The List 5075 TGB
I hope that you all had a great weekend.
Today in Naval History
1812 The frigate USS Constitution captures the frigate HMS Guerriere, off Halifax, Nova Scotia after an intense battle.
1818 Capt. James Biddle, as commanding officer of USS Ontario, takes possession of Oregon Territory for United States.
1936 Lt. B. L. Braun, pilot, completes test bombing against the submarine USS R-8 (SS 85) off the Virginia capes, sinking the old submarine and proving the value of properly armed aircraft in antisubmarine warfare.
1943 USS Finback (SS 230) sinks the Japanese auxiliary submarine chaser (No.109) off the eastern Celebes.
1981 Two F-14 Tomcats of VF-41 shoot down two Libyan (Su 22) Sukhoi aircraft over international waters. Flying off USS Nimitz (CVA(N) 68), the Tomcats are on a reconnaissance mission for a missile-firing exercise being conducted by U.S. ships from two carrier battle groups when they are fired on by the Libyan planes.
2000 USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79) is commissioned at Naval Station Norfolk. The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer is the first ship named for Marine Private First Class Oscar P. Austin, who earned the Medal of Honor, posthumously, for his "indomitable courage, inspiring initiative and selfless devotion to duty" after he twice threw himself between a North Vietnamese weapon and a wounded comrade on Feb. 23, 1969.
2017 A team of civilian researchers led by entrepreneur and philanthropist Paul G. Allen announces they found the wreck of World War II cruiser USS Indianapolis (CA 35), which was lost July 30, 1945, in 18,000 feet of water. About 800 of the ship's 1,196 Sailors and Marines survived the sinking, but after four to five days in the water - suffering exposure, dehydration, drowning, and shark attacks - only 316 survived.
Thanks to CHINFO
• The New York Times reports that at least 1.7 million protestors marched through Hong Kong in the pouring rain on Sunday, demonstrating the continued strength of the movement.
• The Wall Street Journal reports that the recently detained Iranian tanker sailed out of Gibraltar on Sunday despite U.S. objections.
• Two Russian nuclear monitoring stations stopped transmitting data following this month's explosion at a missile test site, fueling suspicions that the Russian government is trying to restrict evidence of the accident, reports the Wall Street Journal.
• Defense News reports how budget reallocation limits and unplanned budget shortfalls will impact ship depot maintenance.
Today in History August 19
1493 Maximilian succeeds his father Frederick III as Holy Roman Emperor.
1587 Sigismund III is chosen to be the king of Poland.
1692 Five women are hanged in Salem, Massachusetts after being convicted of the crime of witchcraft. Fourteen more people are executed that year and 150 others are imprisoned.
1772 Gustavus III of Sweden eliminates the rule of parties and establishes an absolute monarchy.
1779 Americans under Major Henry Lee take the British garrison at Paulus Hook, New Jersey.
1812 The USS Constitution earns the nickname "Old Ironsides" during the battle off Nova Scotia that saw her defeat the HMS Guerriere.
1914 The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) lands in France.
1934 38 million Germans vote to make Adolf Hitler the official successor to President von Hindenburg.
1936 Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca is shot by Franco's troops after being forced to dig his own grave.
1942 A raid on Dieppe, France by British and Canadian commandos is repulsed by the German Army.
1944 In an effort to prevent a communist uprising in Paris, Charles De Gaulle begins attacking German forces all around the city.
1950 Edith Sampson becomes the first African-American representative to the United Nations.
1957 The first balloon flight to exceed 100,000 feet takes off from Crosby, Minnesota.
1965 US forces destroy a Viet Cong stronghold near Van Tuong, in South Vietnam.
1974 US Ambassador to Cyrus Rodger P. Davies assassinated by a sniper of Greek Cypriot paramilitary group EOKA-B during a demonstration outside the embassy in Nicosia.
1976 Gerald R Ford, who had become President of the United States after Richard Nixon resigned, wins Republican Party's presidential nomination at Kansas City convention.
1987 Hungerford Massacre in the UK; armed with semi-automatic rifles and a handgun Michael Ryan kills 16 people before committing suicide. In response, Parliament passed the Firearms (Amendment) Act of 1988 banning ownership of certain classes of firearms.
1988 Cease fire begins in 8-year war between Iran and Iraq.
1991 Communist hard-liners place President Mikhail Gorbachev under house arrest in an attempted coup that failed two days later.
2002 A Russian Mi-26 helicopter carrying troops is hit by a Chechen missile outside of Grozny, killing 118 soldiers.
2003 Shmuel Hanavi bus bombing: suicide attack on a bus in Jerusalem kills 23 Israelis, some of them children, and wounds 130. Islamist militant group Hamas claims responsibility for the attack.
