The 1/92nd Field Artillery
Association - Vietnam



Operational Reports/Lessons Learned

1 May '68 to 31 Jul '68

APO 96318

AVGG-BJ-C                                            5 May 1968

SUBJECT: Operational Report of the 1st Battalion, 92d Artillery for Period Ending 31 July 1968 RCS CSFOR-65 (R1)

See Distribution

SECTION 1. Operations: Significant Activities

a. (C) General

(1) The 1st Battalion, 92d Artillery remains attached to the 52d Artillery Group, with its tactical headquarters in Dak To, operating normally in a general support/reinforcing role throughout the central highlands.

(2) The positions and mission of the units, currently deployed throughout the 4th Infantry Division areas of operations, are:

(a) Headquarters - Grid ZB001214 - Fire Base 1, Dak To.

(b) Headquarters Rear - Grid ZA226535.

(c) Battery A - Grid YB93451875 - Fire Base 6, GS/R 6/29th Artillery.

(d) Battery B - Grid ZA151924 - Fire Base Irma J, GS/R 2/9th Artillery.

(e) Battery C - Grid AQ771182 - Ban Me Thuot, GS/R 4/42d Artillery.

(f) Service - Grid AQ226535.

(g) Metro - Grid ZA004217 - Fire Base 1 DAK TO, supports artillery and air weather service.

(3) Effective 15 June 1968, the unit began to operate under TO&E 6-425 G (see inclosure #1). The old and new authorized strengths are:

(a)   TO&E      OFF     WO     EM      TOTAL
     6-425-E    30      4      552      586
     6-425-G    37      6      555      598

(b) Assigned    31      4      526      561

(4) During this quarter all units were daily engaged in combat operations completing 15 air moves and 13 road marches into new firing positions. This made a total of 36 air moves and 74 ground moves since coming in-country in March of 1967.

(5) During this quarter 29,067 rounds were fired, or a total of 199,835 rounds fired since coming in-country. This total includes 348 rounds of Shell M449, expended on 31 missions.

(b) (C) Significant activities for the quarter were:

1 May - Btry B, evaluated by Headquarters, 52d Artillery Group.

3 May - Btry C moved by air from POLEI KLENG to FSB 15, coordinates YB855188, GS/R 6/29th Artillery. Platoon A/1/92 at DAK PEK, went under operational control of Detachment B, DAK PEK.

5 May - LTC Cade, 2Lt Petty and 2Lt Lyon assisted the 3rd ARVN Cav in repulsing an ambush on Highway 14 between PLEIKU and KONTUM. 2Lt Petty was an aerial observer and the others assisted in fire coordination. LTC Cade and 2Lt Lyon were subsequently awarded the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Silver Star for their actions.

13 May - Headquarters, Headquarters, Service and Alpha batteries received a command inspection by Headquarters, IFFV Artillery.

15 May - Btry A(-) moved by road from PLEIKU to DAK TO enroute to FSB 6. The 3rd Bn, 6th Arty then assumed the mission of Pleiku Defense and of liaison to the 3rd ARVN Cav.

16 May - Btry B took two 75mm recoiless rifle round hits on number 6 piece, which remained in action until evacuated. 53 rounds of Shell M449 were fired in defense of LZ Brillo Pad.

18 May - Btry C evaluated by Headquarters, 52d Artillery Group.

20 May - Btry A evaluated by Headquarters, 52d Artillery Group

21 May - Forward CP, HQ, 1/92 established at FSB 1, DAK TO to assist organic units and perform liaison duties for HQ, 52d Arty Gp and for Brty B, 6th Bn, 14th Arty. This move resulted in there being four firing positions, four rear areas and one forward area being maintained by the 1/92 Arty.

24 May - Platoon A/1/92 moved by air from DAK PEK to Check Point 104 on Highway 14, coordinates ZA188993, DS of the 2/1st Cav for highway security. Move completed by road from DAK TO on 26 May.

25 May - Btry A(-) and Btry C fired 433 rounds, including 50 Shell M449 in defense of FSB 15 and 29. Firecrackers credited with breaking up the attack.

27 May - Btry B, FSB 14, lost one howitzer, one water trailer and took two hits on the fire direction center from 75mm recoiless rifle. Battery delivered 151 rounds of counter-battery fire during the battle.

