What you still may not know about the Ia Drang Valley battle
(A transcript from Armchair General Forum )

Section I : from #1 to #300
(http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=116167)


#1 08 Nov 11, 20:39

What you still may not know about the Ia Drang Valley battle

This is in response to Bonnie and Ken:

I am the webmaster of www.generalhieu.com, and thus my knowledge of the Vietnam War is not as extensive as yours, maybe only more specific, more in depth, to whatever pertains more or less directly to my brother's military career. That is why I caught your mistake about the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade replacing the 3rd Air Cavalry Brigade in the final phase of the Pleiku Campaign, since he was involved in that campaign.

By the way, I have gained quite some knowledge about this campaign that I would like to share with everybody at this forum. If you think it is a good idea, can you open a thread with a topic something like "What you still may not know about the Ia Drang Valley battle"?

Phieu


#2 09 Nov 11, 01:24

Everyone please welcome our new member Phieu, brother of prominent ARVN General Nguyen Van Hieu. His website is a treasure trove of information not only about General Hieu but the War in general.

We like discussing Ia Drang here on ACG (don't we Altus? ), we are even fortunate to have a veteran of the campaign (ALOHA RONNIE) who served with the headquarters company of 1-7 Cav so feel free to post about it as much as you like

Boonierat


#3 09 Nov 11, 02:13

Welcome Phieu..........

jeffdoorgunnr


#4 09 Nov 11, 06:12

MontanaKid


#5 09 Nov 11, 12:05

Welcome aboard.

Trailboss49


#6 09 Nov 11, 14:22

Welcome to ACG.

Arthwys


#7 09 Nov 11, 14:37

Love your brother's garden...

re: Pleiku Campaign - found this link...

http://www.lzxray.com/Pleime_o.htm

KEN JENSEN


#8 09 Nov 11, 14:39

Thanks, guys, for welcoming me to this forum.

Let me start by saying that when I began to embark in the journey of trying to understand this Ia Drang Valley battle, I was immediately engulfed under a sea of huge wages of different and contradictory accounts; I was lost so to speak in a dense "fog of accounts" from American perspectives, from Viet Cong (Vietnamese Communist) or NVA perspectives, and from ARVN perspectives. It took me a long while - some 20 years plus - before I succeeded in dissipating the fog and see clear.

In order to understand this battle, one must put it in its context, in its relationship with other battles, operations and campaigns, because it was not a stand alone battle:

Plâyme campaign (B3 Field Front , 10/19-27), Pleime campaign (II Corps, 10/19-11/25), Pleiku campaign (1st Air Cavalry Division, 10/23-11/25), operation Dan Thang 21 (3rd Armored Task Force, 10/20-27), operation Long Reach (1st Air Cavalry Division, 10/27-11/25), operation All the Way (1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 10/27-11/9), operation Silver Bayonet I (3rd Air Cavalry Brigade, 11/9-18), operation Silver Bayonet II (2nd Air Cavalry Brigade, 11/18-25), operation Than Phong 7 (Airborne Brigade, 11/18-25), Ia Drang Valley battle (1/7th, 2/7th, and 2/5th Air Cavalry Battalions, 11/14-17), LZ X-Ray battle (1/7th Air Cavalry Battalion, 11/14-16), LZ Albany battle (2/7th Air Cavalry Battalion 11/17).

For the sake of clarity, I wrap up this hodgepodge of campaigns, operations, and battles under the name of Pleime-Chupong-Iadrang Battlefront, which lasted from October 19 to November 25, 1965 and in which the Ia Drang Valley battle took place at Chupong, and the Than Phong 7 operation occurred at Iadrang.

Phieu


#9 09 Nov 11, 14:58

Good info Phieu, note that SILVER BAYONET II is sometimes called Operation GREEN HOUSE in 1st Cav Div documents. Didn't have the name of the ARVN Airborne companion operation (THAN PHONG 7), do you know which battalions took part?

Boonierat


#10 09 Nov 11, 15:57

To answer to your question:

The entire ARVN Airborne Brigade with its five battalions (3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th) was called in by II Corps Command at the third and final phase of the Pleime Campaign to conduct Than Phong 7 operation.

Airborne Brigade Commander: Lieutenant Colonel Ngô Quang Trưởng
Major Norman Schwarzkopf, Advisor
Task Force 1: Lieutenant Colonel Ngô Xuân Nghị
3rd Battalion: Major Khiếu Hữu Diêu
5th Battalion: Major Nguyễn Khoa Nam
6th Battalion: Captain Nguyễn Văn Minh
Task Force 2: Lieutenant Colonel Trương Quang Ân
7th Battalion: Major Nguyễn Bá Trước
8th Battalion: Major Nguyễn Văn Thọ

For more information: General Schwarzkopf's Naïveté In the Ia Drang Battle

Phieu


#11 09 Nov 11, 16:09

Thanks for the link Tin, great article and great map about THAN PHONG 7, never realized that Ngo Quang Truong was commanding the Airborne Brigade at the time.

Boonierat


#12 09 Nov 11, 16:18

Here is a graphic format of the synopsis of the Pleime-Chupong-Iadrang battlefront, alias Pleime campaign, for the sake of better visualization:

Phieu


#13 09 Nov 11, 16:48

And here is a map for Pleime-Chupong-Iadrang battlefront, alias Pleime campaign:

Phieu


#14 09 Nov 11, 17:10

Boonierat: Thanks for the link Tin, great article and great map about THAN PHONG 7, never realized that Ngo Quang Truong was commanding the Airborne Brigade at the time.

Ngo Quang Truong was the Chief of Staff of Airborne Brigade at that time and was nominated by its Commander, Brigadier General Du Quoc Dong, as the field commander for Than Phong 7 operation.

Phieu


#15 09 Nov 11, 20:46

Boonierat : Good info Phieu, note that SILVER BAYONET II is sometimes called Operation GREEN HOUSE in 1st Cav Div documents. Didn't have the name of the ARVN Airborne companion operation (THAN PHONG 7), do you know which battalions took part?

This chart was drawn by G3/II Corps Command in “Why Pleime”.

Phieu


#16 10 Nov 11, 01:32

Might as well post all the official US Army documents available online here (all are in pdf format, left click to read, right click to save as):

Operations Report - Lessons Learned 3-66, The Pleiku Campaign
Operations Report - Lessons Learned, Headquarters, 1st Cavalry Division, for period ending 31 Dec 65
After Action Report, IA DRANG Valley Operation 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry 14-16 November 1965 (written by Moore)
After Action Report, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry 4-26 November 1965
After Action Report, 2d Battalion, 7th Cavalry 12-21 November 1965 (LZ ALBANY)
After Action Report, 2d Battalion, 5th Cavalry 11-26 November 1965

Boonierat


#17 10 Nov 11, 06:19

Boonierat: Good info Phieu, note that SILVER BAYONET II is sometimes called Operation GREEN HOUSE in 1st Cav Div documents. Didn't have the name of the ARVN Airborne companion operation (THAN PHONG 7), do you know which battalions took part?

Boonierat, I think you meant rather Operation CLEAN HOUSE which was a totally different operation that the 3rd Air Cavalry Brigade conducted in Binh Khe (Province of Binh Dinh) in December 1965 in three phase: Clean House I from 17-20, Clean House II from 20-23, Clean House III from 26-31 of December respectively. While Operation Silver Bayonet II was conducted by the 2nd Air Cav Brigade in the Chupong Iadrang complex from November 17 to 26 in support of Operation Than Phong 7 of ARVN Airborne Brigade in the third and final phase of Pleime campaign.

I deem the 1st Cav Division document you referred to is the Quaterly Command Report period ending Dec 65 that you listed in the above entry post.

Phieu


#18 10 Nov 11, 08:31

No, I meant GREEN HOUSE, check page 56 of the ORLL for the period ending 31 Dec 65 (and on the map page 62). It's the only time I've seen that name, not sure why. The CLEAN HOUSE series took place in the Suoi Ca Valley of Binh Dinh Province in December.

Boonierat


#19 10 Nov 11, 11:11

Right on! So it is either Silver Bayonet I-Silver Bayonet II or Silver Bayonet-Green House.

Another fog dissipated for my own sake. Thanks

Phieu


#20 10 Nov 11, 12:33

Boonierat: Good info Phieu, note that SILVER BAYONET II is sometimes called Operation GREEN HOUSE in 1st Cav Div documents. Didn't have the name of the ARVN Airborne companion operation (THAN PHONG 7), do you know which battalions took part?

In mentioning operation Than Phong 7, you gave me the opportunity to point out one of the many things of "what you still may not know about the Ia Drang Valley battle". When talking about the Ia Drang Valley battle, people only knows about the one fought by LTC Hal Moore with his 1/7 Air Cav Battalion at LZ X-Ray and thought that was the only battle fought in the Ia Drang valley, and did not know that there was a second battle also happening in Ia Drang valley and conducted by the ARVN Airborne Brigade called Than Phong 7.

To be precise, the first one fought by US Air Cav should be called Chupong battle, because it occurred by the very footsteps of Chupong massif, not quite near the Ia Drang river, while the second one fought by ARVN Airborne should be called Iadrang Valley battle, since its battlefield encompassed both the north and south river banks, and in a second ambush the Airborne units cornered the NVA 334th Battalion and pushed its back against the Iadrang's southern bank.

ARVN II Corps Command differentiated clearly the various major battles of the Pleime campaign: Pleime, Chupong, Iadrang.

More reading: The Ia Drang Valley Battle? Which One?

Phieu


#21 10 Nov 11, 13:07

Phieu - Welcome to this site regarding the Vietnam War. I look forward to your posts as you add additional information on the battles that your brother was involved in along with any other details you can share with us from things you have learned or experienced.

DeltaOne


#22 10 Nov 11, 13:08

Damn that Altus; he keeps telling me there wasn't any NVA in the South!

Oh, yea that's right; he did clarify that they were only there TDY! My bad. ROFLOL!

KEN JENSEN


#23 10 Nov 11, 13:13

Phieu : ..It took me a long while - some 20 years plus - before I succeeded in dissipating the fog and see clear.

I'm curious. Within the 20yr+ period, do you have any After Action type of reports from NVA/VC units that may possibly have been translated into English?

KEN JENSEN


#24 10 Nov 11, 13:27

Phieu : When talking about the Ia Drang Valley battle, people only knows about the one fought by LTC Hal Moore with his 1/7 Air Cav Battalion at LZ X-Ray and thought that was the only battle fought in the Ia Drang valley, and did not know that there was a second battle also happening in Ia Drang valley and conducted by the ARVN Airborne Brigade called Than Phong 7.

There were more than two battles fought during the campaign, the ARVN Airborne brigade fought the last one but there were others before that, including LZ MARY, LZ WING, LZ XRAY, LZ ALBANY...

Boonierat


#25 10 Nov 11, 13:39

DeltaOne: Phieu - Welcome to this site regarding the Vietnam War. I look forward to your posts as you add additional information on the battles that your brother was involved in along with any other details you can share with us from things you have learned or experienced.

Thanks for your warm greetings; it feels good in knowing I am accepted and appreciate.

I am confident that I will be able to present additional information about the Ia Drang Valley battle and other battles that my brother was involved in that is still unknown or unaware or disregarded not only by the general public but also by scholars and historians of the Vietnam War to nowadays.

"The best is yet to come"!

Phieu


#26 10 Nov 11, 13:57

Boonierat : There were more than two battles fought during the campaign, the ARVN Airborne brigade fought the last one but there were others before that, including LZ MARY, LZ WING, LZ XRAY, LZ ALBANY...

I should have specified: two major battles and well known ones. The Ia Drang Valley Battle that was fought at LZ Xray has been popularized by the book and the movie "We Were Soldiers...' by Hal More & Galloway and Mel Gibson respectively. LZ Albany battle is less well known, the others are merely skirmishes. The two battles conducted by the Air Cavalry Squadron at the NVA 3rd Regiment's field hospital site on Nov 1 and at an ambush site in Chupong area on Nov 3-4 could be considered as significant ones but nevertheless not well known by the general public.

Phieu


#27 10 Nov 11, 14:04

Phieu,

What you have presented is fantastic! Welcome aboard, your input will be most welcome.

Rotorwash


#28 10 Nov 11, 14:10

The various engagements in Ia Drang Valley

- 11/01/65 - At 0730 hours, an Eagle Flight team from US 1st Air Cavalry Brigade sight a VC platoon at 10 kilometers south west of Pleime camp. A reaction force was sent out and killed 20 VC and captured 10 prisoners. An ensuing search discovered a field hospital well equipped with medicines and surgical instruments. While the evacuation of the trophy was carried out by helicopters, a battalion size enemy force attacked the friendly troops. It was the first engagement between units of the US 1st Air Cavalry Division and the VC. Results: 99 VC killed, 44 other VC captured along with 40 weapons; at least more than 200 other VC were estimated killed and wounded.

- 11/03/65 - At 1200 hours, an element of US 1st Air Cavalry Brigade ambushed NVA 8th Battalion/66th Regiment newly arrived at the very heart of Chu Pong-Iadrang complex and killed 112 VC and captured 30 weapons; 200 other VC were estimated killed or wounded.

- 11/06/65 - In an engagement between an element of US 1st Air Cavalry Brigade and NVA 6th Battalion/33rd Regiment, 77 VC were killed and 400 other VC were estimated killed and wounded.

- 11/14/65 - At 1200 hours noon, US 1/7th Battalion/3rd Air Cavalry Brigade landed at LZ X-Ray to search and destroy the enemy at the footsteps of Chu Pong massif and engaged with NVA 9th Battalion/66th Regiment. The confrontation lasted into 11/15 with the American side reinforced by 2/7th Battalion and 2/5th Battalion. The enemy broke off at 1510 hours.

- 11/16/65 - The enemy launched a series of assaults at 0400 hours, 0432 hours, 0500 hours and 0627 hours and ceased the fighting at 0641 hours.

The entire battle had lasted continuously for 48 hours from 11/14 to 11/16 and the enemy had suffered at LZ X-Ray 634 KIA (body count), 1215 KIA (estimated), 6 CIA, 141 weapons captured and 100 weapons destroyed. US 1/7th Air Cavalry Battalion suffered 79 KIA and 125 WIA.

- 11/17/65 - On its way to LZ Albany, US 2/7th Air Cavalry Battalion fell into a VC ambush. But the VC had offered themselves as targets for air-strikes and artillery fire: 403 KIA (body count), 100 KIA (estimated), 112 weapons captured.

- 11/18/65 - The enemy attacked an artillery position resulting with 200 VC KIA and 20 weapons captured.

During a search and destroy operation in the Iadrang valley near the Cambodian border from 11/18 to 24, ARVN Airborne Brigade numerous minor contacts with scattered VC elements occurred. However, ARVN Airborne Brigade had successfully ambushed two enemy battalions on the following days:

- 11/20/65 - 3rd Airborne Battalion lured a battalion size enemy force into an ambush set up by 6th Airborne Battalion. In this engagement, the enemy suffered 200 KIA.

- 11/24/65 - In the morning, another battalion size enemy force fell into an ambush set up by 5th Airborne Battalion and 6th Airborne Battalion. Approximately 65 enemy troops were killed along with numerous weapons captured. This was the last engagement with the VC in Pleime Campaign.

More reading: A Few Things You Should Know about Pleime-Iadrang Campaign

Phieu


#29 10 Nov 11, 14:37

KEN JENSEN: Damn that Altus; he keeps telling me there wasn't any NVA in the South! Oh, yea that's right; he did clarify that they were only there TDY! My bad. ROFLOL!

Well, the North Vietnamese Communist wanted to dissimulate to the world their invasion intention and labeled the fight they conducted in South Vietnam as an internal uprising by the Southerner population under the National Liberation Front for Southern Vietnam (NFL).

For that, whenever a NVA soldier or officer was sent down to the South, he/she must substitute a NVA uniform with that of a Viet Cong one:

People's Army Troops/National Front Liberation Troops

In order to deceive international opinion that North Vietnamese Communists had no intention of invading South Vietnam by military force, North Vietnamese Communist troops were disguised as National Front Liberation troops when they were sent to the South. The South Vietnamese and the Americans called them Viet Cong without discrimination.

General Nguyen Nam Khanh, in his memoir, recounts that when 304th Division received the order to go the Central Highlands, South Vietnam, to join force with 32nd and 33rd Regiments to attack Pleime-Pleiku, he, as Lieutenant Colonel Deputy Political Commissar, was summoned to the Joint General Staff along with Colonel Hoang Kien, 304th Division Commander, to get the order on August 15, 1965. Lieutenant General Deputy Chief of General Staff sent them off with a word of caution as following:

"An official decision had been signed to dispatch 304th division (minus) to reinforce the Western Highlands Front, but due to the necessity to maintain secrecy and correctness and for administration rectitude, it could not be handed to you but rather had to be kept as a record in the archive. But in fact, from this moment on you now belong to the National Liberation Front Army. I wish you much success and hope to receive good news of your military exploits that you will sent back to us from the South.

"- Such is the delicate sensibility of politics, there is not other way. He concluded.

"- Yes, we understand quite well. Comrade Hoang Kien responded.

More reading: Things the VC Don't Want People To Know at Pleime Battle

Phieu


#30 10 Nov 11, 15:06

KEN JENSEN: I'm curious. Within the 20yr+ period, do you have any After Action type of reports from NVA/VC units that may possibly have been translated into English?

All After Action type of reports from NVA/VC units, if they exist, still remain classified.

Pribblenow in his article, "The Fog of Wars: The Vietnamese View of The Ia Drang Battle" gives a long list of NVA/VC accounts that he qualifies as hagiography and propaganda.

As for me, I have translated a few NVA/VC accounts pertaining to Pleime Campaign into English

- Pleime Campaign
- Crushing the American Troops in Central Highlands
- NVA 66th Regiment in Pleime-Ia Drang Campaign
- The Political Commissar at the First Battle Against the Americans in Central Highlands
- First Engagement With American Troops at Pleime-Iadrang

Phieu


#31 10 Nov 11, 15:17

rotorwash: Phieu, What you have presented is fantastic! Welcome aboard, your input will be most welcome.

A nice pat on the shoulder! Thanks.

As I have said, "The best is yet to come"!

Stay tuned...

Phieu


#32 10 Nov 11, 16:39

Hello Phieu, Welcome to ACG!

Phieu: For that, whenever a NVA soldier or officer was sent down to the South, he/she must substitute a NVA uniform with that of a Viet Cong one:

Well, can you tell us what kind of uniform did the soldiers and officers of the 66th, 33rd and 320th wear during the battle of Ia Drang then?

Altus


#33 10 Nov 11, 16:51

I don't think there is such a thing as a 'Vietcong' uniform anyway, but weren't northern soldiers, at least early in the conflict, required to remove any insignias or other PAVN markings?

Boonierat


#34 10 Nov 11, 17:16

So I heard. But that wasn't exactly a substitution.

altus


#35 10 Nov 11, 17:50

Hi, Altus. Nice to see you here. Please give my regards to all of the fellows from TTVNOL that still would consider me as a friend not foe.

It's just a way to speak. You know what I mean, put it in the context of dissimulation, cover-up and denial.

Phieu


#36 10 Nov 11, 18:02

Well that's exactly the reason so many folks there considered you foe not friend. "Kennedy was assassinated by a shot from an howitzer." is not "a way to speak" in any context.

I know you are in possession of a whole lot of interesting information that will benefit many of the members here on ACG, including me. Just try to be as precise and factual as possible. Thanks in advance.

Altus


#37 10 Nov 11, 18:21 <>Am I sensing some anomisity here? I hope everybody here will still consider me friend not foe for the reason they think I do not "try to be as precise and factual as possible".

Phieu


#38 10 Nov 11, 18:36

None intended.

altus


#39 10 Nov 11, 19:02

Oooops; Unintended Consequences.

Sure didn't want to start a "feud" with my below post.

KEN JENSEN: Damn that Altus; he keeps telling me there wasn't any NVA in the South! Oh, yea that's right; he did clarify that they were only there TDY! My bad. ROFLOL!

Now calm down Altus; Phieu seems to be bringing new "stuff" into our fine forum e.g. the battle stuff and TTVNOL

I did a "google" and discovered this; which I rather enjoyed (except for all that "goose stepping"); hey even spotted some "Steel Pots" from "back then" LOL.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DlfP...yer_detailpage

KEN JENSEN


#40 10 Nov 11, 19:26

Captain, I'm perfectly calm.

Actually, I think I should thank Phieu for bringing forth this evidence of my TDY status theory:

Phieu : But in fact, from this moment on you now belong to the National Liberation Front Army. I hope this has cleared any doubt you might harbor.

altus


#41 10 Nov 11, 20:35

Phieu : Am I sensing some anomisity here? I hope everybody here will still consider me friend not foe for the reason they think I do not "try to be as precise and factual as possible".

Altus puts the "Friend" in enemy. I will vouch for him with respect to this. I don't think he intended any animosity. While he is the enemy, so to speak, he can be quite reasonable and is open to honest dialogue.

What he will do is challenge your facts if he believes them to be inaccurate, and on subjective things he will also challenge your point of view. However, if your information is strong and your arguments well made you can have a useful discussion with him, even if he doesn't agree with you. He is not an insular ideologue who only parrots the party line. So, give him a chance. I think you will find that he is not all bad, even though he flies the wrong flag.

Miss Saigon


#42 10 Nov 11, 20:54

Phieu : All After Action type of reports from NVA/VC units, if they exist, still remain classified.

Pribblenow in his article, "The Fog of Wars: The Vietnamese View of The Ia Drang Battle" gives a long list of NVA/VC accounts that he qualifies as hagiography and propaganda.

- Pleime Campaign
- Crushing the American Troops in Central Highlands
- NVA 66th Regiment in Pleime-Ia Drang Campaign
- The Political Commissar at the First Battle Against the Americans in Central Highlands
- First Engagement With American Troops at Pleime-Iadrang

Appreciate the LINKS.

I sort of had something similar to what is found in below LINK. I took part in some of the "action" described in the below report; and can refute most of the "enemy loss" (American) VC data found on page 3 within the report.

http://www.virtual.vietnam.ttu.edu/c...2131014044.pdf

KEN JENSEN


#43 10 Nov 11, 23:17

Note that it is a captured After Action Report, not one that has been declassified and released to the public.

By the way, after Altus's rebuke, I should have minced my words and not have been that emphatic in a previous statement of mine, "All After Action type of reports from NVA/VC units, if they exist, still remain classified”. What do I know, being in the USA and not in country! But then, since he did not object to it or has not yet reacted to it, it should be ok; I hope so.

Here are two more documents that were captured during the Pleime Campaign and translated by G3/II Corps:

- Combat Order for an Ambush by the 32d Regiment

- Characteristics of the 1st US Air Cavalry Division

More reading: Why Pleime - Chapter IX - Documents

Phieu


#44 10 Nov 11, 23:29

Miss Saigon : Altus puts the "Friend" in enemy. I will vouch for him with respect to this. I don't think he intended any animosity. While he is the enemy, so to speak, he can be quite reasonable and is open to honest dialogue.

What he will do is challenge your facts if he believes them to be inaccurate, and on subjective things he will also challenge your point of view. However, if your information is strong and your arguments well made you can have a useful discussion with him, even if he doesn't agree with you. He is not an insular ideologue who only parrots the party line. So, give him a chance. I think you will find that he is not all bad, even though he flies the wrong flag.

I wish I had a Samaritan like you who vouch for Altus when I ventured all alone into TTVNOL forums and encountered all foes and no friends - so to speak!

Phieu


#45 11 Nov 11, 05:03

Well, I don't know what goes on at TTVNOL forums as this is the only one I participate in. I can imagine though, that over there things can get quite hostile. I also don't know what Altus does at other forums, so perhaps I don't have a complete picture of him, but here he can be OK .......... for a foe. Of course, you can always talk to him about PAVN human wave attacks if you want to get him going .

Miss Saigon


#46 11 Nov 11, 05:58

Well, it was quite long time ago. I still get goose bumps thinking back: I was like a Samurai surrounded by hundreds of hostile and well-armed foes circling slowly and patiently around waiting for the kill!

I think we did talk about PAVN human wave attacks and it seems that Altus did show up on the battlefield, but I cannot say for sure (I "try to be precise and factual" here, but I can't, sorry Altus!).

Not now, at this early stage, yet, not because I do not want to risk having him going on. I will though, in due time, since that tactic was mentioned in Iadrang battle and it might be one of those what you still may do not know about Iadrang battle. Remind me down the road, in case I forget, will you?

Phieu


#47 11 Nov 11, 06:05

Thank you, Phieu, for bringing Miss Saigon The Pyromaniac back to us!

altus


#48 11 Nov 11, 06:11

Boonierat: Might as well post all the official US Army documents available online here (all are in pdf format, left click to read, right click to save as):

Operations Report - Lessons Learned 3-66, The Pleiku Campaign
Operations Report - Lessons Learned, Headquarters, 1st Cavalry Division, for period ending 31 Dec 65
After Action Report, IA DRANG Valley Operation 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry 14-16 November 1965 (written by Moore)
After Action Report, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry 4-26 November 1965
After Action Report, 2d Battalion, 7th Cavalry 12-21 November 1965 (LZ ALBANY)
After Action Report, 2d Battalion, 5th Cavalry 11-26 November 1965

Where were you, Bonnie, all this time I was searching to get the Pleiku campaign report. I had to go to the National Archives in Maryland to painstakingly make copy of the entire report page by page. Here is the result of the duplication in pjeg format: Pleiku Campaign

Phieu


#49 11 Nov 11, 06:17

altus: Thank you, Phieu, for bringing Miss Saigon The Pyromaniac back to us!

No sweat.

Phieu


#50 11 Nov 11, 06:18

Well at least you've got your hands on the real stuff

Two great sources to look for digitized Vietnam-era documents online:

The Defense Technical Information Center

Records of War

(The second one is simply organizing in one place all the reports found at the Vietnam Virtual Archives, especially the impressive USMC Collection)

Boonierat


#51 11 Nov 11, 06:25

altus: Well that's exactly the reason so many folks there considered you foe not friend. "Kennedy was assassinated by a shot from an howitzer." is not "a way to speak" in any context. I know you are in possession of a whole lot of interesting information that will benefit many of the members here on ACG, including me. Just try to be as precise and factual as possible. Thanks in advance.

What was the calibre of the howitzer?

Max Alcibiades

#52 11 Nov 11, 08:08

It was a long time ago, but if memory serves me, then 37mm, radar controlled.

altus


#53 11 Nov 11, 08:20

37mm!

Well it wasn't a howitzer was it?

If it was radar controlled, then we can definirely rule out Viet communists as suspects.

Must have been the Cubans.

Max Alcibiades


#54 11 Nov 11, 09:00

Let's get back to our topic, shall we?

Since we are on the subject of Silver Bayonet II and Than Phong 7, do you know that there was a fight for who was going to get the final phase of Pleime/Pleiku campaign piece of the Iadrang battle pie?

Phieu


#55 11 Nov 11, 11:03

Boonierat : Well at least you've got your hands on the real stuff:

Two great sources to look for digitized Vietnam-era documents online:

The Defense Technical Information Center

Records of War

Boonie,

From your “Records of War” LINK found an OR from 1st Div 2nd Bde where it appears the 1/28th was engaged with folks (for different dates, TET ’68 Feb 1st thru Feb 20th). It appears we came into various size enemy units from VC 273rd, 274th, and Phu Loi II.

Best guess for me (at this time); I was shot up from folks belonging to Phu Loi II - Thu Duc area.

heeheehee, Still digging until I finally come to a “solid” conclusion.

Thanks for the LINK (new source for me); haven’t spent much time in exploring it yet.

Phieu : Let's get back to our topic, shall we? Since we are on the subject of Silver Bayonet II and Than Phong 7, do you know that there was a fight for who was going to get the final phase of Pleime/Pleiku campaign piece of the Iadrang battle pie ?

Phieu,

I’m curious. Is the information you have mostely in regard to Pleime/Pleiku or does it contain other info; e.g. III Corps “stuff” 1967 - 1968?

KEN JENSEN


#56 11 Nov 11, 12:13

It does contain other info, but mainly if it relates to my brother. For instance, since he was in II Corps as 22nd ID commander in 1967-1968, I don't collect info pertaining to III Corps for this period. Then since he came to III corps in August 1968 until June 1971 as 5th ID commander, and again from December 1974 until April 1975 as III corps deputy commander/operations, I do have info for these periods for III corps.

Phieu


#57 11 Nov 11, 12:38

Didn't mean to make you

Hope it wasn't me; I'm taking it as the III Corps info you provided is what made you mad; especially April 1975.

A couple of other curious thoughts...

As a civilian in Vietnam, where and when were you born?

When did you leave Vietnam and how?

KEN JENSEN


#58 11 Nov 11, 14:22

Hello,

It has been written in Vietnam Magazine to the effect that no ARVN units had ever operated in the area prior to the insertion of the 1st Cavalry Division units in October and November 1965.

That is incorrect.

The fact is that the 3rd Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 22nd ARVN Division, commanded by Captain Au Van Ta, operated in the area in a four phase operation called Binh Tri, during March and April 1964

The battalion encountered during the operation a number of Montagnard Communists, killed, wounded, and captured several (accurate body count unknown), captured several Chinese and French rifles and automatic weapons, burned several longhouses and destroyed a large number of paddy storage hootches, and killed a large number of buffalo.

The US Senior Advisor of the 41st Infantry was slightly injured by a punji spike and medevaced as the only advisory casualty. I was the battalion advisor.

RedDagger18


#59 11 Nov 11, 17:01

altus : Thank you, Phieu, for bringing Miss Saigon The Pyromaniac back to us!

. . . and for bringing some relief to her in the defense of the South . . . you know, the Old South.

RadioResearcher


#60 11 Nov 11, 19:45

KEN JENSEN :

Didn't mean to make you

Hope it wasn't me; I'm taking it as the III Corps info you provided is what made you mad; especially April 1975.

A couple of other curious thoughts...

As a civilian in Vietnam, where and when were you born?

When did you leave Vietnam and how?

I was born in Shanghai, China in 1942. Both my parents are Vietnamese. Our family came back to Vietnam in 1949 when the Red Communists were about to take over Shanghai, and settled in Hanoi until 1954 when we moved down to Saigon, fleeing Vietnamese Communists (Viet Cong).

You can get a glimpse of my parents at: - General Hieu's Parents

I left Saigon to come to the United States on April 29, 1975. Here was how I ran away from the Viet Cong: - General Hieu's Family Evacuation

Phieu


#62 11 Nov 11, 20:19

RedDagger18 :

Hello, It has been written in Vietnam Magazine to the effect that no ARVN units had ever operated in the area prior to the insertion of the 1st Cavalry Division units in October and November 1965.

That is incorrect.

The fact is that the 3rd Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 22nd ARVN Division, commanded by Captain Au Van Ta, operated in the area in a four phase operation called Binh Tri, during March and April 1964

The battalion encountered during the operation a number of Montagnard Communists, killed, wounded, and captured several (accurate body count unknown), captured several Chinese and French rifles and automatic weapons, burned several longhouses and destroyed a large number of paddy storage hootches, and killed a large number of buffalo.

The US Senior Advisor of the 41st Infantry was slightly injured by a punji spike and medevaced as the only advisory casualty. I was the battalion advisor. RedDagger18

Even General Kinnard was bought into this belief. In an interview with Cochran in 1984, he said, "The choice to go into the Chu Pong, a longtime enemy sanctuary (near the Cambodian border) into which ARVN had never gone, was not mine. (Cochran, Alexander S., "First Strike at River Drang", Military History, Oct 1984, pp 44-52, Per. Interview with H.W.O Kinnard, 1st Cavalry Division Commanding General)

My brother, as II Corps Chief of Staff during that period, might surely be closely involved in this operation. BG Linh Quang Viên was the 22nd ID commander (02/05/64-09/07/64 )

Phieu


#63 11 Nov 11, 20:22 Quote:

Phieu:

I was born in Shanghai, China in 1942. Both my parents are Vietnamese. Our family came back to Vietnam in 1949 when the Red Communists were about to take over Shanghai, and settled in Hanoi until 1954 when we moved down to Saigon, fleeing Vietnamese Communists (Viet Cong).

You can get a glimpse of my parents at: - General Hieu's Parents

I left Saigon to come to the United States on April 29, 1975. Here was how I ran away from the Viet Cong: - General Hieu's Family Evacuation

Thanks

Interesting stories

KEN JENSEN


#64 12 Nov 11, 01:49

altus : Thank you, Phieu, for bringing Miss Saigon The Pyromaniac back to us!

Miss Saigon


#65 12 Nov 11, 13:08

Phieu :

Even General Kinnard was bought into this belief. In an interview with Cochran in 1984, he said, "The choice to go into the Chu Pong, a longtime enemy sanctuary (near the Cambodian border) into which ARVN had never gone, was not mine. (Cochran, Alexander S., "First Strike at River Drang", Military History, Oct 1984, pp 44-52, Per. Interview with H.W.O Kinnard, 1st Cavalry Division Commanding General)

My brother, as II Corps Chief of Staff during that period, might surely be closely involved in this operation. BG Linh Quang Viên was the 22nd ID commander (02/05/64-09/07/64 )

Hello,

Thanks for that infomation. Interesting.

At my level as battalion advisor and really junior in rank and experience to Captain Ta, I was not really aware nor kept informed of the higherups in the chain of command.

My interpretation of why the 3/41st had the mission for Binh Tri was to "punish" the Montagnards who had burned the Strategic Hamelts along Route 14 south of Plei ku. I can't be sure tho'.

RedDagger18


#66 12 Nov 11, 15:04

Phieu:

Let's get back to our topic, shall we?

Since we are on the subject of Silver Bayonet II and Than Phong 7, do you know that there was a fight for who was going to get the final phase of Pleime/Pleiku campaign piece of the Iadrang battle pie?

Let me first clarify which Iadrang battle I am talking about, since there were two different battles that got the same name, one conducted by US 3rd Cav Brigade and the other one by ARVN Airborne Brigade. Should I differentiate the two by calling them the US Iadrang battle and the ARVN Iadrang battle? As a matter of fact, II Corps Command had made the distinction by calling the first one Chupong battle and the second one Iadrang battle (see The Ia Drang Valley Battle? Which One?)

When the Chupong (US Iadrang) battle was about to end at LZ X-Ray, conducted by units of the 3rd Air Cav Brigade, General Kinnard intended to replace it with the 2nd Air Cav Brigade with the mission of pursuing the remnant NVA units all the way across the Cambodian border. He told Corchran, in a 1984 interview (Cochran, Alexander S., "First Strike at River Drang", Military History, Oct 1984, pp 44-52, Per. Interview with H.W.O Kinnard, 1st Cavalry Division Commanding General):

I recommended to Swede (Gen Stanley Larsen, IFFVN commander)and up through the chain that I be allowed to pursue them into Cambodia. This is not well known, but my request was approved up through channels to include Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge but disapproved in Washington ... I wanted to destroy the enemy. This would have been my next step, this is what I wanted the 2nd Brigade to do...

However, General Kinnard was not in control of the Pleime campaign; the 1st Air Cav Division was attached to ARVN II Corps Command for that campaign although it was operating independently and seemingly alone - which was not so in reality (I will come back to this issue later on), II Corps Command was, and it already had a clear cut agenda of its own: in phase 2 of the campaign, 1st Air Cav Division was the main force with Airborne Brigade as reserve force and in phase 3, the role would revert: Airborne Brigade, the main force with 1st Air Cavalry as reserve force:

On 26 October 1965, while the relief column and the garrison of Pleime were conducting a sweep around the Camp, a conference was held at II Corps TOC with the presence of US advisors and unit commanders.

All the information received and the analysis of the situation converged to the same conclusion.

The enemy units had withdrawn west in the direction of the Cambodian border. This would be their only chance of escape because in addition to the advantages of the terrain, the base of Chu Pong and the sanctuary of Cambodia provided not only shelters but also supplies and replacements of which the 32nd and 33rd Regiments were running short.

For the first time since the war broke out on the Indochinese peninsula, friendly forces had the opportunity to come to such a conclusion. Throughout the hostilities since 1948, the enemy has always been able to leave the battlefield and to withdraw safely, to give up the fighting at their own will.

Thus the chance which was offered to friendly forces had not to be overlooked: the two NVA Regiments were to be pursued because if not, the danger would persist and the enemy would have time to reorganize their units.

Besides that, the above decision could this time be made possible because reserve forces were available, with the presence of the 1st US Air Cavalry Division stationed in An Khe, a major unit which possesses the highest degree of mobility all over the world and also the most up-to-date equipment and weaponry.

(...)

The decision made by II Corps Command to exploit the results of the first phase and to pursue the enemy was fully concurred by the US military authorities and agreement was reached to establish a close cooperation in operational activities. The 1st US Air Cavalry Division made the main effort with the Long Reach Operations and the ARVN Airborne Brigade acted as reserve, ready to participate on Corps order.

(Why Pleime)

The intelligence estimate on enemy capabilities, made on 17 November indicated that nearly 2/3 of their strength had been wiped off through the engagements in Phases I and II.

II Corps Command thought it was time to throw in the reserve in order to put an end to the battle which had lasted for about one month. Besides suffering heavy losses, the enemy was compelled to fall into the trap set by friendly forces and canalized into the routes of withdrawal which we had foreseen.

This time the main effort was conducted by the ARVN Airborne Brigade whose mission consisted of destroying the fleeing VC units and all their installations around the Ia Drang valley. The 1st Air Cavalry Division which had thus far borne the burden of the attack would continue to exert a pressure from East to West and to provide artillery support for the Airborne Brigade.

The operation - dubbed "Thần Phong 7" - began in the afternoon, 18 November when the brigade was helilifted to the area of operations, immediately upon arrival in Pleiku.

(Why Pleime)

So, in the anecdote of the last piece of pie for grab, II Corps Command prevailed.

It appears that General Kinnard did not articulate to the 2nd Air Cav Brigade commander and its battalion commanders of their modified, new mission which was mainly to secure the newly established firebase at LZ Crooks in support of the Airborne Brigade action and secondary to support the ARVN units in search and destroy operations in the outskirt of the operational area. So, while going into action, they assumed that their main mission was still search and destroy, which explains why LTC Robert Tully, 2/5th Air Cavalry Battalion/2 Air Cavalry Brigade, in his Silver Bayonet II After Action report, complained that his units were confined to the boring task of securing LZ Crooks, in lieu of search and destroy operations:

Recommendations: (1) more time be allocated to search and destroy operations.

It seems that in denying General Kinnard's request of pursuing the enemy across the Cambodian, the "highest authority", whoever that might be, was motivated by political sensitivity, afraid of causing international crisis if American troops appeared to invade Cambodia. General Schwarzkopf recalled in his memoir It Doesn't Take a Hero (see General Schwarzkopf's Naïveté

In the Ia Drang Battle) that LTC Ngo Quang Truong told him during Than Phong 7:

But, Truong added, we had a problem: the Vietnamese airborne had been called into this campaign because of high-level concern that American forces in pursuit of the enemy might otherwise venture too close to the Cambodian border. He said, "On your map, the Cambodian border is located here, ten kilometers east of where it appears on mine. In order to execute my plan, we must use my map rather than yours, because otherwise we cannot go around deeply enough to set up our first blocking force. So, Thieu ta Schwarzkopf"-thieu ta (pronounced "tia-tah") is Vietnamese for "major"-"what do you advise?"

However, in my own opinion, I think that II Corps Command preferred to use the Airborne Brigade because it was more suitable to conduct a surgical operation than the 1st Air Cavalry Division - no offense! -and characterized Than Phong 7 operation as the coup de grace to "Finish 'Em" (Why Pleime) and also because it was the right thing to do: "do your own job when you are capable to do it and not make other people do the job in your place".

Phieu


#67 13 Nov 11, 05:30

That was not the first time that General Kinnard tried to grab the helm of the Pleime campaign as presented previously. He did the same thing at least two other times in this same campaign that I am aware of.

At the outset of the campaign when II Corps Command make a request for troop reinforcement to First Field Force Command who agreed to dispatch Ingram Task Force comprising one infantry battalion and one artillery battalion to Pleiku to allow II Corps Command to organize a reaction force to relieve camp Pleime. The mission of the infantry battalion was to assume the security of Pleiku City and the artillery battalion was to provide artillery support to the relief column. However, General Kinnard immediately saw blood and wanted to send his troops directly to camp Pleime to liberate it himself by increasing the reinforcement force to one entire brigade. He used strong arm tactic to get that permission from General (G3/IFFV):

- 23:50H: G3, Col Barrow - at approx 2300 CG rec'd call from Col Mataxis and Gen Knowles was with him. Based on info they passed to CG, CG approved commitment tomorrow of all or part of 1st Bde (PKU) at Gen Knowles's discretion. Gen Kinnard was with Gen Larsen. This info passed to Gen Knowles and Col Mataxis at approx 2315h.

(note: CG was General Larsen, Colonel Mataxis was II Corps Senior Advisior, General Knowles was 1st Air Cavalry Division Deputy Commander. In this telephone conversation, General Larsen and General Kinnard were in Nha Trang at IFFV Headquarters while General Knowles and Colonel Mataxis were in Pleiku at II Corps Headquarters).

General Kinnard made known of his veiled power grabbing in following terms in his report (Pleiku, page 16):

The initial concept for this operation was to deploy by air to the vicinity of Camp Holloway a reinforced infantry battalion to provide security for US units and installations in the Pleiku area and to provide a reserve/reaction force for the Pleiku area.

Within a matter of hours the estimate of the situation at Plei Me was revised and the divisional commitment expanded to a brigade task force. The concept then developed to provide limited offensive operations, utilizing air assault techniques to provide artillery fire support for the ARVN Armored Task Force moving to relieve the Plei Me Camp as well as support for the camp itself; and to provide infantry security for artillery positions, while still maintaining a reserve reaction force of not less than one battalion for the defense of Pleiku.

Of course, II Corps Command did not feel the necessity of resorting to one US Air Cavalry Brigade to assault the camp itself to liberate it; partly because the relief of the camp could be accomplished with the Armored Task Force supported by artillery firepower; and partly because he knew that the enemy would easily shoot down all helicopters debarking troops with well positioned anti aircraft batteries around the camp (Pleime, chapter IV):

In their progression toward the Camp after landing, the 91st Battalion engaged with the enemy at 1030 hours, killed and wounded an unknown number of VC and captured one 82m/m mortar, two 50 cal M.G., many Chicom submachine-guns and Russian rifles. This contact proved that around the Camp, the enemy had dispersed their troops to prevent being targets for friendly airstrikes and also to ambush our relief forces when they were heliborne in the vicinity.

