Combat Operation After Action Report, LZ LITTLE HORN

HEADQUARTERS, TASK FORCE TRAVIS

AVDDA_LZLH

SUBJECT: COMBAT OPERATION AFTER ACTION REPORT

THRU:COMMANDING OFFICER

TASK FORCE TRAVIS

ATTN: AVBDF_CO

TO:COMMANDING GENERAL

TASK FORCE TRAVIS

ATTN: AVBDF_CG

Little Horn

1. (C) NAME OR IDENTIFY AND/OR TYPE OF OPERATION: DELAWARE: SEARCH AND DESTROY OPERATION?

2. (C) DATE OF OPERATION: 151200 JULY1968 TO 201400 JULY 1968. ?

3. (C) LOCATION: LZ LITTLE BIG HORN (F37456573), A SHAU VALLEY AREA

4. (C) COMMAND HEADQUARTERS: TF TRAVIS

5. (C) REPORTING OFFICERS: COS OF 1ST BN 27TH INF; 198TH LIB; 1ST BN, 6TH INF; 2ND BN, 7TH CAV;

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HEADQUARTERS, task force travis

AVDDA_LZLH
SUBJECT: Combat Operation After Action Report

THRU:Commanding OfficerTASK FORCE TRAVISATTN: AVBDF_CO
TO: Commanding GeneralTASK FORCE TRAVISATTN: AVBDF_CG

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1. (c) Name or identify and/or type of operation: DELAWARE: Search and Destroy operation?2. (c) Date of Operation: 151200 July1968 to 201400 July 1968. ?3. (c) Location: LZ little big horn (F37456573), A SHAU valley area
4. (c) Command Headquarters: TF TRAVIS

6. (C) JOINT TASK FORCE ORGANIZATION:?

B, 1ST BATTALION, 27TH INFANTRY (25TH INF)

A, 1ST BATTALION, 6TH INFANTRY (23RD INF)?

A, 2ND BATTALION, 7TH CAVALRY (1ST CAV)

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7. (C) SUPPORTING FORCES:?

A. 159TH MEDICAL DETACHMENT PROVIDED EVACUATION AND MEDICAL TREATMENT TO CASUALTIES

C. GROUND DEFENSIVE COMMAND - COORDINATION OF SUPPORTING FORCES

D. 77TH ARTY 105 MM HOWITZERS PROVIDED BLOCKING FIRES

E. 20TH ARTY 8 INCH GUNS PROVIDED BLOCKING FIRES

F. 15TH SUPPLY SERVICE BN PROVIDED RESUPPLY OF AMMUNITION AND RATIONS, INCLUDING WATER SUPPLY

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8. (C) INTELLIGENCE: THE TERRAIN IN THE AO IS PRIMARILY PLAIN, HILLS WITH 100-160 HEIGHT RANGE, RIDGES, CONDENSED TREES AND BUSHES, SWAMPS, LARGE AND SMALL LAKES AND SAND FIELDS. TREES ARE 100 – 150 FEET TALL 12 TO 30 INCHES IN DIAMETER. SCATTERED THROUGHOUT THE ARE NUMEROUS SMALLER TREES. THE UPPER GROUND CONSISTS OF FIELDS WITH GRASS 2.5 – 3 FEET TALL AND MIXED WOODS.

WEATHER AT THE TIME WAS MOSTLY MODERATE AND HUMID. THE AREA WAS HEAVILY OVERCAST THOUGH GROUND VISIBILITY WAS NOT LIMITED. THERE HAD BEEN NUMEROUS HEAVY AND LIGHT RAINS.

THE ENEMY WAS ESTIMATED TO BE POSSIBLE ELEMENTS OF 160TH BN VC 300 -500 MEN STRONG ACTING IN SMALL GROUPS THROUGHOUT THE AO.

DURING THE OPERATION THE ENEMY DID NOT SHOW AGGRESSIVE MANEUVERS TOWARD 1ST PLATOON, POSSIBLY BECAUSE LARGE US FORCES CONCENTRATION IN THE ARE AND CONSTANT AIR ACTIONS OF THE SUPPORTING UNITS. THE ENEMY EMPLOYED LIGHT WEAPONS IDENTIFIED AS AK47, PPSH41, TYPE56 RILFLES, B-40 ROCKET LAUNCHERS AND UNIDENTIFIED SNIPER RIFLES.

