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After Action Report 56
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
HEADQUARTERS, 25TH INFANTRY DIVISION
APO San Francisco 96225
AVDCCG 22 October 1968
COMMANDERS COMBAT NOTE NUMBER 16
SUBJECT: Combat Action Analysis Number 4
1. During the recent enemy efforts to mount an offensive, he made noticeable change from his previous tactics. Whereas in the past he made every effort to avoid contact with US forces and strong-points, of late he has concentrated on striking hard at our installations. Many reasons may be conjured up for this obvious turn about in the enemy's method of operations -not the least of which, in my opinion, is his desperate need for a psychological victory he would receive in defeating a US unit. He must not be given this luxury!
2. Planning, preparations and alertness - the essence of military professionalism - will deny him his goal. Combat Action Analysis Number 4 provides a vivid illustration of why this is so. Here we have a successful operation….and the reasons, therefore, will become obvious to the reader. There were, however, some flaws in our position and execution that bear study and thought. These too become readily apparent in the analysis. Discuss the good points and flaws with your men and adjust your methods and techniques accordingly.
ELLIS W. WILLIAMSON
Major General, USA
Our G-2 people had been predicting an attack on TAY NINH City since 24 July. In response, the brigade commander deployed his forces beyond the city in strong points developed around several artillery fire support bases.
From these positions, each of which sat astride or adjacent to a main avenue of approach into TAY NINH, the commander mounted around the clock spoiling operations to intercept the main enemy formations as they moved on the city and to preempt a coordinated assault on the province capital.
If the enemy wanted to get into TAY NINH in force, he would first find it necessary to fight his way past one of these strategically located blocking forces. This, in fact, is what he was forced to do; and the subject of this analysis is how and why he was defeated in his attempt.
The fire support base six kilometers north of TAY NINH had been in position since 10 August. The strong point in this area had been in existence for two weeks but had been relocated three times to avoid a fixed pattern of operations. No serious attempt was made, however, to disguise or mask the presence or strength of the bristling position. It now sat directly across the main arterial road leading into the city from the north (See sketch #1).
Two artillery batteries, one a 105mm howitzer unit and the other armed with self propelled 155mm howitzers flanked the road. The fire base was to be secured by two infantry companies and housed a battalion field command post (See sketch #2). From here, day and night operations were staged in all directions to counter any enemy activity in the flat and relatively open terrain that stretched to the north of TAY NINH. The position and capabilities of the installation literally invited attack - a certainty should the enemy choose to move on TAY NINH from a northerly direction.
To meet this possibility, extensive defensive preparations were made. A triple concertina wire barrier was placed around the entire circumference of the fire base. Beyond this obstacle, brush, bamboo thicket and ant hills were cleared away to provide unobstructed fields of fire. The area in front of the wire was generously seeded with trip flares, and immediately outside the wire numerous command detonated claymore mines were emplaced.
Trip flares were also woven into the wire barrier itself to warn of the presence of enemy attempting to cut or blow a path through the obstacle. Safe lanes through the wire were placed at the south and north of the perimeter where the road entered and exited the base.
Immediately inside the wire, a defensive bunker-line was constructed using four to five man fighting positions with overhead cover. The bunker-line responsibility was split with one company in a defensive sector on the east side of the perimeter and one on the west with the bisecting road as the dividing point. All bunkers were positioned to provide mutual fire support for those to either side, and each controlled several command detonated claymore mines to its immediate front beyond the wire. The fire base's defensive fire plan called for interlocking fields of fire for all positions. The infantry company 81mm mortars and the battalion 4.2 inch mortars were registered to cover such “dead spots” as were found to exist. M-79 grenade launchers located throughout each company sector would also serve to cover such defilade locations by fire.
To round out the infantry portion of the fire plan, exact locations for 90mm recoilless rifles were platted so as to gain maximum use of the weapon's area killing capability using canister ammunition. The company sectors themselves were closely tied together by bands of inter-locking machine gun and small arms fire.
The firepower of the infantry weapons on the bunker-line was supplemented by planned artillery and air power. The two artillery batteries within the fire base had plotted close, self supporting fires using the “killer junior” and “beehive” programs. “Killer junior” was designed around the air burst of high explosive round at a minimum distance of 100 meters beyond the wire barrier. The “beehive” used the canister round to be fired at minimum elevation and point blank range into closing enemy formations.
Each of the eleven guns in the base, six 105mm and five 155mm howitzers, were set up for independent operations for self supporting fire missions. Complete firing data charts for both “killer junior” and “beehive” were computed and posted on each piece. A live fire rehearsal of “killer junior” had been practiced by each gun crew to insure the accuracy of the data and effectiveness of the fire. Each gun was laid in such a way as to provide 360 degree air burst coverage of the area beyond the wire.
To supplement the killing power of the organic artillery, defensive concentrations (DEFCONS) were plotted around the fire base to be fired by supporting artillery batteries at TAY NINH and a fire support base approximately eleven kilometers to the southeast. These DEFCONS also had been practiced fired.
To complete the defensive fire plan for the base, night airborne fire support was also anticipated. Each bunker along the perimeter was equipped with several hand flares to be used on order to mark the exact outline of the base perimeter for overhead aircraft.
For the personnel throughout the fire base “hardness” requirements were enforced. Each artillery weapon was reveted and the self-propelled 155mm howitzers were further protected by six feet high, chain link protective fence to assist in the defense against rocket propelled grenades (RPG). This fence explodes or disarms the grenades before they reach the target.
Mortar firing positions were equally well bunkered, and all personnel were required to have ready access to dug-in and overhead cover. The battalion commander's desire to have all of his people underground in a matter of seconds should the situation require it was the guidance upon which the base was originally constructed and continuously improved.
The night defensive procedures for the fire support base also included a system of screening platoon ambush patrols and two man listening posts. The ambush patrols would be randomly located adjacent to foot trails and other avenues of approach to the base at distances ranging from 1000 meters to 1,500 meters. The listening posts would be placed between 100 to 200 meters beyond the wire barrier again using a random pattern of employment.
Enemy activity to the north of TAY NINH, as was the case throughout the divisional area of operations, had been light for some time. Despite aggressive reconnaissance-in-force missions, helicopter borne combat assaults and “eagle flights” against suspected enemy positions, major contact with the elusive enemy could not be established. Daily aerial reconnaissance and nightly ambush patrolling enjoyed little success in detecting enemy movement.
The flow of operations around TAY NINH in early August resulted in the frequent exchange of infantry companies to provide night security for the fire support base. In the early evening of 17 August an infantry company, a mechanized infantry company and a five tank armor platoon moved into the fire base as a security force. The infantry battalion commander whose CP was located in the base, directed and coordinated the four-company task force which would occupy and defend the base for the night.
