3rd Brigade Op Rpt 10-31-66
Transcribed by Ron Leonard
25th Aviation Battalion Webmaster
Ed Note: This report is edited to show activities of 1/35th and 2/35th
HEADQUARTERS 3D BRIGADE TASK FORCE
25th INFANTRY DIVISION
APO San Francisco 96235
AVDC C 4 November 1966
SUBJECT: Operational Report for Quarterly Period Ending 31 October 1966
(RCS CSFOR 65) (U)
TO: See Distribution
Section I ( C) SIGNIFICANT ORGANIZATION ACTIVITIES
1. (C ) General: During the reporting period 1 August through 31 October 1966, the 3rd Brigade Task Force, 25th Infantry Division, participated in Operations PAUL REVERE II, III, and IV, for a total of 92 days of consecutive combat duty. These operations were conducted in the following time phases:
a. (C ) Mission: The mission assigned the 3rd Brigade Task Force for each operation was to maintain surveillance of the RVN Cambodian border and areas east thereof, conduct ambushes, and block penetrations into the assigned area of operation
(C ) Operational area: The area designated for Operation PAUL REVERE II: Specific boundaries of the area of operation were the RVN/CAMBODIAN border in the west, Route 14 in the east, the east-west grid line YA-ZA 50 in the north, and the east-west grid line YV-ZV-AQ 60 in the south. The area of operation encompassed approximately 2040 square miles.
c. (C ) Control: The brigade task force was engaged when Operation PAUL REVERE II commenced. The technique of "checker-boarding" (moving from one numbered 10,000 meter grid square to another), which proved effective during previous operations, was continued. The brigade task force which had been under operational control authority of I Field Force Vietnam, was placed under the operational control authority of the 1st Air Cavalry Division on 2 August, and continued in that posture until termination of Operation PAUL REVERE II on 25 August. (Operation PAUL REVERE I was included in the previously submitted Operational Report on Lessons Learned, 15 August 1966.) On 26 August the brigade task force reverted to operational control authority of I Field Force Vietnam for the duration of Operation PAUL REVERE III. The brigade came under operational control authority of 4th Infantry Division on 18 October and continued in that status throughout the remainder of the reporting period.
d. (C ) Task Organization: The organization of the 3rd Brigade Task Force remained the same throughout Operation PAUL REVERE II and III. In conjunction with Operation PAUL REVERE IV, the 1ST Battalion, 69th Armor, was released from operational control authority on 18 October 1966. Throughout all three operations, many units were placed under the temporary operational control authority of the 3rd Brigade Task Force, with commanders names and dates of command, and the major supporting and operational control authority units are as follows.
Headquarters, 3rd Brigade Task Force, 25th Infantry Division:
Brigadier General Glenn D. Walker, 1 August 20 October
Colonel James C. Shanahan, 20 October 31 October
1st Battalion, 35th Infantry
Lieutenant Colonel Robert C. Kingston
2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry
Lieutenant Colonel Philip R. Feir
2nd Battalion 9th Artillery
Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Holbrook
e. Brigade base camp security: Throughout the period, the 3rd Brigade Task Force maintained an adequate defensive posture to provide continuous security for its brigade base camp vicinity of Pleiku. The forces and organization established in the initial defensive plan, OPLAN IRON BAND, were re-evaluated and on 15 September OPLAN STEEL CLAW was implemented. The brigade will continue to incorporate refinements in this plan to enhance the defensive capabilities of the forces at the brigade base camp.
f. (U) Operation PAUL REVERE II conducted during the period 1 to 25 August is covered in the After Action Report PAUL REVERE II attached as enclosure 1.
(C ) INTELLIGENCE:
a. Enemy activities 1 25 August are contained in After Action Report Operation PAUL REVERE II attached as enclosure 1. Significant enemy activities 26 August 31 October are as follows:
(1) Generally the beginning of the reporting period coincided with an increase in ARVN agent reports and sightings related to threatened enemy increases of overt and covert attempts to disrupt and discredit GVN elections which were scheduled for 11 September 1966. The weather conditions continued to have adverse effects on friendly operations in the area, playing particular havoc with land lines of communication.