THE ENEMY LOSSES TO VC ARE ESTIMATED AT 10-20 KIA. IT IS ESTIMATED THAT 50 ADDITIONAL PERSONNEL WERE WOUNDED IN COMBAT AND DURING ARTILLERY BARRAGE.

9. (C) MISSION: TF TRAVIS IS TO CONDUCT SEARCH AND DESTROY OPERATION IN THE PLANNED AO TO LOCATE AND DESTROY ENEMY FORCES AND INSTALLATIONS.

10. (C) CONCEPT OF OPERATIONS: TF TRAVIS SECURED LZ AND ESTABLISHED OP AT ABANDONED FAO POSITION AND THEN BEGAN PATROL TO SOUTH, SOUTHEAST AND SOUTHWEST BY BOUNDS OF PRESCRIBED TERRAIN. SEPARATE UNITS OF TF TRAVIS PROVIDED OP SECURITY.

11. (C) EXECUTION

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151200 PLATOON MOVES OUT TO PATROL AREA IN THE LZ. OBJECTIVE: TERRAIN RECONNAISSANCE, SECURE ROAD JUNCTION AT 405 668.

151300 ESTABLISHED DEFENSIVE PERIMETER AT 398 682 TO PROVIDE RECONNAISSANCE MISSION ON THE ROAD JUNCTION AT 405 668. COORDINATES CLARIFICATION BRIEFING.

151345 UNKNOWN TROOPS SPOTTED AT THE MAIN BUNKER’S ROOF CLOSE TO OP ACCOMPANIED BY A CONSTRUCTION TRUCK. PATROL LED BY SGT CORSAK SENT TO RECON NEW PLATOON OBJECTIVE AT HILL SLOPE NE TO THE ROAD JUNCTION AT 405 668.

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151420 PATROL LED BY SP4 HORN RECONED DECONSTRUCTION WORKS ARE MADE BY LOCALS WITH CB’S ATTACHED. DUE TO THE SPECS OF THE MISSION NO CONTACT HAS BEEN MADE.

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151600 GROUP OF UNMANNED BUNKERS FOUND ON A ROAD JUNCTION. BOOBY TRAPS FOUND AT THE CROSSROAD IN 3 CONCRETE BUNKERS GUARDING THE ROAD. ALL CLEARED BY SSG POPOV TEAM. BUNKERS DESTROYED WITH C-4 CHARGES ON PLATOON WITHDRAWAL FROM THE AREA.

151620 ASSEMBLED AT 5 ROADS JUNCTION. POSITION CLARIFICATION PATROLS SENT.

151650 CA HO LAKE POSITIONED ON NW. PATROLS LED BY SGT STOTSKI AND SGT TORRES SENT TO CHECK HILL 152.7 SLOPE FOR ESTABLISHING NDP.

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151655 INDIGENOUS TRANSPORT SPOTTED WITH 2 LOCAL POPULATION.

151800 2 WATCHTOWERS FOUND, SEARCHED AND CLEARED BY 2ND SQUAD.

151850 SECURED HATCH BOB HILL AT 384 6685. HIDDEN TUNNEL ENTRANCE FOUND AND CLEARED BY ASSIGNED PERSONNEL. TUNNEL CONSTRUCTED ON THE S SLOPE OF THE HILL, CONSISTS OF 4 METER TUNNEL, 6 SQ. METER BUNKER. NO DATA OR EQUIPMENT PRESENT.

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151920 ESTABLISHED POSITION ON HATCH BOB HILL AT 384 6685. STATUS UPDATE SENT TO HQ.

151930 NDP SECURED AND ESTABLISHED.

152230 LIGHT BEAM OF THE UNKNOWN ORIGIN, COULD BE POSSIBLY IDENTIFIED AS HIT AND GOING DOWN AIRCRAFT SPOTTED IN N DIRECTION. OSCAR VICTOR BRIEFED ON THIS MATTER.

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160700 NO ENEMY ACTIVITY AT NIGHT.

160800 MOVED FROM NDP TO THE RESUPPLY POINT AT OP

161045 ARRIVED AT OP

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161230 RESUPPLY FINISHED. MOVING TO ROAD JUNCTION AT 405 668. OBJECTIVE IS TO SECURE RIVER CROSSINGS AT 314 658 AND 413 650 AND SECURE ABC HILL.

