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 @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.

1 year ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @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.

1 year ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @phieu I find that very difficult to understand - especially since such planning requires US Air Force consultation.

1 year ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @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.

1 year ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @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.

1 year ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @phieu  @Outlaw 09 As I noted, 1967.

1 year ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @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.

1 year ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @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.

1 year ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @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.

1 year ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @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.

1 year ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @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.

1 year ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @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.

1 year ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @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.

1 year ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @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?

1 year ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @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. 

1 year ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @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.

1 year ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @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.

1 year ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @phieu  Nope; please read the official US Army history which I have cited and quoted.

1 year ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @phieu  @majrod Good research! But, so what? You are still wrong about the Ia Drang. The website you maintain is fascinating.

1 year ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @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.

1 year ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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From the official US Army history:

 

"With scout platoons of its air cavalry squadron covering front and flanks, each battalion of the division’s 1st Brigade established company bases from which patrols searched for enemy forces. For several days neither ground patrols nor aeroscouts found any trace, but on November 4 the scouts spotted a regimental aid station several miles west of Plei Me. Quick-reacting aerorifle platoons converged on the site. Hovering above, the airborne scouts detected an enemy battalion nearby and attacked from UH–1B Huey gunships with aerial rockets and machine guns. Operating beyond the range of their ground artillery, Army units engaged the enemy in an intense firefight, killing ninety-nine, capturing the aid station, and seizing many documents.        The search for the main body of the enemy continued for the next few days, with Army units concentrating their efforts in the vicinity of the Chu Pong Massif, a mountain range and likely enemy base near the Cambodian border. Communist forces were given little rest, as patrols harried and ambushed them."

 

We call that searching transitioning to destroying (killing) the enemy. It is also likely that clandestine units like Delta or the Australian SAS put out small 4 man recon elements which identified NVA units on and over the border. Had the original plan centered on B-52 raids, Delta and similar units would have been adequate to develop enemy positions. They certainly were elsewhere. Meanwhile the Brigade was protecting the Plei Me SF camp - their first mission as the camp sat astride a key supply route.

1 year ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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Just for balance, I’ve found the section of the official Army history covering the period of the Battle of the Ia Drang.

 

One quote to entice you to read it:

 

"One month later the division received its baptism of fire. The North Vietnamese Army attacked a Special Forces camp at Plei Me; when it was repulsed, Westmoreland directed the division to launch an offensive to locate and destroy enemy regiments that had been identified in the vicinity of the camp. The result was the Battle of the Ia Drang, named for a small river that flowed through the valley, the area of operations."

 

http://www.history.army.mil/books/AMH-V2/AMH%20V2/chapter10.htm#b7 >

1 year ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @Outlaw 09 In 1965, in the Delta, there was a de facto detente. Frequently, attacks on hamlets would be orchestrated between the residents, PF, and the VC. At night, you could see green tracers going straight up in the air. It was one reason why there were no bodies lying around after the "battles.” Bored young men would volunteer to be “kidnapped” by the VC. On the rare occasions when our A Team became aware of an “attack” or an approaching VC unit, our incredibly skilled Heavy Weapons Sergeant blew the crap out of them with one of our 81mm mortars (as XO, I did what he told me and passed the shells he specified.)

 

As I understood it, there were two main reasons for this detente. First, their war had been going on since WWII. Second, their were brothers and other relations on both sides. At that time, if the people took AID building materials and built a church or a bridge with their own hands, the VC didn’t touch it. If we built it, they would blow it up. We built nothing outside the camp. Our Engineer Sergeants provided advice on structural matters and our Medical Sergeants did what you have come to expect.

 

There were no NGOs that I was aware of, but they may have had Saigon offices and donated money to support churches. Everything supply I saw had the joined hands and US flag of the AID symbol printed on it. In our District, we had one superb AID representative, a former Marine, who went around unarmed in his pickup. The CIA rep was at Village (County) level and we would eat dinner with him occasionally; guarded by his Nungs. There was another CIA guy who masqueraded as a military advisor and was thought to be useless. He stole my flashlight.

