April. The movement was watched until 2255 hours when a TOT from supporting artillery was fired ion it. At 0034 hours on the 26th the NVA attacked the patrol base with rockets, mortars, RPG’s, and small arms. When daylight arrived there were 213 NVA KIA (BC) and 6 NVA POW’s. Of the 213 NVA KIA, artillery was credited with killing 97. The platoon from Battery B expended over 400 rounds in direct fire and suffered 4 WIA all of which were returned to duty.

(n) The road to FSB Ord was opened on 28 April and Battery C moved from FSB Ord to Tay Ninh. The following day Battery C moved to FSB Buell II (XT 2256) for a one-day operation. This was to support road-clearing operations to FSB St. Barbara (XT2768). Instead of returning to Tay Ninh at the end of the day, Battery C occupied FSB Buell III (XT2153) to provide added coverage to the area North of Tay Ninh city. (o) Throughout this period th4e 7th Battalion, 11th field Artillery way effectively controlling the fire of six organic and general support reinforcing batteries. This points out the high degree of professionalism and flexibility that was exhibited by this battalion and the high degree of proficiency that was exhibited by the individual batteries.

(p) The rounds expended by the organic, attached and general support-reinforcing batteries during this period are as follows: Month // Organic // General Support Reinforcing February // 32,709 // 27,053 March // 26,993 // 23,487 April // 11,303 // 11,324 Total // 71,005 // 61,864

(3) 1st battalion 8th Artillery. (a) On 2 February 1969 elements of the 199th Light Infantry Brigade were ambushed by a squad of VC at Grid XT687212 at 0845 hours. B/2/13 stood by on a “do not load” status. Gunships worked over the area until 0945 hours when B/2/13 began firing. At 1515 hours the Infantry elements moved back into the area of contact and received small arms fire. B/2/13 fired support and air strikes were called in,. Artillery was given End of Mission at 1735 hours. B/2/13 expended 6 WP and 316 HE rounds in support.

Infantry elements sustained 6 US KIA, 26 US WIA, and 2 heat casualties. Artillery was credited with 20 VC KIA (BC) and 10 VC WIA. (b) At 0125 hours on 4 February 1969 the night location of A/2/12, D/3/4 Cav, C/2/27 and LRRP Team #25 at grid XT582283 reported VC in the open at grid XT56432850. B/1/8 engaged the target at 0128 hours.

The Infantry elements reported ground attacks from the north and southwest supported by RPG and automatic weapons fire. US casualties were 2 US KIA 11 US WIA. A/3/13 fired on grid XT571276 and D/3/13 fired on grid XT571287. At 0315 hours the night location received 5 or 6 incoming 82 mm mortar rounds from an azimuth of 0125 miles. The FO adjusted counter mortar and blocking fires to cut off enemy withdrawal routes. A/1/8 expended 6 WP, 13 illumination, and 651 HE rounds. A/3/13 expended 1 WP and 283 HE rounds. D/3/13 expended 112 HE rounds. A/1/8 had 1 secondary explosion at grid XT571281.

(c) Two howitzers from A/1/8 for direct fire employment and 2/27 infantry elements at patrol Base Diamond (XT337187) received a coordinated mortar and ground attack form 0115 to 0515 hours, 23 February 1969. Infantry elements suffered 15 US KIA and 32 US WIA. In defense of the patrol base, 1st Bn 8th FA FDC coordinated 3 batteries, which expended 1,435 rounds on enemy positions. NVA infiltrated the perimeter and took over 3 bunkers on the southeast corner. Arty was given end of mission at 0530 hours.

A sweep of the area located 109 NVA KIA (BC) 12 AK47 rifles, 5 RPG-2 launchers, 2 RPG-7 launchers, 2 K-545 pistols, one 60mm mortar complete, 1/4lb documents, NVA web gear, 200 .30 caliber rounds, 40 AK-47 rifle magazines, 39 RPG-2 rounds w/boosters, 14 RPG-7 rounds w/boosters, 1 M-1 carbine, 3 90mm recoilless rounds, 72 ChiCom grenades, and 3 ChiCom bangalore torpedoes. (See After Action Report at Inclosure 2).

