Quarterhorse in Vietnam





1st Infantry Division - Lessons Learned (1 May to 31 Jul 1966)Part Five

Artillery Observation:

Item: Infantry and armored cavalry should be trained in artillery adjustment procedures.

Discussion: During contact with enemy forces, artillery ground observers with infantry and armored cavalry units will be killed or wounded and require evacuation.

Observation: Infantry and armored cavalry platoon and squad leaders should be thoroughly trained in observer procedures to take over in the absence of an observer from the supporting artillery unit.

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INTELLIGENCE

Mobile Interrogation Vans

Item: The use of mobile interrogation teams.

Discussion: The use of mobile interrogation teams during seal and search operations has caused the indigenous population to volunteer significant information concerning VC activity in the area. Once the seal and search of the village is complete, mobile interrogation teams should re-enter the area in an effort to gain voluntary information from civilians. During these interviews, IFW teams should attempt the first phase of the recruitment of informers. It has been effective to reward all persons entering the van on a voluntary basis an appropriate gift. If significant information can be confirmed, the person is rewarded substantially.

Observation: Mobile interrogation teams should be utilized to gain information from sympathetic civilians. They should be interviewed rather than interrogated. The teams should be combined Vietnamese and US and the member of teams should be tailored to the population figures.

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National Police Screening:

Item; National Police screening is effective in population control.

Discussion: Detailed screening of all draft age men can contribute greatly to the population control of a particular hamlet or village. Not only does effective screening filter out those men avoiding the draft, but the National Police are successful in apprehending deserters, holders of false ID cards, and VC suspects indicated on the �blacklist�. The National Police are also able to exert their influence on the local population, after which. Plans can be made for the introduction of permanent Police forces in the hamlet for purposes of security and population and resources control.

Observation: Detailed screening of all draft age males by the National Police should be a prime consideration when planning for a hamlet seal and search operation.

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VC Tactics:

Item: VC use rout of attack as initial route of withdrawal.

Discussion: Several VC captives have stated during interrogation that the initial route of withdrawal from an objective area or ambush site was the same that was used in moving to the attack. This makes it easier for the soldier to find his way back to assembly areas. In three regimental size attacks against division convoys the VC never attacked through the column. Their withdrawal was always in the direction from which they attacked.

Observation: When VC routes of attack are known, they should be covered with blocking artillery fire or airstrikes when it appears the VC are attempting to break contact and withdraw.

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VC Strength:

Item: VC have shown ability to recuperate rapidly after heavy losses.

Discussion: On 8 June two battalions of the 272d VC Main Force Regiment were badly mauled when they attacked a US column on National Route 13 and lost an estimated 340 personnel. On 9 July, the same regiment attacked another column with three battalions. Captives from this battle stated up to 800 NVA replacements had joined the regiment on 7 July. On 30 July a returnee from the 271st VC Main Force Regiment stated his regiment has lost approximately 570 men on 30 June when it attacked a US column on Route 13. All NVA replacements were trained soldiers and gave the VC regiments the capability to regain combat effectiveness in short order.

Observation: Enemy units that are badly defeated cannot be considered deleted from enemy order of battle. The VC have the capability to replace battle with trained personnel quickly and because a unit is defeated in one battle it should not be eliminated as a threat. The intelligence effort should continue to determine its location.

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Integrated Intelligence:

Item: An integrated intelligence effort will result in a clearer picture of the enemy situation.

Discussion: Many sources of information are available to intelligence gathering agencies. Some of these sources are ralliers, aerial photography and imagery interpretation, Airborne sensory devices (infer red and side looking airborne radar), long range reconnaissance patrols, and captured VC and documents.

Observation: All efforts at gathering intelligence must be integrated to form the complete enemy situation if the enemy is to be located and destroyed.

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COMMUNICATION:

RC-292 Antenna

Item: Elevating the RC-292 Antanna.

Discussion: Heavy vegetation and dampness in Vietnam decreases the effectiveness of the ground wave in FM communications which in turn decrease range.

Observation: To overcome this difficulty, and to get the maxium use of the RC-292 antenna, it can be elevated higher than the mast sections provided for in the issued kits. This can be done by using one each Hit mast AR 225/G with stakes GF-2 (T. 687-27) which will provide an antenna height of 60 feet (24 feet higher than maximum height of the conventional RC-292). This additional height increases the range of the VRC-12 series radio from 30 miles to approximately 50 miles. There is little variation of readability or signal strength during adverse weather conditions.