 

Other than that, there were our Army Advisors to ARVN units living and eating as they did and I can’t remember, but I think that our B Team Commander was the Provincial Advisor although he wasn’t a colonel (the normal rank). So, not a heavy presence. Oh, we “advised” the RF battalion which was in fact a large gang of bandits persuaded by our supplies and some money. When visiting their camp or meeting them in the field, we covered one another as the troops coveted our weapons. They noted that our trigger fingers were inside our trigger guards. A bizarre relationship not unlike some I’ve been told about in Afghanistan. We did support the cross-border operations of others who employed our Cambodian platoon. Team A-424, was 1 1/2 to 2 hours South on the canal. There were few civilians in their area and they and their CIDG force tried to ambush VC in transit in our Plain of Reeds. On my one night ambush patrol with them, I formed the opinion that the locals (to include PF personnel in a nearby fort) were VC sympathizers. They made sure the VC knew we were going out.

 

Briefly, there was a significant change in 1967. The VC, spurred on by NVA advisors would blow up any rural improvements regardless of who built them and the transition to CORDS set back our efforts significantly. I was unaware of any CA/Psyops units in RVN although we had one at Bragg. Perhaps when the Guard and Reserve units were mobilized, some were CA units.

 

Our convoys were occasionally ambushed. Once, just after I had left the Team, our B Team staff was wiped out riding a convoy that I had run (I only got sniped at). I guess that they wanted to visit the camp.

 

So that’s a snapshot of one A Team located in the Delta next to a large hamlet in 1965. That was vintage COIN.

1 year ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @majrod  I’m not sure what you are saying.

1 year ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @Kriegsakademie  Let me take this opportunity to publicly thank the CIA for Praeger Publications (the name survives, but is not the same company - I believe). Beginning in 1961, I devoured anything touching upon counter-guerrilla warfare, clandestine operations, or rural development.

 

BTW, there was a beautiful trade paperback put out by AID in 1964 (?) that covered everything that one could do in rural development from agriculture to bridge building and wells. But, of course, we didn’t know what we were doing back then! {;*))

1 year ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 majrod Even when you quote me you do not read what I say. You are simply amazing. But thank you for sharing your profound understanding of Russian doctrine. BTW, search and destroy is a tactic and not doctrine. Orienting on the enemy instead of key terrain was Russian nuclear war doctrine and is not their current doctrine. [See FM 100-2-1.]

 

Saying that something was a version of something else is not the same as saying that it was derived from it - just similar. Ask any American car designer. Importantly it was a deviation from our tactics of taking, consolidating and holding ground. After a battle in RVN, we usually took our marbles and RTB - like much of our fighting in Afghanistan.

 

Since you actually do not read what I say, I’m dropping this one. However, you feel free to argue with yourself. I’m also going to ignore anything you say about our pacification efforts before and after CORDS. You haven’t a clue. I’m not sure that anyone has written about how it worked and didn’t work on the ground. I also think that what I participated in (in the Delta) may not have been the same as elsewhere in RVN. Different people, different VC, and different terrain. Once the NVA showed up shortly before and after Tet, the old unwritten rules were out the window.

1 year ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @majrod  @phieu   I don’t care what the author says, the 1st CAV was to relieve pressure on Plei Me (it did) and find and kill the enemy. That is what the brigade did. They found too many enemy and killed them. I doubt that anyone used the term “search and destroy” since J-3 had only published the document in September. But, search and destroy is what it was. Why does this bother you? 

 

Once the GVN designated an area as a “Free-Fire Zone” or otherwise, American units operationally did what American commanders directed. Coordination took place at Province and Corps level. As time wore on, it became obvious that clearing American operations with ARVN in advance was a sure road to compromise.

