Battalion Operational Report:

Quarterly Report - Period Ending 31 Oct 67


APO San Francisco 9635$
'I November 1967

SUBJECT: Operational Report for -Quarterly Period Ending 31 October 1967

TO: Commanding Officer

3dBde TF,4th Inf Div

AFO San Francisco 96355

SECTION 1: Significant Organization of Unit Activities

1. General:

a. 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.


  BENTON -        19 Aug - 10 Sep         196th Lt Inf Bde
                          I0 Sep - 12 Sep          5th Marine Regt     

  WHEELER -     13 Sep - 24 Sep          101st Abn Bde

  BAKER -          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, 67391V.

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 ACR.

c.  Attachments 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

2. Intelligence.

    a. General:

    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 it was 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 helicopter (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.

    c. 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 complexes. Co's 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 to Captain.

    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 stubbornly 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 CIAI.

    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 casualties:

      Enemy KIA. (BC)   Enemy KIA (P)   Enemy CIA   Enemy Weapons CIA.
                                                                                       SA          AW

OP BENTON           91                       92                                      19            6

OP WHEELER        72                         4                     3                 7            2

OP BAKER             56                         3                    10                 3          13

OTHER OPS           10                                                                    2                      

          TOTAL         229                       99                     13                31         21

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 season.


   1. Operations:

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.

b. ITEM: 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.

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.