AAR Bravo Company Priority 2 Search & Destroy Mission
10 November 1966
Captain Victor Olliver BM IV, commanding
1st Platoon: 2nd Lieutenant Miller BM II
2nd Platoon: 2nd Lieutenant Fredericks BM III
3rd Platoon: Lieutenant Shoop BM IV
Standard leg infantry company:
3 x 10 man & 1 x 9 man MG squad per platoon.
Artillery FO for 1/2 battery of 105's attached.
A media team of 1 reporter 1 cameraman accompany.
Map used was scenario 1, Rice Hunt from Surf's Up but the forces were different.
The captain wanted to approach the hamlet of Bo Doc through the jungle from the NW rather than via the easier routes on the trail or along the stream to achieve surprise.
We left Fire Base Snaffle and had gotten into the edge of the jungle by first light. A heavy rain was falling and we humped through miserable terrain for 3 hours, finally arriving within about 200 meters of the NW edge of the hamlet. While still in jungle the company deployed with 1st Platoon in wedge, 2nd on the left with a refused left and 3rd to the right of 1st platoon. HQ followed in the wake of 1st. Minimal dispersion because of poor visibility. As we advanced 1st hit some tough going and 2nd and 3rd pulled slightly ahead.
Suddenly a MMG opened up hitting a man in 3rd platoon. Shoop's boys responded quickly with massive fire and a squad closed in killing four and capturing one of the crew along with the gun.
1st platoon reached the edge of the jungle and spotted some black pyjamas occupying a hootch. One squad dashed to another hootch just north of the VC while the other two opened fire. Miller's MG squad was having trouble getting forward but the VC were completely surprised, losing their leader and seven men. The other two ran but were shot down.
2nd platoon had reached the edge of the jungle when the shooting started off to the right. Thinking of flanking the enemy I advanced the platoon to the north paddy berm, facing south to catch anything running across the paddies from the hootches. Before we could do more than catch out breath my left squad called attention to movement in the jungle to our left. We were being flanked! I quickly redeployed facing the threat while hoping that it was just a herd of wild elephants. I contacted the CO, reporting traffic in the trees to the east.
The captain, FO and the media arrived at my position shortly after. The captain called for a fire mission on the tree line. Somebody gave authorization faster than I thought possible and the gun bunnies must have been bored as a spotting round popped in the jungle ahead soon after. I thought "We're too damn close" and was about to order the platoon back when the treeline erupted with enemy troops probably shaken out by the artillery. Things got very busy then. My rightmost squad was pushed back but the others held. The captain got a squad to stop the enemy on the right and their survivors dove back into the trees. There weren't many. 2nd platoon had three casualties, seventeen enemy bodies were counted and we had one NVA prisoner. Blood trails led back into the jungle.
3rd Platoon was entering the main part of the hamlet while covered by 1st platoon less one squad that searched the two hootches, finding bodies and rice.
Just as things looked good with all platoons our artillery dropped, short just as I had feared. 2nd platoon escaped with a sodden rain of mud but the HQ element took hits. Yup, the two media people were hit and two Critical Wound cards were drawn right after! My medic rushed to them while a Dust Off was called. Hope they survive, also hope they won't be back.
3rd platoon cleared the main portion of the hamlet, while 1st took care of the eastern hootches. 2nd secured an LZ for the Dust Off.
Movement was seen in the jungle to the south but the enemy avoided contact. We gathered the civilians for transport while some engineers that came with the trucks gapped the paddy berms. We blew a couple of abandoned bunkers.
The company counted thirty-one enemy dead, both VC and NVA regulars. We had two prisoners, one MMG, three rice caches and military documents. One of the enemy dead was a Big Man. One civilian had been killed also.
The company suffered four casualties: one in 3rd, three in 2nd platoons. Both media people were critically wounded.
Military Victory 30, Political Victory 52 (would have been double that but for media casualties).
A little prisoner interrogation role play followed the game proper. Four NVA and two VC platoons with two Big Men, one Moscow trained commissar (a 2 rated), support platoons with medium and light MG's had been at the hamlet. Most were deployed to cover the easier approaches so Ken's decision to go through heavy terrain worked to perfection. We were also lucky with our card draws, especially 3rd and 2nd platoons. The enemy Tactical Edge was the one we entered from but, with the exception of the survivors of the wave attack on 2nd platoon who left by the north edge, the rest evaded off the west edge south of the company before their escape could be cut.