1 year ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @phieu By believing that you, or former VC, NVA, or ARVN officers understood the reasoning behind our inserting into LZ X-Ray smacks of hubris. At brigade and battalion level, all they knew was that in order to take pressure off the Plei Me SF Camp, they were to find and kill the enemy; AKA, search and destroy. There was no mention of creating B-52 targets, etc. If various Vietnamese sources wish to attribute that level of clever planning to us, fine; we are genius tacticians. Prior to the arrival of major NVA formations, Plei Me’s job was to harass and interdict NVA/VC supplies trains. That mission was transformed into a fight for survival.

 

Your harping on this erroneous “B-52” theory, relying upon Vietnamese sources, is getting real old, real fast. Let’s just agree to disagree. However, if you find an authoritative American source which confirms your interpretation, please inform us.

1 year ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @Jackrabbit BG Stillwell awarded me my “3” at a JFK graduation ceremony.

1 year ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @Jackrabbit Oh, pooh! COIN was alive in RVN, mostly on the civilian side (AID and CIA in concert with some SF camps) with some participation by the ARVN. Except for adhering to the ROE and the initiative of the Marines, our conventional units did not pursue COIN, they pursued the NVA.

 

There was no Petraeus, et. al. zenith for heavens sake. This doctrine was available in both books and FMs during the Vietnam War. It was taught in the MATA Course and other schools. The reason people think that the Petraeus sponsored FM was glorious is because the US Army turned its back on any and all lessons learned in RVN. They regarded it as a chapter in history best forgotten. While this is understandable, it was foolish. If you wish to praise King David, praise him for giving CPR to COIN. There is nothing new there and Afghanistan lacked the essential civilian AID component. Contractors spending AID funds on stupid projects (AID’s fault) is not COIN. And, many conventional unit commanders (and some SF) had/have no idea how to execute COIN operations. Of course, there have been good reasons why properly executed COIN will not work in Afghanistan. Of the many, two stand out. The absence of a secure area and an illiterate and, therefore, ignorant population resentful of any outsiders (Crusaders.)

 

But that’s OK. With Pakistan as a sanctuary/supply depot and a corrupt and ineffective Afghan government, it is absolutely impossible to succeed against the Taliban - period.

1 year ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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This article is so long and even has footnotes that it becomes difficult to comment upon in some logical order. I left just before Christmas, 1965 and do not recall Directive 525-4 - ARPA was on distribution for all MACV J-3 and Joint General Staff product. Maybe after 48 years, I’ve forgotten it. But I do know that search and destroy was simply a version of Russian doctrine: focus on enemy concentrations and destroy them. If there are places where resistance is to great, bypass them and let follow on echelons or special weapons destroy the, The only real difference was that we had no follow-on echelons so we did our best and held no ground nor made any “advances.” I’m sure we hoped that ARVN would come behind us and hold the ground, but who wanted to hold Hamburger Hill? Hamburger Hill and other, similar terrain were proof that the leadership thought that we were fighting a war of attrition. But we didn’t do it well because those hills could have been obliterated by Arc Light instead of infantry assaults.

 

Yes, in July 1965, there was a contingent of Washington VIPs who received a MACV Top Secret, SI briefing in which they were told that a North Vietnamese Regiment (at that juncture we only were aware of one) was “cutting the country in half.” That was GEN Westmoreland’s view at the time. Most of the staffers (not in the briefing) thought that was an improbable likelihood owing to its being one regiment and the military axiom, “area defeats you.” Later, multiple regiments did not cut the country in half.

 

What was the reaction to the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley? Those of us who either saw or were aware of the fact that two C-141s were being loaded with body bags - we didn’t think of the word “victory.” At the time, we were unaware of the successful B-52 raid. We might have had a different objective view, but that would not have lifted the vail of sadness that pervaded Saigon. Because the strike was probably spurred by ELINT (maybe COMINT) and the BDA was done by Delta, there was no discussion about it. What the J-3, his Deputy, and Westmoreland thought is not known to me. I suspect that they learned that the NVA was courageous, and tenacous and were willing to take massive casualties. Since we had long been using large flights of Hueys, I don’t think their use in the Ia Drang proved anything other than we had brave and skilled pilots.