2004 Google Inc. stock begins selling on the Nasdaq Stock Market, with an initial price of $85; the stock ended the day at $100.34 with more than 22 million shares traded.
2005 Toronto Supercell: A series of thunderstorms spawn several tornadoes and cause flash floods in Southern Ontario. Losses exceed $500 million Canadian dollars, the highest ever in the province.
2010 Operation Iraqi Freedom ends; the last US combat brigade, 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, leaves the country. Six brigades remain to train Iraqi troops.
First race is held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
COMMANDO HUNT and ROLLING THUNDER REMEMBERED… WEEK TWENTY-EIGHT of the HUNT… 19 TO 25 MAY 1969…
August 18, 2019Bear Taylor
COMMEMORATING THE 50th ANNIVERSARY OF THE VIETNAM WAR (1961-1973)…
LEST WE FORGET… THE BATTLE FOR HAMBURGER HILL….
"KEEP THE PRESSURE ON means to continually compete against an opponent in a very determined and attacking way, or, to put someone in a difficult situation or to try and persuade or force someone to do something."… As opposed to APPEASEMENT: "The policy of making concessions to the dictatorial powers in order to avoid conflict."
The New York Times, Friday, May 23, 1969: U.S. BATTLE LOSSES STIR NIXON AIDES–Controversy Developing As High Civilian Officials Ask Discretion By Military… "A controversy is developing in the Nixon Administration over how to maintain battlefield pressure on the enemy without arousing a political reaction in the United States over high casualty rates. Some civilian officials feel that American battlefield commanders are operating with insufficient regard for the impact of the casualty figures on public opinion. Privately, these high officials express impatience with the Saigon command for undertaking a costly operation on Apbia Mountain–Hamburger Hill, in which nearly 50 Americans were killed and 270 wounded. The capture of the mountain–Hill 937– Tuesday followed a week of over-all fighting in which 430 Americans were killed–the second highest total in a year."… The application of "pressure" to force a change in our enemy's behavior– "let's get to talking peace in Paris"– was not without very bloody risk… TOTAL AMERICAN LOSSES IN THE WAR TO THIS DATE: 35,265 Killed in Action: 225,710 Wounded in Action…(ANOTHER 23,000 WILL PERISH BEFORE THE VIETNAM WAR IS OVER FOR THE U.S.)… NORTH VIETNAM/VIETCONG DEAD: 500,509. (see Humble Host End Note: "Strategy in Vietnam: U.S. Command Defends Apbia Battle as 'Maximum Pressure' on the Foe" by Terence Smith)…
Good Morning. It is Monday, 19 August 2019. Humble Host remembers the Vietnam War and Week Twenty-Eight of the allies relentless quest to quash the flow of men and material passing through Laos and Cambodia to support North Vietnam and Vietcong troops on the battlefields in South Vietnam…
I. HEADLINES FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES for 19 through 25 May 1969…
A. THE WAR… (19 May) ASSAULT BY 1,500 OF FOE REPULSED AT 2 ALLIED POSTS–14 G.I.'s Killed By Vietcong and North Vietnamese at U.S. Base East of Saigon–Battles Last Five Hours–Government Camp Shelled Before Attack on 3 Sides By 2 Enemy Battalions… "Army reported that 39 American soldiers had been wounded. The bodies of 24 North Vietnameswe were counted around the artillery base….In an attack on a South Vietnamese army camp yesterday, a spokesman said the Government forces killed 54 North Vietnamese and captured nine while losing 4 killed and 14 wounded…. In another battle near the Laos border 12 American troops were killed and 19 wounded. The bodies of 125 enemy soldiers were found in the area."… ARRIVAL OF LAOTIAN WET SEASON WASHES OUT GUERRILLAS' SURGE… "In large part, the change is seasonal and predictable: the spring rains have turned the Laotian dust into sticky red mud, always an obstacle to the underequipped, Communist Pathet Lao forces."… (20 May) NORTH LAOS BATTLE REPORTED IN SECOND DAY… "Fierce fighting between government troops and the pro-communist Pathet Lao forces continued for the second day in the northern Plaine des Jarres…"… G.I.'s IN 10TH TRY FAIL TO ROUT FOE ON APBIA MOUNTAIN PEAK AT ASHAU–B-52s And Artillery Pound Enemy Forces, Now Put At 2-Battalion Strength–353 North Vietnamese and 39 Americans Killed on Mountain… "…U.S. paratroops rested after 10 futile attempts in nine days to storm the 3,000-foot peak… The scene is a few miles east of the so-called Ho Chi Minh Trail, a major supply route for the enemy…. Troops of the 101st Airborne Division have made 10 assaults against the enemy's terraced fighting positions. Three times they reached the top, only to be hurled back by small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. 