1ST BATTALION (MECH) 5TH INFANTRY
APO San Francisco 96225
9 August 1966
SUBJECT: Combat After-Action Report (RCS: MACV J3-32)
TO: Commanding Officer
25th Infantry Division
APO U.S. Forces 96225
1. NAME OF OPERATION: Operation MOKOLEIA.
2. DATES OF OPERATION: 15-23 July 1966.
3. LOCATION: Tan Phu Trung and vic (XT 6809), Filhol-Liocara-Balancie
Plantations (XT 6720), Sa Nho and vic (XT 5626), Hau Nghia Province, Viet
4. CONTROL OR COMMAND HEADQUARTERS. 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Infantry.
5. REPORTING OFFICER: Lt Col Thomas U. Greer.
6. TASK ORGANIZATION:
1st Bn (Mech)(-), 5th Inf, Lt Col T. U. Greer, Commanding
Company A, Capt J. A. Renner, Commanding.
Company B, Capt E. B. Vickery, Commanding.
Bn Scout Platoon, Lt J. E. McQuinn.
Hvy Mort Platoon, Lt L. Phillips.
Co C was attached to the 4th Bn, 9th Inf on Opn KAHANA.
7. SUPPORTING FORCES.
a. Btry C, 1/8th Arty, DS.
b. 1/8th Arty (-), GS.
c. 25th Avn Bn provided helicopter support.
8. INTELLIGENCE. the intelligence will be divided into five (5) parts
Tan Phu Trung - - 15 July 1966.
Tan Phu Trung - - 19 July 1966.
Reconnaissance in force to locate 16 U.S. Soldiers MIA - - 20 July
Reconnaissance Mission - - 21 July 1966.
Reconnaissance Mission - - 23 July 1966.
a. Tan Phu Trung - 15 July 1966: The Bn S5, on a visit to the
village chief of Ap Ben Do, was informed that 12 VC who normally hide in
the daytime vic XT 685069 were at that time hiding in huts in the southern
part of the village vic XT 684087. Co B was dispatched to the area and
detained 35 civilians. The civilians were interrogated by the village chief
and police and one VC and two suspects were identified and apprehended.
While the village chief's information is usually reliable, this time it
failed to develop. This portion of the village was once leveled and underbrush
has since regrown. The rice paddies to the south are generally impassable.
The only structures in this area are small temporary huts.
b. Tan Phu Trung - 19 July 1966: During the week prior to this operation,
the Bn S5 was given information by the village chief concerning 12 VC operating
in this area just south of Ap Ben Do. They hid in tunnels vic XT 684069
and had the mission of laying mines and sniping at aircraft in the Ap Ben
Do area. They were armed with assorted rifles and one pistol. On the actual
operation no resistance was met; however, there was no indication of foreknowledge
of the operation. The chief also gave information concerning 24 VC operating
to the north of Tan Phu Trung vic XT 700105. The mission of the VC was
to collect taxes in the villages from XT 655134 to XT 705085. The village
also furnished three guides to show exact locations of the VC tunnels which
were well hidden. A sweep of the area met no resistance, but four VC were
killed (BC) at XT 703107 when flushed from the tunnels pointed out by the
guides. Documents found in the tunnels indicated the presence of a tax
collecting unit. Twenty-two VC suspects were apprehended in the area, of
which four were confirmed to be VC. As a result of the operation, two VC
turned themselves into the village chief. The chief reported that 14 VC
bodies were removed from the area by the VC that night and two VC were
buried on the north side of town (both items unverified). An ambush patrol
in the same area on 18 July 1966 netted one VC kill (BC). The terrain in
this area provided good trafficability for APC's and foot movement. The
area was once cleared by bulldozers but has since grown back with low scrub
brush that is dense but passable in most areas.
c. Reconnaissance in Force to Locate 16 U.S. Soldiers MIA on 19 Jul
66 - 20 July 1966: The enemy strength on 19 July was estimated at
two VC companies located vic XT 575268 in a defensive position oriented
south. It was expected that the VC had withdrawn north, into the Boi Loi
Woods. The battle area vic XT 563266 had been completely policed and there
were no signs of a battle having been fought there. At XT 575268 16 U.S.