(d) On 24 February at 2050 hours the platoon from A/1/8 at patrol Base diamond (XT3318) fired Killer Junior at an enemy force in the open at grid XT342192. Numerous sources reported enemy forces massing near the patrol base but the impending attack was pre-empted by timely and accurate artillery fire. A/1/8 reported shot at 0015, B/3/13 reported shot at 0017 hours, and D/3/13 reported shot at 0015 hours at grid XT334178; shortly thereafter patrol Base Diamond received a ground attack resulting in 3 WIA (Arty), 1 WIA and 1 KIA (Inf). One howitzer was deadlined after receiving a direct hit with a RPG round. D/3/13 expended 116 HE rounds; A/1/8 expended 758 rounds, B/3/13 expended 400 HE rounds and 43 illumination rounds. Enemy casualties were unknown.

(e) On 4 March 1969 elements of 2d Battalion 12 Infantry engaged an enemy force at grid XT551225. A/3/13 Artillery and B/1/8 Artillery supported the 2/12th Infantry with 533 rounds. B/1/8 Artillery was credited with three secondary explosions. At 1300 hours, after other elements of the 2/12th Infantry and 1/5th Mech arrived, a sweep of the area was attempted, however automatic weapons fire repeatedly halted the advance until artillery fire and air strikes could be brought to bear on the enemy force. B/1/8 fired 985 rounds that afternoon and A/3/13 fired 493 rounds. Enemy casualties in the battle were 84 NVA KIA (BC) and 1 POW (WIA).

(f) Early the following morning A/1/5 Mech received RPG, mortar and automatic weapons fire. Artillery fire was quickly placed on the enemy. When the forward observer and the recon sergeant were evacuated with multiple fragmentation wounds the artillery LNO took over the missions. Artillery units fired 400 rounds of 105mm, 136 rounds of 155mm, and 62 rounds of 8″ ammunition prior to 0650 hours in support of A/1/5 Mech. Total enemy losses for the contact on 4 and 5 March were 176 NVA JIA (BC).

(g) That same day (5 March) A/2/34 Armor was completing a four-day engagement which resulted in 43 VC KIA (BC). A/3/13 fired 150 rounds in support of A/2/34 Armor that afternoon. (h) On 17 March 1969 A/1/5 Mech swept through the area of their battle on 5 March and found 30 VC KIA (BC) of which20 were killed by artillery. They also found a large number of weapons with the bodies. (i) On 19 march C/2/12 Infantry received small arms, automatic weapons and mortar fire. The artillery supporting them, B/1/8 and A/3/13, fired 103 rounds. Results of the action were 32 VC/NVA KIA (BC) and 30 VC/NVA (poss). (j) The following day (20 Mar 69) B/1/8 Artillery fired 251 rounds and a/3/13 fired 165 rounds in support of A/2/12 Infantry who had come under attack at 0218 hours. C/1/5 Mech also received mortar and small arms fire. Three batteries, A/3/13, B/1/8, and D/3/13 Artillery responded with 396 rounds of high explosive and 19 rounds of illumination.

Results of the action were 26 NVA KIA (BC). (k) On 25 March 1969 elements of the ¾ Cavalry were engaged in heavy contract with an estimated reinforced company. Elements of the 2/34 Armor 2/14th Infantry reinforced the ¾ Cavalry. B/1/8 Artillery fired 141 rounds and B/3/13 fired 126 rounds. Results of the battle included 43 NVA KIA (BC). (l) On 28 March 1969 A/2/12 Infantry received small arms, automatic weapons, and RPG fire. B/1/8 Artillery fired 235 rounds and D/3/13 fired 48 rounds. Results of the battle were 22 NVA KIA (BC) and 5 NVA KIA (Poss). Six of the 22 bodies counted were killed by Artillery while all five enemy possible killed were credited to Artillery.

(m) On 4 April 1969 two guns of C/1/8 Artillery moved to within two kilometers of the Cambodian border with elements of the 2/27 Infantry to establish Patrol Base Diamond II (XT341156). C/1/8 at FSB Jackson (XT4216) would provide indirect fire support for the companies of Infantry and the howitzer platoon. Early the morning of 5 April 1969 a large NVA element launched a massive ground attack on the base. The two guns at patrol Base Diamond II fired directly into the face of the onrushing enemy while the remainder of the battery fired indirect support from FSB Jackson (XT4216). The battery expended just over 900 HE and 45 Firecracker rounds. Battery losses for the action were 2 KIA. Enemy losses were 89 NVA KIA (BC).

