13th Campaign

 

Revision Date:  03/17//02 

During this time period the 2/94th took part in Consolidation II.

(12-01-71 to 03-29-72)

 

Description of Consolidation II

 

The U.S. continued to reduce its ground presence in South Vietnam during late 1971 and early 1972, but American air attacks increased while both sides exchanged peace proposals.

 

In early January 1972, President Nixon confirmed that U.S. troop withdrawals would continue but promised that a force of 25,000-30,000 would remain in Vietnam until all American prisoners of war were released. Secretary of Defense Laird reported that Vietnamization was progressing well and that U.S. troops would not be reintroduced into Vietnam even in a military emergency. U.S. troop strength in Vietnam dropped to 136,500 by 31 January 1972, to 119,600 by 29 February, and then to 95,500 by the end of March.

 

During the last week of December 1971, U.S. Air Force and Navy planes carried out 1,000 strikes on North Vietnam, the heaviest U.S. air attacks since November 1968. Allied commanders insisted that it was necessary because of a huge buildup of military supplies in North Vietnam for possible offensive operations against South Vietnam and Cambodia. Stepped up North Vietnamese anti-aircraft and missile attacks on U.S. aircraft that bombed the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos also contributed to the decision. During January 1972 American planes maintained their intermittent bombardment of missile sites in North Vietnam and on he Laotian border and also struck North Vietnamese troop concentrations in the Central Highlands of South Vietnam.

 

On 25 January, President Nixon announced an eight-part program to end the war which included agreement to remove all U.S. and foreign allied troops from Vietnam no later than six months after a peace agreement was reached. The North Vietnamese and Viet Cong delegates rejected the proposal and insisted upon complete withdrawal of all foreign troops from Indochina and cessation of all forms of U.S. aid to South Vietnam. (End of description)

 

On 1 December 1971 the battalion was deployed as follows:

 

A Battery was at FSB Bastogne with four 175mm guns.

B Battery was at FSB Rakkasan with two 175mm guns and two 8-inch howitzers.

C Battery was OPCON 196th Infantry Brigade in the Da Nang area with two 175mm guns and two 8-inch howitzers located on Hill 34.

 

On 22 December 1971, a Camp Eagle report states that Gun #22  blew a tube.  No one was injured.  Started a small fire in the powder pit.  The tube blew about 4 feet from the end. Observation by chronicler:  I assume that it’s from B Battery.

 

On 23 December 1971, B Battery moved to Gia Le Combat Base from FSB Rakkasan.  This move was in order to support the Third Brigade of the 101st which had been redeployed.

 

On 23 December 1971; Subject is an Artillery Accident on the 22nd of Dec 1971.  The last remaining 175mm gun in operational condition in B Battery was firing 35 of --- had fired 35 of a 41 round mission --- bursting in the tube --- was accompanied by a huge fireball.  Two blivets of gasoline, located down the hill and to the front of the gun, were set on fire.  In addition, the mission powder pit to the right front, containing approximately  80 zone 3 excess powder increments from previous fire missions, caught on fire.  The fires were extinguished without further damage.  Because of the nature of the incident, it is impossible to estimate the location of the impact.

 

On 30 December 1971, 1/321st Field Artillery assumed fire control of A Battery.

 

During the first week of January 1972, the Battalion slowly filtered south and C Battery was returned to battalion control.

 

On 10 January 1972, Battalion Headquarters redeployed from Gio Le Combat Base, 101st Airborne, to Camp Haskins, 196th Infantry Brigade and became operational on 11 January 1972.

 

On 11 January 1972, A Battery was attached to the 1/321st FA, 101st Airborne at Phu Bai and was located at FSB Bastogne.  A Battery was four 175mm gun battery.

 

On 11 January 1972, B Battery was loaded onto LST's in the Hue area waiting shipment to Da Nang.  B Battery was two 8-inch howitzers and two 175mm guns.

 

On 11 January 1972, C Battery was located at FSB Hill 34 and OPCON to the 3/82nd FA.  C Battery was two 8-inch howitzers and two 175mm guns.

