Operating Reports
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APO San Francisco 96269

9 May 1971


SUBJECT:Operational Report Lessons - Learned, Headquarters, 8th Battalion 4th Artillery, Period ending 30 April 1971 (RCS CSFOR-65(R3) (U)

THRU: Commanding Officer
108th Artillery Group
APO SF 96308

TO: Assistant Chief of Staff for Force Development
Department of the Army
Washington, D.C. 20301


a. During November 1970 the mission of 8th Battalion, 4th Arti11ery was to provide general support-reinforcing fires to 5th Battalion, 4th Artillery, direct support battalion of 1st Brigade, 5th Infantry Division (M). Elements of the battalion were located on permanent fire bases as follows:

(1) HHB/SVC Btry - Dong Ha (YD223587)
(2) A Btry - Camp J.J. Carroll (YD062545
) (3) B Btry - FSB C-2 (YD132641)
(4) C Btry - FSB A-4 (YD019699)

On 15 November, B Battery conducted a heavy artillery raid, displacing from fire support base C-2 (YD1364) to fire support base Vandergrift (XD9948). 3rd Squadron, 5th Cavalry Regiment exercised command and control of the raid. During the raid 175 rounds were fired on preplanned targets based on sensor activations in the Laotion border area, (XD7245). Adverse weather precluded battle damage assessment (BDA). BDA assessment for the month of November was: 28 bunkers destroyed, 8 enemy KIA, and 10 secondary explosions.

b. During December the battalion continued its assigned mission, GSR-5th Battalion, 4th Artillery, from the fire support bases indicated in paragaph 1la. Total BDA for the month was 33 bunkers destroyed, 18 enemy KIA, and 10 secondary explosions. As of 31 December 1970, the battalion had fired 359,621.rounds since arriving in the Republic of Vietnam in 1967.

c. With the exception of two artillery raids, the battalion continued its mission of GSR, 5Th Battalion, 4th Artillery in January 1971.

On 10 January 1971, Admiral Thomas Moorer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited FSB C-2 and inspected B Battery. On 15 January 1971, in support of the 101st Airborne Division, A Battery conducted a heavy artillery raid, from FSB Vandergrift (XD9948). Two 175MM gun sections from B Battery were attached to A Battery for the 1 day raid. Fires were directed on observed targets in the Laoticn border area (XD7245), and the Vietnam Salient (XD9025). A total of 230 rounds HE were expended resulting in a BDA of: one 12.7mm machine gun and position destroyed, one POL dump destroyed, numerous secondary explosions, and numerous bunkers destroyed. On 18 January 1971, a second heavy artillery raid was conducted at FSB Vandergrift (XD9948) to attack targets in the Laotion border area and along Highway 616. This raid was in support of 1/77th armor, an element of 1st brigade, 5th Infantry Division (M). A composite site battery consisting of two 175MM gun sections from B Battery and two sections from A Battery, under A Battery control, participated in this raid which terminated on 20 January. A total of 478 rounds were expended on preplanned targets and targets of opportunity. Total BDA for the raid was as follows: 33 bunkers destroyed, 2 bunkers damaged, 15 bunkers uncovered, 23 fighting positions destroyed, one .51 caliber machine gun position destroyed and 20 feet of trench line destroyed. On 31 January 1971 the 8th Battalion 4th Artillery vacated fixed fire support bases, indicated in paragraph 1a, and moved as a battalion to FSB Vandergrift to support maneuver elements of the 1st Brigade, 5th Infantry Division (M) and Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces operating in Western Quang Tri Province and Eastern Laos on operations Dewey Canyon II and Lam Son 719. Total BDA for January including the two raids was one enemy KIA, l6possible KIA’s, 108 bunkers destroyed, 2 bunkers damaged, 15 bunkers uncovered, 23 fighting positions destroyed, seven huts destroyed, one tower destroyed, 20 feet of trench line destroyed, one boat dock destroyed, one .51 cal machine gun position destroyed, one 12.7 machine gun and position destroyed, three secondary explosions, and one POL dump destroyed and numerous secondary exp1osions.