For the security of the base on the night of 17 - 18 August, the mechanized company would be deployed with two platoons on the perimeter's eastern sector. On the west, two platoons of the infantry company would occupy the bunker-line. Each company would establish a platoon size ambush patrol 1000 to 1500 meters to the front of its sector along a principle foot trail, and would locate listening posts immediately beyond the trip flares outside the wire.
The five tanks would be deployed in the northern sector and three armored personnel carriers with their mounted 50 caliber machine guns would be attached to the infantry company on the west to augment the fire power in that sector. (See sketch #2)
At his early evening briefing called to coordinate the defensive activities of his subordinate elements, the battalion commander reminded all present that intelligence reports from higher continued to predict an all out enemy effort against TAY NINH City. In addition, local “intel.” spot reports received during the day strongly implied that tonight well might be the night for the attack. Accordingly, all elements were directed to recheck their defensive preparations, test fire their weapons and be particularly alert during the forthcoming night. All positions were to maintain a 50 percent alert status.
After dark, at approximately 1930 hours, the ambush patrols and listening posts moved through the fire base safe lanes into their respective positions. As a steady rain fell on the darkened fire base, the approximately 550 men within settled down for the night's watch. As the evening progressed, the battalion commander was advised over the brigade command radio net that an ambush patrol from another battalion had detected and engaged a large enemy force to the northeast of TAY INH City - approximately
eight kilometers southeast of the fire base's position. This word was quickly relayed through the base with the battalion commander's order that a “red alert” was now in effect.
A short time later, the darkness to the south of the base camp was abruptly broken by the glare of a trip flare that popped. The 4.2 mortar platoon immediately illuminated the area, and the bunker line positions facing the active zone used M-79 grenades to provide a reconnaissance-by-fire. The battalion commander was shortly advised that no movement could be detected to the south, and the order was given to cease fire.
At approximately 0045 hours, the artillery batteries received a call to be prepared to fire a DARMA (defense against rocket and mortar attack) program in support of the TAY NINH Base Camp. Thirty minutes later the message was flashed that the base camp was under mortar and rocket attack, and a fire mission was given. The guns immediately opened up with their defensive concentrations around the big base camp.
Another fifteen minutes had passed when suddenly the concussion of the firing pieces was joined by other blasts. Simultaneously on the northern and southern extremities of the fire base perimeter, red flashes from impacting enemy 107mm rockets lighted up the sky. As personnel scrambled for cover, the entire base rocked from the impact of indirect fire that found twelve 107mm rockets and 100 rounds of 82mm mortar fire slamming into the ground within a few minutes.
The heavy fire quickly ceased, but was closely followed by a steadily mounting volume of small arms, automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenade (RPG) fire from both the north and south. (See sketch #3)
Simultaneously, a message came over the battalion command net from the leader of the twenty-one man ambush patrol to the west, that it was engaging enemy forces moving about its position. Its situation was under control, however, as the enemy was not returning fire in a heavy manner. This patrol and the one to the east of the fire base remained in position throughout the night. Their greatest problem was protecting themselves from the fire from their own fire base, some of which was impacting around them.
Within the base camp, the bunker-line quickly recovered from the initial effect of the rocket and mortar barrage, and was beginning to lay down a heavy base of protective fires. Targets were visible at approximately 100 meters as illumination rounds from the 4.2 mortars and a 105mm howitzer lighted the area surrounding the base. On the north and south, enemy lines were moving slowly forward, advancing by bounds, firing from what little cover could be found.
Adjusting from the DARMA fire mission, the artillery batteries immediately moved into their “killer junior” program. Each gun crew now acting independently, laid its weapon on its appointed azimuth to provide for 360 degree coverage. Most of the crew chiefs immediately fired charge one rounds which provided for air bursts 100 meters beyond the wire.
As the situation quickly developed, the battery commanders from their positions on the ground could observe the movements of the enemy beyond the wire. Accordingly, they moved from gun to gun adjusting fire from quiet sectors to those in which the enemy was concentrating his attacks. All guns fired “killer junior” throughout the attack with the exception of one piece that was assigned the illumination mission.
The artillery operated with little interference from incoming enemy fire. At one point, an RPG fired at a self propelled 155mm howitzer, was stopped by the weapon's protective fence. The shrapnel splash from the explosion showered the weapon wounding several of the crew members. The crew quickly recovered from this however, and within minutes the gun had resumed its firing.
An unknown type enemy round struck a POL fuel point in the 155mm battery area starting a large fire, but non-firing crew personnel from the battery controlled the fire as the guns maintained their operations.
Until the enemy broke contact and all firing ceased at first light, the two artillery batteries in the fire base fired 739 rounds of high explosive ammunition, 32 white phosphorous rounds, 194 rounds of illumination, and seven rounds of “fire-cracker”. From another fire base to the southeast, 477 rounds of high explosive ordnance, three rounds of white phosphorous and 17 rounds of illumination were fired in support of the besieged base. TAY NINH firing its own self support missions did not engage in the fight.
One problem in fire coordination presented itself. The 105mm battery commander observed several RPG positions which had closed to a point where they could deliver highly effective fire on the perimeter. The commander considered this target ideal for “beehive” and instructed the nearest gun to load a canister round to engage. A red star cluster, the prearranged signal to announce to all personnel that “beehive” was about to be used, was shot out. The crew waited the allotted 40 seconds to allow forward personnel to take cover in reaction to the red star cluster. But the round was never fired.
To the front of the gun, the battery commander observed friendly infantrymen still moving about the bunker-line. He ran forward and instructed the men to get into their bunkers as a “beehive” round was going to be fired over their positions. He then moved back to the gun, scanned the bunker-line again, observed personnel still exposed and moving about, and aborted the mission. The crew kicked the round out of the chamber and returned to its “killer-junior” program.
At the battalion CP, the battalion commander had called a situation report to the brigade tactical operations center at TAY NINH shortly after the initial enemy artillery barrage began. Shortly after the ground attack commenced, the commander placed a request for a helicopter gun-ship team and tactical air support. By 0230 hours, two Cobra gun-ships were orbiting the fire base and requesting instructions, and an artillery check fire. At this point, the battalion commander was sufficiently abreast of the situation to make the decision to split his support fires. All artillery fires were checked to the south of the base and directed to concentrate on the north. The battalion commander then concentrated his aerial fires to the south while the artillery simultaneously covered the north. Throughout the night this scheme of simultaneous use of all supporting fires was followed.
The initial helicopter gun-ship team rolled in for repeated rocket and machine gun runs on the enemy attempting to approach the wire. When this team had expended its ordnance and fuel, a forward air controller was standing by with Air Force fighter bombers on station ready to assume the aerial fire support mission.
The fighters moved in with napalm strikes and 500 and 750 pound bombs as the helicopters moved off station. A short time later, a second helicopter gun-ship team was standing by, waiting to relieve the fighter bombers at the proper time, and to maintain the pressure on the enemy on the ground. An Air Force AC-47 “Spooky” aircraft with its rapid firing Gattling-guns and area illumination capability was also used in the aerial firepower effort.
