SUBJECT:  Combat Action Report (RCS AVDF-GC1) Norfolk Victory

4 May 1968



Commanding Officer

11th Light Infantry Brigade


APO San Francisco 96217



1.      Type of Operation: Combat Assault and Offensive Sweep.


2.      Dates of Operation: 08 April – 19 April 1968.


3.      Location: CP Nghia Hanh (BS 616638)


4.      a. Command Headquarters: 11th Light Infantry Brigade.


b. Control Headquarters: 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry.


5.   Reporting Officers:


a.       Col Oran K. Henderson, CO, 11th Light Infantry Brigade.


b.      LTC Edwin D. Beers, CO 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry.


6.      Task Organization:

A-1-20 Inf, B-1-20 Inf, C-1-20 Inf,*C-4-3 Inf, Bn Cntl 

D-1-20Inf, ***Trp E,1st Cav, D20-3-1 Inf, Hv Mtr Plat, Recon Plat

*Released from TF Barker to 1-20 Inf effective 8 April 1968.              
**Released to 4-3 Inf effective 11 April 1968

***OPCON 1-20 Inf effective 11 April 1968

7.      Supporting Forces:


  1. The battalion Heavy Mortar Platoon was located at LZ Black (BS568605) to give additional illumination and fire support to units operating
    at the maximum artillery range.


  1. B-6-11 Arty (DS): Co-located with the 1-20 Inf headquarters at Nghia Hanh (BS616638) and gave continuous support for the operation.


  1. B-3-16 Arty (155): Provided on call fires throughout the operation Green and Black preparation were diverted to a ground contact mission.


  1. The 7th USAF provided LZ preparations for LZ’s Blue and Red. LZ’s Green and Black preparations were diverted to a ground contact mission.


  1. Armed helicopters and an aerial scout platoon from the 123rd Aviation Battalion was used throughout the operations.


8.      Intelligence:


Initial intelligence information for this operation was limited, However liaison with the local RF/PF forces and their advisors was quickly established.


Due to the small number of heavy contacts, no determination of the enemy’s actual strength or morale could be made.


Company D-1-20 at BS523663, which indicated a fairly large force was in the area, found numerous weapons and radios.  These weapons were
not hidden but were hastily placed behind rocks and bushes in a deep, well-camouflaged ravine indicating hasty evacuation of the area.
(See par 12, Results).


Company C-1-20 found a hospital with 30 houses and numerous medical supplies at BS525654. The unit interpreter indicated that this was a
possible training site for a unit with code H-10. This information was obtained from documents found in the area.


9.      Mission:


1-20 Infantry conducts combat assaults into LZ Blue (BS504643), Red (BS42676), Black (BS568605), and Green (BS576677) with four rifle
companies commencing 080800 April 1968; secures LZ’s; move to and secures Objectives 4,5,6,7,8,and 9 on order.
(Enclosure 1 Operations Overlay)


10.  Concept of the Operation:


  1. Maneuver:  1-20 Inf minus Company C conducted a combat assault from LZ Dragon (BS732562) into the area of operation commencing
    080800 Apr 68 with Company D-1-20 LZ Blue. Company B-1-20 into LZ Red, Company A-1-20 into LZ Green. Company C-4-3 Inf
    conducted a combat assault from vic BS788888 into and area north of LZ Black vic BS570615. Company C-1-20 conducted a combat
    assault from vic BS636859 into LZ Black. After insertion the units moved to OBJECTIVES 1,2 and 3 to secure 4,5,6,7,8 and 9 on order.


  1. Fire Support: B Battery, 3-16 Arty (155 How) supports from vicinity BS603719; B Battery, 6-11 Arty (105 How) supports from vicinity
    BS616638; Heavy Mortar Platoon, 1-20 Infantry supports from LZ Black. Tactical Air Strikes were placed on LZ’s Blue and Red. Two
    pre-planned strikes for LZ’s Green and Black were diverted plus and immediate strike called in for a contact mission to support B Company.