 

The NVA learned that we knew how to use artillery and CAS to support our troops, even when the NVA used their “hug the belt” tactics. I suspect that future battles would result, sadly, in almost equal casualties, although our wounded were more likely to survive thanks to the “Dustoff” philosophy. 

 

It was my impression that Westmoreland, rightly did not view regular ARVN troops as being up to fighting the NVA. Of course, this appraisal did not extend to Vietnamese Airborne, Ranger, and Marine units. These were the units that stood and fought in 1975 and were decimated.

 

The ARVN were not blind to this. A popular ancient Vietnamese saying was descriptive of the situation, “Let us sit on the hill and watch the tigers fight."

 

1 year ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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I’m receiving some really great comments from majrod and others via email, but they are not showing up here on the blog. Maybe this is part of the 6 hour delay some are experiencing. How is it possible for the blog’s livefyre component getting worse? Perhaps they are installing the new software on the same servers where the old software is running?

 

Cosmetically, it appears that even the Washington Post is running a version of livefyre or all comment sections look alike. 

1 year ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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Talk about livefyre weirdness; instead of the front page of this article saying there are no comments and then finding 6 or 20 when you go to Comments; this time it says that there are 3 comments and I see NONE! Now that is innovation.

1 year ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @Outlaw 09 There is a colonel of truth in what you say, but it’s not quite correct. The colonel did not follow CIA orders; rather, he arrived just after the incident. He was relieved because he lied about it to protect his men and that lie was to General Abrams’ face. Big or small Army does not appreciate lying to 4 star generals. However, apparently, it’s OK for generals to lie. {;*)) 

 

During the SF drawdown, SF sergeants were presented with an undesirable (to them) choice. Either accept an assignment to an airborne unit or get out. Many chose to leave. They were a little old for chickenshit.

 

I suspect that General Abrams' becoming Army Chief-of-Staff in 1972 explains a lot.

1 year, 1 month ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @majrod  @Kriegsakademie When I was at A423, we sat on the Cambodian R&R route for the VC. You may recall my giving some VC a lift in an engineer boat so that they could cross the canal. That canal was one klick from the Cambodian border. They regularly made those trips. We did not follow them into Cambodia. Their route took them right by a Cambodian fort. Someone kept stealing the Cambodian’s flag and selling them to helicopter pilots for weapons and things like ice cream and steaks. Just sayin’.

1 year, 1 month ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @fg42  @majrod  @Kriegsakademie fg42, I know that you know a great deal about the North’s reactions to the bombing. I seem to recall that the North’s leadership was affected by Linebacker I. Then we stopped and negotiations continued only to bog down requiring Linebacker II. At least under Nixon, discontinuous bombing was governed by diplomatic events. Under LBJ he treated the North as if they were Senators requiring persuasion who would resound to things like the symbolic bombing of dikes, etc. Under LBJ, Navy pilots were instructed to only drop bridge spans and not uprights so that the North could rebuild! Some Navy pilots, using Walleyes, ”missed” and hit the uprights anyway. Later, Linebacker I would drop all the bridges North of Haiphong and seriously restricting the flow of supplies from China. By then, we were using precision munitions.

 

This is what I meant when I suggested that it was not a WWII type campaign. Sure, the tonnage was incredible, but what were the targets? Early on we should have dropped the bridges (yes, I know about underwater replacements) and destroyed as much agricultural production as possible. We should have mined the harbors early and continued to mine them. That is all-out war. If our national leadership insisted upon prosecuting this war, then go balls to the wall. I have no idea what the outcome would have been - perhaps early and fruitful negotiations.

