One Good Deal After Another (continued)
2 October 1968: Enemy Armor
The real fun began at 2130 when Lieutenant Post was back on the radio to report the distinctive sounds of tanks and screaming troops 500 to a 1000 yards to his front, moving in his direction.
The action didn’t start until 1320 when Golf Company discovered another NVA bunker complex. This one was occupied by roughly 11 NVA. Golf suffered 2 KIA at the initial contact.
Rather than assault the position, Lieutenant Post called for Close Air Support. The aircraft soon arrived and efficiently demolished the bunker complex. The command chronology notes that the company reported only 2 enemy KIA which may have been all that they were able to count.
Shortly afterward, Lieutenant Ty Rudd, commanding Hotel Company, reported finding 7 vacant living bunkers, each capable of billeting 8 or 9 soldiers. The bunkers were destroyed.
The real fun began at 2130 when Lieutenant Post was back on the radio to report the distinctive sounds of tanks and screaming troops 500 to a 1000 yards to his front, moving in his direction. His report was quickly relayed to regiment, a move that was a sure fire way to get attention.
Lieutenant Rudd, “Hotel Six,” was listening in on the conversation. A quick discussion followed. Since Golf Company was armed with the light (too light) new anti-tank weapon and Hotel was armed with the old, reliable, big punch 3.5 inch rocket launcher, Hotel would take the tanks while Golf was responsible for the screaming infantry.
Meanwhile, a 155 mm artillery fire mission was called on the human and mechanical noise. Despite all the noise, the enemy did not seem to be moving very far. It’s possible that, with the noise and movement of the armor, the NVA were psyching themselves up to attack.
M72 LAAW (Light-weight Anti-Armor Weapon) carried by a Marine in Vietnam in 1968 was touted as the Bazooka's successor. Courtesy of Wikipedia.
(Note: Earlier in the war, the Department of Defense shifted from the 3.5 inch rocket to the LAAW as the main carried anti-armor/anti-bunker weapon. The battalions were to turn in the 3.5’s and draw LAAW’s. Some did. Others had only one or two companies complete the transaction. From the Washington standpoint, the LAAW was cost effective. From the combat standpoint, the 3.5 had a much bigger punch and was in greater favor with those who had to take care of business.)
Fully-extended M20 Mk II 3.5 inch rocket launcher, the ‘Super Bazooka’ was a descendant of World War II’s tank busting M1 Bazooka and was considered the better weapon by the men that carried it. Courtesy collection.nam.ac.uk.