d. On 1 February 1971 the battalion occupied positions on the Khe Sanh Plains at XD8441 and XD8244. This was followed by 7-10 February 1971 displacements further west along C-9 into position areas from which fires could be provided deep into Laos. Positions occupied included Lang Vei (XD7936), Tabet (XD7137) and Halfway Point (XD7335). These positions were forward of the majority of US maneuver elements and subject to frequent indirect and occasional direct fire attacks by the enemy. C Battery returned to a position north of Khe Sanh (XD8244) on 14 February 1971. The two 175MM gun batteries of the battalion remained in forward positions along QL-9 throughout the remainder of February. On 28 February 1971, B Battery moved north of Khe Sanh, vicinity of (XD9244); followed on 1 March 1971, by Headquarters and Service batteries. Finally, on 5 March 1971, A Battery returned to the same general location. This consolidation of the battalion north of Khe Sanh was short lived, for on 7 March 1971, A Battery returned to the Tablet area and on 9 March 1971, B Battery moved along Red Devil Drive to a position area near the 1st Ranger Group Camp, Phu Loc, (XD6845).

These two batteries remained in forward areas near the Laotian border until 18 and 20 March 1971 respectively; at which time, they returned to positions north of Khe Sanh. As RVNAF began their withdrawal from Laos, a battalion intermediate position area was prepared in the vicinity of Fire Support Base J. J. Carroll (YD0355). On 31 Mar 1971, B Battery displaced to prepared field positions vicinity of Fire Support Base Carroll. On 3 April 1971, remaining elements of the battalion departed the Khe Sanh plains. On 6 April 1971, A Battery moved from FSB Gunner (YD0355) to a field position vicinity of (YD0949) OPCON to 2nd Battalion 94th Artillery. The operation officially terminated on 10 April 1971 for the 8th Battalion 4th Artillery, when C Battery moved to FSB C-2 (YD1364). During the period of the operation, the battalion went through various mission assignments; GSR TO 1st ARVN Corps Artillery, GSR to 6th Battalion 11th Artillery, and GSR to 5th Battalion 4th artillery. The 8th Battalion 4th Artillery was the first heavy artillery into the Khe Sanh plains, and the last heavy unit to return from that area. In addition, the Battalion is very proud of the singular achievement of one of it’s batteries in mastering Red Devil Drive and the fact that this unit occupied an artillery position forward of any other US light, medium, or heavy artillery unit. Battalion BDA for Operation Dewey Canyon II and Lao Son 719 were as follows:

26 bunkers destroyed, 169 individual weapons destroyed, 2 field guns destroyed, 3 tanks destroyed, 16 wheel vehicles destroyed, 1238 NVA KIA, 5 crew served weapons destroyed, and 2644 secondary explosions. Battalion losses were: 4 KIA, 41 WIA, and 17 vehicles destroyed. As of 2400 hours, 30 April 1971 the cumulative total of rounds fired by this battalion since it’s arrival in Vietnam was 393,954, As of 30 April 1971, the battalion was deployed as follows:

(1) HHB/SVC Btry - Dong Ha (Y0223587)
(2)A Btry*- Mai Loc (YD0949) *OPCON 2/94th Arty
(3) B Btry - Camp Carroll (YD062545)
(4) C Btry - C-2 (YD132641)

e. During the reporting period, the missions/rounds fired were as indicated below:


f. The average daily deadline, rate for the reporting period was as follows

SP Artillery22.5%
Other Tracked Vehicles45.1%
Whee1ed Vehicles25.3%
FADAC Generators36.1%

g. Personnel strength as of 30 April 1971 was:


h. Significant personnel shortages as of 30 April were as follows:

13E40Recon Sgt62
13D30Arty Mech60

j. Battalion commanders during the reporting period were LTC M. Max love (21 Feb 71 - Present) and LTC Paul R. Buckley (25 Jul 70 - 21 Feb 71).

k. This is the 14th ORLL submitted by this headquarters.


a. Personnel

(1) Observation: A close working relationship is necessary between direct support maintenance units and battalion/battery maintenance personnel during mobile, extended field operations to reduce the periods of equipment down time.

(2) Evaluation: During the Lam 719 Operation there was a “contact team” attached to this unit from the direct support maintenance unit. This proved to be extremely effective in reducing the amount of down time for artillery nieces.

