Operating Reports
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APO San Francisco 96269

6 May 1969

SUBJECT:Operational Report of 8th Battalion (175MM/8 Inch) (SP), 4th Artillery for Period Ending 30 April 1969, (RCS CSFOR-65)(R-1)(U)

See Distribution

1. Section 1. Operations: Significant Activities.

a. (U) General

(l) 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 seventh Operational Report submitted by this organization. (3) Organization Chart (See 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 February 69) were as follows:

HHB/8/4 ArtyYD223587 (Dong Ha)
SVC/8/4 ArtyYD223587 (Dong Ha)
A/8/4 ArtyXD982544
(Fire Support Base Elliott)
C/8/4 ArtyYD132641
(Fire Support Base C-2)
B/8/4 Arty1st Plt/B/8/4 AT876474
(Fire Support Base An Hoa)
2nd Plt/B/8/4 AT985719
(Da Nang Hill 34)

(2) On 8 February Battery B received their Command Maintenance Management Inspection conducted by XXlV Corps Artillery. This inspection concluded the battalion's CMMI's which began in January.

(3) On 11 February the battalion instituted the XXIV Corps policy of registering 8" howitzer batteries daily, when possible. Since 11 February Battery C (8"howitzers) has registered 65 days out of a possible 79 days. 756 rounds have been expended on these registrations. Methods of registration used have been high bursts center of impact using radar and flash bases, and precision registrations using ground and aerial observers. The battalion survey section has surveyed four registration points which are used by the ground observer at Mai Loc Special Forces Camp (YD5209) and two registration points utilized by aerial observers in the unoccupied region Southwest of Dong Ha Combat Base.

(4) On 25 February Battery A at Fire Support Base Elliott (XD982544) received approximately 15 hostile 12mm rockets on three separate occasions: 0440 hours, 1140 hours, and 1640 hours. Casualties and property damage were four WIA's, minor damage to three vehicles and a 30 K.W. generator combat loss.

(5) On 25 February at 2235 hours two reconnaissance sergeants at Mai Loc Special Forces Camp (YD5209) from Batteries A and B were WIA during a hostile 82mm mortar attack on that position.

(6) On 1 March the aerial observers assigned to the battalion were reassigned to l08th Artillery Group.

(7) On 6 March Battery B displaced two guns from An Hoa (AT8747) to Da Nang Hill 34 (AT985719) in preparation for the battery's move to Dong Ha Combat Base.

(8) On 7 March Battery B displaced from Da Nang Hill 34 (AT985719) via boat enroute to Dong Ha Combat Base.

(9) On 7 March and 7 April respectively Batteries A and B received unannounced Firing Battery Inspections Conducted by XXIV Corps Artillery.

(10) On 8 March Battery B closed at Dong Ha Combat Base (YD231589) and assumed its parent unit mission supporting the 3rd Marine Division.

(11) On 10 March Battery B displaced from Dong Ha Combat Base (YD231589) to Fire Support Base Ca Lu (YD013449) to support an operation conducted by the 3rd Marine Division. The battery mission remained the same.

(12) On 10 March Battery C at Fire Support Base C-2 (YD132641) received several hostile 122mm rockets resulting in one minor WIA. Combat operations were not affected.

(13) On ll March Battery B at Fire Support Base Ca Lu (YD013449) incurred two minor injuries from a fragmentation grenade which exploded while burning the perimeter around their position. Injuries were not as a result of hostile action.

(14) On 17 March at 1400 hours the battalion ammunition convoy proceeding to Fire Support Base Elliott (XD982544) was ambushed with small arms, automatic weapons and mortars at YD063573. There were no personnel injuries or damage to vehicles.

(15) On 18 March at 1430 hours the battalion maintenance section enroute to Fire Support Base Ca Lu (YD013449) received hostile small arms and materials between YD061569 and YD036563 with no personnel injuries or vehicular damage.

(16) On 19 March the battalion ammunition convoy was again ambushed with small arms, automatic weapons, and mortars at YD060568 and YD072572 respectively while proceeding to and from Fire Support Base Ca Lu (YD013449). No friendly casualties, minor vehicular damage, and two enemy KIA's resulted from the two ambushes. Multiple enemy ambushes have been predominate between YD077571 and YD036563 since 15 March l969.

(17) On 25 March at 1715 hours Battery B displaced from Fire Support Base Ca Lu (YD013449) to Dong Ha Combat Base (YD231589). No change in mission.

(18) On 12 April Battery B displaced from Dong Ha Combat Base (YD231589) to Fire Support Base C-1 (YD210674). Mission remained the same.

(19) On 13 April at approximately 0500 hours the C Battery forward observer working with the 2nd ARVN Regiment at LZ Torch was wounded in action when their position was temporarily overrun by an undetermined number of NVA soldiers.

