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DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
8TH BATTALION (175MM/8 Inch) (SP), 4TH ARTILLERY
APO San Francisco 96269
31 July 1970
|SUBJECT:||Operational Report-Lessons Learned, 8th Battalion (175MM/8 Inch) (SP), 4th Artillery, Period Ending 31 July 1970, RCS CSFP0R-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 twelfth 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
(4)On 18 May XXIV Corps 4-70 Course began. Eight students were graduated.
(5) On 18 May, Hixon CO, XXIV Corps Artillery, fired this unit?s 300,000th round at FSB C-2.
(6) On 26 May 108th Artillery Group conducted an inspection of the Battalion FDC. Results were satisfactory.
(7) On 8 June XXIV Corps FO Course 2-70 began. Eight students were graduated.
(8) On 22 June XXIV Corps FDO Course 5-70 began. Twelve students were graduated.
(9) On 6 July XXIV Corps FO Course 3-70 began. Three students were graduated.
(10) On 6 July MAJ Courtney E. Prisk assumed command of the 8th Battalion, 4th Artillery from LTC Ross E. Duncan.
(11) On 9 July Task Force McNamera, a heavy artillery operation was commenced.
(12) On 15 July Task Force McNamera terminated. The operation was highly successful.
(13) On 20 July XXIV Corps FDO 6-70 began. Ten students were graduated.
(14) On 25 July LTC Paul R. Buckley assumed command of the 8th Battalion, 4th Artillery from MAJ Courtney B. Prisk.
(15) During the reporting period this battalion administered the FM 6-94 Gunnerís Test to all gunners and assistant gunners.
(16) During the reporting period this battalion and its elements came under enemy attacks by fire 66 times.
(17) During the reporting period this battalion destroyed 213 bunkers and was credited with 111 enemy KIA confirmed.
(18) 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.
(19) Missions and rounds fired during the reporting period:
BATTERY MAY JUNE JULY A/8/4 1213 msn
B/8/4 1117 msn
C/8/4 1412 msn
Total: 3742 msn
(20) The cumulative total of rounds fired by this battalion since arrival in country through 312400H July 1970 is 333,064.
(21) Deployment and status of the 8th Battalion, 4th Artillery and it subordinate units at the end of the reporting period (31 July 1970) were as follows:
UNIT LOCATION MISSION AND STATUS 8/4 OS-Rein 5th Battalion, 4th Artillery HHB/8/4 TD223587
c. Training: In addition to continuing its normal 24 hour operational capability, this battalion conducted a total of 135 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 five forward observer teams to ground forces in Northern I Corps. These teams consisted of a forward observer, a recon sergeant, and a radio telephone operator, included assignments to FSB Sarge, Hill 950, and three permanent assignments to 3/5 Cavalry Squadron.
e. Logistics:(1) During the reporting period this battalion was engaged in extensive area improvement and a building program at FSB C-2. Personnel bunkers and a large unit mess hall were completed. The battalion headquarters bunker was improved with sidewalks and better waterproofing.
(2) The average daily deadline rate for the reporting period was 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, 175M and 8 Inch 15.8% Other Tracked Vehicles 30.2% Wheeled Vehicles 17.1% FADAC Generators 1.4%
f. Civic Action: During May there was a major change in MEDCAP activities of the 8th Battalion, 4th Artillery. The battalion was assigned the Gia Linh District along with 108th Artillery Group. Several MEDCAPís outside this district were stopped and efforts were concentrated at the Gia An dispensary. In an effort to make the Vietnamese medical system function our role became advisory in nature allowing the Vietnamese personnel to treat the people and the Vietnamese medical supply system to secure the needed medical material. At first this new system was the source of considerable frustration. However, recently the acquisition of supply has improved, and returns are in sight for the efforts thus far expended. It is felt that the new approach to MEDCAP is a vast improvement over the old system, and that it will leave the Vietnamese people in the Gia Linh District a functional medical system upon American withdrawal.
g. Personnel and Administration:(1) Strength at the end. of period (31 July 1970)
AUTHORIZED ASSIGNED OFF 37 33 WO 6 6 ENL 522 512 Total: 565 551
(2) Significant Shortages at the end of period (31 July 1970)
MOS TITLE AUTH ASG 13A10 Cannoneers 208 197 13B40 Chief of Section & Gunners 52 39 94B20 Cooks 29 25 36K20 Wiremen 35 30 82C40 Surveyors 3 0 71H20 Personnel Specialists 8 5 13E40 Operations/Fire Direction Personnel 10 7 76S20 Automotive Repair Parts Specialist 5 3
(3)Casualties: One WIA in Battery A, one WIA in Battery B, end eight WIA in Battery C as a result of enemy action.
2. Lessons Learned: Commanderís Observations, Evaluations, and Recommendations.
a. Personnel: None.
b. Intelligence: None
c. Operations.(1) Forward FDC on Artillery Operations(a) OBSERVATION: During the conduct of an artillery operation where a battery or a portion of a battery is moved to a forward position, it is sometimes times difficult to maintain good communications between the forward firing elements and the fire direction center in the rear area.
(b) EVALUATION: Most targets which are engaged during the conduct of an artillery raid are usually preplanned targets. However, targets of opportunity are sometimes engaged. Firing data on preplanned targets can be worked up and checked prior to the raid and a fire direction center would not be needed in the forward area. With the possibility of engaging targets of opportunity it would be necessary for firing data to be worked and sent forward to the firing element. However, with the possibility that communications could be lost with the rear area, the forward firing element would not be able to engage targets of opportunity.
(c) RECOMMENDATION: During the conduct of future artillery operations of this nature the fire direction center should be brought forward with the firing element. In doing so, firing data could be computed and checked at the forward area with a secondary check being made with the fire direction center in the rear area. If communications were lost with the rear area, data could be computed with a primary check being accomplished at the forward area allowing the firing element to engage targets of opportunity.
(2) Field Expedient Gun Pits(a) OBSERVATION: To facilitate quick reaction and response when laying an artillery piece for firing and to minimize the possibility of throwing a track it is necessary to have a solid floor base within the gun pit.
(b) EVALUATION: When building field expedient gun pits, such as those necessary when conducting an artillery raid, if the gun pit is dug beneath the surf ace of the ground and a solid floor base is not formed it can cause a slow reaction and response time when laying the piece and after several changes of lay, dirt and rocks working into the area between the road wheels and track, it can cause a track to be thrown.
(c) RECOMMENDATION: When utilizing field expedient gun pits, to insure quick reaction end response when laying the piece and to minimize the possibility of throwing a track, it is suggested that the gun pit be built by pushing dirt around the gun forming a berm, thus leaving a mere solid floor base.
d. Organization: None.
e. Training: None.
f. Logistics: None.
g. Communications: None.
h. Material: None.
i. Other: None.
PAUL R. BUCKLEY LTC, FA Commanding 1 Incl DISTRIBUTION: 2 - CINCUSARPAC, ATTN: CPOP-DT 3 - CG, USARV, ATTN: AVHGC (DST) 6 - CG, XXIV Corps, ATTN: AVII-GCT 12 - C0, 108th Arty Gp, ATTN: AVIID-C 5- CO 8th B, 4th Arty, ATTN: AVIIDD-C