During the course of the battle, several medical evacuation helicopters and re-supply aircraft were able to land within the fire base to remove wounded personnel and replenish the base's ammunition supply.
Along the bunker-line, the situation had been stable from the outset. Little if any difficulty was encountered keeping the enemy away from the wire. In many sectors of the line the command detonated claymores went unused as the enemy never closed in sufficient strength to warrant the use of the mines. A search of the area immediately beyond the barrier the following morning revealed that few enemy bodies were located within 10 meters of the wire. The most serious threat to the bunker-line during the night occurred along the northwest sector where several enemy, firing RPG rounds, crawled into a position where they could deliver highly effective fire.
Primary target for this RPG fire became a tank located in the area. The tank received a round which wounded several of the crew members. The armor platoon leader ordered the tank to withdraw from the bunker-line to the vicinity of the 105mm howitzer battery and then moved his command tank into the disabled tank's position. Minutes later, the command tank itself took an RPG round in the turret setting the tank aflame and forcing the crew to abandon the vehicle. The tank platoon commander then moved to the damaged tank which had earlier been removed from the line, reorganized a crew and then moved the tank back into the threatened bunker-line position. The 50 caliber machine gun fire and canister shot from this tank neutralized the enemy RPG positions and stabilized the situation on that part of the line.
The largest single problem encountered along the bunker-line as the battle progressed involved the re-supply of ammunition. In laying down their heavy base of fire, the bunker-line positions quickly expended the basic loads initially available and the calls for more ammo echoed frequently along the line. By the company commander and platoon leaders pressing all administrative personnel into service, and drawing personnel from the reserve Reconnaissance Platoon, continuous relays of ammunition re-supply were moved along the line. In one location on the north, a jeep had been loaded with ammunition and moved up and down the line depositing ammunition as it moved past the respective fighting positions.
The lack of signal communications down to the individual bunker-line positions also posed small problems throughout the night. Communications between the battalion CP and those of the companies were available throughout the battle, and the company and respective platoons were with radio contact. However, communications between the bunkers and platoon CP's, and between individual bunkers had to be accomplished by shouting and moving from position to position.
By 0530 hours the enemy fire had ceased with the exception of sporadic small arms outbursts. As soon as it became light, the battalion commander ordered his infantrymen out of their fighting positions to sweep the area immediately around the perimeter and to police the battlefield. As they swept, the infantrymen located 104 enemy bodies and eight wounded personnel who were taken prisoner. Also littering the field were 15 AK-47 rifles, two RPG-7 launchers, 10 RPG-2 launchers, one U.S. 30 caliber machine gun, one U.S. M-16 rifle, three RPD light machine guns, one field radio and two pounds of medical supplies. A total of 10 pounds of documents was also located and evacuated for intelligence exploitation.
Also taken from the battlefield for destruction were 4000 small arms rounds, 117 RPG rounds, 263 hand grenades, 21 57mm recoilless rifle rounds, 25 bangalore torpedoes and nine 82mm mortar rounds.
By comparison, U.S. losses within the fire support base were one killed and 26 wounded (of whom 18 required medical evacuation). Two tanks and one self propelled 155mm howitzer were damaged, but remained operational.
How does it happen that such lopsided battle statistics can be compiled? A cursory review of this action makes the answer almost an elementary chore. The defense was well organized, well prepared and well executed. There were many good things and a few flaws that cropped up in the defense of the base. Their proper consideration is an obligation of us all.
1. The defense of our fire support base was almost a classic example of how to do the job. From the use of trip flares far beyond the wire barrier to the “killer junior” firing data posted to each artillery piece, the fire support base was ready for this attack. Obstacles and anti-intrusion devices were well placed, fields of fire were cleared and interlocking fire plans devised which included overage of “dead” spaces that existed by indirect fire and hand grenades. Close in, self supporting artillery programs were computed and test fired in advance to insure adequacy and accuracy. Defensive
concentrations of artillery from distant fire support bases were also plotted and test fired. Protective cover for both bunker-line personnel and those within the perimeter was readily available - 550 men within a relatively small area do not take a heavy volume of indirect and direct fire and escape so lightly in casualties without someone doing quite a job of digging in. When the attack came, each infantryman and artillery-man knew exactly what was expected of him, and went to it almost automatically. In short, this fire support base was ready, and the enemy learned it the hard way. Make sure we learn from it too, and duplicate the process when the situation arises for us.
2. Many times we've heard of the commander plagued by the problem of coordinating his massive support fires in such a way as to extract their maximum value. When to check fire artillery to allow helicopter gun-ships to roll in for their rocket and machine gun runs? When to clear the helicopters out of the area to make room for the fighter bombers? What to do about the FAC complaining that his orbiting aircraft are running low on fuel and will have to go off-station if they aren't soon given clearance to go to work? The situations are legion. Here we have seen how one commander managed his support fires in such a way as to have both artillery and aerial firepower working for him at the same time. When it can be done (and there is little reason why it can't be done more often) the effects are devastating. Certainly, the matter requires close coordination and judgment, and the deft touch of a sharp commander. But, we've got such people.
3. Fire discipline -a big point. The area killing power of the claymore is well known. It's a wonderful weapon. Here we see the claymore in place but not used, and correctly so in this case because the targets were not there. Economy of fire-power is a valid concept. The “killer junior”, the aerial firepower and the bunker-line fires were keeping the enemy at bay. The few that were able to crawl to within 10 meters of the wire had done so with the cover of “dead spaces” and were properly engaged and eliminated with grenades and indirect fire. The claymores would not have stopped them, and had the mines been blown, it would have been a useless expenditure. But, as we have seen, our soldiers used good judgment in the application of their firepower. Had the situation somehow deteriorated, the claymores were still there, in reserve so to speak, for use against the targets they are best suited to engage. In the use of our firepower, let's always think in terms of proper fire discipline.
4. The situation arose in which the re-supply of ammunition to the bunker-line became a problem. It was necessary for a considerable number of people to be mustered to travel some distance in an exposed manner in order to distribute ammunition. This need not have happened. In our preparations of a defensive position we should consider positioning reserve ammunition at points where it can be conveniently distributed with minimum effort and minimum exposure of our personnel. In planning and constructing our bunker-lines, we can easily include frequent and easy accessible ammunition bunkers.
Also have your cooks, clerks and other administrative personnel assigned in advance to such positions to move the ammunition when and where it's needed. Avoid having your trained riflemen and gunners find it necessary to leave their positions to get more ammunition. Work good ammunition resu0ply procedures into your defense plan. It is important.
