Operating Reports
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

APO San Francisco 96269 5

February 1970


SUBJECT: Operational Report-Lessons Learned, 8th Battalion (175MM/8 INCH) (SP) 4th Artillery, Period Ending 31 January 1970, RCS CSFOR-65 (R2)(U).


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 tenth Operational Report submitted by this organization. (3) Organizational list and structure (See Incl 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 Nov 69) were as follows:

8/4GG-Rein 5th Battalion 4th Artillery
Dong Ha)
Dong Ha)
Camp Carroll)
FSB C-1)
FSB A-4)

(2) On 8 November 1969 Battery A sustained damages due to a rocket attack which included holes in recoil cover plate and valve covers and M-37 burned off one Ml10 howitzer, 44 white bag propellent charges, 56 flash reducers, and 15 M564 time fuses destroyed.

(3) On 12 November 1969 a new metro site was opened for occupation at Camp Carroll for use by the metro section, 8/4 Arty.

(4) On 13 November 1969, metro section, 8/4 Arty displaced to Camp Carroll to continue operations from that location. (5) On 15 November 1969 at YD598195, CO, A Battery received sniper fire. There were no casualties or equipment damage.

(6) On 20 November 1969 at YD150587 A Battery CO's driver received sniper fire. There were no casualties or equipment damage.

(7) On 13 December 1969, Battery B displaced from FSB C-1 to FSB C-2 at YD132641 without incident.

(8) On 14 December 1969 a briefing was presented to the CO, 108th Group concerning the newly developed ARVN heavy artillery training program designed to train an ARVN cadre.

(9) On 17 December 1969 a decision briefing was conducted for the CO, XXIV Corps Arty, on the above ARVN training program. The program is presently under consideration.

(10) On 24 December 1969 this unit began a Christmas cease fire at 1800 hours. The cease fire terminated 251800 December 1969 without incident.

(11) On 28 December 1969 Task Force Smith conducted a heavy artillery raid in the vicinity of Elliot Combat Base. The raid was terminated at 291200 December 1969. Operation was highly successful; OPORD and after-action reports have been submitted to higher headquarters.

(12) On 31 December 1969 a New Year's cease fire began at 1800 hours. The cease fire terminated at 011800 January 1970 without incident.

(13) On 13 January 1970 this unit received notification of an artillery raid which was to commence on 14 January 1970.

(14) On 14 January 1970 Task Force Smith II commenced an artillery raid to Elliot Combat Base and Calu.

(15) On 18 January 1970 Task Force Smith II terminated. Raid was highly successful and OPORD and after-action have been forwarded to higher headquarters.

(16) On 19 January 1970 this unit received information that it would be responsible for the conduct of XXIV Corps Forward Observer and Fire Direction Officer Schools commencing in February 1970.

(17) During the reporting period Batteries C and SVC received satisfactory ratings from the XXIV Corp Command Maintenance Management Inspection team.

(18) During the reporting period Batteries B and C received satisfactory ratings from the XXIV Corps Firing Battery Inspection team. (19) During the reporting period this battalion administered the FM6-94 gunners test to all gunners and assistant gunners.

(20) During the reporting period this battalion and its units came under enemy attacks by fire 33 times.

(21) During the reporting period the battalion destroyed 92 bunkers, and was credited with 24 enemy KIA confirmed.

(22) Missions and rounds fired during the reporting periods:

A/8/4714 msn
3765 rds
634 msn
3672 rds
1021 msn
4534 rds
B/8/4824 msn
3540 rds
595 msn
2469 rds
711 msn
2535 rds
C/8/4822 msn
5084 rds
74 msn
4229 rds
690 msn
3580 rds
Total:2360 msn
12389 rds
1970 msn
10370 rds
2422 msn
10649 rds

(23) The cumulative total of rounds fired by this battalion since arrival in country through 3124OOH January 1970 is 251,847.

(24) Deployment and status of the 8th Battalion, 4th Artillery and its subordinate units at the end of the reporting period (31 January 1970) were as follows:

8/4GS-Rein 5th Battalion 4th Artillery
Dong Ha)
Dong Ha)
Camp Carroll)
FSB C-2)
(FSB A-4)

c. Training: In addition to continuing its normal 24 hour operational capability, this battalion conducted a total of 172 hours of scheduled training for all personnel. Also special small arms training programs and gunners training programs and testing programs were conducted. A battalion firing battery inspection team continued its operations.

d. Observation: During this reporting period this battalion provided four forward observers teams to ground forces in Northern I Corp. These teams, consisting of a forward observer, a radar sergeant, and a radio telephone operator, were provided to the 2d ARVN Regiment and 3/5th Cavalry Squadron.

e. Logistics:

(1) During the reporting period this battalion was engaged in an extensive building program at Camp Carroll and FSB A-4. Personnel bunkers, mess halls, and other battery installations are under construction at Camp Carroll while gun pads, projectile and powder bunkers are being improved. The building program at A-4 is complete, but a new building program was undertaken by the battalion when Battery B displaced from FSB C-1 to FSB C-2. The program is primarily designed to refurbish existing installations, a new command bunker is under construction in the battalion headquarters area, Logistics support required for two artillery raids was extensive in regard to Classes I, III, and V to include the provision for aerial emergency re-supply.

