Operation FRANCIS MARION Combat AAR 11 Oct 1967

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UNCLASSIFIED AD NUMBER AD387627 CLASSIFICATION CHANGES TO: unclassified FROM: confidential LIMITATION CHANGES TO: Approved for public release, unlimited distribution FROM: Distribution authorized to U.S. Gov't. agencies and their contractors; Administrative/Operational use; 25 Nov 1967. Other requests shall be referred to Assistant Chief of Staff for Force Development [Army], Washington DC 20310-0000. AUTHORITY 25 Nov 1979, DoDD 5200.10, 26 July 1962.; PER OAG D/A ltr 29 Apr 1980. THIS PA
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  UNCLASSIFIED AD NUMBER AD387627 CLASSIFICATION CHANGES TO: unclassified FROM: confidential LIMITATIONCHANGES TO: Approved for public release, distribution unlimited FROM: Distribution authorized to U.S. Gov't. agencies and their contractors; Administrative/Operational use; 25 Nov 1967. Other requests shall be referred to Assistant Chief of Staff for Force Development [Army], Washington DC 20310-0000. AUTHORITY 25 Nov 1979, DoDD 5200.10, 26 July 1962.; PER OAG D/A ltr 29 Apr 1980. THIS PAGE IS UNCLASSIFIED  COO 10ENTIAL .... ýoeratio ~~~arion Reproduced From Best Available Copy th infantry t dnsisni on.~ C~ bQUPs l.&! AT: 3 ,EA !w- ?A794 linte I~ 4. t 6~/4 Q~C NFIOENTIAL  __-=TM-Mff9R DIVISION ________ k=77D .. DEWTNT.' OF T.7,, TO: :.>. SEFDISTRAIBUTION.I MAR-ION i, The attached Combat' Operations After Action Report - -FFM MARION is submitted for the information ãof all concerned. .2. a. I.The t and;.2d..Brigades intiated Operation FRANCIS MARION on6 April by redeploying from the area west of New PLEI DJERhNG; the ist Brigade establishing their OP. nrftheast of DUC '00 at LE TI',NH (Jackson Hole); the 2d Brigade. at THANH.AR1'(the.Odsis..): . This. repositioning put the division in a post.ure to screen: the NVA's.-traditional infiltration routes -- just north.... of DUC C.,0' along Route-194 and. through the IA.DRANG Valley -- and to operateagainst,.increased small unit NVA/VC activity in areasadjacent to PLEIKU City,.. b. The initial: contacts:-came in-the latter part of April when the 1st Battalion, 8th Infahtry; had 10 da'ys of-brief contact:with.small NVA reconnaissance groups close to the border between the GHUw PONG massif and DUC CO,. During the same period the.2d Battalion, 8th Infantry, had a series of contacts that. eventually led to an engagement with an NVA battalioni on 30 April - 1 May in a large, .well-fortified',.base area between the Oasis and PLEI HE,* The NVA battalion had infiltrated .before the-division's redeployment and was.preparing for offensive operations.in this area north of the IA' MUMER.River. Following an intensivearti.1le- and aii-'preparation, a mechanized infantry company led -by a: section of tanks. from the Ist. Squadron, 10th Cavalry movedinto the enemy complex on the second day..., The tanks used cannister, machineguns, and the crushing weight of thevehiclesto beat down the jungle, reduce the bunkers and routethe enemy.The two day action accounted for 133 NVA ki-lled at the cost of .. hree US lives. o. In.MAy, the battalions of theã1st Brigade were positioned in the rugged CHU GOTJINGOT - CHU YIA Mountains tothe. west of Route 14B between DUG CO and PLEI DJERENG.,On. 18 May Company B, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry made contact., with a large NVA force -northwest o f DUG CO,, This began. nine days of vicious contact during the period 18-26 May, n which the' lsã Brigade t s three battalions - lst Battalion,. 8th Infantry, 3d Battdlion, 12th Infantry and 3d Battalion;--8th Infantry.- hadalmost continuous contact with' never less than a battalion of the two,:well-armed and well-trained NVA. Regiments contacted. During this' period, 31,304 :rounds of artillery'and. 219 sorties .of TAG air were placed into the-area of' contac.t.. As May ended, .the enemy had been, driven' out of this.area,; leaving 367 ,bodies they weretnot able to carry _away, ' Again, n July, after -refitting and' replacing their losses,-, hese sate IL LA ,, Regraded Uncle.sifibd When 1 )l T Z ,N-, V X.