RVN SF VET
Bio not provided
@HUNTERS Not to worry! The VP at FP says all will be well with the installation of the new Rev. of Livefyre in December. I’ll throw in a shiny new car with the bridge in Brooklyn that I’m offering you.
3 months, 1 week ago on Access denied | The Best Defense
@phieu I think we all understand the difference between an administrative move not subject to hostile fire and an assault into Indian country where contact was likely. As the war wore on, most LZs in hostile territory were hot and we had to fight our way off the LZ. While in the air, the aviation commander is in-charge. Once on the ground, the ground commandeer is in-charge. The 1st CAV was developing doctrine as they fought. They had formulated as much doctrine as they could at Benning, but Vietnam was a new environment and, as they say, “The enemy gets a vote.”
In Pathfinder School, we wrote and executed both types of airmobile movements based upon the Frag we got telling us whether it was a behind the lines admin movement or an assault. Knowing the difference and writing the appropriate order really wasn’t that difficult. However, the organization of the “chalks” was significantly different.
3 months, 2 weeks ago on Access denied | The Best Defense
@phieu I find that very difficult to understand - especially since such planning requires US Air Force consultation.
@phieu That is true, but then there is the question of where the orders originated. There is a difference between how Corps command operated in Korea, for example, and FFV (US Corps) command in Vietnam. In Korea, Corps was given general mission guidance and Corps figured out how to do it. In Vietnam, FFV (US Corps - a very small staff in 1965) mainly relayed orders from MACV - either J-3 or Westmoreland himself.
@phieu I failed to make myself clear. In Saigon, the ARVN/US Joint General Staff was separate from MACV and was on the other side of town. We did not have ARVN officers in the MACV headquarters. You seem to exaggerate the relationships between Vietnamese Corps or Regional commands and MACV Headquarters. MACV talked with the US Army Senior Advisor and I FFV - it was a command relationship. At the Corps/Region level, the US/ARVN relationship was one of “coordination and cooperation” per General Westmoreland - period. When there was a respected and trusted officer like MG Hieu, I would think that the relationship was much closer and the US consulted with him prior to initiating most actions.
BG Depuy would not have asked I FFV if II Corps had cleared Arclight target coordinates had the request originated with II Corps Command. You have the relationships upside down. II Corps did not determine when MACV J-3 did or did not get involved in anything. If II Corps wished to influence MACV J-3 they would either talk with their Senior Advisor or contact the Joint General Staff in Saigon. In 1965, electronic intelligence and intelligence product from MACV/SOG and other Special Activities were held at MACV and were not shared with anyone outside of those sensitive activities - period. Relevant aerial surveillance was shared.
@phieu @Outlaw 09 As I noted, 1967.
@Outlaw 09 I do not think that we knew of Hussein’s plan for irregular groups to take up the fight after his regular units faded away. As I recall, General Zinni’s CENTCOM plan, which Frank’s and his staff ignored, did provide for coping with such groups after the Iraqi Army was defeated. The fact that our Army and Marines (in particular) encountered these groups en route to Bahdad was a surprise. If they executed unique tactics, I am unaware of them. The one thing that the Marines did, that others did not, was to pick off people with cell phones who were observing the progress of their columns. This prevented the initiation of some command-detonated mines and advance warning to ambushes. I believe that we encountered the same tactic executed by American Indians absent the cell phones and M40 sniper rifles.
I believe that the term “swarm attacks” only applies to under 10 attacks on COPS in Afghanistan. It refers to the surprising ability of the Taliban, augmented by some “foreign fighters,” to assemble a relatively large group of attackers and surround or attack a COP from more than one direction. It is something we taught insurgents when their enemy was the Russians. It is simply sound tactics and not something unique to train for. However, did anyone train our troops to establish, layout, and defend a platoon or company COP? I doubt it. They just knew the concepts of interlocking fields of fire, covering barriers like barbed wire aprons with fire, and other fundamentals of the defense. For example, nobody seems to have taught our troops to create multiple locations for crew-served weapons and to move them to alternate sites within the COP after dark.
