23d Infantry Division
APO San Francisco 96217
1. NAME OF OPERATION: None
2. DATES OF OPERATION: 011200 July to 042400 October 1971.
3. LOCATION: Quang Ngai Province from the Tra Bong River south to the MRI/MRII boundary, from the South China Sea west to the Quang Ngai/Kontum provincial boundary. Map, Vietnam, 1:100,000,Series L607, Sheets 6639, 6739, 6738, 6638.
4. COMMAND AND CONTROL HEADQUARTERS: 11TH Infantry Brigade, 23d Infantry Division.
5. REPORTING OFFICER: Colonel Werner S. Goodwin, Jr., Commanding Officer 11th Infantry Brigade, 23d Infantry Division.
6. TASK ORGANIZATION:
11th Infantry Brigade Control
HHC, 11th Infantry Brigade
6-11 Artillery (DS)
D/26th Engineers (DS)
3/B/523d Signal Battalion
Det/328th Radio Research Unit
TM 1/635 MI Detachment
90th Chemical Detachment
59th Infantry Platoon (Scout Dog)
3-1 Infantry 1-20 Infantry
1-52 Infantry TF 23d Cavalry
A/1-52 E Trp, 1st Cav (OPCON 198th Bde
B/1-52 effective 29 August 1971)
C/1-52 H Trp, 17th Cavalry
11th Infantry Brigade Control
HHC, 11th Infantry Brigade
6-11 Artillery (DS)
D/26th Engineers (DS)
3/B/523 Signal Battalion
Det/328th Radio Research Unit
TM 1/635 MI Detachment
90th Chemical Detachment (1-11 September 1971)
59th Infantry Platoon (Scout Dog) (1-13 September 1971)
H Trp, 17th Cavalry (1-15 September 1971)
3-1 Infantry 1-20 Infantry (OPCON 198th Bde eff 12 Sept 71)
Artillery fire support was provided by elements of 1st Battalion. 14th
Artillery and the 6th Battalion, 11th Artillery
operating in direct support of the 11th Infantry Brigade. Elements of the 1st Battalion, 82nd Artillery supported the Direct Support Artillery
Battalions in the General Support Reinforcing role. Air Cavalry support was provided by B Company, 123d Aviation Battalion. Helicopter
support for combat assaults, air moves, and Support was requested thu 23d Infantry Division on an as needed basis. Air strikes were targeted
against enemy base areas, known or suspected enemy locations, and in support of ground troops in contact. Throughout the entire operation all
forms of fire support were responsive to the needs of the Brigade.
8. INTELLIGENCE: Annex A ( Intelligence)
To conduct unilateral and combined operations
with ARVN forces to locate and destroy the VC Quang Ngai Provincial Headquarters
and the 21st NVA Regiment. Additionally, to assist in the GVN pacification and revolutionary development program by conducting combat
operations in conjunction with RF/PF forces to destroy VC/NVA elements and to assist in the Rice Denial Program.
10. CONCEPT OF OPERATIONS:
WIA (E) 93
WIA (M) 28
13. ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS:
During the period of this operation, logistical support to units’ fire support
bases was accomplished by vehicle convoy and
helicopter. UH-1E helicopters were the primary aircraft used for resupplies the units in the field, however, fire support bases received
the bulk o their resupply by vehicle convoy. The exception to this was in those areas where the fire support base could not be reached
by road. The CH-47 ( Chinook was utilized for the resupply such bases. The troops in field locations were generally resupplied from
the Battalion fire support bases. Ch-47s were used primarily for hauling Class I, II, IV.and V items to the battalion fire support. Form
the fire support bases the resupply was carried to the rifle companies by UH-1E helicopters. No major problems were experienced in
the field of logistics during this operation.
The 11th Brigade was supported by D Company 723 Maintenance Battalion
for the first stays of the operation, then
Headquarters and A Company 723 Maintenance Battalion assumed the support requirement. For both units, the primary maintenance
mission involved vehicles, weapons, and radios. Lack of an adequate supply of repair parts caused some delays in getting equipment
repaired, however, these delays caused no serious problems.
Treatment and Evacuation of
Casualties: Due to the size of
the Brigade’s TACI, it was necessary to position evacuation helicopters
in Quang Ngai City to support the operation requirements. By placing the evacuation helicopters in Quang Nagai the response time
was greatly reduced. All combat casualties were treated in field locations and if required, evacuated to 91st Evacuation Hospital in
Chu Lai. If the tactical situation required, additional medical evacuation helicopters could be obtained from Chu Lai Dust Off.
