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

Section III : from #601 to #900
(http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=116167&page=41)


#601 30 Dec 11, 18:24

samtn99: Whole post

Totally concur with your assessment. I have drawn the same conclusions by documents I have read from both ARVN and US sides.

don744


#602 30 Dec 11, 20:23 The Ia Drang Campaign

don744 : Sometimes things are quite simple. I do not see in his argument where Lucky6 said there was a lack of planning, strategic planning, or general staff planning in regards to the US operation. Neither did I see in your reply any retort to his argument.

Can you tell me on what date the series of operation(s) became known as a campaign? I think that answer is significant. From what I have read, I do not see yet that the whole series of operations in the Pleime-Ia Drang-Chu Pong AO was a deliberate campaign by RVN or US military planners, but, rather began as a series of reactions to a deliberate campaign by the PAVN.

That may sound overly simplistic, but I am just a novice. Thoughts?

Hello Thread

I am finding this whole exchange interesting, tho' in and out in sporadic bursts. I am sad to continue to read a whole lot of bullshit carping about who said what and when, who is slandering others, etc. That gets in the way of the whole discussion. So, let's put our egos on hold or on the shelf, and simply contribute thoughtful comments so that we all can learn.

For the record, and to dispute Joe Galloway and any reports that ARVN had never been into the area, the 3rd Bn 41st ARVN Infantry Regt of the 22nd ARVN division conducted Operation Binh Tri in March-April 1964 (18 months prior to the famous engagement in Oct-Nov 1965) into the area in a 35 day, 4 phase operation. I was the MAAG advisor from Team 22.

We started at Pleime SF camp and worked west in Phase I. Phase II was to the east. Phase III and IV were to the northwest of the Pleime camp. Overlooking the whole area, almost brooding, if you will, was Chu Pong Massif.

RedDagger18


#603 31 Dec 11, 03:33

samtn99: According to the 1 Cavalry Division interim report on operations, the division began operations in response to the attack on Plei Me under the following orders:

By 28 Oct 1965, the mission changes (source again is the 1 CD report):

At this point a significant decision was made. General William C. Westmoreland visited the 1st Bde Forward CP at HOMECOMING, the LZ 5 kilometres northeast of the Plei Me CIDG Camp, and authorized the 1st Cav Div (AM) to pursue, seek out, and destroy the enemy. These orders were confirmed on 28 Oct by message from CG IFF-V: "Elements 1st Cav Div (AM) currently deployed Vic Pleiku will coordinate with and establish an area of operations VIC Plei Me CIDG Camp and undertake operations to find, fix, and destroy VC forces which endanger that general area."

Some questions should come up here. Did General Westmoreland talk to or visit II Corps before he arrived at the 1st Bde Forward CP at Homecoming? General Westmoreland might have visited II Corps HQ before his arrival at 1st Bde, and discussed the situation. However, I find it unlikely II Corps would not be forthcoming with him and give him the full plan if there was something more than find and kill the enemy wherever he could be found.

Following is the chronology of the events that took place pertaining to Westmoreland ordering Knowles to “give Kinnard his head”, based on Why Pleime, Coleman 1988, Pleiku, and G3 Journal/IFFV

- 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.

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. (Pleime, chapter V)

- [B]On the afternoon of the 26th[/B], Generals Westmoreland, Larsen, Kinnard, and Knowles met for a conference at the 1st Brigade’s command post, at LZ Homecoming. […] In the conference between Westmoreland and the division officers, Kinnard hammered on the theme that U.S. forces must now do more than merely contain the enemy or simply reinforce the ARVN. The NVA, he felt, must be sought out aggressively and destroyed. Of course, as far as Westy was concerned, Kinnard was singing to the choir; Westmoreland long had yearned for the opportunity to go on the offensive. Kinnard and Knowles also spent considerable time at the conference explaining to Westmoreland and Larsen exactly what the division could do and how well it could do it. Westmoreland eventually turned to Larsen and said: “Give Kinnard his head.” (Coleman, page 99)

- On the 26th, General William C. Westmoreland, Commanding General, US Forces, Vietnam, visited the Brigade Forward command post at Homecoming… 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.

So the divisions’s scope of operations changed from one of reinforcement and reaction to that of unilimied offense. It was released from a small zone of operations and provided a tactical area of operations that covered nearly 2,500 squre kilometers. It was given the mission of searching out, fixing and destroying enemy forces that provided a threat to Plei Me, Pleiku and the entire central highlands. (Pleiku, page 28)

- On October 27, commanders at various headquarters of II Corps, First Force VN, 1st Air Cavalry Division, MACV and Joint General Staff, conferred frantically around the idea of having 1st Air Cavalry Division pursuing the enemy

- 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. Gen Larsen told Gen Kinnard to stop the Tuy Hoa opn for evaluation ref COMUSMACV's order. (G3/IFFV , 10271230H)

- By midnight of October 29, the expanded tactical area of operational responsibility of 1st Air Cavalry Division was finalized between Colonel Hieu (II Corps) and Colonel Williams (IFFV) and passed along to various unit commands

- 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.

- 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. (G3/IFFV, 10300050H)

However, there’s no indication General Westmoreland had more knowledge than was shown in the mission statements.

Westmoreland did not have more knowledge on Oct 26, but was surely later on briefed about Colonel Hieu's master plan, if not in detail but at least in general outlines. Colonel Hieu would be totally foolish, if he did not make sure he got approval from General Wesmoreland the use of B52 airstrikes which was the crux of his operational concept.

The decision made by II Corps Command to exploit the results of the first phase and to pursue the enemy was fully concured by the US military authorities. (Pleime, chapter V)

General Larsen maintained constant communication with US MACV (Gen Collins) and ARVN JGS to coordinate 1st Air Cav and II Corps activities:

- 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. (G3/IFFV , 10271230H) p>Also, II Corps would have been totally reliant on FF-V to coordinate anything to do with B-52s.

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 (Pleiku, page 9)

Now if you go through the mission change, there is a line that states “will coordinate with…”. Who the division is to coordinate with is not clear to me. IF it means II Corps, coordinate with does not mean subordination to II Corps; in fact I believe it to mean almost the opposite.

(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.

Westmoreland knew about this modus operandi

The effectiveness of this highly organized, closely integrated, cooperative effort has not often been emulated in modern warfare. (Pleime, preface)

However, I take the line to mean to coordinate with Plei Me Camp, which was under US control (ie 5th Group). Note the lack of any mention of II Corps in the order from FF-V.

Unlike the relationship with 1s Air Cav where orders were given through Larsen, II Corps Command seemed to be able to give order directly to 5th SF Group Commander:

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.

In the background section (II) of LTC Moore’s after action report, he states that “On the 12th, the Assistant Division Commander-A, during a visit to the battalion, indicated to the Brigade Commander that he had no objection to the latter sending a battalion into the IA DRANG Valley.” The terminology is important here I think. The ADC-A stating he “has no objection to the latter (brigade commander) sending a battalion into the IA DRANG Valley is nowhere near the same as giving an order to a subordinate, nor does it imply Larson gave specific orders to Knowles to do so. On 13 November, COL Brown gave LTC Moore an order to conduct an assault into the Ia Drang Valley at the base of the Chu Pong. The AO assigned to Moore was AO LIME (you can see the AO in Moore’s AAR). If Phieu’s contention that the insertion of a battalion into X-Ray were part of some II Corps master plan of strategery, then the so called pinning operation into X-Ray was based on very flimsy guidance, and it was not much more than luck that it occurred at all.

General Larsen surely didn’t not act erratically and on the whim when he dropped in General Knowles’ Forward CP from time to time to issue order. He must knew about Colonel Hieu’s master plan in issuing that was dictated by the enemy’s movements.

- On 11/8, General Larsen ordered General Knowles to go east.

- On 11/11, Intelligence report indicated that the three NVA regiments became targetable for B52 strikes with 66th center of mass (vicinity 9401), 32nd (YA820072 ) and 33rd (YA940011 )

- On 11/11, Intelligence report indicated that 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.

On 11/13, General Larsen ordered General Knowles to go west.

On 11/14, Moore was ordered (by Brown-Knowles-Larsen) to distract B3 Front in maintaining troops at staging areas longer for B52 strikes scheduled for 11/15. Second reason for the choice of date of insertion to avoid antiaircraft and mortar firepower.

IF COL Heiu gave GEN Knowles guidance (unlikely) to put a battalion into an LZ at the base of the Chu Pong, GEN Knowles is unlikely to have couched his subsequent guidance to the brigade commander in those terms (ie, “no objection”). Additionally, I have doubts that General Knowles would have been too receptive to instructions given by a Staff Colonel from SVN. II Corps commander, maybe (I’m sure that will come across as harsh to some). General Knowles does strike me as a guy itching to get in the fight and do it his way (tried to find a biography on him, no luck. Can anyone point me in a direction here?). What if COL Brown didn’t want to send a battalion there? Apparently it was his decision to make based on what he was told by General Knowles.

Colonel Hieu did not give order directly to General Knowles or Colonel Brown, but always through General Larsen.

My view is that II Corps and the 1 Cavalry Division Forward CP (under General Knowles) liaised with each other, and I believe that they had a common understanding as to the operation.

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 to General Kinnard that was Colonel Hieu’s idea!

In a nutshell, Colonel Hieu knew damn well how to maneuver through the military system maze, how to walk through human resistance, how to bridle the mustang, in order to get the approval, the tool, the means, the cooperation, etc... everything to the minute details that were required to realize his master plan, everthing that you would think of that would jeopardize the effective use of B52 airstrikes to annihilate the three NVA regiments clustered together at staging areas in the Chupong-Iadrang complex.

It ought to be like that! He was the only one who had succeeded in conceiving and executing such an "out of this world" operational concept!

Phieu


#604 31 Dec 11, 04:08

His Checkmate Operational Concept

In the Chess Game Pleime, entering the counteroffensive phase (10/26), Colonel Hieu immediately foresaw the possibility to use B52 airstrikes to annihilate the three NVA regiments.

He achieved it in four (4) moves:

- herding move (10/27), operation All the Way with 1st Air Cav Brigade;

- enticement move (11/8), operation Bayonet I with 3rd Air Cav Brigade;

- distractive move (11/14), operation LZ X-Ray with 1/7 Air Cav Battalion;

- B-52 airstrikes (11/15-20)

- additional "coup de grâce" move (11/20,24), operation Thần Phong 7/Bayonet II with Airborne Brigade supported by 2nd Air Cav Brigade.

That was, in a nutshell, Colonel Hieu’s master plan which was translated into tactical maneuvers executed by General Knowles under the order of General Larsen.

This is a snippet. In order to understand it, one must review all the posts (#382, 396, 401, 402, 427, 438) pertaining to The Uniqueness of Pleime Offensive Operational Concept.

Simplicity is one among the nine principles in the conduct of war: MOSSMOUSE:

M=Mass

O=Objective

S=Security

S=Surprise

M=Maneuver

O=Offensive

U=Unit of effort

S=Simplicity

E=Economy of force

Phieu


#605 31 Dec 11, 09:07

A few last comments

The issue I have had to date revolve around sources and definitive statements. Kinda like a court case, you have direct evidence...and circumstantial evidence. There are some things I see:

Westmoreland did not have more knowledge on Oct 26, but was surely later on briefed about Colonel Hieu's master plan, if not in detail but at least in general outlines. Colonel Hieu would be totally foolish, if he did not make sure he got approval from General Westmoreland the use of B52 airstrikes which was the crux of his operational concept.

Any source to corroborate this? When it is said he was “surely briefed later”, sounds very opinionated. Also, the general outlines you referred to, do you think that would be kinda like a “concept of the operation”? Did a written concept of the operation exist? How about a written plan? I think this is the actual crux of the matter. No sources have been shown that directly state there was a grand battle plan. I can see how person that is not professionally learned in military operations may be able to, on some level, come to the conclusion there was a big plan. However, if one were to have made a career of the military (I am a 26 year veteran…and there are many others here with significantly longer periods of service, and level of responsibility than I) one would be educated in military institutions, schooled in doctrine, and actually perform duties on staff where one woul gain firsthand knowledge of how the Army works. To a Soldier, much of this does not make sense.

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 (Pleiku, page 9)

In support…not as the end all be all of the operation. A tool to be used as the situation permitted. This quote shows it as Knowles idea.

Unlike the relationship with 1s Air Cav where orders were given through Larsen, II Corps Command seemed to be able to give order directly to 5th SF Group Commander.

Source, please. This sounds like opinion. The only relationship between II Corps and IFFV that has been exhibited was one of “coordination”. Although it was for a time period just prior to the Ia Drang battle, if it changed, surely there would be a new order of battle created to show the new command relationships.

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)

The cited source does not say that…exactly. The source is below. There is no mention of COL Hieu’s involvement in ordering this insertion. That would be an assumption then, would it not? This is my point with many things that have been said. Take, for example, the no prisoners order. I cited a source that showed the VC took two prisoners at Albany.

“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.”

General Larsen surely didn’t not act erratically and on the whim when he dropped in General Knowles’ Forward CP from time to time to issue order. He must knew about Colonel Hieu’s master plan in issuing that was dictated by the enemy’s movements.

The highlighted text is an assumption, not a fact. Please provide just one source that there was a grand plan in place prior to 14 NOV. Even just a “concept of the operation”. If the plan was this big, and this good, it would be a case study that would be taught in military academies.

On 11/13, General Larsen ordered General Knowles to go west.

Source? This is a definitive statement. In order for it to be accepted at face value it must be corroborated by a direct source. What I have seen is “circumstantial” evidence presented that this happened, but no direct corroboration.

Colonel Hieu did not give order directly to General Knowles or Colonel Brown, but always through General Larsen.

Source? Can you show just one direct example of where this happened?

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; I think that about says it all. But I contend it goes even farther. There are no documents that show there was a grand plan. Even Why Pleime does not state definitively that there was a grand plan. That would have been right up front, in CH I, an outline of the master plan to destroy three regiments. Surely, if there was only once source in existence that would have stated it, would that not be the one?

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.

Source? I have already stated that there is no concept of the operation presented that directly laid out, in terms of a grand plan, to conduct a phased operation. When did II corps see the opportunity to develop a grand plan? When did the planning start? How long did it take to complete? Was there a joint effort in planning? In my humble opinion, if one were planning on using assets that don’t belong to you …there is some coordination in advance. Any direct source? One would have to brief the master plan to gain approval from the US for use of their assets.

Sources are important. If I had turned research papers to my professors that did not cite sources, I don’t think I would have ever graduated college. Sources are not optional if you wish to revise what is known of history.

don744


#606 31 Dec 11, 10:37

Don

Good luck.

If you entirely rely upon the 'psychic pen' method of historic research, there can be need for such botherments such as: sources, other corroboration or any other external confirmation of blind assertions or bald assumptions.

I do encourage you and others, following this thread to google “psychic pen” to see where this is all coming from.

Logic, reasoned argument and a liberal application of the clue bat will get you nowhere.

Nonsense, all of it, and an utter waste of bandwidth besides.

Max Alcibiades


#607 31 Dec 11, 11:17

RedDagger18 :Hello Thread

For the record, and to dispute Joe Galloway and any reports that ARVN had never been into the area, the 3rd Bn 41st ARVN Infantry Regt of the 22nd ARVN division conducted Operation Binh Tri in March-April 1964 (18 months prior to the famous engagement in Oct-Nov 1965) into the area in a 35 day, 4 phase operation. I was the MAAG advisor from Team 22.

We started at Pleime SF camp and worked west in Phase I. Phase II was to the east. Phase III and IV were to the northwest of the Pleime camp. Overlooking the whole area, almost brooding, if you will, was Chu Pong Massif.

Hi RedDagger,

Lot's of questions here...

Can you discuss the rates of movement during phase I?

How far west did phase I go?

Did the ARVN move mostly by compass, maps, dead reckoning, handrailing streams or rivers etc? I assume a combination of all these.

The "almost brooding" statement probably answers it, but when moving west from Plei Me, did it feel as it Chu Pong dominated the entire area up to Plei Me?

Would you consider Plei Me key terrain in the region? And so, why? If there were no SF Camp there, would the Plei Me area still be key terrain?

Can you speak on the subject of how the advisor system worked in Vietnam? What echelon did you advise? What was your reporting chain? how did that chain interact at II Corps level?

samtn99


#608 31 Dec 11, 11:23

My Very First Presentation of Pleime Campaign

It was done on Saturday April 21, 2001 at 1:15 pm

At Vietnam Center, Texas Tech University

2001 Annual Conference

“The Advisory Effort and the Armed Forces of the Republic of Vietnam

20-21 April 2001

(http://www.vietnam.ttu.edu/events/20...a_04-06-01.pdf)

When I walked up to the podium to present the Pleime Campaign, I saw at the corner of my eyes General Vinh Loc and Brigadier General Mataxis sitting right there in the middle of the first row. The view, to be honest, startled me a little bit and I panicked thinking I would make a fool of myself talking about Pleime campaign in front of those two individuals: the commanding general and the chief advisor of that campaign!

I inaugured my presentation with a note of caution: “Ladies and Gentlemen, we have here among the audience the distinguished presence of General Vinh Loc and Brigadier General Mataxis. They would surely fill up the gaps of my amateur account of the Pleime campaign, and would be glad to entertain your questions at the Q&A session after my presentation.

By the end of my presentation, I noticed that General Vinh Loc quietly sneaked out of the auditorium. As of Brigadier General Mataxis, he referred back to me all the questions raised by the listerners. When the session ended, he walked up to me and said, “Mon Général, well done!” I responded, “I am only General Hieu’s brother”. “I know. How come you know so well about the campaign. Were you within the inner circle of II Corps general staff team? I did not see you there …" "No, I was never there. I was a civilian at that time."

suddenly and ahead of time. His answer was, "You would handle the questions better than me. Your brother was really a good chief of staff."

Phieu


#609 31 Dec 11, 11:26

samtn99 : Would you consider Plei Me key terrain in the region? And so, why? If there were no SF Camp there, would the Plei Me area still be key terrain?

The camp at Duc Co was probably the most important feature in the area. Plei Me controlled the infiltration route going from the Chu Pong area to the Dak Payou Valley (aka VC Valley or Base Area 202 in MACV parlance) located on the Pleiku/Binh Dinh/Phu Bon border intersection. Remove the camp at Plei Me and there's nothing left of value there.

Boonierat


#610 31 Dec 11, 11:50

Why Pleime ?

Why the VC Chose Pleime Camp for their Winter Spring 1965-66 Campaign

The "point" this time would be the CIDG Camp of Pleime, 40 km South West of Pleiku. With a strength of 4 Companies of GIDG troops - most of them Highlanders - and two Vietnamese and US Special Forces A Teams, the Camp in fact did not differ from others which, unlike Pleime, had sustained many VC attacks. But in regard to the surrounding environment, the location of the Camp of Pleime is, on the contrary, a particular one.

It does not only serve as a check-point to impede to a certain extent the VC infiltration from their base in the Chu-Pong massif (40 km West of Pleime) and their sanctuary in Cambodian territory, but also act as an outpost to ensure an early warning for Pleiku City and the District town of Phu Nhon (20 km East).

Any pressure exerted by the VC upon the Camp thus compels II Corps Command at Pleiku to necessarily conduct relief operations. But therein lay the risks and the difficulties, because the only ground avenue of approach(2) to Pleime is Provincial route #5 which no longer deserves its name and has become as hazardous as a trail in the jungle for friendly displacement. It's perhaps enough to assume that since the terrain is disadvantageous for the rescuers then assuredly it favors the attackers and explains why the VC have selected Pleime and are convinced that it would be a success.

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

Psychological Importance of a Defeat at Pleime Camp

Objectively speaking, Pleime does not present any strategic value. But it has been selected as a main objective because the enemy always tries to marry up tactics and propaganda, to adjust combat activities with psychological warfare. 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. But our prompt maneuvers had shifted them into being surprised and losing the initiative.

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

Strategic Importance of Central Highlands for the French

The tenacity of the Viet Minh in carrying out their plan and their uninterrupted activities have shown the degree of importance they have conferred to the Highlands. Faced with failure, General Delange meditatively put down the following conclusion, before leaving Viet Nam:

" Whatever the future may be, due to their strategic position, their rough terrain and the scarcity of their population, the Highlands still provide the best natural infiltration routes for the enemy, as long as they do not give up their dream of aggression of South Viet Nam. Through these "corridors", all liaisons between the two regions would be carried out harmoniously and with the utmost secrecy".

It is therefore a big mistake to consider the Viet Minh increased tempo of activities in the Highlands in 1954 merely as a coordination within a vast campaign or as a counter-thrust to the French expansion. Because we should always keep in mind that in both the French and Viet Minh views, the battlefield of the Highlands is considered as a part of the war on the whole Indochinese peninsula, including not only Viet Nam but also Laos and Cambodia.

In a Viet Minh document entitled "Success in Lower Laos" (page 3), the enemy has explicitly stated:

"For the French, Lower Laos, Eastern Cambodia and the Western Highlands form a strategic triangle from where Southern Vietnam, Lower Central Vietnam, Cambodia as well as Middle and Lower Laos could be conquered".

On the other side, French Major General Delange, then Commander of the 4th Military Region (Hqs at Banmethuot), also wrote in "Campaign of Interzone V from 1 January to 31 July 1954" (pages 9-10) the following:

"In the concept of the Viet Minh High Command, the area stretching East-West from Quang Ngai to the Plateaus of Bolovens and North-South from Quang Nam to Pleiku is a "strategic compass" which could be used as a spring-board for expansion in almost all directions:

- Southward to the southern Plateaus and to Southern Viet Nam,

- Eastward to the coast,

-Westward to Lower Laos and Cambodia.

"Furthermore, with Middle Laos (to be liberated by Interzone IV), that area will constitute a large base in the very middle of the Indochinese peninsula. The control of that territory by the enemy will enable them to better coordinate their activities and regulate their forces between North and South and thus prepare for a "general counter-offensive". The positions and the terrain in this area formed by "the Northern Plateaus and the Bolovens" are considered well-fitting with the Viet Minh intentions and must be liberated in accordance with their plans".

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

In this regard General John C.F. Tillson commented:

3 December 1966

…It was indeed a pleasure to read your very fine book Why Pleime. I would like to add my congratulations to you for writing this important document and also for the very important part that you and your Vietnamese troops played in this important military victory.

Your book portrays very clearly the importance for the highlands to Viet Nam and also the significance and importance that the North Vietnamese Command places on the control of this strategic area. As I mentioned to you the other day, your book made me realize for the first time how important this area was in the 1954 Campaign…

Major General John C.F. Tillson, III
Operations, MACV and USFFV

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

Phieu


#611 31 Dec 11, 12:28

Max Alcibiades : If you entirely rely upon the 'psychic pen' method of historic research, there can be need for such botherments such as: sources, other corroboration or any other external confirmation of blind assertions or bald assumptions.

I do encourage you and others, following this thread to google “psychic pen” to see where this is all coming from.

Logic, reasoned argument and a liberal application of the clue bat will get you nowhere.

Nonsense, all of it, and an utter waste of bandwidth besides.

I see now. Had not made it that far into the other reading on the site. I have focused on the AARs, ORLLs, and Why Pleime. Until this minute, I was unaware this was largely a supernaturally guided recounting. Things are now much clearer.

don744


#612 31 Dec 11, 12:38

That’s the difference between an average planning and a master planning.

That’s also why it is more difficult to execute a troop withdrawal operation than an attack operation.

More reading … Art of Troop Withdrawal (www.generalhieu.com/retreat-2.htm)

Have you done this independent study or have you not?

I already handed out this assignment a while ago and gave a brief quiz: how many elements are there for a successful a big unit troop withdrawal? Did you take it? If yes, then how many correct elements did you get? Unless you got all 8 elements correct, I won’t be surprised if you have hard time grasping and accepting Colonel Hieu’s operational concept in the Pleime offensive into Chupong-Iadrang complex: to destroy the three NVA regiments -32d, 33rd and 66th- with B52 airstrikes. In particular, you won’t believe the possibility of its execution in three moves: herding – enticement – distractive. How could he possibly plan an operation like that! And you would come to this conclusion:

Phieu has been hallucinating! He is painting a hagiographic picture of his brother!

You know what: I won’t mind take credit of being the architect that had drawn up such a flawless and extremely professional master plan! I would certainly be considered a military genius, if not a real one but at least a virtual one… an armchair general … a genius nonetheless, am I not?!

But, with all honestly and modesty, I have to decline the honor. I know me. It is impossible that I could have conceived such an exceptional military operational plan along with its execution. No way, Jose’!

I, personally, have to give full credit to my brother, Colonel Hieu, II Corps Chief of Staff. You are free to concur or oppose.

Phieu


#613 31 Dec 11, 12:45

Max Alcibiades: Don

Good luck.

If you entirely rely upon the 'psychic pen' method of historic research, there can be need for such botherments such as: sources, other corroboration or any other external confirmation of blind assertions or bald assumptions.

I do encourage you and others, following this thread to google “psychic pen” to see where this is all coming from.

Logic, reasoned argument and a liberal application of the clue bat will get you nowhere.

Nonsense, all of it, and an utter waste of bandwidth besides.

I still see potential value in the discussion, though this thread does seem to take more effort than others. All sources have to be taken with caution. I have no issue at all with people posting opinions or scientific wild ass guesses, it does help however when it is identified as such.

samtn99


#614 31 Dec 11, 12:52

Phieu : That’s the difference between an average planning and a master planning.

That’s also why it is more difficult to execute a troop withdrawal operation than an attack operation.

More reading … Art of Troop Withdrawal (www.generalhieu.com/retreat-2.htm)

Have you done this independent study or have you not?

I already handed out this assignment a while ago and gave a brief quiz: how many elements are there for a successful a big unit troop withdrawal? Did you take it? If yes, then how many correct elements did you get? Unless you got all 8 elements correct, I won’t be surprised if you have hard time grasping and accepting Colonel Hieu’s operational concept in the Pleime offensive into Chupong-Iadrang complex: to destroy the three NVA regiments -32d, 33rd and 66th- with B52 airstrikes. In particular, you won’t believe the possibility of its execution in three moves: herding – enticement – distractive. How could he possibly plan an operation like that! And you would come to this conclusion:

Phieu has been hallucinating! He is painting a hagiographic picture of his brother!

You know what: I won’t mind take credit of being the architect that had drawn up such a flawless and extremely professional master plan! I would certainly be considered a military genius, if not a real one but at least a virtual one… an armchair general … a genius nonetheless, am I not?!

But, with all honestly and modesty, I have to decline the honor. I know me. It is impossible that I could have conceived such a exceptional military operational plan along with its execution. No way, Jose’!

I, personally, have to give full credit to my brother, Colonel Hieu, II Corps Chief of Staff. You are free to concur or oppose.

Phieu, I've been trying to stay away from this issue as I can understand your family ties to the entire thing. You do however keep giving genius and master status to II Corps planning.

Was II Corps in charge of Dan Thang 21? That operation was very predictable (the PAVN seem to have had it down to almost every last detail) and lacking in any genius. Let's not even get into the fact it took days for an armored column to move less than 25 miles. Or that it was almost the exact same plan that was used every time Duc Co got attacked.

I would also like to see some discussion on the timing of the ARVN units at the end of the fighting when the PAVN slipped across the border. I suggest that it was done too late.

your thoughts?

samtn99


#615 31 Dec 11, 12:53

Some Vietnamese Military Tactical Move Jargons

Đię̣u hổ ly sơn = Luring the tiger down from the mountain

Đại bàng xà xuống = Eagle lunges

Lùa cá vào rọ = rounding up fish into the basket

Lùa chồn vào bẫy = herding foxes into a trap

Dương đông kích tây = Fake east attack west – Make noise east and attack west

Tię̀n pháo hậu xa = artillery barrage ahead of tanks advance

Thę́ chân vạc = triangular formation

Nắm lưng quần mà đánh = grab the belts in fighting

Đánh đię̉m dię̣t vię̣n = attack an outpost to lure in and destroy the relief force

Công đồn đả vię̣n = lure and ambush

Đánh dię̣n dię̣t đię̉m = Exert pressure against a secondary point and destroy the main point.

Phieu


#616 31 Dec 11, 13:55

Max Alcibiades: 'psychic pen'

Loved this...ROFLOL

Hey I'll provide these little "tid-bits"...

I only started to be aware of my brother expressing himself through me when I was writing the article Cover-Up of General Hieu's Death . I suddenly made the following statement without any hesitation: "Although this is an imaginative development, I think it follows closely with what really happened that day, because I am convinced it has been sketched under the spiritual guidance of my brother's spirit." That was on 25 August 1998.

..

..

myself happy for enjoying an intimate experience with my brother, whom I barely knew when he was alive (after his marriage, from August 1954 to March 1975, I only met him again 10 times), but now has become my closest friend!

Nguyen Van Tin

23 November 1998

http://nguyentin.tripod.com/cobut-2.htm .

heeheehee "Spooky Dude" on the loose.

KEN JENSEN


#617 31 Dec 11, 14:09

samtn99 : Phieu, I've been trying to stay away from this issue as I can understand your family ties to the entire thing.

Just one word of caution about what I mean by "psychic pen phenomenon".

Psychic pen is not something that is related to fictional, rather to factual. It produces evidence and proofs and it offers the right interpretations of facts. It connects the dots of seemingly unrelated facts and/or events.

That said, here are the two links to the psychic pen phenomenon:

In the Preface I wrote: "I am only an instrument of my brother. This Homepage is a self-expression of General Hieu." I am going to elaborate this affirmation.

I only started to be aware of my brother expressing himself through me when I was writing the article Cover-Up of General Hieu's Death . I suddenly made the following statement without any hesitation: "Although this is an imaginative development, I think it follows closely with what really happened that day, because I am convinced it has been sketched under the spiritual guidance of my brother's spirit." That was on 25 August 1998.

Prior to that day, in the beginning of July 1998, when I started writing my first article My Brother, General Hieu , I only felt a gentle nudge of inspiration to write. In it, I stated "My brother and I were not very close to each other" - right in the introduction - and "Without doubt, other people knew my brother better than me" in the conclusion. I was satisfied when this article was published in the 541st issue of Van Nghe Tien Phong magazine in the end of July 1998, and was hoping that article would trigger other people to take over the task of writing about General Hieu, because as far as I was concerned, I felt that I had already mustered everything I knew about my brother from my memory and mind. I was totally exhausted and caput.

But my brother did not desist! In the middle of July, he pushed me to send a letter to the Pentagon inquiring if they possessed any evaluation reports on General Hieu, written by American military advisors. The Pentagon responded that all significant documents pertaining to the Vietnam war era had been delivered in bulk to the National Archives three years ago. When I contacted the National Archives,

I was told that the following week, that was the third week of August, right when I had two weeks of vacation, all documents of the Vietnam war era would be released 100 percent to the general public to peruse. In hindsight, my brother turned on the green light at the right time. Were I to contact the Pentagon or the National Archives earlier, I would certainly receive from either of these two agencies a "Sorry, there was nothing on him" note, after having a clerk research superficially one or two boxes among the huge stacks of documents kept on a floor the size of a football field.

Besides the pile of documents that my brother selectively guided me in retrieving (him, consciously; me, unconsciously) from the National Archives (it was like searching for a needle in a hay stack), he also directed my nephew Dung, his eldest son, to suddenly fetch and give me a manila envelop containing pictures, three letters and the death certificate of my brother. During all those years, from 1975 to August 1998, we had ample opportunities to meet each other, at least once or twice every year, and even so, Dung had never mentioned this treasure of documents, even his other brothers and sisters did not know that he had in his possession all this memorabilia!

Back to New York, after I wrote the article Cover-Up , I had no difficulty posting up to the Internet the following articles: General Kills Self In Saigon Dispute, Evaluation of ARVN 22nd Division, American Advisors' Evaluation on General Hieu, A Discussion Session between General Hieu and General McAuliffe, Tuong Hieu Hop Voi Bo Chi Huy (Staff Meeting), Dieu Hanh Binh Doan (Orders of Operation), Hanh Quan Toan Thang 46 (Operation Total Victory 46), Hanh Quan Toan Thang 8/B/5 (Operation Total Victory 8/B/5), Hanh Quan Dat May Do Tham (Sensor Operation), and Co Van My Luong Gia Si Quan Su Doan 5 (Evaluation of 5 Division's Officers), I had only to type verbatim the existing documents written either in English or in Vietnamese or to make minor arrangements. These articles were like ready-made dishes that I needed only to warm up a little bit before serving.

At this stage, I thought I had completed my task. But no ... my brother did not think it was enough: starting from the middle of September, every morning at 3:00 a.m., I was awakened by him, turned on the computer, began typing without outline, without anticipating in advance how to begin and how to end, without having to make any correction on syntax, kept on typing, sentences came out with ease like water from a stream, straight to 5, 6 o'clock. I then went on preparing to get ready for work, all day long I did not feel tired or somnolent. Some female colleagues even teased me for having an enhanced good-looking appearance!

more reading... www.generalhieu.com/cobut-2.htm

I wrote in the Preface: "I am only the instrument of my brother. General Hieu's homepage is a self-expression." And in the Epilogue: Psychic Pen Phenomenon (1), I have briefly touched upon the psychic pen phenomenon that I have been experiencing while designing and constructing this homepage . At this present time, I would like to go further into detail about a few typical instances concerning this amazing psychic pen phenomenon (automatic writing is a more familiar term).

The Front Page Photo.

I obtained this photo not long prior to the time I started establishing General Hieu's homepage. It fell into my hands under the following circumstances: Following the days Saigon fell into Communists' hands in May 1975, one of my cousins passed by my brother's house in the Chi Hoa Officers Housing Complex and saw the house was turned upside down with papers and photos littered all over the rooms. She took home a few photos. In the end of 1989, she escaped by boat and brought along with her this photo with the purpose of showing it to the immigration authority as proof that she was related to a Vietnamese officer and thus would be admitted into the United States. Once in the United States, she gave it to my father. In the beginning of July 1998, when I needed a photo to illustrate my article My Brother, General Hieu on the Internet, my father gave to me the only photo as a general of my brother in our family's possession at that time. This photo is quite appropriate to this homepage in that it includes all elements expressed in this homepage: military, intelligentsia, virtue, religion, American advisors, etc... I realized that my brother had chosen this photo to be inserted into his homepage. If it is indeed so, he has laid the foundation for this homepage since 1975!

The Legend of Di Linh Leprosarium

When my cousin learned that I was writing about my brother, she told me that when she was still in Vietnam she had seen a photo of my brother taken with Monsignor Jean Cassaigne, the founder of the Di Linh leprosarium who was dying of leprosy at the Di Linh leprosarium. That photo was published in a book she had found in the library of a Benedictine Order in Thu Duc. I urged her to provide me with a copy of that book or at least a copy of that photo so that I could have proof that my brother used to spend time at a leprosarium. Otherwise, who would believe an army General's presence at such a place. Nonetheless, prior to obtaining any proof, when I wrote the article entitled Virtuous and Religious Traits in General Hieu, I wrote, or rather my brother made me write, that General Hieu used to visit Monsignor Jean Cassaigne at the Di Linh leprosarium.

Then one Saturday, I went to the Public Library on 42nd street to search for pictures of tanks. While I was scrolling down titles of books under the "Vietnam" section on a computer monitor, my eyes suddenly caught the title of a book in French: La Vie de Monseigneur Jean Cassaigne (Biography of Monsignor Jean Cassaigne). I immediately submitted a request for that book to be retrieved with the hope of finding that intriguing photo. To my great disappointment, it was nowhere to be found. Instead, I read the following sentence (in French): At 9:30 a.m. on April 12, 1972, Major General Nguyen Van Hieu entered the bedroom of Monsignor Jean Cassaigne and bestowed him with the 4th Degree of National Honor Medal." So, at least I got proof of General Hieu's appearance at Di Linh leprosarium.

Then, what happened next was incredible. My cousin went back to Vietnam to visit her family. She seized this opportunity to go back to the Benedictine Order's library in Thu Duc to seek out the book in which she had seen the photo in question, but the book was nowhere to be seen. That night, my brother appeared in her dream and ordered her to go up to Di Linh where she would find photos of him. The next morning, with apprehension, she made the trip to the remote area of Di Linh. And low and behold, when she was introduced into the visitors' room, she saw quite a few photos of General Hieu hanging on the walls! She was permitted to make copies of these photos and once back into the United States mailed them to me. And I put up two of these photos (1) and (2) on my web site. And so, my brother had urged me not to hesitate to write something, because he would provide me with the proof later on!

General Hieu, Deputy Commander of Corps 1.

When my brother was fired from the command post of the 5th Division after the battle of Snoul, I recalled vaguely he was transferred to Danang, Center of Vietnam, as Deputy Commander of Corps 1, under Commanding General Hoang Xuan Lam. But then when I tried to verify this fact among several officers - Captains, Majors, Colonels, and Generals - nobody seemed to recall my brother ever held that position in Danang. One day, Colonel Ta Thanh Long told me by phone that he was about to meet General Lam at a wedding ceremony and would ask him directly and in person that question. The following week I received a letter from him stating that General Lam's response was negative: "No, General Hieu had never been his Deputy Commander." General Hieu, seeing that everybody seemed to have a short memory immediately sent me - through the intermediary of my cousin - those photos taken at the Di Linh leprosarium in April 1972. One of these photos showed General Hieu wearing the insignia of Corp 1 ! Afterwards, I received a letter from General Lam apologizing for wrongly stating to Colonel Long that General Hieu had never been his Deputy Commanding General; he did so briefly!

Harvesting Documents At The National Archives.

When I was nudged by my brother into approaching the National Archives at the end of August 1998, my sole purpose was to find evaluation reports of American Advisors regarding General Hieu, because I thought those were the only types of documents that the American Advisors would have brought back from Vietnam.

Regulations and rules established at the National Archives were very strict: no pens are allowed in the building, pencils will be provided; no hats or handbags are permitted; all types of transcripts and photocopies must be reviewed and stamped at the exit; all documents are allowed to be copied but each time prior approval must be granted; all researchers are closely monitored, with archival staff showing up to ask questions at any infraction or suspected move; any request slip of documents must be accurately filled out and must be reviewed and countersigned by an archival staff prior to submission; the maximum of each request is 22 boxes loaded on a cart; the waiting time of each request is one hour and a half.

Because of all those strict regulations and rules, one must proceed with careful planning and decisive decision-making in the selection of documents to be copied. Initially, I was looking for pages in which General Hieu's name appeared and photocopied them. But at a very early stage, I commenced to function on an automatic pilot mode: choosing this page, discarding that page without knowing why or why not. I thus operated like a zombie, from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., with one hour lunch break at noon time; starting on Monday and finishing on Friday of that week. I carried home a pack of approximately 400 pages of photocopied documents, not knowing how I would exploit and make use of these documents, because among them I only got 4 pages regarding evaluations of General Hieu.

But as one can see, the outcome was that, from these inordinate documents, my brother has produced more than 200 8"x11" pages discoursing about General Hieu. One should know that those articles were generated without any pre-planning from my part. Usually a sudden title sparked in my brain, then at 3:00 a.m. I went to my desk, turned on the computer, started to type without any outline, beginning the introduction paragraph without having any idea what the main body and what the conclusion would look like! Each time a backup document was needed, my hand just reached out and pulled out the right documents without any painful search. The writing process was extremely smooth and easy: I was working under my brother's guidance. In other words, my brother was using a psychic pen in me.

Someone suggested that I was able to write because I had the documents in hands. Let me offer you the following metaphor: You and I, we go to the supermarket and carry back home vegetables, meat, chicken, fish, etc... Once in the kitchen, you ask me to cook a 9-course meal, to which I vehemently protest because I have never learned how to cook. But then since you insist, I roll up my sleeves and attack my task of coming up with 9 dishes. You taste and like each one of them and scold me for having lied to you in saying I did not now how to cook! Dear reader, you should know I have produced more than 30 articles dealing with military subjects while I have no military background whatsoever! Was that not psychic pen phenomenon?

more reading ... www.generalhieu.com/giangbut-2.htm

I wrote this in the preface of my website:

But all of a sudden, in the end of May 1998, an unknown force within me directed me to go to my desk, turn on my computer and start typing the first words "Anh Toi, Tuong Hieu" (My Brother, General Hieu). Then, I kept on typing without an outline, without thinking clearly, without knowing all the details of a fact, without knowing the date of an event narrated, just typing in general. And thus, within two days, eight hours in total with interruptions, I wrapped up the article and sent it to be published in Van Nghe Tien Phong magazine. When my article appeared in the 541 issue at the end of July 1998, I devoured the article: I was surprised that the editor did not make any correction - since when am I such a good writer?

In a tandem with the article sent to VNTP, I also posted it into the Internet under the name of General Hieu's Homepage, black and white, just the naked article, without any pictures or illustrations.

I then received a few phone calls from friends who offered some details and suggested some corrections. From these inputs, I revised the article which increased from six to 16 pages!

Then I received phone calls and e-mails from strangers reacting favorably to my article, which enticed me into wanting to know more about my brother. I went into a frenzy process of researching, inquiring and was able to come up with "General Hieu's Military Career", based on information related to Generals whom I knew my brother was associated with.

Then I heard of and obtained the article " Major General Nguyen Van Hieu - Profile of a Competent and Virtuous General" authored by Colonel Trinh Tieu. I also found a chapter entitled "The Fate of a Patriot" about my brother in the "Fallen Leaves" authored by Nguyen Thi Thu Lam, a book forgotten among my father's piles of books.

I thought that was it. But something pushed me to contact the Pentagon, although I did not succeed with the CIA in the past: perhaps they might possess a dossier on my brother. The Pentagon advised me that after 20 years, which was 1995, all documents related to the Vietnam War had been declassified and sent in bulk to the National Archives. The National Archives told me I contacted them at the right moment because next week, the last week of August 1998, all documents related to the Vietnam War would be released 100 percent to the general public. Without saying, I hurried up to go down to Maryland and started hunting and fishing: not only did I find evaluation reports on my brother written by American Advisors, which was my initial intent, I also discovered other important documents I did not know exist, especially documents related to military operations and operation orders of General Hieu.

Furthermore, while in Maryland, unexpectedly one of my nephews without me asking, told me:"Do you want pictures of my dad?", resulting in me having all types of pictures of my brother, dating from the days prior to his entering the Military Academy in 1950 to 1975, even the three letters my brother wrote to his wife from the front-line, letters that none of my nephews and nieces knew were lying undetected among the piles of pictures all these years.

It seemed that my brother guided me to these pictures, to these letters, to the military documents so that they could be made known to the public about him, about his life, about his military exploits, about his abilities, and even about his unjust death. I got the impression that my brother's spirit engulfed me, manipulated my heart and my mind and dictated to me the articles signed Nguyen Van Tin in this Homepage.

I am only an instrument of my brother:

General Hieu's Homepage is a SELF-EXPRESSION.

Nguyen Van Tin
(25 September 1998)

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

Phieu


#618 31 Dec 11, 16:28

samtn99 : Phieu,

You do however keep giving genius and master status to II Corps planning.

Could I force it down your throat that II Corps planning is a stroke of genius and has a master status?

Not mentioning that Colonel Tung prepared his plan since the beginning of 1965 while Colonel Hieu had to improvise his counter-attack on the spot.

II Corps Commander decided to play the enemy's game.

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

Was II Corps in charge of Dan Thang 21?

Sure it was.

Why Pleime - Chapter IV - Phase I - The "Dân Thắng 21" Operations - From 20 to 26 October 1965 - Lifting the Siege at Pleime

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

Its order of battle: [chart]

That operation was very predictable (the PAVN seem to have had it down to almost every last detail)

It was to the credit of another chess master Colonel Tung who was known to be very meticulous in his preparation of an attack.

Through various battles prior to Pleime Battle, Colonel Hieu concurred with Colonel Mataxis, II Corps Senior Advisor, that Colonel Tung always calculated meticulously the respective strength of both sides in preparation of any attack, as is the case of Duc Co Battle:

The VC are well known for their meticulous gathering of intelligence prior to an operation. They carefully gather data not only on enemy strength to include number of troops, weapons and fortifications, but also the reinforcing capability of the headquarters controlling the zone in which they are in operation. When laying the groundwork for the attack at Duc Co the VC undoubtedly carefully calculated the number of troops garrisoning Duc Co and also estimated the troops available to the Special Zone and II Corps for a relief force.

and lacking in any genius.

Not lacking at all: It thwarted the ambush scheme, did it not? With a lesser number of troops (1000 versus 2000) and with the surprise of being able to bringing in artillery firepower to Phu My, which Colonel Tung did not expect at all.

Let's not even get into the fact it took days for an armored column to move less than 25 miles.

The delay and slow motion of the armored column was a counter-measure of the mobile ambush tactic used by the NVA ambush force:

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.

Convinced that the first part of their plan - to ambush the relief column - was about to take place, the VC Field Front ordered the 32nd Regiment to leave its assembly area1.

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.

Or that it was almost the exact same plan that was used every time Duc Co got attacked.

The NVA used the exact same plan – fake an attack on an outpost to lure in and destroy the relief force – with a difference: instead of a static waylay, it was a mobile ambush tactic.

I would also like to see some discussion on the timing of the ARVN units at the end of the fighting when the PAVN slipped across the border. I suggest that it was done too late.

The timing at the end of the fighting was perfect. The last two remnant enemy battalions were cornered at the narrow escape corridor in the Ia Drang valley by the five airborne battalions:

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.

...

On 24 November, as no more contacts were made with the enemy, the Airborne Brigade withdrew from the area of operations, terminating the third phase of the Battle of Pleime with 265 VC killed (BC), 10 others and 58 weapons captured.

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

Phieu


#619 31 Dec 11, 18:07 RedDagger18 : Hello Thread

I am finding this whole exchange interesting, tho' in and out in sporadic bursts. I am sad to continue to read a whole lot of bullshit carping about who said what and when, who is slandering others, etc. That gets in the way of the whole discussion. So, let's put our egos on hold or on the shelf, and simply contribute thoughtful comments so that we all can learn.

Do you allude specifically to Altus, Max and Ken?

Phieu


#620 01 Jan 12, 02:03

The Chess Grand Master Colonel Hieu.

Reading the Enemy’s Mind

The Viet Cong Field Front B3 made meticulous preparations for its Playmę 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 -Thuan Man (6/29-7/1), Highway 19 (7/16-25), Duc Co (8/3-18), Highway 21 (8/19-9/2), Phu Cu, Bong Son, Phu Ly (9/23-10/2).

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 conquest 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):

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: 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 Front B3 would wait for the arrival of 66th Regiment at Chu Pong in order to attempt a second time to conquer Pleime camp.

That insight into Field Front B3’s intention lead Colonel Hieu to conceive his checkmate operational concept of destroying the three NVA regiments with B-52 airstrikes as seen in previous posts.

Phieu


#621 01 Jan 12, 05:55

The Unfolding of Strategic and Tactical Moves ...

... leading toward the assault attack against the Pleime camp.

Based on the analysis of documents from the three participants in the Pleime battle - the South Vietnamese, the North Vietnamese Communist and the American - I draw up a strategic and tactical development that lead to the Pleime battle as following:

- In January 1959, with decree 15, the North Vietnamese Communist Politburo decided to take over South Vietnam by military force and ordered the construction of Ho Chi Minh trail.

- The South Vietnamese strategists anticipated that the North Vietnamese Communists could invade South Vietnam either in a frontal attack by crossing Ben Hai river, or in a lateral attack along the Ho Chi Minh trail, entering in the 1st Military Region (B1 Front or Region 5) or lower in the 2nd Military Region (B3 Field Front or Western Highlands). They built many strategic roads, such as National Route 14 connecting Ban Me Thuot, Pleiku, Kontum to Thua Thien, set up many outposts from the 17th Parallel along the Laotian border to Kontum. I Corps and II Corps conducted joint military exercices to counter potential North Vietnamese Army's either frontal or lateral invasion attacks.

- In 1962, 1963 and 1964, the ARVN repeatedly launched foray operations in Do Xa stronghold, a NVA troop's infiltration gate at the junction of Quang Ngai, Quang Tin and Kontum provinces.

- In August 1964, NVA 320th Regiment was dispatched to South Vietnam and arrived in Central Highlands in the beginning of 1965

- Beginning 1965, NVA 325th Division Command appeared in Central Highlands and took the command of all enemy efforts in the area. A switch to positional war and mobile warfare commenced. The North Vietnamese Communists planned to increase the combat strength to divisional level.

- From January to May, the first campaigns aimed at paralizing National Route QL 19 and controlling the northern part of Binh Dinh, in order to isolate the northern part of Central Highlands (Kontum and Pleiku) from the coastal area.

- In February, they challenged the Americans by having a team of VC sappers attacking Camp Holloway in Pleiku.

- In March, the Americans retaliated with Rolling Thunder air campaign by bombing North Vietnam, and the first American combat unit, 9th Marine Regiment, landed on Danang airbase on March 8 to protect the airplanes that flew air missions in the Rolling Thunder campaign out of that base.

- Immediately, the North Vietnamese Communist Joint General Staff decided to scare off the American troops and ordered 304th Division to ready to enter South Vietnam to attack this first American combat unit.

- In Region 5, that included Danang, General Chu Huy Man drew up a plan using 304th Division to inflict a damaging attack on this US Marine unit.

- From March to June, the American troops invaded in great number the coastal areas from Dong Ha up to the north to Chu Lai down to the south with more than two marine divisions, discouraging the North Vietnamese Communists from attacking the American unit garrisoned at Danang airbase.

- In July, the US 1st Air Cavalry was created and on July 28, President Johnson gave order to this unit to get ready to go to South Vietnam.

- Beginning July, National Route QL 21 and National Route QL 19 Bis were cut off, isolating the three northern provinces of Central Highlands - Pleiku, Kontum and Phu Bon.

- II Corps counter-attacked with Dan Tien 107 to relieve Thuan Man District (Phu Bon), with Than Phong 1 and 3 to clear QL 19 and 21 and reestablish resupply routes to Central Highlands.

- Also in the month of July, General Chu Huy Man was transferred to Western Highlands and B3 Field Front was created to launch the Winter Spring campaign aiming at slicing South Vietnam in two along National Route 19, from Pleiku to Quinhon, before the American troops swarmed into Western Highlands.

- Meanwhile, NVA 320th Regiment had been encircling camp Duc Co for a month; and by end of July, NVA 33rd Regiment was ordered to leave its base at Quang Ninh on a two month march to Western Highlands.

- Beginning August, units of US 1st Air Cavalry boarded a ship on a two-month voyage by sea to Quinhon. Meanwhile, an advance group composing 1.100 officers flew to Quinhon to make preparation to set up a camp at An Khe in the Western Highlands.

- Also around that time, the North Vietnamese Communist Joint General Staff received the attack plan of Pleime-Pleiku drafted by B3 Field Front and gave order to 304th Division Highlands to make preparation to get ready to enter Western Highlands to reinforce 320th Regiment and 33rd Regiment. Since the order given to 304th Division to be ready within 2 months, and the march down to the South required at least 2 months, one can assume that the plan had chosen December 1965 or January 1966 to be month M to start the Pleime-Pleiku campaign.

- In learning the American troops would be present in Western Highlands by end of September, on August 18, while the on-going training program was not yet completed, the JNVA Joint General Staff ordered the forward group of 304th Division to depart, and a week afterward came the turn of the entire 66th Regiment, as the battlefield situation demanded, without waiting for the two remaining regiments of the division, the 24th and the 9th, to be ready. The consequence was that instead of a complete division, only a division minus was dispatched. The plan of the campaign was to encircle camp Pleime with 320th Regiment, to destroy the ARVN relief task force with 33rd Regiment, to invade camp Pleime with 320th Regiment and 33rd Regiment. The belated 66th Regiment would participate in phase 3 of the campaign, and would joint force with 320th Regiment and 33rd Regiment to conquer Pleiku.

- By mid September, the ship Rose disembarked the first units of US 1st Air Cavalry at Quinhon. They prepared to be transported to An Khe beginning Octobre.

- Early October, B3 Field Front Command received the approval from the Joint General Staff of the Pleime campaign's plan.

- On October 19, B3 Field Front Command decided to start the Pleime campaign ahead of time as planned by ordering the attack on Pleime camp, while the American troops of US 1st Air Cavalry newly arrived at camp An Khe were not ready for combat, although the main force of 66th Regiment would not be present at the battlefield until November 1.

Phieu


#622 01 Jan 12, 07:12

Seven Days of Zap

Time Magazine
Friday, Nov. 05, 1965

Between the flat, metallic blasts of occasional mortar shells, the only sound in the camp was the rustle of rats shuffling over sleeping men. In the rifle pits behind the sandbagged perimeter of Plei Me, weary defenders sniffed the sour stench of cordite and unwashed clothes and grumbled about the duty. "Shut up," said a grizzled major. "This is what we're getting paid for." An enlisted man chuckled in the darkness. "Yeah, anybody who don't like the cooking can go right out the gate."

As eloquently as the gunfire or casualty lists, the G.I. gallows humor vented at the low point of Plei Me's siege last week, expressed the professionalism and grim resolve of the U.S. fighting man in Viet Nam. In the beleaguered camp, American soldiers weathered 178 hours of constant mortar and recoilless rifle barrage, fanatical assaults by wave on wave of mustard-uniformed North Vietnamese regulars, the endless thrum and thunder of close air support ("The Skyraiders looked like they were wired nose to tail," marveled one survivor), night after night in which land flares and blazing napalm turned the landscape into a Bosch-like rendering of the pit. By the end of the siege, only three of Plei Me's dozen Special Forces men were unwounded and on their feet. But the Americans were all ready to fight some more. "Are you a tiger, Swanson?" a doctor asked a gut-shot trooper at the hospital in nearby Danang. The man grinned weakly: "Yes, sir."

The Meat Grinder. The siege of Plei Me began two unsuspected days before the first shot was fired. Up to the triangle-shaped fort 20 miles from the Cambodian border crept sappers from two recently infiltrated North Vietnamese regiments. Working in darkness just 40 yards from the camp's wire-strung perimeter (see aerial photo), the cautious bo doi (infantrymen) cut trenches and L-shaped firing pits, hauled the dirt away in baskets and camouflaged their labors with brush. Though the camp's 400 montagnard defenders were patrolling assiduously up to ten miles away, no one thought to poke around his own front yard. Into each Communist pit went tidy stacks of ammo, a Chinese automatic rifle at one end, an ugly, snub-snouted 12.5-mm. antiaircraft machine gun at the other. Every emplacement was manned by a single gunner and designed so that he could scuttle quickly between his submachine-gun, trained on the camp, and the antiaircraft gun whenever fighter-bombers appeared.

With the siegeworks complete, fully 6,000 fresh Communist troops waited silently in the jungles around Plei Me. They had carefully set up another Dong Xoai-style battle, hoping to draw relief force after relief force into a merciless meat grinder. At 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 19, the Reds turned the handle.

full article .... www.generalhieu.com/pleime-time-2.htm

Phieu


#623 01 Jan 12, 16:57

don744 : Any source to corroborate this? When it is said he was “surely briefed later”, sounds very opinionated. Also, the general outlines you referred to, do you think that would be kinda like a “concept of the operation”? Did a written concept of the operation exist? How about a written plan? I think this is the actual crux of the matter. No sources have been shown that directly state there was a grand battle plan. I can see how person that is not professionally learned in military operations may be able to, on some level, come to the conclusion there was a big plan. However, if one were to have made a career of the military (I am a 26 year veteran…and there are many others here with significantly longer periods of service, and level of responsibility than I) one would be educated in military institutions, schooled in doctrine, and actually perform duties on staff where one woul gain firsthand knowledge of how the Army works. To a Soldier, much of this does not make sense.

This operational concept of Colonel Hieu was the type that General Schwarzkopf would marvel:

Never heard such thing at West Point, or General Staff and Command College, or War College.

Why would you need to see it in writing? You see its execution before your eyes!

When you follow a master chess game, you know there has to be a master plan, right? Do you need to see that master plan in writing in order to enjoy the master chess game?

"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" (Pleiku, page 9)

In support…not as the end all be all of the operation. A tool to be used as the situation permitted. This quote shows it as Knowles idea.

Knowles just executed Colonel Hieu’s operational concept in the use of B52 airstrikes.

The B52 airstrikes had been scheduled to enter in action for 11/15. The 1/7 Air Cav Battalion was inserted at the footstep of Chu Pong to force the B3 Field Front to maintain its troops concentrated at the staging areas longer. Intelligence source indicated that these attacking troops were about to move out to attack starting 11/14. Who was supporting whom? B52s air force or 1st Air Cav ground force?

"Unlike the relationship with 1s Air Cav where orders were given through Larsen, II Corps Command seemed to be able to give order directly to 5th SF Group Commander."

Source, please. This sounds like opinion.

(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.

(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.

The only relationship between II Corps and IFFV that has been exhibited was one of “coordination”.

IFFV did not have ground combat units under its command. Coordination existed only between II Corps and 1st Air Cav.

"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)

The cited source does not say that…exactly. The source is below. There is no mention of COL Hieu’s involvement in ordering this insertion. That would be an assumption then, would it not?

“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.”

All the coordinated maneuvers of the armored relief task force, the 91st Ranger Battalion (-) and US Delta team, the 22nd Ranger Battalion, were executed under the direct command of II Corps/Colonel Hieu.

"General Larsen surely didn’t not act erratically and on the whim when he dropped in General Knowles’ Forward CP from time to time to issue order. He must knew about Colonel Hieu’s master plan in issuing that was dictated by the enemy’s movements."

The highlighted text is an assumption, not a fact. Please provide just one source that there was a grand plan in place prior to 14 NOV.

If General Larsen did not act according to a master plan, then he acted erratically and on the whim. If not, then he had to have a master plan, which could not be his, because he was not positioned at the operational headquarters established for the conduct of the Long Reach operation: II Corps/Colonel Hieu – 1st Air Cav FCP/General Knowles. Conclusion?

Even just a “concept of the operation”. If the plan was this big, and this good, it would be a case study that would be taught in military academies. I

t should be by now!

"On 11/13, General Larsen ordered General Knowles to go west".

Source? This is a definitive statement. In order for it to be accepted at face value it must be corroborated by a direct source. What I have seen is “circumstantial” evidence presented that this happened, but no direct corroboration.

Coleman, page 196: "That day [Nov 13], 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."

"Colonel Hieu did not give order directly to General Knowles or Colonel Brown, but always through General Larsen."

Source? Can you show just one direct example of where this happened?

Each time General Larsen gave ordered to General Knowles, did he do it on his own initiatives?

"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;"

I think that about says it all.

You left out the following 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.

But I contend it goes even farther. There are no documents that show there was a grand plan. Even Why Pleime does not state definitively that there was a grand plan. That would have been right up front, in CH I, an outline of the master plan to destroy three regiments. Surely, if there was only once source in existence that would have stated it, would that not be the one?

Pleime,cuộc chię́n lịch sử, page 94, the Vietnamese version of Why Pleime alluded to this grand plan at the end of phase 1 and beginning of phase 2 (I already quoted this paragraph):

The battle from phases 2 and 3 also introduced an aspect never seen up to now because for almost 20 years, during the Franco-Vietnamese war, seldom pursuit operation was considered after each time the enemy made appearance and when it was conducted, no significant results had been achieved. Therefore this time around, the determination not to allow the enemy to escape, coupled with the solid intelligence on the enemy situation had permitted the battle to develop to maximum degree and scale and at the same token lead to the biggest victory ever achieved by the ARVN and its Allied.

"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."

Source?

I have already stated that there is no concept of the operation presented that directly laid out, in terms of a grand plan, to conduct a phased operation. When did II corps see the opportunity to develop a grand plan?

When did the planning start?

On October 26

How long did it take to complete?

Not long. Only its execution took long: 10/27, 11/8, 11/11, 11/13, 11/14 and 11/15-20.

Was there a joint effort in planning? In my humble opinion, if one were planning on using assets that don’t belong to you …there is some coordination in advance.

Obviously yes, since B52 airstrikes had to be coordinated between 1st Air Cav FCP, IFFV and MACV.

Any direct source? One would have to brief the master plan to gain approval from the US for use of their assets.

The fact B52 airstrikes had not been used as a tactical move but a strategic move, it had to be a master plan for that, and thus yes it should have been approved by General Westmoreland, and yes somebody ought to have briefed him about that master plan.

You witness the fact. Do you need to see the source before believing what your eyes see?

Maybe one day, somebody might be able to dig out that direct source!

Phieu


#624 01 Jan 12, 19:12

Phieu : Why would you need to see it in writing? You see its execution before your eyes!

Here is the crux of the matter, you want me to prove a negative. I can also make a claim I know that the truth is that Gen William Rosson (GEN Westmoreland's Chief of Staff) secretly passed the whole grand plan to COL Hieu on Westmoreland's insistence, in order to instill confidence and bolster cooperation between forces. He had received a master's degree in international relations from Oxford University, so he was well versed in cooperative effort and understood the importance of a strong relationship between allied forces. He worked in secrecy, because he knew that had the secret liaison with COL Hieu been known, it would totally destroy confidence in II Corps. So sensitive was the issue, the whole plan must be executed with the highest degree of secrecy to ensure there was absolutely no tie between Westmorelands' or Larsen's staff. Nothing was written, it was entirely verbal, but so masterfully conceived one did not need to commit it to paper.

Do you see my point yet? Prove me wrong. Before I can even think about accepting some of the more radical views expressed, I must become more educated in facts. The discussion we have had has made me think, and read on a subject I would not likely have taken the time to research had you not began posting here. Thanks for that.

don744


#625 01 Jan 12, 22:23

The thing is that the pre-requisite of the feasibility of such a plan is the solid intelligence of the enemy situation by the minutes, the hours, and the days and know if and when the three NVA regiments would have concentrated to the point of becoming targetable by B-52 airstrikes. Did Westmoreland and Rosson have that?

Phieu


#626 02 Jan 12, 01:51

What if there was no master plan for Bayonet I operation?

Then, on 11/8, after replacing the 1st Air Cav Brigade, General Knowles would lunge his 3rd Air Cav Brigade forces into Chu Prong in a search and destroy mission.

And the operation would ended up similar to be just a “walk in the park”, just like the 1st Air Cav Brigade in the All the Way operation (Coleman, page 186):

After the 1st Brigade battalions generally lost contact with the remnants of the 33rd Regiment on November 7, Kinnard said, in Army Magazine, that, “I had been planning to replace the gallant, but spent, First Brigade with the Third Brigade, commanded by Colonel Thomas W. Brown, and this seemed a logical time to do so.” The general might have been indulging in a bit of hyperbole. The units of the 1st Brigade unquestionalby were gallant, but spent? The 2/12 Cav had spent the longest period in the field, eighteen days total – but its days in contact numbered about five. The 2/8 had fourteen days in the valley and only two days of hard contact. The 1/8 Cav’s one company had one day of contact, while the others had none. And the 1/12 Cav had only its reconnaissance platoon truly get shot at in anger. Compared to times in the field by units later in the war, this was a walk in the park.

Furthermore, there would be no opportunity whatsoever to make use of B-52 airstrikes, since the three NVA regiment forces would never regroup to the point of becoming targetable for B-52 airstrikes!

Then, after a few weeks with sporadic engagements more or less significant, General Kinnard would say, "I had been planning to replace the gallant, but spent, Third Brigade with the Second Brigade, and this seemed a logical time to do so."

Then, again after a few weeks with sporadic engagements more or less significant, General Kinnard would say, "I had been planning to replace the gallant, but spent, Second Brigade with the First Brigade, and this seemed a logical time to do so."

So on and on, into an exercise of utmost futility of an endless circular troop unit rotation maneuverings...

Phieu


#627 02 Jan 12, 03:42

Phieu : the solid intelligence of the enemy situation by the minutes, the hours,

Oh yeah? So why not just call those BUFFs in on these "solidly established" positions instead of playing Go?

altus


#628 02 Jan 12, 03:46

Phieu : When you follow a master chess game, you know there has to be a master plan, right?

