DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY

Headquarters, 11th Infantry Brigade, Americal Division

APO San Francisco 96217

 

AVDF-BA-OP                                                                                                9 March 1969

 

SUBJECT: Combat Operation after Action Report

 

THRU:   Commanding General

               Americal Division

               ATTN: AVDF-CG DOT

               APO San Francisco 96374

 

To;          Commanding General

               United States Military Assistance Command, Vietnam

               ATTN: MACJ 343

               APO San Francisco 96222

 

 

1. OPERATION:         VERNON LAKE I

 

2.      DATES OF OPERATION:  25 Oct 68 to 2 Nov 68.

 

3.      LOCATION:  Phase I: Song Ve Valley; Phase II: DA LO HO DINH Mountain area West of Quang Ngai City. ( Map Sheets; 67381 and 66393, Series L7014).

 

4.       COMMAND HEADQUARTERS: 11th Inf Bde, Americal Division.

 

5.      REPORTING OFFICER: Col John W Donalson

 

6.      TASK ORGANIZATION:

 

Phase I:      3d Battalion, 1st Infantry            Plat C-26 Engr

                  4th Battalion, 3d Infantry

 

Phase II:     3d Battalion, 1st Infantry (-) B Co

                  4th Battalion,  3d Infantry

                  1st Battalion, 20th Infantry (-) C Co

                  A, B, and C Troops, 1st Cavalry Squadron (+) B Co,

                  3d Battalion, 1st Infantry.

 

7.      SUPPORTING FORCES:

 

  1. Artillery:

 

(1)   Direct Support Artillery for Vernon Lake I.

DATE              UNIT               FROM                         TO:

 

25 OCT           B-6-11             LZ DOTTIE                 LZ BULLDOG (BS633557)

25 OCT           D-6-11                        LZ DOTTIE                 LZ DANCER    (BS675402)

29 OCT           B-6-11             LZ BULLDOG            LZ PEPPER       (BS495716)

30 OCT           D-6-11                        LZ DANZER               LZ PEPPER        (BS495716)

 

(2)  The direct support artillery batteries of the 6-11th Artillery deployed on 25 Oct 1968. D battery moved from LZ DOTTIE (BS631854) at 0800hrs and closed LZ Dancer by 1200hrs. B Battery moved from LZ DOTTIE at 1200hrs to LZ BULLDOG and closed by 1600hrs. On 29 Oct at 0800hrs B Battery moved by CH-47 to LZ PEPPER  and closed by 1200hrs. On 30 Oct at 2300hrs D Battery was airlifted to LZ PEPPER and closed at 1800hrs.

 

(3)   ROUNDS EXPENDED:

(a) Battery B          1172

 

(b) Battery D          847

                              2019

           

(4)   NATURE OF TARGETS: Scheduled fires and support targets were fired by both batteries of 105 Howitzers throughout the operation, Support missions were in the form of lZ preps and contact missions. Acquired targets were plotted by the Brigade S2 on known and suspected enemy base camps and on infiltration and exfiltration routes leading into the plains area west and southwest of Quang Ngai City.

 

(5)   TIMELINESS AND EFFECTIVENESS:

 

(a)    Response to calls for fire and forward observer adjustments to include adjustments made by aerial observers was accurate and rapid throughout the operation. Quang Ngai airfield was used as a forward supply point, and ammunition was moved by CH-47 from this location to the Fire Support Bases thereby reducing re-supply time. Because of the adequate amounts of ammunition maintained on the Fire Support Bases (FSB) there were no emergency re-supplies flown during the operation. There were no friendly casualties caused by artillery fire during Vernon Lake I.

 

(b)   The only difficulty arose when two batteries were co-located on FSB PEPPER. Due to the fact that each battery was in direct support of different infantry battalion, check fires were frequent, and at times increased the rounds on target time.

 

  1. AIR SUPPORT: 7th Air Force

 

(1) Air support consisted of 6 B-52 Strikes and 69 forward air controlled preplanned and immediate air strikes.

 

(2)   The 11th Bdes Tactical Air Control Party consisted of Forward Air Controllers of the of the 20th Tactical Air Support Squadron.

 

(3)   Both preplanned and immediate air strikes were timely and effective assisting immensely in the success of the operation.