'This is my third war and I haven't bumped into a fight like this since World War II,' said Col. Joseph Conmy, Jr, of Washington, who commands the division's Third Brigade. 'This crowd must have gotten the word from Uncle Ho, himself.'"… (21 May) ENEMY DRIVEN FROM ASHAU PEAK–Hill 937– IN 11th ATTEMPT–G.I.'s and South Vietnamese Pursue Foe Toward Laos, About One Mile Away–1,400 Seize Stronghold–43 Americans Killed and 290 Wounded–Hanoi's Toll Put At 426… KENNEDY ASSAILS VIETNAM TACTICS–Calls Fight for Apbia Peak 'Senseless'–Asks Nixon To Curb Such Actions… "…Kennedy: 'Issue an oder to the field cutting back these offensive operations that run opposite to our stated intentions and goals in Paris.'"… (22 May) U.S. AIDES DEFEND APBIA PEAK BATTLE… "…the fight for Apbia Mountain in the northwest part of South Vietnam 'may well have been another battle of Hue,' the old imperial capital… The spokesman's comments came in response to Senator Kennedy's comment that the 'fight there was senseless and irresponsible.' Kennedy said: 'American lives are too valuable to be sacrificed for military pride.'"… (23 May) WEEKS WAR TOLL NEAR YEAR'S PEAK… "…430 Americans, 527 South Vietnamese and 5,686 North Vietnamese and Vietcong were killed in action from May 11 through 17. Wounded: 2,185 Americans and 1,643 South Vietnamese."… (24 May) UNITED STATES DENIES SHIFT IN WAR'S TACTICS–White House Lays Rise In G.I. Deaths in Vietnam to Unusually Intense 'Enemy-Initiated Actions'… "'Our activity and our actions in South Vietnam in the previous weeks have not increased in terms of the initiatives we have taken,' White House press secretary Ronald L. Ziegler, declared."… 11 MORE OF ENEMY ARE KILLED IN ENCOUNTER NEAR HILL 937… "United States infantrymen killed 11 more North Vietnamese in scattered encounters around the base of Aphia Mountain over looking the Ashau Valley….Two American soldiers were killed and several wounded…. In the Mekong Delta, a large United States infantry force reported killing 117 Vietcong in a day long battle nine miles northwest of Caibe and 52 miles southwest of Saigon."… PLANE LOSSES ANNOUNCED… "The military command announced that 42 American planes and helicopters were lost in the last week, six fewer than in the previous week….27 helicopters and 15 planes were shot down, destroyed on the ground or lost to other causes…. Since January 1, 1961, 2,713 planes and 2,675 helicopters have been lost in Vietnam. Military sources put their value at $5.6-billion."… (25 May) 4 U.S. SAILORS DIE IN TONKIN GULF BLAZE… 'A fire aboard the guided missile frigate King in the Tonkin Gulf off North Vietnam killed at least four crewmen…The fire started in the vessel's fireroom and had been extinguished after an hour and 20 minutes. The ship is proceeding to Subic Bay, P.I. for repairs….Since 1965, there have been at least six fires and explosions accounting for 186 men killed and 155 injured aboard Seventh Fleet ships in the Vietnam war zone."… 43 OF SAIGON'S SOLDIERS DIE IN 2 BATTLES… "Two south Vietnamese Army battalions suffered substantial losses in major battles north and east of Saigon yesterday. An enemy force of about 450 men was engaged 45 miles east of Saigon and in the day long battle the South Vietnamese lost 20 while killing 40… A second battle was waged in the Central Highlands where a battalion of South Vietnamese Rangers was reported to have killed 35 Vietcong in a battle 10 miles southwest of Dakto and 95 miles southwest of Danang. Government losses were 23 killed and 40 wounded."…
B. PEACE TALKS IN PARIS… (20 May) THIEU SAID TO HARBOR DOUBTS ON NIXON's PROPOSALS FOR PEACE… "Despite a public appearance of agreement, President Nguyen Van Thieu appears to have some reservations about the Nixon Administration's program for settling the war in Vietnam. These reservations evidently emerged after a five-hour conference on Friday between the South Vietnamese leader and Secretary of State William P. Rogers. During their talks, Mr. Rogers, who later left Saigon for a meeting of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization, elaborated on some of the points President Nixon set out in his televised address last Wednesday. President Thieu is now said to harbor doubts about the U.S. position on an interim coalition government, to which he is implacably opposed, and about the question of special elections, which secretary Rogers mentioned as one of the points that should be open to negotiations with the National Liberation Front, or Vietcong."