(2) 26 31 August 1966: The 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry, operating north of Highway 19 began to have considerable success in breaking down the Viet Cong infrastructure in the area. Operating with a CIDG unit from Plei Djereng, the battalion was instrumental in the apprehension of one Viet Cong and the killing of another who were members of the local Viet Montagnard Cong. One small North Vietnamese Army unit was contacted in the area north of Highway 19 resulting in four NVA KIA and one NVA captured. The prisoner of war was from the 17th Transportation Battalion. Based on his circumstances of capture and interrogation results, it was determined that a NVA battalion was possibly located in the rugged terrain about 5 10 kilometers east of Plei Djereng. Major NVA units of the 630th front were believed to be in their Cambodian sanctuary, vicinity Chu Pong mountain.
(3) 1 6 September 1966: Agent reports of up to one enemy regiment reinforced by local forces were moving to disrupt GVN elections and incidents, all minor, at the brigade forward base of operation and base camp, as well as the 4th Infantry Division base area. It was theorized that the Viet Cong would possibly attempt to overtly and covertly influence the GVN elections.
(4) 13 September 1966: The Viet Cong threat for disrupting the elections did not occur locally.
(5) 21 29 September 1966: Visual sightings and special agent reports indicated enemy may have been infiltrating from the Cho Pong area to bases southeast near Highway 14 and possibly to Phu Yen Province.
(6) 4 13 October 1966: This period was marked by significant increase in enemy activity in an apparent southeast to northeast direction to the northern perimeter of the area of activities. Special unit reports (R2) of unidentified army units (also unknown) continued to increase It became apparent that as many as five North Vietnamese Army regiments were located in area bounded by YA-ZA 00 north-south grid line on the east, So San River and YA 30 east-west grid line on the south, RVN/Cambodian border on the west, and YA 70 east-west grid line on the north. Of these enemy forces, one regiment was considered possibly located in area east of Plei Djereng. Possible enemy courses of action at this time were considered to be as follows:
(a) Using Plei Djereng as the "bait", adopt "Bait and Lure tactics" to cause US Forces to move into the area described above. This would afford the enemy maximum terrain advantages.
(b) Attack targets which would have a significant psychological/prestige effect such as Pleiku, Plai Djereng, Duc Co, Plei Me, Thanh An.
(c ) If US Forces entered area, exfiltrate and avoid contact using ambushes, decoys, small unit attacks and stealth.
(7) October 14 17 1966: Friendly forces became engaged in area east of Plei Djereng and the enemy situation continued to develop along the lines described in paragraph 2a (6) above.
(8) 20 29 October 1966: Significant contacts were made on the high ground east of Plei Djereng with up to company size enemy forces. Documents and prisoners of war identified enemy force in contact as elements of the 95B (also known as Song Ma) Regiment. It was determined that at least one battalion reinforced was located in the area of contact, and that these units had crossed the Se San River from the west during the period 1 9 October 1966. Stated missions of the enemy forces were to attack Plai Djereng and ambush US Forces. During this period, friendly forces west of the Se San River began to have sporadic contact which developed into battalion size enemy attacks against friendly company / battalion bases during the hours of darkness, and sharp, small unit engagements during daylight. Significant, relative to the night attacks, was the fact that the enemy was in position to attack in approximately thirty minutes to two hours after EEMT, even though friendly units had not previously used enemy objective areas for bases. This tends to substantiate prisoner of war reports that enemy was using small (approximately 10 man) reconnaissance elements to observe and report friendly units movement, allowing enemy maximum possible reaction time, and/or the enemy had previously made a reconnaissance for likely areas the US Forces would occupy. During this period it was determined that the total enemy force committed in the area of operation described in paragraph 2a(6) above, included four to six regiments. Among the units identified were: 95(B) NVA Regiment, 635th Battalion, 32nd NVA Regiment, and an unidentified battalion, 23rd Regiment. Other possible enemy units believed to be in the area were: 22nd NVA Regiment, 33rd NVA Regiment, 66th NVA Regiment, elements of 24 (B) NVA Regiment, elements of 88th NVA Regiment, and elements of 18(B) NVA Regiment.
(9) 30 31 October 1966: During this period engagements with enemy forces decreased in intensity to small, sporadic contacts. Indications of possible enemy movement to the north and west were observed, but the intentions of the enemy were not clear.
b. Enemy successes: None
3. (C ) OPERATIONS AND TRAINING ACTIVITIES:
a. Plans: The brigade has contingency plans for the relief of CIDG camps Plei Me, Plei Djereng, Duc Co, Dak Pek, etc. Concurrent planning continues for subsequent operations in PAUL REVERE IV.
