4th Campaign

 

Revision Date:  03/21/02

 

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

(04-02-68 to 06-30-68)

 

Description of Counteroffensive, Phase IV

 

During this period friendly forces conducted a number of battalion-size attritional operations against the enemy.

 

Operations PEGASUS-Lam Son 207 relieved the Khe Sanh Combat Base on 5 April and thereby opened Route 9 for the first time since August 1967. This operation not only severely restricted the North Vietnamese Army's use of western Quang Tri Province but also inflicted casualties on the remnants of two North Vietnamese divisions withdrawing from the area. This success was followed by a singular allied spoiling operation in the A Shau Valley, Operation DELAWARE-Lam Son. These two operations prevented the enemy from further attacking I Corps Tactical Zone population centers and forced him to shift his pressure to the III Corps Tactical Zone.

 

During the period 5-12 May 1968 the Viet Cong launched an offensive with Saigon as the primary objective. Friendly forces defended the city with great determination. Consequently Saigon was never in danger of being overrun. Small Viet Cong units that did manage to get into the outskirts were fragmented and driven out with great loss of enemy life. By the end of June 1968 friendly forces had decisively blunted the enemy's attacks, inflicted very heavy casualties, and hindered his ability to attack urban areas throughout the Republic of Vietnam. The enemy was forced to withdraw to his sanctuaries.

 

The strength of the U.S. Army in Vietnam reaches a peak of nearly 360,000 men during this period. (End of description)

 

The 2/94th supported two battalions of the 4th Marine Regiment that were engaged in Operation SCOTLAND II. Initiated on 15 April 1968, this multi-battalion search and clear operation was centered in and a round the Khe Sanh combat base. (4th Marine Battalions are unknown at his time)

 

After many weeks of siege, the enemy was finally driven back from Khe Sanh.  The defense cost a great many American lives, but the enemy was hit even harder.  The next few months would see a substantial drop in enemy activity as he regrouped and avoided confrontation in order to build up his forces.  The successful defense of Khe Sanh was a significant page in the Vietnam chronicle.  While the outpost itself would later be abandon, the success proved that the determined US Forces would not accept defeat in Vietnam.  Though militarily superior, the US Forces had been sustaining heavy causalities as a result of the excellently deployed guerrilla forces of the VC and NVA.  There was growing opinion that the guerrilla force could never be overcome.  Though the war was far from over, Charlie’s reputation as an incredible fighter was beginning to suffer.

 

During these artillery battles the 2/94th suffered causalities from all batteries on Carroll. From a Battalion Surgeon that was with 3rd Battalion 9th Marines information indicates there were casualties in the 2/94th crews at the Rockpile as well.

 

Final Statistics for the Defense of Khe Sanh

U.S. & Allied Casualties

730 Americans Killed in Action
2,642 Americans Wounded in Action
7 Americans Missing in Action
229 South Vietnamese ARVN Killed in Action
436 South Vietnamese ARVN Wounded in Action

 

The enemy had retreated so completely from the area that rocket attacks were weeks apart rather than just hours as they had been. 

 

Most significant was the fact B Battery displaced to Ca Lu on 8 June 1968 without incident.

 

 A year previous they convoyed to Ca Lu under heavy security in an attempt to reach Khe Sanh.  Due to enemy ambushes the plan was canceled and battery returned to base camp.

 

The majority of the Battalion missions during this time were counter battery or suppression fires.  Though enemy activity had lessened, there was still sufficient contact capable of producing causalities.

 

On 9 April 1968, Brigadier General Glick, Deputy Commander of the 3rd Marine Division, visited C Battery Gun #3 and fired one round while the gun was engaged in a fire mission.

 

On 14 April 1968, C Battery received two 8-inch tubes and at that time two 175 tubes were removed, making the Battery combined 175mm and 8-inch.

 

On 15 April 1968, Operation Pegasus, Long Sam II, was concluded.

 

On 15 April 1968, A/8/4 departed the Rockpile and returned to OPCON of the 4th Artillery.  A/8/4 had been under operational control since 16 January 1968.