Nope. Even in Chess, like War, a Plan gets modified as soon as the Battle starts. Your use of Chess almost tells me you haven't studied many "master" chess games.

I have played well over 10,000 chess games. I have studied hundreds of "Master Chess Games". I've also read hundreds of different analysis of the same game by different Chess Masters. Many of them don't agree on what the original plan was.

Each Master Chess player knows the basics related to "solid play"...

Control the Center
Develop your "pieces"
Castle early
When dealing with "minor" pieces, such as Knights and Bishops, they are more powerful when working as a team of "like" pieces.
"Doubled Pawns" are a weakness
etc. etc.

I can go on for a while and teach you the more "finer" aspects of the game of Chess. I highly doubt your Brother or "his" enemy were "Master" level Chess players.

Do you need to see that master plan in writing in order to enjoy the master chess game?

Yep! In reality that is why the players (or connoisseurs of the game) note each and every move. That is also the reason for After Action Reports, and Lessons Learned Reports; and the "study" of Battles and/or Operations.

Chess and War are two different things. In War you can function with "pieces" and territory that may be "unseen" and/or "unknown", and there are NO Rules. Where in Chess all is known and seen, and always follow certain "rules".

I doubt your Brother knew all the "pieces" he or his enemy had available.

KEN JENSEN


#629 02 Jan 12, 05:41

KEN JENSEN : Nope. Even in Chess, like War, a Plan gets modified as soon as the Battle starts. Your use of Chess almost tells me you haven't studied many "master" chess games.

A Plan that needs to be modified as soon as the battle starts is not a Master Plan.

A Master Plan is a Plan that needs minor adjustments due to unexpected moves from the opponent.

A Great Master Plan is a Plan that does not need any adjustment at all; it forsees and dictates all the opponent's moves.

(A note: Kasparov accused IBM of cheating in order to beat him by making adjustment/modification: "After the loss, Kasparov said that he sometimes saw deep intelligence and creativity in the machine's moves, suggesting that during the second game, human chess players had intervened on behalf of the machine, which would be a violation of the rules. IBM denied that it cheated, saying the only human intervention occurred between games.")

It is believed that a genius operational concept once passed on to the hands of the field commander for execution, its author can go to sleep...

I have played well over 10,000 chess games.

Good for you.

First of all, the crux in differences between genius and experience is in number. If you are a genius, you don't need experiences and are capable to produce a masterpiece at first strike. And if you are not, even with well over 10,000 chess games you still do not become a master chess player, and apparently, you might still not be sharp enough to read a master plan unfolding in front of your eyes.

I've also read hundreds of different analysis of the same game by different Chess Masters. Many of them don't agree on what the original plan was.

That does not preclude there is such an original master plan, especially in the case of a great master plan...

I can go on for awhile and teach you the more "finer" aspects of the game of Chess. I highly doubt your Brother or "his" enemy were "Master" level Chess players.

I know. I am not a chess player. My brother was a very good chess player, though. Richard Peters, the American Consul General in Bien Hoa, told me:

I had no family with me at that time, and General Hieu's family was in Saigon. I often invited him for dinner, because I had a very good Vietnamese cook who liked to prepare for us delicious dishes. We played western chess. He taught me Chinese chess. Sometimes we played the two types of chess one after the other. He always won!

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

I might venture to say a chess master at the same level as his competence in mahjong:

General Hieu excelled in many different areas, even in mahjong. One night, personnel of the General Staff relaxed in a tent, after a hard-working day during an out-of-field operation. A Lieutenant Colonel friend of mine taught me how to play mahjong. General Hieu was passing by and saw us played. However, he did not say a word and proceeded to the open sky shower quarters to take his bath. On his way out, he approached our table, made himself comfortable, and proceeded to show us several astute moves of this complex game. He then stood up and said: "It is good to know how to play mahjong, but be aware of becoming addicted to it: it could ruin one's life."

(www.generalhieu.com/SD22-2.htm)

Yep! In reality that is why the players (or connoisseurs of the game) note each and every move.

And yet, you seem not to note Colonel Hieu's each and every move, and are not even be able to appreciate when somebody else points each and every such move to you!

That is also the reason for After Action Reports, and Lessons Learned Reports; and the "study" of Battles and/or Operations.

Yes, but provided that you are at the level to comprehend them.

Chess and War are two different things. In War you can function with "pieces" and territory that may be "unseen" and/or "unknown", and there are NO Rules. Where in Chess all is known and seen, and always follow certain "rules".

Not much difference. But yes a good chess player is not necessary a good strategist and tactician.

You are a perfect illustration for this...

I doubt your Brother knew all the "pieces" he or his enemy had available.

Just enough to defeat his opponent.

Phieu


#630 02 Jan 12, 05:43

altus: Oh yeah? So why not just call those BUFFs in on these "solidly established" positions instead of playing Go?

Hey, Altus, you bother to argue with a lunatic?

I think RedDagger 18 is alluding to you, Altus in the following: “I am finding this whole exchange interesting, tho' in and out in sporadic bursts. I am sad to continue to read a whole lot of bullshit carping about who said what and when, who is slandering others, etc. That gets in the way of the whole discussion. So, let's put our egos on hold or on the shelf, and simply contribute thoughtful comments so that we all can learn. RedDagger18”

Phieu


#631 02 Jan 12, 06:14

altus : Oh yeah? So why not just call those BUFFs in on these "solidly established" positions instead of playing Go?

From post #530

don744 : If we had pinpoint minute to the minute intel, we would have just called in the B-52s from the start and not have messed around with inserting troops.

Just a question...I had asked earlier, but never got your thoughts.

Phieu: A Plan that needs to be modified as soon as the battle starts is not a Master Plan.

The BEST plan does not survive first contact. That is a universal truth for Soldiers. I believe had you actually served in the military you would never have made that statement. I dont say that to be harsh, it is just an observation. I have had this thought concerning several tidbits of information that have been posted.

don744


#632 02 Jan 12, 06:23

Phieu : Hey, Altus, you bother to argue with a lunatic

Not really. Consider this a compassionate wake-up call before your imminent free fall.

altus


#633 02 Jan 12, 06:29

Phieu: A Plan that needs to be modified as soon as the battle starts is not a Master Plan.

A Master Plan is a Plan that needs minor adjustments due to unexpected moves from the opponent.

A Great Master Plan is a Plan that does need any adjustment at all.

heeheehee, only in your "mind".

From what little I've read so far, your brother was not the "Master Planner" for the operations surrounding the Ia Drang Valley "Tactical" operations for the period in question.

It is believed that a genius operational concept once passed on to the hands of the field commander for execution, its author can go to sleep...

"Sleep", yeah right. If your brother had to make calls based on minute-by-minute Intel and Battle situations, he sure wasn't getting much sleep. Again, you make somewhat "dream like" statements attempting to keep your "Great Master Plan" from falling to the wayside.

As I stated previously, multiple Master Chess Players study the same great match and come up with differing conclusions as to the "why" a move or sequence of moves was performed. You write your opinion based on other's material and make a single conclusion that you expect everyone to agree with you. Sorry, Phieu, I was expecting to learn a lot from you based on ARVN points of view. You have disappointed me.

KEN JENSEN


#634 02 Jan 12, 06:46

What is the difference between these two quotes?

1. It is believed that after a [sic] commanding general conceived a master plan, he can go to sleep after releasing it to the field commander. Post 536

2.It is believed that a genius operational concept once passed on to the hands of the field commander for execution, its author can go to sleep... Post 629

The first thing that jumps out at me is that #1 applies to the “commanding general”, and #2 allows for application to a lesser entity. Modified possibly in a way to make it better fit the scenario. Do you have any idea of the actual role of a Chief of Staff? I mean a doctrinal definition of the position? That may help you understand more the difficulties with acceptance of your message.

don744


#635 02 Jan 12, 06:49

don744 : From post #530

"If we had pinpoint minute to the minute intel, we would have just called in the B-52s from the start and not have messed around with inserting troops."

Just a question...I had asked earlier, but never got your thoughts..

B-52 airstrikes were scheduled to enter in action Nov 15.

NVA troops got orders to move out of the staging areas on Nov 13.

1/7 Air Cav was inserted on Nov 14 to force B3 Field Front to retain its troops clustered at staging areas longer. That morning some recon teams and transportation units began to move out the staging areas.

Without this distractive move, the NVA troops would have dispersed long before the arrival of B-52s that would strike an empty target!

(Note: this is heavy military knowledge stuff! I can understand it went over your head ... I should not have assumed that you knew it already and mistakenly just made mention of the notion of "staging area" without explaining what it entailed.)

"The BEST plan does not survive first contact." That is a universal truth for Soldiers. I believe had you actually served in the military you would never have made that statement. I dont say that to be harsh, it is just an observation. I have had this thought concerning several tidbits of information that have been posted.

Where do you think all those "professional military stuffs" that I have acquired come from then ?

A lot of times, no knowledge at all is better than a little bit of knowledge. It keeps your mind more receptive, devoid of prejudices and preconceptions.

Phieu


#636 02 Jan 12, 06:56

altus: Not really. Consider this a compassionate wake-up call before your imminent free fall.

Thanks for your compassionate feeling Mr. the Wolf disguised as a sheep.I can picture you circling around waiting for the kill!

I think RedDagger 18 is alluding to you, Altus in the following: “I am finding this whole exchange interesting, tho' in and out in sporadic bursts. I am sad to continue to read a whole lot of bullshit carping about who said what and when, who is slandering others, etc. That gets in the way of the whole discussion. So, let's put our egos on hold or on the shelf, and simply contribute thoughtful comments so that we all can learn. “RedDagger18

Phieu


#637 02 Jan 12, 06:58

don744 : What is the difference between these two quotes?

1. Post 536

2. Post 629

The first thing that jumps out at me is that #1 applies to the “commanding general”, and #2 allows for application to a lesser entity. Modified possibly in a way to make it better fit the scenario. Do you have any idea of the actual role of a Chief of Staff? I mean a doctrinal definition of the position? That may help you understand more the difficulties with acceptance of your message.

It 's just happen in this particular case that the author and the executor of that operational concept are the same person!

This response addresses to Ken too.

Phieu


#638 02 Jan 12, 07:23

Phieu : It 's just happen in this particular case that the author and the executor of that operational concept is the same person!

This response addresses to Ken too.

What about the role of a chief of staff? Can you provide the answer to that question. You kind of sidestepped that one.

Don: I believe had you actually served in the military you would never have made that statement.

Phieu: Where do you think all those "professional military stuffs" that I have acquired come from then ?

From you. I dont necesarily believe everything you have presented is "professional military stuffs". I think it is your best effort to explain something that you didn't have the full ability to explain. At some point you are going to "hit the wall" so to speak, as you lack real life practical application of the concepts you throw out there as fact. If you took the time to consider the point of view of people that were actually educated, worked, and lived in the military, you may temper your viewpoint a bit and come to a better understanding of what happened.

In regards to your thread...what is the end state here? 100 pages of "yes he did...brilliant, genius, master plan" and "no way...impossible, AAR, sources". Since you and I have been in dialogue, I have not one time seen, "I see what you mean" or "you make a valid point". I see some big holes in the scenario you present, which have directly led me to understand that you lack institutional understanding. You have people here that can fill-in-the-blanks for your lack of understanding of the military, and better help you understand your brothers role, if you wish to do that.

don744


#639 02 Jan 12, 07:23

Phieu : Without this distractive move, the NVA troops would have dispersed long before the arrival of B-52s that would strike an empty target!

Not good...still walking asleep...ok, one more wake-up call:

Since you have accurate to-the-minute intel on the enemy's location, what prevents you from calling the BUFFs say half an hour prior to TOT so they can update the grids? Or from masterful timing the BUFF's TOT so that the enemy were bombed while asleep?

Since your "master" could not do that, we can project that the whole to-the-minute intel thingy was just another Ship High in Transit.

altus


#640 02 Jan 12, 07:28

Phieu : Then, on 11/8, after replacing the 1st Air Cav Brigade, General Knowles would lunge his 3rd Air Cav Brigade forces into Chu Prong in a search and destroy mission.

And the operation would ended up similar to be just a “walk in the park”, just like the 1st Air Cav Brigade in the All the Way operation (Coleman, page 186):

Furthermore, there would be no opportunity whatsoever to make use of B-52 airstrikes, since the three NVA regiment forces would never regroup to the point of becoming targetable for B-52 airstrikes!

Then, after a few weeks with sporadic engagements more or less significant, General Kinnard would said, "I had been planning to replace the gallant, but spent, Third Brigade with the Second Brigade, and this seemed a logical time to do so."

Then, again after a few weeks with sporadic engagements more or less significant, General Kinnard would said, "I had been planning to replace the gallant, but spent, Second Brigade with the First Brigade, and this seemed a logical time to do so."

So on and on, into an exercise of utmost futility of an endless circular troop unit rotation maneuverings ...

Ken, Don, etc.

I have shown you what would have happened if there was no master plan.

No need to go into further tiny bit arguments. You don't have to accept my take of the master plan of Colonel Hieu, if it is over your comprehension. I think I have presented it clear enough, that does not warrant any further clarification.

Let's move on...

Phieu


#641 02 Jan 12, 07:31

altus : Not good...still walking asleep...ok, one more wake-up call:

Since you have accurate to-the-minute intel on the enemy's location, what prevents you from calling the BUFFs say half an hour prior to TOT so they can update the grids? Or from masterful timing the BUFF's TOT so that the enemy were bombed while asleep?

Since your "master" could not do that, we can project that the whole to-the-minute intel thingy was just another Ship High in Transit.

Do you know how long it took B-52s to fly from Guam to Central Highlands? Not half an hour for sure.

It's eight hours, for Chirst's sake!

Some wake-up call you threw at me, Altus! You owe one to yourself.

Phieu


#642 02 Jan 12, 07:33

Yes. You on the other hand seem to have no idea what TOT is and what SAC/USAF are capable of.

altus


#643 02 Jan 12, 07:42

My post #640 applies to you too, Altus.

If you are my student, I would classify you student category e.

e. He was a repeater category d. student,
- I would just flatly tell him to shut up;

category d. being

d. He just wanted to show off in front of the class,
- I would demonstrate to him how swallowed and limited his knowledge still is (that would certainly humiliate him in front of the class and shut him up) and would move on with the lesson;

Phieu


#644 02 Jan 12, 07:53

Phieu: Let's move on...

Move on to what? So far you have 100% of the class in disagreement with your lesson. How can you move on at this point? If you are not capable of considering other points of view, or responding to direct questions, this thread is at an end as far as I am concerned.

don744


#645 02 Jan 12, 08:15

Phieu : Ken, Don, etc.

I have shown you what would have happened if there was no master plan.

No need to go into further detail arguments. You don't have to accept my take of the master plan of Colonel Hieu, if it is over your comprehension. I think I have presented it clear enough, that does not warrant any further clarification.

Let's move on...

heeheehee, I don't just want to move on.

And I'm sure our U.S. Generals didn't put to much "salt" into your Brother's Genius of a Plan.

I know U.S. Generals do take their subordinates advice from time-to-time (good ones anyway). I do believe that your Brother could not plan for, call or initiate any B52 strikes, or any other U.S. assets, unless some U.S. Officer authorized to do such, did it for your Brother. Your Brother's Master Plan was "wishful thinking".

In summary, so far, it seems your Brother's genius of a Master Plan relied on assets not at his disposal. And you, and possibly even your Brother, felt the American Leadership was "lacking" and your Brother should have been in Command.

Our U.S. Generals, in Vietnam, didn't take any orders from any Vietnam Officer and/or even the President of S. Vietnam. Do you get the picture now?

KEN JENSEN


#646 02 Jan 12, 10:18

Sorry, Ken,

Your military knowledge remains at the level of a platoon leader, who has the audacity to despise a II Corps chief of staff's knowledge and skills, instead of remaining humble and willing to learn.

I have to classify you as student category f and g

f. He was not at the level of the class,
- I would request that he be put down to a lower level grade;

g. He was just too obtuse,
- I won’t bother to explain further to him and just moved on for the entire class and hoped and prayed the best for him.

Phieu


#647 02 Jan 12, 10:23

don744: Move on to what?

I still have things to present you know. The 14976 views are staring at you; they pretty sure want to move on...

So far you have 100% of the class in disagreement with your lesson.

Whole class?

Sorry, Don, I have to classify you as student category b, since your questions show you have not reviewed the previous lessons thoroughly.

b. He did not review previous lessons, and so did not understand this lesson,
- I would tell him to review his lessons first;

and you can continue to hang on to the class.

How can you move on at this point? If you are not capable of considering other points of view, or responding to direct questions,

I am very capable of that. Look back and see how many direct questions I have entertained, from other serious "questionneurs" and from you.

Otherwise I have to classify you as student category g.

g. He was just too obtuse,
- I won’t bother to explain further to him and just moved on for the entire class and hoped and prayed the best for him.

this thread is at an end as far as I am concerned

You can leave this class as you so choose, I just hope and pray the best for you. And thanks for your valuable participation to this thread.

Phieu


#648 02 Jan 12, 11:43

Side bar: Master Plan of Pleime Offensive …

… was known at the highest American military authorities level – MACV (Coleman, page 193):

Despite this plethora of intelligence to the contrary at the field commanding level, Kinnard, acting on the orders from Task Force Alph (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 country about fifteen kilometers from the Plei Me camp, and they were adamant that the Cav should start turning over rocks in that area.

Coleman was accurate in terms of the level of decision-making but not quite on the reason given for the switch in operational direction from west to east: enticement diversionary move. The B3 Field Front Command bit the 3rd Air Cavalry Brigade’s enticement diversionary move and made plan for a second attack set for November 16 (Pleiku, page 76):

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.

Phieu


#649 02 Jan 12, 13:30

Phieu,

Leave off the attack stuff and stick to the historic facts. I enjoy your historic points in this thread.

DeltaOne


#650 02 Jan 12, 13:49

Astonishingly, I have been able to juggle the two attack stuff and historic facts at the same time! I think.

However, I gladly oblige, just tell those distractors to shup up, please.

Never mind, I won't respond to them anymore, just ignore their clamors instead.

I am extremely glad in knowing you enjoy my historic points in this thread.. Tha't my sole intention anyway.

Phieu


#651 02 Jan 12, 16:47

Phieu : I still have things to present you know. The 14976 views are staring at you; they pretty sure want to move on...

WOW, 14976 views; I'm so thrilled it creates "goose bumps on my legs". ROFLOL.

I wonder how many of those views were done by myself, Altus, Boonie etc. etc. and/or other forum members?

Boonie has 46 post.

I have 44 posts (45 now).

Altus has 74 posts.

Don744 has 47 posts.

One could easily multiple each of the above by a factor of 20 or more views before even deciding to make a post. heeheehee, except Boonie of course, his job seems to be to view every post.

What a strange "spooky dude" you are Phieu. Hey, you have stated you get your thoughts from the "spirit world"; and you are a "fictional" Author who mixes "gleaned" facts and other "Authors" writings with your pretend world.

Your problem is trying to sell this "history" forum your "dreams".

How's the "Thread Rating" average impress you? I've never seen such a LOW rating on a thread that has had as many views as this one. ROFLOL!

KEN JENSEN


#652 02 Jan 12, 17:39

It's 15589 now!

15589-14926= 1463 in 24 hours! Woah!

The low rating and its contrast with the number of views is revealing, isn'it? How subjective one can scoop down to when one is dissastified because one's ego has been bleeding!

You named Ken, Altus, Boonie, Don ... anybody else? ...

Hey I have promised to DeltaOne I would ignore the attack stuff and stick to the history facts.

Phieu


#653 02 Jan 12, 20:11

Phieu: Sorry, Ken,

Your military knowledge remains at the level of a platoon leader, who has the audacity to despise a II Corps chief of staff's knowledge and skills, instead of remaining humble and willing to learn.

I have to classify you as student category f and g

Phieu,

What is your military experience?

samtn99


#654 02 Jan 12, 20:46

Zilch!

What little and limited military knowledge I have been able to acquire, I did it under the tutelage of my brother. He is a great teacher of mine ... Even some general officer colleagues of his now dreaded to discuss military issues with me !... Like when I challenged them how many elements are there in a successful big unit troop withdrawal ...

I have told you at the outset of this thread. I am only an expert in what pertains to my brother's military career, and indirectly to the ARVN in general.

Do you know that www.generalhieu.com is becoming the most consulted reference source in ARVN, even the most authoritative? For instance, it has the most exhaustive list of ARVN general officers, complete with their pictures. Everybody else copies that list, without naming the source though ...

As someone has said, "I do not see how anyone studying the Vietnam War on the ARVN side can neglect your book at all." (James Miguez).

I know, you won't find anywhere else a better and more accurate account of the Iadrang battle and the Pleiku campaign, and the Plâyme campaign, and the Pleime campaign... I said this in all modesty ..

Phieu


#655 03 Jan 12, 00:38

Max Alcibiades


#656 03 Jan 12, 01:17

Ken,

You forgot to name Max, as another dissastified distractor ... it seems.

I have promised DeltaOne to ignore the attack stuff and stick to history facts...

Therefore ; zip!

Phieu


#657 03 Jan 12, 01:32

Some additional precision on various diversionary moves employed in Pleime offensive

- Herding diversionary move – Its intention was to roundup the enemy troops toward a common location.

Colonel Hieu knew the 1st Air Cav Brigade won’t be able to find and destroy the scattered three NVA regimental troops in the vast area that stretched from Pleime to Chupong with its newly developed air assault tactics.

- Enticement diversionary move – Its intention was to entice B3 Field Front to switch to an attack posture in order to have them gather its three regimental troops first in assembling areas for re-equipment, training and rehearsal purposes and secondly in staging areas in preparation for the imminent attack.

The order to execute the switch in operational direction from west to east was issued on 11/8 with a vague suggestion:

By this time Field Force Vietnam had asked the division to consider moving this operations eat of Pleime if it appeared that was no further contact imminent in the west”

(Kinnard, page 67)

The purpose of the enticement move was made known to General Knowles on 11/10 (Kinnard , page 73):

The movement and shift in emphasis from west to east was to further stimulate a forthcoming decision from the NVA division headquarters.

Its intention became clearer to General Knowles on Nov 11 (Kinnard, page 76):

With American units seemingly withdrawing to the east of Pleime, the decision was to attempt to regain its early advantage with an attack. The target once again was the Pleime CIDG Camp. The division headquarters set the date for attack at 16 November, and issued orders to its three regiments.

The B3 Field Front thus fell for Colonel Hieu’s scheme in regrouping its troops in two stages: assembly areas for training and rehearsals, and staging areas for movement to attack.

The ideal target for B-52 airstrikes was the staging area where troop concentration would be the most dense.

The window margin would be narrow: 11/13-14 or 11/12-14, (it turned out Colonel Hieu only had the 11/13-14 one) depending on the allotment time given for rehearsals.

And when order was issued for gathering troops in staging areas, the window margin would be in terms of 24 hours and less.

Thus the necessity to create the

- Distractive diversionary move – Its intention was to refocus B3 Field Front from the direction toward Pleime camp on to LZ X-Ray and had it retain its troops at staging areas longer to allow the B-52 to still find them there at their arrival due for Nov 15, after a long eight hour voyage from Guam to Central Highlands.

The number of Air Cav troops inserted at LZ X-Ray should be small so as not to make B3 Field Front to rushing in all of its three regimental troops.

The coordination of all these various diversionary moves with the purpose of attaining the objective set out by the operational concept – the use of B-52 airstrikes to annihilate the three NVA regiments - was made only possible with a solid intelligence of the enemy situation by the minutes, hours and days. That’s why it would be quasi impossible to duplicate this uniqueness operational concept. It’s only possible if conditions are exactly the same as Colonel Hieu’s.

Phieu


#658 03 Jan 12, 03:18

Ok Phieu, let's have another go.

Another chief dispute I have with your version of events is in relation the logistical apparatus. Previously, you commented in response to the fact that no one quite knew how to handle an Airmobile Division, that "Colonel Hieu did". Well, where in this fantastical rendezvous with destiny exactly was the provision made for supply?

I ask this because without direct intervention from the USAF, the entire Pleiku campaign would presumably have been over before it began. By 25 October, the Caribous and Chinooks that were deemed sufficient initially were already struggling to meet the demand necessary to keep barely a full brigade in action. By the following day, fuel supplies had reached 7,000 gallons against a demand of 70,000 gallons daily. Kinnard made IFFV aware of the situation and MACV was alerted to the critical status via a call from them. The 2d Air Division acknowledged receipt of the request on October 27th. [1]

C-130's carrying ten to fifteen 500 gallon fuel bladders each began to shuttle fuel from Tan Son Nhut to Pleiku and return with the empties for refilling. Nonetheless, 1st Cav reported that there were "zero gallons of JP-4" by the 29th. [2]

Eventually, the airlift caught up to demand and outpaced it. But it took 16% of the entire airlift system in country at the time, and resulted in a backlog of 50% of other requests throughout the theater. [3]

In this master chess plan, what was his plan once his bishops ran out of gas?

Notes

Ray L. Bowers, Tactical Airlift (Dept. of the Air Force, 2003). p. 213.
Ibid. p. 214.
Ibid. p. 215.

Lucky 6


#659 03 Jan 12, 06:01

Lucky 6 : Ok Phieu, let's have another go. A

nother chief dispute I have with your version of events is in relation the logistical apparatus. Previously, you commented in response to the fact that no one quite knew how to handle an Airmobile Division, that "Colonel Hieu did". Well, where in this fantastical rendezvous with destiny exactly was the provision made for supply?

Did I really comment to the fact that no one quite knew how to handle an Airmobile Division?

You should not have paraphrased my statement and quote me directly instead:

In all, it appeared that although (Cochran) It was not that sure that

I knew in a way that no one else did the real capabilities and limitations of an air assault division.

Colonel Hieu did.

(http://www.generalhieu.com/pleime_co...iqueness-2.htm)

I said, Colonel Hieu did in a way know the real capabilities and limitations of an air assault division; contrary to General Kinnard's statement that no one else did.

Is anything inaccurate with my assertion?

Left alone, General Kinnard/Knowles would roam the vast area stretching from Pleime to Chupong - like a walk in the park – for months and months in search of an evasive three NVA regimental troops, would they not?

I had shown this possible scenario in post #626 (What If ...)

Colonel Hieu had shown he knew exactly how to make use of all units - CIDG Montagnards, special forces, airborne rangers, infantry, armor, rangers, paratroopers, marine corps, air cav, artillery, air force, armed helicopters, fixed-wing fighter airplanes, jet airplanes, B-52 bombers .

Every and each one, be it a mediocre (CIDG), so-so (infantry, air cav) or excellent (paratroopers, marine corps, rangers, special forces, airborne rangers) combat unit.

In this master chess plan, what was his plan once his bishops ran out of gas?

He was a grand chess master who knew how to move all and each of the chess pieces, from the slow moving pawn to the throttling knight, even how to handle once his bishops ran out of gas...

Besides, Colonel Hieu was a very versatile commander, you know … I guess you don’t know that.

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."

(www.generalhieu.com/HieuV6-2.htm)

P.S. Btw, Lucky 6, am I such a dinky dau to you?

I am, am I not?

Are you still in my neighborhood in the Bronx? Why don't we get together and

Phieu


#660 03 Jan 12, 06:33

Phieu: Colonel Hieu had shown he knew exactly how to make use of all units - CIDG Montagnards, special forces, airborne rangers, infantry, armor, rangers, paratroopers, marine corps, air cav, artillery, air force, armed helicopters, fixed-wing fighter airplanes, jet airplanes, B-52 bombers .

Every and each one, be it a mediocre (CIDG), so-so (infantry, air cav) or excellent (paratroopers, marine corps, rangers, special forces, airborne rangers) combat unit.

He was a grand chess master who knew how to move all and each of the chess pieces, from the slow moving pawn to the throttling knight.

So you are maintaining the position that Colonel Hieu was responsible for this plan, even though the Cav literally ran out of gas? Because to me, that seems like a pretty big oversight on the part of a chief of staff who "had shown he knew exactly how to make use of all units".

Phieu: Are you still in my neighborhood in the Bronx? Why don't we get together and

I never was in the Bronx. I'm in Chicago. But If you feel you can change my opinion with a beer, my poison is Guinness, and you're buying.


#661 03 Jan 12, 06:48

Lucky 6 : So you are maintaining the position that Colonel Hieu was responsible for this plan, even though the Cav literally ran out of gas? Because to me, that seems like a pretty big oversight on the part of a chief of staff who "had shown he knew exactly how to make use of all units".

Not quite! You know what I mean... or you don't get the finesse in it? ... It won't happen under his watch, believe me ...

I never was in the Bronx. I'm in Chicago. But If you feel you can change my opinion with a beer, my poison is Guinness, and you're buying.

Who says I am buying? I expect you are buying, not me, as an appreciation gesture for me scanning the Why Pleime. pdf especiallly just for you ...

Do you think I am that dinky dau to feel I can change your opinion with a beer?

Remember I classified you once as student category b?

I should have treated you as such instead of responding to your last question!

I didn't and answered you anyway.

How should I classify you now ... a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h ...?

All the above? ... Perhaps g?

g. He was just too obtuse,
- I won’t bother to explain further to him and just moved on for the entire class and hoped and prayed the best for him.

or h?

h. He was just too ahead of his classmates,
- I would assign him independent studies

Since you told us that you were about to run out to amazon on a spending spree ... You even got my Why Pleime. pdf ...

When you get in the reading of all those books, try not to let the trees obstruct your view of the forest ... (no offense )

Phieu


#662 03 Jan 12, 07:00

Phieu : Not quite! You know what I mean... or you don't get the finesse in it? ...

No, I don't get the finesse in it.

Do you think I am that dinky dau to feel I can change your opinion with a beer?

That was an attempt at levity and lightening the mood, in these parts known as a joke...that apparently went over your head. I was actually being nice, I thought.

Remember I classified you once as student category b?

I should have treated you as such instead of responding to your last question!

I didn't and answered you anyway.

How should I classify you now ... a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h ...? Perhaps g?

I now officially request reclassification from the ministry of education. Put me down as Category "A", as in absent. I bid you adieu, good sir.

Lucky 6


#663 03 Jan 12, 07:04

GREAT! or TOO BAD!

Any way, A Dios

But don't forget you had given to yourself all those book reading assignments ...

and remember the door to the classrrom thread is always wide open... you can sneak in while the class is not in session and look at the lessons chalked up on the boards ...

Phieu


#664 03 Jan 12, 07:28

I've said it before.

I find it outrageous, that anyone who gives their own book on Amazon a five star review, could possibly have the front to lecture others about finesse.

It is akin to Karen Carpenter coaching a champion pie eating team.

I've said this before too, if you have no actual military experience or any depth of scholarship and rely completely upon your own powers of clairvoyance as some sort of authority, you cannot be taken seriously.

Look at the score board champ.

Let me do the maths for you. Out of 9 votes that could have been as high as 5, you've managed an average approval rating, from an informed audience (most of whom you once had on side) of only 1.44. garnering a total of 12.5 out of a possible 45. As a percentage that works out to 28.8%

That is a fail in anyones language.

Actually that is a gross fail.

Give it away. You embarass yourself, your family and the ARVN.

Max Alcibiades


#665 03 Jan 12, 11:06

Hey I have promised to DeltaOne I would ignore the attack stuff and stick to the history facts.

But let me make an exception and respond to you a last time.

Max Alcibiades : I've said it before.

I find it outrageous, that anyone who gives their own book on Amazon a five star review, could possibly have the front to lecture others about finesse.

I've also said it before.

I didn’t give to myself that five star. Just look at these five reviews of my book; you know who are General Weyand and Douglas Pike right?

*General Hieu was obviously a great soldier who put his country a nd his people foremost. (General Fred C. Weyand).

*Biography of a South Vietnam general officer who has been likened to Patton, Rommel, Montgomery, and LeClerc. He was much admired by Vietnamese civilians and respected by his American advisors. (Douglas Pike)

*This book sheds light on the ARVN Forces never before told. (Darry Nelson)

* I do not see how anyone studying the Vietnam War on the ARVN side can neglect your book at all. (James Miguez)

By the way, Douglas Pike sat on all of my presentations at the Vietnam Center until he passed away. He did not find my depiction of my brother at the conferences and in my book hagiographic at all. And note that he likened General Hieu to Patton, Rommel, Montgomery, and LeClerc, not your humble servant!

I've said this before too, if you have no actual military experience or any depth of scholarship and rely completely upon your own powers of clairvoyance as some sort of authority, you cannot be taken seriously.

I've alsso said this before too:

Does it matter how I have acquired my wealth of knowledge about ARVN and military stuffs – I attributed it to my brother’s guidance and teaching – as long as it is solid and stands the onslaughts of people like you, who even dares to question General Davidson on the presence of radar controlled 37mm AA guns at Dien Bien Phu, while you are the one who is dead wrong on the matter? (see Dien Bien Phu thread)

Look at the score board champ.

Let me do the maths for you. Out of 9 votes that could have been as high as 5, you've managed an average approval rating, from an informed audience (most of whom you once had on side) of only 1.44. garnering a total of 12.5 out of a possible 45. As a percentage that works out to 28.8%

That is a fail in anyones language.

Actually that is a gross fail.

Make the parallelism between this and X-Factor show: the panel of four expert judges and the general public audience. Which side’s votes weight more and are more objective, more fair, more accurate?

15589-14926= 1463 views in 24 hours! Woah! Can you beat that?

Give it away. You embarass yourself, your family and the ARVN.

Check your spellings, Max. It’s unforgiving in your particular case, since you claimed you do spelling too!

Thank you for your advice. But no thanks for your concern, the genie is out of the bottle since 1998 and it hasn't embarrassed me, my family and the ARVN.

Bien au contraire…

P.S. So next time around, if you launch another attack stuff, instead of contributing - I wouldn't say professionally because I dread your PHD (post holed digger - your very own expression)'s erudition - humbly history facts, you will get a from me.

Phieu


#666 04 Jan 12, 02:39

Arc Lite Operation Planning and Execution in Pleime Offensive

Planning

On October 26, 1965, as Pleime had just been liberated, Colonel Hieu made plan for an exploitation operation in the pursuit of the two withdrawing NVA regiments to the Chupong-Iadrang complex.

He immediately foresaw the possibility of annihilating the B3 Field Front forces with B-52 airstrikes because of a stroke of luck in intelligence gathering about the military situation of the enemy troops by the hours and by the days.

Amidst all the methods of intelligence gathering, there was the radio intercepts of open communications in Mandarin between the Chinese Advisors at regimental level and divisional level. These Chinese Advisors discussed in the open on everything: logistics, personnel, troop unit locations, movements, morale, status, losses, casualties, cadres’ intentions, and planning. When the Chinese Advisors talked, Colonel Hieu listened in. When they stopped talking, he relied on other methods of intelligence gathering.

In Pleime, cuộc chiến lịch sử, page 94, Colonel Hieu stated unequivocally that the victory achieved in the Pleime counteroffensive into Chupong-Iadrang complex was due to the acquisition of a solid intelligence on the enemy situation:

The battle from phases 2 and 3 also introduced an aspect never seen up to now because for almost 20 years, during the Franco-Vietnamese war, seldom pursuit operation was considered after each time the enemy made appearance and when it was conducted, no significant results had been achieved. Therefore this time around, the determination not to allow the enemy to escape, coupled with the solid intelligence on the enemy situation had permitted the battle to develop to maximum degree and scale and at the same token lead to the biggest victory ever achieved by the ARVN and its Allied.

So with the certainty of getting a plethora of ongoing and updated by the days of solid intelligence on the enemy military situation, Colonel Hieu draw up his operational plan of using Arc Lite to destroy the enemy en mass at Chupong-Iadrang complex.

His objective was to be able to nudge B3 Field Front into an attack posture which would require the three regiment units to cluster into respective staging areas in preparation for movement to attack; at that precise brief moment of a less than 24 hour window of opportunity, they would be closed enough that the center of mass would become targetable for B52 airstrikes.

His plan would have the following element of diversionary moves:

- 1/ to herd the scattered troop units toward Chupong-Iadrang complex;

- 2/ to entice the enemy to decide to attack again in order to make him to regroup closer together at assembling areas for training and rehearsals and tighter together at staging areas for preparation in movement to attack;

- and 3/ to prolong - with a troop insertion close by the enemy staging areas - the attack posture and the retention time of troops at these staging areas where the concentration of troops would be the most dense, and to offer to Arc Lite the maximum window of opportunity to effectively strike.

Colonel Hieu then submitted his operational plan and its feasibility to MACV/General Westmoreland for approval.

Execution

The next step was to set up a coordination team comprising the II Corps, the Air Cav Forward Command Post, the First Field Force and MACV.

The execution of the plan and the determination of timing for starting of each of the three diversionary moves relied on the assessment of intelligence data of Colonel Hieu. The orders issued to the Field Commander/General Knowles were assumed by General Larsen in three occasions:

I. ONE

- on Oct 27, for the herding operation (1st Air Cav Brigade)

= on Nov 7, in the Chu Pong sanctuary the depleted 33d Regiment licked its wounds and waited for its stragglers to come in. The remainder of Field Front forces were quiet.

= only fragmented units and stragglers remained east of the Chu Pong-Ia Drang complex as the 33d Regiment began to assess its losses.

II. TWO

- on Nov 8, for the enticement operation (3rd Air Cav Brigade)

= On Nov 9, the 33d Regiment gathered in the last of its organic units and began to count noses. There were many missing. And at Field Front headquarters north of the Ia Drang, it was a day of situation analysis.

= On 11/10, Field Front headquarters, after evaluating the situation, had reached a decision. With American units seemingly withdrawing to the east of Pleime, the decision was to attempt to regain its early advantage with an attack. The target once again was the Pleime CIDG Camp. The division headquarters set the date for attack at 16 November, and issued orders to its three regiments.

= On 11/11, the 66th Regiment was at (center of mass vic YA 9104); the 32nd (YA 820072), the 33rd (YA 940011)

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

III. THREE

- on Nov 12, 1/7 Air Cav Battalion was ordered to make plan to air assault Chu Pong massif (for the distractive operation)

= 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.

- and Nov 14, for the distractive operation (1/7 Air Cav Battalion)

On Nov 15, at noon, B-52 air strikes began at B3 Field Front forces (center of mass vicinity YA8702) and continued for 5 days, until 11/19 (Why Pleime, chapter VI): 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.

Enemy casualties as results of Arc Lite operation amounted to about 2,000 dead.

The "coup de grâce" surgical strike was finished off by the Airborne Brigade ending the Pleime Offensive on November 25, 1965.

Phieu


#667 04 Jan 12, 07:59

Max Alcibiades …

Max hung this picture at a wrong location.

I put it back at the appropriate location which is in Dien Bien Phu thread.

Phieu


#668 04 Jan 12, 08:45

Pleime Through New York Times' View

Saigon, South Vietnam, Friday October 22, 1965
By Neil Sheehan, Special to The New York Times

Embattled Camp Gets Help; Vietcong's Toll Rises

Several hundred South Vietnamese Infantrymen were flown yesterday to a United States Special Forces camp at Pleime, in the Central Highlands, where a Vietcong battalion had apparently suffered serious casualties in an unsuccessful 36-hour attack.

A military spokesman said the reinforcements had landed in American helicopters at an airstrip about half a mile from the camp and had then marched into it without meeting guerrillas.

According to the spokesman, a Vietcong battalion - numbering about 600 men - is still believed to be near the camp, on jungle-covered mountains about 215 miles north of Saigon.

The Vietcong apparently broke off the fight yesterday morning before the reinforcements arrived.

90 Bodies Are Sighted

Later reports from the camp said that the reinforcements and the original defenders - several hundred tribesmen led by United States and South Vietnamese Special Forces teams - were facing only scattered small-arms fire.

American Special Forces men in the camp radioed the pilot of an observation plane that they could see as many as 90 guerrilla bodies scattered around the camp.

Last night, the guerrillas again harassed the camp with .50-caliber machine-gun fire and 81-mm. mortar rounds.

The attack against the camp, about 25 miles south of Pleiku, began bout 7:30 P.M. Tuesday. The guerrillas pounded the camp with heavy mortars and 57-mm. recoilless rifles and then sent waves of infantrymen against it.

Reaching the outer barbed-wire barrier of the camp, the Vietcong soldiers were driven back by United States Air Force jet fighter-bombers, which roared in and lashed them with fire bombs of napalm, or jellied gasoline.

Military spokesmen said that the bombing had been extremely accurate and that most of the flaming canisters had dropped right into the barbed wire.

Throughout the next day, the guerrillas raked the camp with mortars, recoilless rifles and automatic weapons. The defenders' casualties were termed light.

A company of mountain tribesmen, led by United States Special Forces men - the Army's jungle-warfare training and leadership experts - had been caught outside the camp when the Vietcong struck. It fought its way back inside, however, with the aid of fighter-bombers.

Wednesday night, the camp was again subjected periodically to heavy fire from mortars and automatic weapons, but the Communists did not try to assault it. Transport aircraft dropped flares to guide the defenders and the assisting planes.

The planes were subjected to heavy antiaircraft fire. One observation pilot reported having sighted five machine guns dug in near an airstrip outside the camp

In another action, 15 miles south of Pleiku, four United States soldiers were killed when their military helicopter crashed and exploded on a reconnaissance mission. The mishap occurred a day after another helicopter was shot down in the area. All four of its crewmen were also killed.

Phieu


#669 05 Jan 12, 02:18

The Chess Grand Master Colonel Hieu.

The stealthy II Corps Chief of Staff

When you read Why Pleime, Pleiku Campaign, Coleman’s Pleiku and other related documents to this campaign, you won’t see Colonel Hieu, II Corps Chief of Staff mentioned in them, lest his key role in the campaign.

Even Pleime, cuộc chiến lịch sử, gave specific credits to

- Lieutenant Colonel Ngô Tấn Nghĩa, Chief G2/II Corps,

- Lieutenant Colonel Lều Thọ Cường, Chief G3/II Corps,

- Captain Dương Dięn Nghị, Chief Psychological Warfare Bureau.

No mention of Colonel Hieu, II Corps Chief of Staff.

Fortunately, G3 Journal of I First Field Force made amendments to this remiss and provided a glimpse of the key role of the II Corps Chief of Staff, Colonel Hieu in the conduct of the Pleime campaign.

20 Oct 65

- 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.

21 Oct 65

- 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.

- 10:20H: Msg to II Corps - what is status of 3d Armored Cav and Ranger Bn. Ans: They are still in blocking position where they spent last night. Question: When will they move. Ans: Depends on outcome of lift of 2 Ranger Co's. Ref TAOR's - CG II Corps has approved TAOR, with stipulation. Letter will be hand carried to FFV today.

- 11:40H: Msg fm II Corps, Col Williams - 2 LLDB Co's are on ground. Have contact w/enemy, should close in Plei My camp in 30 minutes. Cav RF is moving and is in contact. II Corps Cmdr is considering committing 22d Ranger Bn.

- 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

22 October 65

- 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.

23 October 65

(...)

24 October 1965

(...)

25 October 1965

- 24:00H: Intelligence Summary for period 250001 to 252400. At 1221 II Corps reported 3d Armored TF (ARVN) moving south fm ZA 169150 in route to Plei Me. Plei Me camp still receiving sporadic harrassing fire but report situation well in hand, 1 US WIA but no med evac needed, successful resupply at Plei Me at 0800, a/c rec'd AW fire. At 1530 rec'd report from II Corps that 3d Armd Cav TF receiving fire vic ZA 178132 as of 1450 hrs. Air strike called.

26 October 1965-12:20H: II Corps (Capt Ushijima) request II Corps give a progress or situation report every two hours on Plei Me.

- 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.

27 October 1965

- 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)

28 October 1965

(...)

29 October 1965

(...)

30 October 1965

- 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.

- 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.

18 November 1965

- 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.

19 November 1965

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.

20 November 1965

- 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.

- 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).

21 November 1965

- 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.

Phieu


#670 05 Jan 12, 10:38

Pleime Through New York Times' View

Saigon, South Vietnam, Friday October 22, 1965
By Charles Mohr, Special to The New York Times

Vietcong Step Up Fire At U.S. Camp

More Reinforcements Sent by South Vietnamese

Communist guerrillas besieging an American Special forces camp at Pleime "increased their pressure" last night and early today and the South Vietnamese Government responded by sending more reinforcements to the mountain outpost, military spokesmen said.

An American propeller-driven A-1E Skyraider fighter-bomber was shot down this morning while attacking the estimated total of 600 Vietcong guerrillas who have ringed Pleime with .50-caliber machine guns and 82mm. mortars. The pilot parachuted and was rescued by an armed United States helicopter.

The Vietcong attack on Pleime began Tuesday night. The guerrillas left about 90 bodies on the camp's barbed wire after an unsuccessful infantry assault and have continued to pour machine-gun, mortar and small-arms fire into the position.

Jungle Warfare Experts

Originally occupied by a small American Special Forces team - jungle-warfare training and leadership experts - and several hundred aboriginal Montagnard irregulars, the camp was reinforced yesterday morning by several hundred Vietnamese regulars who were sent by air. Today additional reinforcements reached the post.

The volume of enemy fire into Pleime camp, 25 miles south of the major town of Pleiku, was reported to have increased during the night, but quiet prevailed after daylight, the spokesmen said.

Some patrols have been able to leave and return to the camp without making contact. Air Force observers reported that a hill north of the camp was covered with the bodies of guerrillas.

The fighter-bomber was shot down south of the camp by automatic-weapons fire. Earlier in the battle of Pleime, a B-57 bomber and an armed helicopter were lost.

Air Force planes dropped 900 flares over Pleime last night, and one pilot said the guerrillas appeared to have moved to more automatic weapons to replace those destroyed in 215 bombing strikes.

Saigon, South Vietnam, Saturday October 23, 1965
By Neil Sheehan, Special to The New York Times

Vietcong Ambush A Column On Way To Aid U.S. Force

South Vietnamese Attacked 10 Miles From Besieged Outpost at Pleime

Another Plane Downed; Craft is 4th Lost at Post - American Pilot Rescued by Copter Under Fire

A South Vietnamese Army column moving to help the besieged United States Special Forces camp at Pleime was ambushed by guerrillas today, and several armored personnel carriers and trucks were destroyed, a military spokesman said.

The spokesman said the column of several hundred infantrymen, supported by armor, had moved from the town of Pleiku to a point on a dirt road about 10 miles northeast of the camp when it was attacked shortly before dark.

It was not known what casualties the column suffered. Late tonight reports indicated that the convoy had not yet reached the camp, which is set among the mountain jungles of the Central Highlands, 215 miles north of Saigon and 25 miles south of Pleiku.

Heavy Artillery Arrives

Meanwhile, a United States military spokesman said, four battalions of heavy artillery began landing in South Vietnam to protect areas around American bases, roads and lines of communications.

The Pleime camp has been under siege by guerrilla forces estimated at two battalions - more than a thousand men - since Tuesday night.

By noon today United States and South Vietnamese Air Force fighter-bombers and Navy planes from Seventh Fleet carriers had flown more than 300 sorties, dropping bombs, rockets and napalm, but they had not succeeded in driving off the guerrillas.

The camp reported tonight that the Vietcong were pounding the position with white phosphorous mortar shells.

35 Hours in Jungle

The spokesman here said a United States Air Force pilot whose A-1E propeller-driven fighter-bomber was shot down yesterday while bombing guerrillas around the camp was rescued today in good condition after 35 hours in the jungle.

The pilot, Capt. Melvin C. Elliott, 36 years old, of Glendale, Ariz. was picked up by an Air Force helicopter in a clearing of scrub brush and high grass about eight miles southeast of the camp. The rescue helicopter was under constant fire from guerrillas, as it hovered over the ground until Captain Elliott could run to it from his hiding place.

The spokesman said other Air Force fighter-bombers suppressed some of the Communist fire by searing Vietcong gun position with napalm while United States Army helicopters swooped in and strafed guerrillas with machine guns.

The pilot of the rescue helicopter, Capt. Dale L. Potter, 31, of Joseph, Ore., said that captain Elliott looked "ragged and torn" as he ran out of the jungle but that he later was found to be uninjured.

Yesterday, another pilot, Capt. Myron W. Burr, 31, of South Windsor, Conn., was rescued after his fighter-bomber was crippled by Communist ground fire. Since Tuesday a total of four aircraft has been shot down around the camp.

United States military officials believe that incessant bombing has inflicted serious casualties on the guerrillas, but the Vietcong have refused to break off the siege of the Special Forces camp, which is an outpost for jungle warfare training and leadership experts. On Wednesday and Thursday, several hundred South Vietnamese Rangers and infantrymen were flown to the camp in helicopters to reinforce the garrison of several hundred mountain tribesmen, who are led by United States and Vietnamese Special Forces teams.

There is some speculation here among United States military officials that the Vietcong may be protecting an infiltration route from Laos that is believed to run past the camp, but other military observers reject this thesis and point out that the Vietcong already control vast stretches of the Central Highlands.

The defenders have so far suffered "light casualties," according to official reports.

Phieu


#671 06 Jan 12, 02:59

Who were privy to the Arc Lite operational concept in Pleime Offensive

Since Colonel Hieu submitted his operational plan and its feasibility to MACV/General Westmoreland for approval and a coordination team, comprising the II Corps, the Air Cav Forward Command Post, the First Field Force and MACV was to set up.

-Obviously General Westmoreland and his close associates at MACV,

- General Vinh Loc at II Corps,

-General Knowles at Air Cav Forward Command Post

- and General Larsen at First Field Force.

General Kinnard semed to be excluded off that inner circle with his lay back leadership style in delegating all powers to General Knowles, and remained at Air Cav headquarters in An Khe.

The mystery lies in General Knowles not filling in his boss on the operational concept and its execution … Reasons?

- To accommodate General Kinnard’s lay back leadership style?

- To maintain maximum secrecy of the planning and the execution?

- To take full credit of its success?

It is certain that Colonel Hieu tried to limit the number of people who were privy to this operational concept to the minimum possible in order to maintain its secrecy.

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: ...

(see post #283: The best kept secret at Ia Drang Valley battle)

Is there a written document of this Arc Lite operational concept in Pleime Offensive?

No, if Colonel Hieu did the briefing orally.

Yes, if he submitted his operational concept in writing.

However, it seems nobody - besides those aboved mentioned individuals -knew such an operational concept ever exist. And if it exists, then

nobody who has attempted to look for it has yet found it.

It would be nice, if all these individuals who were privy to this operational concept could be tracked down and be interviewed. Maybe one of them would care to share his understanding of that operational concept. It appears that all passed away by now.

Nevertheless, the absence of a written document does not preclude the fact that such an operational concept had been conceived and executed in the Pleime offensive into the Chupong-Iadrang complex. You only need to open a non-preconceived mindset and you can see it unfolding in front of your eyes by a thorough analysis and synthesis of what had been said in all those primary sources about the Pleime/Pleiku campaign. That's how I discovered it and interpreted it and described it complete with all the "professional military jargons" - that rendered it quasi impossible to be a product of pure imagination - in here…

You are free to accept it or reject it.

You don’t have to believe it blindly. Just see it for yourself with your own verification and analysis of those same documents.

I present it as it was … Your turn, your take … … Just don’t reject it with a brush of hand with some sort of exclamation or curse and simply walk away … It’s too easy … And see if you can come up with something better?

Phieu


#672 07 Jan 12, 02:48

The Chess Grand Master Colonel Hieu

Conceiving Tactical and Strategic Plans

After determining the intentions the Viet Cong wanted to achieve and the tactics they were about to use, Colonel Hieu deployed his tactical and strategic skills to counter all of their schemes. Countering the tactic of “one main attack and two diversionary attacks”, Colonel Hieu deployed troops appropriately to cope successfully with all the three fronts – at the camp with two Special Forces companies, at the ambush site with the Armored Relief Task Force, at Pleiku City with 2/12th Air Cavalry Battalion. The cleverness of this troop distribution had caught General Westmoreland’s appreciative eyes (Why Pleime, chapter VIII):

Our prompt maneuvers had shifted them into being surprised and losing the initiative. Extract from a memorandum signed by Col Daniel B. Williams, A/DSA II Corps MACV sent to C.G. II Corps on 25 Oct 1965: "At 1500 hours on 24 October General Westmoreland called and asked for a general rundown on the situation,... He wound up the conversation by asking that his personal congratulations be passed to General Vinh Loc on his handling of his troops to meet the various emergency situations."

Countering the tactic of “lure and ambush”, Colonel Hieu dispatched a small force of two Special Forces companies sufficient to contain the 33rd Regiment, and an Armored Task Force comprising two armored companies and about one thousand infantry and rangers troops to engage the 32nd Regiment. Furthermore, he reserved a surprise for the ambush troops in bringing heavy artillery by huge helicopters near the ambush site to lend support to the relief task force when it clashed with the ambush troops. He said that he was ready “to play the enemy's game” (Why Pleime, chapter IV):

II Corps Commander decided to play the enemy's game. Since the VC expected to successively eliminate our forces the scheme of maneuver had to make the best use of the factor TIME and to exploit the inherent weaknesses of the enemy troop disposition.

Countering the tactic of “mobile ambush”, Colonel Hieu applied the “delay” tactic to neutralize it, in forcing the enemy troops to still show up at the ambush site ahead of time and be struck by pre-arranged air and artillery strikes. He ordered LTC Nguyen Van Luat to have his Armored Task Force linger in the vicinity of Phu My (Why 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.

...

Early in the morning 23 October, as soon as report from the Camp reached II Corps Command, decision was immediately taken to push the relief column to Pleime without delay and at any costs.

Stepping into phase 2 pursuing the withdrawing enemy, Colonel Hieu demonstrated his military genius trait in conceiving an outstanding operational concept and sharing it with General Knowles who realized it in the operation Long Reach conducted by the 1st Air Cavalry Division.

To these days, everybody, even the high ranking American officers who was directly or indirectly involved in carrying out this operation and the Vietnam War scholars and historians, thought that the operational concept consisted in “searching the enemy, fixing them, then destroying them with air assaults”. If that was correct then the 1st Air Cavalry did not harvest much result. According to Coleman, the operation All the Way conducted by 1st Air Cavalry Brigade was a breeze, like “walk in the park” (Coleman, page 189):

After the 1st Brigade battalions generally lost contact with the remnants of the 33rd Regiment on November 7, Kinnard said, in Army Magazine, that, “I had been planning to replace the gallant, but spent, First Brigade with the Third Brigade, commanded by Colonel Thomas W. Brown, and this seemed a logical time to do so.” The general might have been indulging in a bit of hyperbole. The units of the 1st Brigade unquestionably were gallant, but spent? The 2/12 Cav had spent the longest period in the field, eighteen days total – but its days in contact numbered about five. The 2/8 had fourteen days in the valley and only two days of hard contact. The 1/8 Cav’s one company had one day of contact, while the others had none. And the 1/12 Cav had only its reconnaissance platoon truly get shot at in anger. Compared to times in the field by units later in the war, this was a walk in the park.

lso according to Coleman, after the 3rd Air Cavalry Brigade replaced the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade and conducted the operation Silver Bayonet I in searching the enemy in the east, the units of this brigade only encounter “dry holes” until they reverted back to the west and went in LZ X-Ray (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.

Colonel Hieu’s operational concept appeared extremely simple (Pleime Counteroffensive into Chupong-Iadrang Complex):

The search and pursuit of the two 32nd ( 334th, 635th and 966th Battalion) and 33rd Regiment (1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalion) should not be too difficult a task for 1st Air Cavalry Division with its fleet of helicopters in hands (435 in lieu of 101 for a regular infantry division). Nevertheless, to destroy an enemy force that had broken up into small units and in hiding amidst a vast area of elephant grass, bushes and trees, was a daunting task which would require months if not years to uncover and to destroy all these scattered piece meal units one at a time.

It is better to be able to attack and kill when the enemy units assemble at one location. This could have a chance to happen since Field Force B3 Command has ordered its attacking forces to return to their initial staging areas in the Chupong-Iadrang complex, while waiting for the arrival of the 66th Regiment.

However, in order to annihilate a division size force comprising three regiments, it would necessitate a force three times larger, which means three divisions, that II Corps Command could not afford.

A better alternative available was to use B-52’s carpet bombings to annihilate the concentrate enemy troops.

Therefore the operational concept for this operation comprised two phases:

Phase I: Channeling the scattered enemy units toward a common grouping area. This task was assigned to 1st Air Cavalry Brigade with operation All the Way.

Phase II: Destroying the enemy with B-52’s carpet bombings. General Knowles would coordinate this planning phase with MACV Command in Saigon for the use of this strategic weapon.

The bombings would be prepared by a diversionary tactic performed by 3rd Air Cavalry Brigade with operation Silver Bayonet I.

Consequently, Colonel Hieu was not overly concerned when the American air cavalry units did not discover many enemy units on their withdrawing routes from Pleime to Chu Pong, and rather focusing in monitoring moves and positions of various the enemy units, in big or small groups, patiently waiting for the moment they all assembled at Chu Pong and annihilating them with B52 carpet bombings (Why Pleime, chapter VI):

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.

Colonel Hieu continued to reveal his military genius trait in phase 3 of the campaign in operation Than Phong 7 conducted by Airborne Brigade. As a normal practice, the field commander makes decision on tactical moves as dictated by the situations on the battlefield. In this instance however, Colonel Hieu directly controlled the entire airborne operation and dictated all the moves made by the airborne units under the command of LTC Ngo Quang Truong (G3 Journal/IFFV , 11/19):

- 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.

Colonel Hieu made all preparations and arrangements; LTC Truong had only to execute the orders. The result was that the two surviving battalions of Field Front B3 – the 334th and the 635th – were easily cornered in the Ia Drang valley, causing Major Schwarzkopf to be utterly flabbergasted when he witnessed an extraordinary phenomenon that he attributed to LTC Truong uncanny abilities. Was he aware of what really happened he would reserve his admiration instead and do justice to Colonel Hieu.

Phieu


#673 08 Jan 12, 03:19

The Chess Grand Master Colonel Hieu

Executing Tactical Moves

In the preparation process of Plâyme campaign, Field Front B3 calculated very meticulously II Corp’s availability in terms of troops and equipments. For instance, in the captured Combat Order for an Ambush by the 32d Regiment, showed that the regimental general staff made accurately prediction the components of the Armored Task Force, the number of American units that would be attached and how the relief task force would be deployed:

After the initial attack on Pleime the GVN will likely send a relief column. The relief column will probably be composed of one ARVN Battle Group and one Armored Battle Group from the 24th STZ. There will probably be one or two US battalions in reserve. The relief forces could come by air or by road, whichever is the most suitable. They could arrive at the battle area in one or two days. Their battle formation could operate up to one kilometer from the road. They could have the infantry and armor elements interposed with each other; as an example an Armor element leading with the infantry 500m to one kilometer behind. After the ARVN elements are ambushed they will pull back to the O-Gri area to regroup. ARVN forces behind the ambushed element will probably move to the area of Po Post (20-14), O-Gri (22-18) and Klan (26-22).

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

Field Front B3 was also successful in diverting II Corsp reserve force comprising five battalions of Airborne and Marine Corps as well as units of 22nd Division in Bong Son, together with the three American helicopter companies prior to the attack against Pleime camp and at the same time took the decision to launch Plâyme campaign more than one month earlier than scheduled in order to avoid the intervention of the 1st Air Cavalry Division that was still on the resettlement process from Qui Nhon to An Khe.

But Field Force B3 was caught by many surprises because Colonel Hieu countered all their maneuvers with clever tactical moves of his own by knowing how to make use of all types of unit forces available to him, especially those that were all of the sudden put into his disposition: American and Vietnamese Special Forces, Airborne Rangers, Montagnard Eagle Flight teams, Rangers, Airborne, Marine Corps, 3rd Armored Task Force and an infantry unit of the 24th Special Military Zone, units of the 1st Air Cavalry Division. Many units were airlifted from Kontum, Ban Me Thuot, Phu Yen, Tuy Hoa, Vung Tau, Bien Hoa, Saigon, An Khe. All these units were inserted and extracted in and off the various battlefields in well executed coordination in a battlefront that lasted 38 days and 38 nights. Each unit was given a task that corresponded to its capacity; consequently each mission was achieved smoothly and without too much effort and yet the desired expectation was satisfactorily fulfilled.

In regard specifically of the use of 1st Air Cavalry Division, Colonel Hieu demonstrated that he knew how to use this tactical unit better than General Kinnard and General Knowles. General Kinnard’s tactical operation to counter the guerrillas warfare was (Cochran):

to seal off the area in which the guerrillas were fighting, to separate them from their source of reinforcement, supplies, weapons.

And the air assault tactic he had developed was:

Right after the Plei Me siege was broken, I felt that it was up to me to find these guys who had been around the camp. So we came up with a search “modus operandi” in which the Cav Squadron was going to range widely over a very large area and I was going to use one infantry brigade to plop down an infantry battalion and look at an area here and there. I felt that we had to break down into relatively small groups so we could cover more area and also the enemy would think he could fake us. You couldn’t put down a whole battalion out there and go clomping around. You had to break down into company and platoon-sized units. You had to rely upon the fact that with the helicopter you could respond faster than anyone in history. I then learned, totally new to me, that every unit that was not in contact was, in fact, a reserve that could be picked up and used. This is my strategy. Start from somewhere, break down into small groups, depending upon the terrain, and work that area while the Cav Squadron roamed all over. The name of the game was contact. You were looking for any form of contact – a helicopter being shot at, finding a campfire, finding a pack, beaten-down grass.

Firstly, Colonel Hieu knew that General Kinnard would not be able to seal off a wide expanded 40 km by 50 km area covered by jungles, even with more than 500 helicopters and 3 air cavalry brigades. Secondly, he also knew that the Viet Cong troops were very clever in avoiding contact with the American air cavalry troops. And he rationalized that in order to destroy an army of troops that scattered all over like rats hiding in cracks and holes, there was only one way, which was to stake out and wait patiently until they assembled in one spot, then to finish them off with B52 carpet bombings. That was why he did not consider phase 2 as a pursuit phase but rather a herding one (Pleime Counteroffensive into Chupong-Iadrang Complex).

Besides army troops, Colonel Hieu also demonstrated his skill in the use all types of weapons, small and big, ancient and modern: artillery, armor, wing as well of jet tactical aircrafts, armed helicopters, B52 strategic air fortresses, as dictated by various battlefield situations.

Phieu


#674 09 Jan 12, 01:41

A Doctrinal Lesson on the Use of Arc Lite in Pleime Counteroffensive

Principle:

B-52 airstrike needs a targetable objective, which means the object has to be sizable, relatively immobile and its location can be pinpointed with an accuracy of at least (XX’YY’).

Feasibility:

The annihilation of the three NVA Regiments – 32nd, 33rd and 66th – after the relief of Pleime camp by B-52 airstrike can be done, because B3 Field Front intends to regroup its entire forces in preparation for a second attack against Pleime camp; and with godsend intelligence source provided by open communications between Chinese Advisors at regimental and divisional levels, allowing to determine the locations and the times at which point those three regiments become targetable for B-52 airstrike.

Operational Concept:

To stalk (1) the enemy movements until their troop units gather together close enough; particular attention should be focused on when the enemy get closer (assembling phase) (2) and much closer together (staging phase) (3) and provision should be ascertained in prolonging the staging time (4) to provide a better margin window for Arc Lite strike; and to schedule the B-52 airstrike accordingly.

Planning:

The planning of Arc Lite strikes is assumed by a coordination team comprising II Corps (Colonel Hieu, Colonel Williams), 1st Air Cav Forward CP (General Knowles, LTC Stoner), IFFV (General Smith, Colonel Barrow), MACV (General Collins).

Execution:

- October 27: The herding operation (1') started with the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade conducting All the Way operation. Spotted enemy units were broke up further in small pieces and pushed back westward to Chupong-Iadrang complex.

- Nov 4, 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).

- Nov 8 and 9, the 33d Regiment began to assess its losses and to count noses. There were many missing.