(C ) Operations:
(1) Operation PAUL REVERE II commenced 010001 August. The 3rd Brigade Task Force was deployed in the operational area in a tactical posture resulting from Operation PAUL REVERE I. During the latter part of July, contacts indicated major North Vietnamese Army forces were active in the area of operation. Based on this, additional units from the 1st Air Cavalry Division were moved into the area of operation and placed under operational control authority 3rd Brigade Task Force, which was subsequently redesignated Task Force WALKER. On 2 August, Task Force WALKER was dissolved and the 3rd Brigade Task Force came under the operational control authority of the 1st Air Cavalry Division. The brigade task force remained in this status until termination of Operation PAUL REVERE II, 25 August. A detailed chronological account of all facets of Operations PAUL REVERE II is provided in the after action report which is appended as enclosure 1.
(2) Operation PAUL REVERE III commenced 260001 August with the 3rd Brigade Task Force reverting from under the operational control authority of the 1st Air Cavalry Division to I Field Force Vietnam. The 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, was placed under operational control authority to the 3rd Brigade Task Force as the operation started. Disposition of tactical units of the task force at the outset of the operation were as shown on enclosure 2.
Period 26 August 10 September:
1. General: During this period the brigade task force continued its mission of surveillance of the border, ambushing likely routes of infiltration or access, blocking the enemy if he crossed the border in strength and conducting search and destroy operations during daylight hours. Enemy contact, although occurring on an almost daily basis, consisted primarily of snipers and small groups of individuals. Only once during the period was a unit of approximately platoon size sighted. The pattern of operations concentrated efforts principally in the area south and east of Dun Co. Other positions of the area of operation were periodically searched as depicted on the operations schematic at enclosure 3.
3. 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry: From 26 August through 2 September, the battalion conducted search operations throughout period, the battalion also provided security for several "Round Up" operations conducted in that area and worked in conjunction with CIDG elements therein. On 3 September, the battalion, less Company B, lifted to the vicinity of Plei Me and conducted local patrols at that location. Company B moved to OASIS and provided security for an artillery battery located there. On 5 September, the battalion conducted air lifts into areas of operation 48 and 55. Operations were subsequently conducted in areas of operation 48, 55 and 56 until 10 September without contact.
4. 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry: The battalion with a platoon of C Troop, 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry, conducted surveillance and ambush operations in areas of operation 27 and 35 from 26 August through 1 September with light contact. On 2 September, the battalion less Company C, conducted an air assault into area of operation 28. For the next several days only light contact was encountered in that area. Company C was attached to Task Force MAO, 2 thru 6 September, and operated in area of operation 27. This company was then placed under the operational control authority of 1st Battalion, --th Armor, to assist in the security of the brigade base of operation at ------. On 7 September, C Troop came under the operational command authority ------
b) Period 11 September 27 September:
1. General: The brigade task force continued surveillance, search and destroy operations throughout the operational area. The areas of operation covered were proximate to those of the previous period, specifically the area south and east of Duc Co and north of Highway 19 between Duc Co and OASIS. No significant contact was developed during the period and units were disposed as indicated on enclosure 4.
3. 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry: The battalion was operating in area of operation 8 at the beginning of the period, and on 13 September moved by helicopter into area of operation 4. The battalion continued to conduct search and destroy operations in areas of operation 2,3,4,10,11,and 12 throughout the period without significant contact. CIDG companies from the CIDG camps at Duc Co and Plei Djering periodically conducted operations in conjunction with the battalion.
4. 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry: Throughout the period the battalion with operational control authority for C Troop, 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry continued to provide surveillance along the border, conducted ambushes, and search and destroy operations during daylight hours in area of operation 27 and adjacent areas of operations (18, 19, 26, 34 and 35) Operations during the period in the area resulted in sporadic light contact.
(c) Period 28 September 18 October: (p13)
1. General: During this period of Operation PAUL REVERE III, Task Force WALKER was again constituted. It was composed of the 3rd Brigade Task Force, 25th Infantry Division, and 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division with the 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry and the 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry. Elements of Task Force WALKER thoroughly saturated the operational area in the conduct of surveillance, search and destroy, ambush, and blocking operations. The border area west of Duc Co was particularly well patrolled. Search operations were conducted within the operational area further north and south than at any time previously during the operation. Elements of the task force secured a portion of Highway 19 from Plaiku east to the vicinity of Mang Yang Pass for approximately a week. Despite the concentrated search efforts, the enemy persistently avoided engagement and the period was noted by its lack of significant contact. The coverage of the operational area during the period is depicted in the operations schematic at enclosure 5.
