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Page 299(Artillery and Reconnaissance )previous pagenext page


Artillery and Reconnaissance

Artillery Operations, 1910-1971�Reconnaissance Operations, 1970-1971

Artillery Operations, 1970-1971

At the beginning of 1970, all Marine artillery units in Vietnam, with the exception of one 175mm gun battery, were under the control of the 11th Marines, the artillery regiment of the 1st Marine Division. The regiment, commanded by Colonel Don D. Ezell, con­sisted of its four organic battalions and the attached 1st Battalion, 13th Marines; 1st and 3d 8-inch Howit­zer Batteries (SP); 1st and 3d 175mm Gun Batteries (SP); Battery K, 4th Battalion, 13th Marines; and Bat­tery G (-), 29th Artillery, USA.

Each of the four 105mm howitzer battalions was in direct support of a Marine infantry regiment. The 1st Battalion, 13th Marines, with its CP at the Northern Artillery Cantonment (NAC) and batteries at NAC, Hill 10, and FSB Los Banos north of the Hai Van Pass, fired missions for the 26th Marines. This battalion had operational control of the Mortar Battery, 1st Battal­ion, 11th Marines, positioned at Hill 270 and Hai Van Pass. The rest of the 1st Battalion, 11th Marines sup­ported the 1st Marines, with its CP and one 105mm battery on Hill 55 and the other two batteries deployed at small firebases in the flatlands south of Da Nang. From positions at An Hoa and Hill 65, the 2d Bat­talion, 11th Marines supported the 5th Marines, while the 3d Battalion, deployed at Combat Base Baldy and FSBs Ross and Ryder, provided fire for the 7th Ma­rines. The 4th Battalion, with its CP on Hill 34 and batteries at NAC, Hill 55, An Hoa, and FSB Ross, was in general support of the 1st Marine Division, rein­forcing the 105mm batteries as required. This battal­ion also had operational and administrative control of Battery K, 4th Battalion, 13th Marines, stationed at FSB Ross.1

Of the Force Artillery units temporarily under the 11th Marines, the 1st 175mm Gun Battery (SP) was split between NAC and Hill 34, and the 3d 175mm Gun Battery (SP) was posted at An Hoa. The 1st 8-inch Howitzer Battery (SP) had platoons at Baldy, An Hoa, and Ross; the 3d was similarly divided, with platoons at NAC, Hill 65, and Hill 55. All of these units provid­ed long-range, heavy artillery support throughout the division TAOR.2

The single Marine artillery unit not under 11th Ma­rines control, the 5th 175mm Gun Battery (SP) (Rein), operated in northern I Corps. Its command post was at Dong Ha Combat Base, while its 175mm guns were at Camp Carroll and a reinforcing platoon of 8-inch self-propelled howitzers was located at FSB A-2. This battery, under the operational control of the 108th Ar­tillery Group, USA, fired long-range missions in sup­port of the 101st Airborne Division; the 1st Brigade, 5th Infantry Division (Mechanized); and the 1st ARVN Division. It also attacked targets in enemy base areas along the Laotian border. The battery's tracked 175s periodically moved west along Route 9 to participate in Army artillery raids on enemy bases not in range from American positions.*3

These Marine artillery units possessed a total of 156 guns, howitzers, and mortars. Three firing batteries in each direct support battalion were armed with the tried and proven M101A1 105mm towed howitzer, which had a maximum range of 11, 300 meters and could be air-transported by a CH-46; the fourth fir­ing battery had six 4.2-inch mortars with a maximum range of 5, 600 meters. The 4th Battalion, 11th Ma­rines was equipped with M109A self-propelled 155mm howitzers, capable of hitting targets at ranges up to 14, 600 meters. Eight towed 155mm howitzers also remained in the 11th Marines' inventory. These had been replaced in the general support battalion by the self-propelled version but were retained in Vietnam as a helicopter-transportable heavy weapon for rein­forcement of 105s at temporary firebases.4 Each of the regiment's direct support battalions had been issued a few of these howitzers. The battalions normally at­tached them to individual 105mm batteries or to their mortar batteries. The 8-inch howitzer and 175mm gun batteries, respectively, were equipped with the MHO

* Activated in August 1966 as a 155mm gun battery, this unit had been in Vietnam since July 1967, initially near Chu Lai and Da Nang and in Northern ICTZ since the beginning of 1968. In March 1969, it had received its 175mm guns, and in October of the same year, as the 3d Marine Division redeployed, it came un­der operational control of XXIV Corps, attached to the 108th Ar­tillery Group. 5th 175mm Gun Battery. Battery Order 5060.1, dtd 27Feb70, in 5th 175mm Gun Battery (SP) ComdC, Feb70.

Page 299(Artillery and Reconnaissance )previous pagenext page

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