Attack on Dak Pek information
A-242 SF DET was a US Army unit
for A-242 SF DET
For date 700412
SOG CCC was a US Army unit
Primary service involved, US Army
Kontum Province, II Corps, South Vietnam
Location, Dak Pek
Description: What follows is an edited version of SFC Wade's narrative as printed in Assault on Dak Pek. A-242 of the SF had been stationed at Dak Pek for some time prior to the attack. The LLDB and CIDG garrison were also stable units, were well trained and functioned well according to SF SFC Wade who joined A-242 a few weeks prior to the attack. The camp's normal SOP would have two combat operations going on in their OA with SF advisors accompanying one of them. Due to the camp's belief that they might need to reinforce Dak Seang, they only had one small ambush force outside the camp that night.
At 0200 the NVA initiated the attack with mortars and RRs to keep everyone's heads down while several sapper groups moved through the perimeter wire around at least three of the seven hills that made up to camp at Dak Pek. In a coordinated manner, the NVA also sent regular infantry units against the fortified villages in the Dak Poko Valley. Wade's account indicates there were over a dozen of them manned by Montagnard RF/PF units that were not yet equipped with M-16s but were generally effective defensive units and were also a good source for intelligence about NVA movements.
Page 90 of Wade's Assault on Dak Pek contains a map showing the airstrip, the MACV SOG Launch Site area near the airstrip, plus several of the seven hills. The hills were named for the CIDG companies that manned them. Hill 202 and the American Hill were separated by Hills 203 and 201 which had a saddle between them. In the saddle were the camp's two 105s. The LLDB occupied Hill 201, nearest the airstrip, while a 106 RR was positioned atop 203 which the largest and dominated the entire camp. The first attack was directed at the airstrip, the American Hill plus Hills 203 and 202.
The USAF C-119 Stinger gunship that had been orbiting Dak Seang moved to support Dak Pek just after the attack started. The Launch Site troops presented a serious obstacle to the advancing NVA who were forced to advance over the airstrip to attack them. The Stinger's 40mm guns cut the NVA assault to pieces.
The first helicopters to arrive consisted of a force of Cobra escorted Hueys sent to extract the Launch Site troops. The NVA had occupied the recently built concrete block school house that was near the helicopter pad near the airstrip. The Cobras destroyed this position and found no shortage of other targets. The NVA began walking mortar rounds toward the slicks extracting the SOG elements. A round landed exactly where the last bird had been sitting. SF MAJ Ramos from the B-team at Kontum was directing the helicopter activities from a C&C ship. The Cobras and the C&C ship remained to support the camp.
The NVA held half the camp including Hill 203 and the two lower supporting hills. The sappers were very effective in blowing many hard points with hand delivered satchel charges and had even cut the throats of several sleeping CIDG. They captured, brutalized, then executed the families of the CIDG and decapituated the officers.
The NVA on Hill 203 fired on anyone who presented a target for very long and put an RPG into the 105 position when the crews fired at the hill. The 81mm mortars on the American hill were the only ground based fire support available. The NVA who were removing items from the supply building and the building itself were destroyed by the mortars.
Though sappers blew up the TOC, the camp's main generators and several concrete bunkers, the SF and the security force assigned to the American hill killed all the attackers with organic weapons.
With daylight came NVA 122mm and 140mm rockets. Most of the fortified hamlets in the valley, 13 in all, had been overrun and were now flying VC flags defiantly from their flagpoles.
A USAF FAC with some Sky Raiders arrived. A C-123 parachuted in a resupply of ammo and water cans. They started putting in strikes on Hill 203 not only to destroy with NVA but also to render the 106 RR useless. MAJ Ramos and CPT Walther, the camp CO who had been helping out at Dak Seang, landed by helicopter along with a new ANGRC-74, antennas, and fresh batteries for the PRC-25s.
The smaller generator in the LLDB position was still working, so they ran a power line to the replacement TOC on the American hill.
Just before noon they started bringing in medevacs which took ground fire coming in, while on the ground, and while taking off. In all 27 medevacs were made that afternoon.
The source for this information was Assault on Dak Pek by Leigh Wade
Additional information is available on CD-ROM.
Please send additions or corrections to: Gary Roush Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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