28 May - Platoon A/1/92 closed at DAK PEK, by air, with one more gun from FSB 6. Due to conflict with the requirements of Task Force Matthews, at the close of 28 May one gun was in DAK PEK, one in DAK TO and one at CP 104.

30 May - Platoon A/1/92 closed at DAK PEK, coordinates YB958684, GS/R 6/29th Arty in support of Task Force Cherokee II, composed primarily of the 3rd Bde, 101st Abn Div, with the 2nd Bn, 319th Arty.

1 June - Btry A, DAK PEK, changed to GS, Free World Forces as 101st Abn departed.

5 June - LTC Jesmond D. Balmer assumed command of 52d Arty GP form COL Hal Hallgren.

7 June - LTC Henry E. Strickland Jr. assumed command of the 1st Bn, 92d Arty from LTC Alfred J. Cade.

15 June - Btry B moved 4 guns by air from FSB 14 to Bunker Hill, coordinates YA996825, GS/R 2/9th Arty. HQ/1/92 now manned the fire directions centers on FSB 6 and Bunker Hill.

17 June - Btry C moved by air from FSB 15 to FSB 1, DAK TO, coordinates ZB004215, GS/R 6/29th Arty. Because of a shortage of air assets one gun and the co-located radar did not close at DAK TO until 19 June.

20 June - Platoon B/1/92 moved from FSB 14 by air to Polei Kleng and thence by road to KONTUM, enroute Pleiku.

21 June - Platoon B/1/92 moved by road from KONTUM to Artillery Hill, PLEIKU, to assist in the Pleiku Defense (coordinates ZA22745355).

1 July - Btry B(-) departed Bunker Hill by air for POLEI KLENG to FSB THUNDER, coordinates ZA147897, GS/R 2/9th Arty.

7 July - Btry B(-) moved by road from POLEI KLENG to FSB THUNDER, coordinates ZA147897, GS/R 2/9th Arty, pending construction of FSB MURIEL.

10 July - Btry B(-) fired demonstration for forward observers of 3rd Bde, 4th Inf Div. During the demonstration 3 Shell M449 were fired at the same point, the first two of which functioned well. The third round was a dud, the first malfunction observed in 348 rounds fired. A patrol from the 1st Bn, 14th Inf was unable to locate the round on 11 July.

13 July - Btry C moved by air from DAK TO to the Special Forces Camp at DAK SEANG, coordinates YB902409, assumed mission was (?) 42nd ARVN Regt.

16 July - Btry C(-) moved by air from DAK SEANG to YB906452, CO-located with HQ, 42nd ARVN Regt. Battery supported 4 CIDG companies and the 2nd Bn, 42nd ARVN Regt in searching an area vicinity coordinates YB9749 to 9947 for a reported 12 to 40 tons of munitions. 883 rounds were fired in support of the operation. Target acquisition, aerial observation and liaison was provided to the 42nd ARVN Regt by HQ/1/92 Arty.

16 July - Btry B(-) moved by road from FSB THUNDER to FSB MURIEL, coordinates ZA137913, GS/R 2/9th Arty.

21 July - One gun A/1/92 moved by air from DAK PEK to FSB 6.

22 July - Two guns A/1/92 moved by air from DAK PEK to FSB 6. Move not completed due to weather and limited aircraft support.

23 July - Btry A closed at FSB 6 from DAK PEK, GS/R 6/29th Arty.

23 July - Platoon B/1/92 moved by road to coordinates AR776439 to practice special munitions demonstration for II CTZ. 8 Shell M449 functioned well. Platoon returned to Artillery Hill for the night.

24 July - Platoon B/1/92 returned by road to demonstration firing point. Demonstration postponed due to weather. Platoon returned to Artillery Hill.

24 July - Btry C moved by road from DAK TO to Artillery Hill, PLEIKU, coordinates ZA22535373, GS Pleiku Defense.

25 July - Btry C moved by road from PLEIKU to BAN ME THUOT, coordinates AQ88(9?)015, GS Free World Forces, priority of fire to the 4/42d Arty.