 

On 16 January 1972, B Battery arrived by LST to Da Nang and departed for NAC.

 

On 20 January 1972 at 0800 hours,  C Battery displaced the 8-inch platoon south near Hoi An to destroy a bunker complex on island near there.  During the next seven-day raid, the platoon fired 67 missions, 4,503 8” rounds expended and received report of 32 bunkers destroyed, 4 hootches destroyed, and 2 KIA.

 

On 25 January 1972, one of the C Battery raid guns ruptured a fuel cell and was withdrawn from the raid position. 

 

On 27 January 1972, the C Battery 8-inch platoon returned to Hill 34.

 


 

Notes and discussion from 10 January 1972 to 31 January 1972,  Battalion Operational Report

 

Battalion Mission was General Support of the 196th Infantry Brigade.

 

The Battalion conducted its normal mission of heavy artillery support from the two positions under its control.

 

The Battalion conducted a seven day raid to fire on an enemy training, supply, and hospital area located on an island near Hoi An.  Large numbers of bunkers were destroyed and the effectiveness for the island as a staging area was significantly reduced.

 

Observation:  During the raid against Hoi An Island, C battery occupied two positions.  This created conditions that might have caused exhaustion in the Fire Direction Section, thereby decreasing battery efficiency.

 

Evaluation:  A heavy artillery firing battery is authorized eight fire direction personnel, with four per each twelve hour shift.  Normally, at least three men per shift are required to process fire missions.  When the battery displaced one platoon on the raid against Hoi An Island, a division of the battery fire direction center (FDC) was indicated.  Instead of utilizing four personnel at each location a six man FDC was maintained at the permanent battery position, and an emergency two man FDC was set up at the raid site.  The main battery FDC operated two shifts of three men each and computed data for both platoons.  The two man FDC at the raid position could not maintain 24 hour fire direction, but was sufficient for emergency computation if communication were lost with the main battery FDC.

 

Recommendation:  That batteries firing from more than one position compute data for both positions form one main FDC, and have only small emergency FDC's at additional positions.

 

Command Action:  This recommendation has become standard procedure during split battery situations unless communications prohibit this action.

 

Observation:  Although this unit has had an organic aviation section for several years in Vietnam, it did not receive operational control of that section until the Battalion was attached to the 196th Infantry Brigade.

 

Evaluation:  During the reporting period the Battalion's organic aviation was used primarily for artillery observations purposes.  In addition, they were used for visual reconnaissance of enemy positions and to make battle damage assessments.  Since the aircraft were under Battalion control, they were more responsive to demands.  This is an important factor, especially when uncertainties regarding weather and clearances require air observation to be available on a very short notice.  Also, since the air observers operated continually with the same pilots, a sense of team spirit was developed which increased the efficiency of the air observer.

 

Rounds expended minus A Battery:  8-inch 657  175mm 619

 

End of notes and discussion 10 January 1972 to 31 January 1972,  Battalion Operational Report

 


 

On 1 February 1972, A Battery was OPCON to the 1st Battalion 321st Field Artillery Group, organic to the 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division and was located at FSB Bastogne with four 175mm guns.

 

On 1 February 1972, B Battery was located at the Northern Artillery Cantonment (NAC) with two 175mm guns and two 8-inch howitzers.

 

On 1 February 1972, C Battery was located at FSB Hill 34 with two 175mm guns and two 8-inch howitzers.

 

On 3 February 1972, C Battery participated in the Ha Ton Operation.  The entire battery displaced to Hill 65 “FSB Rawhide”.  Accompanying the Battery were two 155mm howitzers from D Battery 3/82nd Artillery and one troop from the 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry as a security detachment. 1/1 stayed with the raiding artillery to provide perimeter security at Hill 65.  During the four-day operation, they expended 567 8-inch rounds in 76 missions and 508 175mm rounds in the 105 missions.

 

On 6 February 1972, one of the C Battery 175mm guns was pulled from action for a maintenance issue.  One 175mm gun from B Battery was displaced to replace it.

