The 1/92nd Field Artillery
Association - Vietnam



Operational Reports/Lessons Learned

1 Feb '68 to 30 Apr '68

APO 96318

AVGG-BJ-C                                            5 May 1968

SUBJECT: Operational Report of the 1st Battalion, 92d Artillery for Period Ending 30 April 1968 RCS CSFOR-65 (R1)


1. (C) General

a. The 1st Battalion, 92d Artillery remains attached to the 52d Artillery Group, operating primarily in a general support/reinforcing role throughout the Central Highlands. Support was provided to all brigades of the 4th Inf Div, the 173d Abn Bde, the 3rd ARVN Cavalry Squadron and the Pleiku and Kontum defense.

b. During this period all units were engaged daily in combat operations, moving by road into 12 firing positions and by air (CH47 and CH54 helicopters) into 5 firing positions.

c. The M-18 Field Artillery Digital Automatic Computer (FADAC) was introduced into the battalion fire direction operations upon issue on 13 March 1968. To date, the computer has proven reliable and relatively maintenance free. The skill level of the operators within this organization has not reached the desired level. Therefore, the manual system of fire direction, with dual checks remains the primary means of control. It is anticipated that with the arrival of stateside school trained operators and continual organizational on-the-job training the desired level of operator proficiency will be attained during the next report period.

d. Shell M449 was fired for the first time by this organization on 26 March 1968. Twenty four rounds were fired at a range of 9400 meters. The forward observer who requested the rounds reported that they were on target with excellent coverage and effect. They were fired in defense of Fire Support Base 14, coordinates YA 939912 where Company A, 3d Battalion, 8th Infantry and Battery A, 6th Battalion, 29th Artillery were being assaulted by two battalions of enemy forces, supported by flame throwers, rockets and mortars. 135 enemy dead were counted on the battlefield in the target area. No distribution of kills has been made for the various weapons systems and munitions employed in the battle.

e. The meteorological section continues to provide the Dak To area with complete meteorological data and air weather service and visual meteorological service in the Dak Pek area.

f. Battery C fired the 150,000 round in Viet Nam for the 1st Battalion, 92d Artillery on 12 April 1968.

2. (C) Intelligence

a. In preparation for the forthcoming wet monsoon season, base area studies were requested from the Combined Intelligence Center Vietnam (CICV) to provide an information base. Upon receipt of these studies, a terrain analysis of the battalion area of operations was conducted to determine avenues of enemy movement based upon trafficability, concealment and base areas suitable for use during the wet season. Additional imputs in form of pattern analysis of enemy troop movements during the months of May to September 1967 were requested from CICV to further identify probable enemy methods of operation and courses of action for this period.

b. Base area studies were also used to determine the duration and availability of weather suitable for target acquisition flights by O-1 fixed wing aircraft. It is significant that although weather conditions during the wet monsoon will reduce the flying time available for aerial target acquisition, only a few areas are inaccessible during the monsoon. Weather conditions will be extremely variable over the same general area. Detailed planning for quick and flexible response to changing weather conditions is necessary to maximize the target acquisition effort. Observers will be assigned and briefed on a primary and two alternate missions in three separate areas to insure that target acquisition missions are not aborted.

3. (C) Operations

a. The battalion is presently deployed in the 4th Inf Div area of operations as follows:

HQ/SCV         Grid ZA226535
Btry A(-)      Grid ZA22745355   General Support of Pleiku Defense
Btry A(FWD)    Grid YB94566849   OP CON 6/29 Arty
Btry B         Grid YA93909123   GS/R 2/9 Arty
Btry C         Grid ZA02589352   GS/R 2/9 Arty

b. The firing batteries continue to be highly mobile because of the support of the CH47 Chinook and CH54 Skycrane. A new Skycrane unit, the 355th Avn Co, is now located nearby in Pleiku, which increases the responsiveness of aviation support.

4. (C) Operations and Training Activities

a. Plans

(1) After a detailed study of operational problems encountered by this battalion during May to September 1967, Operations Plan Soggy Satan was prepared and implemented. Soggy Satan is a three phase operation designed to reduce the effects of heavy rains upon medium artillery units tactical operations. Particular attention is given to mobility, training and maintenance. Phase I, the preparation phase, has been completed. A copy of this plan is at inclosure one.

