11th Campaign

 

             Revision Date:  03/24/02             

 

During this time period the 2/94th took part in Counteroffensive, Phase VII

(07-01-70 to 06-30-71)

 

Description of Counteroffensive, Phase VII

 

Fighting continued in Cambodia during early February, before and after South Vietnam began its US-aided drive into Laos, Lam Son 719; the most significant operation during this campaign.

 

Lam Son 719 was conducted out of I Corps by Vietnamese troops with US fire and air support. Their object was to cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail and  destroy enemy bases at Tchepone, Laos. The operation consisted of four phases. In Phase I, called Operation DEWEY CANYON II, the 1st Brigade, US 5th Infantry Division (Mechanized) occupied the Khe Sanh area and cleared Route No. 9 up to the Laotian border. In the meantime, the US 101st Airborne Division conducted diversionary operations in the A Shau Valley. The US 45th Engineer Group had the mission of repairing Route No. 9 up to the Laotian border. This lasted from 30 January to 7 February 1971.

 

During Phase II, US forces continued to provide fire support, helilift, and tactical and strategic air support for ARVN units. This phase ran from 8 February to 6 March 1971.

 

Phase III ran from 6 March to 16 March 1971.

 

Phase IV was the withdrawal phase running from 16 March to 10 April 1971. Note by chronicler: Phase III started with the occupation of Tchepone and ended when the withdrawal from Tchepone was begun. (End of note)

Faced with mounting losses, Lieutenant General Hoang Xuan Lam, the commander of the invasion forces, decided to cut short the operation and ordered a withdrawal.

Lam Son 719, though it was less than a signal success, forestalled a Communist offensive in the spring of 1971. Enemy units and replacements enroute south were diverted to the scene of the action. (End of Description)

On 4 July 1970, the Battalion Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Brantley left the Battalion.  He left the Battalion in command of Major James Laslie, Jr.  Lieutenant  Colonel Brantley assumed the duties of senior artillery advisor for the I Corps Artillery (ARVN).

 

On 7 July 1970 at 1550 hours, ammo truck explosion.

 

On 7 July 1970 at 1135 hours, gun #C3 arrived in position at C2.

 

On 24 July 1970, C Battery transferred two 8-inch guns to A Battery and received two 175mm guns in exchange.

 

On 24 July 1970 at 0900 hours, C Battery leaves C2 for FSB Nancy with two 8-inch and two 175mm guns. At 1231 hours, C Battery closes in FSB Nancy.

 

On 26 July 1970, Lieutenant Colonel John T. Oates assumed command from Major Laslie.  Lieutenant Colonel Oates had just arrived in Vietnam after having graduated from the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.  Major Laslie resumed his duties as Executive Officer.

 

Letter, Dated 28 July 1970.

From: Headquarters, 108th Artillery Group

To: Commanding Officer, 2nd Bn 94th Artillery

 

(Letter) from Commanding General, 101st Airborne Division, AIR MOBILE is quoted for your information:

"On 23 July 1970, elements of the XXIV Corps Arty provided outstanding support to the extraction of 101st Airborne Division, AIR MOBILE, units from FSB Ripcord.  Because of the extreme enemy pressure on the firebase, the extraction could not have been successfully accomplished without your assistance.  The attack against hostile positions in the Ripcord area by your artillery before, during, and after the operation assured that friendly losses were held to a minimum.  No one appreciated your support more than the infantrymen and artillerymen who were on the ground.  Please convey my sincere thanks to the officers and men of your command for a truly professional performance."

 

Signed by Adjutant, Capt, FA, Kipd Cassino.

 

On 29 July 1970 at 1625 hours, B Battery at Carroll reports incoming.

 


 

Notes and discussion from 1 May 1970 to 31 July 1970, 15th Battalion Operational Report

 

Mission of the Battalion has changed to general support XXIV Corps, reinforcing the fires of the 1st ARVN Division Artillery.

 

KIA- 0

WIA-1 (Unknown at this time)

Non Battle injuries - 4 (Unknown at this time)

 

Severe rocket and mortar attacks were launched against 2/94th positions during 1-8 May and 19-27 May 1970.  Camp Carroll, C-1, and Dong Ha received enemy fire.

 

Total rounds expended during this period:  8-inch 33,393  175mm 4,193

 

Still having problems with fuzes. Especially the VT Fuzes.  Observation of chronicler: Just mind-boggling. (End of observation)

 

End of notes and discussion, 15th Battalion Operational Report

 


 

SERVICE BATTERY AWARDS

During the month of August 1970, the following Service Battery individuals were awarded the following:

 

Army Commendation Medal

 

Specialist Williams, Specialist Mackiewizc, and Specialist Wooten. 

 

Plaque 

 

Private First Class Peyton and Specialist Williams

 

On 1 Aug 1970 at 0955 hours, S3 attended memorial service for Lieutenant Hollifield.

 

On 11 Aug 1970 at 0910 hours, two 8-inch howitzers displaced from C Battery at FSB Nancy to FSB Barbara.  At 1115 hours, two 8-inch howitzers closed at Barbara.  Mission was to support FSB Ripcord and FSB O'Reilly.

 

On 16 Aug 1970 at 1600 hours, 108th Group committed the Battalion for one FO team for an indefinite period to work with MACV personnel at FSB Anne.  Lieutenant Bridges, Sergeant  Paulk, and Private First Class Gil were selected.

 

On 16 August 1970, Dong Ha received incoming 122mm rocket fire.

 

During the period 16 through 27 August 1970, a forward observer team was assigned to FSB Anne to support ARVN operations.

 

On 17 Aug 1970 at 0830 hours, FO team from C Battery departed for Sharon and Anne.

 

On 18 Aug 1970 at 1400 hours, Lieutenant White from C Battery was med-evaced due to burns suffered while burning powder.

 

Account from C Battery officer, close to the incident above: When Lieutenant White was injured in the powder fire (fortunately very minor burns, was back that afternoon), I was standing about 50 yards away, explaining to the Deputy Corps Artillery Commander (Colonel Holloway?) what we did, since we had never had an ammo fire.  That's not the best time in the world to have your first fire. We were at Nancy at that time. Captain Bradford (incident below) had just turned over command of B Battery. (End of account) 

 

On 18 Aug 1970 at 1730 hours, a fragmentation hand grenade, thrown into their BOQ, injured Captain Witherspoon and Captain Bradford.  Captain Bradford suffered superficial wounds.  Captain Witherspoon, 2/94th Battalion Motor Officer, underwent exploratory surgery.

 

Captain Larry D. Witherspoon was admitted to the 91st Evacuation Hospital in Chu Lai.  Wound was a fragment, penetrating the abdomen and right ankle. Details of the accident were: Officer was injured when unknown assailant threw a fragmentation grenade into his hooch trying to injure his roommate. 

 

Account from Specialist Gary Rafferty, close to the incident: The incident where two officers were wounded by a grenade, happened at Dong Ha Combat Base. Before I went to A Battery, I was the Battalion S-2 driver and Captain Bradford was the Bn S-2 Officer. I'd just dropped him off at his hooch and I was driving away when the explosion occurred. Turned out to be a "fragging" incident. (End of account)

 

On 20 Aug 1970 at 1400 hours, Lieutenant Hollman replaces Lieutenant Bridges at FSB Anne.  At 1455 hours, Lieutenant Skoogs reports IOS station completely operational.

 

On 21 Aug 1970 at 1745 hours, Sergeant Paulk, Recon Sergeant, evacuated from FSB Anne.  Possibly may have dysentery and/or food poisoning. 

 

On 22 Aug 1970 at 1030 hours, Sergeant Hailer, Recon Sergeant, replaced Sergeant Paulk at LZ Anne.  At 1800 hours, Lieutenant Hollman and Private First Class Gil moved off of FSB Anne with ARVN patrol for a half click to scout terrain.

 

On 23 Aug 1970 at 1300 hours, Lieutenant Huebschman assigned as IOS Officer.  Departed for IOS.

 

On 24 Aug 1970 at 1100 hours, Specialist Mays replaced Sergeant White at C1.  At 1400 hours, Lieutenant Howe departed for B Battery to assume duties as FDO. 

 

On 27 Aug 1970 at 0730 hours, Captain Meyers departed by helicopter for LZ Rawhide with selected C Battery personnel  for recon of proposed advanced redeployment.

 

On 28 August 1970, two new names added: a Captain Stepto and a Lieutenant Kane.

 

On 29 August 1970 at 0730 hours, Sergeant First Class Hall, Survey Sergeant, and the XO’s of A and B Batteries, Lieutenant Kane and Lieutenant Ross, departed for Hill 65 and LZ Ross. 

 

On 29 August 1970 at 1511 hours, the Battalion passed another milestone in its history when A Battery fired the Battalion’s 400,000th round in RVN.

 

On 30 August 1970 at 1045 hours, JJ Carroll reports incoming rounds. 

 

On 31 August 1970 at 0600 hours, B Battery displaced from Nancy to Camp Vandergrift.  S3 and CO departed the Battalion area to supervise the displacement.  B Battery closed at Vandergrift at 1950 hours. Supported 1/11 and 3/17 Calvary Squadrons.

 

During September, the entire battalion was re-deployed south of the Hai Van pass.  Headquarters and Service Batteries moved from Dong Ha to Camp Love, to Da Nang over period 10-13 September 1970.  Battery C moved from LZ Nancy to Hill 65 on 16 -17 September 1970, A Battery moved from C1 to LZ Ross during 25-26 September.  Both batteries road marched from their positions to Camp Love on the first day and stopped overnight before proceeding the their new positions on the next morning.  B Battery did not displace until 15-17 October 1970, moving to Northern Area Cantonment (NAC).  B Battery was OPCON to 8/4 until 14 October, at which time it was to take tactical and technical fire direction from 1/39. 

 

The Battalion, on closing their new positions, began firing in support of the 1st Marine Division, with additional supporting fires to the Americal Division.  The Battalion also had the mission of supporting Quang Da Special Zone

 

On 9 September 1970 at 1130 hours, Lieutenant Shotts attached to Mai Loc.

 

On 10 September 1970 at 0745 hours, HQ & HQ Battery and Service Battery departed Dong Ha for Camp Love.  At 1345 hours, both batteries closed Camp Love.

 

From 14-18 September 1970, the Battalion conducted the final course of the 108th Artillery Group Firing Battery Section Chief School.  Twenty-two men graduated on 18 September 1970; a grand total of 124 men completed the school.

 

On 15 September 1970 at 1600 hours, Command Sergeant Major Lincoln, Captain Meyer (B Battery CO), and Sergeant Fielden were injured by an incoming rocket at JJ Carroll.  Personnel were Med-evaced to 18th Army Surgical Hospital at Quang Tri.  Command Sergeant Major Lincoln and Captain Meyer eventually required evacuation to the US.

 

On 16 September 1970 at 0730 hours, C Battery departed LZ Nancy for Camp Love.  At 1354 hours, C Battery closed at Camp Love.  At 1800 hours, Battalion FDC became operational at Camp Love.

 

On 17 September 1970, the mission of the Battalion changed to general support of the XXIV Corps, reinforcing the fires of the Quang Da Special Zone, with fires planned by the 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.

 

On 17 September 1970 at 1010 hours, C Battery departed Camp Love for Hill 65.  At 1030 hours, a saladiem payment of 1000 dollars Vietnamese was made to Chan Tron To Thi at Hailam village (outside of Quang Tri), relative to accident on 13th of Sep 1970 involving a Service Battery Vehicle. At 1200 hours, C Battery closed at Hill 65.  At 1315 hours, C Battery laid safe ready to fire.  At 1400 hours, Captain Meyer and Command Sergeant Major Lincoln transferred to 95th Surgical Hospital at Da Nang.  Sergeant Fielden returned to duty, injured 15 September at JJ Carroll.

 

On 19 September 1970 at 1330 hours, Sergeant Paulk left from Mai Loc and returned to B Battery.

 

On 24 September 1970 at 1030 hours, Private First Class Senne reported that the Battalion FDC computer became operational.

 

On 25 September 1970 at 0800, A Battery departed C1 for Camp Love.  At 1515 hours, A Battery closed Camp Love.

 

On 25 September 1970 at 0606 hours, Bn FDC at JJ Carroll closed down.

  

On 26 September 1970 at 1105 hours, A Battery departed Camp Love for LZ Ross.   At 1710 hours A Battery closed at LZ Ross.  At 1830 hours A Battery laid and safe at LZ Ross ready to fire.

 

On 6 October 1970 at 1500 hours, Lieutenant Press (LNO) assigned to the Quang Dau Special Zone (QDSZ).

 

On 11 October 1970 at 1310 hours, C Battery pieces Guns C1 and C2 retubed after the pieces had fired 1105  0.75 EFC rounds and 1039 0.75 EFC rounds, respectively. 

 

On 12 October 1970, A Battery retubed and became a composite battery.

 

On 14 October 1970 at 1030 hours, Specialist Fleming, A2, A Battery accidentally wounded.  Specialist Fleming Medevac'd to 95th Evac Hospital in serious condition. 

 

On 14 October 1970, B Battery exchanged two howitzers with A Battery 1/39th and became a composite battery.

 

On 14 October 1970 at 1100 hours, B Battery closed at LZ Nancy.

 

On 15 October 1970 at 1335 hours, Specialist Fleming died from wounds received on 14th of Oct 1970.

 

On 17 October 1970, a liaison team was assigned to the 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division at LZ Baldy, BT135452.

 

On 19 October 1970, the Commanding Officer, 2nd Bn 94th Arty is a Lieutenant Colonel Oates.

 

On 27 October 1970, C Battery conducted an artillery raid to Hill 52 to support US and ARVN fires in the Thoung Duc area.  The raid commenced at 1145 hours and terminated at 1755 the same day.  During the raid, the Battery fired a total of 140 rounds in support of US and ARVN forces.

 

On 27 October 1970 at 1145 hours, elements of C Battery two 8-inch howitzer sections departed for an artillery raid on Hill 52 to support US and ARVN fires in the Thuong Duc area.

 

On 27 October 1970 at 1645, hours, the first 175mm rounds fired from Hill 65.

    

On 28 October 1970 at 1300 hours, IG Team inspected HQ area, could not inspect A Battery due to flooded roads.

 

On 29 October 1970 at 0500 hours, Bravo Gun #4 had a premature burst of a 175mm round while firing a zone 3  with an additive jacket in the rain.  The PD fuse M572 had been set on delay section action.  The fuse lot MA22-11 was temporarily suspended.  The burst occurred 3 to 4 seconds after firing approximately over grid.

 


 

Notes and discussion from 1 August 1970 to 31 October 1970, 16th Battalion Operational Report

 

Mission change on 17 September 1970 to General Support XXIV Corps, reinforcing fires of the Quang Da Special Zone, with fires planned by the 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.

 

KIA - 0

WIA- 5 (Unknown at this time)

Non battle death - 1 Specialist Willie James Fleming, A Battery, from Memphis, Tennessee.)

