This is the Cover Letter that Accompanied the December 1968 Mobile Riverine Force Summary
8 Jan 1969
CONFIDENTIAL (Unclassified upon removal of enclosures)
From: Commander U.S. Naval Forces, Vietnam
To: Commander in Chief U.S. Pacific Fleet (Code 12)
Subj: U.S. Naval Forces, Vietnam Monthly Historical Summary,
December 1968; submission of
Ref: (a) CINCPACFLT ltr ser 1/6925 of 2 October 1967
Encl: (1) Operations SEA LORDS Summary
(2) Coastal Surveillance Force Summary
(3) River Patrol Force Summary
(4) Riverine Assault Force Summary
(5) USN Statistical Summary
(6) Naval Advisory Group Summary
(7) VNN/VNMC Statistical Summary
(8) Selected Psychological Operations
(9) USN Civic Action Statistical Summary
1. In accordance with reference (a), enclosures (1) through 9 are submitted.
2. The data contained in enclosures (5), (7) and (9) is based on information available this date. Any adjustments to enclosures (5), (7) and (9) will be reflected in December's Historical Supplement.
J. P. RIZZA
Chief of Staff
COMUSMACV (Hist. Branch, SJS)
Director of Naval History
RIVERINE ASSAULT FORCE SUMMARY
Riverine warfare in December was again characterized by interdiction, escort and patrol, base area search and pacification operations. Small unit actions over wide areas in Kien Hoa, Kien Giang, Choung Thien, and An Xuyen provinces accounted for 454 Viet Cong killed. Mobile Riverine Group ALPHA operations were confined for the most part to activity in Kien Hoa Province, and the support of the 2nd Brigade, U.S. Ninth Infantry Division. Mobile Riverine Group BRAVO operations consisted largely of a variety of special operations in the southern delta region in coordination with units of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Battalions of Vietnamese Marine Corps.
The Following table shows river assault craft employment on a typical day in December and is indicative of the present scope of operations:
ACTIVITY/OPERATION MRF CRAFT ASSIGNED
ASPB ATC MON CCB REFUELER
2nd Brigade, U.S. 9th Infantry 13 32+2Z 6 2
2nd Battalion VNMC Brigade 2 25 6 1
Operation GIANT SLINGSHOT 11 14 3 3
Vinh Te Campaign
Rach Gia - Long Xuyen Campaign 2 2
Chop to CTG 116.9 3 1
Mobile Riverine Base "A" Defense 5 10 2 1
Downgraded at 3 year intervals
Declassified after 12 years
ACTIVITY/OPERATION (CONT'D) ASPB ATC MON CCB REFUELER
Mobile Riverine Base "B" Defense 7 8 1 2
Support CTG 117.1 2
Support CTG 117.2 2
Casualty report 2
Overhaul/Conversion/Backfit 2 7 1 1
Chop to CTG 115.4 1
TOTAL 44 104 20 10 4
TASK GROUP 117.1 OPERATIONS
During December, Mobile Riverine Group ALPHA engaged in a series of operations (designated Kidney Flush) designed to keep constant pressure on the Viet Cong. With frequent insertions in Ham Long, Mo Cay and Truc Giang districts of Kien Hoa Province, Army ground elements continued to seek out and destroy the enemy. These operations employ riverine, air and ground assets and have produced significant attrition against the enemy. The daily toll to the Viet Cong has been approximately 10 dead coupled with loss of supplies and equipment. Of the many detainees taken during these actions, about 20 percent are subsequently classified as Viet Cong, while the remainder are determined to be innocent civilians.
Night ambush patrols have now been incorporated into the operations of the 3/60th Infantry. This is a definite change in MRF procedures, as night landings were previously avoided as too dangerous. The procedure being followed is to rest the troops during the day, land them after dark,
and extract them the following morning. This is the same method successfully employed by units of the Ninth Infantry Division in Long An Province and last month in Giong Trom District of Kien Hoa Province.
During the month RAD 92, with infantry embarked, escorted two Army supply convoys composed of LCU's and LCM-8's from Dong Tam to the Special Forces camp at Moc Hoa. Directed from a command and control helicopter, these convoys were heavily supported by artillery, assault helicopter companies and embarked troops and proceeded via the Cho Gao Canal, Vam Co and Vam Co Tay rivers. The convoys are providing support for the airfield improvement in the Moc Hoa area.
