Quarterly Report -
Period Ending 31 Oct 67
'I November 1967
Operational Report for -Quarterly Period Ending 31 October 1967
3dBde TF,4th Inf Div
AFO San Francisco 96355
SECTION 1: Significant
Organization of Unit Activities
During the reported period the 1st
Battalion, 14th Infantry participated in Operations BENTON, WHEELER and
during the latter part of September rejoined the 3d Bde TF on Operation
BAKER in the Due Pho area. During the interim period
between operations the l/I4th continued the mission of securing the
northern approach to the Chu Lai airbase and 'conducted search and destroy
operations in AO BOBCAT under the OPCON
of the 196th Lt Inf Bde. During Operation .WHEELSR
the battalion was under the operational
control of the 101st Airborne Bde.
19 Aug - 10 Sep 196th Lt
I0 Sep - 12 Sep 5th
13 Sep - 24 Sep
101st Abn Bde
24 Sep-31 Oct-31 3d Bde TF
NOTE: All coordina-bes in this
report are reference Map, VIETNAM, 1:50,000,
Series L70U, Sheets 66391, 66391V, 66401, 664011, 6640111, .66401V,
b. Reporting Officers:
I. LTC Peter P. Petro, CO, Ist
Battalion, Uth Infantry
2. MAJ Jack W. Schneider Jr., S3,
Ist Battalion, 14th Infantry
(I Aug-23 Sep)
3. MAJ James T< Campbell, S3, Ist
Bat-fcalion, Ulth Infantry
(24 Sep-31 Oct)
4. CFT Jimmy E. Griffis, S2, Ist
Battalion, 14th Infantry
5. CPT Harold L. Shankles, CO, Co A, Ist
Battalion, 14th Infantry
6. CPT Richard B. Granger, CO, Co B, Ist
Battalion, 14th Infantry-
7. OFT Luis Gallegos, GO, Co C, Ist
Battalion, 14th Infantry
8. CPT Harold E. Sells, CO Co D, Ist
Battalion, 14th Infantry
9. CPT Bill Crouch, CQ, F Troop,..2/11
During Reported Period:
1. F Troop, 2/11. ACR - I Aug - l4 Sep
2. C Troop, 1/10 CAV - 13 Sep- 31 Oe-t
3. Mobile Strike Force - 29 Sep- 31 Oct
During -tha period I-IU
August the 1st Bn, 14th Inf continued
operations In AO Bobcat. Enemy contacts during this period
were light and infrequent. The enemy continued
to employ snipers, mines, booby traps
and avoided contact as much as possible.
b. Operation BENTON
Operation BENTON was
Initiated to entice at the enemy In Base
Area 117. Continuous operations In AO BOBCAT
completely disorganized the enemy in
this area and caused him to move west into Base Area 117. Indications were
that the- enemy- had withdrawn to Base Area
117 and frequently moved back Into the
western portion of AO BOBCAT to repair old bunkers and positions and build
new ones prior to the monsoon season.
This would give the enemy an excellent area
close to government controlled areas, OS
positions, and the Chu Lai Airbase in
which to launch offensive actions after the monsoon set in.
As the movement of
friendly 'units to the west progressed, the frequency and
size of enemy contacts increased. The enemy
continued the tactics of using harassing fire
against US Forces from well covered and
concealed positions and quickly withdrawing from the contact area. During
the Initial stages of the operation the
VC attempted several unsuccessful platoon size ambushes against Co C. The
enemy soon learned that this Tactic was most
costly with no positive result, and
abandoned the tactic. Through interrogation of civilians In Base Area 117
learned that many of the families had recently
moved into the area from AO BOBCAT
because of the pressure from the battalion's operations. These were
families of hard core VC. The Initial
attitude of the people toward American troops was hostile however, as
operations continued more and more people expressed a desire to
return to RVN Government control. Many
families were relocated to Tarn Ky City.
