1ST BATTALION (MECH) 5TH INFANTRY
APO San Francisco 96225
AVTLSBA-C 12 JUNE 1966
SUBJECT: Combat Operations After-Action Report (RCS: MACV
TO: Commanding Officer
2d Brigade, 25th Infantry Division
APO U. S. Forces 96225
1. Operation MAKIKI, search and destroy.
2. Dates of Operation: 3-8 June 1966.
3. Location: Xom Mia (XT 4416), Xom Bao Trau (XT 4711), Tan My (XT 5110),
Duc Lap (XT 5560), Bao Tri subsector, Duc Hoa sector, Hau Nghia Province,
4. Control and Command Headquarters: 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Infantry.
5. Reporting Officer: Lt. Col T. U. Greer.
6. Task Organization:
1st Bn (Mech) 5th Inf: Lt Col T. U. Greer, commanding.
Co A: Capt J. A. Renner, commanding.
Recon Platoon: Lt J. McQuinn.
Co B: Capt E. B. Vickery, commanding.
Co C: Capt W. A. Blair, commanding.
Hvy Mort Plat: Lt. L. W. Phillips, Jr.
7. Supporting Forces: One direct support Arty Bn supported the four
battalion brigade. This proved to be adequate since none of the battalions
were engaged at the same time. Tactical air support was available on request.
Armed helicopters were also available on request. The artillery was planned
to be used to seal off the escape routes until the units could physically
occupy their blocking positions. During the first day's initial contact
the artillery fired within 150-200 meters of one advancing unit, trapping
a group of VC between its fire and the advancing Recon Platoon. The artillery
fire was fast and accurate.
a. Intelligence prior to Operation. Prior to Operation MAKIKI
it was known that the C120 Local Force Company was operating in the general
area and that the 267th Bn of the Dong Thap II Regiment had been reported
at XT 4215 (26 May 1966). The 269th Bn of that same regiment was reported
to be in a position giving it the capability of reinforcing VC units
in the AO. The outpost at Duc Hue (XT 4307) had been hit by a reported
reinforced VC Bn on 27 May 1966, resulting in the loss of weapons and ammunition
to include 60mm and 81mm mortars and ammunition. The 1st Bn (Mech), 5th
Inf had some prior knowledge of the area as a result of Operation HONOLULU
conducted in the same vicinity during the period 14-19 March 1966. It was
estimated that all Main Force units would have exfiltrated the AO and that
all critical supplies would have been evacuated; enemy contact would be
on the first and perhaps the fourth and fifth days; Caches would consist
of rice, cloth, and possibly some medical supplies; the area would be heavily
mined and boobytrapped.
b. Enemy Situation During the Operation. Enemy contact was made as soon
as the Bn entered the AO when the Recon Platoon observed several people
running into the high grass near position #9. As they entered the area
several persons tried to run away. The platoon killed two VC as they ran
across the wet paddy and ran over two more. A detailed search of the area
revealed many VC hiding underwater of whom 12 were killed (BC) and 19 captured.
There are five significant points to this action:
(1) The APC's were able to move through paddies covered by more than
one foot of water without bogging down.
(2) The rapid movement into the AO prevented the VC remaining
force from escaping to the north.
(3) A thorough and detailed search was required to dislodge the VC
from their hiding places underwater.
(4) M26 fragmentation grenades had no significant effect on the VC
underwater. Concussion grenades, if available, would probably prove more
useful in that endeavor.
(5) The VC, when found, had no hesitation in pointing out the locations
of other VC hiding in the same vicinity. Other enemy contact in the Bn
sector brought the VC count for the first day of the operation to 13 KIA
(BC); 1 KIA (est); 22VCC; 3 VCS. When compared to the cumulative count
on the final day of the operation (18 VC KIA (BC); 4 KIA (est); 27 VCC;
11 VCS), these figures confirm the fact that in search and destroy operations
the majority of enemy casualties occur the first day. Enemy contact throughout
the remainder of the operation was light, resulting in an additional
five VC KIA (BC) and 5 VCC, mostly due to night ambush action. On 5 June
1966 a VCC who had been captured on 3 June was returned to the Bn to act
as a guide to two VC meeting houses, a VC education center and trench complex.