 

(4)   Results: KBA 28, structures destroyed, secondary explosions 10, bunkers destroyed 98, tunnels 5, fox holes destroyed 53.

 

  1. ARMY AVIATION:

 

(1)   The 14th Combat Aviation Battalion provided helicopter support for Operation Vernon Lake I. 174th Assault Helicopter Company supported the control helicopters for each battalion throughout the operation. CH-47 aircraft were used extensively for troop movement, artillery movement and re-supply of fire support bases (FSB) These aircraft provide the mobility and flexibility to the operation.

 

(2)   Aero Scouts of the 123d Aviation Bn were used extensively for reconnaissance.

 

8.         INTELLIGENCE:  See Annex C.

 

9.     MISSION: 11TH Inf Bde realigns forces in the DUC PHO AO  and employs two infantry battalions in the Song Ve Valley and subsequently in the mountain area west of Quang  Ngai City to find , fix and destroy elements of the 3d NVA Division. 

 

10.   CONCEPT OF OPERATION:

 

Phase I: ( 250600H Oct 68 to 290700H Oct 68)  Following six B-52 Strikes on 24 Oct the 11th Bde attacks at 250815 Oct 68 with 3-1 Inf conducting multiple combat asaults (CA) into LZ Volunteer, LZ Mountaineer, LZ Wildcat and LZ Bulldog and establishes FSB on LZ Bulldog.-3 Inf conducts multiple combat assaults (CA) 250700H Oct 68 into LZ longhorn, LZ Razorback and LZ Dancer to exploit B-52 Strikes and establish FSB on LZ Dancer. 2d ARVN Division blocks north end Song Ve Valley with one infantry battalion vicinity BS590585. All LZs prepped with air strikes and artillery fires ( See Overlay 1, Annex A).

 

Phase II: (290700H Oct to 012400H Nov) A/3-1 Inf CA into LZ Pepper to secure for FSB. Companies C and D, 3-1 Inf. Conduct CAs into LZ Apple and sweep east. B/3-1 Inf OPCON to 1 1 Cav. 4-3 Inf conducts multiple CAs into LZ Grape, LZ Plum, LZ Pear and sweep east.  11 Cav and B/3-1 OPCON operations south of 1-1 Cav. All LZs prepped with air strikes and artillery fires.  (See Overlay 2, Annex A)

11.  EXECUTION:

 

  1. 25 Oct 68:

 

(1)        3-1 Inf: A co conducted a CA from LZ Dragon to LZ Bulldog (BS633557). The LZ was cold and A co remained as security for FSB Bulldog. B co conducted a CA from LZ Liz to LZ Mountaineer (BS620548). The LZ was cold and  B co started to sweep north. At 1112hrs vic BS614557 B Co engaged 1 VC evading resulting in 1 VC KIA. B Co had no further contact throughout the day and established a High Defense Position NDP BS623522. C co conducted a Ca from LZ Liz to a cold LZ Volunteer (BS655505) then conducted a search mission SW to their High Defense Position (NDP) vic BS638527 with negative contact. D Co conducted a CA from LZ Dragon to LZ Wildcat (BS657528), which was cold and conducted a search mission west to a Night Defense Position (NDP) BS643527 with negative contact. Recon Plat moved by air from LZ Liz to FSB Bulldog  and assisted in the security of the Fire Support Base.

 

(2)        4-3 Inf: A Co conducted a CA from LZ Bronco to LZ Longhorn (BS665475). The LZ was cold and A Co swept to a NDP vic BS655475 with negative contact. B Co conducted a CA from LZ Bronco to LZ Dancer (BS675402). The LZ was cold and B Co established a perimeter securing the area for the establishment of FSB Dancer. C co conducted an air move from LZ Bronco into the secured LZ Longhorn, then moved south to a NDP vic BS665166 with negative contact. D Co conducted a CA from LZ Bronco into LZ Razorback (BS635445). The LZ was cold, but as the lift ships were leaving the area they received some ground fire from an undetermined location. D Cos subsequent move to NDP vic BS630435 produced no contact.  Recon Plat was flown into LZ Razorback while D co was securing it then patrolled south to BS630430 with negative contact.