Furthermore, General Kinnard seemed to have the habit of wanting to take control in whatever task he was asked to do and not to be contented with a secondary role of assistance. As a matter of fact, when he noticed that the Armored Task Force lingered at Phu My during three days, from October 20 to 23, he thought that the Armored Task Force Commander, LTC Luat, was experiencing cold feet (Pleiku, page 21):

To try to get the column moving on the 24th the 1st Brigade placed an artillery liaison party with the armored column, thus guaranteeing US artillery fire support for the task force. However, the task force commander elected to remain in that position for the night while sending back to Pleiku for additional supplies. The artillery liaison party came into the task force on one of the incoming medical evacuation choppers late on the afternoon of the 24th.

General Kinnard seemed to be unaware that LTC Luat was following II Corps Command’s orders in applying a counter measure to the Viet Cong mobile ambush tactic, luring the enemy in showing up at the ambush site first, otherwise artillery firepower would shell at ambush targets where the enemy troops have yet to show up (Pleime, chapter IV):

In the morning 21 October, the Luật Task Force moved on, along the Phu My-Pleime axis but to simply conduct aggressive patrols within a 10 km radius! The order had been expressly given by II Corps Command to the T.F. Commander, Lt Col. Luat, to simulate the imminent approach of a relief column to the Pleime camp while in reality, he had to wait for more adequate and sufficient attachments which would be moved by air from Kontum and Binh Dinh to Pleiku, as soon as the weather conditions allowed the air movements.

(...)

It would be interesting to mention that large-scale ambushes by the VC have been in recent past conducted within the frame of the tactics of the war of movement. They no longer exist as static waylays.

On October 23, when the Task Force Ingram's artillery batteries were not yet ready to be transported to a location from which the ambush sites were within firing range, the Armored Task Force was ordered by II Corps Command to stop mid-way to allow airstrikes to neutralize the ambush sites (Pleime, chapter IV):

At 1700 hours, the Task Force stopped midway while preplanned airstrikes were conducted ahead over suspected enemy concentrations.

Then on October 24, when the batteries were readied to enter into action at 10 kilometers South of Phu My, the Armored Task Force was ordered to resume its advance toward the camp (Pleime, chapter IV):

Throughout 24 October, the situation remained completely quiet. Even so, Task Force Ingram had moved from Pleiku Airfield to position at 10 km South of Phu My in order to provide artillery fire support to the Armor-Infantry Task Force when necessary.

The G3 Journal/FFV, on October 24, 1965 at 10:20 a.m., specified:

- 10:20H: II Corps Lt Col Patch, 1 Btry and 2 Inf Co's moved into support range of ARVN in GS/R role.

Sensing that General Kinnard might continue to wanting to satisfy his power hungry tendency when it came to requesting the assistance of the 1st Air Cavalry Division in the second phase of the campaign of pursuing the withdrawing enemy troops, II Corps Command took the precaution of imposing a clear cut “modus operandi” for the combined operation between the two ARVN and US forces that would prevent General Kinnard from overstepping his authority (Pleime, chapter VIII):

In phase III, the operations had been conducted through a close cooperation between ARVN and US Forces: that was the latest procedure ever put into application since the second World War. It is characterized by:

- Joint intelligence and support activities.
- Commonly-shared concept of operations and results.
- Separate TAOR.
- Separate command. -
- Separate deployment of forces.
- Separate conduct of activities.
- Separate reserve.

The above procedure has brought many good results, especially in a country such as ours where the psychology of the people is charged with complexities and subtleties. I also find in that procedure a real competitive spirit between the two armed forces and between units.

Phieu


#68 14 Nov 11, 13:07

Intelligence at Chu Pong battle

Let me try, here, to dispel the myth that the 1/7th Air Cavalry Battalion went into LZ Xray with fuzzy intelligence about the enemy troop units’ locations.

This myth has been even spread by Joe Galloway and General Kinnard.

It was only last year, on October 18, 2010, that Joe Galloway still propagated this myth:

- The sketchy American intelligence Moore was provided said the area was home base for possibly a regiment of the enemy.

(History Net, October 18, 2010 )

And General Kinnard told Cochran in a 1984 interview:

- The choice to go into the Chu Pong, a longtime enemy sanctuary (near the Cambodian border) into which ARVN had never gone, was not mine. It was either that of General Knowles or the brigade commander. We hadn't looked at the area. It wasn't intelligence that led us there. If anything, it was the lack of intelligence, and this seemed a logical place.

(Cochran, Alexander S., "First Strike at River Drang", Military History, Oct 1984, pp 44-52, Per. Interview with H.W.O Kinnard, 1st Cavalry Division Commanding General.)

How can one possibly not believe this two gentlemen who “had been there and done that”? I don’t. I respectfully beg to differ. Let’s go straight to a primary source: the Pleiku Campaign After Action Report.

In it, on page 23, General Kinnard explains how the report was drafted. Pertaining to the intelligence aspect, he states:

- Each day’s summary will also include an intelligence summary, the bulk of it after-the-fact information that was obtained following the battles or the campaign. It is included because it is important to show the enemy’s actual movements in connection with the movements of the division.

In other words, the intelligence information was provided in real-time not in hindsight.

That said, let see what the intelligence summary says on November 11, 1965, four days prior to the air assault into LZ X-Ray on November 14: In a nutshell:

On 11/11, the three battalions of the 66th Regiment were strung along the north bank of the Ia Drang river (center mass at 9104), the 32nd Regiment was also up north in the same area (YA820070), the 33rd Regiment maintained its positions in the vicinity of the Anta Village (YA94100), east of the Chu Pong mountains.

Beside this precise intelligence information on locations of the three enemy regiments, there was another piece of intelligence obtained that would allow 1st Air Cav Brigade to schedule a preemptive strike: the B3 Field Front VC Command was planning to attack Pleime camp for a second time, set for November 16 while waiting for the arrival of an antiaircraft battalion and a heavy mortar battalion still two day march on the Ho Chi Minh trail. The D-day for the strike into the very footstep of Chupong was set for November 14. On this day, the enemy troops still lacked the support of their anti-aircraft guns that could have shot down all the helicopters inserting troops at LZ X-Ray and of their heavy mortars that could have badly mauled the air cavalry troops prior to assaults, forcing the enemy cadres to sacrifice their soldiers in human waves tactic. (Pleime, chapter V):

The ratio which amounts to 1/10 has proved how lucky the 1/7 battalion had been because it was rather surprising that from the hills which dominate the LZ, the enemy did not position any crew-served weapons to support their attack. Such a situation could be explained only by the following reasons:

- The enemy has lost nearly all their heavy crew-served weapons during the first phase.

- They had been surprised by the attack of the 1/7 battalion and their commanders had failed to make the best use of the terrain.

- Their tactics relied mostly on the "human waves" and they were too confident that their attack would disorganize the 1/7 battalion very quickly.

General Kinnard commented in his after action report (Pleiku, page 88):

The NVA effort unquestionably was hampered by the unexplained delay in getting the heavy mortar and heavy anti-aircraft battalions off the infiltration trail and into the battle zone.

Better more, the intelligence for 11/13, one day prior to the pre-planned air assault to Chupong footsteps, indicates that (Pleiku, page 82)

- On 11/13, Field Front forces began staging in the Chu Pong-Ia Drang area in preparation for movement to Pleime and the projected 16 November attack. Some recon parties and transportation units already had moved out.

Phieu


#69 14 Nov 11, 14:55

Although I believe they identified at least units of all three regiments, I'm not convinced they had pinpointed their location on the map, other than somewhere near the Chu Pong Massif. Otherwise why were they conducting sweeps if not to find the enemy?

LTC Moore relates in his AAR that he was looking for a possible Battalion:

In pages 10 & 11 of the ORLL, the intelligence is commented on:

Sources:

John M. Carland, Combat Operations: Stemming the Tide, May 1965 to October 1966 (Government Printing Office, 2000). Map 7.

After Action Report. IA DRANG Valley Operation, 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry 14 - 16 November 1965. Pg. 22

Operation Report - Lessons Learned, 3-66 - The PLEIKU Campaign Pgs. 10,11

Lucky 6


#70 14 Nov 11, 15:34

Lucky 6:

Although I believe they identified at least units of all three regiments, I'm not convinced they had pinpointed their location on the map, other than somewhere near the Chu Pong Massif. Otherwise why were they conducting sweeps if not to find the enemy?

On the contrary, the locations had been pinpointed with coordinates on the tactical map:

- the three battalions of the 66th Regiment were strung along the north bank of the Ia Drang river (center mass at 9104),

- the 32nd Regiment was also up north in the same area (YA820070),

- the 33rd Regiment maintained its positions in the vicinity of the Anta Village(YA94100) , east of the Chu Pong mountains.

Moore at battalion level might not have purview to precise intelligence that Brown at brigade level and Knowles at division level had.

Is the following piece of intelligence an enough indication of the degree of knowledge at higher levels than battalion?

-On 11/13 Some recon parties and transportation units already had moved out.

The 1st Air Cav Division had more intelligence that you could have imagined. I will get to that later one.

As of otherwise why were they conducting sweeps if not to find the enemy?, Moore's mission was not to conduct sweeps, nor to find the enemy. It was to set up a blocking position in support of another tactical maneuver and stay put in place. Again I will get to that later on.

Phieu


#71 15 Nov 11, 06:49

Perhaps you military and intelligence experts here can shed a light how a "center of mass" in a regiment's dislocation map is determined? Is it the center of mass of the triangle formed by its battalions, the place where its troops concentration is highest, its HQ, or something else?

altus


#72 15 Nov 11, 08:59

Area of highest troops concentration I believe, CoM is the same as the Clausewitzian principle of Center of Gravity.

Boonierat


#73 15 Nov 11, 14:43

Phieu:

Even General Kinnard was bought into this belief. In an interview with Cochran in 1984, he said, "The choice to go into the Chu Pong, a longtime enemy sanctuary (near the Cambodian border) into which ARVN had never gone, was not mine. (Cochran, Alexander S., "First Strike at River Drang", Military History, Oct 1984, pp 44-52, Per. Interview with H.W.O Kinnard, 1st Cavalry Division Commanding General)

My brother, as II Corps Chief of Staff during that period, might surely be closely involved in this operation. BG Linh Quang Viên was the 22nd ID commander (02/05/64-09/07/64 )

Thanks for this thread. You've got me reading my copy of "We Were Soldiers, Once, and Young." But I haven't read much on the bigger picture of this battle from the South Vietnamese perspective. I'm as guilty as anyone, but I think American students of this battle focus too much on just the role of American troops.

MontanaKid


#74 15 Nov 11, 17:05

You are welcome.

You will see that I will progressively fill up a lot of big holes in the picture you get from reading Moore and Galloway.

Phieu


#75 15 Nov 11, 17:42

altus:

Perhaps you military and intelligence experts here can shed a light how a "center of mass" in a regiment's dislocation map is determined? Is it the center of mass of the triangle formed by its battalions, the place where its troops concentration is highest, its HQ, or something else?

I am no military nor intelligence expert, as you are well aware already, but I believe I can shed a light what center of mass indicates in this particular Pleime campaign, a domain in which I can boast having some expertise for being a student of my brother. That said:

First of all, you have to know that the normal attachments of a NVA regiment comprised 77 RR unit, 82mm Mortar unit and 12.7 MG, Signal unit, Transport Unit, Medical Unit. (source: Why Pleime, page 48).

The center of mass of the 66th Regiment encompassed its three battalions, the 7th, the 8th and the 9th, is located at Vic 9104.

The rest of the regiment, in particular its antiaircraft battalion and its heavy mortar battalion, were still dragging their feet due to heavy loads that slowed their pace relative to the infantry units, more or less a week march on the Ho Chi Minh trail. They were scheduled by B3 Field Front to arrive on time for the second attack against Pleime camp set for November 16.

It was precisely to surprise the 3 NVA regiments at the moment they still lacked antiaircraft and mortar supports that the pre-emptive strike was set for November 14, before the arrival of the two support battalions.

This is another indication the precision level of intelligence the 1st Air Cav possessed in preparation for the air assault into Chupong.

Phieu


#75 15 Nov 11, 17:57

Phieu :

The center of mass of the 66th Regiment encompassed its three battalions, the 7th, the 8th and the 9th, is located at Vic 9104.

OK I think I'll rely on the experts here on ACG instead.

But while we're at it, perhaps you may explain how precise is the coordinate 9104?

altus


#77 15 Nov 11, 18:14

I have no clue as much as you are on this. I think we need help from the expertise of a military map decipher.

It should be precise though for a militaryman. I have found this piece that makes mention of YA9104 in the reference section of Why Pleime:

27. Intelligence Report, Hqs, 1st Air Cav Div, Office of the G-2, Dated 24 Nov 65, Subject: Ia Drang Valley (Silver Bayonet 1) YA 9104 14-19 Nov 65.

Phieu


#78 15 Nov 11, 18:37

Speak for yourself. I do have at least some clue. I just thought you'd know better.

So you have no clue how precise it was but you still consider it an exact location, which "pinpointed" all the three battalions of the 66th?

altus


#79 15 Nov 11, 19:36

What is your clue then? How imprecise is YA 9104?

This does not preclude that the planners of the attack knew the exact location of the 66th regiment.

Note: locations of each regiment, not necessarely of each unit in the regiment.

Phieu


#80 15 Nov 11, 19:53

This is a 1km by 1km square. "Vicinity YA 9104" would be a 3km by 3km square.

Stick to what you have. "Does not preclude that ..." is not a particularly good argument.

altus


#81 15 Nov 11, 22:46

Great, I think it is safe to say: I can pinpoint on the map the exact location of the 32nd Regiment with a dot, of the 33rd Regiment with a dot, and the 66th Regiment with a circle or an oval that enveloppes a square that represents proportionally the 3kmx3km area.

Besides - don't hold me for the following because I am talking as an amateur here -3km by 3km square was precisely the maximum degree of accuracy that B52s' carpet bombing could get at the time of Pleime campaign, and 3km radius the safety distance.

This knowledge is precisely enough to plan for B32s' carpet bombing.

I will get to the B52s' carpet bombing later one.

Phieu


#82 16 Nov 11, 00:40

By the NATO military coordinate system, a four-digit coordinate like 9164 describes a square kilometer, which of course is not very accurate as far as pinpointing a position. Since the four-digit grid you have is the reported position of a large unit, the four digit coordinates just locates that unit as being inside the 1K grid square. Most military coordinates are expressed in eight digits. That puts the point within 10 meters of accuracy.

Of course these days with GPS they can get much closer to right on.

MontanaKid


#83 16 Nov 11, 01:29

1km was relatively accurate by Vietnam standards. Made this quick map to show square 9104 in relation to Xray:

[map]

Boonierat

#84 16 Nov 11, 03:43

What was the commonly used margin for "vicinity" ?

altus


#85 16 Nov 11, 06:05

Boonierat:

1km was relatively accurate by Vietnam standards. Made this quick map to show square 9104 in relation to Xray:

Wow!

"A picture is worth more than a thousand words"!

Since you are at it, would you please pinpoint on this map the positions of the 32nd Regiment (YA820070) and the 33rd (YA940010)?

Thanks

Phieu


#86 16 Nov 11, 06:13

MontanaKid:

By the NATO military coordinate system. a four-digit coordinate like 9164 describes a square kilometer. which of course is not very accurate as far as pinpointing a position. Since the four-digit grid you have is the reported position of a large unit, the four digit coordinates just locates that unit as being inside the 1K grid square Most military coordinates are expressed in eight digits. That puts the point within 10 meters of accuracy. Of course these days with GPS they can get much closer to right on.

Since Pleiku Campaign AAR only gave a six digit coordinate of a position (YA 820070 or YA 940010) what accuracy was it then?

Phieu


#87 16 Nov 11, 06:56

100m by 100m.

altus


#88 16 Nov 11, 07:47

Thanks you all great teachers - Montana Kid, Boonie et Altus - for such a good lesson on military map reading.

And a special thank in particular to you, Altus: without your intervention, I would never get the chance to attend such a formidable class.

This is one of the piece of knowledge I always wanted to learn but was afraid to ask.

Phieu


#89 16 Nov 11, 08:12

Phieu, check these videos if you want to learn more about map reading, it's simple really, only rule you have to remember is: to the right and up .

http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...ad.php?t=96631

Boonierat


#90 16 Nov 11, 10:18

Updated map:

Boonierat


#91 16 Nov 11, 11:48 Quote:

Phieu:

Thanks you all great teachers - Montana Kid, Boonie et Altus - for such a good lesson on military map reading.

And a special thank in particular to you, Altus: without your intervention, I would never get the chance to attend such a formidable class.

This is one of the piece of knowledge I always wanted to learn but was afraid to ask.

OOOPS! Previously you had posted this....

Phieu:

Great, I think it is safe to say: I can pinpoint on the map the exact location of the 32nd Regiment with a dot, of the 33rd Regiment with a dot, and the 66th Regiment with a circle or an oval that enveloppes a square that represents proportionally the 3kmx3km area.

Phieu, you also state you have been "studying" your brothers Campaign(s) for 20yrs. Do you mean to inform us that you may not have known how to "plot" or "read" coordinates on a Map and especially know the distance between "points" designated?

OOOOPS!

I'm anxiously awaiting your "stuff" on B-52 "Carpet Bombing"; that ought to be real exciting; one had better know "map coords" or a 500 to a 1,000 "pounder" may drop on your toes.

P.S. Bonnie, excellent LINK to the Map Reading videos. I never knew you had posted those. To think how many times I had to explain such things to some "un-knowledgeable" folks. Hell, I don't use the "military Unit symbols", because to many folks get so frustrated. heeheehee, Just plot a "dot" and explain in text what the "dot" represents. Keep it simple "stupid" has mostly been my main approach.

KEN JENSEN


#92 16 Nov 11, 16:38

Phieu:

And a special thank in particular to you, Altus: without your intervention, I would never get the chance to attend such a formidable class.

You're welcome. Stay assured of my absolutely disinterested intervening assistance in the foreseeable future occasions.

altus


#93 16 Nov 11, 17:34

KEN JENSEN:

OOOPS! Previously you had posted this....

Phieu, you also state you have been "studying" your brothers Campaign(s) for 20yrs. Do you mean to inform us that you may not have known how to "plot" or "read" coordinates on a Map and especially know the distance between "points" designated?

OOOOPS!

I'm anxiously awaiting your "stuff" on B-52 "Carpet Bombing"; that ought to be real exciting; one had better know "map coords" or a 500 to a 1,000 "pounder" may drop on your toes.

Isn’t it amazing? Although I have been studying my brother’s Pleime campaign for 20yrs, I really did not know all that stuffs. I humbly confessed to Altus that “I have no clue as much as you…” to be chastised with a speak for yourself, I do slap on the face. I knew vaguely that a dot is defines by x and y.

So with a coordinate like 9104, I guessed x=91 and y=01. But then when I saw YA9104, I got confused: why YA not YX? Etc. with the rest of the art of map reading.

Then, Ken, you have been warned: approach my “stuff” on B-52 “Carpet Bombing” at your own risk. I concocted that “stuff” prior to taking the map reading class taught by Montana Kid, Boonie and Altus!

Phieu


#94 16 Nov 11, 17:35

altus:

What was the commonly used margin for "vicinity" ?

"Vicinity"--don't recall ever hearing that term but targets were usually designated in 6 digits or 100mx100m.

Designating a regiment size force in a 1km square seems pretty reasonable to me unless they were all staying in a Las Vegas size hotel.

skiplc


#95 16 Nov 11, 17:43

Sidebar: General Kinnard was not privy to intelligence info re: Chupong battle

General Kinnard was not privy to intelligence info re: Chupong battle? How was that possible? Was he not in control of this battle as 1st Air Cav Commander? Didn’t he not sign off the Pleiku Campaign After Action Report which contained intelligence precise positions of NVA units on Nov 11 prior to the attack? Are you just kidding me?

No, I am not. He said that himself in that 1984 interview previously quote:

The choice to go into the Chu Pong, a longtime enemy sanctuary [near the Cambodian border]) into which ARVN had never gone, was not mine. It was either that of General Knowles or the brigade commander. We hadn't looked at the area. It wasn't intelligence that led us there. If anything, it was the lack of intelligence, and this seemed a logical place.

(Cochran, Alexander S., "First Strike at River Drang", Military History, Oct 1984, pp 44-52, Per. Interview with H.W.O Kinnard, 1st Cavalry Division Commanding General)

Was he lying then? Was he suffering a lapse of memory? Or was he still bound by classified information?

No he did not lied. Coleman wrote that he was privy of such intelligence information even right up to the first news of a contact with enemy units at LZ X-Ray at 3.m on November 14 (Coleman, page 219):

When he arrived, Knowles showed him the situation map he had propped up against a palm tree. Kinnard took one look and said, “What the hell are you doing in that area?” Obviously, someone hadn’t kept the boss informed about Larsen’s guidance to get after the enemy even if it meant walking away from the dry holes in the east. Knowles told Kinnard, “The object of the exercise is to find the enemy, and we sure as hell have!” Knowles remembers an awkward pause before Kinnard said quietly, “Okay, it looks great. Let me know what you need.”

Was it then because of memory lapse or restriction of classified information. None of these. The only plausible explanation is that he did not author the Pleiku Campaign AAR, nor did he closely read its contents before or after signing it off! General Knowles, the 1st Cav Forward PC Commander, had chosen to keep his boss, who had a layback style of command back at An Khe headquarters, in the dark. For what reason? I will have the opportunity to come to this later on (Cochran):

I moved a forward CP [Command Post] to Pleiku with one of my assistant division commanders, Gen. Dick Knowles. This was my "modus operandi" whenever the action got hot. My own leadership style had always been to give absolute and maximum latitude to people all the way down the line. I did not want to hand manage this thing from back in An Khe.

Then, who drafted the AAR and who was its author? Captain Coleman, G3/1ACD, who later on wrote the book Pleiku, the Dawn of Helicopter Warfare in Vietnam, was the one who drafted the report, and General Knowles, whom General Kinnard gave full authority in the conduct of Pleiku Campaign, was its author. LTC Coleman wrote in the acknowledgement section of his book:

A special thanks also to Lieutenant General Richard Knowles for his patience with me in those initial interviews twenty-two years ago and, more recently, in hours of consultation on the aspects of the campaign that didn’t appear in the after-action report.

(Coleman, J.D., "Pleiku, the Dawn of Helicopter Warfare in Vietnam", St. Martin’s Press, New York)

Phieu


#96 16 Nov 11, 17:58

skiplc:

"Vicinity"--don't recall ever hearing that term but targets were usually designated in 6 digits or 100mx100m.

Well that intel summary listed that "center mass" in Vic9104. Do you have any other theory what the prefix Vic would have meant?

Designating a regiment size force in a 1km square seems pretty reasonable to me unless they were all staying in a Las Vegas size hotel.

I am still a little perplexed as to how to interpret the "center mass" of a three-battalion regiment with the battalions strung all over the place. "Vicinity 9104" appears to me as a 3kmx3km square around the 9104. Is it still reasonably accurate by Vietnam standards?

altus


#97 16 Nov 11, 18:32

That point on the map means somewhere in the YA9104 1000mx1000m square but also happens to fall at the intersection of 2000mx2000m area (4 grid squares). So, even if the coordinates only pin down the force in a 4 sq km area, still seems reasonable to me. If it was known the force was exactly at YA9104, the coordinates would be given as YA910040 pinning them down in a 100mx100m area.

If I was looking to locate the force, I'd send recon to look in the vicinity of YA9104.

If I wanted to shoot 'em up, I would need to use a more accurate aiming point such as YA910040 or YA915045, etc.

skiplc


#98 16 Nov 11, 18:44

You mean YA9103, YA9003, YA9004 and YA9104 would form that "vicinity"?

So whenever we talk about an vicinity of a map square say YAxxyy, we actually mean the vicinity of its lower left corner right at xx000yy000?

I had thought that the vicinity of the YA9104 square would be the nine squares YA 9003, 9004, 9005, 9103, 9104, 9105, 9203, 9204, 9205.

altus


#99 16 Nov 11, 19:02

1. Yup; YA9104 is an actual point on the map so it could be said that the 4 squares you give could be considered in the "vicinity" of that point.

2. Yup again. I'd consider that reasonable.

3. Nope; that would be stretching it too far IMO.

skiplc


#100 16 Nov 11, 19:10

Boonierat : Updated map:

I think I discover two errors. One by you, and one by Pleiku AAR.

- By you: the 33rd was at grid 9410, you put it at 9401.

- By Pleiku AAR: the 32nd was pinpointed at grid 8270, you correctly put it at grid 8207.

It does not make sense in both case.

- The 32nd was put two far up

- 1/7 cav would be dropped right over the head of 33rd or too close for comfort.

I could be wrong though. Please double check.

Phieu


#101 16 Nov 11, 19:17

skiplc: YA9104 is an actual point on the map

Hmm, I take this as an entire 1km by 1km map square not a single point.

altus


#102 16 Nov 11, 19:23

Phieu, look:

- the 32nd Regiment at grid 8207; (YA820070)

- the 33rd Regiment at grid 9401; (YA940010)

altus


#103 16 Nov 11, 19:26

altus : Hmm, I take this as an entire 1km by 1km map square not a single point.

You would read right then up so the 1km square designated by YA9104 would be the north east corner of our "vicinity" term.

Right?

skiplc


#104 16 Nov 11, 19:32

Well I don't understand why only squares in the south, west and southwest can be considered a vicinity of a specific square and not the other neighboring ones. Does "right then up" really affect the way you establish the vicinity of a particular square?

altus


#105 16 Nov 11, 19:41

Picture a city map of nice square blocks. If I told you I lived in the "vicinity" of Main and Maple, I believe you would assume I lived in one of the 4 blocks surrounding that intersection of Main and Maple; not somewhere in a larger area.

Wouldn't you?

skiplc


#106 16 Nov 11, 19:54

Yes I would.

So, Vic 9104 should not be understood as the vicinity of the entire map square 9104, but the vicinity of the intersection point of the lines 91 and 04?

Is this an official convention put forth in, say, a Map Reading FM?

Thank you.

altus


#107 16 Nov 11, 19:59

Phieu :

Then, Ken, you have been warned: approach my “stuff” on B-52 “Carpet Bombing” at your own risk. I concocted that “stuff” prior to taking the map reading class taught by Montana Kid, Boonie and Altus!

Phieu,

I'm trying to help you. Even without your recent "schooling" of map reading; each map's bottom right hand legend provides you with a "short" teaching example. After 20yrs of study, I was truly surprised as to your understanding of the Grid Coord system used on the maps of the time. Here is example of what I'm talking about...

P.S. The Cord of 9407 is more than likely the same as 940 070; best written as 94 07.

KEN JENSEN


#108 16 Nov 11, 22:11

altus: Yes I would.

So, Vic 9104 should not be understood as the vicinity of the entire map square 9104, but the vicinity of the intersection point of the lines 91 and 04?

Is this an official convention put forth in, say, a Map Reading FM?

Thank you.

I honestly don't think there is an official convention of "vicinity" altus...the term is just too ambiguous to be of any use other than general information.

Example; when BAT 21 was shot down, a 27Km radius no fire zone was imposed from a certain point so none of us would accidentally shoot Iceal Hambleton. If the order had created a no fire zone in the vicinity of that point, it would have been interpreted differently by everyone out there.

I see no reason any military would use terms like vicinity, general vicinity, close vicinity, and so forth when a point and a measurement would be quite clear.

skiplc


#109 16 Nov 11, 22:30

Phieu : Since Pleiku Campaign AAR only gave a six digit coordinate of a position (YA 820070 or YA 940010) what accuracy was it then?

Finding one's own position in those days involved a recognition of details on a map. Position was determined by shooting an azimuth. For example, a soldier can fix on a visible spot with his compass and trace a line from that angle. He can then fix the compass on another visible point and draw a line at that angle.

Where the lines cross should be his approximate position on the map. Don't forget to correct for your position in relation to the magnetic north pole. A military map will show you that declination angle, which must also be factored in to locating ones self on a map.

Now I claim no particular expertise in map reading. I had the map class that every American soldier receives in basic training. In the field in Vietnam, I was positioned with the platoon command group as medic, so by observation and osmosis, I learned more about map reading by watching and listening to the platoon leader. The officers on this site know more about map reading than I do, so they can correct anything I said wrong and I'll defer to them.

MontanaKid


#110 16 Nov 11, 22:38

Map reading

All these chats about map reading remind me of the following anecdote narrated by a II Corps general staff officer by the name of Nguyen Minh Am that took place in June 1965, a few months before Pleime campaign regarding my brother testing his reading map skill:

I graduated with the 18th Class of the Reserved Officers Military School of Thu Duc with the grade of Aspirant Lieutenant. On June 1, 1965 I was already present at II Corps in Pleiku. I was brought in to meet with Colonel Hieu, the II Corps Chief of Staff. When I entered his office, Colonel Hieu was on the phone with someone. He asked me to sit down and wait for a while. Upon terminating his phone conversation, he turned to me and asked which was my strongest subject in the military school. I responded I excelled in map reading. He pointed to the map on the wall and asked me to pinpoint the location of a unit. Although I was experiencing turmoil inside me for having to perform before a colonel, I was able to determine the "section" of the location and thus recited accurately 8 out of 10 numbers of the coordinates. The outcome of the brief quiz was my assignment to work at G3 where good skills in map reading were required.

(www.generalhieu.com/thammuuqd-2.htm)

So, if I have learned my lesson well, this guy was able to pinpoint the location with an accuracy of 10m x 10m... Is that right?

Would it be nice if I have had my brother as an instructor of map reading?!

Ken, would you trust my brother with your life if he asked you to lead your men into an area to set up a blocking position and you had been told by him that there would be B52 carpet bombing very nearby?

Phieu


#111 16 Nov 11, 23:08

MontanaKid:

Finding one's own position in those days involved a recognition of details on a map. Position was determined by shooting an azimuth. For example, a soldier can fix on a visible spot with his compass and trace a line from that angle. He can then fix the compass on another visible point and draw a line at that angle.

Where the lines cross should be his approximate position on the map. Don't forget to correct for your position in relation to the magnetic north pole. A military map will show you that declination angle, which must also be factored in to locating ones self on a map.

Now I claim no particular expertise in map reading. I had the map class that every American soldier receives in basic training. In the field in Vietnam, I was positioned with the platoon command group as medic, so by observation and osmosis, I learned more about map reading by watching and listening to the platoon leader. The officers on this site know more about map reading than I do, so they can correct anything I said wrong and I'll defer to them.

Yeah, position and elevation if a target. Also need to remember when plotting a target that a grease pencil dot on a 1:50000 map will cover 100 Sq Meters.

Declination correction is critical to us squids as ships operate using true north. If the OTL (observer target line) is not corrected and we don't know it, we'll miss the target by a country mile.

If the Navy tried to give me any map reading skills in basic or school, I slept through it all...learned it all on the job. One thing for sure; plot a thousand targets and ya learn to do so with all possible accuracy, note elevations, note if target is in defilade, and so forth.

I imagine, it the situation had presented itself, you'd have made a pretty durn good spotter.

skiplc


#112 17 Nov 11, 01:03

Phieu: Ken, would you trust my brother with your life if he asked you to lead your men into an area to set up a blocking position and you had been told by him that there would be B52 carpet bombing very nearby?

Strange question. I'm sorry Phieu, I didn't trust any ARVN while I was in Vietnam. Let's say your brother was my U.S. Company Commander....

Would I trust him then? Not so sure; here read this little story of mine I titled "Danger Close"...

http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...ose#post756101

Now after writing the above little story plus 6mths to a year later, I received our Battalion Daily Journal Logs and started plotting my Patrols;

here are the logs for the "Danger Close" Patrol...

Now here is the plot (notice entry #29 with grid coord of 9352); "vicinity" my ars....

heeheehee and these were probably 105mm rounds (a B-52 strike would have killed my whole Platoon and probably the whole Company)...

Now do you think I "trusted" my CO and the attached Arty FO to call rounds so close to my Platoon after that little patrol?

KEN JENSEN


#113 17 Nov 11, 01:05

Phieu:

I think I discover two errors. One by you, and one by Pleiku AAR.

- By you: the 33rd was at grid 9410, you put it at 9401.

- By Pleiku AAR: the 32nd was pinpointed at grid 8270, you correctly put it at grid 8207.

It does not make sense in both case.

- The 32nd was put two far up

- 1/7 cav would be dropped right over the head of 33rd or too close for comfort.

I could be wrong though. Please double check.

My localizations are correct (as per the 1st Cav intel anyway)

UTM coordinates always have an even number of digits, for example 820070 should be read as 820 070. In this particular case, I think we can safely drop the third digit of each coordinates (unless the enemy units were located exactly at the grid intersections, which I doubt) so the coords are:

Regiment 32: YA8207

Regiment 33: YA9401

Regiment 66: YA9104

Boonierat


#114 17 Nov 11, 04:05

Thanks for this additional info. I think I understand a little better know about the writing of a coordinate.

For a while I panicked when I saw the position of Regiment 33 located right at the proximity of LZ X-Ray. But now I realize that was its position on Nov 11, not Nov 14, where 1/7 cav will be dropped at. By then, Regiment 33 should have moved out up eastward to a position much further away from LZ X-Ray than the position of Regiment 66. When Moore went in, it was units of 66th that first opposed him, not units of the 33rd.

Phieu


#115 17 Nov 11, 06:19 Quote:

altus : Phieu, look: …

Thanks. I have a better understanding about map reading now. It is not as simple as Bonnie said (just go right then up)! There is more to that like this slicing thing that you have explained so eloquently. I did not understandit right away though, until Bonnie repeated to me the same lesson.

Phieu


#116 17 Nov 11, 06:26 I feel it is OK in the case of Regiment 32 with YA820070 when shorten to YA8207.

But I do not feel it is OK in the case of Regiment 33 with YA940010 when shorten to YA9401. Could it be also YA9410?

What is the significance of the digit couple in the middle? Does it indicates the degree of accuracy?

I'll do the best I can here...

YA8207 denotes a 1000m x 1000m square. YA820070 denotes a 100m x 100m square in the SW corner of YA8207. Therefore, the 32 could be spread over 1000x1000 meter area in the former example or be bunched up in a 100x100 meter square in the latter.

You can apply the same to the 33...either they're spread out or bunched up. And yes, the additional digits tell us the accuracy of the grid coordinate.

YA8207 denotes a 1000 x 1000 meter area

YA820070 denotes a 100 x 100 meter area

YA82000700 denotes a 10 x 10 meter area

It's easier to see if you do what Ken said and write the coordinates with a space eg. YA 8200 0700, YA 820 070, YA 82 07

Could YA9401 also be YA9410? No! YA9410 is 9 km north of YA9401

skiplc


#117 17 Nov 11, 08:06

: skiplc I honestly don't think there is an official convention of "vicinity" altus...the term is just too ambiguous to be of any use other than general information.

Which was the daily butter and bread of the intel guys (and brothers-in-headphones or our respected but "can't-comment" RR. )

altus


#118 17 Nov 11, 08:09

One thing I never really understood about the battle is why did 2-7 Cav march to LZ ALBANY for extraction when it could have been picked up at XRAY, anyone knows?

Boonierat


#119 17 Nov 11, 08:09

Phieu : But now I realize that was its position on Nov 11, not Nov 14, where 1/7 cav will be dropped at. By then, Regiment 33 should have moved out up eastward to a position much further away from LZ X-Ray than the position of Regiment 66.

Now you see Phieu how exact was your "pinpointing" in both positional and temporal dimensions.

altus


#120 17 Nov 11, 08:10

Boonierat: One thing I never really understood about the battle is why did 2-7 Cav march to LZ ALBANY for extraction when it could have been picked up at XRAY, anyone knows?

Perhaps they were afraid of possible mortar attacks and incoming B-52 strikes?

Altus


#121 17 Nov 11, 08:15

Yes, that's a possible reason, another that just came back to mind is the planned Arc Lights on the Chu Pong, 2-7 Cav needed to reach the safety zone maybe? Boonierat


#122 17 Nov 11, 08:22

Or perhaps they thought they had an accurate bodycount and there were no more able-body enemy units in the area?

altus


#123 17 Nov 11, 08:27

Sleepy would surely say they 'fled' the battlefield

Boonierat


#124 17 Nov 11, 09:12

MontanaKid: Finding one's own position in those days involved a recognition of details on a map. Position was determined by shooting an azimuth. For example, a soldier can fix on a visible spot with his compass and trace a line from that angle. He can then fix the compass on another visible point and draw a line at that angle.

Where the lines cross should be his approximate position on the map. Don't forget to correct for your position in relation to the magnetic north pole. A military map will show you that declination angle, which must also be factored in to locating ones self on a map.

Now I claim no particular expertise in map reading. I had the map class that every American soldier receives in basic training. In the field in Vietnam, I was positioned with the platoon command group as medic, so by observation and osmosis, I learned more about map reading by watching and listening to the platoon leader. The officers on this site know more about map reading than I do, so they can correct anything I said wrong and I'll defer to them.

Well your somewhat correct here Montana; however in the 1st Div AO we (1/28th) primarily operated in areas East or West of "Thunder Road" (Hwy QL13) which started in Saigon and went North to Bu Dop; in addition to areas supported by Road 1, 1A, and 2. During my stay, many villages, hamlets, foliage, and other "land features" kept changing; there yesterday gone tomorrow. These things combined with the weather season; wet or dry; streams and trails would also come and go.

In addition, most the Maps we were working from were outdated (i.e. the map I plotted above was published in 1965/1966); we were operating in 1967/68 and still working with such outdated maps.

"Thunder Road" was always having Rome Plows busy changing the terrain. Agent Orange also caused many changes.

Our Unit moved through a lot of Light, Medium, and Thick jungle where you could NOT see any identifiable "land mark". Our basic method was Compass and "Pacing" (count your steps); I'm sure you were also trained with this method. LOL! "God Damn it, the Map shows a Hamlet here with a stream running through it; where in the Hell are they?" Or worse thing you want to hear from your Plt Leader or Company Commander, "Where in the Hell are we"? Now these are a couple of questions I never said or worried about.

KEN JENSEN


#125 17 Nov 11, 10:43

skiplc: I'll do the best I can here...

YA8207 denotes a 1000m x 1000m square. YA820070 denotes a 100m x 100m square in the SW corner of YA8207. Therefore, the 32 could be spread over 1000x1000 meter area in the former example or be bunched up in a 100x100 meter square in the latter.

You can apply the same to the 33...either they're spread out or bunched up. And yes, the additional digits tell us the accuracy of the grid coordinate.

YA8207 denotes a 1000 x 1000 meter area

YA820070 denotes a 100 x 100 meter area

YA82000700 denotes a 10 x 10 meter area

It's easier to see if you do what Ken said and write the coordinates with a space eg. YA 8200 0700, YA 820 070, YA 82 07

Could YA9401 also be YA9410? No! YA9410 is 9 km north of YA9401

You explained it quite clearly. It's transparent to me know. Am I correct in generalizing:

XXYY denotes 1000m2

XXxyYY denotes 100m2

XXxx'y'yYY denotes 10m2

XXxx'x"y"y'yYY denotes 1m2

One other thing more though. Does YA indicates a square area or something else like a section of the entire map, like VT, XT in Ken's example.

Phieu


#126 17 Nov 11, 10:51

altus: Perhaps they were afraid of possible mortar attacks and incoming B-52 strikes?

They might be possibly afraid of mortar, because there was a possibility that the heavy mortar battalion had arrived on the battle scene.

But the main reason was they had received the order to clear the landing zone which would be the direct target for B-52 carpet bombing.

Phieu


#127 17 Nov 11, 11:02

altus: Or perhaps they thought they had an accurate bodycount and there were no more able-body enemy units in the area?

Negative as far as body count is concerned, because it would be futile then to target directly the landing zone, if they were sure there were no more able-body enemy units in the area:

It is worth mentioning that since the afternoon on 15 November, the B52 stratofortresses had also taken part in the battle with five daily bombardments of the Chu Pong massif. On 17 November, the targets also included LZ X-ray and the two friendly battalions were so ordered to move 3 km away from the LZ, northward and northwestward to another called LZ Albany.

Why Pleime)

Phieu


#128 17 Nov 11, 11:03

Phieu: Am I correct in generalizing:

XXYY denotes 1000m2

XXxyYY denotes 100m2

XXxx'y'yYY denotes 10m2

XXxx'x"y"y'yYY denotes 1m2

You broke them wrong. The sequence should be broken in half, right in the middle - XXYY, XXxYYy, XXxx'YYyy', XXxx'x"YYyy'y".

Then replace '2' with ' each dimension' and you're set.

Yes, YA is a square section of the map, unless you're near the Poles.

altus


#129 17 Nov 11, 11:06

Good info Tin, didn't know XRAY itself was the target of an Arc Light.

Boonierat


#130 17 Nov 11, 11:07

Boonierat : One thing I never really understood about the battle is why did 2-7 Cav march to LZ ALBANY for extraction when it could have been picked up at XRAY, anyone knows?

Here is the reason:

On 17 November, the targets also included LZ X-ray and the two friendly battalions were so ordered to move 3 km away from the LZ, northward and northwestward to another called LZ Albany.

The displacement was also based on the estimate that the enemy had withdrawn in that direction. In the afternoon of the previous day, a friendly helicopter had been shot down over that area, the enemy movement could also aim at attacking the artillery position east of X-ray which had provided effective support to the 1/7 battalion during the last two days. The two battalions moved into different directions, the 2/7 northward and the 2/5 northwestward.

(Why Pleime)

Phieu


#131 17 Nov 11, 11:10

Phieu: Negative as far as body count is concerned, because it would be futile then to target directly the landing zone, if they were sure there were no more able-body enemy units in the area:

Hmm, since the 1/7 controlled and policed the LZ after the battle, we can assume that no PAVN unit remained there. So why would you strike the landing zone after 1/7 had moved out? To kill the PAVN soldiers that would come back for their fallen buddies?

altus


#132 17 Nov 11, 11:15

altus: You broke them wrong. The sequence should be broken in half, right in the middle - XXYY, XXxYYy, XXxx'YYyy', XXxx'x"YYyy'y".

Then replace '2' with ' each dimension' and you're set.

Yes, YA is a square section of the map, unless you're near the Poles.

I think I am totally enlightened now and have reached the Nirvana ! Thanks guys: MontanaKid, Boonie, Altus, Lucky6, ...

Phieu


#133 17 Nov 11, 11:15

altus: Hmm, since the 1/7 controlled and policed the LZ after the battle, we can assume that no PAVN unit remained there. So why would you strike the landing zone after 1/7 had moved out? To kill the PAVN soldiers that would come back for their fallen buddies?

The NVA often went back to abandoned US FSBs or LZs to look for anything that might have been left behind, or stage photo ops to pretend they had won the battle these areas were often targeted by Arc Lights, like RIPCORD after it was evacuated.

Boonierat


#134 17 Nov 11, 11:20

No I think the American often used B-52 to eradicate whatever evidence left of their humiliating defeats.

And, had it been the primary concern, why not wait for both battalions to be picked up before bombing?