and four VC remains were found. One wounded VC was captured in a tunnel
vic XT 577252 along with six carbines. This individual claimed to be a
member of the 320th Bn(VC) which had withdrawn to the Boi Loi; however,
documents found in the area indicated that the unit involved had been the
1st Bn, 165A Regt. Trafficability in this area was generally good; some
rice paddies were obstacles to track movement.
d. Reconnaissance in the Filhol - Liocara - Balancie Plantations - 21
The presence of the 7th Bn, 165A Regt in the plantation had been reported
four times during the two previous weeks. A VC training area and base camp
were reported to be in the vic of XT 660220 (25th Div G2). A check of the
area by Co B failed to locate any sign of a training area or base camp.
Approximately one VC squad was engaged vic XT 674215, but unit identification
could not be made. Co A located a heavily boobytrapped and mined area vic
Bao Cap (XT 634177) and several VC in a tunnel. The VC could not be extracted,
but five weapons, five sets of web gear and five pairs of sandals were
captured. All boobytraps, mines and the tunnel were destroyed. At the same
location two firing positions for 60mm mortars were located and destroyed.
Trafficability in the plantation was good with the generally thick undergrowth
between the rubber trees. There are numerous trench systems in the area,
all of which were known about in advance; however, the trenches failed
to show any signs of recent use.
e. Reconnaissance Mission vic XT 570250 - 23 July 1966: The Bn returned
to the area of 20 July 1966 to gather any information on VC locations,
movements and activities in the area. All male personnel between the ages
of 15 and 50 were detained and questioned. Agent reports indicated a possible
VC build-up and attack on Trung Lap or Trang Bang. On the night of 19 July
the ARVN post at Phuoc Hiep (XT 555174) was attacked. Interrogation of
farmers in the area indicated that on 11 or 12 July at 2000 hours a unit
of approximately 300 to 500 VC had moved north. These reports came from
coordinates XT 544258 and XT 555250. It was also found that about 300 VC
had moved north in two and three man groups, in the daylight, on 18 or
19 July 1966. Both groups of VC collected rice from the farmers along the
route. The 1/5th Mech apprehended 55 VC suspects, of which 19 were confirmed
to be VC and four were draft dodgers. It is noted that most of these men
were working in the fields or walking on trails in the area. The terrain
was found to be the same as on 20 July 1966.
9. MISSION. 1st Bn (Mech), 5th Ifantry conducts local search and destroy
operations in AO commencing 15 July 1966 and provides rapid reaction force
for the 2d Brigade.
10 CONCEPT OF OPERATION. The battalion would retrain and perform maintenance
in conjunction with local company size operations, based on intelligence
received concerning VC forces. During the period the battalion's operations
would be planned and conducted in such a way as to be able to provide a
rapid, mobile reaction force for the Brigade.
15 July 1966
During the day, the battalion conducted maintenance and civil affairs
activities in Tan Phu Trung (XT 6809). While talking to the village chief,
the Bn S5 learned that six VC of an intelligence squad were located vic
XT 684069. Co B was immediately dispatched to the scene and encircled the
area. After a detailed search and questioning of 35 civilians, one VC and
two VC suspects were apprehended.
16 July 1966
The battalion (-) continued its maintenance throughout the day. A platoon
ambush from Company B was positioned vic XT 68350710 at 0030 hours but
made no contact. During the daylight hours the platoon conducted a detailed
area search vic XT 685069 for a suspected VC base camp but none could be
found. During the afternoon hours, the Scout Platoon escorted a convoy
to Trang Bang (vic XT 4819) and the Bn S5 formed and conducted English
classes at Tan Phu Trung (XT 6809).
17 July 1966
The battalion (-) conducted maintenance and civil affairs activities
during the day. The village chief of Tan Phu Trung reported that two VC
with a Russian rifle turned themselves in as a direct result of the battalion's
operations in the area.