161330 DUE TO POOR ACCURACY OF THE MAP PROVIDED, PLATOON, POINTED BY PVT HILLYS IS TRAPPED IN A SWAMP AREA IN 406 685.

161400 PLATOON ORDERED TO MOVE W TO LOCATE TRAIL LEADING TO ROAD 12.

161430 OBJECTIVE DIRECTION GAINED. ROAD 12 JUNCTION SECURED.

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161630 NO RIVER CROSSING FOUND AT 414 658

161700 PROCEEDED TO 413 650

161820 HIDDEN ARTILLERY DUGOUTS FOUND AT 407 663. NO WEAPONS OR EQUIPMENT PRESENT. 152MM IMPROVISED EXPLOSION DEVICE PLACED ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE ROAD APPROACHING THE POSITION. IED DEFUSED AND MARKED FOR FURTHER ENGINEER’S ACTIONS BY SSG POPOV.

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161945 SECURED RIVER CROSSING WITH WOODEN BRIDGE AT 413 650. NO ENEMY PRESENCE OR ACTIVITY.

162020 ENEMY BUNKER WITH WOODEN LADDERS SECURED AT 420 649

162100 OLD FRENCH COMMAND BUNKER FOUND AT 428 653 HILL ABC

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162115 PRELIMINARY ATTACK BRIEFING. SUPPORT TEAM LED BY 2LT FOSTERS OBJECTIVE: SUPPORT THE MANEUVER TEAM FROM THE FRONT OF THE MAIN BUNKER LED BY SSG POPOV. MANEUVER TEAM OBJECTIVE: ATTACK BUNKER FROM THE LEFT, CLEAR AND SECURE POSITION.

162130 BUNKER STORMED, CLEARED AND SECURED. BUNKER IS 50 METERS WIDTH, REINFORCED CONCRETE 50 CM ROOF AND WALLS, UTILITIES FOR THE HIGH LEVEL COMMANDING STAFF. ALL EQUIPMENT MISSING, NO MAPS OR ANY DATA OF THAT KIND. 6 BOOBY TRAPS DEFUSED AND DEMOLISHED BY HAND GRENADES BY MANEUVER TEAM. RECOMMENDED ACTIONS: SEND ENGINEERS TO DESTROY THE BUNKER SINCE IT COULD BE USED TO BLOCK OUR TROOPS MOVEMENT ALONG THE ROAD DUE TO THE DOMINATION POSITION AND HIGH LEVEL OF PROTECTION.

162210 ESTABLISHED NDP AT HILL ABC.

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170700 NO ENEMY ACTIVITY AT NIGHT.

170805 3 INCOMING UNDERSHOOT MORTAR ROUNDS IN S FRONT OF THE BUNKER. NO KIA OR WIA

170830 VISUAL CONTACT WITH THE ENEMY RECON TROOPS 150 M TO SE. POSSIBLE STRENGTH IS 10 MEN, COULD BE ALSO IDENTIFIED AS ENEMY MORTAR TEAM. 5 ENEMY TROOPS KILLED BY INTENSIVE AUTOMATIC FIRE OF THE PLATOON. NO US KIA OR WIA. ADDITIONAL SECURITY ESTABLISHED AT HILL ABC.

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171050 ENEMY FORTIFIED POSITION FOUND AT 431 6525. SEARCH AND DESTROY PATROL LED BY SGT TORRES SENT.

171100 AMMO DUMP FOUND AND DESTROYED AT ENEMY POSITIONS. CONCRETE BUNKER 100M IN DIAMETER FOUND 4300 6550

171200 5 HE ROUNDS REQUESTED FROM RED LEG TO DEMOLISH ENEMY CONCRETE BUNKER.

171205 FIRE MISSION SUCCESSFUL.

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171230 PROCEEDED BY THE ROAD #6.

171300 LEAD POINT SPOTTED VARIOUS IDE PLANTED ON THE ROAD. MISCELLANEOUS DEMOLITION AND MINING CLEARING ACTIONS PERFORMED BY SSG POPOV AND SGT TORRES. MESSAGE TO HQ SENT TO PROVIDE FURTHER DETAILED MINE CLEANING ACTIONS.

171330 MEDIUM SIZED BUNKER SPOTTED BY RECON TEAM AT 436 654. BUNKER MARKED FOR ARTILLERY BARRAGE.

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171430 RECON TEAM CONSISTING OF SGT TORRES, SP4 VAN YORK, SP4 HILLSBERRY SENT FOR POSITION CLARIFICATION LOCATED SMALL BUNKER AT 445 667 WHICH WAS CLEARED BY PLATOON. ENEMY KIA 15, LARGE AMMO DUMP DEMOLISHED. NO US KIA OR WIA.

