What if there was no master plan for Pleime Counteroffensive?
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 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.
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 ...
Nguyen Van Tin
6 January 2012
- Books, Articles
* Pleiku, the Dawn of Helicopter Warfare in Vietnam, J.D. Coleman, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1988.
* We Were Soldiers Once… and Young, General Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway, Random House, New York, 1992.
* "First Strike at River Drang", Military History, Oct 1984, pp 44-52, Per. Interview with H.W.O Kinnard, 1st Cavalry Division Commanding General, Cochran, Alexander S.
* The Siege of Pleime, Project CHECO Report, 24 February 1966, HQ PACAF, Tactical Evaluation Center.
* Silver Bayonet, Project CHECO Report, 26 February 1966, HQ PACAF, Tactical Evaluation Center.
- Viet Cong