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DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
8TH BATTALION (175MM/8 INCH) (SP), 4TH ARTILLERY
APO San Francisco 96269
5 November 1969
|SUBJECT:||Operational Report - Lessons Learned, 8th Battalion (175MM/8 INCH)(SP), 4th Artillery, Period Ending 31 October 1969, RCS CSFOR-65 (R2)(U).|
1. Operations: Significant Activities.
e. 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 ninth Operational Report submitted by this organization. (3) Organization List (See 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 Aug 69)were as follows:
UNIT LOCATION MISSION AND STATUS 8/4 GS XXIV CORPS REIN 12TH MARINE REGT HHB/8/4 YD2223587
C/8/4 FSB C-2
(2) On 8 August 1969 Battery B incurred 2 KIA and 10 WIA when an enemy 122MM rocket landed approximately 10 meters from the Unit mess hall at approximately 0710 hours.
(3) On 11 August 1969 LTC Isaac D. Smith assumed command of the Battalion from LTC Frank M. Kulik, Jr.
(4) On 16 August 1969 at Fire Support Base C-2, the Battalion Commander, LTC Isaac D. Smith, fired the 200,000th round expended by this battalion since its arrival in country.
(5) On 22 August 1969 at YD185588, the Battery C commander received light sniper fire. No casualties or equipment damage were suffered.
(6) On 24 August 1969 at YD133627, a Battery C convoy received light sniper fire. No casualties or equipment damage were suffered.
(7) On 2 September 1969 this battalion and all its units were hit by typhoon Dora from 0800-1500 hours. There was extensive equipment and building damage, but no personnel injuries.
(8) On 2 September 1969 Battery C incurred one WIA NBC who accidentally shot himself while cleaning a .45 caliber pistol.
(9) On 26 September the Army Concept Team in Vietnam from USARV headquarters visited this battalion.
(10) On 30 September 1969 Battery A retubed from 175MM to 8 inch.
(11) On 11 October 1969 Battery C displaced from C-2 to A-4 at YD11896989 without incident.
(12) On 20 October 1969 Battery A displaced from Elliot Combat Base to Camp Carroll at YD06205450 without incident.
(13) On 23 October 1969 this battalion received a Change of mission from 108th Artillery Group. The new mission is that of general support of the XXIV Corps.
(14) On 29 October 1969 this battalion received a further change of mission from 108th Artillery Group. The new mission is that of general support reinforcing the 5th Battalion, 4th Artillery.
(15) On 31 October 1969 Battery A displaced one platoon to the west at YD03185629 to support a 101st Airmobile Division operation. Ninety-five rounds were fired with a surveillance of 17 bunkers destroyed and one damaged. The platoon returned to the battery position before nightfall.
(16) During the reporting period, Batteries A and C received satisfactory ratings from the XXIV Corps Command Maintenance Management Inspection Team.
(17) During the reporting period, this battalion received a satisfactory rating from the USARV Annual General Inspection Team.
(18) During the reporting period, Battery A received satisfactory ratings from the XXIV Corps Firing Battery inspection Team.
(19) During the reporting period, Batteries A and C were calibrated by the USARV calibration team.
(20) During the reporting period, the battalion destroyed 179 bunkers and was credited with 23 enemy KIA confirmed.
(21) Missions and rounds fired during the reporting periods
BATTERY AUGUST SEPTEMBER OCTOBER A/8/4 386 msn
B/8/4 455 msn
C/8/4 682 msn
Total 1523 msn
(22) The cumulative total of rounds fired by this battalion since arrival in country through 312400H October 1969 is 218,440.
(23) Deployment and status of the 8th Battalion, 4th Artillery end its subordinate elements at the end of the reporting period (31 Oct 69) were as follows:
UNIT LOCATION MISSION AND STATUS 8/4 GS - REIN 5TH BATTALION, 4TH ARTILLERY HHB/8/4 YD223587
(Camp Carroll )
c. Training: In addition to continuing its normal 24 hour operational capability, this battalion conducted a total of 125 hours of scheduled training for all personnel. Also, this battalion requested several technical maintenance visits from WECOM representatives and begin intensive gunner's training in preparation for gunner's tests to be administered in November.
d. Observation: During this reporting period, this battalion provided four forward observer teams to ground forces in Northern I Corps. These teams, consisting of a forward observer and a radio telephone operator, were provided to the 2nd ARVN Regiment, 3rd ARVN Regiment, l0lst Airmobile Division, and 3/5th Cavalry squadron.
e. Logistics:(1) During the months of August and September, this battalion was engaged in an extensive rebuilding program at Fire Support Base C-2. This included personnel bunkers, FIDC bunker, and XO post. Since Battery C's move to A-4 and Battery A's move to Camp Carroll, total battalion effort and support has been given to construction of Camp Carroll and improvement of the position at A-4. Gun pads, projectile and powder bunkers, personnel bunkers, mess halls, and other battery installations are under construction st both A-4 and Camp Carroll.