(n) Patrol Base Diamond III was established on 14 April 1969. By nightfall on the 14th the patrol base (XT 327215), a duplicate of Diamond II, was well fortified and ready for action. At 0300 hours the next morning, three battalions of NVA soldiers launched a coordinated heavy weapons and ground attack against Patrol Base Diamond III. The Patrol Base also received a total of 350 RPG’s and 150 82mm mortar rounds. The two howitzer sections at Diamond III fired 350 HE and 12 Beehive rounds while the remainder of the battery fired indirect support of more than 500 HE and 40 firecracker rounds in an attempt to ward off the enemy attack. Enemy losses were listed at 228 NVA dead and an estimated 200 additional casualties.

(o) During the reporting period the 1st Battalion 8th Field Artillery and supporting batteries were credited with 256 VC/NVA KIA (BC), 74 VC/NVA KIA (Poss); 18 RPG launchers, 6 machine guns, 24 AK rifles, 15 buildings, 1 bridge, 45 bunkers, 16 miscellaneous fortifications and 9 sampans destroyed; and 2 bridges, 5 bunkers, 1 tunnel and 2 sampans damaged; and 55 secondary explosions.

(p) Organizational Structure of 1st Battalion 8th field Artillery: 1st Battalion 8th Field Arty; 18 105mm; DS 2d Brigade B/2/13; 6 105mm; GSR 25th Inf div Arty, Fire planned by 1/8 A/3/13; 6 155mm; GSR 1/8 Field Artillery C/3/13; 6 155mm; GSR 1/8 Field Artillery C/1/27; 6 155mm; GSR 25th Inf Div Arty, Fire planned by 1/8 C/2/32; 6 105mm; Attached 1/508th Abn Inf, 82nd Abn Div OPCON 2d Bde (4) 2d Battalion 77th Artillery (a) The 2d Battalion 77th Artillery was actively engaged in support of Operation Toan Thang (Complete victory) II and III. During this period B/2/22 Infantry received a significant ground probe at Patrol Base Ben Cui III (XT4445); Dau Tieng Base Camp (XT4947) received a major ground attack accompanied by an indirect fire attack; Fire Support Base Mahone II (XT5241) received 3 major ground attacks; and Cu Chi-Dau Tieng convoy was attacked.. Each time 2d Battalion 77th Artillery, with supporting artillery units, provided the fire superiority to defeat the enemy. Reinforcement training of replacements, as well as on-the-job training continued.

(b) On the night of 20 February 1969, B/2/22 moved into Patrol Base (or hardspot) Bern cui III (XT4445). During the period 2330 hours – 0330 hours, enemy movement was observed in all directions around the hardspot. These enemy forces were engaged with organic weapons and artillery. Artillery units firiong were: A/2/77, and C/2/77 and A/1/27. A sweep around the hardspot was made at daylight with the following results: 14 NVA KIA (BC) by organic weapons, 14 NVA KB Arty (BC) and 3 AK47’s, 2 RPG-2 launchers, 5 Bangalore Torpedoes, 15 rounds RPG-7, 151 ChiCom hand grenades, 10 RPG-2 rounds, 2 Chi Com AT mines, and 350 7.62 short rounds were captured. The total ammunition expenditures during the battle were: A/2/77 – 307 HE, 75 I11; C/2/77 – 218 HE; and A/1/27 – 51 HE, 30 I11. (c) At 0035 hours 23 February 12969, Dau Tieng Base Camp (XT4947) began receiving 60mm, 82mm and 120mm mortars, and 107mm rockets, many of which impacted in the 2/77 Artillery Battalion Headquarters area.

The enemy launched a ground attack along the battalion sector of the bunker line (Southeastern side of Dau Tieng Base Camp) with heavy volume of small arms and automatic weapons fire. At 0150 hours a group of NVA were observed moving across the battalion motor pool towards the battalion Fire Direction Center (FDC). They were armed with AK-47’s, RPG’s, satchel charges, and were immediately engaged with small arms and automatic weapons by members of headquarters Battery. Four of the enemy soldiers were immediately killed, a fifth later died of small arms wounds and a sixth was killed in a ¼ ton truck by a hand grenade after daylight. A/2/77, C/2/77. A/1/27. And C/2/32 continually fired the DRRMA programs. A/2/77 fired Killer Junior along the outer edge of the southeastern bunker line. The final results of this attack were 73 NVA KIA (BC) and 14 NVA POW’s.