5. At one point in the battle, an artillery commander wanted to use “beehive” to clear out an RPG position that was endangering the line. But the mission was never fired. Reason ---the forward personnel on the bunker-line had not taken cover after the proper red star cluster signal had been given and would have themselves been cut down had the round been expended. What went wrong? It was determined later that the troops on the bunker-line had disregarded the signal because numerous red star clusters had been fired earlier for one reason or another. An established procedure had broken down in battle. We can't have this! When pyrotechnic signal plans are set up, they must be followed to the letter. The arbitrary firing of pyrotechnics must be stopped. The confusion of battle offers no excuse. Had the defensive situation deteriorated to a point where “beehive” became mandatory, the commander would have had a problem on his hands. Make sure your fire discipline training includes the proper use of pyrotechnics. Capitalize on this lesson now.
6. The provision of combat communications down to the individual position is a goal toward which we must constantly strive. In this action, communication to the bunker-line left something to be desired. Voice shouts and physical movement from point to point had to be used. This is not acceptable, especially in a situation in which a relatively permanent installation is involved. Field telephones and field wire are available and should be used. Combat Action Analysis No. 2 serves to illustrate how this can be done. Give yourself every asset that is available…..and good communication equipment is available. Incidentally, do your people have and use their squad radios?
(Three diagrams follow)
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
Office of the Adjutant General
Washington, D.C. 20310
AGAM-P (M) (27 Jun 66) FOR OT RD 1 July 1966
SUBJECT: Operations Report - Lessons learned 6-66, Lessons Learned in Viet-Nam - 1966
TO: SEE DISTRIBUTION
1. This is the seventh of a series of reports from combat operations being conducted by US Forces in Viet-Nam
2. Information contained in this report is provided to insure appropriate benefits in the future from lessons learned during the current combat operations. The lessons cited in this report have not been evaluated by the Department of the Army and do not necessarily reflect official doctrine or approval.
3. This report cites the lessons learned by the 2nd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division. Lessons learned were derived from battalion size and smaller scale operations of units in that command. It is important that this report be placed in the hands of those officers and enlisted men that train our individual replacements and units for RVN. These lessons learned can result in increased combat effectiveness of our units. Material contained in this report may be adopted for use in developing unclassified training material.
4. Additional Operations Reports - Lessons Learned will be provided as source material becomes available. Previously published reports of this series were:
a. Summary of Lessons Learned, Viet-Nam, 2 Nov 65, UNCLASSIFIED.
b. Operations Report - Lessons Learned, Report 2 - 66, Operations CRIMP, 22 mar 66, marked FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY.
c. Operations Report - Lessons Learned, Report 2-66, The Battle of Annihilation and the BONG SON Campaign, 1 Apr 66, CLASSIFIED.
d. Operations Report - Lessons Learned, Report 3-66, The PLEIKU Campaign, 10 May 66, UNCLASSIFIED (Limited distribution).
e. Operations Report - Lessons Learned, Report 4-66, Evasion and Escape RVN, 24 May 66, CLASSIFIED.
f. Operations Report - Lessons Learned, Report 5-66, Combat Service Support - RVN, 10 June 66, UNCLASSIFIED.
5. Addresses other than US Army are provided copies of Operations Report - Lessons Learned in accordance with the provisions of DJSM - 545-55 dated 2 May 66.
BY ORDER OF THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY:
1 Incl J.C. LAMBERT
Op Rept Major General, USA
The Adjutant General
Office, Secretary of the Army Commanders in Chief
Office, Chief of Staff, US Army US Army, Europe
Deputy Chiefs of Staff US Army, Pacific
Comptroller of the Army Commanding Generals
Chief of Research and Development US Continental Army Command
Chief, Office of Reserve Components US Army Materiel Command
Assist ant Chiefs of Staff US Army Combat Developments Command
The Adjutant General ZI Armies
Chief of Engineers US Army Strategic Communications Command
Chief of Finance US Army Strategic Communications
The Surgeon General US Army Security Agency
The Inspector General US Army Intelligence Command
Chief of Communications - Electronics US Army, Alaska
Chief, National Guard Bureau US Army, Hawaii
Chief of Information US Army, Japan
Chief of Military History US Army, Ryukyu Islands
Chief, Army Reserve Seventh US Army
The Provost Marshal General Eighth US Army
Chief of Support Services US Army Training Centers
. CONUS Army Divisions US Army Desert Test Center
Commander - US Army Forces Southern Command
Superintendent - US Military Academy
US Army Command and General Staff College US Army War College
US Army Air Defense School US Army Armor School
US Army Artillery and Missile School US Army Engineer School
US Army Military Police School US Army Infantry School
US Army Intelligence School US Army Ordnance School
US Army Medical Field Service School US Army Quartermaster School
US Army Security Agency School US Army Signal School
US Army Transportation School US Army Special Warfare School
US Army CBR Weapons Orientation Course US Army Chemical Corps School
Chief of Naval Operations
Chief of Staff, US Air Force
Commandant of the Marine Corps
Director, Joint Staff, JCS
US Military Assistance Command Armed Forces Staff College
Thailand Industrial College of the Armed Forces Viet-Nam National War College
Director, Military Assistance Institute
Senior Army Advisors
Naval War College
Marine Corps Schools
Commanders in Chief
Pacific STRIKE Command
US European Command Southern Command
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Enemy Techniques Page: 1
Infantry Operations 4
Artillery Operations 9
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
HEADQUARTERS 2ND BRIGADE TASK FORCE - 25TH INFANTRY DIVISION
THE VC AS AN ENEMY:
Engagements with the Viet Cong forces indicate that they are fairly well trained, organized and adequately equipped for their mission. Marksmanship has generally been excellent. Viet Cong probing and harassing actions against friendly CP's and perimeter security forces have been conducted between sunset and 2400 hours, or from 0500 hours until BMNT. Contact with the Viet Cong at other hours has been a result of US initiated action or from isolated snipers as a rule.
The enemy's general tactic is the ambush, employing mortars, machine guns and rifle grenades. If cornered, the Viet Cong will fight, but more often they will disperse into small groups and melt into the jungle or countryside to fight another day.
LOCATION ;OF VC FORCES:
When conducting sweeps, ambushes or saturation patrol operations, particular attention must be paid to trails, draws, bases of hills and streams. During darkness, the Viet Cong travel trails almost exclusively, and are normally thoroughly familiar with all the trails. Viet Cong camps are generally close to major trail networks and water. Constant pressure can be applied to the guerrilla by hitting his camp sites and keeping him off guard.
VC FIRING POSITIONS:
Viet Cong firing positions are often characterized by outstanding camouflage; good cover to include small caves in foxholes as protection against overhead fire; small firing ports; ideal site selection such as strategically located trees for snipers or low grazing fires. Often the Viet Cong dig right into the middle of bamboo clusters or into the backs of giant ant hills. These likely areas should be the targets for reconnaissance by fire. Spider-holes along rice field dikes are often used by the VC when it is to his advantage. Stream banks in contested areas are lined with trenches and fighting holes, and provide a concealed escape route for harassing and delaying forces.
