F51st LRP Summary of Operations This web site is dedicated to the memory of Col. William C. Maus, Jr. (1928 - 1998)
SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS Company F, 51st Long Range Patrol (Airborne) Infantry (Confidential Information Declassified in 1987)
OPERATION Virgin 28 Nov – 2 Dec 1967 1. MISSION F Co. conducted an operation in a semi-secure area during the period 28 Nov – 2 Dec 1967. The two-fold purpose of this exercise was (1) to give fully trained teams a final shake-down mission and (2) to test company command-and- control procedures. 2. ORGANIZATION Eleven (11) recon teams participated in the exercise, five (5) from the 1st platoon and six (6) from the 2nd platoon. All teams had completed all phases of necessary training to include MACV Recondo School. Attached to F Co in support of this operation were: one (1) FAC, one (1) arty LNO, five (5) slicks, one (1) C&C, one (1) heavy fire team (three gunships), and a 24-hour-a-day airborne radio relay. F Co was OPCON to the 4/12th Infantry Bn. who provided an on-call reactionary force and supporting artillery. 3. CONCEPT Operation Virgin was conducted under a general concept of saturating an area with recon patrols. Teams participating in all phases of an operation to include warning orders, patrol orders, brief-backs, recon missions, and de-briefings. Teams were inserted and extracted at various times of the day and were given area and point type recon missions. (Annex A, Patrol Schedules; Annex B, Overlay of AO). 4. NARRATIVE DESCRIPTION On 27 Nov attached elements arrived and the day was devoted to briefings, training with aircraft, and preparations for the operation. On 28 Nov at 1045 hours the operation began and the three (3) patrols were inserted as depicted on attached schedule. The first two (2) patrols were inserted and conducted area type recons in assigned Recon Zones (RZ). The third patrol was inserted at 28 1740 and logged in for the night. Their mission was area type recon. At 28 1810 F Co received a spot report from 4/12th Inf 199th Inf. Bde. (Lt.) (Sep) that one VC Bn. had been reported in the Area of Operation (AO). This information was relayed to the patrol. They observed no activity in their area that night. On 29 Nov the initial insertion times were postponed due to extremely bad visibility over the AO. The first patrol inserted at 1448 hours, the second at 1316 hours, and the third at 1758 hours. All three patrols were given area type recon missions. At 2000 hours a night extraction utilizing strobe-light techniques was executed. At 30 0710 (1) one patrol was compromised ten (10) minutes after insertion. They had been seen and made contact with several civilians during their insertion. The reminder of the patrols continued their mission. At 1545 hours patrol 2-6 requested “Dust Off” for a non-battle injury. At 1640 hours the entire team was extracted. All other patrols were inserted and extracted as shown in the Annex A. No significant activity was reported. 5. RESULTS Operation Virgin was a considered to be a highly successful operation. While many problems were encountered and many mistakes were made, on-the-spot corrections and detailed critiques after each mission enabled all personnel to benefit from experience and make continuous improvements. This experience has been incorporated into the lessons learned (Annex C) as a basis for further training and operations. In addition to the lessons learned the following major results are listed: Aircraft assets should be attached to and based in the area. This enables constant planning and coordination, continual concurrent training and rehearsals in such techniques as (1) loading and unloading, (2) McGuire extractions and (3) aerial map reading. Of primary importance it insures a quick response for emergency extractions and other operational requirements. Each patrol accomplished its mission and is considered capable of further LRP type combat missions. Command-and-control procedures are effective and capable of controlling operations of up to five (5) teams at once, provided the conditions of future employment are the same as described in this report. Specifically this refers to control of the air assets by the LRP Co CO. William C. Maus Major Infantry Commanding ***** OPERATION Kick Off I    3 Dec – 5 Dec 67 1. During this period 3 – 5 Dec. 1967, F Company inserted five (5) recon patrols with trail-watch missions into