11.  Execution:


The operation order was issued to the company commanders at 071750 Apr 68, at LZ Dragon (BS732562). The combat assaults of four
rifle companies began at 080800 Apr 68 with the fifth rifle company being added later the same day. Simultaneous with the company CA’s the
Battalion headquarters and B Battery, 6-11 Arty were lifted in by CH-47’s to Nghia Hanh (BS616638). The following day the 4.2-inch Mortar
Platoon was lifted into LZ Black.


The majority of the enemy contact during the operation took place on 8 April 1968. An OH-23 Warlord gunship was shot down at coordinates BS567646. Helicopter inserting Bravo Company received AW fire from HV MG while leaving the LZ from vicinity of BS561635. The air strike
 for LZ Green was diverted to that area. Result: one secondary explosion. An immediate second strike diverted from LZ Black and was placed in
 the area where the AW Fire downed the OH-23. B Company moved south down the valley searching as the moved. C-4-3 Inf was diverted from
vicinity LZ Black to secure downed aircraft and block the bottom of the valley that B Company was searching. C Company 1-20 was inserted into
LZ Black.


On 9 April 1968 D-1-20 found large building 10 feet by 15 feet with 5,700 pounds of rice, chickens, 50 VC ponchos, rolls of material to
make ponchos, and fish oil, at coordinates BS524623. A short distance away, they found 6 more newly constructed houses with rice, enough
new eating utensils and pots and pans for 100 men, and numerous documents. C-4-3 found a ton of rice, which had two weapons concealed
inside. B-1-20 found six houses, which looked, likes classrooms and some documents and clothing. B-1-20 also found 30 rounds 60mm Mortar
ammunition and 7 rounds 57mm Recoilless Rifle ammunition. B-1-20 received a mortar attack and had five men wounded.


On 10 April 1968 D-1-20(-) conducted a combat assault to coordinates BS500653 vicinity LZ Blue. D20-1-20 conducted a combat assault
to coordinates BS523698 and became OPCON to B-1-20. While moving south, D20 Made contact with 6 VC, killing 3 and capturing three
weapons. C20-4-3 conducted a Combat assault to join D-4-3 at Coordinates vicinity BS521720. A-1-20 received six hand grenades inside
RON position and had eight personnel WHA.


On 11 April 1968 D-1-20 found six more houses at coordinates BS515664, which had been used recently. The roadrunner element
(Trp E, 1stCav) was placed OPCON to the 1-20 Inf, effective 110800 Apr 68. C-4-3 (1) was extracted and placed in D-4-3 area of operation
vicinity coordinates BS562985. Gunslinger D10-3-1 was lifted to LZ Dragon. D-1-20 found 25 houses at coordinates BS517666, which had
been recently lived in and at BS518664, found 40 more houses and military equipment.


D-1-20 on 12 Apr 68 had a squad ambushed with three men wounded, the aerial scout platoon was placed in a blocking position at
coordinates BS525664. D-1-20 found another base camp with medical supplies at coordinates BS525672 and nearby found 57 weapons.
A-1-20 found a base camp at coordinates BS585592 with hot food and fresh camouflage. The aerial scout platoon was extracted at 1600 hours.


In the early morning hours of 13 April 1968, a-1-20 received 11 explosive rounds on their night position. D-1-20 found 58 more weapons
 and one 82mm Mortar complete. D-1-20 continuing to move west up hill 922 on a narrow ridgeline received several bursts of sniper fire.
A-1-20 found one ton of rice at coordinates BS593600. C-1-20 maneuvered up from the south toward D-1-20 position. A-1-20 received
4 rounds of mortar fire wounding 3 men in the night lager position.


On 14 April 1968 D-1-20 began moving to the top of mountain without any resistance. A roadrunner track hit a mine and 4 Wounded and
1 KHA at coordinates BS618567. DUSTOFF received some sniper fire. The track was destroyed in place, as the mine had blown it upside
down. C-1-20 made contact with 20 VC dug in with poncho shelters overhead. B-1-20 conducted combat assault into vicinity BS525623.
C-1-20 found a base camp large enough for 2 companies with picnic tables and fresh cooked rice on the tables at coordinates BS524654.
D-1-20 found 27 fresh graves. All bodies had been hit with small arms and fragments recently. A-1-20 maneuver to occupy LZ Black


On 15 April 1968 D-1-20 found 14 PRC 10 radios, one weapon, and 1000 pounds of rice.