- Nov 8, the enticement move started with the 3rd Air Cavalry Brigade ordered to switch the operational direction from west to eastward.

- Nov 11, B3 Field Front took the enticement bait and decided a second attack on Pleime camp scheduled for 11/16.

- Nov 10, B3 Field Front B3 ordered troop units into assembling areas (2') for reorganization, training and rehearsals.

- Nov 11, the three regiments became targetable with the 66th center of mass (vic YA 9104); the 32nd (YA 820072), the 33rd (YA 940011)

- Arc Lite scheduled to strike before 11/16, either 11/14 or 11/15, depending B3 Field Front moves.

- Nov 12, while the assembling phase was on going, 1/7th Air Cavalry Battalion was ordered to get ready to be inserted into Chu Pong massif.

- Nov 13, B3 Field Front forces began staging (3') in preparation for movement to Pleime and the projected 16 November attack. Some recon parties and transportation units already had moved out.

- Nov 14, 1/7th Air Cavalry Battalion was inserted in LZ X-Ray in a distractive move (4'), forcing B3 Field Front to delay the attack against Pleime and to refocus its attention onto new threat and to maintain its troop units concentrated at staging area for Arc Lite strike scheduled for noon Nov 15.

- Nov 14 noon, B3 Field Front engaged the 1/7th Air Cavalry Battalion with two battalions. Reinforcement with 2/7th Air Cavalry Battalion was sent in.

- Nov 15 noon, Arc Lite suddenly struck at B3 Field Front forces center of mass (vicinity YA8702) and continued for the next 5 days in 96 sorties.

- Nov 17, Arc Lite’s targets included LZ X-Ray.

- Nov 18, the “coup de grâce" operation started with Airborne Brigade conducting Than Phong 7 operation.

- Nov 24, as no more contacts were made with the enemy, the Airborne Brigade withdrew from the area of operations, terminating the third phase of the Battle of Pleime with 265 VC killed (BC), 10 others and 58 weapons captured.

II Corps Headquarters, Pleiku City

Colonel Nguyę̃n Văn Hię́u
Chief of Staff.

Phieu


#675 10 Jan 12, 04:27

Like Hunting a Pack of Wolves

Colonel Hieu in his hunting for the pack of B3 Field Front Force wolves,

- round them up in Chupong-Iadrang complex with 1st Air Cav;

- enticed them to regroup by faking east aiming west with 3rd Air Cav;

- distracted them into staying immobile in staging area with the insertion of 1/7 Air Cav;

- took a deep breath and hit his target bull eye with an arclite bullet;

- and "Finish 'Em" with the Airborne Brigade’s surgical “coup de grâce”.

Wasn't he a shrewd tracker and a great hunter of wolves?!


#676 11 Jan 12, 02:45

Arc Lite’s and Air Cav’ s Know How Use

Captain Nguyę̃n Minh Ẩm, a G3/II Corps said, “The American advisors greatly admired Colonel Hieu. They wondered where he had acquired all his wide knowledge and recognized he was far better than them." ̣

(With Colonel Mataxis, II Corps Senior Advisor, and his two staff members)

In regard to Arc Lite, maybe when he attended the General Staff and Command College in 1963. In regard to Air Cav, definitely not there since Air Cav only came into existence in July 1968. General Kinnard boasted to Cochran in a 1994 interview:

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 knownthis because he was not in the States during the air assault testing.

He never really did fully understand the division - its capabilities and limitations, and most importantly that the aviation assets supported the entire division and that if you split it out, you took away my basic tool. I told him the Army Chief of Staff wanted us in the Highlands. He never gave me a direct answer. My guess is that he finally had some conversations with General Johnson. I was just surprised that they hadn’t talked about it before. In any event, Westy did agree to the division being based in a single location, An Khe, in the Central Highlands. You’ve got to remember that I was the only one who had ever commanded an air assault division. I had the division for over two years before Vietnam. When I left the division, I had over 39 months of division

command, the second longest in the history of the modern Army. 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. It didn’t matter that it hadn’t been in combat, if they would let me operate as I wanted to. There were to be instances in Vietnam, such as the Ia Drang, where Gen. “Sweden” Larsen, my immediate boss, and General Westmoreland, who did not understand how we operated, did not use the best judgment about the way things were done.

(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.)

Apparently, General Kinnard did not count Colonel Hieu, when he made all that boasting in 1994.

Colonel Hieu seemed to learn the use of an Air Cavalry division on the job while working next to General Knowles and his general staff who lodged in the American Advisor Group’s compound in II Corps headquarters.

e indicated in Why Pleime he learned about the Air Cav from studying the US Army Information Digest, August 65.

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.(1)

After two years of maneuver in the jungle of the South Carolina State, the Division has totally succeeded in developing and promoting new tactics. In a news conference on 16 June 1965, the US Secretary of Defense McNamara said,

"The tactics, the techniques, the procedures that will be employed by this new division will result in a markedly different approach to the solution of tactical problems. The use of aircraft to bring combat personnel directly to the battlefield, to remove them from the battlefield, provides a capability which neither we nor any other army in the world possess today".

(1) After the testing period which started in 1963, the Division was officially activated in June 1965 and came to Viet Nam in September 1965. In comparison with the other US Divisions, the 1st Air Cavalry has less troops (15787 instead of 15900) and vehicles (1600 instead of 3200) but more aircraft (435 instead of 101). The displacement of 3000 troops over a distance of 160 km takes only 59 minutes.

This study document might have been passed on to him by General Knowles who settled his Forward Command next to II Corps headquarters and work closely with him from the outset of Pleime campaign, as earlier as October 21 when he came up Pleiku to lead Task Force Ingram.

Colonel Hieu was indeed a quick learner. He was the type who when taught one understands ten folds.

In the phase 2 and phase 3 of Pleime campaign, he had shown he knew how to use Air Cav better than General Kinnard and General Knowles.

And who else can replicate his extraordinary feat of annihilating an entire enemy division comprising three regiments with the use of Arc Lite?

When he became 5th Infantry Division Commander in August 1969, in his very first meeting with his commanders, he instructed:

We must make full use of technical means provided to us such as sensors, etc. And so, all units must know how to operate with proficiency and make full use of these devices.

He took every opportunity he could get to test out himself all the new weaponries the American Army introduced in the Vietnam War. Captain Paul Van Nguyen said:

I got the opportunity to meet him while he was holding the position of 5th Infantry Division Commander. In 1969, as an aide de camp accompanying Lieutenant General Nguyen Van Minh, Governor of Saigon-Giadinh and Capital Special Military Zone Commander, I witnessed General Hieu’s marksmanship in the use of various weapons, from Colt 45, M16 to machine gun M60, and hitting bull-eyes at fixed and mobile targets at the firing range. That time, Lieutenant General Do Cao Tri, III Corps Commander, invited Commanders of Capital Special Military Zone, 5th, 18th and 25th Infantry Division and some high ranking officers of other units to participate in trying out various weapons using infra-red vision devices introduced by the Americans with the intention to equip ARVN snipers.

Phieu


#677 11 Jan 12, 17:20

New York Times re: Pleime
Pleiku, South Vietnam, Tuesday October 26, 1965 (Associated Press)

Americans Pursue Guerrillas

A South Vietnamese armored column that began reaching Pleime last night consolidated its position just outside the camp and at dawn reported only sporadic fire from the Vietcong.

United States troops, in a sweep to the west and north of Pleime, engaged a retreating Vietcong platoon of 35 to 50 men. A spokesman said the guerrilla platoon apparently was part of a rearguard detachment covering the Vietcong withdrawal.

The Vietcong's week-long offensive apparently was designed to clear supply lines from Laos, and North Vietnam. A United States military informant in Pleiku said the Pleime defenders - 300 Montagnard tribesmen and a dozen United States advisers - together with air attacks, had knocked out about 750 of the 1,200-man Vietcong force.

Phieu


#678 12 Jan 12, 03:16

Sidebar: Quarterback versus Coach

Colonel Hieu has been presented under the light of a chess grand master, a rodeo cowboy bridling a mustang, a tracker and hunter of mountainous tigers, a tracker and hunter of wolves. He was also seen as a quarterback (tactician) and a football coach (strategist).

A visitor to General Hieu’s Page once commented: "The ARVN had many competent officers at the regimental level and down, but at the divisional level and up, many generals were not competent. The command of a division and a corps requires competency in strategy and general staff. Many generals only knew how to attack as a buffalo, and lacked strategy (i.e. Operation Lam Son 719, Highlands withdrawal of II Corps). I greatly admire the competence and virtue of general Hieu, who had the ability to command with strategy at the divisional level and up." (Pham Khiet, Readers’ Comments #54).

General Hieu did not have any combat experience at the regimental level and down, having been appointed to his first divisional command post’s assignment straight from a long career exclusively in the general staff field . Nonetheless, despite such handicap, General Hieu was a quick learner and in no time was able to become a seasoned divisional commander at the helm of the 22nd Division Command first, and then of the 5th Division Command.

General Pham Van Phu and General Ngo Quang Truong were reputed as formidable battalion and regiment commanders. However, in light of the debacles of the II Corps in Central Highlands and of the I Corps in Da Nang in March 1975, many opinions have been voiced hinting that these two otherwise fine general officers had been assigned to a level of command positions beyond their abilities when they were elevated to the levels of division and corps commanders.

What makes an officer a good regiment commander, and what makes an officer a good division commander? Are the qualities that make a good regiment commander and the qualities that make a good division commander the same? In other words, does a good regiment commander necessarily become a good division commander?

At the risk of oversimplification, one can safely state that a good regiment commander should possess the following skills ratio: 80% tactics and 20% strategy. In the other hand, a good division commander should possess a reversed ratio: 20% tactics and 80% strategy. When a good regiment commander is promoted to a division command post and is not capable of making an adjustment by switching the above-mentioned ratio combinations, he would not be a good division commander.

To take an analogy of a football team, a regiment commander is like its quarterback and a division commander its coach. The quarterback works more directly with his teammates. He is present on the field together with them; he commands them, he sweats with them, he trains with them, he risks physical injuries as much as them. Likewise, the regiment commander is out there in the battlefield with his men; he commands them by example, he runs the risk of death as much as his men, he is out in the frontline with them. The coach, on the other hand, plays a more indirect role in the team. He handpicks and works through his deputy coaches and he stays on the sidelines. He designs strategies and calls tactical shots. Likewise, the division commander works on overall strategies, and gives tactical instructions to his regiment commander in the mist of battle.

Both the quarterback and the coach are important. However, among the two, the coach holds a more important role than the quarterback. Although a quarterback might commands more fame and higher pay than a coach, the role of the coach is a more determinant winning factor of a football team than its quarterback’s.

It is interesting to notice that in the football’s history, no good quarterback has ever become a good coach. And it is obvious that a good coach can never become a good quarterback because of lack of physical strength.

In the military arena, we encounter general officers who are either good tacticians with direct combat experiences - like General Patton - or good strategists with no combat experiences - like General Eisenhower or Collin Powell. General Nguyen Van Hieu seems to be an exception, who was a good tactician with ample combat experiences as a division commander of the 22nd Infantry Division and of the 5th Infantry Division, and at the same time was a good strategist as Chief of Staff of the I Corps and the II Corps, then Deputy Commander/Operation of the I Corps and the III Corps. To use our analogy, General Hieu was capable of being a good quarterback and/or a coach!

General Do Cao Tri, Commander of I Corps before 11/1963 and of II Corps after 11/1963 had Colonel Hieu as his Chief of Staff in both instances. He recognized in his chief strategist the potential and formidable qualities of a tactician. Consequently, he appointed him Commander of the 22nd Infantry Division, prior to relinquishing his II Corps command post to General Nguyen Huu Co in September, 1964; and later on, when he assumed the III Corps command post in 1968, he again entrusted General Hieu with the command of the 5th Infantry Division in August 1969.

General Hieu missed the chance of becoming Commander of the III Corps in February 1971 when General Tri, who had recommended him to this position, died in a helicopter accident. And he missed the chance of becoming Chairman of the Joint General Staff under the government of President Tran Van Huong, because he was assassinated on April 8, 1975. And so, because he was not politically correct under President Thieu’s regime, he was not promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General and was not given the opportunities to use his potential abilities as a tactician/strategist to the fullest.

_________________________

Note:

"General Truong, I Corps Commander, was occasionally given credit for being a "honest man" and a "good officer", but some sources stated that he lacked the schooling for a Corps Command.

General Phu, II Corps Commander, was also described by some as a good combat officer, but also as a sick man unsuited for a higher command."

(Fall Of South Vietnam: Statements by Vietnamese Military and Civilian Leaders, 1980; Stephen T. Hosmer, Konrad Kellen and Brian M. Jenkins)

Phieu


#679 12 Jan 12, 03:23

New York Times re: Pleime

Saigon, South Vietnam, Tuesday October 26, 1965
By R.W. Apple, Jr., Special to The New York Times

First Cavalry Force Backs Drive of Saigon Column

Vietcong Casualties Heavy in 7-Day Fight in Highlands

Troops of the United States First Cavalry Division (Airmobile) have been thrown into the battle at Pleime in the Central Highlands, a military spokesman said today.

[A South Vietnamese Army column backed by the United States troops broke the seven-day Vietcong siege of the Special Forces camp at Pleime early Tuesday. The Associated Press reported from Pleiku, 25 miles from the camp.]

The American units, including infantrymen, artillery and a squadron of helicopter-mounted cavalry, were committed on Saturday, the spokesman said. The news had been held up for security reasons.

Brig. Gen. Charles Knowles, assistant division commander of the First Cavalry, said at Pleiku that his troops had joined the fighting at the request of the South Vietnamese authorities.

Vietcong forces surrounding the Pleime camp had opened fire again yesterday afternoon. They pounded the camp with heavy mortar fire from 8:30 to 11:30 P.M.

Casualties among the mountain tribesmen and United States Special Forces advisors defending the camp were again described by the spokesman here as light. There was no breakdown of American casualties.

The camp was supplied on Sunday afternoon by parachute drop from United States Army Caribou light transport planes. Since the siege began more than 270.000 pounds of ammunition, food and other materiel have been dropped into the tiny triangular fortress.

According to Lieut. Col. William A. McLaughlin, commander of the 310th Air Commando Squadron, more than half of the 29 United States Air Force C-123 transports used on supply mission have been hit by ground fire.

Phieu


#680 12 Jan 12, 04:00

Phieu : [I]...or good strategists with no combat experiences - like General Eisenhower or Collin Powell

Is it possible you made a miss-statement here in regard to Collin Powell. You do know he served two tours in Vietnam and has a Purple Heart and Combat Infantryman's Badge. Seems to me he has combat experience; along with tactical and strategic experience.


#681 12 Jan 12, 06:37

What I meant is combat experience as a commanding general; in other words, at the division level.

By the way, at the very outset of my website I wrote:

If General Do Cao Tri was compared to General Patton, I venture to compare General Hieu to General Colin Powell. Both excelled in military and civilian skills. Both excelled equally in tactical and strategic skills. Both proudly worn their paratroopers insignia on their chest. Both held important position in the civilian branch of the government (Assistant to the Minister of Anti-Corruption, Assistant to the Secretary of National Security) and both were respected for their administrative skills. There are even striking physical similarities: majestic, gentle and humble at the same time. Both were promoted based on achievements, not on, or even despite partisanship.

Phieu


#682 12 Jan 12, 13:10

While I have been enjoying the history of this time and place during the Vietnam war, it seems to be that it is becoming a rah-rah thread for General Hieu. I understand that he may have had specific knowledge of the area and enemy - this is what I want to read about - not a ranking of personnel. I hope nobody takes offense at my statement. It was not intended to do such.

DeltaOne


#683 12 Jan 12, 13:33

Maybe it's about time I start a specific thread on General Hieu, the architect of the Pleime campaign, if you don't want to link the deed with its author ...

Meanwhile what have you been enjoying about this thread so far? Have you get what you want to read about in this thread so far?

Phieu


#684 12 Jan 12, 13:47

There won't be a thread about General Hieu on ACG, your book and website are enough already.

Boonierat


#685 12 Jan 12, 14:30

Phieu: What I meant is combat experience as a commanding general; in other words, at the division level.

By the way, at the very outset of my website I wrote:

I'm not too sure about how much "strategic" planning is/was done at "division level" for the "operations" involved with the Ia Drang. Possibly you could provide us at what point Ia Drang strategic planning ended and Ia Drang "tactical" planning started.

Possibly, if you can, provide who did, and was responsible, for the "strategic" planning in regard to Ia Drang.

P.S. I am more interested in what "you" conclude, write and present within this forum, rather than what is available from your "web site" and/or your, or your brother's books.

KEN JENSEN


#686 12 Jan 12, 14:47

Boonierat: There won't be a thread about General Hieu on ACG, your book and website are enough already.

Is that a specific AGS forum rule, Bonnie ?

Phieu


#687 12 Jan 12, 14:54

KEN JENSEN: I'm not too sure about how much "strategic" planning is/was done at "division level" for the "operations" involved with the Ia Drang. Possibly you could provide us at what point Ia Drang strategic planning ended and Ia Drang "tactical" planning started.

Possibly, if you can, provide who did, and was responsible, for the "strategic" planning in regard to Ia Drang.

P.S. I am more interested in what "you" conclude, write and present within this forum, rather than what is available from your "web site" and/or your, or your brother's books.

Frankly, Ken, I do not know how to respond to you on this ...

Phieu


#688 12 Jan 12, 14:56

Boonierat: There won't be a thread about General Hieu on ACG.

Me thinks we are 46 pages into one right now...

don744


#689 12 Jan 12, 15:02

Phieu:Is that a specific AGS forum rule, Bonnie ?

No, just my rule.

Boonierat


#690 12 Jan 12, 15:18

So, it is personal. What do you have against me that made you try to shut me up many times ?

Isn't it an abuse of power of the moderator?

I thought any member can start a thread as he see please, except those porno, etc ...


#691 12 Jan 12, 15:39

Like I said earlier, you already wrote a book and created a website entirely dedicated to Nguyen Van Hieu, that's more than any other ARVN general, including the great Ngo Quang Truong. People wishing to know more about your brother can easily refer to them. I won't let you hijack this forum to indulge in more hagiographic logorrhoea about him, enough is enough

Boonierat


#692 12 Jan 12, 19:58

1. How is it possible to hijack this forum? What do you exactly mean by you hijack this forum?

2. You find my contribution as hagiographic logorrhoea about my brother. That's your personal opinion. As a moderator, is it your duty to forbid it in this forum? You state it's not the AGC's rule, only yours. That's abuse of power, do you realize that?

3. Does this forum impose equal time and exposure to every ARVN general officers?

4. Is there an appeal provision to higher authority than you like in this case of abuse of power by a moderator?

Phieu


#693 12 Jan 12, 23:14

A quick search for generalhieu for all posts made my Phieu shows a total of 126 different posts that you have used your web site as your authenticity for your claims. Don't you think that is a little overboard?

I do!

I had expected you to fill in the ARVN side of the story for what Joseph L. Galloway has presented (fill in the blanks or possible corrections as to what Galloway has presented over the years)...

Synopsis:

The Plei Me Siege and Opening of the 1st CAV Pleiku Campaign

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

Here is an example... What information can you provide from the ARVN point of view for the below pictured march? ** Note ** since the picture is Copyrighted I won't use it here; however the LINK is provided.

These are my questions related to this pic due to the caption remark; "Schwarzkopf marching with his RVN paratroop battalion"

Was Schwarzkopf an adviser or the Commander?

What was Schwarzkopf title during this march ; Battalion Commander?

Again, what ARVN unit?

Who was the ARVN Commander, if any?

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

Answer the questions direct, if you can. I do not want a LINK back to any of your other "web" stuff. If you wish to authenticate your knowledge, I will accept a "quote" and a source link back to an AAR or ORLL or something equivalent that reflects on the above march and/or during the time frame of march.

P.S. I'm tired of your or other's opinions about your genius brother. Please provide what most anticipated you may fill in about the Ia Drang; I don't believe we were anticipating a "bio" on your brother.

KEN JENSEN


#694 12 Jan 12, 23:41

This photo is taken from It Doesn't Take a Hero and inserted between page 114 and 115. The legend reads: “After the siege at Duc Co, we had to walk out along Route 19 to friendly-held territory some sixty miles away. The tank in the rear is from the resuce column that relieved us. (UPI/BETTMAN) “

- He was an advisor not a commander. (An American officer never commanded an ARVN unit.)

- He was an advisor during this march.

- The ARVN unit was the First Task Force of the Vietnamese Airborne Brigade.

- The ARVN Commander was Lieutenant Colonel Kha.

I do not want a LINK back to any of your other "web" stuff.

www.generalhieu.com is made up of a compilation of related documents. If I quote one of those documents, obviously I give a link back to my other "web" stuff!

Phieu


#695 13 Jan 12, 00:07

Outstanding response Phieu; thanks

I do believe that members appreciate the info you provided here. As for me, I wasn't aware of the book "It Doesn't take a Hero" (autobiography of Schwarzkopf ). I won't buy it, but others may want to.

Also I have a name of a UPI Reporter/Photographer I can search on for other pictures and/or stories he may have written in regard to the Vietnam War.

Later, I may also search on the ARVN Commander Lt. Col. Kha and see what I can find.

I'm not, but others maybe, interested in First Task Force of the Vietnamese Airborne Brigade because of their activity in the Ia Drang.

KEN JENSEN


#696 13 Jan 12, 01:31

Phieu : 4. Is there an appeal provision to higher authority than you like in this case of abuse of power by a moderator?

What you do not realize Phieu is that the promotion you are doing of your brother is totally counter-productive. You've been antagonizing almost everyone here with your self-obsessed and pedantic attitude. I've been working hard over the years to make this forum one of the best on the internet dedicated to the Vietnam War and I won't let anyone mess around with it. You can of course appeal your case if you so wish directly to the forum administrators:

ACG Forums Commanding Officer : Admiral

ACG Director of Internet Operations : Siberian HEAT

Boonierat


#697 13 Jan 12, 03:48

KEN JENSEN: Outstanding response Phieu; thanks

You are welcome.

I do believe that members appreciate the info you provided here. As for me, I wasn't aware of the book "It Doesn't take a Hero" (autobiography of Schwarzkopf ). I won't buy it, but others may want to.

All I said in this forum are also based on documents as well. I did not invent anything. I cut and paste and archived all those documents on to my "web stuff" as much as possible so that readers can have easy access through the internet and to can be sure to find it there and not risk to encounter a defunct link as it often happens with individual websites.

I'm not, but others maybe, interested in First Task Force of the Vietnamese Airborne Brigade because of their activity in the Ia Drang.

For your further information, the composition of the Airborne First Task Force had changed from the Duc Co battle to Iadrang battle:

- Captain Schwarzkopf vs Major Schwarzkopf

- LTC Kha vs LTC Ngo Xuan Nghi (LTC Ngo Quang Truong was the Airborne Brigade Field Commander, Forward CP; Brigadier General Du Quang Dong was the Airborne Brigade Commander, Headquarters.)

- US 173rd Airborne vs US 2nd Air Cav as reserve forces.

It is beyond my comprehension when all what I said in here about my brother are so well documented and in detail can be characterized as "hagiographic logorrhoea" ... Maybe due to the analogies that I used? ...

Phieu


#698 13 Jan 12, 04:22

Boonierat: What you do not realize Phieu is that the promotion you are doing of your brother is totally counter-productive.

Totally counter-productive is your perception. I think the objective perception is demonstrated by the most fast growing thread based on the number of 17733 view hits as of today.

You've been antagonizing almost everyone here with your self-obsessed and pedantic attitude.

Who are those almost everyone? You, Ken, Altus, Max, Lucky, Don, Lirelou ... the vocal ACG members that I dare challenge and pierced through their so called ARVN expert's skin which made them feel I harbored a self-obsessed and pedantic attitude.

I thought I am the common sense janitor; Max is the Professeur Erudit or he prefers PHD (post holes digger) scholar. Aren't you a tiny bit pedantique using those esoteric vocaburaries such as logorrhoea ?

I've been working hard over the years to make this forum one of the best on the internet dedicated to the Vietnam War.

You can be rightfully proud of it.

and I won't let anyone mess around with it.

In what way I am messing around with it? by correcting other members' mistakes and presenting what I believe to be the truth?

With all due respect, Bonnie, I think you are hurt because I had the nerve to contradict you in multiple occasions ... maybe too bluntly and not as diplomatic as our friend Altus ... I have no intention of usurping your stature at this forum, if that's what you are afraid of ... You sound as this forum is your own property, while you are only a caretaker ...

You can of course appeal your case if you so wish directly to the forum administrators:

ACG Forums Commanding Officer : Admiral

ACG Director of Internet Operations : Siberian HEAT

I will certainly do that and get their ok before I venture to start that new thread about General Hieu.

I wonder why it is tolerated and acceptable when General Westmoreland, General MacArthur, General Abrahams are demonized by some ACG members and not the other way around? How did it happen that throwing dirt onto somebody is a virtue and incensing somebody even if that somebody is your brother a sin?

Meanwhile, I do appreciate the fact that we are able to dialogue on this matter in a calm and mutual respectful manner.

Phieu


#699 13 Jan 12, 06:01

My unique contribution to this forum on the Ia Drang Battle

Post #245 - Operation Bayonet I (November 8-14) - Pleiku AAR’s Account

Post #252 - Operation Bayonet I (November 8-14) – Coleman 1988’s Account

Post #254 – Operation Bayonet I (November 8-14) – Why Pleime’s Account

Post #256 – Why Pleime AAR and Pleiku Campaign AAR

Post #258 – Why Pleime AAR and Pleiku Campaign AAR (continued)

Post #275 – Why Pleime AAR and Pleiku Campaign AAR

Post #283 – The best kept secret at Ia Drang Valley battle

Post #284 – The Main Players in Pleime-Chupong-Iadrang Battlefront

Post #285 – The Main Players in Pleime-Chupong-Iadrang Battlefront – General Larsen

Post #286 - The Main Players in Pleime-Chupong-Iadrang Battlefront – General Vinh Loc

Post #287 – The Main Players in Pleime-Chupong-Iadrang Battlefront – General Kinnard.

Post #288 – The Main Players in Pleime-Chupong-Iadrang Battlefront – General Knowles

Post #299 – The Main Players in Pleime-Chupong-Iadrang Battlefront – Colonel Mataxis

Post #300 – The Main Players in Pleime-Chupong-Iadrang Battlefront – Colonel McKean.

Post #301 – The Main Players in Pleime-Chupong-Iadrang Battlefront – General Westmoreland

Post #309 – The Two Main Players of the Pleime Chess Game

Post #339 – Pleime Counteroffensive into Chupong Iadrang Complex

Post #365 - Side bar: General Swcharzkopf’s Reaction...

Post #382 - The Uniqueness of Pleime Counteroffensive operational concept

Post #396 - Herding the Enemy Troops to Chupong-Iadrang Complex.

Post #401 - The Enticement Diversionary Move.

Post #402 - The Distractive Diversionary Move.

Post #415 - Destroy the Enemy with B-52 Air Strikes

Post #416 - Side bar: Command and Control at Pleime Counteroffensive Operation

Post #417 - Side bar: Colonel Hieu and General Larsen

Post #427 - The Coup de Grace” Operation

Post #438 - The Art of How to Bridle a Mustang

Post #484 - Side Bar: 1st Air Cavalry Commanders’ Cockiness P

ost #499 - Different names assigned to Pleime Campaign

Post #503 - Pleime Counteroffensive Operational Concept

Post #506 – Pre-requisiete Key Factor in Pleime Counteroffensive Planning and Execution

Post #528 - Side Bar: Why Pleime as an ORLL

Post #559 - Side Bar: Watching Chess Game Pleime

Post #569 - Chess Master Ha Vi Trung

Post #574 - The Chess Grand Master Colonel Hieu - His Checkmate Operational Concept

Post #608 - My Very First Presentation of Pleime Campaign

Post #610 - Why Pleime ?

Post #620 - Reading the Enemy’s Mind

Post #626 - What if there was no master plan for Bayonet I operation?

Post #648 - Master Plan of Pleime Offensive was known at the highest American military authorities level – MACV

Post #657 - Some addtional precision on various diversionary moves employed in Pleime offensive

Post #666 - Arc Lite Operation Planning and Execution in Pleime Offensive

Post #669 - The stealthy II Corps Chief of Staff

Post #671 - Who were privy to the Arc Lite operational concept in Pleime Offensive

Post #672 - Conceiving Tactical and Strategic Plans

Post #674 - A Doctrinal Lesson on the Use of Arc Lite in Pleime Counteroffensive

Post #675 - Like Hunting a Pack of Wolves

Post #676 - Arc Lite’s and Air Cav’ s Know How Use I

s it good or bad ?

Is it positive or negative ?

Is it fictional or factual ?

Is it counter-productive or beneficial to everybody?

Can I talk about a unique action without touching upon its agent?

Should it be praised or condemned ?

Am I not telling you "What you still may not know about the Ia Drang Valley battle" ?

Phieu


#700 13 Jan 12, 06:54

Your thread carries many things that we may still not know.

It also carries many things that are very well documented.

The catch however is, most of those "things that we may still not know" are not documented, many of which are bald speculations that you can't even argue, whereas those things that are well documented are relatively well known.

That's about it.

altus


#701 13 Jan 12, 10:18

That's your and one opinion.

My posts speak for themselves.

If they contain garbage stuffs, the readers won't bother to read it. And yet 17787 view hits? How do

you explain that? Are they blind? They totally lack discernment and judgement and common sense? The fact you still read my posts says something ...

Phieu


#702 13 Jan 12, 10:35

KEN JENSEN : I had expected you to fill in the ARVN side of the story for what Joseph L. Galloway has presented (fill in the blanks or possible corrections as to what Galloway has presented over the years)...

I am wondering, who was the photographer, Galloway or Bettman?!

Aren't you too, you who are so scupulous pertaining to copyright infringement!

Furthermore, was it Duc Co or Ia Drang? Was Galloway correct in his presentation of LZ X-ray battle or Pleime campaign?

I did get in touch with Galloway and discussed about LZ X-Ray when he was still working at UPI in Washington, D.C. He was that sure about what he knew about that battle. And when I met him at the 1st Air Cav Ia Drang 40th Anniversary in Washington , D.C. in 2005, when he saw me walking toward him, he took the tangent ...

Phieu


#703 13 Jan 12, 10:39

Phieu: Are they blind? They totally lack discernment and judgement and common sense?

No, just curious to see to what would be the limit of one's absurdity. Kinda a mother asking a man to come to her house so she can introduce him to her children and say "If you won't eat and won't study, when you grow up you'll become as pitiful as this man!"

altus


#704 13 Jan 12, 10:43

Aren't you making foolist statements, Altus ?!

I really feef pity for that poor child having such kinda uneducated mother ...

Provide your arguments coherently, not just throw out cheap cursings ... please ... ... please ... ... please ...

Better, I challenge you to start a thread something like, Shooting down one by one Phieu’s absurdities in 47 some pages.

You did pretty good with your Human Wave Attacks which got to 19 pages. That's how and why you earned Boonie's respect and friendship? Why am I not as lucky as you, Altus?

I kind of envy you ... Naah ... naah ... naah ...

P.S. - One note of praise for you guys of TTVNOL forum.

While battling there, I was imposed only one restriction: don't show the South Vietnamese yellow flag. Besides that, I was free to touch upon any topics: Pleime, Dien Bien Phu, ARVN generals, General Hieu, etc.

And yet, look the restriction I am subjected to here. I thought I am living in a freedom of speech country!

And, when my Pleime thread reached 100 pages, Chiangsan hastily opened a follow up Pleime II thread ... He did not feel threaten that I might hijack this forum ... And Vo Quoc Tuan invited me over to his Dien Bien Phu thread ...

Well, I have no choice. I have to abide to the arbitrary rules of engagement set up by the moderator.

I underestimated my VC enemies back then. I salut you guys ...

Phieu


#705 13 Jan 12, 15:06

Phieu: I am wondering, who was the photographer, Galloway or Bettman?!

I can care less. I did do some googling on Bettman and I'm not to sure he was ever in Vietnam. What I have ran across is that he was a "collector" of some sort of photographs and his "collection" was sold to CORBIS.

Aren't you too, you who are so scupulous pertaining to copyright infringement!

Yes, indeed Do you wish to continue down this path?

Furthermore, was it Duc Co or Ia Drang? Was Galloway correct in his presentation of LZ X-ray battle or Pleime campaign?

I have no idea; aren't you the "expert"? I never even heard of "Galloway" until I joined this forum. First I ever heard of Ia Drang was in the movie that stared "Mel Gibson". I enjoyed the movie but hardly ever do I pay much attention to "details" in regard to movies.

KEN JENSEN


#706 13 Jan 12, 17:06

Now, you are interested ... Now, you don't care ...

Phieu


#707 13 Jan 12, 17:53

Please explain who you are pointing this comment at.

If it is me, then pray tell, what was I interested in and what I don't care about?

Shitty response like you made above is really why you are NOT wanted, by many of us, to be a member of this forum. Why don't you just pack it up an get out of here.

KEN JENSEN


#708 13 Jan 12, 19:13

Outstanding/shitty

I can search and see/I can care less

I can search on for other pictures/I hardly ever do I pay much attention to "details"

Phieu


#709 13 Jan 12, 21:58 Re: Your brother's suicide...

SAIGON (UPI) - The deputy commander of South Vietnamese troops defending the Saigon area was found shot to death Tuesday night following an argument with his superior over tactics. Military sources said he apparently committed suicide.

He probably shot himself because he was so heavily involved in the Corruption that was taking place at very High Levels within the ARVN leadership (which your brother was a part). After all, he was in a perfect spot being on the "team" of the Anti-Corruption Staff.

You have all this "stuff" trying to justify his death in a more "honorable" way than what actually took place. Why you seem it is still a mystery is beyond me. After all, your "special" dream/visits you claim to have been visiting with your brother seem a little "far-fetched" to me. Hell, on his first visit most would think how he died would be the first thing he would tell you.

hmmmm, where did your money come from that you were able to "bribe" your way out of Vietnam?

I checked out GoogleEarth for a view of your property in the Bronx; damn you have so much space compared to others. Must have been part of the "corruption" dollars.

I know, I know, I'm a chit head! ROFLOL!

KEN JENSEN


#710 13 Jan 12, 22:23

Phieu : That's your and one opinion.

make it TWO!

My posts speak for themselves.

Many are worthless.

If they contain garbage stuffs, the readers won't bother to read it. And yet 17640 view hits? How do you explain that?

Let me "un-confuse you. I probably have around 300 visits; Altus probably about the same; Boonie probably around 1000. LOL Hell, you probably have around 8,000.

You keep begging, and whinning for praise, well here you are you egotistical BS'er.

Now get out of this forum.

KEN JENSEN


#711 14 Jan 12, 01:17

???

Phieu


#712 14 Jan 12, 01:28

For the sake of this thread can we get on topic? I've learned more about Vietnam in this thread than I have in probably two years of history in high school.

Just saying this thread and its participants have an awful lot to offer, and I personally have learned a lot and wish to learn more.

Wellington95


#713 14 Jan 12, 01:30

Why Pleime had been introduced in the curriculum of various American Military Schools, such as Infantry Center (Major General Robert H. York - Brigadier General James Simmons Timothy), Armor Center (Major General A.D. Surles, Jr.), War College (Major General Eugene A. Salet), Command and General Staff (Major General Michael S. Davison) in 1966. (see post #398)

Nevertheless, it might be interesting to have the Doctrinal Lesson of the Use of Arc Lite in Pleime Counteroffensive taught at Command and General Staff College and War College as a concrete example of the use of Arc Lite strike.

Principle:

B-52 airstrike needs a targetable objective, which means the object has to be sizable, relatively immobile and its location can be pinpointed with an accuracy of at least (XX’YY’).

Feasibility:

The annihilation of the three NVA Regiments – 32nd, 33rd and 66th – after the relief of Pleime camp by B-52 airstrike can be done, because B3 Field Front intends to regroup its entire forces in preparation for a second attack against Pleime camp; and with godsend intelligence source provided by open communications between Chinese Advisors at regimental and divisional levels, allowing to determine the locations and the times at which point those three regiments become targetable for B-52 airstrike.

Operational Concept:

To stalk (1) the enemy movements until their troop units gather together close enough; particular attention should be focused on when the enemy get closer (assembling phase) (2) and much closer together (staging phase) (3) and provision should be ascertained in prolonging the staging time (4) to provide a better margin window for Arc Lite strike; and to schedule the B-52 airstrike accordingly.

Planning:

The planning of Arc Lite strikes is assumed by a coordination team comprising II Corps (Colonel Hieu, Colonel Williams), 1st Air Cav Forward CP (General Knowles, LTC Stoner), IFFV (General Smith, Colonel Barrow), MACV (General Collins).

Execution:

- October 27: The herding operation (1') started with the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade conducting All the Way operation. Spotted enemy units were broken up further in small pieces and pushed back westward to Chupong-Iadrang complex.

- End of October 27, [I]the lead elements of the 33d had closed on it forward assembly area, the village Kro (ZA080030);{/I]

- On October 28, the 32d Regiment had nearly closed its base on the north bank of the Ia Drang;

- October 28, the 32d Regiment had nearly closed its base on the north bank of the Ia Drang.

- On October 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 October 31, the constant harassment from the air and the sudden and unexpected landing of infantry troops at points throughout the area was causing consternation in the enemy ranks. Elements continued to disintegrate and fragment into small parties or, in some cases, individual stragglers. Many of these, left to fend for themselves, soon fell into the hands of Cavalry units. Contributing to the problems of the 33d was the acute shortage of food and medicines since many units could not reach their pre-stocked supply because of the sudden thrusts of the helicopter-borne troopers.

- On November 1, the 33rd regiment headquarters closed in at Anta Village.

- On November 2, the 33d Regiment now received orders to head deeper into the Chu Pong sanctuary. By 0400 on the 2d, the regimental CP had arrived at Hill 762 (YA885106). But while the head of the column had comparative safety, the body and tail, still stretching back to near Pleime, was anything but safe.

- On November 3, the 33d Regiment, meantime, was still trying to pull its bruised and battered tail into the Chu Pong sanctuary. But it became just another day of constant harassment from the air and ground marked by the loss of still more medical supplies and ammunition.

- November 4, 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).

- Nov 8 and 9, the 33d Regiment began to assess its losses and to count noses. There were many missing.

- Nov 8, the enticement move started with the 3rd Air Cavalry Brigade ordered to switch the operational direction from west to eastward. - Nov 9, B3 Field Front took the enticement bait and decided a second attack on Pleime camp scheduled for 11/16.

- Nov 10, B3 Field Front B3 ordered troop units into assembling areas (2') for reorganization, training and rehearsals.

- Nov 11, the three regiments became targetable with the 66th center of mass (vic YA 9104); the 32nd (YA 820072), the 33rd (YA 940011)

- Arc Lite scheduled to strike before 11/16, either 11/14 or 11/15, depending B3 Field Front moves.

- Nov 12, while the assembling phase was on going, 1/7th Air Cavalry Battalion was ordered to get ready to be inserted into Chu Pong massif.

- Nov 13, B3 Field Front forces began staging (3') in preparation for movement to Pleime and the projected 16 November attack. Some recon parties and transportation units already had moved out. - Nov 14, 1/7th Air Cavalry Battalion was inserted in LZ X-Ray in a distractive move (4'), forcing B3 Field Front to delay the attack against Pleime and to refocus its attention onto new threat and to maintain its troop units concentrated at staging area for Arc Lite strike scheduled for noon Nov 15.

- Nov 14 noon, B3 Field Front engaged the 1/7th Air Cavalry Battalion with two battalions. Reinforcement with 2/7th Air Cavalry Battalion was sent in.

- Nov 15 noon, Arc Lite suddenly struck at B3 Field Front forces center of mass (vicinity YA8702) and continued for the next 5 days in 96 sorties.- Nov 17, Arc Lite’s targets included LZ X-Ray.

- Nov 18, the “coup de grâce" operation started with Airborne Brigade conducting Than Phong 7 operation.

- Nov 24, as no more contacts were made with the enemy, the Airborne Brigade withdrew from the area of operations, terminating the third phase of the Battle of Pleime with 265 VC killed (BC), 10 others and 58 weapons captured.

II Corps Headquarters, Pleiku City

Colonel Nguyę̃n Văn Hię́u
Chief of Staff.

Phieu


#714 14 Jan 12, 01:36

New York Times re: Pleime

Saigon, South Vietnam, Tuesday October 26, 1965
By R.W. Apple, Jr., Special to The New York Times

Vietcong Attack At Pleime Halted

U.S. and South Vietnamese force Stops New Assault 20 Yards From Camp

Vietcong guerrillas fought their way to within 20 yards of the beleaguered Special forces camp at Pleime this afternoon before being repulsed.

Crawling to their stomachs across the red earth surrounding the outpost, the Communists launched a major assault at noon. They moved up under the cover of intensive .50-caliber machine-gun fire and sporadic heavy mortar barrages.

One guerrilla - a pair of wire cutters in his hand - was captured at the barbed-wire enclosure.

At 1:45 P.M. as the frontal attack on the triangular fortress was being thrown back, a second action developed to the southwest. There, a unit sent from the outpost trades small-arms fire with Vietcong troops for more than five and a half hours.

By 9 P.M. the perimeter around Pleime was quiet again. The 1.500 defenders of the Central Highlands fortress - mountain tribesmen, South Vietnamese troops and American advisers who are experts in jungle warfare training and leadership - suffered light casualties during the day.

United States strategists are still puzzled by the persistence of the Communist effort at Pleime. They concede that they would not have thought the Vietcong would choose to fight a prolonged battle against so small and remote an outpost.

A senior American commander suggested that the Vietcong must be using trails in the area to infiltrate men and equipment from Cambodia into South Vietnam. The camp lies only 14 miles from the wilderness of northeastern Cambodia.

The commander also said that he believed the Vietcong, who have not been conspicuously successful this fall, were badly in need of a striking victory for propaganda purposes. Perhaps, he added, they thought they could overrun the Special Forces camp quickly and without significant losses.

Whatever the Communist thinking, the struggle for Pleime has become important to the allies because it has offered them a rare opportunity to fight a continuing battle with the usually elusive enemy forces.

Today's action came as a surprise because last night a South Vietnamese armored column broke through the cordon of enemy forces and reached Pleime. It appeared that the weeklong siege had been lifted.

American advisers at Pleime who are now under the command of Maj. Charles Beckwith, estimated that the enemy force was of regimental size - about 2,000 men. Many of them wore the trim khaki uniforms of North Vietnamese regulars.

A North Vietnamese master sergeant, left behind because he was sick, was captured by a patrol today. He told interrogators he was infiltrated into South Vietnam three months ago along with the rest of his infantry battalion.

The sergeant said there were also other Hanoi units in the area, but he did not say how many.

A correspondent who accompanied the patrol said many of the Communists had been killed in their foxholes and bunkers by napalm bombs dropped by American fighter-bombers.

Hit Twice

A red-haired Army enlisted man, Specialist 4 Daniel H. Shea of Roslindale, Mass., recounted how he and two other men sallied out of the besieged camp last Wednesday to look for survivors of an American helicopter that had been shot down by Vietcong machine gunners.

With him were Capt. Harold H. Moore of Fayetteville, N.C. then the camp commander and Sgt. 1st Cl. Joseph Bailey, and Oklahoman.

When they reached the underbrush at the edge of the camp's airstrip, a Vietcong sniper, apparently equipped with an efficient telescopic sight hit he sergeant twice. He slumped to the ground.

"Just the minute before," Special Shea recalled, "he had been saying that it was dangerous to try to get out to that helicopter, but the pilots had tried to help us and this was the least we could do for them."

With the enemy bullets whizzing overhead, Specialist Shea fell to his knees and gave mouth-to-mouth artificial respiration to Sergeant Bailey for almost three quarters of an hour while Captain Moore tried to call in a smokescreen to cover a retreat into the fortress.

There was no smoke available, so Specialist Shea, who is 24 years old, tried to carry Sergeant Bailey to safety without a smokescreen.

"We didn't get him halfway up when they hit Bailey again," the young soldier said. "Second later they hit me in the arm. Bailey was dead."

They never reached the downed Army helicopter.

Phieu


#715 14 Jan 12, 02:23

KEN JENSEN :

Re: Your brother's suicide...

He probably shot himself because he was so heavily involved in the Corruption that was taking place at very High Levels within the ARVN leadership (which your brother was a part). After all, he was in a perfect spot being on the "team" of the Anti-Corruption Staff.

You have all this "stuff" trying to justify his death in a more "honorable" way than what actually took place. Why you seem it is still a mystery is beyond me. After all, your "special" dream/visits you claim to have been visiting with your brother seem a little "far-fetched" to me. Hell, on his first visit most would think how he died would be the first thing he would tell you.

hmmmm, where did your money come from that you were able to "bribe" your way out of Vietnam?

I checked out GoogleEarth for a view of your property in the Bronx; damn you have so much space compared to others. Must have been part of the "corruption" dollars.

I know, I know, I'm a chit head! ROFLOL!

Under the belt cheap shots ...

Are you unleashing your bad () side ? I didn't see that side in Retired Us Army Captain Ken Jensen - Short Bio

P.S. Since you are at it ...

1/ here is the link to the Anti-Corruption Special Investigator

2/a view of your property in the Bronx

Phieu


#716 14 Jan 12, 02:30

Wellington95: For the sake of this thread can we get on topic?

Roger.

I've learned more about Vietnam in this thread than I have in probably two years of history in high school.

More likely two years of history in graduate - maybe even post graduate -college ...

It's an end result of 20+ years of research ...

Phieu


#717 14 Jan 12, 07:22

Phieu : Under the belt cheap shots ...

Learned the "cheap shots" from your fine "leadership" examples (i.e. against Boonie, Altus, Chiangshan, etc.) combined with other "snide" posts.

heeheehee, what part of "short bio" don't you understand. I am very accomplished in may other things that I haven't yet disclosed.

KEN JENSEN


#718 14 Jan 12, 07:37

Wellington95: For the sake of this thread can we get on topic? I've learned more about Vietnam in this thread than I have in probably two years of history in high school.

Just saying this thread and its participants have an awful lot to offer, and I personally have learned a lot and wish to learn more.

This "thread" is far from what is available to you within this fine forum.

May I suggest checking out the below "thread"; a world of knowledge can be found there (if you grasp what is written, you are at the Master Level of Education in regard to the Vietnam War)....

Vietnamese military terms or anything Vietnamese

http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...ad.php?t=62840

P.S. The above thread is where Altus earned his respect within the membership of this forum.

KEN JENSEN


#719 14 Jan 12, 07:39

KEN JENSEN: Learned the "cheap shots" from your fine "leadership" examples (i.e. against Boonie, Altus, Chiangshan, etc.) combined with other "snide" posts.

Seems you did not heed to Mama Mia Altus 's warning.

”Kinda a mother asking a man to come to her house so she can introduce him to her children and say "If you won't eat and won't study, when you grow up you'll become as pitiful as this man!"

heeheehee, what part of "short bio" don't you understand. I am very accomplished in may other things that I haven't yet disclosed.

The hidden bad side ...

Are you trying to compete with General Hieu's "long bio" ?

Keep it "short" though, otherwise it runs the risk of being banned in this forum !

Or you don't care because you enjoy preferential treatment ...

Enough fun pokings. Let's get back to the topic. Shall we?

Phieu


#720 14 Jan 12, 07:44

New York Times re: Pleime

Pleime, South Vietnam, Wednesday October 27, 1965
By Charles Mohr, Special to The New York Times

Siege at Pleime: Americans Marvel at Tough Foe

A battalion of United States troops leaped from helicopter today to a burned and scarred slope out outside the barbed wire of the Pleime Special Forces camp, which has been under attack for eight days.

The troops, members of the First Cavalry Division (Airmobile), deployed through bomb craters and foxholes containing the blackened bodies of some guerrilla dead and swept around the west side of the camp. But they made little contact with the enemy.

It appeared that the battle of Pleime might at last be ending. But it had also seemed to be over at midday yesterday as 17 American Special Forces men, bearded and dirt-caked, relaxed around their team building.

Suddenly shots rang out, and the Americans, who have been specially trained in anti-guerrilla warfare, spent the next hour under cover as perhaps as many as 2,000 rifle and machine-gun bullets ripped through the building.

Those same tired Special Forces men stood on bunkers today, watched the Airmobile troops land and then began loading the bodies of fallen South Vietnamese on helicopters.

When a reporter reached the camp Monday by helicopter, he asked a Special forces sergeant where the camp commander, Maj. Charles A. Beckwith of Atlanta, Ga., could be found.

"When you see a real big man yelling 'Press on,' that's him," the sergeant said.

The most striking first impression of Pleime was the depth of the professional respect the Americans had for their enemy, among whom were hundreds of North Vietnamese regular army troops.

Major Beckwith called the attacking troops "the finest soldiers I have ever seen in the world except Americans."

"I wish we could recruit them," he said.

"I wish I knew what they were drugging them with to make them fight like that. They are highly motivated and highly dedicated."

The battle of Pleime began the night of Oct. 19 with an assault on the triangular camp, 220 miles northeast of Saigon, and its defense force of 350 mountain tribesmen advised by nine American Special Forces men.

The camp held out and on Friday was reinforced with 14 more Special Forces soldiers and about 250 South Vietnamese airborne troops. For the next four days, the North Vietnamese regular army troops in the attack force and the defenders clashed just outside the barbed wire.

On Saturday, other troops ambushed and partly overran a huge South Vietnamese armored relief column five and a half miles up the road and stopped it for a full day.

The two concentric lines of trenches and the grounds of Pleime are carved from red earth, and the fine dust has turned the sweating men a rich copper color.

The filth of the besieged camp is appalling. Every night, scores of rats scuttle over the bodies of the sleeping men, and lice burrow into their unwashed uniforms.

Empty shell cartons and ammunition boxes and brightly colored parachutes littered the camp.

"Tell Him We're Dragging"

On Monday night, word came on the radio that President Johnson had "expressed concern" about Pleime and that the generals in Saigon wanted a new situation report to pass on to him. There were laughs.

"Tell him we're dragging, man," said one soldier.

But on Monday night, the intensity of enemy fire slackened greatly, and none of the Special Forces men paid any real attention to the five rounds of recoilless rifle fire and eight rounds of mortar shells that hit the camp.

Aside from such enemy hazards, there were many from supporting forces. For example, two persons were killed when heavy supply packages dropped by air fell on them, and one such package left a gaping hole in the mess hall roof.

Throughout the siege, United States Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps planes dropped hundreds of bombs so close to Pleime that shrapnel flew around the camp. Two defenders were wounded by American bombs.

But as the executive officer, Maj. Charles Thompson of Morristown, Tenn., said as he ducked his head during a strike: "We like it! We like it!"

"The Air Force saved this camp," became a common remark.

But there are limitations to air power. The defenders almost took a kind of pride in the fact that bombing had not silenced the heavy machine guns of their enemy.

"Old Charlie [Vietcong] just stands up in his hole and keeps shooting back at the whole Air Force," said one man.

Two helicopters were shot down by enemy antiaircraft fire, and eight Americans were killed in them. Two A-1E Skyraider fighter-bombers and an RB-66 photo-reconnaissance plane were lost.

Early in the fight. Sgt. 1st Cl. Joseph Bailey of Lebanon, Teen., borrowed a tiny, gold fringed American flag from Pfc. Eugene Tafoya of Albuquerque, N.M., and ran it up the flagpole under the saffron-and-red South Vietnamese flag.

"If we are going get zapped we might as well get zapped under our own colors," Sergeant Bailey said. An hour later, he was dead.

At 5:30 p.m. Monday the armored relief column appeared on the crest of a northern hill and rumbled down toward camp. The original mountaineer defenders and the airborne South Vietnamese troops who had come in on Friday cheered and waved their yellow scarves.

Children of the mountain tribesmen were playing in the trenches or clinging to their mothers skirts. More than a hundred wives and an underdetermined number of babies and older children were living in the entrenchments with the mountaineers.

Many of the children were armed. A camp favorite was a 12-year-old boy named John, who was dressed in a helmet and uniform and armed with grenades and a carbine.

On Monday morning, one little boy was killed in a fire in a mortar bunker. Then with the arrival of the relief column in the afternoon, the war did seem over in Pleime.

Yesterday morning, the special forces and two companies of airborne South Vietnamese troops moved confidently out onto the northern slope, which had once had six machine-gun positions. In four previous trips there, Americans had died while capturing three of the .50-caliber guns, and the survivors have been driven back into camp each time.

They had not forgotten the fight on Saturday when a single Vietcong soldier had emerged from a hole, charged two platoons of mountaineers with a hand grenade and routed them. Major Beckwith himself had fired seven bullets into the enemy's back, but he had said, "That was a real soldier."

In yesterday's sweep, the bodies of about 40 Vietcong soldiers were found. Some of them were in deep L-shaped holes dug within 60 yards of the camp's barbed wire, and no one could explain how they had been able to dig such holes without detection.

In the brush, the Pleime defenders captured an assistant platoon leader of a North Vietnamese regiment who had been left behind because he was ill. He trembled but was treated kindly and given a cigarette.

One American said: "We ought to put this guy on the north wall and throw out these Government troops. He could probably hold it alone. If we could get two more, we would have all the walls taken care of."

The operation ended suddenly when a single sniper opened fire and hit a South Vietnamese soldier.

Meanwhile, the armored column and its riflemen had also moved out confidently in a southward sweep. But a band of guerrillas began shooting up the camp, and the armored column, consisting of 16 tanks numerous personnel carriers and about 800 government riflemen, were forced back to Pleime by what seemed to be a small but well dug in Vietcong force.

Five American advisers were carried into the camp wounded, one of them dying. T

he bodies of 19 South Vietnamese soldiers and many wounded were brought in. The siege of Pleime was no longer over.

During the afternoon, snipers continued to pick off an occasional South Vietnamese.

As medical evacuation helicopters began to come in, the Special Forces doctor, Capt. Lanny Hunter of Abilene, Tex., had to struggle to keep what he called the "smiling wounded' or even unscathed South Vietnamese from scrambling aboard in place of critically wounded men.

The night was again fairly quiet with only five mortar rounds fired at the camp. Today, Specialist 7 Leo Drake, a lanky medical corpsman, emerged from the kitchens at dawn with a soup bowl of steaming coffee and shouted, "Good morning, all you lucky people in Pleime!"

While the bodies of only about 40 Vietcong soldiers have been found so far, there are believed to be many more enemy dead.

The South Vietnamese said 124 others had been counted after the ambush of the armored relief column last Saturday, and the Americans largely confirmed the figure without having seen all of them themselves.

Saigon reports of Vietcong bodies "hanging on the barbed wire" at Pleime were totally false and brought only laughs from the camp's defenders.

Government casualties were numerous but fewer than those of the Vietcong probably by a significant margin.

Phieu


#721 14 Jan 12, 07:56

Phieu : ...The hidden bad side ...

Bad, some may think so. I'm a GR8 Poker, Chess player, and "street hustler". Also shoot a fairly good game of Pool or Billiards. Don't believe your brother, or you are anywhere near my level of play.

Are you trying to compete with General Hieu's "long bio" ?

R O F L O L

KEN JENSEN


#722 14 Jan 12, 08:42

Ken,

Class is back in session. Hurry up back, you are already very late. Or you prefer to play hookie ... chess game ... poker, bowling, or street hustling, etc...

Phieu


#723 14 Jan 12, 13:09

This is not going to end well...

Don744


#724 14 Jan 12, 15:57

don744: This is not going to end well...

LOL, never know Don. Ever hear of "Perry Left", "Perry Right", and "Thrust"

Phieu : Ken,

Class is back in session. Hurry up back, you are already very late. Or you prefer to play hookey ... chess game ... poker, bowling, or street hustling, etc...

No, I believe those days are behind me now (except for Poker). Anyway I would very much like to participate in another "Class" subject though...

If I recall from your personal background, you were a School Teacher in Vietnam. If that is so, please provide some of your own "personal" experiences. What level of Teaching, and where you taught?

If not a "Teacher", then I would still like you to fill our membership in on your own experiences as a S. Vietnam resident civilian (maybe citizen???). What did you do and what were your hardships?

I actually created another thread (class room with you in mind) I wish you would provide your knowledge to all our members in regard to the subject matter. The below class room is titled and awaiting all "instructors" providing the knowledge (or opinions) they have...

Please note the below thread starts off with School children...

PROPAGANDA WITHIN VIETNAM

http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...d.php?t=118675

You may still get some questions but the pressure would be far less than what it is within this thread. Please participate in the mentioned "Class Room".

P.S. Please be aware that Altus (and any other N. Vietnam supporter) is/are also invited to aid in the "instruction" within this special class. heeheehee, Altus and I have already had some "debate" a couple of years ago on the subject matter.

KEN JENSEN


#725 14 Jan 12, 16:03

Thanks, but no thanks.

At least not now. Maybe later in due time.

Phieu


#726 14 Jan 12, 16:37

I have no "negative" feelings as to your above wishes. I was reaching out with an "olive branch"; I am also aware that you may still have family and/or friends still in Vietnam that you must consider.

I am also aware that there were many positive efforts made by the VC in "other than terrorists" activities that many S. Vietnam folks supported. Hopefully the "Propaganda" thread will also bring out those (I am sure they will); because of what "Altus" and "Lirelou" and other SOG members have provided in the past (again scattered all over this forum).

I'm still interested in your struggles as a civilian in Vietnam.

KEN JENSEN


#727 14 Jan 12, 17:03

Thanks for your nice gesture and consideration.

I might join in your class at a later date.

All the best for its success.

Phieu


#728 15 Jan 12, 02:46

New York Times re: Pleime

Saigon, Vietnam, Saturday October 30, 1965 (Associated Press)

Vietcong Raid Pleime Camp

The Vietcong attacked the Unitd States Special Forces camp at Pleime last night with mortar and small arms fire, an American military spokesman reported.

The enemy force, estimated at 35 to 50 men, fired 10 mortar rounds into the camp and maintained sporadic small-arms fire until after midnight.

Phieu


#729 15 Jan 12, 09:28

New York Times re: Pleime

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

3 Prisonners 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.

Phieu


#730 15 Jan 12, 12:40

Hagiographic Logorrhea

Whatever is said about Pleime campaign and its architect, Colonel Hieu, is based on the following primary sources. And yet it is rejected as hagiographic logorrhea stuffs ! I am pretty sure the person who made that statement did not bother to look closely into these sources himself.

1. J.D. Coleman, Pleiku, the Dawn of Helicopter Warfare in Vietnam, St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1988.
2. General Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway, We Were Soldiers Once… and Young, Random House, New York, 1992.
3. General Pham Huu An, Chien Truong Moi, Memoir, Quan Doi Nhan Dan Publishing House, Hanoi, 2002.
4. General Harry Kinnard, Pleiku Campaign, 1st Air Cavalry Division Headquarters, March 4, 1966.
5. G3 Journal, I Field Force Vietnam, October 1965.
6. General Norman Schwarzkopf, It Doesn't Take A Hero, Bantam, 1992. 7. General Vinh Loc, Why Pleime, Information Printing Office, Saigon, September 1966.
8. 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.
9. LTC Harold G. Moore, Combat After Action Report, Ia Drang Valley Operation, 14-16 Nov 65. Headquarters 1/7 Cavalry Battalion.

Phieu


#731 15 Jan 12, 14:22

Does the name Hieu, or any direct reference to the II Corps Chief of Staff appear in any of those references? If yes, please cite the page and passage.

Don744


#732 15 Jan 12, 16:06

The stealthy II Corps Chief of Staff

Don,

Your question indicates to me you are student category b

b. He did not review previous lessons, and so did not understand this lesson,
- I would tell him to review his lessons first.

Or perhaps you played hookie with Ken while that lesson was given in classe. I should have taken attendance!

I should make you review the entire thread (49 pages!) where Colonel Hieu, II Corps Chief of Staff has been mentioned in one of those primary source document. Then

- either you are obtuse enough to painfully get back to each one of the 731 posts (!) to find them,

- or wise enough to use the search this thread function to have them line up into a list for you with a simple click of the mouse.

However, as a courtesy to your goodwill, I make it easier for you: please go to post # 669 : The stealthy II Corps Chief of Staff.

(Note that Chief of Staff, II Corps, Colonel Hieu indicate the same entity in the G3 Journal.)

Better, let me condense it further for you in a nutshell.

(G3 Journal/IFFV):

21 October 65

- 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.

22 October 65

- 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.

30 October 1965

- 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.

20 November 1965

- 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).

Besides, I have established lengthily and in various occasions the fact that Colonel Hieu was the author of Why Pleime and the architect of Pleime Campaign.

Furthermore, it seems that official AAR's and ORLL's protocole is not to mention the individual commander and his general staff members by name.

Phieu


#733 15 Jan 12, 16:12

It's mentioned several times in this thread.

Wellington95


#734 15 Jan 12, 16:21

Wellington95,

Thanks for your lending hand. But Don's specific request was in those references and not in the thread, which has been addressed in my precedent post to yours.

Between the two of us : isn’t it strange that those who professed no more interest toward my presentation still keep on sneaking in the classroom, not to learn though, but to attempt for the kill.

Phieu


#735 15 Jan 12, 16:35

Oh whoops, I misunderstood...carry on then.

Wellington95


#736 15 Jan 12, 17:37

It suddenly dawned on me that would I have presented the Pleime campaign without indicating that Colonel Hieu was its architect, it would be gleefully accepted by everybody and would not have suscitated all those envious feelings ... and triggered all those hateful attacks .... and generated all those under the belt innuendos …

Well, can I do otherwise? Obviously no, I want to tell the truth and the whole truth as it is, without sugar coating it to please the tongue and for easy swallowing...

I did try to hold and not mention my brother's name and role until very late into the presentation though ... until page 25 ... 26 ... in an attempt to accomodate sensibility and sensitivity ... and it turned out to be to no avail ...

Phieu


#737 15 Jan 12, 22:32

Phieu : Don,

Your question indicates to me you are student category b

This is not a class. This is more a re-run of the psychic John Edward's TV show "crossing over". I am a student of history, not this.

don744


#738 15 Jan 12, 22:36

How is it possible for you to ask question while watching a rerun of TV shows? Or you are a tech savvy possessing an interactive TV device?

Otherwise, it has to be a live history class and the specific lesson is on Ia Drang battle.

Never mind, since you went in a wrong place and did ask a question, did I answer your question to your satisfaction?

If yes, I am sorry for disappointing you. g. He was just too obtuse,
- I won’t bother to explain further to him and just moved on for the entire class and hoped and prayed the best for him.

By the way, aren't you busy enough running your Operation Hump class ... whoops, sorry ... history seminar ?

Phieu


#739 16 Jan 12, 04:54

New York Times re: Pleime

Pleime, South Vietnam, December 4, 1965
By Hanson W. Baldwin, Special to The New York Times

Scarred Stronghold at Pleime Is fortified Anew

Bomb craters around the outer wire at Pleime still soar the earth, and the jungle growth nearby is littered with white patches from sent parachute flares.

But the broken wire is replaced, the families of the soldier-tribesmen are coming back to this Special forces camp and the fort around which so many died so short a time ago is stronger than ever.

The furious combat that began late in October with the siege of Pleime may have been decisive against Communist attempts to dominate Vietnam's Central Highlands and thus cut South Vietnam in two.

At any rate, the battles were the climax of the year's campaign by the Vietcong, aided by strong units of the North Vietnamese Army, to overrun district capitals in the II Corps area, to threaten Pleiku and to dominate Highway 19, a strategic Highlands route.

Early in the monsoon season, these efforts met success. Town after town fell. Larger and larger areas in the Highlands came under Vietcong control. Only the stout defense of Special Forces camps such as the ones at Pleime and Ducco and the arrival of the First Cavalry Division (Airmobile), with its aircraft, helped the South Vietnamese to turn the tide.

