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Battalion Operational Report:

Monthly Evaluation Report (August 1967)

HEADQUARTERS,
1ST BATTALION, 14TH INFANTRY
(GOLDEN DRAGONS)

APO San Francisco 9635$
30 June 1967

SUBJECT: Monthly Evaluation Report (Moneval June 1967)

TO: Commanding Officer

196th Light Infantry Brigade

APO San Francisco 96256

   1. General.

a. During the month of June, the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry continued its mission of providing security for the CHU LAI Defense Command. Utilizing search and destroy operations and ambush patrols, the battalion interdicted enemy routes of communications and infiltration. Maximum use was made of available artillery and mortar fire support, gunships, tanks, and air strikes to keep the enemy off balance and slow his reaction to tactical operations of ground elements.

b. The battalion continued to conduct surveillance operations on the island (Zone FOX). Several operations were conducted with amtracks on search and clear missions.

c. Operations conducted by the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry successfully denied the enemy a route of approach to the northern CHU LAI area. An effective screen by the battalion limited the enemy to small probing actions using grenadiers and snipers. The enemy was unable to attack or harass RD teams and the populace in pacified areas.

* Note: Overlays attached of AO's (incl's 1.1 & 1.2) reference maps VIETNAM, 1:50,000, Series L7014, Sheets 6639I, 6640II, 6739IV and 6740III.

   2. Operations.

a. The battalion conducted search and destroy operations, night ambushes, search and clear, and cordon and search missions.

(1) Number of operations by unit type:

a. Battalion size operations - 1

b. Company size operations - 17

c. Platoon size operations - 83

(2) Total enemy contacts were 53. The majority of contacts were made during daylight company S&D operations in Zones CAT and DOG. Company sized operations each lasted from 5 to 15 days. Enemy contact was made almost daily.

(3) The battalion assisted 2/11 Cav during Operation RHINO. The Assault and Reconnaissance platoons were attached to "E" and "F" Troops during the entire operation.

b. Special Operations:

(1) A total of nine Fireball operations were conducted during the month 3 - 105 How, 3 - tank, 3 - 4.2" mortar.

(2) Operations were utilized to extend heavy weapon and artillery coverage to the west into the free fire zone. This tactic interdicted VC local and main force rear areas and harassed his elements, rendering him incapable of mounting a coordinated attack against elements of this battalion.

(3) CAC India continued OPCON to the battalion, conducting civic action missions and combined unit patrols in Zone OWL. (See overlay enclosure #1.2)

(4) Anti-sniper operations:

c. During the month the enemy used a new tactic of employing booby traps and snipers in depth. CO, C Co varied his operational techniques to counter the new tactic. Individual platoons were broken down into fire teams and were employed within close range of each other. This technique insured maximum area coverage while minimizing the probabilities of being observed when a sniper fired on one of the fire teams, artillery would be placed on the flanks of the platoon. One fire team would maneuver behind the sniper; the other would pin the sniper down by fire. Two additional fire teams would protect the flanks of the base of fire and maneuver elements. (See enclosure #2)

d. Approaches to sniper positions were booby trapped, usually with grenades. The maneuvering elements then moved very slowly and stayed away from normal routes for approach to sniper positions.

(1) Mine sweep operations:

a. Daily mine sweep operations were conducted on Hwy #1 from BT338207 to BT430110. No mines have been found in these operations.

b. Extensive mine sweep operations were conducted in the area of operations where tracked vehicles had previously been used. The infantry was dismounted, a visual check was made, backed up by mine sweep teams. Mines were blown in place.

c. On 29 June the battalion began extensive sweeping in known mine locations and suspected enemy mine fields.

d. A total of 13 close support air strikes were conducted in the area of operations during the month. (Strike summary enclosure #3)

e. Training:

(1) The battalion constructed a trainfire type assault fire range at its base camp. The range is currently in use by units of the battalion. (See sketches - enclosures 4&5)

(2) Six EM attended 4th Infantry Division NCO Academy. All successfully completed the school.

(3) 21 EM attended the 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry NCO Preparatory School. 20 EM graduated in the top half of their classes.

(4) 160 EM and NCO's attended the Mine and Booby trap school at the charger Academy during the month. Instruction was valuable to all elements.

(5) The battalion currently has 2 individuals in 4th Infantry Division Recondo School.

f. Perimeter security:

(1) During the month, the battalion continued to improve the 23 bunkers on the perimeter. Additional overhead cover was added and structures were improved.

(2) The perimeter was cleared around the camp out to a 200 meter field of fire. Additional wire was strung completely around the perimeter.

(3) Two OP's are manned nightly on high ground to the north and south of the perimeter. In addition rover patrols around the camp are employed daily.

   3.  Enemy Activity.

a. The 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry recorded 53 separate enemy contacts during the month of June. The majority of the contacts were with snipers. The enemy continued to employ grenadier attacks against US Forces.

b. Enemy Tactics:

(1) A new tactic employed by the enemy was encountered by this battalion during the month of June. In the past the enemy habitually employed booby traps between sniper locations and US Forces. When friendly troops pursued the sniper, they would run into the booby trap. The newly encountered tactic is to place booby traps on the flank approaches to the sniper position and employ snipers in depth to also cover the flank approaches to the sniper positions. This tactic was employed against the 1/14th on three different occasions during the month. All units of this battalion have been trained to counter this tactic.

