1/35th Infantry Regiment

Battles of 1 and 6 March 1967

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In Memory of these Cacti Brothers...

Recon 1/35th - 1 March 1967 - Sgt. Frank Bazell, Pfc. David Ramirez, Pfc. Edward Reid

B Co. 1/35th - 6 March 1967 -  Sp4 Stephen Peck, SSG William Poole, Pfc. Harry Taylor

ABtry 2/9th Arty - 6 Mar 1967 - Pfc Lynn Ferguson

C Troop, 1/9th Cav - 6 Mar 1967 - Jesus Gonzales, Edward Kaneshiro (DSC), Jimmie Martin

AVDC-C-CP 1 May 1967

SUBJECT: Inclosure 1: Combat After action Report for PERSHING

ED Note: Op. Pershing was conducted from 12 February to 19 April 1967, with the 3d Brigade Task Force, 25th Div OPCON to the 1st Cav Division (Airmobile).

Location of Operation: The area designated for Operation PERSHING included sandy shorelines and coastal plains as well as mountainous area rising precipitously from near sea level to 700 meters or more. The Nui Mieu Mountain Area with the center of mass at BR9875 rises from near sea level to 600 meters. The Crescent Area includes the flat coastal plain between the Nui Mieu Mtns to the south, the Cay Giep Mtns (BR9389) to the north, the South China Sea to the east and the high ground from BR9276 to BR8887 to the west; Hwy 1 bisects the Crescent area. The 506, Kim Son, and Soui Ca Valleys are located with center of masses BR8480, BR7381, and BR8065 respectively. (ED – From the AAR for Op. PERSHING)

1. Battle of 1 March 67:

a. Units involved: Reconnaissance Platoon, 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry and Co A, 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry.

b. Mission: The Recon Platoon was on a search and destroy operation moving from east to west along the ridge vic BR890775. Co A was on a search and destroy operation moving south on three axes vic BR877780.

c. Terrain: The terrain in the area was characterized by a high ridge line, sparsely vegetated in most areas along the crest with deep, densely vegetated draws and underbrush between the crest and the low ground.

d. Enemy: No known enemy units were reported in the area prior to the fire fight. The enemy has been known to use vegetated portions of the ridge for routes of movement frost north to south.

e. Synopsis of actions:

(1) At 1330 hours, 1 March, the Recon Platoon was moving frost east to west along the south side of the Crescent Ridge. Since the platoon was south of the top of the ridge, the movement was characterized by traversing of cross compartments. The platoon was in a column with point and flank security.

(2) At 1345 hours, the platoon reached a stream bed at BR889777. The point man heard movement on the higher ground to the west and then spotted several NVA. The point opened fire and the enemy returned the fire from prepared positions. The enemy had several automatic weapons and at least one machine gun.

(3) The platoon leader moved his platoon on line and maintained a heavy volume of fire to the front. Attempts to flank the enemy were fruitless since the machine gun (s) on higher ground prevented movement out from the cover of the rocks in the streambed. At this time the platoon was engaged at a range of 20 meters.

(4) The platoon leader called for fire support. The battalion commander decided to use gunships for fire/support due to the close quarter fighting. Co A was ordered to move south and east as rapidly as possible to cut off exfiltration routes. The Recon plat was placed OPCON to Co A. Blocking fires by artillery were fired for the area south of the contact (an area characterized by dense vegetation and a cliff) .

(5) Gunships were employed (4 ships) to fire on the area of contact. The Recon Platoon Leader directed the fire to within twenty meters of his own troops. After the first two runs, the firing by the enemy failed to let up. Two more runs were made and reduced the enemy volume of fire. The Recon Plat continued to fire at the enemy throughout the period.

(6) As the enemy fire diminished (1500 hrs) The Recon Plat attempted to move forward with some success. One enemy round hit a WP grenade carried on a soldier’s harness. The explosion killed one soldier and wounded 3.

(7) The Recon Plat was ordered to hold its advance at 1515 since Co A was then 200-300 meters away closing on three axis to link up at the contact area. The artillery was used to block exfiltration to the south.

(8) Contact was broken at approximately 1530 hrs.

(9) Results:

a. US Losses: 3 KHA, 5 WIA

b. Enemy Losses: 7 NVA KIA, Captured: 2 AK-47, 2 SKS.

 

1:250,000 scale map section

Battle of 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 north.

(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 C/1/9 Cavalry.

(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 at dusk.

(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 same reason.

(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 routes.

(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.

f. Results:

(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" techniques.

 

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