Operating Reports
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APO 96269

Revised Copy - 8 September 1968

SUBJECT:Operational Report of 8th Battalion (175mm)(SP) 4th Artillery for Period Ending 31 July 1968, RCS OSFOR-65 (R1) (U)

See Distribution

1. SECTION I, OPERATIONS. Significant Activities.

a. (U) General

(1) The 8th Battalion, 4th Artillery, arrived in the Republic of Vietnam on 12 August 1967. The Battalion has been continuously engaged in combat operations since 15 August 1967.

(2) This is the fourth Operational Report submitted by this organization.

(3) C Battery, 1st Battalion (8") ( SP) 83rd Artillery was placed under the operational control of this battalion during the period 17 April 1968 to 11 June 1968.

(4) 0rganization (See inclosure l)

b. Operations

(1) Deployment and status of the 8th Battalion, 4th Artillery and its subordinate elements at the beginning of this reporting period (1 May 1968) were as follows:

8/4 Arty (-)GS PCV, REIN 101st ABN DIV ARTY, 1st AIR CAV DIV ARTY, and 12th MARINE REGT.
HHB/8/4YD223587 (Dong Ha)
SVC/8/4YD223587 (Dong Ha)
C/8/4YD620095 (Dong Ha)
B/8/4AT985719 (Da Nang)GS 1st MAR DIV, OPCON 11th MAR REGT
C/1/83YD620095 (FSB Bastogne)OPCON 8/4 ARTY
F/26YD223587 (Dong Ha)GS POV, REIN 12th MAR REGT

(2) On 9 May 1968, B Battery displaced one platoon (2 guns) from AT985719 (Da Nang) AT970620 (Hill 55). The platoon retained its parent unit mission.

(3) 0n 23 May 1968, the platoon which displaced from B Battery, AT985719, to AT970620 returned to battery position.

(4) On 27 May 1968, a battalion control and support element displaced from YD809163 (Camp Eagle) and moved into position with C Battery rear, at Gia Le, YD-824155.

(5) On 27 May 1968, B Battery displaced one platoon (2 guns) from AT985719 to AT970620 (Hill 55). The platoon retained its parent unit mission and status.

(6) On 11 June 1968, 8th Battalion 4th Artillery relinquished OPCON of C/1/83. At the same time, C/8/4 converted the two 8" Howitzers to 175mm guns and was placed under the OPCON of the 1st Battalion 83rd Artillery for logistical support and technical fire direction control.

(7) On 27 June 1968, 8/4 Arty (-B Btry) was assigned the mission of General Support PCV.

(8) On 29 June 1968, the platoon from B/8/4 returned from AT970620 to the battery position at AT985719 (Da Nang).

(9) On 30 June 1968, B Battery displaced one platoon (2 guns)from AT985719 to AT880580 (Hill 65). The move was made due to a sizeable target buildup deep in Happy Valley. On the same date C/8/4 displaced from YD620095 (FSB Bastogne) to Gia Le YD824155 to await shipment of the 175mm guns via water to Dong Ha for support of operation Thor.

(10) On 1 July 1968, C/8/4 (Minus track vehicles) and a battalion HQ element moved by convoy to YD222590 (Dong Ha). The track vehicles were loaded on LCU's at the Hue LCU ramp.

(11) On 1 July 1968, 8/4 (Minus B Battery) mission changed to General Support of Provisional Corps Vietnam for Operation Thor.

(12) On 2 July 1968, C/8/4 track vehicles off loaded at the Dong Ha Bridge Ramp and moved into position at YD222590 with the remainder of the battery.

(13) On 8 July 1968, the 8th Battalion 4th Artillery (-B Btry) mission changed to General Support PCV, Reinforcing 12th Marine Regiment.

(14) on 22 July 1968, the platoon (2 guns located at AT880580 (Hill 65) rejoined B Battery at AT985719.