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AN/PRC-25:

Item: AN/PRC-25 transmitting difficulties.

Discussion: Difficulties has been experienced while transmitting in heavy jungle, especially rubber plantations, while utilizing the short whip antenna.

Observation: When difficulty in transmitting with the whip antenna exists, the long antenna should be tried. If this does not clear up the problem, an airborne relay station should be established.

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Radio Exposure:

Item: Retransmit R/W and audio connectors are susceptible to moisture.

Discussion: During the rainy season in Vietnam, moisture collects in the audio connectors on the face of the radio set which causes the set to automatically key when in operation.

Observation: Use of canvas covers will help prevent moisture from getting on the face of radio sets. The AN/PRC-25 is provided with rubber audio connector caps secured to the set by a nylon cord. These same caps also fit the RT-524. Precautions should be taken to secure the cap to the set to prevent loss.

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Rectifier RA-91:

Item: The Rectifier, RA-91, can be utilized as a power supply for AN/VRC-12 series radios.

Discussion: During Short duration tactical operations where radios are mounted in vehicles, it is practical to remote radios into the tents. This is not so when operations are to be set up in one place for extended periods of time. Extended idling of engines to keep batteries charged causes the engine to carbon up. If the engine is not used to charge the batteries, a separate generator for each radio in operation will have to be used. This shortens battery life and causes excess wear on generators. Remoting of radios also ties down a vehicle that could be used for other purposes, requires extra gasoline for generators, and a higher consumption of batteries for remote units.

Observation: Radios can be removed from the vehicles and placed in a tent. The power source consists of two 50 amp, 12 volt batteries (in series) which are charged by a 15 amp RA -91 rectifier, powered by a 120 volt 60 cycle 5 kw generator. The rectifier has the capability of a constant control of amperage output, eliminating the erratic output common to do generators which is harmful to all radios.

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AN/MRC-69:

Item: Overheating of equipment in the AN/MRC-69 causes tube failure.

Discussion: The high temperatures experienced in Vietnam combined with the normal amount of heat generated through operation of the equipment, causes the components of the AN/MRC-69 to overheat with subsequent tube failure.

Observation: The most assured way to reduce the temperature within the AN/MRC-69 is through the use of air conditioners. The following expedient methods are recommended for use in he absence of air conditioners:

1. Keep exhaust fans in continuous operations, keeping the air path clear.

2. Leave the shelter door open for circulation of air.

3. Pull equipment components slightly from recesses to allow the heat to escape.

4. paint the top of all shelters white to reflect the heat from the sun. Sandbagging the entire structure will give some relief from the sun and also protection from enemy fire.

Base Camp Communications

Item: The AN/MTC-3 and the AN/MTC-1 is inadequate for division main base camp communications.

Discussion: As the division became more firmly established, and base camp facilities began to expand, it became evident that an AN/MTC-3 switchboard at Support Command and an AN/MTC-1 at Division Main would be totally inadequate to handle either the internal base camp communications or the growing demand for trunking facilities. Because of this ever expanding requirement and the large number of calls be placed, it was necessary to install a second AN/MTC-1. Three AN/MTC-1 switchboards are now in use in the Division Main Base Camp, one for Division Main Locals, One for Support Command Locals and one for all trunking facilities. This last change over took place in 5 June 1966. Each of the three switchboards has trunk lines interconnecting it with the remaining two switchboards in the base camp.

Observation: Even though all of the telephone requirements of the division, are being filled at the present time the point has been reached where it would be definitely advantageous to replace the three existing AN/MTC-1 switchboards with on AN/MTC-9. This change is necessary for two reasons. First, the local and trunking needs of the division are ever increasing and second, the use of one switchboard and one frame (AN/MTC-9 as opposed to three switchboards and frames (AN/MTC-1) would increase capabilities and operating efficiency while at the same time greatly reducing the number of personnel needed to operate the board.

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Wire Communication:

Item: Utilizing a wirehead to allow a �Clean Patch� state in the patch panel

Discussion: The 121st Signal Battalion has developed wireheads to be utilized in conjunction with the patch panel in each base camp signal complex. The wirehead has provided more efficient and effective circuit control in base camp installations where temporary tactical and permanent administrative circuits are integrated.