… (21 May) NIXON TO SEEK JOINT POLICY WITH THIEU IN MIDWAY TALK… "In an effort to reach a common allied bargaining position and to spur some movement in the Paris peace negotiations, President Nixon has agreed to meet with president Nguyen Van Thieu of South Vietnam on Midway Island June 8….Unity of purpose is the aim."… HANOI SAYS U.S. SUPPORT OF THIEU WILL BAR GAINS IN PEACE TALKS… "…U.S. maintenance of the Government in South Vietnam would prevent any progress in the Paris peace talks….the matter of who organizes the first elections in South Vietnam is what is most important."… (23 May) SEATO MEMBERS AGREE ON PEACE PROPOSALS… "The seven allies in the Vietnam war declared today that North Vietnamese forces must withdraw from Cambodia and Laos as well as South Vietnam, as part of an acceptable peace agreement."… (25 May) HARRIMAN CALLS ON U.S. TO LEAD IN REDUCTION OF VIETNAM COMBAT… "W. Averrell Harriman has proposed that the United States take the lead in stepping down the combat in Vietnam and bringing 50,000 soldiers home at once. He predicted that the enemy would follow the American example. Mr. Harriman, the former chief American negotiator in Paris, said in an interview at his home in Georgetown this week that such moves were essential to get political bargaining with North Vietnam and the Vietcong moving. He did not specify how allied combat activity should be reduced. 'I am convinced there will not be progress in the political field until there is reduction of violence.'"…
C. THE REST OF THE HEADLINES… (19 May) APOLLO 10 HEADING FOR THE MOON IN REHEARSAL FOR A JULY LANDING–Sends Color TV Photos To Earth–Flawless Start–Lunar Module Links With Command Ship After Earth Orbit…"Three American astronauts rocketed toward the moon today on a critical rehearsal flight to clear the way for a planned lunar landing by men just two months from now. …Colonel Thomas P. Staffford of the Air Force and Commanders John W. Young and Eugene A. Cernan of the Navy rode their Apollo 10 spacecraft off the launching pad, slowly at first, then with fiery momentum until they were out of sight and into orbit of the earth. The launching took place a week short of eight years from the day in 1961 when President Kennedy committed the nation to landing men on the moon in this decade."… GOLDA MEIR IS SAID TO WEIGH U.S. TRIP–Israeli Ambassador Believed To Have Suggested Visit… DUBCEK AT CZECH RALLY CALLS FOR UNITY–Former Czech Party Chief Also Urges Better Relations With Soviet…DEFIANT STUDENTS KEEP THE UNDERGROUND PRESSES ROLLING… IRAQ IN DISPUTE WITH IRAN… (20 May) APOLLO 10 PASSES MIDPOINT ON TRIP TO ORBIT THE MOON–Systems Performing Smoothly On 2nd Day of Voyage–Lunar Sighting Radioed… EDWARD KENNEDY PUTS EARTH's NEEDS AHEAD OF SPACE PROGRAM… "…calls for slowdown in space program so that funds could be diverted to such pressing problems as poverty, hunger, pollution and housing here on earth."… LAIRD APPEALS TO ENEMY TO RELEASE U.S. PRISONERS OF WAR… "Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird appealed to North Vietnam and the Vietcong today for the prompt release of all American prisoners of war. He also called for the immediate release of the sick and wounded among the 500 to 1,300 Americans believed to be held by the enemy. 'The North Vietnamese have claimed that they are treating men humanely. I am distressed by the fact that there is clear evidence that this is not the case.'"…THOUSANDS OF GRADUATE STUDENTS ARE CALLED BY THE ARMY–Induction At the End Of The Academic Year… "From 16,000 to 25,000 young men now in graduate school have received draft induction notices but have had their induction postponed until the end of the school year. These men are likely to be the first called to fill local draft quotas this summer. It will be the first time that a large number of graduate students has been called into the Army at one time."… FULBRIGHT WARNS MILITARISM GAINS–He Tells National War College U.S. Faces Authoritarianism… "…argued today that the nation's far flung military commitments were eroding the democratic process and leading the Government down the road to authoritarianism…. the Fulbright indictment was directed not so much at the Pentagon as at the whole trend of postwar foreign policy, with its reliance upon 'the threat or the use of force abroad. Quite as inevitably as if it were deliberate,' he said, 'our Imperial role in the world has generated a trend toward authoritarian government.' What has happened he contended is that foreign policy has become an end in itself, instead of an instrument toward the central, dominating goal of securing democratic values within our society.'"