||31 Oct 1967
||31 Jul 1968
||30 Apr 1969
||31 Jan 1970
||31 Oct 1970
||31 Jan 1968
||31 Oct 1968
||31 Jul 1969
||30 Apr 1970
||30 Apr 1971
||30 Apr 1968
||31 Jan 1969
||31 Oct 1969
||31 Jul 1970
||31 Oct 1971
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
8TH BATTALION (175MM/8 Inch) (SP), 4TH ARTILLERY
APO San Francisco 96269
5 May 1970
|SUBJECT:||Operational Report-Lessons Learned, 8th Battalion (175MM/8 Inch (SP), 4th Artillery, Period Ending 30 April 1970, RCS CSFOR-65 (R2)(U).|
5 May 1970
1. Operations: Significant Activities.
a. General(1) The 8th Battalion, 4th Artillery arrived in the Republic of Vietnam on 12 August 1967. The battalion has continuously engaged in combat operations since 15 August 1967.
(2) This is the eleventh Operational Report submitted by this organization.
(3) Organizational list and structure are attached as Inclosure 1.
b. Historical Data(1) Deployment and status of the 8th Battalion, 4th Artillery and its subordinate elements at the beginning of the reporting period (1 Feb 70) were as
UNIT LOCATION MISSION AND STATUS 8/4 GS-Rein 5th Battalion 4th Artillery HHB/8/4 YD223587
(2) On 5 February 1970 Battery B retubed one platoon from 8” to 175MM changed to 8” on 29 and 30 January 1970.
(3) On 5 February 1970 this unit began a TET cease fire at 1800 hours. The cease fire terminated 061800H February 1970 without incident.
(4) On 12 February 1970 Battery A retubed one howitzer from 8” to 175MM.
(5) On 13 February 1970 Battery A retubed one other howitzer from 8” to 175MM.
(6) On 114. February 1970 LTC Ross E. Duncan assumed comnand of the 8th Battalion, 4th Artillery from LTC Isaac D. Smith.
(7) On 17 February 1970 COL Key, CO, 108th Artillery Group fired the 100,000th round for C/8/4 in combat operations in Vietnam.
(8) On 18 February 1970 COL Key, CO, 108th Gp, was briefed concerning the ARVN Heavy Artillery Training Program prepared by this battalion.
(9) On 22 February 1970 this unit received a change in mission from 108th Arty Op. The mission was changed to general support of XXIV Corps, reinforcing 101st Airborne Division (AMBL) Artillery, 1st ARVN Division Artillery, and 5th Battalion, 4th Artillery.
(10) On 23 February 1970 this unit began its first XXIV Corps Fire Direction Officers School. Five students were graduated on 28 February.
(11) On 25 February 1970 Task Force Bradberry, a heavy artillery raid, was commenced.
(12) On 26 February 1970 Task Force Bradberry terminated. The raid was highly successful and a complete after-action report was forwarded to higher headquarters.
(13) On 3 March 1970 this unit’s fire channels were revised to provide direct communications between 5/4 Arty and this unit. This unit remains responsive to 108th Arty Gp for general support missions.
(14) On 16 March 1970 XXIV Corps Fire Direction Officer Course 2-70 began. On 21 March four students were graduated.
(15) On 6 April 1970 XXIV Corps Forward Observer School 1-70 began. On 10 April seven students were graduated.
(16) On 15 April 1970 Battery A retubed two howitzers from 8" to 175MM.
(17) On 20 April 1970 XXIV Corps Fire Direction Officer School 3-70 began. Eight students were graduated on 25 April 1970.
(18) During the reporting period, Headquarters, A, and B Batteries received satisfactory ratings from the XXIV Corps Command Maintenance Management Inspection team.
(19) During the reporting period this battalion administered the FM6-94 gunner?s test to all gunners and assistant gunners.
(20) During the reporting period this battalion and its units came under enemy attacks by fire 46 times.
(21) During the reporting period this battalion destroyed 140 bunkers and was credited with 101 enemy KIA confirmed.
(22) During the reporting period this battalion continued its progress in development of the ARVN Heavy Artillery Training Program. The training program itself, lesson plans, and a prepared briefing have been translated into Vietnamese.
(23) Missions and rounds fired during the reporting period:
BATTERY FEBRUARY MARCH APRIL A/8/4 1326 msn
B/8/4 922 msn
C/8/4 970 msn
Total: 3218 msn
(24) The cumulative total of rounds fired by this battalion since arrival in country through 302400H April 1970 is 289,760.