(15) During this reporting period A and C Batteries fired 14,205 rounds in support of the PCV and 12th Marine Regimental operational 4,647 rounds in support of the 101st Airborne Division and 1st Air Cav operations. B Battery fired 8,156 rounds in support of the 1st Marine Division operations during this same period. (See inclosure 2)

(16) Of the 6363 missions fired by this battalion, only 1940 (30%) were observed.

(17) "F" Battery, 26th Artillery

(a) On 4 May an air to ground missile released by a U. S. Navy aircraft, homed in on the AN/MPQ-IOA radar at Con Thien, killing one and wounding 4 others.

(b) On 14 May, a Marine AN/MPQ-IOA radar was placed in operation at Camp Carroll. The radar has been utilized mainly in performing registrations for artillery located in that area.

(c) On 15 June the battery recorded its first sightings of unidentified aircraft in the DMZ, suspected to be enemy helicopters.

(d) On 20 June, the Fire Watch and the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory (LASL) acoustic target acquisition system became operational at A-4.

(e) On 2 July the ground survey was completed, the microphones emplaced, grid the wire laid for the new six microphones, 4 second, irregular sound base between A2 and A3. The base occupies six kilometers in length. The existing two sound bases at A-2 were reorganized into one five microphone two second base.

(f) On 10 July the use of the GR-8 sound set was discontinued for the duration of the LASL system testing.

(g) The target acquisition battery detected 674 targets from 1 May to 31 July 1968. Of these, Flash accounted for 433 targets, sound for 73 targets, and radar for 158 targets.

c. (U) Training. 147 hours of scheduled training have been conducted by the battalion during this quarter. Maintenance and maintenance training has been stressed.

d. Intelligence

(1) Weather and terrain. Weather conditions overall during this period have been hot, dry and dusty except for 28 May 1968 when 2.9 inches of rain fell in a four-hour period. This short heavy rain had no effect on operations or resupply since all roads were dry within 24 hours. The highest recorded temperature was 108.0 degrees at 1400 hours 21 May 68. (See, inclosure 3)

(2) Observation

(a) The battalion air observers flew a combined total of 231 hours for the following units: 12th Marine Regiment, 108thh Artillery Group, and Provisional Corps Vietnam.

(b) No ground observers were furnished by the battalion during this period.

(3) Meteorology.

(a) The battalion meteorological section continued to develop two messages daily (0800 and 1600 hours) because of an acute shortage of radiosondes, until 22 May 1968 when sufficient resupply of radiosondes became available. On 22 May 1968 the battalion meteorological section resumed the three daily NATO and computer meteorological messages (At 0800, 1400, 2000 hours). During Operation Thor, 4 messages per/day were flown. The number of lines in each metro message remained the same (11 NATO and 17 computer ever the entire period).

(b) The meteorological section provided data on a regular basis to the following units:

1st 8 Inch Howitzer Battery, (USMC)
2nd Battalion, 12th Marines
3rd Battalion, 12th Marines
4th Battalion, 12th Marines
1st Battalion, 40th Artillery (108th Artillery Group)
108th Artillery Group

(4) Enemy Action

(a) At 0850 hours 5 May 1968, C Battery received 9 mortar rounds at their area vic YD620095 (Fire Base Bastogne) with negative damages.

(b) At 0630 hours 10 May 1968, A Battery received 18 rounds of 75mm mortars.

(c) At 0630 hours 10 May 1968, A Battery received 15 rounds of 85mm mortars in their battery area resulting in one EM wounded.

(d) At 1700 hours 5 July 1968, a 2 ton truck belonging to B Battery, vic AT942689, ran over a mine. The truck was destroyed and the driver received minor lacerations.

e. Maintenance and Logistics

(1) Class I & III. Class I supply is furnished by the Marine Force Logistic Sub Unit 1 at Dong Ha, whose support has been excellent during this reporting period. Resupply of Class III bulk fuels and package products have been good. There have been no serious shortages of Class III from the storage facility located at Wunder Beach (YD495565). Hydraulic fluid (OHO), a critical supply item in the past, is now plentiful.