… RED CHINA ASSAILS POLICIES OF NIXON–It Affirms Determination To Liberate Taiwan... (21 May) APOLLO TO ENTER IT'S LUNAR ORBIT THIS AFTERNOON–Approach To Surface To Be Transmitted In Color TV As Rocket Slows Craft–Course Very Accurate–Spaceship Escapes Sphere of Earth's Predominant Gravity For That of The Moon… APOLLO 11 MOVES GINGERLY TO LAUNCH PAD–Moon Vehicle Takes Six Hours To make 3 1/2 Mile Journey… COPTER BREAKS UP BERKELEY CROWD–Stinging Powder Dropped From Air Ends 'Funeral' for Gunshot Victim… "…the powder dropped by the helicopter was identified by officials as 'C.S.'–a dry form of tear gas."… (22 May) ASTRONAUTS ORBIT MOON AND PREPARE TO GO CLOSE TODAY–Jubilant Stafford Tells World 'We Have Arrived'… WARREN E. BURGER NAMED CHIEF JUSTICE OF SUPREME COURT BY NIXON–Now On Appeals Bench–A critic of Court–Nominee Has Taken Strong Stand For Law and Order….COLLEGES WARNED BY HOUSE ON FUNDS–Money Bill Rider Provides Limited Cutoffs For Laxity On Laws to Curb Unrest… LAIRD SHOCKED BY REBUFF FROM HANOI ON PRISONERS OF WAR… "…deeply shocked and disappointed by a North Vietnamese rejection of an appeal for a list of American held prisoners…"… ISRAELIS REPORT DOWNING 3 EGYPTIAN MiGs NEAR SUEZ CANAL–Clash Also Reported By Jordan… SOVIET BELIEVED TO BE SHIFTING TOWARD DIRECT MIDEAST TALKS–New Big Four Meeting… (23 May) ASTRONAUTS DIP WITHIN 9.4 MILES OF MOON SURFACE–Scout Landing Site–Rejoin Mother Craft–Test For Landing Module–Stafford and Cernan In Two Descents Find 'Smooth Surface'… CANADA TO ADMIT ANY U.S. DESERTER–Border Officals No Longer To Decide On Entries… (24 May) ASTRONAUTS SET TO START RETURN TO EARTH TODAY–Finish Taking Photographs In 3-Dimensions of Future Lunar Landing Site Circle Moon 31 Times–An Overheated Fuel Cell Is Turned Off and Saved For Key Maneuvers… TROOPS DISPERSE CAROLINA SNIPERS–Plane and Helicopter Spray Tear Gas On Dormitories On Greenboro Campus… SIRHAN TRANSFERRED TO SAN QUENTIN AMID SECRECY–Assassin Is Flown To Death Row In an Uneventful Pre-Dawn Operation… SOVIET EXPANDS AIRFIELDS IN FAR EASTERN BUILDUP… (25 May) APOLLO 10 CREW HEADS FOR EARTH, TIRED BUT HAPPY–First Rocket With Precision To Escape Gravity Pull On Moon And Fix Course for Earth landing–Sea Landing Tomorrow–TV Pictures In Color Show Details Of Crater Moltke Near Planned Descent… JOY HAS GONE OUT OF CZECHOSLOVAKIA SPRING–Lassitude It's Replacement A Year After Soviet Intervention…
II. COMMANDO HUNT II… (April-November 1969)… Humble Host clipped the following from a 24-page segment of an untitled document held by the Texas Tech Vietnam Archives that provides explicit details of the "Battle for Hamburger Hill in May 1969."… I quote…
"The largest battle of the 1969 A Shau Valley campaign was the seizure of Hill 937, also called Dong Ap Bia or 'Hamburger Hill.' The battle (10-20 May) illustrates the role of air strikes against a well fortified, entrenched enemy. On 10 May 1969, the 3d Battalion, 187th Infantry assaulted into LZ 2 between a river marking the Laotian Border and the summit of Hill 937, about a kilometer from each. The enemy was caught by surprise; the LZ was cold, and a command post was established up to a ridge to the southeast to effectively block the main trail system between Laos and Hill 937. The next day, Bravo Company moved to take Hill 937 summit, encountering stiff resistance.
"Ground and air observers reported numerous signs of NVA, which subsequent events revealed to be the 29th NVA Regiment Headquarters and its 7th and 8th Battalions. The estimated pre-battle strength of these units was 650, 400, and 380 men, respectively. While the paratroopers held blocking positions west of 937, it is not clear whether this accounted for the NVA's decision to stand and fight. Because many of the enemy dead had fresh haircuts, clean uniforms, and new weapons, Allied intelligence concluded that the NVA were reinforcing nightly from Laos throughout most of the battle. Apparently the regiment had orders not to retreat. Evidence for this included lettering sewn on some shirts saying, 'Stay and Fight and Not Run' and 'Kill Americans, Kill Vietnamese,' and signs on trees saying, 'Stay and Fight. This is a Good Place to Fight From.'