(2) In order to implement an associate battery program, wherein this unit works with Btry A, 37th ARVN Arty, the following is being developed:

(a) The establishment of a common US/ARVN flash base to facilitate registration of any US/ARVN artillery in the Pleiku area.

(b) The firing in of defensive concentrations for mutual support.

(c) The establishment of a surveyed target area to support the ARVN forward observer training program.

(d) CO - location of a US Artillery Platoon, complete with fire direction, mess and communications support with an ARVN platoon for a one week combined artillery battery operation.

(e) Maintenance classes on ARVN peculiar vehicles.

(f) Daily dissemination of meteorological messages to Btry A, 37th ARVN Arty.

(g) Combined training of air observers.

(h) The verification of survey control at all Btry A, 37th Arty firing points.

(i) The borescoping and calibration of all howitzers of Btry A, 37th Arty.

5. (C) Recapitulation of Significant Operations:

16 Feb - HQ/1/92 helped coordinate, equip and man the fire support coordination center at Kontum. During the Tet offensive it appeared that there was not an adequate system available to coordinate and control fire support in the area and to post the air advisories. A liaison party HQ/1/92 assisted in resolving the problem, finding a home for both the ARVN and US controllers. Two men and radios were lent to the effort and they remained until the center was self-sustaining.

24 Feb - A/1/92 conducted a one day artillery raid from coordinates ZA236755. Four missions were fired in support of Btry A, 4th Bn, 42d Arty, with no significant results.

24-27 Feb - HQ/1/92 conducted Operation Dai-Bac (Cannon) I, a working assistance visit to ARVN artillery in Kontum. The results of this mutually rewarding operation are at inclosure 2.

1 Mar - B/1/92 was airlifted from LZ Hambone to Dak To and then returned to Artillery Hill by road to augment the Pleiku defense.

2 Mar - A/1/92 moved by road to Plei Mrong, coords ZA11186765, GS/R 4th Bn, 42d Arty with secondary mission of GS/R to the 3d ARVN Cav Sq in defense of route QL14 between Pleiku and Kontum.

2 Mar - B/1/92 relieved A/1/92 in place at coord ZA22745355 to support the Pleiku defense.
HQ/1/92 conducted an evaluation of B/1/92 to assist them in identifying the areas that needed attention first after their extended stay on a fire base.

11 Mar - HQ/1/92 reevaluated B/1/92 and found them fit to undertake any mission.

15 Mar - C/1/92 moved by road to Kontum, enroute to Polei Kleng, spending the night at coords AR784894, GS/R 3d Bn, 319th Arty.

16 Mar - C/1/92 moved by air to Polei Kleng, coords ZA02589352, GS/R 2d Bn, 9th Arty as part of the enlargement of the fire base. Concurrently the 173 Abn Bde moved eastward out of the 4th Inf Div A.O.

27 Mar - Initiated an associate battery program with Btry A, 37th ARVN Arty.

11 APR - A/1/92 detached one platoon to Artillery Hill, coords ZA22745355 to support Pleiku Defense.
B/1/92 moved by road to Polei Kleng, enroute to fire base Bunker Hill. They spent the night at coords ZA027935, GS/R 2d Bn, 9th Arty.

12-13 APR - B/1/92 moved by air to Bunker Hill fire base, coords YA997829, GS/R 6th Bn 29th Arty. Movement of howitzers suspended o/a 1130 hours due to engine trouble. Skycrane jettisoned the second howitzer which was recovered and emplaced. All six howitzers were in place on the morning of the 13 April permitting additional support of the fire base at Polei Kleng, And interdiction of the MSR to the west and avenues of approach to Kontum/Pleiku to the south.

15-16 APR - B/1/92 moved by air to fire support base 14, coords YA93909123, GS/R 2d Bn, 9th Arty. The movement of all supporting equipment was not completed until 16 April.

16 APR - B/1/92 received 16 rounds of 75mm recoiless rifle fire which killed one man and damaged one howitzer. Hits were scored at a range of 1800 meters.
B/1/92 fired 48 rounds of direct fire and C/1/92 fired 26 rounds of counter rocket fire against the recoiless rifle.