171700 RIVER CROSSING AT 4485 673 MISSING, NO PRESENCE OF STRUCTURES OF ANY KIND AND ENEMY ACTIVITY.

171800 DESTROYED RIVER CROSSING FOUND AT 438 676.

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171900 FOUND DESTROYED RIVER CROSSING AT 432 675.

171930 RIVER CROSSING ON THE ROAD #8 IS INTACT AND RELIABLE TO MEDIUM WEIGHT VEHICLES.

172000 CONTINUED PATROL BY ROAD #A5

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172045 ENEMY HIDDEN BUNKER LOCATED AT 416 6805. SP4 HORN MEDIUM WIA BY BOOBY TRAP. BUNKER CLEARED AND DEMOLISHED BY C-4.

172130 ESTABLISHED NDP AT HILL 425 696.

172150 122 MM IDE FOUND AND DEFUSED BY SSG POPOV.

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172200 SIGNAL FLARE OF UNKNOWN ORIGIN SPOTTED.

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180550 NO ENEMY ACTIVITY AT NIGHT.

180900 HQ UPDATED OBJECTIVE: CLEAR RESERVE AIRFIELD AND BUILDINGS, INFILTRATED BY VC FORCES ON 10/07/1968.

181030 AIRFIELD CLEARANCE AND SECURITY STARTED.

181045 SECURED TRUCK DEPOT. NO ENEMY ACTIVITY. ALL EQUIPMENT MISSING, VARIOUS EVIDENCE OF VC PRESENCE. DEPOT CLEARED OF ALL IED’S AND BOOBY TRAPS.

181100 PROCEEDED TO THE WATCHTOWERS AND RUNWAYS SECTOR.

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1115 SPLIT IN TWO TEAMS TO SECURE WATCHTOWER #1. SUPPORT TEAM LED BY 2LT FOSTERS GAINED HILL OBSERVING THE AREA. MANEUVER TEAM LED BY SSG POPOV SECURED THE WATCHTOWER #1. NO ENEMY PRESENCE, VARIOUS BOOBY TRAPS AND DESTROYED NAVIGATION EQUIPMENT.

181120 ARVN RANGER JEEP WITH 2 PASSENGERS OBSERVED. SP4 HORN CHECKED ALL PAPERS AND BRIEFED ON THEIR LOCATION AND TASK. ARVN COLONEL PROVIDED MACV PASS TO THE AREA AND CLASSIFIED DIRECTIVES.

181140 WATCHTOWER #2 SECURED AND CLEARED OF BOOBY-TRAPS.

181155 WATCHTOWER #3 SECURED.

181210 WATCHTOWER #4 SECURED.

181230 CLEARED RIDGES IN 409 682.

181300 REACHED RESUPPLY POINT.

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181400 PVT RAYN (USA), PVT FROST (USMC), PVT PHILLIPS (USMC) MIA. 2 HOURS OF SEARCH PATROLS PROVIDED NO INFORMATION. INTEL SENT TO REGIMENTAL HQ FOR FURTHER INVESTIGATION.

181810 PROCEEDED FROM THE RESUPPLY POINT TO NDP POSITION IN AREA 391 695

181840 LARGE ENTRENCHED POSITION LOCATED AT 392 692. BOOBY TRAPS REMOVED, POSITION IS MARKED FOR ARTILLERY BARRAGE.

181900 PATROLLING TEAM LOCATES HILL AT 391 695 WITH HEAVILY ENTRENCHED DEFENSIVE POSITIONS, HOSPITAL BUNK, REST FACILITIES.

181915 HILL AT 391 695 SECURED AND CLEARED.

181930 NDP POSITION ESTABLISHED

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190700 NO ENEMY PRESENCE AT NIGHT

190830 MOVED TO THE RESUPPLY POINT

191030 CIB AWARD CEREMONY

191045 PROCEEDED TO PATROL AREA OF OPERATIONS. OBJECTIVE – SECURE COMMAND HILL

191100 ROAD JUNCTION AT 406 680 SECURED.

191200 ROAD JUNCTION AT 416 681 SECURED.

191300 OBSERVED ENEMY OPTICAL SIGHT BLINK AT 425 694. NO VISUAL CONTACT WITH THE ENEMY.

191400 ESTABLISHED SECURE POSITION ON HILL AT 425 696.

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191500 ESTABLISHED POSITION AT HILL 430 702 FOR DETAILED RECON OF COMMAND HILL.