But seriously, Phieu, what's the source of Gen. Vĩnh Lộc when he wrote LZ X-Ray itself was targeted by B-52?

altus


#135 17 Nov 11, 11:30

altu: s Hmm, since the 1/7 controlled and policed the LZ after the battle, we can assume that no PAVN unit remained there. So why would you strike the landing zone after 1/7 had moved out? To kill the PAVN soldiers that would come back for their fallen buddies?

Maybe not, considering the bombing was scheduled to start merely a couple of hours after the departure of 1/7 and 2/7:

The impending B-52 strikes - they were called "arc lights" - were due within a couple hours and there had to be a minimum three-kilometers safety zone between the strike and the friendly troops.

(Coleman, page 247)

Note: Coleman also drafted the AAR

Phieu


#136 17 Nov 11, 11:57

altus: But seriously, Phieu, what's the source of Gen. Vĩnh Lộc when he wrote LZ X-Ray itself was targeted by B-52?

Here was his source: Headquarters, 1st Air Cavalry Division, Pleiku Campaign (Why Pleime -Chapter IX - Document D - Reference Documents)

And let me quote Pleiku Campaign AAR, page 94:

Those troops still remaining in the now deserted X-Ray area suddenly learned of the reason for the exodus of the Cavalry. A B-52 strike had been called in virtually on top of the old positions.

Phieu


#137 17 Nov 11, 12:07

Phieu : One other thing more though. Does YA indicates a square area or something else like a section of the entire map, like VT, XT in Ken's example.

A section of entire map.

If one would lay out a flat 1:50,000 map of the whole world, it would be LARGE.

This "large" map is then sectioned off into Map Sheets. Map Sheets are designated similar to this "6331 IV". Then "Sheets" normally have an assigned "Series" designator (normally this represents the year the data was collected; probably by a survey). ** Note the date map printed is different than the date the data was last surveyed (L-7014).

Sheets are also broken down with 1000 meter grid lines (South to North and West to East - Lat/Long) with two "alpha" characters that provide a "name" of the 1000 meter square on each unique SHEET. "XT" represents the "name" of the Lat/Long designator on a Map

WORLD MAP SHEET (6331 IV) & SERIES (L-7014) LAT/LONG (XT)

http://www.armystudyguide.com/conten...d-coordi.shtml

"Public School" is now closed. From here on out I charge U.S. $500 per hour.

KEN JENSEN


#138 17 Nov 11, 12:08

Phieu : Here was his source: Headquarters, 1st Air Cavalry Division, Pleiku Campaign (Why Pleime -Chapter IX - Document D - Reference Documents)

This is only a listing, mainly of interrogation reports. Which document in it exactly said LZ Xray was targeted?

And let me quote Pleiku Campaign AAR, page 94

Why "virtually"? Had the LZ been targeted it would have been downright pointless to write so. Many US documents mentioned about Arc Light strikes on the Chu Pong massifs, which are "right over", "nearby" XRay, and I believe this passage may have referred to the Chu Pong massifs in the same fashion, only a bit more dramatic.

altus


#139 17 Nov 11, 12:15

No comments.

Phieu


#140 17 Nov 11, 12:17

I would put my money on the use of the B-52 strikes after "the battle" was to destroy any and all fortifications that may still be left in tact.

Just a "guess" from my bottom cheeks.

KEN JENSEN


#141 17 Nov 11, 12:29

LZ ALBANY anniversary

Boonierat


#142 17 Nov 11, 13:04

altus: This is only a listing, mainly of interrogation reports. Which document in it exactly said LZ Xray was targeted?

Didn't I say: Headquarters, 1st Air Cavalry Division, Pleiku Campaign?

Look more closely Altus:

Reference Documents
1. Interrogation Report (handwritten) of Hoang Van Chung PFC, 2d Plt 8th Co, 966th Bn, 32d Regiment.
2. Summarized report - Activities of 635th Bn, 33d Regiment.
3. Translation (handwritten) of a diary maintained by a member of the 635th Bn.
4. Translation and Summary of Document concerning 635th Bn.
5. Summary of information obtained from Doan Ngoc Dinh, 4th Co, 635th Bn, 32d Regiment. Captured 9 Aug 65 at Le Thanh during battle of Duc Co.
6. Interrogation of Doan Ngoc Dinh, 4th CS Company, 635th Bn, 32d Regiment. Captured at Duc Co, 9 August 1965.
7. Knowledgeability Brief of Hoang The U, member 8th Bn, 66th Regiment, 7 Nov 65.
8. Interrogation of Pvt Pham Ngoc Hoang, 9th Bn, 66th NVA Regiment, 28 Nov 65.
9. Knowledgeability Brief on Nguyen Nghe Thung, member 635th Bn, 32d Regiment, 23 Nov 65.
10. Summary of VC/NVA Unit Identifications Provided by Captives, 20 Nov 65.
11. Knowledgeability Brief of Sgt Pham Sam, member Signal Company, 101B Regiment, 7 Nov 65.
12. Knowledgeability Brief of Pvt Tran Van Thanh, member C-4 Co, 1st Bn, 101B Regiment, 325th Division, 5 Nov 65.
13. Knowledgeability Briefs of 13 NVA soldiers captured at a Regiment Dispensary on 1 Nov 65.
14. Initial Interrogation of Senior Sgt Cao Xuan Hai, member 2d Co, 324th Regiment, 3 Nov 65.
15. Initial Interrogation of Tran Ngoc Luong, member C-18 Co, 101st Regiment, 2 Nov 65.
16. Preliminary Interrogation of 3 NVA soldiers who surrendered on 30 Oct 65.
17. Preliminary Interrogation of Hoang Van Chung, 8th Co, 966th Bn, 32d Regiment, 31 Oct 65.
18. Debriefing of NVA Cpl Nguyen Xuan Tien, 29 Oct 65.
19. Hand printed copy of the Initial Interrogation of Pham Ngoc Hoang, member of 9th Bn, 66th Regiment, 304th NVA Division. Interrogation conducted by ARVN MI Det, II Corps.
20. Interrogation of 1st Lt Bui Van Con (alias Cuong), Political Officer, Signal Company, 33d NVA Regt (also known as 101B NVA Regt).
21. Initial Interrogation Report. Report concerns interrogation of 1st Lt Bui Van Cuong (alias Con), Political Officer, Signal Company, 33d NVA Regt (also known as 101B NVA Regt), 27 Nov 65.
22. Interrogation Follow-Up. Report concerns the interrogation of 1st Lt Bui Van Cuong (alias Con), Political Officer, Signal Company, 33d NVA Regt (also known as 101B NVA Regt), 30 Nov 65.
23. Rallier, 1st Lt Bui Van Cuong. A Follow-up Interrogation Report of subject who was Political Officer, Signal Company, 33d NVA Regt (also known as 101B NVA Regt), 3 Dec 65.
24. Initial Interrogation Report. Report concerns interrogation of Sgt Le Van Hiem, Sqd Ldr, 7th Battalion, 66th NVA Regiment, 2 Dec 65.
25. Headquarters, Special Tactical Zone 24, Advisory Detachment, Combat Operations After Action Report, Dated 15 Nov 65.
26. Translated copy of the 32d NVA Regiment Combat Order for an Ambush, prepared at 32d NVA Regiment Headquarters on 12 Oct 65.
27. Intelligence Report, Hqs, 1st Air Cav Div, Office of the G-2, Dated 24 Nov 65, Subject: Ia Drang Valley (Silver Bayonet 1) YA 9104 14-19 Nov 65.
28. Interview on 10 and 12 Dec 65 with Major James S. O'Neal, Armor, US Army. Advisor to 3d Vietnamese Armored Cavalry Squadron which was the armored element involved in the relief of Plei Me Special Forces Camp in Oct 65.
29. Armor in Vietnam's Central Highlands by Lt Col. Edward B. Smith, Jr - Armor Magazine, May-June 1966, pp 10-15.
30. Headquarters, 1st Air Cavalry Division, Pleiku Campaign.
31. The Lure and the Ambush, an account of the opening battle of Phase Three in the Struggle for the Highlands 19 Oct 65-26 Nov 65 by Maj. William P. Boyle and Major Robert Samabria.
32. Headquarters 1/7 Cavalry Battalion, Combat After Action Report, Ia Drang Valley Operation, 14-16 Nov 65.

Phieu


#143 17 Nov 11, 13:09

KEN JENSEN: I would put my money on the use of the B-52 strikes after "the battle" was to destroy any and all fortifications that may still be left in tact.

Just a "guess" from my bottom cheeks.

I don't think you "guess" at wall. On the contray:

For five consecutive days, from 15 to 19 November, the giant B52 bombers had flown a total of 96 sorties. One after the other, the areas of the Chu Pong massif - each of 20 square miles - underwent a systematic earthquake spreading from West to East. VC bunkers and trenches which so far had resisted the strikes by tactical aircraft and artillery began to score direct hits by the 750-pound bombs.

(Why Pleime)

Phieu


#144 17 Nov 11, 18:54

Phieu: Didn't I say: Headquarters, 1st Air Cavalry Division, Pleiku Campaign? Look more closely Altus: …

OK, I have not looked closely enough. What kind of document is this and is it accessible? If so do you have a copy of it?

altus


#145 17 Nov 11, 20:53

Don't tell me you don't know what kind of document is this!

It is the Pleiku Campaign After Action Report written by 1st Air Cavalry Division Headquarters.

Yes, it is accessible at my website: www.generalhieu.com/pleiku-2.com.

Bonnie has also provided a link to its pdf format right in this forum (page 4).

Phieu


#146 18 Nov 11, 04:44

Ah, so it was that ORLL. I had hoped it was a different document, with a more direct quote on LZ XRay being targeted.

Another thing with that ORLL is that, in my opinion, the daily Intel Summaries in it were written with some hindsight and not entirely "real time".

altus


#147 18 Nov 11, 07:08

Yes it is ORLL.

AAR is another military acronym, that I used in my response to your question

Quote: …

And let me quote Pleiku Campaign AAR, page 94 …

I have seen other people used this acronym on this forum.

Maybe your unfamiliarity with this acronym had disoriented you.

Although you do not see a more directed quote in this AAR, and hope to see it in a different document, do you agree that LZ X-Ray was a target for B52 strikes ?

Phieu


#148 18 Nov 11, 07:17

AAR are more "current" and ORLL have a little more "hindsight".

Having re-read the whole relevant section in the ORLL I think it was the intention of the narrator to make an impression that LZ X-Ray area was hit by B-52s on 17 November. So, yes, now I see there are reasonable basis for you (or Gen. Vĩnh Lộc) to assume that LZ X-Ray was a target for B-52 strikes. Thank you for bringing this up.

altus


#149 18 Nov 11, 08:33

AAR (After Action Report): specific action and/or operation.

ORLL (Operations Report - Lessons Learned): activity reports published at regular intervals (quarterly during the war).

You're probably right about the Pleiku Campaign document, since it was published in March 1966.

Boonierat


#150 18 Nov 11, 10:27

altus: Having re-read the whole relevant section in the ORLL I think it was the intention of the narrator to make an impression that LZ X-Ray area was hit by B-52s on 17 November. So, yes, now I see there are reasonable basis for you (or Gen. Vĩnh Lộc) to assume that LZ X-Ray was a target for B-52 strikes. Thank you for bringing this up.

What if I tell you that Gen Vinh Loc did not rely on this ORLL to say that LZ X-Ray was a target for B-52 strikes, because II Corps Command and 1st Air Cav Forward Command conducted the campaign on the "modus operandi" I have previously mentioned:

In phase III, the operations had been conducted through a close cooperation between ARVN and US Forces: that was the latest procedure ever put into application since the second World War. It is characterized by:

- Joint intelligence and support activities.
- Commonly-shared concept of operations and results.
- Separate TAOR.
- Separate command.
- Separate deployment of forces.
- Separate conduct of activities.
- Separate reserve.

(www.generalhieu.com/why_pleime_chVIII-2.htm)

and thus II Corps Command had a direct knowledge of the campaign.

Besides, II Corps Command knew more than the narrator of the AAR (Coleman) who relied more - via Gen Knowles - as previously mentioned

A special thanks also to Lieutenant General Richard Knowles for his patience with me in those initial interviews twenty-two years ago and, more recently, in hours of consultation on the aspects of the campaign that didn’t appear in the after-action report.

(Coleman)

- on the narrator of Why Pleime than vice versa. As a matter of fact Why Pleime filled up a lot of gaps contained in Pleime Campaign.

But then ... I will come back to this issue later on in due time.


#151 18 Nov 11, 13:01

KEN JENSEN : Well your somewhat correct here Montana; however in the 1st Div AO we (1/28th) primarily operated in areas East or West of "Thunder Road" (Hwy QL13) which started in Saigon and went North to Bu Dop; in addition to areas supported by Road 1, 1A, and 2. During my stay, many villages, hamlets, foliage, and other "land features" kept changing; there yesterday gone tomorrow. These things combined with the weather season; wet or dry; streams and trails would also come and go.

In addition, most the Maps we were working from were outdated (i.e. the map I plotted above was published in 1965/1966); we were operating in 1967/68 and still working with such outdated maps.

"Thunder Road" was always having Rome Plows busy changing the terrain. Agent Orange also caused many changes.

Our Unit moved through a lot of Light, Medium, and Thick jungle where you could NOT see any identifiable "land mark". Our basic method was Compass and "Pacing" (count your steps); I'm sure you were also trained with this method. LOL! "God Damn it, the Map shows a Hamlet here with a stream running through it; where in the Hell are they?" Or worse thing you want to hear from your Plt Leader or Company Commander, "Where in the Hell are we"? Now these are a couple of questions I never said or worried about.

We were helped by the fact that we were in the mountains, so we usually had visible mountaintops to shoot azimuths from unless in thick vegetation.

Of course you've heard the old joke that the most dangerous thing in Vietnam was a 2nd Lieutenant with a compass, map and an idea.

MontanaKid


#152 18 Nov 11, 14:11

Yeah, I know, I know. Lucky for my troops I had been in Germany as Enlisted working for the 7th Army Engineers assisting making "Topo Maps". And then again, after I was Commissioned, I was a Basic Training Officer where I had to develop a Map Reading Lesson Plan and Course for the Battalion; Oh, also had to teach other new Officers and my own Company of Basic Trainees.

heeheehee, 2nd Lt. with Idea in Nam, my CO wouldn't let me take my Platoon out and blow up a friggin White Catholic church the VC used the "steeple" as an "aiming stick" to lobe mortars at us. I guess he figured it would piss off the Battalion, Brigade, and the Civilians at Phuc Vinh. Previously I had posted the below Plotted Map; now you know why "the Church" is on the Plot (that "friggin church" should have blown to chit); anyway that was my "dumb ars" Idea; best I had while in Nam.

KEN JENSEN


#153 18 Nov 11, 16:37

Map reading, etc.

6 digit coordinates are all that were necessary to deliver cannon and aerial rocket artilley fires to the enemy. As for B-52 Arclights, the standard rule was to create a 1000 meter (1kilometer) box around the target grid as a buffer zone for friendly troops to stay away from the target itself.

There was one incident where the Arclight missed its target on the Bong son plain but as I recall none of our forces were nearby in that case.

RedDagger18


#154 18 Nov 11, 17:24

We had one time when we had to hump mountain trails most of the day to get out of danger close for a B-52 strike. We were close enough that night to hear the way the air howled through the fins of the bombs.

MontanaKid


#155 18 Nov 11, 17:45

KEN JENSEN : "God Damn it, the Map shows a Hamlet here with a stream running through it; where in the Hell are they?" Or worse thing you want to hear from your Plt Leader or Company Commander, "Where in the Hell are we"? Now these are a couple of questions I never said or worried about.

This cursing remind me about the episode in which my brother, then a 5th ID commander, also had to utter something similar to that effect:

Brigadier General Tran Dinh Tho, chief J3/JGS recounted: One time, I accompanied Hieu on a field inspection of a unit stationed in Cambodge. When the helicopter landed, we jumped out and looked around without seeing any soldiers showing up to greet us. Hieu was quite surprised: "How strange: no doubt we are at the coordinates of the location of the unit. God Damn it, the unit commander had moved his troops without notification.

Another anecdote about map reading, when my brother was in Pleiku as II Corps chief of staff:

Colonel Hieu possessed an extraordinary memory. He knew by rote the coordinates of each unit in his areas without having to refer to a map. For example in one instance I wrongly determined the coordinates of a location, he told me I needed to reconsider them, because if he ordered an artillery strike, it would hit an armored unit in operation at that location. Aware of this fact, units in operation would not dare to cheat on their locations. In one instance, Colonel Hieu asked a unit which was ordered to attack an enemy hide-out if it had reach the destination; he got an affirmative response by the unit commander who, because he was afraid to confront the ennemi, had lied. Colonel Hieu asked him to confirm his position once more, because if he ordered an artillery strike, it would hit his unit and not the enemy. Our unit commander hastily requested more time to reach a more accurate location report.

Phieu


#156 18 Nov 11, 18:09

RedDagger18: 6 digit coordinates are all that were necessary to deliver cannon and aerial rocket artilley fires to the enemy. As for B-52 Arclights, the standard rule was to create a 1000 meter (1kilometer) box around the target grid as a buffer zone for friendly troops to stay away from the target itself.

There was one incident where the Arclight missed its target on the Bong son plain but as I recall none of our forces were nearby in that case.

This is perhaps an explanation Pleiku Campaign AAR intelligence report for Nov 11 indicated the locations of the three enemy regiments as following:

Regiment 66: center of mass vic9104

Regiment 33: 940010

Regiment 32: 820070

to say that B52 strikes can be used successfuly to destroy the entire enemy forces starting now, including the scattered 66th with

-center of mass at 9104 (1000m x 1000m)

-and the rest in the vicinity 9104, 9103, 9003, 9004 (2000m x 2000m)

Phieu


#157 18 Nov 11, 21:02

B52 strikes targeted LZ X-Ray

For five consecutive days, from 15 to 19 November, the giant B52 bombers had flown a total of 96 sorties. One after the other, the areas of the Chu Pong massif - each of 20 square miles - underwent a systematic earthquake spreading from West to East. VC bunkers and trenches which so far had resisted the strikes by tactical aircraft and artillery began to score direct hits by the 750-pound bombs. The heavy canopy of the jungle ceased to be effective in both concealment and cover. The "back door" into Cambodia was closed and to escape, the VC remnants were reduced to utilize the narrow valley of the Ia Drang.

(www.generalhieu.com/why_pleime_chVI-2.htm)

I have mentioned that 1/7th Air Cav Battalion was sent to Chupong massif (Moore chose LZ X-Ray) with the mission to set a blocking position in support of another tactical maneuver. That maneuver was in fact B52 airstrike operation that was scheduled to last five consecutive days, from 15 to 19 November with a total of 96 sorties.

Should the 66th Regiment had chosen not to come down eastward to confront 1/7th Air Cavalry at LZ X-Ray, and remained at its position (Vic9104), the B52 strikes might not have included LZ X-Ray as a target at all.

But yet, in hindsight - mine, not Coleman, AAR's narrator, - since Regiment 33 was spotted at YA9401 on Nov 11 next to LZ X-Ray at YA9301 (see Boonie's map on page 7) , LZ X-Ray was also included in 20 boxes targeted by B52 strikes.

And because the 33rd Regiment had withdrawn northwest bound, the reason the 2/5th Air Cav Battalion was ordered to move toward LZ Albany was to move the blocking position accordingly, in support of B52 strikes that continued until Nov 19.

I forgot to mention that the 1/7th Air Cav was inserted into Chupong as a diversionary action, as an additional mission, aiming at keeping the enemy troop units from moving out of the staging areas on the way to attack Pleime camp a second time set for Nov 16. The diversionary tactic had indeed succeeded in forcing B3 Field Front to have its units remained in Chupong to defend its base, and by doing so, to maintain its troops concentrated:

Some of Field Front's assault elements had gotten under way before dawn on the 14th, bound for Pleime. At noon, when Cavalry helicopters disgorged troopers at the foot of the Chu Pong's, absolute surprise had been achieved. Instead of launching a divisional attack on Pleime ... the NVA division found itself engaged struggle to defend its own base.

(Pleiku Campaign, Nov 14 Intel)

Phieu


#158 19 Nov 11, 15:12

altus: Ah, so it was that ORLL. I had hoped it was a different document, with a more direct quote on LZ XRay being targeted.

Another thing with that ORLL is that, in my opinion, the daily Intel Summaries in it were written with some hindsight and not entirely "real time".

Let me clarify that “current” versus “hindsight” is not the same as “real time” versus “hindsight”.

For the sake of mutual understanding – you know what I am talking about, and I know what you are talking about – I think we need to understand there is a difference between current/hindsight and real time/hindsight.

Regarding current/hindsight, you referred to the publication date of a document. If I add the daily log or Journal of the officer on duty, then I might get the following classification in term of date

Current Journal => AAR => ORLL Hindsight

All three documents might report an intel info that can be either classified as “real time” or “hindsight”

What do I mean by “real time”?

When an event or function is processed instantaneously, it is said to occur in real-time. To say something takes place in real-time is the same as saying it is happening "live" or "on-the-fly."

For example, the position of Regiment 32 (YA820070) reported in Nov 11 Intelligence Summary can be “real time”, actual position on Nov 11, 1965 or be “hindsight”, alleged position on Nov 11, 1965 which had been, at a later date, confirmed by a prisoner or assumed by Pku AAR on March 1966.

If the intelligence source is an agent, a recon team, a radio intercept, air reconnaissance, it is likely the unit position has been reported in “real time”.

If the intelligence source is a prisoner, an enemy diary, an intelligence analyst, an AAA/ ORLL narrator, it is likely that the unit position was reported in “hindsight”.

The positions of various enemy troops during Operation All The Way of the phase II wherein 1st Air Cav Brigade was in pursuit of these withdrawing troops from Pleime to Chupong, reported in daily Intelligence Summary were “real time” positions, since they dictated the movements and actions of friendly troops, and not “hindsight” positions that merely explained the movements and actions of friendly troops.

We will get to this issue later on, in due time.

Phieu


#159 19 Nov 11, 17:04

Hindsight might be also in the sense that the position of an enemy unit was known, approximately or accurately, prior to an event, but their unit designation was not. For example in the AAR the enemy could be referred to as "an enemy regiment", whereas in the ORLL it could (but may not) be designated as the 33rd regiment, based on information that became available after the events took place.

But I theorize. Those are my personal impressions. I will not insist that a specific piece of information in the discussed ORLL was written using hindsight, nor is such a fact of any particular interest to me as of now.

altus


#160 20 Nov 11, 14:47

Intelligence in Operation Bayonet I

The “modus operandi” the baisis on which 1st Air Cav and II Corps conducted the operations in Operation Bayonet I stipulated (Pleime, chapter VIII):

- Joint intelligence and support activities.
- Commonly-shared concept of operations and results.
- Separate TAOR.
- Separate command.
- Separate deployment of forces.
- Separate conduct of activities.
- Separate reserve.

Let’s talk about “Joint intelligence” here.

* Intelligence teams:

The G2 intelligence officers of different units worked closely with each other :

-1st Air Cav: LTC Bobby Lang, 1st Air Cavalry Division Forward CP;; Major Wilmer Hall, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade; Captain John Prichard, assistant G2, 3rd Air Cavalry Brigade;

-II Corps: Colonel Nguyen Van Phuoc (24th Special Tactical Zone) and Captain Luong (Iinterrogation of Prisoners of War team), G2 II Corps; Major William P. Boyle, II Corps G2 Advisor

*Intelligence contributions

- 1st Air Cav:

Operations by the division in the Pleiku area refined a previously tested technique of detecting and reacting to enemy targets of opportunity. The DTOC received direct SLAR and infra-red (I-R) reports from the aerial surveillance and target acquisition platoon (OV-1 Mohawk) and USAF sources, plus reports and the Radio Research Unit.

- II Corps:

Agent/spies, recon missions by Montagnard Eagle Flight teams and VN Airborne Rangers teams inserted inside enemy territories, and radio intercept stations, interrogations of prisoners /deserters/ralliers, documents captures, individual troop diaries. = Agents/Spies: Coleman mentioned “special agents” as one of the intelligence sources. It was unlikely that G2/II Corps was able in inserting such agents within the enemy tight knitted ranks.

Nevertheless, B3 Field Front, in particular the 33rd Regiment commanders were convinced there were spies inside it regimental headquarters (Nov 1 Intelligence Summary)

- On 11/1, soon after arrival at Anta Village, the regimental cadres held a conference in an attempt to discover what was allowing the US forces to make such repeated, accurate air strikes.

It was concluded that only spies within the ranks could be furnishing the location and movement of the regiment's elements.

How the hell 1st Air Cavalry did knew about this, might you wonder! Could it be also from a spy sitting in the conference? How was that possible? Again, it is unlikely that G2/II Corps was able in inserting such agents within the enemy tight knitted ranks, aren’t it?

= Recon missions by Montagnard Eagle Flight teams: CIDG Eagle Flights were attached to 1/9th Cavalry Squadron to be used as scout and recon teams from 1 to 15 November (Pleiku):

B 2/9 Cav Sqdn was returned to squadron control at 1230 hours and the squadron (-) began search operations in the area of the Le Thanh District Headquarters (ZA246245) with a Special forces CIDG "Eagle Flights" attached. The attachment, despite the aerial connotation, actually was a Montagnard ground reconnaissance group consisting of six, 5-man scout squads.

- VN Airborne Rangers: II Corps initially used 2 Airborne Ranger Companies to gather information about enemy troops distribution around Pleime Camp, which lead to the determination of enemy intention to interdict rescue operation by air (Why Pleime); VC intelligence discovered that the 1st Air Cavalry Division air assaults were, in the majority, lead by Airborne Rangers (Why Pleime):

2nd Phase: use small detachments and coordinate with Vietnamese Special forces Rangers to conduct raids into our rear (28 Oct to 11 Nov 1965).

Vertical landing by "frog leaps" into our rear by helicopters (28 Oct. to 10 Nov. 1965). Forces used: from one battalion to one company of US troops or two companies of US troops coordinated with Vietnamese SF Rangers.

Before landing. Reconnaissance of landing zones by repeated air reconnaissance or by small Vietnamese SF Rangers teams.

Vietnamese SF Rangers or US reconnaissance elements always land first to secure the LZ for the landing of riflemen, fire support elements and CP.

After landing. The Vietnamese SF Rangers usually push far in patrols.

VN Airborne Rangers usually operated stealthily deep in enemy territories (G3 Journal/IFFV) :

- 10:35H: II Corps (Sgt Minney)(encoded) Request Delta Team locations and no fire zones for them.

- 11:00H: II Corps (Capt Ushijima) Ref your encoded msg (Concerning loc of Delta Tms). II Corps has no knowledge of their locations.

They acted as eyes and ears of LTC Ngo Quang Truong, Airborne Brigade Commander (see Schwarzkopf), in radioing to him enemy positions for Truong to call in artillery strikes and in alerting him that the 5th Airborne had been shadowing by an enemy battalion sized force.

- Radio intercept reports: In the midst of radio intercepts of enemy communications were messages in Mandarin; it was one of those relayed to him by G2/II Corps that LTC Hal Moore said help him in determining the enemy troop position in Chu Pong massif, prior to his landed assault into LZ X-Ray (Moore):

Over a cup of coffee, Matt Dillon passed along one interesting piece of information that the radio relay intercept team attached to our headquarters had come up with. Says Dillon: “They had made an intercept of a coded message in Mandarin dialect, like a situation report, from a position somewhere on a line from Plei Me camp directly through a clearing at the base of Chu Pong mountain. The intelligence lieutenant had a map with a line drawn on it. He said that the radio transmitter was somewhere on this line.”

The message was in Mandarin dialect because of the presence of Chinese Advisors with enemy troops. G2/II Corps learned from prisoners that there was one Chinese Advisor for each three of the 32nd, 33rd and 66th Regiments; Coleman said a surgeon captured at the regimental hospital appeared to be a Chinese:

There was also the captured NVA medical staff, including a larger-than-average man who Oliver still believes was a Chinese surgeon.

The presence of Chinese Advisors was exploited by the Psywar team to entice defection among the enemy troops with leaflets depicting a Chinese Advisor:

All the real time intelligence information on movements, positions, communications, reports, analysis of regimental and divisional headquarters by the days were gathered from radio intercepts. They were messages sent by Chinese Advisors at regimental level to Chinese Advisors at divisional level and vice versa. Unknowingly, they were the “spies within the ranks” that the enemy cadres tried to uncovered! The Chinese Advisors were more carefree in their radio communications than their VC counterparts, because they and their VC counterparts also, did not suspect that G2/II Corps had any radio interceptors that could understand the Mandarin dialect. They failed to count Colonel Hieu, II Corps Chief of Staff, who was born in Tianjin, China and only returned to Viet Nam at the age of 20 years old! (Around 1989, Nguyen, a former LLDB captain, told me that one night, in te middle of the night, he entered the radio station at Duc Co camp and was surprised to see Colonel Hieu manning the station all alone; he offered him a cup of coffee which my brother gladly accepted. I wonder was that one of the many times he listened to the communications between the Chinese advisors...).

- Interrogations of prisoners/deserters/ralliers: there were about 175 prisoners and ralliers captured during the Pleime campaign; all prisoners and ralliers were brought to the Interrogation of Prisoners of War Center set up at II Corps Headquarters; intelligence information generated from VC prisoners and ralliers contributed greatly in understanding clearly the enemy situation; Why Pleime emphasized this point in listing 24 such interrogations reports out of 32 sources in the reference section". In particular, prisoners confirmed that the second attack planned on Pleime camp for November 16 would be an all out attack to overrun the camp immediately.

- Documents captured on the battlefield, in particular at the regimental hospital site :

Stockton also decided to immediately evacuate … what eventually became a couple of duffel bags full of documents. It was, as Oliver noted, “a G-2 dream come true.”

In the midst of these documents, was a valuable map that revealed the supplies and march routes:

It was a beautifully preserved sketch map that showed the major infiltration trails leading from Cambodia throught the Ia Drang Valley into the Chu Pong Massif and, from there, the attack positions at Plei Me. Besides showing the principal routes of approach used by the 33rd and 32nd Regiments, it pinpointed many important unit locations and other valuable data.

That map undoubtedly helped G2/II Corps in providing to LTC Ngo Quang Truong, Airborne Brigade Commander, the knowledge in positioning the ambush site that cornered the 635th Battalion NVA on its withdrawal corridor to Cambodia (Schwarzkopf).

- Individual enemy troop’s diaries were also valuable intelligence sources in reading the morale of the enemy combatants. II Corps Command quoted lengthily the diary of Vuong Luyen, an assistant platoon leader belonging to the NVA 32nd Regiment:

The following pages are translated excerpts from the diary of Vương Luyện, an assistant platoon leader belonging to the NVA 32nd regiment. Luyện is also a member of the Communist Party and began to write his diary since 26 August 1964, when his unit started to leave North Vietnam for the infiltration into South Vietnam.

This diary is only one among numberless others captured by the ARVN and US Forces during the big battles of Pleime, Chu Pong and Ia Drang.

Theses pages are selected because their author has written more regularly and with more details than the others, especially about the ambush on Provincial route #5 from Pleiku to Pleime. They cover the period from 16 October to 10 November 1965, the preparation for the ambush, the failure of the VC and their distressing withdrawal to the Chu Pong mountains.

Phieu


#161 20 Nov 11, 20:10

I see you missed this passage in "We Were Soldiers ... and Young"

Attached Images Moore NHA Mandarin.jpg (89.3 KB, 6 views)

altus


#162 20 Nov 11, 20:17

And, if I read you right, a "Chinese" surgeon was captured? What happened to him? Did he not speak Mandarin?

altus


#163 20 Nov 11, 20:20

altus: I see you missed this passage in "We Were Soldiers ... and Young"

Denials by high ranking officers in "hindsight" are in general cheap and not fiable. Do you think Moore believed him and took An's words at face value?

I am more inclined to believe more the testimonies from low level NVA combatants given during the following "real time" press conference:

Saigon, South Vietnam, November 16, 1965
By Charles Mohr, Special to The New York Times

3 Prisoners Tell Of Aid From China

North Vietnamese Also Say Cambodians Helped Them

Captured North Vietnamese soldiers said today that their units had received assistance from Cambodian "militiamen" during their infiltration into South Vietnam and that each infiltrated regiment had one Chinese Communist adviser.

These prisoners, picked up in the vicinity of Pleime in late October and early this month, appeared at a news conference in Saigon today.

One said that the people of North Vietnam "hate the Americans" for the daily air strikes directed against North Vietnam.

The young men, wearing cheap khaki uniforms, emphatically asserted that their regiments had passed through Cambodia to reach the Pleime area in central Vietnam. One of them, Nguyen Xuan Lien, said his regiment had received rice and other assistance from what he called "regional forces or militiamen of Cambodia."

The Cambodian government has strenuously denied that the North Vietnamese use Cambodian soil as a staging area, and particularly, that the Cambodian Government has assisted them.

Earlier Report Cited

The statement that Chinese advisers were with regular North Vietnamese Army units in South Vietnam followed a report by an American Special Forces sergeant that he saw a Chinese body near Pleime last month.

An official American spokesman commented that "we don't have positive knowledge of Chinese advisers, but it is a distinct possibility." As for the remarks on Cambodia, the spokesman said that it was known that some Vietnamese units had entered South Vietnam from that country but that he had no knowledge that they had received the assistance described.

The North Vietnamese soldiers who appeared at the news conference had rough peasant-style haircuts and looked nervous and shy as military policemen led them into the conference hall. But within minutes they became almost voluble.

In addition to Lien, they were identified as Hoang Van Chung, 27 years old, a tiny private in a medical aid detachment of the North Vietnamese 32d Regiment, and Tran Ngoc Luong, a tall, sallow, 20-year-old who was a medical corpsman in the 33d Regiment. Lien, 25, was a corporal and rifle squad leader in what he said was the Second Regiment.

Lien and Luong are both from rural villages in Quang Binh Province in North Vietnam and Chung is from the North Vietnamese town of Nam Dinh. Luong was captured by American troops west of Pleime when his field hospital was overrun by units of the First Cavalry Division (Airmobile). The two others were listed as "returnees to the national cause" rather than ordinary prisoners, because they gave themselves up.

The men said that before leaving North Vietnam this summer they were told that three-fourths of South Vietnam was already "liberated" and that they were going to oppose an American "invasion" of the South.

They said they had found that the South Vietnamese and Americans had superior material equipment and transport and that living conditions in the jungle were grim.

Confused?!

- On 11/1, soon after arrival at Anta Village, the regimental cadres held a conference in an attempt to discover what was allowing the US forces to make such repeated, accurate air strikes.

It was concluded that only spies within the ranks could be furnishing the location and movement of the regiment's elements.

Phieu


#164 20 Nov 11, 20:26

altus: And, if I read you right, a "Chinese" surgeon was captured? What happened to him? Did he not speak Mandarin?

Go ask Oliver, not me.

Phieu


#165 20 Nov 11, 20:37

Prisoners' testimonies during a press op? Nobody, especially ARVN PsyOp officers, has ever made any suggestion to them what they should say, correct?

altus


#166 20 Nov 11, 20:41

- On 11/1, soon after arrival at Anta Village, the regimental cadres held a conference in an attempt to discover what was allowing the US forces to make such repeated, accurate air strikes. It was concluded that only spies within the ranks could be furnishing the location and movement of the regiment's elements.

And this information appeared in the Nov 1 Intelligence Summary? If so either those spies had an hot channel to their American contact, or the ORLL contained hindsight info that was merely put in the desired chronology.

altus


#167 20 Nov 11, 20:49

altus: Prisoners' testimonies during a press op? Nobody, especially ARVN PsyOp officers, has ever made any suggestion to them what they should say, correct?

There was no indications that the NVA prisonners were under duress when they gave their testimonies.

And also:

The statement that Chinese advisers were with regular North Vietnamese Army units in South Vietnam followed a report by an American Special Forces sergeant that he saw a Chinese body near Pleime last month.

Phieu


#168 20 Nov 11, 20:51

altus: And this information appeared in the Nov 1 Intelligence Summary? If so either those spies had an hot channel to their American contact, or the ORLL contained hindsight info that was merely put in the desired chronology.

Did I tell you that

It was unlikely that G2/II Corps was able in inserting such agents within the enemy tight knitted ranks and that it was B3's suspicion (wrong though):

Nevertheless, B3 Field Front, in particular the 33rd Regiment commanders were convinced there were spies inside its regimental headquarters.

Phieu


#169 20 Nov 11, 20:56

Yes, which means the ORLL must have used hindsight when narrating about daily PAVN activities.

altus


#170 20 Nov 11, 21:02

Phieu, I would like to go back to this post, #68.

Phieu : Let’s go straight to a primary source: the Pleiku Campaign After Action Report.

In it, on page 23, General Kinnard explains how the report was drafted. Pertaining to the intelligence aspect, he states:

- Each day’s summary will also include an intelligence summary, the bulk of it after-the-fact information that was obtained following the battles or the campaign. It is included because it is important to show the enemy’s actual movements in connection with the movements of the division.

In other words, the intelligence information was provided in real-time not in hindsight.

The way I comprehend the portion you quoted, I don't see how it was real-time data. It appears to me as if they're plainly stating that the report is padded with -in the report's own words- "after-the-fact information that was obtained following the battles or the campaign". Also, the image of page 23 that you linked does not contain that passage. Would it be possible for you to post a link to the document that your quoted excerpt came from?

-Ryan

Lucky 6


#171 20 Nov 11, 21:03

altus: Yes, which means the ORLL must have used hindsight when narrating about daily PAVN activities. Do you mean AAR, instead of ORLL?

I have told you already that all three types of document -

Journal, AAR, ORLL might report an intel info that can be either classified as “real time” or “hindsight”

Phieu


#172 20 Nov 11, 21:21

Well I have an impression that what you took for an AAR is an ORLL.

Can you post its first pages?

altus


#173 20 Nov 11, 21:30

What do you mean? The first pages of the Pleiku Campaign After Action Report, 1st Air Cavalry Division Headquarters?

Phieu


#174 20 Nov 11, 21:51

Lucky 6:

Phieu, I would like to go back to this post, #68.

The way I comprehend the portion you quoted, I don't see how it was real-time data. It appears to me as if they're plainly stating that the report is padded with -in the reports own words- "after-the-fact information that was obtained following the battles or the campaign". Also, the image of page 23 that you linked does not contain that passage. Would it be possible for you to post a link to the document that your quoted excerpt came from?

I have clarified in the course of subsequent posts that the intelligence info reported was likely "real time" when the source was an agent, recon teams, air reconnaissance, radio intercepts, and likely "hindsight" when the source was interrogation of prisoners, intel desk analyst, AAR narrator.

Furthermore, the position of an enemy unit must be real time intelligence info when it dictated the friendly unit's action, and hindsight when mentioned by the AAR narrator to explain the friendly unit's action.

My mistake it is page 17 (17 was truncated when I made copy)

http://www.generalhieu.com/kinnard_17.jpg

Phieu


#175 20 Nov 11, 22:15

Perhaps you'd like to contact/speak with an American who I believe interrogated some of these POWs.

I'm thinking of Wick Tourison . . . . . .

dougreese


#176 21 Nov 11, 03:42

Phieu : What do you mean? The first pages of the Pleiku Campaign After Action Report, 1st Air Cavalry Division Headquarters?

Yes. The page with the title.

altus


#177 21 Nov 11, 04:00

dougreese: Perhaps you'd like to contact/speak with an American who I believe interrogated some of these POWs. I'm thinking of Wick Tourison . . . . . .

I don't. Do you know of any? It would be great, if you can invite at least one of them to join the discussion at this forum. Wick Tourison would be nice.

Phieu


#178 21 Nov 11, 04:12

altus: Well I have an impression that what you took for an AAR is an ORLL.

Can you post its first pages?

What do you mean? The first pages of the Pleiku Campaign After Action Report, 1st Air Cavalry Division Headquarters?

I think some of the confusion comes from the documents. The Pleiku Campaign AAR (4 MAR 66) is actually enclosed inside of ORLL 3-66 (10 MAY 66) in it's entirety. Phieu seems to be using the same AAR, but on it's own, not packed inside of the ORLL and without the cover pages. So, I guess whoever was tasked with writing the ORLL's basically attached a cover sheet to the Pleiku AAR, and called it ORLL 3-66? The pages that Phieu is referencing all match so far. It is the first document that Boonie linked here:

Boonierat:

Might as well post all the official US Army documents available online here (all are in pdf format, left click to read, right click to save as):

Operations Report - Lessons Learned 3-66, The Pleiku Campaign
Operations Report - Lessons Learned, Headquarters, 1st Cavalry Division, for period ending 31 Dec 65
After Action Report, IA DRANG Valley Operation 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry 14-16 November 1965 (written by Moore)
After Action Report, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry 4-26 November 1965
After Action Report, 2d Battalion, 7th Cavalry 12-21 November 1965 (LZ ALBANY)
After Action Report, 2d Battalion, 5th Cavalry 11-26 November 1965

ORLL Cover Page =

AAR Inside

Lucky 6


#179 21 Nov 11, 04:24

altus: Yes. The page with the title.

What trap are you leading me to here? (I am a little bit paranoid here, I might say)

You have access to it. I had provided you with two links leading to my copy and Bonnie's.

Why don't you just post its first page, and lunge on in a preplanned attack of yours.

Altus, do me a favor, will you?

When I say something that I think "you still may not know", but you already knew; just say you already knew and why I am wrong and where I err. Or if you still do not understand because my presentation is unclear, just go straight to the point; and I will do my best in my explanation.

In other words, put yourself in the mode of a friend not a foe. I think by that the forum will benefit a healthier and more enjoyable ambiance.

Phieu


#180 21 Nov 11, 04:39

Lucky 6 : I think some of the confusion comes from the documents. The Pleiku Campaign AAR (4 MAR 66) is actually enclosed inside of ORLL 3-66 (10 MAY 66) in it's entirety. Phieu seems to be using the same AAR, but on it's own, not packed inside of the ORLL and without the cover pages. So, I guess whoever was tasked with writing the ORLL's basically attached a cover sheet to the Pleiku AAR, and called it ORLL 3-66? The pages that Phieu is referencing all match so far. It is the first document that Boonie linked here:

ORLL Cover Page

=

AAR Inside

You are corrected. I copied the Pleiku AAR from its original copy stored at the National Archives in Maryland as a standalone. Bonnie said mine is the "real stuff" I post it on my website:

www.generalhieu.com/pleiku-2.htm

That's why the pages don't match. The original pages of Pleiku AAR have been displaced when incorporated in the ORLL 3-66.

@Altus, I wish you can mirror Lucky6's state of open mind and friendly attitude. Things get resolved much quicker and better.


#181 21 Nov 11, 05:48

altus : I see you missed this passage in "We Were Soldiers ... and Young"

Do you doubt that Colonel Hieu who was born in Tianjin, China and had attended Chinese Universtiy could be duped, and not know he was listening to a Chinese advisor or to a Viet Cong impersonator speaking? And that he took the intercepted communication at face value, without verification or authentication?