Brigade units relied almost exclusively on organic transportation to meet the
vehicle requirements throughout the
operation. When additional transportation assets were required, units could request support from the 23d Supply and Transportation
Battalion. Requests for additional transportation were forwarded to the brigade S-4 for approval and then submitted to 23d S&T
Due to the extreme size of the Brigade’s TAOI
and the far reaching operations conducted during the reporting period,
it was necessary to establish “relay stations” at key points within the Brigade area to maintain effective communication. FM radio was
the primary means of communications from company to battalion to brigade and brigade to division. A VHF system provided “land-line” communications between brigade and battalions. RTT nets were also used during the operation to provide “hard copy” of important
messages. All units down to company level were equipped with “secure” radio capability and these systems were used extensively
during the operation.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT AND
TECHNIQUES: Extensive use was made of
war dogs during the reporting period. Scout and tracker dogs
were used to detect the presents of enemy personnel and base areas, while mine dogs were used to detect the presence of enemy mines and
booby traps. Flame drops from CH-47 aircraft, were used to clear booby trapped areas and proved to be quite successful. The brigade also
tested several new items of equipment during this operation. The claymore triggering device was used to set up mechanical ambushes. This item
of equipment was considered to be less than satisfactory by most units of the brigade. The half-size smoke grenade and ground illumination
flare was also tested. These items were more favorably received by the field units however, some problem area were identified and reported.
15. COMMANDERS ANALYSIS:
Widely dispersed units, utilizing saturation patrols and ambushes to
reduce the enemy’s ability to move generally characterized operations
during the reporting period. Snipers were employed along key lines of communications and met with tremendous success. The last two
months of the reporting period the brigade launched a series of operations in the western portions of the TAOI in support of the 4th and
6th ARVN Regiments. These operations were designed to disrupt the enemy supply routes and interdict his lines of communications.
A battalion forward CP and 105mm Howitzer were established on a forward fire base, while the rifle companies conducted security
operations around the position. Extensive use of eagle flights was made to increase the range and effectiveness of local patrolling. The
western operations proved very effective in disrupting enemy lines of communication and kept the enemy from launching any major
offensive during the reporting period.
Armored Cavalry was employed in the lowlands in conjunction with RF/PF
forces. By using the mobility and fire power of the armored
cavalry to install confidence in the RFs and PFs the overall security of Quang Ngai Province was increased. These combined also
contributed greatly to the sources of the brigade rice denial program. Intelligence reports indicated that the rice denial program was
so successful in Quang Ngai Province that the 21st NVA Regiment was forced to commit an entire battalion to the mission of rice
Overall the operation must be termed a success. The Brigade successfully
restricted the enemy ability to maneuver. The combined
operation conducted with the ARVN Regiments was highly successful in interdicting enemy supply routes and lines of communication.
The training assistance and operational support given to RF/PF forces also contributed to success of the operation.
RECOMMENDATION: Recommend that US units continue to conduct
joint operations with ARVN and RF/PF forces. These operations
should require the Vietnamese forces to assume the major role, while US forces should be used to provide additional support as required.
WARNER S. GOODWIN, JR.
ANNEX A (INTELLIGENCE) to Combat After Action Report Period 1 JUL-4OCT 1971
1. THE AREA OF OPERATION:
Weather: With the exception of a tropical storm in mid-July the weather
during the 1 July-4 October operation was generally good. With little
or no adverse effect upon the execution of combat operations. During the later part of August and through September, air operations in the late
Part of August and through September, air operations in the late afternoon and evening in the mountainous regions were limited due to
This area of operation is art of the northern highlands of South Vietnam
and is characterized by three types of terrain; the wide belt of
mountains in the west, a narrow transitional piedmont in the central portion of the AO, and the coastal plains in the past.
The western portion of the AO consists of rugged, jungle-covered
mountains rising to elevations in excess of 4,000 feet and intersected
by numerous small river valleys. This area offers maximum concealment while at the same time hindering foot movement of friendly
forces making complete searches of the area extremely difficult.
The narrow piedmont consists of undulating hills compartments by numerous
river valleys. These waterways extend like fingers from
the Eastern Highlands through the piedmont into the coastal plain. Throughout the piedmont, the hills range from 30 to 70 meters in
elevation, with slopes between 10 and 20 degrees.
The coastal plains are a relatively flat strip, extending the length of
the AO. The plains are interspersed with isolated hills and ridges
and are sectioned in many areas by rice paddies, border by dikes two to five feet high and eight to ten feet wide. The eastern edge of
the coastal plain consists of beaches covered by scattered scrub brush.
The principle rivers are the Song Tre Bong, Song Tra Khuc, and Song VE which
flow from West to East, and the Song RE and Dak
Selo which are in the western portion of the TAOI and flow North –South. The Houc Ong in the Northeastern portion of the TAOI flows
Northwest-Southeast and is the major infiltration route into the TAOI.