The majority had to be left behind because of
limited facilities, food and personnel available, in Tarn Ky District to
accommodate these refugees.
On 20 August 1967
a Chleu Hoi led .Co C to the remains of a downed
(H-23) at BT269123. The helicopter had been thrown Into the river at that
location and camouflaged with bamboo
and brush. The aircraft was so well camouflaged It
was impossible to detect from the air. It was
almost Impossible to detect the
helicopter standing on the river bank
approximately 10 feet away. The VC had employed a platoon size force along
the high ground to the west vicinity BT26012$,
BT263121 and BT26U117 In an attempt to ambush
parties searching for the helicopter or trying to extract It. It was
evident that C Company moved Into the area
undetected by the VC. As recovery aircraft
with diver aboard landed at the recovery site, the VC opened fire on the
helicopter, Co C was well disposed and immediately returned fire against
the enemy. Five airstrikes were employed
against the enemy positions. Co C swept the
contact area and found 9 VC KIA (BC)
and an estimated 10 VC KIA (P) from the amount of blood and other evidence
in the contact area. The
wrecked H-23 -was found to be a 196th Bde
helicopter that crashed on I8 June 1967.
It was recovered from the river on 26 August
1967 for a detailed analysis of the
cause of crash. There were several bullet holes in the fuselage and
pilot's compartment of the H-23 at the time of recovery.
On 25 August 1967
at BT264126 Co C found a VC prison camp resulting in the
recovery of 6 ARVN prisoners. As Co C
continued search and destroy operations
to the south they found a VC base camp at BT260115. The base camp
consisted of several well camouflaged
huts and a cave in a rock complex. The cave was approximately
50 meters in length with several adjoining rooms. Action in and around
the cave resulted in 13 VC KIA (BC) and the
capture of medical supplies and miscellaneous
clothing. Part of the cave was probably used as a dispensary because
of the amount of medical supplies found there.
Operation "BENTON" was successful in that
the enemy's base camp areas were
attacked, disrupting his organization and making it difficult for him to
plan and organize attacks against
allied positions during the monsoon season. The
relocation of the civilians In the area denied
the enemy an important source of food
supplies and had a demoralizing effect on the VC whose families were
relocated as evidenced by the high Chieu Hoi rate during the operation.
Operations were continued in AO BOBCAT during the period 1-9 September
without any significant enemy contact. On 10 September the battalion
moved north of Tam Ky and was postured to react
to heavy enemy contacts made by the 5th
Marine Regiment. (OPCON to 5th Marine Regiment 10 Sep 67)
d. Operation "WHEELER"
On 13 September the
l/14th Inf was placed under OPCON of 101st Abn
Bde and combat assaulted into an area of
operations approximately 10 kilometers
west of Tarn Ky City. This AO had been previously exploited by a battalion
of the 101st during Operation BENTON.
During the first few days of Operation WHEELER,
the enemy offered no organized resistance, but
made maximum use of snipers. These
snipers were extremely accurate at long ranges. Upon combat assaulting
the battalion fire base on Hill 218 (BT239U2)
a total of 12 mines and booby traps
were found on the LZ. They ranged from a home made, C-ration can, booby
trap to a 250 lb bomb with trip wire
As Co B and C moved to
th3 northwest they began to encounter stiffening
enemy resistance ranging from squad to platoon
size elements. The enemy was well dug
in and used a defensive system of bunkers with connecting trench
B and C through oppressive infantry tactics supported by tactical air and
helicopter gun ships, inflicted heavy losses
on the enemy and effectively reduced
the enemy defensive system. The most significant find of the Operations
was made by Co B on 21 September at
ET166127 when the Tien Phouch VC District Chief was
captured. This POW had recently been promoted
e. Operation "BAKER"
On 24 September the
battalion moved to the Duc Pho area and began
operations in the BAKER AO. Aggressive
patrolling and good defensive positions
around the bridges and along Highway #1, limited the enemy's capabilities
to plant mines along the road and
harass US positions. There have been only two mining
incidents along Hwy #1 since arrival of the
battalion In the Duc Pho area. Both
mines were made of bamboo and were not detected on mine sweep operations.
