combat operations after-action report information
for 1 BDE 25 INF

From date 660508 to 660511

1 BDE 25 INF was a US Army unit
Primary service involved, US Army
Operation AKRON
Hau Nghia Province, III Corps, South Vietnam
Location, Filhol Plantation
Description: HEADQUARTERS, 1ST BRIGADE, 25TH INFANTRY DIVISION, APO US FORCES 96225 AVTLFB - 13 June 1966 SUBJECT: Combat operation After Action Report (RCS: MACV J3-32) THRU: Commanding General, 25th Infantry Division, ATTN: AVTLOC - MH, APO US Forces 96225 TO: Commander, US Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, ATTN: J343, APO US Forces 96243 1. Operation AKRON: Search and Destroy Operation. 2. Dates of operation: 081200 to 111745 May 1966 3. Location: Area of operation was the FILHOL PLANTATION bounded by coordinates XT7016, XT7020, XT6623, XT6422, and XT6417. 4. Control headquarters: 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division. 5. Reporting Officer: Colonel William B. Sandlin Jr. 6. Task Organization and Commanders: a. TF Tomahawk (4/23 Inf. (-) Lt Col Barnzoz, Cmdg. Co A, 1/5 Inf (M) 1 Plat Co A 1/69 Armor (operational control for CU CHI base defense.) 2 Squads, Co A, 65th Engr. Bn. b. 2/14 Inf (-) Lt Col S;hultz, Cmdg. 1 Plat, Co A, 1/69 Armor (operational control for CU CHI base defense). 1 Squad, Co A, 65th Engr Bn. c. 4/9 Inf (-) Lt Col Bootal Cmdg. (p70) d. Brigade Control 7/11 Arty DS Co A, 1/69 Armor (-) 7. Supporting Force: a. Artillery: The 7th Bn 11th Artillery was employed in a direct support mission. (1) How and when employed. (a) 7th Bn 11th Artillery supported from base camp locations. (b) Fires were utilized primarily against suspected targets and sniper fire. Secondly, as suppressing sniper fire and to soften areas in front of advancing forces. (c ) 343 pre-planned and on-call fire missions were fired expending 1,844 rounds. (2) Results: (a) H & I fires denied the VC complete freedom of movement during hours of darkness. (b) VC suffered 4 KIA (BC). Number of possible dead was undetermined. b. US Air Force: Nine (9) air strikes consisting of twenty-eight (28) sorties were flown in support of operation AKRON. (1) How and when employed. (a) All air strikes were pre-planned and requests were submitted through the 25th Infantry Division's Air Force liaison officer. (b) Air strikes were close air support directed against objective areas in advance of advancing ground forces. (2) Results: (a) Four (4) houses and one (1) automatic weapon destroyed. One (1) house damaged. Two (2) trenches damaged. (b) Objective areas received 35 to 85 per cent area coverage by ordnance. c. Army Aviation: (p71) (1) How and when employed. (a) Four (4) resupply aircraft, one (1) command and control ship, and one (1) to two (2) light fire teams were utilized on a mission basis each day of the operation. (b) A total of 289 sorties, consisting of resupply, fire suppression , command and control, evacuation of WIA's, combat surveillance, and combat assault missions, were flown during the operations. (2) Results: (a) Armed helicopters were valuable in providing medical evacuation and resupply escorts. (b) A total of eight (8) helicopters received minor damage from ground fire 8. Intelligence: a. Intelligence prior to operation: Intelligence studies as a result of captured data, agent Reports, and POW and returnee interrogation reports, identified VC units as the 2nd and 7th Battalion, 165 A Regiment (Main Force), and the C48 Heavy Weapons Company, operating in the area of the FILHOL PLANTATION. In addition, guerrilla and guerrilla support units of undetermined size and known to be Operating within the area. These units generally host and prepare installations for the main force and local force units that operate from or pass through the area. (1) 2nd Bn, 165 A Regiment (Main Force): Elements are believed to be C1 (207), C2 (208) and C3 (209) companies. Total strength of Bn is estimated to be 400. Last reported location was in vic of coordinates XT639246 on 28 April 1966. Area of operations: XT6730, XT5130, XT7008, XT5008. (2) 7th Bn, 165 A Regiment (Main Force): Composition is unknown. Total strength is estimated to be 400. Last reported location (unconfirmed)( was in vic of coordinates XT689210, on 