RAD 132 with six ASPB's from RAS 9 and 11 sailed to MRG "A" on 30 November and chopped to CTG 117.1 on 1 December. The units then joined elements of TF 116 in Operation GIANT SLINGSHOT in the Vam Co Tay and Vam Co Dong rivers. CTG 194.0, FIRST SEA LORD, directs the conduct of this operation.
The following hostile fire incidents are selected to briefly outline the circumstances under which two Navymen were killed in action and seven sailors were wounded:
1. While inserting an Army intelligence gathering Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) at a position 3 miles southwest of My Tho, units of RAD 91 received B-40 rocket and A/W fire. ATC 91-8 received three B-40 rocket hits, one forward and two below the waterline. One U.S. Army soldier was killed, eight were wounded and seven Navy crewmen were wounded.
2. On an Operation GIANT SLINGSHOT mission on 24 December, two ASPB's enroute to a preplanned ambush site with 1st Air Cavalry elements on board, came under fire at a position 7 miles south of Kiep Hoa on the Vam Co Dong River. During the attack, the boat captain of A-91-5, BM2 Wallace GOING, USN, was killed. Another crewman was wounded. There was only light damage to the ASPB's.
3. On 27 December at 2105H, a patrol in support of Operations SEA LORDS and consisting of one ASPB, three PBR's and one ATC was proceeding south on the Rach Gia - Long Xuyen Canal when the patrol was attacked at a position 3 miles northeast of Rach Gia. One sailor was killed and three others were wounded as the ATC received three B-40 rocket hits. Fire was returned as the patrol withdrew to the south. Two "Seawolf" LHFT were scrambled and placed strikes on the suspected enemy positions.
TASK GROUP 117.2 OPERATIONS
The first five days of the month were utilized for the completion of boat maintenance in preparation for subsequent operations.
On 5 December, RAS 15 got underway from the MRB at Can Tho with 30 assault craft for operations in base area 480. Three companies of the 4th Battalion VNMC came aboard on 6 December and the task unit proceeded to the area to begin operations which lasted until the 11th. Throughout the period VNMC troops conducted ground sweeps in selected locations and the RAC patrolled in the general area within a 10 mile radius to the south and southwest of Kien Hung and Cai Lon River. Enemy reaction to the MRF
presence came in the form of 12 B-40 rocket ambushes during the period. The fire was returned and suppressed in all but the one instance in which there were friendly troops in the area. Two assault craft were damaged as a result of these actions and four USN wounded. On two separate occasions, B-40 rounds became lodged in the styrofoam of an ATC and a Zippo, and failed to detonate. This operation proved to be one of the most successful to date and resulted in 55 Viet Cong killed. Only one friendly VNMC was killed. In addition to the large body count, a Viet Cong prison camp was discovered by VNMC units, resulting in the release of 10 Vietnamese prisoners. Several tons of weapons, ammunition and military supplies were captured or destroyed. The units returned to the MRB on 11 December.
The Mobile Riverine Force concept was projected into the open sea for the first time attendant to the conduct of Operation SILVER MACE (TG 194.2) in the western end of the Cua Lon River. Operating as units of Operation SEA LORDS, monitors, ASPB's and ATC's, with one mobile strike force company from Binh Thuy embarked, began late on the night of 16 December and transited Phong Dinh, Chuong Thien and Kien Giang provinces and the western coast of South Vietnam in 36 hours. Meanwhile, the USS MERCER (APB-39) with another MSF company and a 30 man UDT/EOD element embarked, USS SATYR (ARL-23) and USS IREDELL COUNTY (LST 839) (support/resupply LST) proceeded to the rendezvous point in the Gulf of Thailand in three separate transits via the South China Sea and around the southern tip of Vietnam. Rough seas delayed the commencement of the operation designed to destroy a series of 12 fish trap type barricades erected across the western end of the Cua Lon River. After encountering difficulty on mud flats at the Cua Lon entrance, the task unit succeeded in transiting the shallows with the aid of a VNN junk pilot. Strike forces were were positioned on the bank and UDT/EOD units commenced destruction of the barricades. Meeting light enemy resistance, the SILVER MACE forces had completed barricade destruction on the morning of 22 December, and the task unit began withdrawal from the area.