(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 wh/veh was computed utilizing the number of vehicles authorized. The average daily deadline rates were as follows:

SP Artillery, 175MM and 8 Inch7.1%
Other Tracked Vehicles42.5 %
Wheeled Vehicles15.8 %
FADAC Generators6.6 %

f. Civic Action: 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. During the reporting period, a total of 1213 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 end of period (31 January 1970)


(2) Significant Shortages:

31 Jan 70
93F40Metro Chief10
05C20RIT Operator106
93F20Metro Crewman97
76Y40Supply Sergeant65
13B40Chief of F.B.32

(3) Casualties: One WIA in Battery B as a result of enemy rocket fire.

2. Lessons Learned: Commanders Observation, Evaluations, and Recommendations.

a. Personnel: None

b. Intelligence: None

c. Operations.

(1) Target Scheduling for Artillery Raids

(a) OBSERVATION: The large number of scattered targets to be fired upon in a short time during a heavy artillery raid presents a difficulty in planning to completely engage all targets.

(b) EVALUATION: During an artillery raid it is necessary to fire upon a great number of targets that are widely dispersed through an area of operations, and this must be done in a very limited period of time. When the raid employs heavy artillery weapons, it must be remembered that they are limited in traverse limits by both the physical capabilities of the weapon and the charge the weapon is firing because of safety. This requires the weapons to be relaid when a target out of traverse limits for the present azimuth of lay must be engaged. If targets are simply listed on the said target list and they fall throughout the area of operations, the weapons must be consistently relaid and will spend the majority of the time preparing to fire rather than actually firing. Also for engagement of the targets by aerial rocket artillery it was found that by giving the gunships specific grids throughout the area of operations, they spent 75% of their time attempting to identify the specific grid and criss-crossing the area of operations from one to another.

(c) RECOMMENDATION: Target lists assigned far artillery raids should be programmed in blocks of targets, These blocks should include all targets within 150-200 mils on either side of a central azimuth of lay for a group of targets. This enables the heavy artillery laid on one azimuth to fire an entire block of targets and then merely relay to fire the next block of targets, rather than relaying to fire individual grids, This method makes it possible to easily fire a great number of targets in a short period of time. Also, for aerial rocket artillery, this method was found to tremendously increase the number of targets engaged and the flying time spent actually engaging targets because an entire block could be assigned to ARA to fire in one area rather than dispersed specific grids. Fire support coordination and air space coordination were greatly facilitated by this method of fire planning.

(2) Artillery Raid Fire Support Coordination

(a) OBSERVATION: It is extremely difficult for the artillery raid tactical operations center to effectively control and clear fires when firing into an area of operation under the control of a separate maneuver unit commander.

(b) DISCUSSION: Due to the nature of an artillery raid, it is imperative that the artillery operations center have full and complete knowledge of troop locations and the status of friendly units in the area of operations. Without this knowledge it is impossible to confidently clear grids and select the blocks to be fired at the appropriate times. Aircraft in the area must also be appropriately safeguarded. Air warnings must be broadcast when a particular area is to be fired upon. These warnings are impossible to precisely fix to a timetable due to the nature of the fires during an artillery raid. When the artillery raid operates in an area of operations controlled by a non-organic maneuver unit, grid clearances and air warnings must be appropriately coordinated with all agencies.

(c) RECOMMENDATION: During an artillery raid, the raid commander should be given charge of the area of operations in which the raid is to take place for the period of the raid. This would require maneuver force liaison to the artillery raid tactical operations center to insure awareness of ground force locations. Ground operations could then not take place without the artillery raid commander's knowledge. Further, a specific artillery raid air warning control center should be established in the raid operations center to control air traffic.

(3) Heavy Engineer Equipment on Artillery Raids

(a) OBSERVATION: Heavy artillery requires the best possible preparation of the firing position to make possible more accurate fire and preclude many possible maintenance problems.

(b) DISCUSSION: In order to properly prepare a firing position for heavy artillery, it is necessary at times to perform major earth moving and ground clearing positions. Also, at termination of the raid, it is necessary to clear the firing area of debris and the considerable waste accumulated by a great amount of heavy artillery firing.

(c) RECOMMENDATION: Engineer equipment support should be planned to specifically include a bulldozer. This may be transported in convoy by fiat bed trailer.

d. Organization: None

e. Training: None

f. Logistics.

(1) Construction of Underground Bunkers

(a) OBSERVATION: Many tar papered underground bunkers are found to be unsatisfactorily waterproofed.

(b) DISCUSSION: Bunkers which are constructed underground with flat roofs very often provide poor weather protection during very wet weather conditions in spite of complete tar paper covering. Regardless of depth, a flat roof with tar paper does not provide required waterproofing.

(c) RECOMMENDATION: Underground bunkers should be constructed with sloped roofs and membrane should be implemented as a standard covering for the roofs.

g. Communication: None

h. Material: None

i. Other.

(1) Medevac During Inclement Weather

(a) OBSERVATION: During inclement weather such a heavy fog or rain during the night, it is extremely difficult to provide necessary illumination for the helicopter.

(b) DISCUSSION: It is necessary to provide initial illumination to enable the pilot to make long range identification of the landing zone. Hand flares have been found to be unsatisfactory for this purpose in heavy fog because they are not visible from a long distance when fired at a very high altitude. Further it is necessary to provide for at least ten minutes of continuous illumination near the landing zone itself, but not to blind the pilot by using bright flares at low level.

(c) RECOMMENDATION: Trip flares set on the ground provide a very bright light not obscured by fog for long distance identification of the lending zone. These may be used to illuminate the landing zone and approach until the helicopter is fairly close. For the aircraft's final approach, hand flares should he used to provide sufficient local light and not blind the pilot at low levels.

1 Incl
12-C0, 108th Arty Gp., ATTN: AVGL-C
5-C0, 8th Bn, 4th Arty, ATTN: AVGLD-C