  

On 6 February 1972, Camp Haskins, Headquarters 060555 Feb 72 Note by chronicler:

6 Feb at 0555 hours (end of note), Gun 78 blew a breechblock, resulting in 1 KIA and 6 crewmembers wounded.  The soldier killed was Specialist Thomas Lipsey.  Observation of chronicler: The crewmembers are unknown at this time except for the gunner Sergeant Baker (first name unknown). Sergeant Baker suffered severe burns. (End of observation)

 

Account from Specialist Chris Cunningham of C battery:   My gun crew had been up much of the night firing at sensors in the jungle. What we called “shooting monkeys in the trees”, since it was never clear what had set-off the sensors.  We were sleeping when something woke us up. The entire bunker came awake.  I don’t remember hearing anything thing specific, but as most of those who were there know, a strange sound always brought you out of a “sound” sleep to wide awake.  Most of us were grabbing our weapons when someone called down the doorway that a gun had blown-up. I believe it was Gun 3, but I am not sure.
 
We all ran out of the bunker to see what we could do to help.  By the time we got there, others were tending to the wounded.  Our medic was not at FSB Bastogne that day and the ARVN medic came down to help.  Calls went out for a Medevac; however, all of the Dustoffs were either fogged in or on call elsewhere.
 
The gunner, Sergeant Baker (?) was badly burned, see photo of gunners seat, and everyone on the crew were injured in some way.  The call went out for any helicopter that could Medevac them out.  The General sent his chopper.  In came a shiny chopper, 50-caliber machine guns in the door and the Black-Horse patch on the nose.  Our dead and wounded were being taken out for help.
 
It was reported back that the official report believed the accident was caused by crew error.  Investigators believed that the fuse was not fully seated on the projectile.  When the gun fired, the force for the shot stripped the threads on the fuse, slammed it against the projectile, and the fuse exploded; exploding the round in the tube. This could have happened. However, I worked and crewed with everyone on the gun that day.  We were casual with our handling of the ammo and operations, but we knew the dangers and did not short cut safety.   Everyone I knew would run their hand around the base of the fuse to verify that the fuse was seated. (End of account)
 
Services were held later that day for Specialist Tom Lipsey. (End of account)
 

On 7 February 1972, C Battery returned to Hill 34 from FSB Rawhide ending the raid.

 

On 8 February 1972 at 0700 hours, B Battery displaced from NAC with two 175mm guns and two 8-inch howitzers on a raid to FSB Baldy.  B Battery was in position and ready to fire at 1130 hours.  One troop from the 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry as a security detachment. 1/1 stayed with the raiding artillery to provide perimeter security at FSB Baldy.

 

On 11 February 1972, A Battery relieved from OPCON to the 1/321st. Arrived at Camp Haskins and began stand down.

 

On 11 February 1972 at 0700 Hours, A Battery departed Phu Bai and at 1000 hours closed at Camp Haskins.  

 

On 12 February 1972, B Battery returned from raid at FSB Baldy to NAC.

 

 On 21 February 1972, B Battery displaced two 8-inch howitzers and two 175mm guns to FSB Baldy in support of the 2nd ARVN Division.

On 26 February 1972 at 1510 hours, (message received) from the 196th INF Bde, check-fire for B Battery.  People are taking rounds near area where Battery was firing, Grid BT166562.

On 29 February 1972

Battery A of the 2nd Battalion 94th Artillery

CEASED TO FIRE

 

JOB WELL DONE’ TO ALL MEMBERS OF ALPHA BATTERY during its six year history.

 


 

Notes and discussion from 1 February 1972 to 29 February 1972,  Battalion Operational Report

 

Mission during the month was General Support of the 196th Infantry Brigade.  The Brigade carries out operations to defend the Da Nang area against enemy ground, mortar, and rocket attacks, by locating and destroying enemy forces, supplies and cache sites.  The brigade carries out spoiling operations to blunt the 1972 TET Offensive.

 

Mission concept of artillery operations:  Batteries were tactically employed to provide heavy artillery fire support for the 196th Infantry Brigade to assist in mutual support of occupied fire bases in the 196th Infantry Brigade Tactical Area of Operations, and to carry out raids against enemy troop and supply concentrations. 