ORIENTATION OF VC DEFENSES:
The Viet Cong make good use of terrain and orient their trench works and defenses parallel to friendly defensive positions and most probable avenue of approach into the area. For example, in Operation PADDY BRIDGE, a recently conducted search and destroy operation, friendly forces were required to attack VC fortifications frontally as foot movement in any other direction would have exposed our units in open terrain for an excessive distance. Such maneuvers must closely follow the air and artillery preparations. In planning operations, units must take full advantage of US superior mobility in the form of armored personnel carriers or helicopters to attack Viet Cong defenses in least heavily defended direction. Extensive trench system and fighting holes line the majority of the stream banks, usually well concealed under trees and bushes.
This Brigade has found that when the Viet Cong open fire, it is generally from at least two directions, and often from three. Fires are continued until engaged by fire or a friendly element is maneuvered toward the direction of fire. Immediate reaction against these harassing VC fires has resulted in suppressing the enemy fires and minimized friendly casualties. It is felt that the Viet Cong are quick to detect US weaknesses such as “bunching up” and the over-extension of a position, then react with grenades or mortars. During Medevac of casualties in an un-secured area, the Viet Cong has attempted to maintain contact by all available forces. In addition, mortars and rifle grenades have been fired into the evacuation area. Action must be taken by friendly forces to secure the LZ from enemy ground fire prior to the landing of Medevac helicopters.
The Viet Cong are very skillful in sniping from well camouflaged tree and ground positions. They normally get off a quick series of well aimed shots and then either cease fire or move to a new location. Experience has shown that the Viet Cong frequently employ snipers in three man teams, using mutually supporting positions in a triangular configuration with about 50 meters on a side.
VC TRAIL WATCHERS:
The enemy trail watchers fire single shots to signal the direction of movement of a friendly unit.
VC DECEPTION TECHNIQUES:
The VC take advantage of the kill emphasis, employing deception techniques such as deliberate exposure at far distances, prolonged sniper fire from a position, or open smoke fire to bait patrols into ambushes, cross-fires, and booby trapped areas, or to steer them away from established base camps or other guerrilla facilities.
ENEMY JAMMING OF RADIOS:
The enemy normally exercises his jamming capability during critical phases of an operation such as air strikes, preparations or medical evacuations. Units must be alert to switch to the alternate frequency without order.
VC COUNTER-MORTAR TECHNIQUES:
The Viet Cong often fire their mortars at friendly positions when these units are firing their indirect weapons. This makes counter-mortar radar detection difficult, and causes confusion, sometimes leading to a cease fire by friendly elements in order to investigate the possibility of short rounds having been fired by friendly weapons. This practice should be carefully explained to all personnel so as to maintain confidence in our indirect weapons. It also underlines the importance of shell reports.
VC MORTAR REGISTRATION:
The Viet Cong appear to be using high air-bursts to register their mortars. They are capable of placing well-aimed indirect fire anywhere in sector without apparent pre-registration.
VC USE OF MINES AND BOOBY TAPS:
All personnel should be thoroughly briefed on Viet Cong mines and booby traps, including means of detection and methods of destruction. Extreme caution should be exercised when moving near hedges and trees. Almost all Viet Cong houses are surrounded by hedgerows on all four sides. Knowing the US soldiers will try to avoid the open clearing and move through a concealed route, booby traps are normally placed at the corners of these hedgerows. Booby traps are often placed up in trees with the ground beneath also booby trapped. They also booby trap foxholes and shell craters while withdrawing so a second tenant runs the risk of being a dead tenant.
VC MARKINGS ON BOOBY TRAPS:
Red markings on Viet Cong grenades, mines, etc. indicate that the ordnance is booby trapped. Normally they use an instant fuse which prevents one from getting far enough away before it explodes; therefore, such ordnance should be destroyed in place.
VC COMMAND DETONATED MINES:
Command detonated mines are selectively employed against lucrative targets by the Viet Cong. In one instance, several individuals passed a given site without incident, but when the company command group reached that location, a command detonated mine was exploded at the exact moment that it would inflict maximum casualties.
VC MINE TACTICS:
The Viet Cong place anti-tank mines along roads and trails capable of handling wheeled traffic. They also place anti-personnel mines on defensible terrain nearby so that infantrymen taking to the high ground to protect a disable vehicle are subjected to destructive devices.
VC TUNNELS AND FORTIFICATIONS:
The types of fortifications found were extensive trench systems, spider holes, reinforced bunkers, and numerous tunnel complexes. In fact, the Brigade destroyed over 400 tunnels during its first month of operations. VC under-ground tunnels have fallen into two general categories classified for reference purposes as short and long tunnels. The short tunnels are 90 feet or less, containing two or more firing holes and air holes with 2 or 3 routes of entry. These tunnels are mainly used by snipers as firing positions and in most cases have one or more right angle cuts away from the original position, enabling the occupant to fire from a concealed position or escape if detection is probable.
The long tunnels, 90 feet or longer, used as a covered route enabling a person or unit to come and go without being detected, may have secondary tunnels leading to caches, hospitals, classrooms, etc. The long tunnel normally has many concealed air holes leading to ground level. The tunnel when used as a covered route normally begins in Cong territory with hidden entrances or exits located throughout its length. Supplementary tunnels have been found to run at right angles to the initial direction at the entrance point. Tunnel entrances were often extremely difficult to locate unless artillery had ruptured the covers or a soldier stumble over the protruding wire loop handles.
The type of vegetation found in the area immediately around the tunnel entrances confirmed that many of the tunnel complexes were completed many years ago. Unless these tunnel complexes are located and destroyed as a unit moves forward, the Viet Cong is capable of employing forces at any time in multiple locations to the flanks and rear of friendly elements with relative ease. Thorough search of these tunnels by the unit's trained tunnel teams prior to destruction is the only security for locating and destroying all entrances. Experience has proven that valuable documents and other miscellaneous papers are often stored in the tunnels. The tunnels were seldom booby trapped.
The importance of good leadership at the squad and platoon level cannot be over-emphasized. Priority of work in the defense must be digging in and cutting fields of fire. Alert out-posts are mandatory. Force and professionalism of non-commissioned officers become vital factors when troops are tired and weary. Leaders must remain calm and firm, especially during critical periods.
USE OF COVER AND DISPERSION:
VC will take advantage of US troops when stopped by using accurate sniper fire unless security forces are increased and are very alert. If units must stop, personnel must use cover and stay dispersed. Open areas such as rice paddies or open fields should be avoided when moving if possible. When units must cross these open areas, it is mandatory that maximum dispersion be employed. Don't forget your base of fire.
OCCUPATION OF NIGHT POSITIONS:
Never occupy the same positions during the hours of darkness that are occupied during daylight hours. Night positions should be selected during daylight hours and occupied under cover of darkness; never occupy the exact same sites two nights consecutively. Good ambush patrols with Claymore mines in front of defensive positions are mandatory.