 

On 15 April 1968, B/2/94 displaced from Carroll to the Rockpile.

 

B Battery displaced to Thon Son Lam (Rockpile) and received only four rocket attacks, without any damage sustained.  The only damage was cause by an accidental fire, which destroyed gun 4, and injured nine men.  One cannoneer received shrapnel wound to the cheek and several Marines were treated for smoke inhalation. The accident happened when the crew had to fire one gun over the top of another. There was a fireball and that blew the projectile and powder pit of the destroyed gun section. That gun crew ended up with a 81mm mortar for a while. (See FDC Officer account below.)

 

On 15 April 1968, C Battery converted two 175’s to 8 inch.  These 8-inch guns were used primarily to destroy bunker complexes north of JJ Carroll. (See FDC Officer account below.)

 

8-inch on Carroll

(This is thought to be one of the first conversions completed on

Carroll described above and below)

 

Account from Captain Tom Jones, Battalion FDC Officer: We returned the two eight inch tubes after a while.   With them we had shot north beyond Dong Ha Mountain.  Once we had two USMC aerial observers adjusting on a 14.7mm AA gun sited atop a ridge in a hole. Round three occupied the hole with the AA gun. Probably ruined their whole day. We shot a precision mission to the southwest at a bunker. The mission was adjusted from atop the Battalion FDC bunker.  The eight inch tubes were returned and we had all twelve 175 tubes for the big shoot in the DMZ in late June. We always had A/8/4 attached. They stayed at the Rock Pile. We got another 8/4 Battery for the DMZ shoot.  

 

Five batteries was too much coordination for Battalion. 4 rounds converged sheaf with ten minutes between fire missions. That meant shooting rounds at 0, 2, 4, 6 minutes on the schedule of fires with four minutes left to relay in many cases and get data to the guns. In addition, gun crews were usually at about half strength due to R&R, guard duty and not assigned up to full strength. It was too much for too few.

 

The first night got us several hours behind. The DMZ shoot included 60 Arc Lites. Each of the first two days, 300 TPQ's plus Marine Artillery and 1/40 Artillery.  After two days naval gunfire came in. They stayed out until some coastal artillery was destroyed. This operation was to relieve pressure on Dong Ha logistical base. We were OPCON to the First Cavalry Division Artillery for Operation Pegasus.

 

The Cavalry FSC commended us several times because we were laid and ready to fire quicker than his Division Artillery.  We did a TOT for the Cavalry. The FSC called for times of flight.  Average Cavalry was 30 seconds. When he got to Hungarian (2/94th) and 180 seconds time of flight, all he could do was croak "Hungarian Fire".  We may have been late. One afternoon during Pegasus, either Blue Max or Black Widow from the Cavalry Division Artillery shot us into Long Vei Special Forces Camp at the NVA. This AO shot us until he called it quits due to only gas fumes left in his fuel tank. We fired when the Marines caught a NVA division trying to slip south.  All available artillery fired at 100-meter intervals along a line - one round per minute and moving from spot to spot.

 

There is a Marine authored book on this action that doesn't mention the artillery very much. A Marine captain and fraternity brother of mine at Auburn got a MH there saving a sister line company and finishing the action on a stretcher with five wounds. The artillery raids and the big blow up at the Rock Pile occurred while I was in Conus on emergency leave. The DMZ shoot was after I got back and I was leaving C battery.

 

At the Rock Pile a 175 firing adjustment let loose a sheet of flame from the muzzle. This flame ignited a powder charge laying on a flank piece. This powder charge cooked off the round rammed in the tube. The explosion flipped the gun and set off the ammunition bunkers. This raised havoc with the Marine Artillery sited inside the 175 Battery. A bad powder lot caused the excessive muzzle blast. This is what I was told later. 

 

I remember tubes were changed at 300 rounds and a new breechblock every two tubes. Standard velocity was 914.4 m/s.  Max range was 32,000 M.  One night a Marine had us at 34,000 shooting before he gave us a drop 800.  Met was very stable at Carroll.