The struggle for the Central Highlands is far from over. The enemy is expected to come again from secret base areas that are reported to exist in the tree-covered mountains across the Cambodian border.

Capt. Harold M. Moore, a 24-year-old Special Forces officer from Pekin, Ill., commanded the seven-man American jungle-warfare leadership team during the siege. He is still in command and cheerful.

Captain Moore and the camp commander, Capt. Tran Van Nhan, pointed proudly today to their fort's defenses and to its Montagnard fighting men. Some of the tribesmen still bore wounds; some, as young as 12 years old, showed no fear of a Vietcong attack.

Outside the barbed wire, outside the Claymore mines and the dugouts and the watchtowers are the burned remnants of a village that once housed families of some of the fighting men in the fort.

Wreckage of an A-1E Skyraider fighter-bomber, downed in the fighting, lies on a nearby hillside. Cartridge cases from the enemy's 7.62 mm. carbines and rifle ammunition litter the ground. The hills are pocked with craters and the woods seared brown and black where napalm spread its fiery carpet.

But the South Vietnamese flag - three red stripes across a yellow field - still flutters above Pleime, and the garrison is stronger than before the siege. The fort has gone underground - its living quarters and its gun positions are protected by layers of sandbags and by the red clay.

At Ducco, where half the garrison is South Vietnamese and half is Montagnard, the story is the same. The post is stronger than before, and patrols are moving into the brush.

Refugees who fled are coming back. Villages are growing again in the back country near the Cambodian border

Phieu


#740 16 Jan 12, 10:28

I think I actually said it was "small group". The thread served it's utility. Members provided exactly what I asked. You make a good point, however. Your thread, your rules, and I should not have interjected in the manner I did.

don744


#741 16 Jan 12, 10:30

Phieu


#742 16 Jan 12, 10:41

A Doctrinal Lesson on the Use of Arc Lite in Pleime Counteroffensive (revised)

Please allow me to re-post this as it had several typo errors.

Principle:

B-52 airstrike needs a targetable objective, which means the object has to be sizable, relatively immobile and its location can be pinpointed with an accuracy of at least (XX’YY’).

Feasibility:

The annihilation of the three NVA Regiments – 32nd, 33rd and 66th – after the relief of Pleime camp by B-52 airstrike can be done, because B3 Field Front intends to regroup its entire forces in preparation for a second attack against Pleime camp; and with godsend intelligence source provided by open communications between Chinese Advisors at regimental and divisional levels, allowing to determine the locations and the times at which point those three regiments become targetable for B-52 airstrike.

Operational Concept:

To stalk (1) the enemy movements until their troop units gather together close enough; particular attention should be focused on when the enemy get closer (assembling phase) (2) and much closer together (staging phase) (3) and provision should be ascertained in prolonging the staging time (4) to provide a better margin window for Arc Lite strike; and to schedule the B-52 airstrike accordingly.

Planning:

The planning of Arc Lite strikes is assumed by a coordination team comprising II Corps (Colonel Hieu, Colonel Williams), 1st Air Cav Forward CP (General Knowles, LTC Stoner), IFFV (General Smith, Colonel Barrow), MACV (General Collins).

Execution:

- October 27: The herding operation (1’) started with the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade conducting All the Way operation. Spotted enemy units were broken up further in small pieces and pushed back westward to Chupong-Iadrang complex.

- End of October 27, the lead elements of the 33d had closed on it forward assembly area, the village Kro (ZA080030);

- October 28, the 32d Regiment had nearly closed its base on the north bank of the Ia Drang.

- October 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.

- October 31, the constant harassment from the air and the sudden and unexpected landing of infantry troops at points throughout the area was causing consternation in the enemy ranks. Elements continued to disintegrate and fragment into small parties or, in some cases, individual stragglers. Many of these, left to fend for themselves, soon fell into the hands of Cavalry units. Contributing to the problems of the 33d was the acute shortage of food and medicines since many units could not reach their pre-stocked supply because of the sudden thrusts of the helicopter-borne troopers.

- November 1, the 33rd regiment headquarters closed in at Anta Village.

- November 2, the 33d Regiment now received orders to head deeper into the Chu Pong sanctuary. By 0400 on the 2d, the regimental CP had arrived at Hill 762 (YA885106). But while the head of the column had comparative safety, the body and tail, still stretching back to near Pleime, was anything but safe.

- November 3, the 33d Regiment, meantime, was still trying to pull its bruised and battered tail into the Chu Pong sanctuary. But it became just another day of constant harassment from the air and ground marked by the loss of still more medical supplies and ammunition.

- November 4, 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).

- November 8 and 9, the 33d Regiment began to assess its losses and to count noses. There were many missing.

- November 9, the enticement move started with the 3rd Air Cavalry Brigade ordered to switch the operational direction from west to eastward.

- November 10, B3 Field Front took the enticement bait and decided a second attack on Pleime camp scheduled for 11/16.

- November 11, B3 Field Front B3 ordered troop units into assembling areas (2’) for reorganization, training and rehearsals.

- Nov 11, the three regiments became targetable with the 66th center of mass (vic YA 9104); the 32nd (YA 820072), the 33rd (YA 940011).

- Arc Lite scheduled to strike before 11/16, either 11/14 or 11/15, depending B3 Field Front moves.

- November 12, while the assembling phase was on going, 1/7th Air Cavalry Battalion was ordered to get ready to be inserted into Chu Pong massif.

- November 13, B3 Field Front forces began staging (3’) in preparation for movement to Pleime and the projected 16 November attack. Some recon parties and transportation units already had moved out.

- November 14, 1/7th Air Cavalry Battalion was inserted in LZ X-Ray in a distractive move (4’), forcing B3 Field Front to delay the attack against Pleime and to refocus its attention onto new threat and to maintain its troop units concentrated at staging area for Arc Lite strike scheduled for noon Nov 15.

- November 14 noon, B3 Field Front engaged the 1/7th Air Cavalry Battalion with two battalions. Reinforcement with 2/7th Air Cavalry Battalion was sent in.

- November 15 noon, [B]Arc Lite suddenly struck[/B] at B3 Field Front forces center of mass (vicinity YA8702) and continued for the next 5 days in 96 sorties.

- November 17, Arc Lite’s targets included LZ X-Ray.

- November 18, the “coup de grâce" operation started with Airborne Brigade conducting Than Phong 7 operation.

- November 24, as no more contacts were made with the enemy, the Airborne Brigade withdrew from the area of operations, terminating the third phase of the Battle of Pleime with 265 VC killed (BC), 10 others and 58 weapons captured.

II Corps Headquarters, Pleiku City

Colonel Nguyę̃n Văn Hię́u
Chief of Staff

Voilŕ! It's perfect now!

Phieu


#743 17 Jan 12, 03:38

VC gunners chained to their guns.

G3 Journal/IFFV

22 Oct

- 21:00H: II Corps - Chinese officer killed. (not confirmed). Confirmed that enemy are chained to their machine guns. Ref action at Plei My.

- 24:00H: Intelligence Summary for period 220001 to 222400H Oct 65. 0135H A1E a/c shotdown over Plei My, last report pilot alive not recovered. 0400 Plei My under heavy 50 cal, and 81mm mortar fire. Plei My frd captured 1 81mm mortar, .30 cal MG, 3 Russian type wpns. 1 light MG. 1020H Plei Me 1 A1E shotdown with AW, pilot recovered. Plei My approx 1300H H-34 a/c rec'd 10 rds hit in tail. 1 USSF med fm Delta team killed. One reporter WIA. Both personnel evac to Pleiku. 1430H reporter evac to 8th field Nha Trang. Eye wound. Est 80 - 100 81mm dud mortar rds collected of US manufacture. (1) 57RR 1 or more 50 cal MG rpt used by VC. Plei My - Recovery of downed pilot cancelled until 23 Oct, due to intense ground fire. Strobe light seen. Confirmed that enemy are chained to their machine guns.

5th SFG

After the VNSF Airborne Ranger companies arrived in camp on the 22nd, the defenses were immediately re-aligned and now responsibilities designated. That afternoon at 1400 hours a three-company size force composed of Rangers and CIDG departed the camp to clear the high ground outside. One USASF Captain was killed and one wounded on this operation. There were eleven Ranger/CIDG and one LLDB Lt killed, and 26 Ranger/CIDG wounded. The operation closed back into the camp at 1840 hours. During the operation they had met fanatical resistance, and one PAVN soldier was observed chained to a .50 caliber machine gun.

Why Pleime

The sweep lasted until noon 27 October. Down south the Camp, in the vicinity of the famous hill of Chu-Ho, more enemy corpses and weapons were discovered. Some dead VC gunners were found chained to their anti-aircraft heavy machine guns.

(5th Army Combat Propaganda Team Leaflet)

Colonel Hieu was well aware that VC clever indoctrination could turn an inexperienced VC combatant into a fanatic and thus a fierce and formidable killer animal.

Among these, the 32d is the more experienced, having been in South Vietnam since January. Already to its credit were numerous battalion and regimental attacks and ambushes which it had conducted in Kontum and in Pleiku provinces, such as Plei Kleng (March 65), Le Thanh (June 65) and Duc Co (August 65). Its experience in the Lure and Ambush tactic would be used accordingly. The 33d Regiment which had arrived in the South only recently still lacked in experience but would be ready since it just went through indoctrination in North Vietnam and firmly believed in the VC propaganda.

In terms of ideology, the troops, the combatants must be informed that the scheme of the American imperialists was to conduct an war of invasion, to destroy all economic, military endeavors, even livelihood of the population in order to revert Vietnam to the stone age area. As a foundation, to point out the enemy's evil intention, to build hate and resolve to defeat the American Imperialists. The division imparted in due time to the troops, combatants information on evil acts committed by the American Imperialists in the South, rekindled patriotism, revived the image of past slavery, the starvation of the population in 1945; educated with Uncle Ho's exhortation to fight against the Americans to save the country from 1954 to 1975. Through education, ideology indoctrination aiming at elevating the moral and resolve of achieving victory over the Imperialist Americans, we obtained three levels (excellent level of determination 30-35%, good 50-55%, acceptable 8-10%), those whose performance was poor remained behind for further preparation.

(www.generalhieu.com/f304-2.htm)

Phieu


#744 18 Jan 12, 03:11

Pleime vs Dien Bien Phu

Tactics

Why Pleime observes:

The Dien Bien Phu Battle which ended the Indochina war (1947-1954) lasted for two months but was merely an encirclement of a stronghold in the Dien Bien Phu Bowl.

The Pleime Battle, quite different with many tactical aspects: envelopment, counter-ambushes, relief, pursuit, ambushes, exploitation, attack and destroy.

Casualties

In Dien Bien Phu, in term of casualties, the Viet Minh lost 8000 combatants while they pitted in four divisions - the 304th, 308th, 312th and 351st.

In Pleime the Viet Cong lost 6000 men while they committed three regiments - the 32nd, 33rd and 66th.

Modus Operandi

At Pleime, the architect of the campaign was Colonel Hieu. The ‘modus operandi’ was: Joint intelligence and support activities and commonly-shared concept of operations and results; but separate TAOR, command, deployment of forces, separate conduct of activities, reserve.

At Dien Bien Phu, initially the architect of the campaign was thought to be General Giap, but turned out to be Chinese Communist General Ly Chenhou who directed the battle by setting his command post right in Giap headquarters, along with 14 other Chinese general staff members.

Phieu


#745 18 Jan 12, 17:28

Hello,

The bit about Ly and 14 other Chinese army staff is interesting. Have not read that before. If I may have before in Fall's book, Hell...., I have forgotten. Any other source for the info?

RedDagger18


#746 18 Jan 12, 17:59

The Pentagon Papers

Gravel Edition

Volume 1

Document 29, Telegram from Dillon to Dulles on Conversations with the French about Dien Bien Phu, 5 April 1954, p 461-62.

FROM: Paris

TO: Secretary of State

NO: 3710, April 5, 1 a.m.

LIMIT DISTRIBUTION

URGENT. I was called at 11 o'clock Sunday night and asked to come immediately to Matignon where a restricted Cabinet meeting was in progress.

On arrival Bidault received me in Laniel's office and was joined in a few minutes by Laniel. They said that immediate armed intervention of US carrier aircraft at Dien Bien Phu is now necessary to save the situation.

Navarre reports situation there now in state of precarious equilibrium and that both sides are doing best to reinforce-Viet Minh are bringing up last available reinforcements which will way outnumber any reinforcing French can do by parachute drops. Renewal of assault by reinforced Viet Minh probable by middle or end of week. Without help by then fate of Dien Bien Phu will probably be sealed.

Ely brought back report from Washington that Radford gave him his personal (repeat personal) assurance that if situation at Dien Bien Phu required US naval air support he would do his best to obtain such help from US Government. Because of this information from Radford as reported by Ely, French Government now asking for US carrier aircraft support at Dien Bien Phu. Navarre feels that a relatively minor US effort could turn the tide but naturally hopes for as much help as possible.

French report Chinese intervention in Indochina already fully established as follows:

First. Fourteen technical advisers at Giap headquarters plus numerous others at division level. All under command of Chinese Communist General Ly Chenhou who is stationed at Giap headquarters.

Second. Special telephone lines installed maintained and operated by Chinese personnel.

Third. Forty 37 mm. anti-aircraft guns radar-controlled at Dien Bien Phu. These guns operated by Chinese and evidently are from Korea. These AA guns are now shooting through clouds to bring down French aircraft.

Fourth. One thousand supply trucks of which 500 have arrived since 1 March, all driven by Chinese army personnel.

Fifth. Substantial material help in guns, shells, etc., as is well known.

Bidault said that French Chief of Air Staff wished US be informed that US air intervention at Dien Bien Phu could lead to Chinese Communist air attack on delta airfields. Nevertheless, government was making request for aid.

Bidault closed by saying that for good or evil the fate of Southeast Asia now rested on Dien Bien Phu. He said that Geneva would be won or lost depending on outcome at Dien Bien Phu, this was reason for French request for this very serious action on our part.

He then emphasized necessity for speed in view of renewed attack which is expected before end of week. He thanked US for prompt action on airlift for French paratroops. He then said that he had received Dulles' proposal for Southeast Asian coalition, and that he would answer as soon as possible later in week as restricted Cabinet session not competent to make this decision.

New Subject. I passed on Norstad's concern that news of airlift (DEPTEL 3470, April 3) might leak as planes assembled, Pleven was called into room. He expressed extreme concern as any leak would lead to earlier Viet Minh attack. He said at all costs operation must be camouflaged as training exercise until troops have arrived. He is preparing them as rapidly as possible and they will be ready to leave in a week. Bidault and Laniel pressed him to hurry up departure date of troops and he said he would do his utmost.

http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/pentagon/doc29.htm

See also

http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com...sesupport.aspx

Phieu


#747 18 Jan 12, 20:50

Link to a great Panel

I discovered this link and the panel discussion about the battle with the major surviving players...

http://www.americanveteranscenter.or...ittle-raiders/

it is really great... i am sure many have seen it.. but i just sat through it all, and when a Lt. General, and many of his officers get teary eyed, I guess I can excuse myself when it happens...

you see the comraderie that exists after all these years between all of them...

hope you get a chance to take a look.

clanc13


#748 19 Jan 12, 01:34

Chinese Communists Advisors At Pleime

The North Vietnamese Communists did not want the international public to know that they were assisted by Red China in the first big battle at regimental level at Pleime, especially that the Chinese Communist advisors were present at Pleime battlefield.

According to General Moore, in his book We Were Soldiers Once … and Young, page 63, the radio relay intercept team belonging to II Corps overheard a coded message which appeared to be a report on the military situation in Mandarin, emitting from the foothill of Chu Pong Massif. This indicated the presence of Chinese Communist advisors at B3 Forward Command Post.

It was likely that Chinese Communist advisors working with B3 Forward Command Post at Chu Pong sent a military situation of the battlefield to Chinese Communist advisors present in Pnom Penh. II Corps Command through its book Why Pleime reveals:

Without Cambodian rice, without the presence of Red Chinese advisors in Pnom Penh, without the communications between Hanoi and the Khmer capital, the infiltration of VC units from North Vietnam could never take place and develop.

Besides, in the report of activities of G-5, the psywar section, Major Horace E. Jordan addressed to II Corps Senior Advisor and G-5 Advisor, made mention of the presence of Chinese Communist Advisor in Pleime area:

On 22 October, leaflets were requested by S-5, Det C-2, based on intelligence reports from Plei me stating that there were Chinese Adviors on the battlefield and that a dead VC was observed chained to his machine gun.

In a news conference on November 16, 1965 in Saigon, three Viet Cong prisoners revealed that each regiment that infiltrated South Vietnam was accompanied by a Chinese advisor.

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.

Coleman 1988 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.

It was the volubility of the Chinese Advisors conversing openly in Mandarin on the radio waves that made it possible for Colonel Hieu to conceive the master plan of using the B-52 airstrikes to annihilitate en masse the three NVA Regiments - 32nd, 33rd, and 66th - in the Chupong-Iadrang complex.

Phieu


#749 20 Jan 12, 03:51

Plâyme Campaign and Red China's Aid

Why Pleime observes:

The recent infiltration of new units from North Viet Nam such as the 88th, 24th, 66 Regiments, the 321st and 308th Divisions continue to maintain the enemy pressure upon the Highlands. But at the same time it reveals the dilemma which Giap and his clique are now facing. Their plan to use Cambodia as a sanctuary for their aggression could precipitate that country into disaster, because no one can tolerate the foolish arrogance of the capricious prince who has betrayed the Free World and turned his own country into a communist satellite.

The Bu Kheo Airfield, west of Highways 19 across the border, had an important role in the battle of Pleime. High-ranking VC cadres had landed there, on their way from North Vietnam to the Field Front. By letting the Communists use Bu Kheo, Cambodia which pretends so far to be "neutralist" has demasked herself.

The infiltration routes which French General Delange worried about would never present any dangers if Cambodia did not comply to overlook the machinations the Communists are conducting on her territory. Without Cambodian rice, without the presence of Red Chinese advisors in Pnom Penh, without the communications between Hanoi and the Khmer capital, the infiltration of VC units from North Vietnam could never take place and develop.

Phieu


#750 20 Jan 12, 03:54

Viet Cong Requested Red China's Aid

Around 1964, when Viet Cong decided to escalate the war in South Vietnam by launching battles at regimental and divisional levels, they anticipated that the Americans would respond in kind by pouring in troops to directly engage in the conflict. Following are reports of some of the meetings in Peking between Red China's leaders on one side - Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping - and Viet Cong's leaders on the other side - Ho Chi Minh, Pham Van Dong, Le Duan, Vo Nguyen Giap, Van Tien Dung. Types of aid requested by the Viet Cong were mentioned specifically in terms of the number of troops - 100 thousands, 500 thousands, … -, and the units - engineer, air force, artillery, anti-aircraft , …-. Excerpts are taken from Cold War International History Project..

Discussion between Mao Zedong and Pham Van Dong

Date: 10/05/1964

Description: Zedong advises Pham Van Dong on how to handle war in South Vietnam and protection of North Vietnam.

Mao Zedong: According to Comrade Le Duan,3 you had the plan to dispatch a division [to the South]. Probably you have not dispatched that division yet4. When should you dispatch it, the timing is important. Whether or not the United States will attack the North, it has not yet made the decision. Now, it [the U.S.] is not even in a position to resolve the problem in South Vietnam. If it attacks the North, [it may need to] fight for one hundred years, and its legs will be trapped there. Therefore, it needs to consider carefully. The Americans have made all kinds of scary statements. They claim that they will run after [you], and will chase into your country, and that they will attack our air force. In my opinion, the meaning of these words is that they do not want us to fight a big war, and that [they do not want] our air force to attack their warships. If [we] do not attack their warships, they will not run after you. Isn't this what they mean? The Americans have something to hide.

Pham Van Dong: This is also our thinking. The United States is facing many difficulties, and it is not easy for it to expand the war. Therefore, our consideration is that we should try to restrict the war in South Vietnam to the sphere of special war, and should try to defeat the enemy within the sphere of special war. We should try our best not to let the U.S. imperialists turn the war in South Vietnam into a limited war, and try our best not to let the war be expanded to North Vietnam. We must adopt a very skillful strategy, and should not provoke it [the U.S.]. Our Politburo has made a decision on this matter, and today I am reporting it to Chairman Mao. We believe that this is workable.

Mao Zedong: Yes.

Pham Van Dong: If the United States dares to start a limited war, we will fight it, and will win it.

Mao Zedong: Yes, you can win it5. The South Vietnamese [puppet regime] has several hundred thousand troops. You can fight against them, you can eliminate half of them, and you can eliminate all of them. To fulfill these tasks is more than possible. It is impossible for the United States to send many troops to South Vietnam. The Americans altogether have 18 army divisions. They have to keep half of these divisions, i.e., nine of them, at home, and can send abroad the other nine divisions. Among these divisions, half are in Europe, and half are in the Asian-Pacific region. And they have stationed more divisions in Asia [than elsewhere in the region], namely, three divisions. One [is] in South Korea, one in Hawaii, and the third one in [original not clear]. They also placed fewer than one division of marine corps in Okinawa in Japan. Now all American troops in South Vietnam belong to the navy, and they are units under the navy system. As far as the American navy is concerned, they have put more ships in the Western Pacific than in Europe. In the Mediterranean, there is the Sixth Fleet; here [in the Pacific] is the Seventh Fleet. They have deployed four aircraft carriers near you, but they have been scared away by you.

….

Mao Zedong: If the Americans dare to take the risk to bring the war to the North, how should the invasion be dealt with? I have discussed this issue with Comrade Le Duan. [First], of course, it is necessary to construct defensive works along the coast. The best way is to construct defensive works like the ones [we had constructed] during the Korean War, so that you may prevent the enemy from entering the inner land. Second, however, if the Americans are determined to invade the inner land, you may allow them to do so. You should pay attention to your strategy. You must not engage your main force in a head-to-head confrontation with them, and must well maintain your main force. My opinion is that so long as the green mountain is there, how can you ever lack firewood?

Pham Van Dong: Comrade Le Duan has reported Chairman Mao's opinions to our Central Committee. We have conducted an overall review of the situations in the South and the North, and our opinion is the same as that of Chairman Mao's. In South Vietnam, we should actively fight [the enemy]; and in North Vietnam, we should be prepared [for the enemy to escalate the war]. But we should also be cautious.

Mao Zedong: Our opinions are identical. Some other people say that we are belligerent. As a matter of fact, we are cautious. But it is not totally without ground to say [that we are belligerent].

Phieu


#751 21 Jan 12, 03:35

Viet Cong Requested Red China's Aid (2)

Discussion between Liu Shaoqi and Le Duan

Date: 04/08/1965

Description: China offers military services to Vietnam, on the condition that Vietnam invites them first; Vietnam accepts.

Le Duan: We want some volunteer pilots, volunteers soldiers…and other volunteers, including road and bridge engineering units.

Liu Shaoqi: It is our policy that we will do our best to support you. We will offer whatever you are in need of and we are in a position to offer…If you do not invite us, we will not come; and if you invite one unit of our troops, we will send that unit to you. The initiative will be completely yours.

Le Duan: We want the Chinese volunteer pilots to play a role in four respects: (1) to restrict American bombing to areas south of the 20th or 19th parallels; (2) to defend the safety of Hanoi; (3) to defend several main transportation lines; and (4) to raise the morale of the Vietnamese people.

Phieu


#752 22 Jan 12, 01:55

Viet Cong Requested Red China's Aid (3)

Discussion between Mao Zedong and Ho Chi Minh

Date: 05/16/1965

Description: Ho Chi Minh asks Mao Zedong for help to build roads along the border to South Vietnam; Mao agrees.

President Ho: We should try to build new roads. We have had discussions with Comrade Tao Zhu1 on this issue. If China is able to help us build some roads in the North, near the border with China, we will send the forces reserved for this job to the South.

Mao Zedong: It's a good policy.

Tao Zhu: I have reported it over the phone to Comrade Zhou Enlai. He said that China could do it.

President Ho: First of all, we need China to help us build 6 roads from the border areas. These roads run south through our rear. And in the future they will be connected to the front. At present, we have 30 thousand people building these roads. If China helps us, those people will be sent to the South. At the same time we have to help Lao comrades to build roads from Samneua to Xiengkhoang and then from Xiengkhoang to Lower Laos, and to the South of Vietnam.

Mao Zedong: Because we will fight large-scale battles in the future, it will be good if we also build roads to Thailand…

President Ho: If Chairman Mao agrees that China will help us, we will send our people to the South.

Mao Zedong: We accept your order. We will do it. There is no problem.

[Notes: In Hanoi on April 13, Tao Zhu had told Ho that "our Party Central Committee and Chairman Mao have held our four border provinces responsible for being the immediate rear for Vietnam. Of course, China as a whole is the rear for Vietnam. But these four provinces represent the immediate one."]

Phieu


#753 23 Jan 12, 02:15

Viet Cong Requested Red China's Aid (4)

Discussion between Zhou Enlai and Pham Van Dong

Date: 10/09/1965

Description: Zhou Enlai addresses Pham Van Dong, not supporting the idea of Soviet volunteers entering Vietnam and discussing Cambodian involvement in the war.

Zhou Enlai: …During the time Khrushchev was in power, the Soviets could not divide us because Khrushchev did not help you much. The Soviets are now assisting you. But their help is not sincere. The US likes this very much. I want to tell you my opinion. It will be better without the Soviet aid. This may be an ultra leftist opinion. Yet, it is mine, not the CCP Central Committee's.

…Now, the problem of international volunteers going to Vietnam is very complicated. But as you have mentioned this problem we will discuss it and then you can make your decision.

As you have asked for my opinion, I would like to tell you the following: I do not support the idea of Soviet volunteers going to Vietnam, nor [do I support] Soviet aid to Vietnam. I think it will be better without it. It is my own opinion, not the opinion of the Party Central Committee. Comrades Peng Zhen and Luo Ruiqing2 who are present here today also agree with me.

[As to] Vietnam, we always want to help. In our mind, our thoughts, we never think of selling out Vietnam. But we are always afraid of the revisionists standing between us.3

Zhou Enlai: …The war has been expanded to North Vietnam. It is, therefore, impossible for Laos and Cambodia not to get involved. Sihanouk understands it. When we were on a sightseeing tour on the Yangtze, I asked him how he would deal with the situation and whether he needed weapons. At present, China has provided Cambodia with 28,000 pieces of weapons. Sihanouk told me that this amount was enough to equip Cambodian regular and provincial forces and that all US weapons have been replaced.

I also asked him whether he needed more weapons. Sihanouk replied that because he could not afford to increase the number of troops, the weapons were enough. He only asked for anti-aircraft artillery and anti-tank weapons.

This is what he replied to my questions about weapons. He also added that if war broke out, he would leave Phnom Penh for the countryside where he had already built up bases. Last year, President Liu [Shaoqi] told Sihanouk: "large-scale fighting in your country is not equal to the [fighting] at our border." If the US launches attacks along the Chinese border, China will draw its forces there, thus reducing the burden for Cambodia. Sihanouk now understands and prepares to leave for the countryside and to regain the urban areas whenever good conditions prevail. That is what he thinks. Yet, whether his cadres can carry out this policy is a different thing.

These changes in the situation show that Sihanouk has been prepared to act in case of an invasion by the US. At present, Sihanouk strongly supports the NLF because he knows that the more you fight the US the fewer difficulties there will be for the Cambodians. In addition, Sihanouk understands that he needs China. But at the same time, Sihanouk does not want to take sides because he is afraid of losing the support of France, losing his neutral position. At least, what he says shows that he seems to think of and understand the logic of the war: if the US expands the war to North Vietnam, it will be spread all over Indochina.

Nota bene my post #749

The recent infiltration of new units from North Viet Nam such as the 88th, 24th, 66 Regiments, the 321st and 308th Divisions continue to maintain the enemy pressure upon the Highlands. But at the same time it reveals the dilemma which Giap and his clique are now facing. Their plan to use Cambodia as a sanctuary for their aggression could precipitate that country into disaster, because no one can tolerate the foolish arrogance of the capricious prince who has betrayed the Free World and turned his own country into a communist satellite.

The Bu Kheo Airfield, west of Highways 19 across the border, had an important role in the battle of Pleime. High-ranking VC cadres had landed there, on their way from North Vietnam to the Field Front. By letting the Communists use Bu Kheo, Cambodia which pretends so far to be "neutralist" has demasked herself.

The infiltration routes which French General Delange worried about would never present any dangers if Cambodia did not comply to overlook the machinations the Communists are conducting on her territory. Without Cambodian rice, without the presence of Red Chinese advisors in Pnom Penh, without the communications between Hanoi and the Khmer capital, the infiltration of VC units from North Vietnam could never take place and develop.

(Why Pleime)

Phieu


#754 24 Jan 12, 03:16

Viet Cong Requested Red China's Aid (5)

Discussion between Zhou Enlai, Deng Xioaping, Kang Shen, Le Duan and Nguyen Duy Trinh

Date: 04/13/1966

Description: China stresses the importance of Chinese aid in Vietnam, while pointing out Vietnam’s seeming mistrust; Vietnam relies on Chinese support.

Deng Xiaoping: You have spoken about truth as well as mentioned fairness. So what are you still afraid of? Why are you afraid of displeasing the Soviets, and what about China? I want to tell you frankly what I now feel: Vietnamese comrades have some other thoughts about our methods of assistance, but you have not yet told us.

I remember Comrade Mao criticizing us—the Chinese officials attending the talk between Comrade Mao Zedong and Comrade Le Duan in Beidaihe2—of having "too much enthusiasm" in the Vietnam question. Now we see that Comrade Mao is farsighted.

Le Duan: Now, when you talk about it again, it is clear for me. At that time I didn't understand what Comrade Mao said because of poor interpretation.

Deng: We understand that Comrade Mao criticized us, that is Comrade Zhou Enlai, me and others. Of course, it doesn't mean that Comrade Mao doesn't do his best to help Vietnam. It is clear to all of you that we respond to all your requests since they are within our abilities. Now, it seems that Comrade Mao Zedong is farsighted in this matter. In recent years, we have had experiences in the relations between socialist countries. Is it true that our overenthusiasm has caused suspicion from Vietnamese comrades? Now we have 130 thousand people in your country. The military construction in the Northeast as well as the railway construction are projects that we proposed, and moreover, we have sent tens of thousands of military men to the border. We have also discussed the possibility of joint fighting whenever a war breaks out. Are you suspicious of us because we have so much enthusiasm? Do the Chinese want to take control over Vietnam? We would like to tell you frankly that we don't have any such intention. Here, we don't need any diplomatic talks. If we have made a mistake thus making you suspicious, it means that Comrade Mao is really farsighted.

Moreover, at present many hold China to be disreputable: Khrushchev is revisionist, and China is dogmatic and adventurous.

So, we hope that in this matter, if you have any problem, please tell us straightforwardly. Our attitude so far has been and from now on will be: you are on the front line and we are in the rear. We respond to all your requests within our abilities. But we shouldn't have too much enthusiasm.

The construction in the northeast islands has been completed. The two sides have discussed that the construction along the coast will be done by our military men. Recently, Comrade Van Tien Dung3 proposed that after completing the construction in the northeast, our military men help you build artillery sites in the central delta.. We haven't answered yet. Now I pose a question for you to consider: Do you need our military men to do it or not?

Zhou Enlai: [The proposal is about] the construction of 45 artillery sites close to the Soviet missile positions.

Deng: We don't know whether it is good for the relations between two parties and two countries or not when we sent 100,000 people to Vietnam. Personally, I think it's better for our military men to come back home right after they finish their work. In this matter, we don't have any ill intention, but the results are not what we both want.

Deng: Now, I want to talk about another aspect of the relations between the two parties and two countries. Among 100 thousand Chinese military men, who are now in your country, there may be someone who committed wrongdoing, and on your side there also may be some others who want to make use of these incidents to sow division between two parties and two countries. We should, in a straightforward manner, talk about it now as there is not only the shadow but some damages in our relations as well. It is not only the matters concerning our judgment on the Soviet aid. Are you suspicious that China helps Vietnam for our own intentions? We hope that you can tell us directly if you want us to help. The problem will easily be solved. We will withdraw our military men at once. We have a lot of things to do in China. And the military men stationed along the border will be ordered back to the mainland.4

Le Duan: I would like to express some opinions. The difficulty is that our judgments are different from each other. As the experience in our Party shows, it takes time to make different opinions come to agreement.

We don't speak publicly [about] the different opinions between us. We hold that the Soviet assistance to Vietnam is partly sincere, so neither do we ask whether the Soviets [will] sell Vietnam out nor [do we] say the Soviets slander China in the matter of transportation of Soviet aid. Because we know that if we say this, the problem will become more complicated. It is due to our circumstances. The main problem is how to judge the Soviet Union. You are saying that the Soviets are selling out Vietnam, but we don't say so. All other problems are rooted in this judgment. Concerning China's assistance to Vietnam, we are very clear and we don't have any concern about it. Now, there are more than a hundred thousand Chinese military men in Vietnam, but we think that whenever there is something serious happening, there should be more than 500,000 needed. This is assistance from a fraternal country. We think that as a fraternal socialist country, you can do that, you can help us like this. I have had an argument with Khrushchev on a similar problem. Khrushchev said the Vietnamese supported China's possession of the atomic bomb so China could attack the Soviet Union. I said it was not true, China would never attack the Soviet Union.

Today, I am saying that the judgment by a socialist country on another socialist country should be based on internationalism, especially in the context of relations between Vietnam and China. In our anti-French resistance, had the Chinese revolution not succeeded, the Vietnamese revolution could hardly have been successful. We need the assistance from all socialist countries. But we hold that Chinese assistance is the most direct and extensive.

As you have said, each nation should defend themselves but they also should rely on international assistance. So, we never think that your enthusiasm can be harmful in any way. To the contrary, the more enthusiasm you have, the more beneficial it is for us. Your enthusiastic assistance can help us to save the lives of 2 or 3 million people. This is an important matter. We highly value your enthusiasm. A small country like Vietnam badly needs international assistance. This assistance saves so much of our blood.

The relations between Vietnam and China will exist not only during the struggle against the US but also in the long future ahead. Even if China does not help us as much, we still want to maintain close relations with China, as this is a guarantee for our nation's survival.

With regard to the Soviets, we still maintain good relations with them. But we also criticize the Soviets if they are receptive to our criticism.

In the relations between our two parties, the more agreement we have the better we feel, the less agreement we have, the more we are concerned. We are concerned not only about your assistance but also about a more important matter, that is the relations between the two nations. Our Party Central Committee is always thinking of how to strengthen the friendly relationship between the two parties and two countries.

I would like to add some of my personal opinions. At present, there is a relatively strong reformist movement in the world, not only in Western Europe but also in Eastern Europe and in the Soviet Union. Many nationalist countries adopt either the path of reformism or that of fascism, as those countries are ruled by the bourgeoisie. So I think that there should be some revolutionary countries like China to deal with the reformist countries, criticizing them, and at the same time, cooperating with them, thus leading them to the revolutionary path. They are reformist, so on the one hand, they are counter-revolutionary, that is why we should criticize them. But on the other hand, they are anti- imperialists, that is why we can cooperate with them. In the history of the Chinese revolution, you did the same thing. Comrade Mao Zedong established the anti-Japanese United Front with Jiang Jieshi [Chiang Kai-shek]. So my personal opinion is that China, while upholding the revolutionary banner, should cooperate with reformist countries to help them make revolution. It is our judgment as well as our policy line. This is not necessarily right, but it is out of our sincere commitment to revolution. Of course, this matter is very complicated. As you have said, even in one party there are three parts: rightist, centrist and leftist, so is the situation in a big [Communist] movement.

The differences in judgment bring about difficulties which need time to be solved. It is necessary to have more contacts in order to reach agreement in perception. It is not our concern that China is trying to take control over Vietnam. If China were not a socialist country then we [would be] really concerned. [We believe that] Chinese comrades came to help us out of proletarian internationalism.

Phieu


#755 25 Jan 12, 02:52

Viet Cong Requested Red China's Aid (6)

Discussion between Zhou Enlai and Pham Van Dong

Date: 04/07/1967

Description: Soviet proposals to increase aid to Vietnam, via China.

Pham Van Dong: [The Soviet] proposals were: (1) China increases the quota for shipments of Soviet aid to [Vietnam] via China from 10 to 30 thousand tons a month. If necessary, the Soviet Union will send some of its locomotives to China. (2) China sets aside 2 or 3 of its ports in the South for handling Soviet aid to Vietnam. If more equipment is needed in those ports, the Soviets will cover all costs.

Phieu


#756 26 Jan 12, 02:36

Viet Cong Requested Red China's Aid (7)

Discussion between Zhou Enlai, Pham Van Dong and Vo Nguyen Giap

Date: 04/07/1967

Description: Zhou Enlai reinforces his and China’s commitment to the war in Vietnam, even though he is almost seventy years old.

Pham Van Dong: Some of the strategies we are adopting on the battlefield in South Vietnam follow what you suggested to us in the past. This demonstrates that our military strategies, as well as yours, are correct, and there are also new developments.

Zhou Enlai: Not only have your strategies had new developments, but also new creations. The latecomers become the first. This is what the Chairman has said. I have written a few words for you: The latecomers become the first. ... We have not fought a war for 14 years. All three of us are old. I am almost seventy. Comrade Ye Jianying2 is seventy. Comrade Chen Yi is sixty-seven. We still want to fight, but we do not have much time left.

Ye Jianying: This is the rule of the nature.

Zhou Enlai: Although I am old, my ambition is still there. If the war in the South does not end next year, I will visit you and look around.

Ye Jianying: The old horse in the stable is still dreaming of heroic exploits; the heart of a hero in his old age is as stout as ever.

Zhou Enlai: Chairman Mao quoted these [words] from a poem by Cao Cao3 in a letter to Comrade Wang Guanlan.4 A historical figure during the feudal age still had his aspirations, how about us proletarians?

[Notes: This was the fourth meeting between the Chinese and the Vietnamese delegations. Vo Nguyen Giap started the meeting with continuing to introduce the military situation in North and South Vietnam and Vietnam's strategies.]

Phieu


#757 27 Jan 12, 02:13

Viet Cong Requested Red China's Aid (8)

Discussion between Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai and Pham Van Dong

Date: 04/10/1967

Description: Zhou Enlai and Mao Zedong address the issue of problematic Chinese Red Guard.

Zhou Enlai: Most of the Chinese Red Guards, who crossed the border to Vietnam, are good. They came to Vietnam because they wanted to fight the Americans. But they did not respect the rules of our two countries, thus causing some complications. We apologize to you for this.

Mao Zedong: Some Red Guards do not know what a national border means. Among the people who came to Vietnam, most of them [are] from Jiangxi, some from Yunnan. It is not necessary for you to take care of them. Just explain to them and then hand them over to us.

Phieu


#758 28 Jan 12, 01:59

Viet Cong Requested Red China's Aid (9)

Zhou Enlai's Talk with Pham Van Dong and Vo Nguyen Giap

Date: 04/10/1967

In considering the prospect of the war, we should include two or three possibilities. One possibility is that the war will continue and expand. The law of war is often not decided by the will of people, neither by our will nor by the enemy's will. War has its own law. Even if the enemy wants to stop the war, it may not be able to do so. Therefore, for the sake of the future, we must prepare for the continuation and expansion of the war. Another possibility is that the enemy will blockade your coast. If the enemy wages a total blockade, then it is very likely that it intends to expand the hostilities into a total war. If the enemy just wants to force you into compromise by blockading your coast and if you refuse to compromise, then what will the enemy do? The enemy must have a follow-up plan. A total blockade of the coast will not be a simple matter. It will involve the deployment of many fleets. It will be a major operation. It will strain the enemy's relations with other countries. A third possibility is what the two of you have just mentioned: the crucial moment will be the dry season next year. You may defeat the enemy, forcing it to admit its failure and withdraw from Vietnam. As to the likelihood that the war will neither end nor expand but simply wear on, that is inconceivable. The war will end inevitably and the question is when. It is impossible that the war will wear on forever without a result. Concerning the issue of political struggle, it is without doubt that political struggle should be carried out at any time. War is the highest form of the development of political struggle. It is impossible that war will not involve political struggle. Things like strengthening international propaganda, winning sympathy, weakening and dividing enemies, and exploiting contradictions between them all fall into the category of political struggle. You have done those things in the past and you must continue doing so in the future.

Phieu


#759 29 Jan 12, 01:51

Viet Cong Requested Red China's Aid (10)

Discussion between Mao Zedong, Pham Van Dong and Vo Nguyen Giap

Date:04/11/1967

Description: Mao Zedong encourages Pham Van Dong to continue fighting and praises the Vietnamese on the resiliency, not only in the war against the Americans, but against the French and Japanese.

Pham Van Dong: We are very glad to see you healthy, Chairman Mao.

Mao Zedong: Just normal, not very well…Among all of you here, is there anyone from the South?

Vo Nguyen Giap: Comrade Pham Van Dong is a Southerner.

Pham Van Dong: My native village is in Quang Ngai province [in central Vietnam], where people are fighting the enemy very well.

Vo Nguyen Giap: Only in one year, people in Quang Ngai shot down almost 100 helicopters. They are fighting the puppet troops, [and] American and South Korean troops very well.

Mao Zedong: As you are fighting, you have drawn experience, you have come to understand the rule. If you are not fighting you will not have experience, will not know the rule... It looks more or less similar to your resistance against the French.

Pham Van Dong: We are now better than that and the fighting now is fiercer.

Mao Zedong: So, I said you now know the rule.

Pham Van Dong: We just began to do so.

Mao Zedong: It is a matter of course that in the process, changes can occur. The most difficult years were from 1956 to 1959…In 1960 there were some good changes. From 1960 to 1961, the armed forces were still small. But in 1963 and 1964, the situation changed. And now, in 1965 and 1966, you have better understanding of the rule, based on your experiences fighting against French, Japanese, and now American troops. You also fought the Japanese, didn't you?

Vo Nguyen Giap: Yes, we did, but not much; only in a small scale guerrilla warfare. In our fighting against the Americans, we always remember your words: try to preserve and develop our forces, steadfastly advancing forward.

Mao Zedong: We have a saying: "if you preserve the mountain green, you will never have to worry about firewood." The US is afraid of your tactics. They wish that you would order your regular forces to fight, so they can destroy your main forces. But you were not deceived. Fighting a war of attrition is like having meals: [it is best] not to have too big a bite. In fighting the US troops, you can have a bite the size of a platoon, a company, or a battalion. With regard to troops of the puppet regime, you can have a regiment-size bite. It means that fighting is similar to having meals, you should have one bite after another. After all, fighting is not too difficult an undertaking. The way of conducting it is just similar to the way you eat.

…I was told that you wanted to build a new 100 km railway, do our Chinese counterparts agree to help you?

Zhou Enlai: We have had discussions on the issue. Some people will be sent [to Vietnam] to make a feasibility study.

Mao Zedong: It is not too long, shorter than the distance from Beijing to Tianjin.

Pham Van Dong: We will make the feasibility study together with Chinese comrades.

Mao Zedong: It's all right, for the sake of war. What about the matter of food supply?

Zhou Enlai: We discussed this with Comrade Li Xiannian.1 We will provide 100 thousand tons of rice, 50 thousand tons of maize.

Pham Van Dong: So, this year alone, China helped Vietnam with approximately 500 thousand tons of food. This help is very great.

Mao Zedong: We can help you. Last year we had good crops.

Pham Van Dong: Thank you, Chairman Mao.

Mao Zedong: If you want to say thanks, you should say it to our peasants…Later, when you have dinner with Comrade Zhou, you can ask Comrade Wei Guoqing how he was criticized by the Red Guards. I know comrade Wei because he often visits and reports to me when he comes back from working visits to Vietnam. Who is now the new [Vietnamese] ambassador?

Zhou Enlai: Comrade Ngo Minh Loan2.

Mao Zedong: Which [Chinese] character is [Loan]?

Zhu Qiwen: Phoenix-like.

[B]Mao Zedong: This kind of bird is very strong.

Pham Van Dong:[/B] Comrade Loan will try his best to continue the job by Comrade Tran Tu Binh3, that is, to strengthen the friendship between the two countries.

Mao Zedong: I am sorry that Comrade Tran Tu Binh passed away.

Pham Van Dong: We are also very sad about it.

Mao Zedong: What kind of illness did he have?

Pham Van Dong: The same illness he had before and after he came back home, he was too busy.

Vo Nguyen Giap: He passed away after having a serious cold. He was in the same hospital with ambassador Zhou Qiyun.

Zhu Qiwen: The Friendship Hospital. I also have a record of high blood pressure.

Pham Van Dong: Today, we would like to pay a courtesy visit to you, Chairman Mao, Vice Chairman Lin [Biao] and other comrades. Once again, thank you very much.

....

Mao Zedong: You have been bravely struggling both in the North and in the South.

Pham Van Dong: It's because we are learning Chairman Mao's military thinking.

Mao Zedong: [It is] not necessary. Without it, you still can gain victory. In the past, you were fighting the Japanese, the French. Now you are fighting the Americans.

Pham Van Dong: Thanks to the military policy of our Party and also to Mao Zedong's military thinking.

....

Vo Nguyen Giap: As I remember, at one time during our resistance war against the French, Comrade Zhou sent president Ho a telegram that read: "Now is not the right time to have a peaceful solution. You should continue fighting." [Ed. note: Giap refers to late 1949 or January 1950.]

Zhou Enlai: At that time, the French were going to recognize us. But because we recognized Vietnam they ignored us. As Lenin taught, big countries have the responsibility to encourage the world revolution. At that time revolution was victorious in Russia, so Lenin thought of China and India. Now, Lenin's desire has been half-realized: the Chinese revolution has been successful. Yet, reality has not developed the way people want it to be. Some smaller countries gained victory earlier. Victory in Korea is followed by the one in Vietnam.

Phieu


#760 30 Jan 12, 02:58

Viet Cong Requested Red China's Aid (11)

Discussion between Zhou Enlai and Ho Chi Minh

Date: 02/07/1968

Description: Zhou Enlai proposes to the Vietnamese to organize additional field army corps to carry out operational tasks far from home bases.

Zhou Enlai: Since the war in Vietnam has reached the current stage,1 is it possible for [the Vietnamese comrades] to consider organizing one, two, or three field army corps? Each of them will be composed of 30,000-40,000 soldiers, and each of their combat operations should aim at eliminating 4,000-5,000 enemy soldiers in whole units. These field army corps should be able to carry out operational tasks far away from their home bases, and should be able to engage in operations in this war zone, or in that war zone. When they are attacking isolated enemy forces, they may adopt the strategy of approaching the enemy by underground tunnels. They may also adopt the strategy of night fighting and short-distance fighting, so that the enemy's bombers and artillery fire will not be in a position to play a role. In the meantime, you may construct underground galleries, which are different from the simple underground tunnels, in three or four directions [around the enemy], and use them for troop movement and ammunition transportation. You also need to reserve some units for dealing with the enemy's reinforcements.

[Notes: This conversation was held in the context of the battle for Khe Sanh, which had started on January 21, and the Tet Offensive, which had begun on January 31.]

Phieu


#761 31 Jan 12, 02:52

Viet Cong Requested Red China's Aid

Highlights of the eleven meeting series

1. The planning of the invasion of South Vietnam was not done in Hanoi, but Beijing.

2. The planners were not Ho Chi Minh, Pham Van Dong, Le Duan, Vo Nguyen Giap and Van Tien Dung and Nguyen Duy Tring, but Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Tao Zhu, Deng Xiaoping, Liu Shaoqi, Kang Shen, Ye Jianying, Peng Zhen, Luo Ruiqing and Zhu Qiwen.

3. The escalation to division level was decided in 1964 and approved by Mao Zedong on 10/5/64 meeting.

4. Mao Zedong laid out all the possible reactions from the Americans and how it could be handle: if they commit group troops in the South, if they invade the North, if they attack China Air Force …

5. Mao Zedong dictated the conduct of the war to Pham Van Dong. In the North, to construct defensive works along the coast like the Chinese did in Korea War; not to engage main force head-to-head confrontation. In the South, to actively fight the enemy.

6. Mao Zedong admitted Red China were “belligerent”

7. Le Duan asked for pilots, soldiers, road and bridge engineering units.

8. Mao Zedong and Ho Chi Minh planned to build roads from China border to the South front, from Samneua to Lower Laos to South Vietnam, and roads to Thailand … with Chinese soldiers.

9. Zhou Enlai did not approved Soviet aid but wanted Cambodian involvement in the war.

10. In 1966, Deng Xiaoping said there were 100,00 Chinese soldiers in Vietnam. Le Duan said more than 500,000 were needed.

11. Soviet proposed to increase aid through China from 10 to 30 thousand tons a month.

12. Zhou Enlai was committed to the war in Vietnam even at 70 years old.

13. Zhou Enlai instructed to Pham Van Dong and Vo Nguyen Giap how to conduct the war with three possibilities: the war will continue and expand; 2. The enemy will blockade the coast; 3. The crucial moment of the 1968 dry season year. He also emphasis the importance of political struggle.

14. On 02/07/1968 meeting, Zhou Enlai proposed Ho Chi Minh to step up the war to field army corps level of 30,000-40,000 soldiers aiming at eliminating 4,000-5,000 enemy soldiers in whole units and used the strategy of using tunnels to approach enemy bases, the strategy of night and short distant fighting, and the construction of underground galleries for troop movement and ammunition transportation.

Conclusion

This series of meetings between Chinese Communist Politburo and North Vietnamese Politburo reveals one major point:

The Vietnam War was a confrontation between Red China and the United States in which the United States blinked the eyes first. Therefore, who is to be blamed for the loss of South Vietnam? Not the ARVN who was accused of not wanting and not capable of defending their own country after the American troops left. It was the Americans who cut off completely all aid in 1975.

Vice versa, without Red China looming tall behind, the North Vietnamese Communists would never - so called - 'defeat' the United States and the South.

If the United States continued to aid South Vietnam, it would not collapse in 1975 and no matter how little the aid, the North Vietnamese Communists would not be able to conquer the entire South Vietnam. The ARVN would be able to prolong the fight, even to revert to conducting a guerrilla warfare if needed be. The Viet Nam issue would never be able to be resolved on the battlefields, with one side able to defeat the other side militarily. And when both sides get tired, they would have to agree to seat down on a round table and resolve the issue politically.

Having faced the NVA in the battlefields, General Hieu knew it was clear that the ARVN would never defeat them, and vice versa. He was convinced, therefore, that when everybody was tired of fighting each other, a political solution would be eventually sought by everyone. When it came to that point, South Vietnam would fall into the Communists' hands if the corruption plague was not eradicated in the ARVN:

Either we correct our faults or the Communists will correct them for us.

Phieu


#762 01 Feb 12, 01:46

Sidebar: The United States blinked the eyes first...

... When, Who, Why and What …

In 1971, the North Vietnamese Communists was told by their Chinese Communists counterparts that they could go ahead attacking South Vietnam with the blessings of the Americans, because in his meeting with Prime Minister Zhou Enlai on July 9, 1971, Kissinger indicated that "the Nixon administration was determined to withdraw from Vietnam even unilaterally, and even if it led to the overthrow of the government of South Vietnam." This position of the Nixon administration had been kept secret until it was recently revealed by the release of classified documents by the National Security Archive, an independent research group and reported by the New York Times on February 27, 2002.

In a nutshell, Zhou Enlai bartered with Kissinger: you can have China's market if you agree to let my little brother win the war.

Emboldened by the American eagerness to withdraw unilaterally from Vietnam at all costs, in May of 1972, the North Vietnamese Communists launched their attacks simultaneously at three fronts: Quang Tri in the I Corps, Kontum in the II Corps, and An Loc in the III Corps. Quang Tri was lost immediately and was only retaken by the ARVN in September 1972. Kontum was able to hold through a two week siege. An Loc was able to hold through a three month siege. In all these three battlefronts, the ARVN units were able to hold-up against the enemy only with intensive American air-power, especially with the carpet bombing of B-52s. Temporary, the Vietnamization seemed to be working. Realizing that the ARVN would be still strong enough to resist their attacks with the assistance of the United States, the North Vietnamese Communists agreed to sign the Paris Agreements on January 23, 1973, just to make the Americans limit combat materials supply on a one-to-one replacement basis to the ARVN and not to provide air-power support to the ARVN, in exchange for American POWs' release. But then, right after the signing of the accord, the Ho Chi Minh trail became a 24-hour-7-day all-weather conduit of troops and materials streaming from the North to the South. Meanwhile, to the delight of the North Vietnamese Communists and to the bewilderment of the South Vietnamese, the United States reduced funding to South Vietnam 30% (from 1.6 billion to 1.26 billion) in 1973, and 60% (from 1.6 billion to 700 millions) in 1974. Furthermore, the United States reduced ground ammunitions down 30% (from 179,000 tons to 126,000 tons) and P.O.L and spare parts down 50%.

In 1974, the North Vietnamese Communists were still fearful of a private promise Nixon made to Thieu to re-enter South Vietnam militarily if the North invades the South. They decided to test that promise by attacking Phuoc Long in December 1974. When Phuoc Long fell in January without provoking any American reaction, they got bolder and attacked and vanquished Ban Me Thuot in March 1975, still without any reaction from the United States.

In March 1975, President Ford's unresponsiveness forced President Thieu to make two disastrous tactical withdrawals of troops from the I and II Corps which resulted in the annihilation of all ARVN combat units in these two Corps. When General Weyand arrived in Vietnam in April 1975 on a fact-finding mission, he found that the NVA forces had 200.000 men and 123 regiments as opposed to 54.000 men and 39 regiments of the ARVN. He recommended that President Ford should provide 750 million dollars in emergency funds to rebuild the armed forces of South Vietnam and B-52 air-strikes to contain the advance of the North Vietnamese Communists units. Both requests were denied, resulting in the total collapse of the South.

On April 6, 1975 morning, Thieu summoned General Hieu to the Presidential Palace for consultation. General Hieu did not hesitate to assess that the disorganized retreats of I Corps and II Corps had reduced the ARVN's fighting strength to a desperate point which would not enable it to counter the NVA's rapid advance. If the United States do not re-enter the Viet Nam battlefield, the ARVN will run out of ammunitions in two months, the President as the Commander-in-Chief of the ARVN has no other choice than to order the combat units to lay down their arms and to surrender, if he cared to avoid wasteful bloodshed to the combatants and the population.

Thieu did not heed to General Hieu’s warning and had him assassinated on April 8...


#763 01 Feb 12, 13:14

Opinion, not FACT!

KEN JENSEN


#764 01 Feb 12, 16:44

Not just opinion ... circumstantial evidence ... do you think a corps commander could have his deputy commander killed in his headquarters office without direct order from his immediate superior, the commander-in-chief ? ...

I would entertain your statement if you had really studied this issue in depth ... Can you take up my challenge and refute point by point my exposé on the death of General Hieu ...? I guess not ... huh ...

Anyway, here is not the place ... the topic is about the collapse of Saigon ...

Phieu


#765 02 Feb 12, 02:30

Sidebar: General Hieu and Nixon’s 1/5/1973 letter to Thieu

As III Corps Deputy Commander/Operations, General Hieu’s task was to defend Saigon against the Viet Cong’s final push in April 1975. In his military planning, he needed to have all the parameters in hand, and one of those was the assurance from Nixon “of continued assistance in the post-settlement period and that we will respond with full force should the settlement be violated by North Vietnam. So once more I conclude with an appeal to you to close ranks with us.”

Although he was very close to Vice President Tran Van Huong, he only heard of the rumor of such letter. He set out to know for sure the existence of such assurance. For that purpose, he dispatched LTC Tran Van Thuong, who was about to leave Viet Nam to attend the US Army Command and Control College, to the singer Thanh Lan’s residence, to find out the truth. Why Thanh Lan? Because she was Hoang Duc Nha’s secret lover and Nha was Thieu’s cousin and special secretary. One late night, on June 13 1974, prior to entering Thanh Lan’s house at 7:30 p.m., General Hieu’s intelligence agents wired Thuong with recording devices. However, he came out of the fishing expedition empty handed because he could not raise the question to Thanh Lan in the presence of her father who would not leave the two of them alone. Thuong continued his efforts in the finding of that letter while attending the USCGSC on General Hieu's behalf to no avail until the day he met with President Ford in Summer 1977. President Ford cautioned him not to divulgue secret correspondances between the United States and Saigon, including that letter if he had it (he still did not at that point in time) ... Thuong deemed President Ford wanted to maintain the American's credibility before the international opinion ...

(Note: This sidebar is intended as a response to those who would : 'If Hieu was that great at Pleime in 1965, why didn't he try and save Saigon in 1975 ...')

Phieu


#766 03 Feb 12, 01:35

'Pleime Trận Chię́n Lịch Sử' and 'Why Pleime'

In the translation process from Pleime Trận Chię́n Lịch Sử to Why Pleime, Colonel Hieu left out some paragraphs that however were crucial in the understanding of the unique operational concept underlying this campaign, in particular the following two paragraphs on page 94

The battle from phases 2 and 3 also introduced an aspect never seen up to now because for almost 20 years, during the Franco-Vietnamese war, seldom pursuit operation was considered after each time the enemy made appearance and when it was conducted, no significant results had been achieved. Therefore this time around, the determination not to allow the enemy to escape, coupled with the solid intelligence on the enemy situation had permitted the battle to develop to maximum degree and scale and at the same token lead to the biggest victory ever achieved by the ARVN and its Allied. So with the certainty of getting a plethora of ongoing and updated by the days of solid intelligence on the enemy military situation, Colonel Hieu draw up his operational plan of using Arc Lite to destroy the enemy en mass at Chupong-Iadrang complex.

Trận chię́n từ giai đoạn hai và ba cũng mang thęm một sắc thái chưa từng có từ trước tới nay vì ngót 20 năm rồi, khi còn chię́n tranh Vię̣t Pháp, chưa mấy khi các cuộc truy kích đã được đę̀ cập tới sau mỗi lần địch xuất hię̣n và nę́u có thực hię̣n được cũng không đem lại kę́t quả gì đáng kę̉. Cho nęn lần này ý chí quyę́t không đę̉ cho địch chạy thoát, cộng với sự nắm vững tình hình địch đã làm cho trận chię́n phát trię̉n đę́n một mức độ và quy mô tối đa đồng thời đem lại những chię́n công lớn nhất từ trước đę́n nay của Quân Lực Vię̣t Nam Cộng Hòa và Đồng Minh.

and page 99 respectively

Throughout the war from 1948 until now, the enemy always withdrew safely after the end of a battle at the moment it had chosen and determined, always holding the upper hand posture in offensive as well as defensive. It was not because it was awesome, which excellent tactics, but simply because of the difficulties like in the attempt to catch a thief during nighttime.

Suốt trận chię́n từ 1948 tới nay, bao giờ địch cũng rút lui được an toàn sau khi kę́t thúc trận chię́n vào lúc chúng đã định và mong muốn, luôn luôn nắm được chủ động trong thę́ công lẫn thę́ thủ trong tay. Chẳng phải là địch ghę gớm, chię́n thuật kỳ dię̣u, mà chỉ vì nỗi khó khăn cũng như tìm bắt kẻ trộm lúc đęm hôm.

Another significant ommissions in the translation process are the coordinates of unit positions. For instances:

- One

= Pleime Trận Chię́n Lịch Sử

Cũng trong sáng này, lúc 00giờ30, hai Đại Đội thuộc Tię̉u Đoàn 91 Bię̣t Kích Dù rút từ hành quân Thần Phong 6 vę̀ được trực thăng vận xuống ZA.175415 ở khu Đông Bắc trại, làm như Chię́ Đoàn nói tręn sẽ thúc quân vào Pleime trong ngày và hai lực lượng này sẽ giao tię́p với nhau chậm lắm là vào buổi chię̀u hôm đó.

= Why Pleime

In the same morning, at 0930, two companies of the 91st ARVN Special Forces Rangers were heliborne to about [blank] 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!

- Two

= Pleime Trận Chię́n Lịch Sử

Đúng 14 giờ, Tię̉u Đoàn 22 BĐQ được trực thăng vận xuống ZA.150.157 ...

= Why Pleime

At 1400 hours, the 22nd ARVN Ranger battalion was heliborne into a landing zone [blank] on the Western side of Provincial route #5, 10 km North of Pleime ...

-Three

= Pleime Trận Chię́n Lịch Sử

Lúc 17 giờ, Chię́n Đoàn đã di chuyę̉n được gần nửa đường, tạm dừng lại khoảng ZA. 171171 trong khi không quân oanh kích tięn lię̣u vào nưi nghi ngờ có Vię̣t Cộng. Lúc 17 giờ 50 sau khi lęn đường tię́p tục di chuyę̉n, Chię́n Đoàn tới ZA. 172164 (gọi là đỉnh đồi Độc Lập)

= Why Pleime

At 1700 hours, the Task Force stopped midway [blank] while preplanned airstrikes were conducted ahead over suspected enemy concentrations. At 1750 hours, while progressing on an ascending slope and narrow path with dense vegetations on both sides [blank] ...

- Four

= Pleime Trận Chię́n Lịch Sử

Ngày 25-10 lúc 13 giờ 30, Chię́n Đoàn Thię́t Giáp tię́p tục lęn đường tię́n vào Pleime. Được 5 cây số, khoảng ZA. 178138 chi đoàn thię́t quân vận đi đầu lại bị địch ngăn chận nhưng hỏa lực của ta đè bẹp ngay.

= Why Pleime

At 1300 hours 25 October, the Armor-Infantry Task Force resumed advancing toward Pleime. After 5 km, [blank] the APC's moving ahead of the column encountered enemy fire which was quickly repressed by friendly artillery.

- Five

= Pleime Trận Chię́n Lịch Sử

Cuộc lục soát được tię́p tục tới sáng ngày 27-10 ở phía Bắc và Tây Bắc trại. Tại ZA. 157050 là nơi phi cơ oanh kích trong ngày hôm trước, quân ta kię́m được một số xác chę́t, bắt được 1 V.C. và thu được 4 khẩu Đại lięn .50 phoông không cùng một số vũ khí cá nhân. Đặc bię̣t là cùng với những khẩu súng lớn này, có những dây xích lię̀n với chân của các xạ thủ đổ bắt buộc họ không được bỏ vị trí mà phải sống chę́t bắn chống trả cũng như chịu đựng những cuộc oanh kích của không quân ta..

= Why Pleime

The sweep lasted until noon 27 October. Down south the Camp,[blank] in the vicinity of the famous hill of Chu-Ho, more enemy corpses and weapons were discovered. Some dead VC gunners were found chained to their anti-aircraft heavy machine guns.

One might wonder why these omissions ...

- in regard to the first type ... perhaps ... modesty ...

- in regard to the second type .. perhaps ... the no-English-speaking Vietnamese readers do not have access to The Pleiku Campaign After Action Report, in which coordinates of unit positions are provided

... (I have mentioned that Colonel Hieu drafted his Pleime Campaign After Action Report as an ORLL which includes The Pleiku Campaign AAR)

Phieu


#767 04 Feb 12, 04:14

As III Corps Deputy Commander/Operations, General Hieu’s task was to defend Saigon against the Viet Cong’s final push in April 1975. In his military planning, he needed to have all the parameters in hand, and one of those was the assurance from Nixon “of continued assistance in the post-settlement period and that we will respond with full force should the settlement be violated by North Vietnam. So once more I conclude with an appeal to you to close ranks with us.”

Although he was very close to Vice President Tran Van Huong, he only heard of the rumor of such letter. He set out to know for sure the existence of such assurance. For that purpose, he dispatched LTC Tran Van Thuong, who was about to leave Viet Nam to attend the US Army General Staff and Command College, to the singer Thanh Lan’s residence, to find out the truth. Why Thanh Lan? Because she was Hoang Duc Nha’s secret lover and Nha was Thieu’s cousin and special secretary. One late night, on June 13 1974, prior to entering Thanh Lan’s house at 7:30 p.m., General Hieu’s intelligence agents wired Thuong with recording devices. However, he came out of the fishing expedition empty handed because he could not raise the question to Thanh Lan in the presence of her father who would not leave the two of them alone. Thuong continued his efforts in the finding of that letter while attending the USCGSC on General Hieu's behalf to no avail until the day he met with President Ford in Summer 1977. President Ford cautioned him not to divulgue secret correspondances between the United States and Saigon, including that letter if he had it (he still did not at that point in time) ... Thuong deemed President Ford wanted to maintain the American's credibility before the international opinion ...

