III. Engagements to Effect Encirclement
Report for the
Map depicts tactical
The following day, 6 February 1968, both B and D Companies crossed the Song Chiem Son (River) before first light in pursuit of the remaining enemy from the previous two daysí encounters. These two companies were to sweep to the north and west, while A Company was to move directly west on the south side of the river to complete the encirclement.
Bravo Company was moving along the main trail running northeast-southwest in the vicinity of Thanh My (AT972533) when the point platoon called the company commander to determine if friendly elements were located to their front. They reported that a large group of soldiers were waving to them from across the rice paddy. The B Company commander then called Delta Company to determine if Delta had B Company in sight. Upon receiving an "affirmative" answer, the point platoon was told to move across the paddy. Once in the open, the enemy opened fire; the soldiers spotted by the point were "dinks", not Delta Company. At this time D Company was in fact at least
1.5 kilometers away to the northeast; it is unknown whether they had actually sighted Bravo Company or the NVA.
D Company was immediately ordered to relieve the pressure on B Company. After a difficult maneuver, D Company came into position, and due to the support of gunships, artillery and fire and maneuver by both companies, the situation was favorably resolved by the end of the activities on the 4th day of operations in the AO.
The next day, 7 February, the basic operation continued. A Company, located near Le Nam (AT960518), experienced heavy fire from two directions as it began its early morning movement. The enemy struck as the battalion command and control (C&C) aircraft was landing at the company location. The C&C pilot was killed; several others were wounded and the aircraft was damaged. After calling for artillery fire and saturating the target with direct fire, the area appeared sufficiently secure to bring in a medical evacuation (Dustoff) aircraft for the wounded. This aircraft also was damaged by ground to air fire and was forced down at the A Company location (see photo below). Heavy artillery fire and an air strike were utilized in an attempt to reduce the pressure on Company A. The Alpha unit could not maneuver all platoons until the two downed aircraft could be rigged and evacuated.
Meanwhile, D Company, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry was ordered by brigade to the "operational control" of the Golden Dragons. This freed C Company to go to the aid of A Company and also facilitated the encirclement from the south. C Company advanced to the area of greatest threat to A Company (vicinity coordinates AT956523), allowing
the helicopters to be evacuated. In the meantime both B and D Companies were completing their sweep to the north and west across the Song Chiem Son (River). As the 5th day, 7 February ended, B and D Companies were in blocking positions (coordinates AT967542 and AT960542 respectively) across the northern fork of the Song Chiem Son (River) and A and C Companies were in position (coordinates AT950520 and AT944526 respectively) to move to the northeast to sweep the kill zone formed by the encirclement maneuver. In preparation for the sweep of 8 February, air strikes and artillery were utilized. A and C Companies moved into the objective area encountering sporadic resistance and taking light friendly casualties. Total results of the encirclement actions (from 6 February through 8 February) included 32 enemy KIA, 3 enemy weapons CIA while US Forces suffered 8 KIA and 25 wounded.
"This is a photo of the
two down helicopters mentioned in AAR, Tet, Feb.7, '68. I took the
pictures during a lull in the action. Springer crawled to the first
downed chopper that morning and retrieved a barrel for my M-60. I
had received a round in the barrel at the
Dale Doub, Alpha Co. and the gun kept jamming. That was one hell of a day and the same for the month."