Non battle injured - 6 (Unknown at this time)

Rounds expended - 8-inch 9,083  175mm - 4359

 

Quick fire channels have been established by the liaison team at the Quang Da Special Zone between Battery C and the Special Forces located Thuong Duc and Nong Son area.

 

Quick fire channels have been established by the liaison team at FSB Baldy between A Battery at LZ Ross and the 5th Marines for contact fires and the Americal Division for contact and scheduled fires.

 

ARVN Heavy artillery training:

 

The ARVN Personnel have shown a reluctance to use heavy artillery and even when in use do not use it effectively.  More training should be given in the use of heavy artillery.

 

End of notes and discussion, 16th Battalion Operational Report

 


 

From 1 November 1970 to 20 January 1970, the Battalion positions were constant.  Battalion Headquarters was at Camp Love while the firing batteries were at LZ Ross, Hill 65, and Northern Artillery Cantonment (NAC). A Battery was firing for Americal Division, B fired for the Marines, and C fired for the Marines also.

 

On 1 November 1970 at 1100 hours, A and C Battery commanders flew in to pick up the payroll.  A Battery was firing for Americal Division, B fired for the Marines, and C fired for the Marines also.

 

On 3 November 1970, the 250th RADAR Detachment was attached to the battalion to assist in support of ARVN forces in the Thoung Duc area.  The detachment occupied Hill 52.  The initial move was by road.  However, because of enemy activity in the area, all further re-supply was accomplished by air.

 

On 11 November 1970 at 0900 hours, the Liaison Officer attended meeting at C Co 5th Special Forces on conversion of Nong Son Special Forces and Thuong Duc Special Forces to ARVN Ranger control and to discuss fire support coordination and DEFCONS. 

 

On 12 November 1970, the Battalion XO is Major Lynch. 

 

On 17 November 1970 at 1600 hours, B Battery retubed Gun #2 to a 175mm gun.

 

On 18 November 1970 at 0100 hours, B Battery retubed Gun #1 to a 175mm gun.  B Battery is now a 175mm Battery.

 

On 24 November 1970, Captain Neubert assigned to S1.

 

On 27 November 1970 at 1200 hours, Command Sergeant Major Velez arrived in Battalion.

 

On 11 December 1970 at 1000 hours, hand grenade exploded on a Service Battery recovery wrecker driven by Specialist Gary Hall.  No personnel injured. Name of the wrecker was Paranoic. (Note same driver the NVA soldier surrendered to.)  Check with John Hundahl or Gary Hall.

 

On 12 December 1970, Forward Observers: Lieutenant’s Gardner, Tompkins, and Marchand.

 

BDA for December

One cave destroyed

Two secondaries

One secondary, one cave partially destroyed

One bunker damaged

One KIA, one bunker destroyed

Numerous bunkers, trails, enemy structures uncovered

Four bunkers destroyed

Two bunkers destroyed, two bunkers damaged

One cave destroyed and two secondaries

Three secondaries

Two large bunkers destroyed, two probable KIA

Five secondaries

 

On 1 January 1971 at 1800 hours, termination of New Years Cease Fire.

 

On 13 January 1971 at 1410 hours, C Battery platoon artillery raid on Hill 52 started.  At 1553 hours Charlie Gun #2 laid and safe on Hill 52.  At 1633 hours, Charlie Gun #3 laid and safe on Hill 52.

 

On 14 January 1971 at 0940 hours, A Battery Change of Command Ceremony conducted.  Captain Mixson replaced Captain Stepto.

 

On 14 January 1971 at 1232 hours, second convoy, B Battery platoon, departed for raid on Hill 52.  At 1354 hours, they closed on Hill 52 and at 1540, Bravo Guns 1 & 2 laid and safe.

 

On 15 January 1971 at 1315 hours, C Battery platoon 175 guns left Hill 65.  At 1322 hours, B Battery 8-inch guns pulled out of position on Hill 52.  At 1404 hours, the C Battery 175mm guns arrived at Hill 52.  At 1405 hours, the B Battery gun convoy left Hill 52.  At 1510 hours, the guns arrived at Hill 65.  

 

On 13 January 1971, elements of B and C batteries conducted an artillery raid to Hill 52 in support of US and ARVN forces in the area.  During the raid 918 rounds of 8 inch and 175mm were fired. 

 

On 17 January 1971, the B and C Battery raid above at Hill 52 ended.  The unit departed Hill 52 at 1414 hours for Hill 65.  On the way out of the area to Da Nang, an M-548 with trailer hit a mine in the road, (AT833560), killing two and wounding six members of B Battery. Another 2 personnel, riding on vehicle, assisted in evacuation of wounded.  The two B Battery members killed were Specialist Cecil Southerland from Moreland, Kentucky and Specialist Daniel Erlandson from Tewksbury, Massachusetts.  At 1710 hours, the convoy closed at Hill 65.  The 6 WIA members of B Battery are not known at this time.

 

From 21 January to 24 January 1971, the entire Battalion displaced from positions near Da Nang to LZ Nancy, LZ Sally, and Dong Ha Combat Base to participate in Dewey Canyon II.  Headquarters, including HHB and Service from Da Nang to LZ Nancy; A Battery from FSB Ross to LZ Sally; B Battery from Northern Area Cantonment (NAC) to Dong Ha; C Battery from Hill 65 to LZ Nancy.  Upon arrival, the Battalion was placed under the control of the 108th Group.

 

All of the Battalion’s tracked vehicles were moved by Landing Craft Mechanized from the deep-water pier at Da Nang to either Dong Ha (B Battery only) or Tan Mi (the rest); the Battalions wheeled vehicles displaced by convoy using QL1.

 

On 21 January 1971 at 0800 hours, B Battery guns (4x175mm) departed Northern Area Cantonment (NAC).  At 0835 hours, B Battery reported broken road wheel control arm.  Battalion Maintenance notified on Gun #3.  At 1100 hours, B Battery (3 guns) and one C Battery gun (175mm), loaded at deep-water pier Da Nang, RVN.  At 1740 hours, B Battery guns departed with ammunition by LCM from Da Nang to Dong Ha.  

 

On 21 January 1971 at 1100 hours, C Battery exchanged one 8-inch howitzer for one 175mm gun from A Battery. 

 

On 21 January 1971 at 0950 hours, A Battery reports all pieces out of lay at LZ Ross.

 

On 22 January 1971 at 0950 hours, Battalion Headquarters and B Battery wheeled battery vehicles departed Camp Love.

 

On 22 January 1971 at 1100 hours, B Battery guns unloaded off LCM at Dong Ha.  At 1200 hours, B Battery closed at Dong Ha, guns laid safe, 4x175. B Battery is now under the operational control of the 8th Battalion 4th Artillery until 29 January 1971. At 1515 hours, B Battery wheeled vehicle convoy closed at Dong Ha with no mishaps.

 

On 22 January 1971 at 1530 hours, Battalion Headquarters arrived LZ Nancy.  Convoy closed without mishap or breakdown.

 

On 22 January 1971 at 1200 hours, C Battery had two guns arrive at deep-water pier in Da Nang, RVN.

 

On 23 January 1971 at 1100 hours, C Battery gave one 8” howitzer to A Battery.  A Battery is now 4x8-inch. 

 

On 23 January 1971at 1030 hours, C Battery personnel departed Hill 65.  At 1145, C Battery personnel closed Camp Love, AT945786.  At 1200 hours, C Battery moved to docks and picked up second 175mm gun.  C Battery is now 4x175mm.

 

On 23 January 1971 at 1500 hours, Battalion FDC fully operational at LZ Nancy. 

 

On 23 January 1971 at 1410 hours, A Battery closed at LZ Sally YD635274.  At 1730 hours, A Battery laid and safe.

 

On 23 January 1971 at 2115 hours, LCM departed deep-water pier in Da Nang, RVN with C Battery guns.

 

On 24 January 1971 at 0930 hours, C Battery personnel departed Camp Love.  At 1345 hours, C Battery personnel closed at LZ Nancy.  At 1415 hours, C Battery FDC operational.  At 1500 hours, LCM’s landed at Tan Mi with C Battery guns.  At 1530 hours, C Battery guns closed at LZ Nancy.  At 1900 hours, C Battery Guns 1, 2, and 3 were laid and safe. C Battery Gun #4 closed with a blown engine.

 

On 24 January 1971, the Battalion, minus B Battery, was placed under the operational control of the 108th Artillery Group.

 

On 25 Jan 1971 at 1925 hours, C Battery Gun #4 is laid and safe.

 

On 26 January 1971 at 1800 hours, TET Cease Fire went into effect.

 

On 27 January 1971 at 1800 hours, TET Cease Fire ended.

 

On 28 January 1971 at 1400 hours, the Battalion departed LZ Nancy (C Battery, HHB, and Service Battery).  At 1145 hours, Battalion FDC non-operational at LZ Nancy.  At 1600 hours, A Battery departed LZ Sally.  At 1700 hours, Battalion closed Dong Ha Combat Base (B Battery already at Dong Ha CB).  At 1800 hours, C Battery gun #4 departed LZ Nancy.  At 1830 hours, C Battery gun #4 closed Dong Ha Combat Base.  At 1845 hours, C Battery gun laid and safe at Dong Ha.  At 2130 hours, A Battery guns closed. At 2145 hours, A Battery guns laid and safe.

 

On 28 January 1971 at 2400 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 33 missions for  84 rounds; A 6/12, B 0/0, C 27/72.

 

Preparation for Lam Son 719/Dewey Canyon II

 

“An Elite unit, a gathering of brave soldiers, participated in most of the operations in the area of the northern border and achieved many glorious victories”.

 

On 29 January 1971, the Battalion (minus A Battery) displaced from Dong Ha CB to LZ Vandergrift and was assigned a mission of GSR 5th Battalion (155mm SP) 4th Artillery.  The Battalion was escorted by six 1/44th Dusters, two Quads, and one Searchlight to FSB Flexible (XD815378, vicinity Lang Bu).  Two Dusters were assigned to each firing battery, with the Quads and Searchlight going to Headquarters.  1/44th was assigned for convoy and perimeter duty.

 

On 29January 1971 at 2400 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 3 missions for 27 rounds; A 0/0, B 2/13, C 1/14. 

  

On 30 January 1971 at 1830 hours,  A Battery displaced to LZ Vandergrift from Dong Ha.  At 2047 hours, A Battery, minus gun #4, closed at LZ Vandergrift.   Guns #1, #2, and #3 laid safe at 2207 hours.

 

On 30 January 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 44 missions for 145 rounds; A 0/0, B 25/88, C 19/57.

 

On 31 January 1971 at 1019 hours, A Battery fired the first rounds from LZ Vandergrift (XD997481, vicinity Thon Khe Meo).

 

On 31 January 1971 at 1645 hours, A Battery departed LZ Vandergrift for LZ Shepard (XD918417; vicinity Bong Kho - 10 km southwest of Vandergrift).  Arrived LZ Sheppard at 1830 hours.  A Battery guns #1, #2, and #3 laid safe 1930 hours, Az 3600.

 

On 31 January 1971 at 2400 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 19 missions for 188 rounds; A 0/0, B 8/88, C 11/100.

 

Note by Chronicler:  Notes and discussion from 1 November 1970 to 31 January 1971, which would have been 17th Battalion Operational Report are included in the 18th Battalion Operational Report below.

    

On 1 February 1971, A Battery rear departed LZ Vandergrift for LZ Shepard. Note from chronicler:  XXIV Corps called this area Bong Kha (XD9242).  (End of note)  A Battery rear closed at LZ Shepard at 1825 hours. A Battery gun #4 closes at LZ Vandergrift at 2030 hours.  A Battery fires first rounds from LZ Shepard at 2030 hours.

 

On 1 February 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 31 missions for 97 rounds; A 5/15, B 26/82, C 0/0.

 

 Account from Jim O'Hara with A/2/94 during operation DEWEY CANYON II.  We got hit almost every day for over a month in A Battery.  We called QL9 “Ambush Alley.”  A Battery was made up of two 175mm guns and two 8-inch howitzers when I got there.  We then changed to four 8-inch howitzers in August of 1970 while we were at C1. (End of Account.)

 

On 2 February 1971 at 0547 hours, fired target SDO769, light activity moving SW at 0429 hours, clearance given for A Battery to fire into DMZ.  At 0554 hours, message received from 108th that QL9 is now shut down from Vandergrift west to the 00 line.

 

On 2 February 1971 at 2400 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 47 missions for 146 rounds; A 16/69, B 3/8, C 28/78.

 

The Battalion, in conjunction with the 5/4th Artillery, conducted a raid from LZ Vandergrift into the Khe Sanh area and Route 616.  While at LZ Vandergrift, the Battalion fired 184 missions for 763 rounds, which included the first artillery round fired from LZ Vandergrift.

 

On 3 February 1971 at 0700 hours, I Corps Operation Dewey Canyon II Phase 1 officially commenced.  A, B, and C Batteries fire a total of 751 rounds in 40 missions.  At 0800 hours Advance Party departs LZ Vandergrift for Khe Sanh (XD844382).  Advance Party closed Khe Sanh at 1500 hours.

 

On 3 February 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 40 missions for 175 rounds; A 14/56, B 21/114, C 5/5.

 

Account from Bob Talley with HQ/2/94 FDC describing the moves and firebases:  This battalion area was given the name of Firebase Flexible.  5/4 Artillery was at the old Special Forces camp at Lang Vei.  Bear in mind, those were the names on our overlays and had the blessing of the Colonel.  As all the firing batteries went out to the Laotian border when Lam Son 719 started, that firebase was given the name of FSB Styles. (Also described below in history)  After Lam Son we pulled out into an area near Mai Loc and established a Firebase called Cannonball.  Cannonball was about five miles from Mai Loc. (End of account)

 

On 4 February 1971, the entire battalion had displaced to positions in the vicinity of Lang Vei and was given a new mission of GSR ARVN I Corps Artillery, with priority fires to the 1st ARVN Airborne Division.  Note by chronicler: Move detailed below. (End of note)

 

On 4 February 1971 at 0500 hours, Battalion FDC non-operational at LZ Vandergrift.  At 0620 hours B Battery departs LZ Vandergrift; at 0637 hours, B Battery departs; at 0647 hours, HHB departs; at 0650 hours Service Battery departs.  At 0935 hours, A Battery departed LZ Shepard.  At 1645 hours, Battalion closed at Lang Vei (XD824386). At 1620 hours B and C Battery laid safe.  At 1735 hours A Battery laid safe.  At 2312 hours, A Battery fires first rounds from Lang Vei.  Note from chronicler:  XXIV Corps called this area Long Con (XD8238).  (End of note)

 

On 4 February 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 3 missions for 12 rounds; A 3/12, B 0/0, C 0/0.

 

On 5 February 1971 at 0058 hours, B and C Battery fires their first rounds at Lang Vei along with A Battery's firing.

 

On 5 February 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 32 missions 200rounds; A 11/82, B 11/70, C 10/48.

 

On 5 February 1971 at 1800 hours, B battery Gun #2 closed at Lang Vei was laid and safe.

 

On 6 February 1971, for Operation Dewey Canyon II, Battalion fired 242 missions for a total of 1003 rounds.