(Note: This sidebar is intended as a response to those who would : 'If Hieu was that great at Pleime in 1965, why didn't he try and save Saigon in 1975 ...')

Thuong only found out in reading The Palace File (1986) that in mid April 1975, President Thieu dispatched an emissary to Washinton, D.C. on an aid seeking mission and had given to Nguyen Tien Hung copies of twelve secret letters Nixon had sent to him during the Paris Accord negotiations. In two of those secret letters Nixon promised Thieu the United States would re-enter South Vietnam if Hanoi violates the Paris Accords.

- 11/14/1972 letter

You have my absolute assurance that if Hanoi fails to abide by the terms of this agreement it is my intention to take swift and severe retaliatory action.

I repeat my person assurances to you that the United States will react very strongly and rapidly to any violation of the agreement.

- 1/5/1973 letter

You have my assurance of continued assistance in the post-settlement period and that we will respond with full force should the settlement be violated by North Vietnam.

When Hung produced those letters to the Congress on April 30, President Ford denied Nixon had made such promise and refused to hand the secret letters to the Congress on the basis of executive branch priviledge and diplomatic confidentiality.

Can Thieu be blamed for believing in Nixon’s promises? Hardly. Furthermore he was unlucky to have Ford as Nixon’s successor in the White House: President Ford was not forceful enough to oppose the Congress in keeping his predecessor’s words.

Never mind the finger-pointing between the Oval Office and the Capitol, the United States’ credibility as an allied was really abysmal.

Obviously, this wavering attitude did not help the ARVN soldier’s fighting motivation and performance a bit …

Ergo, stop at least blaming the ARVN and praising the NVA in the collapse of Saigon.

Bottom line, in the staring contest between Red China and the United States, the USA blinked the eyes first ... the rest is irrelevant ...

Phieu


#768 04 Feb 12, 11:57

I concur with your"Bottom Line"Phieu and have known this since 1969.

Not an agreeable man you are certainty a knowledgeable one.

hankwill


#769 04 Feb 12, 12:14

Phieu


#770 05 Feb 12, 01:23

What have I told you so far ...

... that you had not known before about Ia Drang battle …

1. The architect of Pleime Campaign was Colonel Hieu, II Corps Chief of Staff.
2. The Field Commander of Pleiku Campaign was General Knowles not General Kinnard.
3. The actual reporter of Pleiku Campaign After Action Report was General Knowles.
4. The scribe of Pleiku Campaign After Action Report was Captain Coleman.
5. Coleman subsequently rewrote Pleiku Campaign AAR in 1988 and published, Pleiku the Dawn of Helicopter warfare with additional inputs from General Knowles.
6. The great majority of intelligence data contained in Pleiku Campaign AAR was provided by G2/II Corps
7. There was a specific “modus operandi” in the conduct of the joint Pleime Counteroffensive operation.
8. There was a master plan for the Pleime Counteroffensive operation conceived by Colonel Hieu and executed by the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade in All the Way and by the 3rd Air Cavalry Brigade in Bayonet I.
9. The operational concept for Pleime Counteroffensive operation was the use of B-52 airstrikes with the ground force support. Not the other way around.
10. There were three diversionary moves that prepared the ground for the B-52 airstrikes: the herding move, the enticement move, and the distractive move.
11. The ideal target was achieved when the three NVA regiments were regrouped in staging areas for movement to attack.
12. The 1st Air Cavalry was better used in herding operation than in search and destroy mission.
13. The 1/7 Air Cavalry Battalion’s mission was to distract the enemy, not to search and destroy the enemy.
14. The Airborne Brigade was a better surgical tool than the 1st Air Cavalry in delivering the coup de grâce.
15. Major Schwarzkopf participated in the third phase of Pleime Campaign as an advisor to LTC Ngo Quang Truong in operation Than Phong 7.
16. II Corps/Colonel Hieu was in control throughout the Pleime Campaign: in the 1st phase (Dan Thang 21 operation), in the 2nd phase (Long Reach operation: All the Way, Bayonet I, Bayonet II), in the 3rd phase (Than Phong 7 operation).
17. Orders issued during the execution phase of the operational concept was given out by General Larsen, IFFV Commander, to General Knowles.
18. Why the Plâyme Campaign started without the 66th Regiment.
19. Why the 1/7th Air Cavalry was inserted on November 14, two days before the scheduled November 16 attack (to avoid mortar and antiaircraft firepower and to distract the enemy into remaining longer at staging areas)
20. Why the piling tactic was not applied when the enemy was discovered at LZ X-Ray.
21. Why the slow march toward LZ Albany instead of rapid troop extraction by helicopters.
22. The key role of updated intelligence of the enemy situation by the hours and days that rendered possible the use of B-52 airstrikes to annihilate en mass the three NVA regiments.
23. The inadvertence of Chinese Advisors allowing the gaining of real time intelligence.
24. Lower level commanders do not necessary need to know the operational concept in its execution. What they need is that their upper level commanders will provide all the necessary tools to achieve their assigned mission.
25. ARVN commanders knew better than US commanders how to combat against and defeat the VC.
26. ARVN commanders and combatants outperformed NVA commanders and combatants.
27. The US should have left the ARVN do the fighting and be content in a supportive role.
28. It takes an in-depth analysis and synthesis of all the following primary sources to get the whole and accurate story of the Pleime Campaign

1. J.D. Coleman, Pleiku, the Dawn of Helicopter Warfare in Vietnam, St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1988.
2. General Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway, We Were Soldiers Once… and Young, Random House, New York, 1992.
3. General Pham Huu An, Chien Truong Moi, Memoir, Quan Doi Nhan Dan Publishing House, Hanoi, 2002.
4. General Harry Kinnard, Pleiku Campaign, 1st Air Cavalry Division Headquarters, March 4, 1966.
5. G3 Journal, I Field Force Vietnam, October 1965.
6. General Norman Schwarzkopf, It Doesn't Take A Hero, Bantam, 1992.
7. General Vinh Loc, Why Pleime, Information Printing Office, Saigon, September 1966.
8. 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.
9. Thię́u Tướng Vĩnh Lộc, Pleime Trận Chię́n Lịch Sử, Information Printing Office, Saigon, September 1966.


29. The different battles, operations, campaigns pertaining to the Pleime Campaign and their respective relationship: Pleime, Pleiku, Long Reach, All the Way, Bayonet I, Bayonet II, Dan Thang 21, Than Phong 7.
30. Red China’s direct involvement in the Plâyme campaign.
31. Even Joe Galloway, Hal Moore, Coleman, Kinnard, Schwarzkopf, who participated in different phases of the Pleime campaign, were unable to give us a complete and truthful account of what, how and why it happened as it was. They cannot claim that for being there and done that, as evidence they hold the truth of the matter.
32. The truth of the Pleime campaign is a hard to swallow pill for the Viet Cong on one side and the Allied (American, Australian, even French!) on the other side. It has been discarded as “hagiographic logorrhea” …
32. The fact that my presentation of the Pleime campaign with in particular Colonel Hieu as its architect was once done in the presence of General Vinh Loc and Brigadier General Mataxis, both participants in that campaign as the commander and American senior advisor, at the Vietnam Center in 2001, has reinforced its credibility: both did not raise any objections after listening to it.
33. Who is really to be blamed for the collapse of Saigon? The United States who cut off all aid in March 1975, not the ARVN who has always been accused of incompetence and cowardice.
34. The PAVN combatants were not that great. They only looked awesome with Big Brother Red China looming tall behind who directed the entire invasion war executed by the PAVN troops from the outset in the 1960s to the very end in 1975.
35. …

Phieu


#771 06 Feb 12, 04:18

Highlight #1 : Pleime Counteroffensive into Chupong Iadrang Complex

Background

Viet Cong Field Front B3 Command used the tactic “faking an attack against an outpost to lure in and destroy the rescue force” in attacking the Pleime camp from October 19 to 26, 1965. However, II Corps Command defeated the enemy both at the camp and at the ambush site with the help of US Ingram Task Force comprising an artillery battalion and an infantry battalion.

Enemy Situation

After failing to annihilate the rescue column and to overrun Pleime camp, the two 32nd and 33rd Regiment NVA were ordered to retreat to their initial staging area before the attack in the Chupong-Iadrang complex.

Field Front B3 Command needed to retrieve its severely damaged units in order to preserve force while waiting for the reinforcement of 66th Regiment still wandering on the Ho Chi Minh trail. It would take this unit at least a week to close in at the Chupong-Iadrang complex.

The enemy’s losses were as following based on an account realized after 10/27/1965: 211 KIA, 115 KBA, 6 CIA, 1 57 RR, 2 pistols, 2 81mm mortar, 12 cal .50 MG, 3 cal .30 MG, 9 BAR, 37 SMG, 22 rifles, 8 carbines, 2 M79, a B40 Anti tank wpn.

Once the six battalions of the 32nd and 33 Regiment were reorganized and reequipped and with the arrival of 66th Regiment, it was certain that Field Front B3 Command would set up for a revenge, besides its resolve to achieve its goal of overtaking Pleiku as planned by the 1965-1966 Winter Spring campaign.

Friendly Situation

After October 27, 1965, friendly units’ losses are: Abn Ranger, 15 KIA, 20 WIA. LLBD, 1KIA. CIDG, 21 KIA, 21 WIA, 6MIA. US, 12 KIA, 8WIA. 3rmd Cav, 7 KIA, 27 WIA, 4 MIA. 1/42, 32 KIA, 72 WIA, 2 MIA. 21st Rangers, 35 KIA, 5 WIA. 22d Rangers, 12 WIA. Arty, 4 KIA, 2 WIA, 6 MIA. Engr 1 WIA. Total: 111 KIA, 190 WIA, 18 MIA.

Normally in the past, after the relief of a besieged outpost, II Corps Command could not afford to pursue the enemy for lack of sufficient troops and means. However, this time around, seizing the opportunity of a helping hand offered by the US 1st Air Cavalry Division, II Corps Command was able to launch a coordinated operation of exploitation in the pursuit of the enemy that were retreating back to the Chupong-Iadrang complex.

Planning

The planning of this operation was assigned to Colonel Hieu, II Corps Chief of Staff, working in coordination with Brigadier General Richard Knowles, 1st Air Cavalry Division Deputy Commander.

The 1st Air Cavalry Division Forward Command Post was established in the compounds of II Corps Headquarters in Pleiku, sharing the facilities with II Corps American Advisor Group. General Knowles was shadowed by Colonel Mataxis, the Senior Advisor.

In order to obtain a well organized working relationship between the two allied commands, Colonel Hieu laid out a clear cut “modus operandi”: joint intelligence and support activities and commonly-shared concept of operations and results; but separate TAOR, command, deployment of forces, conduct of activities and reserve.

Operational Concept

The search and pursuit of the two 32nd ( 334th, 635th and 966th Battalion) and 33rd Regiment (1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalion) should not be too difficult a task for 1st Air Cavalry Division with its fleet of helicopters in hands (435 in lieu of 101 for a regular infantry division). Nevertheless, to destroy an enemy force that had broken up into small units and in hiding amidst a vast area of elephant grass, bushes and trees, was a daunting task which would require months if not years to uncover and to destroy all these scattered piece meal units one at a time.

It is better to be able to attack and kill when the enemy units assemble at one location. This could have a chance to happen since Field Force B3 Command has ordered its attacking forces to return to their initial staging areas in the Chupong-Iadrang complex, while waiting for the arrival of the 66th Regiment.

However, in order to annihilate a division size force comprising three regiments, it would necessitate a force three times larger, which means three divisions, that II Corps Command could not afford.

A better alternative available was to use B-52’s carpet bombings to annihilate the concentrate enemy troops.

Therefore the operational concept for this operation comprised two phases:

Phase I: Herding the scattered enemy units toward a common grouping area. This task was assigned to 1st Air Cavalry Brigade with operation All the Way.

Phase II: Destroying the enemy with B-52’s carpet bombings. General Knowles would coordinate this planning phase with MACV Command in Saigon for the use of this strategic weapon.

The bombings would be prepared by a diversionary tactic performed by 3rd Air Cavalry Brigade with operation Silver Bayonet I

II Corps Command would maximize the use of its intelligence apparatus and would precisely schedule accordingly the starting point of each consecutive phases based on analysis of updated intelligence data along the way. The success of this operation relies squarely on this knowlege of enemy movements.

Execution

Phase I: Herding the scattered enemy units

On 10/27, 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. These tactics compelled the enemy to move continuously, to disintegrate and to fragment into small parties and thus they could not avoid being sighted.

By the end of the day, according to intelligence daily report, the lead elements of the 33d had closed on it forward assembly area, the village Kro (ZA080030), while its rear-guard battalion, was just beginning to break contact at the Pleime CIDG camp.

On 10/28, according to intelligence daily report, the 32d Regiment had nearly closed its base on the north bank of the Ia Drang, although the exact route it took in its withdrawal from the ambush site still remains a mystery.

On 10/29, according to intelligence daily report, the withdrawal of the 33d Regiment was rapidly becoming a nightmare. More and more armed helicopters began striking units of the regiment. So close were these attacks pressing to the advance base that by noon of the 29th the regimental cadre decided to keep the unit on the move to the west, seeking sanctuary. This time it was headed for its "home" prior to the attack on Pleime. This was Anta Village (NVA designation) at YA940010, located at the foot of the Chu Pong Massif. It was here during early October, that the 33d had conducted drills and rehearsals of its attack on the Pleime CIDG camp.

On 10/30, according to intelligence daily report, maintaining unit integrity was becoming increasingly difficult for many element of the 33d Regiment as Cavalry helicopters seemed to be everywhere, firing into carefully camouflaged positions and causing individual to either break and run or reveal positions by returning the aircraft fires. And a new element of danger had been introduced. Infantry units began air assaults in widely separated points throughout the general area through which the 33d must pass.

At time these landings were far enough from regimental units so that battle could be avoided, but in other cases, the cavalrymen found retreating elements and sharp fire fights, always costly to the NVA would result. And with each such engagement, further fragmentation of NVA units would occur.

As the small unit actions increased, the Cavalry obtained its first North Vietnamese captives and more and better intelligence concerning the enemy forces was becoming available to commanders.

On 10/31, according to intelligence daily report, the constant harassment from the air and the sudden and unexpected landing of infantry troops at points throughout the area was causing consternation in the enemy ranks. Elements continued to disintegrate and fragment into small parties or, in some cases, individual stragglers. Many of these, left to fend for themselves, soon fell into the hands of Cavalry units. Contributing to the problems of the 33d was the acute shortage of food and medicines since many units could not reach their pre-stocked supply because of the sudden thrusts of the helicopter-borne troopers.

On 11/01, at 0730 hours, about a VC platoon was sighted at 10 km South West of the Pleime Camp. A reaction force was immediately sent by the 1st Brigade of the 1st Air Cavalry Division. Only minutes after, 20 VC were killed and 19 captured. Friendly troops kept on searching and suddenly discovered a VC field hospital well equipped with medicines and surgical instruments made by Communist countries. All the communist origin supplies were still brand-new and amounted approximately to a value of 40000 US dollars.

While the evacuation of the trophy was carried out by helicopters, a battalion size enemy force stealthily moved toward friendly troops and strove to surround their positions. The first engagement between elements of the 1st US Air Cavalry Division and the VC took place. It lasted for five hours until darkness. When the enemy finally broke contact and withdrew, it had been for them a deadly blow by the "First Team": 99 VC were killed (Body count), 44 other VC regulars captured along with 40 weapons. But at least more than 200 other VC were probably killed and wounded.

The capture of the aid station was a major find for the Air Cavalry Division and besides the opportunity it provided for destruction of VC forces, it also yielded documents, including one particularly valuable map that revealed enemy supply and march routes.

According to intelligence daily report, by now the regimental headquarters had reached the base at Anta village, but the bulk of the regiment was still strung out between Pleime and Chu Pong. And these elements continued to draw aerial rocket and machine gun fire throughout the withdrawal. Also the heavy bombing and strafing attacks by USAF aircraft were directed against regimental positions with increasing accuracy as the secondary target detection system of the 1st Air Cavalry division began to click.

The precision of the strikes was so upsetting that regimental cadre 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 11/02, according to intelligence daily report, the 33d Regiment now received orders to head deeper into the Chu Pong sanctuary. By 0400 on the 2d, the regimental CP had arrived at Hill 762 (YA885106). But while the head of the column had comparative safety, the body and tail, still stretching back to near Pleime, was anything but safe.

Meanwhile, the NVA division headquarters (Field Front) had a bright spot in an otherwise gloomy picture. The last of its three regiments was due to arrive soon in South Vietnam and begin moving into assembly areas in the Chu Pong-Ia Drang area.

On 11/03, at 2100 hours, an audacious ambush in the very heart of the Chu Pong - Ia Drang complex inflicted to the 8th Battalion of the newly-infiltrated 66th Regiment: 112 KIA (Body count), more than 200 others estimated KIA and WIA, 30 weapons captured.

According to intelligence daily report, the 33d Regiment, meantime, was still trying to pull its bruised and battered tail into the Chu Pong sanctuary. But it became just another day of constant harassment from the air and ground marked by the loss of still more medical supplies and ammunition.

On 11/04, a large arms cache was uncovered at 5 km West of the Pleime Camp, in the vicinity of the Ia Meur river.

According to intelligence daily report, after failing to overrun US positions on the south bank of the Ia Drang, the 8th Battalion, 66th Regiment, broke off the attack and pulled its dead and wounded back from the site of the engagement. The apparent discovery by Cavalry forces of a new NVA infiltration unit would cause the Field Front to re-evaluate its tactical position and begin looking for ways to counteract the continued pressure.

An immediate action was to order the 33d Regiment 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).

The fragmented bits and pieces of the regiment were still making their way in a generally westward direction, clinging to stream beds, utilizing all available concealment to avoid detection by the ever-present Cavalry helicopters. There still was one unit reasonably intact - the battalion that had acted as rear guard. Starting later and moving more slowly than the rest, it was still east of main Cavalry positions.

On 11/05, according to intelligence daily report, the day brought little change to the intelligence picture. The 66th Regiment continued to close into assembly areas in the Chu Pong sanctuary and the 33d Regiment waited for its shattered forces to rejoin the parent unit. The 32d Regiment and Field Front, meanwhile, remained untouched and untroubled north of the Ia Drang and adjacent to the Cambodian frontier.

On 11/06, the 6th battalion of the 33rd Regiment was almost annihilated after an engagement taking place North of the Ia Meur river: 77 KIA (BC), nearly 400 others estimated KIA and WIA.

Up to this point, the 1st Brigade of the First Air Cavalry Division in its "All the Way" (2) deployment over an area of about 2500 square kilometers had given severe blows to the withdrawing VC units but through the contacts made and related above, no traces were yet found concerning the 32nd Regiment. Although the number of VC casualties amounted to 1500, including those suffered in the first phase, one more regiment - the 66th Regiment - had been added to the enemy order of battle.

There was strong suspicion that elements of the 32nd Regiment may have slipped off to the east.

On 11/07, according to intelligence daily report, in the Chu Pong sanctuary the depleted 33d Regiment licked its wounds and waited for its stragglers to come in. The remainder of Field Front forces were quiet.

In the battle area there was diminishing activity. One NVA soldier surrendered with a safe-conduct pass.

On 11/08, according to intelligence daily report, 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 the entire 33d Regiment withdrew to the west. One prisoner taken at Pleime 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 Pleime if it appeared that was no further contact imminent in the west.

On 11/09, according to intelligence daily report, the 33d Regiment gathered in the last of its organic units and began to count noses. There were many missing.

At Field Front headquarters north of the Ia Drang, it was a day of situation analysis

Phase II: Destroying the enemy

On 11/09, the movement and shift in emphasis from west to east commenced in a diversionary tactic in preparation of the attack into the enemy’s formation in the Chupong-Iadrang complex.

On 11/10, 3rd Air Cavalry Brigade replaced 1st Air Cavalry Brigade.

According to intelligence daily report, Field Front headquarters, after evaluating the situation, had reached a decision. With American units seemingly withdrawing to the east of Pleime, the decision was to attempt to regain its early advantage with an attack. The target once again was the Pleime CIDG Camp. The division headquarters set the date for attack at 16 November, and issued orders to its three regiments.

The 32d Regiment, of course, remained a cohesive fighting force, despite the casualties sustained during the ambush of the ARVN Armored Task Force on the road to Pleime.

The 33d, as has been seen, suffered tremendous losses in its attack of and subsequent withdrawal from Pleime, but it still was to be committed again. With a view toward its future commitment, the 33d's cadre began reorganization of the depleted battalions into a composite fighting unit.

The real cutting edge for the attack, however, was the newly infiltrated 66th Regiment, fresh from North Vietnam and spoiling for a fight. It would be in the van of the three regimental effort against Pleime.

On 11/11, 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.

On 11/12, according to intelligence daily report, Field Front units continued preparations and rehearsals for the scheduled attack on Pleime.

On 11/13, according to intelligence daily report, 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.

II Corps Command determined that it was the right moment to insert air cavalry unit to set up a blocking position in Chu Pong before the arrival of the two battalions of anti-aircraft and heavy mortar to prevent the helicopters transporting troops from being shot down by guns placed on hill sides and infantrymen from been decimated by mortar shells fired prior to assaults. The D-day would be the next day 11/14.

On 11/14, at noon, helicopters disgorged troops and artillery from the 1st Air Cavalry on the very doorsteps of the Chu Pong mountains. Instead of launching an attack on Pleime, field Front fount itself engaged in a struggle to defend its own base. The landing zone called L.Z. X-ray was about 25 km from the Camp of Pleime, at the eastern foot of the Chu Pong massif. The terrain was flat and consisted of scrub trees up to 100 feet high, thick elephant grass varying in height from one foot to five feet and ant hills throughout the area up to eight feet high with thick brush and elephant grass on and around them. Along the western edge of the LZ, the trees and grass were especially thick and extended off into the jungle on the foothills of the mountain.

After a 20-minute tube artillery preparation, and 30 seconds of aerial artillery fire, the landing of the 1/7 Cavalry battalion began. The battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Harold G. Moore, himself with the assault company - Company B - landed precisely at 1048 hours on 14 November 1965.

While the helicopters were shuttling back to Pleime to lift company A, the B company commander secured the landing zone by having one platoon dispatch its squads into different areas, 50 to 100 meters off the landing zone to reconnoiter. At approximately 1120 hours a prisoner was taken. He stated that he had eaten only bananas for five days and that there were three VC battalions on the mountain.

At 1210 hours, as sufficient elements of company A had landed, the LZ security mission was given to that company and company B ordered to search the lower portion of the mountain area with emphasis on the finger leading down towards X-ray.

Around 1245 hours, lead elements of company B began to engage in a fire fight of moderate intensity. Shortly afterwards, at approximately 1330 hours, the company commander reported that he was being attacked heavily by at least two companies of enemy and that his right platoon 2B1/7 was in danger of being surrounded and cut off from the rest of the company by a numerically superior force. The fire fight became intense. Also a few rounds of 60 and 81 mm mortar fire began falling in the LZ and on company B.

Shortly after the fire fight began, the last platoon of company A and lead elements of company C landed. Company A was then ordered to move up on the left of company B, to establish physical contact with it, to protect its left flank and to send one platoon up to assist company B in getting to the platoon which was in danger. Company C was ordered to take up a blocking position off the landing zone to the south and southwest to prevent the LZ from being overrun in that direction and to give protection to A company's left flank. Airstrikes and artillery fires were called in on the lower fringe of the mountains foothills and work over the mountain and enemy approaches to the LZ from the west and south. But there were no well-defined terrain features to help and the scrubs and trees all looked alike. The air was heavy with smoke and dust. The fact that the separated 2B1/7 platoon was forward of companies A and B delayed delivery of effective fires in support of these two companies. However, using the technique of "walking" fires down the mountain from the south and west, fires were placed where they gave some help to these two companies. Despite all its efforts, company B reinforced was only able to get to within 75 meters of the cut-off platoon and could get no further.

Concurrently, company A minus also made heavy contact with a large force of at least one enemy company which was driving in and along a dry creek bed parallel to the western edge of the LZ. A very heavy firefight immediately broke out. Company A was taking light casualties and extracting a heavy toll from the enemy. One platoon was in such a position that it was able to bring close-in flanking fire on 50-70 VC as they continued moving across their front.

Just as company A firefight broke out, the last elements of company C and the lead elements D landed. The C company commander directed his elements into position alongside his other elements which had landed previously within five minutes, a force of 175-200 enemy headed for the LZ and ran headlong into company C. They were held off and numerous of them killed in the process of trying to get to the landing zone. The action continued for approximately one hour and a half until the enemy, disorganized and decimated, pulled off under heavy friendly artillery and air fires, dragging many of his dead and wounded.

At 1500 hours, as the remainder of the tactical elements of the battalion finally landed, and the enemy fire had slacked off, due to companies C and D actions, the battalion commander could quickly give necessary orders for the repositioning of his troops. Afterwards, two attacks were launched to reach the surrounded 2B1/7 platoon. But they were met by a greatly superior enemy force which from concealed positions was trying to cut off the attacking forces into parts. By 1740 hours, Colonel Moore decided to pull back companies A and B under cover of heavy supporting fires to the fringe of the landing zone and set up a tight defensive perimeter for the night. The battalion was still in good communications with the surrounded platoon and it was ringed with close in artillery defensive fire. By 1800 hours, company B of the 2/7 battalion landed to reinforce the 1/7.

On 11/15, due to the heavy losses they had received in the afternoon, the enemy made only some light probes around the perimeter at night. As for the cut-off platoon, it received three separate attacks from the enemy but thanks to the protection by continued close-in artillery fires, when daylight broke, numerous enemy dead were seen around the platoon.

But as first light came, the enemy reappeared and simultaneously attacked from three directions: from the south, south west and south east. By 0730 hours, the enemy had moved almost to the perimeter foxholes despite taking severe losses from artillery, mortar and close air support. There was considerable hand fighting. At 0755 hours, all platoon positions were ordered to throw a colored smoke grenade to define visually for the air observers the periphery of the perimeter and all fire support brought in extremely close, because the enemy fire was so heavy that movements toward or within the sector of defense resulted in more friendly casualties. Some friendly artillery fire fell inside the perimeter itself and two cans of napalm were delivered in the battalion CP area.

At approximately 0910 hours, company A, 2/7 battalion landed to reinforce. By 1000 hours, the enemy attack was finally repelled, enemy corpses, body fragments, weapons and equipment were littered in profusion around the edge and forward of the perimeter. There was massive evidence of many other enemy dead and wounded being dragged away from the area.

The relief of the cut-off platoon took place in the afternoon and was conducted by the 2/5 battalion which had been sent by the 3rd Brigade and on foot from LZ Victor, had closed into LZ X-ray at 1205 hours. Little enemy resistance was encountered and the platoon was reached at 1510 hours. It still had ammunitions left, was in good morale and suffered only 8 KIA, 12 WIA.

In the afternoon on 15 November, the B52 stratofortresses had also taken part in the battle with 18 sorties of the Chu Pong massif.

On 11/16, the night was relatively quiet until 0400 hours when a force of 250-300 enemy attacked from the south east. Flareship illumination was called for and continuous until 0545 hours. The attack was beaten off by small arms and artillery fires. At 0432 hours, another attack by 200 enemies came in from the same direction but the artillery took a heavy toll. By 0500 hours, the weight of the enemy attack had shifted more to the southwest but repulsed half an hour later. At 0627 hours, another attack came directly toward the CP. At 0641 hours, the enemy had been beaten off and was dragging off bodies under fire.

A search and clear sweep was conducted at 0810 hours by all units on the perimeter. Enemy dead were lying throughout the area and numerous weapons were collected.

The entire battle had lasted continuous for 48 hours and the enemy had suffered at X-ray almost one third of their total losses throughout all three phases:

- KIA (body count): 834

- KIA (estimated): 1215

- CIA: 6

-Weapons captured: 141

- Weapons destroyed: 100

As for the 1/7 battalion, 79 troops were killed and 125 wounded. T

he 1/7 battalion left LZ X-ray at 1040 hours on 16 November and was replaced by the 2/7th and 2/5th battalions.

During the day, the two 32nd and 33rd Regiment continued to be struck by B-52’s bombs at north west of LZ Xray in 20 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.

On 11/17, the two 2/5th and 2/7th Battalions were ordered to exit LZ Xray; 2/5th marching northwestward to LZ Columbus and 2/7th northward to 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.

As soon as these two battalions reached the safety zone at a 3 kilometer radius, B-52s carpet bombed right at LZ Xray annihilating troops of 66th Regiment still lingering at the landing zone. Meanwhile, 2/7th Battalion fell into a VC ambush conducted by a battalion-size enemy unit, when it almost came near its objective. But once again, the VC had offered themselves as targets for air-strikes and artillery fire: KIA (body count): 403; KIA (estimated): 100; Weapons captured: 112.

Intelligence report estimated the casualties caused by B-52’s bombs during the last three days were around 2,000 killed.

Phase III: ‘Finish’ Em’

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 and decided to add a third phase to the operation. 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.

On 11/18, 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 (YA842090) 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 forces belonging to NVA 32nd Regiment were shadowing it.

During the day, B-52’s continued to carpet bombing Chu Pong area.

On 11/19, around 11:00 a.m., Airborne 3rd Battalion received order to veer south toward an ambush site set up at (YA801081) by Airborne 6th Battalion.

During the day, B-52’s continued to carpet bombing Chu Pong area.

On 11/20, 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.

The same day, at 5:45 p.m., Airborne 8th Battalion was helilifted to location (YA822077), to prepare for the insertion of Airborne 2nd Task Force Headquarters along with Airborne 7th Battalion at 11:00 a.m.

During the day, B-52’s continued to carpet bombing Chu Pong area. In total during 5 days, from 11/16, B-52’s performed 96 sorties.

On 11/22, 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 (YA822077); 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.

On 11/23, the entire Airborne Brigade reached its peak at (YA810060) around 11:15 a.m. 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 11/24, early morning, Airborne 3rd Battalion was dispatched to the left to intercept the enemy troops. This battalion made contact with the enemy at 8:45 a.m.; Airborne 5th Battalion was sent to the right. This battalion made contact with enemy troops at 10:50 a.m. Airborne 7th Battalion and Airborne 8th Battalion were sent down the mountain and boxed them in against the Ia Drang River.

On 11/24, as no more contacts were made with the enemy, the Airborne Brigade withdrew from the area of operations, terminating the third phase of the Battle of Pleime with 265 VC killed (BC), 10 others and 58 weapons captured. Furthermore, in their sweep, Airborne 3rd Battalion and Airborne 6th Battalion had destroyed 3 training centers, one equipment cache and 75 houses.

Phieu


#772 07 Feb 12, 04:42

Highlight #2 : Pleime Counteroffensive Operational Concept

The Pleime counter offensive - a preferable name to Long Reach - operational concept was the annihilation of the B3 Field Front forces with B-52 air strikes, not with 1st Air Cavalry ground forces, as most people are inclined to believe.

Pleime, trận chię́n lịch sử (Why Pleime Vietnamese version) illustrates this concept well with a map (not shown as clearly in Why Pleime)

1 Destruction of VC field hospital 11-1-65 ) herding move
2 Ambush of 66th Regiment 11-3-65) herding move
3 Discovery of a weapon cache 11-4-65 ) herding move
4 Destruction of one 33rd Regiment’s battalion 11-6-65) herding move
5 LZ X-Ray 11-14-65 ) distractive move
6 LZ Albany 11-17-65 ) distractive move
7 Artillery location 11-18-65 ) coup de grace move
8 B-52 air strikes targeted areas 11/15-18/65) with B3 center of mass vicinity YA8702

Phieu


#773 08 Feb 12, 02:24

Highlight #3 : Various Diversionary Moves ...

... in Preparation for Arc Lite Strike in Pleime Counteroffensive

- Herding diversionary move – Its intention was to roundup the enemy troops toward a common location.

Colonel Hieu knew the 1st Air Cav Brigade won’t be able to find and destroy the scattered three NVA regimental troops in the vast area that stretched from Pleime to Chupong with its newly developped air assault tactics.

- Enticement diversionary move – Its intention was to entice B3 Field Front to switch to an attack posture in order to have them gather its three regimental troops first in assembling areas for re-equipment, training and rehearsal purposes and secondly in staging areas in preparation for the imminent attack.

The order to execute the switch in operational direction from west to east was issued on 11/8 with a vague suggestion (Kinnard, page 67):

By this time Field Force Vietnam had asked the division to consider moving this operations eat of Pleime if it appeared that was no further contact imminent in the west”

The purpose of the enticement move was made known to General Knowles on 11/10 (Kinnard , page 73):

The movement and shift in emphasis from west to east was to further stimulate a forthcoming decision from the NVA division headquarters.

Its intention became clearer to General Knowles on Nov 11 (Kinnard, page 76):

With American units seemingly withdrawing to the east of Pleime, the decision was to attempt to regain its early advantage with an attack. The target once again was the Pleime CIDG Camp. The division headquarters set the date for attack at 16 November, and issued orders to its three regiments.

The B3 Field Front thus fell for Colonel Hieu’s scheme in regrouping its troops in two stages: assembly areas for training and rehearsals, and staging areas for movement to attack. The ideal target for B-52 airstrikes was the staging area where troop concentration would be the most dense.

The window margin would be narrow: 11/13-14 or 11/12-14, (it turned out Colonel Hieu only had the 11/13-14 one) depending on the allotment time given for rehearsals.

And when order was issued for gathering troops in staging areas, the window margin would be in terms of 24 hours and less.

Thus the necessity to create the

- Distractive diversionary move – Its intention was to refocus B3 Field Front from the direction toward Pleime camp on to LZ X-Ray and had it retain its troops at staging areas longer to allow the B-52 to still find them there at their arrival due for Nov 15, after a long eight hour voyage from Guam to Central Highlands.

The number of Air Cav troops inserted at LZ X-Ray should be small so as not to make B3 Field Front to rushing in all of its three regimental troops.

The coordination of all these various diversionary moves with the purpose of attaining the objective set out by the operational concept – the use of B-52 airstrikes to annihilate the three NVA regiments - was made only possible with a solid intelligence of the enemy situation by the minutes, hours and days. That’s why it would be quasi impossible to duplicate this uniqueness operational concept. It’s only possible if conditions are exactly the same as Colonel Hieu’s.

Phieu


#774 09 Feb 12, 05:03

Highlight #4 : What if there was no master plan for Bayonet I operation?

Coleman describes what happened during the first phase of the enemy pursuit executed by the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade from October 27, 1965 to November 8:

After the 1st Brigade battalions generally lost contact with the remnants of the 33rd Regiment on November 7, Kinnard said, in Army Magazine, that, “I had been planning to replace the gallant, but spent, First Brigade with the Third Brigade, commanded by Colonel Thomas W. Brown, and this seemed a logical time to do so.” The general might have been indulging in a bit of hyperbole. The units of the 1st Brigade unquestionably were gallant, but spent? The 2/12 Cav had spent the longest period in the field, eighteen days total – but its days in contact numbered about five. The 2/8 had fourteen days in the valley and only two days of hard contact. The 1/8 Cav’s one company had one day of contact, while the others had none. And the 1/12 Cav had only its reconnaissance platoon truly get shot at in anger. Compared to times in the field by units later in the war, this was a walk in the park.

(J.D. Coleman, Pleiku, the Dawn of Helicopter Warfare in Vietnam, p. 189, St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1988.)

If there was no master plan for Bayonet I operation, then, on 11/8, after replacing the 1st Air Cav Brigade, General Knowles would lunge his 3rd Air Cav Brigade forces into Chu Prong in a search and destroy mission.

And the operation would ended up similar to be just a “walk in the park”, just like the 1st Air Cav Brigade in the All the Way operation.

Furthermore, there would be no opportunity whatsoever to make use of B-52 airstrikes, since the three NVA regiment forces would never regroup to the point of becoming targetable for B-52 airstrikes! Then, after a few weeks with sporadic engagements more or less significant, General Kinnard would say, "I had been planning to replace the gallant, but spent, Third Brigade with the Second Brigade, and this seemed a logical time to do so."

Then, again after a few weeks with sporadic engagements more or less significant, General Kinnard would say, "I had been planning to replace the gallant, but spent, Second Brigade with the First Brigade, and this seemed a logical time to do so."

So on and on, into an exercise of utmost futility of an endless circular troop unit rotation maneuverings ...

Phieu


#775 10 Feb 12, 01:13

Highlight #5 : Arc Lite Operation Planning and Execution in Pleime Offensive

Planning

On October 26, 1965, as Pleime had just been liberated, Colonel Hieu made plan for an exploitation operation in the pursuit of the two withdrawing NVA regiments to the Chupong-Iadrang complex.

He immediately foresaw the possibility of annihilating the B3 Field Front forces with B-52 airstrikes because of a stroke of luck in intelligence gathering about the military situation of the enemy troops by the hours and by the days.

Amidst all the methods of intelligence gathering, there was the radio intercepts of open communications in Mandarin between the Chinese Advisors at regimental level and divisional level. These Chinese Advisors discussed in the open on everything: logistics, personnel, troop unit locations, movements, morale, status, losses, casualties, cadres’ intentions, and planning. When the Chinese Advisors talked, Colonel Hieu listened in. When they stopped talking, he relied on other methods of intelligence gathering. In Pleime, cuộc chiến lịch sử, page 94, Colonel Hieu stated unequivocally that the victory achieved in the Pleime counteroffensive into Chupong-Iadrang complex was due to the acquisition of a solid intelligence on the enemy situation:

The battle from phases 2 and 3 also introduced an aspect never seen up to now because for almost 20 years, during the Franco-Vietnamese war, seldom pursuit operation was considered after each time the enemy made appearance and when it was conducted, no significant results had been achieved. Therefore this time around, the determination not to allow the enemy to escape, coupled with the solid intelligence on the enemy situation had permitted the battle to develop to maximum degree and scale and at the same token lead to the biggest victory ever achieved by the ARVN and its Allied. So with the certainty of getting a plethora of ongoing and updated by the days of solid intelligence on the enemy military situation, Colonel Hieu draw up his operational plan of using Arc Lite to destroy the enemy en mass at Chupong-Iadrang complex.

So with the certainty of getting a plethora of ongoing and updated by the days of solid intelligence on the enemy military situation, Colonel Hieu draw up his operational plan of using Arc Lite to destroy the enemy en mass at Chupong-Iadrang complex.

His objective was to be able to nudge B3 Field Front into an attack posture which would require the three regiment units to cluster into respective staging areas in preparation for movement to attack; at that precise brief moment of a less than 24 hour window of opportunity, they would be closed enough that the center of mass would become targetable for B52 airstrikes.

His plan would have the following element of diversionary moves:

- 1/ to herd the scattered troop units toward Chupong-Iadrang complex;

- 2/ to entice the enemy to decide to attack again in order to make him to regroup closer together at assembling areas for training and rehearsals and tighter together at staging areas for preparation in movement to attack;

- and 3/ to prolong - with a troop insertion close by the enemy staging areas - the attack posture and the retention time of troops at these staging areas where the concentration of troops would be the most dense, and to offer to Arc Lite the maximum window of opportunity to effectively strike.

Colonel Hieu then submitted his operational plan and its feasibility to MACV/General Westmoreland for approval.

Execution

The next step was to set up a coordination team comprising the II Corps, the Air Cav Forward Command Post, the First Field Force and MACV.

The execution of the plan and the determination of timing for starting of each of the three diversionary moves relied on the assessment of intelligence data of Colonel Hieu. The orders issued to the Field Commander/General Knowles were assumed by General Larsen in three occasions:

I. ONE

- on Oct 27, for the herding operation (1st Air Cav Brigade)

= on Nov 7, in the Chu Pong sanctuary the depleted 33d Regiment licked its wounds and waited for its stragglers to come in. The remainder of Field Front forces were quiet.

= only fragmented units and stragglers remained east of the Chu Pong-Ia Drang complex as the 33d Regiment began to assess its losses.

II. TWO

- on Nov 8, for the enticement operation (3rd Air Cav Brigade)

= On Nov 9, the 33d Regiment gathered in the last of its organic units and began to count noses. There were many missing. And at Field Front headquarters north of the Ia Drang, it was a day of situation analysis.

= On Nov 10, Field Front headquarters, after evaluating the situation, had reached a decision. With American units seemingly withdrawing to the east of Pleime, the decision was to attempt to regain its early advantage with an attack. The target once again was the Pleime CIDG Camp. The division headquarters set the date for attack at 16 November, and issued orders to its three regiments.

= On Nov 11, the 66th Regiment was at (center of mass vic YA 9104); the 32nd (YA 820072), the 33rd (YA 940011)

= On Nov 12, Field Front units continued preparations and rehearsals for the scheduled attack on Pleime.

III. THREE

- on Nov 12, 1/7 Air Cav Battalion was ordered to make plan to air assault Chu Pong massif (for the distractive operation)

= On Nov 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.

- and Nov 14, for the distractive operation (1/7 Air Cav Battalion)

- On Nov 15, at noon, B-52 air strikes began at B3 Field Front forces (center of mass vicinity YA8702) and continued for 5 days, until 11/19 (Why Pleime, chapter VI):

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.

Enemy casualties as results of Arc Lite operation amounted to about 2,000 dead.

The "coup de grâce" surgical strike was finished off by the Airborne Brigade ending the Pleime Offensive on November 25, 1965.

Phieu


#776 11 Feb 12, 03:29

Highlight #6 : A Doctrinal Lesson on the Use of Arc Lite in Pleime Counteroffensive

Principle:

B-52 airstrike needs a targetable objective, which means the object has to be sizable, relatively immobile and its location can be pinpointed with an accuracy of at least (XX’YY’).

Feasibility:

The annihilation of the three NVA Regiments – 32nd, 33rd and 66th – after the relief of Pleime camp by B-52 airstrike can be done, because B3 Field Front intends to regroup its entire forces in preparation for a second attack against Pleime camp; and with godsend intelligence source provided by open communications between Chinese Advisors at regimental and divisional levels, allowing to determine the locations and the times at which point those three regiments become targetable for B-52 airstrike.

Operational Concept:

To stalk (1) the enemy movements until their troop units gather together close enough; particular attention should be focused on when the enemy get closer (assembling phase) (2) and much closer together (staging phase) (3) and provision should be ascertained in prolonging the staging time (4) to provide a better margin window for Arc Lite strike; and to schedule the B-52 airstrike accordingly.

Planning:

The planning of Arc Lite strikes is assumed by a coordination team comprising II Corps (Colonel Hieu, Colonel Williams), 1st Air Cav Forward CP (General Knowles, LTC Stoner), IFFV (General Smith, Colonel Barrow), MACV (General Collins).

Execution:

- Oct 27: The herding operation (1') started with the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade conducting All the Way operation. Spotted enemy units were broke up further in small pieces and pushed back westward to Chupong-Iadrang complex.

- Nov 4, 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).

- Nov 8 and 9, the 33d Regiment began to assess its losses and to count noses. There were many missing.

- Nov 8, the enticement move started with the 3rd Air Cavalry Brigade ordered to switch the operational direction from west to eastward.

- Nov 11, B3 Field Front took the enticement bait and decided a second attack on Pleime camp scheduled for 11/16.

- Nov 10, B3 Field Front B3 ordered troop units into assembling areas (2') for reorganization, training and rehearsals.

- Nov 11, the three regiments became targetable with the 66th center of mass (vic YA 9104); the 32nd (YA 820072), the 33rd (YA 940011)

- Arc Lite scheduled to strike before 11/16, either 11/14 or 11/15, depending B3 Field Front moves.

- Nov 12, while the assembling phase was on going, 1/7th Air Cavalry Battalion was ordered to get ready to be inserted into Chu Pong massif.

- Nov 13, B3 Field Front forces began staging (3') in preparation for movement to Pleime and the projected 16 November attack. Some recon parties and transportation units already had moved out.

- Nov 14, 1/7th Air Cavalry Battalion was inserted in LZ X-Ray in a distractive move (4'), forcing B3 Field Front to delay the attack against Pleime and to refocus its attention onto new threat and to maintain its troop units concentrated at staging area for Arc Lite strike scheduled for noon Nov 15.

- Nov 14 noon, B3 Field Front engaged the 1/7th Air Cavalry Battalion with two battalions. Reinforcement with 2/7th Air Cavalry Battalion was sent in.

- Nov 15 noon, Arc Lite suddenly struck at B3 Field Front forces center of mass (vicinity YA8702) and continued for the next 5 days in 96 sorties.

- Nov 17, Arc Lite’s targets included LZ X-Ray.

- Nov 18, the “coup de grâce" operation started with Airborne Brigade conducting Than Phong 7 operation.

- Nov 24, as no more contacts were made with the enemy, the Airborne Brigade withdrew from the area of operations, terminating the third phase of the Battle of Pleime with 265 VC killed (BC), 10 others and 58 weapons captured.

II Corps Headquarters, Pleiku City

Colonel Nguyę̃n Văn Hię́u
Chief of Staff.

Phieu


#777 12 Feb 12, 01:09

“Hagiographic Loggorhea” #1 : First Air Cav 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 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

a major unit which possesses the highest degree of mobility all over the world and also the most up-to-date equipment and weaponry.

(Pleime, chapter V)

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.

Phieu


#778 13 Feb 12, 03:24

“Hagiographic Logorrhea” #2 : The Art of How to Bridle a Mustang

= When Colonel Hieu, II Corps Chief of Staff, requested troop reinforcement to organize a rescue force to relieve Pleime camp, General Larsen gave him Task Force Ingram, which was actually formed by the 2/12th Air Cavalry Battalion along with one artillery battalion. But General Kinnard wanted a bigger piece of the action and brought up the entire 1st Air Cavalry Brigade lead by General Knowles. And Knowles demanded to be given a carte blanche (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.

- Colonel Hieu had to put a bridle onto General Knowles’s earnestness in forcing him to be content with the supportive role of securing Pleiku City.

= After the relief of Pleime camp, General Kinnard/Knowles wanted to pursue the withdrawing enemy troops (Coleman, page 99):

On the afternoon of the 26th, Generals Westmoreland, Larsen, Kinnard, and Knowles met for a conference at the 1st Brigade’s command post, at LZ Homecoming. […] In the conference between Westmoreland and the division officers, Kinnard hammered on the theme that U.S. forces must now do more than merely contain the enemy or simply reinforce the ARVN. The NVA, he felt, must be sought out aggressively and destroyed. Of course, as far as Westy was concerned, Kinnard was singing to the choir; Westmoreland long had yearned for the opportunity to go on the offensive. Kinnard and Knowles also spent considerable time at the conference explaining to Westmoreland and Larsen exactly what the division could do and how well it could do it. Westmoreland eventually turned to Larsen and said: “Give Kinnard his head.”

- Colonel Hieu had to put a bridle onto General Kinnard/Knowles with a modus operandi (Why Pleime, chapter VIII):

Joint intelligence and support activities, commonly-shared concept of operations and results, separate TAOR, command, deployment of forces, conduct of activities, reserve.

General Kinnard had his own idea how to conduct a tactical operation to counter the guerrillas warfare (Cochran):

to seal off the area in which the guerrillas were fighting, to separate them from their source of reinforcement, supplies, weapons.

And how to apply the air assault tactic he had developed:

Right after the Plei Me siege was broken, I felt that it was up to me to find these guys who had been around the camp. So we came up with a search “modus operandi” in which the Cav Squadron was going to range widely over a very large area and I was going to use one infantry brigade to plop down an infantry battalion and look at an area here and there. I felt that we had to break down into relatively small groups so we could cover more area and also the enemy would think he could fake us. You couldn’t put down a whole battalion out there and go clomping around. You had to break down into company and platoon-sized units. You had to rely upon the fact that with the helicopter you could respond faster than anyone in history. I then learned, totally new to me, that every unit that was not in contact was, in fact, a reserve that could be picked up and used. This is my strategy. Start from somewhere, break down into small groups, depending upon the terrain, and work that area while the Cav Squadron roamed all over. The name of the game was contact. You were looking for any form of contact – a helicopter being shot at, finding a campfire, finding a pack, beaten-down grass.

For a while, Colonel Hieu let General Knowles roamed freely the vast area stretching from Pleime to Chu Pong in the search of the enemy, knowing that he would not be able to seal off that wide expanded 40 km by 50 km area covered by jungles, even with more than 500 helicopters and 3 air cavalry brigades, and that he would not be able to find and catch those quick-to-run-into-the-bushes Vietcong foxes. He did not care that much, he had a better idea to deal with the evasive enemy: stalk them, herd them toward a location, then squash them with B52 air strikes.

* Therefore, on 11/8, he made Geneal Knowles turn his head away from the west toward the east, without much explanation.

* Then again on 11/12, he turned General Knowles’s head back westward, with an enigmatic explanation: to entice the enemy to attack again.

* Then again, without specific explanation – just a routine search and destroy operation, General Knowles was ordered to insert a battalion at the footstep of Chu Pong massif.

* On 11/16, General Kinnard wanted to pull immediately his troops out of LZ X-Ray, Colonel Hieu made him stay one stay longer in preparation for B52s to strike at the landing zone itself (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.

* On 11/17, again General Kinnard became restless and wanted aggressively go after the enemy all the way into Cambodia (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...

= Colonel Hieu had again to put a bridle onto General Kinnard’s zeal in calling in the ARVN Airborne Brigade that would do a better in a surgical operation than the 1st Air Cavalry.

In all, it appeared that although (Cochran)

You’ve got to remember that I [General Kinnard] was the only one who had ever commanded an air assault division. (…) Only General Gavin had commanded longer than I.

It was not that sure that

I knew in a way that no one else did the real capabilities and limitations of an air assault division.

Colonel Hieu did.

------------------------------------------------

- 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.

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

Phieu


#779 14 Feb 12, 03:00

“Hagiographic Logorrhea” #3 : Checkmate Master Plan

In the Chess Game Pleime, entering the counteroffensive phase (10/26), Colonel Hieu immediately foresaw the possibility to use B52 airstrikes to annihilate the three NVA regiments.

He achieved it in four (4) moves, forcing his opponent to make each time implicating counter moves:

- herding move (10/27), operation All the Way with 1st Air Cav Brigade => gathering counter move

- enticement move (11/8), operation Bayonet I with 3rd Air Cav Brigade => closing in staging area counter move

- distractive move (11/14), operation LZ X-Ray with 1/7 Air Cav Battalion => holding at staging area counter move

- B-52 airstrikes (11/15-20) starting at center of mass vicinity YA8702

- additional "coup de grâce" move (11/20,24), operation Thần Phong 7/Bayonet II with Airborne Brigade supported by 2nd Air Cav Brigade.

That was, in a nutshell, Colonel Hieu’s operational concept which was translated into tactical maneuvers executed by General Knowles under the order of General Larsen.

Phieu


#780 15 Feb 12, 03:02

“Hagiographic Logorrhea” #4 : Hunter of a Wolf Pack

Colonel Hieu in his hunting for the pack of B3 Field Front Force wolves,

- round them up in Chupong-Iadrang complex with 1st Air Cavalary Brigade;

- enticed them to regroup by faking east aiming west with 3rd Air Cavalary Brigade;

- distracted them into staying immobile in staging area with the insertion of 1/7 Air Cav Battalion;

- took a deep breath and hit his target bull eye with an arclite bullet;

- and "Finish 'Em" with the Airborne Brigade’s surgical “coup de grâce”.

Wasn't he a shrewd tracker and a great hunter of wolves?!

Phieu


#781 16 Feb 12, 04:01

“Hagiographic Logorrhea” #5 : The stealthy II Corps Chief of Staff

When you read Why Pleime, Pleiku Campaign, Coleman’s Pleiku and other related documents to this campaign, you won’t see Colonel Hieu, II Corps Chief of Staff mentioned in them, lest his key role in the campaign.

Even Pleime, trận chiến lịch sử, gave specific credits to

- Lieutenant Colonel Ngô Tấn Nghĩa, Chief G2/II Corps,

- Lieutenant Colonel Lều Thọ Cường, Chief G3/II Corps,

- Captain Dương Dięn Nghị, Chief Psychological Warfare Bureau.

No mention of Colonel Hieu, II Corps Chief of Staff.

Fortunately, G3 Journal of I First Field Force made amendments to this remiss and provided a glimpse of the key role of the II Corps Chief of Staff, Colonel Hieu in the conduct of the Pleime campaign.

20 Oct 65

- 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.

21 Oct 65

- 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.

- 10:20H: Msg to II Corps - what is status of 3d Armored Cav and Ranger Bn. Ans: They are still in blocking position where they spent last night. Question: When will they move. Ans: Depends on outcome of lift of 2 Ranger Co's. Ref TAOR's - CG II Corps has approved TAOR, with stipulation. Letter will be hand carried to FFV today.

- 11:40H: Msg fm II Corps, Col Williams - 2 LLDB Co's are on ground. Have contact w/enemy, should close in Plei My camp in 30 minutes. Cav RF is moving and is in contact. II Corps Cmdr is considering committing 22d Ranger Bn.

- 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.

22 October 65

- 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.

23 October 65

(...)

24 October 1965

(...)

25 October 1965

- 24:00H: Intelligence Summary for period 250001 to 252400. At 1221 II Corps reported 3d Armored TF (ARVN) moving south fm ZA 169150 in route to Plei Me. Plei Me camp still receiving sporadic harrassing fire but report situation well in hand, 1 US WIA but no med evac needed, successful resupply at Plei Me at 0800, a/c rec'd AW fire. At 1530 rec'd report from II Corps that 3d Armd Cav TF receiving fire vic ZA 178132 as of 1450 hrs. Air strike called.

26 October 1965

-12:20H: II Corps (Capt Ushijima) request II Corps give a progress or situation report every two hours on Plei Me.

- 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.

27 October 1965

- 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)

28 October 1965

(...)

29 October 1965

(...)

30 October 1965

- 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.

- 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.

18 November 1965

- 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.

19 November 1965

- 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.

20 November 1965

- 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.

- 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).

21 November 1965

- 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.

Phieu


#782 22 Feb 12, 08:48

“Hagiographic Logorrhea” #6 : Commanding and Controlling Generals (1)

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.

- General Stanley 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): www.generalhieu.com/pleime_1cav_g3_1.htm

- 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 [IFFV]. 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 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) :

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) :

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 Vinh Loc

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


#783 23 Feb 12, 05:15

“Hagiographic Logorrhea” #7 : Commanding and Controlling Generals (2)

- General Harry 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 rescuing 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, chapter V) :

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)"](Pleiku, page 21): [/URL]

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 (Why 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 to assume 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 (Why 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.

- General Richard 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, 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 to 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.

-------------------------------------------------------

- 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.

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

Phieu


#784 24 Feb 12, 04:30

“Hagiographic Logorrhea” #8 : Commanding and Controlling Generals (4)

- Colonel Theodore Mataxis

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.

- Colonel William McKean

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

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 (www.generalhieu.com/pleime_1cav_g3_1.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. [/QUOTE]

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.

Phieu


#785 25 Feb 12, 04:16

“Hagiographic Logorrhea” #8 : Commanding and Controlling Generals (5)

- General Westmoreland

General Westmoreland monitored closely the Pleime-Chupong-Iadrang battlefront since its outset. On October 26, he was present at 1st Air Cavalry Brigade headquarters and after listening to a briefing he approved II Corps’s plan to pursue the withdrawing enemy troops (Coleman, page 99):

On the afternoon of the 26th, Generals Westmoreland, Larsen, Kinnard, and Knowles met for a conference at the 1st Brigade’s command post, at LZ Homecoming. […] In the conference between Westmoreland and the division officers, Kinnard hammered on the theme that U.S. forces must now do more than merely contain the enemy or simply reinforce the ARVN. The NVA, he felt, must be sought out aggressively and destroyed. Of course, as far as Westy was concerned, Kinnard was singing to the choir; Westmoreland long had yearned for the opportunity to go on the offensive. Kinnard and Knowles also spent considerable time at the conference explaining to Westmoreland and Larsen exactly what the division could do and how well it could do it. Westmoreland eventually turned to Larsen and said: “Give Kinnard his head.”

On October 22, G3 Journal/IFFV recorded :

- 21:10H: For your info, Gen Westmoreland called at 2045 for info on Plei My and Quang Duc atk.

On October 6, 1966, General Westmoreland summarized the Pleime campaign as following (Why Pleime):

From the standpoint of employment of joint forces, the Plei Me battle was a classic. 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.

He assessed rightfully the key role of II Corps Command in the first and third phases of the campaign. However, he did not know that even in the second phase when 1st Air Cavalry Division was searching the enemy troops, the results were obtained due to the operational concept of using B52 carpet bombings that II Corps Command suggested to General Knowles, 1st Air Cavalry Division Forward Command Post Commander.

- General Cao Van Vien

Because the Viet Cong’s attack on Pleime camp was a big one, II Corps needed the support from the Joint General Staff in Saigon.

Initially, the Joint General Staff promised to provide 18 H-34 helicopters for troop transportation of the two Special Forces companies for the rescue of the camp, but then changed its mind (G3 Journal/IFFV, 10/20):

- 16:10H: II Corps (Capt Neary) - JGS made available to II Corps 18 VNAF H-34's due to arrive II Corps between 1600 - 1630.

- 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.

When the campaign reached phase 2, the Joint General Staff agreed to provide II Corps the entire Airborne Brigade as reserve force while 1st Air Cavalry assumed the main effort role with operation Long Reach.

Then the campaign reached phase 3, the Joint General Staff allowed II Corps Command to gather the five airborne battalions scattered in various locations (Phu Yen, Vung Tau, Bien Hoa, Saigon) and transported them to Pleiku to form the main effort in searching and destroying the surviving Viet Cong battalions with operation Than Phong 7.

Phieu


#786 26 Feb 12, 03:56

“Hagiographic Logorrhea” #9 : Reading the Enemy’s Mind

The Viet Cong Field Front B3 made meticulous preparations for its Playmę 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 -Thuan Man (6/29-7/1), Highway 19 (7/16-25), Duc Co (8/3-18), Highway 21 (8/19-9/2), Phu Cu, Bong Son, Phu Ly (9/23-10/2).

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 conquest 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 Front B3 would wait for the arrival of 66th Regiment at Chu Pong in order to attempt a second time to conquer Pleime camp.

That insight into Field Front B3’s intention lead Colonel Hieu to conceive his checkmate operational concept of destroying the three NVA regiments with B-52 airstrikes as seen in previous posts.

Phieu


#787 27 Feb 12, 04:30

“Hagiographic Loggorhea” #10 : Conceiving Strategic Plans

After determining the intentions the Viet Cong wanted to achieve and the tactics they were about to use, Colonel Hieu deployed his strategic skills to counter all of their schemes. Countering the tactic of “one main attack and two diversionary attacks”, Colonel Hieu deployed troops appropriately to cope successfully with all the three fronts – at the camp with two Special Forces companies, at the ambush site with the Armored Relief Task Force, at Pleiku City with 2/12th Air Cavalry Battalion. The cleverness of this troop distribution had caught General Westmoreland’s appreciative eyes (Why Pleime, chapter VIII):

Our prompt maneuvers had shifted them into being surprised and losing the initiative. Extract from a memorandum signed by Col Daniel B. Williams, A/DSA II Corps MACV sent to C.G. II Corps on 25 Oct 1965: "At 1500 hours on 24 October General Westmoreland called and asked for a general rundown on the situation,... He wound up the conversation by asking that his personal congratulations be passed to General Vinh Loc on his handling of his troops to meet the various emergency situations."

Countering the tactic of “lure and ambush”, Colonel Hieu dispatched a small force of two Special Forces companies sufficient to contain the 33rd Regiment, and an Armored Task Force comprising two armored companies and about one thousand infantry and rangers troops to engage the 32nd Regiment. Furthermore, he reserved a surprise for the ambush troops in bringing hearvy artillery by huge helicopters near the ambush site to lend support to the relief task force when it clashed with the ambush troops. He said that he was ready “to play the enemy's game” (Why Pleime, chapter IV):

II Corps Commander decided to play the enemy's game. Since the VC expected to successively eliminate our forces the scheme of maneuver had to make the best use of the factor TIME and to exploit the inherent weaknesses of the enemy troop disposition.

Countering the tactic of “mobile ambush”, Colonel Hieu applied the “delay” tactic to neutralize it, in forcing the enemy troops to still show up at the ambush site ahead of time and be struck by pre-arranged air and artillery strikes. He ordered LTC Nguyen Van Luat to have his Armored Task Force linger in the vicinity of Phu My (Why 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.

...

Early in the morning 23 October, as soon as report from the Camp reached II Corps Command, decision was immediately taken to push the relief column to Pleime without delay and at any costs.

Stepping into phase 2 pursuing the withdrawing enemy, Colonel Hieu demonstrated his military genius trait in conceiving an outstanding operational concept and sharing it with General Knowles who realized it in the operation Long Reach conducted by the 1st Air Cavalry Division.

To these days, everybody, even the high ranking American officers who was directly or indirectly involved in carrying out this operation and the Vietnam War scholars and historians, thought that the operational concept consisted in “searching the enemy, fixing them, then destroying them with air assaults”. If that was correct then the 1st Air Cavalry did not harvest much result. The Air Cavalry forces only engaged the enemy troops four times (Why Pleime, chapter V): one 11/1, at the 33rd Regiment field hospital, ; on 11/3, ambushing the 8th Battalion/66th Regiment in Chu Pong, ; on 11/6, engaging the 6th Battalion/33rd Regiment at Ia Meur river, ; on 11/14, engaging the two 7th and 9th Battalions of 66th Regiment at LZ X-Ray; on 11/17, engaging the 8th Battalion/66th Regiment and the 1st Battalion/33rd Regiment at LZ Albany.

According to Coleman, the operation All the Way conducted by 1st Air Cavalry Brigade was a breeze, like “walk in the park” (Coleman, page 189):

After the 1st Brigade battalions generally lost contact with the remnants of the 33rd Regiment on November 7, Kinnard said, in Army Magazine, that, “I had been planning to replace the gallant, but spent, First Brigade with the Third Brigade, commanded by Colonel Thomas W. Brown, and this seemed a logical time to do so.” The general might have been indulging in a bit of hyperbole. The units of the 1st Brigade unquestionalby were gallant, but spent? The 2/12 Cav had spent the longest period in the field, eighteen days total – but its days in contact numbered about five. The 2/8 had fourteen days in the valley and only two days of hard contact. The 1/8 Cav’s one company had one day of contact, while the others had none. And the 1/12 Cav had only its reconnaissance platoon truly get shot at in anger. Compared to times in the field by units later in the war, this was a walk in the park.

Also according to Coleman, after the 3rd Air Cavalry Brigade replaced the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade and conducted the operation Silver Bayonet I in searching the enemy in the east, the units of this brigade only encounter “dry holes” until they reverted back to the west and went in LZ X-Ray (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.

Colonel Hieu’s operational concept appeared extremely simple (Pleime Counteroffensive into Chupong-Iadrang Complex):

The search and pursuit of the two 32nd ( 334th, 635th and 966th Battalion) and 33rd Regiment (1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalion) should not be too difficult a task for 1st Air Cavalry Division with its fleet of helicopters in hands (435 in lieu of 101 for a regular infantry division). Nevertheless, to destroy an enemy force that had broken up into small units and in hiding amidst a vast area of elephant grass, bushes and trees, was a daunting task which would require months if not years to uncover and to destroy all these scattered piece meal units one at a time.