(25) Deployment and status of the 8th Battalion, 4th Artillery and its subordinate units at the end of the reporting period (30 April 1970) were as follows:
UNIT LOCATION MISSION AND STATUS 8/4 GS-XXIV Corps, Rein 101st Airborne Division Artillery, 1st ARVN Division Artillery, and 5th Battalion, 4th Artillery HHB/8/4 YD223587
A/8/4 YD062545 (Camp Carroll) B/8/4 YD132614
c. Training: In addition to continuing its normal 24 hour operational capability, this battalion conducted a total of 156 hours of scheduled training for all personnel. Emphasis was placed on automatic weapons training, replacement training, and training for gunners and assistant gunners. A battalion firing battery inspection team continued its operations.
d. Observation: During this reporting period this battalion provided eight forward observer teams to ground forces in Northern I Corps. These teams, consisting of a forward observer, a recon sergeant, and a radio telephone operator, included assignments to Special Forces elements, 2nd ARVN Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (AMBL), and three permanent assignments to 3/5th Cavalry Squadron.
e. Logistics:(1) During the reporting period this battalion was engaged in extensive area improvement and a building program at Camp Carroll. Personnel bunkers and a large unit mess hall were completed. Battalion headquarters moved into a new bunker.
(2) Average Daily Deadline Rate for the reporting period were computed using the number of vehicles on hand, with the exception of wheeled vehicles. The deadline rate for wheeled vehicles was computed utilizing the number of vehicles authorized. The average daily deadline rates were as follows:
ITEM PER CENT SP Artillery, 175MM and 8 INCH 10.2% Other Tracked Vehicles 31.1% Wheeled Vehicles 14.3% FADAC Generators 11.6%
f. Civic Action: This battalion maintained four MEDCAPS at Duong Luong, An Lac, Dai Do, and Dong Ha City and added one during the reporting period at Gio Linh. The first four MEDCAPS were established in August and November 1968, and two in March 1969. During the reporting period, a total of 2500 patients were treated. In addition to treating the patients, the MEDCAPS included distribution of clothing, soap, and candy to the Vietnamese people.
g. Personnel and Administration:(1) Strength at the end of period (30 April 1970)
AUTHORIZED ASSIGNED OFF 37 33 WO 6 6 ENL 522 560 Total: 565 560
(2) Significant Shortages at the end of period (30 April 1970)
MOS TITLE AUTH ASG 13A10 Cannoneers 208 182 94B20 Cooks 29 25 13B40 Chief of Section & Gunners 52 48
(3) Casualties: Two WIA in Battery A, two WIA in Battery B, and two WIA in Battery C as a result of enemy action.
2. Lessons Learned: Commander’s Observations, Evaluations, and Recommendations.
a. Personnel: None
b. Intelligence: None.
c. Operations:(1) Marking Perimeters at Fire Bases(a) OBSERVATI0N: During enemy ground attacks at night on fire support bases it is many times very difficult for air support elements to accurately determine the edge of the friendly perimeter from the air.
(b) EVALUATION: Although ARA and gunships are available for defense of fire support bases, their inability to accurately fix the friendly perimeter may decrease their effectiveness considerably. This inability may often result in accidental friendly casualties or may cause the gunships to refuse to fire close-in support.
(c) RECOMMENDATION: Artillery ammunition cannisters, preferably 8” or 175MM, may be filled with diesel fuel and buried up to their rime along the edge of the defensive perimeter about 20 meters outside the interior wire and from 10 to 20 meters apart. These can then be ignited by a command fired trip flare mounted over the cannister of diesel to provide an excellent perimeter marking device. These “pots”? burn in excess of eight hours once ignited and may be immediately ignited at the first indication of a ground attack or probe. Once ignited, these pots will burn throughout the night outlining the fire base for supporting air as well as providing a substantial amount of ground illumination.
(2) Self-Illumination Capability at Fire Support Bases(a) OBSERVATION: For units without an organic illumination capability in locations where there is a very limited amount of artillery with an illumination capability, difficulty sometimes arises in response time for requested illumination.
(b) EVALUATION: Units in fairly permanent fire bases not defended by an infantry unit or some force with the specific designated task of base defense many times have no self-illumination capability. When there are many small units in the field in night defensive positions and when the artillery illumination capability in that area of operations is very limited, the need for self-illumination may very easily arise. Should the artillery illumination capability be over-extended at any time by illumination requests for the NDP’s, the unit without a self-illumination capability may find itself not able to illuminate its perimeter in case of attack.
(c) RECOMMENDATION: An 81MM mortar may be procured and a crew easily trained to fire illumination only. Once a crew is trained, the individuals can be placed on stand-by during the night to provide immediate illumination should artillery illumination not be available. The addition of four mortar crews per heavy artillery battalion is also recommended as a modification of the TOE for heavy artillery units engaged in Vietnam.
d. Organization: None.
e. Training: None.
f. Logistics: None.
g. Communications: None.
h. Material: None.
ROSS E. DUNCAN LTC, FA Commanding 1 Incl DISTRIBUTION: 2-CINCUSARPAC, ATTN: CPOP-DT 3-CG, USARV, ATTN: AVHGC (DST) 4-CG XXIV Corps, ATTN: AVII-GCT 12-CO, 108th Arty Gp., ATTN: AVIID-C 5-C0, 8th Bn, 4th Arty, ATTN: AVIIDD-C