Hoa Tan, 6 March 1967.
a. Unit involved:
Blue Team, 1/9 Cavalry
Co A, 2/5 Cavalry
Co A, 1/35 Infantry
Co B, 1/35 Infantry
Co C, 1/35 Infantry
Co B, 2/5 Cavalry
Btry A, 2/9 Artillery (DS - 1/35 Infantry)
b. Mission: The mission of all units initially
was search and destroy or security. C Troop, 1/9 Cavalry was the support
of the 3d Brigade TF, 25th Infantry Division. Co A 2/5
Cavalry was the security company at LZ UPLIFT. Co A and Co B, 1/35
Infantry were conducting a village search of Chua Trieu - Son
(BR857943). Co C, 1/35th Infantry as OPCON to 1/14th Infantry and
conducting an operation in the Upper Suoi Ca Valley region. Co B, 2/5
Cavalry was located at LZ ENGLISH. A Btry, 2/9 Arty was DS 1/35th
Infantry at LZ UPLIFT.
c. Terrain: The area of contact is
characterized by flat rice paddies with palm groves and hedgerows around
the villages. The village of Hoa Tan is surrounded by rice paddies, and
further to the north, west, and south by low hills.
d. Enemy: No enemy forces were known to be in
the contact area on 6 March 1967. No previous contacts had been made in
the Hoa Tan area.
e. Synopsis of action:
(1) At approximately 0720 hours, 6 March 1967,
a gunship, C Troop. 1/9 Cavalry spotted a military age male standing
near a bunker vic (BR972879). The gunship landed to apprehend the VCS,
received fire, and was forced to land on a sandbar at BR980880.
(2) The Blue Team, C/l/9 Cavalry was inserted
at approximately 0735 hours to develop the situation In the area of
contact. The platoon became heavily engaged with enemy in bunkers vic
BR972879. (0830 - 0900 hrs)
(3) One platoon, Co A, 2/5 Cavalry as airlifted
to a blocking position on the hill vic BR970880 and touched down at 1030
hours. On landing, the platoon received automatic weapons fire and
suffered one WIA. The platoon as OPCON to C 1/9 Cavalry.
(4) Co A, 2/5 Cavalry as alerted to send the
rest of the company to the contact area at 1045 hours. The CO, 1/35
Infantry as alerted to move Co A and Co B, 1/35th Infantry from their
village search operation to encircle the Hoa Tan area and was directed
to assume control of the area.
(5) Co A, 2/5 Cavalry completed its move to the
blocking position by approximately 1130 hours. The Blue Team maintained
sporadic contact throughout this period and several gunship strikes were
called on the bunker positions in an attempt to neutralize the enemy.
(6) By 1130 hours, Co A and Co B, 1/35th
Infantry were moving northeast (by foot) to the contact area. Co A sent
one platoon by ground to secure LZ ANCHOR. (BR942853) so that A battery,
2/9 Arty could be displaced from LZ UPLIFT. The contact area was at
maximum range for the 155 Arty Battery at LZ UPLIFT.
(7) Co B, 1/35th Infantry moved astride the
road to a position vic BR967875, arriving at that location at 1300
hours. At that point, the company split into two columns with the 1st
and 3d platoons maneuvering to the southeast, then north, into the area
of contact of the Blue Team. The Company minus, consisting of the 2nd
and 4th platoons, preceded towards the town of Hoa Tan.
(6) Co A, minus the platoon at LZ ANCHOR, moved
through the saddle at BR952878 to occupy blocking positions north and
west of Hoa Tan along the high ground. The company’s move would, in
effect, seal off the area, since Co A, 2/5 Cavalry had blocked to the
(9) The CO, 1/35th Infantry assumed control of
all forces in the area at approximately 1330 hours upon the completion
of an air strike being conducted by CO, 1/9 Cavalry. The Blue Team was
extracted and placed on standby.
(10) As elements of Co B, 1/35th Infantry
advanced along the finger at BR974876, they came under heavy automatic
weapons fire at approximately 1400 hours. Gunships were used in support.
(11) Co B (-) approached the town of Hoa Tan on
two axes and initiated contact with enemy occupying bunkers, and spider
holes, and trenches. To the east on the finger, the 1st and 3d platoons
withdrew a short distance to call for additional gunship support from
(12) As the afternoon progressed, the action of
the 1st and 3d platoons continued to be characterized by sporadic
contact. The Company (-) became more heavily engaged within the village
of Hoa Tan. The enemy positions were well concealed and constructed. The
enemy allowed some elements to pass and then came up from spider holes
to fire on US Troops from the rear.
(13) By 1600 hours the blocking force of Co A
was in position and the 105 Battery (A/2/9) lad closed LZ ANCHOR. The
use of artillery at that time, however, was not feasible in the contact
area. Blocking fires were used to the north of Co A, 1/35th
Infantry position. Gunships from C Troop, 1/9 Cavalry and the 119th Avn
Co were used to fly close support to Co B, 1/35th Infantry.
(14) At 1545 hours, Co C, 1/35th Infantry was
airlifted into LZ’s vic BR977930 and moved south to blocking positions
along the ridge Iron BR960920 southeast to BR977907. The company closed
(15) Co B, 2/5 Cavalry as airlifted into
blocking positions vic BR958900. The Blue Team was inserted at BR971900.
These two units were placed OPCON to 1/35th Infantry on touchdown and
were given blocking missions.
(16) At 1630 Hours, the B Company Commander,
1/35th Infantry was wounded and subsequently evacuated by the Battalion
CO. The company was still engaged at close quarters in the fortified
village and the use of supporting fires was hampered by the proximity of
the friendly troops and blocking forces. Accordingly, B Co minus
withdrew to positions along the road east of the village so that
additional casualties could be evacuated and ammo resupply could be
effected. The 1st and 3d platoons also withdrew 100 meters south for the
(17) Contact as broken at approximately 1900
hours. Co B as ordered to blocking positions - one at BR976876, the
other at BR975875. At this point, A Battery, 2/9 Artillery began an
intensive program to neutralize the fortified village and block escape
(18) Throughout the night of 6-7 March
Artillery as fired. At 0800 on 7 March, after six - battery volleys, B
Co 1/35th Infantry attacked along the same axes and met only light
resistance. Co A, 1/35th Infantry moved to the low ground just west of
the village to afford better support. Co B, 1/35th Infantry cleared the
town and began to police the battlefield.
(1) Enemy losses: 84 NVA KIA, 3 LMG, 1 RPG 2, 1
RPD, 1 M-79, 6 SKS, 3 AK-47’s, 4 M-16, 1 US Carbine, 3 57mm RR Rounds,
7 60mm mortar rounds, 1 flare pistol, 28 grenades, misc packs,
documents, and ammunition.
(2) Documents recovered indicate the enemy unit
was the 9th Battalion, 18th NVA Regiment. It is believed at least two
enemy companies were involved in the battle.
(3) US Losses:
Co B, 1/35th Infantry - 3 KHA, 10 WHA
A Btry 2/9 Arty - 1 KHA
C Troop, 1/9 Cavalry -1 KHA, 5 WHA
A Co, 2/5 Cavalry - 3 WHA
g. Comments: This battle is typical of actions
in fortified villages. Both the Blue Team and Co B, 1/35th Infantry were
engaged in close quarters. The battle area was encircled to prevent
escape. In this action, however, the company withdrew periodically to
utilize gunship and air support. Artillery, when available after the
displacement, was employed to the maximum extent possible to
"soften" up the village. By chance, Co B, 1/35th Infantry as
wearing armored vests on 6 March, a fact which saved at least five
lives. This is a good example of the "hammer and anvil"