- .. Separated from Clds.ified Inciosures ,,.:3..-., .9:2.:., ,  AVDDH-GCC ',' /7ã, 25 November ,1967 SUBJECT: Combat Operations After Action Report (RCS: IMACV J3-32) NVA units attempted to recross the westernborder of South VIETNAM. This time the area was the rolling, rock-covered hills south of DUC CO...On 12 July, two companies of the 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry, had a violent', head-on meeting with two NVA battalions 'just five kilometers from the border, killing 142 NVA. Again, on 23 July, t*wo rifle companies of the 3d Battalion, 8th Infantry vwere. engaged just south of DUC CO. A good defensive perimeter, the immediate reinforcement by the second rifle company, the massive artillery fires of 42 tubes from eight batteries firing 6,600 rounds during the oantact and the following night, and12 TAC air strikes devastatednot only the attacking forces, but also a reserve battalion, 1000 meterssouth of the areaofcontact.In the end, 189 NVA bodies littered the ground, large numbers of weapons of all types and 10 captives resulted from this action. All the enemy's attempts at a monsoon offensive had been repulsed soon after his incursion of the South VIETNAIãE Border and before hq was able to reach his objectives, which apparently were either the DUC CO Special Forces Camp, the lst Brigade command .post at. Jackson Hole, or the Government of VIKTNAMã's resettlement areof EDAP EWiNG. d. Having failed to'force their way into the Central Highlands, the NVA began to break down intoshall groups, avoiding all:.contact with our forces by circumventing the division area of operations. To counter this apparent new tactic, the missionof pr,,idin& surveillance and conducting screening operations along the border was tasked t6the 1st Brigade, allowing the 2d Brigade to conduct operations against the NVA/VC infiltrated areas northwest,_ northeast and. east of PLEIKU. A 122m rocket attack on Jackson Hole, 'which was the first use of these weapons inPLEIKU'prcovince, proved to be the most significant enemy effor, during the latter months of theoperations. In the closing weeks of FRANCIS 9AãRION,'the 2d Brigade Qonditcted an extensivesearch and destroy operation in the DAK PAYAU Valley east of PLEIKU in an attempt to discover and destroy an enemy unit that had infiltrated into the area. On 1 October, a Headhunter aircraft spotted a large group of NVA to thenortheast of PHU NHON. Six air strikes were placed on thearea of the enemy sighting, follcwed up byr helicopter gunships working over the area anda combat' assault by CompanVy B, 1st Battalion, 12thInfantiry into a hot LZ. Cbntact' was broken shortJy after the LZ was secured and sweeps of the: battle area' produced 49 NVA.bodiep. killed as a result of airstrikes and mall Arms.' A POW from this acth related that this was a replace- ment'group infiltrating to jo'in an NVA battalion operating east of PLEIKU. e. IAs FRANCIS MaRION terminated, the lst. Brigade continued to screen ', the border area between PLF1 DJE1240 and the CHU PONG Mountains and the 2d . Brigade was moved to an area of operations in southern P4U BON Province to begin search and destroy operations. f. The overall 'success of Opexation FRANOIS XIRION wad the result of. a maximum ef-fort by all ten of 'the division .and its 'supporting uats. The operation, was conducted durintg the' highland,'s southwest monsoon season which ,, while making ]iving conditions in the field moo-redifficult, also compounded, the task of keeping thesupplies moving forwýrd in the needed quantities. It 'ias -. during this period that the 4th Engineer BAttalion -Axd units -of. the 937th . Engineer Group, principally the 20th Engineer Battalion,'. kep the MSR's opeãnt.- the convoys despite some periodsof tremeidtuslyh'avy r;rinfalls .witfi the ri.sult- ing run-off on'the unpavedroadways, vhiob reiui ed long and. ard. ours-o of , frustrating effortjust, to keep the roadbbds fro'pi failingto bear the heavy *-
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