 

On 6 February 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 26 missions for  40 rounds; A 11/16, B 9/18, C 6/6.

 

On 7 February 1971 at 1600 hours, A Battery, with two dusters from the 1/44th, departed (Lang Vei- see above) for new location (XD715376; vicinity of Lao Bao).   At 1730 hours, A Battery laid safe at new location Az 3200.  Comment by chronicler: from that position, A Battery enjoyed unobstructed coverage of QL 9 as it followed a westerly course toward Tchepone, Laos.

 

On 7 February 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 6 missions for  15 rounds; A 0/0, B 1/3, C 5/12.

 

On 8 February 1971 at 0818 hours, A Battery fired the first volley of US Artillery into Laos in support of Operation Lam Son 719.  During the period of 8-11 February 1971, the Battalion fired LZ preps and flak suppression programs for the ARVN insertion into Laos.

 

On 8 February 1971 at 0700 hours, Phase 2 of Dewey Canyon II officially begins.

 

At 0818 hours, A Battery fired the first US artillery rounds into Laos.  12 rounds on 4 grids were fired:  Tgt nr AB1024, grid 617388; Tgt nr AB1025 grid 604384; Tgt nr AB1022 Grid 616374; Tgt nr AB1019 Grid 607376.  Fires were completed at 0827 hours.

 

On 8 February 1971 at 0845 hours, B Battery, from Lang Vei, fires an LZ prep on LZ Yellow.  At 2358 hours, B Battery fires a long ARVN's southern route of advance into Laos.

 

On 8 February 1971 at 0900 hours; C Battery, from Lang Vei, fires an LZ prep on LZ Blue. Note by chronicler: B & C Batteries; although located approximately eleven kilometers due east of A Battery; with their 175mm guns, could shoot further into Laos by an additional five kilometers.

 

On 8 February 1971 at 2000 hours, A Battery receiving incoming of unknown caliber.  Negative damage reported.

 

On 8 February 1971 at 2358 hours, B Battery fired 18 rounds on a flak suppression grids, along the southern route of advance of the ARVN's into Laos.  Completed at 0014 hours, on 9 February 1971.

 

On 9 February 1971 at 0145 hours, received schedule of fires.  LZ Dong Da, LZ Don, and LZ White are to be prepped.  At 0558 hours Battalion fired prep rounds and concluded at 0700 hours.

 

On 9 February 1971 at 0700 hours, A battery receiving incoming.  Negative Damage.

 

On 9 February 1971 at 0931 hours, Battalion fired second prep.

 

On 9 February 1971 at 1255 hours, A Battery receiving  heavy incoming.

 

On 9 February 1971 at 2400 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 123 missions for 495rounds; A 34/78, B 57/231, C 32/86.

 

Battery C of 8/4 Artillery, co-located with Battery A and OPCON to the 2/94th reports, 5 US Wounded; one serious and 1 KIA.  All wounded personnel were flown to HQ 2/94th Arty (XD8237; vicinity Lang Vei) for treatment by our Battalion Surgeon due to non-availability of Medevac.  All wounded were Medevac'd to Quang Tri at 1516 hours. At 1625 hours, 108th notified 5 US WIA and 2 KIA.   Reports coming in that incoming is a 122mm Field Gun.  At 1530 hours, C/8/4 reverted to 8/4 control.

 

Observation by chronicler: Some controversy surfaced as to what caliber enemy guns

the 2/94th and 8/4 units were up against (below):

 

Account from Specialist Gary Rafferty with A Battery:  During this time period Enlisted Gary Rafferty and Captain Mixon dug up fragments from the enemy rounds and found some which had enough length intact on the single fragment to include sections of both knurling marks. Captain Mixon used a classified NATO manual which had Xeroxed photographs that showed the exact distance between these knurling marks for each caliber of Warsaw Pact artillery. These knurling marks are very distinctive. They are turned by lathe around the circumference on each round. These knurled grooves are underneath the brass gliding rings and are covered by the gliding rings until the round detonates.

Captain Mixon positively identified the guns as 152mm guns.  Battalion Headquarters insisted the enemy guns HAD TO BE 122mm!  We repeatedly compared them to the pictures in the manual;  they were not 122mm. They were definitely 152mm.

When this information was relayed via radio to Battalion Headquarters, we were told that they couldn't be 152mm, as Battalion Intelligence was absolutely sure there were no 152 mm Guns in the area!  Thus, they had to be 122mm! Captain Mixon was just as adamant that he had the identification right. They insisted that they knew better, inferring that we trust them and not our lying eyes. (End of account)

 

Comments from Enlisted Gary Rafferty to the  Chronicler:   At the Laos Border A/2/94 was all 8-inch howitzers. However, your comments regarding the large number of "accidents" on 175mm guns is also very perceptive. The 175's were NOT very popular with the gun crews.    I remember that sometime in 1970 (June-July), one of the 175's in A Battery had the hydraulic rammer sheered off one gun, from the normal recoil of the breech. Almost everyone knew that there was no way this could have happened accidentally. (As I also recall, this was after a "breech failure" in another 175).  If the gun crew's plan was that they wouldn't have to fire the piece until it was repaired, it didn't work. They were ordered to hand-ram all the projectiles, and because the hydraulics no longer worked, they had to elevate the tube by hand crank for each round (Ouch!)

 

C/8/4 had the distinct misfortune to be on the forward slope of a slight hill facing in the direction of the 152mm guns. Which, I believe, made observation of the rounds fall easier and thus increased their accuracy.

 

I met a vet from C/8/4 (Paul Lanza) when the Moving Wall came to Concord, NH in '91. He said he figured that none of us (from 2/94) made it back alive from there. (End of comment)

 

Comments by chronicler: The two C Battery 8/4th men, who were lost that day (9 February), were E2 Blake D. Whitney from Chicago, Illinois and E4 Melvin J. Felton from Spokane, Washington. Four, of the five wounded in action from C Battery 8/4th, were Harold Page from West Virginia; Wyrbkowski (spelling?) from the Detroit area in Michigan; David Holtkamp from Centralia, Illinois; and a Battalion Maintenance Technician, CWO Fisher, who was working on one of the C Battery Guns. CWO Fisher's HOR is not known at this time. Holtkamp, at one time, was given up for KIA; however, someone noticed he was still moving.

 

It is unclear if there were any additional wounded in action on that date from C/8/4, a companion 175/8-inch battalion to the 2/94th.

 

Both men, lost that day in that combined operation, were on or near Gun #2 ("SOUNDS OF SILENCE") when an enemy 122mm artillery round hit. MAY THEY REST IN PEACE. They are not forgotten by their brothers of the 8/4th. (End of comments)

 

On 9 February 1971 at 1625 hours, A Battery given march orders to new location (XD779368; QL9, 1 km north of QL9, vicinity of Lang Vei). At 2100 hours, A Battery departs Lao Bao (XD715376) enroute to (XD785379; 2 km north of QL9, vicinity Lang Vei). At 2340 hours, A Battery laid safe at (XD785379). Note by chronicler: Apparently, A Battery’s destination was changed between 1625 hours and 2100 hours. (End of comment)

 

On 9 February 1971 at 2340 hours, ARVN third prep fire postponed. Observation by chronicler: Think I would have been asking for a transfer to B or C battery. I know A comes first before B and C, but Jesus! First in all phases??? (End of observation)

 

On 10 February 1971 at 1115 hours, A Battery fired prep on LZ Dong Da. At 1405 hours, A Battery fired second prep on LZ Dong Da. Completed at 1420 hours. Prep for LZ Loui cancelled. At 1630 hours, Comment by chronicler: Here we go again!! (End of comment) A Battery displaced from present position to grid (XD768353; 3km west of Lang Vei on QL9) in order to shoot a prep for LZ Don. At 1830 hours A Battery returned to position (XD779358; on QL9, 1.5 km west of Lang Vei). Prep fire was postponed until 11 Feb 1971.

 

On 10 February 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 54 missions for 287 rounds; A 15/119, B 25/131, C 14/37.

 

On 11 February 1971 at 0600 hours, B Battery fires prep on LZ Don. Fired 66 rounds and completed at 0800 hours.

 

On 11 February 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 25 missions for 112 rounds; A 10/51, B 1/15, C 10/46.

 

On 11 February 1971 at 0805 hours, A Battery departs (XD779358) enroute to position (vicinity Lao Bao at XD715376). A Battery laid safe at 0855 hours. A Battery rear elements closed at 1735 hours. A Battery reports 152mm incoming at 1850 hours. Negative damage, even with one 152mm air burst.

 

On 12 February 1971 at 1545 hours, B Battery fired adjust mission for Charlie Horse 43 (air ops 2/17th Air Cav).  BDA = 5 KIA, 3 bunkers destroyed, and 2 hootches destroyed.

 

On 12 February 1971 at 1645 hours, C Battery fired adjust mission for Serpent 104 (air ops 2/17th Air Cav).  BDA = 1 large explosion and one 51 cal.

 

On 12 February 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 77 missions for 362 rounds; A 12/61, B 39/208, C 26/93.

 

On 13 February 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 29 missions for 226 rounds; A 2/54, B 25/157, C 2/15.

 

On 13 February 1971 at 0959 hours, C Battery fired adjust mission for Sundowner M (AO 108th Arty).  BDA = 1 large secondary burned for thirty minutes.

 

On 13 February 1971 at 1300 hours, A Battery receiving incoming, 122mm artillery.  Fired counter battery.

 

On 14 February 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 47 missions for 214 rounds; A 3/16, B 25/95, C 19/103.

 

On 15 February 1971 at 0600 hours, B and C Batteries fired prep on LZ Grass.  B Battery 73 rounds and C Battery 52 rounds.

 

On 15 February 1971 at 1505 hours, A Battery receiving incoming.  8/4 RADAR picked up the rounds and plotted enemy gun location.  A Battery fired counter battery on the grid.

 

On 15 February 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 118 missions for 530 rounds; A 24/143, B 46/199, C 48/188.

 

On 16 February 1971 at 0200 hours, Battalion HQ receiving incoming. 2/94th MPQ-4 RADAR picked the last round and grid plotted to the location of C Battery 5/4 Artillery 155mm. Comment by chronicler: OOPs! I had an FDC officer with a 5/4 firing battery tell me “Oh yea, I remember the 2/94th --- they were always late on TOT.” So next time I talk to him, I can say: "At least we didn’t try to take out your Headquarters". (End of comment)

 

On 16 February 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 58 missions for 262 rounds; A 30/180, B 24/60, C 4/22.

 

On 17 February 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 58 missions for 231 rounds; A 29/95, B 10/92, C 19/44.

 

On 17 February 1971 at 1350 hours, A Battery receiving incoming.  Negative damage.  Fired counter battery.

 

On 17 February 1971 at 1530 hours, A Battery receiving incoming. Negative Damage. Two possible RADAR grids: XD67814054 & XD68393999 (border area, 3-4 km northwest of A Btry position). Fired counter battery on the two grids.

 

On 18 February 1971 at 0750 hours, B Battery receiving incoming rounds.

 

On 18 February 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 60 missions for 218 rounds; A 14/103, B 22/53, C 24/62.

 

On 18 February 1971 at 1535 hours, A Battery receiving incoming. 8/4 Arty MPQ4 RADAR plotted rounds coming from grids XD70154007 and 71183854 (3km northwest & 1 km north of A Btry position). A Battery fired counter battery fire on both grids. One 2-1/2 ton truck took a direct hit and was destroyed. No injuries reported.

 

On 19 February 1971 at 0230 hours, A Battery receiving incoming rounds.  Negative damage.  At 1400 hours, A Battery notified by 1st ARVN Division that 25 NVA were killed from fire support on 17 February 1971.  BDA was based on an ARVN sweep in that area.

 

On 19 February 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 130 missions for 523 rounds; A 58/262, B 44/177, C 28/84.

 

On 20 February 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 87 missions for 436 rounds; A 33/130, B 36/176, C 17/130.

 

On 20 February 1971 at 1318 hours, A Battery  fired 54 rounds in support of an ARVN Ranger Battalion that was in contact with an NVA Regiment.  At 1438 hours, mission was terminated.

 

On 20 February 1971 at 1600 hours, round obtained from A Battery identified as 122mm artillery round.

 

On 20 February 1971 at 1605 hours, Gun #2 and Gun #3 from C Battery departed (XD824385; vicinity Lang Bu) enroute to B Battery 8/4th. Both guns OPCON to 8/4. At 1730 hours, both guns closed at (XD715372; vicinity Lao Bao).

 

On 20 February 1971 at 2400 hours, Major Joseph Corder assumed duties as Battalion S-3; Major George Seckinger Jr. assumed duties as Battalion XO.

 

On 21 February 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 70 missions for 417 rounds; A 29/223, B 28/146, C 13/48.

 

On 21 February 1971 at 1830 hours, B Battery Gun #1 and Gun #2 were retubed.  Old tubes were shot out at 1200 EFC's.

 

On 22 February 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 81 missions for 353 rounds; A 30/171, B 29/94, C 22/88.

 

On 22 February 1971 at 1200 hours, one gun from C Battery was returned to 2/94th control.  At 1900 hours, BC and Staff Briefing.

 

On 22 February 1971, the Officers log changes to Lam Son 719 from Dewey Canyon II. 

Comment by chronicler:  It is assumed that Phase III had commenced.

 

During Dewey Canyon II the battalion had fired 248 missions for 11,018 rounds.

 

Lam Son 719 Begins 

 

During the period 8-19 February 1971, A Battery received approximately 100 rounds of enemy artillery fire.  During this period A Battery sustained no casualties, although one mess truck was destroyed by a direct hit.  There was no enemy artillery activity in the Lao Bao area during the period 20 February through 11 March 1971; however, mines and small arms fire periodically interdicted QL9 west of Lang Vei.

 

On 23 February 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 97 missions for 562 rounds; A 31/224, B 59/286, C 7/52.

 

On 23 February 1971 at 1000 hours, Battalion visited by next Battalion Commander Lieutenant Colonel Ganahl.

 

On 24 February 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 93 missions for 462 rounds; A 41/150, B 48/302, C 4/10.

 

On 25 February 1971, 1/44th reports a 2-1/2 ton truck carrying 6 personnel hit by artillery with 1 KIA and 3 WIA at (XD 756352; QL9, 4 km west of Lang Vei).

 

On 25 February 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 86 missions for 371 rounds; A 42/190, B 32/139, C 12/42.

 

On 25 February 1971 at 0900 hours, C Battery FDC departed XD824385 for XD715375.

 

On 26 February 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 108 missions for 786 rounds; A 41/301, B 60/353, C 7/132.

 

On 26 February 1971 at 0830 hours, remainder of C Battery departed (XD824385; 1 km east of Lang Bu) for (XD715375). Moved near Lao Bao in order to provide maximum range support of the ARVN operation in Laos.

On 26 February 1971 at 1145 hours, C Battery, one remaining gun returned from OPCON of 8/4th.