"For an NVA force willing to face U.S. firepower, Hill 937 was a better place than most to defend. The NVA regiment held high ground ringed on all sides by concentric bunkers with mutual supporting fires. Listening posts down the hill gave early warning, while interconnecting trenches upslope allowed screened reinforcement to the bunker complexes set ever more densely as the summit was neared. Notable were the varying sized A-frame log bunkers with one to two feet of overhead cover of sod and logs. These combination sleeping and fighting positions were considered hardened against B-52 strikes.
"Within two hours of the initial LZ landing, U.S. troops encountered enemy resistance too determined to be mere trail watchers. The next day, captured documents revealed the opposing NVA were members of the 29th Regiment. Also on this day, an ARA Short Round occured when a helicopter fired on the battalion command post, causing one dead and 15 medevacs. On 12 and 13 May 1969, heavy airstrikes and artillery attempted to dislodge the enemy from fortified positions, but the defenders held fast against the airborne battalion. The next two days, the battalion made slow advances up the ridgelines under cover of very heavy artillery, airstrikes, and gunship support. On 15 May, the Second Short Round occurred. The top of the Hill 937 had nearly been attained when an ARA fired on Bravo Company's Command section, killing two and wounding 14, including the company commander. The ARA attack broke the momentum of the assault, causing the troops within 75-meters of the top to withdraw and 'let the Air Force continue to bomb the hill.' The enemy followed the Allies down slope, attacking night defensive positions. Action was light the following day as a second U.S. battalion arrived. Positions were consolidated for the final assault, which came relentlessly from 17 to 20 May 1969. Ultimately, four battalions, including ARVN troops ringed the hill. Heavy bombing turned Hill 937 into… bald ruin…. By noon on 20 May, the hilltop had been taken, driving the fleeing NVA west down a draw in broad daylight under attack from the tactical aircraft. The APACHE SNOWAfter Action Report states: 'Airstrikes into this area must truly have taken their toll because for days after this, numerous mass grave sites were discovered during the mop-up operations in the days following the capture of Dong Ap Bia.
"Final casualty totals for Hill 937 from 10 to 24 May were 630 enemy known killed (51 by ARVN) and 61 Americans killed and two missing. In addition, enemy dead on Dong Ap Bia were 47 killed by air (KBA). By comparison, ARA was credited with 16 KBA during the whole of APACHE SNOW and artillery received no mention in the after action report."…..
"Aside from objections to aggressive U.S. operations in the western mountains, the controversy over Hill 937 concerned the safest way for Allied troops to capture strongly fortified enemy bunkers. The obvious tactic would be to demolish bunkers with heavy artillery and airstrikes of at least 155mm rockets or 1,000-pound size bombs. This was done on Hill 937, as witnessed in the…APACHE SNOW After Action Report."…
"In short, tactics against enemy bunker complexes called for neither an automatic pullback nor a mandatory pressing forward. The ground commanders made on-the-spot decisions of how they would employ the various firepower available from M-16s to 2,000-pound bombs. In fact, the most common bomb load was 'snake and nape'– napalm and the 500-pound fin retarded Snakeye bomb. This combination was good at clearing away the jungle canopy and exposing the enemy."…
"In fighting such as that on Dong Ap Bia, the Army requested tactical air spaced throughout the daylight hours so it could be available for integration into ground operations. From 10-20 May 1969, an average of more than 15 strikes (normally a pair of fighters) directly supported APACHE SNOW. Fighters were overhead nearly fifty per cent of the time, according to the APACHE SNOW After Action Report and hardly a report of combat occurred during this operation that there was not some type of air support overhead. This included helicopters and gunships…. This mixed application of air support helped make the kill ratio 9.5 NVA dead for each U.S. killed on Hill 937."…
Access this formerly Secret document (24 pages) at:
III. AIRCRAFT LOSSES IN SOUTHEAST ASIA: 19-25 MAY 1969… References include Chris Hobson's VIETNAM AIR LOSSES: United States Air Force, navy and Marine Corps Fixed-Wing aircraft Losses in Southeast Asia 1961-1973 and the PACAF SOUTHEAST ASIA AIR OPERATIONS SUMMARIES for the months of COMMANDO HUNT… During the week ending 25 May 1969 the United States lost seven (7) fixed wing aircraft and three (3) brave souls…
(1) On 21 May an F-8J of the VF-194 Red Lightings embarked in USS Oriskany was lost on a CAP mission due to a fuel system failure. The pilot (LT OBAR?) ejected and was rescued to fly again…
(2) On 23 May a Marine A-4E of the VMA-311 Tomcats and MAG-12 out of Chu Lai piloted by 1LT PETER W. OTIS was downed by ground fire while participating in a CAS mission about 16 miles west of Danang. His aircraft was hit rolling in on a napalm run forcing his almost immediate ejection. He was rescued by helo to fly and nape again…
(3) On 24 May an F-100D Super Sabre of the 355th TFS and 31st TFW out of Tuy Hoa piloted by CAPTAIN CHARLES JEROME MANSKE sustained damage from ground fire while executing ordnance delivery runs in support of Army troops in contact with the enemy in South Vietnam. CAPTAIN MANSKE was able keep his aircraft flying and headed for home. Unfortunately, the aircraft went down at sea 25 miles northeast of Tuy Hoa and he was killed. There was apparently no ejection, no beeper heard or parachute seen. CAPTAIN MANSKE rests where he fell fifty years ago and is memorialized with a military headstone placed in his honor at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio….
