One Good Deal After Another (continued)
4 October 1968: The Paris Peace Talks
The important fact was that Hotel Company had uncovered the real reason for the North Vietnamese interest in that part of the DMZ.
While moving to the left flank of the enemy that Golf was entertaining, Hotel Company found a 152mm artillery position. The weapon was gone but a dozen or so rounds had been left behind.
The 152mm towed gun-howitzer shown here was developed in 1955 for Soviet and Eastern bloc forces. It saw action in the North Vietnamese Army's arsenal as well. Each 152mm diameter (six inches) shell weighed almost 100 pounds. Courtesy of Wikipedia.
We had found bunkers, truck parks, billeting areas and even an administrative area of some sort with a large number of boxes filled with paperwork but this was the first finding of an artillery position. The paperwork was sent to the rear and a few days later, we were told that it identified just about every unit in the North Vietnamese Army. That may well have been an exaggeration.
The important fact was that Hotel Company had uncovered the real reason for the North Vietnamese interest in that part of the DMZ. We reported the ammunition to regiment. It went further …. to Washington and then to Paris.
The Paris Peace Talks were underway at the time and the U.S. accused the North Vietnamese of breaking International Law by establishing an artillery position in the Demilitarized Zone. Needless to say, the North Vietnamese denied the charge.
Within the next few days, we overran more artillery positions and found a considerable amount of artillery ammunition, especially 152mm rounds. Unfortunately, we were required to put the 152mm ammo on helicopters for transportation to the rear. Why, I don’t know but do know that moving a large amount of major caliber ammunition over foot trails to a landing zone was just what the troops did not need.
The “Paris Peace Accords” was a treaty signed in 1973 between North Vietnam and the United States (its provisions were frequently broken by the North with no response from the United States.) Main negotiators of the agreement were North Vietnamese politburo member Lê Đức Thọ and US National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, shaking hands above. Talks began in 1968 as US Marines patrolled the DMZ on North Vietnam’s border. Courtesy BBC.com.
For what it was worth, BLT 2/26, call sign, John Brown, was now known in high places.
We now return to Hotel Company which, having stirred the pot by finding the 152 ammo, had gone back to its mission of attacking the enemy that Golf was pinning down.
They found the enemy flank and estimated that it was a unit of approximately 25 troops armed with rifles and supported by two 60 mm mortars of American manufacture. Hotel was supported by our own 81 mm mortar platoon. Actually, our half platoon.
The assault was perfect. The 81’s fired “prep” fires, one round of which landed squarely in one of the NVA mortar pits as Hotel assaulted.
The other NVA mortar crew was short lived. Assaulting Marines wrestled its mortar from the crew, then launched them into eternity.
Meanwhile, the remainder of the totally surprised NVA troops put up light resistance before breaking and running. We had one casualty. I don’t know how many casualties the NVA had in addition to the two mortar crews but soldiers running from their enemy tend to take losses.