On 31 December, during reconnaissance in force operations along the Can Cao Canal in the area 19-20 miles southwest of Rach Gia, enemy ambushes against the assault craft produced significant friendly casualties on two occasions. While underway to land units of the 2nd and 3rd battalions VNMC, RAC 15 craft encountered B-40 rocket and automatic weapons (A/W) fire from both banks at 310845H. Although enemy fire was returned and suppressed, one ATC and one monitor were damaged by rocket hits and seven USN were wounded. Later that night between 1950H and 2045H, in the same area, the RAC, again with VNMC troops aboard, came under attack three times and received 40 to 50 B-40 rockets and heavy A/W fire. ATC-151-12 received four B-40 hits, ATC-152-13 received one B-40 hit and ATC-151-6 sustained three B-40 hits producing heavy casualty figures of 10 USN, 28 VNMC and 3 VNN wounded. Enemy fire was returned by the RAC in all cases and at 2145 two "Seawolf" gunships and USAF "Spooky" expended 21,000 rounds on the suspected enemy positions.
USN STATISTICAL SUMMARY
MARKET TIME GAME WARDEN MOBILE RIVERINE FORCE
Detections 49,264 190,913 *
Inspections 20,656 45,513 49
Craft Detained * 0 *
Boardings 14,435 81,218 *
Persons detained 1,119 1,474 300
Viet Cong suspects 26 75 *
Hostile fire incidents 23 * 26
a. Killed 68(BC)+51(EST) 64(BC)+55(PROB) 454
b. Wounded 10(BC)+37(EST) 8(BC)+23(PROB) *
c. Captured 5 * 22
a. Killed 3 4 (1-DOW) 2 USN/15 USA/6 VN Tiger Scouts
b. Wounded 28 47 47 USN/118 USA/47 VNMC/6 VN
c. Captured 0 0 0
d. Missing 0 0 4 USA
Enemy material losses:
(1) Junks or sampans 669 106 131
(2) Structures 736 152 1,276
(1) Junks or sampans * 9 33
(2) Weapons * SEE PAGE 2 2,452**
(3) Ammunition (rounds) * SEE PAGE 2 32,784***
(4) Rice (tons) * 1+ 30
(1) Junks or sampans 313 72 *
(2) Structures 693 113 *
USN material losses:
(1) Surface craft 0 0 0
(2) Helicopters 0 0 *
(1) Surface craft 17 17 23
(2) Helicopters 0 5 *
SAR missions * * *
Remarks: * Information not applicable or not available this date
** Includes 2,327 grenades
*** Includes 221 B-40 rockets, 115 mortar rounds and 8 bangalore torpedoes.
Downgraded at 3 year intervals
Declassified after 12 years
AMMUNITION AND WEAPONS CAPTURED AS A RESULT OF TF 116 OPERATIONS:
179,600 ROUNDS OF SMALL ARMS AMMUNITION
1,600 ROUNDS OF 12.7mm HEAVY MACHINE GUN AMMUNITION
6 ROUNDS 75mm RECOILESS RIFLE
10 ROUNDS 57mm RECOILESS RIFLE
479 ROUNDS 82mm MORTAR
856 ROUNDS 60mm MORTAR
100 MINES OF VARIOUS TYPES
40 CHI COM TORPEDOES RIGGED AS WATER MINES
1,146 PLUS THE CONTENTS OF TWO 55 GALLON DRUMS OF GRENADES OF ALL
TYPES (RPG, CONCUSSION, FRAGMENTATION)
45 122mm ROCKETS
98 FUSES (ROCKET AND MORTAR)
59 RPG BOOSTERS
116 CASES OF B-40 CHARGES
1 120mm MORTAR INCREMENT
20 POUND PACKETS OF C-4
9 15-INCH STICKS OF C-4
1 CHI COM ROCKET SIGHT
1 120mm MORTAR WITH TRIPOD AND BASE PLATE
1 LIGHT MACHINE GUN WITH TRIPOD
1 60mm MORTAR WITH BASE PLATE AND SIGHTING DEVICE
1 MACHINE GUN CRADLE
50,000 FT OF BLASTING CORD
38 BLASTING CAPS