On 26 February 1971 at 2000 hours, Chieu Hoi picked up by Battalion Maintenance truck.  25 meters from perimeter on access road.

Need to find and add story of surrender to the truck driver. Check with

John Hundahl or Gary Hall.

 

On 27 February 1971, Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Ganahl took command of the battalion at a change of command ceremony held at the Battalion Headquarters area. Lieutenant Colonel Ganahl was one of the Assistant S-3 officers at Corps Arty Headquarters before taking over the battalion.  He was physically located at the Corps Forward in Quang Tri before assuming command.

 

On 27 February 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 169 missions for 839 rounds; A 37/228, B 69/334, C 63/268.

 

On 27 February 1971 at 1100 hours, Change of Command Ceremony as Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Ganahl assumes command of the 2/94th from Lieutenant Colonel John Oates.

 

On 28 Feb 1971 at 0050 hours, B Battery Gun #4 breech exploded, causing 1 US KIA and 4 US WIA.  At 0215 hours, 1 US KIA and 4 US WIA (burns) med-evaced to Khe Sanh.  Wounded conditions: 1 Serious and 3 Excellent.  Killed in the incident was CPL Albion Joe Bergantzel from Henderson, Iowa. His nickname was ‘Farmer’.  One serious WIA and three in good shape for being wounded is reported.

 

Remarks:  Investigation of the M107 SP malfunction, revealed the step threads of the bushing within the breech ring failed when the weapon was fired.  Although, the breech ring incorporated the first tube change, the step threads sheared when the weapon was fired, blowing the breech block rearward about 10 yards.  The step threads of the breechblock were damaged on the lower side where it hit the rear portion of the vehicle, otherwise were in good condition.  The loader-rammer was blown off, as was the crew seat and the deck of the wall --- the well.  The reservoir was bent and ruptured due to the rearward blast.  A possibility exists that excessive chamber pressure could have caused the malfunction.  Weapon was being fired with a charge three.  Personnel were off the chassis.  Gunner was utilizing extra long lanyard.  Two previous primers had been fired with no weapon discharge.  Malfunction occurred with detonation of third primer.  Witnesses could not determine if malfunction occurred during recoil or counter-recoil.  Gun returned to in-battery position. 

 

Account from Specialist John Clayton, a cannoneer with B/2/94 during this operation: The cannoneer killed up by Khe Sanh in the breech failure incident was nicknamed  "Farmer". I will try to find someone who remembers his real name. I believe he was from Iowa and everyone really liked him. I helped carry his body to the Medevac and as was the custom, the pilots wanted us to leave him, as he was deceased. We raised so much hell that  they finally agreed to take him.

 

Seven wounded men were Medevac’d as I recall, but only Farmer was dead. Others were in real bad shape. What happened, as I recall, is that it was about a midnight fire mission and Farmer didn't get the breech on the 175 closed completely and he was standing about 4-6 feet behind the breech when he pulled the cord. It was a charge 3 and it all came out the back. The breech went right through Farmer and the other 5 or 6 men were burnt completely black.

 

I was one of the first on the scene and it was really ugly. I guess at that moment I, realized you could get killed over there. I believe we also must have lost some men on March 18 as we basically got wiped out. It was Medevac after Medevac and we just kept throwing guys on. It seemed like half our unit disappeared that day. (End of account)

 

In early March 1971;  Lieutenant Colonel Ganahl, Commander of the 2/94th Artillery on the border, was in his C&C Bird when NVA tanks attacked an ARVN position.

 

His S3 got on the radio to say an airborne forward controller would direct the Battalion’s fire on the enemy armor, and that the Corps Commander was monitoring the frequency. 

 

Extremely nervous with all the Brass listening in, the FAC reported it was a good shot and to drop two hundred meters on the gun target line and go right a hundred.  The Battery Commander answered that his next round was on the way; there was a pause, then the FAC cried, “Holy Christ!”  Ganahl thought his men must have dropped a short round into the ARVN’s. 

 

The FAC caught his breath and said the opposite was true.  The artillery round had exploded between two NVA tanks, bowling them BOTH over.  The unit had claimed two tank kills with one shell.  Comment by chronicler: Battery unknown at this time. Possibly was B Battery. (End of comment) 

 

On 28 February 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 123 missions for 678 rounds; A 50/265, B 40/254, C 33/159.

 

On 1 March 1971, B Battery 1st Battalion 39th Artillery (4x175mm), hereafter referred to as D Battery, displaced from C1 (YD2167) to Lang Con (XD8238) and was placed under the operational control of the 2/94th Artillery.  Known as D Battery 2/94th.  At 1800 hours, D Battery laid safe.

 

Request was made by the 2/94th CO for two additional Dusters for D Battery.  Two additional Dusters were sent making a total of eight Dusters from the 1/44th.

 

On 1 March 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 111 missions for 491 rounds; A 29/128, B 35/126, C 47/237.

 

On 2 March 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 138 missions for 610 rounds; A 47/207, B 38/154, C 46/221.

 

On 2 March 1971 at 1000 hours, A Battery reports ammo truck hit land mine.  Negative casualties with truck destroyed.

 

On 2 March 1971 at 1040 hours, Sundowner Yankee Air Ops 108th reports fire mission on (XD658326; 8 km southwest of A & C Btry positions) area well covered.

 

On 3 March 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 152 missions for 687 rounds; A 43/171, B 29/99, C 48/272, D 32/145.

 

On 3 March 1971 at 1525 hours, Lieutenant White Medevac'd with 104 degree fever.

 

On 3 March 1971 at 1630 hours, A Battery fires in support of FSB Don.  FAC reports excellent effect.   250 NVA retreating with many dead.

 

On 3 March 1971 at 2000 hours, A Battery reports incoming.

 

On 4 March 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 133 missions for 820 rounds; A 28/187, B 43/226, C 31/232, D 31/175.

 

On 4 March 1971 at 0830 hours, A Battery support on FSB Don.  Reported 55 enemy soldiers KIA.

 

On 5 March 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 160 missions for 754 rounds; A 39/187, B 55/188, C 48/309, D 18/70.

 

On 5 March 1971 at 1200 hours, message received to move B and D Batteries ( four each 175mm guns)  from Lang Con (XD8238) to (XD7138; vicinity Lao Bao).  This was to provide maximum heavy artillery support of the ARVN drive into Laos.  Both batteries laid safe at 1800 hours.

 

On 6 March 1971 at 0322 hours, B Battery fired first rounds from (XD715370; vicinity Lao Bao).

 

On 6 March 1971 at 0410 hours, D Battery fired first rounds from (XD720369; vicinity Lao Bao).

 

On 6 March 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 84 missions for 589 rounds; A 36/272, B 19/126, C 26/123, D 3/68.

 

On 7 March 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 185 missions for 1066 rounds; A 45/381, B 52/304, C 46/131, D 42/250.

 

On 7 March 1971 at 0930 hours, 108th reported 1 tank, 4 trucks, and many secondary explosions still going off from missions fired at 0430 hours. Target XG1974 at grid XD5344 (20 km northwest of Battalion’s gun positions).

 

On 7 March 1971 at 1230 hours, 108th reports truck with 175mm gun overturned.

 

On 8 March 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 115 missions for 1008 rounds; A 26/372, B 9/118, C 36/302, D 44/216.

 

On 8 March 1971 at 1000 hours, target destroyed at TGT XG2016 grid XB580395 (14 km west of Battalion Gun positions).

 

On 9 March 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 113 missions for 736 rounds; A 16/183, B 1/36, C 56/246, D 40/271.

 

On 9 March 1971 at 0830 hours, BDA from TGT XG2016 15 bunkers, 78 NVA 1 MG, and 1 SKS.

 

On 9 March 1971 at 0930 hours, C Battery reported a gun blew up (in bore explosion).  Requested Dust-off Medevac.  Unknown number of personnel injured.  At 0943 hours, the Dust-off completed.  One person evacuated:  Sergeant Holloway died in Medevac helicopter on way to hospital.

 

ACCIDENT REPORT dated 9 Mar 1971

 

It’s Malfunction of Ammunition.  …The premature burst --- when the weapon fired, the round traveled approximately 15 feet, and then detonated.  The remainder of the tube was severed and fell on the front deck covers.  The cannon assembly immediately elevated to maximum quadrant and personnel were unable to depress it. One individual, located approximately 40 meters to the right front of the gun, was KIA after being struck in the head by an unidentified fragment.  Fragments caused minor damage to another gun and sheared the barrel from a 50-caliber machine-gun.

 

Report of Malfunction of a 175mm Gun and Ammunition

 

On 9 March 1971, …that the injuries to Sergeant Hollowell, on adjacent Gun received a head injury from a piece of fragment.  Individual was Medevac'd… died enroute to the hospital.  The soldiers on the gun crew were Sergeant Larue Terrance; Specialist Grether, Lester M; Private First Class Hutson, Danny; Private First Class Grey, Stanley D; Private First Class Shubert, Leroy; Private First Class Sheffield, Thomas E; Private First Class Hanus, John H; Private First Class Norton, Douglas E; and Private Turner, William E.  

 

On 9 March 1971 at 1100 hours, BDA from C Battery on 7 March (1971), 25 KIA on TGT XJ5526 Grid 5939 (13 km west of C Battery position).

 

On 9 March 1971 at 1625 hours, 3 tanks destroyed by D Battery. Target XG2066 Grid XD4242 (30 km west of D Battery position).

 

On 9 March 1971 at 1645 hours, A Battery given Checkfire.  1/1 Cav reports elements receiving fire.

 

On 10 March 1971 at 0530 hours; A, C, and D Batteries report incoming rounds.

 

On 10 March 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 131 missions for 555 rounds; A 50/176, B 37/110, C 18/95, D 26/174.

 

On 10 March 1971 at 1020 hours, 1 tank damaged by C Battery.  TGT 2079 Grid 5038 (22 km west of C Battery position).

 

On 11 March 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 90 missions for 528 rounds; A 40/156, B 4/20, C 55/259, D 31/93.

 

During the period 12- 21 March 1971, the Lao Bao area received attacks by fire from 82mm Mortars, 152mm guns, and 122mm rockets; averaging 100-200 rounds per day in and out of the battery area. 

 

Enemy activity along QL9 increased daily and reached a high point during the period 18-23 March 1971, when the road was virtually impassable to thin skinned vehicles. 

 

On 12 March 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 1383missions for 876 rounds; A 44/340, B 58/158, C 68/263, D 13/115.

 

On 12 March 1971 at 1100 hours, truck from D Battery hit by RPG and small arms.  Truck was enroute forward location of BN HQ.

 

On 12 March 1971 at 1600 hours, all four Batteries report incoming rounds.  Incoming stopped at 1720 hours.  Negative damage.

 

On 13 March 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 182 missions for 1202 rounds; A 71/483, B 28/120, C 52/354, D 31/245.

 

On 13 March 1971 at 0930 hours, 1st Cav reports an M548 hit a land mine.  No injuries.

 

On 13 March 1971 at 1245 hours; A, C, and D batteries report incoming rounds.

 

On 13 March 1971 at 1600 hours, one D Battery 175 hit by fragment in the engine.

 

On 13 March 1971 at 1700 hours, Battalion CO requests Sound Platoon from F/26th.

On 14 March 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 104 missions for 778 rounds; A 20/275, B 8/82, C 49/299, D 27/122.

 

On 14 March 1971 at 1215 hours, A Battery reports incoming rounds. 

 

On 14 March 1971 at 1600 hours, A Battery requested a Dust-off for 5 men.  The dust-off was unable to land because of incoming fire.  At 1620 hours, the Dust-off was complete.  3 KIA and 4 WIA, all personnel assigned to 14th Engineer Battalion. 

 

Note by chronicler: The three KIA’s from the 14th Engineer Battalion to whom the 2/94th personnel tried to lend assistance to, were: Harry Gordon Prince Jr., MOS 1331, 1st Lieutenant, from Salem, Alabama; Bobby Jene Fields, MOS 62E20, SP5, from Dahlonega, Georgia; and Stephen Ray Phelix, MOS 62E20, PFC, from Winfield, West Virginia. The engineers were well liked by the battery members and were missed by all.   The wounded are not known at this time. (End of note)

 

On 14 March at 1630 hours, request granted for counter battery fire.

 

Account of a cannoneer with A/2/94 during this operation. We lost four or five engineers early in the artillery duels on the Laotian border.  I was detailed as a shotgun rider on a truck with a trailer that had the bodies of three engineers killed out on the border. They were brought into Firebase Flexible and we took them on into Khe Sanh to GR (Graves Registration).  They were already bagged, so no unit patches could be seen.  I know there were two engineer battalions over there.  However, all the bigger units had their own engineers.  1/5 Mech was providing security, so they may have been from that unit. 5/4 Arty was down the road (155 SP's) and if they have a web site you might get some info from them.  Sorry about the dates, but it had to be pretty early in the operation because the roads were still pretty well open.  For what its worth I was told that there were three bodies.  We just dropped the trailer at GR and left.  The trailer was tarped but when we unhooked it I did see the three bodies thru the flap; but there could have been more. Wish I had more information. (End of Account.)

 

Account from Specialist Gary Rafferty with A/2/94 during this operation. The several men killed at the border were from an engineer unit. (45th Engineers?) I've tried over the years to find out exactly who they were, with no success. Maybe the strange MOS's were engineer types? I'm almost certain this happened on the 18th March '71 (The Ides of March). Three were killed outright and several more badly wounded when an enemy 152 mm round hit just in front of a 2-1/2 ton truck and sprayed the entire vehicle with shrapnel. I helped with the dust-off on this one too. It was a real mess.  (End of account)   

 

Account of a cannoneer with C/2/94 during this operation. The engineers in the arty duels that died, mentioned above, were just behind my bunker that the medic for C 2/94 Arty and myself were in just before they got hit by 152 mm arty.  The engineers would take all 3 big D9's and put them together in a formation of a triangle, with all the blades pointing together. Then they would stay and sleep in the triangle.

 

That morning, the arty started to come in while they were out prepping the D9's and they all jumped into the center of the blades, for protection. The 4-5 men were all killed along with the Lieutenant.  I remember when the medic got the call and jumped up and ran to help them. When he came back he was in shock, they were all dead. All the training in the world could not help them. He really felt useless. It was hard to calm him down. I really can't remember what group the engineers were with, but they really opened up our perimeter. We really missed them. They were trying to open up the sides of the road on highway 9 to the rear.

 

We also lost a Lieutenant on his way to R and R in Da Nang. He was taking a ride with a group of ARVN troops in the back of a 3/4 ton when it went off the Hi Van Pass near the China Beach R and R center. He was killed. His wife was in Hawaii waiting for him. (End of account)

 

On 15 March 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 158 missions for 690 rounds; A 20/240, B 45/215, C 45/168, D 39/67.

 

On 15 March 1971 at 0810 hours, 108th requests that 2/94th assist in OH58 recovery operation.

 

On 15 March 1971 at 0840 hours, 1st Cav reports QL9 green.

 

On 15 March 1971 at 1030 hours, 108th cancels OH58 recovery mission.