 

We took incoming about every other day. It was 122 rockets and 130mm guns. A major problem was a US pack 75 located on the face of Dong Ha Mountain. His trajectory was so flat that he did not break both beams of the Q4 radar. It could only hit A Battery. Captain Richard Erickson told me later that that when the Marines took Dong Ha Mountain, they found two 75's tunneled in from the backside with only muzzle holes to fire through. A 75 round wounded Captain Jablonski in the calf on 2 May 1967and lead to his death the next day. (End of account.)

 

Account from Battalion FDC Officer, Captain Tom Jones regarding Major Fleming and an unknown member of A Battery:  "Major Fleming came in one afternoon.  He said he had dropped into A Batteries latrine to get rid of some coffee.  Seems a young troop about to rotate was sitting there almost dying of constipation.  The latrine was well padded with 175 powder canisters.  After Major Fleming completed his task and walked a ways off, a 75mm round landed right outside the latrine.  The young fellow was unhurt.

 

We figured that was the quickest conversion from constipation to diarrhea in history. (End of account)

 

Note from Chronicler: I would imagine we all could relate to that scenario some. 

 


Notes and discussion from 1 Feb 1968 to 30 Apr 68, 6th Battalion Operational Report

 

During the period the Battalion the mission remained the same.  Supporting the 12th Marine Regiment, direct support for the 3rd Marine Recon patrols, and reinforcing the 13th Marine Artillery fires at Khe Sanh.  Mission was changed on 31 March 1968 to supporting the 1st Air Cavalry Artillery with priority fire to the 1st Cavalry.  That mission was cancelled as of 15 March 1968, which concluded Operation Pegasus II.

 

The Battalion suffered losses and wounded during the reporting period, with the heaviest losses in February.

 

During this quarter 4,855 missions were accomplished with an expenditure of 28,052 rounds and 49 gun tubes.

 

Infusion of 4 Lieutenants and 3 Captains has eliminated the rotational problem in September.

 

Tube instability:  After firing a relatively few (sometimes less than 50) rounds at charge 3, definite lateral “whipping” effect of the tube may be observed.

 

Loosening of the final drive mounting bolts and of the traversing assembly bolts causes this effect.  In order to correct this problem, it is necessary to remove the traversing drive assembly and to tighten the mounting bolts.  This task takes approximately one hour.

 

It is highly recommend that the final drive bolts be tightened once per week of sooner if tube “whipping” is detected.

 

Marking of clothing:  The importance of marking of individual items cannot be over emphasized for identification.

 

Cracking spades on the 175:  The spades have been cracking with disturbing regularity on the especially when firing charge 3.  Some have been welded in excess of 30 times.  The 8-inch does not display this problem.  It is concluded that the spade on the 175 is simply not strong enough to sustain heavy rates of fire, using charge 3.  Too little strength in the interest of saving weight.  It is recommended a heavier stronger spade be developed for the 175mm gun.

 

The elevation the traversing planetary carriers break too often:  The carrier and the sun gear cause no problem on the 8-inch.  They do break on a regular basis on the 175.  Replacement parts have been difficult to obtain and have caused considerable down time.  12 carriers replaced during this reporting period.  It is recommended that the subject parts be strengthened in future manufacture and that replacement be stocked in quantity at direct support level to minimize down time.

 

Casualties during this period:

Killed in Action – 5 Private First Class James Allen Lowery; A Battery, from Port Orford, Oregon.  Private First Class Kenneth Eugene Hornbaker; Headquarters Battery, from Mercersburg, Pennsylvania.   Specialist Arkie Wright Jr.; Headquarters Battery, from Williamsburg, Ohio.  Specialist Kenneth John Greene; from Jersey City, New Jersey.

 

Wounded in Action – 30 (Captain Dominguez, Lieutenant Sandeen, Captain Durkin, Sergeant First Class Jones, Staff Sergeant Brum, Corporal Robinson, Private First Class Hillis, Private First Class Willard) (22 Not known at this time)

 

End of notes and discussion, 6th Battalion Operational Report

 


  

 On 2 and 4 May 1968, incoming artillery wounded three cannoneers from C Battery.  Private First Class Thomas Schofield, C Battery, from Layton, Utah was killed in the attack of May 2 1968.  Private First Class Hatfield and Private Searle were the two C Battery cannoneers injured by incoming artillery and med-evaced.