In a broader scope, on the battlefieds, he always outsmarted his opponents who had thrown at him all types of tricks, ploys, deceptions, schemes.

Reading the Enemy’s Mind in Pleime Campaign

Viet Cong Field Front B3 made meticulous preparations for its Playmê campaign. This campaign was embedded in the Winter- Spring 1965-1966 campaign which the North Communist General Command started the planning since the beginning of 1965 aiming of taking control of the Central Highlands and at cutting South Vietnam in two along Highway 19 from Pleiku down to Qui Nhon.

Colonel Hieu was able to read the enemy’s mind. Firstly, he recognized Field Front B3 was duplicating (the tactics the Viet Minh was using in the Highlands in 1954 with (some modifications consisting in a series of probing attacks. Then when the Viet Cong attacked Bong Son and Pleime simultaneously, he understood immediately an intent of dispersing II Corps forces, in compelling II Corps to commit at Bong Son front all of its reserve forces – Airborne Task Force 1 with four battalions and Marine Task Force Alpha with two battalions, together with 4 battalions from 22nd Division and three American troop transport helicopter companies (Why Pleime, chapter VIII):

"They intended to surprise us because they were convinced that the operations in An Lao and Kim Son, North of Binh Dinh had bound 6 battalions of the ARVN General Reserve, 4 battalions of the 22nd ARVN Infantry Division and three US helicopter companies to the coast."

Furthermore, Colonel Hieu also knew that the Viet Cong used the tactic of “one main attack and two diversionary attacks”, with Bong Son as the secondary diversionary attack, Pleime the primary diversionary attack, and Pleiku the main attack, which means that to fake an attack at Bong Son to take over Pleime in a transitional phase leading to the conquer of Pleiku, the ultimate objective of the entire campaign.

When the Viet Cong attacked Pleime camp, based on the enemy troop distribution, 33rd Regiment at the camp and 32nd Regiment at the ambush site, Colonel Hieu deducted that the Viet Cong did not intend to overrun the camp and used the tactic of “lure and ambush” with the camp as the diversionary attack (the 33rd Regiment was a weaker combat force that the 32nd) and the ambush site as the main attack (the 32nd Regiment had more tactical experience than the 33rd). Besides, Colonel Hieu knew that, not like in the past, the Viet Cong this time use the mobile ambush tactic, instead of the static waylay, due to the fact its regiment was equipped with adequate transmission devices for easy communications between the regiment headquarters and its ambush units (Why Pleime, chapter IV):

"It would be interesting to mention that large-scale ambushes by the VC have been in recent past conducted within the frame of the tactics of the war of movement. They no longer exist as static waylays. Such a change in the enemy maneuver of forces is dictated by the following reasons:

1) Secrecy could be maintained; 2) The VC could avoid losses inflicted by friendly prestrikes on the ambush sites; 3) Flexibility to respond to any contingency; 4) They are able to apply such tactics because adequate means of communications are now at their disposal."

When the Viet Cong was compelled to withdraw after failing to “lure and ambush”, Colonel Hieu knew that Field Force B3 would wait for the arrival of 66th Regiment at Chu Pong in order to attempt a second time to conquer Pleime camp.

In order to ascertain an exact reading of the enemy’s mind, Colonel Hieu skillfully made use of intelligence methods: radio intercepts, recon teams, interrogation of prisoners and ralliers, analysis of capture documents and individual diaries of the enemy.

Phieu


#182 21 Nov 11, 08:56

Lucky 6: Also, the image of page 23 that you linked does not contain that passage. Would it be possible for you to post a link to the document that your quoted excerpt came from?

It is para 3, page 23 in the pdf version of the ORLL.

altus


#183 21 Nov 11, 09:08

Phieu : What trap are you leading me to here?

None. It was you who kept asking me which document I was referring to, ORLL or AAR. As I understand it, you seemed to be implying that those were two different documents and what I said about the ORLL might not be applicable to the AAR.

Since I did not recall seeing the AAR alone my first thought was you had mistaken the ORLL for the ARR. But then I immediately recalled you telling how you were copying documents in the NA. So I thought perhaps those were indeed different documents.

Now when we all can agree that what we were discussing, i.e. whether Inteligence Summaries in that document were real-time or hindsight, were identical in both documents (AAR and ORLL), what was your point when you asked me: Do you mean AAR, instead of ORLL?

Now as Lucky6 has pointed out, it is explicitly stated in that AAR/ORLL that the bulk of information in those intelligence summaries were written with hindsight, or after the facts.

altus


#184 21 Nov 11, 09:14

Phieu : Do you doubt that Colonel Hieu who was born in Tianjin, China and had attended Chinese Universtiy could be duped, and not know he was listening to a Chinese advisor or to an Viet Cong impersonator speaking? And he took the intercept communication at face value, without verification or authentication?

Wait a minute. Can you tell me how you have learned that your brother was actually listening to those messages in Mandarin during the Pleiku campaign? Did he tell you that himself? Or did Cpt. Nguyen tell you that you brother was listening to something in Mandarin when he entered the radio station? Or was that fact noted in a document?

In a broader scope, on the battlefieds, he always outsmarted his opponents who had thrown at him all types of tricks, ploys, deceptions, schemes.

Yes, of course, naturally, without a doubt!

altus


#185 21 Nov 11, 11:29

altus: It is para 3, page 23 in the pdf version of the ORLL.

It's in page 17 in the jpeg version of the AAR.

When the original copy from which I created a jpeg version when I copied it (the real stuff, as Bonnie said) was incorporated in the 3-66 ORLL, it became page 23.

Lucky6 explained quite clearly, but you still seem not to quite fully understand.

Phieu


#186 21 Nov 11, 12:01

altus : None. It was you who kept asking me which document I was referring to, ORLL or AAR. As I understand it, you seemed to be implying that those were two different documents and what I said about the ORLL might not be applicable to the AAR.

Yes they are.

Since I did not recall seeing the AAR alone my first thought was you had mistaken the ORLL for the ARR. But then I immediately recalled you telling how you were copying documents in the NA. So I thought perhaps those were indeed different documents.

"Your" ORLL incorporated "my" AAR/division, along with other ARR/battalions. In doing so, it changed the pagination. As I pointed out, page 17 when incorporated became page 23.

Now when we all can agree that what we were discussing, i.e. whether Inteligence Summaries in that document were real-time or hindsight, were identical in both documents (AAR and ORLL), what was your point when you asked me:

Now as Lucky6 has pointed out, it is explicitly stated in that AAR/ORLL that the bulk of information in those intelligence summaries were written with hindsight, or after the facts. The bulk of information, yes but a lot of intelligence information in those daily intelligence summaries had been reported in real time. I am more interested in these one.

As I already said in post #158

Let me clarify that “current” versus “hindsight” is not the same as “real time” versus “hindsight”.

For the sake of mutual understanding – you know what I am talking about, and I know what you are talking about – I think we need to understand there is a difference between current/hindsight and real time/hindsight.

Regarding current/hindsight, you referred to the publication date of a document. If I add the daily log or Journal of the officer on duty, then I might get the following classification in term of date

Current Journal => AAR => ORLL Hindsight

All three documents might report an intel info that can be either classified as “real time” or “hindsight”

What do I mean by “real time”?

When an event or function is processed instantaneously, it is said to occur in real-time. To say something takes place in real-time is the same as saying it is happening "live" or "on-the-fly."

For example, the position of Regiment 32 (YA820070) reported in Nov 11 Intelligence Summary can be “real time”, actual position on Nov 11, 1965 or be “hindsight”, alleged position on Nov 11, 1965 which had been, at a later date, confirmed by a prisoner or assumed by Pku AAR on March 1966.

If the intelligence source is an agent, a recon team, a radio intercept, air reconnaissance, it is likely the unit position has been reported in “real time”.

If the intelligence source is a prisoner, an enemy diary, an intelligence analyst, an AAA/ ORLL narrator, it is likely that the unit position was reported in “hindsight”.

The positions of various enemy troops during Operation All The Way of the phase II wherein 1st Air Cav Brigade was in pursuit of these withdrawing troops from Pleime to Chupong, reported in daily Intelligence Summary were “real time” positions, since they dictated the movements and actions of friendly troops,

and not “hindsight” positions that merely explained the movements and actions of friendly troops.

We will get to this issue later on, in due time

And repeated the same in post #174

I have clarified in the course of subsequent posts that the intelligence info reported was likely "real time" when the source was an agent, recon teams, air reconnaissance, radio intercepts, and likely "hindsight" when the source was interrogation of prisoners, intel desk analyst, AAR narrator.

Furthermore, the position of an enemy unit must be real time intelligence info when it dictated the friendly unit's action, and hindsight when mentioned by the AAR narrator to explain the friendly unit's action.

That said, shall I proceed now?

Phieu


#187 21 Nov 11, 12:12

Intelligence in Operation Bayonet I (continued)

Valuable Intelligence Gathered

I.D. of units and their respective roles were quickly ascertained by G2/II Corps (Why Pleime, Coleman): first attack in phase I: 33rd Regiment NVA at Pleime camp site, 32nd Regiment NVA at ambush site; second attack in phase II: 32nd Regiment NVA, 33rd Regiment NVA, 66th Regiment NVA, H-15 Main Force Battalion (local unit), one battalion of 120 mm and 82 mm Mortars, one battalion of 14.5 mm Anti-Aircraft Machine guns. I.D. of Field Front B3 Commanding Officers were also known: General Chu Huy Man wearing a second hat as Commanding General of Military Region IV, and his principal assistants Colonel Quan, Assistant to the Commanding General, and Senior Colonel Ha Vi Tung, Chief of staff (During the Indo-China war, Ha Vi Tung was commander of the 803rd Regiment which together with the 108th Regiment constituted the main forces of the Viet Minh in the Central Highlands. To their credit were the occupation of Kontum and the defeat of French Task Force #100 on Highway 19).

As soon as the two 32nd and 33rd Regiment withdrew from the ambush site and the vicinity of Pleime camp, G2/II Corps knew that they were ordered by Field Front B3 Command to return to their initial staging area before the attack in Chu Prong- Ia Drang complex (Why Pleime). And from there on, the various positions of the two regimental headquarters as well as Field Front B3 headquarters were known by the days and on real time from October 27 to November 13, the day prior to the landed assault conducted by 1/7th Air Cavalry Battalion into LZ X-Ray (Pleiku, Coleman):

On 10/27, the lead elements of the 33d had closed on it forward assembly area, the village Kro (ZA080030); on 10/28, the 32d Regiment had nearly closed its base on the north bank of the Ia Drang; on 10/29, the 33d Regiment decided to keep the unit on the move to the west, to Anta Village ( YA940010), located at the foot of the Chu Pong Massif; on 11/1, the 33rd regiment headquarters closed in at Anta Village; on 11/2, by 0400 hours, the 2d, the regimental CP had arrived at Hill 762 (YA885106); on 11/05, units of 66th Regiment continued to close in the assembling areas in the Chupong-Iadrang complex; on 11/07, the depleted 33d Regiment licked its wounds and waited for its stragglers to come in, meanwhile the remainder of Field Front forces were quiet; on 11/08, only fragmented units and stragglers remained east of the Chu Pong-Ia Drang complex; on 11/09, the 33d Regiment gathered in the last of its organic units; on 11/11, the three battalions of the 66th Regiment were strung along the north bank of the Ia Drang river (center mass at 9104), the 32nd Regiment was also up north in the same area (YA820070), the 33rd Regiment maintained its positions in the vicinity of the Anta Village, east of the Chu Pong mountains.

Besides units’ movements and positions, G2/II Corps, in many instances, also knew what was going on within the regimental and divisional headquarters (Pleiku, Coleman):

- On 11/1, soon after arrival at Anta Village, the regimental cadres held a conference in an attempt to discover what was allowing the US forces to make such repeated, accurate air strikes. It was concluded that only spies within the ranks could be furnishing the location and movement of the regiment's elements.

- On 11/2, the NVA division headquarters (Field Front) got the news the 66th Regiment due to arrive soon in South Vietnam and begin moving into assembly areas in the Chu Pong-Ia Drang area.

- On 11/04, the 33d Regiment was ordered out of its base at Hill 732, which it had hardly reached, and onto the eastern slopes of Chu Pong in the vicinity of YA922010 with its battalions (when they closed) to take up positions from Hill 732, down through Anta Village (940010) to the north bank of the Ia Meur (980000).

- On 11/08, the 33d Regiment began to assess its losses.

- On 11/09, the 33d Regiment began to count noses. There were many missing. The regimental muster brought these casualty figures:

Units* Approx Strength Prior to Pleime Percent or Number of Casualties

1st Battalion 500 33% KIA
2d Battalion 500 50% KIA
3d Battalion 500 33% KIA
Regt Mortar Company 120 50% KIA
Regt Anti Acft Company 150 60% KIA
Regt Signal Company 120 4 KIA-16 MIA
Regt Transport Company 150 50% KIA
Regt Medical Company 40 80% KIA or MIA
Regt Engineer Company 60 15 KIA or MIA
Regt Reconnaissance Co 50 9 KIA

In total, the headcount showed 890 men of the original 2,200 killed, with more than 100 missing and still more suffering from incapacitating wounds. Materiel losses were also heavy with the Regimental Anti-air-craft company losing 13 of its 18 guns and the Regimental mortar company losing 5 of its 9 tubes. Six more mortars were lost by the battalions, along with most of the recoilless rifles. The ammunition, food and medical supply losses also had been crippling.

- And at Field Front headquarters north of the Ia Drang, it was a day of situation analysis.

- On 11/11, Field Force B3 decided a second attack on Pleime camp scheduled for 11/16.

- On 11/12, Field Front units continued preparations and rehearsals for the scheduled attack on Pleime.

- On 11/13, Field Front forces began staging in the Chu Pong-Ia Drang area in preparation for movement to Pleime and the projected 16 November attack. Some recon parties and transportation units already had moved out.

Another piece of major significant intelligence obtained following the discovery of 33rd Regiment’ hospital by 1st Air Cavalry Brigade on November 1, was a map showing enemy supply and march routes (Why Pleime, Pleiku, Coleman):

The capture of the aid station was a major find for the division and besides the opportunity it provided for destruction of NVA forces, it also yielded documents, including one particularly valuable map, that revealed enemy supply and march routes. These, in turn, were converted into intelligence that led to further interdictory bombings by the Air Force.

With such abundance of precise intelligence, II Corps knew more about B3 Front than B3 Front about II Corps (Coleman):

With this intelligence coup, the Communists were put in a unique position in the Vietnam War. They knew less about the opposition than the opposition knew about them.

Which of those intelligence info had been reported in real time or in hindsight? I am aware that it is hard to determine. Can you tell me, Altus? I guess not, unless you have an overall picture of the Pleime Campaign and how it had been conducted - not from the perspective of Hal Moore at battalion level, not of Clark, Lynch, Brown at brigade level, not even Kinnard at divisional level, not Coleman, as the AAR narrator, maybe Knowles at forward divisional level (and yet maybe not, because he hides a lot of things; I will come to this later on).

Phieu


#188 21 Nov 11, 13:08

This is what you said in post #68

Phieu: Let me try, here, to dispel the myth that the 1/7th Air Cavalry Battalion went into LZ Xray with fuzzy intelligence about the enemy troop units’ locations.

This myth has been even spread by Joe Galloway and General Kinnard.

It was only last year, on October 18, 2010, that Joe Galloway still propagated this myth:

(History Net, October 18, 2010 )

and

In other words, the intelligence information was provided in real-time not in hindsight.

Now you're telling me that basically you have no clue which intelligence in that AAR/ORLL was real-time and which were hindsight, and all you have is some "interest" on which intelligence sources are more likely to have been real-time?

I think I'll stick with that old myth.

altus


#189 21 Nov 11, 13:28

I don't say I have no clue which one is which, I just say it is hard to say unless ...

Phieu


#190 21 Nov 11, 13:31

unless you have an overall picture of the Pleime Campaign and how it had been conducted

Phieu


#191 21 Nov 11, 14:28

altus: Now you're telling me that basically you have no clue which intelligence in that AAR/ORLL was real-time and which were hindsight, and all you have is some "interest" on which intelligence sources are more likely to have been real-time?

I think I'll stick with that old myth.

Is there anything specific that you dispute Altus? The intelligence summary makes note of when certain pieces of intelligence were gathered. I'll post them in image form so everyone doesn't have to comb through the entire AAR. Here are the two pages of the summary:

Lucky 6


#192 21 Nov 11, 14:41

Phieu :

Let me clarify that “current” versus “hindsight” is not the same as “real time” versus “hindsight”.

For the sake of mutual understanding – you know what I am talking about, and I know what you are talking about – I think we need to understand there is a difference between current/hindsight and real time/hindsight.

Regarding current/hindsight, you referred to the publication date of a document. If I add the daily log or Journal of the officer on duty, then I might get the following classification in term of date

Current Journal => AAR => ORLL Hindsight

All three documents might report an intel info that can be either classified as “real time” or “hindsight”

What do I mean by “real time”?

When an event or function is processed instantaneously, it is said to occur in real-time. To say something takes place in real-time is the same as saying it is happening "live" or "on-the-fly."

Phieu, FYI

Through my own experience researching my own activities during my time in Vietnam I thought maybe this will help; your little formula....

Current Journal => AAR => ORLL Hindsight

Current = what is actually taken place; "real time"

Current Journal = "Official Journal", normally a "Daily" log of a Battalion's activities; it represents an interpretation of what is "supposed" to be "happening" to one or more Units involved in specific activity (could be "real time"); hopefully as things are taking place and/or shortly after receiving radio communications and or verbal debriefings. However this is not always the case. Sometimes the S3 folks are so busy listening to multiple Unit Radio conversations they get a little mixed up, and make improper entries and/or just make human written or typing errors. I have many logs that are in error and/or corrected "after the fact". Visualize this... one Company with three or four Platoons all communicating amongst ALL those involved, compounded with Air and/or Arty support, in the middle of Battle; much communication taken place; tough for S3 to catch it all. Then compound this with an additional three more Companies all involved in the same Battle. LOL "fog of war"; S3 cannot capture all the data, let alone correctly.

After Action Reports (AAR's) are just that. Normally these are consolidated Unit Journals; many times just a Summary of each Battalions activities, unless it is significant enough to forward in detail up to Brigade and/or higher levels of Command. If detail, than many times it is re-typed extractions of unique entries from the "Daily Journal" and/or, the Journal itself is forwarded up the "chain of Command. The further up the Chain it goes from the actual folks at the lowest level, the more interpretation/opinions there are.

Operational Report, Lessons Learned. Well you've seen them. Basically they are Summaries and opinions; unless for some reason more detailed is required.

Just remember, "FOG of war" and how things may or may NOT be as accurate as you think.

KEN JENSEN


#193 21 Nov 11, 16:55

I have perused closely one such journal, G3 Journal/IFFV:

- Pleime Battle Viewed From G3/I Field Force Vietnam

- Than Phong 7 Viewed From G3/I Field Force Vietnam

Just remember, "FOG of war" and how things may or may NOT be as accurate as you think.

I am well aware of that nebolusity. Thanks for cautioning me nevertheless.

At the very beginning I said to that effect:

Let me start by saying that when I began to embark in the journey of trying to understand this Ia Drang Valley battle, I was immediately engulfed under a sea of huge wages of different and contradictory accounts; I was lost so to speak in a dense "fog of accounts" from American perspectives, from Viet Cong (Vietnamese Communist) or NVA perspectives, and from ARVN perspectives. It took me a long while - some 20 years plus - before I succeeded in dissipating the fog and see clear.

My perspective is the one of II Corps chief of staff who was intimately involved in the conduct of the entire campaign with its three phases, not only the first and the final ones, according to the common belief, US as well as PAVN.

Believe me, I would have suggested to establish this thread If I don't think I can bring something new to you guys (oops, maybe not to Altus!)

Phieu


#194 21 Nov 11, 17:16

Lucky 6 : Is there anything specific that you dispute Altus?

What I tried to dispute is the statement of Phieu: In other words, the intelligence information was provided in real-time not in hindsight.

Some of the intelligence information was provided in real-time, others weren't available in real-time, and were put in the AAR/OORL with hindsight. Therefore we can consider the intelligence information about the enemy available to LTC Harold Moore at the moment when he chose the LZ X-Ray as "fuzzy". Furthermore I think available documents are quite coherent as to the level of knowledge of LTC Moore.

I fail to see any "myth" on this issue as presented by Phieu.

With all honesty I had not put much weight on this until I re-read that "myth dispelling" mission statement of Phieu.

altus


#195 21 Nov 11, 18:12 Phieu: Believe me, I would have suggested to establish this thread If I don't think I can bring something new to you guys (oops, maybe not to Altus! )

I thought I'd respond to this post of yours by starting with your above closing remarks.

You definitely are bringing some new stuff; especially from an ARVN perspective of those that were part of the activity being discussed, and your years of research. It is highly welcome.

I would NOT really tag Altus as a He of course has his opinion, and years of research also; in addition, another perspective (NVA). That too is welcome. I am not a "student" of any part of that period of the Vietnam War; and was never interested in it.

Phieu: I have perused closely one such journal, G3 Journal/IFFV:

- Pleime Battle Viewed From G3/I Field Force Vietnam

- Than Phong 7 Viewed From G3/I Field Force Vietnam

I took a look and absorbed some of the detail presented in the above two Journal Logs and the written "text" contained within each LINK. They certainly were not created at time the action was being performed. They are a re-type of what General Staff wanted to present; and the "text" appears to be conclusions as to what someone else may have written to fill in the blanks. I base this on how it is written....

"In the Field" when, and if the original Journals were created, they would "rarely" have any Names of folks; especially identification of Officers by Rank, Name and Unit. Also it seemed strange to me they were not Signed and Dated by the OIC or NCOIC that created/reviewed the Journal.

These little details, in my opinion, would not be Current "real time" data. To me it's a re-creation of gleaned data/information.

Phieu : My perspective is the one of II Corps chief of staff who was intimately involved in the conduct of the entire campaign with its three phases, not only the first and the final ones, according to the common belief, US as well as PAVN.

hmmmmm, Chief of Staff "intimately involved"; well maybe. Westmoreland was also "intimately involved" in most of the Vietnam War (so was Johnson and McNamara).

Again, it's hardly unlikely the II Corps Chief of Staff would be "on the ground" where the Battle was taking place.

Much of the "fog of war" stuff had already dissipated by the times the reports you may be reading and presenting were created; just sayin

KENSEN


#196 22 Nov 11, 00:22

KEN JENSEN: I would NOT really tag Altus as a He of course has his opinion, and years of research also; in addition, another perspective (NVA). That too is welcome.

You misunderstood me: I meant to say I lied in saying I don't bring anything new to him re: Pleime campaign,

I took a look and absorbed some of the detail presented in the above two Journal Logs and the written "text" contained within each LINK. They certainly were not created at time the action was being performed. They are a re-type of what General Staff wanted to present; and the "text" appears to be conclusions as to what someone else may have written to fill in the blanks. I base this on how it is written....

"In the Field" when, and if the original Journals were created, they would "rarely" have any Names of folks; especially identification of Officers by Rank, Name and Unit. Also it seemed strange to me they were not Signed and Dated by the OIC or NCOIC that created/reviewed the Journal

These little details, in my opinion, would not be Current "real time" data. To me it's a re-creation of gleaned data/information.

Note that I only posted the first page in its original copy.

and the rest has been sanitized with entries pertaining only to Pleime battle whereas all activities pertaining to other operations occurring in the same time has been omitted. The page contains 4 columns, I only retained the contents in column 2 (time) and column 3 (incidents, messages, orders, etc) and dropped column 1 (item nr) and column 4 (action taken). For instance from page 1 posted here, I only extracted item 7 out of its 12 items. I did not reproduce the page that contain the signature and date by the OIC or NCOIC that created/reviewed the Journal.

"In the Field" when, and if the original Journals were created, they would "rarely" have any Names of folks; especially identification of Officers by Rank, Name and Unit.

I don't know, maybe it was just a question of difference in styles.

Let's look the first page,

- item 6;

- time in 0100;

- incidents: SF Camp at Plei My has been under attack since 1945H. Presently est 30-40 VC using mortars # SA. 1 US WIA, 2 CIDG WIA. Flare ship in area. Info from XO, 5th SFG;

- action taken: MACV notified.

It looks in real time to me.

By the way I saw a lot of "delayed entry" which is an indication that other entries are in real time. Some examples:

- 11:15H: II Corps Capt Ushijima - Ref Cas figures Plei My. 1 USSF KIA, 5 CIDG KIA, 1 USSF WIA, 14 CIDG WIA, 1 US press reporter WIA. Med evac in progress. Attempt to rescue pilot still in progress. 2/H34's with 2 guns have departed and are on the way to Plei My.

- Delayed entry: II Corps Sgt Ubelhor - Msg At 1030 one A1E shot down south of Plei My camp. Pilot recovered. Shot down by AW fire.

- 16:35H: II Corps (Lt Williams) - 2 Abn Bns not airlifted. Armd Cav still on blocking psn (over 24 hrs now).

- Delayed entry 15:45H: Plei My. Still receiving sporadic small arms fire.

-24:00H: Intelligence Summary for period 240001 to 242400H Oct 65. 0400H Armd Cav at Plei My broke contact w/VC. According to interrogation of VC contact was made w/8th Co 1st Bn 2d PAVN Regt. Comment: May be new VC unit. 0330 - VC atk w/AW and SA for 30-40 min. 1400H - Plei My rec harassing fire (SA and mortar). 1600 - Still rec harassing SA and mortar fire.

- Delayed entry 23:10H: II Corps Capt Franklin - Unit loc as of 241800H. 3d Armd and 22d Ranger Bn coord 175165. 21st Ranger Bn 170175. 2 Co's 2/8 Int and 1 Co Arty coord 208123. 2 Co's 2/12 Inf and 1 Co 2/19 Arty coord 202200. There have been 2 TAOR's approval for 1st Bde. TAOR #1: Coord 1824/2428/1818. TAOR #2: Coord 1015/7715/7709/2009. Tomorrow 22d Ranger Bn heliborne to LZ coord 185105. Time to be determined after this comes off.

hmmmmm, Chief of Staff "intimately involved"; well maybe. Westmoreland was also "intimately involved" in most of the Vietnam War (so was Johnson and McNamara).

Believe me when I said Colonel Hieu was intimately involved" in the campaign. Not like Westmoreland, Johnson and McManara, he was involved in the nuts and bolts of the campaign.

Again, it's hardly unlikely the II Corps Chief of Staff would be "on the ground" where the Battle was taking place.

You don't know him yet:

A Lieutenant Colonel of an Engineer unit told me: "You can fool other Generals with technical arcane in order to avoid obeying a difficult order, such as building a field force bridge across a river in an enemy controlled area, but you would not dare use the same tactic with General Hieu, because he mastered all details, even technical minutia, and you know damn well he only gave an order that he knew could be carried out." I recall one day I visited him at the 5th Division headquarters in Lai Khe, I had the curiosity to ask him: "What differs a good General from a bad General?" He pointed to a tactical map and answered me: "When preparing for a military operation, a bad General would just take out a red pencil, mark two locations A and B with two dots, use a ruler to draw a straight line joining these two dots, then order his units to march without deviation along this straight red line, unaware of terrain conditions between these two locations. On the contrary, a good General would inspect the area of operation in person and would know exactly what types of obstacles his units would have to surmount while moving from location A to location B."

As a matter of fact, he used to order his pilot to land the helicopter down into the battlefield, causing his aide-de-camp to dread each time he had to accompany my brother on a battlefield inspection mission. He once confided in me:"Please don't repeat this to his wife, one time General Hieu and his whole commanding staff, after being unloaded by helicopter onto an open space, had to walk quite a few miles through the jungle to avoid the approaching enemy before the helicopter could safely pick them up!"

You will see he was a "ground type" of chief of staff in the Pleime campaign.

Phieu


#197 22 Nov 11, 05:58

Phieu,

What I'm attempting to do is "school" you a little on what you base much of your "arguments" with Altus and others on; basically your unmovable habit of providing documents you base your "facts" on. I'll try and elaborate a little more using the log you provided below....

Phieu : Note that I only posted the first page in its original copy.

and the rest has been sanitized with entries pertaining only to Pleime battle whereas all activities pertaining to other operations occurring in the same time has been omitted.

By your own admission, the report has been "sanitized". I don't know how you determined this, but I accept and agree with your opinion here.

Next, what you presume to be "real time". I believe you use the item entry times as what you think is "real time". I could be wrong; but doubt it.

Question for you...

Are the times on the log, the time the "incident" took place or the time the "log entry was made"?

Using the log above, and your own reference to Item 6; the entry notes an incident for a time of 1945h. What day did the 1945h reference? The 0100 is presumed to be the "real time" the log entry was made. The 1945h, in this case, must equate to the previous evening. I wonder what entry was made for the "incident" noted as 1945h on the "log" for 19 Oct 1965? Or is there even a log for 19 Oct 1965? Or would this be one of the "delayed" entries?

Edit: Meant to elaborate on where the info came from; as noted, it came from the XO of 5th SFG. This also lends to believe the report provided is a "sanitized" Higher Level Report assembling data/information from Lower Level folks involved in, or closer to the "incident".

Point is, these "logs" are a "notation" of "incidents"; and the times reflect the time the "log" entry was made in the log; NOT the time of the "incident". Therefore, are not all these logs created in "hindsight"? If you can accept this, maybe you wouldn't be getting as much "negative" feedback from time-to-time.

As to this...

By the way I saw a lot of "delayed entry" which is an indication that other entries are in real time.

I believe your wrong with the above assumption; as I've tried to explain previously. Here is a LINK to a Log with entries reflecting an Ambush Patrol with the call sign of "Lightning" that I took out one night. Notice item 13 is a delayed entry that is attempting to reference item 32. There was no item 32 anywhere for this log, and/or even the previous day's log. The only way I know item 13 is related to my "Lightning" Ambush patrol, is in the Action Taken Column and of course my personal involvement in the "incident".

Both the entries 11 and 13 reflect “the incident”; however they are not correct.

http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...ng#post1484453

** Note ** I didn't check these two individuals for any ID, so therefore didn't provided that information; the information was obtained by Intel after I had turned the two "prisoners" over to the MP's. I hope this gets you off your "real time" stuff; and accept "Current Journal Logs" are created in "hindsight" from a compilation of obtained data, as noted whenever received, with an attempt to note the time of the "incident", if possible (i.e. 1945h logged at 0100).

KEN JENSEN


#198 22 Nov 11, 08:52

Phieu,

Here is some info that Boonie has done a magnificent job on; you may be interested in.

** Above extract from Pg 13 of this link

http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pi...jgxMGViNDMzZDc

KEN JENSEN


#199 22 Nov 11, 10:53

KEN JENSEN: Phieu,

What I'm attempting to do is "school" you a little on what you base much of your "arguments" with Altus and others on; basically your unmovable habit of providing documents you base your "facts" on. I'll try and elaborate a little more using the log you provided below....

Sure I need that "schooling" from you. I appreciate that just like I appreciated having the opportunity in getting lessons in map reading from you guys. However, I don't think I have un "unmovable habit of providing documents you base your "facts" on". You will change your assessment about me in the long run down the road.

By your own admission, the report has been "sanitized". I don't know how you determined this, but I accept and agree with your opinion here.

What I meant by "sanitized" was simply I did not posted the entire log in its original form, but only extracted col 2 and col 3.

Next, what you presume to be "real time". I believe you use the item entry times as what you think is "real time". I could be wrong; but doubt it.

Yes I think most of these items entry times are "real time" (a lot of time down to the minutes)

Question for you...

Are the times on the log, the time the "incident" took place or the time the "log entry was made"?

As I said above, most of them are time the "incident" took place, some are time the "log entry was made".

I think "delayed entry" means the entry was entered late on the log but the time indicated is the real time of the incident recorded.

Let me seize this opportunity to return to one of your statement in a previous post:

Again, it's hardly unlikely the II Corps Chief of Staff would be "on the ground" where the Battle was taking place.

I think I have quote the following that you might have missed:

Colonel Hieu possessed an extraordinary memory. He knew by rote the coordinates of each unit in his areas without having to refer to a map. For example in one instance I wrongly determined the coordinates of a location, he told me I needed to reconsider them, because if he ordered an artillery strike, it would hit an armored unit in operation at that location. Aware of this fact, units in operation would not dare to cheat on their locations. In one instance, Colonel Hieu asked a unit which was ordered to attack an enemy hide-out if it had reach the destination; he got an affirmative response by the unit commander who, because he was afraid to confront the enemy, had lied. Colonel Hieu asked him to confirm his position once more, because if he ordered an artillery strike, it would hit his unit and not the enemy. Our unit commander hastily requested more time to reach a more accurate location report.

He might not be on the ground, but he mastered the ground better than field commanders on the ground.

Besides, he mastered the entire battlefields; the field commanders only mastered the piece of ground they stood on.

Phieu


#200 22 Nov 11, 11:40

Intelligence in Operation Bayonet I (continued)

3rd Air Cav relied greatly on II Corps intelligence (Coleman page 192)

As part of the brigade’s settling-in process, the deputy commander, E.C. Meyer, sent the assistant S-2 to visit II Corps and 24th Tactical Zone intelligence types, as well as to visit the G-2 chop at the forward DTOC in the II Corps compound. Captain John Pritchard talked with ARVN Colonel Phuoc of the 24th Tactical Zone and Captain Luong of the II Coprs IPW Team. Luong stated categorically that he had several prisoners who told him the NVA’s 66th Regiment was in the vicinity of the Chu Pong Massif. Pritchard telephoned the information back to brigade headquarters, and it was placed in the November 11 inteligence summary. When he got back to Catecka. He personally briefed the brigade commander and his staff and the intelligence officers of the 1/7 and 2/5 Cav, the first two battalions in. He also placed a large red star in the middle of the Chu Pongs on the S-2’s situation map. It was similar to the red star he had seen on both the ARVN and division G-2’s intelligence maps.

Note: II Corps did not share all of its intelligence with 3rd Air Cav, only what was necessary.

Phieu


#201 22 Nov 11, 14:00

Phieu,

Let me give you one more lesson and food for thought.

The military and most U.S. Gov't paperwork is collected for several different reasons, one of which is CYA; where CYA = Cover your Ass.

Please think about Item 9 on the Log we have been discussing.

Does Item 9, 0215 time represent the time the entry was "logged"?

Does the 0215 represent the time the "Red Haze Report" was received by Hq FFORCEV?

Or, now pay attention here, does the 0215 time represent the time TRAC, G2 Air was Notified?

Do the times noted on the log represent what the military terms as "Zulu" Time or does it represent "Local" Time?

To really come to the correct conclusion, you would have to look at other logs (e.g. TOC G2 Log, TRAC G2 Air Log); in addition research what the hell the "Red Haze Report is.

At this point, I contend the time for the Log entries we are looking at, represent the "Local" time of the "shop" that is creating the log.

Of course, you can perceive it to be whatever you want; just be carefully when you are trying to "justify" the validity of your information when classifying things as "real" or in "hindsight".

I highly doubt that HQ, FFORCEV was or even had the capability to monitor all communications within its Command.

Now, I believe, all the names provided within the "log entries" are the names of the folks that provided the information to FFORCEV "log creation" folks. heeheehee in order to fulfill the practice of CYA!

Think about this also. Our Military has HQ's at very high levels that may be located in a different Date/Time Zones then smaller Units under their Command. That is why I presented you the the "Zulu Time" thingie; "food for thought".

P.S. I believe that all logs within Vietnam were recorded per "local dates and times" (including the unique "shop" that creates the log). heeheehee I wonder if President Johnson had the mental capacity to figure out what dates and times things were happening on the ground in Vietnam. Nah, his Commanders would make sure the reports were properly noted with the proper date/time for the President. One of the reasons for "Zulu Date/Time" usage.

KEN JENSEN


#202 22 Nov 11, 14:30

Great lesson, thanks. I will digest it slowly and thoughfully.

In the meantime, I am pretty sure, a good chief of staff would know if a piece of intelligence had been reported to him real time or outdated in planning for his action.

Phieu


#203 23 Nov 11, 05:23

Sidebar: Chief of Staff versus Field Commander in Than Phong 7 Operation

Normally, the Chief of Staff lays off his hand, and let the Field Commander makes tactical decisions on the battlefield. An exception to this was the conduct of Than Phong Operation.

At the end of Pleime Campaign phase II, II Corps Command called in the ARVN Brigade to “finish them off”, meaning B3 Field Front remnant units.

In the meantime, II Corps Command kept on inserting teams of Special Forces Rangers deep into enemy troops' territories to monitor their movements. These Special Forces Rangers teams acted as LTC Truong's eyes and ears.

On November 18, within a few hours, II Corps Command had huge transport airplanes C-130 of 7th US Air Force airlift the Airborne Brigade Headquarters, the Airborne 1st Task Force Headquarters with its three Airborne 3rd, 5th and 6th Battalions, and the Airborne 2nd Task Force Headquarters with its two Airborne 7th and 8th Battalions, spread out in Saigon, Bien Hoa, Vung Tau and Phu Yen into Pleiku. At II Corps Headquarters, Colonel Hieu briefed the designed plan of Than Phong 7 Operation(*) to LTC Truong, pointed out to him the unique escape route the Viet Cong would used to sneak back to Cambodia and presented to him a tactical map drawn up by G3/II Corps - the map with the borderline at odds with the one carried by Major Schwarzkopf from Saigon. Colonel Hieu also advised LTC Truong that the operation would be supported by artillery from US 1st Air Cavalry set up at LZ Columbus and LZ Crooks nearby, the first about 11 kilometers southeast and the second about 7 kilometers northwest of his operational area.

On November 18, from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Airborne 1st Task Force Headquarters and its three Airborne 3rd, 5th and 6th Battalions were helilifted to landing zone (X84, Y09) on the northern part of Ia Drang River. Airborne 3rd Battalion and Airborne 6th Battalion immediately set out to sweep for the enemy westward in two different axes. While on the move, Airborne 3rd Battalion was tipped off by Special Forces Rangers teams that a battalion sized enemy force belonging to NVA 32nd Regiment was shadowing it.

On November 19, around 11:00 a.m., Airborne 3rd Battalion received order to veer south toward an ambush site set up at (X80, Y08) by Airborne 6th Battalion.

On November 20, at 2:40 p.m., the enemy troops entered the very center of the ambush and was caught within the field of fire of Airborne 6th Battalion. The enemy suffered about 200 casualties in this engagement. Furthermore, in their sweep, Airborne 3rd Battalion and Airborne 6th Battalion had destroyed 3 training centers, one equipment cache and 75 houses.

On November 20, at 5:45 p.m., Airborne 8th Battalion was helilifted to location (X82, Y07), to prepare for the insertion of Airborne 2nd Task Force Headquarters along with Airborne 7th Battalion at 11:00 a.m. on November 22. The units already present on the battlefields - Airborne 1st Task Force Headquarters, Airborne 3th Battalion, Airborne 5th Battalion, and Airborne 6th Battalion converged toward location (X82, Y07); by 1:50 p.m. on November 22, all units were reunited at this staging area. From here, the entire Airborne Brigade crossed to the south side of Ia Drang River and climbed up a mountain and reached its peak at (X81, Y06) around 11:15 a.m. on November 23. They settled down for the night in preparation to ambush the enemy troops at the corridor that II Corps Command had predicted the enemy would utilize to withdraw back to Cambodia the next day. On their journey up the mountain, each time enemy positions were tipped off by Special Forces Rangers teams, LTC Truong gave order to Major Schwarzkopf to call in artillery fire on the enemy troops hiding ahead of his advance.

Early morning on November 24, LTC Truong sent Airborne 3rd Battalion to his left to intercept the enemy troops. This battalion made contact with the enemy at 8:45 a.m.; the enemy troops reversed their steps. LTC Truong sent Airborne 5th Battalion to his right. This battalion made contact with enemy troops at 10:50 a.m. The enemy troops were caught in between two blocking positions. LTC Truong gave order to Major Schwarzkopf to fire his artillery on the enemy for a while - approximately half an hour - then launched Airborne 7th Battalion and Airborne 8th Battalion down the mountain and boxed them in against the Ia Drang River. In this engagement, the enemy lost about 65 killed and left behind 58 weapons of various types.

Entry of G3 Journal/IFFV, on 11/19/1965 at 16:55H, indicated that ARVN Airborne Brigade operated under G3/II Corps' direct tactical control during Than Phong 7 operation:

"Fwd CP states the elem's in Abn TF area was coordinated at higher levels than Fwd G3. The Abn TF knows about it."

That higher level was Colonel Hieu, II Corps Chief of Staff. He made arrangements with 7th US Air Force airlift the Airborne Brigade by C-130’s, and with 1st Air Cavalry to set up a new firepower base at LZ Crooks for artillery support. He provided to the Airborne Brigade Commander with a tactical map showing where exactly to look for the two NVA battalions the narrow escape corridor the NVA units would use to escape to Cambodia and where exactly to set up ambush sites. With the Airborne Ranger recon teams inserted in advance by II Corps Command, acting as his eyes and ears, LTC Truong was able to pinpoint positions of NVA troops for accurate artillery strikes. LTC Truong just needed to come in without any prior preparation and preplanning. And he needed only to execute orders from II Corps Command.

No way, LTC Truong could have known

- where to insert his five battalions immediately upon closing in Pleiku, then in Duc Co camp

- what directions the maneuvers should take to successfully engage the fleeing enemy troops

- where to set up the two ambush sites that had cornered the two NVA battalions without the direct tactical control from Colonel Hieu.

More reading: General Schwarzkopf's Naïveté In the Ia Drang Battle

Phieu


#204 23 Nov 11, 08:44

Tin, what is it that you call the 'Special Forces Rangers'? the Biet Dong Quan? or the CIDG from Camp Duc Co?

Boonierat


#205 23 Nov 11, 10:46

Special Forces Rangers alias Airborne Rangers= Biệt Cách Dù to be differentiated with LLDB.

When ARVN Special Forces (LLDB) were disbanded later on in the Viet Nam War, some of its members joined Biệt Cách Dù (Airborne Rangers), some Biệt Động Quân (Rangers).

