COMBAT OPERATIONS REPORT
Courtesy of Arthur B Cook Jr.
1ST BATTALION (MECH) 5TH INFANTRY
APO San Francisco 96225
SUBJECT: Report of Combat Action
1 September 1968
25th Infantry Division
APO San Francisco 96225
1. Submitted herewith is the report of the combat
action involving the
1st bn (Mech), 5th Infantry on 21 August 1968 in the Ben Cui Rubber
plantation near Dau Tieng, RVN
2. This report was compiled from eyewitness reports taken from
leaders and men of Company C, the Scout Platoon and the Battalion
Headquarters of the 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Infantry, the members of
Brigade CRIP and the gun crew of the 40mm self propelled weapon
to the scout platoon. In Addition, the area of contact has
on three occasions in order to confirm the detailed locations of
and friendly positions.
3. In compiling this report, every effort has been made to
and to obtain as accurate and clear a report as possible.
FOR THE COMMANDER:
Arthur B. Cook Jr.
COMBAT OPERATIONS REPORT
1. At 210640 August 1968 company C 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Infantry
Dau Tieng base camp with the mission of sweeping from Dau Tieng
XT 420445, staying approximately 1000 meters to the south of route
The scout platoon, with the 3rd brigade CRIP and one twin 40mm self
propelled weapon attached departed Dau Tieng at 210658 August 1968
sweep and outpost the MSR from Dau Tieng to XT 371424. The two units
were to move abreast on parallel routes in order to provide additional
security for the units.
2. At 0813 hours the scout platoon was located at XT 463468.
had moved to the south and at XT 473456. Both units reported no
contact. Company C was moving with two rifle teams abreast.
1st platoon on the right was led by SSG Lang, while the 3rd platoon
the left was led by 1LT Cook. Each platoon's personnel carriers
followed the dismounted elements of the platoon. The Company
1LT Snodgrass, moved on foot, and alternated his position between
lead platoons. Inclosure 2 shows the
detailed formation of the unit.
3. At 0831 hours the scout dog with the point element of the
alerted. The handler stated that he thought that there might
be a large
number of personel to the southwest. The battalion S-3 in
helicopter made a low VR of the area concerned but could locate
unusual. It was concluded that the dao had probably alerted
presence of civilians in the village at XT 464448. The Company
commander then adjustd 81mm mortar fire into the rubber plantation
his front, with negative results.
4. Two enemy soldiers were engaged by the security elements
C at 0906 hours. The enemy soldiers were at a range of 200
withdrew to the south without returning fire.
5. At 0913 hours the scout platoon was located at checkpoint
was conducting a search of the village at XT 464448. This
nothing except for the information that three buildings in the southern
edge of the village had been used by the enemy for billets and classrooms.
6. Company C located and destroyed a mine at XT 476454 at 0914
The company then shifted to the westto move out of the open area
the rubber. The company continued moving south Until it made
a turn to
to the west astride the trail leading fron XT 470444 to 463444.
company moved to the west with one lead platoon on each side of
The scout dog with it's security element was moving ahead of the
security by approximatelt 30 meters. The weapons platoon and
the 2nd platoon shifted to the left as shown on Inclosure
7. At 1012 hours, the scout platoon observed a red star
cluster in the
vincinity of the village at XT 463448. The Scout platoon continued
searching the village at XT 463448. At 1035 hours company
C called in
a negative situation report and gave XT 462440 as the current location
of the unit.
8. At 1110 hours, company C reported receiving sniper fire
at XT 462444,
and reported 1 US KIA and 1 US WIA. The report stated that
was coming from the west and southwest. The unit requested
support. At this time the point and security elements were
40 meters west of the road that extends south from route 239 to
At this point, the lead platoons were crossing the road. The
platoon and the mortar platoon were following the 3rd platoon, south
9. As the enemy increased their volume of fire, the lead elements
the fire, and remained west of the north-south road for approximately
minutes. The enemy continued to advance, with the elements
attempting to move
along the south flank of company C. The enemy advanced from
the west on
the dismounted elements of company C. Most of the enemy soldiers
wearing green and camouflaged uniforms, and were moving from tree
in short rushes, and advancing rapidly toward the north-south road,
some of the enemy were occupying camouflaged positions. the volume
fire initially was low, but soon reach an extremely high rate.
this period SSG Lang, the 1st platoon leader was killed.