The VC meeting houses were located, but one was unoccupied and its use
could not be confirmed. The other, in the village of Loc Thanh (XT 438168),
was occupied by a woman, her daughter and a grandson. The woman admitted
under interrogation that the house had been used as a meeting place by
the VC from time to time. The VC also led the patrol to a trench complex
(XT 446166), including one bunker and an AA/AW position which was
subsequently destroyed. These VC fortifications conformed to typical construction
patterns as seen in most VC fortifications. The above, while not particularly
significant discoveries, did serve to confirm the source's reliability.
On 6 June the 2d Bde S2 sent a civilian to the Bn. He was to show the location
of a rice cache. The cache was found, leading to the evacuation of 3400
lbs of rice. Also, on 6 June a friendly civilian in the area, upon questioning,
provided information which eventually led the Bn to an area in which two
VC stay-behind observers were known to operate. A patrol sent into the
area arrived near EENT and the two VC escaped into the brush; however,
interrogation of civilians in the area indicated that these were the two
stay-behind observers in question. This source's reliability is also confirmed.
On 7 June, Co C while conducting search operations in their sector, discovered
a weapons and ammunition cache at coordinates XT 518109. The cache was
on a lean-to stand positioned above the water, yet nestled in the canal
saw grass. There was a six foot deep pool of water in front of the lean-to
into which some items had apparently slipped accidentally. It was impossible
to accurately determine how long the supplies had been in the cache. However,
it is notable that the size of the lean-to support for the cache was of
adequate size to contain twice as much material as was found. There were
various markings such as twisted grass and sticks placed in the water but
no pattern or relationship to the cache was discernable other than that
the cache was surrounded by bits of grass twisted and tied to bushes, probably
indicating no more than the general location of the cache. There are a
few notable observations concerning the cache other than its significance
in terms of critical material captured. The actual area of the cache and
the approaches to it were not mined or boobytrapped. This is contrary to
normal patterns. Most large caches found by the Bobcats have been well
boobytraped. The cache was not defended. There was one "guard" who fled
at our approach and did not appear to have had a weapon. This also is contrary
to established patterns and to published intelligence estimates of probable
enemy courses of action. Usually there is at least light enemy contact
in the vicinity of the cache. There was no serious attempt at harassment
in the bivouac area which was within 200 meters of the cache. Harassment
consisted of one sniper who fired about five rounds from two different
positions during the night. There was little harassment and no mining of
the routes out of the area as the Bn moved away the next afternoon.
(a) There was no enemy activity in the vicinity of the cache site.
(b) The cache site was capable of sustaining a cache at least twice
the size of the one found.
(c) The cache site is near a reported VC supply route.
(d) The cache site is in an area the nature of which supports land
or sampan transportation of supplies.
(a) That the VC did not lightly regard the importance of arms and ammunition,
especially "Sudayev" SMG's, of which only a few have been captured in III
(b) The VC would not prepare a position designed for concealing supplies
and make it any larger than absolutely necessary, since to do so would
increase chances of detection.
(c) That supplies would be stored or transferred on or near a supply
route to provide for minimum transloading and transportation.
(3) Possible Explanations in Order of Probability:
(a) The cache was actually a transfer point on a VC supply route. The
Bn moved into the area between transfers and the VC were unable to evacuate
the supplies and unable to mine or adequately defend the cache.
(b) The cache was initially much larger than when found. The VC, presented
with the U.S. Task Force operating in the area, attempted to extract as
much of this critical material as possible, deciding to use all available
resources in the extraction effort to the neglect of any defensive or harassment
effort. They were simply not able to extract all the material by the time
Co C arrived in the area. (NOTE: 2d Bde S2 reported four SLAR contacts
along the general supply route on the night of 5 June 1966.)
c. Terrain and Weather.
(1) Climatic and Weather Conditions. The June Climatic summary
was not borne out by the weather conditions encountered during the operation.