USE OF THE BUDDY SYSTEM:
Many friendly casualties have been caused by punji stakes, snipers firing from trees, spider holes, or by lead elements tripping booby traps. The use of two-man teams operating on the “buddy system” greatly reduced the occurrence of such incidents. One man should watch primarily for punji stakes, booby traps and snipers firing from holes nearby while his buddy searches the trees and the area further to the front for snipers. This same “buddy system” should apply on defense. Always have two men in each position, especially during hours of darkness.
REACTION TO SNIPERS:
Immediate reaction to sniper fire must be characterized by violence - a rapid return of a heavy volume of fire and fast movement. Fire control seems to work best with about one-third of the fire directed into trees and two-thirds on the ground. The M-79 is excellent for use against likely targets in trees. In dense tree growths, grenadiers must realize that rounds do not arm if they hit branches immediately after being fired.
EFFECT OF CASUALTIES:
The American soldier has a tendency of immediately going to the aid of a wounded soldier. VC snipers have capitalized on this and purposely wound a man to kill two or three others going to his aid. The immediate response should be that of laying down a heavy base of fire, both grazing and tree spray, in the direction of the sniper, and pushing forward to establish a secure area for the wounded man. Personnel cannot stop fighting to aid the wounded. Aid-men must come forward to police the battle field.
USE OF ANTI-SNIPER TEAMS:
In operations which involved clearing and destruction of Viet Cong facilities (tunnels, foxholes, “hooches”), roving “squirrel hunters” and screening forces on the outside of established perimeter kept the Viet Cong off balance and precluded possible sniper action against forces who were relatively stationary in the perimeter, conducting clearing operations.
USE OF APC's:
Armored personnel carriers have been used as ambulances and re-supply vehicles with much success. These track vehicles have provided protection for wounded while expeditiously returning them to medical treatment. The supply track was able to rapidly carry bulk items such as diesel and demolitions to the operational area.
MARKING OF TUNNELS AND BOOBY TRAPS:
Personnel of attacking companies should mark tunnels, booby traps, etc. with toilet paper or some readily available item to assist the following company responsible for destruction in locating such.
USE OF TUNNEL TEAMS:
Tunnel teams trained by the 1st Inf. Div. Cml. Off. have increased the effectiveness of unit operations. Once trained, organic personnel have systematically searched the base camp area for suspected Viet Cong tunnels and explored and destroyed those located. Numerous documents, weapons caches, and other items have been discovered by these teams. A minimum of three (3) men are required per team. One above ground and two men inside the tunnel equipped with pistol, flashlight, telephone and wire, plus compass and bayonet.
USE OF APC TO CLEAR PATHS THROUGH MINES OR BOOBY-TRAP AREAS:
Troops should take advantage of walking in APC or vehicle tracks or in other's footsteps in locations where mines are being used.
RECOVERY OF WEAPONS:
Recovery of weapons belonging to the wounded or killed is a problem requiring careful attention. Some are so engrossed with getting the wounded man to safety that the man's weapon is left on the battlefield. When weapons are loaded on medical evacuation helicopters, it sometimes becomes very difficult to regain them.
USE OF FLARES:
Units must not use flares too close to their positions, thus exposing their own positions more than the enemy's. Flares must be well to the front.
USE OF CLAYMORES:
Claymores can be used effectively in the offense in thick jungle, in an H&I role, or to protect the perimeter in the defense, and in breaking contact during the withdrawal or extraction phase of an operation. On ambushes, there is a tendency to detonate Claymores prematurely before the enemy has entered the maximum killing zone. Commanders must insure that using troops understand the maximum effective range of the Claymore.
USE OF M132 MECHANIZED FLAME THROWER:
Mechanized flame throwers, M132, have been used successfully in clearing operations and against suspected Viet Cong positions. Their principal disadvantage is the high fuel consumption rate and the time needed to return to a safe area where they can be refueled.
Continued stress must be made on accurate and timely reporting. An evaluation must be made by each headquarters prior to forwarding reports in order to determine if the who, what, where, and when are included in the reports.
NECESSITY OF ALERTNESS:
Leaders must be especially watchful to insure alertness of troops returning to friendly lines after an operation. Troops tend to bunch up as they approach friendly lines, thereby affording the VC an excellent target for mortar or rifle grenade fire.
USE OF THE M-72 LAW:
The LAW is an effective anti-sniper weapon if used on tree lines. It is also effective for clearing buildings prior to entering.
EQUIPMENT TO BE CARRIED:
a. Squad leaders should carry extra insect repellent for their squad, foot powder, water purification tablets, one or two razors.
b. Medics should carry malaria pills, extra bandages, extra tags to tag personal gear and/or weapons of KIA, WIA.
c. Squad bags to include trousers, shorts, and socks for each man should be prepared for each operation in event required to be air-lifted.
d. Every NCO must carry at least one colored smoke grenade, radio operators should carry two. These must be re-supplied daily.
e. Illumination grenades should be carried to mark helipads at night.
f. Engineers must carry a maximum load of demolitions and power saws.
g. Grappling hooks should be fabricated in each company for use in extracting caches and exploding booby traps.
Command groups are readily identifiable by their collection of antennas. While there are a number of methods to camouflage these radios, the paramount requirement is to keep the number in the command group to a minimum and well dispersed. Command groups are primary targets for observed indirect fire and command detonated mines. FO teams should keep adequate distance from the commanders, but should be close enough to provide immediate response. Newsmen, photographers, etc., accompanying the unit should not attach themselves to the command group and complicate the problem.
USE OF SMOKE TO MARK LOCATIONS:
Whenever a unit is marking a location with smoke, they should require the homing element (FAC, Airborne Observer, Medical Evac., etc.) to identify the color of smoke. The Viet Cong will throw smoke to confuse the issue or lure an evacuation helicopter into an ambush.
ACCOUNTING FOR PERSONNEL:
A fire team does not move if a man is missing, a squad doesn't move if a fire team is missing, a platoon doesn't move if a squad is missing, a company doesn't move if a platoon is missing. Make leaders absolutely responsible for the accountability of all personnel at all times.
HALTING FOR THE NIGHT:
When stopping at night, search out a minimum of 400 meters to the front to insure that the enemy is not observing the preparations of your defensive positions.
Patrols can and should use on-call marking rounds at predetermined points along their route to assist them. Ambush patrols should plot their ambush site as a concentration and fire upon it after returning to their lines.
AIRCRAFT FOR ANTI-AMBUSH PURPOSES:
Maximum use of air observation by fixed and rotary wing aircraft should be made in conjunction with troop movements. These aircraft should carry trained forward observers who are capable of the dual role of detecting and marking possible ambush sites, and of adjusting artillery fire on any resulting targets. Aerial observations should be retained for the entire movement. There are examples of successful Viet Cong ambushes occurring after the friendly commander had felt that his mission was accomplished and he had no further need for his aerial eyes. Armed rotary wing aircraft should be on station until all vehicles have completed the move.