27 July - 6/14th Arty took operational control of B/1/92.

27 July - 5/22d Arty took operational control of C/1/92.

27 July - Btry C moved by road to coordinates AQ771182, GS Free World Forces, priority of fire to 4/42d Arty.

28 July - Platoon B/1/92 moved by road from Artillery Hill to FSB MURIEL, coordinates ZA137913, to reunite battery, GS/R 4/42d Arty.

29 July - Btry B moved by air and road from FSB MURIEL to FSB IRMA J, coordinates ZA151924, GS/R 2/9th Arty.

29 July - Btry C mission changed to GS/R 4/42d Arty.

2. (U) Section 2, Lessons Learned: Commander's Observations, Evaluation, and Recommendations.

a. Personnel: None

b. Operations:

(1) Extraction of water from hydrogen.

(a) OBSERVATION. Meteorological sections are constantly plagued by water mixing with the hydrogen that inflates sounding balloons.

(b) EVALUATION. Due to atmospheric conditions, water invariably forms inside the hydrogen gas cylinders. To reduce the amount of hydrogen required to inflate the sounding balloon and to reduce the possibility of the balloon bursting from the atmosphere heated water, the water should be drawn from the hydrogen during the inflation process. Although no condensor is issued, the following method may be used to draw the water out of the hydrogen during inflation (refer to attached sketch). Take one piece of 3 inch or larger pipe, 20 inches long, and seal both ends. Drill a ½ inch hole approximately 4 inches from each end and weld into each hole a 6 inch length of ½ inch pipe (outer diameter). Drill a hole in one end of the 3 inch pipe and weld in a drain cock. Attach or weld on a weight to the cylinder. Attach the inflating hose of the TM Q-3 manifold to one of the ½ inch pipes, and the hose of the inflation nozzle to the other ½ inch pipe. Submerge the pipe apparatus (condensor) in a drum of cold water and feed the gas into the balloon. After inflation, drain out the condensed water.

(c) RECOMMENDATION. That all meteorological units should consider purifying hydrogen for inflating sounding balloons through a condensation process. (See Incl 2.)

(2) Utilization of terminal box TA 125/GT.

(a) OBSERVATION. Standard terminal strips (TM-184) are not effective in high humidity and wet monsoon areas.

(b) EVALUATION. Standard terminal strips are often affected by moisture and can accommodate only 7 lines. Terminal Box TA 125/GT with a water tight seal, and accommodations for 12 lines makes an excellent all weather terminal strip.

(c) RECOMMENDATION. That those units authorized only TA-184 terminal strips acquire 18 terminal boxes TA 125/GT, allocating 10 to Battalion Communications and 2 each to A, B, C and Service Batteries to insure continuous communications.

(3) Dangerous sandbags.

(a) OBSERVATION. The new green plastic sandbags, FSN 8105-926-2035, (Bag, Sand Poly) are not safe to use in most construction work.

(b) EVALUATION. The new green plastic sandbags have been used to form low bunker walls and to protect building walls. In both cases, after the first substantial rainfall each type of wall invariably collapsed, the bags sliding like ice cubes.

(c) RECOMMENDATION. That the new green plastic sandbags be used only to protect roof structures and then no more than two (2) layers high.

(4) Use of bulldozer.

(a) OBSERVATION. Previous lessons learned indicated the value of a bulldozer in preparing artillery positions. A bulldozer is also invaluable as a prime mover of light and medium howitzers.

(b) EVALUATION. CH-54 Skycrane operators are not always able to drop a heli-lifted howitzer where it is needed. Many fire bases are such that man-handling is either impossible or impractical. Using the bulldozer that is on-site to prepare the position as a prime mover can be a life-saver.

(c) RECOMMENDATION. That if a bulldozer is used to prepare an artillery position it should be kept on-site until all heavy equipment is in place.

(5) Grid zone convergence.

(a) OBSERVATION. The convergence of grid zones 48 and 49 throughout western Viet Nam is a constant problem for survey and fire direction. It is occasionally overlooked with disastrous results.

(b) EVALUATION. Unless firing charts accurately account for the convergence of grid zones 48 and 49, a deflection error of as many as 27 mils and a variable range error may be introduced into the firing data. There are several accurate methods of compensating for this convergence but the primary factor is to insure that you have a system that forces consideration of convergence.