Heavy rains lasting about 45 minutes were expected each day during the
late afternoon. There was, however, only one instance in which the weather
bore out the estimate, and that rain lasted only 20 minutes. Rather than
the deleterious effect expected, the weather actually aided operations,
drying out soil wet from previous rain and improving trafficability. The
phase of the moon so lighted the area that enemy night movement was made
(2) Relief and Drainage Systems. Most problem areas can be found by
analysis of the map. Water in the rice paddies presented little hindrance
to movement provided the vehicles spread out and did not track each other.
Admittedly the water had been in the paddies for only a short time and
trafficability will probably decrease as the land remains underwater for
(3) Vegetation. The map accurately depicts the vegetation in the
AO, none of which is an obstacle to mechanized operations. However, some
of the bamboo hedgerows around houses are stout enough to cause APC's to
have to search for breaks. On two occasions snakes fell from the bamboo
into the open cargo hatch of APC's, inflicting snake bite injuries which
required medical evacuation of the victims.
(4) Obstacles to Mechanized Operations.
(a) Natural. Some areas are under water. Other than those areas actually
shown as swamp on the map, none was an obstacle to mechanized movement,
provided the basic rules involving movement under these conditions were
followed. There is one canal or ditch from XT 476129 to XT 465125 to XT
458127 which is an obstacle to mechanized movement. However, the Bn was
easily able to avoid this obstacle by moving around it to the west, and
there were several breaks in the ditch.
(b) Man-made. There were no man made obstacles to mechanized movement
encountered. The dikes had the effect of slowing movement but not prohibiting
it. No "minefields" were encountered. There were isolated AT mine incidents,
none of which could be considered a coordinated minefields effort.
(5) Conclusions Pertaining to Terrain and Weather. As the Southwest
Monsoon becomes established and the paddies have been inundated for longer
periods, trafficability for APC's may be reduced. Mechanized forces will
continue to have the capability to operate in many portions of the AO but
will be limited to areas removed from the Oriental River and from those
sections shown as swamp.
d. Fortifications. No significant fortifications were discovered during
Operation MAKIKI. The fortification found at XT 446166 (see 4 b above)
was a typical design and construction. There were drainage or irrigation
ditches along most of the bamboo hedgerows, however, which could be used
as defensive trenches. These were 2 - 2 1/2 feet deep, 2 - 3 feet wide,
and extended the length of the hedgerow. Many houses had foxholes in their
yards and all had protective bunkers on the inside. There were a few instances
of defensive bunkers (no firing ports) in the hedgerows among the bamboo
roots. These were all near houses and no attempt had been made to hide
e. CA/Psy Ops: See Para 11.
(1) The AO is acceptable for mechanized operations. Increasing rains
will affect trafficability but will not prohibit use of mechanized forces.
(2) Arms cache (see 4 b (3) above).
9. Mission: 1/5th Mech attacks H-hour, 3 June 66 to seal escape
routes in zone and occupy positions 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13.
Conducts search and destroy operations in assigned area of operations on
order. Links up with air-landed battalions on order.
10. Concept of Operation. The commanders concept visualized the battalion
moving from base camp with track vehicles only so as to arrive in the area
of operations by H-hour. The companies will move as rapidly as possible
to occupy blocking positions in zone with Co C on the north (1, 2, and
3), Co B in the center (4, 8 and 9), and Co A on the south (10, 11, 12
and 13), to deny escape from AO. On order, companies move rapidly through
respective areas, leaving a minimum of one squad at each blocking position,
to attempt to locate and destroy sizable enemy forces or to drive enemy
forces toward adjacent battalions. Once it has been determined that no
sizable force exists, then, on order, companies were to conduct detailed
search and destroy operations in zone. Prior to the hours of darkness,
company bases would be established in zone with maximum use of ambushes
(Incl 1, Operation Overlay #1).