18 July 1966
Maintenance and civil affairs activities continued throughout the day.
The Scout Platoon emplaced two ambushes (vic XT 689120 and XT 687116) at
0515 hours. At 1300 hours the first ambush shot and killed one VC (BC).
19 July 1966
The battalion (-) conducted S&D operations vic Ap Phu Loi (XT 702110)
with Co A and the Scout Platoon. Co A conducted detailed search of the
area killing four VC (BC) and destroying a boobytrapped house. The Scout
Platoon screened the SE flank and apprehended two Vc and two suspects which
were later confirmed to be VC. Co B was alerted and on "stand-to" to support
the 1/27th Inf from 1504 hours through 1644 hours. All elements closed
into the base camp by 2017 hours.
20 July 1966
The battalion (-) departed base camp at 0630 hours to conduct a reconnaissance
in force vic XT 5626, XT 5726, XT 5627, and XT 5827 and
attempted to locate 16 U.S. soldiers of the 1/27th Inf missing in action
on 19 July 1966. By 0940 hours Co B discovered the remains of 16 U.S. and
four VC soldiers vic XT 576268. One VC wounded by the 1/27th Inf on 19
July 1966 was captured in the area along with six rifles, 16 AT mines,
miscellaneous documents, small arms ammunition and web equipment. While
enroute to base camp, Co A and the Scout Platoon apprehended 18 VC suspects
vic XT 528207 and XT 519205. By 1640 hours the battalion (-) closed into
21 July 1966
The battalion (-) conducted a reconnaissance in force into the Filhol
- Liocara Plantation vic XT 6619 from 0900 hours until 2100 hours. English
classes were held in Tan Phu Trung
and another VC turned himself in to the village chief.
The company departed base camt at 0900 hours and by 0945 hours found
and destroyed two freshly dug 60mm mortar positions vic XT 648177. At 1112
hours a heavily boobytrapped house and bunker-tunnel complex was discovered
vic 634178 and a detailed search commenced. By 1600 hours the search was
completed resulting in the destruction of the house and tunnel-bunker complex
with an estimated five VC in the tunnel, five rifles and a pair of binoculars
captured and over fifty boobytraps and three claymore type weapons found
and destroyed. Co A was then sent to vic XT 647206 to reinforce and assist
Company B (Capt R. G. Vanneman assumed command):
The company departed base camp at 0900 hours and by 1250 hours destroyed
a bunker vic XT 661233. During the company's return trip, several VC were
engaged vic XT 642217 but no enemy losses could be confirmed. Two APC's
were severly damaged by AT mines resulting in seven KIA and four minor
The platoon conducted a reconnaissance to vic XT 680168 with negative
contact. One APC was severely damaged by an AT mine vic XT 681166 but no
casualties were sustained.
22 July 1966
The Battalion (-) performed maintenance and conducted training in preparation
for future operations.
23 July 1966
Throughout the day the battalion (-) conducted reconnaissance in force
vic XT 545237, XT 555250, XT 577233, XT 567216, and XT 560197, to locate
and destroy VC forces and to determine VC activities and movements. A total
of 55 VC suspects were apprehended, of which 19 were confirmed to be VC
four were draft dodgers. The battalion (-) returned to base camp at 1715
a. Friendly losses:
(1) Incl 1, Casualty list.
(2) One APC, M113 (destroyed).
b. Enemy Losses:
(1) 5 VC killed (BC).
(2) 25 VC captured.
(3) 4 draft dodgers apprehended.
(4) 11 rifles captured.
(5) 28 AT mines destroyed.
(6) 19 Arty rds rigged as boobytraps destroyed.
(7) 5,200 rds of SA ammo destroyed.
(8) 22 CBU bomblet boobytraps destroyed.
(9) 12 hand grenades destroyed.
(10) 18 rifle grenades destroyed.
(11) 3 claymore type weapons destroyed.
(12) 3 mortar round boobytraps destroyed.
(13) 1 250 lb bomb boobytrap destroyed.
(14) 5 tunnels destroyed.