 

  1. 26 Oct 68:

 

(1)        3-1 Inf: A Co remained as security of FSB Bulldog. B co conducted a recon in force to BS615540 then conducted a CA to a cold LZ vic BS615483. From the LZ D co moved west to a NDP vic BS602482 with negative contact,

C co moved SW from previous NDP. At 1150hrs vic BS624505, C Co engaged 1 VC resulting in 1 VC KIA. 1 VN Flag and some documents captured. At 1255hrs vic BS626507, C Co engaged 3 VC resulting in 3 VC KIA and the capture of more documents. Continuing to search the general area, C Co engaged 1 VC evading at 1311hrs vic BS625508 resulting in 1 VC KIA. Moving on toward the West. C Co engaged 4 VC vic BS613503 resulting in 4 VC KIA and the discovery of 2,000 lbs of rice. C Co closed into NDP vic BS602502. D Co moved west from the previous NDP vic BS644528. At 1510hrs vic BS629530 D Co found that appeared to have an enemy base camp with 40 foxholes. They also found several rounds of 60mm Mortar ammunition in canisters in the area but made negative contact. D Co closed into a NDP vic BS633528. Recon Plat provided security for FSB Bulldog and conducted localized patrols with negative contact.

 

(2)        4-3 Inf: A Co moved NW from BS655475 to a NDP vic BS632483 with negative contact. D Co continued security mission of FSB Dancer. C Co moved SW from BS665466. At 1300hrs D Co and Recon Plat conducted a CA into a cold LZ vic BS613474 and then continued the combat sweep. At 1755hrs vic BS632479 D co engaged 1 VC evading resulting in 1 VC KIA. The VC was wearing a green uniform, pistol belt and carried 3 AK-47 magazines. D co and Recon Plat coupled a NDP vic BS635477.

 

  1.  27 Oct 68:

 

(1)        3-1 Inf: A Co continued the security mission at FSB Bulldog. D co moved east to assist in the Bomb Assessment (BDA) of B-52 (Arc Lite) starting with negative results then moved to a NDP vic BS612499. C co engaged 1 VC evading resulting in 1 VC KIA. C co continued to move with no further contact and established a NDP vic BS625535 without making contact. The C&C helicopter at 1325hrs vic BS660576 engaged 1 VC evading resulting in 1 VC KIA and at 1550hrs vic BS658484 found 1 VC KIA and one M-16 Rifle.

 

(2)        4-3 Inf: A, C, D Cos and Recon Plat conducted sweeps to determine BDA from B-52 strikes. The following was found:

0920hrs vic BS630477 D Co found 1 VC KBA

0930hrs vic BS628473 D Co found 1 VC KBS in a grave.

0935hrs vic BS630478 Recon Plat found 1 VC KBA.

1100hrs vic BS628473 A Co found 6 NVA KBA and 3 VC KBA

1200hrs vic BS634479 A Co found one K-44 Rifle.

1515hrs vic BS634479 A Co found 8 NVA KBA

1516hrs vic BS627424 Aero Scouts found 3 NVA KBA and L VC KBA

1530hrs vic BS631476 D Co found 3 NVA KBA

B Co continued security of FSB Dancer.

 

  1. 28 Oct 68:

 

(1)        3-1 Inf: A Co continued security of FSB Bulldog. B Co moved to a PZ vic BS615505 then air moved to Quang Ngai and became OPCON to 1-1 Cav. C Co search North from BS612456 to BS615514 with negative contacts. Recon Plat conducted localized patrolling and security of FSB Bulldog. At 0945hrs vic BS649560, Recon Plat engaged 2 VC resulting in 2 VC KIA.

 

(2)        4-3 Inf: A Co continued BDA of B-52 strikes moving southwest from BS633486. At 0845hrs vic BS639484 A Co found 1 NVA KBA in a cave, and 1530hrs vic BS638467 discovered 1 NVA KBA in a shallow grave with miscellaneous SA ammo and equipment.  B Co continued security mission of FSB Dancer. C Co moved NW from BS637459 along the river with negative contact. D Co and Recon Plat moved together initially NW to BS629482 then changed the direction of their search to the Southwest. At 110hrs vic BS637476, Recon Plat found a weapon cache containing 8 SKS rifles, 6 M-1 Carbines, 2 French Submachine guns, and 1 AK-47.