17 APR - B/1/92 received 2 rounds 75mm recoiless rifle fire taking a second hit on the same howitzer (B6).

18 APR - A/1/92 detached one platoon to the control of the 41st Arty Group, moving by road to Binh Khe, coords BR683429, GS/R 3d Bn, 319th Arty.

19 APR - Platoon A/1/92 moved to coords BR613640 to replace heavy artillery that was being repositioned. Platoon OP CON 41st Arty Gp, attached to C/3/319 in support of the 1st Bn, 503d Inf.

23 APR - A(-) 1/92 moved by road to Artillery Hill, coords ZA22745355, to support Pleiku defense.

24 APR - Platoon A/1/92 began return trip by road, spending the night at An Khe, as guests of the 5th Bn, 22d Arty but CO-located with the 2d Bn, 17th Arty, coords BR457488, OP CON 41st Arty GP

25 APR - Platoon A/1/92 returned by road to Artillery Hill rejoining battery in defense of Pleiku, having fired 569 rounds in support of c/3/319. Platoon A/1/92 moved by road to Kontum then by air to Dak Pek. Self-sustaining platoon, augmented by AM radio and riflemen from HQ and SVC btrys, occupied coords YB9456684999, OP CON 6th Bn, 29th Arty.
HQ/1/92 inspected by representative of HQ IFForceV during practice alert. Reaction force and fire direction center found satisfactory.

27 APR - HQ/1/92 and A/1/92 evaluated by 52d Arty GP, results unknown. A/1/92 received the 'Doerfel' panoramic telescope ring modification for field testing.

29 APR - HQ/1/92 attached 2 man visual meteorological section to A/1/92 platoon at Dak Pek.
B/1/92 fired 15 Shell M449 at coords YA829907 at request of 1st Bn, 22d Inf. Shell performed as expected with no battlefield surveillance rendered as yet.

30 APR - 4 EM TDY to HQ IFForceV Arty to support training of 9th ROK Div in air movement of 155mm howitzers.

6. (C) Training

a. Replacement training has been expanded to place more emphasis on weapons familiarization, communications security and the use of chapel and dental facilities.

b. Fire direction training has been provided to Special Forces units at (?) Buk, Bu Trang and Dak Tok. Each unit is capable of setting up its own charts, conducting registrations and adjusting fire.

c. Lack of replacements for radio-teletype operators (MOS 05C) caused an on-the-job training program to be initiated. Three operators are currently in training by facilities are lacking to produced a fully qualified operator.

7. (C) Chemical - Two reports have been received of chemical munitions being captured in the area during the quarter. All personnel include their protective mask with their field gear.

8. (U) Psywar - None

9. (C) Logistics

a. To better support remote fire bases, each firing battery placed a man in training with support maintenance for qualification as an artillery mechanic. It is expected that this will result in considerably less down time for howitzers.

b. To combat restriction of monsoon rains, high demand items have been pre-positioned at the fire bases, and class V items are standing by rigged, at base camp, for immediate aerial resupply when needed.

c. To overcome what appeared to be excessive "Not In Stock" replies to valid requisitions, staff visits to support depots proved valuable. Many items peculiar to 155mm towed units were located that had been mislabeled, misplaced or unidentified.

10. Civil Affairs - Continue to contribute to local leprosarium and the TET recovery program.

11. Personnel:

a. Casualties - 2 KIA, 12 WIA

b. Losses - 190

c. Gains - 177

d. Present for duty - 564

e. Promotion allocations:

E4: 31

E5: 9

E6: 1

f. Mail: Adequate support

g. R & R quotas: 76

h. Pay: Adequate support

12. Artillery:

a. Rounds expended during this quarter:

155MM Howitzer HE 40433 PD 39741 144,008
ILL 723 MTSQ 487
SMK 2897 VT 1280
TOTAL RDS VN 105mm - 13,663


SECTION II Lessons Learned

1. (U) Personnel: None

2. (C) Operations

a. Astronomical and simultaneous observation.

(1) Observation - Conventional survey operations such as taping distances, connecting and target area survey and establishment of flash bases are normally of little value in this unconventional environment.

(2) Evaluation - If the full weight of the survey effort is given to astronomical observation and simultaneous observation, timely and accurate data can be available even before a fire base is completely occupied.

(3) Recommendation - The training effort of survey operations be weighted toward astronomical and simultaneous observation and the highest priority be given to the maintenance of the survey equipment.

b. Declination of azimuth measuring instruments.