 

On 15 March 1971 at 1205 hours, B and D Battery receiving small arms fire.  At 1232 B Battery reports incoming rounds.

 

On 15 March 1971 at 1600 hours, 1st Cav reports vehicle hit by RPG.  Not a 2/94th vehicle.

 

On 15 March 1971 at 1650 hours, D Battery reports incoming.

 

On 15 March 1971 at 1700 hours, all batteries report incoming fire.

 

On 15 March 1971 at 1920 hours, incoming ceased.

 

On 15 March 1971 at 1925 hours, Atlas 36 (1st Cav) requests their mortar platoon be housed at forward base.  Note by Chronicler: (From a report of one of the 2/94th C Battery members, the unit probably dug in at C Battery location.)  Reports indicated heavy NVA movement.  (End of note)

 

On 15 March 1971 at 1940 hours, B Battery reports incoming.

 

On 15 March 1971 at 2045 hours, C Battery reports incoming.

 

On 15 March 1971 at 2050 hours, Captain Mixson, A Battery Commander, reports 1st Cav told him to be prepared to evacuate the forward position.  NVA expected to make a drive up QL9.

 

On 16 March 1971 at 0720 hours, 108th request for M548's, as 8/4 arty is without.

 

On 16 March 1971 at 0725 hours, message received from Captain Doby (LNO 2/94th) concerning movement and locations of ARVN.

 

On 16 March 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 91 missions for 671 rounds; A 26/245, B 54/186, C 15/180, D 6/60.

 

On 16 March 1971 at 0915 hours, 1/1 Cav reports QL9 green.

 

On 16 March 1971 at 0930 hours,  8/4 notified use of M548's for the day.

 

On 16 March 1971 at 1115 hours, visit by Colonel Holbrook.   Note by chronicler: 108th Arty Group CO. (End of note)

 

On 16 March 1971 at 1450 hours;  A, B, and C Batteries report incoming fire.

 

On 16 March 1971 at 1455 hours,  received report from Lieutenant Thomas (Ammo Officer), zero balance of 175mm powder and 8-inch white bag powder.

 

On 16 March 1971 at 1515 hours, A Battery requests Medevac for 1 person hit by incoming.

 

On 16 March 1971 at 1725 hours, C Battery reports more incoming.

 

On 16 March 1971 at 1800 hours, A Battery reports extreme heavy incoming.  One WIA, serious leg wound, and one 5-ton truck destroyed.

 

On 17 March 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 100 missions for 688 rounds; A 18/143, B 26/143, C 36/236, D 20/115.

 

On 17 March 1971 at 0930 hours, F/26th Sound Platoon arrived at (XD824385; Bn Hq near Lang Bu).

 

On 17 March 1971 at 1010 hours, BDA received from ARVN Marines TGT XG2173 that A Battery fired on 12 March.  Much damage to NVA ammo and weapons.

 

On 17 March 1971 at 1125 hours, all batteries report incoming.

 

On 17 March 1971 at 1450 hours, all batteries report more incoming.

 

On 17 March 1971 at 1505 hours, incoming stopped. 2 personnel Medevac'd.  One litter and one ambulatory. Comment by chronicler: Does not say what battery. (End of comment)

(Does not say what battery.)

 

On 17 March 1971 at 1520 hours, extreme heavy incoming reported all Batteries.

 

On 17 March 1971 at 1610 hours, incoming stopped.

 

On 17 March 1971 at 1745 hours, heavy incoming resumed.

 

On 17 March 1971 at 1745 hours, message from S-3 108th. Be prepared to move D Battery to grid 755353 (on QL9, 4 km west of Lang Vei) on order.

 

On 17 March 1971 at 1825 hours, Lieutenant Colonel Ganahl reports anti-aircraft fire.

 

On 17 March 1971 at 1900 hours, CWO DeJesus, Battalion Motor Officer, reports ambush of small arms at grid 742361(on QL9, vicinity Lang Ta Kuf, 3 km southeast of Lao Bao). Negative casualties.

 

On 17 March 1971 at 1950 hours, Live Rocks (1/11 Inf) reports NVA elements at grid 755353 (position proposed for D Btry; see above).

 

On 17 March 1971at 1955 hours,  Lieutenant Thomas, A Battery, reports small arms fire near A Battery.

 

On 17 March 1971 at 2020 hours, A Battery receiving illumination rounds.

 

On 18 March 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 89 missions for 542 rounds; A 10/124, B 22/125, C 27/122, D 30/171.

 

On 18 March 1971 at 1000 hours, 1/11th Cav reports QL9 green.

 

On 18 March 1971 at 1220 hours, briefing by Lieutenant Colonel Ganahl. B Battery to move to XD824385 (1 km east of Lang Bu) immediately. A and C Batteries to recon and move to XD755353 (on QL9, 4 km west of Lang Vei) this afternoon. D Battery to stay in position.

 

On 18 March 1971 at 1335 hours, D Battery reports incoming rounds.

 

On 18 March 1971 at 1345 hours, B Battery recon departs XD7137 (vicinity Lao Bao).

 

On 18 March 1971 at 1500 hours, B Battery requests Medevac for eight personnel. Three very serious.

 

On 18 March 1971 at 1600 hours, B Battery reports incoming very very heavy.  16 personnel evacuated, six serious. 

 

On 18 March 1971 at 1615 hours, A battery ordered to new location at (XD755353; on QL9, 4 km west of Lang Vei).  Note from chronicler:  XXIV Corps called this area By Hien (XD7535).  (End of note)

 

On 18 March 1971 at 1625 hours, main body of A Battery departs.  At 1725 hours A Battery closed (XD778359; on QL9, 1.5 km west of Lang Vei).  Note from chronicler:  XXIV Corps called this area By Hien (XD7535).  (End of note)

 

A Battery was extracted from Lao Bao, along with the 250th RADAR Detachment, on 18 March 1971,with a loss of two trucks and four assorted trailers.  The battery could not extract one 8-inch howitzer.  The howitzer was finally recovered on 23 March 1971.  A Battery displaced to positions near Lang Vei, while the 250th RADAR displaced to Lang Bu.

 

Actual account from Specialist Gary Rafferty of A Battery: During the pullout A Battery lost a man (WIA or KIA unknown at this time) to an enemy RPG. (Name is unknown at this time) (Nickname was Goosey).  This happened at Lang Vei (an old Special Forces Camp that was overrun in the '68 siege of Khe Sanh). After we ran the big ambush along RT 9, and after we withdrew from the Laos Border. Several NVA stood up on the end of a heli-pad that was rearming Cobra gun ships. Timing it carefully between flights, they stood in the open and fired several RPG's down on us!

 

Several missed, but one RPG scored a direct hit on one of our guns. However, it struck the only non-metal part of the track (a fiberglass cowling that covered the engine compartment) and instead of penetrating and exploding, it merely scoured a deep furrow in it; the panel "gave" enough that it deflected the RPG warhead upwards, and it hit a big dead tree. The shrapnel from this inadvertent airburst hit Private Guse? I helped load him on the Dust-off.

 

I know that A Battery left the border on the 18th of March. It was the same day B Battery got creamed by NVA Arty. Something like that tends to stick in your mind. I know it's firmly adhered to mine. (End of Account)

 

On 18 March at 1730 hours, B Battery main body departed (XD7137; vicinity Lao Bao).

 

ON 18 March 1971 at 1500 hours, as B Battery began pulling out of their position they were hit with extremely accurate fire; wounding 16 personnel and damaging one M-587, one M-109, three 2 ½ ton trucks, and nine assorted trailers.  Along with these major items of equipment, the Battery lost the majority of its FDC and mess equipment, supply and orderly rooms.  The Battery evacuated the area at 1730 hours, the same day, taking any equipment that could be driven or carried.  One 175mm gun had to be left in position.  Enemy artillery continued to hit B Battery's position and destroyed all equipment that was left behind, except the 175mm gun, before it could be evacuated.  The gun was recovered on 23 March 1971.  B Battery returned to its original position at Lang Bu.

 

Account from James Elliot, a motor maintenance sergeant with B Battery during the pull out on March 18 1971. Choppered into FSB Flexible, near Lang Vei.  From there to Lao Bao.  We built our firebase from scratch with some Engineers.  It was called Firebase Style.  A Battery was across QL9.

 

I was most definitely there for the pull out incident on 3-18-1971. The memories are not crystal clear, but they are in living color.  The order was given to tear down all the bunkers.  As I remember, there were only two bunkers that were not torn down;  the one for the maintenance section and the bunker close to the FDC. That maintenance bunker took at least three direct hits that afternoon.  I fell into a crater left when one of the deuce and halfs left; along with Specialist Mike Williams.  I got Mike to the maintenance bunker and went back out between incoming rounds to assist the Medevac when they finally could land.  I remember vividly that it took 4 seconds from the initial round being fired until impact, and that probably save me, as I hit the ground each 3 ½ seconds.  I Loaded a bunch of guys into the Dust-offs.  One was Country Boy, with a badly broken leg, and another FDC soldier with a deep thigh wound.  When the rounds started coming in, I was in the middle of the trail near a water buffalo trailer.  The round left the trailer spewing water everywhere.  No one I have spoken with quite understands the 3/18/71 incident. (End of account)

 

Account of a Sergeant of the Guard with B/2/94th during the pull out on March 18, 1971.

 

 "A charmed and lucky bunker".  We built the bunker when we got there, next to the perimeter. It was a 5 feet  x 7 feet by 3 feet deep with a steel roof and 5 feet of sandbags on top of that. I was short (60 days) and wanted to get out of there alive. As I was Sergeant of the Guard, I would make my hourly rounds and fill sand bags in between. As I remember, we always got hit from noon till 5pm so evenings were usually quiet; so we built it at night.

 

Nothing much happened until everyone tore down, and then all hell broke loose. People were just lying out in the open getting nailed. Private First Class Mike Williams did come to my bunker and sat with his back towards me directly between my legs. Fourteen of us crowded into that bunker and I know we took many mortar hits and for sure one direct 122mm rocket. Everything went completely black and for some reason we all started reciting the Lord's Prayer. People were crapping their pants and throwing up on themselves, but all fourteen of us made it out alive. I am very proud of that bunker.

 

 When we left, that bunker was not torn down, as we didn't have the time. I was told a week later by Captain Faber that the bunker had also saved a Cobra Pilot; he had been shot down by our deserted area and had made it to the bunker until he could be picked-up. (End of account)

 

Comment by chronicler: “A very charmed and lucky bunker for all involved.”

Actual account from Specialist Gary Rafferty of A Battery that participated in Operation Dewey Canyon II/ Lam Son 719 during Phase II follows: The Laos operation was basically screwed. We had lots of incoming from NVA Arty units (they had 152mm gun howitzers which out ranged our 8 inch howitzers) and the 8th Bn 4th Artillery got smoked big time.  B/2/94 basically got wiped out on 18 March 71 when they followed a screwed up order from Battalion to line up on the road while under observed artillery fire. It wasn't a pretty sight. Interesting how they cover that screw up in the official unit history though.  (End of account)

 

On 18 March 1971 at 1745 hours, C Battery reports heavy incoming.

 

On 18 March 1971 at 1830 hours, B Battery minus closed at (XD8238; Lang Bu).  Note from chronicler:  XXIV Corps called this area Lang Con (XD8238).  (End of note)

 

On 18 March 1971 at 2055 hours, C Battery reports heavy incoming.

 

On 18 March 1971 at 2125 hours, D Battery reports heavy incoming.

 

On 18 March 1871 at 2150 hours, C Battery requests a Medevac for one person. Person reported to have been burned.

 

On 18 March 1971, the displacement of C Battery from Lao Bao, planned for 18 March 1971, had to be canceled due to heavy enemy artillery fire and stiff resistance along QL9, between Lang Vei and Lao Bao.

 

On 19 March 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 126 missions for 564 rounds; A 56/247, B 0/0, C 24/171, D 46/146.

 

On 19 March 1971 at 1100 hours, C Battery requests Medivac for one person.  Non hostile injury.

 

On 19 March 1971 at 1525 hours, C Battery reports incoming.

 

On 19 March 1971 at 1540 hours, D Battery reports incoming.

 

On 19 March 1971 at 1650 hours, C Battery reporting heavy incoming.

 

On 20 March 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 62 missions for 404 rounds; A 22/186, B 26/113, C 0/0, D 14/105.

 

On 20 March 1971 at 0945 hours, C and D battery reporting incoming.  Major Corder requests clearance for counter battery fire.

 

On 20 March 1971 at 1020 hours, D Battery reports incoming rounds.

 

On 20 March 1971 at 1420 hours, D Battery once again under fire.

 

On 20 March 1971 at 1610 hours, A Battery reports incoming from hill across the road plus RPG's.  Requested Dust-off.

 

On 20 March 1971 at 1730 hours, Battalion HQ reports incoming at heli pad.

 

On 20 March 1971 at 1750 hours, C Battery reports incoming rounds.

 

On 20 March 1971 at 1800 hours, A Battery departs XD7936 (on QL9, 1.5 km west of Lang Vei).

 

On 20 March 1971 at 1945 hours, A Battery arrives at (XD8238, vicinity Lang Bu).

 Note from chronicler:  XXIV Corps called this area Long Con (XD8238).  (End of note)

 

On 20 March 1971 at 2050 hours, C and D Battery report incoming rounds.

 

On 20 March 1971 at 2130 hours, A Battery fires first round from new position.

 

On 20 March 1971 at 2145 hours, C Battery reports more incoming rounds.

 

During the periods 18-20 March 1971, repeated attempts to clear QL 9 were unsuccessful, forcing C and D Batteries to remain in position at Lao Bao.

 

On 21 March 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 80 missions for 465 rounds; A 28/205, B 24/154, C 0/0, D 28/106.

 

On 21 March 1971, at 1825 hours, elements responsible for the security of QL 9 reported the road passable, and C and D Battery displaced.  The Batteries encountered enemy rockets, mines, RPG, and small arms fire along the route, but managed to close to their new positions in the vicinity of Lang Bu at 1930 hours.  The enemy resistance along QL 9 resulted in 6x175mm guns damaged or broken down along the route. 

 

On 21 March 1971 at 0920 hours, C and D Battery taking incoming rounds.

 

On 21 March 1971 at 1120 hours, D Battery under fire again.

 

On 21 March 1971 at 1315 hours, C and D Battery report incoming from the northwest.

 

On 21 March 1971 at 1615 hours, message received concerning the armor (1/77th) extraction of C and D Batteries.

 

On 21 March 1971 at 1830 hours, D Battery departed forward position for XD8238.Note from chronicler:  XXIV Corps called this area Lang Con (XD8238).  (End of note)

 

On 21 March 1971 at 1910 hours, C Battery departed forward position for XD8238.Note from chronicler:  XXIV Corps called this area Lang Con (XD8238).  (End of note)

 

Account from cannoneer Scott Shepard with C/2/94 during this operation. I was on the last track out Lao Boa. We picked up two "specials" both about 26, both E-8"s....what a long strange war it was. (End of account)

 

Account by Warrant Officer Stephenson Reference Liaison/Advisor and/or “Specials” of the Nature Mentioned Above: I drew the “Pay Officer” duty for HHB XXIV Corps Arty at

the end of February 1971, and after paying at Camp Horn, took a courier helicopter to Corps Arty Forward at Quang Tri. After paying everyone present in the afternoon, I found that there were two or three men who hadn’t reported for pay, and upon making enquiry with the S3, learned that the “missing men” were in a “forward” position with ARVN. My directive was to pay if possible, so the S3 sought to make arrangements for my transportation to the “forward” location, and by late morning of the following day, had arranged for a flight out for the early afternoon.

