Thach Thang (3)

16 April 1967

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Transcribed and Submitted by SGM (ret) Dave Butters

Operations Sergeant for the 2/35th 

 

DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY

Headquarters 2d Battalion 35th Infantry

APO San Francisco 96355

AVDC-C-CTB                                                                                                 17 April 1967

SUBJECT: Combat Operations After Action Report for 16 April 1967

TO:     Commanding Officer

           2d Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile)

           APO San Francisco 96490

1. Name of Operation: LeJeune (Part)

2. Date of Operation: 160600H April 1967 to 162400H April 1967

3. Location: A Company vic BS813382, B Company vic BS798385, C Company vic BS798385.

4. Command and Control Headquarters

  1. HQ, 2d Bn, 35th Inf
  2. Company A, 2d Bn, 35th Inf
  3. Company B, 2d Bn 35th Inf
  4. Company C, 2d Bn 35th Inf
  5. Blue Team, B Troop, 1st Sqn, 9th Cav (Airmobile)

5. Reporting Officers

  1. LTC Clinton E. Granger, CO, 2d Bn, 35th Inf
  2. CPT S.L.C. Barcena, CO, Company A, 2d Bn, 35th Inf
  3. CPT Ralph B Walker, CO, Company B, 2d Bn, 35th Inf
  4. CPT James W. Lanning, CO, Company C, 2d Bn, 35th Inf
  5. 1LT Bruce K. Kelly, Platoon Leader, Blue Team, 1st Sqn, 9th Cav (Airmobile)

6. Task Organization

  1. Company A, 2d Bn, 35th Inf
  2. Company B, 2d Bn, 35th Inf
  3. Company C, 2d Bn, 35th Inf
  4. Blue Team, B Troop, 1st Sqn, 9th Cav (Airmobile)

7. Supporting Forces

  1. 7th USAF
  2. Battery, 2nd Bn, 9th Arty
  3. Battery, 1st Bn, 30th Arty
  4. Red Team, 1st Sqn, 9th Cav (Airmobile)
  5. White Team, 1st Sqn, 9th Cav (Airmobile)

8. Intelligence: District Headquarters

9. Mission: 2/35 Inf TF under OPCON 2d Bde, 1st Cav (Airmobile) was to conduct search and destroy operations in AO LeJeune and provide ready reserve force for the operation

  1. A/2/35 assumed responsibility for initial RRF at 160730H April 1967
  2. B/2/35 was to provide security on the western flank of Operation Golden Fleece, a rice harvest project designed to protect the local population from guerrilla activity in the harvest area. On order, conduct search and destroy operations to the north.
  3. C/2/35 to conduct search and destroy operations to the west to investigate possible enemy operations in the western portion of the battalion AO.
  4. Blue Team/1-9 Cav (Airmobile) to conduct search and destroy operations in the northwest corner of the AO; specifically vic BS795485 where intelligence sources revealed the operation of some 50-75 VC/NVA