(2) a. During the month the enemy has extensively increased employment of antitank mines. The mines encountered have ranged from standard US antitank mines to 750 lb bombs. In most cases the mines were wrapped in waterproof material as protection from the elements and the surrounding areas were well camouflaged. The mines were found buried up to 18 inches below the earth's surface. In many cases the AN/PPS 2 mine detector failed to detect these mines resulting in injury to US personnel and damage to equipment. It was suspected that the mines encountered were command detonated, however on each occasion a thorough search of the area failed to reveal any evidence of command detonation.

c. Methods used by this battalion to counter these tactics are covered in the S3 portion of this report.

(1) Experience indicates that enemy will normally move into an American bivouac site shortly after it has been vacated. He is a very curious individual and will dig up sumps and thoroughly police the area looking for equipment or material left behind that will be useful to him. He is very ingenious at making booby traps from C ration cans and other items that American soldiers think nothing of leaving behind. Leaders should make sure that the site is well policed prior to leaving the area.

(2) Stay behind forces have been proven very successful when correctly employed. Well concealed positions which afford good observation and fields of fire should be selected as ambush sites for the stay behind force prior to the main force leaving the area. The stay behind force should occupy their positions just prior to the main force moving and should remain in place adhering to strict noise discipline until the enemy moves into the killing zone of the ambush.

(3) Another method that can be used is to have the stay behind force move out with the main body and upon reaching a pre-selected location double back and return along a concealed route to the bivouac area. One of the most important factors in employing this tactic is to make sure the force moves slowly and quietly with good security to avoid walking into an enemy ambush. When it is infeasible to leave a stay behind force, TOT's can be planned and fired after the unit is a safe distance from the area. Bivouac sites previously used by US Troops are good targets for night H&I fires by indirect fire weapons.

(4) US units are almost entirely dependent upon the helicopter for resupply, therefore the volume of helicopter traffic in enemy infested areas is quite heavy. Numerous documents captured by this organization have contained extensive training material on techniques of shooting helicopters with small arms weapons. The enemy will watch as the helicopter goes into a US position and move to a good firing position along the final approach to the LZ. He will select a position that will allow him a good shot when the chopper is on its final and is most vulnerable to ground fire. The enemy position is often several hundred meters from the LZ making counterfire by small arms difficult. The helicopter usually delivers its resupply to units around 1600 hrs and returns to pick up empties approximately one hour later. It is during this time period that the enemy selects and moves into his sniper position. Saturating the approach to the LZ with fire team size patrols allows effective interdiction of enemy movement and provides a quick reactions force when the enemy fires. The 1/14th Infantry had enemy kills on three different occasions when this technique was employed during the month of June. When employing such a technique, the helicopter pilots should be advised of friendly locations to preclude the door gunners from firing on friendly troops. The ground commanders should advise the pilot to approach the LZ along the route that has been secured. When it is impractical to employ such patrols, the ground commander should advise the pilot to vary his flight pattern leading to the LZ. Regardless of the tactics employed, the ground commander should brief the pilot on the friendly and enemy situation and advise him of the safest approach to the LZ. Units should move toa new location after resupply and extraction of empties has been completed to preclude the enemy from pinpointing their positions.

(5) The enemy is often aware of the general night locations of US units. A tactic he has employed is to fire several automatic weapon burst at a safe distance from US positions. This will usually result in artillery fire being called in the area where the fire was heard and a subsequent search by American troops at first light. The enemy will then employ booby traps and snipers along the most likely route that a unit will travel when leaving the bivouac site, and will patiently wait unitl morning when friendly troops move out on daily operations. Methods used to counter for this tactic are:

a. Avoid trails and open areas when leaving bivouac sites.

b. Be especially alert during all movement.

c. Recon by fire with organic and indirect fire weapons prior to and during movement.

d. Conduct all movement using the best tactical formation and all around security.

(6) The enemy usually moves in small groups at a very slow pace and employs good security. Recent enemy KIA by this organization have been well camouflaged wearing back straps for holding brush, grass or other camouflage substances. When an aerial observer flies over, all he has to do is fall to the ground making detection extremely difficult. The most successful counter-tactic employed by units of this battalion during this month was to saturate an area with squad and fire team size patrols and ambushes.

(7) The enemy uses weapon shots as signals to warn of approaching US Troops. Whistles that sound similar to birds are also used as signals. Soldiers can be trained to distinguish some of these signals, and with experience, should recognize them when they are used.

d. The figures shown below reflect only information that can be verified by friendly units, however according to agent reports and other sources of information many more casualties have been inflicted upon the enemy.

Enemy KIA (BC)

Enemy KIA (est)

Enemy CIA

 

Enemy Wpn CIA

39

17

POW 1

CD 9

12

In addition to the above figures a total of 71 grenades and 15 booby traps were captured during the month. The majority of enemy soldiers KIA were carrying hand grenades. They have used them extensively since the arrival of this battalion in the CHU LAI area.

e. In addition to the above, the following incidents occurred in our area of operations during the past month.

  Sniper Incidents - 14
  Booby Trap and Mine Incidents - 10

 

Our special thanks to Cpt. Mark Morris, former 1967 Bn Artillery LNO to 1/14th Infantry, for supplying the 1967 Bn Operational Reports. This is the first of many to be transcribed and posted.

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