Colonel Le Tat Bien graduated Class 10 of Da Lat Military Academy and attended the first training Class A of Special Forces. When the Special Forces were disbanded, he was transferred to the Rangers and held the position of Lieutenant Colonel III Corps Rangers Chief of Staff . Later on, he was charged of forming the 33rd Rangers Group and held the position of 33rd Rangers Group Commander. He had participated in most of the hot battles occurring in III Corps, such as An Loc battle, Duc Hue battle, Svay Rieng operation. In November 1974, he was sent up to II Corps as II Corps Rangers Chief of Staff. In March 1975, he replaced Colonel Hoan Tho Nhu, who became Pleiku Chief of Province, as 23rd Rangers Group Commander. This unit was the bridgehead in the troops withdrawal along Highway 7B; and became the rear end blocking unit in the carpet enrolling tactics. His combatants courageously fought to the last bullet, and he was captured by the enemy on March 17, 1975. On April 1, 1975, President Thieu signed a decree promoting meritorious combatants in that withdrawal battle, among whom, Bien was made colonel. Since he was in captivity during that time, he only learned about the news upon his release of prison; consequently, he never has the pleasure of wearing the colonel insignia, and some addressed him as colonel, but the majority continues to call him lieutenant colonel.

www.generalhieu.com/doxa-lldb-2.htm

Phieu


#206 23 Nov 11, 12:40

Boonie, Phieu's referring to the 91st Airborne Rangers of Project Delta. I.e., the Tieu Dong 91 Biet Cach Du, later renumbered the 81st Airborne Rangers (TD81BCD). They were LLDB personnel, but unlike LLDB assigned to the A, B, and C Teams, they were employed as an unilateral ARVN force (with USSF advisors), and reconnaissance teams. (Delta LLDB led Recon Teams did include CIDG).

lirelou


#207 23 Nov 11, 12:45

Cheers, didn't know that DELTA and the 91BCD were involved in the Pleiku Campaign.

Boonierat


#208 23 Nov 11, 14:44

Look at the upper left-hand side , you will see 91 ARVN SF RGN Maj Phạm Duy Tất .

Phieu


#209 23 Nov 11, 18:13

Phieu, my LLDB history notes that the Task Force from TD91BCD under T-t (Maj) Tat consisted of two companies. On a guess, one company operated as reconnaissance teams, and the other acted as their reaction force until serious contact was made. (Phan Ba Ky's history of the LLDB, published in 2004, summary pp. 160-61, account pp. 183-88)

lirelou


#210 23 Nov 11, 19:37

I think you guess right. There are two boxes for SF RGN, one on top of the other in the chart. The (-) might be the Delta unit that went into the Pleime camp with US Delta Team.


#211 23 Nov 11, 22:57

Than Phong 7 Operation Viewed From G3/I Field Force Vietnam

Since we are on the topic of Than Phong 7 Operation, following are entries pertaining to this operation, extracted from the Daily Journal kept by G3 General Staff of the US I Field Force Vietnam, stationed in Nha Trang.

(It would be a good exercise to examine to what degree this Daily Log match with the activities of the Airborne Brigade graphically recorded on the tactical map drawn up by G3/II Corps, previously posted.)

18 November 1965

- 02:00H: II Corps (Capt Martin) Loc of Abn units. Abn 3 at Bde Hqs. ZA 1029, Abn 5 at Duc Co, Abn 8 at Duc Co, Abn 6 1/3 at Duc Co 2/3 in Pleiku.

- Delayed entry 11:00H: II Corps Maj Easterling - Ref ARVN Abn opn to Plei Me area: 5th Abn Bn - Duc Co, 8th Abn Bn Duc Do, 1 Co 6th Abn Bn Duc Co, 2 Co's 6th Abn Bn at Pleiku. A C-130 lost landing gear on runway at Pleiku. Units may have to be lifted by helicopter from Pleiku to Duc Co. 3d Abn Bn location unk. Rumored to have left Saigon at 0500. Abn Bde HQ Adv Party loc at Stadium.

- 13:30H: II Corps Sgt Minney - (encoded) - Abn TF HQ cleared Tuy Hoa 171900H.

- 13:40H: II Corps Capt Elliott - LZ time is 1500 for Abn TF A is 3d and 6th Abn Bn (TF B is 5th and 7th Abn Bn).

- 16:30H: FFV Adv II Corps Maj Boyle - Unit loc: LZ Crook - 2/5 Cav, s/17 Arty Fwd CP, C/2/17 and C/1/21 Arty. Psn Columbus - 1/5 Cav, B/1/21 Arty. Psn Falcon - 1/21 Arty Fwd. 9/1/21 Arty and C/1/5 Cav. Psn Albany - 2/7 Cav.

- 18:10H: II Corps Capt Ushijima - Want to know strength of Abn Bns involved in Plei Me opns by Bn. Ans: don't know by Bn, however, total on ground will be 1600. Will get by Bn if possible.

- 18:25H: II Corps Capt Ushijima - LZ #2 is located at YA 84209.

- 18:30H: II Corps Sgt Ubelhor - Abn TF cleared LZ #2 last lift closed LZ 1806 hrs; neg contact, on the last lift.

- 18:45H: II Corps Sgt Ubelhor - 1st lift was in LZ #2 at 1506 hrs. Very light contact on SE corner of LZ. Lift #5 picks up at 1740H. Lift #5 will complete one task force plus one (or 3 Bn's)(TF A plus 5th Bn). One more lift may be required.

- 20:00H: II Corps (Maj Boyle) PW Pvt cap vic YA 943038 fr 8th Bn 66th Regt states Bn strength at 620 when started down from DVN. 565 strength in RVN. All well equiped well prepared food last saw unit vic YA 919148 1711700H. Mission to break contact and move NW. States Air atks 17 Nov inflected 30 KIA. 50 WIA 50 deserters. Moral unchanged after air atks. Men were not allowed to pick up Psy/war leaflets. II Corps feels this is same Bn that atk on 16 Nov vic YA 937011. - 26:00H: 1st Cav (Capt Parham) Ref: Red Hats: Abn base in vic LZ #2, Red Hat and red hat 6 are at YA 831099 Red Hats had 1 VC KIA and 3 VC WIA. At 1900 hrs were in contact with VC.

19 November 1965

- Delayed entry Fr 18 Nov 182104H: 1st Cav (Lt Temple) It is believed that the VC elem to be west and north of LZ Albany consists of 490 troops of the 8th Bn 66th regt and 571 troops of a possible VC Bn which may be the 604th Bn of the 250th Bn infiltration Gp. Total VC strength in this area is est 1061. The VC maybe armed with AW rifles, 82mm mortars, 40mm R/L and light mg. Other loc unk.

- 00:09H: II Corps (Sgt Reens) (encoded) 3 ABn Bn YA 835101, 5 Abn Bn YA 840090, 6 Abn Bn YA 840090, 8 Abn Bn Duc Co, no contact as of 182300H 3 KIA, 5 WIA frdy total cas.

- 00:40H: 1st Air Cav (Sgt Saliba) Unit Locations: Holloway: C/1/7 and C/1/9 Cav. Stadium: 3 Bde CP, 1/7 CP, D/1/9. C/8 Eng Bn, a/229 AH Bn. At Falcon: 1/5 CP, A,B, & C. 1st 21st Arty A,B, & C. At Albany: 2/7 ABC-CP. At Crook: 2/5 CP, C/2/17 Arty, C/1/21 Arty.

- 12:50H: II Corps Sgt Minney - Abn TF, next position YA 837095. 3d Abn Bn YA 827092. 5th Abn Bn YA 833081. 6th Abn Bn had light contact at 191115 hrs. Results 1 VC WIA, 1 wpn captured.

- 14:20H: 1st Cav Capt Cook - C15 closed LZ Golf (YA 841092) at 1330H. All of 2/7 cleared Albany at 1330H for psn Crook. Casualty figures sent at 1235 com fm Fwd CP and are not yet confirmed with G1.

- Delayed entry 15:25: II Corps Capt Ushijima - Ref Abn with 1st Cav opn now called (ARVN) Than Phong 7. Todays opn consists of D and D in area A. Results of contact yesterday (18 Nov) between Abn and VC: frd cas 1 KIA, 9 WIA. Enemy unk. At 191115 Abn element killed 1 VC and captured 1 M1 rifle vic YA 835085. At 191400 hrs Abn element captured 1 VC and 1 Soviet made rifle vic YA 837080.

- Delayed entry 15:25: II Corps Maj Sandburn - 191515H Abn TF confirmed capture of PAVN soldier fm 635th Bn 32d Regt. vic YA 837080. It is not possible to evac PW at this time. - 16:25H: FFV Adv Maj Boyle - Info passed fm 3de Bde to Maj Boyle - 2/12 goes to general vic area Crook, 20 Nov. 1/5 and 2/5 Cav remain in psn. 2/7 Cav will come out of area and move to Holloway. 2d Bde (Fwd) moves to Stadium tonight (19 Nov). 2d Bde and 3d Bde exchange responsiblities at a mutually agreed upon time. (Probable 1400, 20 Nov). It has not been decided yet whether 3d Bde will go to Holloway or return to Div base area.

- 16:30H: 1st Cav (Fwd) Maj Sandburn - At LZ Crook and LZ Golf units are conducting S and D will tie in tonight for security. No contact at this time.

- 16:55H: 1st Cav (Rear) Capt Parham - Fwd CP states the elem's in Abn TF area was coordinated at higher levels than Fwd G3. The Abn TF knows about it. No other info available.

- Delayed entry 19:50H: II Corps Sgt Reints - Ref Red Hat. Accumulative cas up to 20 Nov. Abn Bde frd cas 22 KIA, 52 WIA. Unit locations - 5th Bn (-) and 6th Bn on obj 32. 3d Bn on obj 61. TF CP and 8th Bn and 1 Co 5th Bn on obj 51. 1 US WIA.

- Delayed entry 21:55: II Corps Maj Boyle - To Col McCord Abn (ARVN) alledged rec'd arty fire fm Cambodia. Absolutely unconfirmed by G2 1st Cav, DTOC 1st Cav, G-2 II Corps, G3 Opns, DASC II Corps, A-E unconfirmed. DASC II Corps has permission fm TACC for VNAF to bomb if it happens again. 14 PAVN PW at II Corps, 2 interrogations completed. 12 - very slow PW's ill.

- 22:15H: II Corps Capt Ushijima - Ref Abn opn (Than Phong 7) VC cas for today (20 Nov) 86 VC KIA (US body count). 1 VCC. Total since opn began. 117 VC KIA (US body count). 3 VCC (1 later died). VNAF chopper that went down at Du Co (2030). There were 5 people aboard, believed to be 3 crewmen and 2 Vietnamese reporters from UPI. Rescue opn: Patrol has been sent out, a US Advisor sent along. Question: Was there ever any confirmation on Arty or mortar fire rec'd from Cambodian border. Ans: No one will confirm.

20 November 1965

- 0030H: II Corps (Sgt Sawson) Msgs fr II Corps concerning Abn Opn today: ARVN KIA 8, WIA 25, VC: KIA 23 (BC) WIA VCC 1. Weapons Cap: 2 rifles, 500 lbs rice destroyed. Unit loc: 3 Abn Bn YA 0100095 6 Abn Bn YA817100, TFA & 5 Abn YA827077. Tomorrow Abn units will continue Opn. 3 Bn to obj R 6 Bn to Obj 52, 5 Bn & TFA same Position as yesterday.

- 1100H: II Corps – Msg fr II Corps 5 Abn Bn 200 Met South obj 51, 6 Abn Bn on obj 52, 3d Abn Bn obj R. No Contact.

- 1311H: II Corps Sgt Minney – Red Hat 3 – Has contact pos R. 5 VC KIA, size of force unk. Frd 2 WIA.

- 1400H: 1st Cav Lt Carliton – Silver (2d Bde) has assumed responsibility for opn in Pleime/Pleiku as of 101200 hrs Nov. Subordinate elements have had no contact, and conducting small unit patrols.

- 1400H: 1st Cav Capt Cook – A, B 12th Cav closed 201301 at Stadium. 2d Bde Fwd CP located at YA 850250.

- 1455H: To MACV Sgt Henry – 2d Bde assumed control of Silver Bayonet at 101200H. Elements on Silver Bayonet have had no contact as of 1400. They are conducting small unit contact patrols. A and B of 2/12 Cav closed Stadium at 201301. 2d Bde CP loc (Encoded) YA 850250, closed 191730H.

- Delayed entry: II Corps Sgt Ubelhor – At 201600H Nov. Red Hat 6 is in contact vic obj 52 with unk size VC force info to follow.

- 1635H: MACV Maj Kirby – Request verification of loc of Abn Bn not committed (Duc Co). Request for movement has been rec’d. Called II Corps - Major Easterling (1640) Dragon has been tasked to move Red Hat 8 to vic of Red Hat 5. Abn Chief is considering moving 1st & 7th Bn’s to Duc Co area.

- Delayed entry 1455H: 1st Cav Capt Cook – Wrap up no change, except 2/7 lifted off fm area Crook at 200845H and are now at camp Holloway no closing time.

- 1655H: MACV Maj Kirby – Col Hagerson fm 2AD ops has reported that arty is in position on Cambodian side of border. Request is in from SA II Corps to hit it.

- 1702H: II Corps Maj Easterling – II Corps isn’t aware of this info. G3 II Corps knows nothing. (MACV called 1705 – Maj Kirby – Three way hook up) Maj Kirby II Corps DASC reported that ARVN units in Abn Bde area are receiving mortar fire (Chu Pong area). Maj Easterling (Check w/II Corps G3) II Corps ARVN knows nothing about it. Maj Kirby reports msg came thru DASC channels. We need confirmation through Army channels before we can act of request to hit target. Maj Amey II Corps check out situation and call back ASAP (1710).

- 1725H: II Corps Maj Easterling – Request for info on firing fm Cambodian side of border. Ans: I told you I’d call back when I got some infor. (Some language omitted). Question: Have you been able to contact the unit. Ans: Yes, they will let me know when they get some info. MACV notified that no confirmation is available as yet (Sgt Freeland) 1735H.

- 1745H: II Corps Capt Martin – 1st and 7th Bn’s will arrive at Duc Co on 21 Nov to reconstitute for Abn center. 8 Bn move now by helicopters to reinforce 6 and 3.

- 1755H: 1st Cav Maj Sandburn – Unconfirmed reports that 6th Bn is receiving arty fire fm across Cambodian border due West of their psn which is YA 798080. 3d Bn at YA 799097. 5th Bn moving West to psn with 6th in contact or between 3d and 6th Bn. 8th Bn being committed by air, supported by 7 a/c from Cav into psn half way between 5th and 6th Bns. TWX being sent to Sgn requesting 2 additional Bn’s, New boundaries between Cav and ARVN is 83 grid line.

- 1820H: 1st Cav Rear Capt Parham – 3d and 6th Abn are in heavy contact. 5th Bn maneuvering into psn vic of 6th Bn. Will come in between the 3d and 6th Bns. The 6th Bn is reserve. ARVN elements have requested through ARVN channels for two more Bns to be in support of opns. Current loc of units – 6th Bn at YA 798080, 3d Bn at YA 799097, 5th Bn at YA 822078.

- 1850H: II Corps Reintz – Arrow reports – 1) Than Phong 7. 5) YA 801081, 6) 13 KIA (Frd), 20 WIA (Frd), 7) 180 (ARVN BC) 8) Unk in unit.

- Delayed entry 2000H: 1st Cav Capt Parham – Request locs of following units: C/2/17 Arty – LZ Crook. 1/7 Cav – Base area, 3d Bde HQ – Base area.

- 2055H: II Corps Capt Neary – Abn Bde and VC disengaged approx 1830 hrs, no contact at present. A VNAF H34 crashed at 2030 hrs on takeoff approx 800 meters North of Duc Co runway, apparently mechanical failure, aircraft burned and all 4 ARVN on board believe dead.

- 2225H: II Corps Sgt Reintz – (Encoded) Frd cas today, 8 KIA, 28 WIA, 1 US WIA. Total cas 18 KIA, 44 WIA, 1 US WIA, ref Red Hat. - Delayed entry 1950H: I Corps Sgt Reintz – Ref Red Hat. Accumulative cas up to 20 Nov. Abn Bde frd cas 22 KIA, 52 WIA. Unit locations – 5th Bn (-) and 6th Bn on obj 32. 3d Bn on obj 61. TF CP and 8th Bn and 1 Co 5th Bn on obj 51, 1 US WIA.

- Delayed entry 2155H: II Corps Maj Boyle – To Col McCord Abn (ARVN) alleged rec’d arty fire fm Cambodia absolutely unconfirmed by G2 1st Cav, DTOC 1st Cav, G-2 II Corps, G3 Ophns, DASC II Corps, A-E unconfirmed. DASC II Corps has permission fm TAOC for VNAF to bomb if it happens again. 14 PAVN PW at II Corps, 2 interrogation completed. 12 – very slow PW’s ill.

- 2215H: II Corps Capt Ushijima – Ref Abn opn (Than Phong 7) VC cas for today (20 Nov) 86 VC KIA (US body count). 1 VCC. Total since opn began. 117 VC KIA (US body count). 3 VCC (1 later died). VNAF chopper that went down at Duc Co (2030). There were 5 people on board, believed to be 3 crewmen and 2 Vietnamese reporters from UPI. Rescue opn: Patrol has been sent out, a US Advisor went along. Q: Was there ever any confirmation on Arty or mortar fire rec’d from Cambodian border. Ans: No one will confirm.

- 2245H: 1st Cav (1st Temple) At 1945H 2/5 Cav loc at Crook heard a clicking noise, rec’d 1 grenade 2315H returned 1 grenade. No frdy cas. Do not know what they did to the en. A CH 34 crashed at Duc Co by mechanical failure. Air Craft destroyed, Cas unk. Vic NW 5055.

21 November 1965

- 08:05H: II Corps Capt Ushijima - sit report - As of 210700 to present no En contact has been rept to the II corps headquarters. II Corps Senior Adv desires that the CG of FFV see the following secret message sent this AM to FFV Sight #144 MACEN-II Corps 3-C11-144, DTG 201530Z

- 09:00H: II Corps (Capt Martin) First elem 7 Abn arrived Duc Co 210810H and Bn closed 210900.

- 09:30H: II Corps (Capt Martin) Reaffirm loc of 8th Abn Bn and TF CP. 8th at 822077. This was called in to FFV TOC at 1755H on 20 Nov and 1745H 20 Nov.

- 13:25H: II Corps Capt Ushijima -No change in ARVN Abn Bde frd casualties. The VC body count (ARVN) is 204 as of 211300.

- 15:20H: II Corps Capt Ushijima - Wrap up - Than Phong 7 - the VC KIA is 231, to date, (US BC). No change in frd. No change in wpns count. No contact. All else, no change from previous reports .

- 16:00H: 1st Cav Sgt Minney - encoded - TFA and 2 Co's of 8th Abn at YA 825080. 3d Bn at YA 810093, 5th Bn at YA 802088, 6th Bn at YA 802079, 7th Bn and 2 Co's 8th Abn at Duc Co.

- 17:00H: FFV Adv Maj Boyle - Abn TF captured a VC 21 Nov. (No time or loc available, at this time). Now in hospital at Pleiku with shot up lip. Will be taken to II Corps interr center tomorrow. He is fm the 32d PAVN Regt. More info will follow.

- 22:00H: II Corps Capt Neary and Capt Martin - (Encoded) Request time of Abn Bde atk on obj vic YA 810055. Is Abn Bde aware of Arc Lite #4 at 221210H.

- 22:50H: II Corps Capt Neary - Ref encoded msg (log item #60). This request for info is for confirmation that subject (arc lite) is well coordinated. It also pertains to II Corps sec msg, cite number 174, which affects some subj (Arlite msg, gives southern boundary of area of opns which falls within Arc lite tgt. No times are included for movement south). Confirmation of time of movement is required as well as confirmation that subj of encoded msg (Arc lite) is coordinated.

22 November 1965

- 01:00H: II Corps Capt Neary - Ref inquiry made by Maj Amey: The Abn Bde will not move south toward their objective area in the south until after Arc light. Actual time is unk, but will be coordinated with Arc light.

- 07:20H: Than Phong 7, no significant activity.

- 09:10H: II Corps (Capt Martin) 2d lift 7th Bn, Abn Bde closed LZ 0830H; 3d lift on the way, LZ to be reported (YA 819077).

- 09:40H: II Corps (Sgt Ubelhor) 3d lift of 7th Bn Abn Bde closed LZ 220900, LZ to be reported.

- 11:20H: II Corps (Sgt Ubelhor) Ref msg inquiring for the location of LZ fro 7th Bn Abn Bde. Still do not have plt. Also do not know, location of or who constitutes, the Abn Bde reserve.

- 13:17H: II Corps (Sgt Ubelhor) Red Hat closed 221200 hrs (correction) Resupply of Red Hats completed by 1320H. 7th Abn at YA 819077, closed.

- (...) Red Hat 7 is at YA 819077. Red Hat 6 moving at 1420H going into area B.

- 14:50H: G3 Air (Capt Green) Arc Light strikes were not on time. No results as yet.

- 15:10H: II Corps (Capt Ushijima) Than Phong 7 (Red Hats) Red Hats 6 moved out at 1420H moving south toward obj B-4 is Area B. Red Hat 5 will follow time unknown.

- 16:20H: FFV G2 LNO (Maj Boyle) ARVN Abn Bde rec'd a PAVN 2d Lts body this morning vic YA 810060. On the body was a citation for decoration issued to the individual for his participation in the Summer Campaign. He was assigned to the (... page too blurred...)

23 November 1965

- 07:00H: II Corps (Capt Martin) loc Red Hat. 6 Bn Abn loc vic YA 825070. 8 Abn Bn Loc vic YA 826075. All other are about the same.

- 10:30H: II Corps (Sgt Ubelhor) Ref Than Phong 7. At 0900 Rd Hat 3 loc at YA 797097, loc abandon VC camp. At 0855 Red Hat 7 loc YA 801080. Loc abandon bn size camp. 231030 Red Hat 8 loc YA 826075. 231030 Red Hat A+5+6 obj B-4 vic YA 812068. Found one BAR, one rifle, 8 VC bodies, in contact at this time.

- Delayed entry 14:30H: II Corps (Sgt Ubelhor) Wrap up - Ref Than Phong 7. Contact at 0955 was light, no cas on either side. 7th Abn Bn made contact at 1150 with est 1 VC plt. No frd casualties. 1 VC KIA (BC), a VCC. 1 AW captured by frd also. Destroyed Bn size camp in same vic of 30 huts and 2 kitchens in vic of YA 795084. All ARVN elemts are at same locations.

- Delayed entry 18:15H: Fm CofS FFV, called Col Mataxis at 1805H ref apparent use of Army Avn to lift ARVN Abn Bde elems south of the support line. to follow up US Arty mission supporting ARVN (Ref item 46, this date). Col Mataxis said Army air had not lifted any Abn Bde elems today. The reference to capturing of 2 SA and 1 MG occurred not at YA 810015 (Arty psn) but at YA 809089, vic 5th and 6th ARVN Abn Bns. Wpns were captured by foot elems.

24 November 1965

- Delayed entry 15:25H: II Corps (Capt Ushijima), rec'd Capt O'Neil - Ref 1100 hrs entry - Than Phong 7 no other contact other than Red Hat reported contact earlier today, no frd cas, VC cas - 20 VC KIA, 4 VCC, 1 rkt launcher, 6 automatic wpns captured, 1 MG (two barrels); 15 rifles, two submachine guns, 2 - 82mm mortar base plates, a number of medical supplies; no further contact as far as Red Hat elements concerned.

- 16:10H: 1st Cav Maj Durand - Ref contact of Abn this AM, was Cav Arty used to spt this contact? Ans: Yes.

25 November 1965

- 01:35H: II Corps (Capt Martin) Rec'd by Capt Elliott, Abn Bde TFA and 5 Bn YA 815073, 6th Bn YA 823079, TFB and 8th Bn YA 821076, 3 Bn YA 808093, 7th Bn YA 806085. Frd KIA 0 WIA 2, Red Hat 5 & 6 had contact 24 Nov PM Red Hat 1 & 5 at YA 820060, Red Hat 6 YA 815070 results of both actions: VC, 20 KIA, 0 WIA, 7 VCC. Wpn Cap: 2 MG, 2 spair barrels, 6 SMG, 15 Assault rifles, 34 rifles, 1 RL, 2 82mm base plates. Period 18 to 24 Nov Than Phong 7 Wrap up - 265 VC KIA (BC) 12 VCC. Friendy KIA 21, WIA 58.

www.generalhieu.com/pleime_1cav_g3_2.htm

Phieu


#212 23 Nov 11, 23:10

No, the top box with the two tick marks represents the 91st Abn Rgr Bn (minus) Hqs. The second Abn Ranger company should be 'shadowed' behind the company symbol below. The companies should have been numbered 911, 912, etc, but that is not shown. But the only important fact is that the two companies of the 91st at Plei Me were under the direct operational control of their battalion commander, ergo Plei Me was the critical fight of the moment for the 91st Abn Rgrs.

lirelou


#213 24 Nov 11, 04:48

Thanks for the clarification. So (-) means Hqts. I think a need a lesson or two on military symbols, just like I needed lessons on in map reading.

By the way, Major Tat was not present with the Armored Relief Task Force, he was leading the his two companies that were dropped nearby the Pleime camp:

In the morning 21 October, the Luật Task Force moved on, along the Phu My-Pleime axis but to simply conduct aggressive patrols within a 10 km radius! The order had been expressly given by II Corps Command to the T.F. Commander, Lt Col. Luat, to simulate the imminent approach of a relief column to the Pleime camp while in reality, he had to wait for more adequate and sufficient attachments which would be moved by air from Kontum and Binh Dinh to Pleiku, as soon as the weather conditions allowed the air movements.

In the same morning, at 0930, two companies of the 91st ARVN Special Forces Rangers were heliborne to about 5 km North-East of the Camp. It appeared as if a link-up between the Task Force and these two companies were to take place in the very afternoon! But it was rather an action to meet an emergency situation: the garrison had fought for 36 hours to withstand a five-time-stronger enemy force.

(www.generalhieu.com/why_pleime_chIV-2.htm)

Major Charlie A. Beckwith, who led Project Delta on the march to Pleime camp with the two SF Rangers companies, mentioned his counterpart by name in his narration of this episode in his book, Delta Force: the Army's elite counterterrorist unit

Phieu


#214 24 Nov 11, 11:47

Sidebar: Master of Radio Intercept Deceptive Tactic.

altus: I see you missed this passage in "We Were Soldiers ... and Young"

Could Colonel Hieu be dupped? I doubt it. He was a master in radio intercept deceptive ploy. Two instances:

1)The siege of Thuan Man District in July 1965, three month prior to the siege of Pleime camp:

When notified that he could not be evacuated by air, the district chief requested permission to attempt to break out to the west. This operation was coordinated through the 23d Division with the CIDG camp at Boun Brieng. Boun Brieng camp was ordered to send troops east to Highway 14 to furnish security for the arrival of the Thuan Man District garrison. In an attempt to deceive the VC, orders were sent in the clear on the radio for the garrison to hold on until the relief column reached them next day. In addition, a series of fighter strikes pounded the VC positions during the early part of the evening. Plans also provided for gunship and fighter cover at first light along the garrison's escape route to the security screen of the Boun Brieng CIDG troops. They then moved back to the CIDG camp at Boun Brieng and then were evacuated by Caribou back to Cheo Reo. . The Battle of Thuan Man District as narrated by Colonel Mataxis, II Corps Senior Advisor.

(www.generalhieu.com/monsoon65-2.htm)

2) The siege of Snoul (May 1971) .

General Hieu visited 1/8th Battalion at Snoul a lot of times. 1/8th Battalion was a battalion operating alone at the farthest outpost, the deepest one within enemy sanctuary. General Hieu told me the truth about B52, "Don't believe in the Americans' promise about B52; you must relie on your own resources to survive at this outpost position that ought to be held at all costs if you don't receive the order to withdraw. You must take initiatives in the matter of securing the lives of your battalion and of the armored company which is attached to your unit. If I give the order to withdraw, you must give a make-believe order to hold at all costs on the radio, because the Viet Cong certainly will hear clearly on the radio, and ask Colonel Dzan to have B52 bomb the route along which you plan to withdraw your troops. Afterwards, withdraw swiftly!"

Execution of Fake Hold and Run Tactic

At around 11:00H, Colonel Dzan gave out the order to hold at all costs from General Hieu, and announced that General Hieu had reported to III Corps Commanding General to come to the rescue of 1/8th Battalion and 8th Task Force, and to destroy the enemy by using the Assault Task Force of III Corps coming from Loc Ninh and the friendly task forces coming from Southwest of Snoul. 1/8th Battalion continued to increase mine traps around the defensive position, under constant enemy artillery firepower, while the morale of the defensive troops was high at the news of the coming rescue column forces.

At around 13:00H, the recon platoon crawled to the West to survey the enemy situation at the stream, at coordinates XU548385, and made contact with an enemy platoon, about 300 meters from perimeter C. Captain Bao heard on the radio that the enemy was ordered not to allow the defensive troops to reach the stream to get drinking water. The recon platoon withdrew to preserve manpower and made believe in complaining with company commanders the lack of drinking water and in requesting urgent resupply of drinking water as well as ammunition by helicopters.

At around 17:00H, 1/8th Battalion Commander requested to talk to Major Hung, 8th Regiment G3 Chief to converse openly by radio. He said, "I have received the order to hold position at all costs and the good news that we will get B52 air support, however at the present time many soldiers felt sick for lack of water after five days of fighting, without re-supply and medevac. I am afraid they would surrender within 24 hours, if they do not receive immediately drinking water re-supply. Therefore I ask you to transmit my request to Eagle allowing us to attack and occupy the stream next morning to obtain drinking water. I dread the two enemy battalions will attack us from the rear and flank, from the battalion position to Snoul market along route QL7, if we deployed troops tomorrow. Therefore, I ask you to request Eagle to concentrate B52 strikes in boxes along route QL7 to flatten a one kilometer wide band the two sides of this route. This would allow us to gain the upper hand with the enemy at this stream." Major Hung intelligently responded, "I understand exactly your request, I will pass it to Eagle immediately." About half an hour later, Colonel Dzan radioed back the 1/8th Battalion Commander, "Your request is approved, however you must wait for B52 strikes in "Box" from your position to the market to cover your flank and rear before you attack the stream." 1/8th Battalion Commander answered, "Roger, Sir."

At around 05:00 H on 5/29/71, lookout teams secretively crawled back to perimeter C, meanwhile the recon platoon left 8th Battalion CP to recon the path and QL7 South of the base camp. All actions of the defensive troops were conducted under the wrap of radio silence.

At around 06:30 H, 8th Battalion CP received a three "Click" signal in the radio. According to pre-agreed code, 8th Battalion CP understood that the enemy had moved out of individual fox holes situated between the battalion position and Snoul market along route QL7 and the path.

At around 08:30 H, 2/7th Battalion took control of the situation at Snoul market.

At around 09:00 H, 1/8th Battalion CP heard clearly a four "Click" signal sent by the recon platoon’s radio which indicated enemy forces had completely left positions along the withdrawal route of the battalion. The Battalion Commander issued order by radio to continue to dig fox holes to hold position at all costs. Within less than ten minutes, the last units of 3rd Company departed the base camp to run after the armored platoon. Captain Bao heard clearly in the enemy radio, "We have been duped by the sons of the bitch. All units must revert back quick to their positions to encircle and kill them all."

More reading: The Truth of a Forgotten Battlefield

Phieu


#215 24 Nov 11, 15:39

Phieu: Could you consider addressing my question in post #184?

Wait a minute. Can you tell me how you have learned that your brother was actually listening to those messages in Mandarin during the Pleiku campaign? Did he tell you that himself? Or did Cpt. Nguyen tell you that you brother was listening to something in Mandarin when he entered the radio station? Or was that fact noted in a document?

altus


#216 24 Nov 11, 15:49

I was about to, but with the following statement of you:

While I'm looking forward to exchanging with you on certain topics related to the Vietnam War, simply out of consideration for your twenty-something years of document gathering, I have no desire to get into discussion with you on the current politics of Vietnam. Your personal opinions and perceptions aboout it means little to me. Whatever floats your boat in such topics, I don't give a damn.

I have no more interest in answering your questions. Like you: I don't give a damn.

Phieu


#217 24 Nov 11, 16:51

Phieu, that is an unfair rejection of Altus's request. This is a Vietnam War forum. And while we do engage in politics on the rare occasion, we try to stick to the Vietnam War period. I thought Sleepy, pardon Buffalo Boy, had overstepped the bounds with his God Damn remark to your post, particularly because that stepped into the personal realm. But Altus's "I don't give a damn" about political matters is both a qualified remark, and in the traditions of Clark Gable's Rhett Butler character. Ergo, hardly a personal attack.

Whether or not your relative could speak Mandarin or not is a valid question.

Anyway, I hope you reconsider.

Chuc Muon Ngay Con Ga Loi (Happy Turkey Day, and yes, I know that what I said is "Happy Day Peacock"

lirelou


#218 24 Nov 11, 17:19

You are quite magnanimous, Lirelou. But you don't seem to know Altus quite well yet.

Well, since you ask if "whether or not my relative could speak Mandarin or not", my response is, "sure my brother could; as I have stated, he was born in Tianjin, China, had attended Chinese University in Shanghai, and only went to Vietnam in 1949 when he was 20 years old". He was quite a polyglot, you know.

Besides English and French, General Hieu knew German, Chinese (Mandarin, Shanghainese, Cantonese). Furthermore, Colonel John Hayes, 5th Infantry Division Senior Advisor, marveled in discovering General Hieu knew a montagnard dialect when he witnessed General Hieu interrogating a prisoner belonging to the Rhade tribe captured in one of the Kampuchean cross-border operation.

General Hieu inherited his polyglot genes from his father. Mr. Huong knew French, English, Chinese (Mandarin, Shanghainese and Cantonese), Japanese, Spanish and Russian.

www.generalhieu.com/harvard-2.htm

No, you don't know what you are saying the way you say it, without accent, Chuc Muon Ngay Con Ga Loi. It could mean for example

I wish (you/I) want immediately a Peacock!

The correct way is, Chúc Mừng Ngày Lễ Con Gà Lôi

Or better

Chúc Mừng Ngày Lễ Tạ Ơn

BTW, I like your signature

Phong trần mài một lưỡi gươm, Những loài giá áo túi cơm sá gì!

I deem you know its meaning and who made that statement?

But make sure when you say it, say it with the right intonation, not like

Phong tran mai mot luoi guom, nhung loai gia ao tui com sa gi.

Otherwise it might mean something else!

Phieu


#219 24 Nov 11, 17:56

Phieu: I was about to, but with the following statement of you:

I have no more interest in answering your questions. Like you: I don't give a damn.

Fine, I have no problem with this.

altus


#220 24 Nov 11, 19:45

US Army Command and General Staff College-location

From a report about General Hieu.....

"Early 1963, Major Hieu was selected to attend the US Army Command and General Staff College, in Arkansas."

The College is located at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and [B]has not ever been located in Arkansas[/B]

RedDagger18


#221 24 Nov 11, 20:46

Phieu : On the contrary, the locations had been pinpointed with coordinates on the tactical map:

- the three battalions of the 66th Regiment were strung along the north bank of the Ia Drang river (center mass at 9104),

- the 32nd Regiment was also up north in the same area (YA820070),

- the 33rd Regiment maintained its positions in the vicinity of the Anta Village(YA94100) , east of the Chu Pong mountains.

I noticed a lot of discussion of were the 66th was located. Here is where they said they were:

Before the fighting began the locations where the regiment's units were based covered a very large area. The regiment actually was only able to control 7th Battalion; it was unable to exert command over 8th and 9th Battalions. The regimental command post was located north of Tung I Village, 7th Battalion was north of Tung 2 Village (east of the Chu Pong), 8th Battalion was at Ba Bi, and 9th Battalion was northeast of the Chu Pong at coordinates 02-91.

http://www.virtual.vietnam.ttu.edu/c...6900104001.pdf

TTownLarry


#222 24 Nov 11, 21:32

RedDagger18:

From a report about General Hieu.....

"Early 1963, Major Hieu was selected to attend the US Army Command and General Staff College, in Arkansas."

The College is located at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and [B]has not ever been located in Arkansas[/B]RedDagger18

Thanks for pointing out the mistake. Since the USACGS College are mentioned quite often at numerrous places on generalhieu.com, do you mind specify where the mistakes can be located so that I can make the necessary correction?

For example, in his curriculum vitae, it said KS

05/10/63 Graduate/Command and General Staff College, Ft Leavenworth, KS

Phieu


#223 24 Nov 11, 21:41

TTownLarry :

- the three battalions of the 66th Regiment were strung along the north bank of the Ia Drang river (center mass at 9104),

- the 32nd Regiment was also up north in the same area (YA820070),

- the 33rd Regiment maintained its positions in the vicinity of the Anta Village(YA94100) , east of the Chu Pong mountains.

I noticed a lot of discussion of were the 66th was located. Here is where they said the were:

Before the fighting began the locations where the regiment's units were based covered a very large area. The regiment actually was only able to control 7th Battalion; it was unable to exert command over 8th and 9th Battalions. The regimental command post was located north of Tung I Village, 7th Battalion was north of Tung 2 Village (east of the Chu Pong), 8th Battalion was at Ba Bi, and 9th Battalion was northeast of the Chu Pong at coordinates 02-91.

http://www.virtual.vietnam.ttu.edu/c...6900104001.pdf

Go to next post, please.

Phieu


#224 24 Nov 11, 21:50

Great. The NVA document placed 9th Battalion at YA 9102.

Can you give or find out the coordinates of the others units: 8th @ Ba Bi, 7th @ Tung 2 Village, Regiment CP @ Tung I Village?

The Pleiku AAR info places on Nov 11, 1965 the Center of Mass @ Vic YA 9104 (9104, 9103, 9003, 9004)

Phieu


#225 24 Nov 11, 22:03

Sorry, I'm not a map guy. They taught us how to read maps in infantry training but it is not something I retained over the last 40 plus years.

TTownLarry


#226 24 Nov 11, 22:11

Thanks nevertheless.

SOS! Boonie, or anybody else...

Phieu


#227 24 Nov 11, 22:18

This is their discription of the area:

A. TERRAIN:

The Ia Drang is a valley in an four-sided area bounded by Plei Me, Bau Can, Duc Co, and Plei The. This area covers approximately 12 square kilometers and is about 45 kilometers southwest ofPleiku City. The average elevation of this area is between 400 and 500 meters. South of the Ia Drang is the tall, prominent Chu Pong Mountain Range, 732 meters tall), which lies along the Vietnamese-Cambodian border. Chu Re Mountain, 725 meters tall, provided a convenient location on which we established an observation post from which we could maintain watch over an area from the Phu My Intersection to Bau Can and Thanh An. There were two types of forest in the area: rather thick, enclosed forest and thin, open forest (along both sides of the Ia Drang River). There were fields of grass as high as a man's head which could be used to coneeal our troops and enable them to close with the enemy to attack him.

TTownLarry


#228 24 Nov 11, 22:40

Did they provide also a tactical map with the locations of Ba Bi, Tung 2 Village, and Tung I Village on it?

Phieu


#229 24 Nov 11, 23:01

Not that I have found.

TTownLarry


#230 24 Nov 11, 23:04

LZ X-Ray's coordinates

Bonnie,

You put LZ X-Ray at 9301. Look what I found. Is it the same, with more accuracy?

Phieu


#231 25 Nov 11, 01:08

No, the coords on the photo are erroneous, XRAY is at YA935010 as per the Pleiku Campaign ORLL.

Boonierat


#232 25 Nov 11, 02:32

Pleiku Campaign AAR also pinpointed Xray at YA935010

Phieu


#233 25 Nov 11, 03:14

Mystery solved!

The location of LZ Xray is not indicated by the white X (YA92634) but by the black X next to the Y, at the up left corner of the photo which was shot from the airplane over the area vicinity of YA 92634 flying in the direction along the diagonal line passing by the up right corner and the down right corner of a box on the map, meaning 135 degree southeast bound.

Thanks, Boonie, without your map where you pinpointed exactly the positions of Xray and the plane from where the photo was taken, I would have never figured this out. Merci beaucoup!

Was the white X (YA 92634) a target for B-52 strikes?

Phieu


#234 25 Nov 11, 09:10

I don't know, maybe its just an easy reference point from the air, being located in a loop of the Drang river.

Boonierat


#235 25 Nov 11, 11:05

Sidebar: The Art of Big Unit Troop Withdrawal

In the sieges of Thuan Man District and Snoul, the Fake Hold and Run tactic was one among the elements required for a successful big unit troop withdrawal. How many of these required elements are they?

I asked several high ranking ARVN officers – colonel, general – most came up with 37% correct; the highest score was 62% correct. A Commanding General of the Rangers Group even said, “In my entire military career, I never had to come to face that situation. I only knew to attack, never had to withdraw”!

Can you come up with a better score, say 100% correct? Take the quiz to see how much you know on this subject and look up for the correct answers in my next post.

Good luck!

Phieu


#236 25 Nov 11, 11:57

Sidebar: The Art of Big Unit Troop Withdrawal (continued)

The required elements for a successful big unit troop withdrawal are:

- Fake Hold and Run

- Fake North Go South

- Adequate Air and Artillery Supports

- Triangular Formation

- Opposite Assault Force

- Presence of Field Commander on the Battlefield

- Adequate and Solid Intelligence

- Tactical/Strategic Planning

On the battlefields, to command an assault is relatively an easy task; on the contrary, to command a withdrawal is quite a difficult task. In an attack posture, one is in a proactive mode: everything has been anticipated, determined in advance, all coordinated movements among units have been well studied, assault targets have been well mapped out, all firepower supports have been well calibrated, all timings have been well measured, attack direction normally lies ahead, enemies are within one’s vision, troops’ morale is high and aggressive… In a retreat posture, one is in a reactive mode: everything is uncertain, undetermined, coordinated movements among units are dictated by ever changing factors, firepower supports become unusable because the enemy is too close, timings become constrained, frontlines expand to all directions, the hidden enemy becomes invisible, troops’ morale is low and dejected… Only an exceptional Commander can overcome all these negative elements in order to maintain the moral and the fighting resolve of his troops.

More reading … www.generalhieu.com/retreat-2.htm

Phieu


#237 26 Nov 11, 12:16

Norman Schwarzkopf’s Ia Drang Valley campaign?

The Ia Drang Valley campaign was a landmark for me, because it introduced me to the most brilliant tactical commander I'd ever known.

(It Doesn’t Take a Hero)

Which campaign was he talking about: the Pleiku campaign? The Pleime campaign?

Or was he talking about the Ia Drang Valley battle?

Yes, but not the one fought by 1/7th Air Cavalry at LX X-Ray under the leadership of LTC Hal Moore; the battle should be named the Chu Pong battle, since it occurred at the footstep of Chu Pong Massif,

but the one fought by Airborne Brigade under the leadership of LTC Ngo Quang Truong, and should be more appropriately named the Ia Drang Valley battle. In fact it was officially called Than Phong 7 Operation.

At least, General Schwarzkopf should have named it Ia Drang Valley operation, since it only lasted one week from Nov 18-Nov 25, not like Pleiku campaign which lasted from Oct 27 to November 26, and Pleime campaign, from October 19 to November 25.

General Schwarzkopf's Naïveté In the Ia Drang Battle

Phieu


#238 27 Nov 11, 06:12

"The most brilliant tactical commander" at Iadrang battle

After witnessing a series of LTC Truong’s uncanny tactical maneuvers such as -

As we marched, he would stop to study the map, and every once in a while he'd indicate a position on the map and say, "I want you to fire artillery here." I was skeptical at first, but called in the barrages; when we reached the areas we found bodies. Simply by visualizing the terrain and drawing on his experience fighting the enemy for fifteen years, Truong showed an uncanny ability to predict what they were going to do.