 

(3)        Supporting Aircraft: 0930hrs vic BS578421, the Aero Scouts engaged 5 NVA Evading resulting in 5 NVA KIA. At 1255hrs vic BS525750 F/ 8 Cav received SA fire from several positions. Fire was returned resulting in 1 VC KIA.

 

  1. 29 Oct 68:

 

(1)        3-1 Inf: A Co conducted a CA into a cold LZ vic BS447715 and established FSB Pepper. B Co OPCON to 1-1 Cav.C Co conducted a CA into a cold LZ vic BS445745 and began a combat search of the area.  At 1400hrs vic BS445742, C Co engaged 2 VC hiding in a hole resulting in 2 VC KIA. At 1602hrs vic BS448755 an element of C Co engaged a VC in a tunnel resulting in l VC KIA. An hour later at BS454763 an evading VC was engaged by C Co resulting in 1 VC KIA. D Co conducted a CA into a cold LZ at BS445765. At 1600hrs vic BS453757, D Co engaged a VC in a tunnel resulting in 1 VC KIA. Recon Plat air moved to FSB Pepper to provide security.

 

(2)        4-3 Inf: A Co moved from BS623474 Southeast on a combat search. At 1100hrs vic BS634452, A Co found 1,000 lbs of rice and miscellaneous equipment which they destroyed. D Co conducted security of FSB Dancer. C Co conducted an air-move to BS445745 and was placed OPCON to 3-1 Inf. D Co and Recon Plat moved from BS623474 South to BS624469 then SE along the river with negative contact.

 

(3)        1-1 Cav: A, B and C Trps with D/3-1 OPCON crossed LD vic Hill 10(BS6972) at 0830hrs and conducted a combat sweep to the West. The following contacts were made:

1215hrs D/3-1 vic BS556753 engaged 2 VC evading 2 VC KIA

1250hrs B/1-1 vic BS584751 engaged 1 VC evading 1 VC KIA

1315hrs B/1-1 vic BS584751 engaged 1 VC evading 1 VC KIA

1330hrs C/1-1 vic BS569752 engaged 1 VC evading 1 VC KIA

1535hrs B/3-1 vic BS541760 found 1 BAR

1615hrs A/1-1 vic BS528715 engaged 1 VC evading 1 VC KIA

1645hrs B/1-1 vic BS550742 found 1 homemade mortar tube.

1743hrs D/3-1 vic BS545543 engaged 1 VC evading 1 VC KIA

 

(4)        Supporting Aircraft: At 0840hrs , F/8 Cav vic BS585738had a helicopter shot down by SA fire. Gun-ships provided air cover immediately and the crew was extracted with no casualties. The Infantry Platoon of F/8 CAV was inserted to secure the aircraft and at 1206hrs the aircraft was extracted without complications. At 1015hrs vic BS575572, gun-ships of F/8 Cav engaged 10 VC evading vic BS488766 resulting in 1 VC KIA. At 1105hrs the Aero Scouts engaged another VC evading vic BS445772 resulting in 1 VC KIA.

 

f. 30 Oct 68:

(1)        3-1 Inf: A Co and Recon Plat continued to secure FSB Pepper. C and D cos with C/4-3 Inf OPCON conducted a combat sweep east through grids BS4575 and BS4576. At 1045hrs vic BS454763 C/3-1 Inf engaged 1 VC evading resulting in 1 VC KIA. C/3-1 Inf another evading VC at 1107hrs resulting in 1 VC KIA. C/4-3 Inf engaged a VC vic BS451763 resulting in 1 VC KIA and at 1140hrs vic BS452763 D/3-1 Inf discovered 4 VC KBA, No further action was experiences on the combat sweep. At 1801hrs the C&C helicopter of 3-1 Inf engaged 2 evading VC vic BS459743 resulting in 2 VC KIA.