(2) Average Daily Deadline Rates 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 are as follows:
ITEM PER CENT SP Artillery, 175MM and 8 Inch 5.2% Other Tracked Vehicles 32.2% Wheeled Vehicles 13. 0% FADAC Generators 17.3%
f. Civic Actions This battalion maintained four MEDCAPS at the following locations, Dong Luong, An Lac, and two in Dong Ha City. These MEDCAPS were initiated in August and November, 1968 and March, 1969 respectively. During the reporting period, a total of 2092 patients were treated. In addition to treating patients, the MEDCAPS included distribution of clothing, soap, and candy to the Vietnamese people.
g. Personnel and Administration:(1) Strength at end of period (31 October 1969).
AUTH ASG OFF 37 36 WO 6 4 ENL 522 484 Total 565 524
(2) Significant Shortages:
MOS TITLE AUTH ASG
31 Oct 69
93F40 Metro Chief 1 0 63C40 Motor SGT 4 2 63C40 Bn Motor SGT 1 0 76Y40 Supply SGT 6 4 13B40 Chief Firing Battery 3 2 94B40 Mess SGT 5 4
(3) Casualties: Two KIA in Battery B as a result of enemy rocket fire. Ten WIA in Battery B also as a result of enemy rocket fire. One WIA in Battery C not as a result of hostile action.
2. Lessons Learned: Commander's Observations, Evaluations, and Recommendations.
a. personnel: None
b. Intelligence: None
c. Operations.(1) Assigned Radio Frequencies(a) OBSERVATION: Tactical support helicopters in this area have limited capabilities concerning the FM tactical radio frequencies which they can use because of limitations imposed by the AN/ARC 44 and AN/ARC 54 radio sets.
(b) EVALUATION: Tactical air support helicopters employing the above radio sets have the capability to monitor frequencies Up to 51.9 and 65.00 megacycles respectively. During convoy movements and other operations, it is often necessary to have gunships monitor the ground control frequency because the battery commander only has the capability to communicate on one frequency. This dictates that the ground control frequency he within the limitations of the AN/ARC 44 radio set to insure communications comparability between air and ground. At times in the past, this battalion has not had any frequencies assigned within these limitations which has caused difficulty in coordinating air support with the ground commander. This has necessitated requests to higher headquarters to use frequencies not assigned to this battalion es the control frequency.
(c) RECOMMENDATION: All battalions be assigned at least one frequency which is within the communications limitations of the AN/ARC 44 radio set. This would assure that the battalion has e frequency which could be used in conjunction with air support. The formal frequency assignment within the battalion SOI would be unimportant, the main purpose of this being to assure that an appropriate frequency is available to the commander at battalion level for the coordination of its use.
(2) Time Fuze Malfunctioning(a) OBSERVATION: Simple wearing away of the lands in the breech end of the bore of an 8" howitzer caused time fuze, M564, to malfunction as evidenced by consistent graze bursts when firing fuze time.
(b) EVALUATION: TM 9-1000-202-35, paragraph 9c states that a bulge which enlarges the land diameter 0.01 inch or more for a distance of one and one-half calibers or more tends to disturb the functioning of the fuze. The case in point is an example of malfunction of the time fuze not caused by a bulge in the lands but rather by tube wear. The howitzer tube in question was at approximately half life end had no visible erratic effects on the rounds it fired as evidenced by accurate fire with PD fuze. However, when firing time fuze, an air burst could not be obtained. The fuze lot was fired by another howitzer and the time setting was easily adjusted to yield an air burst. Regardless of fuze setting, an air burst could not be obtained with rounds fired by the defective tube. The tube was inspected and it was observed that the lands at the breech end of the bore were considerably, but evenly worn. This wear, however, manifested itself only in the malfunction of time fuzes fired by the defective tube. Upon borescoping the tube, it was found that the wear was rapidly approaching the point where erratic fires would result; the tube was condemned and replaced.
(c) RECOMMENDATION: Above information be disseminated to artillery units to insure inspection and necessary replacement of howitzer tubes when time fuze malfunctions occur for no apparent reason.
d. Organization: None
e. Training: None
f. Logistics: None
g. Communications: None
h. Materiel: None
i. Other: None
ISAAC D. SMITH LTC, FA Commanding 1 Incl DISTRIBUTION: 2 - CINCUSARPAC, ATTN: CPOP-DT 3 -CGUSARV, ATTN: AVHGC (DST) 4 - CGXXIV, ATTN: AVII-GCT 12- CO, 108th Arty Gp, ATTN: AVGL-C 5 - HQ, 8th Bn, 4th Arty, ATTN: AVGLD-C