I.  Combat Assault


After Action Report for the
dated 13 April 1968

Hardmap1.jpg (73733 bytes)

 Map depicts significant
terrain features around
LZ Hardcore


Elements of the 2nd NVA Division were employed in the 1968 TET offensive in the Da Nang Hoi An area.  In order to block and otherwise isolate these elements from their traditional base camp area in the highlands east of An Hoa, the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry along with other 3rd Brigade,4th Infantry Division elements was ordered by the Americal Division (the brigade was under the operational control of the Americal Division during this action) to organize an area of operations (AO) to include the critical high ground south of Da Nang, east of An Hoa, and west of Hoi An.  The Golden Dragon Battalion commander, during a reconnaissance on 3 February with the brigade commander, Colonel George E. Wear, and the 2nd Battalion, 9th Artillery commander, Lieutenant Colonel Gerald B. Bobzien, selected the site of the combat assault to be the topographical crest (BM148-AT978501) of the most prominent ridge in the area of operations in order to secure terrain for the battalion firebase.  On the reconnaissance it was verified that the general area was "hot", due to observations both from he ground and from the air.  Four gunships and eleven lift aircraft (UH1) provided the Army aircraft   assets for the combat assault.

Chopper.jpg (31052 bytes)An artillery preparation was fired from the firebase to the southeast (1st Battalion, 35th Infantry) and from Marine artillery to the north and northwest.  Due to poor weather conditions the effects of the preparation could not be observed with clarity.  However, the first lift landed almost without incident, although fire was received from the vicinity of the landing zone.  As the succeeding lifts arrived, the fire became more intense.  Antiaircraft fire, both 30 cal and 12.62, was directed against the incoming lift and gunships from at least four confirmed locations.  One "Blue Ghost" gunship from the 7/17th Air Cavalry was hit by 12.62 mm ground/air fire; it crash landed and was abandoned by the crew, who were picked up by one of the other gunships.  Alpha Company, the lead rifle company on the heliborne combat assault, was followed by Delta Company.  Immediately behind Delta was the 4.2 inch mortar platoon which was airlifted into the landing zone by CH-47 (Chinook) helicopters.  The enemy fire on the LZ increased in intensity in spite of return fire by A and D companies and the gunships; two casualties were incurred by Alpha Company and  two more by the heavy mortar platoon while off-loading.  A fire started around the landing gear of the Chinook but fortunately a crewman was able to extinguish it allowing the aircraft to lift off from the LZ.


Landing on LZ Hardcore:
Crocodile Lake in the background

By the closing hours of the first day, two rifle companies (A and D), the 4.2 inch mortar platoon and a battalion control element led by the S-3 were  firmly entrenched on the LZ, now named "Hardcore".  A listening post was established by the second platoon of Delta Company, 400 meters west of Hardcore.  At approximately 0400 hours on the morning of 4 February an undetermined size NVA force was surprised by the listening post and a short fire fight ensued.  A relief force sent from the second platoon swept the contact area, finding two confirmed NVA killed, two RPG machineguns and a B40 rocket launcher.  The four-man listening post incurred two wounded in the encounter.

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