Nothing that can be of value by the enemy should be left behind. Even a burned-out radio battery still has enough juice to detonate an explosive charge if properly set in series. The Viet Cong will police up everything, including spent casings to use against us.
BRIEFING OF CANNONEERS:
The men must be kept aware of the situation at all times. They must be well briefed on the general, special and current situations. Response has been much better when this is done. Cannoneers have been informed as to the nature of the target and the results of every mission.
IMPORTANCE OF FORWARD OBSERVERS PROVIDING INFORMATION:
Forward observers must send all available information to the FDC. General terms such as “VC in open” must be forgotten. Specifics such as number (size) of enemy force, nature of activity, distance, are a must for the FDC.
FIRE CONTROL TECHNIQUES:
No fire lines and fire coordination lines must be on firing charts and must be current. The artillery commander should be the only approving authority for fire coordination lines between battalions and may establish them regardless of maneuver boundaries.
REPORTING OF RESULTS:
Surveillance will often be negative. In order to determine full value of artillery fires, report not only confirmed results (which often will be few) but possible or probable results.
For close-in firing, the first round in adjustment or an initial round in FFE missions, must be white phosphorus (WP). This will insure that the fire is safe and will greatly reduce possible casualties if the maneuver element is disoriented. Be sure to apply corrections to the HE round when switching from WP. Forward observers must be prepared to adjust by sound as well as sight. During daylight hours, combined adjustments with the air OP bringing fire close to the ground observer for final adjustment, has been invaluable. “Creeping” has not been a dirty word here. For close-in fires, it has been a must, due to map inaccuracies and difficulties in locating oneself. Drops of less then 50 meters are sometimes necessary.
Illumination is frequently fired without firing tables. At close range, experimentation with a charge of at least 800 mils will give good illumination close in.
SXIP POST AIR STRIKE ANALYSIS:
Pre-planning should include arrangements to cancel the FAC's normal post-strike analysis after an air-strike: when artillery of mortar preparations is to immediately follow.
INDEPENDENT BATTEY MISSIONS:
When a battery operates on an independent mission, there must be close coordination with the infantry battalion LNO; both must know the situation thoroughly.
Plan all operations thoroughly. Coordination, fire plans, etc. cannot be hurried. Do not allow yourself to be rushed by an “I want it in two hours” order. Firm SOP's in communications, coordination, and delivery of fire have been invaluable.
CONTTROL OF FIRE SUPPORT:
The coordination of fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft in an area with artillery and mortar fire on a 360 degree basis has proven to be a major problem. Too often, all mortar and artillery fire is stopped for long periods during air strikes or casualty pick-ups by “DUST OFF”. Whenever possible, specified flight corridors should be established so as to minimize the time that indirect fire weapons must cease fire. Co-location of the USAF, Air LNO, the Artillery LNO, and the Army Aviation air-ground control net at the same table in the Brigade TOC has facilitated this coordination.
CHECK OF RANGE AND DEFLECTION:
All indirect fire weapons, including 81mm mortars, must have an independent check on both range and deflection.
Normally battalion LNO's are contacted by wire for clearance to fire the missions called in by his forward observers. It has proved advantageous at times to expedite firing by having the LMO to continuously monitor his fire direction net and to advise the fire direction center (FDC) as to “clear to fire” or “not clear to fire” immediately after the FDC has read back the fire mission to the FO.
Counter-mortar radar is very effective, but limited equipment permits coverage of only a small sector of the brigade perimeter at any one time. Shell-reps /mortar-reps are essential and reporting upon receipt of the first incoming round is of extreme importance. Thorough training in reporting is mandatory prior to arrival in-country. Shell identification manuals have been impossible to find in Vietnam.
EXTRA FIRE CONTROL EQUIPMENT:
Extra fire control equipment such as aiming posts, bulbs and aiming post lights should be carried. Toggle switches for remote control of aiming post lights are very helpful.
PLASTIC FIRING CHARTS:
Plastic target grids and firing charts shrink and expand under the temperature and humidity conditions found in Vietnam, thus affecting their accuracy. Grid sheets should be kept covered when not in use.
6400 mil. Chart: Secure 25,000 charts since smaller charts taped together produce some inaccuracy. Bring cloth to cover the chart when not in use. Terrycloth or towels are ideal to cover the chart because when they are pulled back for a fire mission, the chart operators rest their sweaty arms on the towels thus protecting the chart. Do not try to move the deflection indexes. The deflection correction is applied from the stick by the computer on FFE missions.
The use of maps, scale 1:50,000 for posting the situation, friendly front lines, patrols, etc., is unacceptable as it is not sufficiently accurate to post these with grease pencil, and adequately control artillery fire. The most successful system is for each LNO to have a 1:25,000 overlay which is then posted in colored pencil on a plastic firing chart that can be used as an overlay to the actual firing chart.
Maintaining an accurate ammunition status chart for designating lots to use and for reporting to higher headquarters, is a difficult problem. Batteries must be trained to routinely report ammunition by type, lot number, amount and fused.
As a normal practice, tubes should not be oiled. A good solution for cleaning has been washing the bone with hot soapy water and drying it thoroughly during lulls in firing. Rust is no problem if the drying is done well. Extra immersion heaters are beneficial for this purpose.
IMPORTANCE OF RADIO OPERATORS:
The importance of radio operators monitoring their nets at all times can not be emphasized enough. Instructions must be passed from the sender to the commander concerned and not the operator. On extended operations, a radio operator's alertness can be sustained by commanders having an extra RTO in the command group who can carry the radio when the operator tires.
SELECTION OF COMMUNICATIONS PERSONNEL:
Dependable communications with the next higher echelon and all supporting weapons is an absolute necessity. Sharp, intelligent, resourceful men must be selected as radio operators.
USE OF WIRE IN ATTACK:
In one operation which involved seizing and securing a limited objective with two companies forward and the third company following in a destruction role, wire was used with all companies both in the attack and extraction phases with tremendous success. This reduced radio traffic to a minimum and denied the enemy, who had demonstrated a monitoring and jamming capability, information or interference with the order for the operation. The enemy completely jammed the Battalion Command Net prior to the on-call preparation being lifted, in an effort to delay the obvious order to execute the attack. Wire was used to issue these instructions and to order a switch to the alternate frequency.
The enemy exercises his jamming capability only during critical phases (i.e.: air strikes, during artillery preparations, medical evacuations, etc.). Units must be alert to switch to the alternate frequency without waiting for orders.
TRASMISSIONS ON RADIO:
When reporting incoming fire over the radio, commanders should disguise the accuracy of this fire as the Viet Cong at times appear to be monitoring unit frequencies and adjusting their fire based on friendly commander's reports.