There have been limited sniper fire and probes against the positions
around the bridges within the AO.
Additional significant kills were attained through tho use of
informants who led small size elements of the
battalion to VC hiding places in tunnels and bunkers within the populated
areas of the AO.
On 9 October a
helicopter from the 1st Air Car Div received ground fire from vicinity
BS803203. Observation helicopters In the area located an estimated enemy
platoon and Company B with Fox Force (Recon Platoon) attached combat
assaulted into the area and began a 9
day operation to the west oŁ the present AO boundary.
On 13 October Co B
located what was believed to be an enemy way station. The way station was
large enough to accommodate at least 2 companies and was defended by a
reinforced enemy platoon. The terrain In and around the way
station was characterized by steep slopes and
dense vegetation with heavy canopy.
The majority of enemy contacts occured at
ranges from 6 to I5 meters. The natural
rock formations and huge boulders throughout the area provided the enemy
excellent protection against indirect
fire weapons. The enemy fought viciously and
defended the way station area. The enemy was routed from the area after
two days of fighting and at a cost of 16 NVA KIA, 5 NVA CIA and 10 weapons
f. Summary: The enemy will most likely increase harassing and
mining activities along Highway #1 as the monsoon sets in, He can be
expected to launch well supported ground
attacks against fire bases and base camps throughout the
area. Since the 3rd Brigade began operations in
the Due Pho area, the enemy has been
badly beaten and driven from areas that were previously controlled by enemy
forces. Not only has the enemy been hurt
logistically, but psychologically he has
suffered a large defeat and is in dire need of a major victory to regain
part of what has been lost. As US air mobility is limited by the rainy
season, the enemy will become more bold
and revert to offensive actions.
g. Statistics :
1. During the reported period the l/14th
Infantry accounted for the following
Enemy KIA. (BC) Enemy KIA (P) Enemy CIA
Enemy Weapons CIA.
2. In addition, numerous bunkers were
destroyed and 45,000 lbs of salt was taken from the VC.
a. Resupply schedule Time Change:
Resupply has been moved from a late afternoon time frame to a 12-1500 time
period for resupply and extractions. This precludes being forced to leave
extractions on the ground over night when late afternoon clouds restrict
flying. It also coincides with the tactical plan in that experience has
show that most enemy ground movement has been observed during the early
morning or late afternoon periods.
b. Emergency Resupply of Water:
This unit has determined that the plastic container used to incase 81mm
mortar ammunition is a suitable water container. The plastic container is
easily destroyed after use and can be stored without fear of rust or other
chemical reactions found when metalic 155mm powder canisters were used for
this purpose. Laboratory tests made on water stored in plastic containers
for periods of 48-72 hours show no impurities that could not be
neutralized by the use of standard water purification tablets.
c. Reduction of Weight-Basic Troop
Load: The monsoon season is expected to produce many periods when
helicopter resupply will be restricted. The individual soldier must be
capable of carrying enough supplies to sustain himself for 3-4 days and
often longer. The present Army indigenous or LRRP ration appears to be an
acceptable solution being lightweight and requiring only water for use. It
is recommended that of these two types, the LRRP ration be used because
the menu is closer to American tastes. The LRRP ration is smaller,
lighter, much more practical than C-rations, and is not prohibitive in
price. This type ration should be produced and stocked in sufficient
quantities to supplement if not replace C-rations during the monsoon
SECTION II: OBSERVATIONS (Lessons Learned):
a. ITEM: Resupply of Rifle
Companies During S&D Operations.