 

Other than the pilots and door gunners, I had the Huey to myself, and we set out in a westerly direction. I had visited the 2/94th Met Section at Lang Vei earlier in the month (the section located on a small hill above A Btry) and spent the night there. Traveling to and from that location, we flew along QL9, so I wasn’t expecting the more straightforward westerly route.

 

Weather conditions at Quang Tri were cool and blustery, but as we flew westward, the sky had cleared. Upon landing at our destination (in appearance, a newly constructed installation near the summit of a small, forested mountain; itself surrounded by other forested, mountainous peaks), we found that the temperature was in the range of ninety-degrees.

 

I was expected, and a couple of GIs met me and immediately lead me to an empty conference room inside the heavily sandbagged structure. As I paid the men and exchanged some of their MPCs for Piastres, I noted that the heavy supporting beams were fresh and that new plywood, PSP, and sandbags had been used in this “first class” construction project.

 

The Huey hadn’t shut down and while I was inside, had picked up a small generator and three or four ARVN passengers for the return trip. Due to the heat, it took several attempts to jockey around the pad to a position near the edge where an updraft provided sufficient “lift” for the Huey to get airborne. The ARVN were getting nervous at the thought of someone being left behind!

 

Until reading Keith Nolan’s “Into Laos”, I had always thought that the installation was inside Laos and that these men were Corps Artillery Liaison personnel. I don’t recall being told directly one way or the other, but I know that the Monsoon at that time of year makes the area east of the mountainous border with Laos cool and wet, while the area west of the mountains is hot and dry. Nolan states that there were no US personnel on the ground with ARVN inside Laos; Scott Shepard’s account gives me reason to re-consider! (End of account)

 

Note by chronicler:

 

 See personal account from C Battery member, Specialist John Greenlaw, during Lam Son below Lam Son Summary.

 

On 21 March 1971 at 1930 hours Medivac request for broken leg.  (Does not say what battery.)

 

On 21 March 1971 at 1930 hours D Battery closed at XD8238.

 

On 22 March 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 52 missions for 359 rounds; A 12/83, B 31/201, C 0/0, D 9/25.

 

 The battalion organized recovery operations on 21 and 22 March 1971.  However enemy interdiction of QL 9 West of Lang Vei precluded extensive recovery operations.

 

On 22 March 1971 at 1700 hours, BDA for the unit is reported:  A Battery; 1/4 ton truck, 3/4 ton trailer, 5 ton truck, 10kw generator, and three ammo trailers - B Battery; M577, M109, 2-1/2 ton truck, two 1/12 ton trailers, two 3/4 ton trailers, two 400 gallon water trailer, generator trailer, 3/4 ton truck, five generators, 175mm gun -  C Battery; M548, 1\4 ton trailer, 175mm gun- D Battery; 3/4 ton trailer, 1/2 ton trailer, three 175mm guns - HHB; 2-12 ton truck - Service Battery; 2-1/2 ton truck.

 

On 22 March 1971 at 1800 hours, two 175 guns recovered on QL9 west for Lang Vei.  Three 175mm guns and one 8-inch howitzer remain to be recovered.

 

On 23 March 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 57 missions for 422 rounds; A 27/216, B 18/52, C 12/54, D 0/0.

 

On 23 March 1971 at 1100 hours, recovery operations begin from 1/77 Armor CP.

 

On 23 March 1971 at 1245 hours, suspected sniper south of Battalion position.

 

On 23 March 1971 at 1800 hours, recovery complete, all weapons return to secure area.

 

 On 23 March 1971 the battalion recovery operation successfully recovered the remaining 8-inch howitzer from Lao Bao, and the three 175mm guns from along QL 9.  Three of the 175 guns extracted from QL 9 were determined to be combat losses as a result of enemy mines and RPG fire.

 

Note by CW3 Stephenson: It is my understanding that Captain Fuentes, the Battalion Motor Officer, led some of the recovery effort and that he and some of the recovery team received Awards for their work. (End of note)

 

On 24 March 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 39 missions for 251 rounds; A 27/204, B 4/16, C 8/31, D 0/0.

 

On 24 March 1971 at 1445 hours, Captain Seymore, from 108th, informs Battalion not to tear down HQ and Service Battery for move to Vandergrift. Will elaborate when he returns.

 

On 24 March 1971 at 1500 hours, Major Spin, through Captain Seymore:  Units will move  at 251300 hours Mar 71.   Lieutenant Colonel Buckley is trying to coordinate for QL9 movement.  Major Spin needs number of vehicles in 1st convoy on 25 March and 2nd convoy on 26 March.  Contact Lieutenant Colonel Carpentry, 14th Engineers at Vandergrift, for engineering support.

 

On 24 March 1971 at 1530 hours, BDA for C and D Battery - three tanks destroyed, seven secondaries.

 

On 25 March 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 39 missions for 442 rounds; A 7/40, B 5/180, C 21/170, D 6/52.

 

On 25 March 1971 at 0900 hours, B and C Battery non-operational; B Battery going to  Dong Ha and C Battery to Vandergrift. B Battery attached two guns to C Battery and two guns to D Battery, and displaced their remaining personnel and equipment to Dong Ha CB for refitting.

 

On 25 March 1971 at 1000 hours, A Battery displacing to new position (XD827443; off QL9, 6 km north of Khe Sanh). Under OPCON to the 8/4th Artillery. Note from chronicler:  XXIV Corps called this area Lang Giao (XD8244).  (End of note)

 

On 25 March 1971 at 1200 hours, B, C, HHB, and Service Batteries departed Lang Vei.

 

On 25 March 1971 at 1440 hours, C Battery closed at Vandergrift.

 

On 25 March 1971 at 1600 hours, HHB closed at Vandergrift.

 

On 25 March 1971 at 1630 hours, B Battery closed at Vandergrift.

 

On 25 March 1971 2000 hours, Battalion FDC operational.

 

On 25 March 1971 at 2015 hours, Battalion FDC assistant, in commo with 1/82nd Arty FDC:  "Be prepared to fire counter fire for rockets out of range of 1/82nd Artillery."

 

On 26 March 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 12 missions for 89 rounds; A OPCON to 8/4, B Battery located Dong Ha, C 1/10, D 11/79.

 

On 26 March 1971 at 1400 hours, D Battery departs Lang Vei.

 

On 26 March 1971 at 1615 hours, HHB, Service, and C Battery report incoming rounds.  Negative damage.

 

On 26 March 1971 at 1620 hours, 108th Group reports Sergeant Abbott FO Team injured by shrapnel.  Must be replaced.  Taken to Khe Sanh hospital at 1720 hours.

 

On 26 March 1971 at 1630 hours, D Battery arrived at Vandergrift.

 

On 26 March 1971 at 1800 hours, the Battalion’s mission was changed to GS 101st Airborne Division, reinforcing the fire of the 5th Battalion 4th Artillery.

 

On 26 March 1971 at 1500 hours, Lieutenant Bazow attached to the 2/319th to establish quick fire channel.

 

On 27 March 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 51 missions for 316 rounds; A OPCON to 8/4, B Battery located Dong Ha, C 21/208, D 30/108.

 

On 27 March 1971 at 1200 hours, Captain Doby established as LNO to 1/5 Mech and operating with 5/4 Arty at Khe Sanh.

 

On 28 March 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 71 missions for 495 rounds; A OPCON to 8/4, B Battery located Dong Ha, C 46/331, D 25/164.

 

On 28 March 1971 at 1530 hours, incoming at 1/82nd Arty from 024497 (2.5 km northeast of Vandergrift).

 

On 29 March 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 65 missions for 236 rounds; A OPCON to 8/4, B Battery located Dong Ha, C 46/198, D 19/38.

 

On 29 March 1971 at 1000 hours, visit by Colonel Holbrook.

 

On 30 March 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 105 missions for 447 rounds; A OPCON to 8/4, B Battery located Dong Ha, C 69/262, D 36/185.

 

On 30 March 1971 at 1400 hours, mission change to B Battery 8/4, OPCON to 2/94th, will be located at “Khe Xa Bai”, vicinity XD8146, south of QL9.

 

2/94th Arty will be GS to 3/101 Infantry, reinforcing the fires of the 6/11 Arty.  Lieutenant Summons will LNO 6/11 while Captain Doby will LNO 8/4 Arty.

 

On 31 March 1971 at 0800 hours, Arty sitrep:  Battalion fired 42 missions for 234 rounds; A OPCON to 8/4, B Battery located Dong Ha, C 33/172, D 9/62.

 

On 31 March 1971 at 1200 hours, A Battery displaced from the Khe Sanh area to LZ Vandergrift and released from OPCON of 8/4th Artillery. 

 

On 31 March 1971 at 1700 hours, Battalion instructed to recon new position vicinity of Mai Loc, 400849, for occupation on or about 6 April.

 

On 31 March 1971 at 1730 hours, B Battery 8/4 Arty closed in position vicinity of JJ Carroll and became OPCON to the 2/94th Artillery.

 

On 2 April 1971 at LZ Vandergrift at 1110 hours, message received from S3 at 1st of the 82nd Arty.  Intelligence has picked up radio transmission from the NVA Forward Observer stating he had a five-day supply of 82mm, 120mm, and 122mm plus a complete diagram of FSB Vandergrift.

 

On 3 April 1971 at 0030 hours, LZ Vandergrift, A Battery reported that one person was sighted to their front when he set off a trip flare.  Individual was engaged with small arm fire with negative results.  Reported to base defense.

 

On 5 April 1971, Headquarters, Service, B and C  Batteries moved from Vandergrift to Mai Loc.

 

The Battalion concluded its support of Lam Son 719 from the Mai Loc area.

 

On 7 April 1971 at 1030 hours, A Battery displaced from LZ Vandergrift and moved to a prepared position in the vicinity of Mai Loc.  At 1200 hours, they closed Mai Loc.  A Battery laid safe.

 

Concurrent with that move, B Battery 1/39th Artillery was released from OPCON and A Battery 8/4th was placed under OPCON of the Battalion, occupying positions near Mai Loc.

 

On 8 April 1971, the Battalions mission changed to GSR 1st ARVN Division Artillery.  On the same day the Battalion established liaison with the 258th VNMC and the 2nd Regiment, 1st ARVN Division.

 

During the period 9-18 April 1971, the Batteries had two-day maintenance stand down periods. 

 

On 10 April 1971, B Battery personnel returned to the Battalion position at Mai Loc after their refitting period.

 

On 10 April 1971 at 1845 hours, the battalion S3 received official notification from XXIV Corps Artillery that Operation Lam Son 719 was terminated on 8 April 1971 at 1200 hours. 

 

On 16 April 1971 at 0800 hours, Metro Section departed Battalion Headquarters’ location near Mai Loc for Camp Love.  At 1330 hours, Metro Section closed Camp Love.

 

On 18 April 1971 at 1315 hours, Metro Section departed Camp Love for Hill 65.  At 1530 hours, Metro Section closed Hill 65.  Metro Section OPCON to 23rd Infantry Division Artillery for rations and quarters, with mission to provide Met Messages to Field Artillery units located in northern sector of 23rd Infantry Area of Operations.  Met Messages scheduled for delivery at 6-hour intervals.  Initial Met Message broadcast at 2400 hours.

 

During the course of the operation the Battalion fired 5,554 missions in support of ARVN forces, for a total of 31,149 rounds.  The Battalion was credited with the following BDA: KIA 441, Bunkers destroyed 1, Machine Guns 4, Rocket Launchers (rockets) 13, Radios 1, AK 47 Rifles 35, 155mm Howitzers 3, Trucks destroyed 6, Mortars destroyed one, and numerous secondary explosions. 

 

From the BDA gathered in the logs, the 2/94th also knocked out 7 or 8 NVA tanks, possibly 9.

 

The number of causalities sustained by the Battalion was slight, when compared to the amount of combat activity encountered.  The battalion suffered the following casualties:  KIA 2, WIA 19; one KIA was suffered on each of the two 175mm gun malfunction incidents.  One incident involved metal failure of the breech and the other was a premature in-bore explosion.  One WIA was a result of a gun malfunction.

 

Lam Son 719, though it was less than a signal success, forestalled a Communist offensive in the Spring of 1971. Enemy units and replacements enroute south were diverted to the scene of the action.

 

 

Summary of Action - Lam Son 719

 

During Phase II and Phase III, the 2/94th and its companion 175 outfit, the 8/4th Artillery, held the border firebases.  Lao Bao was simply a ragged circle in the jungle; trees knocked down, the ground pitted and uneven, and quickly pulverized to dust by all the machinery pulling in.

 

The batteries were required to provide their own perimeter defense throughout the operations.  Each battery was augmented by two Twin 40mm Dusters. 

 

In some instances, their fields of fire were restricted by heavy jungle foliage just outside the battery perimeter.  Engineering support was difficult to obtain early on, but eventually did solve some of the problems.  The Dusters were also used to escort supplies and ammo from Lang Vei to Lao Bao.  The quad 50’s were also used in convoy duty until the ambushes dictated that only armored vehicles be used on the highway as escorts.  Although the cavalry units were assigned as reactionary forces, it is felt their ability to react was insufficient.

 

The positioning of Artillery units, in front of all other US units, further emphasized the need for an infantry augmentation, which never happened.

 

During the periods 8-19 February and 12-21 March, enemy artillery was employed against the forward battery locations.  These artillery attacks were at will of the enemy.  The resolution was never implemented, as the US infantry troops along the border were restricted in their access to the border.  Note by the Chronicler: (What a way to run a war!!!!!!)(Wonder what Political Genius thought that one up!!!)

 

Observed fire missions against NVA tanks and massed troops proved that heavy artillery was extremely effective against enemy tanks.  On many occasions, heavy artillery routed massed enemy troops that were threatening Vietnamese positions in Laos, inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy and disrupting his attack.  Heavy artillery was also used to fire final protective fires and close-in defensive fires with effective results.

 

They were still digging in the first day, when the NVA began shelling from Laos.  One SGT (unknown at this time) gathered some volunteers and ran to a 175mm gun to return fire.  They managed to get out several rounds before a shell exploded directly behind them, hurling the men dead or wounded from the cannon. Comment by chronicler: Unknown WIA at this time. Reported two KIA unknown at this time. Taken from the book “Into Laos” and may have been erroneously reported. (End of comment)

 

The 8/4th Artillery, camped between Lao Bao and Lang Vei, was the first ordered back from the border.  The 2/94th Artillery was next, but unlike the peaceful withdrawal of her companion 175 outfit, theirs became a trial by fire.