(2) Class II & IV

(a) Requisitions for Class II and IV supplies, excluding repair parts, are now processed entirely through the 625th Service and Supply Company located at Wunder Beach.

(b) As of 31 July unit PLL status was at 7.40% full. Shortages of two PLL's which were totally destroyed by hostile fire during the month of April 1968 are still being replaced.

(c) Replacement of major end items lost to hostile fire is almost complete. This unit has received four replacement vehicles (one gun, 175mm M107, two M151 trucks and one 1 1/2 ton trailer) which were still due out at the close of last reporting period.

(3) Class V. The 26th General Support Group at Quang Tri is responsible for issue of all class V supplies. Resupply of all types of ammunition has been excellent and to date no serious shortages have occurred.

(4) Maintenance

(a) At the present time the 63rd Maintenance Battalion performs direct support repairs on all battalion equipment. Inoperable wheel vehicles are evacuated to their repair facility at Quang Tri.

(b) Deadline

1. The average daily deadline rate for tank automotive equipment for this reporting period is as follows:

8/4th ArtyF/26th Arty
175mm Gun, SP, M1077.3%-
Wheel Vehicles5.2%6.2%
All other track vehicles11.1%N/A

2. The deadline rate for M107 climbed to 16.4% for the period 1-31 July. This was due to the intensive firing conducted during Operation Thor, 2-7 July, and afterward, Ammunition expenditure averaged 50 rounds per day per operational tube during Operation Thor and 46 rda per day during the period 8-15 July.

3. Wheel vehicle deadline rate for month of July climbed to 9.9%. The underlying reason appears to be connected to the rapid turnovers and shortages of experienced supervisory personnel. Corrective action in the forum of detailed supervision and inspection of maintenance and maintenance management was taken prior to end of reporting period.

f. Personnel

(1) Effective 1 July 1968 this battalion was reorganized by USARPAC General Order number 311, dated 20 June 1968 under the following. USARPAC MTOE:

06-439 G, PAC 1/68
06-436 G, PAC 1/68
3XO6-437 G, PAC 1/68

(2) Authorized strength changed appreciably as shown below, however, as of 31 July 1968, the cited MTOE had not been received; therefore exact personnel requisitions had not been submitted.

A, B, & C601211830l00103

(3) Strength

(a) Authorized vs Assigned Strength since 1 May 68

8th Bn, 4th Arty

1 May thru 30 June 1968

1 May 68
30 Jun 68

1 Jul 68 thru 31 Jul 68

1 Jul 68
31 Jul 68

F Btry, 26th Artillery

1 May 68 thru 31 Jul 68

1 May 68
31 Jul 68

(b) Gains vs Losses

8th Bn, 4th Arty


F Btry, 26th Arty


(c) Casualties. Number of casualties 1 May - 31 July 1968


(d) Awards and Decorations

Silver Star11
Legion of Merit11
Soldiers Medal11
Bronze Star w/V14
Bronze Star4O35
Air Medal w/V.1
Purple Heart815
Cross of Gallantry54

2. SECTION 2. LESSONS LEARNED: Commanders Observations, Evaluations, and Recommendations.

a. Personnel

(1) Infusion of key personnel.

(a) OBSERVATION: The infusion program did not adequately space losses of key officers and noncommissioned officers.

(b) EVALUATION: Although the infusion program succeeded in reducing the July rotational hump to less than the maximum allowable 25 per cent, numerous cases of key officers and enlisted men during June and July caused considerable difficulty in maintaining individual and unit proficiency.

(c) RECOMMENDATION: Infusion of personnel into key positions should be accomplished on a "by name and duty position" basis to insure continuity of a high operational capability.

(2) Replacement of known losses.

(a) OBSERVATION: Lack of advance information concerning projected input of E-6 personnel is a serious problem.

(b) EVALUATION: This headquarters receives no advance information as to projected replacements for known losses of personnel in grade E-6 and below, Current known losses of NCO's in Mess, Maintenance, and Supply MOS' indicates that the operations of the battalion will be seriously hampered if these personnel are not replaced immediately upon their loss. Since these duty positions are seriously difficult to fill by OJT, advance information is needed so that priority requisitions could be resubmitted to fill projected vacancies.