Personnel of Headquarters Battery manned their fighting positions on the bunker line as well as within the battalion area throughout the attack were: A/2/77 – 506 HE, 20 I11; C/2/77 – 498 HE, 35 I11; C/2/77 (Section manned by Headquarters Battery) – 120 HE, 41 I11; A/1/27 – 205 HE, 44 I11; and C/2/32 – 35 HE. (d) At 0250 hours 23 February 1969, Fire Support Base Mahone II (XT5241) occupied by C/2/77 and 1/27 Infantry reported incoming mortar rounds, RPG’s, small arms, and automatic weapons fire. Fire was returned with small arms, automatic weapons and artillery. C/2/77 began firing Killer Junior around the perimeter and A/2/77 and A/1/27 fired the FSB defensive targets and Illumination missions. C/2/77 sustained 11 US WIA, non serious. Results of the attack were 38 NVA KIA (BC) and 30 NVA KIA (Poss). 1 ChiCom radio, 49 ChiCom hand grenades, 3 rounds 60mm, 2 rifle grenades, 1 RPG-7, 2 RPG launchers, 6 AK-47’s, 1 SKS, 3 M-16’s, 2 RPG adapters, 10 RPG-2 rounds, 4 RPG-7 rounds, 2 Bangalore Torpedoes, 1 35 lb ChiCom claymore were captured by C/2/77 and 1/27 Infantry. Artillery expenditures were A/2/77 – 400 HE, 26 I11; C/2/77 – 798 HE, 86 I11; A/1/27 155 HE, 20 I11. (e) At 0320 hours, 25 February 1969, FSB Mahone II (XT 5241) received incoming mortars, small arms, and RPG fire followed by a ground attack.

C/2/77 immediately began firing Killer Junior around the perimeter and A/2/77 and A/1/27 began firing the FSB defensive targets. Sweeps initiated at daylight continued all day and resulted in the following: 16 VC/NVA KIA and 5 AK-47’s, 2 RPG 7’s, 1 RPG unknown size, 1 SKS, 2LMG’s,1 ChiCom radio, 1 ChiCom claymores, 1 US claymore, 8 rounds RPG-7, 22 rounds 82mm, 2 rounds 75mm, and 1000 rounds 7.62 short ammunition captured. US casualties were 1 US KIA, 13 WIA. Artillery expenditures were; A/2/77 – 560 HE, C/2/77 1575 HE, and A/1/27 HE. (f) At 1200 hours on 11 March 1969, the Dau Tieng Conmvoy was attacked approximately seven kilometers west of Dau Tieng (XT414443). The enemy attacked with small arms, RPG’s, and mortar fire. Fire was returned with organic weapons by 2/22 Infantry and A/2/77, c/2/77. B/3/13, A/1/27, and C/2/32 batteries were adjusted into the area. The ground elements received sporadic fire until 1800 hours and the artillery continually pounded the area during this period. A sweep of the contact area was completed by 2/22 Infantry at 1800 hours with the following results: 76 NVAS KIA (BC) and 40 NVA KIA (Poss), 2 NVA POW’s, 4 AK-47’s, 1 76mm RR, 1 60mm mortar, 2 RPG-2 rounds, 2 RPG-78 rounds and 3 RPG launchers.

Artillery expenditures were: A/2/77 – 737 HE, C/2/77 – 20 HE, B/3/13 – 433 HE, A/1/27 – 82 HE, and C/2/32 – 27 HE. Artillery accounted for about 90% of the enemy killed in this action. (g) At 0155 Hours on 15 March 1969, FSB Mahone II (XT5241) received more than 60 rounds 60mm mortar and 10 RPG rounds. C/2/77 fired Killer Junior around the perimeter with A/2/77, A/1/27, and B/3/13 firing the counter mortar targets for the FSB. A ground sweep around the FSB was made at daylight and it was determined that the enemy had prepared an extensive attack to begin immediately after the mortar attack. Only the quick reaction of the artillery units firing the counter mortar program for the FSB and the extensive Killer Junior program fired by C/2/77 aborted the attack. As a result of this action there were 19 VC/NVA (BC), 4 wounded POW’s, and 32 VC/NVA KB Arty (Poss) determined by blood trails and POW reports. (h) The installation of the Long shot Defense Communication System was completed. This involved the installation of two radio sets AN/VRC-46, and one SB-22 Switchboard in the office of the duty officer. This communication network enables the duty officer to maintain constant radio and telephone communications with the perimeter bunkers in the 2/77 Arty sector of responsibility, and Base Camp Defense Headquarters.