It is better to be able to attack and kill when the enemy units assemble at one location. This could have a chance to happen since Field Force B3 Command has ordered its attacking forces to return to their initial staging areas in the Chupong-Iadrang complex, while waiting for the arrival of the 66th Regiment.

However, in order to annihilate a division size force comprising three regiments, it would necessitate a force three times larger, which means three divisions, that II Corps Command could not afford.

A better alternative available was to use B-52’s carpet bombings to annihilate the concentrate enemy troops.

Therefore the operational concept for this operation comprised two phases:

Phase I: Channeling the scattered enemy units toward a common grouping area. This task was assigned to 1st Air Cavalry Brigade with operation All the Way.

Phase II: Destroying the enemy with B-52’s carpet bombings. General Knowles would coordinate this planning phase with MACV Command in Saigon for the use of this strategic weapon.

The bombings would be prepared by a diversionary tactic performed by 3rd Air Cavalry Brigade with operation Silver Bayonet I.

Consequently, Colonel Hieu was not overly concerned when the American air cavalry units did not discover many enemy units on their withdrawing routes from Pleime to Chu Pong, and rather focusing in monitoring moves and positions of various the enemy units, in big or small groups, patiently waiting for the moment they all assembled at Chu Pong and annihilating them with B52 carpet bombings (Why Pleime, chapter VI):

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.

Colonel Hieu continued to reveal his military genius trait in phase 3 of the campaign in operation Than Phong 7 conducted by Airborne Brigade. As a normal practice, the field commander makes decision on tactical moves as dictated by the situations on the battlefield. In this instance however, Colonel Hieu directly controlled the entire airborne operation and dictated all the moves made by the airborne units under the command of LTC Ngo Quang Truong (G3 Journal/IFFV , 11/19):

- 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.

Colonel Hieu made all preparations and arrangements; LTC Truong had only to execute the orders. The result was that the two surviving battalions of Field Front B3 – the 334th and the 635th – were easily cornered in the Ia Drang valley, causing Major Schwarzkopf to be utterly flabbergasted when he witnessed an extraordinary phenomenon that he attributed to LTC Truong uncanny abilities. Was he aware of what really happened he would reserve his admiration instead and do justice to Colonel Hieu.

Phieu


#788 27 Feb 12, 05:47

Can somebody recommend a comprehensive website presenting Vietnam war history in details?

hutun


#789 27 Feb 12, 15:10

You might want to check this out:

www.generalhieu.com/hieumangluoi-2.htm

P.S. That was said in 2001. It is much better now in 2012.

Phieu


#790 28 Feb 12, 04:13

“Hagiographic Loggorhea” #11 : Executing Tactical Moves

In the preparation process of Plâyme campaign, Field Front B3 calculated very meticulously II Corp’s availability in terms of troops and equipments. For instance, in the captured Combat Order for an Ambush by the 32d Regiment, showed that the regimental general staff made accurately prediction the components of the Armored Task Force, the number of American units that would be attached and how the relief task force would be deployed:

After the initial attack on Pleime the GVN will likely send a relief column. The relief column will probably be composed of one ARVN Battle Group and one Armored Battle Group from the 24th STZ. There will probably be one or two US battalions in reserve. The relief forces could come by air or by road, whichever is the most suitable. They could arrive at the battle area in one or two days. Their battle formation could operate up to one kilometer from the road. They could have the infantry and armor elements interposed with each other; as an example an Armor element leading with the infantry 500m to one kilometer behind. After the ARVN elements are ambushed they will pull back to the O-Gri area to regroup. ARVN forces behind the ambushed element will probably move to the area of Po Post (20-14), O-Gri (22-18) and Klan (26-22).

Field Front B3 was also successful in diverting II Corsp reserve force comprising five battalions of Airborne and Marine Corps as well as units of 22nd Division in Bong Son, together with the three American helicopter companies prior to the attack against Pleime camp and at the same time took the decision to launch Plâyme campaign more than one month earlier than scheduled in order to avoid the intervention of the 1st Air Cavalry Division that was still on the resettlement process from Qui Nhon to An Khe.

But Field Force B3 was caught by many surprises because Colonel Hieu countered all their maneuvers with clever tactical moves of his own by knowing how to make use of all types of unit forces available to him, especially those that were all of the sudden put into his disposition: American and Vietnamese Special Forces, Airborne Rangers, Montagnard Eagle Flight teams, Rangers, Airborne, Marine Corps, 3rd Armored Task Force and an infantry unit of the 24th Special Military Zone, units of the 1st Air Cavalry Division. Many units were airlifted from Kontum, Ban Me Thuot, Phu Yen, Tuy Hoa, Vung Tau, Bien Hoa, Saigon, An Khe. All these units were inserted and extracted in and off the various battlefields in well executed coordination in a battlefront that lasted 38 days and 38 nights. Each unit was given a task that corresponded to its capacity; consequently each mission was achieved smoothly and without too much effort and yet the desired expectation was satisfactorily fulfilled.

In regard specifically of the use of 1st Air Cavalry Division, Colonel Hieu demonstrated that he knew how to use this tactical unit better than General Kinnard and General Knowles. General Kinnard’s tactical operation to counter the guerrillas warfare was (Cochran):

to seal off the area in which the guerrillas were fighting, to separate them from their source of reinforcement, supplies, weapons.

And the air assault tactic he had developed was:

Right after the Plei Me siege was broken, I felt that it was up to me to find these guys who had been around the camp. So we came up with a search “modus operandi” in which the Cav Squadron was going to range widely over a very large area and I was going to use one infantry brigade to plop down an infantry battalion and look at an area here and there. I felt that we had to break down into relatively small groups so we could cover more area and also the enemy would think he could fake us. You couldn’t put down a whole battalion out there and go clomping around. You had to break down into company and platoon-sized units. You had to rely upon the fact that with the helicopter you could respond faster than anyone in history. I then learned, totally new to me, that every unit that was not in contact was, in fact, a reserve that could be picked up and used. This is my strategy. Start from somewhere, break down into small groups, depending upon the terrain, and work that area while the Cav Squadron roamed all over. The name of the game was contact. You were looking for any form of contact – a helicopter being shot at, finding a campfire, finding a pack, beaten-down grass.

Firstly, Colonel Hieu knew that General Kinnard would not be able to seal off a wide expanded 40 km by 50 km area covered by jungles, even with more than 500 helicopters and 3 air cavalry brigades. Secondly, he also knew that the Viet Cong troops were very clever in avoiding contact with the American air cavalry troops. And he rationalized that in order to destroy an army of troops that scattered all over like rats hiding in cracks and holes, there was only one way, which was to stake out and wait patiently until they assembled in one spot, then to finish them off with B52 carpet bombings. That was why he did not consider phase 2 as a pursuit phase but rather a herding one (Pleime Counteroffensive into Chupong-Iadrang Complex).

Besides army troops, Colonel Hieu also demonstrated his skill in the use all types of weapons, small and big, ancient and modern: artillery, armor, wing as well jet tactical aircrafts, armed helicopters, B52 strategic air fortresses, as dictated by various battlefield situations.

Phieu


#791 29 Feb 12, 05:49

“Hagiographic Logorrhea” #12: General Swcharzkopf’s Reaction...

...to Pleime Counteroffensive operational concept.

Just like he marveled before LTC Ngo Quang Truong’s uncanny operational concept in setting up the ambush in Than Phong 7 operation:

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? "

(General Schwarzkopf's Naďveté In the Ia Drang Battle)

He likely would marvel the same way before Colonel Hieu’s abnormal – out of the ordinary - operational concept in setting up the ambush in Pleime Counteroffensive into Chupong-Iadrang Complex:

I'd never heard anything like this at West Point. I was thinking “What’s all this about herding the scattered VC units of two regiments and stalking them until they regroup? How can he schedule a campaign that way?”

As a matter of fact, it's not an extraordinary operational concept as far as Colonel Hieu is concerned at all:

Furthermore, he considered this Eagle-Darting-Down-From-The-Sky tactic to catch the prey was only effective if the prey was a slow-moving lamb, but became ineffective if the prey were quick-to-run-into-the-bushes Vietcong foxes. He learned through experiences that the tandem Infantry-Armor formula was more suitable to the Vietnam battlegrounds, and proved to be more effective in rounding up the ever evasive Vietcong foxes. That was why as soon as he took command of the 5th Division, according to the ARVN 5th Division's Senior Advisor, John Hayes, General Hieu immediately converted the Armor Cavalry Regiment from the role of "Palace Guards" into a fierce instrument of attack. Prior to bringing in General Hieu to the 5th Division, General Tri, a former paratrooper, used exclusively the "Plunging Eagles" tactic in rapidly discharging and picking up small teams of paratroopers, and was able to establish an impressive record of numerous but then small victories. Initially this tactic seemed successful, but was soon neutralized by those seasoned Vietcong foxes that would disperse and vanish into the bushes as soon as the helicopters appeared on the horizon. And so, General Tri tilted toward General Hieu's idea and switched tactics into using more often the "round up" tactic, using the tandem Infantry-Armor formula, especially in crossover border operations.

(A Competent General)

Aren't we witnessing a stroke of a military genius... no, rather two strokes of a military genius, since both were the doings of Colonel Hieu:

- the first one, in herding NVA two battalions in a narrow corridor of Ia Drang Valley through the proxy of the ARVN Airborne Brigade and

- the second one, in herding three NVA regiments in a vast Chupong-Iadrang complex area stretching from Pleime camp to Chupong massif through the proxy of US 1st Air Cavalry Division.

In fact, it's so extraordinary and unthinkable that it has been labeled as “hagiographic logorrhea” ...

Phieu


#792 01 Mar 12, 02:58

Phieu: You might want to check this out:

www.generalhieu.com/hieumangluoi-2.htm P.S. That was said in 2001. It is much better now in 2012.

Phieu, thanks for the good link!

hutun


#793 01 Mar 12, 03:28

Spasiba, hutun!

Glad that you found one that is "a comprehensive website presenting Vietnam war history in details", not "hagiographic logorrhea" ...


#794 01 Mar 12, 03:43

“Hagiographic Logorrhea” ?! What … How … Why …

Whoever thought and stated that my rendition of the Pleime Campaign is pure “hagiographic logorrhea” – together with those who agreed to such characterization – was under the spell of deep rooted prejudices: it is unthinkable and impossible that Colonel Hieu, a mere ARVN officer

- could be that smart, smarter than the American Generals and Viet Cong Generals involved in this campaign,

- could have conceived such an extraordinary operational concept, could have been the architect of the entire campaign from the outset to the end,

- could have conceived and executed a checkmate master plan comprising four decisive moves: herding, enticing, distracting and massive B52 bombing.

- could have been that clever in making all the higher military authorities understand, approve and execute his operational concept while he was at the bottom echelon of the hierarchical totem,

- could have obtained intelligence on the enemy situation by the hours and by the days.

- could have pierced through the ambush site and liberated camp Pleime with only US Air Cav artillery support and refused US Air Cav ground support,

- could have preferred to use ARVN Airborne Brigade to US 2nd Air Cav Brigade to execute the surgical “coup de grâce” operation.

This anchored prejudice generated negative and hateful reactions, comprising accusation of cockiness, stupidity, self aggrandizement, self-promotion, disillusion, madness, psychotic, prolific spammer, disrespectful to other honorable members, etc…

Fortunately, amidst of all the clamoring, some refreshing and appreciative comments were injected in though, that appears to reflect the silent majority’s opinion:

- I've learned more about Vietnam in this thread than I have in probably two years of history in high school.

- Keep up the great work on the Ia Drang thread.

- You bring out some info never seen before.

All those who had raised their criticism here and there during the course of my presentation, did not have the decency of admitting they had not bothered to study the topic in depth and thus did not have a solid knowledge of the Ia Drang Valley battle. Instead of refuting point by point my presentation, all they could do was to just inject cursing and personal attacks.

Well, you be the judge to that:

- Is my account of the Pleime Campaign “excessive and often incoherent talkativeness or wordiness”? or is it based entirely on facts backed up with primary sources…

1. J.D. Coleman, Pleiku, the Dawn of Helicopter Warfare in Vietnam, St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1988.
2. General Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway, We Were Soldiers Once… and Young, Random House, New York, 1992.
3. General Pham Huu An, Chię́n Trường Mới, Memoir, Quan Doi Nhan Dan Publishing House, Hanoi, 2002.
4. General Harry Kinnard, Pleiku Campaign, 1st Air Cavalry Division Headquarters, March 4, 1966.
5. G3 Journal, I Field Force Vietnam, October 1965.
6. General Norman Schwarzkopf, It Doesn't Take A Hero, Bantam, 1992.
7. General Vinh Loc, Why Pleime, Information Printing Office, Saigon, September 1966.
8. 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.
9. Thię́u Tướng Vĩnh Lộc, Pleime, Trận Chię́n Lịch Sử, Huỳnh Quang Tięn Printing Shop, June 1966.

- Is the depiction of Colonel Hieu “hagiographic” (“excessively flattering”) ? hardly so … just objective and faithful to the facts; it does not need to resort to hagiography while pointing out his military skills, which were hidden due to his modesty, sensitivity and tact, opting to act discreetly and yet forcefully behind the scenes and let his bosses took all the credits. Just an objective descripion of the actions of a Vietnamese genuine military genius, which happened to be out of this world ...

Phieu


#795 02 Mar 12, 04:14

Hal Moore and 1/7th Air Cavalry Battalion’s Real Mission at LZ X-Ray

According to Coleman (1988),

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.

And on

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.

So, apparently, Hal Moore went into Chupong knowingly he would encounter the enemy in great number, possibly one or two or even three NVA regiments. His mission would be to initiate the first contact with an enemy unit, then to fix that unit and, depending on the size of enemy forces in contact, General Knowles would pile in the appropriate amount of Air Cavalry troop units in order to destroy the enemy.

But what happened next was in the direct opposite to the unfolding of the operational concept of find, fix and destroy the enemy.

- First, on November 14, after closing in LZ X-Ray, Hal Moore did not advance forward in a sweeping move to find the enemy, but contented to secure the perimeter of the landing zone in a defensive posture.

-Second, when the enemy gave an assault with the size of two battalions, General Knowles did not react with a massive troop piling and contented to reinforce the defensive lines with just one battalion, the 2/7th Air Cavalry Battalion, and seemed to be satisfied when the enemy disengaged and withdrew on November 16 instead of pursuing the enemy.

- Third, instead of bringing more troops in preparation of a pursuit operation, General Knowles effectuated a troop rotation by relieving the 1/7th with the 2/5th Battalion to continue to secure LZ X-Ray.

- Four, on November 17, in order to make room for B-52 airstrikes, instead of a speedy helilifted troop extraction, General Knowles gave order to the 2/7th and 2/5th to march out of the landing zone toward LZ Columbus and LZ Albany respectively.

Based on these four facts, it is obvious that Hal Moore’s mission was not a routine search and destroy operation. In fact, his specific mission – although he had no purview to it - was to conduct a distractive diversionary move, which aimed at distracting the enemy troops concentrating at staging areas ready to move to attack Pleime camp for a second time and inducing them to stay immobile at those spots while B3 Field Command was refocusing its plan of attack to the newly appeared threat; and in doing so, the NVA troops remained immobile longer at the staging areas as targets for B-52 airstrikes.

This diversionary move was the last component in a threefold preparation for the operational concept which consisted of annihilating the three NVA Regiments – the 32nd, 33rd and 66th with Strategic Air strikes. The other two precedent diversionary moves were: herding the enemy scattered troops back to Chupong-Iadrang complex and enticing the enemy into an attack posture that lead to further troop concentration in assembling and staging areas.

Contrary to common beliefs, General Knowles knew the exact positions of the three enemy regiments headquarters and their respective units all along and stalked the enemy looking for the right moment when the enemy troop’s concentration was targetable for B-52 airstrikes.

- 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 (YA940010);

- On 11/2, by 0400 hours, the regimental CP had arrived at Hill 762 (YA885106); - On 11/7, 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 11/8, only fragmented units and stragglers remained east of the Chu Pong-Ia Drang complex;

- On 11/9, 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 (YA 9400027);

- On 11/14, when the 1/7th Air Cavalry Battalion was inserted at LZ X-Ray (YA935010), it was only “200 meters from the location of our 9th Battalion 66th Regiment” (Nguyen Huu An);

- On 11/15, B3 Field Front forces (center of mass vicinity YA8702) where the B-52s dropped its first ton of bombs.

In brief, contrary to the common belief that (Pleiku campaign, 17 Nov, page 93)

“For the first time in the Vietnamese conflict, Strategic Air strikes were to be used in direct support of the ground scheme of maneuver"

It was rather the other way around: the ground scheme of maneuver – meaning the 1/7th Air Cavalry’s – were conducted in direct support of Strategic Air strikes.

Phieu


#796 03 Mar 12, 05:18

Intelligence, the Key Factor in the Pleime Campaign’s Victory

The Pleime Campaign’s victory consisted in the breaking up the siege at Pleime camp and the annihilation of the entire NVA B3 Field Front forces comprising the three 32nd, 33rd and 66th Regiments in the Chupong-Iadrang complex. This victory was rendered possible due to the fact II Corps Command was able to ascertain solid intelligence on the military situation of the enemy during the entire duration of the campaign as stated by Colonel Hieu, II Corps Chief of Staff, in Pleime, Trận Chię́n Lịch Sử (page 94):

The battle from phases 2 and 3 also introduced an aspect never seen up to now because for almost 20 years, during the Franco-Vietnamese war, seldom pursuit operation was considered after each time the enemy made appearance and when it was conducted, no significant results had been achieved. Therefore this time around, the determination not to allow the enemy to escape, coupled with the solid intelligence on the enemy situation had permitted the battle to develop to maximum degree and scale and at the same token lead to the biggest victory ever achieved by the ARVN and its Allied.

Nature of Intelligence Collected

1. Units’ Positions

- On 10/27, the lead elements of the 33d had closed on it forward assembly area, the village Kro (ZA080030); - 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 (YA940010);

- On 11/2, by 0400 hours, the regimental CP had arrived at Hill 762 (YA885106);

- On 11/5, units of 66th Regiment continued to close in the assembling areas in the Chupong-Iadrang complex;

- On 11/7, 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 11/8, only fragmented units and stragglers remained east of the Chu Pong-Ia Drang complex;

- On 11/9, 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 (YA 9400027);

- On 11/14, when the 1/7th Air Cavalry Battalion was inserted at LZ X-Ray (YA935010), it was only “200 meters from the location of our 9th Battalion 66th Regiment” (Nguyen Huu An).

2. Activities at Regiment and Division Headquarters

- 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 11/2, 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 11/8, the 33d Regiment began to assess its losses.

- On 11/9, 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.

Key Intelligence Source

The pletora of precise intelligence obtained by G-2 II Corps and passed on to S-2 1st Air Cavalry Division Forward surprised both the B3 Field Front and 1st Air Cavalry Command.

The cadres of the 33rd Regiment suspected spies among in their midst:

"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."

Coleman mentioned “special agent reports” (page 119) among the various intelligence gathering methods:

All additional available intelligence, including radio intercept reports, special agent reports filtered up through the ARVN and Special Forces channels, and spot reports from the air cavalry squadron, were evaluated, and information on any confirmed target controlling brigade headquarters.

Information about enemy units positions can be attributed to radio intercepts, air reconnaissance spot checks, Airborne Ranger recon teams. But information about activities that happened within the regiment and division headquarters inner circle – such as the topic of the 11/1 meeting, the B3 headquarters received the news of the coming arrival of the 66th Regiment on 11/2, the marching order given by B3 headquarters to the 33rd Regiment also issued on 11/2, the detailed loss report submitted by the 33rd Regiment headquarters to B3 headquarters on 11/9, the decision taken by B3 headquarters on 11/11 to attack Pleime again set for 11/16, the order issued by B3 headquarters to its three regiments to move into assembling areas on 11/11, the order issued by B3 headquarters to its three regiments to move into staging areas on 11/13 – has to be coming from “special agents” embedded in the inner circle of B3 Field Front headquarters, 32nd Regiment headquarters, 33rd Regiment headquarters and 66th Regiment headquarters.

However, it is unthinkable that II Corps Command could have succeed in inserting those “special agents”, that the Viet Cong cadres of the 33rd Regiment were unable to identify in the 11/1 meeting upon arriving at Anta Village, which ironically was revealed and reported by those “special agents/spies” to II Corps Command.

There is only one plausible explanation: the culprits of all these intelligence leaks were the Chinese Advisors assigned to B3 Field Front headquarters and the three regiment headquarters who communicated with each other in Mandarin, openly discuss about everything about the campaign – logistics, planning, unit positions, unit situations, unit morale, unit losses and casualties, etc – and those communications were radio intercepted by G2/II Corps Command.

II Corps Command kept the Viet Cong in the dark about this intelligence source less they plugged the leaks. It also kept the 1st Air Cavalry Command in dark by telling them it was the “special agents” instead of revealing it was in fact the “Chinese Advisors” in order to secure the secret. Hal Moore did know about a radio relay intercept of a communication in Mandarin which allowed to determine position of an enemy unit’position based on the position of the issuing radio signals before selecting his landing zone; but he failed to know that the entire intelligence gathering consisted in radio relay intercepts of the content of the communications between the Chinese Advisors.

Intelligence Exploitation

It was the real time intelligence data that allowed Colonel Hieu, II Corps Chief of Staff, to conceive and execute his operational concept of using B-52 airstrikes to annihilate the entire three NVA regiments en mass in the Chupon-Iadrang complex. For that, he needed to be able to lure the entire B3 Field Front troop forces in one spot that falls into B52’s cross-hair aiming vision and remains immobile there long enough . In other words, he had to provide the position of the enemy troop center of mass with a coordinate precision of at least (XX’YY’). As of matter of fact, the first B-52 bomb drop was at (center of mass vicinity YA8702).

Phieu


#797 04 Mar 12, 04:18

Viet Cong Accounts of Plâyme Campaign

General Westmoreland states in Why Pleime:

General Vinh Loc has not attempted in this work to provide a completely detailed account of this battle, nor is it yet possible, scarcely twelve months thereafter, to place the numerous individual actions of the many Vietnamese and U.S. units into accurate perspective. This cannot be accomplished with conviction until, perhaps much later, the VC accounts of this battle as seen from their side become available.

It is now 46 years since the battle. Let's see if General Westmoreland was right by looking up some "VC accounts as seen from their side".

For the sake of those who do not read Vietnamese, I have translated some of these documents - courtesy of TTVNOL (thanks Altus, Chiangshan and al.) - into English.

Let's see what

1. General Hoang Phuong

2. Nguyen Huy Toan and Pham Quang Dinh

3. Major General Nguyen Nam Khanh

4. General Dang Vu Hiep

5. General Nguyen Huu An

have to say ...

Phieu


#798 05 Mar 12, 04:59

Viet Cong Accounts of Plâyme Campaign (1)

Plâyme Campaign
(Attacks, from 19 October to 26 November 1965)

In September 1965, the American Command deployed the 1st Air Cavalry at An Khe (Gia Lai), in order to prevent us from cutting the Highlands with the coastal area. The ARVN created the 24th Special Zone comprising the two provinces of Kontum and Gia Lai and transferred the primary operational responsibility in the Highlands to the American troops in order to implement the “search and destroy” plan in their “limited war” strategy.

In the Plâyme , Bau Can, Duc Co areas (20 km southeast of Pleiku city), the enemy had the US 3rd air cavalry brigade, one ARVN airborne task force, one ARVN armor squadron and one ROK regiment [1], supported by artillery, air force (including B52 bombers), looking to destroy our regular forces and assisting the pacification program of the GVN troops.

In this background, the Highlands battlefield Command decided to change the mission of liberating northern Highlands and focused in launching Plâyme campaign, aiming at joining with the entire South battlefield in destroying one US element in order to expand and consolidate the liberated zone, to establish base camps, to train the infantrymen and the service units. Through combats, we study step by step the American troops, and build up our confidence in our fight with the Americans and our victory over the Americans. Major General Chu Huy Man was assigned Commander and concurrently Commissar of the campaign, colonel Nguyen Chanh and lieutenant colonel Nguyen Huu An was assigned Deputy Commander. Comrade Huynh Dac Huong held the position of Deputy Commissar, lieutenant colonel Nam Ha was the Chief of staff [2], lieutenant colonel Dang Vu Hiep was Deputy Political Chief.

The involved forces comprised 3 infantry regiments (320th, 33rd, 66th), one sapper battalion, one artillery battalion, one 12.7mm anti-aircraft battalion; together with local armed militia attacking enemy communication lines and rear areas.

Early October 1965, based on assessment of enemy status and our preparation readiness, the campaign Command had decided to assign tasks to the units as following: the target and area to destroy the enemy was camp Chu Ho, siege set on Plâyme camp, ambush to destroy the rescue column established on route 21 (from Hill 538 to Hill Blu). The area where our troops would attack the Americans would be the Ia Drang valley [3]. Diversionary targets were Duc Co and Tan Lac camps. Target of sapper units was Bau Can camp. Coordination direction was set west of route 14 and Kontum. The guiding concept was to encircle the camp in order to destroy the rescue column, aiming at destroying the enemy out of its fortification.

Regarding combat method: put up a siege on a camp to attract a rescue column of ARVN troops by land, create an opportunity to destroy a task force or a regiment of enemy regular forces. Force the American troops to counter-attack in order to gradually destroy American companies one by one while they are maneuvering. Coordinate main regular forces with small activities of other units, creating continuous attacks, and dispersing enemy resistance.

Regarding the use of forces: the 33rd regiment (minus 2nd battalion) attacks Plâyme camp, reinforced by one 12.7mm anti-aircraft company. The unit that attacks the rescue column on route 21 is the 320th regiment. The 66th regiment and the 2nd battalion are assigned the task of blocking the enemy when it counter-attacks. The diversionary activity at Duc Co is assumed by the 200th artillery battalion. The diversionary activity at Tan Lac is assumed by the local company. The activity of coordination is the 15th battalion at Gia Rai.

Regarding the plan, the campaign was divided in 3 phases: Phase 1. Encircle Plâyme camp, destroy the ARVN rescue column; phase 2. Continue to encircle Plâyme camp, forcing American troops to get involved; phase 3. Concentrate forces aiming at attacking an American major force and destroy it and end the campaign.

At 7:00pm on October 19, the campaign began, the 200th artillery battalion and the local militia company attacked Tan Lac and Duc Co camps, aiming at attracting the attention of the enemy. At 10:54pm on the same day, the 33rd regiment opened fire to destroy the Chu Ho forward outpost, leading forces into encircling Plâyme camp.

On October 20, the enemy used the air force to pound fiercely on the 33rd regiment’s deployment. Communications between companies and battalions were constantly disrupted. Along route 21, an enemy reconnaissance company slipped in small groups through the ambush terrain of the 320th regiment. The next day (October 21), the enemy disembarked a Special Forces battalion on Khop village 5km north of Plâyme . The 3rd Task Force and the 21st rangers battalion were concentrated at Phu My.

On October 23 (at 12:00pm), the 3rd armor task force launched the operation from Phu My in the direction of Plâyme , with the intention of arriving in Plâyme by the evening. The task force comprised 3 M113 and tanks squadrons, the 21st ranger battalion, the 1st battalion/42nd regiment and two 105mm artillery guns. The enemy proceeded cautiously because it was afraid of the ambush. At 4:30pm, the bridgehead of the column reached the middle of our ambush site. At 4:48pm, the enemy bombarded suddenly hill 538 where we deployed our blocking force. Afterwards, the enemy used 5 tanks in horizontal formation to attack this target. At this location, our troops destroyed 2 vehicles, and held our position. Our 634th and 635th battalions assaulted and destroyed the enemy along route 21. An enemy element retreated at hill Doc Lap, our troops organized multiple assaults, but failed to occupy the hill. Results, we destroyed 59 tanks, armored vehicles and 800 enemy soldiers, captured 2 105mm guns and 6 ammunition vehicles, 20 weapons of various types, shot down 2 airplanes.

Faced with the defeat of the ARVN, general Westmoreland, commander of the US expeditionary army came up to the Highlands, ordered lieutenant general Harry Kinnard, US 1st air cavalry commander: “to find the enemy and seize the initiative into our hands.” Following that order, the US 1st air cavalry entered the campaign battlefield. At 7:00am on October 24, the enemy used 93 helicopters to disembark the first US battalion 2km south of Phu My. At 3:00pm on the same day, the Americans continued to use 60 helicopters to disembark the 2nd American battalion with 105mm artillery guns and 106.7mm mortars at Plei Do Doat 10km northeast of Plâyme camp.

Upon receiving the aid from the American troops, the remaining enemy of 3rd task force and the newly attached force (the 22nd rangers battalion and the 91th airborne ranger battalion) continued its strek toward Plâyme , but they were stopped by our fierce attacks.

On October 10, the American task force command arrived at Bau Can. Vinh Ho, ARVN II corps commander, was also present aboard the helicopter to command the ARVN relief efforts of Plâyme .

The participation of the American troops intensified suddenly the enemy firepower. They concentrated their attacks at the positions of the 33rd regiment, in order to support the ARVN counter-attack bridgeheads. Assessing this situation, the campaign command concluded that we had destroyed an important ARVN mobile element which forced the American troops to get involved in the fight. The mission of putting up a siege at Plâyme had been achieved. We decided to abandon the encirclement and to regroup our troops. We would use the two 320th and 33th regiments in the ready to defeat future enemy counter-attacks. On October 29, we took the initiative to end the 1st phase of the campaign.

By end of October, the enemy discovered the rear areas of our two 33rd and 66th regiments. On October 31, the enemy disembarked American troops at Mui village, missing in its attack against our reconnaissance team, and then withdrew immediately. Another enemy company landed at Pleila Brieng to attack our signal unit. On November 2, one American battalion entered the plantation at Duc Nghiep and remained there one day. On November 3, one American company landed at Plei The; this unit made contact with one company of the 33rd regiment. On November 4, one American company together with the ARVN troops attacked an abandoned location of our 2nd battalion; our 3rd battalion that was present nearby organized an attack at the flank of an enemy platoon. On November 6, one American company attacked one company of our 1st battalion. Our 2nd battalion initiated an attack in combination with the 1st battalion and destroyed nearly en entire enemy company. On November 10, the American troops decided to replace the 1st brigade with the 3rd. In this phase, the Americans deployed their troops with the intention to test our forces. We caused damages to each American unit and adjusted our forces in preparation for the decisive battle.

(to be continued)

(Article written based on the report of the Highlands Battlefront, archived at Tactical Department/Defense Ministry, perhaps: The 1965 Plâyme Attack, The People's Army Military Institute and III Corps, Hanoi: The People's Army Publishing House, 1993)

-----------------------------------------

[1] Wrong: the ROK regiment was not in Highlands in 1965, only one year later in 1966.

[2] LTC Nam Ha replaced Colonel Ha Vi Tung as chef of staff either during or after the campaign.

[3] Armchair general's hindsight!

Phieu


#799 05 Mar 12, 05:04

VC Map of Plâyme Campaign

CD 1 dù = Task Force 1 Airborne

nghi binh= diversionary move

Mỹ = American

L= Brigade; e = battalion; d = company; c = platoon

BDQ = Rangers

BK = Airborne Rangers

PB = Artillery

------

Đợt = Phase

Ta rút = we withdrew

Khu vực địch oanh tạc = enemy's air strike areas

Phieu


#800 05 Mar 12, 23:38

The North Vietnamese Communists did not want the international public to know that they were assisted by Red China in the first big battle at regimental level at Pleime, especially that the Chinese Communist advisors were present at Pleime battlefield.

According to General Moore, in his book We Were Soldiers Once … and Young, page 63, the radio relay intercept team belonging to II Corps overheard a coded message which appeared to be a report on the military situation in Mandarin, emitting from the foothill of Chu Pong Massif. This indicated the presence of Chinese Communist advisors at B3 Forward Command Post.

It was likely that Chinese Communist advisors working with B3 Forward Command Post at Chu Pong sent a military situation of the battlefield to Chinese Communist advisors present in Pnom Penh. II Corps Command through its book Why Pleime reveals:

Besides, in the report of activities of G-5, the psywar section, Major Horace E. Jordan addressed to II Corps Senior Advisor and G-5 Advisor, made mention of the presence of Chinese Communist Advisor in Pleime area:

In a news conference on November 16, 1965 in Saigon, three Viet Cong prisoners revealed that each regiment that infiltrated South Vietnam was accompanied by a Chinese advisor.

Coleman 1988 said a surgeon captured at the regimental hospital appeared to be a Chinese:

It was the volubility of the Chinese Advisors conversing openly in Mandarin on the radio waves that made it possible for Colonel Hieu to conceive the master plan of using the B-52 airstrikes to annihilitate en masse the three NVA Regiments - 32nd, 33rd, and 66th - in the Chupong-Iadrang complex.

fantasy+bullix

http://www.sbanzu.com/topicdisplay.a...opicID=2973486

chinesefox


#801 06 Mar 12, 04:06

Viet Cong Accounts of Plâyme Campaign (1)

(continued)

On November 11, one American battalion continued to land down at Plei Ngo, 12km west of Plâyme. In receiving this news, the campaign Command decided to implement the 2nd plan. Starting phase 3, the sapper team of 952nd battalion used 4 mortars firepower to attact the command post of US 3rd brigade at Bau Can. In coordination with Plâyme battlefield and Eastern Nam Bo, sapper troops attacked the command post of US 1st air cavalry in An Khe.

After the reconnaissance team confirmed the position of 9th battalion/66th regiment 3km northeast of Chu Prong (the enemy named this area as X-ray landing zone), at 10:00am on November 14, the 3rd brigade disgorged 2 grenade launcher companies 11km east of X-ray LZ. After establishing the battlefield, the enemy concentrated artillery and helicopters to attack the area of X-ray LZ. At 10:48 am, the American troops used 8 helicopters to disembark the leading element of the 1st battalion (109 soldiers among who were lieutenant colonel Harold Moore and captain John Herren) at X-ray LZ. 35 minutes later, the enemy continued to disembark A company comprising 106 soldiers commanded by captain Nadal. Having in hands A company, battalion commander Moore launched a two prong attacks against our 9th battalion. While the enemy attacked our 9th battalion, its battalion commander had not returned from a regiment meeting, the executive officer commanded our troops at the battalion level to fight against the enemy and requested reinforcement from the 13th company. Although taken by surprise, our troops fought with courage. The 13th, 11th and 12th companies in hearing gun shots initiated attacks against enemy flanks. The enemy B company was attacked fiercely at both of its flanks. The 2nd platoon commanded by lieutenant Herrick was cut off and encircled.

Battalion commander Moore called up A company to come to the rescue but it was also been attacked. That evening, the battalion commander and the executive officer of our 9th battalion returned, but they did not return to their command location and thus did not have the 11th company in control. Consequently, the units of the 9th battalion had to abandon their positions: the 12th and 15th companies withdrew to Ea Koc stream; the 13th company retreated toward the 7th battalion. During their withdrawal, the 13th company met the commissar of the 66th regiment, who ordered this company to have the 9th platoon to turned back to face the enemy, while the rest of the company readied to fight.

In the evening of November 14, upon receiving report from the recon team, the campaign Command ordered the commissar of the 66th regiment to accompany the 7th battalion in attacking the remaining troops of the US 1st battalion at X-ray LZ The 7th battalion (minus 3rd company) at south Chu Prong at 5km from the enemy, was lead by the 9th platoon/13th company/9th battalion, departed at 10:50pm, but did not encounter the enemy who had moved away. At 5:00am on November 15, our troops made contact with the enemy; the battalion deployed and used 82mm mortars to put brief pressure against the enemy, then launched the assaults. We and the enemy fought hands to hands; taken by surprise, the enemy put up a weak defense; we killed more than 200 soldiers (among who were 80 Americans); the remaining regrouped and called for help from other companies. But these units were also under attack by us and could not come to the rescue.

Facing our pressure, the enemy landed 2 105mm artillery company (12 guns) 4.5km east of X-ray LZ in order to coordinate with artillery firepower at Phan Con and to join the air force in support of US 1st battalion. Due to panic and our close troop deployment tactics, the US air force dropped napalm bombs even on the US 1st battalion command post (Moore). The 3rd brigade commander hastened to dispatch the 2nd battalion commanded by lieutenant colonel Robert Tully to Victor area (named given by the enemy) 2 miles off X-ray LZ to rescue the 1st battalion.

During recent days, the enemy had intensified firepower to a high level: 2 105mm artillery batteries (48 guns) had shot 6,000 rounds/day, 130 to 140 air combat sorties each day in support of American troops. Also during this phase (on November 15), the Americans used for the first time 24 B52 airplanes to accomplish a tactical task in attacking Chu Prong area with thousands tons of bombs.

In the morning of November 17, the Americans constantly attacked the area of Chu Prong with B52 airplanes; then launched 2 battalions: the 2nd battalion of US 5th air cavalry regiment and the 2nd battalion of US 7th air cavalry regiment into the area of Ia Drang to block the withdrawal of our troops. Here, two battalions (the 1st and the 8th of the 33rd regiment) had deployed to attack the enemy flank. Taken by surprise, the enemy regrouped in defense. In the course of combat, the commander of the 8th battalion was killed, its commissar was also seriously wounded, and the executive officer of the 1st battalion commanded both battalions and also died. Under such condition, our troops continued to hold positions on the battlefield and fought for 8 hours at Ia Drang; we destroyed nearly one entire American battalion and inflicted heavy damage to another of their battalions. This was the decisive battle of Plâyme campaign.

On November 17, the enemy disembarked an airborne task force at Duc Co and Plei Che in order to cut off our front and rear end. The 320th regiment had only the 334th battalion remaining on the battlefield and consequently was unable to put up a fight against the enemy. On November 26, 1965, the campaign ended.

Results of the campaign: we destroyed one mechanized infantry task force of the Saigon army; destroyed 2 battalions, damaged the 1st battalion of the US 1st air cavalry division, killed more than 2,974 soldiers (1,700 Americans), destroyed 89 military vehicles; shot down 59 airplanes.

Plâyme was the first campaign launched against the Americans of the Highlands battlefront in the military struggle against the imperialist United States. The campaign had exceptionally accomplished the entrusted task, destroying an American unit right at the first combat. The victory of the campaign has an important significance both politically and militarily, boosting the moral of the military and population of MR5 in particular and the entire nation in general, contributing in strengthening the confidence of the military and the population in the leadership of the Party in the fighting against the Americans, seizing the freedom for the country. Ia Drang valley has entered history, marking the first defeat of the United States on the battlefield in South Vietnam.

The victory of Plâyme campaign does not stop at the number of ARVN and US troops killed; it has left many significant lessons learned in terms of the military art.

First of all is the art of accurate prediction of the combat opponent. When the American troops entered the South, the direct combat was an inevitable thing. However, at this period in time (October 1965), our knowledge regarding the Americans was very limited.The personnel organization, the art of combat, the capabilities of the American troops were still question marks to us. In order to verify this, since the American troops were present in the Highlands, we opened the campaign to attack Plâyme . Our purpose was to fight and study hand in hand in order to complement our initial assessments. The reality had shown that our predictions were correct. T

he choice of the combat method and the victory obtained at the first fight were the distinguished traits of the art in the conduct of the campaign. Although the newly arrived American troops in the South had the superiority in terms of firepower and mobility, but they were too subjective, wrong in self-assessment and underestimated the enemy. These were the weaknesses that we had used in luring the American troops into our trap. Therefore the strategic demand of this campaign dictated that no matter what amount of sacrifices we had to assertain victory with the first fight. Based on this premise, the campaign Command had decided to use the ploy of setting up a siege in order to annihilate the rescue column. By exploiting the mistakes of the enemy to the maximum, it allowed us to design a plan for concrete tactics for each phase. We had prepared adequately the campaign, readying ourselves to any eventualities. In the other hand, we did not underestimate the enemy in preparing the psychological mind set of our combatants to be ready to accept sacrifice in exchange for victory.

The sharpness of the art of command was to know how to exploit the weakness, carelessness of the enemy in order to make choice of the terrain, to select the right method of combat, gaining victory at each battle.

In this campaign, the excellence of our plan was to lure the enemy, to lure the American troops into the location of our choosing; to implement our strong point in close combat in order to counter the firepower and mobility of the Americans. The victory of the campaign has demonstrated we had the capability to fight and destroy one by one American battalions.

(Article written based on the report of the Highlands Battlefront, archived at Tactical Department/Defense Ministry, perhaps: The 1965 Plâyme Attack, The People's Army Military Institute and III Corps, Hanoi: The People's Army Publishing House, 1993)

Phieu


#802 07 Mar 12, 04:39

Viet Cong Accounts of Plâyme Campaign (2)

NVA 66th Regiment in Plâyme-Ia Drang Campaign

Early August 1965, the Defense Ministry gave the order to 304th Division Commander "to bring the entire 304th Division to battlefront B… all preparations must be achieved within two months."

In the 304th Division's party committee to discuss about the combat mission were present the following comrades: Truong Cong Can divisional political commissar, was the party committee's secretary and the delegates: Hoang Kien division commander, Nguyen Nam Khanh deputy political commissar, Huy Dinh political chief, Hoang Binh deputy chief of general staff, Nguyen Lam chief of arrears, La Ngoc Chau 66th regimental political commissar, Le Kha Phieu 9th regiment political commissar, Nguyen Man Thach 24th regiment political commissar, Nguyen Duc Gia 66th regiment artillery commander.

Defense Ministry's comrades delegates were also present at the meeting.

The two comrades, division commander and political commissar, relayed General Vo Nguyen Giap's opinions expressed when he inspected the combat readiness of the division: At the moment the Americans were pouring in troops in mass into the South; it would take the division two months to reach the Western Highlands, and would have to engage the American troops immediately at the Western Highlands battlefield; therefore they should be mentally prepared to vanquish the Americans at the first battle. Cadres' and soldiers' resolve should be built prior the division's departure.

Consequently, the combat target on the battlefield at this present time is not solely the ARVN, but also the American expeditionary troops and its allies, who are professional and well equipped with modern weaponries. The immediate and urgent tasks are to set up personnel's organization, to provide additional training and exercises to the troops to fit with the conditions and combat targets on the battlefield; specifically, to build up troop’s heath conditions and endurance to ensure a good retentions of troops engaged in long march operations.

In the training task, the political commissar emphasized the training of cadres was key, in particular of those in charge at various levels.

After the party committee's meeting, units rapidly switched from peace time mode to combat mode, all activities from training, formation, were geared to combat conditions. After 10 years of peacetime training, this was a combat challenge to create in each unit, each cadre, and each soldier habitudes of a combatant. During this phase, the division was visited by comrade Tran Van Quan, the first political commissar of the division and several cadres returning from the battlefield to share their combat experiences, and to help the division in implementing training organization based on combat experiences recently obtained from the battlefield.

The command of the lead unit comprised comrade Hoang Kien division commander, comrade Son Hung political deputy chief and comrades chiefs of tactics, signal and reconnaissance. The Defense Ministry's order indicated that the division would operate in Western Highlands; therefore the division commander assigned comrade Xiem and comrade Na, two company leaders who originated from Western Highlands, to separate from their units to joint the lead unit.

On September 20, 1965, Western Highlands Command sent out comrade Ha Vi Tung to welcome 304th division's cadres and to brief them on their tasks.

The situation in Western Highlands was relatively hot at that time.

On the enemy's side: after the defeat at Duc Co and Kontum, the enemy had changed its organization in order to reinforce combat effectiveness of its main and regional forces, by concentrating its troops to protect key locations like provincial cities, towns and strategic routes. It created the 24th special zone at Kontum, Pleiku, abandoned tactical zone, and established II corps. Also in September, forward units of US 1st air cavalry landed at An Khe, with the aim of destroying our main forces in Western Highlands, and stifling the revolutionary uprising of local population.

On our side: since July 1965, the Central Party and the Central Military Committee had assigned major general Chu Huy Man as Commander and Political Commissar of Western Highlands Front.

In August 1965, the Joint General Staff reinforced Western Highlands with 33rd Regiment (this regiment was 101st regiment of 325B division). To that point, the Western Highlands' main forces comprise 3 infantry regiments, 5 sapper battalions and several machinegun battalions; the main force and in each local city already had 1 infantry battalion, 1 sapper company and several team of machineguns; each district already had from 1 infantry platoon to 1 infantry company.

The Western Highlands' armed forces at this time were not numerous but all 3 army troops were well developed, and units had gone through combat experiences and were well motivated.

The forward group of cadres and soldiers of 304th division arrived in Western Highlands when the entire Western Highlands front were feverish with the preparation of Plâyme campaign. The first attack of Western Highlands armed forces campaign aiming at annihilating an element of American troops, continuing to destroy an element of ARVN troops, taking control of a great mountainous and populated area, especially a mountainous area that had a strategic importance.

The Western Highlands front's party committee had assessed: "American troops would appear on the Western Highlands battlefield eventually, and they would increased ARVN troops' activities, but they would not be able to overcome fundamental weaknesses of the ARVN troops which becomes worst by the days. We must remain alert in all aspects, regularly indoctrinate politically our soldiers to be ready to destroy American troops, to gain the upper-hand at the first battle and to train our cadres and soldiers to take measure to counter American weaponries, especially in the areas of aviation and chemical warfare." (Resolution adopted by the Western Highlands' Party Committee in the Plâyme Campaign).

Tactically, the Party Committee and the Front Command decided to select Plâyme as the siege target, forcing the enemy to move out of its base camp to rescue Plâyme, which allows us to destroy it. We must inflict heavily the ARVN troops to force the American troops to intervene before they had time to prepare themselves, and to react to counter our moves, forcing them to fight our way, allowing to destroy an element of the American troops, crushing them when they just venture into Western Highlands.

The tactical plan would comprise 3 phases:

Phase 1: Encircle Plâyme and destroy the ARVN rescue column.

Phase 2: Following the outcome of phase 1, either continue to encircle or overrun Plâyme to force the American troops to intervene.

Phase 3: Concentrate our forces in an area to destroy from 4 to 5 American companies, combining with attrition to eliminate from 1,200 to 1,500 American soldiers.

The campaign's command used forces as following:

33rd Regiment puts up the siege.

320th Regiment destroys the rescue column.

66th Regiment coming late will participate in phase 3 to destroy American combat units. Therefore someone must to go out to meet and instruct 66th Regiment so that it can prepare itself on the run and to be ready to fight upon arrival on the battle scene.

(to be continued)

Nguyen Huy Toan and Pham Quang Dinh
304th Division, volume II
2. The First Battles Against the American Troops, pp 19-42.
(People's Army Publishing House, 1990)

Phieu


#803 08 Mar 12, 04:53

Viet Cong Accounts of Plâyme Campaign (2)

(continued)

After been briefed by the officer from the division, the officer in charge and the command comrades of 66 regiment met and decided to speed up the march to reach the battlefield earlier. The regiment made some adjustment to lighten the loads carried by the troops in order to rush to the battlefield. Understanding the needs of the battlefield, coupled with the news of multiple victories obtained by the Western Highlands Front, the entire regiment was feverish with a new excitement. Everybody was eager to implement the slogan: "Walk quickly, show up all, defeat the Americans at the very first battle." Succeeding in speed up the march among the infantry was quite a challenge; it was more difficult in the case of the firepower section of the troops. The 17th company, with 120mm mortars, and with its troops carrying shells, was slowed down by heavy loads and was always the last unit to reach the destinations. Under such circumstance, the regiment encouraged the infantry unit to share the burden of heavy loads, and organized young men to assist this firepower unit at portions of the road where it was steep or cut through by deep stream. With clever motivational indoctrination, firm regimental instruction, shrew recruitment in manpower, the operation formation of the regime was able to proceed fast to reach the destination in due time as planned.

Although the troops were exhausted by a long march, they nevertheless were eager to engage into combat at once.

On the Western Highlands battleground at this moment, after the American troops were forced to intervene with firepower superiority and swift airmobility by helicopters, they counted to launch attacks to gain military and political victories in order to establish their strength and to boost ARVN's morale. The American troops were cautious; while deploying, they tested the ground; they intended to maximize their strength by airmobility, firepower, which allowed them to strike unexpectedly, to seize control of the battlefield and to force us into passive reaction. But right at the outset, whenever the American troops landed, our forces struck them, confused them and caused damages to them. The American troops did not have time to deploy into formation; we struck first and they had to react to our combat tactics.

On November 6, 1965 the party committee's front assessed: the enemy had committed 3 brigades of the US 1st air cavalry, 4 South Korean regiments[*], one transport helicopter regiment, 2 US artillery battalions and many airplanes into the Western Highlands; they even intended to use B52 bombers at the direction of Plâyme, and they had also discovered some positions of our forces and caches in our rear areas (nevertheless they did not have concrete and accurate information).

[…]

Implementing instructions of the Central Military Committee, the Joint General Staff and Military Zone 5, the Political Party of Western Highlands Front was determined to lead and organize Western Highlands armed forces to create an opportunity to destroy some American combat units, "the objective is to destroy from 1 to 2 American battalions". (Summary report of the Plâyme campaign number 05 TMQLV)

The unfolding of the fight during the 10 first day of November since the Americans poured in their troops in the village of Moi, Play Ia Pring, Quynh Kla and south of Ia Mo stream, showed that our troops were determined to attack the Americans but also knew how to fight them, which were proofs that the Party Committee and the Western Highlands Command were right in their assessments about the enemy. At this point, the front command made an adjustment to the tactical plan and decided to select valley Ia Drang as the second key location to attack and destroy the American troops to end the Plâyme campaign.

On November 10, 1965, 66th regiment was greeted by cadres of 304th division and of the battlefront and was lead to the Chu Pong areas. The regiment troops were deployed as following:

The regimental command unit at north of the village of Tung (east of Chu Prong mountain). 7th Battalion next to the regimental command unit. 8th Battalion in the area of Ba Bi. 9th Battalion at northeast of Chu Prong.

In the morning of November 11, 1965, the regiment commander went to the command post to listen to the declaration of the Party Committee and to the combat plan. The troops had just arrived to the field; the commanders had rapidly prepared the battlefield; two third of the troops were transporting foods and ammunition; the remaining troops were digging trenches and set up the command post area.

On November 13, the regiment commander had just been briefed about his task and the battle plan, but he did not have the time to carry it out when the situation had changed.

At 7 am on November14, the 9th battalion commander was on a reconnaissance mission by the river of Ia Drang, the political deputy chief was attending a meeting at the regiment command post, only the political chief and the executive officer remained at home. The troops had just brought back rice and were preparing their meals. Suddenly the enemy used airplane and artillery to bombard fiercely on 9th battalion's , 15th company's and Chu Prong areas.

By 10 am, the enemy used helicopters to pour in 1st battalion of 3rd air cavalry brigade at northeast of Chu Prong mountain, about 9 kilometers from 9th battalion's position. Then, they split into two prongs, one attacking directly at 9th battalion position, the second attacking 1st company.

Because recon combatants of the battalion had been killed by the enemy right at the beginning, when the enemy came in within 100 meters, our combatants died at the command post using bayonets to kill the Americans, some combatants died while attempting to unlock grenades. Meanwhile, American bodies showed head and back wounds while attempting to flee.

The fierce battle in the valley of Ia Drang-Plâyme was a close combat between our main forces and the American troops; the battle lasted 10 hours in daytime. The enemy was supported by artillery and hundreds of airplanes; but finally they were defeated. More than 400 soldiers of 1st battalion and only a few soldier of 1st company/2nd battalion/3rd air cavalry brigade survived to return to the base camp. The battle demonstrated that not only our main forces were determined to attack but also they knew how to defeat the most sophisticated American troops. Although they came in drove, but we still controlled the campaign.

[…]

The Plâyme campaign ended with our victory. The first time on the Western Highlands battleground. one ARVN task force and 1 American battalion were almost entirely annhililated, another American battalion and 2 other ARVN battalions were severely damaged, and US 3rd air cavalry brigade were also greatly crippled.

As far as 304th Division was concerned, Plâyme victory demonstrated clearly the result of a 10 year training to well prepare our forces. In this campaign this division had only committed the 66th regiment, and had only participated in the final phase of the campaign; but the combatants of 66th regiment who had just marched into the battlefield and unloaded their backpacks to engage immediately the enemy and had joined the combatants of the 101B regiment to become the first flag to destroy an American battalion.

From the attack of 9th battalion on November 11 to the consecutive assault of 7th battalion on the nights of November 15 and 16, 1965, then finally the joint counterattack of 8th battalion and 1st battalion of 101B regiment, altogether the 3 battalions with different tactics deployed in conditions extremely urgent and decisive, cadres and soldiers of 66th regiment appearing the first time to attack the Americans, had contributed with the army and population of Western Highlands in composing a magnificent epical hymn, attacking and defeating the American invaders together with the army and the people under the leadership of our Party.

Coming back to the 66th regiment, in November 1965, the second unit of the division comprising 24th regiment, the division command unit and some dependent units continued to arrive into the battleground. Comrades Huy Dinh political chief, Hoang Binh deputy chief of staff and Nguyen Lam chief of rear unit accompanied the regiment. Before its departure, comrade Le Quan Dao, deputy chief of Political Directorate paid a visit to encourage the troops. Excited by the victory of 66th regiment at Plâyme, and learning from the experience of the advanced unit, end December, 24th regiment arrived at north Kontum. At that time, due to the demand of the situation, in December 1965, the Party Committee of Western Highlands Front decided to create 2 divisions, the 1st and the 6th.

1st Infantry Division comprised 33rd, 320th and 66th regiments that had fought and matured at Plâyme. 6th Infantry Division were created with a new command, command units and some dependent units. When its arrival, 24th regiment was incorported in the forming of 6th Division. Parts of division commanders, command units and the dependent units of 304th Division were attached to the front units, parts to 1st Division and 6th Division.

--------------------

[*]Wrong: no Korean units were present in the highlands in 1965.

Nguyen Huy Toan and Pham Quang Dinh
304th Division, volume II
2. The First Battles Against the American Troops, pp 19-42.
(People's Army Publishing House, 1990)

Phieu


#804 09 Mar 12, 04:49

Viet Cong Accounts of Plâyme Campaign (3)

Plâyme-Ia Drang's Victory (from 10-19 to 11-20-1965):

Crushing the American troops in Central Highlands

Early 1965, the Joint General Staff summoned me and the 304th division commander to give us the order to enter the South on a combat mission. Comrade Deputy Chief of Staff said: "You must think carefully: we are going to engage an American troop, our main force must strike the enemy with an "upper-hand" advantage. The high command gives you two the control to lead a full division into the South, to joint with the people and militias of the South to defeat the American troop and succeed in the very first fight."

After receiving the mission order, I and the 304th division commander discussed and agreed that the first fight would result in the annihilation of an American battalion - this feat did not have a precedent in the imperialistic history of the American troops (including in the 1951-1952 Korean War). The first time a full division of main force of the People's Army of Vietnam faces an opponent whose combat capabilities are unknown to us, and yet equipped with the most modern weaponry; in order for us to defeat them to the point of "remembering for life" and "fearful" is not an easy task. In the capacity of the person in charge of the division going South, I was keenly aware the critical situation of the matter required a thorough preparation in political ideology and organization.

In terms of ideology, the troops, the combatants must be informed that the scheme of the American imperialists was to conduct an war of invasion, to destroy all economic, military endeavors, even livelihood of the population in order to revert Vietnam to the stone age area. As a foundation, to point out the enemy's evil intention, to build hate and resolve to defeat the American Imperialists. The division imparted in due time to the troops, combatants information on evil acts committed by the American Imperialists in the South, rekindled patriotism, revived the image of past slavery, the starvation of the population in 1945; educated with Uncle Ho's exhortation to fight against the Americans to save the country from 1954 to 1975. Through education, ideology indoctrination aiming at elevating the moral and resolve of achieving victory over the Imperialist Americans, we obtained three levels (excellent level of determination 30-35%, good 50-55%, acceptable 8-10%), those whose performance was poor remained behind for further preparation. And the troops attaining the three levels of awareness must be categorized in accordance with different formation: basic; tactic, mission. Various major weaponries must be manned by strong will and well-trained troops. At key cadre positions, the man in charge must be equally professional and determined. The prior result was that on the operational march down to the South lasting almost 2 months, troops, combatants falling behind en route was minimal. In terms of combat techniques, we study thoroughly the American troops, their experience in the invasion war in Korea, we organized reading on combat accounts in Korea in the Northern region. In term of formation and training, we focused on training in accordance with the tactics used by the American troops, in forming for each weapon, each cadre from 2 to 3 persons at the same time well trained, versed and determined to guarantee a sure victory in the most difficult and complex situation.

End of 9/1965, the forward units of 304th division entered Central Highlands when the Plâyme campaign was about to start. B3 Command (comrade Chu Huy Man, Commander and Political Commissar of B3) summoned me and the 304th Division Commander to receive operational order. Comrade Chu Huy Man said: "304th Division is the first full division to enter the Central Highlands. The Plâyme campaign has started, the 304th Division will participate in phase 2 of the campaign, and will constitute the force which will attack directly the US 1st Airmobile Cavalry newly arrived in Vietnam and was on its way up to Central Highlands. I will maneuver to attract troops of the US 1st Cavalry for you to attack. Being the first full division to engage combat with the Americans, you must strike a "demoralizing" coup to the American troops. So that from that point on whenever they saw the main Vietnamese force they would panicked in fear."

I pondered deeply in order to visualize the proper tactics that would "demoralize" the enemy. After 2 days, the 304th Division Commander and I presented in person to comrade Chu Huy Man the content of the "demoralizing strike". One was to annihilate an American airmobile cavalry battalion; two was to attack at close range and with bayonets (in close combat).

In the preparation process, we encountered numerous difficulties, among which was an incident that stuck forever in my mind. It was that a section of cadres and combatants assessed mistakenly that American troops could not be attacked with close range combat using bayonets, and discarded almost all bayonets along Route 559 (from Route 9 to B3). I had to mobilize some political cadres together with the transportation unit to go back and gather bayonets from Route 9 to B3, succeeding in recuperating 300 pieces, sufficient to arm 3 infantry companies (one of 7th battalion and 2 of 8th battalion of 66th Regiment). The use of bayonets in this battle was not to be entrusted to just anybody, but to selected and highly motivated and determined combatants to defeat the American troops. Then to motivate, to train to the perfection the bayonet combat tactic, close range combat and light foot, under enemy fire , in order to ascertain close contact appropriate to the targeted Americans that we will face at Ia Drang valley.

While dictating order, comrade Chu Huy Man emphasized in various occasions: This is the decisive battle of the Plâyme campaign. Therefore the combat outcome must be high: It might be 1 on our side, 8 to 10 on the enemy's side, but in this specific battle, it could be more than 1 on our side, and 1 on the enemy's side. But you are only allowed to fight only, from there on you must fight in such manner, because Vietnam is a small and poor country against American troops which belong to a great and rich country. Such an off-hand attitude in the use of troops is not in alignment with the military way of our Party.

The Plâyme campaign began from 19 to 10/29/1965, by way of encircling and isolating Plâyme 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.

In the Plâyme campaign, we anticipated that the enemy would bomb our battlefield before and after the campaign, or when they inserted troops in Ia Drang valley, but we had not anticipated that they would use B52 for tactical support In Ia Drang valley. As soon as the 30th and last bomber dropped its ordnance, reconnaissance helicopters circled above the area, followed by numerous waves of transport helicopters unloading troops in Ia Drang valley. Under these circumstances, we must run while maneuvering into battle formations.

From 11/14 to 11/17/1965, through 4 battles of 66th regiment and one battalion of 33rd regiment, we destroyed the 2nd battalion of 1st Air Cavalry Division commanded by lieutenant colonel McDade, with 250 killed and 120 wounded, and 30 soldiers of the 2nd battalion in disarray and damaged heavily the 1st air cavalry battalion commanded by lieutenant colonel Harold Moore (now lieutenant general in the US Army), with 150 killed and 120 wounded of the 2nd battalion (among the total amount of troops engaged in this battle of 2 American battalions comprising 800 combatants). According to the general statistics in war, the number of wounded is higher than the dead, but in the Ia Drang valley's battle, the number of enemy killed was higher than the wounded. In this battle, the number of enemy killed and wounded was shot or pierced from the chest up by our troops conducting close combat and using bayonets and knives, sowing consternation among the Americans. In this battle, comrade Dinh Van De, a Re tribesman, political company executive officer of 8th battalion had used his rifle to shoot down 5 enemies and his knife to cut down 3 enemies, to become the first class warrior in the killing of Americans and together with the 8th battalion had annihilated the entire US 1st battalion commanded by lieutenant colonel McDade and inflicted heavy damaged to the 2nd battalion commanded by lieutenant Harold Moore, achieving the ratio of us 1.4 to enemy 1.

At the end of the campaign, in terms of tabulation and assessment of Plâyme campaign in particular and the Ia Drang valley battle in general, at the beginning there were different opinions, some considered the Plâyme campaign an overall great victory, but in regard the Ia Drang valley battle in particular, some opinions said it was excellent, some others said the enemy casualties were high, ours were equally high and thus it was a draw.

After multiple discussions, everybody reached the same assessment: In the Plâyme campaign in general and Ia Drang valley battle in particular, we gained the upper hand in terms of strategy and politics. Because the Ia Drang valley battle was the decisive battle of the Plâyme campaign. As far as the Americans were concerned, the Ia Drang valley battle became their nightmare and in his memoire Westmoreland admitted: "This was a major blow" of the US 1st Air Cavalry in its first engagement in Central Highlands. The battle in the Ia Drang valley had crossed over the tactical frame, and had become a sizable campaign. Moreover, it was also a battle with a major strategic significance.

Major General Nguyen Nam Khanh
Quan Doi Nhan Dan magazine, 11/13/2005

Phieu


#805 10 Mar 12, 04:48

Sidebar: Crushing the American Troops in Western Highlands or in Danang?

Right in the introduction of his article Crushing the American Troops in Western Highlands General Nam Khanh wrote:

"Early 1965, the Joint General Staff summoned me and the 304th division commander to give us the order to enter the South on a combat mission. Comrade Deputy Chief of Staff said: "You must think carefully: we are going to engage an American troop, our main force must strike the enemy with an "upper-hand" advantage. The high command gives you two the control to lead a full division into the South, to joint with the people and militias of the South to defeat the American troop and succeed in the very first fight."

A few paragraphs later, he added:

"End of 9/1965, the forward units of 304th division entered Western Highlands when the Plâyme campaign was about to start. B3 Command (comrade Chu Huy Man, Commander and Political Commissionaire of B3) summoned me and the 304th Division Commander to receive operational order. Comrade Chu Huy Man said: "304th Division is the first full division to enter the Western Highlands. The Plâyme campaign has started, the 304th Division will participate in phase 2 of the campaign, and will constitute the force which will attack directly the US 1st Airmobile Cavalry newly arrived in Vietnam and was on its way up to Western Highlands. I will maneuver to attract troops of the US 1st Cavalry for you to attack. Being the first full division to engage combat with the Americans, you must strike a "demoralizing" coup to the American troops. So that from that point on whenever they saw the main Vietnamese force they would panicked in fear."

At first, the reader might think that NVA 304th Division received the order to enter the South to attack US 1st Air Cavalry, since the order from the Joint General Staff in early 1965 - "The high command gives you two the control to lead a full division into the South, to joint with the people and militias of the South to defeat the American troop and succeed in the very first fight" - was similar to General Chu Huy Man's in September 1965 - "Being the first full division to engage combat with the Americans, you must strike a "demoralizing" coup to the American troops."

However, a closer look will reveal that it was not possible that 304th Division could have received the order in early 1965 to attack US 1st Air Cavalry because this division did not come into existence until June 1965 and received the order to go to combat in Vietnam on June 15, 1965 when Defense Minister McNamara allowed the US Army to use one airmobile cavalry division to be included in the 16 divisions that would be committed in the Vietnam battlefield (When We Were Soldiers… Moore).