29 April 1966. Area of operations: XT5930, XT6730, XT6719, XT5919. (3) C 48 Heavy Weapons Company: Unit is believed to be equipped with 50 caliber Machines, 60mm mortars and possible 81 or 82mm mortars and possible 81 oe 82mm mortars. Strength of unit, unknown. Last reported location was in vic of coordinates XT626225 on 15 April 1966. (b). Intelligence during operation: The only enemy activity encountered was occasional light sniper fire. 1st Brigade TF elements had negative contact with organized VC forces of significant size during the operation. TF Tomahawk, on the night of 9-10 May 66, received a possible squad size probing action. No suspected VC units were confirmed, nor were any new VC units discovered within the area of operations. Imagery interpretation reports and visual reconnaissance disclosed numerous spider holes, trenches, and tunnels in the area. (c) Description of terrain: The terrain was generally flat to gently rolling and did not represent an obstacle to any of TF Tomahawk's attached vehicles. The vegetation consisted primarily of rubber trees interspersed with heavy jungle and underbrush which made foot and wheeled vehicular movement difficult and restrictive in certain areas. The densely forested areas provided concealment and cover to a limited degree. Observation was greatly restricted in areas of heavy jungle and dense underbrush. Primary avenues of approach throughout the area was limited to the roads and trails. (d) Civic action and / or psychological warfare activities: No civic action or psychological warfare activities were initiated. (e) Summary: Overall evaluation and accuracy of intelligence was rated B2 (usually reliable and probably true) during the operation. The operation security of operation AKRON was considered excellent. 9. Mission: 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, conducts search and destroy operations in sector vic FILHOL PLANTATION (XT6718) 8-11 May 66. 10. Concept of operation: 1st Brigade Task Force executes search and destroy operations with elements: three (3) infantry battalions supported by 7th Bn 11th Arty, and elements of 1st Bn 69th Armor, 1st Bn 5th Inf (M), 65th Engr Bn, and 2 battalions of the 7th ARVN Regiment employed in a blocking position. 2nd Bn 14th Inf assist passage of TF Tomahawk by establishing one (1) company base at the edge of FILHOL PLANTATION on 8 May 66, then executes search and destroy operations from Bn (-) base for one day, returns to CU CHI base camp and reinforces OP Ann-Margaret (XT664171) to assist return of TF Tomahawk. TF Tomahawk passes through 2nd Bn 14th Inf bunker line on 9 May and moves by foot to establish a base south of Saigon River on 10-11 May 66 for execution of search and destroy operations in sector; return to CU CHI base the afternoon of 11 may 66. 4th Bn 9th Inf conduct company size night operations 10 - 11 May 66. 4th Bn 9th Inf conduct company size night operations 10-11 May 66. 4th Bn 9th Inf conduct company size night operations 10 - 11 May 66 terminating with search and destroy operations on 11 May 66. Elements of Co A, 1st Bn 69th Armor reinforces bunker line defenses at CU CHI base and provides a two (2) platoon reaction force. Reaction forces are planned for two (2) contingencies: 2 companies, 2/14 Inf with 2 platoons Co A, 1/69 Armor attached for ground deployment and 1 Co 4/98 Inf for airmobile deployment. 7th Bn 11th Arty provides direct support from CU CHI base. Maximum use of air and artillery to clear avenue of approach to TF Tomahawk's forward base. Priority of Air and Arty to TF Tomahawk. (p73) 11. Execution: 1st Brigade issued OPORD 5-66 at 050900 May 66. The 7th Regiment of the 5th ARVN Division established blocking positions as indicated on enclosure 1 during period 8 May - 10 May 66. 8 May 1966 At 1200 hours Co B 2/14 moved from XT665171 on foot to Obj 1 to secure a blocking position to assist the departure of TF Tomahawk and 2/14 Inf (-). While enroute, Arty fire (105mm) was requested by the unit commander to eliminate possible enemy ambush sites. Three men of the company were wounded by the fire at XT661174 at 1305; hrs. Casualties were evacuated to XT664171 and company proceeded to Obj 1. Negative contact was made during the day and night. 