Battalion Operational Report:

Quarterly Report - Period Ending 31 Jul 67


APO San Francisco 9635$
August 1967

SUBJECT: Operational Report for Quarterly Period Ending 31 July 1967

TO: Commanding Officer

3rd Bde TF, 25th Inf Div

APO SF 96355


SECTION I: Significant Organization or Unit Activities

   1. General.

a. During the period 1 May to 31 July 1967, the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry continued its mission of providing security for the Chu Lai Defense Command. Numerous search and destroy operations and ambush patrols were conducted, primarily in the western portion of the AO, as this area contains the bulk of the VC forces currently opposing the battalion and would be the springboard for him should he plan a ground attack on the CLDC. In conjunction with aggressive ground operations maximum use was made of available artillery and mortar fire support, gunships, tanks, and airstrikes to keep the enemy off balance, impede his movement and seriously curtail his operational flexibility.

b. The battalion conducted surveillance operations of the waterways in the east and southeastern portion of the AO. Elements of the 1/14th Infantry along with Popular Forces troops conducted combined search and clear missions with amtracks. In addition river check points were habitually set up at night along waterway routes of infiltration.

c. Operations conducted by the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry successfully denied the enemy a route of approach to northern Chu Lai area. An effective screen by the battalion reduced 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 reference maps VIETNAM, 1:50,000, Series L7014, Sheets 6639I, 6739IV & 6740III.

   2.  Intelligence.

a. General:

During the reporting period the 1/14th Infantry has recorded 136 separate enemy contacts. The majority of contacts were with groups of 2 to 5 enemy and were during daylight by squad/platoon size units conducting s& D operations in Zones CAT and DOG. The enemy employed snipers and booby traps extensively against US Forces throughout the AO. Avenues of approaches into enemy base areas were heavily mined with anti-tank and anti-personnel mines and booby traps fabricated from grenades, mortar/artillery shells and 250lb bombs. The enemy made maximum use of mines containing very little metallic material therefore rendering the mine detector almost ineffective in locating them.

b. Analysis:

The western portion of the battalion's AO is the most lucrative area for making contact with enemy forces. Normally the enemy within the AO attempted to evade and avoid contact with US Forces. On several occasions he conducted aell planned and coordinated grenadier attacks against platoon size elements of this battalion. During the attacks the enemy demonstrated that he was highly motivated and well trained. Contacts were made with elements of the following units: 706th LF Co, 74th LF Co, 75th LF Co, V14th LF Co and 70th Co of the 409th Sapper Bn. Documents recovered from enemy KIA have established positive identification of these units.

c. Conclusion:

Because of the extensive operations by 1/14th units throughout the AO the enemy was kept off balance and denied many areas where he previously moved freely. During July there was an increase in the number of enemy bunker positions and reconstruction of those previously destroyed in the western portion of the AO. Indications are that the enemy is preparing to move a larger size force into the area or getting ready for the coming monsoon season.

d. Enemy KIA and Weapon CIA: During the reporting period the 1/14th Infantry accounted for the following enemy casualties:

Enemy KIA (BC) - 192

Enemy CIA - 13

Weapons CIA - 27

e. The majority of the enemy soldiers KIA were heavily armed with hand grenades. They have used them extensively since the arrival of this battalion in the Chu Lai area.

   3. Operations and Training Activities.

a. Plans: Current plans for the 1/14th are to continue search and destroy operations under OPCON of the 196th Light Infantry Brigade in the Chu Lai Area of Operations as part of TF Oregon.

b. Operations:

   (1) The battalion conducted search and destroy operations, night ambushes, search and clear, and cordon and search missions. Emphasis was placed on squad size elements saturating a given area to achieve maximum coverage. Elements were employed within close support distance of each other.

   (2) The battalion assisted 2/11 Cav during Operation RHINO, which was conducted in the northern portion of AO BOBCAT. The Assault and Reconnaissance platoons were attached to "E" and "F" Troops during the entire operation.

c. Special Operations:

   (1) A total of 19 "fireball" operations were conducted during the reporting period. 7 - 105 How, 4 - tank, 8 - 4.2" mortar.

   (2) "Fireball" operations were utilized to extend heavy weapons and artillery coverage to the west into a 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) CAP India remained under OPCON of the battalion conducting civic action missions and combined unit patrols in Zone OWL.

   (4) Interdiction of enemy routes was conducted by platoon sized eagle flight operations into areas of suspected enemy concentrations.

   (5) Police of inland waterways was conducted with the use of amtracks in conjunction with RF/PF forces and GVN officials. In addition river ambushes were conducted by US forces to search boats and check individuals.



  Part I: Observation (Lessons Learned)

    1. Operation:

a. Item: Enemy Sniper Employment:

Discussion: During the period covered by this report the enemy used a new tactic of employing snipers in depth, with booby traps on likely approaches.

Method used to counter this: Individual platoons were broken down into fireteams and were employed within close supporting distance of one another. This technique insured maximum area coverage while minimizing the probability of exposure of enemy fire. Artillery was placed in likely sniper areas and on the flanks of the platoon. the element in contact would then use fire and movement to close with the enemy. Two additional fire teams would protect the flanks of the base of fire and maneuver elements.

b. Item: Enemy Anti-helicopter Tactics:

Discussion: 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. 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 approach 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 at 1500 hrs and returns to pick up empties approximately one hour later.

Methods used: Saturating the approach to the LZ with fire team size patrols allows effective interdiction of enemy movement and provides a quick reaction force when the enemy fires. The 1/14th Infantry had enemy kills on three different occasions when this technique was employed during the past three months. When employing such a technique, the helicopter pilots are advised of friendly locations to preclude the door gunners from firing on friendly troops. The ground commanders advise the pilot to approach the LZ along the route that has been secured. When it is impractical to employ such patrols, the ground commanders advise the pilot to vary his flight pattern loading to the LZ. Regardless of the tactic employed, the ground commander must always brief the pilot on the friendly and enemy situations and advise him of the safest approach to the LZ. Units should move to a new location after resupply and extraction of empties has been completed to preclude the enemy from pinpointing their positions.

c. Item: Deliberately building fires and firing around friendly locations at night.

Discussion: The enemy is often aware of the general night locations of US units. A tactic he has employed is to fire several automatic weapon bursts at a safe distance from US positions and build fires. This will usually result in artillery fire being called into the area 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 until morning when friendly troops move out on daily operations.

Methods used to counter this tactic are:

(1) Avoid trails and open areas when leaving bivouac sites.

(2) Be especially alert during all movement.

(3) Move from bivouac in a directions away from the objective, then circle around.

(4) Recon by fire with organic and indirect fire weapons prior to and during movement.

(5) Conduct all movement using the best tactical formation and all around security.

d. Item: Use of M14 rifles:

Discussion: The enemy sniper uses weapons which have effective ranges up to 500 meters. In order to counter this advantage over the M16 rifle, the 1st Bn, 14th Inf has issued one M14 rifle per squad. In addition, all LRRP's have at least one M14 rifle with sniper scope. This has resulted so far in two (2) known kills at ranges in excess of 500 meters.

e. Item: Quick fire range:

Discussion: It has been found that in thick underbrush troops have only fleeting glimpses of the enemy at short ranges. The situation then resolves itself into a case of who gets off the first, most accurate shot.

Method used: The 1st Bn, 14th Inf has developed a line fire, moving pop-up range. Troops are retrained in the ability to "snap-shoot" at targets which appear suddenly. Instinctive shooting is incorporated into the marksmanship training.


P. PETRO        
LTC, INF         


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.