191530 SECURED HILL AT 4285 707. PFC GREEN IS SHOT THOUGH HIS WEBBING BY AN UNIDENTIFIED SNIPER.

191600 SECURED SANDY RIDGE AT 432 711.

191630 RECON MISSION SHOWED NO CLEAR ENEMY PRESENCE, 2 POSSIBLE ENEMY GROUND TROOPS

191715 STARTED ATTACK ON COMMAND HILL. NO KIA/WIA. ENEMY FLED POSITIONS. LOCATED LARGE 3 STORY BUNKER AT COMMAND HILL, PARTIALLY DESTROYED ON THE LEFT FLANK BY MORTAR BARRAGE. THE HILL PROVIDES EXCELLENT POINT FOR OBSERVING AREA OF OPERATIONS AND COULD PROVIDE EFFICIENT SUPPORT FOR OUR TROOPS IN THE AREA.

191750 ESTABLISHED SECURE POSITION AT COMMAND HILL

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191800 PATROL TEAM (SGT TORRES, SP4 VAN YORK, SP4 HILLSBERRY) SEND TO RECON HILL 170,5. DESTROYED BUNKERS LOCATED. SP4 HILLSBERRY GOT TRAPPED IN MAIN BUNKER REMAINS, SUCCESSFULLY SECURED AND TESTED BY SP4 FALCONNEN.

191830 PROCEEDED TO NDP AT HILL 428 719.

191915 ESTABLISHED NDP AT 428 719.

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200600 HEAVY RAIN STARTED. MOST OF THE FOXHOLES ARE FLOODED.

200700 HQ REPORTED OVERWHELMING ENEMY TROOPS SPOTTED IN THE AREA.

200830 RECEIVED ORDERS TO PROCEEDED TO OP.

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200900 IED LOCATED, DEFUSED AND MARKED. IN THE AREA 429 709.

201120 HILL 425 696 SECURED.

201230 IED COMPOSED OF 152 MM CHARGE LOCATED IN BUSH AREA IN 405 685. DEFUSED AND DEMOLISHED.

201400 PLATOON ARRIVED AT OP.

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12. (C) LESSONS LEARNED

A. INFANTRY TROOPS WITH HEAVY LOAD ARE ABLE TO CROSS 10+ KM PER DAY SUFFERING NO CASUALTIES WITH NO ADDITIONAL RECON SUPPORT, MAINTAINING HIGH LEVEL OF POINT AND TRAIL SECURITY, EVEN FOR FRESH TROOPS, WHICH WAS PROVED BY PVT HILLYS.

B. CHAIN OF RATIONS SUPPLY SHOULD BE SUBJECT OF A DETAILED EXPERTISE OF HIGHER AUTHORITIES. THE RATIONS PROVIDED WERE NOT MATCHED WITH ANY KNOWN ISSUE STANDARDS THOUGH PROVIDING SUFFICIENT NUTRITION. TROOPS SHOULD BE NOTICED ON SUCH FACTS AND BE AWARE OF HIGH COMPETITION LEVEL FOR ACQUIRING MOST SHORTFALL ITEMS.

C. NCO’S SHOULD TAKE EXTENSIVE ENGLISH WRITING TEST AT 90TH RB.

D. ALL INFANTRY TROOPS DEPLOYING TO THE BAO TRAI AREA SHOULD TAKE ENGINEERING TRAINING. ADDITIONAL TRAINING OF FIELD TROOPS IS GREATLY NEEDED. BASIC COMMANDS AND TACTICS UNDERSTANDING IS BELOW AVERAGE.

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13. (C) COMMENDATIONS

A. TO ISSUE LETTER OF APPRECIATION TO SSG POPOV FOR EXTREME MINING CLEARING AND IED LOCATING SKILLS AND DEDICATION TO DUTY AND TENACITY UNDER EXTREMELY ADVERSE CONDITIONS.

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B. TO PROMOTE PVT DEXTOR, FLACO AND PVT HILLYS, ANDREW TO THE RANK OF PRIVATE FIRST CLASS (E-3) FOR EXCELLENT STEADFASTNESS AND ABILITIES (COMMENTATED BY SSG POPOV)

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14. (C) INCLOSURES

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A. MORNING REPORTS OF HQ, 1ST SQUAD AND 2ND SQUAD, 1ST PLATOON

B. GUARD DUTY ROOSTERS

C. REPORT PRINTED COPY

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SIGNED

2LT PAUL J. FOSTERS

COMMANDING