 

See:

http://militaryhistory.about.com/od/aerialcampaigns/p/Vietnam-War-Operation-Linebacker.htm >.

1 year, 1 month ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @Kriegsakademie  @RVN With this degree of innovation, this IT team should go over and join the ACA effort. I’m not sure what my next wiseass remark should be. Here is a selection:

1) They will bring unique insights and unique problems.

2) They will feel right at home with their brethren.

 

My mind wanders. “Shoot low boys, they’re riding Shetland ponies!"

1 year, 1 month ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @Kriegsakademie Well, I agree, mostly, but the North never received a WWII-type bombing campaign which does not pause or stop. Nor did we invade the North or send troops (other than you) into Laos to confront the NVA units and supplies coming down. They still would have squirted into South Vietnam where there were numerous gaps, but it would have slowed their roll.

 

As Curtis LeMay said about the strategic situation, “Don’t swat the flies, go after the manure pile.” He would have pursued a Japan style non-nuclear bombing campaign. The people wouldn’t have broken, but the infrastructure would have.

1 year, 1 month ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @Xenophon  @JPWREL Although I have other Livefyre complaints, my comments, for better or worse, appear instantly. However, from time to time, it won’t accept a comment from me and say that it has already been posted. Perhaps those are the comments which are delayed for hours.

1 year, 1 month ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @HUNTERS  @JPWREL There is one other site that I have participated in which employs the newer software. It works as advertised. However, there may be problems of scale. Nonetheless, sometimes the other site gets a 400 comment article and the software handles it fine. FP’s IT folks have been promising to install this software for some time now and have not. For some reason, the current software works better on other FP Blogs! Only 2 or 3 IT people support the other website that I mentioned.

1 year, 1 month ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @Tyrtaios  @Outlaw 09 Contrary to what Gentile says, in the DOD release of the Pentagon Papers, it was clear that General Westmoreland came to see pacification as an ARVN (to include RF/PF) mission while the US mission was to engage in a war of attrition against North Vietnam. This was in spite of the CIA assessment that the North’s birth rate would easily exceed those losses. In addition, every time we increased the number of units on the battlefield - the NVA matched it. 

 

Our Korean War scale losses did not seem to influence Westmoreland nor did they cause him to reappraise his strategy. To be fair, those in Washington who had this same information, just kicked the can down the road rather than incur LBJ’s wrath. Besides, LBJ was deaf to contradictory information. It was dumb and dumber.

1 year, 1 month ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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@phieu "1/7, 2/7 and 2/5 Air Cav at LZ X-Ray” Oh, really? All at LZ X-Ray? I don’t think so. Ever hear of LZ Albany?

1 year, 1 month ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @Tyrtaios Your reference certainly contradicts what I was told:

"The 1st Battalion, 7th US Cavalry, arrived at landing zone (LZ) X-Ray, a clearing less than one kilometer below the 9th Battalion's positions. This fact played a significant role in the coming battle.16

 

NVA histories reveal that contrary to claims that the NVA lured US troops into a trap, the NVA were completely surprised by US troops' 14 November landing at LZ X-Ray. When the first US helicopters arrived, 66th Regiment and 9th Battalion commanders were surveying the terrain several kilometers away on the banks of the Ia Drang River. The 66th Regiment Political Officer Ngoc Chau and the 9th Battalion's deputy political officer were also away from their offices.17

 

From his new headquarters atop the Chu Pong, B3 Front Forward Commander Nguyen Huu An watched in dismay as US air strikes and artillery blasted the 9th Battalion area and as waves of US helicopters swooped out of sight behind the mountain.18Once on the ground, 7th US Cavalry troops advanced straight up the slopes of the Chu Pong toward 9th Battalion positions."

 

I am at a loss as to which account accurately depicts the initial engagement. However, at no time did B-52s respond to the FAC’s “Broken Arrow” call. That call resulted in every Tactical Air asset available, to include naval aviation, to fly in support of the battalion. Upon resolving to call in strikes “danger close”, LTC Moore had smoke thrown to mark his perimeter. B-52s DO NOT bomb on smoke.