The Battalion S2 Section monitors the defense net during daylight hours. This is a new mission for 2/77 Artillery. (i) Personnel and Logistics: 1. Personnel status steadily improved. The battalion reached 97.5% of its authorized strength by the close of the third quarter of fiscal year 1969. during the quarter 211 valor (including one distinguished Service Cross and 8 silver Stars), 2 achievement, and 141 service awards were recommended for members of the battalion. 2. During the past quarter logistic operations consisted of coordinating resupply activities in a support of the firing units. Ammunition expenditures have decreased greatly and the firing units are stocking considerable less ammunition. Emergency resupply of class V by air has not been necessary. Requisitioning has continued at normal pace and supplies of all classes have been regularly received.

(j) Intelligence Operations 1. Throughout the period the frequent enemy mortar/rocket attacks resulted in increased emphasis on effective employment of counter mortar radars. Of particular significance was the rocket attack on Dau Tieng Base Camp (XT 4947) on 28 March 1969. The 2/77 radar picked up the rocket launch position (XT534509) however; it was not fired upon by artillery due to rubber workers in the area. At 1040 hours on 29 March 1969, the 2/77 Bn FDC conducted a TOT with all available on this radar grid. A VR was conducted immediately after the TOT was fired and revealed 2NVA KIA (Pos) with additional NVA seen in the open. The enemy troops were engaged with artillery resulting in another 2 NVA KBA (BC). Since that time, this battalion has conducted from 2 to 6 TOT’s nightly. 2. During this quarter numerous reports were received concerning bunker complexes and fighting positions. This battalion conducted numerous reconnaissances by fire missions with 8″ howitzers. 311 8″ rounds were expended with 65 bunkers, 15 fighting positions, and 4 sampans destroyed.

(k) Civil Affairs. The 2d Battalion 77th Artillery medical section remained very active in MEDCAP and civic action programs. MEDCAPS were conducted on a recurring basis in three areas, namely, AP 4 in Dau Tieng (XT4847), AP 5 in Dau Tieng (XT4847 and village 2 (XT5148) in the Michelin rubber Plantation. In addition, sanitation surveys were conducted in village 2 in an attempt to correct deficiencies there. Corrections were coordinated with the Tri Tam District Advisor and the Third Brigade S3 section. (l) Organization 1. Organic Units HHB 2d battalion 77th Artillery A Battery, 2d Battalion 77th Artillery (105 How, Towed) C Battery, 2d Battalion 77th Artillery (105 How, Towed) 2. General Support Reinforcing A Battery, 1st Battalion 27th Artillery (155 How, Sp) B Battery, 2d Battalion 13th Artillery (155 How, Sp) C Battery, 2d Battalion 32nd Artillery (8″/175 How, Sp) (5) 3d Battalion 13th Artillery (a) Battery A maintained a static position throughout the period 1 February through 30 April 1969. The mission assigned to Battery A was general support, reinforcing the fires of the 1st Battalion 8th Artillery.

During this period Battery received credit for 31 VC/NVA body count, 8 secondary explosions, 1 sampan sunk, 3 bunkers destroyed, and 80% of a bunker complex destroyed. (b) Battery B had the primary mission of general support to the 25th Infantry Division from 1 January to 24 January 1969. On 3 January Battery B moved from Fire Support Base Austin (XT3631) to Fire Support Base Stoneman (XT3037) at which time they were extensively engaged in the Duffle Bag and Radar programs. On 18 January Battery b displaced to fire support Base Hampton from which they supported the Duffle Bag program along the Cambodian border to the extent of 600 to 700 rounds per night. Missions were also fired in support of radar-detected targets.

On 20 January, Battery B was given the mission of direct support of the 3d Squadron 4th US Cavalry. Battery B supported the Cavalry in numerous contact missions. On many occasions a preparation was fired prior to the Cavalry entering a specific area. This was used very effectively to soften the enemy’s position. The surveillance for the period of 25 January to April 3 1969 included a body count of 127 NVA KIA; 30 NVA wounded; numerous blood trails, and 15 bunkers, several machine gun positions, and 600 meters of trench line destroyed,.

