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"Two Brothers Fight #12" Topic


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Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP18 Feb 2021 8:15 a.m. PST

All,

1500 Local Time
4 March 1966
Near Hill 50, Quang Ngai Province, RVN
Operation Utah

"So, you really think we're gonna get out and tangle with the North Vietnamese?" Nikki asked Danny. "Hell, I dunno man. On the one hand, look around, we got all these boots, loads of new gear, everybody's fired up like it's the 4th of July. But hell, dontcha remember, they said the same thing about Operation Double Eagle."

This time HQ had it right: Operation Utah was the Marine Corps' first contact with the North Vietnamese Army, and it was a doozy. At 0900 on 4 March 1966, US Marine helicopters lifted an ARVN battalion into an LZ 7 miles northwest of Quang Ngai City; heavy antiaircraft fire was encountered, downing a Marine UH-1 Huey and an F-4 Phantom! The ARVN didn't encounter much resistance once they were on the ground, and they begin maneuvering towards a cluster of hills, Hill 50, 97, and 85. The helos returned to Chu Lai to pick up the waiting Marines of 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines (2/7), and began ferrying them back to Quang Ngai, but only one platoon of Kilo Co, 2/7 (K/2/7) was able to be inserted before another hellacious bout of antiaircraft fire cut loose. K/2/7 was isolated for about 15 minutes before the rest of Kilo could be landed, followed by G/2/7 and the battalion's Command Group, which was complete by 1130 local time. The boys were with H/2/7 as part of the third wave, waiting for the helos to return, and were shocked when their pickup was delayed because so many of the twenty of the helos had been shot full of holes, and two of the UH-34s had been shot down! Another helo squadron was quickly scrambled to support, and by 1300 on 4 March 1966, the boys were on the ground in Quang Ngai Province, north of the cluster of hills.

Golf and Kilo had taken Hills 85 and 97 against very light resistance, while the ARVN were working on Hill 50, which was beginning to show sings of being a tough nut to crack, so much so that the ARVN battalion commander was now desperately pleading for 2/7 to support them. As word came in that the ARVN and US Marines were facing the 21st North Vietnamese Army (NVA) Regiment, and that the NVA intended to stand and fight, the Marines' overall commander, General Platt, immediately called up reinforcements, in the form of 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, which would be landed the following day, 5 March 1966.

It took awhile to get into position because the ARVN had been held up and thus weren't where they were supposed to be, but LtCol Utter (2/7's commander) got this companies reorganized and moving, now east to west against Hill 50 with Fox Company on the left, Golf in the center, and Hotel on the right, with the ARVN to the battalion's left. Fox Company's job was to maintain contact with the ARVN, Hotel's job was to screen the battalion's open right (southern) flank, while Golf Company was charged with securing Hill 50.

Naturally, the boys' platoon was now attached to Golf Company; "Up and at'em, @#$%birds, time to go earn your pay," Sergeant Garcia said, and they fell in on the far left flank of Golf Company, which was moving east in a company-sized skirmish line, not yet taking fire, though they could hear sounds of battle to their left, where the ARVN were engaged.

picture

Overview, north is up. The center of the west side of Hill 50, showing signs of earlier airstrikes by Marine A-4s and F-4s, runs north to south across the east (right) side of the table, where you can see the hill is honeycombed with NVA defensive positions. There are a few clumps of dense jungle present, but mostly it's the hill and the open rice paddies to the west, which the Marines will be crossing in skirmish line.

The NVA are now occupying their defensive positions: the North Bunker (top center), the South Bunker (bottom right), the AAA Position (top right), and the trenchline running across the hilltop. There is a destroyed bunker at bottom center (taken out by the airstrikes). The Marine mortar team has taken up positions in a hedge in the southwest (bottom left), while the entire squad is fanned out in skirmish line from top left to bottom center left. 1st Fireteam is on the far left, then 2nd Fireteam, the Squad's command group, and 3rd Fireteam.

picture

A traditional fight: the opposing forces, with the Marines on the left and the NVA on the right. The squad is actually overstrength, with sixteen men, two above their allotted table of organization strength.

picture

And they've got a 60mm mortar team attached!

picture

The Marines inch their way forward under heavy fire, taking casualties, in order to close with the NVA bunkers.

picture

Despite a plethora of difficulties, a handful of Marines reach the enemy trenchline on the right flank (left center)!

To see how the fight turned out, please check the blog at:
link

Next fight coming soon.

V/R,
Jack

Wolfhag18 Feb 2021 10:36 a.m. PST

Some really immersive reading again.

But Jack, seriously dude, it's OK if you tell us that you've teamed up with Tom Clancey to write these blogs and he's your ghostwriter. What is he, your uncle or something? Are we supposed to believe that some random Marine grunt from Texas is writing this stuff? Seriously?

Great work, you need to find an agent.

Wolfhag

Bismarck18 Feb 2021 5:37 p.m. PST

Another tense well written account of a hard fought assault on a well prepared defensive position. Have to echo Wolfhag's comments. Nice to see the little 60 come into the action as well as some NVA heavy weapons.

Wolf…."dude"…really? I mean, like, I know you are ,like,
living in California, but come on man…act your age! LOL
Sorry, but I just couldn't help myself on that one. :-)
Guess once you move to Tenn we Southerners will have to
civilize you and teach you one of our regional accents.

Jack, hope you are surviving the winter blast and Wolf,
wishing you luck with readying the house and preparing
for your move.

Sam

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP19 Feb 2021 5:10 p.m. PST

Thank you gentlemen, I greatly appreciate the kind words, I'm so glad you liked it. As I've mentioned, the five fights of Operation Utah was my favorite action of the entire first tour. Speaking of which, fight #12 marks the halfway point through the first tour.

And regarding the writing, Tom Clancy??? Get outta here, no big deal at all. And I don't feel random ;) And I thought you were my agent???

Things are well here for my family, we've been blessed, no major issues, hope you guys are as well. And yeah, Wolf is gonna have a hard time finding his quinoa and free-range arugula in Tennessee! ;)

V/R,
Jack

Joe Legan Supporting Member of TMP21 Feb 2021 9:16 a.m. PST

it isnt tom Clancy and it certainly isnt Jack. It is Platoon/Grunt Forward. :)
seriously Jack you are doing it perfectly, weaving the story with just a few prompts.
I play the same way. I cant stick with the same unit. my hat is off to you the narrative is fantastic. it would make a great action comic.

Joe

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP21 Feb 2021 8:12 p.m. PST

Thanks Joe, and I agree, it's certainly not me ;)

Platoon Forward has definitely become a way of (wargaming) life, and it's all about the narrative. And so now I've got three of you telling me this should be a graphic novel, I suppose I should heed that. Wolf has a hookup, we'll see.

You guys are such slow readers that I'm cutting back to one batrep per week, give ya time to marinate in it ;)

V/R,
Jack

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