11. Execution: The battalion OPORD 21-66 was issued at 011530Jun66.
H-hour was set at 1000 hours, then delayed until 1100 hours. The battalion
commenced movement at 030700 hours and by 0925 hours lead elements were
located vic XT 470127. At 1030 hours, Co A reported that the Recon Platoon
had made contact with several VC vic XT 466155. The platoon initially shot
and killed two VC and ran over two more as they drove through the water
filled paddies. A detailed and systematic search of the area resulted in
12 VC killed (BC), one VC killed (est), and 19 VC captured. Some of the
VC were submerged in holes, underwater, and breathing through reeds. By
1100 hours all blocking positions in the AO were occupied. At 1112 hours
Co B shot and killed a VC (BC) attempting to escape through the rice paddies
vic XT 453165. Upon recovering the VC body, another VC was captured nearby,
submerged in the flooded paddy. At 1200 hours Co C captured one VC armed
with hand grenades vic XT 433178. Under interrogation he stated that his
mission was to locate and report our positions. During the afternoon, all
companies conducted sweeps through their respective areas but made no contact.
Each company established a base and a total of 11 ambushes were employed
in the Bn AO. Co C's ambush located vic XT 431181 shot and captured a VC
at 1851 hours. However, due to a head wound, he died a few hours later.
At 1950 hours the same ambush again made contact killing two VC (BC). Co
B's ambush enroute to XT 464160 had a meeting engagement at 2005 hours.
The VC immediately broke contact when fired upon, leaving behind one Thompson
SMG. One VC kill was estimated. At 2400 the same ambush patrol killed one
VC (BC) who walked into the kill zone. Co A(-) departed the AO at
040730Jun to assist the 4/23d Inf by sweeping through their battalion AO.
Co C(-) also departed the AO at 0730 to assist the 1/27th Inf by conducting
a similar type sweep through the battalion's AO. Co B commenced the detailed
search of the company AO and captured one VC vic XT 467157 at 1145 hours.
Co A was returned to Bn control at 1226 hours and commenced the detailed
search of the company AO. At 1315 hours one VC was captured vic XT 482135
by Co A. One of Co B's tracks received light damage from an AT mine vic
XT 445160. Civilians in the area stated that VC were laying mines there
4-5 days ago. A search of the area produced two AT mines and 35 boobytraps.
Co C returned to battalion control at 1500 hours and commenced the detailed
search of the company AO. While sweeping the 1/27th Inf AO the company
suffered three WIA and two damaged tracks from AT mines. The Bn S5 and
surgeon conducted MEDCAP for 46 patients in Ap An Dinh (XT 4514) during
the day. Villagers were very cooperative and friendly. Each company returned
to its base prior to dark and a total of 12 ambushes were established in
the Bn AO. At 2015 hours Co B observed five VC vic XT 448168 and adjusted
motar fire on target. Two VC kills were estimated.At 050400JUN a special
ambush was sent out to vic XT 449183 by Co C. One of Co A's tracks was
damaged by an AT mine vic XT 471132 at 0648 but no casualties were sustained.
Co A departed at 0730 hours to conduct search and destroy operations in
VC controlled areas #1 (XT 454120), #2 (XT 471118), #3 (XT 489119), #4
(XT 493107) and #5 (XT 483097). Company B departed the AO at 0929 hours
to assist the 2/27th Inf by sweeping through that battalion's AO. Recon
Platoon suffered one WIA from a boobytrap vic XT 453127 at 1022 hours.