AO Strike under the operational control of the 199th Lt. Inf. Bde. (Annex A, Schedule; Annex B, Overlays of AO’s). All patrols were extracted by the afternoon of 5 Dec as this was the last day that F Co retained control of attached air assets. In addition to the 5 patrols inserted, two (2) more patrols were briefed and prepared to insert on 5 Dec into AO’s 1 and 4 but were subsequently postponed. The following is a brief narrative description of each of the five patrol missions. Number of patrols inserted: 5 Number of US KIA: 1 Number of US WIA: 1 Number of VC/NVA KIA (BC): 6 Number of VC/NVA (Pro): 8 Number of enemy weapons captured: 2 Number of enemy camps located: 2 Number of enemy sightings: 40 ***** OPERATION Kick Off II    13 Dec – 27 Dec 67 1. During the period 13 – 27 Dec 67, F Co operated in AO Strike and N Uniontown under the operational control of the 199th Lt. Inf. Bde. The concept of employment was for LRP teams to locate and report enemy with the 199th committing to reaction force to reinforce or exploit the sightings. The operation was overall highly successful. The following is a statistical summary of activities: Number of patrols inserted: 29 Number of patrols that were heavy (2 teams): 5 Total number of teams committed: 34 Number of US KIA: 1 Number of US WIA: 13 Number of VC/NVA sightings: 13 Number of VC contacts: 7 Number of emergency extractions:  7 Number of times reactionary force committed to extract LRP: 0 Number of times reactionary forces committed to exploit LRP sightings: 5 Number of times arty fired on LRP sightings: 4 Number of VC/NVA KIA body count (BC): 5 Number of VC/NVA KIA (PROB): 3 Number of enemy weapons captured: 1 AK-47 Equipment captured: Web gear, ammo belts, canteens, machete, magazines, sandals, kettles, and wallets, pick axe. ***** OPERATION Uniontown/Breakthrough    29 Dec –7 Feb 68 1. During the period 29 Dec to 7 Feb 1968, F Co operated in AOs North Uniontown, Central Uniontown, South Uniontown, Manchester, and Columbus under the operational control of the 199th Inf. Bde. (Lt.) (Sep.) and also the 3rd Bde, 101st Abn Div. The concept of employment was for light recon patrols (six men) to locate the enemy. The concept for heavy (twelve man) recon/combat patrols was to set up trail watches and ambush an enemy force to take a POW. In the cases where it was possible to fix the enemy, reactionary forces were committed to exploit the situation. The concept was to employ F Co. more so in a ranger-type operations than recon-type operations. Overall the operation was highly successful. The following is a statistical summary of activities: Number of patrols inserted: 53 Number of patrols that were heavy patrols: 38 Total number of teams committed: 91 Number of US KIA:  0 Number of US WIA: 23 Number of VC/NVA sightings:  41 Number of emergency extractions: 32 Number of times reaction force committed to exploit LRP sightings:  8 Number of times reaction force committed to extract LRP: 2 Number of times arty fired on LRP sightings:  26 Number of VC/NVA KIA (BC): 48 Number of VC/NVA KIA (Prob): 24 Number of enemy weapons captured:  9 1 SKA 3 M-1 carbines 2 AK-47s 2 9mm pistols 1 XM-16 E1 Equipment Captured [itemized below]: 10 sets of web gear 20 magazines 5 pr. Sandals 3 wallets mail documents maps personnel effects 2400 lbs. of rice 10, 5 gal cans of fish 2, 1 bushel baskets of canned goods 6, 100 lbs. 1b bags of peas 100 lbs. of meat 1 transistor radio assorted bundles of clothes 2. The following annexes are attached detailing various aspects of the operation: Insertions and extractions schedule [not displayed on this site] Summary of individual patrols [excerpts] Overlays [not displayed on this site] Daily patrol commitment [not displayed on this site] Lessons learned [not displayed on this site] Summary [not displayed on this site] ***** OPERATION Uniontown III / Boxsprings   10 Feb – 28 Mar 68 During the period 10 Feb 1968 to 28 Mar 1968, F Company operated in AOs South Uniontown, Columbus, North Uniontown, Upshur, and Harrisburg under the operational control of the 199th Inf Bde (Lt.) (Sep). The concept of employment was for both light recon teams and heavy combat-recon teams to monitor trails at suspected river- crossing sites. POWs were an additional mission of the combat-recon teams. When it was possible to fix the enemy, reaction forces were committed to exploit the situation. The Operation was highly successful. The