-

When we set up our command post that night, he opened his map, lit a cigarette, and outlined his battle plan. The strip of jungle between our position on the ridges and the river, he explained, made a natural corridor-the route the NVA would most likely take. He said, "At dawn we will send out one battalion and put it here, on our left, as a blocking force between the ridge and the river. Around eight o'clock tomorrow morning they will make a big enemy contact. Then I will send another battalion here, to our right. They will make contact at about eleven o'clock. I want you to have your artillery ready to fire into this area in front of us," he said, "and then we will attack with our third and fourth battalions down toward the river. The enemy will then be trapped with the river to his back."

I'd never heard anything like this at West Point. I was thinking, "What's all this about eight o'clock and eleven o'clock? How can he schedule a battle that way?" But I also recognized the outline of his plan: Truong had reinvented the tactics Hannibal had used in 217 B.C. when he enveloped and annihilated the Roman legions on the banks of Lake Trasimene.

-

"What are you doing?" I asked. He'd ordered his men to search the battlefield for weapons: "We killed many enemy, and the ones we didn't kill threw down their weapons and ran away."

Now, he hadn't seen a damn thing! All the action had been hidden by jungle.

General Schwarzkopf revered Truong as a military genius

The Ia Drang Valley campaign was a landmark for me, because it introduced me to the most brilliant tactical commander I'd ever known. Colonel Ngo Quang Truong was General Dong's chief of staff. He did not look like my idea of a military genius: only five feet seven, in his midforties, very skinny, with hunched shoulders and a head that seemed too big for his body. His face was pinched and intense, not at all handsome, and there was always a cigarette hanging from his lips. Yet he was revered by his officers and troops-and feared by those North Vietnamese commanders who knew of his ability. Any time a particularly tricky combat operation came up, Dong put him in command.

(It Doesn’t Take a Hero)

Should General Schwarzkopf had known that whatever LTC Truong did during that operation, he did it under the guidance and direct tactical control of Colonel Hieu, II Corps Chief of Staff:

"Fwd CP states the elem's in Abn TF area was coordinated at higher levels than Fwd G3. The Abn TF knows about it.

(Entry of G3 Journal/IFFV, on 11/19/1965 at 16:55H)

Should he had known who was behind the scenes directing LTC Truong performing so brilliantly on the stage, he would certainly reconsider and directed rather his praise to Colonel Hieu instead, and see in him a true military genius.

More reading: General Hieu, a Combat Fighting General?

Phieu


#239 27 Nov 11, 10:57

“He did not look like my idea of a military genius”

How about this guy, did he look like Schwarzkopf’s idea of a military genius?

Previous to Pleime, Truong had had the opportunity to work with Colonel Hieu in Do Xa (Quyet Thang 202 Operation) as 5th Airborne Battalion Commander:

The Forward Command Post was established at Quang Ngai airport. The main core of the forces that took part of this campaign was divided into two groups. Group A was composed of three Rangers Battalions under the command of Major Son Thuong. Group B was composed of units of the 50th Regiment, belonging to the 25th Division, under the command of Major Phan Trong Chinh. These two Groups were reinforced with the 5th Airborne Battalion (Captain Ngo Quang Truong who lead the Airborne Battalion received a battlefield promotion to Major in this campaign).

www.generalhieu.com/doxa-2.htm

Around 2002, I got the chance to ask General Truong who resided in Springfield, Virginia at that time: “Can you tell me something about my brother?” Being always very parsimonious in words: “General Hieu was an exceptional commander. I would trust him 100 percent, even when he threw me into the lion’s den, like in Do Xa and Iadrang, because I knew he knew I could do the job and provided me with all the necessary tools.”

Phieu


#240 27 Nov 11, 14:17

Awesome pics Phieu!!

steelpot


#241 27 Nov 11, 19:04

Glad you like them.

Any comments about the stories behind them?

Phieu


#242 27 Nov 11, 19:23

I have no comments about the stories behind them.

I'm also trying to figure your thread out.

Is this thread to discuss the Battle of the Ia Drang or to promote the stories of your brother, ARVN Generals/Leadership or what?

KEN JENSEN


#243 27 Nov 11, 20:37

Both photos were taken in real time right after the Pleime-Chupong-Iadrang Battlefront. Those are the stories behind the photos I am seeking comments about.

Comments like: I didn't know Truong was invoved in Iadrang battle and Hieu was behind him. Was a military genius really performing in Iadrang battle? How was it yet impossible that Schwarskopf did not realize Hieu was behind Truong at all? How was it possible that Truong saw through the jungle canopy? etc. etc...

When you said no comments, I was not surprised at all: it is something you do not know at all.

Remember when you ask me about info regarding Phu Loi in III Corps? Weren't you going out this thread? Weren't you only interested in you? Were you promoting yourself?

Am I not still talking about Iadrang battle, one of the trilogy of battles in the Pleime-Chupong-Iadrang Battlefront?

Didn't you yet not know who was in control and in command of that Than Phong operation, until I just reveal it to you?

Bonnie was startled when he found out that Ngo Quang Truong was involved in this operation, didn't he? I am quite sure a lot of people didn't know that Colonel Hieu was behind Truong all the time in this operation.

I am still within the boundary of the thread: what you might still not know about the Iadrang battle.

Let me remind you that I prefer to call the battle at LZ-Xray Chupong battle instead of Iadrang battle which I reserve for Than Phong 7 operation. Maybe this "fog of appellations" confuses you.

Let me reiterate what I said at the outset of this thread (post #8)

Let me start by saying that when I began to embark in the journey of trying to understand this Ia Drang Valley battle, I was immediately engulfed under a sea of huge wages of different and contradictory accounts; I was lost so to speak in a dense "fog of accounts" from American perspectives, from Viet Cong (Vietnamese Communist) or NVA perspectives, and from ARVN perspectives. It took me a long while - some 20 years plus - before I succeeded in dissipating the fog and see clear.

In order to understand this battle, one must put it in its context, in its relationship with other battles, operations and campaigns, because it was not a stand alone battle:

Plâyme campaign (B3 Field Front , 10/19-27), Pleime campaign (II Corps, 10/19-11/25), Pleiku campaign (1st Air Cavalry Division, 10/23-11/25), operation Dan Thang 21 (3rd Armored Task Force, 10/20-27), operation Long Reach (1st Air Cavalry Division, 10/27-11/25), operation All the Way (1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 10/27-11/9), operation Silver Bayonet I (3rd Air Cavalry Brigade, 11/9-18), operation Silver Bayonet II (2nd Air Cavalry Brigade, 11/18-25), operation Than Phong 7 (Airborne Brigade, 11/18-25), Ia Drang Valley battle (1/7th, 2/7th, and 2/5th Air Cavalry Battalions, 11/14-17), LZ X-Ray battle (1/7th Air Cavalry Battalion, 11/14-16), LZ Albany battle (2/7th Air Cavalry Battalion 11/17). For the sake of clarity, I wrap up this hodgepodge of campaigns, operations, and battles under the name of Pleime-Chupong-Iadrang Battlefront, which lasted from October 19 to November 25, 1965 and in which the Ia Drang Valley battle took place at Chupong, and the Than Phong 7 operation occurred at Iadrang.

So this thread encompasses all this hodgepodge of campaigns, operations, and battles under the name of Pleime-Chupong-Iadrang Battlefront.

Note: I had made and will make use of sidebar= A short, often boxed auxiliary news story that is printed alongside a longer article and that typically presents additional, contrasting, or late-breaking news.

Can I discard my brother from this thread? Certainly not, since - I have told you already but you seemed skeptical when I said it -he was intimately involved in the Pleime-Chupng-Iadrang. The two stories are inextricably intertwined.

Do you remember I asked you once, "Would you trust if my brother sent you out on a patrol" and you did not know why ask such a question; you found it funny. Well Truong said he would, even when my brother threw him into the Iadrang valley lion's den...because he was a military genius. Do you see the thread?

Do you not also remember your comment (something like): I bet the chief of staff never set his foot on the ground? To that effect, my response was: "He mastered the entire battlefied. The field commander only masters the piece of ground where he stands. Well, this Iadrang battle gave you a concrete example about who plays a more important role: the coach or the quaterback. (should I give you a link to that with a more reading?; I guess not, under this circumstance!).

Another thing: a caution to those who would say, "been there, done that" (= to have experienced the topic under discussion, to the point of boredom or complacency); you might still not know it, like Schwarzkopf in Iadrang.

By the way, you can find out everything about Iadrang battle from other sources, except some hidden things that you may still not know about because they involved my brother.

I told you I am only expert in matters related to my brother; that the only field in which there are things you might still not know about the Iadrang battle.

Ergo, this thread...

Trust me, unless you are an expert on General Hieu, there are a lot of things you still don't know about Iadrang valley battle...

By the way, if what I have been talking about went out of this thread frame, I am pretty sure Bonnie will pluck it out and create a new thread.

Glad that you spoke up, though. It gave me the chance to dissipate the confusion that others might also have felt but kept silent.

That said, I am going back where we left off and discuss about the Chupong battle (the one at LZ-X-Ray) again in my next post.

Phieu


#244 27 Nov 11, 20:43

TTownLarry :

This is their discription of the area:

A. TERRAIN:

The Ia Drang is a valley in an four-sided area bounded by Plei Me, Bau Can, Duc Co, and Plei The. This area covers approximately 12 square kilometers and is about 45 kilometers southwest ofPleiku City. The average elevation of this area is between 400 and 500 meters. South of the Ia Drang is the tall, prominent Chu Pong Mountain Range, 732 meters tall), which lies along the Vietnamese-Cambodian border. Chu Re Mountain, 725 meters tall, provided a convenient location on which we established an observation post from which we could maintain watch over an area from the Phu My Intersection to Bau Can and Thanh An. There were two types of forest in the area: rather thick, enclosed forest and thin, open forest (along both sides of the Ia Drang River). There were fields of grass as high as a man's head which could be used to coneeal our troops and enable them to close with the enemy to attack him.

Hello,

When 3/41st Infantry conducted Operation Binh Tri in March-April 1964, the enemy force in the area was a Montagnard guerrilla platoon sized unit, equipped with old French weapons MAS36, MAT49, The several villages in the area were mostly old time, well established, though at least one new one was encountered. In a number of areas of the tall grass, as mentioned, we encountered bands of punji spikes rising up from the dirt about 12-15 inches, sort of like dragons' teeth.

RedDagger18


#245 28 Nov 11, 03:15

Operation Bayonet I (November 8-14) - Pleiku AAR’s Account

(Preliminary note: the Chupong (alias Iadrang alias LZ X-Ray) battle was embedded in this operation)

November 8

1. Operations Summary: The 1st Brigade continued search and destroy operations in its sector while preparing for relief by the 3rd Brigade.

2. Intelligence Summary: Only fragmented units and stragglers remained east of the Chu Pong – Ia Drang complex as the 33d Regiment began to assess its losses.

Friendly intelligence at this point still was not really sure that Plei Me stated positively that the entire 33d Regiment withdrew to the west. One prisoner taken at Plei Me stated positively that after the battle his unit was to walk for two nights south and east. In addition, there was strong suspicion that elements of the 32d Regiment may have slipped off to the east after the ambush. By this time Field Force Vietnam had asked the division to consider moving its operations east of Plei Me if it appeared that was no further contact imminent in the west.

November 9

1. Operations Summary: 1st Brigade commenced movement of its command post from Stadium to An Khe, yielding control of all units left in the field to the 3d Brigade which moved its forward CP to Stadium. The time of changeover was 1100 hours.

2. Intelligence Summary: The 33d Regiment gathered in the last of its organic units and began to count noses. There were many missing. The regimental muster brought these casualty figures:

Units* / Approx Strength Prior to Pleime / Percent or Number of Casualties

1st Battalion / 500 / 33% KIA
2d Battalion / 500 / 50% KIA
3d Battalion / 500 / 33% KIA
Regt Mortar Company /120 / 50% KIA
Regt Anti Acft Company /150 /60% KIA
Regt Signal Company / 120 / 4 KIA-16 MIA
Regt Transport Company /150 / 50% KIA
Regt Medical Company /40 / 80% KIA or MIA
Regt Engineer Company /60 / 15 KIA or MIA
Regt Reconnaissance Co / 50 / 9 KIA

In total, the headcount showed 890 men of the original 2,200 killed, with more than 100 missing and still more suffering from incapacitating wounds. Materiel losses were also heavy with the Regimental Anti-air-craft company losing 13 of its 18 guns and the Regimental mortar company losing 5 of its 9 tubes. Six more mortars were lost by the battalions, along with most of the recoilless rifles. The ammunition, food and medical supply losses also had been crippling.

At Field Front headquarters north of the Ia Drang, it was a day of situation analysis.

November 10

1. Operations Summary: The 3d Brigade continued to move fresh maneuver elements into the battle area, replacing old units and laying out the ground work for a systematic search operation in the area north, east and south of Plei Me. Each battalion was to have an area and conduct careful search and destroy operations in sector.

2. Intelligence Summary: There was little or no change in the situation as the transition between brigades continued. The movement and shift in emphasis from west to east was to further stimulate a forthcoming decision from the NVA division headquarters.

November 11

1. Operations Summary: [left out, no significant activities]

2. Intelligence Summary: Field Front headquarters, after evaluating the situation, had reached a decision. With American units seemingly withdrawing to the east of Plei Me, the decision was to attempt to regain its early advantage with an attack. The target once again was the Plei Me CIDG Camp. The division headquarters set the date for attack at 16 November, and issued orders to its three regiments.

The disposition of the 66th on 11 November had its three battalions, the 7th, 8th and 9th, strung along the north bank of the Ia Drang (center of mass Vic 9104).

The 33d Regiment still maintained its positions vicinity Anta Village (YA940010).

The 32d Regiment was still north of the Ia Drang (YA820070).

To add punch to the attack, Field Front also decided to commit a battalion of 120 mm mortars and a battalion of 14.5mm twin-barrel anti-aircraft guns. These two units were enroute down the infiltration trail and were scheduled to arrive in time for the attack. The next five days were to be spent in preparation for and movement to the attack.

November 12

1. Operations Summary: The most significant action came almost at the day was ended. At 2323 hours, an estimated battalion sized force of either NVA or Main Force Viet Cong staged a violent attack on the Brigade base at Stadium.

2. Intelligence Summary: Field Front units continued preparations and rehearsals for the schedule attack on Plei Me.

There was little or no activity in the area where maneuver elements were operating.

November 13

1. Operations Summary: [left out, no significant activities]

2. Intelligence Summary: Field Front forces began staging in the Chu Pong-Ia Drang area in preparation for movement to Pleime and the projected 16 November attack. Some recon parties and transportation units already had moved out.

In the east, however, there was minimum contact.

November 14

1. Operations Summary: The units that have a rendezvous with destiny have an inkling of their fate until the historical moment touches them. So it was with the 1/7 on the morning of 14 November. It was to be a routine operation, in so far as any operation deep in enemy territory can be routine.

2. Intelligence Summary: Some of Field Front’s assault elements had gotten under way before dawn on the 14th, bound for Plei Me. At noon, when Cavalry helicopters disgorged troopers at the foot of the Chu Pongs, absolute surprise had been achieved. Instead of launching a divisional attack on Plei Me and possibly regaining tactical initiative, the NVA division found itself engaged in a struggle to defend its own base.

Comments - Some issues I found intriguing (feel free to add yours):

1. Why switch the direction of operations from west to east. Was it because “it appeared that there was no further contact imminent in the west”. Wasn’t the center of mass still in the west at Chupong? Why pay attention to a few units that might have slipped to the east and not focus on the center of mass?

2. Note that the switch was suggested by General Larsen. Reason: no more imminent contact in the west. Did that mean no more enemy troops in the west? Lost tract of the enemy? Enemy troops became combat ineffective all of a sudden?

3. Reason for the switch made known on November 10: a forthcoming decision from the NVA division headquarters. What decision?

4. B3 Field Front’s decision was specified the next day November 11: With American units seemingly withdrawing to the east of Plei Me, the decision was to attempt to regain its early advantage with an attack. Why not attack when the enemy had been found, instead. Why allow the enemy to switch to an offensive posture?

5. What source revealed to 1st Air Cav

- the casualties report of the 33rd? real time or hindsight?

- the decision to attack Pleime camp again?

- D-day was set for November 14?

- The order of battle of the attack task force: 32d, 33d, 66th, 120mm Mortar, 14.5 mm AA?

- The positions of each units: 32d (YA820070), 33d (YA940010), 66th center mass (YA9104), Mortar unit, AA unit (HCM trail)? Why a mixed of 6digit and 4 digit coords? Why no coords for Mortar and AA units?

6. It was to be a routine operation, in so far as any operation deep in enemy territory can be routine? Does this mean 1/7 Air Cav went in Chu Pong with sketchy intelligence? Or 1/7 Air Cav went in with a special mission, besides search and destroy? Why then 1st Air Cav knew that some of Field Front’s assault elements had gotten under way before dawn on the 14th, bound for Plei Me? Was the first intelligence real time, and the second in insight? Was the surprise achieved intentional or hindsight? Why allow the enemy for the possibility of regaining tactical initiative?

Some of these intriguing questions could be answered by Coleman 1988 who had asked Knowles to fill in some gaps in the AAR (Coleman, page xv)

A special thanks also to Lieutenant General Richard Knowles for his patience with me in those initial interviews twenty-two years ago and, more recently, in hours of consultation on the aspects of the campaign that didn’t appear in the after-action report.

Why not ask general Kinnard instead?

(Coleman 1988's account coming right next...in case there are no comments)

Phieu


#246 29 Nov 11, 03:22

Correction:

5. What source revealed to 1st Air Cav

- the casualties report of the 33rd? real time or hindsight?

- the decision to attack Pleime camp again?

- D-day was set for November 16?

Phieu


#247 29 Nov 11, 03:46

Another thing: a caution to those who would say, "been there, done that" (= to have experienced the topic under discussion, to the point of boredom or complacency); you might still not know it, like Schwarzkopf in Iadrang,

May I add: and Joe Galloway and General Kinnard, whom I said were still spreading the myth of lack of intelligence in 2010 and 1984 respectively?(post #68)

Phieu


#248 29 Nov 11, 04:03

Phieu : Another thing: a caution to those who would say, "been there, done that" (= to have experienced the topic under discussion, to the point of boredom or complacency); you might still not know it, like Schwarzkopf in Iadrang,

May I add: Joe Galloway and General Kinnard, whom I said were still spreading the rumors of lack of intelligence in 2002 and 1984 respectively?

Strange stuff to say. Why did you feel it necessary to say either one of the above statements?

I was in Vietnam ("been there done that"); most operations I was on, I never received much "intel" as to the enemy and or even all our Units involved in the same "ops".

So what makes you think that the folks you mentioned above were spreading rumors?

Damn, why would Joe Galloway have any intelligence info anyway?

KEN JENSEN


#249 29 Nov 11, 04:26

Most people would think since they "had been there, done that" what they said was therefore the truth.

I don't mean to say they intentional spreaded the rumors, but in saying what they were saying, they contributed to spread that myth.

Phieu


#250 29 Nov 11, 04:35

Phieu: Most people would think since they "had been there, done that" what they said was therefore the truth.

Are you part of the "most people"?

Are you saying that I'm spreading myths; not truth?

Naaaah, you wouldn't do that. I think you just may be lacking in attempting to explain what you mean.

I don't mean to say they intentional spreaded the rumors, but in saying what they were saying, they contributed to spread that myth.

Do you mean saying "they didn't have the intel"?

Then, I take it you think they were lying.

What friggin "myth" are you talking about? Please elaborate/clarify.

What is the issue? What is so important about them having or not having "intel"?

KEN JENSEN


#251 29 Nov 11, 05:15

You can find the answers to most of your questions by going back to posts #194 , #188 (page 13).

And in particular post 95 (page 7). Let me spare you the trip back for this last one:

Sidebar: General Kinnard was not privy to intelligence info re: Chupong battle

General Kinnard was not privy to intelligence info re: Chupong battle? How was that possible? Was he not in control of this battle as 1st Air Cav Commander? Didn’t he not sign off the Pleiku Campaign After Action Report which contained intelligence precise positions of NVA units on Nov 11 prior to the attack? Are you just kidding me?

No, I am not. He said that himself in that 1984 interview previously quote:

The choice to go into the Chu Pong, a longtime enemy sanctuary [near the Cambodian border]) into which ARVN had never gone, was not mine. It was either that of General Knowles or the brigade commander. We hadn't looked at the area. It wasn't intelligence that led us there. If anything, it was the lack of intelligence, and this seemed a logical place.

(Cochran, Alexander S., "First Strike at River Drang", Military History, Oct 1984, pp 44-52, Per. Interview with H.W.O Kinnard, 1st Cavalry Division Commanding General)

Was he lying then? Was he suffering a lapse of memory? Or was he still bound by classified information?

No he did not lied. Coleman wrote that he was privy of such intelligence information even right up to the first news of a contact with enemy units at LZ X-Ray at 3 .m on November 14 (Coleman, page 219):

When he arrived, Knowles showed him the situation map he had propped up against a palm tree. Kinnard took one look and said, “What the hell are you doing in that area?” Obviously, someone hadn’t kept the boss informed about Larsen’s guidance to get after the enemy even if it meant walking away from the dry holes in the east. Knowles told Kinnard, “The object of the exercise is to find the enemy, and we sure as hell have!” Knowles remembers an awkward pause before Kinnard said quietly, “Okay, it looks great. Let me know what you need.”

Was it then because of memory lapse or restriction of classified information. None of these. The only plausible explanation is that he did not author the Pleiku Campaign AAR, nor did he closely read its contents before or after signing it off! General Knowles, the 1st Cav Forward PC Commander, had chosen to keep his boss, who had a layback style of command back at An Khe headquarters, in the dark. For what reason? I will have the opportunity to come to this later on (Cochran):

I moved a forward CP [Command Post] to Pleiku with one of my assistant division commanders, Gen. Dick Knowles. This was my "modus operandi" whenever the action got hot. My own leadership style had always been to give absolute and maximum latitude to people all the way down the line. I did not want to hand manage this thing from back in An Khe.

Then, who drafted the AAR and who was its author? Captain Coleman, G3/1ACD, who later on wrote the book Pleiku, the Dawn of Helicopter Warfare in Vietnam, was the one who drafted the report, and General Knowles, whom General Kinnard gave full authority in the conduct of Pleiku Campaign, was its author. LTC Coleman wrote in the acknowledgement section of his book:

A special thanks also to Lieutenant General Richard Knowles for his patience with me in those initial interviews twenty-two years ago and, more recently, in hours of consultation on the aspects of the campaign that didn’t appear in the after-action report.

(Coleman, J.D., "Pleiku, the Dawn of Helicopter Warfare in Vietnam", St. Martin’s Press, New York)

Ken, you once accused me of having the habit of ...

It seems you are having the habit of ...

I don't mean to be rude, but shall we proceed ... or at least shall I now?

Phieu


#252 29 Nov 11, 05:28

Operation Bayonet I (November 8-14) – Coleman 1988’s Account

November 7

[…]

It was a Sunday in Vietnam. For Harry Kinnard, it was a fairly routine decision – to send in the 3rd Brigade to replace the 1st Brigade.

[…]

As part of the brigade’s settling-in process, the deputy commander, E.C. Meyer, sent the assistant S-2 to visit II Corps and 24th Tactical Zone intelligence types, as well as to visit the G-2 chop at the forward DTOC in the II Corps compound. Captain John Pritchard talked with ARVN Colonel Phuoc of the 24th Tactical Zone and Captain Luong of the II Corps IPW Team. Luong stated categorically that he had several prisoners who told him the NVA’s 66th Regiment was in the vicinity of the Chu Pong Massif. Pritchard telephoned the information back to brigade headquarters, and it was placed in the November 11 intelligence summary. When he got back to Catecka. He personally briefed the brigade commander and his staff and the intelligence officers of the 1/7 and 2/5 Cav, the first two battalions in. He also placed a large red star in the middle of the Chu Pongs on the S-2’s situation map. It was similar to the red star he had seen on both the ARVN and division G-2’s intelligence maps.

Despite this plethora of intelligence to the contrary at the field command level, Kinnard, acting on the orders from Task Force Alpha (the American command’s euphemism for a corps headquarters), told Brown to begin his search south and east of Plei Me. For some reason, Swede Larsen and his staff, and probably the operations and intelligence people up the line at MACV as well, were convinced that some of the North Vietnamese had slipped away to the south and east to the hill country about fifteen kilometers from the Plei Me camp, and they were adamant that the Cav should start turning over rocks in that area.

[…]

The changeover of units went on for a period of three days – November 9, 10, 11.

[…]

November 12

The last of the 1st Brigade’s units departed the area of operations, bound for An Khe, and the third of the 3rd Brigade’s three maneuver battalions arrived. All three battalions now were working the color-coded search areas generally between Plei Me camp and Highway 4. It had been a dry hole for everyone, and General Knowles and Tijm Brown were getting impatient and starting to look longingly toward the west. Knowles had long wanted to stage some kind of operation inside the Chu Pong Massif.

[…]

That day, General Larsen was visiting the division’s forward command post at the II Corps compound. He asked Knowles how things were going. Knowles briefed him on the attack on Catecka the night before and then told him the brigade was drilling a dry hole out east of Plei Me. Larsen said, “Why are you conducting operations there if it’s dry?” Knowles’s response was, “With all due respect, sir, that’s what your order in writing directed us to do.” Larsen responded that the cavalry’s primary mission was to “find the enemy and go after him.” Shortly after, Knowles visited Brown at the 3rd Brigade command post and told him to come up with a plan for an air assault operation near the foot of the Chu Pongs.

November 13

After the brigade staff settled down to planning for new operations, Pete Mallet took his grease pencil in hand, walked over to the acetate-covered situation map, and drew in new areas of operations for the brigade.

[…]

At 5:00 P.M. on the 13th, Brown flew down and met Moore at the A Company command post south of Plei Me and told Moore to conduct an airmobile assault into Area Lime [area at the foot of Chu Pong Massif] the following morning. As was his practice, Brown allowed his battalion commanders to select their own landing zones and to work out their schemes of maneuver. The Brigade commander’s guidance was that Moore was to conduct the search operation along the edge of the mountains through at least November 15. Brown was concerned about the possibility of heavy contact in the area, although there had been no American forces that far west; the closest the 1st Brigade came was the battle on November 4 about four kilometers northeast of Anta Village. Now Brown intended to send forces directly to the eastern slopes of the Chu Pongs. Looming in the back of his mind was that big red star on the G-2 and S-2 situation maps, and for this reason, he told Moore to keep his rifle companies within very close supporting range of one another.

[…]

After receiving the brigade commander’s guidance, Moore swung into action. His S-3, Captain Gregory “Matt” Dillon, began an extensive map reconnaissance of the target area, looking for possible landing zones.

November 14

Sunday the 14th dawned bright and clear; it would be another hot, dry day on the western plateau. […]

“Few units that have a rendezvous with destiny have an inkling of their fate until the historical moment touches them. So it was with the 1/7 Cav on the morning of November 14th” That was the way the 1st Cavalry’s official after-action report on the Pleiku Campaign let off the section dealing with LZ XRAY. It was to be a routine operation, in so far as any operation deep within enemy territory can be termed routine. Not for Hal Moore, of course. He had seen the menacing red star on both the G-2’s and S-2’s intelligence maps and he was too wise and experienced a warrior to be lulled by past inactivity.

[…]

General Knowles had been at the division’s TOC when the first news of the contact came in. He piled into his command chopper and headed for Catecka, where Brown briefed him. Both commanders realized that they had stirred up a hornet’s nest that would take more troops to quell than Brown had available. Knowles got on the horn and called Harry Kinnard back at An Khe, asking for another infantry battalion, more artillery, and both troop- and medium-lift helicopters. Kinnard replied, “They’re on the way, but what’s going on?” Knowles responded, “We’ve got a good fight going. Suggest you come up as soon as possible.” After setting the reinforcement wheels in motion, Kinnard choppered over from An Khe and met Knowles at Catecka. When he arrived, Knowles showed him the situation map he had propped up against a palm tree. Kinnard took one look and said, “What the hell are you doing in that area?” Obviously, someone hadn’t kept the boss informed about Larsen’s guidance to get after the enemy even if it meant walking away from the dry holes in the east. Knowles told Kinnard, “The object of the exercise is to find the enemy, and we sure as hell have!” Knowles remembers an awkward pause before Kinnard said quietly, “Okay, it looks great. Let me know what you need.”

Comments:

1) General Knowles always wanted to go into Chupong, but was forced by General Larsen to switch the direction of the search operations from west to east and was disappointed units of 3rd Air Cav only encountered “dry holes". He was startled when General Larsen, on November 12, asked him, “Why are you conducting operations there if it’s dry?” Knowles’s response was, “With all due respect, sir, that’s what your order in writing directed us to do.” Larsen responded that the cavalry’s primary mission was to “find the enemy and go after him.” How do you explain General Larsen's contradictory orders: eastward then reverse back to westward! Was he nut, or did he have a hidden agenda?

2) Colonel Brown, 3rd Air Cav Commander, sent Hal Moore’s 1/7 Air Cav in to the footstep of Chupongs. Both were aware of “the menacing red star on both the G-2’s and S-2’s intelligence maps”. And both knew they would engaged enemy forces this time. But strangely Kinnard did not know that.

3) Why D-day was set for November 14? The response to that cannot be found in Pleiku ARR and Coleman 1988.

4) It was a routine operation for Hal Moore’s 1/7 Air Cav, alright, but higher up commands seemed to have a grandiose scheme in mind. But then which higher up commands, Brown, Knowles, Kinnard, Larsen? At this point, we can strike out Brown and Kinnard, perhaps Knowles also, since he seemed to obey Larsen blindly. Larsen then? We shall see.

5) Coleman revealed that Knowles kept Kinnard in the dark. So he could not be the commander who cooked up the scheme of switching the operational direction to entice the B3 Field Front to attack.

6) But, then again, why not attack when the enemy was at its weakest point, on the defensive, and wait until he was on the offensive posture to attack. Which allows their armchair generals to make the claim and to boast that they attacked the little Arvin guy in Pleime in order to lure his American big brother into Chupong-Iadrang some 40 kms away and two weeks down the road!

The Pleime campaign began from 19 to 10/29/1965, by way of encircling and isolating Pleime outpost, forcing the ARVN troops to come to the rescue and we had annihilated one entire ARVN regiment and its armored task force. Once the ARVN troops are severely wounded, the American troops would be forced to come to the rescue. At first, we calculated the American troops would come to the rescue within a week. But in reality it was only after 15 days that the Americans poured in their troops in Ia Drang valley (the spot we anticipated to fight them), which allowed us more time to prepare for a better battle plan.

(www.generalhieu.com/f304-2.htm)

What happened in reality was that the 66th Regiment was surprised with its pants down by the 1/7 Air Cav Battalion!

7) If the mission was to "find, fix and destroy", once the enemy had been found, why didn't the Air Cav spring up into action and apply the "piling" tactic by pouring in the entire 3rd Brigade, or even the entire Air Cav Division, instead of applying troop rotation and even pulling out of LZ X-Ray?

8) Was that all, a big red star pinned on the intelligence maps, II Corps intelligence had provided to Brown and Hal Moore? It looks "sketchy intelligence" to me. Rightly so, but then that was sufficient for Moore to accomplish his assigned mission: to set up a blocking position; not to sweep for the enemy.

9) It looks like a bunch of amateur generals, not knowing what they were doing, ill prepared, awkward in coordination, issuing contradictory orders, fumbling in applying air assault tactics, unclear in operational concepts, squabbling with each other, questionning each other decisions, etc... Coleman really did a disservice to the American generals in depicting them in such a dejected posture, caught with their pants down. What a sad and shameful portrait.

10) Luckily, Coleman, the narrator of Pleiku AAR in 1966 and Coleman, the author of Pleiku, the dawn of helicopter warfare in Vietnam in 1988 had no clues what he was writing about. The American generals were not that bad at all, I might say. I will exanorate them and restore their good image... That's a boy scout promise...

Next post: Operation Bayonet I (November 8-14) - Why Pleime’s Account

Phieu


#253 29 Nov 11, 16:41

Sanitized this thread, please let cooler heads prevail, thanks

Boonierat


#254 30 Nov 11, 08:17

Operation Bayonet I (November 8-14) – Why Pleime’s Account

(Pleime, chapter V):

On 9 November, the movement and shift in emphasis from west to east commenced and on 10 November, the US 3rd Brigade relieved the US 1st Brigade.

But in reality, the VC units were located by that time in the following places, as proved later on by subsequent operations launched into the very heart of the Chu Pong-Ia Drang complex:

- the three battalions of the 66th Regiment were strung along the north bank of the Ia Drang river;

- the 32nd Regiment was also up north in the same area;

- the 33rd Regiment maintained its positions in the vicinity of the Anta Village (VC appellation), east of the Chu Pong mountains.

Convinced that friendly forces had lost tracks of its units, VC Field Front quickly made a decision to regain its advantage with an attack. The target again was Pleime and the date of attack set at 16 November. The plan was known within the VC ranks as the second phase of the attack of Pleime. All the three regiments would be committed this time as well as a battalion of 120mm mortars and a battalion of 14.5mm twin-barrel anti-aircraft guns which were both en route down the infiltration trail and scheduled to arrive in time for the attack. According to the declaration of a surrendered political officer, the scheme of the new attack would have as primary objective the destruction of the camp.

[...]

The ratio which amounts to 1/10 has proved how lucky the 1/7 battalion had been because it was rather surprising that from the hills which dominate the LZ, the enemy did not position any crew-served weapons to support their attack. Such a situation could be explained only by the following reasons:

- The enemy has lost nearly all their heavy crew-served weapons during the first phase.

- They had been surprised by the attack of the 1/7 battalion and their commanders had failed to make the best use of the terrain.

- Their tactics relied mostly on the "human waves" and they were too confident that their attack would disorganize the 1/7 battalion very quickly.

Comments

1) Knowing well the three enemy regiments were located in west Chu Pong massif, the movement and shift in emphasis from west to east was conducted as a diversionary tactic aiming at making the enemy believe the friendly forces had lost their tracks so that they would relax, lay down their guards, and had time to mull for an attack. That was the tactic of Fake East Attack West.

2) For wanting to prepare for an attack, B3 Field Front would have to gather attacking units to assembly areas for troop training and rehearsals, then move them to a staging area before the attack. That was when the surprise offensive would take place, when the enemy troops were concentrated at one point.

The D-day was set for November 16, and the order of battle was known, apparently from an intelligence source – to be specified later – and complemented by the revelation of a surrendered political officer that the scheme of the new attack would have as primary objective the destruction of the camp, instead of to lure and attack the relief force as in the first attack.

3) The 1st Air Cav air assault was set for November 14 for two reasons.

- One, before the concentrated enemy troops disperse and on the move to attack.

- Two, to attack the enemy units when they lacked the support of anti-aircraft and of heavy mortars. Without anti-aircraft weapons positioned on the hills which dominate the LZ X-Ray, transport helicopters disgorging troops were safe. Without heavy mortar salvos prior to assaults, the enemy troops had to resort to costly “human waves” tactic.

4) Now you might wonder why Why Pleime talked about the Bayonet I at all and in particular why Why Pleime was able to fill in the gaps with revealing subtle details not seen in Pleiku AAR and Coleman 1988, since this was the second phase of Pleiku Campaign assigned to 1st Air Cavalry who supposedly conducted it in exclusion of II Corps Command. That was the appearance and that was what General Kinnard wanted to let people think it was so – I will come back to this in depth later on. It suffice to point out at this point that like we had seen 1st Air Cav’s and II Corps’s common “modus of operandi” was to also share, besides intelligence, operational concepts:

In phase III, the operations had been conducted through a close cooperation between ARVN and US Forces: that was the latest procedure ever put into application since the second World War. It is characterized by:

- Joint intelligence and support activities.
- Commonly-shared concept of operations and results.
- Separate TAOR.
- Separate command.
- Separate deployment of forces.
- Separate conduct of activities.
- Separate reserve.

Note that this “modus operandi” was not mentioned at all in Pleiku AAR and Coleman 1988 and anywhere in American accounts of this operation.

The concept of operations that II Corps Command shared with 1st Air Cavalry in this Bayonet I operation were twofold:

- The diversionary Fake East Attack West tactic. This operational concept was suggested by II Corps Command through I Field Force Command. This explains General Larsen’s contradictory orders - on Nov 8, go east and on Nov 11, go back west – that General Knowles had to execute blindly without full knowledge of the concept. Later on, General Larsen intervened again on Nov 16 at LZ X-Ray (Cochran) against General Kinnard’s desire:

At the time of the Xray fight, Swede Larsen was under pressure from the news media on why we left the battlefield. They didn't understand how our unit fought. With an air assault unit, we don't give much of a damn about terrain. You can go anywhere. The focus is on the enemy. You go where he is. At Xray, the enemy broke off, we didn't quit. We were no longer interested in Xray. That piece of ground meant nothing to me. I wanted to go on to where the enemy was. But Swede ordered me to stay in that spot, and I stayed there an extra 24 hours.

(Cochran, Alexander S., "First Strike at River Drang", Military History, Oct 1984, pp 44-52, Per. Interview with H.W.O Kinnard, 1st Cavalry Division Commanding General.)

That’s another sharing of operational concept that II Corps Command imparted to 1st Air Cav Command via I Field Force Command. But then, I will come back to this later on.

- The Air Assault into LZ X-Ray set for Nov 14 was to ascertain that the enemy was the most concentrated (regrouping at the staging areas in prepartation for an imminent attack) and at the same token the most vulnerable (lacking AA and heavy mortar supports) .

Again, I will come back to this later on.

Next post: Why Pleime AAR and Pleiku Campaign AAR

Coming up soon: The thing that you certainly do not yet know about the Ia Drang battle

Phieu


#255 30 Nov 11, 10:23

Poll

Anybody cares to set up a list of things he/she did not know about the Ia Drang Valley battle until I mentioned them in this thread so far?

It would encourage me greatly knowing I am contributing toward a more accurate and better knowledge of this battle.

You might want to use Post a visitor message for Phieu if you prefer privacy/confidentiality.


#256 01 Dec 11, 00:51

Why Pleime AAR and Pleiku Campaign AAR

We have seen a few instances Why Pleime filled up gaps in Pleiku Campaign AAR. There are more to these – eight to be exact that I am going to point out in the next two posts.

We already know that Pleiku Campaign, although bearing the signature of General Kinnard, was drafted by Coleman based on the report from General Knowles whom General Kinnard entrusted the conduct of the entire Pleiku Campaign, initially named Long Reach operation.

Let me make a brief introduction to Why Pleime first.

Why Pleime , a small sized book 4.5in. x 7in., 180 pages, authored by Major General Vinh Loc, II Corps Commander, was done by April, 1966 (except the last chapter X which was written in September of the same year) and was published in September 1966 by the Information Ministry's printing house. However, like Pleiku Campaign AAR, although bearing General Vinh Loc's signature, it was a report given by Colonel Nguyen Van Hieu, II Corps Chief of Staff, who was actually the architect of the entire Pleime Campaign, which encompassed Dan Thang 21 operation, Long Reach operation (All the Way, Bayonet I, Bayonet II) and Than Phong 7 operation.

Phieu


#257 01 Dec 11, 00:58

Tin, is this book available somewhere in pdf?

Boonierat


#258 01 Dec 11, 01:02

Why Pleime AAR and Pleiku Campaign AAR (continued)

Colonel Hieu was in possession of a copy of Pleiku Campaign AAR when he drafted Why Pleime. He listed it in his reference section of Why Pleime along with Hal Moore's AAR:

30. Headquarters, 1st Air Cavalry Division, Pleiku Campaign. 31. 32. Headquarters 1/7 Cavalry Battalion, Combat After Action Report, Ia Drang Valley Operation, 14-16 Nov 65.

In his report – Why Pleime – he tactfully filled up some gaps and rectified some oversights found in Pleiku Campaign.

A copy of Why Pleime had been given to General Kinnard who sent an acknowledgment letter to General Vinh Loc:

20 December 1966

… I have finished reading your fine book Why Pleime and found it most readable and enjoyable and found myself reliving those hectic, important days of last fall. The mention which you made of me in the book was most kind and, believe me, is reciprocated in my own esteem of your splendid leadership characteristics. This book will become a treasured one in my personal library…

Major General Harry W.O. Kinnard

Acting Assistant Chief of Staff for Force Development

The U.S. Department of the Army

Former Commander 1st Air Cavalry Division

(An Khe)

1. Reading the Enemy's Mind When the Viet Cong started the attack against Pleime camp on the night of October 19, 1965, US 1st Air Cavalry was being attached to Than Phong 6 Operation in Bong Son in the coastal area. This operation was a II Corps' reaction against a VC attack in Hoai An District which occurred simultaneously with the attack against Pleime camp. General Kinnard was of the same opinion with I Field Force Vietnam Commander and with II Corps Senior Advisor that Hoai An, not Pleime was the main VC trust. (Pleiku, page 10):

Despite recurring reports in II Corps Tactical Zone that the Pleime CIDG camp would be attacked (most of which were discounted) the enemy attack at 191900 October was mildly surprising. But, even with the building feeling of major enemy involvement, there still was general consensus that the coastal lowlands remained the real target area of Viet Cong efforts in the corps area.

However, Colonel Hieu had immediately determined that the Viet Cong was applying the tactics of "one point and two faces" (Pleime, end of chapter II), with "point" being Pleiku, and the two "faces" being Hoai An - secondary - and Pleime - primary. Consequently, Colonel Hieu advised General Vinh Loc, who, at that time, was conducting Than Phong 6 Operation, that he should come back to Pleiku as soon as possible (Pleime, beginning of chapter III).

Colonel Hieu further assessed that the Viet Cong was applying the tactics of "attacking the outpost and destroying the relief column" at the Pleime battle, based on the following factors (Pleime, chapter IV):

1. The Viet Cong used a regiment when attacking Pleime and yet did not overrun it, but merely put a siege on it.

2. They ringed the camp with anti-aircraft weapons in order to interdict an airborne relief attempt and to force II Corps to dispatch a Relief Task Force by land.

3. NVA 33rd Regiment, which put pressure on the camp, had infiltrated South Vietnam barely a month ago and was a weaker combat force than NVA 32nd Regiment, which set up the ambush and was present in the Highlands and was already involved in several attacks since the beginning of 1965.

