Operating Reports
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30 Apr 1968 31 Jan 1969 31 Oct 1969 31 Jul 1970 31 Oct 1971

APO San Francisco 96269

5 August 1969

SUBJECT:Operational Report of 8th Battalion (175MM/8 Inch) (SP), 4th Arti1lery for Period Ending 31 July 1969, (RCS CSFOR.-65)(R-1)(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. Th. battalion has continuously engaged in combat operations since 15 August 1967.

(2) This is the eighth 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 May 69) were as follows:

HHB/8/4 ArtyYD223587 (Dong Ha)
SVC/8/4 ArtyYD223587 (Dong Ha)
B/8/4 ArtyYD210674 (FSB C-1)
C/8/4 ArtyYP132641 (FSB C-2)

(2) On 20 May 1969 a vehicle from Service Battery returning from Quang Tri Combat Base (YD303541) to Dong Ha Combat Base (YD223587), received one round of sniper fire. The round struck a passenger on the head, penetrating both the steel pot and the helmet liner, and rendered the individual unconscious. The soldiers was treated for a headache and kept under observation by the Battalion Surgeon for the remainder of the day.

(3) On 27 May 1969, Battery B incurred one fatality from the explosion fragmentation grenade. The accident occurred while the individual was on perimeter guard and was not as a result of hostile action.

(4) On 17 June 1969, Fire Support Base C-1 (YD210674) received a ground attack from an estimated three companies of NVA. The perimeter security force(2nd Bn, 2nd ARVN Regt) successfully defended th, position inflicting 58 enemy KIA confirmed. Battery B suffered no casualties or equipment damage and combat operations were not affected.

(5) On 7 July 1969 at 1640 hours at Fire Support Base C-1 (YD220674), the Battalion Commander, LTC Frank M. Kulik Jr., fired the 50,000th round expended by Battery B since arrival in country.

(6) On 16 July the Battery A forward observer with the 3rd ARVN Regt received slight shrapnel wounds to the head when their position at grid YDQ333957 came under mortar attack.

(7) During the reporting period the battalion continued to register 8 howitzers on a daily basis, when possible. Battery C registered 77 days out of a possible 92 expending 736 rounds. Methods of registration utilized were high burst, center of impact, and precision.

(8) During this reporting period, no unit moves were conducted.

(9) During the reporting period, Headquarters, Service, and B Batteries received Comnand Maintenance Management Inspections from XXIV Corps. All units were rated satisfactory.

(10) During the reporting period, the Battalion FDC and Batteries A, B, and C received XXIV Corps Firing Battery Inspections, and were, rated satisfactory.

(11) During the reporting period the Battalion destroyed 375 bunkers and was credited with 39 enemy KIA confirmed.

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

A/8/4306 msns
1996 rds
420 msns
2941 rds
342 msns
2043 rds
B/8/4 69 msns
855 rds
235 msns
1536 rds
270 msns
2174 rds
C/8/4 218 msns
2894 rds
247 msns
3753 rds
613 msns
4891 rds
TOTAL613 msns
5745 rds
902 msns
8230 rds
1225 msns
9108 rds

(13) The cumulative, total of rounds fired by this battalion since arrival in country through 312400H July 69 is 193,657.

c. (U) Training: The battalion conducted a total of 112 hours of scheduled training for all personnel. In addition, special training programs were conducted for FDC personnel and for cross training within sections.

d. Observations: During this reporting period the Battalion provided nine forward observer teams to ground forces in northern I Corps. These teams, consisting of a forward observer and a radio telephone operator, were provided to the Mel Loc Special Forces, RF/PF forces, ARVN Forces to support combat operations in their areas of operation.

e. Logistic:

(1) During the reporting period the battalion has been engaged in an extensive construction program primarily oriented toward Battery B at Fire Support Base C-1 (YD210674). The projects included construction of gun pads and retaining wells, projo bunkers, rebuilding propellant bunkers, and the modification of all personnel bunkers to provide for a second exit.

(2) Average Daily Deadline Rates for the reporting period were computed using the number of vehicles on hand, with tho exception of wheeled vehicles. The deadline, rate for wheeled vehicles was computed utilizing the number of vehicles authorized. The average daily deadline rates are as follows:

SP Artillery 175MM and 8-Inch14.7%
Other Tracked Vehicles31.7%
Wheeled Vehicles7.0%
FADAC Generators19.6%

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

(1) Four MEDCAPS at Dong Luong, An Lac, Dong He City, and Ha Thank are being conducted. These MEDCAPS were initiated in August and November 1968 and March and May, 1969 respectively. During the reporting period a total of 2695 patients, of which approximately 70% were children, were treated. In addition to treating patients, the MEDCAPS include distribution of clothing, soap, candy, and ice cream to the Vietnamese people.

(2) Bao Loc Civic Action Project: Battery B located at Fire Support Base C-1 (YD210674) is providing assistance end material for the construction of a dispensary and high school located in Ha Thank village. During the reporting period the roof covering the dispensary was completed and construction was begun on the high school.

g. Personnel and Administration:

(1) Strength at end of period (31 July 69).