 

On the afternoon of 18 March 1971, B Battery at Lao Bao packed up to move.  At the same time a 1/11 Infantry Platoon, assigned to keep the road open for them, was mortared.  One man killed and six wounded.  Whatever could not be loaded on trucks, and whatever would not start, was abandoned.  The NVA shelled B Battery as they hit the road, at a total of 16-wounded Artillerymen, plus destruction of much of their equipment and vehicles. Of the material left behind, all was blown up by the accurate fire of the NVA except for a broken-down 175mm gun, left in its berm.

 

Late afternoon of 18 March 1971, after B Battery had departed, A Battery was to follow.  A Battery departed; leaving two trucks, four trailers, and an 8-inch gun that would not start.  A Battery received small arms fire, and the Artillerymen returned fire with M-60’s and M16’s.

 

C Battery and D Battery were also scheduled to leave Lao Bao, but the artillery attacks and ground ambushes with small arms fire prevented that.  Both C and D Batteries were resigned to dig-in and wait it out.  Both were cut off at the border. C Battery was south of QL9 and the attached 2/94th D Battery (B Battery 1/39th) about a mile away on the north side of QL9. 

 

The next day was a repeat of the first day.  At least 294 rounds hit C Battery.

 

As a result of an incident where an Infantry unit, some 52 men, refused an order to advance along Highway 9;  Lieutenant Colonel Ganahl requested a more reliable armor battalion to help evacuate the besieged batteries, and the 1/77th Armor was sent in.

 

The two batteries remained for three days, receiving ground probes and heavy artillery attacks.

 

The 1/77th broke through and roared into the C Battery camp perimeter.  Lieutenant Colonel Meyer was in the first M48 tank.  He wore the insignia of the 5th Mechanized Red Devils.  He asked the Artillerymen standing around the tank if they were ready to leave?  The answer was,  “HELL YES!”  Lieutenant Colonel  Meyer was impressed by the Artillerymen; commenting that they looked tough and disciplined.

 

The attached D Battery (B Battery 1/39th) was between Ta Bat and Lao Bao.  Lieutenant Colonel Meyer had taken a scout chopper to the attached battery and instructed them to get their gear and 175’s in march order.  B Company Tanks were ordered up to escort the attached D Battery (B Battery 1/39th).

 

They were to hit QL9 going east, and then link up with C Battery at Lao Bao.  Then continue full throttle for Lang Vei.

 

About 1600 hours, Lieutenant Colonel Meyer received permission to run Ambush Alley again with the two artillery batteries.

 

The convoy was ambushed all along the trip out; but the M60 fire, the twin forties of the 1/44th, the 50-cal fire, and the 90mm cannons tearing up the roadside, seem to make the enemy pay the price.

 

As the two batteries arrived in Lang Vei, there were rumors that the Battalion had already written them off.  Another rumor was that as soon as Charlie Battery left Lao Bao area,  the NVA swarmed all over it, waving communist flags and dancing around. 

 

On 22 March 1971, Lieutenant Colonel Meyer organized another convoy to go back up QL9 to retrieve what equipment, vehicles, and 175’s that they could bring out, and to blow up powder and ammunition.

 

The two batteries owe Lieutenant Colonel Meyer and his 1/77 M48 Tankers a great deal of thanks.

 

End of Lam Son Summary

 

Accounts from Specialist John Greenlaw of C Battery during Lam Son 719:  I started on Hill 65 and then went down to Da Nang to load two 8-inch and two 175mm guns on to an LST that was headed for Dong Ha Harbor. We off loaded there.  One of the guns had to be dragged off, as it would not start.  We then marched to LZ Nancy, which was the first base I was stationed at after coming in country in August of 1970.

 

While at LZ Nancy, a staging area for the soon to be Operation Dewey Canyon II and the Lam Son 719 operations, we were firing a mission of 175mm.  One of the guns fell out of battery because the recoil system failed. The barrel went into the well of the gun with full zone three charge, HE round, and primer still in the firing lock.  We cleared the area until the tube cooled off.  We then tried to get it back into battery, but attempts failed. 

 

The next night we had to leave it at LZ Nancy and C Battery moved to Vandergrift (LZ Stud for the Marines).  This was the beginning of Lam Son 719 for C Battery. We stayed there for two days in the rain before moving, at night, out to Khe Sanh arriving in the morning.

 

When the other guns from C Battery moved on out to FSB Styles at Lao Bao, I stayed behind a day or two, until the damaged 175 gun that we had left behind came up from LZ Nancy.

 

We all kept listening to what was happening on the border of Laos.  That night I talked with a truck mechanic, Raymond Hanning, a mountain of a man from Maine.  He needed spare parts for the guns over at FSB Styles.  I told him that I would be coming out the next day with the repaired 175mm gun.  He told me I was crazy to try and come out there.  I explained that the gun had a starting problem and that it was best if I rode with it.

 

The next day I loaded up my tools and TA 50 gear on the 175mm gun, and the spare parts for Raymond.  The driver of the gun was a large man named Moe (cannot remember his last name).  Moe was our ammo loader when it broke down.  He could hand up an 8-inch round to two men on the deck of the gun by himself! 

 

We only drove out as far as Lang Vei, then had to wait until the road was open.  Moe and I were roaring down Highway 9 towards the border.  We got just about to the turn before Ambush Alley and saw large clouds of black smoke.  I told Moe to slow down and pull over.  We shut down the engine so we could hear better.  That's when we heard the rounds coming into the valley in the road ahead.

 

Moe and I then low crawled all the way up to a ditch where a Lieutenant and two or three others were huddled.  They said they had some injured and were trying to get a burned out truck out of the gully in the road.  Moe and I told the Lieutenant that we were going back to get the 175mm gun out of there, before they used it for target practice.

 

When we got back to the gun it had a starter problem, again.  We pulled the top deck plate off that covered the engine.  There we found a broken wire to the starter.  I had Moe crank while I held the  wire on the starter and it fired up.  We did not even put the plate back on.  We just threw it in back, turned around, and went back down the road about 1/4 of a mile.  We then came upon a Duster headed down the road for the border.  We talked to him and then turned around and followed him back to the point we were before.  The Duster fellow thought the incoming was coming from Co Roc across the river.  He then proceeded to fire and unloaded about a grid square worth of 40mm rounds, back and forth.  After that things got quite.  By then, the truck hulk in the gully was out of the way.  The Duster and the gun, with Moe and myself aboard, made it in to FSB Lao Bao.

 

That was just one of many trips back and forth to Khe Sanh to get needed parts, when I could get someone to shotgun with me.

 

The next trip off of the border to Khe Sanh was to bring a good friend out on his way home.  He really wanted to leave by chopper.  However, it was just too dangerous for the choppers to land out there.  It would only have brought more incoming.  We loaded the back of the jeep with sandbags and I drove him back to Khe Sanh.  I never saw anyone more happy to get out, after running the nine miles back while lying in the back on the sandbags.  PFC Orval Nation was from Washington state and I never heard from him again after that ride.

 

While at Khe Sanh, I looked at the 8-inch that had the breech explosion.  I would never have believed that the step-threaded breech could tear out the way it did.  After rounding up more parts, I made the trip back to FSB Styles alone.

 

There were so many things that happened out in the Lao Bao area every day.  It is almost impossible to remember after thirty- some years.  It was sad about the Engineers that were lost, as they had done so much for us on the border during that operation.

 

One of the situations was that the rockets that came in at the base of the radio antenna right behind the FDC bunker and hit about ten feet away.  Almost a direct hit on the bunker.  They were using our antenna as aiming stakes when the sun would shine on  them.  We moved the antenna further away from the bunker.

 

Note by chronicler: I felt the same way on Carroll, as it seemed the NVA Artillery were either using the mess hall as an aiming point or (else using) the lines/poles  that ran directly in the middle of the hill, looking from the north. If you look at the rounds that came in and really did damage, they (were in a) line that ran down through Headquarters and extended into the B Battery area; including the helipad at the end of that line. (End of note)

 

I also remember the Chaplin that came out to serve Mass (which I attended).  I do not think he realized that he could not go back right away, as he hated incoming.

 

Then there was the morning when the 155mm unit up the road shot out on us.  We called for a check-fire, but to no avail.  They only stopped firing when they lost air clearance at 6:00 AM.  We collected fuses and rotating bands and lot numbers to prove it was theirs.  No personnel were hit.  I was on guard duty at the time.  Most people were in their bunkers. (The 155mm unit was a battery with 5/4, as there were several reports in the daily logs where 5/4 was shooting up 2/94 batteries.)

 

One day an Infantry mortar platoon was dropped off just outside our perimeter.  While they were still digging in we started getting hit, which continued for most of the morning.  With in a day they packed up and flew out.  They said we were crazy to stay out there.  (The mortar platoon was a unit of the 1st Cav.)

 

After our B Battery pulled out under heavy shelling from Co Roc, C Battery was left on the border with a Duster for guard duty.  That night Lieutenant Claude White, myself, and one or two others set up our 4.2 mortar.  We had never used it before and thought now might be the time to try it. 

 

Back on Hill 65, the Marines had given us a crash course on how to use a smaller one but we never did have clearance to try it.  Now was our chance. Not that any of us were real certain where the rounds would come down.  We were going to fire defensive concentrations around our perimeter.  We decided to start off with firing 8-inch parachute illumination rounds.  The first round, we left all the charges on it to make sure it got up and away from our area.  It really did light up the area.  We then slowly cut back on the charges to range in some.  We then switched over to HE and fired defcons.  We knew the NVA were all around us.  It would not have taken much to take us out, maybe even one T53 tank.

 

On the day we were to pull out, for the third time, I loaded all my gear, tools, spare parts, and 13 rolls of spectacular pictures into a trailer; to be towed behind an M548 track with about 50 rounds of powder and projectiles.

 

Then came a really spectacular event; the M48 main battle tanks from Vandergrift roared into our perimeter.  They told us to mount up with every other vehicle being a track vehicle.  (The Armored unit was the 1/77th Armor led by Lieutenant Colonel Meyer.)

 

We all lined up on Highway 9 and headed for Lang Vei, and then Khe Sanh. We knew it was going to be hell getting through Ambush Alley without a battle.  They brought in F4 Phantoms and Cobra Gunships to lighten up the NVA.  We slowly moved down the road and you could hear the battle intensifying as we drew closer.  Moving ahead then stopping; then moving ahead again then stopping once again.  The M548 that I was riding on started to overheat.  It finally blew a radiator hose and stopped.  A M48 tank pulled up and we jumped on the back, trying to hang on to the turret.  The heat from the air-cooled engines was blowing up our pant legs.  When the tank pulled up next to a 5-ton truck and trailer, two of us jumped on the back of the trailer.  It was just too hot to stay on the tank any longer.

 

The other fellow had just transferred into C Battery from the 173rd or 1st Cav during their pullout.  The M48 tank then pulled in front of the truck while we were trying to lay low in the trailer.  It was full of all kinds of junk, so we still stuck out the top some.  In the 5-ton, Specialist Skinner was manning the M60, and Specialist Brent Triplett was assisting with the ammo.  Just when we got to the alley, all hell broke lose.

 

One chopper was down and burning in the ravine and junk littered all around the highway.  There was a Duster that had pulled up onto a knoll on the high side of the road and was firing at will.  A Dust Off  chopper was trying to land in the yellow smoke.  About that time the M48 tank hit a large land mine in the road, blowing the right track and road wheels right over top of the 5 ton truck and trailer.  The NVA B40 rockets were coming in - some bouncing off the road side beside us.  At this point I jumped of off the trailer into the ditch on the left side of the road and started unloading my M16 in small bursts towards the South side of the highway; trying to keep cover fire.  The next thing I knew, I went through both bandoliers of 16 clips plus the three 20-round clips that I had started with.  After running out of ammo, I rolled over onto my back in the trench and could not believe the all the noise around me.

 

The guys in the tank turned the turret around and started to un-ass every round they had.  Specialist Skinner had froze on the M60 and cooked the barrel.  Lieutenant White was running down the right side of the road trying to keep everything moving.  I think it was Specialist Charles Hatchet who was driving the 5-ton truck.  He put his head out of the window and yelled, "Get back on the truck I am ready to leave."  I yelled back to him that when I saw his wheels start to move, I would jump back on.  Specialist Hatchet was able to get the truck by the M48 tank that was down on its belly.  We continued to move along, with mortar and arty coming in really hard at this time.  We never stopped again until we got to Lang Vei.

 

At Lang Vei a group of the 1/5 Mech tried to talk Skinner out of his M60 barrel.  He said they really needed it bad.  I think Skinner gave it to the guy just to get rid of him.  We then proceeded to Khe Sanh for the night.

 

The next morning, they were looking for volunteers to go back and retrieve M110's and M108's and anything else left in the road. I did not volunteer, as I knew that my mind at this time could not have handled any more after the two months of hell on the border.

 

I was 2 weeks away from my 21st birthday. (End of account)

 

 

Lam Son Achievement Letter

 

FROM

THE CHIEF OF JOINT GENERAL STAFF

REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM ARMED FORCES

 

Dated 14 September 1971

 

SUBJECT:  AWARD OF THE CERTIFICATE OF OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AND LETTER OF COMMENDATION.

 

“An elite unit”, a gathering of brave soldiers, participated in most of the operations in the area of the northern border, and achieved many glorious victories.

 

Especially during operation Lam Son 719, conducted by the Headquarters of I Corps from 8 February to 31 March 1971 in Lower Laos. 108th Artillery Group, US Army, demonstrated to be outstanding in the mission of providing fire support for the Vietnamese Units to drive deep incursion into Lower Laos.

 

Under heavy and constant artillery, rocket and mortar fire from the communists, the soldiers of the 108th Artillery Group, US Army stationed on the Laotian-Vietnamese border, displayed the exemplary bravery and heroic tradition of their unit, and determined to effectively support the Vietnamese units which were fighting fiercely with the communists in Laos.  Owing to the adequate support of the 108th Artillery Group, the units of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Vietnam could annihilate many well trained North Vietnam Army units supported by tanks, and occupy important base areas, secret zones and supply bases of the enemy.

 

After two months of operation, 108th Artillery Group and attached units inflicted heavy losses on the communists:  1679 enemies were killed, 67 bunkers, 11 tanks, 22 trucks, 5 guns and 226 individual crew-served weapons were destroyed and 5000 secondary explosions were reported.  (End of Letter of Commendation)

 

On 12 April 1971 at 1030 hours, B Battery departed Dong Ha for Mai Loc.  At 1200 hours, B Battery closed Mai Loc.  Two 175mm guns attached to C Battery and two 175mm guns attached to D Battery (A Battery 8th of the 4th Arty) returned to B Battery.  At 1430 hours, B Battery laid and safe at Mai Loc.

 

On 13 April 1971 at 0600 hours, at Mai Loc D Battery (OPCON A Battery 8/4) placed on two-day maintenance stand-down.

 

On 15 April 1971, the Battalion Met section was detached from the 2/94th and attached to the 23 Infantry Division (Americal).