(1) Observation - The declination constant of azimuth measuring devices varies with the position and the proximity of the pieces to the instrument on cramped fire bases.

(2) Evaluation - The establishment of a declination station within the firing battery provides the means to double check the survey operation.

(3) Recommendation - All survey parties should establish a declination station at each fire base as well as the orienting station, far end of the orienting line and the batteries center. Obviously one point can serve as more than one station.

c. Common flash bases.

(1) Observation - The establishment of a secure flash base to control registrations and yield a limited target area is normally quite difficult for one unit.

(2) Evaluation - By pooling the resources, and positions, of neighboring US and ARVN units, it is possible to adequately secure a flash base, and in some cases reduce the manpower required to operate it by one unit manning one position and the other unit a second position.

(3) Recommendation - Rather than depend on aerial observers and radar, more artillery units should look toward combing forces with neighboring units to improve registration and target collection effort.

d. Improved radio performance.

(1) Observation - The new series of FM radios are adversely effected by prolonged exposure to direct sunlight.

(2) Evaluation - By emplacing radios in the shade of under cover, with the canvas radio covers on, intermittent transmission and reception due to overheating can be eliminated or effectively reduced.

(3) Recommendation - That radios be mounted out of direct sunlight for better performance.

3. (C) Training

a. Mobility in mud.

(1) Observation - Monsoon rains pose a formidable challenge for all drivers. Experience has shown that a unit may cover only one Km an hour during the monsoon, with considerable time and effort going into recovering vehicles and towing others with track vehicles.

(2) Evaluation - The problem is not insurmountable with proper planning. An intensive and extensive driver training program is the basic step. Secondly, demonstrations and practical excersises in vehicle recovery operations contribute to more successful moves. Utilization of unserviceable cargo slings as towing devices for each vehicle is another remedy. The attachment of track vehicles to wheel vehicle convoys is also another must in the program. These steps, plus plans to shoot from any position including on the road way, should reduce the hazards of mud.

(3) Recommendation - That by the training and planning outlined above, towed artillery units prepare to minimize the effect of mud on mobility.

4. (C) Intelligence

a. Ambush Tip-Off

(1) Observations - Unexpected and unexplainable mass exodus of the population from villages on both sides of a road, away from the road, may indicate impending trouble.

(2) Evaluation - On the one occasion that such an event was observed, an ambush was sprung within the hour before the exodus could be checked out.

(3) Recommendation - That mass population movement always be considered suspect, indicating imminent enemy activity.

5. (C) Logistics

a. PM indicator

(1) Observation - Excessive gap between the top and bottom carriage of the 155mm howitzer, indicating uneven wear of the pintle bolt or carriage liner, introduced an error of some 30 mils in deflection.

(2) Evaluation - (a) Normal first and second echelon maintenance does not consider the gap between the top and bottom carriage, which should be from .003 to .005 of an inch.
(b)Adjustment of the nut on the pintle bolt is beyond first and second echelon maintenance.

(3) Recommendation - (a) That the gap between the top and bottom carriage be checked daily by the section with a feeler gauge, or calibrated substitute.

b. Old age insurance

(1) Observation - That after this unit had fired its 100,000 round maintenance problems of the howitzers accelerated. Specifically, obturator spindles, split rings, gas check pads, firing locks, sight mounts, panoramic telescopes aiming stakes and night lighting devices all became unserviceable in ever increasing numbers.

(2) Evaluation - Heavy service and remote fire bases force pre-positioning and extra stockage of parts at the firing battery to prevent excessive down-time.

(3) Recommendation - That there be at least one completely serviceable float howitzer available to each 155mm towed howitzer battalion in Viet Nam and that critical replacement parts be kept at the firing battery to combat inaccessibility due to weather, terrain or lack of aircraft.