(c) RECOMMENDATION: Requisitioning organizations should be advised 60 to 90 days in advance of anticipated loss of the number, grade, and MOS of enlisted personnel (E-6 or E-7) programmed as replacements for mess, maintenance, and supply positions.

b. Operations: None

c. (c) Training

(1) Training of personnel for Target Acquisition Battery Sound Platoons.

(a) OBSERVATION: Training of personnel in 82C MOS does not qualify training replacements for 17C or 17D MOS

(b) EVALUATION: During the. complete change-over in personnel during a two-month period, April and May, many personnel with the 82C MOS were received as replacements for personnel with the 17C and 17D MOS. Personnel with 82C MOS were trained on location, while performing operations in I7D and 17C MOS slots. These peril were easily trained in the 17D MOS but more time was needed for the 17C MOS or on the job training which greatly reduced the operational effectiveness of this unit.

(c) RECOMMENDATION: Training of i7C MOS personnel should be conducted in CONUS. Personnel with 82C should not be input for duty in M0S 17C but may be trained on the job for MOS 17D.

d. Intelligence: None

e. Logistics

(1) Repair Parts for the 175mm Gun.

(a) OBSERVATION: Difficulty and delay An obtaining repair parts for the 175mm gun has seriously degraded the operational capability of this organization

(b) EVALUATION: Critical repair part resupply, especially for the 175mm gun continues to be the greatest problem area of organizational maintenance. This unit has been supported by the 63rd Maintenance Battalion for resupply of all organizational material, and repair parts since June 1968. Experience to date has reflected some improvement on. requisition fill time since the 63rd became our supporting agency. Improvement has bean noticed on the fill time of 12 priority requisitions for normal PLL replenishment. The fill time on 02 priority requisitions (Red Ball Express) has improved during the last half of this reporting period. Average fill time during this period has been 18.9 days. Excessive supply time for repair parts for the 175mm to reach the support maintenance unit from depo stocks account for more than 90% of direct support maintenance down time.

(c) RECOMMENDATION: That time lag between requisitions on depot and supply of stocks be reduced through more efficient stockage and logistical management high demand repair parts.

(2) Shortage of heavy artillery mechanics.

(a) OBSERVATION: There is an acute shortage of heavy artillery mechanics in the direct support maintenance unit for this battalion.

(b) EVALUATION: The 63rd Maintenance Battalion provides a task force at Dong Ha for maintenance of 175mm guns. A severe shortage of heavy artillery maintenance personnel turbulence caused by a recent reorganization of this detachment, and time lag in receipt of parts has significantly increased the average time required to repair a 175mm gun evacuated to this facility.

(c) RECOMMENDATION: The direct support maintenance detachment [???] should be provided with a sufficient number of qualified personnel to immediately repair and return of artillery pieces.

(3) Shortage of Class II materials for GR-8, Sound Recording Sets.

(a) OBSERVATION: Class II materials for the operation of the GR-8 recording set in the Target Acquisition Battery are not being received as required.

(b) EVALUATION: Normal supply channels for the replacement of sound recording tape (PH 438) end stylus assemblies have not been opened. Despite numerous requisitions and personal contacts made by members of this unit and other military personnel from high headquarters, normal supply channels, after 9 months, have not been established. The Sound Platoons were out of operation for 14 days (15%) during the past three months due to a lack of stylus assemblies.

(c) RECOMMENDATION: Normal supply channels should be provided for supply of these items. Provisions for requisitions directly on CONUS stocks should be made. In view of the fact that these items are peculiar to Target Acquisition equipment found only in Units of this type, it is suggested that special efforts may be necessary to open supply channels since the overall demands are probably very low.

f. Organization: None.

g. Other: None.

LTC, Artillery
3 Incl
1-Organizational Chart
2-Average Weekly Temperature
3-Average Rounds/Day by week
11-C0, 108TH ARTY