1 That all survey data computed for firing batteries in western Viet Nam show the location of the battery center in both grid zones, stating "none" when it does not apply.
2 That all fire direction officers when they receive grid coordinates, inspected or surveyed of battery center, automatically question which zone they apply in.
3 That all M18 computer (FADAC) operators be trained to automatically expect to enter two battery centers every time they enter data and to question it when it is not offered.

(6) Use of the 3 KW, 400 cycle generator for illumination purposes.

(a) OBSERVATION. Units are doing without electrical illumination, while the 3 kW, 400 cycle FADAC generators are idle.

(b) EVALUATION. Standard 1.5 and 3 kW generators are often down for maintenance or unavailable due to supporting non-TO&E requirements. This puts some command posts and fire direction center in the dark. It has been found that while M-18 computers are down for maintenance, the 3 kW 400 cycle generators are an excellent power source. It must be remembered though that when the M-18 computer is on line, nothing else may be connected to its generator.

(c) Training:

(1) Rigging of pierced steel planking/solid steel planking for helilift.

(a) OBSERVATION. When PSP/SSP is heli-lifted at the same or higher height than an accompanying load, the PSP/SSP invariably cuts through the other sling.

(b) EVALUATION. This is an old lesson that remains unlearned through rotation. A newly assigned person who is not experienced in heli-lift operations normally does not think that it makes any difference which load is suspended by a 20 foot sling and which by the shorter sling. However as indicated in the diagram, when the PSP/SSP rides above another load, the swaying motion to of the steel edges cut through the longer sling leaving a load in the jungle or endangering people below.

(c) RECOMMENDATION. When lifting PSP/SSP in conjunction with other cargo, the PSP/SSP should be suspended from a 20 foot sling and the other cargo from a shorter sling such as an 11 foot, 9 foot or 20 foot sling doubled. This prevents the steel from cutting the other sling and in addition permits the PSP/SSP to land first so as not to crush the other load. While it has been found that shipping 30 sheets of PSP/SSP with one load of section equipment reduces the sorties required to move a unit, shipping a maximum of 40 sheets of PSP/SSP as one load by the CH-47 Chinook also eliminates the sling cutting problem. (See Incl 3.)

(2) Rigging of ammunition on board vehicles.

(a) OBSERVATION. Without careful planning, ammunition is often handled more than once which causes delay in heli-lift operations.

(b) EVALUATION. If howitzer ammunition is picked up, brought to the pick-up zone (PZ) and placed in nets it is handled twice and wreckers may be required at both places. Further, if the aircraft commander finds the pickup zone unsatisfactory, or the move is not completed, then the ammunition must be handled again.

(c) RECOMMENDATION. That all howitzer ammunition be placed in cargo nets initially on board the ammunition vehicle and lifted directly from the truck. This facilitates transportation, reduces the need for wreckers and yields a mobile PZ, Figures I, II and III indicate three approaches to lifting out as much as 15(?) complete 155mm rounds from one 5 ton truck. Figures I and II pertain to palletized powder and projectiles and figure III to palletized projectiles and loose green bag propellant cannisters. In all cases the projectiles come eight to a pallet, six pallets to a load with two loose projectiles wired together for security, making fifty (50) rounds to a load. Fifty (50) fuzes are shipped with the projectiles. (See Incl 4.)

(3) Heli-lifting vehicles.

(a) OBSERVATION. In spite of training and precautions, non-flexible fixed parts of vehicles continue to be damaged during movement.

(b) EVALUATION. Most units prepare vehicles for external loading under helicopters the same way. Windshields are down, bows and canvass are removed, mirrors are tucked in and four slings of equal length are evenly distributed around the vehicle. A two man hook-out team is used, that normally remains on-board or near the vehicle until it is lifted out to insure that no sling gets fouled in the load. The problem arises when the aircraft slacks off after having pt strain on the slings and load to get under a mirror arm, door handle or steering wheel and either pitch over the load or bend the item out of shape.

(c) RECOMMENDATION. That the controller of the hook-out-team stay in position to kill the lift out signal and the other man stay near the vehicle until the aircraft is in full flight.

d. Intelligence: None

e. Logistics

(1) Delivery of ammunition by low level extraction (LOLEX)

(a) OBSERVATION. To reduce air time for CH-47 Chinooks, forward ammunition supply points may be established and then serviced by C-130 Hercules delivering howitzer ammunition by parachute in the low level extraction technique.