On 22 February, the battery displaced to Fire support Base Wood II (XT4638) and in this location supported the 3d Squadron 4th Cavalry in their operations in the Boi Loi Woods while simultaneously supporting the 2d Battalion 22nd Infantry in convoy security operations. The surveillance for the 2d 22d Infantry convoy operations during the period 22 February to 3 April included 35 NVA body count. On 3 April the battery returned to Fire Support Base Hampton (XT4124) and resumed their role of general support. (c) Battery C remained at FSB Meade (XT 6011) during the reported period. Their mission was general support, reinforcing the fires of the 1st Battalion 8th Artillery.

In addition to their primary mission, they were responsible for supporting the Lightning Combat Leadership Course at Cu Chi Base Camp (XT6515). This support consisted of firing missions for forward observer training. (d) Battery D at FSB Stuart III (XT4919) had the primary mission of general support of the 25th Infantry Division for the reported period. While operating in this role Battery D fired numerous contact and Reconnaissance by fire Missions. The results credited to the battery during this period were 188 bunkers destroyed, 9 secondary explosions, 1 sampan sunk, 57 VC/NVA body count, 10 VC/NVA possible body count, 825 meters of tree line destroyed, 3 tunnels destroyed, 6 bunker complexes destroyed, 8 houses, 3 RPG launchers destroyed, 12 fighting positions destroyed. (e) Mortar training was conducted by the 3d Battalion 13th Artillery for elements of 3d Squadron 4th Cavalry during the period 15 March to 29 March 1969. a 15-hour block of instruction covering all aspects of 4.2 mortar training was presented by the conference method allowing for a question and answer period at the end of each class. (f) A change of command ceremony was held on 25 April 1969 at the 3d Battalion 13th Artillery at which time LTC Joe C. butler assumed command from LTC Paul Donovan.

(6) Personnel and logistics operations were adequate and effective, No major problems were encountered despite unexpected casualties during the enemy’s coming offensive. (7) Intelligence operations were highlighted by the publication of a brigade list for the division area and the attachment of the 265th Field Artillery AN/TPS-25 (Radar) Detachment to Div Arty. (8) Civil Affairs. The Div Arty civil affairs area of operations is Trang Bang District, Han Naghia Province. (a) Increased civic action and psychological operations were conducted during the quarter to improve the living conditions of the people and support the Government of Vietnam (GVN) efforts to win the loyalty and confidence of the people.

The Chieu Hoi program was emphasized to give ample opportunity and encouragement to VC/NVA troops and supporters to join the side of the GVN. (b) Tactical operations of the maneuver elements and civic action operations by Div Arty have improved the security and living conditions of the people. The people are receptive to Div Arty Civic Action Operations but need more confidence in the GVN. 2. Section 2, Lessons Learned: Commanders Observations, Evaluations, and Recommendations. a. Personnel. None b. Operations (1) The Use of culverting As support for Overhead Cover At Patrol and Fire Support Bases. (a) OBSERVATION. The need exists for a relatively lightweight material to provide immediate overhead cover for artillery personnel and ammunition upon occupation of patrol and fire support bases.

(b) EVALUATION. When one or two light howitzers are deployed as field pieces at unprepared positions such as patrol bases, or night defensive positions, culverting used as framework to support sandbags has proven to be an excellent means of providing overhead cover for personnel and ammunition. When artillery batteries occupy a fire support base where some engineer effort has been expended in preparing positions, culverting has been used successfully in providing temporary overhead cover for personnel and ammunition shelters to provide minimum protection. (c) RECOMMENDATIONS. That culverting as a framework for supporting sandbags be considered for use as protective shelters for personnel and ammunition at temporary, hastily prepared patrol bases and night defensive positions. That culverting be used as framework for supporting sandbags as an interim measure for the protection of personnel and ammunition upon occupation of fire support bases. c. Training. None d. Intelligence (1) Crater Analysis. (a) OBSERVATION. Untrained personnel disturbing craters before trained personnel can analyze them often lose valuable information from crater analysis. (b) EVALUATION. Many personnel are not cognizant of the intelligence value of craters caused by enemy indirect fire weapons. In many instances personnel, by being curious or seeking war trophies, have dug into craters destroying the characteristic features needed to determine the essential information of crater analysis. (c) RECOMMENDATION. That personnel receive training during Basic Combat Training, Advanced Individual training, replacement and unit training in the intelligence value of craters emphasizing that they should be reported, left undisturbed and, where practical, safeguarded until analysis can be accomplished by shell reporting (SHELREP) teams. (2) Artillery Aerial Observers With FAC Aircraft. (a) OBSERVATION. Artillery aerial observers should accompany forward air controllers (FAC) whenever practicable. (b) EVALUATION. One battalion of the division artillery has arranged for aerial observers to accompany FAC during fire support missions. This has been advantageous in that artillery and tactical air support could be more closely coordinated and the experience of the FAC has proved helpful in the training and development of aerial observers. (c) RECOMMENDATION. That artillery aerial observer accompanies FAC periodically to enhance operations and training. e. Logistics (1) Airlifting Palleted 105mm Ammunition in Nylon Cargo Nets. (a) OBSERVATION. If care is not taken in rigging palleted 105mm ammunition for airlift in nylon cargo nets, the skids on the pallets cause unequal distribution of the weight, reducing the service life of the net.