10. Execution

  1. At 160630H Apr 67, B Troop departed LZ Montezuma, vic BS813412, to conduct a search of the suspected area of guerrilla activities. At approximately 0640H, the Blue Team conducted a combat assault vic BS805478 without incident. At 0750H, the Blues detained one VCS from THACH THANG (3), vic BS794484, who stated the 61 NVA/VC stayed in his town the previous evening. While 1/A/2-35 was being alerted, B/1-9 secured the area and at 0810H vic BS799488 the Blue Team made contact with one individual in black pajamas. One VC was killed.
  2. At 0810, 1/A/2-35 conducted a combat assault vic BS800485 to go OPCON 1/9 Cav.
  3. In the meantime, at 0811H, B/2-35 departed on foot from vic BS788885 to provide security in conjunction with the National Police for the local farmers harvesting their rice crops. At the same time, Co C departed the same location on S&D operations to the west. At 0910H it was decided to commit Co C into the area of contact.
  4. After landing, the 1st Platoon of Company A moved to the right flank and on line with the Blue Team. The two began a slow and deliberate sweep toward the north, receiving sporadic automatic and small arms fire from the retreating enemy. Observation and gunship teams from the 1/9 Cav provided early warning and flank security. In addition, the Red Team (Gunships) helped to keep the enemy retreat to a slow pace by placing effective fire on any enemy attempt to break out to the flanks.
  5. At 1005H, C/2-35 was placed on RRF and were committed on arrival of the lift ships. At 1010H, they conducted a combat assault into an LZ vic BS799486, and commenced deployment to the east to establish a linear blocking position prior to moving south in a sweep toward the other committed elements. As they swept into the village, THACH THANH (3), the White Team observed a large number of enemy retreating across the rice fields east of the artillery fire and air strikes were called into the area. The enemy in an attempt to escape the devastating fire of the supporting units, were breaking into small groups and were trying to use the numerous spider holes that saturated the area. In a futile attempt to escape the fire, the enemy force changed their direction to the south toward the oncoming Blues and 1/A/2-35.
  6. C/2-35 then swept to the fields and headed south in an attempt to squeeze the broken force into the Blue TF moving to the north. At this time the CO, 2-35 Inf TF, assumed command of the maneuver elements on the ground, keeping 1/A/2-35 under control of the platoon leader of the Blue Team.
  7. During the whole operation, heavy enemy ground fire was received by all helicopters in the contact area. Numerous helicopters received hits and one, a gunship UH1D, from the Red Team was shot down, killing the crew. Efforts to locate the downed aircraft proved futile until the 1/C, while on the west flank sweeping south discovered it at 1500H. The CO, Co C, directed that 1/C secure the downed craft while Company C (-) continued to sweep to the south, pushing the stricken enemy into the blocking positions of the Blue TF.
  8. As the two friendly elements closed, both were halted and indirect support by artillery and naval gunfire raked the area between the forces. The artillery was then shifted to the west while the Red Team and CH47 gunships strafed the battlefield. 1/A/2-35 was maneuvered to the east flank and moved into a position to block the eastern avenue of withdrawal under the cover of the gunship support. During the whole operation, AW and SA fire was directed at the friendly forces by the trapped enemy. As the rap began to close in, the enemy tried to break to the west and north, only to be wounded or killed by the observant gunners in the air.
  9. Once the trap was closed, a thorough search of the area produced two enemy CIA with weapons. These were evacuated to the Brigade IPW for interrogation. Numerous enemy KIA and blood trails were found but all other traces of the remaining guerrillas was lost.
  10. Ten minutes later, while the contact area was being searched, the pilot of the C&C helicopter, 2-35, observed a group of forty to fifty enemy evading to the north across a rice paddy. Immediately two White Teams were dispatched to the scene and brought indirect fire into the area. Again the enemy disappeared into their spider holes and tunnels saturating the fields, hedgerows and surrounding tree lines.
  11. At 1620H the remainder of Co A/2-35 conducted a heliborne lift into the LZ vic BS800485, where the downed helicopter was being secured by 1C. Upon closing, Co A(-) moved to the north sweeping the area to the west of, but parallel to axis of C/2-35. The sweep continued forward with halts to permit airstrikes on the fleeing remains of a VC company.
  12. At 1800H the Blue Team was extracted from the LZ where the craft was being secured and they were returned to LZ Montezuma where they reverted to the control of the 1/9 Cav (Airmobile). At the same time, B/2-35 returned to LZ Montezuma on foot to assume the posture as the 2d Brigade Ready Reserve Force.
  13. Darkness finally terminated operations and the two companies returned to 1/Cís location where they were resupplied and where they reported their night location.
  14. A CH47 reported on station to support the two companies at 1900H but was later diverted for units in contact to the south. At 2100H, one VC approached the perimeter of the two companies and was killed by alert men on guard. This was the last contact made in a day long fight. A search of the area the next morning revealed the dead VC 25 meters from the perimeter. The last body was found 250 meters to the northeast in a cane field. There was no further contact in that area.

11. Results:

  1. Friendly casualties:

4 KIA (1/9 Cav helicopter crew)

1 WIA (Co C)

  1. Enemy losses

43 KIA

2 POW

11 VCS

4 Wpns CIA

sic Clinton E. Granger, Jr.

CLINTON E. GRANGER, JR.

LTC, Inf

Commanding

1 Incl - sketch

 

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