(2)        4-3 Inf: A Co conducted a CA to a cold LZ at BS445795 then conducted a combat sweep to the East. At 1617hrs vic BS457782, A Co detained 14 VCS, one of which was wounded. B Co conducted a CA from FSB Dancer to a cold LZ at BS 447772 then conducted a combat sweep SE. At 1214hrs vic BS446776, B Co engaged 1 VC evading resulting in 1 VC KIA. D Co conducted a CA from BS637443 to a cold LZ at BS443787 then conducted a combat sweep east with negative contact. Recon Plat was air moved from BS637443 to FSB Dancer for security during the day. At 1830hrs Recon Plat was airlifted to LZ Bronco thus, terminating operations at FSB Dancer.

(3)        1-1 Cav: A Trp conducted a combat sweep from BS520725 through grids BS5273 and 5373. At 1730hrs vic BS535731, A trp engaged 3 VC rsulting in 2 VC KIA. B Trp conducted a combat sweep from BS557746 to grid BS5474. At 1546hrs vic BS540746, B Trp engaged 1 VC evading resulting in 1 VC KIA and at 1645hrs vic BS535745 had 2 US WHA from enemy SA fire. C trp, with B/3-1 Inf, conducted a combat sweep from BS544751 through grids BS5275 and 5174. AT 1040hrs vic BS520751, C trp engaged 1 VC evading resulting in 1 VC KIA, AT 1122hrs vic BS522753 engaged another evading VC resulting in 1 VC KIA. C trp engaged 2 VC trying to evade at 1845hrs vic BS532753 resulting in 2 VC KIA.

(3)   Supporting Aircraft: At 0900hrs vic BS457768 the Aero Scouts discovered 1 VC KBA. At 1005hrs at BS518753, F/8 Cav engaged 2 VC evading resulting in 2 VC KIA. AT 1040hrs the Aero Scouts engaged 1 VC evading vic BS453762 resulting in 1 VC KIA. F/8 Cav engaged an evading VC at 1547hrs vic BS525753 resulting in 1 VC KIA.

  1.   31 Oct 68:

(1)        3-1 Inf:  A Co and Recon Plat secured FSB Pepper. B Co was released from OPCON to 1-1 Cav.and was airlifted from BS505740 to LZ Bronco. The airlift was complete at 1750hrs. C Co conducted a combat sweep east through grids BS4773,7872,7873. At 1530hrs vic BS480725, C Co received SA fire resulting in 1 US WHA. Fire was returned with unknown results. D Co conducted a combat sweep through grids BS4674, 4672, 4775. At 1158hrs vic BS480725, D Co engaged 1 VC evading resulting in 1 VC KIA.

(2)        4-3 Inf: A co conducted a combat sweep through grids BS4577, 4878 and 4978. At 1035hrs vic BS460779 A co captured a wounded VCS. At 1855hrs , A Co received SA fire from BS494779 resulting in 1 US WHA. B Co conducted a combat sweep through grids BS4577 and 4777 with negative contact. C Co conducted a combat sweep through grids BS4674 and 4775. At 1215hrs vic BS468722, C Co received SA fire resulting in 1 US WHA. Fire was returned with unknown results. D Co conducted a combat sweep in grid BS4777 and at 1420hrs vic BS472784 detonated a booby trapped hand grenade resulting in 1 US KHA. No further contact was made. The Recon Plat was airlifted from LZ Bronco to FSB Pepper, then conducted a CA into a cold LZ at BS

  

 

. A combat sweep was made of the area with negative contact.

(3)        1-1 Cav: A Trp conducted a combat sweep from BS515734 to the vic of BS5373 with negative contact. B Trp conducted a combat sweep from BS525755 to grid BS5375. At 0806hrs vic BS518752 B Trp engaged 2 VC resulting in 2 VC KIA. C Trp conducted a combat sweep from BS485745 to grid BS5174 with negative contact. 1-1 terminated operation in Vernon Lake I as of 1900hrs.

  1. 1 Nov 68:

(1)        3-1 Inf: 3-1 Inf concluded operations in Vernon Lake I and conducted an airlift to the DUC PHO AO to assume responsibility for that AO.

(2)        4 3 Inf:  A Co conducted a combat sweep from BS492784 to BS505760 with negative contact/ B Co conducted a combat sweep from BS472779 to BS498760 with negative contact. C Co conducted a sweep from BS472779 to BS500764. As 1930hrs vic BS498762, C Co engaged 1 VC evading resulting in 1 VC KIA. D Co conducted a combat sweep from BS472776 to BS505760 with negative contact. The Recon Plat conducted a combat sweep from BS472776 to BS498760 with negative contact.