 

Separate from the 2/5th’s battle, on November 17th "Air Force B-52s were on their way from Guam, and their target was the slopes of the Chu Pong massif. The U.S. ground forces (2/7th) had to move outside a two-mile (3 km) safety zone by midmorning to be clear of the bombardment. Tully's men moved out at 09:00; McDade's followed ten minutes later.” I am fairly confident that the B-52s were bombing on coordinates developed by electronic intelligence. Further, I am not aware of any VC involvement in these battles.

1 year, 1 month ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @JPWREL This was an ambush well-planned by the NVA. NVA soldiers had tied themselves into trees overlooking the kill zone. Some say that lead elements of our battalion chased some guys into the ambush. That was the version I got from a survey team that went in after the battle. And don’t forget what happen to the second battalion landed at a different, nearby LZ. Between the two battles, we lost almost two companies. You might wish to ask how the NVA knew that we were coming to that exact location. They did not randomly have troops tied into trees everywhere.

1 year, 1 month ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @majrod  @gian gentile Absolutely. A sanctuary/supply depot and an ineffective/corrupt government make the best executed COIN program a waste of time. And COIN was better implement by us in Vietnam than anywhere since. At least in Vietnam we had a competent and committed civilian component - not contractors as ineffective substitutes.

1 year, 1 month ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @phieu I don’t know what planet you are on, but your remarks about B-52 strikes are dead wrong. Are you thinking of Khe Sanh?

1 year, 1 month ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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As long as the dog has contact with her shoe, he knows that it is OK. 

1 year, 1 month ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @JPWREL  @Kriegsakademie  @Tyrtaios When a system administrator downloads that volume of files, all he knows is that they are highly classified or compartmented information. By definition, his collection had to be relatively indiscriminate. All he probably avoided was administrative files and low grade intel. You would have a point if he had only downloaded files pertaining to an abuse of power by unlawful collection. Instead, he has compromised sources and methods as well as some ongoing ops. Sure, NSA has done stupid things overseas and lied about wharf they do domestically, so let’s nail them on the latter at least. But he has given our opposition the entire store. In the intel business, few ops result in retrieving gold. We are particularly weak in HUMINT and depend upon good relations with allies. We trade them our superior technical intelligence. If you cannot see the damage he has done to this nation, you are not thinking carefully.

1 year, 1 month ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @fg42  @JPWREL Let us follow Russian precedent and rehabilitate him after we shoot him. Seriously, as with Manning, some example must be set to deter others.

1 year, 1 month ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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 @Rubber Ducky In the Army, SF is now a Branch with its own officer requirements, but it is a small Branch. Theoretically, they wouldn’t be competing with other branches until O-5 or O-6. I believe that SEALs have created SEAL relevant specialties for their NCOs. I don’t know if they have identified officers as special warfare types. It is interesting how conventional officers resent the relatively small amounts of money spent on SOF. There are two aspects to this. SOF NCOs have little trouble going to any relevant school they want without rigid internal unit quotas or financial constraints, usually. The second aspect is hardware jealousy. We are a hardware fixated society and our military in in the forefront of hardware lust. Besides, it’s OPM (Other People’s Money). There is the SOCOM M4, and ST6 nd Delts (at least) night vision goggles. The ability to switch to more mission appropriate weapons made by H&K for example. And let’s not forget the conventional soldiers' resentment of SOF grooming standards. Remember the XVIII ABN Corps LTG who arrived in Afghanistan and proclaimed the war over and it was time for SF to look like soldiers, shave and wear complete laundered uniforms! At that point many of the Teams were National Guard and essentially told him to stick it where the Sun don’t shine. Although federalized, their promotion opportunities are controlled by their states. So, color some conventional officers petty.

1 year, 1 month ago on Access denied | The Best Defense

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