Observation: The wirehead at Division Main was built inside a Standard Conex container. The interior was framed and lined with � inch plywood. Junction boxes J-1077 and JB-2317 were installed to terminate 26 pair cables from the patch panel and commercial cable from local subscribers. Jumper wire was used to connect appropriate circuits to the switchboard frame. Common Trunk circuits between Danger Main and Danger LD switchboards were wired directly between frames, by-passing the wirehead. This was done primarily to conserve jumper wire.

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The principle advantage of the wirehead is that it takes advantage of the �normal through� characteristic of the patch panel. The resulting clean patch feature reduces considerable congestion in the limited space available within the SB-611 patch panel. As a result, the fallibility of the patch cords due to handling, heat, dirt and moisture is eliminated. Additionally, most of the patches in base camp signal center are of a permanent nature. The only exception to the �Clean Patch� occurs when temporary tactical circuits are established to forward areas by patching as necessary in the patch panel. Permanent circuits which are interrupted, pre-empted or re-routed as a result of circuits outage or installation of temporary tactical circuits, are quickly restored by pulling the patch cord and reverting back to the normal through characteristic of the patch panel and the original patch found in the wirehead.

The wirehead necessitates additional circuit records. Tagged or color coded jumper wire is a necessity with the wirehead.

Observation: In permanent or semi-permanent signal center, the advantages of a wirehead outweigh the disadvantages. In effect, permanent patches are made in the wirehead resulting in a normally uncluttered patch panel board. Circuit outages as a result of patch cord failure are thereby eliminated. Temporary circuits and re-routes are accomplished with patches in the patch panel. Circuit testing and restoration is enhanced significantly as a result of the clean patch.

Airlift of S-144 Shelters

Item: Equipment Shelters S-144 are structurally unsound for airlifts.

Discussion: The 121st Signal Battalion has experienced an increasing requirement to provide highly mobile and flexible communication support to the infantry brigades. Due to difficulties experienced in highway movement, brigades are normally airlifted to and from areas of operations. The Forward Signal Platoon must also displace by air. As a result of the last five division sized air assault operations, the S-144 Sherlters have be proved to be structurally unsound for sling load airlift. Two AN/MRC-69 shelters have been drooped from altitudes of 250 feet and 2000 feet whild be carried by CH-47 Chinooks. On at least two other S-144 Shelters, the lifting points have been examined closely and have been found to be pulling loose from the fram of the shelter.

Air safety standards require a minimum of six feet of nylon strap on each leg of load sling nets. Inherent vibrations and oscillatious in rotary winged aircraft are believed to be the cause for lifting point failures. The lifting points are inadequate for anything except lifting the shelter on and off vehicles. Examination of lifting points after an airlift has revealed that the shelter frame is not durable enough to carry the strain applied to the upper shelter corners during lift-off, varying air currents in level flight, and rotary winged vibrations.

Observation: In order to support an infantry division under current concepts of tactical deployment in the republic of Vietnam, signal equipment must be air transportable. Signal shelters (2) ton truck variety) are structurally unsound and unsafe in meeting the demands imposed by airlift. If the S-144 shelters are to be used in this manner, reinforcement of the shelter and lifting points is necessary. An alternate solution is to discontinue lifting the shelter and remove the equipment for installation in other suitable shelters. This solution has been adopted and mounted in a � ton trailer. This presents a package similar to the new AN/MRC-111 Radio Relay Terminal. The trailer mounted package can be loaded internally into CH-47 Chinooks.

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Camera Exposure

Item: Need for cameras with water-proof housings.

Discussion: The TOE cameras for still photography utilized by the division photographic section are not suitable for combat photography in this environment. The extremes of rain, dust, and heat have cause an inordinate number of malfunctions. Further, the rough handling of cameras is unavoidable when the combat photographer is photographing friendly forces engaged in ground operation�s against a hostile force.

Observation: There is available a relatively inexpensive, extremely sturdy, 35MM camera which is enclosed in a water-proof housing. Three of these cameras (by Nikkos) have been requisitioned (over authorized allowance.)

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CIVIL AFFAIRS/PSYOPS

Item: Preparing and planning C1 projects in pacified areas.

Discussion: One important phase of any pacification plan is the development of CA projects. Prior to initiating and completing a project, coordination must be affected with sub-sector officials and their advisors. Coordination informs these officials of projects being developed in their area and will preclude any duplication of effort.

