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Histories for 101st Airborne Viet Nam '66-'67




OPERATION HAWTHORNE June 3 - 15, BRIEFING
BRIEFING OPERATION HAWTHORNE CHART #1 1. In cooperation with 24th STZ', OPERATION HAWTHORNE began on 2 June with an advance to the north generally along Highway 14 by elements of the 42d Regiment (ARVN). The intended purpose of the operations was to relieve the RF outpost of TOU MORONG. 2. 3 JUNE. a. On 3 June two more units were Introduced into the operation. The 21st Ranger Battalion, which conducted a heliborne assault to the NW of TOU MORONG, and the 1/327 Inf. Which conducted another heliborne assault to the NE of TOU MORONG. Both units immediately began sweeping south on converging axes toward The outpost. b. That same day, the 42d Regiment (ARVN) engaged in the first significant contact of Operation HAWTHORNE when they encountered and immediately maneuvered against an entrenched enemy force of Battalion size, 7 kilometers NE of DAK TO Highway 14. c. Late on 3 June CG, 101st Abn. Div. decided to lift B Battery, 2d Battalion (Abn.), 32Oth Artillery and A Company, 2/502 Inf. into an LZ some 5 kilometers SW of TOU MORONG and ahead or the advancing 42D Regiment (ARVN). The lift was accomplished by dark on 3 Jute. .3. 5 JUNE. a. By 5 June, the 21st Ranger Battalion and the 42d Regiment (ARVN) had linked up near TOU MORONG and had effected the relief of the outpost. b. 1/327 Inf. had reached and secured the critical terrain N and E of TOU MORONG that same day. 4 . 6 JUNE. a. On 6 June, the 21st Ranger Battalion, 42d Regiment (ARVN) and the RF Company that had manned the TOU MORONG outpost returned to Tan CANH by road. b. 1st Battalion (Abn.), 327th Infantry in accordance with its instructions began sweeping west from TOU MORONG. c. On the afternoon of 6 June, 1/327 Inf. Engaged an enemy force first estimated at company and later at battalion size NW of TOU MORONG. Contact was maintained until 1930 hours when the enemy force broke off and withdrew. 5 .7 JUNE. a. At 0230 hours on 7 June the positions occupied by B co. 2/320 Arty. and A co.2/502 Inf. were subjected to a mortar and rocket launcher attack immediately followed by a determined infantry assault by an estimated NVA Battalion. The attack by the enemy force cantinued until dawn, when they began to withdraw from the scene of the engagement: all contact was broken by 0900 hours. The attack cost the enemy forces 85 killed by body count. b. Later on June 7 1/327 Inf. Was directed to intensify its S&D operations to the W and NW of TOU MORONG: In an attempt to intercept the suspected withdrawal of the NVA force to the N and NE of tho artillery battery position. 1/327 Inf. deployed Its Tac CP and its B and C Companies by helicopter to the vicinity of the artillery battery position that afternoon. TRANSITION to CHART #2 As a result of the enemy activity west of TOU MORONG the Bdg. Cmdr. directed that 2/502 Inf. (-) conduct a heliborne assault on the same LZ previously used by the 21st Ranger Battalion. 1. 7 June. The assault by 2/502 Inf. was followed by immediate movement to the south on multiple axes, toward 1/327 Inf. The intent was to intercept, block and end engage any enemy force withdrawing to the north. 2. 8 June. a. On 8 June 1/327 Inf. fought three separate but concurrent engagements against battalion size forces. b. The first engagement was reported by B Company in the early afternoon. In rapid succession Tiger Force, reinforced by two platoons from C Company and A Company each reported being, heavily engaged with separate battalion size force, generally West and NW of TOU MORONG. c. The force engaged by A Company was fighting from well prepared positions; the first attempt by A Company assault those positions was repulsed by heavy automatic weapons fire. Air strikes were then requested on the enemy force. d. While the fighting was going on, the Tiger Force became hard-pressed in its engagement and reported troops on three sides. e. The Battalion Commander, 1/327 Inf. then directed that A Company break contact under cover of the air strikes and move immediatelly to the assistance of Tiger Force. A Company reached Tiger Force that evening 1900 hours. The enemy force then broke contact and withdrew. f. B Company had, held its own throughtout the day against the enemy force with which it was engaged. That force likewise broke contact and withdrew at approximately 1900 hours. 