(3)        1-20 Inf:  The 1-20 Inf conducted an airlift from DUC PHO AO into the Vernon Lake I AO ceasing responsibility for the DUC PHO AO and commencing operations Vernon Lake I. The battalion minus C Co was airlifted into LZ Pepper and the movement was complete 1500hrs. All units of 1-20 Inf prepared for future operation. At 1642hr vic BS475765, B Co engaged several VC evading resulting in 2 VC KIA. There was no further combat in the 1-20 Inf Area. 

  1. 2 Nov 68:         Operation Vernon Lake I Terminated 020600 Nov 1968.

12.  RESULTS:

a.  Friendly casualties for Vernon Lake I:

            3-1 Inf.                                     1 WHA (E)

            4-3 Inf              1 KHA             3 WHA (E)

            1-1 Cav                                   2 WHA (E)

b. Enemy cumulative results for Vernon Lake I. (See Annex C, Intelligence)

13.   LOGISTICS:   See Annex B.

14.   SPECIAL EQUIPMENT AND TECHNIQUES:  TOE Equipment, standard tactics and techniques normally related to air-mobile counterinsurgency warfare were used during the operation.

15.  COMMANDERS ANALYSIS: Operation Vernon Lake I was envisioned as a spoiling attack against a concentration of enemy forces whos apparent mission was an attack aimed at Quang Ngai City. Intensification of intelligence seeking operations in the form of Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols and sniffer missions narrowed the area of troop concentration and enable the selection of primary targets for B-52 ARC LITE strikes. Vernon Lake I commenced, immediately following the completion of the final ARC LITE, by combat assaulting element of two battalions into the area suspected of being the enemy troop locations. It was apparent that the enemy was staging in a forward base for deployment in the immediate future. The ARC LITE Strikes were well plotted and one of the bases almost completely destroyed an occupied enemy battalion base camp. After completely evaluating the ARC LITE area both battalions pressed on to find and fix the remaining enemy forces. However, the enemy elected to avoid contact and only sparse contacts were made throughout the remainder of the operation.

16.RECOMMENDATION: It is highly recommended that when intelligence sources indicate a buildup of enemy force in a given area extensive intelligence gathering operation such as LRRP or Sniffer flights be immediately employed to pin-point the enemy location. Then systematically employ ARC LITE Strikes followed by troop employment in the area to assess the effects. It is further recommended that if enemy forces concentrate in a given area spoiling attacks be employed to destroy his forces and to disrupt his schedule. The maximum use of mobility through combat assaults enables US Forces to out maneuver the enemy whenever he can be located.

  JOHN W. DONALDSON, Colonel, Infantry Commanding

 

ANNEX C ( Intelligence) to After Action Report ( Vernon Lake I)

1.                  WEATHER AND TERRAIN:

a.       Weather : The weather during the operation was generally favorable from mid morning to dusk. Skies were generally cloudy to partly cloudy and visibility was good. Precipitation occurred as follows: 02 26 Oct very light rain-showers from 0600hrs to 1000hrs; on 29 Oct occasional very light drizzle from 0900hrs to 1000hrs ; on the 31 Oct very light drizzle from 0600hrs to 0700hrs and light rain-showers from 1300hrs to 1800hrs; on 1 Nov very light drizzle from 0600hrs to 1000hrs and occasional very light rain from 1300hrs to 1800hrs.

b.      Terrain:

(1)   First phase of Vernon Lake I ( exploitation of ARC LITE boxes vicinity BS6347).

(a)    The major portion of the operational area was composed of rugged mountains with steep ravines covered by dense undergrowth and single and double canopy forest. Movement was restricted except in the valleys and along trails.

(b)   Effect on enemy courses of action: The operational area afforded the enemy the capability of movement relatively free from observation. The dense undergrowth and sharp ravines provided the enemy numerous areas in which to hide to avoid contact.

(c)    Effect on friendly courses of action: The nature of the terrain restricted ground movement of friendly forces. Movement was necessarily slow and visibility, observation and fields of fire were restricted by nature of the terrain.