(3) Recommendation: It is recommended that during extended field operations, a mobile contact team be attached to each artillery battalion from the direct support maintenance unit.

b. Intelligence: None

c. Operations:

(1) Employment of heavy artillery

(a) Observation: Heavy artillery, positioned forward of major maneuver elements and supporting light and/or medium artillery, cannot provide quick mortar and counter battery fire in their own defense.

(b) Evaluation: Limited on carriage traverse capability of theM110/M107 (100M left and right for 175mm) fragmentation shields, and the sight to fifteen minutes necessary to relay, seriously limits the M110/M107 as an effective counter battery weapon.

(c) Recommendation: It Is recommended that heavy artillery not be employed independently in an environment that is subject to enemy direct and indirect fire attacks. It is further recommended that if it is necessary to employ heavy artillery on the forward edge of the battle area, that a suitab1e complement of light or medium artillery be co-located with the heavy unit, to insure rapid counter mortar/battery fires.

(2) Increase in authorization of M-79

(a) Observation This battalion, is authorized 17 each M-79's under TO&E 435G. This is not adequate for field operations where the unit is completely responsible for its own defense.

(b) Evaluation: In a combat environment it is desirous that each major section within the battalion be assigned/authorized one each M-79.

(c) Recommendation: This unit is recommending a change to the TO&E to increase the number of M-79's authorized to 34. The M-79 was found to provide excellent coverage of defiladed positions outside the unit perimeter. The M-79 illumination round provides excellent illumination without a conspicuous smoke trail that marks defensive positions.

(3) FSB Preparation:

(a) Observation: Heavy artillery batteries cannot adequately prepare FSB’s in an acceptable time-frame with organic equipment and personnel.

(b) Evaluation: The clearing of the jungle growth, preparation of minimum essential ammunition storage areas and gun berms with organic battalion equipment and personnel is not practical.

(c) Recommendations: It is recommended that one (1) D7 bull dozer be attached to a heavy artillery battalion during operations requiring displacement of heavy artillery to previously unprepared fire support bases.

(4) Extending life of the BA-30 Battery

(a)Observation: BA-30 batteries are frequently not available in sufficient quantities to support normal operations.

(b) Evaluation: BA-30's are necessary in th field artillery for continuous operations.

(c) Recommendations: When BA-30 batteries become inoperabel, it has been found that if the BA-30's are placed in direct sun-light for a period of 8 to 10 hours they will become recharged enough to be reused.

(5) Disintegration of sand bags in gun positions.

(a) Observation: During continued firing of heavy artillery, the concussion of the weapons cause splitting of sand bags on ammo bunkers and half way pits.

(b) Evaluation: The practice of providing overhead cover in half way pits utilizing sand bags was rendered ineffective after long periods of heavy artillery firing due to the inability of sand gags to singularly withstand the concussion and blast of firing.

(c) Recommendation: It is recommended that powder canisters be used [????] for their structures providing additional protection for gun crews, ammunition, and for preventing sand bags from splitting.

d. Organization: None .

e. Logistics: None.

f. Communications:

(1) Observation: When it becomes- necessary to co-locate the AN/GRC-142 RATT rig in the vicinity of heavy artillery, damage can be caused by the concussion of the weapon.

(2) Evaluation: During period when operational commitments require the location of the RATT with a heavy artillery firing element, severe damage resulted to the rig from the concussion -shock wave even if the rig is sandbagged.

(3)Recommendation: It was found that if the door of the RATT rig is left open during operation when firing is taking place the effects of the shockwave are negligible. During darkness the use of a blackout curtain will allow the door to remain open and not compromise light security. It is also recommended that the RATT rig not be co-located with heavy arti1lery firing elements except when the tactical situation demands.

g. Materials:

(1) Modification for M110 and M107 Road Wheels:

(a) Observation: The rapid response needed for providing 6400 mil firing capability demands that power shifting of heavy artillery be accomplished quickly and without damage to tracked carriages.

(b) Evaluation: During the course of power shifting the M107 and M110 into new firing positions, particularly in loose soil, a build up of dirt, grass, or rocks will take place. As this material continues to increase during operations, the track is eventually forced off the road wheels causing the track to be thrown. Under these circumstances, the gun must be taken out of action in order to replace the track on the road wheels.