(b) EVALUATION. One experience with LOLEX indicated it was worthy of continued experimentation. It did shorten air time for the Chinooks but it also created some problems such as dented powder cannisters which made the powder unserviceable. The widely scattered pallets increased the security requirement and effort required to assemble and prepare Chinook loads. The back-hauling and accountability of the special Air Force rigging materials was another difficulty.

(c) RECOMMENDATION. That the above difficulties be considered in future use of the LOLEX system for ammunition resupply.

(2) Substitute water containers.

(a) OBSERVATION. Powder cannisters make excellent non-potable water containers.

(b) OBSERVATION. Powder cannisters make excellent non-potable water containers.

(b) EVALUATION. Due to many circumstances such as split units (batteries), damaged water trailers, punctured blivets and no back-haul of water cans, alternate means of transporting water are necessary. Powder Cannisters such as for charge propellant M4A1 (155mm white bag) are water tight, hold three gallons of water and can take rough handling.

(c) RECOMMENDATION. That powder cannisters, which are easily air transportable, be used as substitute non-potable water containers.

f. Organization: None

g. Other: None


                              Henry E. Strickland, Jr.
4 Incl                        LTC, Artillery
1. Organizational Chart       Commanding
, 3, 4 Illustrations


      APO 96558

3 ea. Commanding General
      APO 96375

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

AVGG-CO (1 Aug 68)         1st Ind
SUBJECT: Operational Report of 1st Battalion, 92d Artillery for
Period Ending 31 July 1968 RCS CSFOR-65 (R1) (U)

DA, HQ, 52d Artillery Group, APO 96318   16 August 1968

TO: Commanding General, I FFORCEV Artillery, APO 96350

(U) I Concur in the contents of basic report. Nonconcur with Section 2, Lessons Learned b (6). Use of 3KW 400 cycle FADAC generator to provide power for lighting contributes to existing problem of nonoperational FADAC's due to generator breakdown. Generator should be employed to power equipment for which it is designed.

                        Jesmond D. Balmer Jr.
                        Colonel, Artillery

AVFA-AT-D (1 Aug 68)         2d Ind
SUBJECT: Operational Report of the 1st Battalion, 92d Artillery for Period Ending 31 July 1968,
RCS: CSFOR-65 (R1)


TO: Headquarters, I Field Force Vietnam, APO 96350

(C) This headquarters has reviewed the attached Operational Report with indorsement and concurs with all recommendations as indorsed with the following exceptions:

Reference paragraph 2b(2)(c), page 7, Utilization of Terminal Box TA125/GT. Nonconcur. Proper installation, maintenance, and the provision of a protective covering to prevent direct exposure to the weather will keep the TM-184 terminal strips operational.


                        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 (1 Aug 68)             4th Ind (U)      MAJ Klingman/hga/LBN 4433
SUBJECT: Operational Report of 1st Battalion, 92d Artillery for
Period Ending 31 July 1968 RCS CSFOR-65 (R1)


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

This headquarters has reviewed the Operational Report-Lessons Learned for the quarterly period ending 31 July 1968 from Headquarters, 1st Battalion, 92d Artillery, and concurs with the report as modified by the preceding indorsements.


                   W. C. Arntz
                   1Lt AGC
                   Assistant Adjutant General

Cy furn:
HQ, 1st Bn, 92d Arty

GPOP-DT (1 Aug 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.


                     C. L. Short
                     CPT, AGC
                     Asst AG

1st Battalion, 92d Artillery





1 Load Powder first.
2 Sling powder with two 20 foot slings for each pallet.
3 Lay out a cargo net at each end of the bed.
4 Load projectiles and fuzes.
5 Sling up nets and attach loads to respective powder pallets.
6 REMARKS: When loading powder, leave enough room for swaying. Use 9 foot sling or twenty (20) foot sling doubled for all projectile loads.

1 Lay out three (3) cargo nets in bed of truck.
2 Load projectiles in each net.
3 Lay 25 cannisters of green bag and three (3) boxes of fuzes around projectiles.
4 Sling loads with 9 foot or double 20 foot sling.


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