(20) On 22 April the B Battery forward observer with the 2nd ARVN Regiment northwest of Fire Support Base C-2 (YD132641) received 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 35% of his body, and his RTO received 2nd degree burns over 18% of his body, when a CH-46 in which they were riding was hit by a hostile RPG while landing at grid YDO13643.

(21) On 27 April at 1130 hours, a 1/4 ton truck, property of Service Battery, flipped after hitting a mine hole at YD070571. One personnel received minor injuries.

(22) During this reporting period, all batteries within the battalion have received unannounced spot check Command Maintenance Management Inspections Conducted by XXIV Corps Artillery.

(23) Missions and rounds fired during the reporting period:

A/8/4313 msn
2711 rds
412 msn
2997 rds
401 msn
2535 rds
B/8/4410 msn
1436 rds
296 msn
1959 rds
149 msn
1232 rds
C/8/4129 msn
2527 rds
344 msn
4038 rds
120 msn
1894 rds
TOTAL852 msn
6674 rds
1052 msn
8994 rds
670 msn
5661 rds

(24) The cumulative total rounds fired by this battalion since arrival in country through 302400H April is 170,684.

c. (U) Training: The battalion conducted a total of 124 hours of scheduled training for all personnel. Special training programs were conducted for FDC personnel and cross training within Sections. In addition, special emphasis has been placed on NCO maintenance and TAERS training in all units.

d. (C) Observation: The battalion aerial observers through 1 March flew in support of the 12th Marine Regiment and 108th Artillery Group. On 1 March the aerial observers were assigned to 108th Artillery Group while continuing to control the fires of artillery and naval guns into and along the DMZ. The battalion provided during this reporting period six ground observers and radio telephone operators to the l01st Air Cavalry Division, 5th Mechanized Division, Mei Loc Special Forces, and the 2nd ARVN Regiment to support combat operations in their responsible areas of operation. Of the ground observers committed, two were wounded in action and medivaced while one became ill and was medivaced to Phu Bai for treatment and observation.

e. (U) Logistics:

(1) During the reporting period the battalion has been engaged in an extensive construction program for building personnel bunkers, mess halls and maintenance buildings. This construction was primarily oriented toward Fire Support Base E11iott (XD987544) and Fire Support Base C-2 (YD132641) Materials for these projects were acquired partially at Da Hang with the remaining from Quang Tri and hauled by truck to the two locations.

(2) Average daily deadline rates for the reporting period were computed by using the number on hand, except for wheel vehicles, in which the number authorized was used. The deadline rates ere as follows:

SP Artillery 175MM and 8-Inch20.1%
Other Tracked Vehicles51.9%
Wheeled Vehicles9.0%
FADAC Generators25.0%

f. (U) Civic Action: The battalion was active in the following projects during the reporting period:

(1) Three (3) MEDCAPS at Dong Luong, An Lac, and Dong Ha City: Initiated during August, November 1968 and March 1969 respectively. During the reporting period a total of 1757 patients, of which 60% were children, were treated. Most significant cases encountered were 60 plague cases at the children's hospital in Dong Ha City. In addition to treating patients, the MEDCAPS include distributing clothing soap for washing, candy, and ice cream to the Vietnamese people. Battery B will conduct a MEDCAP starting in May at either Ha Thank or Gig Ha Village. A thorough report will be included in next quarter’s ORLL.

(2) Quang Tri National Prison: Assisting in the rehabilitation of approximately 350 former Viet Cong. Scrap materials are donated to be used in making furniture, kerosene stoves, and household articles. Upon receipt of information from GS 3rd Marine Division, it was determined that further assistance to the Quang Tri National Prison was unnecessary. The project was terminated during March 1969.

(3) The Bao Loc School project in Ha Thank Village was reinstated toward the end of April by Battery B presently located at Fire Support Base C-1 (YD210674), Materials will be furnished to assist in constructing a high school and finish the dispensary now in progress.

g. Personnel and Administration:

(1) Strength at end of period (30 April 69).


(2) Significant Shortages:

30 April 69
13B40Section Chief168
76Y40Supply Sergeant63

(3) Casualties: Four minor and one serious WIA in Battery A from enemy rockets and mortars. Three serious WIA in Battery B from hostile mortars and helicopter explosion. Two WIA in Battery C from hostile rockets and a ground attack. Two minor casualties in Battery B not as a result of hostile action.

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

a. (U) Personnel:

(1) Section Chiefs 13B40

(a) OBSERVATION: The shortage of E-6 section chiefs in Primary MOS 13B40 has severely hampered the training and operations of the heavy artillery batteries.