following is a statistical summary of activities. Number of patrols inserted: 91 Number of heavy patrols: 26 Total number of patrols: 117  Number of US KIA: 0 Number of US WIA: (unknown for this period) Number of VC/NVA sightings: 91 Number of VC/NVA contacts: 33 Number of emergency extractions: 40 Number of times reactionary forces was committed to exploit LRP sightings: 7 Number of times reactionary forces was committed to extract LRPs: 3 Number of times artillery was fired on LRP sightings: 37 Number of VC/NVA KIA (BC): 48 Number of VC/NVA KIA (Prob): 26 Number of weapons captured: 6 5 AK-47 1 7.62 Chicom Pistols Number of POWs 4 Number of detainees: 14 ***** OPERATION Wilderness – Toan Thang   1 Apr – 23 May 68 During this period 1 Apr 1968 to 10 Apr 1968, Co F (LRP) was OPCON to the 199th Inf Bde (Lt.) (Sep) and operated in AO Wilderness during Operation Wilderness. From 10 Apr 1968 to 22 Apr 1968, Co F (LRP) participated in Operation Toa Thang in AO Columbus II under OPCON to the 199th Inf Bde (Lt.) (Sep). From 23 Apr 1968 to 29 Apr 1968, Co F (LRP) continued to Operation Toan Thang in AOs Pineapple and Orange under OPCON to the 2nd Bde, 25th Inf Div. From 30 Apr 1968 to 23 May 1968, Co F (LRP) continued Operation Toan Tang in AOs Upshur II, Los Banos, and Los Banos East under OPCON to the 3rd Bde, 101st Abn Div. In general the concept of employment was to deploy patrols on trail/canal/rocket watches and to detect movement of enemy units. When it was possible to fix an enemy force, and additional forces were available, a reactionary force was committed to exploit the situation. The following is a statistical summary of activities: Number of patrols inserted:  103 Number of heavy patrols: 13 Total number of patrols: 116  Number of US KIA: 0 Number of VC/NVA sightings: 114 Number of VC/NVA contacts: 58 Number of emergency extractions: 57 Number of times reactionary forces was committed to exploit LRP sightings: 10 Number of times reactionary forces was committed to extract LRPs: 0 Number of times artillery was fired on LRP sightings: 57 Number of VC/NVA KIA (BC): 36 Number of VC/NVA KIA (Prob): 39 Number of weapons captured: 0 Number of POWs: 1 Number of detainees: 4    ***** OPERATION Wilderness – Toan Thang II  25 May 1968 – 23 Jan 1969 During this period 24 May 1968 to 27 Dec 1968, Co F (LRP) conducted Operation Toan Thang. On 27 Dec 1968 Co F (LRP) was deactivated and redesignated as II FFORCEV LRP COMPANY (PROVISIONAL). During the period 13 – 23 Jan 1969, Co F (LRP) performed the dual mission of training Co D (LRP) 151st Inf and continued normal combat operations. The concepts of the operation utilization was to saturate patrols on trails, canals, and rivers to detect the enemy movement, rest or base areas. When it was possible to locate an enemy force, gunships, artillery, TAC AIR, and a reaction force were utilized to exploit the situation. ANNEX E: Statistical Summary Operation Toan Thang II Number of 6 man patrols: 530 Number of 12 man patrols: 66 Total number of patrols: 596 Number of US KIA: 10 Number of US WIA: 130 Number of VC/NVA sightings: 491 Number of VC/NVA contacts: 250 Number of extractions due to enemy contacts: 230 Number of times reaction force was deployed to exploit LRP sightings: 95 Number of times reactionary force committed to extract LRP’s: 3 Number of artillery missions fired on LRP sightings: 364 Number of VC/NVA KIA (BC): 174 Number of VC/NVA KIA Prob): 131 Number of enemy weapons captured: 57 Number of POW’s: 28 Number of detainees:  33 The following equipment was captured: AK-47: 44 SKS: 7 LMG: 1 Pistols: 4 RPG: 1 US weapons: M-79: 1 M-16: 1 Carbines: 1 Approximately 100 pounds of documents were captured by Co F (LRP). These documents contained SOI’s, company rosters, tax payments receipts, training sheets, manuals, and propaganda pamphlets. ***** DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY II FFORCEV LRP COMPANY (PROVISIONAL) APO SAN FRANCISCO 96266 W-G1Q-AA 7 February 1969 SUBJECT: After Action Report Operation Toan Thang II   24 May 1968 – 23 January 1969 During the period 24 May to 27 Dec 1968, Co F (LRP) conducted Operation Toan Thang. On 27 Dec 1968 Co F (LRP) was deactivated and redesignated as II FFORCEV LRP COMPANY (PROVISIONAL). During the period 13–23 Jan 1969, Co F (LRP) performed the dual mission of training Co D (LRP) 151st Inf and continuing normal combat operations. The concept of operation