Co A completed the search of all five objectives by 1203 hours and returned
to the company AO. One track hit a mine enroute vic XT 465125, suffering
11 WIA, 10 of which were treated and returned to duty almost immediately.
Co C suffered two WIA from a boobytrap vic XT 434155 at 1445 hours. Co
B was released at 1553 hours and returned to the company AO. The Bn S5
and surgeon conducted MEDCAP for 52 patients in the village of Loc Giang
(XT 430155). During the hours of darkness, 13 ambushes were employed in
the battalion AO but no contact was made. On 6 June each company conducted
maintenance, training and searches in zone. Sixteen boobytraps were destroyed
vic XT 446180 and vic XT 473147 and 3100 pounds of rice from vic XT 465156
were evacuated to Bde. MEDCAP was conducted for 36 villagers at Ap An Dinh
(XT 4514). The Bn commander received a Bde Frag Order extending the AO
of the 1/5th Mech at 1835 hours (Incl #2, Opn Overlay #2). The Bn commander's
concept was to move the three companies from their present bases commencing
at 070630JUN66 and conduct a rapid SW-NE sweep through their respective
sectors and establish blocking positions A (XT 524111), B (XT 594114),
C (XT 539119), D (XT 548121), E (XT 572078) and F (XT 573089). Then each
company would conduct a detailed search of objectives in sector moving
NE-SW. Recon Platoon was designated to occupy five stay-behind ambushes
at XT 431180, XT 434179, XT 440174, XT 464156 and XT 471147. Seventeen
ambushes were established during darkness but none made contact. At 070630JUN
Co C started its move to the new AO followed by Co B at 0650 hours and
Co A at 0700 hours. Co A's lead vehicle hit a mine at XT 498092 resulting
in four WIA, two of which were treated and remained for duty. By 1021 hours
Co B established blocking positions E and F and commenced the detailed
search of the sector. Co A established blocking positions C and D by 1128
hours, making light enemy contact enroute and capturing several suspects.
Co C established blocking positions A and B by 1217 hours and commenced
the detailed search. Co C received several rifle grenades enroute to their
blocking positions and suffered two WIA vic XT 545085. During the detailed
search, Co B destroyed five boobytraps vic XT 565081 and killed one VC
at 1328 hours vic XT 542118. Recon Platoon's stay-behind ambush made no
contact and at 1400 hours assembled vic XT 466155 and extracted 3400 lbs
of captured rice discovered by one of the stay-behind ambushes. At 1538
hours Co C discovered an arms cache vic XT 518110 consisting of 116 weapons
and several tons of munitions and explosives. By 1750 hours Co C effected
link-up and coordination with the 49th ARVN Regt on the battalion's right
(east) flank. In view of the size of the cache, Co A and Co C were both
ordered to establish their night perimeters around the cache. Recon Platoon
was attached to Co B in an established base at XT 560081. Ten ambushes
were established during the hours of darkness, but no contact was made.
Three 60mm motar rounds landed outside Co B's perimeter and several harassing
small arms rounds were fired at Co A but none was effective. By 080730JUN
each company continued its search. Co C was to continue the search of the
cache area, Co A assumed the mission of searching the remainder of Co C's
sector and Co B continued to search the assigned sector. At 1145 Co C shot
and captured a VC vic XT 501117. By 1410 hours all units completed the
search of their sectors and commenced movement to effect link-up with the
49th ARVN Regt. Link-up was effected by 1450 hours and the battalion was
ordered to return to base camp at 1545 hours. By 1642 hours all elements
closed into base camp.
(1) Personnel: 702 personnel started the operation and 692 completed,
14 of whom were WIA who were treated and remained for duty.
(a) KIA: 0.
(b) WIA: 24 (list attached - Incl #3) (14 returned to duty the day
they were wounded).
(c) MIA: 0.
(2) Equipment: 6 APC, M113, were damaged by AT mines. Three APC were
repaired in the field and continued the operation.
(a) VC killed: 22 (18 BC; 4 est).
(b) VCC: 27.
(c) VCS: 6.
(2) Equipment, Weapons, Ammunition.
77 Chicom carbines; 12 rifles (unk); 2 Chicom assault rifles; 27 Chicom
SMG's; 1 Thompson SMG; 1 7.92mm bolt action rifle; 60
hand grenades (stick type); 7 Chicom hand grenades; 14 AT mines;
56 boobytraps; 3,539 rds 7.92mm ammo; 2,370 12.7mm rds; 28,500 7.62mm (long)
rds; 20,000 9mm rds; 1,320 7.62mm (short) assault rds; 5 57mm rds; 55 75mm
RR rds; 18 RPG-2 rds; 2,150 lbs TNT; 1 bunker; 3 pistol belts; 1
5gal container assorted medical supplies; 2 boxes assorted medical supplies
(surgical instruments); 48 100lb bags of rice; 1 starlight device casing
SN 11295; miscellaneous documents.