(c) Recommendation: It is recommended that a modification work order be considered for the cutting of five holes in the outside road wheels to allow dirt, mud, etc., to have an exit way from between the road wheel. This would greatly alleviate the build-up of such material and the subsequent of a vehicle for this type maintenance.

(2) Modification of the M110/M107 Automotive, Power plant, Support system.

(a) Observation: The M110/M107 is unsuitable for sustained mobile combat operations over adverse terrain.

(b) Evaluation: The deadline rate and equipment parts failure on the automotive. carriage assembly during sustained operations experienced by this and other battalions indicates a general overall weakness in the support system. The deadline rate during Dewy Canyon II and Lam Son 719 for this battalion, on the M110/M107 was 43.3%. There was continuous replacement of hydraulic lines and subsequent large quantities of hydraulic fluid, (OHT/OHC), because of the lack of independent zero-pressure, sealing valves at the end of each hydraulic line. The engine same used to power the M109, 155 SP howitzer, and is not adequate for the additional weight and increased concussion of the M110/M107. The space assembly is not strong enough to adequately abode the firing recoil concussion of the M110/M107 and consequently experiences repeated failures in spade lifting cylinders, space hydraulic lines and the spade itself. The spade assembly cannot clear terrain adequately enough to provide a level firing surface. The cannon assembly itself, independent of support systems is a very effective, extremely accurate and reliable system; however, without an automotive carriage support assembly it is an overall unreliable weapon system.

(c) Recomnendations: EIRs have been submitted for improvement of the M110/M107 weapon system to include pressure valve and bladders for fuel cells. However, it is recommended that a new support system be developed for the M110/M107 cannon assembly. Consideration should be given to a system that is airmobile, with a soft or “out of battery” recoil system, and having a limited relay self-propelled mobility.


AVHDO-DO (9 May 71) 4th Ihd

SUBJECT: Operational Report-Lessons Learned, Headquarters, 8th Battalion 4th Artillery, Period ending 30 April 1971 RC5 CSF0R-65 (R3) (U)

Headquarters, United States Army Vietnam, APO San Francisco 96375

TO: Commander in Chief, United States Army Pacific, ATTN: GPOP-FD APO 96558

This Headquarters has reviewed the Operational Report-Lessons Learned for the period ending 30 April 1972. from Headquarters, 8th Battalion 4th Artillery and concurs with comments of indorsing headquarters except as indicated below:

a. Reference item concerning “Personnel,” page 6, paragraph 2a, 1st Indorsement, paragraph 2 and 2nd Indorsement, paragraph 2. Nonconcur with recommendation in paragraph 2a(3) basic correspondence and 2nd Indorsement, paragraph 2. Contact teams should only be utilized in a support type mission. A close working relationship must definitely be maintained between the using units and supporting units to insure the best possible maintenance. Unit has been so advised.

b. Reference item concerning “Modification for M110 and M107 Road Wheels,” page 8, paragraph 2g(l) and 3rd Indorsement, paragraph 2d. Nonconcur with recommendations in paragraph 2g(1) of cutting holes in the road wheel. Holes would probably reduce the strength of the road wheel plus allow debris such as rocks and sticks to get caught in the holes resulting in a greater number of tracks being thrown. If tracks are properly adjusted and proper driving procedures are observed, tracks will not be thrown. Unit has been so advised.

Assistant Adjutant GeneralI

Cy furn:
8/4th Arty
XXIV Corps

DCSLOG: Mr Tolton/4142

AVII-GCT (9 May 71) 3d Ind

SUBJECT: Operational Report-Lessons Learned, Headquarters, 8th Battalion, 4th Artillery, Period Ending 30 April 1971, RCS CSFOR-65 (R3j (U)

DA, Headquarters, XXIV Corps, APO 96349

TO: Commanding General, United States Army, Vietnam APO 96375

1. (U) This headquarters has reviewed the Operational Report-Lessons Learned for the period ending 30 April 1971 from Headquarters, 8th Battalion, 4th Artillery and concurs with the report and the comments of the indorsing headquarters except as indicated in paragraph 2 below.