utilization was to saturate patrols on trails, canals, and rivers to detect the enemy movement, rest or base areas. When it was possible to locate an enemy force, gunships, artillery, TAC AIR, and a reaction force were utilized to exploit the situation. The following Annex’s are attached detailing various aspects of the operation: Patrol Schedules [not displayed on this site] Brief Summary Of Individual Patrols [excerpts] Daily Patrol Commitments [not displayed on this site] Operational Areas [not displayed on this site] Statistical Summary [not displayed on this site] Lessons Learned [shown below] Summary Of Operations [not displayed on this site] [Signed:] George M. Heckman Maj. Infantry Commanding ANNEX F Lessons Learned Operation Toan Thang II Starlight scopes have proved extremely valuable in areas providing visibility of open fields, rivers, and trails; however factors such as rain and even sparse vegetation render the scope ineffectiveness. These factors coupled with the weight and cost of the scope dictate consideration of each individual patrol mission prior to the scope being utilized on a mission. On 12 August 1968, Co F (LRP) was assigned the mission of monitoring movement along the Song Vam Co Dong. Excellent results were obtained by monitoring the river and adjacent canals characterized by rice paddies and swampy areas bordered by tree lines. Due to the terrain and limited concealment it was learned that a patrol should not approach a tree line or canal perpendicularly. Regardless of the inconvenience entailed, patrols must move along or within tree lines due to the fact that the majority of these tree/dike lines are heavily bunkered with firing ports covering the open fields. Vulture Flights technique were initiated to cover the extensive open areas. This technique utilizes one (Cobra) AH1G helicopter Light Fire Team to recon open areas and three UH1H helicopters loaded RRF to exploit enemy findings. In addition it was found that it is imperative to keep the radio net clear except for elements in contact during these Vulture Flights. During their test period, the HEL silencers for the M-16 rifle were found to be extremely useful and effective for LRP operations. The sound from these silencers is such that the enemy when engaged by elements utilizing the silencers are unable to determine the direction from which they are receiving fire. During the period 1–12 August 1968, Co F (LRP) performed the mission of providing early warning for elements defending the Long Binh-Bien Hoa Area. After a period of ten days it became necessary to extend the assigned AO in order to preclude repeated used Landing Zones. This method of utilizing patrols as a screening element for conventional units proved highly successful. On several occasions aircraft have received heavy AW fire while inserting teams. This situation was eliminated by being more selective in the choice of LZ’s that provide at least one and possibly two open sides on the LZ. This provides the opportunity for the aircraft to quickly evade the LZ if it receives fire while in-bound. During the period reported it has been extremely difficult to schedule and employ tactical air-strikes. On several occasions the interval between request and time on target has provided the enemy force valuable time to evacuate areas on contact. Even under ideal conditions, needed coordination between Co F, higher HQ, and Forward Air Controller, provided by another unit took considerable time. Recommend that LRP Companies be provided an Air Force TACP in direct support in order that enemy contacts and installations can be exploited more rapidly. Radio communications has become a serious problem due to the age of present inventory of AN/PRC-25’s. All of Co F’s radios are suffering from more than a year of continuous use under adverse weather conditions. Underwater Demolition Teams have proved to be of little value in exploiting canal and river infiltration. This is due to the extremely limited visibility in the muddy water characteristic of the III CTZ area. On many occasions patrols have been rendered completely useless or helpless by the rising tides encountered along the Vam Co Dong (Oriental River). In many cases extraction and reinsertion was necessary. [End of Summary of Operations Excerpt] [Note: all of the above information was obtained from the National Archives in hard-copy format and transcribed by hand.]
Made with Xara