Correct radio procedures, use of code words, check points and encoded map coordinates (except for enemy information) will prevent the Viet Cong from knowledge of the operation.
AN / PRC-25:
Helicopter radios do not communicate well with AN /PRC-25's. When possible, airborne observers should use the PRC-25 or the ground receiving station should utilize a vehicle mounted radio (Old Series). The PRC-25 is a tremendous improvement over the old series of radios. Its use has increased the man-portable communications capability of ground forces immeasurably. The use of the squelch on the PRC-25 results in poor communications with the old series of radios. Squelch should only be used at night or when on an ambush patrol.
CHANGING AN/PRC-25 BATTERIES:
There is a tendency to forget about changing the batteries in the AN/PRC-25. The extreme heat and lack of refrigeration for dry cell batteries reduces their usefulness from a thirty day supply to ten or fifteen. Use old batteries first. AN /PRC-25 batteries often last longer than the 24 hour expectancy, but new batteries should be put in radios just prior to an operation.
It is not desirable to remote radios into the operations center as the batteries in the remotes do not last and even new batteries seem too weak to do the job. Some units extend the speaker & handset into the operations center. However, the lack of immediate control of the volume and squelch is undesirable. The best method is to mount the radios in the operation center to spare vehicle batteries charged by a 28-volt generator. The radios may be kept on “receive only” when not transmitting to cut down on the power drain. Bring extra cable and vehicle batteries to allow flexibility in setting up communications.
Radio nets get strangled by inarticulate RTO's. Keep air open during helicopter assault. RTO's should listen to radio traffic and get a feel for what is going on before transmitting an administrative or non-essential type message.
PANELS AND SMOKE:
Use on “Dust off's” and marking lines for air support missions can result in a heavy demand for smoke grenades. Companies should carry one smoke grenade per man on operations, at least two panel sets, plus all the pyrotechnics listed in current SOI.
WIRE IN MECHANIZED BATTALION:
Because of the requirement for a static defense of the base camp area, the amount of wire (WD-1/TT) organic to the mechanized battalion is not considered adequate in Vietnam. Mechanized and Infantry Battalions should be authorized the same amount of wire.
OH-23 AS A COMMAND AND CONTROL (C&C) SHIP:
The OH-23 is not considered a good command and control ship. It has only one radio channel available and use of a PRC-25 as a supplement is not favorable since one cannot listen to the PRC-25 handset while wearing a flight helmet. Furthermore, it is difficult to understand anyone transmitting over the radio in the OH-23.
Don't count on readily obtaining good bamboo lance poles for overhead wire. Many units are using long engineer stakes welded together to get the wire off the ground.
Telephones are at a premium due to needs for perimeter, base camp and operations. Get all EE8's you can, if you can find them, will be a great help.
This unit's GRC-46's have not been modified to accept the KW-7, so we have only off-line crypto capability. Do all you can to have this modification completed prior to deployment. Desert filters for GRC-46's are needed in this area during the dry season.
GRC - 3-8:
If you still have the GRC3-8 series radios, try to bring a URM 32 (signal generator) and URM 48 (frequency meter) for battalion level alignment of radios. This will reduce support level maintenance down-time immensely.
PACKING OF RADIOS:
Obtain desiccant to pack with radios for overseas shipment. (This also applies for fire control equipment and boxed weapons.)
Due to the high density of troop units and the nature of the war, denying extensive use of wire, a large number of radio (FM) nets are employed. Units not converted to the new family of radios are experiencing difficulty in operations due to a sharing of radio frequencies with as many as four or five other units. The new family of radios with their extended frequency range are a valuable asset and reduce this problem to a satisfactory level.
TAPING M-14 MAGAZINES TOGETHER:
The practice of taping a second magazine to the magazine of the M-14 rifle (then turning the two over quickly and inserting the second for rapid loading) often results in the second magazine being stuck in the ground. This gets the magazine dirty and causes malfunctions, so such practice should be discontinued.
MAINTENANCE OF WEAPONS:
The high evening humidity in this area rusts weapons. Clear and reload all weapons each night and each morning to prevent rounds sticking in chambers. Leaders must conduct weapon inspections daily.
Keep a short belt of machine gun ammunition out and ready to fire - carry all other machine gun ammunition in cans to protect from corrosion and dirt.
Attempt to secure Claymore mines to objects and remove only after approaching them on flanks and visually inspecting.
Grenades must be securely fastened to the harness to prevent loss. They also should be taped to prevent separation of grenade body and fuse.
Personnel should aim low at night to insure hitting any enemy that may be crawling in.
USE OF CLAYMORE MINES;
Following points are stressed in use of Claymore mines:
a. Avoid premature detonations prior to enemy entering the zone.
b. Secure Claymore mines to fixed objects such as trees or stakes.
c. Secure electrical wires to legs of the mine to prevent animals from tripping the wire and separating the fuse from the mine.
d. Individuals physically receiving a Claymore should carry the hand generator in a pocket to avoid accidents. Recovery party should approach mine from the flanks making a careful visual inspection prior to movement of the Claymore.
e. Employ Claymores so that they can be well-guarded and under constant observations by friendly troops.
CASUALTIES TO MEDICAL AID-MEN:
Operations planning should include to immediately replace company aid-men who become casualties as this happens more frequently in guerrilla warfare than in conventional warfare.
AERIAL MEDICAL EVACUATION:
Aerial medical evacuation is responsible for saving more lives than any other evacuation means. However, there are multiple considerations in its use. The calling in of “Dust Off's” restrict tactical operations by curtailing and sometimes completely stopping supporting indirect fires. The scheme of maneuver may have to be altered to secure LZ's for medical evacuation. These should normally be cleared areas to the rear of operational areas.
Dust -off helicopters cannot take improvised stretchers if they are too long, so be prepared to shift wounded to the stretchers that are on the evacuation helicopter.
MEDICAL EVAUATION IN APC'S:
The use of armored personnel carriers in a medical evacuation role in areas subject to sniper fire and booby traps proved highly satisfactory. The optimum number of APC's that should be made available to a battalion for medical evacuation is three. Medical evacuation is best handled utilizing attached APC's to move casualties from the front lines to field litter ambulance under battalion control and a forward medical Evacuation Center where they are evacuated to the battalion aid station. Guides should be available at the forward Medical Evacuation Center to lead the APC to the company collection point. Personnel manning this point should mark the point with smoke on order.
EVACUATION OF DEAD:
Preparations in the form of evacuation bags and a vehicle should be on hand in the vanity of the Forward Medical Evacuation Center to evacuate KIA's as quickly as possible without utilizing field litter ambulances which may be needed for the wounded.
Over attention to assisting casualties can sometimes detract from a unit's aggressiveness, resulting in additional casualties from sniper fire which could be prevented by a heavy volume of friendly fire and aggressive maneuver to adequately clear the area where the initial casualties were taken.