Southern Cross information
for 196 BDE 23 INF

For date 681124


196 BDE 23 INF was a US Army unit
Primary service involved, US Army
Operation WHEELER/WALLOWA
Quang Tin Province, I Corps, South Vietnam
Location, Tam Ky
Description: The following is an edited version of an article titled "128 Killed In Turkey Shoot 196th Recalls 1967 Battle." NOTE - this article is also included in a recorded dated 23 Nov 1967 in this database. LZ BALDY - The memory of Thanksgiving 1967 for most infantrymen of the 196th Bde. is filled with turkey dinners, their families, and good friends. But those "Chargers" who were in-country a year ago remembered something entirely different. NVA forces had been infiltrating into the then newly launched "Operation Wheeler/Wallowa" area and it was the brigade's job to stop them. In the first major confrontation between these soldiers and the "Chargers," called the "Thanksgiving Day Battle." 128 enemy were killed (including 36 by air strikes) and 47 individual and nine crew-served weapons were captured. NVA Move In Intelligence reports had indicated that the 3rd NVA Rgt. which was on R&R along the coastal plains of Thang Binh Dist., had moved into the mountains west and northwest of LZ Ross to regroup, train, and receive replacements. To repel them brigade units moved out early on Thanksgiving morning to Hill 63, a thickly vegetated peak, 15 miles northwest of Tam Ky. As soon as B and D Co.s, 4th Bn. 31st Inf. began to advance, they came under intense small arms and automatic weapons fire from strongly fortified NVA positions. The enemy was dug in directly to the front of the "Chargers" and to the west on scattered islands. Cav Connects The infantrymen, with support of vehicles from A Trp., 1st Cav. and F Trp., 17th Cav., pounded away at the enemy who were firing from one and two-man foxholes just above the rice paddy level of the islands. Marine and Air Force jets dive-bombed and strafed the NVA and forced them to seek cover. Seventy-five tons of bombs were dropped. At night artillery concentrations hit enemy escape routes. Mopping Up On Nov. 24, the combined infantry-tank units resumed their slow methodical clearance of the islands. That night, the artillery again continued firing. On the third and final day of the battle, Charger companies gathered weapons, documents, equipment, and bodies from the contested area. Then they gathered up their own equipment and went back for a delayed but welcome Thanksgiving dinner.

The source for this information was 6811_112_scr supplied by Les Hines 01/05/2000


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