Ground Attack a Failure -
Support Base Pike Kills 85 Foe
CU CHI - An estimated
force of 200 to 300 Viet Cong recently launched an intensive ground attack on
Fire Support Base Pike, 10 kms west of Tan Son Nhut Air Base.
The Viet Cong hung on grimly for an hour and a half before retreating.
Leaving 85 Dead Behind
The battle began at approximately 1:30 am with a barrage of mortars, recoilless rifle rounds, rocket-propelled grenades, and 122mm rockets. Approximately eighty per cent of the more than 200 rounds fell on the southwest portion of the perimeter which was guarded by one company of the 4th Bn, 9th Inf “Manchus”.
The infantry, however, was well dug in, preventing the rounds from claiming any lives inside the perimeter.
After 10 minutes of steady bombardment, the VC moved in for the kill - or so they thought. The main ground attack came from the southwest with a small supporting attack from the southeast. Listening posts from one company bore the brunt of the assault.
Showing no heed for personal security, the men of the listening posts refused to give ground. Surrounded on three sides, they unleashed such devastating fire power that not one Viet Cong broke through. This enabled batteries of the 1st Bn, 8th Arty and the 6th Bn, 77th Arty to fire.
Two tactical craft were on station for a nearby battle. The airstrikes were diverted by Manchu CO LTC Richard Simpson and directed to the new battle area.
A flareship illuminated the battlefield as the high-performance jets brought their wrath to bear on the enemy. Anti-aircraft machine guns tried in vain to fend off the swift jets.
Gunships from the 116th Assault Helicopter Co sounded the final notes of the fight as they peppered the battle area with their miniguns and rockets.
When asked about the battle, Simpson stated that the valor and courage shown by the men in the listening posts was the key factor in the decisive win.
The final toll at Fire Support Base Pike was 85 communists killed by the infantry, artillery, and tactical airstrikes.