(b) EVALUATION At times the skids of pallets get hooked to one strap of the net causing an unequal distribution of the load within the net. The problem was solved by either turning the pallets upside down or by removing the pallets during the rigging process. (2) Rigging For CH-47 Or CH-54 Class V Sorties. (a) OBSERVATION. The type of aircraft to accomplish aerial resupply of ammunition is not always known far enough in advance to tailor loads for a specific aircraft (CH-47 or CH-54). (b) EVALUATION. The rigging of ammunition of aerial resupply must be flexible to permit airlift of CH-47 or CH-54 helicopter. A successful method used to maintain flexibility is to rig ammunition into individual CH-47 loads and arrange the loads in row. The rows are spaced so that two normal loads for a CH-47 can be quickly hooked together and airlifted by CH-54.

(c) RECOMMENDATION. That ammunition rigged for aerial resupply be placed in rows to permit airlift by CH-47 or CH-54 aircraft. f. Organization. None g. Other. Communications. (1) Omni-directional Antenna. (a) OBSERVATION. The need existed for AM/RATT communications with organic artillery battalions throughout the area of operations. (b) EVALUATION. Reliable AM/RATT communications with organic artillery battalions at three distant locations (up to 60 Km) was extremely difficult using doublet or whip antennas, The doublet antenna is highly directional and very satisfactory in point to point communications but space limitations prohibited the installation of three antennas. The whip antennas on the rigs themselves would not provide RF output due to range. To solve the problem, a ¼ wave, vertical, omni-directional antenna was erected using mast sections and adapters from a GRA-4 antenna set with a salvaged matching unit, TM-339, installed at the base for matching frequencies and obtaining optimum output. A grounding system was installed utilizing two 6′ x 3′ sections of PSP with copper ground connections. This antenna system is omni-directional and provided adequate range for contacting all stations. Reliability has increased by at least 50%. (c) RECOMMENDATION. That units operating a Net Control Station, a multi-station AM/RATT net with ranges extending 30 to 60 kilometers erect an omni-directional antenna for improved reliability of communications. (2) FM Retransmission Unit (a) OBSERVATION.A need existed for a highly mobile and flexible FM retransmission unit capable of being airlifted by UH-1 helicopter. (b) EVALUATION. The mission of the Division Artillery General Support battalion requires the wide dispersion of its batteries. The battalion headquarters at Cu Chi Base Camp is beyond normal FM range of portions of the area of operations. The need for reliable direct FM Communications between the battalion headquarters and its batteries became apparent. A retransmission system was designed and built that could be towed, airlifted by sling, or placed inside a UH-1 aircraft for movement. The radio components from an AN/VRC 49 were dismounted and remounted in a ¼ ton trailer. The radio mounts, cabling, and controls were mounted on an aluminum frame, which bolts to the trailer with wing nuts and can be dismounted in approximately 5 minutes. Matching antenna bases were mounted on two diagonal corners of the trailer. Brackets were installed on each end of the trailer for RC-292 antenna masts for additional range capability. Eight sections of antenna mast may be used without guys and twelve sections may be used with one set of guy lines. To complete the [package, a 1.5 kw generator, two 12 volt batteries, and a 10 amp power supply were added. With the power supply, power can be AC generator, or commercial (or centralized) power if available. The unit can be towed by a ¼ ton truck, lifted by UH-1 helicopter as a complete unit, or the components can be dismounted from the trailer and transported inside a UH-1. On location the unit can be operational within 30 minutes.

(c) RECOMMENDATION. That general support artillery battalions operating over a large area have available to them a flexible and highly mobile communication system that can be displaced and employed on very short notice. John J. Wieringa Jr., Colonel, FA, Commandin

The source for this information was Vietnam Source document prepared by Ron Leonard.