Moreover, upon receiving the order to lead the US 1st Air Cavalry into the battlefield of Vietnam, General Kinnard, its Commander did not want to establish his camp at An Khe in Central Islands, but would rather in Thailand in order to more security for his troops (Moore). Furthermore, the forward units of US 1st Air Cavalry were only present at An Khe in early October 1965. For these reasons, it would be preposterous to state that in early 1965 the NVA JGS sent 304th Division to Vietnam "to attack US 1st Air Cavalry and to defeat at the very first attack."

Which Y US combat unit was it, then? In order to solve the unknown variable Y, the best way is to pinpoint with accuracy which US combat unit first had already entered Vietnam in early 1965. Stanton notes (Vietnam Order of Battle) there were the following three units, not counting the Special Forces units which were present in Vietnam sin November 1965, but these units were insignificant quantities as they formed groups of 3 to 5 US officers commanding Montagnards militias in outposts scattered all over the four corps (5 in I, 16 in II, 5 in III and 8 in IV) :

- March 19, 1963 - 52nd Aviation Battalion (Combat) Plaice

- October 01, 1964 - 14th Aviation Battalion (Combat) Qui Nhon

- March 08, 1965 - 9th Marine Amphibious Brigade with two battalions 3/9th and ̀ 1/3rd.

Furthermore, the following US Marines' document, Chronology of key Marine Corps events in the Vietnam War, 1962-1975 notes:

March 8, 1965 -The 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) commanded by BGen Frederick J. Karch landed at Da Nang, Vietnam, consisting of two Marine battalions, one arriving by air and over the beach. The following day, the MEB assumed control of the Marine Task Unit 79.3.5 at Da Nang, which became Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 16.

Significance: This was the first deployment of U.S. battalion-sized U.S. combat units to Vietnam. Although the mission of the 9th MEB was limited solely to the defense of the airbase at Da Nang, it was, nevertheless, indicative that the U.S. advisory phase in the Vietnam War was to be transformed into more direct U.S. participation.

Consequently, we can conclude that the unknown variable Y was the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) and adjusted General Nam Khanh's introduction as following:

"Around March 1965, the Joint General Staff summoned me and the 304th division commander to give us the order to enter the South on a combat mission. Comrade Deputy Chief of Staff said: "You must think carefully: we are going to engage the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) , our main force must strike the enemy with an "upper-hand" advantage. The high command gives you two the control to lead a full division into Danang, to joint with the people and militias of the South to defeat the American troop and succeed in the very first fight."

Nota bene: the other US combat units presented early in Vietnam right after this unit was:

- May 06, 1965 - 3rd Marine Division with 4 regiments, the 3rd, 4th, 7th and 9th

- May 06, 1965 - Company D/16th Armor

- May 07, 1965 -173rd Airborne Brigade

- June 29, 1965 - 1st Brigade/101st Airborne Division (separate)

The answer Y= 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade is confirmed up by the following paragraph of General Nam Khanh:

After receiving the mission order, I and the 304th division commander discussed and agreed that the first fight would result in the annihilation of an American battalion - this feat did not have a precedent in the imperialistic history of the American troops (including in the 1951-1952 Korean War). The first time a full division of main force of the People's Army of Vietnam faces an opponent whose combat capabilities are unknown to us, and yet equipped with the most modern weaponry; in order for us to defeat them to the point of "remembering for life" and "fearful" is not an easy task. In the capacity of the person in charge of the division going South, I was keenly aware the critical situation of the matter required a thorough preparation in political ideology and organization. (...)

In terms of combat techniques, we study thoroughly the American troops, their experience in the invasion war in Korea, we organized reading on combat accounts in Korea in the Northern region.

Because the aimed target was a Marine unit - "whose combat capabilities are unknown to us, and yet equipped with the most modern weaponry” – in Danang, which "required a thorough preparation”, General Nam Khanh studied "thoroughly the American troops, their experience in the invasion war in Korea, we organized reading on combat accounts in Korea in the Northern region", since the American troops in question here were also a Marines unit, the 1st Marine Division.

In fact, after the 8 North Korean division crossed the 38th parallel to invade South Korea, President Truman ordered General McArthus to send American troops in South Korea. General McArthur selected the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade composed of 6,500 Marines to land at Pusan beach, South Korea. After taking over Pusan, McArthur boldly ordered 1st Marine Division to attack the rear of North Korean troops by landing at Inchon, the seaport of Seoul and close to the 38th parallel. Afterwards, end of October, the 1st Marine Division together with other units of NATO bloc advanced to the northern parts close to Red China's border. Here, 1st Marine Division was attacked by 8 Red China division using human waves tactic and pouring down from mountain tops and fierce close combats using bayonets took place. The 1st Marine Division had to withdraw along 78 miles of torturous mountain roads to reach Hungnam seaport, suffering more than 4 thousands casualties and the Marines were pickep by boats to the high sea.

See Brief history of the Marine Corps during the Korean War

After 4 months of rigorous training in close combats with bayonets familiar to the Marines, on August 15, 1965, NVA 304th minus (comprising the command unit and 66th Regiment) received the order to go into operation.

However, on their way along route 599, they were ordered not to proceed to Danang, and to report to B3 battlefront instead as attachment to 32nd and 33rd Regiment that were about to launch the Plâyme campaign, to assume the task to engaging the US 1st Air Cavalry that could be attached to II Corps in Western Highlands. This change in terms of target might be caused by the fact NVA JGS realized the sudden and speedy built up of Americain troops around Danang and Chu Lai areas with 2 Marine Division, the 1st and 3rd, with an effective of more than 20 thousands troops, which rendered quasi impossible to achieve the objective of "attacking the American troops and succeed in defeating at the first strike" with NVA 66th Regiment; and therefore was ordered to go to Western Highlands to impossible to achieve the objective of "attacking the American troops and succeed in defeating at the first strike" instead. A sign which indicated the change in strategy of NVA JGS was the transfer of General Chu Huy Man from Military Region 5 comprising the two provinces of Quang Tri and Tri Thien under the 17th parallel to B3 Battlefront in Western Highlands in August 1965.

Upon learning that they would not attack the Marines but rather would attack the 1st Air Cavalry Division - commencing at cross road number 9 in lower Laos - troops of 66th Regiment discarded their bayonets along the path. General Nguyen Nam Khanh wrote: "a section of cadres and combatants assessed mistakenly that American troops could not be attacked with using close range combat with bayonets, and dismantled and abandoned almost all bayonets along route 559 (from route 9 to B3)."

In writing "American troops", General Nam Khanh undoubtedly meant "US Air Cavalry troops". Route 559 was the Ho Chi Minh trail.

An other indication of the change in NVA JGS's target was the fact 66th Regiment arrived late at the battlefield, when the Plâyme campaign had already started, which meant that the factor of 66th Regiment was not included in the original planning of the campaign. This shows that the NVA JGS did not plan to launch 304th Division in Western Highlands in the beginning of 1965; but even in August 1965, it still sent this division to Danang and aimed at the Marines who were the first US combat troops to enter Vietnam with the intention to "defeat the American troops and to achieve it with the first strike". General Nguyen Nam Khanh wrote:

"End of 9/1965, the forward units of 304th division entered Western Highlands when the Plâyme campaign was about to start. B3 Command (comrade Chu Huy Man, Commander and Political Commissionaire of B3) summoned me and the 304th Division Commander to receive operational order. Comrade Chu Huy Man said: "304th Division is the first full division to enter the Western Highlands. The Plâyme campaign has started, the 304th Division will participate in phase 2 of the campaign, and will constitute the force which will attack directly the US 1st Airmobile Cavalry newly arrived in Vietnam and was on its way up to Western Highlands. I will maneuver to attract troops of the US 1st Cavalry for you to attack. Being the first full division to engage combat with the Americans, you must strike a "demoralizing" coup to the American troops. So that from that point on whenever they saw the main Vietnamese force they would panicked in fear."

Furthermore, the fact of adjusting the tactics in using bayonets indicates that there was a switch in the attack target from the Marines to the Air Cavalry. Troops of 304th Division underwent a retraining in the use of bayonnets, from recruiting soldiers "at the same time well trained, versed and determined" daring to ram into the Marines, to recruiting only 330 soldiers who were quick on their feet to face the Air Cavalry troops: "The use of bayonets in this battle was not to entrust to anybody, but to select highly motivated and determined combatants to defeat the American troops. Then to motivate, to train to the perfect the bayonet tactics, close range combat and light foot, under enemy fire in order to ascertain close contact appropriate to the Americans target that we will face at Ia Drang valley".

Conclusion: Beginning 1965, the initial order imparted to 304th Division was to enter South Vietnam, to the Danang area to attack 9th Marines Brigade and to gain victory at the first battle. But then due to the changing of military situation, in November 1965, the 66th Regiment which constituted 304th Division minus received the order to crush US 1st Air Cavalry: "you must strike a "demoralizing" coup to the American troops”.

Phieu


#806 11 Mar 12, 05:29

Viet Cong Accounts of Plâyme Campaign (4)

The Political Commissar at the First Battle Against the Americans in Central Highlands

Around beginning September 1965, the US 1st Air Cavalry had finished establishing its troops in An Khe, and began launching search and destroy operation in Bong Son (Binh Dinh). In face of this situation, the Politburo and the Military Central Committee ordered the Central Highlands Front to race against the clock to inflict heavy damages to the ARVN, to weaken the pacification efforts, to impede the American troops in their search and destroy mission, and at the same time to rush into readying to attack the American troops and to achieve victory at the first battle. The major effort was to defeat the strategy of the American limited war with our strategy of "speedy attack and speedy resolution".

To implement the above-mentioned objective, the Political Commissar and Central Highlands Front Command launched the dry season campaign of 1965, aiming at destroying an ARVN unit and create an opportunity forcing the Americans troops to intervene in order to destroy an American unit.

In the enlarged meeting of the Party Committee Front, presided by Chu Huy Man - Party Committee Secretary of the Front, concurrently Political Commissar, in defining clearly the task and in planning the campaign, everybody agreed the campaign tactic should be to "put a siege on an outpost in order to destroy the rescue column", first to attack the ARVN troops, then to destroy the Americans, luring the American troops out off their strongholds, entering deep into the treacherous mountainous jungles in order to destroy them. The first issue was that our forces were limited to three regiments; with theses forces the process of encircling the outpost to attack the ARVN rescue column should attain a high combat efficiency (annihilating the ARVN task force) while our troops would sustain low casualties in order to preserve sufficient forces to attack the Americans.

The second issue that everybody was concerned was the time gap between the moments the ARVN troops were annihilated and the Americans jumped in to rescue them. Would our forces that attacked the ARVN troops have enough mobility time to be at the anticipated location to meet and attack the American troops? And the last issue was the attack method and the success norm in terms of destroying the American troops. A consensus was reached concerning the two first issues. As for the third one (success norm in terms of destroying the American troops), there were different opinions. Some noted that, in the past history of American coming to the rescue of Korea, the Red Army troops had succeeded in destroying a whole American battalion in any one battle. Some said that in the Nui Thanh battle, we had only one battalion minus and yet were able to destroy two American companies. The discussion carried on for a long while; finally comrade Party's Secretary concluded: "The targets of this campaign are to destroy the ARVN task force and to destroy an entire two American companies. Although I set the success norms as such, I propose that you all continue to ponder further and to study in depth how to deploy our troops to attack the Americans, especially in regard to counter the "frog hopping tactic" of the enemy. The important issue is to build up the resolve to attack the American in our troops. It is imperative that measures be taken to ensure that each one of our troops and cadres must thoroughly grasp the concept of this campaign." Another important issue comrade Secretary reminded the general staff of the battlefield in his direction was to ensure that the troops were mindful in building solid fortifications, clever camouflages, rapid deployment, when in assault keeping tight formations, maintaining close combats et attacking deep, coordination between infantry, mechanized and anti-aircraft units.

That night, Chu Huy Man called me (Front Political Chief) in to work with him. After listening to my report, he said: "We have the political upper hand, and the morale is high in each of our cadres and troops. What remains to be done is how to develop that advantage. That is why I called you in, so that we can discuss together." That night, Chu Huy Man and I worked until one a.m. He suggested several ideas to our battlefield political unit: "Build up resolve in troops, develop the combat leadership role of cadres and party's members, build up confidence among the population, develop military democracy in order to develop creativity among us…"

Beginning of October 1965, the Central Highlands Front Command received a telegram: The Central Military Committee and the Joint General Staff approve the resolution and planning of Plâyme campaign. The Party Committee Front met to study these directives. When the meeting was over, Chu Huy Man lead a group of cadres to inspect the battlefield at the siege area of Plâyme and the enemy defense to decide on the process to follow in set up a siege of the outpost. He further conducted an inspection of the area where the ambush would be set up to attack the enemy relief column when we put a threatening pressure on the outpost. After Chu Huy Man's group returned from the inspection mission, the Front Command completed the tactic planning of the campaign. With the available forces, it was imperative to achieve two most fundamental issues: one was to inflict a heavy damage to the ARVN mechanized forces in order to weaken pacification position of the enemy; and two was to make speedy preparation to crush the American troops, to contribute in the efforts of defeating the strategy of quick attack and quick resolution of the "limited war" of the American.

In the 1st phase of the campaign of encircling the outpost and destroying the relief column, we achieved great victory: destroying the 3rd task force and one battalion, one enemy infantry company, destroying, damaging 89 military vehicles, downing many airplanes.

Beginning November 1965, the Front Party Committee opened an enlarged meeting, presided by Chu Huy Man. The meeting assessed the outcome of the 1st phase of the campaign, and unanimously declared that: The fundamental task entrusted to the 1st phase was to thwart the intention of liberating the outpost by air force, compelling the enemy to dispatch an ARVN relief column by land to be destroyed by us was successful.

When it came to discuss the coming scheme and subterfuge of the enemy, the meeting affirmed: We must be ready to face the enemy counter-attack.

The Party Committee in the meeting also defined the 2nd phase of the campaign as following: to destroy an enemy unit, an entire set of 4 to 5 American companies, to down 20 to 25 airplanes, to defeat the American "helicopter warfare" and "frog hopping" tactics. To lure a unit of American troops and the ARVN reserved force toward Central Highlands, forcing them to stretch out thin in order to attack and to create favorable conditions for different battlefields to defeat the counter-attack of the first enemy dry season. The meeting also defined the tactical directives and approved the plan presented by the general staff. One issue the Party Committee considered as very important was that our troops should thoroughly grasp while engaging the US 1st Air Cavalry was to strike at its air and artillery firepower, in particular firepower from helicopter gunships. Since we had only few 12,7 mm weapons, we must make full use of all types of infantry weapons to shoot at the enemy airplanes, by organizing groups of anti-aircraft firepower composed of rifles, semi-automatic weapons coming from troops of the main forces, troops of the local forces and local guerilla forces.

During that time, the food supply was very difficult, the danger of hunger in the campaign was inevitable if there was no supplies coming from above et from local surrounding areas. In that situation, Chu Huy Man had to go to Darlac, a populated and richest province in Central Highlands and nearby the battlefront to request that the province mobilize the population to contribute and transport food to serve the campaign. Before going to Darlac, Chu Huy Man called in Nguyen Huu An and I to entrust the establishment of the forward command post of the battlefront in order to command the 33rd, 66th, 320th regiments in organizing to attack the American troops. After analyzing the meaning of this battle, Chu Huy Man said: "I just received the order of the Central Military Committee entrusting to our Central Highlands armed forces to create an opportunity to ensure the annihilation of one or two American battalions in this campaign. Therefore the task of destroying a whole battalion sized American troops is a historical task that our Party, our army, our people entrust to the armed force and people of Central Highlands. In order to achieve this task, you must ensure that our cadres and troops that participate in this battle realize the imperativeness of this historical task, so that they heighten the revolutionary spirit, the valor and aggressiveness in seeking out the American to attack, once engaged to destroy them. You must fight against right wing, negative thinking, which translates into avoiding to be aggressive, facing difficulties, accomplishment mission. In particular, the command attitude and leadership of the cadres, especially of the political units, must penetrate deep and stay close to the troops, and provide moral support to the troops in difficult and critical situations."

When came the time to leave, Chu Huy Man held tight An's hand and mine, and said: "Our combatants' blood and bones and lives are priceless, but if it necessary, they must be sacrificed to gain victory. In this battle, even if we must exchange one for one, we must fight to win. We must destroy an entire American battalion, do you understand me? I repeat, even if we must exchange one for one, we must fight to win, but you are allow to do so only in this battle."

The Ia Drang battle ended with a victory: approximately 400 soldiers of 1st Battalion, 7th Regiment and one company of 2nd Battalion, 45th Regiment, 3rd Air Cavalry, only two dozens survivors reached their base camp.

After the victory of Plâyme-Ia Drang, due to the fact the troops had to fight immediately, continuously and fiercely upon arrival at the battleground after a long forced march from the north, our casualties were relatively high, each company was reduced to half. Furthermore, the bad conditions in scarcity of food, mosquitoes' ravage, causing malaria, even acute fever, in number of sick soldiers outnumbering by far the number of wounded soldiers in regimental hospitals, were the causes of lack of internal discipline, troops' lethargy, deterioration in people related behaviors, even reprehensible acts in most units.

Facing this situation, the Front's Party Committee decided to embark on an overhaul of the entire troops. The first effort was to strengthen the combat resolve, the aggressiveness, and the determination to fight the Americans to the end.

For that, the Party Committee and the Central Highlands Front Command organized a session of political indoctrination for the cadres of high and intermediary levels. In this session, cadres were allowed to express freely their inner thoughts. Through sharing, cadres of intermediary and high levels must exercise self-criticism and criticism, each person drew up two sheets of self-examinations, one spelling out clearly positive points and one laying out thoughts and actions contrary to the tradition and the revolutionary nature of the Party and of our army.

This was a serious and profound political activity, an unyielding ideological struggle between in one side, the revolutionary idea of attacking, of defeating the Americans until the final victory, and in the other side, the idea of dreading challenges, sacrifices, wavering, faltering in combat resolve.

On the day that concluded the political indoctrination session, Chu Huy Man held the two sets of papers and said: "These are your lists of self-examination. Keep the positive ones in order to enhance long lasting combat activities, and here are the reports of shortcomings, I had read and saw that you had self-criticized dutifully your political responsibility before the Party. I declare that these reports on shortcomings should be burned."

Waiting for the last papers to be burned into ashes, comrade Front's Political Commissar invited the political chiefs of 33rd, 66th and 320th regiments to advance and he presented to each comrade a piece of string to tie American prisoners under the clamoring applause that resonated the entire jungle.

With all that tranquility, the entire Front stepped into a new episode of combat.

General Dang Vu Hiep
(People's Army Journal, July 04, 2006)

Phieu


#807 12 Mar 12, 04:48

Sidebar: Comments on General Dang Vu Hiep's Account

General Hiep's account can be used as a typical example of a communist document colored with a coat of hagiography.

1. While various communist documents had recognized that the siege set at Plâyme outpost and the ambush established to destroy the ARVN relief column in order to lure the American troops in the battle had failed due to heavy casualties caused by American artillery and air supports and had to withdraw troops toward the Chu Prong areas, General Hiep wrote:

In the 1st phase of the campaign of encircling the outpost and destroying the relief column, we achieved great victory: destroying the 3rd task force and one battalion, one enemy infantry company, destroying, damaging 89 military vehicles, downing many airplanes.

Beginning November 1965, the Front Party Committee opened an enlarged meeting, presided by Chu Huy Man. The meeting assessed the outcome of the 1st phase of the campaign, and unanimously declared that: The fundamental task entrusted to the 1st phase was to thwart the intention of liberating the outpost by air force, compelling the enemy to dispatch an ARVN relief column by land to be destroyed by us was successful.

2. Furthermore, General Dang Vu Hiep wrote that the B3 Front was ready, after the battle of Plâyme, for the American counter-offensive to defeating its new "helicopter warfare" and "frog hopping" tactics. While the US 1st Air Cavalry Division's troops had just set their foot in the Central Highlands - which was the reason the B3 Front decided to attack the Americans earlier than planned when they were still unprepared, causing the NVA 66th Regiment to arrive late at the battleground - and did not yet have to opportunity to make use of the newly trained "frog hopping" tactic on the battlefield and while the other American combat units - Marine, 173rd Airborne Brigade, 1/101 Airborne Brigade - did not know and did not have the means to use that tactic, it is hard to believe that the B3 Field Front Command already knew how to face this untested American tactic.

3. After the fierce battle at Ia Drang Valley ended, although General Hieu did not claim like some communist documents that despite the fact troops of the NVA 66th Regiment endured a forced march lasting two long months and had not finish letting down their backpacks and yet had to immediately engaged in combat with the American troops, still maintained a high level of moral, he admitted that cadres' and rank and file troops' moral were low, and had disciplinary behavior problems; nevertheless he did not attribute it to the defeat syndrome but rather to other reasons:

After the victory of Plâyme-Ia Drang, due to the fact the troops had to fight immediately, continuously and fiercely upon arrival at the battleground after a long forced march from the north, our casualties were relatively high, each company was reduced to half. Furthermore, the bad conditions in scarcity of food, mosquitoes' ravage, causing malaria, even acute fever, in number of sick soldiers outnumbering by far the number of wounded soldiers in regimental hospitals, were the causes of lack of internal discipline, troops' lethargy, deterioration in people related behaviors, even reprehensible acts in most units.

4. In order to redress the troops' spirit, General Hiep wrote:

The Party Committee and the Central Highlands Front Command organized a session of political indoctrination for the cadres of high and intermediary levels. In this session, cadres were allowed to express freely their inner thoughts. Through sharing, cadres of intermediary and high levels must exercise self-criticism and criticism, each person drew up two sheets of self-examinations, one spelling out clearly positive points and one laying out thoughts and actions contrary to the tradition and the revolutionary nature of the Party and of our army.

This was a serious and profound political activity, an unyielding ideological struggle between in one side, the revolutionary idea of attacking, of defeating the Americans until the final victory, and in the other side, the idea of dreading challenges, sacrifices, wavering, faltering in combat resolve.

On the day that concluded the political indoctrination session, Chu Huy Man held the two sets of papers and said: "These are your lists of self-examination. Keep the positive ones in order to enhance long lasting combat activities, and here are the reports of shortcomings, I had read and saw that you had self-criticized dutifully your political responsibility before the Party. I declare that these reports on shortcomings should be burned."

Waiting for the last papers to be burned into ashes, comrade Front's Political Commissar invited the 33rd, 66th and 320th regiments to advance and he presented to each comrade a piece of string to tie American prisoners in the clamoring applause that resonated the entire jungle.

It was for General Chu Huy Man's function as a commander to act as such in order to restore the combat resolve in his troops. But when writing about the battle of Plâyme-IaDrang, the communist authors and historians, by discarding the negative list and retaining solely the positive list, they had produced accounts colored by a coat of hagiography.

Phieu


#808 13 Mar 12, 05:21

Viet Cong Accounts of Plâyme Campaign (5)

First Engagement With American Troops at Plâyme-Iadrang

When the Americans settled down in An Khe 33rd Regiment (Following the battle Dak Sut, 101st Regiment went to B2 Front; 33rd Regiment recently infiltrated the South and took the name of 101B) was encircling Plâyme camp in order to lure in the relief force of the enemy.

Plâyme was an isolated outpost manned by a company at a strategic location; at the north was Route 19B with Duc Co at one end and the east side of Pleiku City; at the east was Route 14 from Pleiku down to the District of Phu Nhon leading to Ban Me Thuot.

Based on the terrain configuration and the enemy status at that moment, we anticipated with almost certainty the enemy would dispatch troops to relieve Plâyme. In fact, it was only after a 10 day siege of Plâyme that one enemy relief task force entered our ambush site, and was heavily beaten by our 320th Regiment, and yet failed in relieving Plâyme.

After the attack, 33rd Regiment retreated back to its base located at 20 kilometers to the west of Plâyme.

The actions of 33rd and 320th at Plâyme became a threat to Route 14. The enemy II Corps Command was unable to gather a force to relieve Plâyme, forcing the American troops to intervene.

During those days, the sky over Central Highlands was filled with the sounds of bombs and guns relentlessly days and nights. The US 1st Air Cavalry was aggressively implementing its "search and destroy" strategy. They dropped one battalion in the south side of Iadrang, another one at the steps of high point 732, five kilometers from Ia Meur river, while one cavalry brigade operated to Duc Co along Route 19.

Brother Chu Huy Man, Commander, brother Dang Vu Hiep, Political Commissar and I at the headquarters were making arrangements to prepare for a second phase of action against a target near Plâyme. Upon receiving news from all directions reporting that the Americans had inserted troops, we issued an order to delay the attack of Chu Ho.

Our B3 Command held an emergency meeting to assess the situation and set a new course of action. The consensus of the meeting was that US 3rd Air Cavalry applied the "frog leap" tactic into our rear bases in order to destroy our main force. We lure to destroy the enemy, the Americans took the initiative to jump in, which fitted our intention, giving us to switch our action in destroying the Americans. We tried to lure the enemy to the southwest of Central Highlands in order to coordinate with the battlefront of Military Region 5 and with others battlefronts. The objective for this phase of operation was to destroy completely from one to two ARVN battalions and one to two US companies.

Our tactical concept (since we have not yet mastered the enemy activities): we must start fighting and destroy completely one small units, and shoot down many enemy airplanes. The troop distribution was configured in depth, if the enemy penetrate deep we would encircle and destroy them. We attack airborne as well as ground troops.

The atmosphere in the meeting as well as all units of B3 Front headquarters was filled with pride and confidence: we are going to engage directly with American troops on different battlegrounds; following a few battles, we will gain experiences, and defeat the US units like we had done with the ARVN units.

The learning of the news that the Americans were pouring their troops into the battlefield raised many concerns, in particular the question of "how to fight the Americans?" All the cadres in the Central Highlands focused on finding out "how to fight the Americans" and did not experienced any fear at all. That was why the simple directive of Commander Chu Huy Man: "Since we do not yet have any experience combating the Americans, then our resolve is to learn while fighting. Just fight and we will find out" was accepted without objections by the entire ranks and files in the Central Highlands.

I remember vividly that historical meeting (11-13-1965). It was wrapped up in two hours. The audience was effervescent with a bombardment of ideas. Toward the very last minutes, an idea was formulated: "just fight, when the enemy regroups, when he moves, when he piles up; we will gain more experiences with each new fight; everlasting discussion is a waste of time".

I and Dang Vu Hiep were assigned to the forward command post to command directly the 320th, 66th and 33rd (101B) into combat. The personnel in the light forward command post comprised a recon company, an engineer company, a signal squad and a few general staff officers... totaling over thirty men. In the morning of November 14, we advanced toward Chu Pong massif. On the trails lied many muddy spots, a result of a pouring rain that occurred a couple of days ago.

From times to times we encountered a few combatants from transport, logistic and medivac units going toward the opposite direction or coming out from the jungles; we asked them questions and learned a few more concrete information.

On November 10, the American troops closed in at Bau Can.

On November 11, 952nd Battalion attacked the Americans at Bau Can, destroying 10 helicopters and inflicted 200 enemy casualties.

On November 14, 1st Battalion 3rd Brigade Cav landed at 3 kilometers northeast Chu Pong, 200 meters from the location of our 9th Battalion 66th Regiment. On the same day, they inserted two battalions minus one company, one artillery company at 2 kilometers southwest Quynh-co-la, and established an artillery base on Route 19.

By noon, we paused on the south side edge of Chu Pong mountain. I was standing leaning on a cane and was studying the surrounding terrain and not paying attention to anything else, when suddenly Dong Thoai lied down and pulled my foot. At that moment, a string of bomb exploded running pass our location.

I said jokingly to Dong Thoai:

- Standing up or lying down at this location, you are merely at the mercy of luck.

My eyes followed the clouds of gray smokes what were dissipating, leaving a long trail along the mountain edge, with trees spilled all over. Way back when I was up in the North, I had read may documents pertaining to the American military machinery. And now, I saw it with my own eyes and was facing it. One B.52 transported 25 tons of bombs. Just for today, they used 24 planes taking turn circling over this Chu Pong area. I mulled about our new combat opponent which was an army equipped with powerful and extremely modern armaments, facing an army "undernourished" and poorly equipped. It was then understandable that this situation lead to a subjective view that think the "The Viet Cong's backbones will be broken in no time" and to the current troop buildup aiming at defeating our main forces in Central Highlands. I gave order to stop in the area recently bombed by the B.52 to assess the enemy, to assess our troops and to direct the battle.

Only later that day did I meet the officer that commanded the 66th Regiment - La Ngoc Chau, the regimental political officer. Chau revealed that the regimental formation had been dismantled by the enemy, and he had lost communication and was only in control of 7th Battalion and the enemy situation close to this battalion.

The information provided by political officer Chau coupled with reports from recon teams, allowed us to identify the enemy confronting our 7th Battalion was US 1st Battalion minus belonging to 3rd Air Cavalry Brigade. I and Dang Vu Hiep, as commanders of the forward command post, after a brief consultation, decided to use 7th Battalion to swiftly attack US 1st Battalion.

After listening to my directives, Chau reported:

- We lack time, I will be able to control the enemy position, but how can I relay the plan to our troops in time to organize a night attack.

I said:

- While advancing to the staging area, tell your company officers to walk by your sides, and while marching explain to them their tasks and plans of attack to the company and battalion commanders; upon closing in the assembling area, leave the troops behind, have the rest of company and battalion commanders spread out in recon and coordination missions at the battleground. The enemy had just landed and their feet still wet, our immediate attack had the advantage of the element of surprise.

7th Battalion had opened fire to attack the enemy since 5:30 a.m November 15. During the first 15 minutes, the enemy was in disarray but then fought back fiercely. We heard clearly the sounds of machine guns and grenades. Up in the sky, days and nights, airplanes of all types roared incessantly. Now and then the sounds of bombs muted all other sounds. C.130 planes circled the sky at nights and dropped illuminated rockets and one could clearly see each individual grass on the foot paths. One combatant said jokingly: "The Americans are quite nice, they are showing the way to us with torch lights." The atmosphere on the battlefield was extremely suffocating like burner overheated to the brim. Everybody's head and body, even sitting still, were stretched out like musical instrument's strings.

(to be continued)

General Nguyen Huu An
Chien Truong Moi - Memoir
Quan Doi Nhan Dan Publishing House
Hanoi - 2002

Phieu


#809 14 Mar 12, 05:38

Viet Cong Accounts of Plâyme Campaign (5)

(continued)

7th Battalion continued its attack against the enemy. Around 12:00 p.m., enemy airplanes flew in to attack and drop napalm bombs even on top of American positions (In October 1993 when returning to the valley of deaths, Lieutenant General Harold Moore pointed out to me the spot where he and his infantry battalion were hit by two napalm bombs and the scene of American soldiers lit up like living torches running and screaming). 7th Battalion maintained behind a company with the task of preventing the enemy to withdraw or to move to another location. The rest of the battalion temporary retreated back to the arrears to regroup.

After a long while of shootings, the enemy landed down one more company of 1st Battalion.

At the forward command post, we grasped a better control of the situation at this moment. 66th Regiment reported back: 9th Battalion was able to establish communication with 7th Battalion. Thus, the balance of forces in this narrow area was two battalions for each side, with the American side higher in troop numbers, not counting two artillery companies and air force enforcements.

On the night of 15 October, I gave order to political chef La Ngoc Chau (the regiment commander who got lost had not found his way back to his unit) to rapidly regroup his forces in order to attack at LZ X-Ray in the morning of 16 October. At the same moment, I dispatched Dong Thoai, of tactical support, to get into contact with 33rd Regiment; whichever battalion he encountered on his way, he was to assign it to attack the two artillery firebase at Quynh-co-la in coordination with 66th Regiment.

Simultaneously, I have a recon team carry out the order to 8th Battalion, 66th Regiment to turn back to the earlier position, ready to attack the enemy who was advancing toward the direction of 8th Battalion.

7th Battalion opened fire around 3:00 a.m. of November 17. After a few minutes of fierce combat, it struck accurately at US 1st Battalion and inflicted heavy damages to company A and company B. 1st Battalion, 33rd Regiment got lost on its way and could not attack the artillery firebase as planned. Seeing that 1st Battalion was on the brink of being overrun, 3rd Air Cavalry Brigade ordered to the remaining of the troops to march toward the direction of Ia Meur and to regroup near the artillery firebase awaiting further instruction.

I ordered to the units (1st Battalion, 33rd Regiment), in order not to get lost, to attack the enemy continuously day and night; each time they encountered the enemy, they must immediately organize a close combat.

By noon of November 17, 8th Battalion, 66th Regiment who had received the order to return back to the previous position, while pausing for lunch along Ia Drang river, was alerted by the recon scouts that "the American troops are approaching". Le Xuan Phoi, the battalion commander, calmly set his troops into an ambush formation which would entrapped the enemy troops between two hands of a pliers. After using the mortar fire to put pressure against the enemy formation, our troops valiantly gave assaults to cut through the enemy lines and initiated a hand to hand combat with the enemy. This time, the two sides intertwined to the point only small firearms, bayonets and grenades could be use in combat.

(. . .)

At my order, 33rd Regiment dispatched one battalion back toward the direction of Chu Pong. While on its way back, 1st Battalion, 33rd Regiment heard gun shots in front of it, and knew for sure our troops were attacking the enemy, and hurried up to reach the conflict location. Upon approaching the enemy, one company of 1st Battalion encountered enemy combatants retreating toward Chu Pong. And so, two units combined their force to attack the American battalion from behind. The coordinated maneuvering of the two battalions threw the American troops into disarray and were destroyed rapidly by our troops.

The fighting lasted from 2:00 p.m November 17 through 8:00 p.m November 18. According to reporter Galloway who accompanied the two 1st and 2nd Battalions of 3rd Air Cavalry Brigade, 2nd Battalion suffered 155 KIA, 125 WIA and 5 MIA. Thus, in 3 hours of fighting, 2nd Battalion lost 285 men out of 400, although this figure was far from the truth. Even General Westmoreland had to admit that this was a very serious loss.

On November 18, the enemy hastened to insert troops at various locations aiming at reducing the threat on 2nd Battalion Cav that was on the verge of being annihilated.

At Quyn-co-la, the enemy inserted more troops with 3rd Battalion and 2 artillery companies.

Two ARVN airborne regiments belonging to the general reserve force were dispatched in a hurry from Saigon together with one American battalion traveling by trucks then marching toward southeast of Duc Co situated on northern side of Chu Pong in order to provide support at the rear while creating a diversionary pressure to reassure the American troops. It was unfortunate that 320th Regiment could only caused light damages and did not destroy any American battalion at that direction.

On November 19, dozens of airplanes strafed and bombed around Columbus for a long while, then the entire troops were helilifted back to Bau Can. The first operation of American troops in Central Highlands had come to a tragic end.

The final result we obtained was a victory far outreached than what we had visualized in the beginning, about 1,200 American casualties; we annihilated 1st and 2nd Battalions of 3rd Air Cavalry, damaged heavily 3rd Battalion and some companies, shot down 26 airplanes and captured a great amount of weapons and ammunition.

The battle at Ia drang had sent a shockwave to the entire United States, signaling an unavoidable failure of the American expeditionary army.

Airplanes were flying over our heads nonstop for five six consecutive nights, and bombs and gun fires exploded relentlessly. Furthermore, we had to cope with all kind of emergencies. Nobody at the forward command post could close their eyes for than a couple of hours. From commanders to first class soldiers, everybody had to work to his utmost ability: recon teams shadowed the enemy, general staff personnel went down to combat units to organize joint operations, signal personnel had to volunteer going out to hook up with units lacking communication equipment ... Nothing was as stressful as in the case of officers who were dispatched to establish contact with 8th Battalion got lost with no news; or the news from 33rd Regiment reporting 1st Battalion that was sent out to attack an artillery firebase got lost, while four enemy artillery firebases free-handedly pounded at our positions... Despite all theses tensions and complications, our forward command post was still able to control all units.

B3 Front Command maintained close communication with our forward command post by radio. Knowing that we were in control of both 66th and 33th Regiments, our superiors were reassured, and continuously remind us of the importance of the battle and that we had to make effort to win it.

When he marched out to the battlefield this time, from the highest commander to the lowest ranking soldier, everybody carried with him the question "How to fight against the Americans?" and each one was trying to find our the answer for himself. When Chu Huy Man met some combatants coming back from the battle, he asked:

- What did you find special in fighting against the Americans?

The soldiers did not recognized their commanding general because he did not wear his stars and nobody had introduced him to them. And they expressed themselves care freely. One combatant said:

- Fighting against the Americans was as easy as fighting the Arvins, but, damn it, they have so many airplanes, so many bombs, so many artillery tubes, their firepower won't stop, causing unbearable headaches.

Overall, both battles had been conducted satisfactory, with 66th Regiment outstanding. In this Regiment, 7th and 8th Battalions performed their tasks very well. Both battalions sprung into immediate action when they encountered the enemy, fighting using mobility to attack and shooting down airplanes. The officers were extremely resourceful; La Ngoc Chau, a competent political officer, had commanded the unit like a real regimental commander, in a battle which did not have an opening for preparation, giving out tactical orders while on the move.

While thinking about how to fight the Americans, we found the candid answer given by the combatants made some sense; if we temporary set aside the part of "overwhelming firepower", fighting the Americans did not differ by much from fighting the Arvins. As we had defeat the Arvins we will equally defeat the Americans.

From the first battle against the Americans to much later after that, we maintain the same assessment: by relying on the strength of their technology, the Americans become subjective; high tech equipment and subjectivity influence their tactics and combat activities. By thinking deep on this tenet will allow us to obtain way to neutralize the strength and to exploit the weakness of the Americans, which leads us to victory.

This does not mean that "it's easy to fight the Americans" as some of our fellows said. The Americans are pragmatic. They know how to learn quickly from experience and possess modern means to effect changes in a situation. They are also wise and clever, at times they can revert a bad situation into a good one to their advantage. Nevertheless, they still are not able to overcome their subjectivity in assessing the enemy.

General Nguyen Huu An
Chien Truong Moi - Memoir
Quan Doi Nhan Dan Publishing House
Hanoi - 2002

Phieu


#810 15 Mar 12, 03:47

Pribblenow's Account of Iadrang Battle

The Fog of War: The Vietnamese View of the Ia Drang Battle

For the past 35 years the US Army and the North Vietnamese have claimed victory in the October to November 1965 Ia Drang Valley Battle. While the United States side of the battle has been extensively documented, the Vietnamese version has remained obscure.

Although heavily colored by communist hagiography and propaganda, recently published People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) accounts provide answers to many questions and acknowledge a number of North Vietnamese Army (NVA) mistakes and command failures. When added to information from US sources, these accounts reveal how greatly the fog of war, over optimism and blind fate influenced the battle.

The B3 Front Plan

According to PAVN, the Ia Drang Battle grew out of the B3 (Central Highlands) Front's plan to lure US and South Vietnamese forces into battle on terms favorable to the communists. The plan included besieging the remote Plei Me border outpost south of Pleiku in South Vietnam's Central Highlands and forcing US and South Vietnamese forces to come to the rescue. The goal was to annihilate five or six US companies.1

The NVA 320th and 33d Regiments were to launch the campaign, but one of the NVA's finest units, the 304th Division would reinforce the B3 Front. In August 1965 the 304th received orders to move south to the Central Highlands. The 304th's lead element, the 66th Regiment, was scheduled to arrive in time for the campaign's final phase.2

Aware they could not match newly arrived US forces. power, NVA commanders knew their strategy was risky. During political indoctrination sessions before the campaign began, 320th Regiment troops expressed serious doubts.3 (

full article)

Phieu


#811 19 Mr 12, 04:25

Pribblenow's Account of Iadrang Battle

... from the Viet Cong (North Vietnamese Communist)'s Perspective.

Besides the five Viet Cong accounts of the Plâyme Campaign by

- General Hoang Phuong,

- Toan and Dinh,

- General Nguyen Nam Khanh,

- General Vu Duc Hiep

- and General Nguyen Huu An that I have translated and posted in this forum, Pribblenow's Vietnamese references also include

- Mai Hong Linh, "A Number of Issues Relating to Party and Political Activities During the Plei Me Campaign-1965,"

- Military History Institute and 3rd Corps, The Plei Me Offensive Campaign-1965

- Pham Vinh Phuc, "Special Characteristics of U.S. Helicopter Assault Landing Tactics During the Plei Me Campaign,"

- and MG Tran Ngoc Son, "A Few Thoughts on the Lessons of the Plei Me Campaign,".

Pribblenow's American references include only two sources

- J.D. Coleman, Pleiku: The Dawn of Helicopter Warfare in Vietnam, (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1988),

- Hal Moore and Joseph Galloway, We Were Soldiers Once . . . And Young (New York: Harper-Collins,1993).

It appeared that Pribblenow failed to consult the other major primary sources, namely

- General Harry Kinnard, Pleiku Campaign, 1st Air Cavalry Division Headquarters, March 4, 1966.

- G3 Journal, I Field Force Vietnam, October 1965.

- General Norman Schwarzkopf, It Doesn't Take A Hero, Bantam, 1992.

- General Vinh Loc, Why Pleime, Information Printing Office, Saigon, September 1966.

- 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.

- Thię́u Tướng Vĩnh Lộc, Pleime, Trận Chię́n Lịch Sử, Huỳnh Quang Tięn Printing Shop, June 1966.

Consequently, his account is not as exhaustive as the account I have presented in this forum. His mainly addresses to the what, and not the who, the why, and the how.

Phieu


#812 17 Mar 12, 05:41

American Perspective of Pleime Battle

- Ground Combat Operations - Vietnam 1965 - 1972

Silver Bayonet - 23 Oct-20 Nov 65 - 29 days - 5 Bns - 1st Cavalry Division - operation in Ia Drang Valley of Pleiku Province - VC/NVA KIA 1,771 - US KIA 240

- 1st US Cavalry's Website - Vietnam War

On 10 October 1965, in Operation "Shiny Bayonet", the First Team initiated their first brigade-size airmobile action against the enemy. The air assault task force consisted of the 1st and 2nd Battalions 7th Cavalry, 1st Squadron 9th Cavalry, 1st Battalion 12th Cavalry and the 1st Battalion 21st Artillery. Rather than standing and fighting, the Viet Cong chose to disperse and slip away. Only light contact was achieved. The troopers had but a short wait before they faced a tougher test of their fighting skills; the 35-day Pleiku Campaign.

On 23 October 1965, the first real combat test came at the historic order of General Westmoreland to send the First Team into an air assault mission to pursue and fight the enemy across 2,500 square miles of jungle. Troopers of the 1st Brigade and 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry swooped down on the NVA 33rd regiment before it could get away from Plei Me. The enemy regiment was scattered in the confusion and was quickly smashed.

On 09 November, the 3rd Brigade joined the fighting. Five days later, on 14 November, the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, reinforced by elements of the 2nd Battalion, air assaulted into the Ia Drang Valley near the Chu Prong Massif. Landing Zone (LZ) X-Ray was "hot" from the start. At LZ X-Ray, the Division's first Medal of Honor in the Vietnam War was awarded to [2nd Lt. Walter J. Marm of the 1st Battalion 7th Cavalry. On 16 November, the remainder of the 2nd Battalion relieved the 1st Battalion at LZ X-Ray, who moved on to set up blocking positions at LZ Albany. The fighting, the most intensive combat in the history of the division, from bayonets, used in hand-to-hand combat, to artillery and tactical air support, including B-52 bombing attacks in the areas of the Chu Pong Mountains, dragged on for three days. With the help of reinforcements and overwhelming firepower, the 1st and 2nd Battalions forced the North Vietnamese to withdraw into Cambodia.

When the Pleiku Campaign ended on 25 November, troopers of the First Team had paid a heavy price for its success, having lost some 300 troopers killed in action, half of them in the disastrous ambush of the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry, at LZ Albany. The troopers destroyed two of three regiments of a North Vietnamese Division, earning the first Presidential Unit Citation given to a division in Vietnam. The enemy had been given their first major defeat and their carefully laid plans for conquest had been torn apart.

The 1st Cavalry Division returned to its original base of operations at An Khe on Highway 19.

- LZ X-Ray

Prelude

In late October '65, a large North Vietnamese force attacked the Plei Me Special Forces Camp. Troops of the 1st Brigade of the 1st Cavalry were sent into the battle. After the enemy was repulsed in early November, the 3rd Brigade replaced the 1st Brigade. After three days of patrolling without any contact, Hal Moore's 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry was ordered to air assault into the Ia Drang Valley on Nov 14, his mission: Find and kill the enemy!

At 10:48 AM, on November 14th, Moore was the first man out of the lead chopper to hit the landing zone, firing his M16 rifle. Little did Moore and his men suspect that FATE had sent them into the first major battle of the Vietnam War between the American Army and the People's Army of Vietnam - Regulars - and into history.

Lessons Learned

Do you see the ARVN units mentioned in all these three excerpts? This is a typical example of how the ARVN is treated by the majority of American authors when they write about the Vietnam War. No wonder why the American public has so low an opinion about the ARVN units even to these days.

Phieu


#813 18 Mar 12, 07:39

Viet Cong’s Perspective of Pleime Battle

At the Conference on Pleiku/Ia Drang Campaigns organized by the Vietnam Center in Washington on 11/12/2005, the Viet Cong were invited to participate and General Nguyen Van Uoc of the NVA appeared as a special guest speaker. He presented the viewpoint of the NVA about the Pleime Campaign and stated that the main objective of the Pleime Battle was to attract the American troops to the Ia Drang Valley where a trap was awaiting them. He backep up his assertion with a printed document (The 1965 Pleime Attack, The People's Army Military Institute and III Corps, Hanoi: The People's Army Publishing House, 1993):

Early October 1965, based on assessment of enemy status and our preparation readiness, the campaign Command had decided to assign tasks to the units as following: the target and area to destroy the enemy was camp Chu Ho, siege set on Pleime camp, ambush to destroy the rescue column established on route 21 (from Hill 538 to Hill Blu). The area where our troops would attack the Americans would be the Ia Drang valley.

[…]

Regarding the plan, the campaign was divided in 3 phases: Phase 1. Encircle Pleime camp, destroy the ARVN rescue column; phase 2. Continue to encircle Pleime camp, forcing American troops to get involved; phase 3. Concentrate forces aiming at attacking an American major force and destroy it and end the campaign.

If that was true, then the VC tacticians were real genius. The well designed plan involving a division sized battle to attack a base camp with three regiments (32nd, 33rd and 66th), would require at least two or three months of studies. The Pleime Battle, according to this VC document, began on October 19, while the ship Rose that transported the first units of the US 1st Air Cavalry Division arrived at Qui Nhon port by mid-September, and these units went up to An Khe to start clearing the jungle in order to settle down in tents. It is hard to imagine the VC would have anticipated and taken into account the American troops of the US 1st Air Cavalry Division element in the planning of the Pleime attack months ahead.

On the other hand, the Viet Cong claimed to use the tactic of feigning to attack an outpost in order to destroy the relief column to attract the American troops. But in reality, the American troops that went in the Ia Drang Valley did not do so to rescue anybody and furthermore, the Viet Cong were caught by surprise, rather than were in a ready posture, since its battalion commander was not present with his attacked unit.

While the enemy attacked our 9th battalion, its battalion commander had not returned from a regiment meeting, the executive officer commanded our troops at the battalion level to fight against the enemy and requested reinforcement from the 13th company. Although taken by surprise, our troops fought with courage.

The VC document continues:

The victory of Pleime campaign […] has left many significant lessons learned in terms of the military art.

First of all is the art of accurate prediction of the combat opponent. When the American troops entered the South, the direct combat was an inevitable thing. However, at this period in time (October 1965), our knowledge regarding the Americans was very limited. The personnel organization, the art of combat; the capabilities of the American troops were still question marks to us. In order to verify this, since the American troops were present in the Highlands, we opened the campaign to attack Pleime. Our purpose was to fight and study hand in hand in order to complement our initial assessments. The reality had shown that our predictions were correct.

It is ludicrous for the Viet Cong to claim they attacked Pleime to lure the 1st Air Cavalry into Ia Drang Valley which was 40 miles away … and planned for that attack in the beginning of 1965 while the 1st Air Cav only came into existence in June 1965.

Phieu


#814 19 Mar 12, 05:49

The Historical Truth about Iadrang Valley Battle

Both various American's and Viet Cong's perpectives of the Iadrang Valley Battle are inaccurate.

In fact, the Iadrang Valley Battle was the second battle in the trilogy of battles in the Pleime Campaign: Pleime-Chupong-Iadrang.

The Pleime Campaign was the reaction to the Viet Cong Plâyme Campaign and comprised two phases: phase 1, the relief of the besieged Pleime Camp; phase 2, the counter-offensive into the Chupong-Iadrang complex.

The counter-offensive into the Chupong-Iadrang complex comprised four phases:

- phase 1, herding the scattered enemy toward Chupong with All the Way operation conducted by the 1st Air Cav Brigade;

- phase 2, fixing the enemy troops at LZ X-Ray with Silver Bayonet I conducted by the 3rd Air Cavalry Brigade and 1/7 Air Cav Battalion;

- phase 3, annihilating the three NVA regiments at Chupong with B-52 carpet bombing;

- phase 4, finishing off the enemy at Iadrang Valley with Than Phong 7/Silver Bayonet II operations conducted by the Airborne Brigade and the 2nd Air Cav Brigade.

Only Why Pleime and Pleime, Trận Chię́n Lịch Sử provide the full and accurate account of the Ia Drang Valley battle in particular and the Pleime Campaign in general, because it is an account done by its architect, Colonel Hieu, II Corps Chief of Staff. Anybody else’s narration of the Ia Drang Valley battle is either incomplete or biased.

Phieu


#815 20 Mar 12, 03:25

Lessons Learned

What I have learned through this thread is that

- The Iadrang battle as it was is not well known at all by the general public and the historians and scholars of the Vietnam War alike;

- The role of the ARVN - its commanders and its combatants - in this battle was minimized and even ignored by the Viet Cong and the American authors alike;

- Should General Westmoreland, instead of taking over the command and control of the battlefields from the ARVN command, just provide air and artillery support and reserve forces like in the Pleime Campaign, the conduct of the Vietnam War would reach a positive outcome like in the case of the Pleime Campaign;

- If a simple batlle such as the Iadrang battle is that misunderstood, then the complex Vietnam War in general is still a barely touched upon field that needed to be explored much more in depth.

Phieu


#816 28 Mar 12, 10:05

Unique Tactical Bombing Raid Successful

Feb 3, 1966

By CHARLES BLACK

Enquirer Military Write

During the evening of Nov. 16 [1965] at Pleiku, at the compound where the press corps covering the 1st Cavalry Division’s Plei Me campaign was staying between trips to the field, Capt. J. D. Coleman of the public information office passed out word which explained why Brig. Gen. Richard Knowles had pulled 3rd Brigade troops back from Chu Pong Mountains.

Col. Thomas Brown’s brigade was poised for yet another smash at the North Vietnamese army units in the Ia Drang valley - and a massive B-52 bomber raid would strike the slopes of Chu Pong Mountain the next morning.

Robin Mannick of Associated Press and myself got a helicopter arrangement made with Capt. Coleman and went out from Camp Holloway to get a sky-view seat for the bombing attack.

The attack was unique in B-52 tactical bombing history. Missions for this big bomber require 72 hours advance notice, and the coordination with Vietnamese officials is complex. Most of the bombs seem to finally land in areas deserted by the Communists. The raid on Chu Pong Mountain was already planned for another target in the area and the 1st Cavalry Division’s assistant commander had prevailed in having the bombs carried on down to the Chu Pong battle.

Brig. Gen. Knowles had pulled the Sky Troopers back to trap the Communist units into filling a kill zone for what amounted to an ambush utilizing B-52 strategic bombers and 750-pound bombs.

On these raids, a 1,500 meter “zero line” is observed. No friendly troops or aircraft are allowed closer to the bomb targets than that distance. Our helicopter flew a monotonous pattern along the line at about 1,500 feet altitude. Chu Pong still was smoking from the battle just finished there and the scars of artillery and bombs were visible on its lower slopes.

Mannick and I were coping with seat belts which didn’t work by using a buddy system. He had a camera and I held him while he leaned out and took pictures. He had a telescopic lens arrangement which looked very impressive and I borrowed it to look at the mountain through. He took it back hurriedly when the helicopter lurched and I almost dropped it grabbing for a handhold.

‘You Hold Me’

“You hold me and I will hold the camera. I didn’t intend to establish any priority in grabbing the camera instead of you, then, of course. It was just a matter of putting first things first,” he informed me in his best Oxford manner.

I saw an orange blossom on the military crest of Chu Pong, then a long line of them grew, stretching in a continuous flash. As the orange flames disappeared a boil of black smoke went up and then the crash of the first explosions came to us.

I attempted to spot the B-52s which had dropped this fury and couldn’t see them at all. More bombs were bursting in lines which traced out an almost geometrical pattern of violence on the mountain and in the brush around Landing Zone X-Ray where the battle had been fought.

“That is fantastic,” I told Mannick.

He was shooting pictures and I was holding his belt to anchor him.

“Here, look at them through the lens,” he shouted, he held to me and let me handle the camera but he kept the cord to it securely around his neck.

Sees Bomb Bursts

Through the telescopic lens, I could see the initial burst of the bombs flattening trees and sending huge gusts of dirt and dust into the air. The boiling black smoke and dust would obscure one burst just as the next bomb exploded. I looked at the first string of bombs and saw a staggering line of craters stitched through the green canopy on the mountain.

Mannick went back to his photography and I kept shouting nonsensical directions at the pilots of the still invisible B-52s. There is a valley behind Chu Pong Mountain which seemed to be an especially desirable target to me, and there was a finger from the main ridge which shielded a defile from the battlefield below which had sheltered reserves and possibly a regimental headquarters, I had been told.

While I was pounding poor Mannick on the back instead of holding him, causing him considerable problems in properly focusing his camera, and acting like a football fan helping the quarterback of the home team, the B-52s kept up the inexorable pounding.

Sudden Cloud

The flash and smoke of bombs blotted out the finger of ground and its reverse slope and there was a sudden cloud of smoke and dust from behind the mountain in the valley I had been shouting about.

Mannick suddenly pointed to the sky. I saw tiny silver specks shining.

“Look at that! They must have dropped those bombs 20 or 30 miles from here! They are at 35,000 and hitting exactly where they should,” Mannick said.

The silver flashes kept coming. I had no detailed information on the number of planes or the number of bombs they had dropped, but the explosions were still flaring, this time in the timber around Landing Zone X-Ray.

The bombing was a display of brutal firepower and the lack of warning of any plane’s approach must have made them a horrible surprise to the PAVN battalions there.

The B-52s completed the display of U.S. firepower at Landing Zone X-Ray. The shattered, bloody woods had been the scene of the death of the 66th Regiment, 325th Division of the People’s Army of Viet Nam. A prisoner, his morale shattered, later deserted when “. . . less than 100 soldiers finally came to our rendezvous point. Regimental headquarters was also destroyed.”

The raid was an example of how the big planes could be used to full effect in a tactical blow.

Phieu


#817 10 Apr 12, 11:49

Radio relay mission over Ia Drang Valley

Nov 25, 1965

Radio Relay Mission Is Wearying Flight

By CHARLES BLACK

Enquirer Military Writer

PLEIKU, Viet Nam - I got back here from Duc Co just in time to meet Capt. Robert C. Debardalaben, Capt. James Lybrand and Capt. Walter Urbach of the 17th Aviation Company (the Caribou company which has been flying record hours in support of the 1st Cavalry Division) and eat supper with them.

They were just back in from what must be the most wearying flights available in Viet Nam - radio relay missions.

When an airmobile division goes into the field it is not the easiest thing in the world to keep up with, as the frustrated press corps in Viet Nam has finally realized after trying to cover it from inaccurate and outdated information available at Saigon press briefings.

The key to the division’s ability to conduct coordinated combat activities over an area of several hundred square miles (aside from its air capability, logistics achievements, etc.) is communications. The men in charge must be able to talk to each other.

This implies that some efficient radio operations are being handled and the Caribou-laden radio relay is part of the communications net. A CV2 loads relay equipment on board, long antennae are thrust out the open cargo door like fishing poles, communications specialists climb in and the plane takes off and climbs to about 10,000 feet over An Khe.

Here it throttles back to about 75 m.p.h. and describes sedate circles for periods of up to eight hours, then its place is taken by another aerial switchboard. The Caribou thus becomes the world’s tallest radio antenna. (I never thought to ask if the pilots fly clockwise or counterclockwise, but I assume they can mix them up to kill the boredom.)

I absolutely refused to accompany anybody flying a radio relay mission. I once spent 14 1/2 hours on a Caribou flight from Calcutta to Saigon, and there just didn’t seem to be anything to add to my portfolio of calluses by inspecting a cylinder of air over An Khe for one third of a day.

I did unbend enough, however, to allow Capt. B. D. Silvey and CWO2 Gerard Keeler to get me into a CV2 loaded with gear and technicians who were simply going to fly to An Khe and load into another bird.

I didn’t trust them. Right up until landing I thought they had pulled the elaborate kind of practical joke Caribou pilots indulge in on such a universal scale and that I was stuck for eight hours. However, they made a nice straight-forward flight from Pleiku to An Khe.

Aboard the plane were some old friends of mine from the 13th Signal Battalion who were suddenly full-fledged flight communications crewmen.

S-Sgt. Arthur C. McCullough, Sp4 Gennaro Cappasso and PFC Wilbur C. Wells, all of A Co., showed me the elaborate relay equipment which they use to pick up messages and flash on to their destination and which extends the range of radio communications many fold.

Sp4 Nelson A. Hendrickson, the crew chief from the 17th Aviation Co., kept reassuring me that we weren’t up for the whole night, and when we landed I thanked him for being the best friend I had aboard. The men up in the pilot end kept implying over the intercom that this was probably “going to be the longest mission on record. . . we have updraft and can glide a lot to conserve fuel.”

Phieu


#818 08 May 12, 09:45

The key that made possible the success in the Pleime Counter Offensive into Chupong-Iadrang was the obtention of enemy trop locations at every moment by means of radio relay intercepts of enemy radio traffic.

In the G3 Journal kept at I Field Force Vietnam, located in Nhatrang, one log entry mention that one such secret ARVN radio relay station operating deep in enemy territory was shot at by friendly 1 First Air Cavalry troops passing by.

11/15/65 18:50H: 1st Air Cav (Capt Parham) Maj Chuckmoon at Pleiku Sector: At 1721 Hrs, VN operating radio relay point (sqd size) south of Pleiku (AR 7736) rec’d fire fm passing 1 Cav elements, no injuries. It was reported to FWD and no problem exists.

Phieu


#819 08 May 12, 14:10

From what I have read, it was a radio intercept team attached to 7th CAV located just outside Pleime that provided limited intel on radio intercepts. Specifically RDF data. Moore discussed it in his book, but did not mention if it was a US Army, or ARVN team. I read it as a US team attached to Moore's unit. I dont think Infantry BNs had radio intercept capability, but I could be wrong. I thought they were divisional assets.

lso, FM comms are reletively short range, so I am not sure about the second quote where you referenced the radio relay station south of Pleiku. That was over 40 KM from the easternmost enemy forces (33rd Regiment) at Chu Pong. Dont know how much intercept would be going on at a site so distant from the battlefield. I admit there are lots of variables, but the range of manpack FM radios in that terrain just ain't that darn far. Hopefully RadioResearcher will be along shortly to give us the skinny...

don744


#820 08 May 12, 14:58

Don -- My previous postings on this thread at #395 and #548 pretty much represent the "skinny" as I know it. I don't have anything on possible ARVN field teams "operating deep in enemy territory" such as to be able to pick up tactical FM transmissions. The expression "radio relay" sounds like a misnomer. That is a whole other entreprise. "Radio intercept" would be more a propos.

RadioResearcher


#821 08 May 12, 17:00

I agree. I wanted to make the distinction between relay and intercept (SC vice MI) but I wasn't sure if there was any possibility of one colocating with the other. As far as intercept...the way I understand thing is...it is the range of the transmitter that counts . For team 40+ km away...in mountainous, vegitated terrain...in order to listen in, the bad guys would have to be pumping some wattage. At least that's what I think I know...

don744


#822 08 May 12, 20:58

If it's line of sight voice transmission, it's unlikely they would be picking up much at that distance. The implication is that the target was broadcasting in the clear - rare or non-existent for the NVA. If encrypted, see below.

On the other hand, if it was manual morse (off the ionosphere), they may have been able to pick it up, but, unless they had a cryptologist along and a lot of other processing skills (not likely at that time - we were still training up the ARVN SIGINT operators and analysts) - it wouldn't give them any actionable intelligence.

RadioResearcher


#823 09 May 12, 04:52

The following intelligence on enemy unit positions might be attributed to the second type of radio relay intercepts:

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.

The following intelligence on enemy at regiment and division level cadre ’s intention and planning could only be gathered with the first type of radio relay intercepts:

- 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.

Phieu


#824 09 May 12, 05:14

Phieu: The following intelligence on enemy unit positions might be attributed to the second type of radio relay intercepts:

and

The following intelligence on enemy at regiment and division level cadre ’s intention and planning could only be gathered with the first type of radio relay.

Good morning Phieu. RR and I were discussing Radio intercept capability, specifically manpack FM radio. It's important to understand the difference between radio types; manpack vice Base Station, and AM versus FM. Those things mean a great deal when discussing who intercepted what from where. Additionally there is a world of difference between relay and intercept. Two separate branches of the Army. Here is something to read over.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signals_intelligence

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broadcast_relay_station

I know it is Wikipedia, don't have alot of time right now to try to find better sources, but it will do for my purposes right now. They clearly show the difference.

As I pointed out a couple of months ago:

don744: I dont necessarily believe everything you have presented is "professional military stuffs". I think it is your best effort to explain something that you didn't have the full ability to explain.

don744


#825 09 May 12, 05:26

don744 : From what I have read, it was a radio intercept team attached to 7th CAV located just outside Pleime that provided limited intel on radio intercepts. Specifically RDF data. Moore discussed it in his book, but did not mention if it was a US Army, or ARVN team. I read it as a US team attached to Moore's unit. I dont think Infantry BNs had radio intercept capability, but I could be wrong.

On Nov 15, locations of Moore’s units were indicated in the G3 Journal/IFFV

- 16:00H: To: MACV (Sgt Glennon) Ref: Questions fr MACV. 1. Frdy Cas, 3 KIA, 49 WIA, 2. Code name and loc of unit attached to 11 Avn Gp (no units attached). 3. Loc of 2/5 HQ and C- Hq, Falcon, C, previously rept. 4. Loc of 2/7, 5. Loc of C/1/9 (AR 805472) 6. C/8th Eng (Stadium) 7. Hq & B/1/21 Arty Hq – Stadium, B, Macon.

- 16:30H: To: 1st Cav (Capt Parker) Request info on status on 2/7 and 1/5 movement: Ans. (Cook) A/1/5 began move to MACON at 1345. No closing time available. The remaining of 1/5 Cav began movement to Stadium by land at 1455. No closing time available. Was not aware the 2/7 was moving. A/B/D and fwd CP of 2/5 Cav are at X Ray. C/A of 1/21 Arty are at Falcon and B/1/21 is moving there now. C/2/17 Arty is at Stadium with A/2/19 Arty and 1/21 Arty Bn CP. Request info on plans for exploitation of Air strike, Ans, no info available. From Parham: 1/5 Cav has one contact picking up 2 VCS who were evacuated. The unit rec’d their Warning order to move at 0900 this morning.

- 16:55H: 1st Cav Fwd – Request SITREP for X-Ray and units at that location. Ans: Light SA fire, mostly sniper fire. 2/7, 1/7 and 2/5 (-) D Co are at X-Ray. D/2/5 is at Falcon. No info on airstrike.

- 17:10H: FFV Adv (Maj Boyle) Area X-Ray: All of 1/7, A & B/2/7, all of 2/5. Area Falcon: 1/7 recon and 2/5 Rear, A, B & C/1/21 Arty. Proposed location for C/2/17 Arty, YA 973027. 1/5 closing into Stadium shortly. At X-Ray, encountering light spasmodic sniper fire, no sniper contact, are probing battle area for bodies and weapons.