(15) 2 bunkers destroyed.
(16) 2 mortar positions destroyed.
(17) 2 houses destroyed.
(18) 1 pair binoculars captured.
(19) Miscellaneous clothing destroyed.
(20) Numerous documents (captured).
13. ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS.
a. Supplies: All resupply was accomplished by units returning to base
camp in the evenings. The following supplies were used during the operation.
(1) Class I: 201 cases of "C" Rations.
(2) Class III: 6670 gallons.
(3) The battalion expended the following ammunition and demolitions
during the operation:
(a) Ctg, 5.56 ball 10,840 rds
(b) Ctg, 5.56 tracer 1,140 rds
(c) Ctg, 7.62 ball 10,920 rds
(d) Ctg, 7.62 4+1, linked 11,200 rds
(e) Ctg, 40mm, gren, HE 144 rds
(f) Ctg, 81mm, smk, WP 87 rds
(g) Ctg, 4.2", HE 33 rds
(h) Ctg, 4.2", Ill 3 rds
(i) Ctg, 4.2" smk, WP 13 rds
(j) Gren, hand, frag 100 ea
(k) Chg, demo blk, TNT, 1 lb 700 lbs
(l) Cap, blasting, non-elect 150 ea
(m) Cord, detonating 1,500 ft
(n) Firing device, demo 90 ea
(o) Fuze, blasting, time 200 ft
b. Maintenance: The battalion started the operation short fourteen (14)
Carriers, Personnel, full-tracked, M113. The Scout Platoon was short four
(4), Medical Platoon was short one (1), Co A was short two (2), Co B was
short three (3), and Co C was short four (4) carriers. During the operation
two (2) carriers were damaged by AT mines. One of the carriers was completely
destroyed by the blast of the mine vic XT 642217 and could not be recovered.
The other carrier, damaged vic XT 681168, was recovered to base came where
it was declared not economically repairable. One carrier was hit by an
AT weapon but was repaired after being returned to the base camp area.
During the operation there were four (4) carriers that became inoperable
for mechanical failures. These failures were corrected in the field and
the carriers continued the operation. During the operation the Light Recovery
Vehicle, M578, was used for the first time by this battalion. Two of these
vehicles were sent on an operation and both experienced mechanical failures.
One of the vehicles failed because of a lack of power. After investigation,
the problem was found to be clogged fuel lines and fuel tank, believed
to have been caused by the manufacturer's failure to purge the fuel tank
after welding the seam of the tank. The other M578 failed because of overheating.
This was caused by the terrain and the inexperience of the driver. The
terrain was heavily wooded and the driver had the tendency to over-steer,
causing the transmission to overheat. During the operation the battalion
had one company attached to an Infantry battalion and one platoon attached
to an Artillery battalion. It was found that both type battalions were
unable to properly support the attached units with needed supplies, repair
parts, POL, and maintenance assistance. This battalion was still required
to furnish a majority of the above support even though the elements were
from 25 to 80 miles from the parent unit. During the operation this unit
received fourteen (14) each carriers, M113, in issue for vehicles that
were short, so that at the end of the operation the battalion was short
two (2) carriers, one each in Co B and the Scout Platoon.
c. Treatment of Casualties, Evacuation and Hospitalization: During this
operation there was no battalion forward aid station. There were no evacuation
problems, but there was difficulty identifying the remains of seven (7)
men, who were mutilated when their track exploded. During the operation
four men were treated for wounds, minor in nature, and returned to duty.
d. Transportation: The Bn consumed a total of 6,670 gallons of MOGAS
while traveling 9,875 miles.
(1) This unit utilized FM radios as the primary means of communications
during the "daylight" hours. Wire nets were used during the hours of darkness,
and FM radios maintained listening silence. The primary means of communications
with 2d Brigade Headquarters was FM radio. The distance was too great to
permit the use of wire, and this unit's AM (RATT) radio was inoperative
because of failure of the transmitter T-195. UHF air-ground communications
were also available. This radio was used by the battalion S3 to monitor
the air strikes being conducted in the AO.