 

Rounds expended during the month minus A Battery:  8-inch 2,000  175mm 3,291

 

The Battalion conducted three coordinated raids against large enemy controlled areas 20-30 Kilometers south of Da Nang.  Extensive enemy activity in the area indicated an enemy build up directed against Da Nang area during the 1972 TET period.  The first raid had the Ha Tan Valley as the major target, while the second raid fired primarily at the Que Son Mountains.  prior to the raids enemy activity was at a high level even during daylight hours.  At the end of the periods enemy activity had been reduced to minimal night movements.  The raid in progress at the end of the reporting period was in general support of 2nd ARVN Division operating in the Que Son Mountain area.

 

Observations:  During the Ha Tan Valley Operation all clearances for firing were routed through normal channels to Brigade level before firing was authorized at the Battery positions.  On succeeding two raids the Battalion provided necessary liaison teams and established required communications to enable the Battery to obtain clearance direct from district and province level, eliminating the requirements to route such clearances through the next higher headquarters.  The responsiveness of fires was significantly increased during the latter two raids.

 

Evaluations:  The long range capabilities of heavy artillery often result in units being able to fire into several districts and military areas of operation from one fire base, whereas light and medium artillery often fire in support of only one or two such areas depending upon positioning.  The increased number of clearances required as a result of this extended range sometimes results in less responsive fires due to the time elapsing while awaiting clearance.  On the initial raid to Hill 65, clearances were processed through normal channels, often requiring clearance agencies such as Dai Loc District, located 3 Kilometers from the firing point, to process fire requests and clearances through 3 intermediate headquarters prior to data actually arriving at the firing unit.  On the succeeding raid to Baldy, the Battalion was authorized to accept fire requests and clearances directly from the clearing or requesting agency to a liaison officer stationed with the firing unit.  This procedure significantly reduced clearance time, greatly improved responsiveness, and in general contributed directly to the increased efficiency of operations.

 

Recommendations:  When feasible, artillery units firing in support of a number of political districts and agencies be authorized to establish direct liaison and accept and coordinate clearances directly.

 

KIA - 1 Specialist Thomas Washington Lipsey from Kalamazoo, Michigan.

WIA - (Unknown at this time)

 

End of notes and discussion from 1 February 1972 to 29 February 1972,  Battalion Operational Report

 


On 1 March 1972, B Battery was located at FSB Baldy with two 175mm Guns and two 8-inch howitzers.

On 1 March 1972, C Battery was located at FSB Hill 34 with two 175mm guns and two 8-inch howitzers.

On 10 March 1972 at 1030 hours, B Battery main body departed FSB Baldy for LZ Ross.  At 1210 hours, B Battery main body closed at LZ Ross.  At 1250 hours, B Battery Guns laid and ready to fire. B Battery moved to LZ Ross to support the 2nd ARVN Division operations in that area.

 

On 19 March 1972 at 1300 hours, B Battery departed LZ Ross.  At 1515 hours, B Battery closed at FSB Baldy.

 

On 21 March 1972 at 1530 hours; Operations Section, FDC, Battalion Maintenance, and Personnel Section closed Hill 34 from Camp Haskins. Note by chronicler: Summary states that C Battery did no firing and Headquarters Battery and Service Battery started the move from Camp Haskins to Hill 34. (End of note)

 

On 24 March 1972 at 1400 hours, the Battalion conducted Re-deployment Ceremony at Camp Haskins.

 

On 25 March 1972 at 1200 hours, the battalion turned Camp Haskins over to ARVN. 

 

On 25 March 1972, the battalion completed moving from Camp Haskins to Hill 34.

  

Observation of chronicler:  Late in 1971 or early in 1972, with the stand-downs taking place, the 2/94th turned over some artillery pieces to the South Vietnamese Army as they took over the firebases up north which had been home to the 2/94th. It is thought at this time the 2/94th guns being turned over were turned over to the 102nd ARVN Heavy Battalion. (End of observation)

 

HHB was at an old Marine compound just below Hi Van Pass on Route1, right on the ocean.  Note by chronicler:  Compound above was the old Camp Love area. (End of note)

 

Early in 1972 NVA forces were being built up around Da Nang.  Some B-52 raids on the outskirts were called in. The 2/94th fire support was called in to hit some bunkers in cliffs,

which the bombers could not hit with effectiveness.