9 May 1966 a. TF TOMAHAWK: TF commenced its move to Obj 3 at 0630 hrs, pre-planned airstrikes were conducted along route of movement and two (2) armed helicopters provided aerial security along route. TOT for start of airstrike was 0730 hrs. TAC air located sampan vic XT657024 at 0808 hrs. Sunk at 0859 hrs. Lead element, attached mechanized company, reached obj 3 at 0941 hrs. TF received ineffective sniper fire as it approached obj.area. Contact was less than 30 seconds in length. Approximately 12 punji stake pits, well concealed, and 4 booby traps were discovered in Obj area. All were destroyed approximately 1004 hrs. At 1038 hrs Co B discovered spider holes complex vic XT660193. At 1115 hrs helicopter resupply on Obj 3 commenced. Co B received sniper fire XT666198 at 1120 hrs. Contact was again less than 30 seconds in length. There were no indications of VC casualties. Trench system about 150 meters in length with holes in rear for overhead was discovered at XT669202 at 1245 hours. TF closed Obj 3 at 1531 hours. At 1706 hours a major tunnel complex was discovered vic XT684217. 12 booby traps, 14 grenades and 320 rounds of 7.62 ammunition (all Chinese type) were found in area. At 1940 hours one man from Co A 1/5 Inf (M) was killed. Individual was searching tunnel and lifted a booby trapped door. At 2144 hours Co B had contact with VC of undetermined size. Contact was approximately 8 minutes in length. Unit received small arms fire approximately 30- meters from their defensive positions. b. 2/14 Inf: Bn TAC CP and Co C departed area at 1000 hrs for Obj 2, closing in at 1219 hours. Co B departed Obj 1 at 1100 hours and closed on Obj 2, linking up with Bn (-) by 1303 hours. Elements had negative contact with VC. The Bn was resupplied by helicopter at 1600 hours. 10 May 1966 (p74) a. TF TOMAHAWK: 1 KIA from Co B resulted from rifle grenade shrapnel at XT6842 XT684216 at 0116 hours. Source and location of fire unknowns. TF continued to received sporadic fire throughout the early part of the morning which resulted in 4 WIA's during the period. One platoon from the attached mechanized company made contact with the elements of the 7th ARVN Regiment at 0820. The 1st Bde LNO with the 7th ARVN Regiment met the mechanized platoon. Lead elements departed Obj 3 at 0719 hours to continue S&D toward Obj 4. Airstrikes were conducted in vic of XT643215 at 0935 hours. Area had received airstrikes the previous day and secondary explosions had been reported. No visual results were reported. At 0920 hours a tunnel system vic XT676202 was investigated prior to airstrike and the only evidence available of VC wa blood spots in area. Lead element reached Obj 4 at 1112 hours. At 1402 hours lead element of obj 4 had one (2) M-113 damaged as a result of a mine at XT642221. Unit received 2 WIA's which were minor and required little first ad. At approximately 1530 hours all elements closed Obj 4 for the night. Aerial resupply was initiated immediately and completed by 1700 hours. Throughout the night negative contact was encountered. b. 2/14 Inf: At 0700 hours, the battalion conducted S&D operations south to XT664171, OP Ann Margaret, and received negative VC contact. All units reached location by 1530 hours. c. 4/9 Inf: The first platoon of Co C arrived at XT67157 at 1430 hours to establish squad size ambush patrols at XT690164 under the cover of darkness, and to secure the crossing site at XT671162 for the company's scheduled night S&D operation to obj 6. 11 May 1966 a. TF TOMAHAWK; At 0661 hours aerial resupply was initiated on Obj 4. At approximately 0735 hours the lead element began moving toward Obj 5. At 0959 hours, Co B received sniper fire from vic of XT653185. Fire was returned but results unknown. At 1037 hours, Co C found several tunnel complexes vic XT655181 and XT652180. One man was wounded by a booby trap while searching the tunnel. As the search of Obj 5 continued rifle grenade sniper fire was received on the left flank. Direction of fire unknown. The TF continued to locate and destroy tunnel complexes. At 1545 hours the TF closed into Cu Chi base camp. b. 2/14 Inf: Co C commenced probing activities in the immediate vic of OP Ann Margaret, XT664171, to