DISCUSSION: Search and destroy
operations are constantly hampered by the need for resupply. The weight of
the present C-rations make resupply on alternate days mandatory. Hence
alternate days are spent finding suitable Landing Zones (which are rare in
coastal highlands) and securing them. For all practical purposes,
operations time is reduced to one half. Even in the Coastal Plains where
Landing Zones are plentiful, it takes a full half a day to resupply a
company. Resupply helicopters on alternate days also fix the elements
positions and indicate the direction of movement of the element.
Overburdening troops with rations fatigues the troops before the element
can move very far.
OBSERVATION: Small unit commanders
consider as an ideal, conducting operations over a six to eight day period
with resupply of ammunitions, water, and equipment only as needed. This
ability could be achieved with lighter rations and load bearing equipment.
During the past quarter, a limited amount of indigenous type rations were
available. These, combined with "C-rations" permitted companies to operate
for a period of three days without accepting resupply or substantially
increasing the combat load.
Using Interpreters and Indigenous Searchers.
DISCUSSION: The use of interpreters
when available, has provided exceptional sources of on the spot
information. Often opportunities are lost because prisoners are evacuated
to rear areas. Substantial information from these people is either
outdated when it gets back to the field, or the fast moving tactical
situation precludes the possibility of returning to areas of operation to
check intelligence reports. Vietnamese Nationals used as searchers in
village search operations have proven invaluable both in finding military
contraband, and in training US personnel in search techniques.
OBSERVATION: Interpreters should be
assigned to the company level or more ideally to the platoon level.
Immediate questioning of prisoners and civilians during S&D operations is
essential to insure success in these operations. Indigenous searchers
should be employed as much as possible, both in search operations and in
training US personnel.
c. ITEM: Evacuation of Friendly KIA.
DISCUSSION: There is a recurring
problem of evacuation of friendly personnel, killed in action. The medical
evacuation policy is not to endanger aircraft or crews evacuating the
dead. But it is a tactical necessity that these bodies be evacuated. The
problem is not great when the units are operating in open territory where
Landing Zones are plentiful. A helicopter can be requested and the
evacuation made. Problems arise when elements are located in steep slopes
and heavy canope terrain of the Coastal Highlands. In these areas, wounded
personnel are evacuated with a dust-off helicopter equipped with a winch
because of the lack of a suitable Landing Zone. Med-evacs are not
permitted by DA policy to evacuate the dead. The bodies must then be
carried to a Landing Zone. Carrying this additional weight also puts a
tremendous drain on the troops. The whole problem also has an adverse
morale effect on the men.
OBSERVATION: Thought should be
given to developing a winch device that could be rapidly mounted on any
UH-1D Helicopter. Because of the proposal primary mission, (evacuating
KIS's) it would not have to be a sophisticated device. Employment of such
a device would also give any helicopter a back-up capability for the winch
equipped helicopter of the Medical Company.
d. ITEM: Evacuation of "Chieu Hoi"
and Infrastructure Type Personnel.
DISCUSSION: It has been found that
when "Chieu Hoi" and Infrastructure Type Personnel are returned to the
area of their capture they have led units to numerous weapons and food
caches. These people are also more inconspicuous and more helpful when
they are given US uniforms to wear instead of their indigenous clothing.
OBSERVATION: Concerning the above
mentioned types of personnel, when military intelligence personnel and
interpreters are not available in the field, evacuation, questioning and
return to the area of capture should be accomplished as quickly as
possible. This affords maximum exploitation of their information. They
should be dressed in US fatigues, boots and helmets. If rewards are
promised, these should be paid in a discreet manner. Paying informers in
view of other members of their village endangers their lives and
discourages others from coming forward with information.
e. ITEM: "Overworking an Area with
Search and Destroy Operations".
DISCUSSION: It has been found that
when large contacts cease in an area and S&D operations continue, we
encounter very few enemy and many booby traps.
OBSERVATION: Search and Destroy
Operations should not be continued after it is determined that most of the
enemy have been killed or captured. Revolutionary development or
Pacification Operations should be started as soon as possible following
Search and Destroy Operations.
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.