(4) On 24 May an AC-130A Spectre Gunship of the 16th SOS and 8th TFW out of Ubon piloted by LCOL WILLIAM H. SCHWEHM was lost after taking two hits from an emeny 37mm site in the heart of COMMANDO HUNT country. Chris Hobson has the story: "The first AC-130 gunship to be lost during the war was on a night armed reconnaissance mission over southern Laos checking Routes 914 and 920 for truck traffic. The aircraft was about to attack a truck convoy on a road near the village of Ban Tanbok about 20 miles southwest of Ashau Valley, when it took two rounds of 37mm AAA in the tail and fuselage as it orbited at 6,500-feet. The hydraulic system failed and the aircraft started climbing uncontrollably until the pilot and co-pilot (MAJOR GERALD H. PIEHL) wrestled the control columns to full forward and brought all crew members to the flight deck to make the aircraft nose heavy. It was then discovered that elevator trim, rudder control and autopilot were no longer functioning but the pilots regained partial control by the use of aileron trim and differential engine power. Unfortunately, SSGT JACK WAYNE TROGLEN, the illuminator operator had been mortally wounded and died before the aircraft landed. LCOL SCHWEHM nursed the damaged aircraft back to Ubon and ordered most of the crew (nine troops) to bail out near the airfield before attempting a landing. As the aircraft touched down the starboard undercarriage collapsed and the AC-130 veered off the runway shearing off the starboard wing when it hit the barrier cable housing causing the aircraft to catch fire. SSGT CECIL FRANKLIN TAYLOR, the flight engineer was unable to escape the burning aircraft and died in the incident." SSGT CECIL F. TAYLOR is buried at Oconee Memorial Gardens, Oconee Country, South Carolina. His combat awards included the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters and the Purple Heart. SSGT JACK WAYNE TROGLEN is buried at Plainview Cemetery at Sparta, Tennessee. Among his combat awards: the DFC, Air Medal and Purple Heart. Killed in Action, glory gained, duty done. And, at home, broken hearts…
(5) On 24 May an RF-8G of the VFP-63 Detachment embarked in USS Oriskany piloted by LTJG S.L. RICHEY suffered a fuel system problem and flamed out on a photo reconnaissance mission. The pilot safely ejected and was rescued to fly and photo again… (Two fuel probs in Oriskany F-8s in five days?)
(6) On 25 May an F-100D Super Sabre of the 352nd TFS and 35th TFW out of Phang Rang piloted by 1LT D.G. STANFORD was downed on a CAS mission on the Saigon River ten miles southwest of Lai Khe. 1LT STANFORD completed his weapons delivery runs on troops in the open and was departing the target area at low level when hit by small arms fire. The damage allowed him to clear the target area but precluded a safe landing. He ejected over the sea 30 miles east of the city of Vung Tau and was rescued by a U.S. Navy ship…
(7) On 25 May an O-2A of the 19th TASS and 504th TASG out of Bien Hoa with three souls on board crashed in South Vietnam due to engine failure. All aboard survived.
IV. HUMBLE HOST END NOTE… FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES, 23 May 1969, page 1:
"STRATEGY IN VIETNAM: U.S. Command Defends Apbia Battle As 'Maximum Pressure' on the Foe" by Terence Smith… Quoted in full…
"SAIGON, South Vietnam, May 22– The United States military command here believes that the controversial battle for Apbia Mountain, while costly, was an integral part of the policy of 'maximum pressure' that it has been pursuing in Vietnam for six months. Since November 1, 1968, when the bombing of North Vietnam (OPERATION ROLLING THUNDER) was halted, the military has been under orders to keep the maximum possible heat on the enemy in South Vietnam. These orders came directly from President Lyndon B. Johnson, though military sources here have steadfastly refused to confirm that.
"The sources do confirm, however, that they have received no orders of any kind from the Nixon Administration to modify that basic strategy. They are still under the orders to pursue the enemy relentlessly, using every tactic and weapon at their command, to deny the North Vietnamese and Vietcong troops any strategic advantage as a result of the halt of the bombing (of the North).