10. The company commander, realizing he could not effectively
cal. 50 machine guns over his own troops, withdrew his troops to
of personnel carriers, now dispersed along the east side of the
road. Further, since enemy soldiers had been observed while
envelop his right flank, the company commander ordered his reserve,
2nd platoon to displace to the right rear of his 1st platoon. He
displaced his mortars to the rear to obtain overhead clearance in
that they could be employed. During this period the unit employed
available weapons, to include M-72 laws to break up the enemy attack.
11. At 1135 hours the battalion S-3 urgently requested the
which had ben previously requested but had not arrived. The
FO on the ground was attempting to get clearances to employ
artillery. At this time company C marked the unit position
smoke, and a few minutes later with yellow smoke. The unit
at this time
was still defending along the road with the troops deployed with
troops personnel carriers. The company continued to fire in
for approximately 30 minutes.
12. During this 30 minute period the scout platoon
route 239 with the lead element at XT 461448. The scout platoon
observed enemy troops moving to the southeast in the vicinity of
XT 458446, and took these units under fire with cal. 50 machineguns
and small arms. Shortly he moved a twin-40mm weapon into a
position and this weapon fired in excess of 300 rounds. The
platoon was soon engaged in small arms and RPG fire. At 1149
platoon leader observed and reported at least an enemy company moving
southeast of the village at XT 450450.
13. Company C continued to remain in position along the north-south
road until approximately 1150 hours, at which time 3 personnel carriers,
on the left sid of the company position, were hit with RPG weapons.
These weapons were apparently fired from extremely short range.
company commander then decided to withdraw approximately 150 meters
to organize another defensive position. The unit withdrew,
it the wounded personnel and the body of SSG Lang. During
five more men were killed.
14. Upon order the 1st and the 3rd platoon withdrew.
This movement disposed the company with three platoons abreast, since the
2nd platoon held in place. At this time eight personnel carriers
were on line, and all cal.
50 machineguns were operating. In addition, the dismounted
firing individual weapons and m-72 laws. At this time 81mm
were firing with their rounds impacting near the second platoon.
artillery forward observer, LT Ranney, was adjusting the artillery
was impacting 200 meters west of the friendly elements. At this
three of the remaining personnel carriers sustained RPG hits.
hits killed the 4.2 mortar forward observer and one of the company
operators and wounded the company commander, the artillery forward
observer and the remaining company radio operator. the last
LT Ranney, the artillery forward observer, made was to the effect
the last artillery rounds had landed 200 meters east of his position.
Since the artillery fire direction center knew that if the rounds
landing 200 meters east of LT Ranney, the were landing on the troops
of company C, thus the FDC check fired the artillery. Several
passed prior to the resuming fire.
15. At 1154 hours the forward air controller reported an estimated
of arrival of 20 to 25 minutes for the first airstrike, and the
Brigade announced an ETA of 15 minutes for alight fire team, this
fire team arrived at 1201 hours and was immediately employed along
southern flank of the unit.
16. Now Commanded by 1lt Cook, company C reported at 1200 hours
situation was extremely critical and that he planned to withdraw.
wounded were loaded onto personnel carriers and the unit withdrew
same route taken on the advance. The last element to withdraw
was the 2nd platoon. The company movd and secured a landing zone
at XT 473455.
17. 1200 hours the scout platoon was heavily engaged
from the south,
and observed an estimated eneemy platoon maneuvering to block route
to the north of the scout platoon. At this time the
scout platoon was
ordered to move east through the village at XT 463448 and to link
with company C at the landing zone. This movement resulted
short anvance by the enemy, followed by a halt of his advance.
th Medical evacuation of casualties, all unit were ordered by the
commanding officer to return to Dau Tieng to regroup and
to prepare to return to the Ben Cui plantation to continue the contact.
Th scout platoon was subsequently oreder to return to the eastern
edge of th rubber. At 1600 hours all elements were ordered
to Dau Tieng.
Map of area of contact, showing
routes of company C and the scout platoon
Formation of C Co while moving
Formation of Co C while moving
Initial contact and immediate
2nd defensive formation
3rd defensive formation
Routes of withdrawl
Plot of area of engagement
Locations of US KIA
Estimated enemy casualties
Photos of company C personnel taken
by PIO on 21 Aug 68