INF, ARMOR, AIR IN TWENTY HOUR FIGHT NETS 87 VC KILLED
CU CHI - APRIL, 1968 - Three 25th Inf Div
companies battled a reinforced battalion of North Vietnamese regulars and Viet
Cong killing 87 enemy and capturing one in a 20-hour battle.
The action began when Co C of the 2nd Bn, 14th Inf, landed in a rice paddy near a small village 54 kms northwest of Saigon, and immediately came under heavy fire.
The company, under operational control of the 2nd Bde, called for air and artillery support. Within minutes, two more companies had airlifted into the area and began to battle the entrenched communist force.
When it became apparent that all civilians had deserted the village, the area was declared a free-fire zone and all available support was called in, a battalion spokesman said.
Air Force fighter bombers from Bien Hoa and Pham Rang struck at the village throughout the action. The F-100 and A-37 jets flew virtually around-the-clock missions as forward air controllers directed a series of close-in bombing runs.
Artillerymen from three locations surrounding the village fired more than 3,000 rounds of high explosives in support of the ground troops. Batteries of the 1st Bn, 8th Arty, the 3rd Bn, 13th Arty, and the 6th Bn, 77th Arty pounded the enemy reinforced bunkers.
By nightfall, a detachment of the 2nd Bn, 34th Armor, joined the assault after a rapid advance from its position 10 kms northeast of the battleground. Consisting of the battalion’s reconnaissance platoon, two tanks and four carriers, the detachment charged into the enemy bunker line.
At nightfall, Air Force “Spooky” and “Moonglow”, two AC-47 flareships, illuminated the area constantly until contact was broken at 2:30 a.m. the next morning.
When asked how effective the illumination worked, SGT Edward J. White replied, “It was just like daytime till the battle came to an end. If I hadn’t been so sleepy, I wouldn’t have hardly known the difference,” added White of Barberton, Ohio.
After a continuous 20-hour battle, the “Tropic Lightning” troopers overran the well fortified enemy bunkers. “The suspense of what was behind that perimeter was enough to keep anybody awake,” remarked SGT Daniel C. Hatmaker of Welch, West Virginia.
In addition to the body count and detainee, four new model Russian-made flame throwers, eight AK-47 assault rifles, one Chinese Communist M6 rifle, numerous documents, one RPG-2 rocket launcher, various small arms ammunition, and clothing were also captured.
DOCUMENTS - Troops of the 25th Inf Div’s 2nd Bn, 14th Inf,
sort enemy documents
captured in a 20-hour battle 54 kms northwest of Saigon that resulted in 87 Viet Cong killed. (Photo By SP4 Marty Caldwell)
|RPG-2 ROCKET - SGT Danny C. Hatmaker of Welch, W. Va., carefully examines a loaded RPG-2 rocket launcher he found in an enemy-held village the 25th Inf Div’s 2nd Bn, 14th Inf, had overrun after a 20-hour battle. The Operation Quyet Thong infantrymen killed 87 Viet Cong in bitter, close-in fighting. (Photo By SP4 Marty Caldwell)|