(2) The AN/VRC 12 family of radios is currently on hand in this unit.
The intense heat inside the M113 carrier does have an adverse effect on
the RT 524 and Rt 246. It was found during this operation that if the call
light is removed for short periods of time during transmissions, it permits
the blower system to draw cool air into the radio and decreases the amount
of "down time" experienced. A total of five radios were evacuated from
the field location and two radios were fixed by organic radio repairmen.
(3) The AN/PRC 25 radio was utilized to control the maneuver elements
from a helicopter. This radio is adequate during local search and
destroy missions. However, the "shelf life" of the battery (BA 386)
is questionable, since experience has proven the adequate transmission
life of the battery ranges from five (5) hours to twenty (20) hours.
f. Medical Evaluation: A careful search for remains should be made if
tactically possible whenever a body has been badly mutilated. This could
assist in positive identification of the remains.
14. SPECIAL EQUIPMENT AND TECHNIQUES. None.
15. COMMANDER ANALYSIS.
a. During the early weeks of July a concentrated effort was exerted
to improve relations with the leaders of the village of Tan Phu Trung.
The battalion S5 visited the village every day that combat operations permitted.
The battalion commander participated in the 4th of July celebration held
in the village. All members of the battalion staff visited the village
to deliver supplies or assist in planning sessions. A rapport has been
achieved which has paid dividends in hard intelligence. The Chu Hois who
turn themselves in have been able to lead
elements of the battalion to exact sites of tunnels in local areas.
It is felt that immediate reaction to this intelligence is the key to success.
b. Operations conducted south of the Ho Bo Woods have proved that the
mobility of this battalion is not hampered by the monsoon rains experienced
to date. In this regard it is noted that rice fields inundated with water
will sustain a tracked vehicle. A column moving over an apparently solid
field will bog down when the ground crust is broken. Route selection and
driver knowledge are the factors that will determine the ability of units
to maneuver rapidly.
c. The planting season in Hau Nghia Province extends from June through
August. In areas controlled by the VC it is apparent that the local guerrilla
must put down his weapon and sow his fields during daylight hours. Seal
and search operations are productive, especially when conducted in conjunction
with sweeps during which all males found working in the fields are checked
for appropriate ID's. The ratio of VC taken compared to U.S. losses makes
this type of operation particularly effective.
16 RECOMMENDATIONS: Inasmuch as the mechanized battalion can maneuver
rapidly over large areas during the monsoon period, continued use of the
battalion in the area south of the Boi Loi - Ho Bo Woods will serve several
a. Continuous sweeps conducted over the entire area will pick up the
local guerrilla or drive him into the base areas. This action will deprive
the hard core units of support necessary to conduct operations to the south.
The continued presence of a U.S. unit will be necessary before an effective
intelligence gathering program can be established.
b. From such a location the battalion can conduct spoiling attacks into
known base areas, thus keeping the VC off-balance.
c. Positioning a mobile force astride VC withdrawal routes to known
base areas would inhibit major operations against U.S./ARVN installations
and convoys on Route 1.
FOR THE COMMANDER:
1 Incl JAMES G. ANDRESS
CASUALTIES FROM 15 JULY 1966 TO 23 JULY 1966
|RILEY, William B.
||21 Jul 66
|JUNGKRUTH, Doyle W.
||19 Jul 66
|IRVING, Earl E. Jr.
||21 Jul 66
|CROWELL, Perry R.
||21 Jul 66
||21 Jul 66
||21 Jul 66
|WINN, Ronald E.
||21 Jul 66
||21 Jul 66
||21 Jul 66
||21 Jul 66
||21 Jul 66
||21 Jul 66
|GILCH, James X.
||21 Jul 66
||21 Jul 66
||21 Jul 66
||21 Jul 66
||21 Jul 66
Inclosure 1 (Casualty List) to Ltr, HQ, 1st Bn (Mech) 5th Inf, subj
Combat After-Action Report (RCS: MACV J3-32), dtd 9 Aug 66