 

Account by CW3 Stephenson Concerning Move of Met Section to Hill 65: During the afternoon of 14 April, LTC Ganahl called me in to inform me that 108th Group had decided that the Met Section would be separated from Battalion and placed under operational control of the 23rd Inf Div. I was to shut down my operation immediately and prepare to move the Section south to Camp Love the following morning.

 

Rationale for the separation, presented to LTC Ganahl by COL Holbrook, was that northern I Corps Arty units had Met coverage in abundance, while Da Nang and the southern area were being neglected. In the north, Met Section locations were at: Camp Carroll - 8/4th, Quang Tri – 5/4th, LZ Nancy – 1/39th, Camp Eagle – 1/83rd, FSB Bastogne – 101st Div Arty, and LZ Roy – 2/11th. In the south, locations were at: Chu Lai Airport – 1/18th, FSB (name unknown), west of Chu Lai – 1/16th, and Duc Pho – 23rd Inf Div Arty.

 

In the evening, I was called in once again and informed that arrangements had been made for me to accompany COL Holbrook to Hill 65 (AT879578, south of Da Nang) and reconnoiter a position for the Section there. I was also instructed to travel to 23rd Division Headquarters in Chu Lai as soon as possible, and make arrangements for the Section to be fully OPCON to the Division --- rations, quarters, supply, pay, personnel actions, etc.

 

At approximately 0800 hours on 15 Apr 1971, the Met Section departed Mai Loc under the supervision of SFC Atwell, Chief of Section. Shortly thereafter, COL Holbrook arrived in his Kiowa, and we departed the Battalion area at Mai Loc for Hill 65. We were met on Hill 65 by the Hill Commander (a Div Arty Staff Officer) and the Battery Commander of D Btry 1/82nd Arty. While the Hill Commander led COL Holbrook away for an inspection of the artillery assets on the Hill, the BC and I soon found a site for the Met operation and also made arrangements for billeting of personnel. Prior to our departure, it was agreed that the Section would move from Camp Love to the Hill on 17 April and would be met at the intersection of QL1 and LTL4 at 1430 hours with a security escort. COL Holbrook dropped me off at Camp Love on his way north and I was joined by the Section within minutes of my arrival.

 

On 16 April 1971, I borrowed a ¼ ton vehicle and driver from the S1 at Battalion Rear and traveled on QL1 to HQ 23rd Inf Div at Chu Lai. I met with the Division Artillery S2, reaching an understanding about our mission on Hill 65; and then made my way over to the Division G1 Office to make arrangements for the OPCON, as envisioned by LTC Ganahl. Division G1 personnel accepted the 201 Files of Section personnel (which I had brought along) and after making note of names and personal data, returned the Files to me. I was then told to inform our Battalion S1 that rations and quarters would be provided, but all other support would remain with the Battalion; end of conversation! Upon my return to Camp Love in the afternoon, the S1 expressed no surprise at the way things had turned out!

 

While I was away, SFC Atwell arranged to have the vehicles cleaned, serviced, and repaired as necessary; and then had them refilled with a new basic load of expendable Met supplies. Personal clothing, field gear, personal weapons, crew-served weapons, etc. were also cleaned and exchanged as needed. With fresh haircuts and PX purchases in hand, Section personnel readied themselves for the unknown of Hill 65.

 

On 17 April 1971 at approximately 1300 hours, the Met Section departed Camp Love for Hill 65. At approximately 1530 hours, the Met Section closed Hill 65. The initial Met Message was broadcast at 2400 hours, and subsequent Met Messages were scheduled for delivery at 4-hour intervals. (End of account)

 


Notes and discussion from 1 November 1970 to 30 April 1971, 17th and 18th Battalion Operational Report

 

The Battalion was assigned six tactical missions:

 

1 November 1970 to 29 January 1971, GS XXIV Corps reinforcing fires of the Quang Da Special Zone, with fires planned by the 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.

 

29 January 1971 to 4 February 1971, GS XXIV Corps reinforcing fires of the 5th Battalion 4th Artillery.

 

4 February 1971 to 26 March 1971, GSR ARVN I Corps Artillery with priority of fires to the 1st ARVN Division.

 

26 March 1971 to 31 March 1971, GS 101st Airborne reinforcing the fires of the 5th Battalion 4th Artillery.

 

31 March 1971 to 8 April 1971, GS 101st Airborne reinforcing the fires of the 6th Battalion 11th Artillery.

 

8 April 1971 to 30 April 1971, GSR 1st ARVN Division Artillery, establish fire support officers with 2nd ARVN Regiment, 1st ARVN Division and 258t Vietnamese Marine Corps Brigade.

 

During sustained tactical operations, the requirement for a field artillery battery to provide continuous fire support on a 24 hour basis while having to secure the forward battery perimeter with augmentation places an undue strain on battery personnel.

 

Serious errors in fire direction and firing battery leading to tragic resuLieutenants can occur if personnel do not have a minimum of 5 hours sleep.  On an extended operation, the strength of a heavy artillery battery is inadequate to cope with requirements for continuous firing while providing total security for the entire battery perimeter.

 

It is recommended the two M42 Twin 40mm Guns (Dusters) or tow truck mounted quad 50 Machine Guns be attached to the firing battery when the defense is provided  by maneuver units or the firing battery defensive positions cannot be integrated into other defenses.  That when heavy artillery operates forward of maneuver elements, which occurred twice during operations for extended periods, a platoon of infantry be attached to each firing battery.

 

A unit must have self illumination capability in order to insure rapid and effective illumination of a threatened sector of the perimeter.

 

Light and medium artillery have this capability for self illumination from organic weapons, but the heavy artillery battalion does not.  Other artillery units cannot be relied upon to provide illumination during the first critical minutes of an enemy attack.

 

It is recommended that heavy field artillery batteries be issued one 81mm mortar and a basic load of illumination ammunition during periods of sustained operations.

 

It is also recommended that each firing battery be issued the light marker distress hand held strobe light.  During night Medevac during the operation the pilots had a difficult time finding the landing areas.  Hand flares and flashlights proved to ineffective as a signaling device.  Pilots stated that it would have greatly assisted in these extractions.

 

KIA- 4 The three B Battery members killed were Specialist Cecil Wayne Southerland from Moreland, Kentucky; Specialist Daniel Kenneth Erlandson from Tewksbury, Massachusetts; and Corporal Albion Joe Bergantzel from Henderson, Iowa. His nickname was ‘Farmer’.  The C Battery member killed was Sergeant Dale Mitchell Hollowell from Henderson, Tennessee.

WIA- 26 (Unknown at this time)

Non-Battle deaths - 1 Private Donald Lee Senti, A Battery, from Englewood, Colorado died as a result of an accident.

Non-Battle wounded - 5 (Unknown at this time)

 

End of notes and discussion, 17th and 18th Battalion Operational Report

 


 

Account from CWO Charles Stephenson with the Metro Unit: On 2 May 1971, Hill 65 (AT878577) – At approximately 0100 hours, small arms fire was heard in the village complex south of Hill 65.  Headquarters Battery, 2nd Bn 94th Artillery Met Section personnel took up positions on the perimeter alongside 23rd Infantry Division personnel for the remainder of the night.

 

At approximately 0800 hours, the first salvo of mortar rounds impacted in the D Btry, 1st Bn 82nd Arty area (southwest end of compound) --- additional salvos peppered the entire hill top at approximately hourly intervals throughout the morning hours, but dropped off in frequency as the afternoon progressed.  (Note:  Low hanging rain clouds obscured the countryside throughout the day and prevented utilization of aerial observers (AO) or helicopter gunships.  Furthermore, the AN/MPQ-4A Counter-Mortar RADAR, deadlined since Saturday evening, required a repair part that could not be delivered because of the inclement weather).

 

At approximately 1900 hours, a 122mm rocket detonated on the steep slope approximately fifty feet below the Metro Section operations bunker.  No injuries to personnel,  but the AN/GMD-1 tracking unit suffered cosmetic damage from debris (chipped paint and a few small dents).

 

On 3 May 1971, Hill 65 - Sporadic rocket and mortar hits continued throughout the day and evening.  Dust-off arrived to evacuate two wounded infantrymen.  Inclement weather continued to prevent assistance from AO or helicopter gunships.  AN/MPQ-4A Counter-Mortar RADAR remained deadlined.

 

On 4 May 1971, Hill 65 - Improved weather conditions allowed limited air support to return.  The repair part for AN/MPQ-4A Counter-Mortar RADAR, along with Class A rations, arrived by helicopter during the morning hours.  Mortar fire dropped off after the RADAR came back on line and started to provide targeting data to the FDC.  For several hours afterward, the gun batteries stayed busy firing on mortar sites located by the RADAR. (End of account)

 

On 3 May 1971 at 0800 hours, the Battalion became non-operational. Headquarters and Headquarters Battery and Service Battery displaced to Camp Eagle; A Battery to FSB Bastogne, spending one night at Camp Eagle on their way; B Battery to FSB Rakkasan, and C battery to FSB Nancy. C Battery is OPCON to the 1st of the 39th Artillery. A and B Batteries departed Mai Loc at 1000 hours. B Battery closed at Rakkasan at 1615 hours and A Battery closed at Camp Eagle at 1700 hours. At 1800 hours, B Battery laid and safe, #1 & #2 Guns. Support maintenance: #3 not closed, #4 elevating motor. Battalion is replacing the 1st Battalion 83rd Artillery.

 

On 4 May 1971, the Battalion received a change in mission, GSR 101st Airborne Division Artillery. 

 

On 4 May 1971, A Battery closed into FSB Bastogne after spending the night at Camp Eagle.

 

On 4 May 1971, the Battalion assumed OPCON of the 1/83 arty in the process of standing down.

 

On 4 May 1971 at 0830 hours, A Battery departed Camp Eagle for FSB Bastogne.  At 1030 hours, A Battery closed at FSB Bastogne.  At 1200 hours, A Battery laid and safe.

 

On 7 May 1971, C Battery displaced from FSB Nancy to FSB Birmingham.

 

On 7 May 1971 at 0900 hours, C Battery departed FSB Nancy.  At 1255 hours, C Battery closed at FSB Birmingham.  At 1312 hours, C Battery laid and safe.  C battery back under the 2/94th.

 

 All batteries began maintenance stand down periods of two days each. To be from 17 to 19 May 1971.

 

On 16 May 1971 at 1600 hours,  two 175mm guns departed C Battery at Camp Eagle enroute to Bastogne.  At 1700 hours, two 8-inch howitzers departed Bastogne enroute to Veghel accompanied by two Dusters and four 5-ton ammo vehicles.  At 1745 hours, two 175mm guns closed at Bastogne.  Both operational.  At 1845 hours, two 8-inch howitzers closed at Veghel.  At 1907 hours, two 8-inch howitzers laid and safe at Veghel.

 

On 19 May 1971 at Camp Eagle at 0930 hours; CO, S3, and 108th Arty Group S3 visited 101st Div Arty.  101st Div Arty wants two 175mm guns moved from Birmingham to FSB Click, ASAP.  Coordinates are YD906028.  At 1545 hours, C Battery departed Birmingham with FDC and two 175mm guns. At 1830 hours, C Battery closed FSB Quick.  At 1845 hours, C Battery laid and safe.  Both 175mm guns operational with 85 complete rounds on hand.

 

On 23 May 1971 at Camp Eagle; 1335 hours to 1845 hours, A Battery Gun #1 departed Bastogne enroute to Veghel.  A Battery Gun #3 departed Bastogne enroute to Veghel.  Closed at 1845 hours.

 

On 25 May 1971 C Battery, two 175mm gun, raid to FSB Quick was concluded.  C Battery minus displaced to FSB Bastogne.  FSB Birmingham was closed.

 

On 6 June 1971 A Battery, Specialist Michael Ray Street, from Rutherfordton, North Carolina was an accidental ground casualty.

 

On 9 June 1971 at 1850 hours, A Battery reported 10 rounds incoming at FSB Veghel, 3 rounds landing inside wire in ARVN area.  Report negative damage to A Battery, 2/94th area.

 

On 9 June 1971 the rear area was moved from Camp Love, Da Nang to Camp Eagle.

 

On 11 June 1971, two C Battery 175mm guns returned from FSB Veghel to FSB Bastogne.   A Battery, two 8-inch departed FSB Bastogne to FSB Veghel.

On 14 June 1971 Specialist Anthony Aloysius Price succumbed to burns received while at Khe Sanh.  Specialist Price was in Headquarters Battery and was from New Haven, Connecticut. 

 

On 15 June 1971 at 1100 hours, a severe weather warning was issued from the 101st Abn Div.  Expect seven inches of rain by 2000 hours.  101st Abn Div closed roads to Bastogne and Veghel except for emergency traffic.

 

On 15 June 1971, Private First Class Richard L. Spinler of B Battery was medevac’d.

 

On 18 June 1971 at 2000 hours, report from B Battery Rear at Camp Evans that a Service Battery vehicle had been shot up.  It had gone to Quang Tri for three days.

 

On 19 June 1971 at 0800 hours, report from B Battery Commander that Service Battery vehicle passed through Camp Evans and was fired upon north of Evans.  Driver was stopped by MPs but refused DR for excessive speed.  Vehicle was returned to B Battery Rear with bullet holes in the radiator and body.  Incident was reported to B Battery Rear.

 

On 22 June 1971, Specialist Dewey D. Gibbs of B Battery was Medevac’d.

 

On 24 June 1971, Specialist Clemis D. Meadows of? Battery was Medevac’d.

 

On 25 June 1971, Specialist Wayne Stephen Murphy was killed by enemy artillery. Battery unknown at this time.

 

On 28 June 1971, Specialist Richard McClain of B Battery was Medevac’d.

 

On 29 June 1971, at 1900 hours, Battalion Met Section relieved by 23rd Infantry Division Metro Section and released to return to Battalion Headquarters at Camp Eagle.

 

On 30 June 1971, at 0900 hours, Battalion Met Section departed Hill 65 for Camp Eagle.  At 1315 hours, Battalion Met Section closed Camp Eagle. 

 

On 30 June 1971 at 1000 hours, Camp Eagle, C Battery departed Bastogne.  C Battery elements closed FSB Birmingham at 1240 hours.

 

Account from C Battery FDO, Lieutenant Marchand:  Bastogne was a real pit, about two feet deep in rats, real rats.  I think that is why we left. I am not kidding. We left so the entire Fire Base could be put underground. It was subsequently overrun by the NVA in March of 72 and retaken in August. (End of Account.)

 

By the month of June 1971, C Battery was back at FSB Bastogne and in July 1971, moved back to FSB Birmingham.

 

Account from C Battery FDO, Lieutenant Marchand: The rear area in Da Nang was terminated mid-June 71. I showed up from my 2-week leave, and literally caught the last truck out, as Vietnamese civilians were vandalizing Camp Love. (End of account)

 

Previous Campaign was, 10th Campaign Sanctuary Counteroffensive  (05-01-70 to 06-30-70)

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Next Campaign is 12th Campaign, Consolidation I (07-01-71 to 11-30-71)

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