- 17:15H: 1s Cav Fwd (Maj Sandburn) A/1/5 closed Falcon at 1630H. One element (Co) is at Stadium, remainder are still enroute.

I thought they were divisional assets.

G3/IFFV specified it was a “VN operating radio relay point”

Phieu


#826 09 May 12, 05:38

don744 : Good morning Phieu. RR and I were discussing Radio intercept capability, specifically manpack FM radio. It's important to understand the difference between radio types; manpack vice Base Station, and AM versus FM. Those things mean a great deal when discussing who intercepted what from where. Additionally there is a world of difference between relay and intercept. Two separate branches of the Army. Here is something to read over.

Without going into the "professional stuff" (I leave it to you and RR), I just want to clarify what I mean in terms of first type and second type in quoting RR:

- first type: "the clear"

- second type: "encrypted"

Phieu


#827 09 May 12, 05:40

Phieu...radio relay does not do radio intercept or RDF. There might have been an ARVN relay site also. You should not draw a conclusion that a Journal entry and an excerpt from Moores book referencing RDF are discussing the same thing without digging firther. That is my point.

ETA: you posted while I was typing

don744


#828 09 May 12, 05:47 I am not talking about "relay" and "intercept", only about the content/message intercepted.

Phieu


#829 09 May 12, 05:52

Phieu : The key that made possible the success in the Pleime Counter Offensive into Chupong-Iadrang was the obtention of enemy trop locations at every moment by means of radio relay intercepts of enemy radio traffic.

In the G3 Journal kept at I Field Force Vietnam, located in Nhatrang, one log entry mention that one such secret ARVN radio relay station operating deep in enemy territory was shot at by friendly 1 First Air Cavalry troops passing by.

11/15/65 18:50H: 1st Air Cav (Capt Parham) Maj Chuckmoon at Pleiku Sector: At 1721 Hrs, VN operating radio relay point (sqd size) south of Pleiku (AR 7736) rec’d fire fm passing 1 Cav elements, no injuries. It was reported to FWD and no problem exists.

I thought you were pretty clear. My mistake. Little pieces of information mean a great deal.

don744


#830 09 May 12, 05:59

Phieu


#831 09 May 12, 06:05

Thank you, Phieu.

don744


#832 27 May 12, 16:39

Arc Light Strikes at Chupong-Iadrang

Why Pleime talked about such strikes:

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.

The G3 Journal/IFFV made mention three of such strikes conducted on the 15, 17 and 18 of November respectively.

Phieu


#833 27 May 12, 16:43

Arc Light Strike at Chupong-Iadrang on 11/15/1965

As monitored at G3/I Field Force Vietnam

November 14, 1965

- 18:50H: 1st Air Cav Div (Lt Col Buham) Gen Kinnard discussed with Gen Larsen the possibility of having a B-52 strike in the Long Reach area “X” Gen Larsen was in favor of this. The following info is furnished. On 4 Nov Enemy Bn confirmed vic YA8205, assumed to be moving south. Know secret base “Chupony” vic YA 9000. On 6 Nov had secondary explosion vic YA 8703 as result of Air strike. 12.7mm AA fire received from these guns vic YA 8803. On 14 Nov from line YA 9399 est 1 VC regt ID elem of 2 Bn attaching to W in determined effort using human wave tactics. This confirms Cav to believe they are defending something big – something Cav should hit – such as supply base a hold up forces. VC cap in this area were wearing steel helmets-POW have ID their unit as 66th Regt 304th Div. Cav would like to get going in request for B-52 strike knowing the time frame. If Cav can help to develop target they are ready and will provide the help we need. This has been passed to G2 and G3 air. G3 Air (Capt Green) recommended CG consider requesting a div of a planned strike to bring in a strike.

- 21:00H: 1st Air Cav (Capt Parham) Coord for B-52 strike in Code – YA 87000, YA 830000, YA 830070, YA 870070.

- 21:00H: 1st Air Cav (Capt Parham) Alt Target for B-52 strikes (in Code) YA 8607, YA 9007, YA 9000, YA 8600. Target area approved by Col Barrow and Col McCord.

November 15, 1965- 06:00H: MACV Capt McCabe – Ref Arclight tgt, TOT is 151600H.

- 10:30H: MAVC J3 (Gen DePuy) Gen DePuy called Col Barrow and asked if Arc Light had been cleared with CG II Corps. Col Barrow replied yes, CG II Corps has approved Arc Light. Also Gen DePuy wanted to know if the elem of 1st Cav had received the 151600H restriction on not going west of YA grid line. Col Barrow informed Gen De Puy that the 1st Cav had acknowledged receipt of the restriction and would comply. Gen DePuy personally changed target configuration. Gen DePuy stated that this is the fastest a strike of this nature had ever been laid-on.

- 11:45H: To: 1st Cav (Capt Coller) 1st Cav inquired on whether 1st Cav has any objections on new target area as changed by J-2 MACV. Ref: Secret Message AVCGT 1511651XF DT 6417052Z. 1st Cav stated they are quite satisfied particularly with the reaction time.

-18:15H: FFV Adv (Maj Boyle) Passed fm 1 Cav (Gen Kinnard): Elements of 1/9 Cav Sqdn went into the airstrike (arclite) target area this afternoon.

- 18:55H: 1st Cav (Lt Temple) Arc light bombing strike 1602H-1632H, area YA 8607, 9007, 8600, 9000; all aircraft on target except one whose load dropped in general area, YA 8015, 8215, 8212, 8412, results being investigated.

- 19:00H: 1st Cav (L/C Buchan) Target completely covered; best coverage he had seen; one rack of bombs out of target area vic YA 820122-808142, cords not accurate. Between 1700-1730 had Mohawk photo coverage and aerial recon, smoke too thick to observe target area; 1st light 16 Nov will have recon in area. Cav plans to request another strike, will call info to FFV by 2000. Not an immediate, II Corps will make similar request for same area. Mohawk photo now in lab.

- 19:25H: 1st Air Cav (Capt Parham) Photo interpretation of area bombed is currently being processed as of 1900H, will give final wrapup of interpretation NLT 160700H Nov.

- 20:15H: 1 Cav (Maj Crawford) Post strike report: Aerial recon conducted 151700-1800. VC due to strike, no bodies visible, no fires found, no installation observed, no civilian or civilian structures observed. Bom craters appeared 20-50 ft in diameter and 5-10 ft deep. Many trees blown down, Trees close to bomb craters leaning and stripped of foliage. Unit at scene reports seeing 3.50 cal MG psn that had been firing at aircraft were directly in path of strike. Psns apparently destroyed. Will be checked further when ground recon is made. Post strike conducted by the unit resulted in camera malfunction. No photos. Another msn will be flown early tomorrow.

- 20:40H: 1st Air Cav (Capt Parham) Request for arclight NLT 17 Nov, preferred 16 Nov. Primary YA 830050, YA 850050, YA 843000; Alternate: YV 890980, YV 910980, YV 890950, YV 910950. In approx. 2 hrs a FLASH TWX will follow request.

Phieu


#834 28 May 12, 06:26

Good stuff. Are you going to upload the full version of the staff journal on your site? I followed the link and only saw 1 page.

don744


#835 28 May 12, 10:06

As I said, Following are entries pertaining to LZ X-Ray Battle extracted from the Daily Journal kept by G3 General Staff of the US I Field Force, stationed in Nha Trang,

I don't intend to upload the entire Journal which also contains activities pertaining to other operations occuring in the IFFV's OAs. I only provide the 1st page for the LZ X-Ray Battle as a sample.

And from that I extracted the entries pertaining to the Arclite strikes and posted them here.

Phieu


#836 28 May 12, 10:09

11/17/1965 Arc Light Strike at Chupong-Iadrang

As monitored at G3/I Field Force Vietnam

November 16, 1965

- 07:15H: To: 1st Air Cav (Capt Brady) Question: If second B-52 strike approved does Cav plan to exploit? – 0715 Answer from Capt Brady. – yes if not overly committed and if sufficient day light left.

- 08:30H: 1st Cav (Maj Anderson) 1. What are plans for Exploitation of yesterday’s strike? 2. Does 1st Cav plan to commit another Bn. For a total of 5 in Plei Me area? If so we need to know ASAP. 3. If primary tgt for today is approved what are plans for exploitation? Approval of plan is pending on above answers.

- 09:15H: 1st Cav (Maj Anderson) Ref: exploitation of Arclight Tgt. Commander on the ground had plans to send in 1st Cav however at present all units are engaged. When En vic Points X Ray and Lime are defeated. 1/9 will make recon of area. If a stronger force is needed another unit will reinforce. No results of the first light recon. No results.

- 11:35H: 1st Cav Maj Turner – (Encoded) – Present plan extract 1/7 and B/2/7 today, then pull back 2000 meters to defensive position. After ARC tomorrow will follow plan TURNER gave you last night.

- 12:35H: FFV TOC Maj Murray to 3d Bde Adv 1st Cav – Ref your last msg. 3000 meter withdrawal. My 6 called you 6 who said no such plans, plans to remain and also to go into yesterday’s strike area. If the situation has changed and withdrawal necessary suggest you contact your 6 as “He is on the spot” notify this HQ ASAP of decision.

- 12:53H: MACV Maj Kirky – Kirby – I have just talked to the big 6 (Gen Westmoreland). He wanted to know if everything was ok with the Cav, did they have enough air and are troops ok. Ans: To the best of our knowledge and believe yes. Should anything occur you will be notified.

- 12:57H: 1st Cav Maj Turner – The last info (3000 meter w/d) was correct it is a long range plan. We have so much on the ground, that it will take a little time but they plan to move up on high ground to the east (from the bottom of the saucer to the eastern rim) but, whatever our 6 said we will do. I have not talked to 6 yet, perhaps he is unaware of these plans. The Bde also plans to send an element to MACON. Maybe I should not pass any more info to you. I am in the way here and tie up commo. But these are the plans as of now, will let you know outcome.

- 14:00H: Fm G3 TOC SP Howell to 1st Cav Capt Cook – (Encoded) Ref MAC msg – Pull back 3000 meters. General Larsen spoke to Gen Kinnard. Kinnard said no plans to pull back. Elements are going to investigate arclite area bombed yesterday. Suggest you touch base with Kinnard for verification of plans. Notify this HQ ASAP of plans.

- 15:35H: MACV Maj Oneil – What is the status of arclight #1745 Sphinx 160325Z. Ans: Currently being staffed at MACJ 237. II Corps CG concurs with msg number 1745.

- 15:35H: 1st Cav Maj Custer – Request fm Gen Kinnard Status of Arclite requests? One in processing at MACV. CG has approved. Most recent (161520) being processed in this HQ. Gen Kinnard request the latest be afforded highest priority although previous request stand. Hunter is with Kinnard and concurs on target and priority.

- 16:25H: Fm TOC to MACV – Arclight request YV 932985, YV 936996, YA 898005, YA 898019. TOT 171300, Not later than 171700.

- 18:50H: II Corp (Capt McConnell) CG II Corps does concur with Arclite.

- 20:25H: G-3 1st Air Cav (Capt Parham) Ref Arc Light MACV advises 3 KM minimum separation target area and frdy troops. Request info this HQ ASAP if 3KM separation can be guaranteed and minimum lead time necessary to provide separation. Fr TOC Lt Bol Benton.

- 20:40H: 1st Air Cav (Capt Parham) CO 3d Bde 1st Cav can meet 3KM separation necessary Arc light and frdy troops by time specified in Msg.

- 22:45H: 1st Air Cav (Capt Parham) Call to say that B-52 Targets Number 34, 35, 36 are OK and Troops will meet 3km safety limits -1st Arc Cav will notify this HQ Units move not safety limit.

- 23:10H: II Corps (Maj Sanabria) Maj Sanabria call to pass concurrence of CG ARVN II Corps on B-52 targets 34, 35, and 36 for 17 Nov.

Phieu


#837 28 May 12, 10:12

Would you consider .pdf-ing them and posting a link?

don744


#838 28 May 12, 10:20

Sorry Dan. It's too much of a work.

Besides during my several trips to the National Archive II in College Park, Maryland, I only made copies of pages pertaining to the Pleime Campaign from October 19 to November 26 which encompass the Dan Thang 21 operation (Pleime battle), Long Reach operation (LZ X-ray and Albany battles) and Than Phong 7 operation (Iadrang battle).

Phieu


#839 28 May 12, 10:33

Phieu....I am talking about the journal pages for operation long reach. The ones you cited in your past couple of posts. I wasnt expecting you to post hundreds of pages. I like to review original source documents. Sometimes it helps clear up inconsistencies in transcribed information. Can you tell I am sensing something here? I am. I just want to prove myself wrong.

Don744


#840 28 May 12, 10:44

Long Reach operation lasted from October 27 to November 26 (including All the Way, Bayonet I and Bayonet II). The pages of the Journal that contains entries pertaining to Long Reach also contains entries pertaining to activities of other operations happening in II Corps and they intertwine with each other chronologically. You don't have pages that exclusively contain exclusively for Long Reach.

For example, in the sample page: 1 -001 Long Reach; 2 – 0230: ROK Tiger operation; 3 – 0450: Quyet Thang 174.

Sorry, Dan, you ougth to trust my honesty in the process of extraction and transcription that I consider to be faithful to the original.

Otherwise you have to take a trip to the National Archive II in person to clear up any doubts and suspicions that pop up in you head.

Phieu


#841 28 May 12, 10:48

Uh-oh! My BS- meter is buzzing like a sidewinder locked onto the hot jet exhaust of a MIG-21.

don744


#842 28 May 12, 10:55

Phieu


#843 29 May 12, 09:59

11/18/1965 Arc Light Strike at Chupong-Iadrang

As monitored at G3/I Field Force Vietnam

November 17, 1965

- 09:00H: 1st Air Cav (Capt Ortner) Arc light for 1300 TOT 18 Nov requested NLT 1300 Nov 65: Priority 1. 9201-9401-9298-0408. Priority 2. 9099-9299-9096-9296. Priority 3. 8306-8506-8303-8503.

- 13:45H: fm MACV Maj Morris – Question fm CG: Were all the bombs in the designated target areas. Was TAC Air used in conjunction with the air strike. Ans: Will have to wait for results fm 1st Cav Div, will call as soon as we know.

- 14:10H: 1st Cav Maj Sandburn – Arc light complete at 1212 hrs. All A/C bombed within 3 designated areas. BDA being conducted by Cav elements. Will notify TOC as soon as info is available. No immediate exploitation planned, CG will conduct a conference at 1500 to plan exploitation.

- 17:35H: 1st Cav Lt Brown – Debrief for Arclite post analysis. TOT – 1330. 2000 ft altitude. Post strike analysis. Tgt 1 – 100%, coverage, large craters and tree blowdown, no bodies observed. Tgt 2 -100%, coverage. Tgt 3 – 75% due to irregular terrain, pilot remarks A/C rec’d AW fire vic YA 9101, YA 8995, helicopter no hit.

Phieu


#844 03 Jun 12, 12:57

November 14, 1965

- 18:50H: 1st Air Cav Div (Lt Col Buham) Gen Kinnard discussed with Gen Larsen the possibility of having a B-52 strike in the Long Reach area “X” Gen Larsen was in favor of this.

Who, General Kinnard or General Larsen, initiated the idea of “having a B-52 strike in the Long Reach area “X”?

At first, one might think it was General Kinnard who raised the idea first and General Larsen concurred.

But in reality, General Larsen was with tact and subtlety breaking the news of the preplanned use of B-52 strike by J3-MACV in coordination with II Corps, 1st Air Cav CP Forward (General Knowles) and IFFV without General Kinnard’s knowledge.

As a matter of fact, the preplanning B-52 strike started as early as November 4. Continuation of quote:

The following info is furnished. On 4 Nov Enemy Bn confirmed vic YA8205, assumed to be moving south. Know secret base “Chupony” vic YA 9000. On 6 Nov had secondary explosion vic YA 8703 as result of Air strike. 12.7mm AA fire received from these guns vic YA 8803. On 14 Nov from line YA 9399 est 1 VC regt ID elem of 2 Bn attaching to W in determined effort using human wave tactics. This confirms Cav to believe they are defending something big – something Cav should hit – such as supply base a hold up forces. VC cap in this area were wearing steel helmets-POW have ID their unit as 66th Regt 304th Div.

Clearly, General Larsen "furnishes" the information obtained since Nov 4 to General Kinnard about various positions of the enemy units that became targetable to B-52 strike (with 4-digit coordinates). Not the other way around.

Phieu


#845 04 Jun 12, 17:20

The conduct of Long Reach operation was assumed by General Knowles. General Kinnard acted only as an intermittent commander who popped in and out of the battlefields only when they got hot. That was the case of LZ X-Ray. Around 3 p.m. on November 14, when General Knowles advised General Kinnard that 1/7th Cav 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.

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.”

(Coleman, page 219)

Phieu


#846 07 Jun 12, 20:34

Interrogation & Actionable Intelligence

This is going to be quite a long section that I'm posting, so if there are any copyright issues, let me know Mods. Obviously, I'm quoting this and not claiming it as my own.

That night the Cav brought down a map that had been captured along with some other documents. It didn't seem to fit any maps they had, and their Vietnamese interpreters couldn't make any sense out of it. We kind chuckled about it. The Cav knew we were there, and we could have helped them, but it tended to ask for help only when it couldn't do something itself. And the Cav only a month or so in country! The Cav wanted the four of us from Saigon to have a go at the map.

At first we were stymied by it. NVA map symbols indicated the presence of a hospital, signal unit, and everything one might expect in a Vietcong regiment. But locations on the map just didn't figure. Our biggest problem was the reference on an overlay to several villages which we knew were just not there.

Then one of our Saigon counterparts said "Look at this. This village is tied into all the rest of what appears to be regimental positions. There are two other villages indicated here and here with something called a 'Front' way off near the Cambodian border. Now, from what their signal officer told us, everyone was using cover designators. He said his regiment was Xa An, meaning An village, and the other regiments were called Xa something else. These aren't villages at all on the map! They're regiments!"

"Give me the map you brought form Saigon," I said to one of my counterparts, remembering that we were working with the modern and standard one inch to fifty thousand inch scale tactical maps. Maybe the Vietcong were using the old 1:100,000 scale maps that our counterparts used. The 1:100,000 scale maps were not accurate enough for our artillery targeting, and those used by our counterparts liked them because their place names were more accurate than our new U.S.-made 1:50,000 scale maps, which had "up-to-date" place names assigned by the Government of the Republic of Vietnam. But many villages and local place names had changed names several times, and the village locations were already obsolete. Frequently the local population had never been informed of new place names and still used the old ones. It seemed to be another case of map making by individuals who had no sense of what was on the ground other than what appeared on overheard imagery and who had not bothered to verify the accuracy of their information.

I took the lieutenant's "obsolete" map. The few streams and trails on the captured map overlay fit his map perfectly, and it was a real stroke of luck. It took us about an hour to use the old map and extrapolate to a 1:50,000 scale map that we and the Cav could use. When we had it finished, we knew the location of every Worksite Thirty-three unit committed to Plei Me and the location of the two other regiments and the Front Headquarters.

We had also learned something else, for on the map was the term mat tran, meaning "Front." It was a term we encountered there for the first time in 1965 and its meaning was a puzzle at first until we quickly reinterrogated a number of prisoners to determine its various meanings in general and how specifically it was applied in this situation. The document, and the use of the term "Front" put to rest the size of the unit around Plei Me. It was a skeleton division.

[...]

With a real understanding of the enemy deployment at Plei Me and a sense of the forces deployed there, Dick and I ran over to advise the II Corps G-2 advisory section. Then we dashed over to the Cav's tactical operations center at the pod and found our friendly master sergeant on duty.

"How'd you like to know where all the VC are?" I asked.

"That's sure be nice to have," he replied casually. We showed him the map he had brought over earlier and told him how we'd resolved the problem the Cav had encountered. We explained that we couldn't tell the date on the information and had no idea if any of the units were still at the locations shown on the overlay. He grabbed the phone and called the information out to the tea plantation as Dick and I helped transcribe the targets and a crowd gathered around his table. This was intelligence in action!

[...]

The next day reports filtered in to the TOC: the overlay had proved to be right on the button. The first reports indicated the Cav elements had found the trails depicted on the overlay. Then they found bunker complexes, weapons, rice, and equipment. And then they found the Vietcong, and the reports started coming in of scattered platoon-sized firefights. [1]

He also states later on that he was able to interrogate a signal officer who gave him the entire telephone layout of the regiment. [2] Mr. Tourison speaks Mandarin, and a member offered way back in the thread somewhere to put him in contact with us. I think he'd be the be-all-end-all at this point in our discussion.

EDIT: Found it.

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 . . . . . .

Notes

Jr, Sedgwick Tourison. Talking with Victor Charlie: An Interrogator’s Story. 1st ed. Ballantine Books, 1990. pp. 99-101.

Ibid. p. 102.

Lucky 6


#847 07 Jun 12, 21:43

Good find, Lucky. However I don't think it adds much to what have been known and said.

By the way, I thought you had had enough of me long long time ago...

Nice to see you again!

Intelligence Gathering at Ia Drang

- Another intelligence source was documents captured, in particular at the regimental hospital site (Coleman):

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 (Why Pleime, Pleiku, Coleman):

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.

Other intelligence sources:

- Interrogations of prisoners and ralliers

- Recon missions by Montagnard Eagle Flight teams

- VN Airborne Rangers

- Radio intercept reports

- Individual enemy troop’s diaries

Phieu


#848 07 Jun 12, 22:33

Lucky 6 : Your post

What was the timeframe of the Operation mentioned in the first paragraph of your post? Does the book identify what month this occurred?

Also, does that book reference any ARVN SIGINT activities supporting the CAVs operations in the Pleime area?

don744


#849 07 Jun 12, 22:43

Ask Coleman, Don.

Phieu


#850 07 Jun 12, 22:49

I'm asking Lucky because Coleman does not directly address it in the book excerpts you have provided. The nationality of the team was never disclosed. Why would you assume it was ARVN?

Don744


#851 07 Jun 12, 23:08

Coleman said II Corps had "special agents" within the PAVN headquarters that came up with all that wealth of intel info that could not be obtained otherwise. Coleman had to assume they were ARVN, since the ARVN lied to him they were in fact Chinese advisors that caused the leaking. And how those intel info were obtained? Radio relay intercepts by ARVN intel teams. If they were American team or other nationality, Coleman would not be taken in with the ARVN "special agents" lie.

Don, that's my last answer to you about the mandarin thing. Sorry...

You are more than welcome to carry on the discussion with Lucky though ... or with Altus if he decides to join in the discussion (he might have new revelations from VC side sources) ... as I stated to Nam Vet, I am done with the mandarin thing ...

Phieu


#852 07 Jun 12, 23:15

I went back and read thru the commentary on Intelligence Gathering from the link you provided. I see this argument as morphing from the origional disagreement from several months ago, which was that COL Hieu would listen in to mandarin broadcasts "in the clear" and had minute to minute knowledge of locations, morale, plans, etc. Now the argument has changed into a narrow argument over the nationality of a radio team.

What I am beginning to put together is that there was a plethora of intel gathered from operations in October. Unit designations, maps, routes of march, and other actionable intel was taken from these operations, not Necessarily from a US or ARVN radio team at Pleime. They pieced it together from multiple sources. The team at Pleime (as described by Moore) provided an azimuth to a radio transmitter and that the language spoken in the coded message was Mandarin.

Time for bed. I need my beauty rest. I'll see you tomorrow morning.

don744


#853 07 Jun 12, 23:26

That early? It's 10:30 p.m. in New York. What time is it in Georgia, that's where you reside right?

Anyway, sweet dream during which you hear people only speak Mandarin and lo and behold you understand it !

Phieu


#854 08 Jun 12, 06:41

Morning Phieu! Had a bad day yesterday...could you tell? My position on events has not changed, but I could have approached things more diplomatically. My apologies. So, after a night of Mandarin-free dreams, I want to make sure that you realize I have no interest in Chinese advisors, the Mandarin language, or now, the nationality of the radio team...at least for now. That maybe more important to me after finding out who knew what, and when, before the battle. Lucky's post introduced some new information into the discussion. We keep on using the "Chasing the Rabbit into the Hole" technique (which is definitely not a COL Hieu approved technique). So, I'll stand back and listen for a bit.

don744


#855 08 Jun 12, 10:12

Roger.

Phieu


#856 08 Jun 12, 10:19

Just like after being stunned momentarily by the troop insertion into LZ X-Ray, General Kinnard regained his poise and said: “Okey, it looks great. Let me know what you need”, after momentarily stunned by the suggestion of using B-52 strikes, he might have regained his poise and said to General Larsen: “Okey, it looks great. Let me know what you need”. He then proceeded to have his 1st Cav men provide the targets:

- 11/14/ 65 at 21:00H: 1st Air Cav (Capt Parham) Coord for B-52 strike in Code – YA 870000, YA 830000, YA 830070, YA 870070.

Wasn't it too hasty? The Time Over Target was

- 11/15/65 at 06:00H: MACV Capt McCabe – Ref Arclight tgt, TOT is 151600H.

The B-52 folks needed a 72 hour notification. 151600H-142100H=20 hrs were barely sufficient!

Phieu


#857 08 Jun 12, 12:26

Lucky 6: That night the Cav brought down a map that had been captured along with some other documents. It didn't seem to fit any maps they had, and their Vietnamese interpreters couldn't make any sense out of it. We kind chuckled about it. The Cav knew we were there, and we could have helped them, but it tended to ask for help only when it couldn't do something itself. And the Cav only a month or so in country! The Cav wanted the four of us from Saigon to have a go at the map.

Maybe one of the following posted in Why Pleime?

and

and

Note: Without taking away Sedgwick Tourison's credit, do you think he was a better cartography reader than Colonel Hieu, II Corps Chief of Staff?

And without his inputs, II Corps Command would be at loss?

Phieu


#858 08 Jun 12, 20:08

don744 : What was the timeframe of the Operation mentioned in the first paragraph of your post? Does the book identify what month this occurred?

Also, does that book reference any ARVN SIGINT activities supporting the CAVs operations in the Pleime area?

They arrived at II Corps G-2 in late October, definitely after the 23rd. As far as I can tell, he doesn't mention SIGINT, but then again, that may have not been within his purview. Also, I'm going from memory here, and passages that I either noted somewhere or highlighted; there is no index in my paperback so it is entirely possible that I overlooked it. I'll have to read the corresponding chapters through in their entirety again. He does mention later on, when interrogating the Platoon Leader in the telephone company, that he had a Psychological warfare team foisted on him that wanted to make a recording of the returnee to be used in leaflet drops. I suppose it's possible that some of this could have filtered backwards as propaganda. You'll have to ask RR if SIGINT went both ways? I was under the assumption that they monitored traffic and did not broadcast.

I'm asking Lucky because Coleman does not directly address it in the book excerpts you have provided. The nationality of the team was never disclosed. Why would you assume it was ARVN?

He was part of special "go-team." He describes it as "the first combined Vietnamese-American interrogation team fielded by the J-2 from the Military Interrogation Center and [it] was also to include documentation exploitation specialists from the MACV J-2 translation section." Their mission concept, in essence was to "provide experience specialized support to the newly arriving American tactical units when they needed it and didn't have their own fully qualified intelligence specialists." [1] The way he describes it, when rumors started filtering in that the Cav was picking up prisoners in double digit numbers, everyone and their mother was itching to get a chance to talk to a live one.

Phieu : Maybe one of the following posted in Why Pleime?

It is entirely possible that one of those maps is the result of the overlay of which he spoke.

Phieu : Note: Without taking away Sedgwick Tourison's credit, do you think he was a better cartography reader than Colonel Hieu, II Corps Chief of Staff?

And without his inputs, II Corps Command would be at loss?

I'm not arguing who's a superior cartographer, I'm simply saying that the map might not have existed at all if they had not translated it. Furthermore, he describes the situation when they arrived at II Corps' MI detachment:

Dick and I flew into Camp Holloway and were met by the intelligence sergeant from the II Corps United States Advisory Detachment's G-2 advisory section. We drove to the II Corps headquarters and dropped our bags and gear at the MACV compound. The G-2 advisor, Colonel Theo Mataxis, briefed us on the situation which he summed up nicely: it wasn't really clear at all. What we had from the Vietnamese newspapers was generally the same as our briefing content. Colonel Mataxis was relying on our skills with the prisoners and documents to clarify some of those unknowns.

What we did know was that the United States Special Forces camp south of Plei Me had been surrounded for several weeks, and we heard there had been lots of rifle, mortar and recoiless rifle fire from the surrounding jungle. The Green Berets had hit back, but it was a classic VC post attack. It was obvious the enemy forces had very carefully planned to do several things all at the same time: hit the camp and lure in reinforcements by road; destroy the reinforcements and wipe out the Special Forces camp; isolate and attack Pleiku; try to seize control of the central highlands. [2]

I'm not going to be a mouthpiece for anyone, I'm just relating what he said in his book. It's a very good read, and can be had in paperback incredibly cheap. I think I bought my copy for around $2.50. It was incredibly revealing to myself, as I had almost no idea how the MI apparatus functioned, and it's an added bonus that he describes his role, and that of MI, in the Pleiku campaign.

Notes

Jr, Sedgwick Tourison. Talking with Victor Charlie: An Interrogator’s Story. 1st ed. Ballantine Books, 1990. p. 38

Lucky 6


#859 08 Jun 12, 20:30

Dick and I flew into Camp Holloway and were met by the intelligence sergeant from the II Corps United States Advisory Detachment's G-2 advisory section. We drove to the II Corps headquarters and dropped our bags and gear at the MACV compound. The G-2 advisor, Colonel Theo Mataxis, briefed us on the situation which he summed up nicely: it wasn't really clear at all.

Correction:

Colonel Theodore Mataxis, Senior Advisor

Major William P. Boyle, G2 Advisor

(Roll Call of Combatants At Pleime-Chupong-Iadrang Battlefront)

Phieu


#860 09 Jun 12, 11:16

Everybody got an electric jolt, from General Larsen through General Knowles to General Depuy who were in the Arclite pre-planning coordination team in 1st Air Cav CPF and J3-MACV respectively. Instead of saying: “Good idea. What is your plan?” And General Larsen just had to break in the news of the pre-planned arclite already set at: “YA 8607, YA 9007, YA 9000, YA 8600” for Nov 15 at 16:00H. Now they had to deal with General Kinnard’s I-am-in-charge attitude. General DePuy tried to throw at General Kinnard a couple of hurdles: he needed to get pre-approval from II Corps Commanding General and would the ground troops be able to vacate the restricted areas on time? When all those attempts failed, he just made known his preference for alternate targets.

Nov 15, 1965

- 10:30H: MAVC J3 (Gen DePuy) Gen DePuy called Col Barrow and asked if Arc Light had been cleared with CG II Corps. Col Barrow replied yes, CG II Corps has approved Arc Light.

- 21:00H: 1st Air Cav (Capt Parham) Alt Target for B-52 strikes (in Code) YA 8607, YA 9007, YA 9000, YA 8600. Target area approved by Col Barrow and Col McCord. Also Gen DePuy wanted to know if the elem of 1st Cav had received the 151600H restriction on not going west of YA grid line. Col Barrow informed Gen De Puy that the 1st Cav had acknowledged receipt of the restriction and would comply. Gen DePuy personally changed target configuration.

- 11:45H: To: 1st Cav (Capt Coller) 1st Cav inquired on whether 1st Cav has any objections on new target area as changed by J-2 MACV. Ref: Secret Message AVCGT 1511651XF DT 6417052Z. 1st Cav stated they are quite satisfied particularly with the reaction time.

General DePuy might have puffed out a huge sigh of relief! Because, not only he did not suspect anything, General Kinnard even offered to have his 1/9 Cav Squadron go into the airstrike area for body damage assessment in the afternoon.

-18:15H: FFV Adv (Maj Boyle) Passed fm 1 Cav (Gen Kinnard): Elements of 1/9 Cav Sqdn went into the airstrike (arclite) target area this afternoon.

- 18:55H: 1st Cav (Lt Temple) Arc light bombing strike 1602H-1632H, area YA 8607, 9007, 8600, 9000; all aircraft on target except one whose load dropped in general area, YA 8015, 8215, 8212, 8412, results being investigated.

General DePuy gave a pat on the shoulder to General Kinnard for his role in the arclite strike:

Gen DePuy stated that this is the fastest a strike of this nature had ever been laid-on.

Just 20 hrs instead of 72 hrs!

Good job, General!

Phieu


#861 10 Jun 12, 10:39

Do you think, after getting a pat on the shoulder, General Kinnard relented? Au contraire, he gave everybody another jolt by making a request for a second arclite strike! That request turned upside down the entire pre-planned arclite strike schedule on Nov 16 and 17, with a strike right on LZ X-Ray on Nov 17. And yet, when pressed, he said he had no ready plan; and Major Turner, who acted as liaison officer, were tired of going back and forth without a clear and definite answer from your 6 and my 6.

Nov 15, 1965

- 20:40H: 1st Air Cav (Capt Parham) Request for arclight NLT 17 Nov, preferred 16 Nov. Primary YA 830050, YA 850050, YA 843000; Alternate: YV 890980, YV 910980, YV 890950, YV 910950. In approx. 2 hrs a FLASH TWX will follow request.

November 16, 1965

- 07:15H: To: 1st Air Cav (Capt Brady) Question: If second B-52 strike approved does Cav plan to exploit? – 0715 Answer from Capt Brady. – yes if not overly committed and if sufficient day light left.

- 08:30H: 1st Cav (Maj Anderson) 1. What are plans for Exploitation of yesterday’s strike? 2. Does 1st Cav plan to commit another Bn. For a total of 5 in Plei Me area? If so we need to know ASAP. 3. If primary tgt for today is approved what are plans for exploitation? Approval of plan is pending on above answers.

- 09:15H: 1st Cav (Maj Anderson) Ref: exploitation of Arclight Tgt. Commander on the ground had plans to send in 1st Cav however at present all units are engaged. When En vic Points X Ray and Lime are defeated. 1/9 will make recon of area. If a stronger force is needed another unit will reinforce. No results of the first light recon. No results.

- 11:35H: 1st Cav Maj Turner – (Encoded) – Present plan extract 1/7 and B/2/7 today, then pull back 2000 meters to defensive position. After ARC tomorrow will follow plan TURNER gave you last night.

The arclite coordination team scrambled in trying to accommodate General Kinnard’s whimp. They did not expect that he flatly refused to budge his troops to a 3000m safety distance at first. It took General Larsen (my 6) to meet him (your 6) right on LZ X-Ray to have the problem solved.

- 12:35H: FFV TOC Maj Murray to 3d Bde Adv 1st Cav – Ref your last msg. 3000 meter withdrawal. My 6 called your 6 who said no such plans, plans to remain and also to go into yesterday’s strike area. If the situation has changed and withdrawal necessary suggest you contact your 6 as “He is on the spot” notify this HQ ASAP of decision.[/COLOR]

- 12:53H: MACV Maj Kirky – Kirby – I have just talked to the big 6 (Gen Westmoreland). He wanted to know if everything was ok with the Cav, did they have enough air and are troops ok. Ans: To the best of our knowledge and believe yes. Should anything occur you will be notified. - 14:00H: Fm G3 TOC SP Howell to 1st Cav Capt Cook – (Encoded) Ref MAC msg – Pull back 3000 meters. General Larsen spoke to Gen Kinnard. Kinnard said no plans to pull back. Elements are going to investigate arclite area bombed yesterday. Suggest you touch base with Kinnard for verification of plans. Notify this HQ ASAP of plans.

- 15:35H: MACV Maj Oneil – What is the status of arclight #1745 Sphinx 160325Z. Ans: Currently being staffed at MACJ 237. II Corps CG concurs with msg number 1745.

- 15:35H: 1st Cav Maj Custer – Request fm Gen Kinnard Status of Arclite requests? One in processing at MACV. CG has approved. Most recent (161520) being processed in this HQ. Gen Kinnard request the latest be afforded highest priority although previous request stand. Hunter is with Kinnard and concurs on target and priority.- 16:25H: Fm TOC to MACV – Arclight request YV 932985, YV 936996, YA 898005, YA 898019. TOT 171300, Not later than 171700.

- 18:50H: II Corp (Capt McConnell) CG II Corps does concur with Arclite.

- 20:25H: G-3 1st Air Cav (Capt Parham) Ref Arc Light MACV advises 3 KM minimum separation target area and frdy troops. Request info this HQ ASAP if 3KM separation can be guaranteed and minimum lead time necessary to provide separation. Fr TOC Lt Bol Benton.

- 20:40H: 1st Air Cav (Capt Parham) CO 3d Bde 1st Cav can meet 3KM separation necessary Arc light and frdy troops by time specified in Msg.

- 22:45H: 1st Air Cav (Capt Parham) Call to say that B-52 Targets Number 34, 35, 36 are OK and Troops will meet 3km safety limits -1st Arc Cav will notify this HQ Units move not safety limit.

- 23:10H: II Corps (Maj Sanabria) Maj Sanabria call to pass concurrence of CG ARVN II Corps on B-52 targets 34, 35, and 36 for 17 Nov.

The G3 Journal/IFFV reveals the following points:

- General Kinnard was not aware of the pre-planned arctlite strike on Nov 16. He said he preferred to have it on Nov 16 rather than on Nov 17.

- General Kinnard was oblivious to the 72 hour notification when he suggested the strike for Nov 16 on Nov 15.

- When he was advised that the Nov 17 arclite strike would be at LZ X-Ray itself, General Kinnard at first refused to budge his two battalions on the ground to a 3,000 meter safety distance. He finally relented to the relief of everybody.

General Kinnard through his ignorance and arrogance almost jeopardized the Arclite strike operational concept meticulously designed by II Corps Command.

He naively thought he could use B-52 strategic weapons as tactical weapons.

Phieu


#862 11 Jun 12, 08:28

G3 Journal/IFFV left no doubts who was in command and control of B-52 airstrike in Long Reach operation.

November 15, 1965

- 10:30H: MAVC J3 (Gen DePuy) Gen DePuy called Col Barrow and asked if Arc Light had been cleared with CG II Corps. Col Barrow replied yes, CG II Corps has approved Arc Light. Also Gen DePuy wanted to know if the elem of 1st Cav had received the 151600H restriction on not going west of YA grid line. Col Barrow informed Gen De Puy that the 1st Cav had acknowledged receipt of the restriction and would comply. Gen DePuy personally changed target configuration. Gen DePuy stated that this is the fastest a strike of this nature had ever been laid-on.

- 19:00H: 1st Cav (L/C Buchan) Target completely covered; best coverage he had seen; one rack of bombs out of target area vic YA 820122-808142, cords not accurate. Between 1700-1730 had Mohawk photo coverage and aerial recon, smoke too thick to observe target area; 1st light 16 Nov will have recon in area. Cav plans to request another strike, will call info to FFV by 2000. Not an immediate, II Corps will make similar request for same area. Mohawk photo now in lab.

November 16, 1965

- 15:35H: MACV Maj Oneil – What is the status of arclight #1745 Sphinx 160325Z. Ans: Currently being staffed at MACJ 237. II Corps CG concurs with msg number 1745.

- 18:50H: II Corp (Capt McConnell) CG II Corps does concur with Arclite.

- 23:10H: II Corps (Maj Sanabria) Maj Sanabria call to pass concurrence of CG ARVN II Corps on B-52 targets 34, 35, and 36 for 17 Nov.

II Corps Command continued to direct B-52 strikes well into Than Phong 7 operation.

Nov 21, 1965

- 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.

- 14:50H: G3 Air (Capt Green) Arc Light strikes were not on time. No results as yet.

Phieu


#863 12 Jun 12, 13:04

Command, not 1st Air Cav Command, and not 1st Air Cav Forward Command - had at all times a perfect and total situation of the enemy due to its “special agents”.

Phieu


#864 16 Jun 12, 18:33

Lucky 6: This is going to be quite a long section that I'm posting, so if there are any copyright issues, let me know Mods. Obviously, I'm quoting this and not claiming it as my own.He also states later on that he was able to interrogate a signal officer who gave him the entire telephone layout of the regiment. [2] Mr. Tourison speaks Mandarin, and a member offered way back in the thread somewhere to put him in contact with us. I think he'd be the be-all-end-all at this point in our discussion.

EDIT: Found it.

Notes

Jr, Sedgwick Tourison. Talking with Victor Charlie: An Interrogator’s Story. 1st ed. Ballantine Books, 1990. pp. 99-101.

Ibid. p. 102.

Lucky, I'd been mulling over getting this book for a long time, after your post I ended up grabbing a copy ($4!).

Thanks for the nudge, some good information provided by Tourison.

samtn99


#865 20 Jun 12, 11:23

Care to share the good information provided by Tourison?

Does it enlighten further the topic?

Phieu


#866 24 Jun 12, 15:00

Nguyę̃n Văn Tín,

Do your maps depicting the deployment of the 1st Bn (ABN) 8th Cav (1st Cav) and also operational information on this unit during the Battle of the Ia Drang?

Do you have information on the S Vietnam countrywide LRRP operations that were conducted by US units under the direction of the US DoD during the spring (March) 1966? The LRRP operations that were conducted to evaluate US LRRP capabilities using units from the Navy, Marines, Army and AirForce?

RANGERConners


#867 24 Jun 12, 16:40

Welcome. Can you please clarify this question? Are you saying there was some type of joint LRRP team that evaluated other LRRP teams? It sounds confusing.

don744


#868 25 Jun 12, 08:38

RANGERConners: Nguyę̃n Văn Tín,

Do your maps depicting the deployment of the 1st Bn (ABN) 8th Cav (1st Cav)

I did not. Hal Moore did in his after action report - in 2D - and in his book - in 3D.

Why Pleime duplicates those sketches:

You can find the animated depiction of the battle at www.wtj.com/articles/xray/

and also operational information on this unit during the Battle of the Ia Drang?

Hal Moore narrated it in his after action report and book.

However, he did not know that his mission was to distract the enemy at the staging areas about to move out to attack Pleime camp for a second time and to remain there longer for B-52 strikes. He was to hold the defense perimeters and not to sweep in search for the enemy. I have pointed this out in previous posts.

I realize that I am talking about the 1/7th Air Cav while you are focusing on the 1/8th Recon Air Cav. Sorry...

Phieu


#869 25 Jun 12, 14:43

Nguyę̃n Văn Tín

The deployment of the 1st Bn (ABN) 8th Cav during the Battle of Ia Drang is partially depicted in Year of the Horse: Vietnam-1st Air Cavalry in the Highlands 1965-1967 [Hardcover] by Kenneth D. Mertel.

However, I had hoped you had additional insights and information on that aspect of the battle. Ken Mertel was the battalion commander of the 1st Bn (ABN) 8th Cav during the battle of the Ia Drang.

Regarding the LRRP "test type/evaluation" missions that took place in the spring and early summer of 1966, a report was compiled on the performance of each LRRP team tested and disseminated to the appropriate commands within the Department of Defense. The 1967 document was classified SECRET...I have not seen the report since 1971 and unable to locate a copy of it. I assume that the report has been declassified.

I recorded my memories of the some of these operations and revised the articles after discussions with others that participated and analysis of available after action reports, etc ... I can provide a link address for anyone interested. The articles remain in a draft format and will be revised as additional information is obatin, including a copy of the report described above.

Do you have contacts that may be interested in locating this document and sharing with interested parties?

Captain Conners, Infantry, retired

RANGERConners


#870 25 Jun 12, 14:58

Don744:

The report I cited contains a description of the personnel performing the evaluation of each LRRP Team that was evaluated. The evaluators were not part of any LRRP team in existence. The LRRP teams evaluated in the report were not TO&E LRRP teams but teams assembled from various existing Department of Defense units that were operating in SE Asia. The teams were deployed in areas where their parent units were assigned. As an example, a USMC team conducted patrols along the border north west of Kon Tum...I do not have any details on that unit or the operation that they conducted.

TO&E LRRP teams in Vietnam were not created until after this period...TO&E LRRP units were authorized about one year later and I recognize that there is an abundance of information available of those TO&E LRRP units.

RANGERConners


#871 25 Jun 12, 17:00

RANGERConners
Captain Conners, Infantry,

In case we'll no longer see each other here... Better luck next time.

http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...ad.php?t=87925

altus


#872 25 Jun 12, 17:57

RC,

Thanks for the reply. Do you know which branch of DoD was the proponent for the evaluations?

don744


#873 25 Jun 12, 18:33

RANGERConners : Nguyę̃n Văn Tín

The deployment of the 1st Bn (ABN) 8th Cav during the Battle of Ia Drang is partially depicted in Year of the Horse: Vietnam-1st Air Cavalry in the Highlands 1965-1967 [Hardcover] by Kenneth D. Mertel. However, I had hoped you had additional insights and information on that aspect of the battle. Ken Mertel was the battalion commander of the 1st Bn (ABN) 8th Cav during the battle of the Ia Drang.

As I understand it, only units of 3rd Air Cav Brigade were involved in the LZ X-Ray battle. Units of 1st Air Cav Brigade, which comprised the 1/8th Bn, were in reserve at camp Halloway.

Regarding the LRRP "test type/evaluation" missions that took place in the spring and early summer of 1966, a report was compiled on the performance of each LRRP team tested and disseminated to the appropriate commands within the Department of Defense. The 1967 document was classified SECRET...I have not seen the report since 1971 and unable to locate a copy of it. I assume that the report has been declassified.

It should be declassified by now. Next time I visit Archive II, I will try to look for it.

Do you have contacts that may be interested in locating this document and sharing with interested parties?

No, I don't.

Phieu


#874 25 Jun 12, 18:33

Don744....response to your private message...

I served 1965-66. The book written by Ken Mertel that I posted earlier will provide you details on the missions performed by the battalion which was not deployed to LZ Xray but on other missions near Plei Me during the Battle of the Ia Drang.

I served in Chinese Bandit Recon Platoon of the 1st Bn (ABN) 8th Cav ...3d Scout Squad Leader...callsign Chinese Bandit 13. During the Battle of the Ia Drang the Chinese Bandits (all three recon scout squads) were attached to the 1st Airborne Brigade and conducted patrols to locate the NVA units that had been engaged with the 1/7th and other units inserted into LZ Xray.

Don744...response to the evaluation efforts and personnel...

I do not recall the specifics of those performing the evaluation of the LRRP testing but it included not only representatives from each branch of DoD but Vietnamese and foreign military senior officers and NCOs (I specifically recall that Australian representatives were involved). I do recall that during the debriefings that were conducted of our unit after the spring 1966 patrol along the borders of Cambodia and Laos that senior officers and NCOS were present from different countries and all US branches and that questions were asked by not only US but the entire audience.

The report I cited will be interesting to anyone interest in small unit operations during the early part of the Vietnam war and describes those performing the evaluation and the criteria used for the evaluation...thoroughly.

RANGERConners


#875 25 Jun 12, 18:41

Nguyę̃n Văn Tín

No, the record will clearly show the early involvement of the 1st Bn (ABN) 8th Cav at Plei Me and our unit engaged the NVA and did so in conjuntion with 1/9th. And remained in the battle until the combat units returned to AnKhe. Some interesting details are contained in the LTC Ken Mertel's book.

As I stated in my earrlier response...the 1st Bn (ABN) 8th Cav was not on LZ Xray.

Any effort to locate that report during your next vist to the archives will be greatly appreciated...if you narrow your search for March 1966, then I anticipate that you will locate some records regarding the LRRP test operation that we conducted...and should be present in Brigade and Division S-2 and higher headquarters J-2 files.

Also, copies of some of my military records and photographs may be viewed at:

http://www.militarytimes.com/forum/album.php?albumid=24

Also, draft articles that I have written on the early 1965-66 operations performed by the 1st Bn (ABN) 8th Cav can be read at:

http://www.docstoc.com/profile/rangerconners ...

RANGERConners


#876 25 Jun 12, 22:19

RANGERConners: I served in Chinese Bandit Recon Platoon of the 1st Bn (ABN) 8th Cav ...3d Scout Squad Leader...callsign Chinese Bandit 13. During the Battle of the Ia Drang the Chinese Bandits (all three recon scout squads) were attached to the 1st Airborne Brigade and conducted patrols to locate the NVA units that had been engaged with the 1/7th and other units inserted into LZ Xray.

I agree with Altus and call fraud on this guy. Check out the thread that Altus put forward: http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...ad.php?t=87925

This guy has been banned from this forum at least once already and on another military one in Canada to which I've posted.

"Chinese Bandit" equals BS and has for years. Continue dealing with him at your own peril.

Cheers,

Dan.

PS: Good catch Altus.


#877 25 Jun 12, 23:50

Strange that Dan is still interested in following this thread...

Phieu


#878 26 Jun 12, 01:29

I had my antenna up instantly....that's how bad his hide was

Altus..that was a good one!

Don, was that actually gonna take you 2 questions?

Leonardo63


#879 26 Jun 12, 01:34

Don't bother with Jerry Conners guys, he is a well documented fraud.

Boonierat


#880 26 Jun 12, 05:31

Dog gone it! Banned again...and we hardly even got a chance to know him. Leo...I had him at his first post. I know Mr Conners from a few other places. I had a bet going with some buds regarding how many posts he would make before he was banned. The over/under was 3. I took the over for $20.00.

don744


#881 27 Jun 12, 05:16

In setting up the Roll Call of Combatants At Pleime-Chupong-Iadrang Battlefront, regarding notable combatants of the 1/8th Air Cav during that operation, I only found mentioned:

1/8 Battalion: Major Guy Eberhardt for LTC Kenneth D. Mertel
Company A: Captain Theodore Danielsen
Platoon 1: Lieutenant Stewart Tweedy
Sergeant Norman G. Welch
Private first class Ronald Luke, radio operator

No sight of the Chinese Bandit Recon Platoon with its 2 Presidential Unit Citations.

Phieu


#882 28 Jun 12, 14:41

During Long Reach operation, G3 Journal/IFFV recorded the activities of 1/8th Air Cav Battalion from 2 to 11 November as following:

2 November 1965

- 05:05: MACV Sgt Glennon - B/1/8 was later committed to the area along with other elements. Frd forces then included A/1/9, B/1/8, 1 plt B/2/8, A/2/12, A/1/12 supported by A/1/9.

- 05:30H: 1st Cav (Capt Brady) 1st Bde for 1 Nov had 8 air sorties (opn Long Reach). Plans for today: 2d Bde: 1/8 (-) & a/5 will change areas today. 3d Bde: No change. 1st Bde: No change, will operat in same general areas.

3 November 1965

- 05:05H: MACV Sgt Glennon – Summary of info requested. Question 2. Ref Opn Long Reach. Generally there were two areas of contact by 1st Bde, 1st Air Cav (Scorpian) on 1 Nov. One action was a village Search vic YA 895305. The other action, which initiated at two different loc: ZA 074083 and ZA 050030. Subsequently, the frd forces employed here consolidated efforts in the area and as developed is considered as one action... Frd forces then included A/1/9, B/1/8, 1 plt/B/2/8, A/2/12, A/1/12 supported by A/2/19.

- 16:45H: 1st Cav (Maj Custer) B/1/8 has not closed STADIUM yet.

- Delayed entry 16:45H: 1st Cav (Capt Brady) Unit locations in 1st Bde area: 1/8 Cav CP at STADIUM; A/1/8 at Duc Co;

04 November 1965

- 05:00H: 1st Cav (Capt Collier) B/1/9 engage 1 element at 2330 vic YA 852055 w/unk size VC force. Troop was reinf w/1 plt of A/1/8 Cav. By 0352H contact was broken. Results: 27 US WIA, enemy cas unk.

- 07:00H: 1st Cav (Maj Sandburn) Recap on ambush initiated by 1 plt B/1/9 Cav at 2330H vic YA 852055. VC force est to be a company, possibly a reinf company. All of A/1/8 reinf followed by C/1/9. As of 0700 B & D/1/8 are being committed vic YA 853063 (approx. 2 K’s W of ambush site).

- 09:50H: 1st Cav (Capt Collier) Last elem of C/1/8 lifted off enroute to ambush site vic YA 864061. Contact broken by 0352, followed by sporadic SA fire.

- 12:15H: 1st Cav (Capt Brown) At 1148 1/8 Cav captured 1 VC w/wpn. Killed one VC vic YA 837054. Ref VN body: Body was Vietnamese, was lying dead when 1st Cav trps walked into the village. Hadn’t been dead long. Don’t know if frd fire killed him.

06 November 1965

- 08:40H: 1st Air Cav (MRC-95) 1/8 (-) has moved fm STADIUM to PUNT. 4) Quartering parties fm An Khe (relieving units) are going to 1st Bde zone today to coordinate unit relief.

- Delayed entry 12:00H: 1st Cav (Capt Cook) 1/8 CP location at ZA 171099, 2/12 CP located at ZA 178099.

- 17:30H: 1st Cav (Capt Cook) Unit location: B/1/8, 146124.

07 November 1965

- 07:55H: 1st Cav (SP Zagar) 1st Cav unit location: 1st Bde CP, Div Arty, 1/8.

- 08:55H: 1st Cav (Capt Collier) OB report: A/1/8, 149111; B/1/8, 160182; D/1/8, 155196;

- 11:10H: 1st Cav (L/C Hemphill) Obj MAPLE ZA 0470075; 1/8 assembling at STADIUM and begin deployment at 1400.

- 18:15H: 1st Cav Sgt Satterfield – Sitrep: 1/8 Cav began movement by air fm Stadium to Golf Course at 1400 hrs. Movement will be stopped at 2200 hrs and will continue tomorrow morning.

08 November 1965

- 04:15H: 1st Cav (Capt Parham) 1/8 move: Total sorties 7 Nov 21, 14 remain HQ, A, B, D have been lifted. Remainder some equipment and C Co. About ľ of 1/8 have been lifted.

- 08:20H: 1st Cav (Maj Anderson) 1/8 elem began moving at 0615H.

09 November 1965

- 06:09H: 1st Cav (Capt Parham) A/2/8 is attached to 1/8.

10 November 1965

- 15:30H: 1st Cav (SP4 Lavezzo) One SP4 fm C/1/8 walked into tail rotor of UH1d vic BQ 914676; EM was struck in left forehead, very serious; EM evacuated to Qui Nhon. Aircraft slightly damaged and evacuated to base area.

11 November 1965

- 10:10H: To: 1st Cav (Capt Cook) Request SITREP: No change as of 1000H. 1/8 Cav, and 2/8 Cav, from 2de to 1st Bde.

- 10:35H: 1st Cav (Capt Cook) At 0800H 1st Bde assumed control of 1/8 and base area.

Phieu


#883 28 Jun 12, 17:25

Keep up the excellent posts. I am really enjoying this thread.

DeltaOne


#884 06 Jul 12, 16:01

Iadrang valley battle in a nutshell:

- herd the three enemy dispersed regiments back to Chupong;

- lure them into regrouping close enough as to become targetable to B-52 strike by enticing them to switch to an attack posture;

- fixe them at their staging areas by distracting them with the drop of an air cav battalion;

- destroy them with Arc Light strikes in five days.

- finish them off with a surgical operation conducted by an airborne brigade.

Phieu


#885 07 Jul 12, 10:12

Iadrang valley battle

= Long Reach operation

= Pleiku campaign

= Pleime Counteroffensive into Chupong-Iadrang

Phieu


#886 08 Jul 12, 11:38

Long Reach operation

- herding (All the Way operation - 1st Air Cav Brigade)

- luring (Bayonet I operation - 3rd Air Cav Brigade)

- fixing (LZ X-Ray by distraction - 1/7th Air Cav Battalion)

- Arclite strike

- finishing off (Bayonet II operation - 2nd Air Cav Brigade/Than Phong 7 operation - Airborne Brigade)

Phieu


#887 09 Jul 12, 10:06

Long Reach operation (Oct 29-Nov 26/28 days)

- herding (Oct 29-Nov 9)

- luring (Nov 10-Nov 13)

- fixing (Nov 14)

- Arclite strike (Nov 15-Nov 19)

- finishing off (Nov 18-Nov 26)

Phieu


#888 10 Jul 12, 10:58

The operational concept of Long Reach operation was conceived by Colonel Hieu, II Corps Chief of Staff on October 27, 1965. Its aim was to reach for the three enemy regiments all the way into Chupong-Iadrang complex and destroy them with Arclite strikes.

- It began on October 29, with Eagle Flight teams of 1st Air Cav Brigade herding scattered enemy units back to Chupong;

- On November 9, General Larsen appeared on the battlefield and ordered the 3rd Air Cav Brigade to reverse the operational direction from west to east as a luring tactic;

- On November 12, General Larsen appeared again on the battlefield and ordered the 3rd Air Cav Brigade to reverse the operational direction back to the west, in preparation for Arclite strikes;

- On November 13, General Knowles was ordered to insert the 1/7th Air Cav Battalion in LZ X-Ray as a distraction tactic the next day;

- On November 14, when both General Kinnard and General Larsen were inspection the battlefield at LZ X-Ray, General Larsen broke the news of Arclite strike set for November 15 to General Kinnard;

- On November 17, General Larsen told General Kinnard the ARVN Airborne Brigade would take over the operation as main force and the 2nd Air Cav Brigade as reserve force.

Phieu


#889 11 Jul 12, 10:17

In order to pursue the withdrawal attackers of Pleime Camp, II Corps Command requested the help of 1st Air Cavalry Division. The Long Reach operation was set up with a clear cut operational procedure conceived by Colonel Hieu, II Corps Chief of Staff:

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.

(Why Pleime, chapter VIII)

1st Air Cavalry Division was assigned the role of the main effort (Long Reach/All the Way operations) with ARVN Airborne Brigade as a reserve force during this phase II of Pleime campaign and did not operate independently, but rather remained under II Corps' control, in particular in two key areas: intelligence and operational concept.

Phieu


#890 12 Jul 12, 10:44

In order to counter the 1st Air Cav air assault tactic, the VC used the grab the enemy by the belts and attack tactic

Colonel Hieu neutralized that tactic by keeping them at a 3 km distance and striking them with B-52 bombs.

Phieu


#891 13 Jul 12, 10:00

When II Corps Command requested the 1st Air Cav Division’s help in pursuing the two enemy withdrawing regiments after the attack on Pleime camp, the two sides agreed on naming the operation Long Reach Operation with II Corps Command in control.

However, in its after action report, the American side preferred to rename the operation Pleiku Campaign and concealed as much as possible the key role of II Corps Command in the operation and made it appeared as an independent American operation.

Phieu


#892 14 Jul 12, 10:00

Colonel Hieu was very clever in never giving out orders directly to the 1st Air Cav Division in the execution of Long Reach operation, but always through General Larsen, IFFV Commander, as seen in post #888.

Phieu


#893 15 Jul 12, 11:12

If you just read Pleiku Campaign, you would think General Kinnard, 1st Air Cav Division Commander, was conducting the Long Reach operation and the after action report was his version of the operation. It was fortunate that Coleman, who was the writer of the after action report, decided to write his book, Pleiku, the Dawn of Helicopter Warfare in Vietnam (St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1988), in which it is revealed that it was General Knowles, 1st Air Cav Div Deputy Commander, who conducted the Long Reach operation and was the author of the Pleiku Campaign report.

Phieu


#894 16 Jul 12, 10:00

General Kinnard was a very forceful commander.

Initially, General Westmoreland intended to split the Air Cav Division and assigned each of the three brigades to different parts of South Vietnam. General Kinnard adamantly opposed to that idea and insisted in keeping the entire division together.

When II Corps Command requested an Air Cav battalion to reinforce the rescue task force, General Kinnard committed an entire brigade and wanted to go directly to Pleime camp and liberated it by air.

On November 15, 1965, after the 1/7th Air Cav Battalion repulsed the attack of an enemy battalion, General Kinnard wanted to pull it out immediately, not knowing it needed to be there longer in preparation for the Arc Light strikes.

On November 17, General Kinnard refused at first to move out the two Air Cav battalions off the LZ X-Ray to a 3 km safety distance to allow Arc Light strikes on the landing zone itself.

On November 18, General Kinnard wanted his 2nd Air Cav Brigade to pursue the enemy all the way to the Cambodian border.

Phieu


#895 17 Jul 12, 10:02

General Knowles, Kinnard’s Deputy, whom Kinnard assigned as field commander of 1st Air Cav Division in Long Reach operation was also a forceful commander, although not at the same degree.

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.

Phieu


#896 18 Jul 12, 12:38

Not only was he forceful, General Kinnard was over-confident:

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.

(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.)

Phieu


#897 19 Jul 12, 10:49

Colonel Hieu was well aware of the 1st Air Cavalry Division's capabilities when he requested the assistance of this division in the planning of Long Reach operation:

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.

After two years of maneuver in the jungle of the South Carolina State, the Division has totally succeeded in developing and promoting new tactics. In a news conference on 16 June 1965, the US Secretary of Defense McNamara said,

"The tactics, the techniques, the procedures that will be employed by this new division will result in a markedly different approach to the solution of tactical problems. The use of aircraft to bring combat personnel directly to the battlefield, to remove them from the battlefield, provides a capability which neither we nor any other army in the world possess to day".

The modest Eagle Flights have become Air Cavalry troops whose unlimited capabilities had been forecast by Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) in the following words: "Against an army sailing through the clouds, neither walls nor mountains nor seas could afford any security".

Phieu


#898 20 Jul 12, 10:36

General Kinnard went in Long Reach operation with a pre-conceived own idea how to conduct a tactical operation to counter the guerrillas warfare (Cochran):

to seal off the area in which the guerrillas were fighting, to separate them from their source of reinforcement, supplies, weapons.

Right after the Plei Me siege was broken, I felt that it was up to me to find these guys who had been around the camp. So we came up with a search “modus operandi” in which the Cav Squadron was going to range widely over a very large area and I was going to use one infantry brigade to plop down an infantry battalion and look at an area here and there. I felt that we had to break down into relatively small groups so we could cover more area and also the enemy would think he could fake us. You couldn’t put down a whole battalion out there and go clomping around. You had to break down into company and platoon-sized units. You had to rely upon the fact that with the helicopter you could respond faster than anyone in history. I then learned, totally new to me, that every unit that was not in contact was, in fact, a reserve that could be picked up and used. This is my strategy. Start from somewhere, break down into small groups, depending upon the terrain, and work that area while the Cav Squadron roamed all over. The name of the game was contact. You were looking for any form of contact – a helicopter being shot at, finding a campfire, finding a pack, beaten-down grass.

Phieu


#899 21 Jul 12, 11:26

"To seal off the area in which the guerrillas were fighting, to separate them from their source of reinforcement, supplies, weapons."

General Kinnard was all wrong in this case, where NVA B3 Field Front had switched from guerilla to convention warfare, in aiming at conquering the Central Highlands with three main forces regiments, the 32nd, 33rd and 66th Regiments.

"Right after the Plei Me siege was broken, I felt that it was up to me to find these guys who had been around the camp. So we came up with a search “modus operandi” in which the Cav Squadron was going to range widely over a very large area and I was going to use one infantry brigade to plop down an infantry battalion and look at an area here and there. I felt that we had to break down into relatively small groups so we could cover more area and also the enemy would think he could fake us. You couldn’t put down a whole battalion out there and go clomping around. You had to break down into company and platoon-sized units. You had to rely upon the fact that with the helicopter you could respond faster than anyone in history. You were looking for any form of contact – a helicopter being shot at, finding a campfire, finding a pack, beaten-down grass."

And his air assault tactic of pursuing a scattered enemy in small units of squad and platoon sizes would be totally inefficient. It is like trying to destroy a bunch of rats scattered in your garden by shooting them down one by one.

How long does it take to search, find and shoot down 6,000 NVA combatants at one squad/platoon at a time?!

Colonel Hieu had a different operational concept.

Phieu


#900 21 Jul 12, 13:40

Phieu,

Can you please give your best description of a "movement to contact"?

Don744


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