 

On 27 March 1972 at 0910 hours, B Battery departed FSB Baldy for Hill 34.  At 1145 hours, they arrived at Hill 34. Upon arriving at Hill 34, B Battery began stand-down. 

 

While at FSB Baldy, B Battery had expended 27 rounds of 175mm and 40 rounds of 8-inch in support of the 2nd ARVN Division.  Suspected targets at Grid AT 876513 and Grid BT 0054 were called in by the 2nd ARVN Division. Fire mission had started at 2120 hours and ended at 2325 hours.  Battalion was released from its role with the 2nd ARVN Division. Their last fire mission in country had consisted of 67 rounds.

 

On 31 March 1972, B Battery was located at FSB Hill 34, non-operational, undergoing stand down.

 

On 31 March 1972, C Battery was located at FSB Hill 34 with two 8-inch howitzers and two 175mm guns.

 

While at FSB Hill 34, C Battery went on a two week Artillery raid with two LOACH spotter helicopters to spot and adjust fire.  The 175’s destroyed NVA emplacements and gave 29 NVA Soldiers the opportunity to give their lives for their country.

 

This is thought to be the last major action the 2/94th was asked to serve in.  Other than H and I or opportunity targets.

 


 

Notes and discussion from 1 March 1972 to 31 March 1972,  Battalion Operational Report

Mission of the battalion during the time period was supporting 196th Infantry Brigade and the 2nd ARVN Division.

Mission concept of artillery operations:  Batteries were tactically employed to provide heavy artillery fire support for the 196th Infantry Brigade to assist in mutual support of occupied fire bases in the 196th Infantry Brigade Tactical Area of Operations, and to provide heavy artillery support for the 2nd ARVN Division.

 

Number of rounds expended during the month:  1,476 8-inch   3,221 175mm

 

The Battalion supported the 2nd ARVN Division's Operation Quyet Thang 22B until released on 27 March 1972.  The operation was a decisive success with over 425 enemy KIA's and large amounts of enemy weapons, equipment, and supplies destroyed or captured.  B Battery received credit for 29 enemy KIA's.  The enemy military capabilities in the area were so drastically reduced that it will take several months of effort to replace their losses.  It will probably take even longer to replace the personal losses.

 

Observation:  During the several years that the 2/94th has been in Vietnam it has had an organic aviation section; however, until the unit was attached to the 196th the aviation was not controlled by the Battalion.  It was attached to the 108th or 101st Airborne Artillery sections. The supposed reason for attachment was to consolidate aircraft for more efficient maintenance, thus increasing the availability of aircraft.  The experience over the last three months indicates that this does not hold for this Battalion.

 

Evaluation:  In the three months in which the Battalion has controlled its own aviation section it has had an aircraft availability rate of 80.4 percent. This higher than normal rate is due primarily to the Esprit of belonging to an artillery battalion and not just an aviation section.  Also a close working relationship developed between pilots, air observers, and Battalion staff members.  Because of this Esprit they have, without hesitation, worked long hours, often into the night, to insure that the aircraft were available to carry out the Battalion's mission.  In addition to having a higher overall aircraft availability rate, the Battalion cold utilize aircraft when needed.  The unit could plan missions based on operational requirements rather than aircraft availability as determined by higher headquarters.

 

Recommendation:  Heavy artillery battalions retain an aviation section consisting of two aircraft, two pilots, and two crew chiefs, and maintain operational control of that section.

 

End of notes and discussion from 1 March 1972 to 31 March 1972,  Battalion Operational Report

 


 

Previous Campaign was 12th Campaign Consolidation, I (07-01-71 to 11-30-71)

Click to Return to 12th Campaign

 

Next Campaign is 14th Campaign, which is Cease Fire (03-30-72 to 01-28-73)

 

Click for Cease Fire

 

Click to return to History Index

 

Click to return to 2/94th