Observation: Planning of CA projects (all of which are of the self=help variety) must include utilization of village help. Coordination with village officials will assist in enlisting village help. Projects become meaningless, no matter how imposing or important it may be, unless the villagers associate themselves with it by actual participation.

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PsyOps Leaflet Printing

Item: Use of a Multilith press at division level.

Discussion: The availability of a Multilith printing press at the division level, provides the G5 with a capability to produce highly effective and timely PayOp media. Immediate exploitation of combat situations gives US forces a definite advantage in the PayOp area.

Observation: The availability of the press at division level increases the capability of the division to employ printed PayOps media rapidly. The time from initiation of request for a leaflet has been reduced from 2 or 3 days to generally 12 to 24 hours.

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MEDICAL

Helicopter Evacuation

Item: Army air ambulances equipped with �Forest Penetrators� and �Stokes Litter�.

Discussion: In many instances wounded personnel must be evacuated from landing zones where clearance is less than the minimum required for Army air ambulances. In these instances Air Force helicopters equipped with the �Forest Penetrator� capability have been called.

Observation: Amry air ambulances equipped with the modified �Forest Penetrator� and Stokes Litter� would decrease the time lag that now exists between request for evacuation and determination that Air Force assistance will be required.

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Helicopter Evacuation

Item: Standby �Dust Off� air ambulances.

Discussion: As operations have penetrated deeper into northern provinces, the flying distance from forward areas to medical facilities has increased. This requires more time for �Dust Off � aircraft to make the circuit from their base and back to the medical facility.

Observation: �Dust Off� aircraft have been centrally located in or near the area of operations. This had reduced the distance of the first leg and gets the casualty to the medical facility much sooner.

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Superficial Wounds

Item: Superficial cuts and wounds should be given immediate treatment.

Discussion: Superficial cuts and wounds are being neglected, especially those associated with bamboo. Wounds of this type often lead to boils and skin infections which require treatment with antibiotics.

Observation: Personnel must be made aware of the seriousness involved in neglecting these type wounds and that immediate first aid measures must be taken after personnel receive a cut or wound.

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CHEMICAL

Tunnel Support

Item: Chemical Section Tunnel Team.

Discussion: Numerious spider holes, wells and clay mines are found during division operations and are mistaken for tunnel systems. On several occasions the Chemical Section Tunnel Team was called only to find out that they were not needed.

Observation: There is a requirement to have trained tunnel teams in the infantry battalions able to exploit, deny and/or destroy Viet Cong tunnels. A training program has been set up by the Division Chemical Section to provide these personnel an a training facility is under construction.

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Field Epedient Munitions (CS)

Item: Fifty-five gallon drums of CS-1.

Discussion: Fifty-five gallon drums of CS-1 can be successfully constructed into field expedient munitions and employed against suspected or known enemy targets.

1. The downwind area of effectiveness may be as much as nine kilometers.

2. The application of agent CS should be about thirty drums (2400 lbs) per square kilometer of target area, when area is to be exploited by ground forces, and ninety drums (7200 lbs) for temporary denial.

3. CS strikes should always be followed by air and artillery preparation and then, when possible, exploited by ground forces.

Observation: Massive CS attacks on suspected or known enemy concentrations are feasible and practical.

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Power Driven Decon Apparatus

Item: Power Driven Decon Apparatus, truck mounted 400 gallon, M9.

Discussion: The use of defoliants in the M9 PDDA has caused damage and leaks to the connection and discharge valve after prolonged use.

1. Hose reel group: Deterioration of rubber gasket at hose connection.

2. Gun group: Deterioration of gaskets and packing.

3. Discharge and Pipe systems: Deterioration of joint and Sealants.

4. Drive assembly and clutch: Clutch and drive assembly become coated with defoliant causing friction and deterioration of belts and clutch disc.

Observation: After continuous use of herbicides, orange, purple, and blue, extensive repairs on the above listed items had to be performed. Shortage of spare parts for the PDDA in this command resulted in a high deadline rate of these items.

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40 GPH Insecticide Sprayer

Item: 40 GPH Insecticide Sprayer.

Discussion: The use of �orange� defoliants in the 40GPH Sprayer causes deterioration to the rings and cluttering of the strainer.

