DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
Headquarters, 2d Battalion, 35th Infantry
APO San Francisco 96355

 

 AVDC-C-CTB                                                                                                          13 May 1967

 SUBJECT:    Combat Operations After Action Report for Mortar Attack on LZ Liz, 12 May 1967

 TO:               Commanding Officer
                      3d Brigade Task Force
                      25th Infantry Division
                      APO San Francisco 96355

 

1.    Name of Operation:  Mortar Attack on LZ Liz (Operation MAINEUR).

2.    Date of Operation:  122340H - 130900H May 1967

3.    Location:  Duc Pho District, Quang Ngai Province, RVN

4.    Task Organization:

                Co A, 2d Bn, 35th Inf                                            C/3-4 Cav
                Co C(-), 2d Bn, 35th Inf                                         Recon Platoon, 2d Bn, 35th Inf
                1st Platoon, RF/PF                                                 Battalion Control, 2-35 Inf
                Team Strunck                                                         HHC
                 C/2-34 Armor(-)                                                     Heavy Mortar Plt
                 2/C, 2d Bn, 35th Inf                                               106 RR Section
                                                                                                 C/2-9 Arty (DS)

5.    Command and Control
          a.       Headquarters, 2d Battalion, 35th Infantry
          b.       Company A, 2d Battalion, 35th Infantry
          c.       Reconnaissance Platoon, 2d Battalion, 35th Infantry
          d.       Troop C, 3d Squadron, 4th Cavalry
          e.       Battery C, 2d Battalion, 9th Artillery
 

6.    Supporting Forces
a.       2d Battalion, 9th Artillery
b.       USAF
c.       174th Aviation Company

7.    Intelligence:  Current IntSum

8.    Execution:

a.     At 122345H May 1967, the 2d Bn, 35th Inf Fire Support Base (FSB) located at LZ Liz, vic BS755431 received 35-40 enemy 82mm mortar rounds from five positions east, northwest, southwest, and west of LZ Liz.  The initial enemy rounds landed in the saddle of Liz where C Battery, 2d Battalion, 9th Artillery was located.  Two rounds landed in one of the howitzer positions, hitting the howitzer and the ammunition bunker.  The crew was injured and the howitzer damaged.  The round which hit the ammo bunker caused large secondary explosions which further damaged one other howitzer and totally destroyed the howitzer in the position.

b.     Approximately four other enemy mortar rounds fell inside the perimeter in the vicinity of the artillery position where it appeared that the main attack was directed.  Efforts to shift the mortar fire to the 106RR position to the north of the artillery position proved futile and accounted for the remainder of the mortar fire.  There appeared to be little effort made to the south of the artillery where the battalion CP and an additional 106RR position was located.

c.     Counter mortar fires were initiated as soon as the first rounds landed and were increased as muzzle flashes were observed in five different areas.  Indirect fires from the 81mm and 4.2 mortar sections at LZ Liz were employed;  in addition, C/2-9 Arty and the 106 RR section of the 2-35 Inf provided direct fire on the enemy mortar positions.  The 50 cal MG’s of C/3-4 Cav flanking the artillery positions raked the enemy mortar positions.  While artillery fire from the 2d Bn, 9th Arty was directed by the battalion artillery liaison officer.  By 130010 May 1967, armed helicopters from the 174th Aviation Company were on station and firing at the observed tube flashes.  They received automatic weapons fire from several positions to the northwest and west of LZ Liz.  These were effectively engaged.  At 130010H May 1967, the armed AO-47 arrived on station.  Spooky was also fired on by the enemy which only served to locate the enemy positions (BS750410 and BS735436)

d.     At 130200H, Company A(-) departed LZ Liz in order to reestablish contact with the enemy.  At 130245H, Co A(-), under the canopy of light provided by the USAF flareship, detained one NCA, vic BS734427, who was attempting to change from his uniform into civilian clothing.  At 130545H vic BS740434, Co A(-) observed three individuals leaving a hut.  Pursuing the three, Co A(-) captured one who wore black pajamas beneath white pajamas.  In a further search of the area, the two platoons located two 60mm mortar positions which had been recently used and which contained NVA type sandal prints.  The company (-) returned to LZ Liz, detaining four other VCS enroute.

e.     At 0830H, C/3-4 Cav, while making a sweep east of LZ Liz, located three 82mm mortar positions surrounded by eight one-man foxholes.  One enemy lay dead in the position, a victim of counter mortar fire.

9.    Results:

a.       Enemy Losses:
      (1)     KIA                                3
      (2)     WIA                               2
      (3)     VC/POW                       2
      (4)     VCS                               4
             Total                               11

b.       Friendly Losses:

                                                             WIA       DOW
          (1)  Personnel
                (a)   A/2-35 Inf                         4              0
                (b)    Recon/2-35                       1              0
                (c)     C/3-4 Cav                         1              1
                (d)   C/2-9 Arty                        4              0
                        Total                                10             1

          (2)     Equipment
                (a)     105mm How (destroyed)                   1
                (b)    105mm How (damaged)                     1
                (c)     M-16 rifle (destroyed)                        4
                (d)    M-60 MG (destroyed)                        1

10.    Summary and Analysis:

                The 2-35 Inf FSB at LZ Liz received 35-40 82mm mortar rounds from approximately five positions.  The attack was short, lasting about 10-12 minutes and was extremely accurate.  Only when the enemy tried to shift fire to new targets did the rounds fail to hit the perimeter.

                The two suspects detained by A/2-35 after the attack were interrogated and determined to be one Viet Cong and one NVA.  Information learned revealed that elements of the 219th Main Force Unit, combined with at least one NVA platoon (unit unknown) came from the west to attack US bases (LZ Liz).  The NVA platoon carried two mortars (caliber unknown).  The force later coerced twelve indigents to carry dead and wounded from the battle area.  One of the prisoners detained by A/2-35 reported he carried two enemy dead and two wounded to the west (location unknown) from where they were later moved south.

                Since there was no other contact in the area of operation on that evening it can be concluded that the above force was the one which attacked LZ Liz with mortars.  It is highly probable that the high volume of fire and quick reaction to the attack aborted a ground attack by the enemy.

11.    Lessons Learned

a.     Item:  Weapons sight for crew served weapons (starlight scope)

b.     During the attack the 106 RR sections were used very effectively against the enemy mortar positions;  however, they could have been more effectively used had they been able to employ the starlight scope for crew served weapons.  Due to the positioning of the 106RR they were able to adjust "burst on target” to bring effective fire against the enemy mortars.  Of course they could not fire until after the enemy fired and then it was extremely difficult to determine exactly where the mortars were located.  The tube flashes are a “dead giveaway” but they last only an instant.  Had the 106 RR had the starlight weapons sight, they might have been able to locate the enemy positions prior to the enemy’s initial round but even more important is the fact that mortar flashes seen through a starlight scope are easily identifiable and readily located.  Once the enemy fires one round, the starlight scopes could be used to bring extremely effective fire directly into the enemy mortar position perhaps enabling the 106 RR to obain a “first round hit”.  Even if the 106 RR does not obtain a first round hit with the starlight scope, the first round will be close enough to upset the mortar  or the sights and at least cause the crew to take cover thus preventing accurate mortar fire.

c.     Recommend that starlight scopes be made immediately available to employ on 106 RR as a night firing device.

 

                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                CLNTON E. GRANGER
                                                                                                                LTC, Infantry
                                                                                                                Commanding

 


BEN G. CROSBY
MAJ, Infantry



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