(b) EVALUATION: Through the reporting period the battalion has been seriously affected by an extreme shortage of section chiefs in the Primary MOS of 13B40. The battalion at the present time is authorized sixteen E-6 gun chiefs, while at the end of the reporting period only eight were assigned, resulting in a 50% shortage. The battalion is presently utilizing the most qualified Sp/4's and E-5 graduates from the Field Artillery Non-Commission-ed Officers Candidate School to occupy this extremely important key position. These section chiefs are young, inexperienced and even though they devote a maximum effort to their jobs, their lack of experience noticeably, affects their performance.

(c) RECOMMENDATION: That timely replacements be received in the primary MOS of 13B40 upon the reassignment of a section chief from the Republic of Vietnam.

b. Operations:

(1) Construction of 175mm Gun Firing Charts

(a) OBSERVATION: A need existed for larger firing charts in the 175mm gun battalion and battery FDC's to eliminate possible confusion.

(b) EVALUATION: At the present time the use of regular size firing charts in the 175mm gun fire direction centers has proven unsatisfactory for use in the Republic of Vietnam. To successfully fire 6400 mils with the normal firing charts, a double grid system with battery location plotted at the top and bottom of the firing charts must be used to reach the maximum range of 32,700 meters for the 175mm gun. Ail firing batteries under XXIV Corps Artillery are required to include on the primary and secondary charts friendly positions, areas of operation, patrols, no fire zones, toads, and lines of communication. In order to successfully put all required information on a regular firing chart, a minimum of three overlays with dual colors to distinguish the northern area from the southern area must be used. With all overlays in use during a fire mission, the firing charts become cluttered, and it is difficult to read coordinates to the target clearly in order to insure that there are no friendly troops in that vicinity.

(c) RECOMMENDATION: That 175mm gun artillery battalions utilize 4' X 5' X l" sheets of plywood to construct two firing charts large enough to plot the battery center in or near the center of the chart. This can be done by carefully fitting together several large plastic grid sheets on the plywood and covering them with acetate. The use of this chart eliminates the need for a double grid system and dual colors, which was mandatory for the regular firing charts. Friendly positions, AO's, patrols, roads, and lines of communication can be put directly on the firing chart. Maximum range in all directions can be obtained, except for approximately 4000 meters in only one direction which is easily covered by displacing chart battery center to cover that direction. The firing chart should be positioned on a 45 degree incline. With the use of a small footstool, operators can easily plot all targets and read the deflection and range in minimum time. One sheet of plywood is sufficient for one firing chart. The 1 inch thick plywood is the best to use with plotting needles; however, 3/4 inch plywood may be used as a substitute.

(2) Wind Cards for the l175MM Gun

(a) OBSERVATION: A need existed for a wind card for the 175mm gun to help eliminate the time loss by fire direction center personnel in computations of Met plus VE's for 6400 mil fire capability.

(b) EVALUATION: In the Republic of Vietnam wind cards ere as vital to 175mm gunnery, due to the requirement for 6400 mil capability, as they are to any other weapon. At the ranges fired by the 175mm gun (between 10,000 meters end 32,700 meters), the deflection transfer limits are highly restrictive as compared to other weapons employed here. FM 6-40, para 20-16 (b), requires for ranges over 10,000 meters, a transfer limit of 4000 meters left and right of the battery-registration point line. When converted to mils at maximum range, the transfer limits are 122.5 mils left and right of the battery-registration point line. In order to cover 6400 mils with GFT settings, and without using wind cards, approximately 26 computations of subsequent Mets for each range used at each charge are required. A slant scale GFT, which is now in use in the RVN on a two point plot, would double the computations required. In addition to time loss, the units in the RVN do not have a sufficient amount of graphical firing tables to maintain the required GFT settings.

(c) RECOMMENDATION: That the United States Army Field Artillery School make available wind cards to all 175mm gun units in the Republic of Vietnam This unit has developed an expedient method which proves accurate and effective in producing wind cards (see incl 2). For the range on the wind card, simply overage the Heed and Tail wind corrections from Table F and multiply them by the appropriate vector correction factor for chart direction of wind. This should be done for every 200 mils and 500 or 1000 meters. If the correction factor for chart direction of wind is a Head, the sign for the resultant product (range correction) would be (+) and for Tail Wind a minus (-). The same procedure is followed for deflection wind cards except the factor from Table C is multiplied by the Cross Wind component correction for a 1 knot wind, as listed in Table F. The sign of the correction is right if the Vector Correction Factor is right, and left if the Vector Correction Factor is left. Deflection wind cards should be produced every 200 mils and 500 or 1000 meters. This procedure minimizes the time required to produce firing data on a 6400 mil basis, and would very likely be of great assistance to all 175mm Fire Direction Centers. It is also advisable to consider earth rotation corrections to range, which is found in the Tabular Firing Table, to compensate for that rotation, since these corrections frequently are quite large for the 175mm gun and vary considerably as azimuth varies.