1. Deterioration of )-Ring in the flow control gage.

2. Costs and stops flow of liquid through suction strainer line.

3. Coats and blocks flow of agent through line strainers.

Observation: The entire flow system must be flushed immediately after use and all strainers must be removed and cleaned with solvent. Tunnel Destruction

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Item: Acetylene Tunnel Destruction Device.

Discussion: This device has been employed several times around the perimeter of the 1st Infantry Division Base Camp on tunnels that were found in the area. Listed below are the findings of Personnel who have been exploiting tunnels for the Division Chemical Section during the past year.

1. The Acetylene Destruction Device systems demonstrated are extremely bulky when compared to the combination of explosives and CS-1 presently being satisfactorily utilized by the division.

2. The situation for satisfactory use of the device requires a certain size air opening, a certain size tunnel passage and some room compartment in the tunnel. When this device was tested on the tunnels in the division area the tunnels were not collapsed but were just flashed through by the explosion yielding little if any tunnel collapse. These tunnels tested by the division, though typical, were to straight or had openings to wide, or had too much overburden for the device.

3. The item required liquid oxygen to obtain any destruction in the tunnel. The liquid oxygen dispenser provided had to be recharged every forty-eight hours. The only supply of liquid oxygen for this division is at the two main air bases near SAIGON and it is impractical to reach these areas while on combat operations.

4. The concept of not exploring the tunnel before it is blown is impractical. The tunnel direction must be known for safety of personnel above ground when the device is exploded. These tunnels run in zig-zag patterns and, therefore making exploration a mandatory precaution.

Observation: The acetylene Destruction Device has very limited application in this area of Vietnam and because of its limited application it should be stocked in limited quantities at division level.

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2. Recommendations:

a. Organization:

(1) Recommend approval of the 1st Infantry Division Modification tables of Organization at the earliest practicable date in order that the changes can be implemented in the near future.

(2) Recommend an increase in the support capability of Air Traffic Control Teams. A major problem in Air safety exists during operations due to the lack of control teams and facilities available for control of the very large number of fixed and rotary wing aircraft involved in logistical and administrative flights and assault helicopters operating out of the same airfield. Provisional control teams, primarily staffed with pathfinder personnel are being utilized by the division, but do not have the capability nor the equipment to cope with the situation. It is further recommended that the control teams be provided with the following items:

(a) A reliable navigation beacon to aid C-130 aircraft in locating forward airfields.

(b) A lightweight GCA radar for use during periods of marginal weather.

(c) Sufficient runway lights for lighting a minimum of 3000 feet to facilitate the landing of USAF aircraft.

b. Equipment:

(1) Recommend a suitable camera with water proof casing be procured. The camera currently issued for combat photography is not water proof and as a result requires constant repair. Request have been submitted for the purchase of an interim camera, however, the need exists for the development of a water proof camera for combat photograph.

(2) Recommend a new type of ration using other than tin cans be developed to replace the present �C� Rations. �C� Rations are to bulky and heavy and create a disposal problem in the field.

(3) Recommend a lightweight poncho be developed, designed both for an individual outer raincoat and shelter.

(4) Recommend that a sufficient amount of the canister round for the .79 Grenade Launcher be issued for training of all personnel. Initial tests conducted with the rounds indicated different sighting characteristics from those of the standard round.

(5) Recommend a standard fuzing system be developed for dissemination of CS-1 by aerial delivery. The expedient methods currently being used create a wide variance in height of burst. A device is needed to obtain a height of burst from 25-50 feet to reduce downwind loss of agent from the target area.

(6) Recommend additional tests be conducted in-country with experimental fuze XM595 (jungle penetration fuze). The previous tests were inconclusive because the canopy was not greater than 20 meters.

c. Personnel:

(1) Recommend that enlisted personnel records be screened more closely to insure replacements with Class 3 profiles affecting duties in a combat MOS are not assigned to fill these allocations. This problem is being coordinated with US Army Vietnam, but arises with the individual at the time he receives overseas orders.

FOR THE COMMANDER:

Official: W. H. GLASGOW JR Colonel, GS Chief of Staff Signed by///// R. G. Rettle LTC, AGC Adjutant General DISTRIBUTION: 3 � ACSFORDA 1 � CINCUSARPAC 3 - CG USARV 1 � CG IIFFV 1 � G-3 (All Pages Declassified: Auth: NND-927622, Date: 3/5)


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