NEW OFFENSIVE SURGE…
"The United States commanders in the field have followed the order to the letter, and have dramatically stepped up the number of offensive operations initiated by the allies. The number of such small unit actions jumped 100 per cent in the first four months after the halt in bombing, according to Army figures. 'The message contained in that order is simple,' a high ranking officer at the command headquarters said today. 'It is to go all out, all the time, to search out the enemy, cut off his lines of supply, disrupt his communications and block his major infiltration routes. That's the order and that's what the units taking Apbia Mountain were doing.'
"In the military view, this is still a war of attrition in which the object is to wear the enemy down gradually by inflicting unacceptable casualties. Although, the United States is trying to negotiate a settlement in Paris and the Administration seems to have given up all hope of achieving a purely military victory in Vietnam, in the absence of orders to let up on the enemy, the military sees no choice but to continue to bear down. 'The fact that there are negotiations under way doesn't mean we should stop fighting,' one colonel said. 'The enemy certainly hasn't and I don't think we should unless we get something in exchange.'
"In the view of senior members of the command, the bloody five-day battle for Apbia Mountain was entirely consistent with the over-all strategy. The fact that nearly 50 Americans were killed and 270 wounded in the uphill assault does not, in their view, mean that the operation was a failure. They note that 500 of the enemy were killed, and that a 10-1 ratio of combat deaths is what they normally hope to inflict in operations of that sort.
"Many American officers seem bitterly resentful of Senator Edward F. Kennedy's description of the operation as 'senseless and irresponsible.' They believe he is criticizing them for following orders. 'His complaint should be registered with the White House–not the military,' one officer said.
CONVENTIONAL ACTION BACKED…
"Despite their disclaimers, commanders at all levels convey the impression that they would be disappointed if they did receive orders from the Nixon Administration to hold back. Career officers, in particular, seem to feel strongly that continued conventional military action is worthwhile, and that it is producing increasingly valuable results in Vietnam.
"They still rankle at the restrictions that were placed on them from the beginning, at the fact that they have not been permitted to pursue the enemy into base areas in neighboring Cambodia and Laos, and at the fact that the bombing of the North was halted. They realize the war has shifted into a new phase in which political considerations frequently outweigh military orders, but they give little evidence of welcoming the change."… End Terence Smith (News Analysis)…
Lest we forget… Bear
This Day in Aviation History" brought to you by the Daedalians Airpower Blog Update. To subscribe to this weekly email, go to https://daedalians.org/airpower-blog/
Aug. 18, 1910
At Fort Sam Houston, Texas, Oliver G. Simmons, the Army's first civilian airplane mechanic, and Cpl. Glen Madole added wheels to Signal Corps Airplane No. 1, producing a tricycle landing gear and eliminating the need for a launching rail or catapult.
Aug. 19, 1939
Happy National Aviation Day! On this day in 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed Orville Wright's birthday as National Aviation Day.
Aug. 20, 1910
The Army's Lt. Jacob Fickel fired a rifle from a Curtiss biplane toward the ground at Sheepshead Bay Track, near New York City, becoming the first U.S. military member to shoot a firearm from an airplane.
Aug. 21, 1915
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Henry C. Mustin and Lt.j.g. Patrick N. L. Bellinger, and 1st Lt. Bernard L. Smith, USMC, arrived in Paris, France, from a voyage on board North Carolina (Armored Cruiser No. 12) for a two-day tour of aircraft factories and aerodromes in the immediate area. This temporary assignment marked the first use of naval aviators as observers in foreign lands, and established a precedent for the assignment of aviation assistants to naval attachés, which began the same month when Lt. John H. Towers was dispatched to London, England, "for special duty in connection with the study of aviation." The following month Lt. j.g. Victor D. Herbster and 1st Lt. Smith reported to Berlin, Germany, and to Paris, respectively. Mustin was Daedalian Founder Member #3501; Bellinger, #2101; Smith, #1283; Towers, #4093; and Herbster, #4076.
Aug. 22, 1940
Former naval aviator James V. Forrestal, Daedalian Founder Member #11145, assumed his duties as the first Undersecretary of the Navy.
Aug. 23, 1954
The first of two Lockheed YC-130 Hercules four-engine transport prototypes, 53-3397, made its first flight from the Lockheed Air Terminal at Burbank, California, to Edwards Air Force Base. The flight crew consisted of test pilots Stanley Beltz and Roy Wimmer, with Jack G. Real (a future Lockheed vice president) and Dick Stanton as flight engineers. From a standing start, the YC-130 was airborne in 855 feet (261 meters), The flight lasted 1 hour, 1 minute.
Aug. 24, 1970
Two HH-53s completed the first nonstop trans-Pacific helicopter flight as they landed at Da Nang AB, South Vietnam, after a 9,000-mile flight from Eglin AFB, Florida.