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APO 96269

10 November 1968

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

See Distribution

1. Section 1, 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 fifth Operational Report submitted by this organization.

(3) Organization (See inclosure 1).

b. Historical Data

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

HHB/8/4YD223587 (Dong Ha)
SVC/8/4YD223587 (Dong Ha)
C/8/4YD231589 (Dong Ha)

(2) Two ARVN interpreters were assigned to the battalion in August 1968. These personnel have been effectively utilized in the Battalion Civic Action Program.

(3) on 2 August 1968 Bravo Battery displaced one platoon (2 guns) from AT985719 (Da Nang) to AT876574 (Hill 65).

(4) On 4 Aug 68 Battery A received 20-30 rounds of incoming artillery. No damage; one lightly wounded.

(5) On 7, 8, and 9 August Dong Ha Combat Base received a total of 43 rounds of incoming artillery fire. Negative casualties or damage to this battalion.

(6) On 7 Aug 68 the battalion began a MEDCAP Program in the village of Dong Luong, near Dong Ha.

(7) On 21 August Battery A received approximately 25 rounds of incoming artillery. Negative casualties or damage.

(8) On 26 August Dong Ha Combat Base received 40 rounds of incoming artillery. Negative casualties or damage to equipment or personnel in this battalion.

(9) The battalion successfully completed an annual General Inspection during the period 2 through 6 September. All batteries and the battalion headquarters were inspected. An overall rating of satisfactory was awarded.

(10) The I Corps Tactical Zone was hit by Typhoon Bess during the period 5 through 7 September. Rainfall of 18.95 inches fell in the battalion area with little damage other than local flooding and collapse of some sandbag fortifications. Damage to surrounding civilian area and to roads was extensive.

(11) On 9 September the battalion began a 20 hour vehicle maintenance course for NCO's. The course was given in each battery, two hours per day 1800-2000 hours.

(12) On 5 and 7 October Battery B displaced their remaining 2 guns to AT880580 (Hill 65).

(13) On 14 October Battery B returned 2 guns to AT985719 (Da Nang).

(14) On 11 October a USO Entertainment show performed in the battalion's out-door theater. This was the first show held in the battalion since arrival in country.

(15) On 27 October the old series MPC (Series 641) was converted to series 661. Prearranged plans were effected and little difficulty was encountered.

(16) On 23 October Dong Ha Combat Base received 20 zounds of incoming artillery. No casualties or damage in this battalion.

(17) On 30 October General Haines (CINCUSARPAC) visited the battalion and "C" Battery at Dong Ha. He was accompanied by BG Pixton CG XXIV Corps Artillery.

(18) On 30 October Dong Ha Combat Base received 40 rounds of incoming artillery. No damage or casualties to this battalion.

(19) Missions and rounds fired during reporting period:

A/8/4347 msns
2625 rds
343 msns
2041 rds
404 msns
1911 rds
B/8/41644 msns
2912 rds
811 msns
1929 rds
313 msns
1077 rds
C/8/4401 msns
2523 rds
397 msns
2361 rds
625 msns
3296 rds
TOTAL2392 msns
8060 rds
1551 msns
6331 rds
1342 msns
6284 rds

(20) The cumulative total of rounds fired by this battalion in country through 312400H Oct 68 is 134,562 rounds.

c. (U) Training: The battalion conducted a total of 139 hours of scheduled training for all personnel. In addition special training programs were conducted for selected personnel as follows:

(1) FDC chart operator/computer training program consisting of approximately 50 hours of classroom work and 40 hours of on the job training. Conducted for 12 personnel from 5 through 20 September.

(2) Vehicular Maintenance Course for Noncommissioned Officers consisting of approximately 10 hours of classroom type instruction and 10 hours of practical work in first and limited second echelon maintenance for all types of vehicles. Course conducted 9 - 21 September, and followed by examination, attended by all NCO E-4 through E-8.

(3) Course on weapons and munitions handling and safety consisting of 18 hours on characteristics, functioning, maintenance, storage, handling, safety and tactical employment of individual and crew served weapons and munitions.

d. Observation: Battalion air observers flew a total of 454 hours in support of the 12th Marine Regiment and the 108th Artillery Group. The missions were normally flown north of the Ben Hai River in North Vietnam. Air observers adjusted artillery, naval gunfire and tactical air primarily on NVA artillery and antiaircraft positions. The battalion provided one ground forward observer party in support of the 1st ARVN Regiment from 10 through 25 September, and one to the 2nd ARVN Regiment on 22 - 23 October.

e. (U) Logistics:

(1) During the reporting period the battalion has been engaged in an extensive construction program for building and repair of facilities to include troop billets, mess and maintenance facilities, and perimeter bunkers. Materials for this project were largely hauled by truck from Da Nang, a distance of some 100 miles.