locate tunnels and other VC routes of advance and hiding places. At 0945 hours two mines were detonated at XT661171 killing 4 and wounding 11 men from the company. At 1600 hours 2/14 Inf closed into Cu Chi base camp. c. 4/9 Inf: At 0230 hours Co C reached the creek crossing site XT671162 and conducted a S&D operation on Obj 6. Unit was extracted by helicopter by 1745 hours: 12. Results: (p75) a. Friendly losses: UNIT: KIA WIA MIA DAMAGED EQUIPMENT 4/9 Inf 0 0 0 2/14 Inf 4 14 0 4/23 1 8 0 Co A 1/5 Inf 1 2 0 1 APC M-113 b. Enemy Losses: KIA (BC) POSS KBA CAPTURED DAMAGED DESTROYED 4 4 0 2 oxygen tanks 1 house 9 bunkers, 14 houses, 13 tunnels, 6 wells, 1 home made mine, 1750 kilos rice, 2 55 gal oil drums, 20 rds ammo (7.62), 49 grenades, 2 trenches, 1 auto wpn position c. All airstrike areas were not searched by ground forces. 13. Administrative matters. a. Supply (1) All resupploy was accomplished by helicopter, HU1D, with satisfactory results. (2) A total of 40 sorties were flown during the 4 days, totaling 10.0 tons of supplies. Additionally, 2,115 gallons of water were airlifted. Class I - 12,050 lbs, Class III - 560 lbs, Class V - 3,670 lbs, Misc. - 3,670 lbs (P76) (3) Combat Loads: Troops started the operation with field pack, 2 canteens of water, 2 "C" ration meals and the one man portion of 1 basic load of ammunition with the exception of one unit that carried 3 one man portions of the basic load. Carrying more than 1 basic load was later determined excessive due to the resupply capabilities by helicopter. (4) A significant trend that developed during the operation was that only emergency resupply was feasible during the dismounted move, and that the peaks of resupply occurred in the late afternoon and early morning. Resupply capabilities can be better programmed during dismounted operations as a result of this experience. b. Maintenance: No significant problems were encountered. c. Treatment of Casualties, Evacuation and Hospitalization. Medical evacuation by "Dust-off" was exceptionally well executed. Resupply helicopters were also utilized tol return wounded to base camp. d. Transportation: Troop movement to the area of operations was dismounted. One company returned to the base camp by helicopter. e. Communications: PRC-10 radios functioned well in open areas and at close range. In secondary jungle, communications with the PRC-10 is spotty and unreliable. Issue of the PRC-25 radios should solve this problem. 14. Special Equipment and Techniques: No special equipment was used during the operation. TF TOMAHAWK employed a technique of searching tunnels using commo wire marked off with tape every ten (10) meters length of the wire in order to measure tunnels. The searchers also used compasses to record the direction of the tunnels. It was determined that rice caches in the ground can often be detected by a circular pattern of soft dirt. 15. Commander's Analysis: Operation AKRON was the first brigade level operation conducted by the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division. This operation was undertaken 8 days after the main body of the brigade closed in at Cu Chi, RVN. The operation was successful from the standpoint of an introduction to FILHOL PLANTATION and brigade operations. Instruction by 2nd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division personnel on tunnel destruction proved beneficial throughout the operation. Many valuable experiences were gained at the platoon, company, battery and brigade level. It was determined that load carrying requirement of the individual soldier can be greatly reduced when helicopter resupply is available. 16. Recommendation: a. That all units and individuals continue to improve methods of detecting mines, booby traps, and tunnels. b. That all units continue to develop better methods of searching and destroying tunnels and other ground fortifications. c. That an infantry battalion have assigned approximately 8 APCS and as an interim measure a mechanized rifle company or element of a cavalry troop be attached for a search and destroy mission. (p78)

The source for this information was Vietnam Source document prepared by Ron Leonard

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