2. Task Force 3/25: The 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry, initially operated in areas of operation 17, 18, 19, and 20 providing surveillance along Highway 19 and the border area immediately west of Duc Co. On 9 October the battalion was lifted north to area of operation 4, and operated in that area for the remainder of the period. The 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry, concentrated its surveillance efforts along the border northwest of Duc Co, specifically in areas of operation 1, 2, 3, 9, 10, and 11 On 14 October, the battalion was lifted northeast and operated in area of operation 6 and 506 through 18 October. The 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry continued operations in area of operation 30, from 28 September until 1 October. The battalion then returned to the brigade base camp, where it refitted and trained for future operations. On 10 October, the battalion assumed the mission of providing security along Highway 19. It secured the highway until 15 October when it was relieved and joined the 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry in operations within area of operation 506. The 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry joined the task force units and moved into area of operation 6 and 7 north of CATECKA on 16 October. It conducted operations in that area until the end of the period. Throughout the period, the 1st Battalion, 69th Armor continued its missions of providing artillery and route security, and convoy escort. The variety of tasks performed by this unit attests to its versatility and effectiveness.
3. Task Force 2 /4: The 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry, operated south of Duc Co near the border in areas of operation 26 and 27, from 28 September until 13 October. On 14 October, the battalion moved into area of operation 20 from which it was prepared to react to any attack on Duc Co. The battalion conducted extensive patrolling in this and adjacent areas. The 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry operated southwest of Plei Me until 11 October. On 12 October the battalion was lifted to the south and operated in the vicinity of Highway 19 in areas of operation 72 and 80 for the next three days. On 16 September it conducted an air mobile operation northwest into area of operation 21 where it continued search operations in that area between the 2nd Battalion, ---Infantry and ----until termination of the operation. (p14)
(3) Operation PAUL REVERE IV was initiated at 181000 October, 1969. At this time Task Force WALKER was dissolved and the 3rd Brigade Task Force was placed under the operational control of the 4th Infantry Division. The 1st Battalion, 69th Armor was released from operational control authority of 3rd Brigade Task Force and placed under the operational control authority of the 4th Infantry Division. The task organization of the 3rd Brigade Task Force as PAUL REVERE IV commenced was as follows:
The area of operations was expended north of the previous operational area. The "checkerboard" concept was adopted for the new area. The disposition of the 3rd Brigade Task Force elements at the beginning of this operation was as shown at enclosure 6. The brigade task force concentrated its operational efforts in the area northwest and east of Plei Djereng, along Route 509 and northwest of the Se San River. Contact during the early portion of the operation ranged from light to moderate throughout the period.
(a) Period 18 31 October
2. 1st Battalion , 35th Infantry: The battalion was initially located in areas of operation 6 and 506. On 19 October the battalion lifted into areas of operation 3 and 503 and commenced operations in those areas. The battalion continued patrolling throughout the assigned area of operation while marshaling its forces to meet its task as the reserve reaction force for the division. On 30 October the battalion conducted a heliborne assault into area of operation 502, where it operated until the end of the period.
2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry: This unit lifted into area of operation 3 on 18 October and subsequently conducted searching and patrolling operations in areas of operation 3 and 503 with sporadic light contact. TF McDONNELL, composed of the battalion reconnaissance platoon and a CIDG company, conducted extensive patrolling to the northwest in areas of operation 511 and 512. During the last several days of the period, the battalion has several contacts ranging from light to moderate. Task Force McDONNELL had several contacts with various size enemy forces. During its search and destroy operations it discovered several ammunition and supply caches.
(b) The operational report period for ninety-two consecutive days ended with the 3rd Brigade Task Force, 25th Infantry Division under the operational control of the 4th Infantry Division and Operation PAUL REVERE IV continuing with sporadic, but significant contact. The kill ratio of friendly to enemy was, 1:8, or 54 friendly KIA versus 464 enemy KIA.
JAMES G. SHANAHAN