(2) Average daily deadline rates for the reporting period were as indicated below:

175mm Gun M-10727.2%
Other Tracked Vehicles18.7%
Wheeled Vehicles13.4%
FADAC Generators51.8%

f. (U) Civic Action: The battalion was active in a number of Civic Action projects throughout the reporting period.

(1) Quang Tri National Prisons Assisting in rehabilitation of 350 former Viet Cong, Scrap materials are donated to be used in making furniture, kerosene stoves and household articles.

(2) Gio Ha MEDCAP: Initiated in September and has processed 280 patients.

(3) Dong Luong MEDCAP: Started in August and has processed 689 patients.

(4) Bao Loc School in Ha Thanh Village: Sponsored by Battery A. Assistance to local villagers in construction of a school and distribution of school supplies.

g. Personnel and Administration:

(1) Strength at end of period (31 Oct).

31 Oct 68

(2) Significant Shortages:

15Z50 E-8Intelligence SGT10
94B40 E-7Mess SGT52
13B40 E-6Chief of Section168
13E40 E-6FDC CMPTR or LN SGT61
13E40 E-5FDC Computer30
35D20 E-5Metro10

(3) Casualties One lightly wounded in Battery A.

2. Section 2. Lessons Learned: Commander's Observations, Evaluations, and Recommendations.

a. (U) Personnel.

( 1 ) Fire Direction Center Computers

(a) OBSERVATION: The shortage of trained fire direction center (FDC) computers has severely hampered efficient operation of battery and battalion FDC's.

(b) EVALUATION: Throughout the reporting period this organization has been required to operate one battalion and three battery FDC's 24 hours a day in order to meet mission requirements. An acute shortage of school trained FDC computers (MOS 13E40) has reduced the efficiency of FDC operations and increased the time required to process firing data. Throughout the entire period the battalion has been short an average of 83.5% computers in grade E-5. Only 2 school trained personnel were received during the reporting period and they were grade E-2 (pro-meted to E3 upon arrival). These personnel had just finished AIT and required extensive additional training prior to meeting minimum essential qualifications. In September the battalion conducted formal classes for 12 men for the purpose of retraining them from less critical MOS's to fire direction MOS's. Eight of these men completed the course and are now being used as chart operators and computers in the battalion and battery FDC's. Their level of qualification is still below that desired, however.

(c) RECOMMENDATION: That action be taken to increase the input of school trained FDC computers (MOS 13E40) to firing units. Further that personnel completing AIT in that MOS with orders for artillery units in RVN receive additional intensified training prior to arrival in the unit.

b. Operations: None

c. Training: See paragraph a. (Personnel) above. d. Intelligence: None e. Logistics:

(1) Supply of Repair Parts for the 175mm Gun, M107.

(a) OBSERVATION: Excessive down time on the M107 while awaiting repair parts is a significant problem. (b) EVALUATION: Numerous occasions have occurred in which M107 guns have been deadlined for excessive periods of time while awaiting second and third echelon parts. A total of 190 gun-days were lost while awaiting repair parts. Efforts to utilize Redball and Redball Special Handling procedures to expedite fill of requisitions for repair parts has met with only partial success.

(c) RECOMMENDATION: That procedures be initiated to provide for air shipment of critical parts from any depot in country where needed parts are located directly to Dong Ha for the 63rd Maintenance Detachment. Shipments should be initiated based on minimum essential requisition information transmitted electrically rather than waiting for hard copies of requisitions.

(2) FADAC Generators.

(a) OBSERVATION: This organization has experienced a significant handicap in operation of the fire direction centers due to the deadline rate of the 3KW, 400 cycle generators for the FADAC.

(b) EVALUATION: The average daily deadline rate for FADAC generators for the reporting period was 51.8%. The primary problem has been that generators turned in to support maintenance and often not repaired, but instead are salvaged and replacements must be requisition. As of the end of the reporting period, 4 of 8 FADAC generators had been turned in for salvage and replacements requisitioned, one was on work order, and 3 were operational. One firing battery has been without an operational FADAC since 10 September due to lack of a generator. Another firing battery has been without an operational FADAC since 15 September for the same reason.

(c) RECOMMENDATION: That a float stock of 3KW, 400 cycle generators be established and maintained at DS maintenance level.

f. Organizational: None

g. Others: None

3. Section 3, DA Survey Information: Escape, Evasion and Survival.

Negative Report.

LTC, Artillery
1 Incl
Organization Chart
5- HQ, 8th Bn, 4th Arty
10 - CO, 108th Arty Gp, ATTN: AVGL-C