2. LTC Luat Held Up the Armored Relief Task Force

When General Kinnard sensed that LTC Luat was hesitant to push forward the Armored Relief Task Force during four days, from 20 to 24 of October, he concluded that LTC Luat only gained confidence when he was promised with the guarantee of artillery support from the US 1st Air Cavalry Division (Pleiku, page 21):

To try to get the column moving on the 24th the 1st Brigade placed an artillery liaison party with the armored column, thus guaranteeing US artillery fire support for the task force. However, the task force commander elected to remain in that position for the night while sending back to Pleiku for additional supplies. The artillery liaison party came into the task force on one of the incoming medical evacuation choppers late on the afternoon of the 24th.

In the summary section of the report on page 123, General Kinnard made mentioned again of LTC Luat's timorous attitude:

After the initial meeting engagement on 23 October between the armored task force and the North Vietnamese 32d Regiment, there was more than a little reluctance on the part of the TF commander to get his column rolling toward Pleime. It was only after the guarantee of fire support from the 1st Air Cavalry artillery units and the actual placement of an artillery liaison party from the 1st Cav artillery in the column that the task force once again got moving to the CIDG camp.

Colonel Hieu corrected General Kinnard's misconception in asserting that all actions taken by LTC Luat from the time he left Pleiku to the time he reached Pleime were subjected to specific orders from Colonel Hieu. On 21 October, Colonel Hieu had ordered LTC Luat to move the relief column to Phu My where he would linger and fake aggressive patrols within a 10 kilometer radius for two reasons: one, to gain time to allow to gather more reinforcements to further strengthen the relief column, and two, to counter the mobile ambush tactic the Viet Cong adopted this time around, instead of the static ambush that had been their common practice in previous attacks. It was only when these two factors were met that LTC Luat received the order to proceed. (Pleime, chapter IV).

In the morning 21 October, the Luật Task Force moved on, along the Phu My-Pleime axis but to simply conduct aggressive patrols within a 10 km radius! The order had been expressly given by II Corps Command to the T.F. Commander, Lt Col. Luat, to simulate the imminent approach of a relief column to the Pleime camp while in reality, he had to wait for more adequate and sufficient attachments which would be moved by air from Kontum and Binh Dinh to Pleiku, as soon as the weather conditions allowed the air movements.

3. The Initiative of Pursuing the Enemy After the Relief of Camp Pleime

When mentioning about the circumstance in which US 1st Air Cavalry received the mission of pursuing the enemy after the relief of camp Pleime, General Kinnard wrote (Pleiku, page 31):

October 26-27 marked the turning point in the division's operation at Pleime. On the 26th, General William C. Westmoreland, Commanding General, US Forces, Vietnam, visited the Brigade Forward command post at Homecoming. Even with the limited intelligence available at that time, it was apparent that the NVA effort at Pleime had been something more than a routine, "baptism of fire" operation. In the conference between General Westmoreland and division officers the theme was expounded that US Forces must now do more that merely contain the enemy; he must be sought out aggressively and destroyed.

And General Kinnard also provided the telegram he received from I Field Force Vietnam Commander that spelled out the official mission (Pleiku, page 15):

Phase II: (Message 1312 from CG- FFV, to CG, 1st Air Cav Div, dtd 310145 Oct 65)

"Subject: Confirmation of VOCG FFORCEV to CG, 1st Air Cav Div, 28 Oct 65.

"Ref:

A. Msg 1097 from AVF-CG-CP, DTD 221421Z

B. Msg 38215 from MAC J311, DTD 270629Z (NOTAL)

"Elements of 1st Air Cav div currently deployed vicinity Pleiku will coordinate with and establish an area of operations vicinity Pleime CIDG camp and undertake operations to find fix and destroy VC forces which endanger that general area."

In section 10. Concept of the Operations (Pleiku, page 16) and section 11. Execution (Pleiku, page 17), General Kinnard did not mention that the pursuit the enemy phase was II Corps Command's initiative, and that US 1st Air Cavalry continued to be an attached unit to II Corps.

Colonel Hieu rectified this oversight by reporting the important meeting held

on 26 October at the TOC/II Corps with the presence of American Advisors and all unit commanders. In this meeting, Colonel Hieu recommended the pursuit of the enemy to the very heart of Chu Prong sanctuaries with the means of air mobility provided by US 1st Air Cavalry. In this phase, US 1st Air

Cavalry played the role of main effort with Long Reach Operation and ARVN Airborne Brigade as a reserve force

(Pleime, chapter V).

Colonel Hieu also laid out clearly the combined operational concept between II Corps Command and 1st Air Cavalry Division Command (Pleime, chapter VIII).

In phase III, the operations had been conducted through a close cooperation between ARVN and US Forces: that was the latest procedure ever put into application since the second World War. It is characterized by:

- Joint intelligence and support activities.
- Commonly-shared concept of operations and results.
- Separate TAOR.
- Separate command.
- Separate deployment of forces.
- Separate conduct of activities.
- Separate reserve.

The above procedure has brought many good results, especially in a country such as ours where the psychology of the people is charged with complexities and subtleties. I also find in that procedure a real competitive spirit between the two armed forces and between units.

American advisors at II Corps relayed the idea of pursuing the enemy to the highest American military authorities and received the agreement and approval of I Field Force Vietnam and COMUSMACV Commanders.

After the Pleime Campaign, General Westmoreland highly praised the combined operational concept conceived by II Corps (Pleime, preface):

The effectiveness of this highly organized, closely integrated, cooperative effort has not often been emulated in modern warfare.

4. The Role Played by CIDG Eagle Flights

General Kinnard acknowledged the support lend by CIDG Eagle Flights that II Corps attached to 1st Air Cavalry Division to be used as scout and recon teams. This teams were particularly attached to 1/9 Cavalry Squadron from 1 November (Pleiku, page 46) to 15 November (Pleiku, page 58). However, General Kinnard seemed to belittle this Montagnard recon teams when he first encountered them on 25 October, during the Pleime's relief phase (Pleiku, page 24):

B 2/9 Cav Sqdn was returned to squadron control at 1230 hours and the squadron (-) began search operations in the area of the Le Thanh District Headquarters (ZA246245) with a Special forces CIDG "Eagle Flights" attached. The attachment, despite the aerial connotation, actually was a Montagnard ground reconnaissance group consisting of six, 5-man scout squads.

For Colonel Hieu, though, it seemed that these Eagle Flight teams were II Corps' prized show cases (Pleime, chapter V).

They had been created as "fire station" squads ready to jump down to extinguish fires that Viet Cong sappers ignited at isolated remote CIDG outposts in II Corps areas.

On 27 October, Eagle Flights from the Air Cavalry Division went into action. From dawn to darkness, they flew unwarily over the area to search for the enemy. Every suspect enemy presence is carefully checked and dealt with, either by airstrikes or by the Eagle Flights themselves, or by reaction forces.

(to be continued)

Phieu


#259 01 Dec 11, 01:29

Boonierat: Tin, is this book available somewhere in pdf?

I don't think so. It took me a while to be able to find it at a rare book shop.

There is a label: "This book is the property of General W. R. Peers", sticked on the very first page inside the book.

It bears the hand writing of General Vinh Loc: "To General W D Peers with my admiration for "Behind the Burma Road" & best regards. Pleiku Tet 67. Vinh Loc"

I am pretty sure all the following US Military Schools still have a copy: The USA Center, Fort Benning; The USA Armor Center, Fort Knox; The USA War College, Carlisle Barracks; The USA Command and General Staff, Fort Leavenworth; and The USA Infantry School, Fort Benning. Maybe you can borrow a copy from the library of one of this school.

28 December 1966

…I found your book Why Pleime so interesting that I couldn't put it down after I started it until I finished. It was a very good account of the battle and tied the strategic importance of that operation in with Viet Minh operations prior to 1954. I assure you that we will make a maximum use of it here at the United States Army Infantry School where it will be studied and analyzed in detail.

I congratulate you and your forces in the II Corps for the progress they have made in recent months…

Major General Robert H. York
Commanding General
The United States Army Infantry Center
Fort Benning

22 December 1966

I have read your book Why Pleime with interest and am now directing that it be placed in the Armor School Library. I know it will be of great value to our officer students in their studies of combat in Viet Nam…

Major General A.D. Surles, Jr.
Commanding General
The US Army Armor Center

19 December 1966

…This account of the military campaign which took place during October-November 1965 will be of great interest, not only to myself, but also to those members of my staff and faculty here at the College who served in Vietnam…

Major General Eugene A. Salet
Commandant of the US Army War College
Carlisle Barracks

28 December 1966

…I read your book Why Pleime with interest. I also expect that it will prove to be useful to the members of the Faculty at the Command and General Staff College…

Major General Michael S. Davison
Commandant of the US Army Command and General Staff College
Fort Leavenworth

19 December 1966

…I have read your excellent book Why Pleime with intense interest. It is extremely well written, well documented and provides a lucid and comprehensive account of this vital campaign. It should prove of deep interest to all members of our armies, especially to those of us who were privileged to be in II Corps during the enactment of this great Allied victory.

Upon reading your book, I have sent it for circulation to the various officers of 1st Cavalry Division here at Fort Benning who are veterans of the Pleime campaign. Also, I am taking the liberty of using some of the information you provided as a basis for instruction of our officers here at the Infantry School…

Brigadier General James Simmons Timothy
Assistant Commandant
The United States Army Infantry Center, Fort Benning
Former Commander of the 1st Brigade, 101st Abn Div
Deputy Senior Advisor ARVN Second Army Corps

Without the acquisition of the book, I will never be able to right a wrong in trying to telling the truth about the Pleime Campaign.

Phieu


#260 01 Dec 11, 04:16

Amazon can thank you Phieu; Coleman's book is on the way, and when I find a copy of Why Plei Me?, I'll be snagging that too. So far, I've only found it listed at military and academic libraries around the country. I also found that it's cited in the first volume of the army's official history of combat operations. I've got out my copy of We Were Soldiers Once...And Young, and I'm going to go through all of the AARs and ORLLs with a fine-toothed comb. I'll be back eventually, and over-informed. But don't hold your breath.

Lucky 6


#261 01 Dec 11, 07:07

Afterward, you can give me a hand in accomplishing my mission, or better take it over, because being not related to the subject, people tend to believe more in your words than mine.

BTW, are you residing in 10458? I have recently taken some 101 map reading course, you know! That would be interesting ...

Phieu


#262 01 Dec 11, 10:37

You know Sir your posts and shown attitude reinforce a"gut feeling"I carried threw Vietnam that we (U.S.) were on the wrong side.

hankwill


#263 01 Dec 11, 14:13

skiplc : I honestly don't think there is an official convention of "vicinity" altus...the term is just too ambiguous to be of any use other than general information.

Example; when BAT 21 was shot down, a 27Km radius no fire zone was imposed from a certain point so none of us would accidentally shoot Iceal Hambleton. If the order had created a no fire zone in the vicinity of that point, it would have been interpreted differently by everyone out there.

I see no reason any military would use terms like vicinity, general vicinity, close vicinity, and so forth when a point and a measurement would be quite clear.

VICINITY is not a doctrinal term for use in map reading.

When intel folks want to simplify things they might say "the enemy regiment is in vicinity of ....". Then someone can draw a goose egg in red around that area. There is no specific military identification for how big the "vicinity" is.

samtn99


#264 01 Dec 11, 14:22

hankwill: You know Sir your posts and shown attitude reinforce a"gut feeling"I carried threw Vietnam that we(U.S.)were on the wrong side.

I don't think,Sir, the above mentioned American generals would agree with you at all.

Phieu


#265 02 Dec 11, 04:59

Why Pleime AAR and Pleiku Campaign AAR (continued)

We have seen a few instances Why Pleime filled up gaps in Pleiku Campaign AAR. There are more to these – eight to be exact that I am going to point out in this post. I have posted 1 to 4, now the rest

5. The Role Played by Airborne Rangers Teams

Besides the supporting role of Montagnard Eagle Flights, II Corps also provided 1st Air Cavalry with recon teams of Airborne Rangers on helicopters in search and destroy missions. General Kinnard remained silent on this point. Colonel Hieu made indirect mention about the activities of these Airborne Rangers teams by way of an attachment to his report of a captured Viet Cong document depicting the activities of 1st Air Cavalry at Pleime and Ia Drang (Pleime, document B). Let us quote:

2nd Phase: use small detachments and coordinate with Vietnamese Special forces Rangers to conduct raids into our rear (28 Oct to 11 Nov 1965).

Vertical landing by "frog leaps" into our rear by helicopters (28 Oct. to 10 Nov. 1965). Forces used: from one battalion to one company of US troops or two companies of US troops coordinated with Vietnamese SF Rangers.

Before landing. Reconnaissance of landing zones by repeated air reconnaissance or by small Vietnamese SF Rangers teams.

Vietnamese SF Rangers or US reconnaissance elements always land first to secure the LZ for the landing of riflemen, fire support elements and CP.

After landing. The Vietnamese SF Rangers usually push far in patrols.

6. The Event on 11/9/1965

On 10 November 1965 (Pleiku, page 73), General Kinnard wrote in the report that starting 9 November

the movement and shift in emphasis from west to east was to further stimulate a forthcoming decision from NVA division headquarters.

and on 10 November, 3rd Air Cavalry Brigade replaced 1st Air Cavalry Brigade.

General Kinnard did not specify what he meant by "a forthcoming decision from NVA division headquarters". However, before searching for an understanding of this decision, let us talk about the shift in operational direction from "west to east".

On November 08, Colonel Hieu fed to General Kinnard this concept of changing the direction in operations through I Field Force (Pleiku, page 67):

By this time Field Force Vietnam had asked the division to consider moving its operations east of Pleime if it appeared "that was no further contact imminent in the west.

Such was Colonel Hieu's diversionary tactic that would cause the Viet Cong in believing that 1st Air Cavalry Brigade had lost track of their whereabouts and relaxed their guard, allowing 1st Air Cavalry Brigade to surprise them with an unexpected tactical move (Pleime, chapter V):

On 9 November, the movement and shift in emphasis from west to east commenced and on 10 November, the US 3rd Brigade relieved the US 1st Brigade. But in reality, the VC units were located by that time in the following places, as proved later on by subsequent operations launched into the very heart of the Chu Pong-Ia Drang complex: the three battalions of the 66th Regiment were strung along the north bank of the Ia Drang river; the 32nd Regiment was also up north in the same area; the 33rd Regiment maintained its positions in the vicinity of the Anta Village (VC appellation), east of the Chu Pong mountains.

Convinced that friendly forces had lost tracks of its units, VC Field Front quickly made a decision to regain its advantage with an attack. The target again was Pleime and the date of attack set at 16 November. The plan was known within the VC ranks as the second phase of the attack of Pleime. All the three regiments would be committed this time as well as a battalion of 120mm mortars and a battalion of 14.5mm twin-barrel anti-aircraft guns which were both en route down the infiltration trail and scheduled to arrive in time for the attack.

7. Concept of the Attack on Landing Zone X-Ray on 11/14/1965

And here was the "forthcoming decision from NVA division headquarters": to attack camp Pleime for the second time. Colonel Hieu immediately studied a plan of a pre-emptive attack at LZ X-Ray and this operational concept was executed by units of 1st Air Cavalry Division.

Firstly, Colonel Hieu chose that 14 November 1965 to be D-day, two days prior to the day the Viet Cong had scheduled to attack Pleime camp a second time, because around that time, units of enemy had not yet been re-equipped with anti-aircraft weapons and heavy mortars that they had lost during the first attack on Pleime camp - the battalion of 120 mm mortars and the battalion of 14.05 mm anti-aircraft guns had not reached the battlefield. (Pleime, chapter V):

The ratio which amounts to 1/10 has proved how lucky the 1/7 battalion had been because it was rather surprising that from the hills which dominate the LZ, the enemy did not position any crew-served weapons to support their attack. Such a situation could be explained only by the following reasons:

- The enemy has lost nearly all their heavy crew-served weapons during the first phase.

- They had been surprised by the attack of the 1/7 battalion and their commanders had failed to make the best use of the terrain.

- Their tactics relied mostly on the "human waves" and they were too confident that their attack would disorganize the 1/7 battalion very quickly.

General Kinnard did notice Colonel Hieu's wise foresight (Pleiku, page 88):

The NVA effort unquestionably was hampered by the unexplained delay in getting the heavy mortar and heavy anti-aircraft battalions off the infiltration trail and into the battle zone .

Secondly, Colonel Hieu had units of 3rd Air Cavalry Brigade landed down at the eastern edge of area where the three NVA regiments had concentrated, at the foothill step of Chu Pong massif, rather than to penetrate further up west, and not to ambush the enemy at its rear bases, but to establish a blocking position preventing soldiers of the three regiments to move eastward, so that B-52's bombs could deliver deadly blows:

It is worth mentioning that since the afternoon on 15 November, the B52 stratofortresses had also taken part in the battle with five daily bombardments of the Chu Pong massif. On 17 November, the targets also included LZ X-ray and the two friendly battalions were so ordered to move 3 km away from the LZ, northward and northwestward to another called LZ Albany.

General Kinnard also mentioned about the use of B-52's bombs in his report (Pleiku, page 88):

The 15th also marked the introduction of a new weapon by the American forces and one which struck terror in the hearts of even the most hardened enemy soldier. Shortly after noon a large area in the vicinity of YA8702 suddenly erupted with hundreds of thunderous explosions that moved across the ground like a giant carpet being unrolled. The B-52 bombers had struck. For the next five days the big bombers systematically worked over large areas of the Chu Pong Massif. The NVA solders lived in fear of these attacks because they believed each raid covered a 20 kilometer area and they were told that ordinary trenches and foxholes were o no protection.

Therefore, the main efforts in the attack into the enemy rears in Chu Pong massif from 14 to 17 November 1965 were not of Colonel Hal Moore's 1/7 Air Cavalry Battalion at Landing Zone X-Ray, but rather of B-52 carpet bombardments aiming at the entire three NVA regiments, specifically the 32nd and the 33rd on the two days of 15 and 16 November, and specifically the 66th on 17 November at Landing Zone X-Ray. The B-52 bombers killed approximately 2.000 NVA combatants.

8. The Event on 11/19/1965

On 18 November 1965, General Kinnard revealed that a new artillery position was set up at Landing Zone Crooks, but failed to state its purpose (Pleiku, page 96):

Just prior to the attack, the 2/5 Cav, moving to the west to a blocking position, air assaulted into L-Z Crooks (YA875125) along with an artillery battery. The battalion conducted patrols from the new base and during the night received light probes and harassing small arms and mortar fire.

Colonel Hieu was more specific in saying that on 17 November 1965 (Pleime, chapter VI):

II Corps Command thought it was time to throw in the reserve in order to put an end to the battle which had lasted for about one month. Besides suffering heavy losses, the enemy was compelled to fall into the trap set by friendly forces and canalized into the routes of withdrawal which we had foreseen.

This time the main effort was conducted by the ARVN Airborne Brigade whose mission consisted of destroying the fleeing VC units and all their installations around the Ia Drang valley. The 1st Air Cavalry Division which had thus far borne the burden of the attack would continue to exert a pressure from East to West and to provide artillery support for the Airborne Brigade.

The operation - dubbed "Thần Phong 7" - began in the afternoon, 18 November when the brigade was helilifted to the area of operations, immediately upon arrival in Pleiku.

In the afternoon of 17 November 1965, Colonel Hieu made arrangements for

the C130's Squadron of the 7th US Air Force to airlift within only a few hours: the Airborne Brigade Headquarters; the Airborne 1st and 2nd Task Forces Headquarters; five Airborne battalions: the 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th , from different distant places, such as Saigon, Bien Hoa, Vung Tau and Phu Yen to Pleiku. It was thanks to their contribution that the operation had been able to commence exactly as scheduled.

Concurrently, Colonel Hieu asked 1st Air Cavalry Division to establish a new artillery fire base at (YA875125) so that the coming ARVN Airborne Brigade operational areas would be within artillery firing range.

In this phase of Pleime Campaign, General Kinnard did say that starting 20 November, 2nd Air Cavalry Brigade replaced 3rd Air Cavalry Brigade and continued search and destroy operations and its Forward Command Post was put at Duc Co camp (Pleiku, page 102):

The 3d Brigade moved its combat elements to Landing Zones Crooks and Golf, which fitted in with the scheme of maneuver of the 2d Brigade, which was assuming control of combat elements in the battle zone. After turning over control of units in the field, the 3d Brigade began movement back to An Khe base with the 1/7 Cav and other attached and organic elements. For the 3d Forward Support Element, it was the first relief since the campaign had started on 23 October.

The 2d Brigade planned to use Duc Co Special forces Camp (YA840252) as an operating base for its forward CP, and closed during the afternoon. The 1/5 Cav conducted patrolling from LZ Golf, and 2/5 patrolled from LZ Crooks.

But he failed to mention that 2nd Air Cavalry Brigade was opcon-ed to ARVN Airborne Brigade. Its mission was to conduct operations from east to west, as Colonel Hieu indicated in the above-mentioned quotation, in order to execute II Corps planning aiming at preventing the enemy to slip downward east and assisting ARVN Airborne Brigade in channeling the two enemy remnant battalions into the corridor that II Corps Command anticipated they would use to escape back to their sanctuaries in Cambodia.

(Coming up soon: the best kept secret of Iadrang Valley battle)

Phieu


#266 02 Dec 11, 12:46

They had been created as "fire station" squads ready to jump down to extinguish fires that Viet Cong sappers ignited at isolated remote CIDG outposts in II Corps areas.

Phieu, I think something got lost in translation here. "Fire Station" is a simile. As in the "Fire Brigade", i.e. the force that is rushed in to react to attacks. II Corps Eagle Flights came from the same unit that later became the II Corps MIKE Force. Several of my closest friends wore the Eagle Flight patch as a combat patch. These included Rchom Jimm and Ney Bloom, both of whom were senior interpreters when I got there. They never mentioned anything about putting out fires in the literal sense of those words. The Eagle Flights of 1965-66 were similar to the "Fire Forces" of the Rhodesian conflict, except the Eagle Flights were U.S. led Indigenous troops. (Not unlike the Rhodesian African Rifles Fire Forces, except that both Whites and Blacks there were citizens of the same nation.)

lirelou


#267 02 Dec 11, 13:20

I don't know. I did not do the translation. The choice of word is in the official English version of Pleime tran chien lich su translated by G3/II Corps.

Here is an example of Eagle Flight team in action narrated by Colonel Mataxis, II Corps Chief Advisor.

(www.generalhieu.com/highway19-2.htm)

On 20 February the VC launched their all-out effort to seize Highway 19 and cut off the highlands. First they struck at the CIDG outpost, Forward Operational Base No.1 (FOB1) east of Mang Yang Pass. (Sketch 1). The Civilian Irregular Defense Group forces at An Khe replied immediately and dispatched a CIDG company as a reaction force. As this company approached the outpost, it ran into an ambush which it routed by a head-on assault which caused the VC to break and run, leaving weapons and bodies on the site. The CIDG company then proceeded to the outpost where it gathered up the scattered friendly forces and remained overnight. Next day, as the company was returning to base camp, it was ambushed again, and its vehicles knocked out by the RPG antitank rockets. This time the Viet Cong succeeded and the CIDG company suffered heavy losses. On learning of this ambush, the CIDG company on alert at An Khe was dispatched to its relief. As the alert company approached the ambush site it was stopped by a roadblock and met heavy 82 mm mortar fire which destroyed the lead vehicle and caused several casualties. Threatened by encirclement and under mortar fire, the company withdrew to An Khe.

Plans were then made by the C Detachment at Pleiku for a CIDG company from Soui Doi, a camp to the west of Mang Yang Pass, to move to the east down Highway 19 while the forces in An Khe would work to the west (Sketch 2). These operations were designed to press the VC from two directions. Arrangements were made to have a helicopter-borne Eagle Flight of one CIDG platoon on standby to be lifted in to support the company from Soui Doi. Also alerted as further backup in case it was needed was the Corps reserve, a ranger battalion.

As the Soui Doi CIDG company approached the site where the French Groupe Mobile was ambushed and destroyed in 1954, their trucks were also hit by RPG antitank rockets which literally blew the trucks apart. This was followed by a furious VC assault. The company was overrun, but the survivors finally fought their way out of the ambush and back to Mang Yang Pass. They were supported by helicopter gunships and A-1E fighters which had been on column cover for such a contingency. The CIDG survivors reported that they had been assaulted by waves of Viet Cong who threw grenades and were armed with new weapons. They reported that after their ammunition had run out they used knives, bayonets and grenades in the hand-to-hand combat which followed the ambush. An indication of the ferocity of the melee was the nature of the wounds. One CIDG trooper had the calf of his leg bitten through.

On hearing of the ambush, the Eagle Flight platoon was immediately launched and landed to the east of the site in an effort to put pressure on the VC rear and rout the ambush. This attempt failed because the VC were too strong and their fire pinned down the Eagle Flight.

The Eagle Flight was soon reinforced by a helicopter lift of a ranger company which joined up with the Eagle Flight. They came under heavy fire and after suffering several casualties established a defensive perimeter for the night. By this time it was dark and the rest of the ranger battalion could not be lifted by helicopter into this area, but was airlanded by Caribous at the An Khe airfield. Next morning the Eagle Flight and the ranger company seized the ambush site and called in helicopters to evacuate the wounded. Among the wounded was a nine-month-old baby, sole survivor of a busload of civilians headed from Qui Nhon to Pleiku who had been massacred by the Viet Cong at the ambush site. The ranger company and Eagle Flight at the ambush site began moving east along Highway 19, but due to strong VC forces in the area, were ordered to join up with a nearby CIDG outpost (FOB2) and to defend the area until a relief force arrived.

Phieu #268 02 Dec 11, 13:21

lirelou : Several of my closest friends wore the Eagle Flight patch as a combat patch. These included Rchom Jimm and Ney Bloom, both of whom were senior interpreters when I got there.

Nice to know they are real persons Shaun, and not just fictional characters from your book

Boonierat


#269 02 Dec 11, 14:00

I've "fought" this campaign many times over the last few years using period maps and as much information as I could find (including the generalhieu.com site, why pleime, AARs, etc). Some things I've had to make assumptions on due to conflicting/poorly translated/wrong info, so I'm hopeful this discussion will continue.

If anyone is interested in "playing" this let me know. By "playing" I mean following the flow of events from the US perspective rather than playing it as a game. Be aware that it's a work in progress, and will either require basic knowledge of things like map reading, symbology, mission planning etc, OR a willingness to learn it.

samtn99


#270 02 Dec 11, 14:54

Do you have all the data yet? I guess not...

You are wise in "I'm hopeful this discussion will continue", before setting up the definite game that would mirror the real thing.


#271 02 Dec 11, 16:33

Phieu,

No, I do not have ALL the data. I won't even say "yet" as having ALL the data is extremely unlikely, if not impossible. S

amtn99


#272 02 Dec 11, 16:51

Agree. But at least, I can provide you with additional data still missing that I am privy to and would like to share. How about that?

Phieu


#273 02 Dec 11, 20:09

Phieu, just shows it pays to be careful when reading translated documents. I almost got lynched once by an irate group of Dien Khanh farmers who thought I was casting racial aspersions upon the quality of the local pot-bellied pigs. All the result of a translation by a Saigon college kid who had no capabilities of translating the English term: "Hog Cholera" into Vietnamese.

In this case, the Eagle Flight was reacting as a mobile reserve is expected to. I suspect that the OPORD has a paragraph or annex somewhere listing the Eagle Flight, Rangers, etc., as "Reserve".

lirelou


#274 03 Dec 11, 01:44

I don't know, lirelou. However, I am pretty sure the manuscript had been proofread by Colonel Mataxis, the II Corps Chief Advisor, as it was the usual practice for English documents signed by Gen. Vinh Loc.

Remember when you wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving in Vietnamese?

Phieu


#275 03 Dec 11, 02:24

Why Pleime AAR and Pleiku Campaign AAR

First Air Cavalry Division's Credit in the Pleime Campaign

In the summary section of his report, General Kinnard formulated a key question (Pleiku, page 123):

The question then remains: could the threat have been stopped without the 1st Air Cavalry Division?

His answer was understandably negative. He advanced the following factors: one, II Corps did not have sufficient available troops to mount an effective relief force that would ram through an ambush manned by NVA 32nd Regiment comprising 2.000 combatants; two, LTC Luat was reluctant to advance his relief task force until General Kinnard succeeded in coaxing him by providing him with artillery support; three, the relief task force, after Pleime camp had been relieved, was spared of being decimated by the enemy while conducting a sweep operation around the camp, with artillery power support provided by 1st Air Cavalry Division; four, II Corps did not have the capacity to pursue the enemy to its sanctuary in Chu Pong massif; five, even when ARVN Airborne Brigade entered the battlefield in replacement of 3rd Air Cavalry Brigade, its brigade commander admitted that 1st Air Cavalry's artillery inflicted more casualties to the enemy than airborne units on the ground.

General Kinnard was quite right on all the points. Furthermore, considering the enemy's casualties in Pleime Campaign, among the total of about 6.000 Viet Cong combatants killed, the three air cavalry brigades accounted for 3561 VC killed and 1178 VC wounded, the B-52's for about 2.000 killed, while ARVN units accounted for only about 450 VC killed (200 around Pleime in Dan Thang 21 Operation and 250 at Ia Drang during Than Phong 7 Operation).

Nevertheless, General Kinnard forgot that all the victories that 1st Air Cavalry Division had achieved during Pleime Campaign was due to the clever calculations of a mind at II Corps General Staff: one, Colonel Hieu had guessed right that this time around the Viet Cong was using the mobile ambush tactic, otherwise 1st Air Cavalry Division artillery would have fired into places not yet populated by enemy troops; two, Colonel Hieu had provided intelligence information gathered through interrogation of VC prisoners and deserters, and from Airborne Rangers infiltrating amidst the very heart of enemy territories, pertaining to positions of the three NVA regiments concentrating in Chu Prong massif; three, Colonel Hieu had suggested the diversionary tactic of switching the direction of the operations from east-west to west-east on 9 November which made possible the mounting of a surprise attack; four, Colonel Hieu had 3rd Air Cavalry Brigade attack into Chu Prong on 14 November and in so doing was able to avoid maximum casualties inflicted to American helicopters and soldiers at the moment the Viet Cong did not have available anti-aircraft guns and heavy mortars; five, Colonel Hieu had thought out the concept using for the first time B-52 strategic weapons as tactical weapons in the Vietnam battleground; six, Colonel Hieu had positioned 1st Air Cavalry Division artillery at Crooks from where the areas ARVN Airborne Brigade was about to operate could be covered by artillery support. In brief, Colonel Hieu knew how to put to use (Pleime, chapter V):

a major unit which possesses the highest degree of mobility all over the world and also the most up-to-date equipment and weaponry.

Without Colonel Hieu's control skills, 1st Air Cavalry Division's mighty strength would be merely a formidable punch thrown into an empty space, powerless in delivering a blow at an enemy savvy in stealthy tactics. General Westmoreland expressed a better assessment pertaining to the role played by II Corps in the Pleime Campaign when he wrote (Pleime, preface):

The signal successes of the latter phases could, perhaps, never have been realized had it not been for the judgment and foresight of Vietnamese leadership. The initial preparatory effort on the ground, paving the way for the introduction of the 1st Air Cavalry Division, was accomplished by Vietnamese forces. Similarly the very successful final phase exploitation was accomplished largely by the Vietnamese Airborne Brigade. The effectiveness of this highly organized, closely integrated, cooperative effort has not often been emulated in modern warfare.

However, General Westmoreland failed to understand that even the second phase in the middle (conducted in Operation All the Way and Operation Bayonet I) accomplished by Air Cav forces was successful due to the operational concept conceived by II Corp leadership, specifically its Chief of Staff, Colonel Hieu, the architect of the entire Pleime Campaign.

Coming up next: The best kept secret of Ia Drang Valley battle

Phieu


#276 03 Dec 11, 10:33

Phieu, Corps Senior Advisors didn't have time for the detailed reading of myriad documents. They concentrate on the most important (like current operations briefs and soon to be issued Operations orders) and generally stick to the main paragraphs of interest (Intel and Ops), trusting their subordinates (particularly the S1, S-4, and Commo Officer) to take care of the rest. I've served as an Army level operations division chief and if I hadn't had a first rate team of junior officers and senior NCOs, and a fine cast of fellow staff principals, I'd have never got anything done. After-action reports are history, what's really important are current and pending operations.

I'll bet you a dollar to a donut that Metaxis never saw that bit on the Eagle Flight. It was too far below his pay grade. You came to this forum to learn, and this is your opportunity. Remember those points when you study military history.

lirelou


#277 03 Dec 11, 11:17

Phieu : Colonel Hieu, the architect of the entire Pleime Campaign.

Your knowledge and intelect are really no match for your cockiness, Phieu!

altus


#278 03 Dec 11, 13:19

lirelou: Phieu, Corps Senior Advisors didn't have time for the detailed reading of myriad documents.

Check out this

Road Clearing Operation

I'll bet you a dollar to a donut that Metaxis never saw that bit on the Eagle Flight. It was too far below his pay grade.

Apparently Colonel Mataxis had a different style of work ethic than yours.

Eagle Flights

The CIDG Eagle Flights were conceived and created in II Corps by the combined effort of Colonel Mataxis and Colonel Hieu.

Colonel Mataxis and Colonel Hieu worked well together because they both were not behind-the-desk type of officers:

At this time the Corps chief of staff (Colonel Hieu) and the Corps senior advisor (Colonel Mataxis)reconnoitered the area to clarify the situation for the Corps commander. They found that the VC troops were in battalion strength, well equipped, and had used conventional infantry tactics of fire-and-movement. In addition, the VC had been well trained in the techniques of antiaircraft fire against helicopter gunships. Those being fired at directly would seek cover, but those in the flanks would continue firing at the chopper. The reconnaissance determined that the VC effort to seize the An Khe Valley was sparked by large numbers of hard-core Viet Cong troops. After learning this General Co, II Corps commander, immediately called for reinforcements from units of the general reserve at Saigon and ordered his troops to defend An Khe.

www.generalhieu.com/highway19-2.htm

- 10/20, 18:25H: II Corps Capt Ushijima - Possibility of placing an Abn Ranger Co vic Plei My tonight. Col Bennett was told by SA II Corps, that the a/c would not be available until after 1900 and airlift impossible tonight. Col Bennett then requested 10 Americans be introduced into Camp to assist control of CIDG. Col Mataxis (SA II Corps) replied that due to tactical situation this could not be done. 18 VNAF H-34's were cancelled. It was apparently a false report. ZA 160050 is correct coord for Plei My. Abn Ranger Co discussed is one of the two Delta elems under SF control. They are in Pleiku.

- 10/20, 20:00H: Fm D/SA II Corps to Lt Col Patch. SA II Corps had just returned fm flight over Plei My Camp. Camp still holding out. Flare ships and fighters still supporting. A/1 Avn Co returned to Pleiku, because of weather. Request of Lt Col Bennett, 5th SFG, to move 10 US into camp denied. KAC msg reads. Armored forces: 3d Armored HQ, 21st Ranger Bn, 3/5 Tank Co; 2/6th Armored Inf Co departed fm AR 780480 and will proceed to AR 765274 tonight and set up blocking positions, will proceed tomorrow. 2 Abn Ranger Co's assit tomorrow.

www.generalhieu.com/pleime_1cav_g3_1.htm

You came to this forum to learn, and this is your opportunity. Remember those points when you study military history.

You don't need to admonish me about this as well as have to remind me about those.

BTW, haven't you learned anything from my contributions to this forum yet?

Phieu


#279 03 Dec 11, 15:36

Phieu: BTW, haven't you learned anything from my contributions to this forum yet?

I have!

You appear to me to be putting the case of your Brother on the "front burner". I was excited when you joined this forum; was glad to see an ARVN supporter join in. For me you have been a disappointment as to being an ARVN "all around" supporter; in my opinion. Hell our folks here that worked with the ARVNs on a daily basis, show more respect and support than you do towards ARVN soldiers. These folks also show more knowledge about the Vietnam war than you do. Hell, so far Altus has shown and proven his own "respect" towards ARVN soldiers.

P.S. Here is something you should know. Most Commanders are "on the ground" type of folks. Most Staff folks are supposed to be the "desk" Soldiers, that's their friggin job! The Staff person is not to take over Command unless the Commander is incapable and/or killed, wounded, or whatever prevents him from Commanding.

JEN KENSEN


#280 03 Dec 11, 16:03

I thought you said you are done with my posts.

Phieu


#281 03 Dec 11, 16:17

Are you talking about me? Please provide link to such a statement by me.

http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...&postcount=114

KEN JENSEN


#282 03 Dec 11, 20:19

altus : Your knowledge and intelect are really no match for your cockiness, Phieu!

You want to know how cocky I can be?

Click here: I skydivevideo

Phieu


#283 04 Dec 11, 04:44

The best kept secret at Ia Drang Valley battle

Why did it have to be a secret at all?

For the simple reason to keep the planning of the battle out of the enemy knowledge, particularly during the Vietnam War, where VC spies had infiltrated all levels of the ARVN organization, from bottom to up, which caused the ARVN Commanders to limit the number of individuals who had access to the planning phase to the minimum – two or even one. Some examples:

General Nguyen Viet Thanh

General Abrams recounted that General Thanh, in order to preserve secrecy, designed in person the operational plan on a piece of paper, tucked it into his shirt pocket, only showed it to the divisional commander of the operation and warned him not to reveal it to anybody including his general staff. Then on the operation launching day, General Thanh seized the operational command of the battle:

- ABRAMS: Another thing about this—he [Thanh] drew up the plan himself. No member of his staff knew anything about it. His deputy was completely ignorant of it. He kept it in his pocket. Eventually he did show it to General McCown. And the day before the operation was to begin he went up and brief the division commander of the 9th Division on what he was to do, and forbid him to discuss it with his staff, and turned the operation over to him to execute. It was really beautifully done.

www.generalhieu.com/abrams-arvn-2.htm#thanh

General Ngo Dzu

General Abrams recounted further that when he visited II Corps, General Ngo Dzu, instead of briefing him on the military situation at the corps headquarters, took him directly to his residence, where he hanged tactical maps all over the walls, out of the sight of his own general staff:

- ABRAMS: I thought Dzu was pretty impressive up there that day. We went directly to his house. He had the maps over there, and he did all the briefing himself.

www.generalhieu.com/abrams-arvn-2.htm#dzu

Colonel Nguyen Van Hieu

In 1965, when General Vinh Loc entrusted him with the planning of the road clearing operation of QL 19, Colonel Hieu set as first priority the secrecy of this operation named Than Phong II, limiting its knowledge to himself and General Vinh Loc. He succeeded in “maintaining maximum secrecy about the operation, even within the staff”.

www.generalhieu.com/thanphong-2.htm

In the planning phase 2 of Pleime-Iadrang-Chupong Battlefront, we have already knew that 1st Air Cavalry and II Corps worked together on the modus operandi basis of sharing intelligence and concepts of operation. It so turned out that, as I had had the chance to touch upon briefly in previous posts, II Corps provided most of the intelligence and most of the concepts of operation. And the implementation of the various concepts of operations were able to bear fruit due to tight lid that succeed in preventing enemy intelligence to get knowledge of the detail of the planning and its execution. That was the reason we saw that LTC Hal Moore, Colonel Brown, General Knowles and General Kinnard did not have a clue on what was going one that lead to the assault into LZ X-Ray. Those who were privy to the planning were Colonel Hieu and General Vinh Loc, just like in the planning of Than Phong II operation, and maybe General Larsen also, whom General Vinh Loc had to go through in giving orders to General Knowles,

on Nov 8,

By this time Field Force Vietnam had asked the division to consider moving its operations east of Plei Me if it appeared that was no further contact imminent in the west.

Nov 12

That day, General Larsen was visiting the division’s forward command post at the II Corps compound. He asked Knowles how things were going. Knowles briefed him on the attack on Catecka the night before and then told him the brigade was drilling a dry hole out east of Plei Me. Larsen said, “Why are you conducting operations there if it’s dry?” Knowles’s response was, “With all due respect, sir, that’s what your order in writing directed us to do.” Larsen responded that the cavalry’s primary mission was to “find the enemy and go after him.”

and Nov 16,

At the time of the Xray fight, Swede Larsen was under pressure from the news media on why we left the battlefield. They didn't understand how our unit fought. With an air assault unit, we don't give much of a damn about terrain. You can go anywhere. The focus is on the enemy. You go where he is. At Xray, the enemy broke off, we didn't quit. We were no longer interested in Xray. That piece of ground meant nothing to me. I wanted to go on to where the enemy was. But Swede ordered me to stay in that spot, and I stayed there an extra 24 hours.

for instances.

Regarding the sharing of intelligence with 1st Air Cavalry, Colonel Hieu made sure to only pass on what was necessary and appropriate to each level of the units. He was also caution in the way he shared the source of intelligence so that the enemy could not guess what he knew about them and in particular why he knew what they were doing in real time. That was why, when II Corps intelligence officers were asked where did they get those accurate intelligence information to the point the enemy was convinced of the presence of spies in their ranks, Coleman was told II Corps had “special agents” planted inside enemy’s headquarters, instead of revealing to him the real source was radio intercept of communications between Chinese advisors in Mandarin.

During the Than Phong II operation, Colonel Hieu succeeded in even keeping his G3 general staff out of the loop during the planning phase; he probably likelwise succeeded in achieving in maintening absolute secrecy regarding his G2/II Corps’s personnel infested with VC spies. That’s the explanation why some LLDB officers often times saw him manning the radio station alone at Duc Co camp:

It seemed that not many people (in and outside the army) knew that Colonel Chief of Staff Nguyen Van Hieu practically stayed up all nights and days during the 20th, …the 25th in the command post bunker of Camp Duc Co, to make use of the stronger radio signal network of US Special Force units which allowed easy communication and coordination with American commanders of various branches and units, Air Force, Special Force, Infantry, Air Cavalry during the entire operation.

South Vietnam Did Not Lack Heroes

Therefore, all the intelligence data recorded in daily intelligence summaries of Pleiku Campaign AAR should not be considered as the only intelligence in the possession of G3/II Corps in its planning for the Pleime counteroffensive into Cthupong-Iadrang complex (and go on and on in debating if this one in is real time and that one is hindsight...or etc; suffice to know it was the key to Pleime Campaign's success and Lam Son 719's debacle).

Coming up soon: The best kept secret at Ia Drang battle

Phieu


#284 05 Dec 11, 04:14

The Main Players in Pleime-Chupong-Iadrang Battlefront

Before getting to the best secret of Ia Drang battle, we need to learn through Why Pleime, Pleiku Campaign AAR, Corchan 1984, Coleman 1988, G3Journal/IFFV more about the main players in order to understand the functioning of the chain of commands in Pleime Campaign first, especially since its real architect was discreetly hiding behind the scenes and was at the bottom of the hierarchical totem.