2. (C) Comments follow:

a. Reference item concerning, “FSB Preparation”, page 7, paragraph 2 c(3): Nonconcur. Concur with XXIV Corps Artillery recommendation and comments in paragraph 4 of the attached 2d indorsement. Attachment of engineer bulldozer assets is not necessary to provide the required support.

b. Reference item concerning “Disintegration of sand bags in gun positions”, paga 7, paragraph 2 c(5): Nonconcur. The powder canisters provide additional shrapnel when direct hits occur.

c. Reference item concerning “Communications”, page 8, paragraph 2 f: Concur with comment of XXIV Corps Artillery at paragraph 5 of the 2d indorsement. The security door on the AH/GRC-142 radio must be closed during all transmit and receive operations because the door prevents radiated omissions from escaping the van. The vents and the security door may be opened, utilizing the black-out curtain only while no radio operations are being conducted.

d. Reference item concerning “Modification for M110 and M107 Road Wheels”, page 8, paragraph 2 g(1): Concur. However, the unit has been advised to submit an Equipment Improvement Recommendation.


Captain, AGC
Assistant Adjutant General

CF: CO, 108th Arty Gp APO 96308
GO, 8th Bn, 4th Arty APO 96269
AVII-ATC (9 May 71) 2d Ind

SUBJECT: Operational Report, Lessons Learned, Headquarters, 8th Battalion, 24th Artillery, period ending 30 April 1971 RCS CSFOR-65 (R3) (U)

DA, HQ, XXIV Corps Artillery, APO San Francisco 96349

Commanding General, XXIV Corps, ATTN: AVII-GCT, APO San Francisco 96349

1. (U) This headquarters has reviewed the Operational Report, Lessons Learned for the period ending 30 April 1971 from Headquarters, 8th Battalion, 4th Artillery and concurs with the report and comments of the indorsing headquarters except in paragraphs 4 and 6 below.

2. (U) Concur with recommendation in paragraph 2a(3), page 6, concerning contact teams. The advantages of attaching a contact team from the DS maintenance unit to an artillery battalion during field operations are obvious. Direct coordination between the supporting and supported units is the best way of effecting this arrangement.

3. (C) Concur with recommendation in paragraph 2c(l) (c), page 6, concerning employment of heavy artillery with the following corrections and comment.

a. Change “Fragmentation Shield” and. “the eight to fifteen minutes necessary to relay” in paragraph 2c(l) (b) to read respectively “lack of fragmentation shields” and “the time required to relay.”

b. When possible, this concept of employment is always used. Heavy artillery does have the capability of delivering rapid counter battery rocket/mortar fires if the weapon does not require relaying.

4. (C) Nonconcur with recommendation in paragraph 2c(3), page 7, concerning FSB preparation.

a. This observation was made during LAM SON 719 when this unit encountered underdeveloped and heavily jungled areas in which it was to be positioned. Engineer bulldozer support to provide fields of fire and level firing positions and to prepare bunkers for ammunition, equipment and personnel was requested. However, this support was virtually non existent during the initial phase of the operation. Higher priority tasks, such as preparation of the Khe Sanh Airfield and the reopening of QL9 from Vandergrift to the South Vietnam - Laos border was the reason for lack of engineer support. When adequate engineer support was available, it was used to prepare positions prior to occupation, enhancing the unit’s ability to provide continuous fire support to the maneuver elements. It is recommended that artillery units be given high priority in the al1ocation of engineer bulldozer support during extended field operations.

b. The training in the fabrication of field expedient and unit constructed shelters for protection against enemy attacks by fire is mandatory for all units. This reduces the requirement for Engineer support.

5. (C) Concur with recommendation in paragraph 2c(4), page 7, concerning extending the life of the BA- 30 battery. However, this is unnecessary if proper supply procedures are followed and proper stockage levels are maintained within the unit.

6. (C) Nonconcur with recommendation in paragraph 2f(3), page 5, concerning the AN/GRC-142 RATT. Concur with the unit observation and evaluation, however, if the door of the AN/CRC-142 is left open during any phase of operation, dust and/or dirt will cause major damage to the equipment, especially the TT-76, TT-98, and the amplifier portion of the AN/GRC-106 radio. Further, it is a security violation to leave the door open due to the cryptographic equipment inside the shelter. The van is equipped with an air conditioning element to keep the equipment in a clean and constant environment.



108th Artillery Group
8th Battalion, 4th Artillery