@phieuI sure never learned the distinction and in 1967 I went to Pathfinder School at Benning and most of the cadre were 1st CAV combat veterans to include a few of the rotary wing support pilots. They weren’t big on terms or on thoroughly clearing the tops of pine trees. Did you know that you can survive a blade strike at the very top of the pines? At least we discovered we could.
@Outlaw 09 At Leavenworth (the school wiseguy) I got to spend significant time with two IDF generals masquerading as colonels so that they could attend C&GSC. Their Sinai story as armor battalion commanders was that their tanks became festooned with the guidance wires of Russian AT missiles. I asked why they missed and they said speed of advance and suppressive machine gun fires on any potential crew-served weapons positions. Videos of Lebanon showed tanks canalized on a single uphill road moving at a snails pace. Of course, that was just one location, but ….. In their previous invasion of Lebanon, they weren’t that great. There is a difference between defending your home and invading someone else’s territory. Unlike the guys we sent into Desert Storm (some under majrod - maybe an LT then?) who were trained to perfection and demonstrated it - principally at 73 Easting and before and after. That’s why I disagree with Tom on true readiness. It requires training and training requires dollars.
I also met the two Russian major generals who headed the Russian Armor School. As battalion commanders, they had raced each other to Berlin in WWII. It’s an interesting concept to take older, successful combat leaders and have them run training. That’s instead of up or out. They were most engaging, honest when they didn’t look at their GRU or KGB Agent. You had to respect their experience. Maybe the IDF and the US should do the same thing. I’m sure that those two guys didn’t spend their days thinking up new acronyms to replace old ones.
@phieu Clearly you have done that. But research doesn’t always trump or invalidate experience. I do not agree with your interpretation of the extensive information that you have found. I believe that you are mistaking coordination and consent with command. I also believe that some of your sources credit the MACV command with a prescience they often did not have OR could not share. There was no one more intelligent than BG Depuy, but knowing what he knew when may still be classified/SI information. Therefore, his knowledge of and plans for the NVA Regiments massing above the Ia Drang Valley are certainly not known to me. By the same token, they were not shared with Corps or lower until an order came down. Sharing SI information with units in the field was not done until very late in true game and it was still rare. To protect the source, it was thought to be worth losing American lives.
At least in Afghanistan there are now low-level intercept units in the field and in “fusion centers.” However, we have too many redundant intel units. Everybody has to have their own.
@phieu @majrod Piecemeal commitment is sometimes dictated by the LZ, weather, enemy activity, and the lift available to fit in the LZ. Recon can be performed by any size unit "depending on the situation.” It could be one local, 3 or 4 clandestine operators, a squad or platoon, etc. It was also performed by scout helicopters and Bird Dog aircraft. Sometimes you can scout an area with electronic surveillance and verify it with small teams. You cannot rigidly define what a scouting operation is or is not.
@Outlaw 09 @majrod Wanat was an unnecessary lesson in the stupidity of locating a small outpost at the bottom of a bowl. It is also an example of how poorly the brigade commander understood COIN. He was getting browny points, he thought, for slapping an outpost up against a small, unfriendly town. From the moment the construction contractor “was delayed” it was a trap. The hell with VN lessons, Wanat violated the lessons learned from Custer at the Little Big Horn or earlier. Sadly, other COPs violated these fundamental principles time and again. We beat this to death long ago on this blog. Valor cannot conceal the failure in leadership at the brigade, battalion, and company level. The Region Commander (82nd ABN DIV CDR) took it upon himself to retire when he got home - against the Army leadership’s wishes.
@phieu There is no one, authoritative source. If there were, the intelligence business and academic scholarship would be easy. You take all the sources you have gathered, compare them and include the US Army’s official history which is replete with footnotes. Then, you try to develop one coherent story by resolving the conflicting information.