3 .9 JUNE a. Hoping to trap the NVA? forces as they withdrew N and NE from, their series of engagements with 1/327 Inf. the Bdg. Cmdr. directed 2/502 Inf. to press on it their move to the south and to occupy blocking positions along likely avenues of escape to the north of the 1/327 Inf. b. Meanwhile, B Company 2/327 Inf. which had arrived the night before from TUY HOA, was lifted into an LZ, Northeast of TOU MORONG and given the mission to encircle and trap any enemy forces attempting to flee the battle area in that direction. While maneuvering to the south as directed, First B Company, then C Company, 2/502 Inf. became decisively engaged with NVA forces in Battalion strength. The C Company fight quickly reached decisive proportions when one platoon from C Company was over-run and the remainder of the company found itself exchanging grenades with the enemy battalion. It was at this point that Capt. Carpenter, the Company Commander, made the decision to call an air strike of napalm on his position. The air strike succeeded in breaking up the enemy attack and allowed Capt. Carpenter to organize a hasty all-around defense. c. As soon as the Battalion Commander of the 2/502 Inf. realized the magnitude of the fight Company C was involved, he directed A Company to move immediately to assist and reinforce C Company. A Company, after fighting its way through encircling NVA Battalion, reached C Company near midnight on 9 June and the two companies quickly reorganized their defenses, still under heavy fire. d. Meanwhile that afternoon, A Company 1/327 Inf. to the south was placed under the operational control of 2/502 Inf. and was ordered to proceed to the assistance of C Company?s position. At this point it became heavily engaged with another battalion size force and was unable to proceed any further. However, A Company 1/327 Inf. did fix that enemy force in place and succeeded in preventing it from joining in the fight with C Company. Transition Chart #3 On 10 June, two more forces were made available, and joined the fight. 1. 10 June. a. The first of those forces was a Provisional Company made up of volunteers from the Brigade base camp at PHAN RANG. This unit arrived at TAN CANH during the early morning hours of 10 June, and under cover of darkness was immediately lifted to the Tac CP of the 2/502 Inf. From there the Provisional Company mover on foot in an attack on the North Flank of the positions occupied by A and C Company. b. Also on 10 June, 1/5 Cav was committed by helicopter into an LZ Northeast of the battle area and given the mission to block, encrcle or entrap the enemy forces withdrawing or fleeing thin that direction. 2. 11 June a. Fighting continued through 10 and 11 June with heavy fire being exchanged by friendly and enemy forces. b. On 11 June a re-disposition of forces was begun to allow the extraction of casualties, to deploy units on all likely avenues of escape from the battle area and to allow the application of massive artillery and tactical air fires on the enemy positions. 3. 13 JUNE a. Between 0700 and 0800 a B-52 smashed the NVA positions. b. At 0900 an exploitative attack was launched into the battle area with the 2/502 Inf., 1/327 Inf., 1/5 Cav., 42d Regiment (ARVN) and CIDG elements all participating. c. The attacking forces encountered no significant resistance in the area tat had been pounded by the B-52?s artillery and tactical air but found extensive evidence of the destruction wrought, in the form of enemy bodies and destroyed or abandoned enemy weapons, fortifications and equipment. 4. 15 JUNE a. One estimated company size force was engaged in the northern portion AO B Company 2/502 Inf. and A Company 1/5 Cav. On June 15 but the enemy force broke contact after a short firefight ands withdrew under attack by tactical air strikes. b. The exploitation continued until ----------- June when all forces were withdrawn from the battle area to Brigade base area near TAN CANH for rest and refit.


Oct 23 2002 06:47:54:000PM




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