Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Battle of Xa Cam My. Is this a warning from the past with regard to Company Landing Teams?

Your assignment for the week.  Study the Battle of Xa Cam My and compare contrast that to the planning that is being done for distributed operations/Company Landing Teams/Expeditionary Squads.

As far as the video above?  Give yourself a free hour and half, make sure you have your favorite adult beverage nearby and ignore the style of the speaker.  I'll never understand how people with absolutely riveting information can present it in a style that makes you want to punch walls.  Not because of what's being said but how.

If you're able to make it past the style of the speaker and can dig into what he's saying then you might come to the same conclusion that I have.  We're seeing rehashed Vietnam concepts that are being dusted off and made to fit the times we're in.  I really think someone is making a terrible mistake and I continue to marvel that some maverick Colonel isn't poking holes in this pipe dream.

Anyway, here's the cliff notes if you're too busy to spend an hour watching the vid.  via Wikipedia...
Commencing on March 29, 1966, Operation Abilene was a U.S. search and destroy mission through Phuoc Tuy Province, targeting the 274th and 275th Regiments of the Viet Cong 5th Division and their base areas in the May Tao Secret Zone.[2] It involved two brigades of the US 1st Infantry Division, while the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment and 161st Battery, Royal New Zealand Artillery were also attached.[3]However, the Viet Cong largely avoided battle and contact with the sweeping US brigades was light.[4]
Major General William E. DePuy, as commander of the US 1st Infantry Division, subsequently planned to lure out the Viet Cong by using Charlie Company, US 2/16th Infantry Battalion as a bait. Once the Viet Cong attacked the isolated company, DePuy planned to rush in other rifle companies to destroy the Viet Cong. The next phase of the operation began on April 10, 1966, with soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division moving into positions between Saigon and Vung Tau in search of the elusive Viet Cong D800 Battalion. Unlike previous operations, Charlie Company numbered only 134 men because of casualties, leave and other reasons. In addition to the lack of numbers, the company was also cut off from Alpha and Bravo Companies.
And then this.
On the following day as Charlie Company moved through the Courtenay Rubber Plantation, they encountered sporadic fire with Viet Cong snipers attempting to knock the Americans off one by one. The sporadic fire allowed the Viet Cong to maneuver around the outnumbered Americans. By 14:00, VC officers were spotted around the positions of Charlie Company, directing the encirclement of U.S positions.
By that time it had become clear that the Viet Cong had taken the bait. However DePuy's gamble on other rifle companies arriving in time was thwarted by the thick jungle.
To minimize casualties and break the ambush, Charlie Company formed a circular perimeter with interlocking fire. The situation deteriorated as Charlie Company found itself increasingly isolated with only a distant hope of reinforcement. This was made worse when misdirected artillery fired upon Charlie Company instead of the aggressive VC forces.
The fighting continued well into the night with the desperate Charlie Company throwing all it had at the aggressive Viet Cong using tear gas grenades. However, their efforts were not enough to stop the Viet Cong from breaking through their lines. Through the night, small units from the Viet Cong D800 Battalion breached the American perimeter, retrieving their own casualties and slitting the throats of wounded U.S soldiers along the way.[citation needed]
After five hours of brutal fighting, what was left of Charlie Company formed a tight perimeter, protected by a barrage of artillery fire which came down at a rate of five or six rounds per minute. By 07:00 on April 12, the Viet Cong had disengaged from the battle before other U.S units could arrive.
An Infantry Company from the Big Red One was used as bait to lure the Viet Cong forces into a fight.  Instead of being bait they were isolated and practically destroyed in place.

This unit suffered 80% casualties rendering it combat ineffective even in the old Soviet style order of battle.

Some jack wagon asked the Senior why we were getting massive doses of Marine Corps history during boot camp.  Instead of getting smoked the surprisingly calm answer was so that we'll know what to do, what's expected and what not to do in the future.

With that in mind do you still think Company Landing Teams are a good idea?

No comments :

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.