The Pleime-Chupong-Iadrang Battlefront involved directly the following high ranking officers: General Stanley Larsen, I Field Force Commander, General Vinh Loc, II Corps Commander, General Harry Kinnard, 1st Air Cavalry Division Commander, General Richard Knowles, 1st Air Cavalry Division Forward Command Post Commander, Colonel William Bennett, 5th Special Forces Group, Colonel Theodore Mataxis, II Corps Chief Advisor. Furthermore, General Westmoreland, MACV Commander and General Cao Van Vien, Chief General Joint Staff, were also indirectly involved in this battlefront. As in general practice, whoever has some degree of command weighs heavily on their authority. Colonel Hieu had to muster all his skills and dexterity to make all these high ranking officers to accept and to adopt all his ideas from the beginning to the end of the Pleime-Chupong-Iadrang Battlefront.

Phieu


#285 05 Dec 11, 04:22

The Main Players in Pleime-Chupong-Iadrang Battlefront – General Larsen

When he received a request from II Corps to provide two Special Forces companies to reinforce Pleime camp under siege since October 19, General Larsen questioned who in II Corps Headquarters made that request in the absence of General Vinh Loc (G3 Journal/IFFV, October 21):

- 08:20H: II Corps Capt Ushijima - Who if anyone at Pleiku can make a Cmd decision if necessary in Vinh Loc's absence? Request you stay on top of Than Phong 6, Plei My and route 21 Opns and ensure timely and accurate info forwarded this HQ. Asn: Chief of Staff is here and has contact w/CG on coast. Question: Can CofS make a decision. Ans: He will have to check w/CG before making a decision.

Later, when Colonel Hieu requested General Larsen to provide Task Force Ingram in order to organize a Rescue Task Force with an infantry battalion to secure Pleiku City and an artillery battalion to support the 3rd Armored Task Force, the request was denied (G3 Journal/IFFV, October 20):

- 12:35H: II Corps may request assistance from 1st Air Cav Div. Murray advised Broughton that CG, is not keen on committing the Cav in that area at this time. Broughton said only an alert for possible request and asked what this would do to Than Phong 6 opn. Murray reiterated previous statement about CG not keen.

- 22:45H: From Col Barrow (Info fm Gen Larsen thru Gen Smith): TF Ingram is not to move from its present location to its planned destination (Ref: Than Phong 6). It will remain in place prepared to assist Condor. (II corps Advisory Gp). This includes its associated airlift (fixed wing and Chinooks). Pass to 1st Cav.

The reason General Larsen did not want to withdraw Task Force Ingram from Bong Son and assign it to Pleiku was because he was convinced that for the Viet Cong, Pleime was only a lure while Bong Son was the target (Pleiku, page 10):

Prior to 19 October, the available intelligence indicated strong enemy involvement to the east and north-east of the division's base area. Because of the threat to the rice harvest in the coastal regions from Tuy Hoa to Bong Son, the emphasis on planning for tactical operations was directed to that general area.

Despite recurring reports in II Corps Tactical Zone that the Plei Me CIDG camp would be attacked (most of which were discounted) the enemy attack at 191900 October was mildly surprising. But, even with the building feeling of major enemy involvement, there still was general consensus that the coastal lowlands remained the real target area of Viet Cong efforts in the corps area.

Nevertheless, Colonel Hieu succeeded in persuading General Larsen that Pleime was the target and Bong Son was only a lure and got Task Force Ingram for the Pleime front (G3/IFFV , 10202400H):

- 24:00H: Gen Larsen cancelled participation of TF Ingram in Than Phong 6 as of 202300H, includes airlift support will be prepared to assist relief of Plei My Camp on 21 Oct.

During the phase of Long Reach operation (All the Way of 1st Air Cavalry Brigade and Silver Bayonet I of 3rd Air Cavalry Brigade), General Larsen still held control of the operation. Documents show that he personally intervened troop maneuver in three instances:

- In the first instance, on November 8, he ordered 1st Air Cavalry Brigade to switch the operational direction of the units from west to east (Pleiku, page 67):

By this time Field Force Vietnam had asked the division to consider moving its operations east of Pleime if it appeared that was no further contact imminent in the west.

- In the second instance, on November 12, to the amazement of General Knowles, General Larsen personally gave the order to abandon the east and revert back to the west in the pursuit of the enemy (Coleman, page 196):

That day - November 12 - General Larsen was visiting the division’s forward command post at the II Corps compound. He asked Knowles how things were going. Knowles briefed him on the attack on Catecka the night before and then told him the brigade was drilling a dry hole out east of Plei Me. Larsen said, “Why are you conducting operations there if it’s dry?” Knowles’s response was, “With all due respect, sir, that’s what your order in writing directed us to do.” Larsen responded that the cavalry’s primary mission was to “find the enemy and go after him.” Shortly after, Knowles visited Brown at the 3rd Brigade command post and told him to come up with a plan for an air assault operation near the foot of the Chu Pongs.

This contradiction in General Larsen’s attitude can be explained by the fact the idea of switching back and forth the operational direction was not his but rather Colonel Hieu’s who use a fake west attack east diversionary move in order to attack the enemy by surprise. It seemed like General Larsen had only a vague idea Colonel Hieu’s operational concept in the attack of the enemy on November 14, two days prior to the date the enemy scheduled to attack Pleime camp for a second time on November 16(Why Pleime, chapter V) :

Convinced that friendly forces had lost tracks of its units, VC Field Front quickly made a decision to regain its advantage with an attack. The target again was Pleime and the date of attack set at 16 November. The plan was known within the VC ranks as the second phase of the attack of Pleime. All the three regiments would be committed this time as well as a battalion of 120mm mortars and a battalion of 14.5mm twin-barrel anti-aircraft guns which were both en route down the infiltration trail and scheduled to arrive in time for the attack. According to the declaration of a surrendered political officer, the scheme of the new attack would have as primary objective the destruction of the camp.

The VC Suicide, 14 November 1965

But the above plan would never be carried out because only some days later, the 3rd Brigade resumed pushing west. (Operation Silver Bayonet).

- In the third instance, on November 16, General Larsen did not allow General Kinnard to withdraw his troops out of LZ X-Ray, forced General Kinnard to delay the withdrawal for another day (Cochran):

At the time of the Xray fight, Swede Larsen was under pressure from the news media on why we left the battlefield. They didn't understand how our unit fought. With an air assault unit, we don't give much of a damn about terrain. You can go anywhere. The focus is on the enemy. You go where he is. At Xray, the enemy broke off, we didn't quit. We were no longer interested in Xray. That piece of ground meant nothing to me. I wanted to go on to where the enemy was. But Swede ordered me to stay in that spot, and I stayed there an extra 24 hours.

The reason for General Larsen not to heed General Kinnard’s request was not because of the pressure coming from the media as General Kinnard believed, but it was in order to execute Colonel Hieu’s operational concept which consisted of annihilating the enemy with B-52’s carpet bombings: after two days of carpet bombings the western region of LZ X-Ray, on November 15 and 16, on November 17 the target was the landing zone itself (Why Pleime, chapter V) :

It is worth mentioning that since the afternoon on 15 November, the B52 stratofortresses had also taken part in the battle with five daily bombardments of the Chu Pong massif. On 17 November, the targets also included LZ X-ray and the two friendly battalions were so ordered to move 3 km away from the LZ, northward and northwestward to another called LZ Albany.

Phieu


#286 05 Dec 11, 04:37

When the Viet Cong began its assault on Pleime camp in the evening of October 19, General Vinh Loc was commanding Than Phong 6 operation in Bong Son. He was of the same opinion of the American high ranking military that Pleime was only a lure and Bong Son was the target (G3/IFFV 10201650H):

- 16:50H: CG II Corps plans Than Phong 6 to go as scheduled, relief of Plei Me 2d priority.

But then, Colonel Hieu was able to persuade General Vinh Loc who left Bong Son to return to Pleiku the next day, November 20, not to take control of the Pleime front but only to back up Colonel Hieu whose general staff and tactical skills he completely trusted. From his part, Colonel Hieu was very discreet and tactful to the point people thought he was merely executing orders from higher up authority. He always readied a response to whoever, like General Larsen, questioned his authority: “The Chief of Staff always checks with the Commanding General prior to make a decision”. However, in general, Colonel Hieu contented to feed his suggestions to General Vinh Loc and let him formulate them into orders. The end results were that General Vinh Loc was promoted from Brigadier to Major General and was proclaimed the hero of Pleime by the media.

G3 Journal/IFFV recorded various contributions of General Vinh Loc in the Pleime campaign (G3/IFFV):

- 21/10, 11:45H: Fm Maj Mobley FFV Adv - About 30 minutes ago Gen Larsen in a discussion with Gen Vinh Loc, decided that they would not commit the Ranger Bn now at Pku in reaction against VC vic Plei Me at this time. Because the unit, Bn vic Plei Me is in a strong enough position to hold. The 1st Air Cav Bn will hold in position until Ranger Bn is moved out of Pleiku. No change in 1st Air Cav status at this time. Decision subj to change. Gen Larsen desires Gen Smith be advised of this decision.

- 10/22, 17:50H: CG called CofS sometime prior to 1700. Than Phong 6 will terminate tomorrow. TF Amos will be extracted tomorrow. TF Ingram is to move during early morning hrs to Pleiku.

- 10/26, 19:00H: Capt Valley to TOC - Capt Valley informed G3 that CG had directed 1st Cav to commit as required all elems of 1st Bde in Pleiku - Plei Me area to assist in relief of Plei Me and the destruction of the VC forces in that area. DSA II Corps informed and requested to advise Gen Vinh Loc that if required additional Bn's of Cav would be positioned Pleiku for that town's security.

- 10/27, 12:30H: Fm Capt Reich, II Corps (w/Gen Larsen): Gen's Larsen, Kinnard and Knowles, and Col Mataxis are now meeting with Gen Vinh Loc to work out extension or modification of present 1st Air Cav Div TAOR vic Plei Me to comply with MACV oral instructions to develop a big TAOR centered around Plei Me to find, fix and destroy the VC in that area. Gen Larsen called Gen Collins requesting MACV touch base with JGS so similar VN instructions can be passed to Gen Vinh Loc. 1st Cav has elements on ground vic Plei Me that are searching around the western side of the camp moving south. Opn being supported by mortars positioned 4K's due south of camp. ARVN is operating from 360 degrees to 270 degrees around camp at a radius of 3K's. Support being provided by tanks. However, the terrain is limiting this support. Gen Larsen told Gen Kinnard to stop the Tuy Hoa opn for evaluation ref COMUSMACV's order. Gen Vinh Loc plans to extract the 2 Abn Ranger Co's from Plei Me. (Passed to G3).

Phieu


#287 05 Dec 11, 04:43

The Main Players in Pleime-Chupong-Iadrang Battlefront – General Kinnard.

General Kinnard demonstrated an arrogant character. He considered himself to be the most competent in air mobile assault tactic. He objected vehemently to General Westmoreland who wanted to separate the three brigades of the 1st Air Cavalry Division and used them to reinforced far apart regions (Cochran):

Within several hours after I arrived in Vietnam, General Westmoreland told me that he wanted to split the division into three separate brigades at great distances apart throughout all of Vietnam. I knew that I had to oppose this very strongly – and I did so by explaining the rudiments of the air assault organization and concept of employment. He had not known this because he was not in the States during the air assault testing.

(…)

You’ve got to remember that I was the only one who had ever commanded an air assault division. (…) Only General Gavin had commanded longer than I. I knew in a way that no one else did the real capabilities and limitations of an air assault division.

When II Corps requested General Larsen to provide one infantry battalion and one artillery battalion to reinforce the 3rd Armored Task Force in the rescue mission of Pleime camp, General Kinnard manipulated in wanting to bring in a whole air cavalry brigade and to assume the role of rescueing the camp (G3 Journal/IFFV, 10/23):

- 23:50H: G3, Col Barrow - at approx 2300 CG rec'd call from Col Mataxis and Gen Knowles was with him. Based on info they passed to CG, CG approved commitment tomorrow of all or part of 1st Bde (PKU) at Gen Knowles's discretion. Gen Kinnard was with Gen Larsen. This info passed to Gen Knowles and Col Mataxis at approx 2315.

General Kinnard made known of his veiled power grabbing in following terms in his report (Pleiku, page 16)

The initial concept for this operation was to deploy by air to the vicinity of Camp Holloway a reinforced infantry battalion to provide security for US units and installations in the Pleiku area and to provide a reserve/reaction force for the Pleiku area.

Within a matter of hours the estimate of the situation at Plei Me was revised and the divisional commitment expanded to a brigade task force. The concept then developed to provide limited offensive operations, utilizing air assault techniques to provide artillery fire support for the ARVN Armored Task Force moving to relieve the Plei Me Camp as well as support for the camp itself; and to provide infantry security for artillery positions, while still maintaining a reserve reaction force of not less than one battalion for the defense of Pleiku.

It was fortunate that Colonel Hieu did not let General Kinnard spring into rescuing Pleime camp by helicopters because those air cavalry helicopters would be undoubtedly shot down by the Viet Cong anti-aircraft well positioned around the camp (Why Pleime) :

In their progression toward the Camp after landing, the 91st Battalion engaged with the enemy at 1030 hours, killed and wounded an unknown number of VC and captured one 82m/m mortar, two 50 cal M.G., many Chicom submachine-guns and Russian rifles. This contact proved that around the Camp, the enemy had dispersed their troops to prevent being targets for friendly airstrikes and also to ambush our relief forces when they were heliborne in the vicinity.

Not being allowed to rescue the camp, General Kinnard still attempted to grab the power when, not aware of Colonel Hieu’s use of delaying tactic to counter the mobile ambush tactic used by the Viet Cong in ordering the 3rd Armored Task Force to linger in the vicinity of Phu My waiting for the appropriate moment before advancing, he pushed LTC Luat to advance without fear (Pleiku, page 21):

To try to get the column moving on the 24th the 1st Brigade placed an artillery liaison party with the armored column, thus guaranteeing US artillery fire support for the task force. However, the task force commander elected to remain in that position for the night while sending back to Pleiku for additional supplies. The artillery liaison party came into the task force on one of the incoming medical evacuation choppers late on the afternoon of the 24th.

After Pleime camp had been liberated, II Corps Command took the decision to pursue the withdrawing enemy and requested General Larsen and General Westmoreland to allow 1st Air Cavalry Division to act as the main force and Airborne Brigade as the reserve force (G3 Journal/IFFV, 10/27):

- 12:30H: Fm Capt Reich, II Corps (w/Gen Larsen): Gen's Larsen, Kinnard and Knowles, and Col Mataxis are now meeting with Gen Vinh Loc to work out extension or modification of present 1st Air Cav Div TAOR vic Plei Me to comply with MACV oral instructions to develop a big TAOR centered around Plei Me to find, fix and destroy the VC in that area. Gen Larsen called Gen Collins requesting MACV touch base with JGS so similar VN instructions can be passed to Gen Vinh Loc. 1st Cav has elements on ground vic Plei Me that are searching around the western side of the camp moving south. Opn being supported by mortars positioned 4K's due south of camp. ARVN is operating from 360 degrees to 270 degrees around camp at a radius of 3K's. Support being provided by tanks. However, the terrain is limiting this support. Gen Larsen told Gen Kinnard to stop the Tuy Hoa opn for evaluation ref COMUSMACV's order. Gen Vinh Loc plans to extract the 2 Abn Ranger Co's from Plei Me. (Passed to G3).

By midnight of October 29, the expanded area of tactical operation of 1st Air Cavalry Division was agreed upon between Colonel Hieu (II Corps) and Colonel Williams (I Field Force VN) and was passed on to the involved commands (G3 Journal/IFFV, 10/30):

- 00:50H: II Corps (Major Black) - Ref Plei Me: Camp rec'd a few mortar rds, some trip flares were set off and some SA fire. Nothing serious. 7 cas, med evac requested. At 292350 Col Williams called Col Hieu, CofS II Corps. II Corps requested that 1st Cav TAOR be extended to include the Plei Me area except the camp itself. From present line on NS grid line ZA14 east to NS grid line AR77, on EW grid line ZA/AR15, south on AR77 to EW grid line 00, then west to NW grid line ZA14. Col Buchan, Gen Knowles, Col Williams and Col Mataxis agree.

- 00:12H: II Corps Col Williams - Request extension of TAOR (as outlined in telecon fm Maj Black at 0005) be approved by FFV. Col Barrow notified; Request approved 0025; II Corps notified 0030; 1st Cav notified 0040.

Nevertheless, in order to prevent General Kinnard from overreaching, Colonel Hieu devised a combined operational procedure (Pleime, chapter VIII):

In phase III, the operations had been conducted through a close cooperation between ARVN and US Forces: that was the latest procedure ever put into application since the second World War. It is characterized by:

- Joint intelligence and support activities.
- Commonly-shared concept of operations and results.
- Separate TAOR.
- Separate command.
- Separate deployment of forces.
- Separate conduct of activities.
- Separate reserve.

The above procedure has brought many good results, especially in a country such as ours where the psychology of the people is charged with complexities and subtleties. I also find in that procedure a real competitive spirit between the two armed forces and between units.

In phase 3 of Pleime campaign, after the battle at LZ X-Ray at the footsteps of Chu Pong massif, General Kinnard again wanted a piece of the action in having his 2nd Air Cavalry Brigade pursuing the enemy over the Cambodian border (Cochran):

I recommended to Swede and up through the chain that I be allowed to pursue them into Cambodia. This is not well known, but my request was approved up through channels to include Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge but disapproved in Washington ... I wanted to destroy the enemy. This would have been my next step, this is what I wanted the 2nd Brigade to do...

But that was not what II Corps Command wanted. II Corps Command wanted assumed the responsibility of finish off the enemy and only needed the 1st Air Cavalry Division to provide artillery support in establishing a new firepower base near the Cambodian border at LZ Crooks in support of the Airborne Brigade in its Than Phong 7 operation aiming at annihilating the two surviving enemy battalions, the 635th and the 334th; the 2nd Air Cavalry Brigade played the role of a reserve force (Silver Bayonet II operation) with the main mission of securing the firebase at LZ Crooks (Pleime, chapter VI):

II Corps Command thought it was time to throw in the reserve in order to put an end to the battle which had lasted for about one month. Besides suffering heavy losses, the enemy was compelled to fall into the trap set by friendly forces and canalized into the routes of withdrawal which we had foreseen.

This time the main effort was conducted by the ARVN Airborne Brigade whose mission consisted of destroying the fleeing VC units and all their installations around the Ia Drang valley.

The 1st Air Cavalry Division which had thus far borne the burden of the attack would continue to exert a pressure from East to West and to provide artillery support for the Airborne Brigade.

The operation - dubbed "Thần Phong 7" - began in the afternoon, 18 November when the brigade was helilifted to the area of operations, immediately upon arrival in Pleiku.

Phieu


#288 05 Dec 11, 19:58

The Main Players in Pleime-Chupong-Iadrang Battlefront – General Knowles

General Knowles was given by General Kinnard full authority in the command of the three brigade of the 1st Air Cavalry Division in the Long Reach operation which comprised three phases: All the Way, Silver Bayonet I and Silver Bayonet II. The Forward Command Post of the 1st Air Cavalry Division was set up next to II Corps Command and General Knowles together with his general staff took residency in the II Corps American Advisors' compound, while General Kinnard remained at An Khe’s Headquarters and monitored the operation from far behind (Cochran):

I moved a forward CP [Command Post] to Pleiku with one of my assistant division commanders, Gen. Dick Knowles. This was my "modus operandi" whenever the action got hot. My own leadership style had always been to give absolute and maximum latitude to people all the way down the line. I did not want to hand manage this thing from back in An Khe.

General Knowles was not of a passive type of officer that only knew to take order; he preferred to be in command and required full control when given a command post. Early on, when he led Task Force Ingram to reinforce II Corps, he demonstrated his intransigent character (Coleman, page 87):

After setting up his field headquarters just outside the II Corps command in Pleiku City, Knowles […], he called Kinnard and said, “Hey boss, communications being what they are, we have potential for problems with the setup the way it is. If you and Swede don’t have enough faith in me, then get someone up here who does.” Knowles didn’t have to work hard to convince Kinnard, who was a strong believer in delegating to subordinates. But Kinnard had to convince Larsen that Knowles needed to have the flexibility to operate. This was still very early in the active American involvement in the war, and senior commanders were generally tiptoeing their way into positions of dominance. So Knowles’s orders were amended to read: “Assist the ARVN if called upon to do so, and seek permission if time and communications permit.” Essentially, it was a carte blanche for Knowles.

Because he did not conduct the operation and only followed it from An Khe, General Kinnard did not know all the details of the battles that occurred in Chu Pong and Ia Drang, which explains the facts that

- 1) he did not select to go into Chu Pong (Cochran):

The choice to go into the Chu Pong, a longtime enemy sanctuary [near the Cambodian border]) into which ARVN had never gone, was not mine. It was either that of General Knowles or the brigade commander. We hadn't looked at the area. It wasn't intelligence that led us there. If anything, it was the lack of intelligence, and this seemed a logical place.

- 2) he thought that air cavalry troops went in Chu Pong not knowing clearly where the enemy was located, as stated above. In reality, II Corps had passed on to General Knowles the exact locations of the three Viet Cong regiments (Pleiku, page 76):

The disposition of the 66th on 11 November had its three battalions, the 7th, 8th and 9th, strung along the north bank of the Ia Drang (center of mass Vic 9104).

The 33d Regiment still maintained its positions vicinity Anta Village (YA940010).

The 32d Regiment was still north of the Ia Drang (YA820070).

- 3) he did not clearly understand the operational concept conceived by Colonel Hieu in the use of B52’s carpet bombings to destroy the enemy troops and consequently he wondered why the 32nd Regiment did not join the 66th Regiment in attacking 1/7th Air Cavalry Battalion at LZ X-Ray on November 15 (Pleiku, November 15, page 88):

Neither has there been an explanation for the failure to commit the 32d Regiment which apparently held its positions 12-14 kilometers to the northwest on the north bank of the Ia Drang.

and he misinterpreted General Larsen’s attitude in not allowing to withdraw troops from LZ X-Ray on November 16, as mentioned above (not because of pressure from the media but in order to prepare for B52 carpet bombings right at the landing zone).

General Knowles was the person that coordinated with MAVC in the execution of the operational concept using B52 carpet bombings in this campaign (Pleiku, page 9):

The original plan to employ strategic bombers in support of the division was presented by the Assistant Division Commander (ADC-A) through Field Force Vietnam Commanding General to the J-3 of US Military Assistance Command, Vietnam.

There are no documents, including the two first hand sources Why Pleime and Pleiku Campaign that touch upon the relationship on a personal basis between General Knowles and Colonel Hieu; however, there is mention regarding the close working relationship between the 1st Air Cavalry Division Forward Command and II Corps Command. The various documents show clearly that II Corps Command shared with 1st Air Cavalry Division Forward Command daily and real time intelligence reports as well as operation concepts: herding enemy troops, direction switching of operations as diversionary move, scheduling assault into LZ X-Ray to establish a blocking position, and using B52 carpet bombings to destroy the enemy.

It is kind of hard to comprehend why General Knowles chose not to report with transparency to General Kinnard that all of his actions were based on Colonel Hieu’s ideas and suggestions. For instance, around 3 p.m. on November 14, when 1/7th Air Cavalry Battalion began to engage with two Viet Cong battalions at LZ X-Ray, General Kinnard was surprised why General Knowles chose to insert troops at that location (Coleman, page 219):

When he arrived, Knowles showed him the situation map he had propped up against a palm tree. Kinnard took one look and said, “What the hell are you doing in that area?” Obviously, someone hadn’t kept the boss informed about Larsen’s guidance to get after the enemy even if it meant walking away from the dry holes in the east. Knowles told Kinnard, “The object of the exercise is to find the enemy, and we sure as hell have!” Knowles remembers an awkward pause before Kinnard said quietly, “Okay, it looks great. Let me know what you need.”

In paragraph 1) above, General Kinnard was quoted talking to Cochran, “The choice to go into the Chu Pong, a longtime enemy sanctuary [near the Cambodian border]) into which ARVN had never gone, was not mine. It was either that of General Knowles or the brigade commander.” Why did General Knowles remain silent instead of revealing go General Kinnard that was Colonel Hieu’s idea!

Allow me to open a pair of parentheses in pointing out that since General Kinnard only had a vague knowledge about Pleime campaign, while Pleiku Campaign was a very detailed and precise report, it is safe to deduct that although it bears General Kinnard’s signature, but it content was General Knowles’s and its secretary was J.D, Coleman, a Captain and G3 General Staff of 1st Air Cavalry Division. In the acknowledgement section of his book Pleiku, The Dawn of Helicopter Warfare in Vietnam, 1989, page xv, Coleman wrote:

A special thanks also to Lieutenant General Richard Knowles for his patience with me in those initial interviews twenty-two years ago and, more recently, in hours of consultation on the aspects of the campaign that didn’t appear in the after-action report.

Phieu


#289 05 Dec 11, 20:24

Phieu : - 2) he thought that air cavalry troops went in Chu Pong not knowing clearly where the enemy was located, as stated above. In reality, II Corps had passed on to General Knowles the exact locations of the three Viet Cong regiments (Pleiku, page 76):

“The disposition of the 66th on 11 November had its three battalions, the 7th, 8th and 9th, strung along the north bank of the Ia Drang (center of mass Vic 9104).

”The 33d Regiment still maintained its positions vicinity Anta Village (YA940010).

”The 32d Regiment was still north of the Ia Drang (YA820070).

This is disputable. We do not know whether these specific information were known on 11 November or they were padded into the AAR with hindsight. It seems plausible that the US/ARVN on that day knew some PAVN units were in that vicinity, but their full and exact designation/strength/composition were not known until later/after the battles.

In his memoir, gen. Hal Moore wrote that what he knew was a PAVN radio station was located by signal intelligence on a straight line between Pleime and Chu Pong, and X-Ray was chosen because it was the best possible LZ in that area.

altus


#290 05 Dec 11, 21:06

altus: This is disputable. We do not know whether these specific information were known on 11 November or they were padded into the AAR with hindsight. It seems plausible that the US/ARVN on that day knew some PAVN units were in that vicinity, but their full and exact designation/strength/composition were not known until later/after the battles.

"Therefore, all the intelligence data recorded in daily intelligence summaries of Pleiku Campaign AAR should not be considered as the only intelligence in the possession of G3/II Corps in its planning for the Pleime counteroffensive into Cthupong-Iadrang complex (and go on and on in debating if this one in is real time and that one is hindsight...or etc; suffice to know it was the key to Pleime Campaign's success and Lam Son 719's debacle)."

In his memoir, gen. Hal Moore wrote that what he knew was a PAVN radio station was located by signal intelligence on a straight line between Pleime and Chu Pong, and X-Ray was chosen because it was the best possible LZ in that area.

"After the brigade staff settled down to planning for new operations, Pete Mallet took his grease pencil in hand, walked over to the acetate-covered situation map, and drew in new areas of operations for the brigade.

[…]

At 5:00 P.M. on the 13th, Brown flew down and met Moore at the A Company command post south of Plei Me and told Moore to conduct an airmobile assault into Area Lime [area at the foot of Chu Pong Massif] the following morning. As was his practice, Brown allowed his battalion commanders to select their own landing zones and to work out their schemes of maneuver. The Brigade commander’s guidance was that Moore was to conduct the search operation along the edge of the mountains through at least November 15. Brown was concerned about the possibility of heavy contact in the area, although there had been no American forces that far west; the closest the 1st Brigade came was the battle on November 4 about four kilometers northeast of Anta Village. Now Brown intended to send forces directly to the eastern slopes of the Chu Pongs. Looming in the back of his mind was that big red star on the G-2 and S-2 situation maps, and for this reason, he told Moore to keep his rifle companies within very close supporting range of one another.

[…]

After receiving the brigade commander’s guidance, Moore swung into action. His S-3, Captain Gregory “Matt” Dillon, began an extensive map reconnaissance of the target area, looking for possible landing zones."

"8) Was that all, a big red star pinned on the intelligence maps, II Corps intelligence had provided to Brown and Hal Moore? It looks "sketchy intelligence" to me. Rightly so, but then that was sufficient for Moore to accomplish his assigned mission: to set up a blocking position; not to sweep for the enemy."

"Regarding the sharing of intelligence with 1st Air Cavalry, Colonel Hieu made sure to only pass on what was necessary and appropriate to each level of the units."

"*Intelligence contributions

- 1st Air Cav:

Operations by the division in the Pleiku area refined a previously tested technique of detecting and reacting to enemy targets of opportunity. The DTOC received direct SLAR and infra-red (I-R) reports from the aerial surveillance and target acquisition platoon (OV-1 Mohawk) and USAF sources, plus reports and the Radio Research Unit.

- II Corps:

Agent/spies, recon missions by Montagnard Eagle Flight teams and VN Airborne Rangers teams inserted inside enemy territories, and radio intercept stations, interrogations of prisoners /deserters/ralliers, documents captures, individual troop diaries.

= Agents/Spies: Coleman mentioned “special agents” as one of the intelligence sources. It was unlikely that G2/II Corps was able in inserting such agents within the enemy tight knitted ranks."

"In the planning phase 2 of Pleime-Iadrang-Chupong Battlefront, we have already knew that 1st Air Cavalry and II Corps worked together on the modus operandi basis of sharing intelligence and concepts of operation. It so turned out that, as I had had the chance to touch upon briefly in previous posts, II Corps provided most of the intelligence and most of the concepts of operation. And the implementation of the various concepts of operations were able to bear fruit due to tight lid that succeed in preventing enemy intelligence to get knowledge of the detail of the planning and its execution. That was the reason we saw that LTC Hal Moore, Colonel Brown, General Knowles and General Kinnard did not have a clue on what was going one that lead to the assault into LZ X-Ray. Those who were privy to the planning were Colonel Hieu and General Vinh Loc, just like in the planning of Than Phong II operation, and maybe General Larsen also, whom General Vinh Loc had to go through in giving orders to General Knowles

Make an effort to remember what has been said instead of forcing me to repeat again on and on ...

Shall I proceed now?

Phieu


#291 05 Dec 11, 21:22

Phieu: "Therefore, all the intelligence data recorded in daily intelligence summaries of Pleiku Campaign AAR should not be considered as the only intelligence in the possession of G3/II Corps in its planning for the Pleime counteroffensive into Cthupong-Iadrang complex (and go on and on in debating if this one in is real time and that one is hindsight...or etc; suffice to know it was the key to Pleime Campaign's success and Lam Son 719's debacle)."

No other document presents those "other" intelligence in the possession of G3/II Corps. You are speculating.

"Regarding the sharing of intelligence with 1st Air Cavalry, Colonel Hieu made sure to only pass on what was necessary and appropriate to each level of the units."

Make an effort to remember what has been said instead of forcing me repeat again on and on ...

I think everyone here has until now noticed how you love repeating your baseless speculations and passing them as facts.

Fact: Moore didn't know it. You: Colonel Hieu might not have told him about it.

(whatever "it" might have been)

Which doesn't prove that Colonel Hieu indeed knew something he didn't tell LTC Moore. If you want to make a convincing case you need to provide evidence that Colonel Hieu indeed knew what you say he knew.

Shall I proceed now?

You may do as you see fit. It doesn't mean your speculations have been accepted as settled.

altus


#292 05 Dec 11, 21:25

Oh, one more thing. In the future please inform when you're done with back editing your posts before other could properly address them. Thank you.

altus


#293 05 Dec 11, 21:27

Just be patient and wait and see for the best kept secret at Ia Drang Valley...

It is futile to argue here ... can a democrate convince a republican ... can I convince a Viet Cong even with facts? I don't think so.

Phieu


#294 05 Dec 11, 21:29

altus : Oh, one more thing. In the future please inform when you're done with back editing your posts before other could properly address them. Thank you.

Just don't react too hastily...

And just be aware the forum allows a window of 24 hours for editing...

Phieu


#295 05 Dec 11, 21:30

Phieu : can I convince a Viet Cong even with facts? I don't think so.

Well, the fact is you provided no facts for things you're trying to pass as facts.

altus


#296 05 Dec 11, 21:37

Obtuse people need and always demand facts. Smart people only need hints.

The fact here is it is impossible to convince you even with facts. So why bother?

I only care and try to be as clear and as convincing as possible to other people that are open-minded and smart ...

Let me make it simple: I will say whatever, and you will say whatever, and I will not response to whatever you will say.

I hope this will be my last, how many times already - I have lost count - A Dios, amigo.

You might want to wait 24 hours for your reaction, I might edit back this post...

Phieu


#297 06 Dec 11, 03:32

Phieu : I will say whatever, and you will say whatever, and I will not response to whatever you will say

Let's make this this way: You will say whatever, and if I find something baseless, distorted or plainly concocted, and I think it's worth my comment, I'll make comments, and you need not reply. Comfortable?

altus


#298 06 Dec 11, 04:07

Yeah!

Just don't think, though, my unresponsiveness would mean you are right and I am saying something baseless, distorted or plainly concocted

For instance, when I said

Colonel Hieu, the architect of the entire Pleime Campaign.

Isn't that what a corps chief of staff supposes to do, especially a damn good one, planning? Il va de soi !

Yet, you thought I was saying something baseless, distorted or plainly concocted, and thought it’s worth your comment and made this comment (post#277)

Your knowledge and intelect are really no match for your cockiness, Phieu!

I just

Then as an after-thought, I was afraid you might think and some other people – especially some of your supporters would give you a - that you had made a worthy comment, I went back and edited my post, and added:

You want to know how cocky I can be?

Click here: I skydive video

Have you checked it out yet?

I guess not

Until the time you can tell me what it exactly is, I will take it that you have not checkeck it out yet ...

But, enough of this childish thing, although not something baseless, distorted or plainly concocted, let me go and say something that is not something baseless, distorted or plainly concocted

Phieu


#299 06 Dec 11, 04:18

The Main Players in Pleime-Chupong-Iadrang Battlefront – Colonel Mataxis

(Colonel Mataxis and Colonel Hieu with two of II Corps Advisory Group's staff members)

One of the reason documents did not mention about the relationship between General Knowles and Colonel Hieu might be because Colonel Hieu usually communicate with General Knowles, as well as the other American officers, through the intermediary of Colonel Mataxis, II Corps Chief Advisor.

The G3 Journal/IFFV recorded several contributions of Colonel Mataxis in the Pleime campaign (G3/IFFV):

- 10/20, 12:35H: Fm Lt Col Broughton G3 Adm for Col Barrow. II Corps would like the two Abn Rngr Co's and helilift moved ASAP to Camp Holloway Army Airfield Pku where they will stage for airmobile opn airlanded assault vic Plei Me. Lt Col Broughton asked again about air assets offered. Told 12 passable, 14 H34 and 4 gun ships, no CH47. Lt Col Broughton was asked what troops will be committed by II Corps. Ans unk at this time, firm answer around 1315 after return of SA. But II Corps may request assistance from 1st Air Cav Div. Murray advised Broughton that CG, is not keen on committing the Cav in that area at this time. Broughton said only an alert for possible request and asked what this would do to Than Phong 6 opn. Murray reiterated previous statement about CG not keen.

- 10/20, 16:50H: II Corps (D/S II Corps). G3 to D/SA II Corps. If TF Ingram is delayed, one Bn can be moved to Pleiku tomorrow providing weather permits. Is this wanted? from D/SA to G3. A/1 and 119th Air Mob Co's enroute to Bong Son. CG II Corps plans Than Phong 6 to go as scheduled, relief of Plei Me 2d priority. He will move force overland to relieve camp.

- 10/20, 18:25H: II Corps Capt Ushijima - Possibility of placing an Abn Ranger Co vic Plei My tonight. Col Bennett was told by SA II Corps, that the a/c would not be available until after 1900 and airlift impossible tonight. Col Bennett then requested 10 Americans be introduced into Camp to assist control of CIDG. Col Mataxis (SA II Corps) replied that due to tactical situation this could not be done. 18 VNAF H-34's were cancelled. It was apparently a false report. ZA 160050 is correct coord for Plei My. Abn Ranger Co discussed is one of the two Delta elems under SF control. They are in Pleiku.

- 10/20, 20:00H: Fm D/SA II Corps to Lt Col Patch. SA II Corps had just returned fm flight over Plei My Camp. Camp still holding out. Flare ships and fighters still supporting. A/1 Avn Co returned to Pleiku, because of weather. Request of Lt Col Bennett, 5th SFG, to move 10 US into camp denied. KAC msg reads. Armored forces: 3d Armored HQ, 21st Ranger Bn, 3/5 Tank Co; 2/6th Armored Inf Co departed fm AR 780480 and will proceed to AR 765274 tonight and set up blocking positions, will proceed tomorrow. 2 Abn Ranger Co's assit tomorrow.

- 10/20, 22:20H: II Corps Adv (Sgt Albreago) 41 Regt, CP 962784; Mar TFA CP 863754; 1st Mar Bn 874765; 4th Mar Bn 862756; Abn Bde CP 819886; 3 Abn Bn, 819886; 8 Abn Bn 819886; 5 Abn Bn, Bong Son; 6 Abn Bn, 819886; 7 Abn Bn, Bong Son; 4 Abn Bn, Phu My.

- 10/ 21, 10:00H: Msg, CG to DSA II Corps - Any of 3 circumstances would result in committment of Cav Bn to Pleiku. Pleiku reserve, a Ranger Bn is pulled out to reinforce. It appears if Pleiku in danger of atk. If weather conditions such that Cav Bn must be moved out before An Khe, Pleiku or area in between is nonflyable.

- 10/22, 18:30H: II Corps (Capt Beasley) - Report from II Corps DSA that a FAC made radio contact, the A1E pilot shot down at 220100H Oct. Air cover over head, exact status of recovery effort is unk. (Ref log item 4).

- 10/23, 15:50H: General Larsen has approved the move of another Bn from 1st Air Cav Div to move to Pleiku ETD 1600 to close before dark. Request passed from II Corps SA, to CG 1st Air Cav to Gen Smith to Gen Larsen. Approved given to CG, 1st Air Cav Div through Gen Smith.

- 10/23, 19:45H: Msg, subj: Exchange of Operational Information, to 1st Cav and II Corps DSA, taken to G3 Admin for dispatch.

- 10/23, 23:50H: G3, Col Barrow - at approx 2300 CG rec'd call from Col Mataxis and Gen Knowles was with him. Based on info they passed to CG, CG approved commitment tomorrow of all or part of 1st Bde (PKU) at Gen Knowles's discretion. Gen Kinnard was with Gen Larsen. This info passed to Gen Knowles and Col Mataxis at approx 2315.

- 10/26, 19:00H: Capt Valley to TOC - Capt Valley informed G3 that CG had directed 1st Cav to commit as required all elems of 1st Bde in Pleiku - Plei Me area to assist in relief of Plei Me and the distruction of the VC forces in that area. DSA II Corps informed and requested to advise Gen Vinh Loc that if required additional Bn's of Cav would be positioned Pleiku for that town's security..

- 10/27, 12:30H: Fm Capt Reich, II Corps (w/Gen Larsen): Gen's Larsen, Kinnard and Knowles, and Col Mataxis are now meeting with Gen Vinh Loc to work out extension or modification of present 1st Air Cav Div TAOR vic Plei Me to comply with MACV oral instructions to develop a big TAOR centered around Plei Me to find, fix and destroy the VC in that area. Gen Larsen called Gen Collins requesting MACV touch base with JGS so similar VN instructions can be passed to Gen Vinh Loc. 1st Cav has elements on ground vic Plei Me that are searching around the western side of the camp moving south. Opn being supported by mortars positioned 4K's due south of camp. ARVN is operating from 360 degrees to 270 degrees around camp at a radius of 3K's. Support being provided by tanks. However, the terrain is limiting this support. Gen Larsen told Gen Kinnard to stop the Tuy Hoa opn for evaluation ref COMUSMACV's order. Gen Vinh Loc plans to extract the 2 Abn Ranger Co's from Plei Me. (Passed to G3)

- 10/30, 00:50H: II Corps (Major Black) - Ref Plei Me: Camp rec'd a few mortar rds, some trip flares were set off and some SA fire. Nothing serious. 7 cas, med evac requested. At 292350 Col Williams called Col Hieu, CofS II Corps. II Corps requested that 1st Cav TAOR be extended to include the Plei Me area except the camp itself. From present line on NS grid line ZA14 east to NS grid line AR77, on EW grid line ZA/AR15, south on AR77 to EW grid line 00, then west to NW grid line ZA14. Col Buchan, Gen Knowes, Col Williams and Col Mataxis agree.

Phieu


#300 06 Dec 11, 09:56

The Main Players in Pleime-Chupong-Iadrang Battlefront – Colonel McKean.

Pleime camp was a Special Forces outpost. Its dual commanders were Captain Harold Moore and Captain Tran Van Nhan, and was under the control of Colonel William McKean, 5th Special Forces Group Commander. The Headquarters of the 5th Special Forces Group was located at I Field Forces Vietnam in Nha Trang.

Colonel Mckean was the authority that provided the American Delta Team and the Vietnamese Special Forces company that were dispatched to Pleime camp by II Corps Command. Colonel Hieu had this combined Vietnamese American Special Forces team inserted at 5 kilometers northeast of the camp with a dual mission: first was to study the enemy troop distribution around the camp to determine the enemy intention that could be either to overrun the camp or to lure and ambush the rescue force; second was to reinforce the camp (Pleime, chapter IV):

In their progression toward the Camp after landing, the 91st Battalion engaged with the enemy at 1030 hours, killed and wounded an unknown number of VC and captured one 82m/m mortar, two 50 cal M.G., many Chicom submachine-guns and Russian rifles. This contact proved that around the Camp, the enemy had dispersed their troops to prevent being targets for friendly airstrikes and also to ambush our relief forces when they were heliborne in the vicinity.

As more intelligence was acquired about the enemy intentions and disposition, the VC themselves were also gradually aware of the friendly stratagem.

However, Colonel Mckean, through LTC Bennett, Special Forces advisor at II Corps Headquarters, wanted the American Delta team to go into the camp immediately to help the camp commander to contain a potential rebellion by the Montagnard soldiers (G3 Journal/IFFV, 10/20):

- 18:25H: II Corps Capt Ushijima - Possibility of placing an Abn Ranger Co vic Plei My tonight. Col Bennett was told by SA II Corps, that the a/c would not be available until after 1900 and airlift impossible tonight. Col Bennett then requested 10 Americans be introduced into Camp to assist control of CIDG. Col Mataxis (SA II Corps) replied that due to tactical situation this could not be done.

Colonel Hieu denied that request (G3 Journal/IFFV, 10/20):

- 20:00H: Fm D/SA II Corps to Lt Col Patch. SA II Corps had just returned fm flight over Plei My Camp. Camp still holding out. Flare ships and fighters still supporting. A/1 Avn Co returned to Pleiku, because of weather. Request of Lt Col Bennett, 5th SFG, to move 10 US into camp denied.

Note: A special heartfelt thank to LIRELOU, who has provided me with his insight on the role of Colonel McKean and LTC Bennett, USSF.

Phieu


Section I: post #1 - post #300
Section II: post #301 – post #600
Section III : post #601 – post #900
Section IV : post #901 – post #1200
Section V : post #1201 – post #1459

generalhieu