(2) Significant Shortages:

31 July
13Z50First Sergeant53
13B40Section Chief168
63C40Motor Sergeant43
93F40Metro Chief10
93F20Sr. Met. Computer10

(3) Casualties: One minor WIA in Service Battery as a result of sniper fire. One minor WIA in Battery A as a result of hostile mortars. One killed in Battery B not as a result of hostile action.

2. Section 2. LessonsLearned: Commanders Observation, Evaluations, and Recommendations.

a. Personnel: None

b. Operations

(1) Emplacement of M49A1 Trip Flares.

(a) OBSERVATION: Placement of M49A1 Trip Flares on stakes is the customary manner, utilizing the mounting bracket assembly provided, is inadequate by itself.

(b) EVALUATION: When trip flares are emplaced in the standard manner, they are easily detected and neutralized by sappers, and frequently set off by indigenous personnel during the day. By placing several rows of trip flares under concertina wire and rock. adjacent to it, the existing rows of staked flares are then supplemented and the concertina is secured from undetected lifting and cutting, thereby greatly enhancing the defense against sappers. To accomplish this, remove the flare from the mounting bracket assembly and pull the safety pin while holding down the spoon. Dig a shallow (1" deep) hole and place the flare in the hole with the spoon on the bottom. By placing the concertina or a rock on top, tho spoon is held down and the flare disguised. A trip wire can then be affixed to either the concertina, the rock, or to the flare to dislodge and ignite the flare when the wire is struck. If desired, no trip wires need to be utilized, as flares emplaced in this manner respond to pressure release, and will ignite whenever the concertina (or rock, etc) is moved. It is advisable to emplace some flares with trip wires and others without. This serves to confuse enemy personnel as to the 1ocation and manner of emplacement of these anti-intrusion devices.

(c) RECOMMENDATION: That M49A1 trip flares emplaced in the standerd manner be supplemented by trip flares emplaced as pressure release devices.

(2) Shortage of M127A1 Hand Flares

(a) OBSERVATION: On occasion, this battalion has experienced a shortage of M127A1 hand flares which severely limits the ability to illuminate the perimeter.

(b) EVALUATION: In order to provide illumination, white still conserving hand flares, M49A1 trip flares were utilized. M49A1 trip flares, when thrown like a hand grenade, will provide approximately 45 seconds of illumination.

(c) RECOMMENDATION: That M49A1 trip flares be used as a substitute for illumination when there is a shortage of M127A1 hand flares.

(3) Inspection of Wire Barriers

(a) OBSERVATION: The exterior concertina wire barrier on the perimeter was discovered to have been cut in various places and tied together with vines.

(b) EVALUATION: The technique of tying the wire with vines prevented the cuts from being detected except upon careful inspection.

(c) RECOMMENDATION: A specific check, to detect disguised cuts in the wire, should be included in the daily inspection of perimeter concertina barriers.

c. Training: None

d. Intelligence: None

e. Logistics: None

f. (U) Ogranization:

(1) Firing Battery Recorder

(a) OBSERVATION: In a combat situation, the firing battery recorder must be available to perform his duties on-a continuing 24 hour a day basis.

(b) EVALUATIONS: It is not feasible to maintain continuous operation in the firing battery XO post without the presence of the firing battery recorder. Due to inherent supervisory responsibilities, the battery executive officer and chief of firing battery are not able to remain in the XO post for extended periods of time in order to relieve the recorder for meals or rest periods. This battalion has found it necessary to assign an additional recorder to the firing battery headquarters in order to maintain a continuing 24 hour a day operations. A suggested change to MTOE 6-437G has been submitted by this headquarters deleting one 13A10 ammo handler and adding one 13A10 firing battery recorder.

(c) RECOMMENDATION: That firing batteries engaged in combat operations should be authorized two firing battery recorders.

(2) Augmentation of the battalion ammunition supply train.

(a) OBSERVATION: Individual firing batteries using their own organic ammunition sections do not have the capability of resupplying ammunition at a rate equal to the ammunition expenditure in a combat situation.

(b) EVALUATION: Firing batteries are normally located at Fire Support Bases which are a considerable distance from both the battalion rear and tho Ammunition Supply Point. The battery ammunition sections, comprised of four five ton cargo vehicles, must cope with the daily problems of having the roads open to vehicular travel on the average of only seven hours a day. The problem is further complicated by deadline rates and delays encountered at the Ammunition Supply Point, very often causing a two day resupply trip. This battalion has alleviated this problem by attaching two ammunition vehicles and four personnel from each firing battery to the battalion ammunition section. This provides additional transport capabilities and decreases the time/distance factor to the Ammunition Supply Point, which allows each firing battery to receive one day ammunition resupply. Additionally the centralization of the resupply vehicles guarantees closer supervision and control, which enhances the efficiency of the Battalion Ammunition Train.

(c) RECOMMENDATION: That Field Artillery Battalions operating under combat conditions with batteries in widely separated positions consider attaching a portion of their Buttery Ammunition Sections to the Battalion Ammunition Train.