A-1-20 on 16 April 1968 located and destroyed two 250 pound bombs. The 4.2 inch mortar platoon moved to battalion CP area.


On 17 April all units were alerted for possible move north to LZ Ross, to participate in Operation Wheeler-Wallowa.


On 18 April 1968 made plans to conduct a combat assault to vicinity LZ Blue, with A and B Companies 1-20 Inf on 19 April 1968,
however they were cancelled because of the move LZ Ross.


On 19 April 1968 the battalion moved to LZ Ross.


Check Transcript on March 13, 2006 by Charles S. Seketa



12.  Results:


a.  Personnel                       KIA     WIA    MIA     VCS


     Friendly                         5          30        -           -


     Enemy                           43                                13


     b.   Equipment Losses:


Friendly                        Quantity                       Type

1                                                                    M-113 APC

1                                                                    OH*23 A/C


Enemy                          16,900 Rds                  Mixed ammunition

16                                                                Radios PRC-10 HT-1


    c. Weapons Losses:              Quantity                       Type


            Friendly                        -                                   -


            Enemy                          110                              Rifles, AR’s SMG

2                                                                    Pistols, .45 Cal

9                                                                    LMG’s Chicom

2                                                                    LMG’s .30 Cal

3                                                                    Mortars, (82 & 60)

3                                                                    M-79

1                                                                    57mm RR


    d. Other Losses                    Quantity                       Type


            Friendly                        -                                   -


            Enemy                          17,000#                       Rice


13.  Administrative Matters:


  1. Supply: Bulk loads of C Rations and ammunition were lifted to battalion CP and broken down for shipment to units


b.   Medical Evaluation: The medical coverage was excellent. Minor injuries were treated at battalion CP and others were evacuated to
other locations. Dustoff medical evacuations were very prompt.


14.  Special Equipment and Techniques:


The 90mm Recoilless Rifle was lifted in to D-1-20 with canister rounds to be used on the narrow ridges covered with thick foliage to
prevent their advance from being halted by one or two snipers. It was effective in this situation.


15.  Commander’s Analysis:


The success of this operation is attributed to the immediate response by TAC Air, Artillery, and Army Aviation and the diligent detailed
search by subordinate elements of this command.


16.  Recommendations:


  1. Unit commanders must be fully aware of the various alternatives, and corresponding consequences, for deciding whether their units will
    establish a night defensive position or a clandestine night lager. When pursuit has been hot and continued night movement passes the
    acceptable risk level, and when terrain permits, it may be appropriate for the unit to establish a night lager. Such a maneuver must be
    done with the utmost care to assure that stealth, dense vegetation and complete silence are used to shroud the bedding down activity.
    Shelters cannot be constructed and digging cannot be allowed, as the noise would give away the units location. Without protective positions,
    the poorly executed night lager exposes the unit to the possibility of a disastrous mortar or hand grenade attack.  To establish the night defensive
    position entails stopping movement earlier to permit individual positions to be dug using available light.  The sounds of digging and cutting will
    normally alert the enemy to the unit position thus inviting a night attack or allowing the enemy to establish an ambush to hit the unit when it
    continues its movement early the next day. In either case, the unit commander must never lose his security-consciousness when stopping for
    the night.


  1. Make maximum use all available intelligence sources. Although there are certain dangers in establishing liaison with local forces too far in
    advance of an operation, it is essential that this liaison be immediately established once the operation does begin.  A unit cannot overlook
    the valuable intelligence resources available from all allied forces in the area of operation.


  1. In mountainous areas, whenever possible, insert maneuver forces on the high ground to sweep downhill into blocking forces positioned in
    the low-ground.  Consider using an assault team to repel into an area to improve it as a LZ, or when available use troop ladders for the
    same purpose.







Charles S. Seketa transcript January 15, 2004

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