6. (U) Organization - None

7. (U) Other - None


                              Alfred J. Cade
3 Incl                        LTC, Artillery
1. OP Plan Soggy Satan        Commanding
2. After Action Report
   Dai-Bao (Cannon)
Organizational Chart

(NOTE: Inclosures 1. and 2. were marked withdrawn-Hqs DA)


      APO 96558

2 ea. Commanding General
      APO 96375

2 ea. Commanding Officer
      52d Arty GP
      ATTN: S-3
      APO 96318

AVGG-CO (5 May 68)         1st Ind
SUBJECT: Operational Report of 1st Battalion, 92d Artillery for
Period Ending 30 April 1968 RCS CSFOR-65 (R1)

HEADQUARTERS 52d Artillery Group, APO 96318   12 May 1968

TO: Commanding General, IFFV Artillery, ATTN: ANFA-AT-D, APO 96350

1. Forwarded.

2. I Concur in the contents of basic report, and the recommendations in Section 2, Lessons Learned. With regard to paragraph 5b (3), Section 2, there is one serviceable float howitzer available in Pleiku to back up the 1-92 Artillery. The list of critical replacement parts at the battery and the battalion, and at the direct support maintenance battalion will be reviewed to select those parts which should be moved forward to provide a fast repair capability.

                        Hal E. Hallgren
                        Colonel, Artillery

AVFA-AT-D (5 May 68)         2d Ind
SUBJECT: Operational Report of the 1st Battalion, 92d Artillery for Period Ending 30 April 1968, (
RCS: CSFOR-65 (R-1)


TO: Commanding General, I Field Force Vietnam, ATTN: AVGA-GC-OT, APO 96350

1. (C) Reference paragraph 2(a)(3), section 2, page 8, Astronomical and Simultaneous Observation. Concur.

2. (C) Reference paragraph 2(b)(3), section 2, page 8, Declination of Azimuth Measuring Instruments. Non-concur. This procedure is not valid. The movement of pieces produces differences in the reaction of azimuth measuring instruments to the proximity of a metallic mass.

3. (C) Reference paragraph 2(c)(3), section 2, page 9, Common Flash Bases. Concur.

4. (C) Reference paragraph 2(d)(3), section 2, page 9, Improved Radio performance. Concur.

5. (C) Reference paragraph 3(a)(3), section 2, page 9, Mobility in Mud. Concur.

6. (C) Reference paragraph 4(a)(3), section 2, page 10, Ambush Tip-off Concur.

7. (C) Reference paragraph 5(a)(3), section 2, page 10, PM Indicator. Concur. The 6th Battalion, 84th Artillery, a new 155mm howitzer unit in IFFV Arty will be informed of this by separate action.

8. (C) Reference paragraph 5(b)(3), section 2, page 10, Old Age Insurance. Non-Concur. The Direct Support Unit has a float available for the 1st Battalion, 92d Artillery. The commander may stock PLL items at gun positions under the provisions of AR 735-35, Seasonal Requirements. The Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion, 92d Artillery will be informed of this system by separate action.


                        Gearld C. Young
                        Major, Artillery

AVFA-GC-OT  (5 May 68)             3d Ind
SUBJECT: Operational Report of 1st Battalion, 92d Artillery for
Period Ending 30 April 1968 RCS CSFOR-65 (R1)


TO: Commanding General, United States Army Vietnam, ATTN: AVHGC-DST, APO 96375



                           Robert C. Gabbard
Copy furnished             1LT, AGC
IFFORCEV Arty              Asst Adjutant General

AVHGC-DST (5 May 68)               4th Ind (U)
SUBJECT: Operational Report of 1st Battalion, 92d Artillery for
Period Ending 30 April 1968 RCS CSFOR-65 (R1)


TO: Commander in Chief, United States Army, Pacific, ATTN: GPOP-DT, APO 96558

1. This headquarters has reviewed the Operational Report-Lessons Learned for the quarterly period ending 30 April 1968 from Headquarters, 1st Battalion, 92d Artillery (A2NA) as indorsed.

2. Concur with report as submitted.


                   C. S. Nakatsukasa
                   Captain AGC
                   Assistant Adjutant General

Copy furnished:
HQ, 1st Bn, 92d Arty

GPOP-DT (5 May 68)                    (U) 5th Ind
SUBJECT: Operational Report of 1st Battalion, 92d Artillery for
Period Ending 30 April 1968, RCS CSFOR-65 (R1)


TO: Assistant Chief of Staff for Force Development, Department of the Army, Washington, D.C. 20310

This headquarters has evaluated subject report and forwarding indorsements and concurs in the report as indorsed.


                     K. F. OSBOURN
                     MAJ, AGC
                     Asst AG

1st Battalion, 92d Artillery

Inclosure 1


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