 

Also wounded in the attack on May 2 1968 was Captain Edmond Jablonsky, Headquarters Battery, from Pasadena, Texas. Captain Jablonsky was Medevac'd but died as a result of his wounds on 3 May 1968.  He was the first officer killed in the Battalion since the unit’s reactivation.

 

Remembrance from Captain Tom Jones, one of the 2/94th officers that served with Captain Jablonsky - Lieutenant Colonel Kamstra would tell him not to go out every time his crew had to recover vehicles shot up on convoy. Captain Jablonsky, Ed, went anyway. He told Lieutenant Colonel Kamstra that if I send my men out then I am going also.
 

On 30 May 1968, A Battery displaced from Carroll to LZ Hawk (XD895405) to support Operation Drum Fire II.  A Battery would return to Carroll on 2 June 1968.

 

In the month of June the M14 rifles were exchanged for the new M16 rifles throughout the Battalion.  Instructions were given on the cleaning and maintenance of the new weapon.

 

On 2 June 1968, A Battery returned to JJ Carroll from LZ Hawk.

 

On 3 June 1968, Private First Class Hatfield of C Battery returned from the hospital.  He returned to his duties as a cannoneer.

 

On 8 June 1968, B Battery displaced from the Rockpile to Ca Lu (YD010455) reinforcing fires of the 12th Marine Artillery providing support for the 3rd Marine elements in the Khe Sanh area.

 

On 12 June 1968, two new quarter ton trucks were received to replace the two that were destroyed.

 

On 17 June 1968, Lieutenant Colonel Alan A. Bristor accepted the Battalion colors in a ceremony marking his assumption of command.  Major General Steadwell Deputy Commander, 3rd Marine Amphibious Force was present for the occasion.

 

From 1967 to 1968 the ammo dump at Dong Ha, where the 2/94th Service Battery resided, was hit at least three times and could be readily seen from Carroll some 18 miles away.

 

On 21 June to 27 June 1968, B Battery occupied LZ Hawk, received only light scattered rocket attacks.  While at LZ Hawk the battery reinforced the fire of the 12th Marine Artillery and fired approximately 600 rounds in support of Task Force Hotel during Operation Scotland II, South.

 

On 27 June 1968, B Battery displaced from LZ Hawk to Camp Carroll to prepare for Operation Thor.

 

On 30 June 1968,  Private First Class Gerald Leroy Walters of C Battery was killed by incoming artillery. Private First Class Walters was from Culbertson, Texas.  During the same attack, Private First Class Bruce of C Battery was wounded and Medevac'd.

 

C Battery Status

 

Battery Commander

1 April to 30 June 1968, Captain William Trinidad Dominguez

 

XO

1 April to 27 April 1968, Lieutenant Robert A. Delap

27 April to 30 June 1968, Lieutenant William Wilson. 

 

Asst XO

1April to 30 June 1968, Lieutenant Jeffrey P. Newton. 

 

Forward Observer

1 April to 5 May 1968, Lieutenant Stephen Desold

1 April  30 June 1968, Lieutenant Kenneth K. Gross

5 May to 4 June 1968, Lieutenant John K. Bucher

4 June to 30 June 1968, Lieutenant Ronald Keane. 

 

First Sergeant 

1 April to 30 June 1968, First Sergeant Jack E. Hobgood.

 

The Battery is in the process of shifting to defense of different areas for support necessary for protection for ground gaining forces and insure proper defense for them.  A program of strengthening bunkers and reinforcing gun pads and powder and projectile pits have been our main objectives.  To conclude, an overall effort has been made to insure the protection and well being of our personnel in an adequate manner. 

Signed by Capt, Arty, Commanding William Trinidad Dominguez

 

 

Previous Campaign was 3rd Campaign, Tet Counteroffensive (01-30-68 to 04-01-68)

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