Battle Of Dau Tieng
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
HEADQUARTERS, 2D BATTALION (MECH) 22D INFANTRY
1. IDENTIFICATION AND TYPE OF UNIT: 2d Battalion (Mech) 22d Infantry
2. TIME: 222330 Feb to 230800 Feb 69
3. LOCATION; Dau Tieng Base Camp
4. COMMAND AND CONTROL: Headquarters, 3d Brigade, 25th Infantry Division
5. TASK ORGANIZATION: 2d Battalion (Mech) 22d lnfantry
6. SUPPORTING FORCES: a. USAF (TAC Air) b. Artillery c. Gun Ships d. Flare Ships
7. INTELLIGENCE: Various reports had been received that the enemy was grouping in the area with the mission of attacking the Dau Tieng Base Camp and fire support bases throughout the 3d Brigade area of operation.
8. MISSION: 2d Bn (M) 22d Inf was to have one platoon of Co B and the scout platoon present in Dau Tieng as the base camp reaction force, 2d Bn 22d Inf was also to occupy 12 bunkers along the north and east of the perimeter and 2 on the south side of the perimeter. The personnel occupying the bunkers were members of the rear detachment to include cooks, supply personnel, clerks, and mechanics. Co A was to remain ready to react from Fire Support Base Wood II and Company B from their night defensive position.
9. CONCEPT OF OPERATION; The rear detachment of 2d Bn (M) 22d Inf would occupy 12 bunkers covering the north and northeast of the base camp perimeter. They would also occupy 2 bunkers on the south. Companies A, B, and C would be prepared to move into blocking positions and to react to the base camp.
10. EXECUTION: At 2330, Dau Tieng came under extremely heavy mortar and rocket attack. Within 15 minutes, the enemy shifted their indirect fires inside the perimeter and made a ferocious attack on the berm line. Although almost the entire perimeter was receiving very heavy RPG, recoilless rifle, machine gun, and small arms fire, the main attack came from the southeast and south. Moving into the wire in waves, the enemy was able to breach the wire on the east end of the active runway. At the outset of the attack the scout platoon from Co B was alerted and was ordered to reinforce the perimeter at the east end of the runway Arriving only minutes later, three of the APC's moved on line 100 meters north of the runway and began placing heavy fire to the area of the breach. The other two tracks in the platoon moved directly to the runway to attempt to reinforce the bunkers on each side. Bunker 65 was on the north and 66 on the south. The enemy had managed to breach the wire in front of bunker 65 and were in the drain- age ditches along the sides of the runway and were attacking the bunkers from the rear. As the tracks approached, the enemy in the ditches were firing RPG's. As the APC'S arrived at bunker 65 it was struck with an RPG round and was on fire. The wounded men who were on the tracks were pinned down by enemy fire. Those who were able returned fire and on one occasion a man who had been blown off the
tracks had jumped two of the enemy in the ditch. As his weapon had been destroyed in the explosion, he fought them with his hands. He was mortally wounded in the fight but he delayed the enemy long enough for his fellow soldiers to move out of the open. The personnel of the track at bunker 66 seeing this immediately assaul- ted across the runway. Receiving RPG fire from both front and rear they placed suppressive fire on the enemy long enough for the men of the disabled track to get their wounded to safety. Despite 2 RPG rounds that had pierced the APC it was able to pull back with the remainder of the platoon and support by fire. Bunker 66 was still in need of assistance. Disregarding a warning that it would be suicidal to take another track back across to bunker 66 the men volunteered and moved one track across the runway to bunker 66. Braving extremely heavy fire fron both front and rear the APC was able to hold off the enemy until it was hit with an RPG round and burned. The driver of the track although wounded and shaken was able to locate a 3/4 ton truck with three of the tires flat. Knowing the necessity of getting medical care for the wounded he drove the truck to the vicinity of bunker 66 and transported the wounded to the hospital. Throughout the night he drove to and from the airstrip evacuating the wounded. At this time gunships were firing rockets down the runway and artillery was firing beehive to attempt to keep the enemy out. While the above was taking place the mechanics who were in the bunkers on the south edge of the perimeter were under heavy attack,The wire had been breached on both of the mechanic's flanks; however they prevented a break in their sector and they attempted to keep the breach closed with fire even though some of the enemy had managed to break through and were attacking bunkers 86 and 88 from the rear. the mechanics knowing the importance of maintaining their position held out under overwhelming odds. Many of the men were wounded and one man had been killed by an RPG which hit the rear of the bunker. The platoon of Co B which had been moved to the airstrip was ordered to reinforce. Co B was ordered to send another platoon to reinforce the Dau Tieng Bridge and Co A was ordered to move to the vicinity of the Ben Cui along Route 19 to block. Braving intense fire the reaction platoon inside the base camp was able to reinforce the bunkers. The perimeter was once again restored. As the platoon from Co B approached the Dau Tieng Bridge they were met with heavy RPG and auto- matic weapons fire. Breaking through the enemy positions they were able to reach the bridge and help drive the enemy off. The bunkers in the vicinity were be- comming extremely low on ammunition; seeing this, the men began to resupply them from the ammunition on the tracks. Throughout the night all elements bravely fought in the face of overwhelm- ing odds and were able to hold. At first light a Chinook which was to evacuate casualities was unable to land because the LZ was not secured. Learning of this, mechanics, clerks, and supply personnel volunteered to take a VTR, a 3/4 ton truck and a 2 1/2 ton, all with machine guns mounted to the LZ. Moving through heavy sniper fire they were able to secure the LZ and the wounded were evacuated. Throughout the night countless deeds of heroism and valor went almost unno- ticed as the aggresseveness, devotion to duty, professionalism and complete dis- regard for personal safety appeared to be the rule rather than the exception. From the moment of contact all the medics volunteered to assist in the area of contact although it was outside of the battalion area of responsibility. Braving almost impossible odds they crawled, ran, and drove through enemy fire to assist and evacuate the wounded. Shortly after BMNT Co A was ordered to move from its blocking position and conduct a RIF around the outside of the perimeter while the platoon of Co B at the bridge was moved into the base camp to help find and destroy the enemy still remaning inside the wire. At the same time Co C was ordered to move from Page 2 Fire Support Base Wood II, through Dau Tieng and into the Michelin. Five hun- dred meters east of Dau Tieng, Co C began pushing north along the Michelin truck route. Receiving fire from snipers which the enemy had employed in an effort to delay the mechanized company, Co C. courageously braved the fire and passed on to establish contact with the withdrawing enemy, eliminating the snipers as they passed. Co C's actions drove the enemy into friendly blocking forces in the northern Michelin. All elements were extremely successful in completing their mission and by 1000 hours the base camp was once again secure.
11. RESULTS: The enemy had attempted to overrun the base camp; however they were once again handed defeat. Although the wire was breached in two separate locations only about 25 enemy soldiers were able to get through.
12. ADMINISTRATION: a. Enough cannot be said for the courage and valor of all elements that participated in the defense of Dau Tieng that night. The coordination was perfect in deploying men and equipment. b Medical treatment could not have been better. All medics of the battalion who were at Dau Tieng volunteered to assist. The enemy had broken into the perimeter and the medics had to move under fire from all directions. They did a fantastic job,
13. VALOR AWARDS
a. Medal of Honor - 1
b. Silver Star - 6
c. Bronze Star - 15
d. Army Commendation Medal - 7
DAVID M. NORRIS