General Depuy, the MACV J-3 always would clear the bombing of an area with the Vietnamese Region/Corps Commander by going through the MACV Senior Advisor to that Vietnamese General. BTW, the only Arclight strike that 1st CAV got out of the way for was on 11/17. Perhaps weather prevented the other strikes cleared or the targets moved.
@phieuLTG Stanley R. Larsen March 1966 – July 1967 - his tenure as I Field Force Commander.
"History - I Field Force, Vietnam
Arrived in Vietnam of March 15, 1966 Departed Vietnam April 30, 1971 Authorized Headquarters Strength: 1966, 340; 1968, 432; 1971, 263
Increased roles of U.S. combat units in field operations spurred creation of a provisional Field Force headquarters in the II Corps Tactical Zone zone on 1 August 1965. It was called Taskforce ALPHA (Provisional). Field Force, Vietnam was created from this basis and was redesignated I Field Force, Vietnam on March 15, 1966. The field force concept was adopted instead of a normal corps headquarters for three basic reasons:
1. Since the headquarters was to operate within an existing South Vietnamese Corps zone, it would be confusing to introduce another Corps designation within the same zone;
2. Unlike a corps headquarters, which has only tactical functions, the field force was to have additional responsibilities such as supply, pacification and an advisory role to the South Vietnamese;
3. The field force organization was more flexible, making it possible to add additional subordinate units if required, even including subordinate corps headquarters.
I Field Force Vietnam had the mission of exercising operational control over the U.S. and allied forces in the II Corps Tactical Zone as well as providing combat assistance to the Vietnamese units in the area. I Field Force Vietnam was used as a basis for the Second Regional Assistance Command (SRAC) on April 30, 1971 and U.S. Military Forces, Military Region 2."
How did he give orders?
@phieu I do not understand your references to ARVN. Further, you seem fixated on ensuring that we accord II Corps a significant decision-making role. IMO, decision-making was at the Westmoreland/Depuy level. Corps HQ can request and coordinate, but in those days decisions were made at MACV level. I am not interested in references - it is what I saw at MACV in 1965. I certainly was not there all the time, but I never saw an ARVN officer in MACV J-3. There was a Joint ARVN/US HQ across town which I occasionally visited to coordinate papers with a US Army O-6. It was very quiet there. The walls were covered with “pacification” graphics. Nobody believed them.
@phieu What is your purpose here? Are you playing general? You seem to be criticizing a division commander’s decision making based upon information gathered after the fact. Do we know what MG Kinnard based his decision on? Do we know what his brigade commanders told him based upon what their battalion commanders told them? I am not going to join you in looking back 48 years and critiquing tactical decisions. Operational and strategic decision-making - yes. But, such criticism should be based upon multiple sources and just an interview of a commander who may or may not be remembering correctly. What a commander did or did not do in selecting units is not of much interest to me now. Our ability to communicate now far outstrips the PRC-25 in that day. Now we ask for and receive too much information.
@Outlaw 09 I’ll take your word for it. Still, the VC experience should have taught us that if you dig deep enough and conceal your entrances (Cu Chi tunnel headquarters) you can endure even B-52 bombings. Elsewhere in RVN, we didn’t often cave in the tunnels by bombing, but delayed fusing kept them down so long that they suffocated. In Lebanon, the IDF was out of practice for fighting a real war with the opposition having AT weapons. That, as much as Hezbollah tactics hurt the IDF.
@phieu Nope; please read the official US Army history which I have cited and quoted.
@phieu @majrod Good research! But, so what? You are still wrong about the Ia Drang. The website you maintain is fascinating.
@Outlaw 09 No, can’t agree. Guerrilla tactics whether in the Philippines before and during WWII, or Tito in Yugoslavia, or the Greek factions next door. Asymmetric warfare is asymmetric warfare. In the Second Iraq War, Marine tanks and amphibious vehicles had to run a gauntlet of irregulars twice down the main drag of a town on their route North. Sounds more like Mogadishu.
Hezbollah did take a lesson from the VC. They have built their widely spaced weapons' sites underground. The primary lessons that the then current IDF had learned were those applying to warfare against Palestinian protesters.