(3) Evergreen secondary forests are predominant in the mountains. Areas of
grass and deciduous trees are interspersed throughout the
area and dry cultivation is widespread. Trees range in height from 25 to 30 meters, with a few as high as 50 meters. Tree canopy is continuous
in large areas. In the coastal plains, rice and dry crops are the main vegetation. Rice fields are flooded to depths of 6 to 18 inches and are
drained just prior to harvest in March and August. When mature rice a dense green grass, three to four feet tall. Villages and hamlets are
often surrounded by dense vegetation including thick hedges between houses.
In the highlands, the key terrain is generally those sections of high
ground from which control can be exerted over the valleys, The
cultivated areas and the road or trail networks on the valley floors. In the piedmont area, the key terrain is the high ground which
controls the valleys opening out to the east. On the coastal plains, key terrain features include the high ground and those locations
which control waterways, roads, and ports of entry.
2. ENEMY SITUATION:
(a) Estimated strength, location and disposition of enemy forces at the start of the operation:
UNIT STRENGTH LOCATION
21ST NVA REGT HQ 300 BS4646
4TH NVA BN 150 BS6349
5TH NVA BN 150 BS4154
6TH NVA BN 150 BS4440
402nd MF SAPPER BN 250 BS4092
403RD NVA SAPPER BN 150 BS7924
406TH MF SAPPER BN 200 BS7525
40TH NVA SAPPER BN 100 BS7429
107TH NVA HVY WPNS BN 168 BS4969
21ST LF SAPPER CO. 70 BS4381
38TH LF BN 160 BS7045
48 LF BN 200 BS3187
81ST LF SAPPER CO 40 BS5874
95TH A LF SAPPER CO 20 BS6398
95TH B LF SAPPER CO 40 BS5393
506TH A LF SAPPER CO 65 BS5377
120TH MONTAGNARD 200 BS3184
C-18 LF CO 20 BS6558
C-19 LF CO 16 BS7457
C-25 LF CO 55 BS3666
C-45 LF SAPPER CO 25 BS7086
C-65 LF SAPPER CO 09 BS5265
C-75 LF SAPPER CO 40 BS7270
C-120 LF CO 30 BS8634
C-212LF CO 70 BS5337
C-219 LF CO 50 BS7841
K-51 LF HVY WPNS BN UNK BS6989
P-31 LF CO 20 BS6390
T-20 LF CO 25 BS7288
(b) Enemy Situation Anticipated:
(1) A continuation of the current policy of limited scale offensive activities utilizing NVA and Local Force units was anticipated in the TAOI. The activity was to be directed toward disruption of voting during the Lower House and Presidential elections and against the GVN pacification program. It would be characterized by enemy entrance into the densely populated areas to propagandizes to the people, collect taxes, terrorize the local population and the kidnap and assassination of RVN officials.
(2) A continuation to conduct harassing, stand-off attacks by in direct fire again both US and RVN installations as well as other government controlled areas. Such attacks could employ 60 and 81/82mm mortars, 57 and 75mm recoilless rifles, and 107, 122, and 140mm rockets.
(3) A continuation to deploy mines and boop-traps against US and RVN personnel, primarily in the coastal districts but also in protection of food and munitions caches in the western areas of the AO.
(4) A continuation to initiate and return fire against US aircraft, particularly in protection of rear base areas and supply caches. Enemy anti-air weapons range from small arms to 51 Cal MG and RPG’s.
(c)Enemy Situation Found: Several significant contacts were made early during this operation. All were combined operations, with 4th and 6th ARVN regiments participating. These contacts were with elements of the 240th transpiration regiment and were centered around the Dak Selo River and Nuoc ONG River Corridor. These operations in the West netted over 15 tons of captured ammunition in a 60 day period, most of which was captured by ARVN troops. The enemy in the coastal lowlands and piedmont region avoided contact with US troops, as much as possible. The enemy concentrated almost entirely on food resupply during the operation and used the Song VE and Song Tra Khuc Rivers extensively to haul rice from the lowlands to cache sites in the mountains. Primary targets for enemy activities continued to be RF/PF OP’s, refugee camps and RVN installations. Assassination of VN officials, terrorist incidents and attacks by fire increased slightly during the Lower House Elections in late August and the Presidential Election in early October. The election period was also marked by numerous student and veterans demonstrations against the War. These demonstrations accrued frequently in population centers along HY-1. Enemy units showed a slight decrease in strength during this operation and there was one major unit were; that of the 406th MF Sapper Bn from Northern Quang Ngai Province to Southern Quang Ngai Province vic BS7525. It is believed that this move was for food procurement.
Transcript by CHARLES S. SEKETA February 15, 2004
Transcript Check on March 12, 2006 by Charles S. Seketa
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