(2)   Second phase of Vernon Lake I (Attempt to made contact with 2nd Regiment vicinity BS5270).

(a)    The terrain in this area is flat and broken by dense hedgerows in the vicinity of hamlets. There are large numbers of rice paddies, many of then abandoned, which makes rapid movement in the area possible.

(b)   Effect on enemy course of action: Due to the flat and relatively open terrain enemy movement during daylight hours was extremely restricted. Hedgerows around hamlets provide excellent cover and defensive positions for units,

(c)    Effect on friendly courses of action: The terrain offered no major obstacle to friendly movement; however, the numerous hedgerows made sweeping operations through villages difficult to control and tended to force actions in numerous squad size engagements.

2.                  PRELIMINARY INTELLIGENCE:

a.       Intelligence: indicated the presence of several VC/NVA units (see 2d below) in this area prior to the initiation of the operation. It is probable that these units were affecting re-supply and consolidation in preparation for operation along the coastal plains to their east and south during the monsoon season. Probably objective were Quang Ngai City and Nghia Hanh City.

b.      Intelligence indicted the presence of fortified positions and base camps within the general area. Heavy tail activity leading into the area was observed 7-10 days prior to the operation.

c.       Enemy Capabilities:

(1)   Conduct re-supply and consolidation in preparation for attacks on Quang Ngai and Nghia Hanh.

(2)   Conduct attacks and ambushes against friendly forces and LZs.

(3)   Evad friendly forces and avoid contact.

d.      Enemy dispositon and strength:

UNIT                                                   LOCATION                STRENGTH

2ND VC Regt, 3d NVA Div                  BS5269                       1325

81st LF VC Battalion                            BS6154                       210

83rd LF VC Battalion                            BS6451                       250

C18 LF VC Company                          BS6560                       100

506B LF VC Sapper Company            BS6658                         65

3.                  Development of Intelligence:

a.       The first phase of Vernon Lake I (25 Oct to 28 Oct) consisted of the exploitation of six Arc Light boxes which were struck in the Song Ve Valley vicinity BS6347 on 24 Oct. The boxes were struck because intelligence sources during the previous four weeks indicated the presence of a VC/NVA base camp in the area. A VC/NVA base camp located in the target area was 95% destroyed. 170 four to five man bunkers, 50 foxholes, and numerous tunnels were destroyed. The ledge on a mountain was sheered off and buried portions of the base camp under tons of rock and soil. 18 NVA and 6 VC bodies were found in the base camp.

b.       The second phase of Vernon Lake I (29 Oct to 2 Nov) consisted of an attempt to make contact with major elements of the 2nd regiment, 3ard NVA Division believed to be located in the Song Tra Khuc River Valley vicinity BS5270. No significant contacts were made.

4.         CONCLUSIONS:      

a.                   Though Operation Vernon Lake I was conducted in an area which intelligence indicated to be an enemy re-supply and consolidation area, there were no significant contacts established nor were large food or weapons caches discovered.

b.                   The willingness of the VC/NVA forces to allow sweep operations to be conducted in such an area indicated an overriding desire on his part to avoid contact.

c.                   This operation caused the VC/NVA to relocate large numbers of troops and supplies thereby disrupting his timetable for offensive actions along the coastal area during the monsoon season.

4.                  ENEMY LOSSES

a.       Personnel

NVA/VC KIA                         27/68                                                                                                                               

 NVA/VC PW                         02/00

Civil Defendants                         06

b.      Equipment

(1) Captured:

Weapons:                           Miscellanneous:

Individual                23        82MM Mortar Sight                 01

Crew Served          01        82MM Bipod                           01

                                          82MM Rounds             08

                                          Rice                                         5000 lbs

                                          Documents                               50 lbs

(3)   Destroyed:

Weapon: 1 Homemade Mortar Tube

Ammunition:                       Clothing

105MM Rounds     02        NVA Uniforms             05

82MM Rounds       10        Black Pajamas                          17

75RR rounds          02        Food: Ric                                 5300lbs

A-47 Rounds         1017

M-60 rounds          04

Chicom H/Gren      23

M-26 H/Gren         01

 

 

 

Transcript by CHARLES S. SEKETA February 20, 2004