13. Administrative Matters.
a. Supplies. Resupply was accomplished by helicopter from base camp.
No major problems were encountered; however, the problems created due to
diverting of all resupply helicopters for other missions still exist. At
times, this action requires elements of the Bn to delay movement while
awaiting helicopters to effect extraction and/or resupply of needed repair
parts and ammo. If one helicopter could be maintained for resupply or extraction,
the supply mission could be better accomplished. During the operation the
following was airlifted into the area of operation: Class I - 31,200 pounds;
Class II - 1,100 pounds; Class III - 20,500 pounds (2,548 gallons); Class
V - 6,000 pounds; water - 4,753 gallons; and repair parts - 2,100 pounds.
The Bn expended 640 rds of 5.56mm, 2,700 rds of 7.62mm, 1,110 rds of cal
.50, 91 rds of 40mm HE, 183 rds of 81mm HE, 146 rds of 81mm smoke WP, 30
rds of 81mm illumination, 1 rd of 90mm Heat (RR), 75 rds of 4.2" HE, 34
rds of 4.2" WP, 3 rds of 4.2" illumination, 106 fragmentation grenades,
15 trip flares, 107 smoke grenades, 17 M18A1 mines, 250 lbs of TNT, 150
lbs of C4, and 1,000 ft of detonating cord.
b Maintenance. The Bn started the operation with nine (9) carriers,
M113, short (seven (7) due to shortage and two (2) in higher support maintenance).
During the operation, six (6) carriers, M113, became inoperable due to
hitting AT mines. Three (3) of these vehicles were repaired sufficiently
in the field to continue operations. Three (3) carriers had to be evacuated
to base camp. Other carriers became temporarily inoperable due to maintenance
deficiencies; however, all were returned to duty during the operation except
three (3). The largest problem encountered was the evacuation of
the disabled vehicles. The trafficability of the terrain in the area of
operations restricted the use of VTR's. The Bn established a maintenance
collection point at Bao Trai, and companies evacuated vehicles to this
point. Due to the type damage to the mined vehicles and the trafficability
of the terrain, the disabled vehicles continuously got stuck and caused
the vehicles towing them to become stuck or overheated. The companies had
to divert, in some instances, two (2) carriers per each mined track to
effect evacuation. For two (2) companies, the evacuation of their disabled
vehicles required four vehicles to be diverted from the companies' tactical
operations for one complete day.
c. Transportation. The Bn consumed 5,529 gallons of MOGAS.
14. Special Equipment and Techniques: None.
15. Commander's Analysis:
a. VC are using the swampy, wet areas more and more to hide in.
b. Captured VC prisoners seem to habitually promise to lead you to caches
of some sort, yet follow-ups generally prove to be fruitless. Apparently
they think they must make themselves of value to you to save their own
c. Civilians in the initial area of operations were extremely friendly.
16. Recommendations: None.
FOR THE COMMANDERS:
3 Incl JAMES G. ANDRESS
CASUALTIES SUSTAINED - OPERATION MAKIKI
|TOVAR, Randy G.
|COLLINS, Raymond A.
|SCHEMBRI, Ronald R.
|SNODGRASS, Dalio S
|JUSTICE, Ransom L.
|SURLES, Thomas B
|MC GARRY, Robert J.
|FINNEY, Dale L.
|DOYLE, James R.
|MAIDEN, Randolph E.
|KNOWLES, Michael A.
|KEER, denton C.
|PAUL, Fred H.
|WALLER, Kenneth R.
|VAN BEEK, Daniel L.
|SCHUTTER, Allan F.
|ROGERS, James B.
|MASHBURN, James R.
|WANEK, Andrew K.
Inclosure 3 (Casualty List) to Ltr, HQ, 1st Bn (Mech) 5th Inf, Subj
Combat Operations After-Action Report, dtd 12 June 1966