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"Two Brothers Fight #17" Topic


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Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP24 Mar 2021 7:14 a.m. PST

All,

1600 Local Time
5 March 1966
Near Hill 50, Quang Ngai Province, RVN
Operation Utah

The boys had accompanied Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines (L/3/1) in the final assault to secure Hill 50, and now they were attached to Mike Company, which was attacking the fortified village of Chau Nhai (3), which lies just east of Hill 50, from west to east, while India Company had swung around to the north and were attacking from east to west.

The boys' platoon was attacking on the far left flank of Lima Company, with the boy's squad on the far left flank of their platoon, on the left end of a line running north-south. "Our job is to break into the northwest end of the village, securing a foothold, as the rest of the platoon swings in from the front. We'll be tying down their left flank, making sure the NVA can't filter in behind them as they push east to clear the rest of the village," Corporal Little briefed the squad. "So, what, Corporal, the seven of us are gonna assault the village, all by ourselves?" Jackson asked. "No Jackson, we're gonna have all of Lima Company out there with us assaulting the village. They just won't be anywhere you can see them. But trust me, they're there," Corporal Little replied, as the squad busted into nervous laughter. "Let's go, Marines."

picture

Overview, north is up. You can see the far eastern end of Hill 50 at bottom left, and the northwestern end of the fortified village of Chau Nhai (3) at bottom/far right. Air and arty has worked the area over, leaving a significant number of craters dotting the landscape, which is otherwise covered with hedges and rice paddies. The squad is approaching from the northwest (top left), seeking to get as close to the village as possible before the shooting starts.

The Marines have entered the area at top left, while the NVA occupy the village, from bottom center to far right. The most important aspect to this is that the enemy has a bunker on each flank (right bottom center and far right top. Each bunker has a rifleman posted outside it for flank protection, while the NVA leader and last rifleman occupy the trenchline connecting the two bunkers.

picture

The squad is beat to hell, down to seven combat effectives, including the Doc! Corporal Little is very concerned with this mission, knowing it's going to take everything the squad's got if the enemy puts up even light resistance in this area of the village.

picture

Right on time, the Marine 81mm mortars came in on Chau Nhai (3), hitting the center and east end of the NVA defensive line.

picture

Jackson, Nik, McCaffrey, and Doc Johnson (top left) look on as Danny, Rivera, and Corporal Little begin traipsing across the rice paddies…

picture

The NVA have sucked the Marines in, allowing the assault element to advance out into the open rice paddies, devoid of cover, when the two NVA riflemen in the West Bunker (bottom right) finally breaks the tension: 7.62mm rounds snap and zip past the exposed Marines, plowing into the paddies, kicking up geysers of dirty water. Luckily for the Marines, non one is hit, but Danny (right) and Rivera (center) are suppressed, as Cpl Little (left) is pinned!

picture

And the East Bunker (bottom right) immediately joins in, spraying with their AK-47s on full auto at the advancing Marines (top left to top center).

picture

Corporal Little (bottom right) and Doc Johnson (bottom center right) are both suppressed by the fire from the East Bunker (top right); "@#$%!!!" screams Nik (bottom left), "return fire, return fire! I don't have a shot at that bunker on the right (the West Bunker, just off camera to far right), hit it with the thumper!" Nik ordered McCaffrey, as he poured tracers from his M-60 into the East Bunker. "Roger that!" replied McCaffrey, as he fired a 40mm HE round.

"Jackson, get on the horn and let'em know we need help, they're pinned down and dead meat out there in those rice paddies," Nik continued. "Already on it, boss!" Jackson replied.

picture

Back in the rice paddies, Cpl Little (bottom left), Rivera (left), and Danny (top center) are in Death Ground, with no way out but to fight, so all three open fire on the West Bunker (top right) with their M-14s on full auto…

picture

Danny crawls up the firing port of the NVA's West Bunker. He rolls onto his side, fishing a frag out of his pocket, then sweeps the safety clip off, pulls the pin, lets the spoon fly, and begins cooking off the grenade…

picture

But the NVA rifleman in the trench (top right) spots him and fires, hitting Danny (casualty figure at far left) in the back, though he still manages to roll the frag into the West Bunker, then flops backwards, away from the firing port, as the grenade goes off, killing the NVA inside!

To see the thrilling finish of Operation Utah, which would see a Medal of Honor awarded, please check the blog at:
link

Next fight coming soon.

V/R,
Jack

Personal logo Cardinal Ximenez Supporting Member of TMP24 Mar 2021 1:15 p.m. PST

Always a treat and very enjoyable. Nice work.

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP24 Mar 2021 6:02 p.m. PST

Thanks Cardinal, I appreciate it.

And my apologies, just saw your Budapest report, very nice!

V/R,
Jack

Personal logo Bashytubits Supporting Member of TMP24 Mar 2021 9:50 p.m. PST

Love the reports, the paint jobs and the terrain. Good job Jack! thumbs up

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP25 Mar 2021 9:45 a.m. PST

Thanks Tony!

V/R,
Jack

Bismarck30 Mar 2021 12:22 p.m. PST

Talk about "up and personal", you could smell the powder in
this one. At one point, I didn't think any of them were
going to make it. Jack, at this point, the squad had to be
the most decorated one in country. Great to hear Doc awarded
the MOH and going back to the world and his family. Didn't
surprise me to see "now Sgt." Little shipping over after his two previous "John Wayne" actions., so Nik
and Danny aren't starting from scratch again.

You were right about this one being even more tense. Great terrain work, and some of your best writing. Glad you finished with a follow up after the battle. Suspense would
have been worse, if you had just left your readers hanging,
waiting for news. Had been pulling for Rivera, that was the name of my PMI at Edson Range.

Jack, I just re read Guadalcanal Diary and I think you
definitely could have given Richard Tregaskis a run for his
money. If you could have gotten by the censors.

Another great work. Looking forward to the next.

thanks again for sharing these and all the work you have
put into the campaign. Almost forgot to mention that the
terrain was awesome.

Semper Fidelis!

Sam

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP30 Mar 2021 8:36 p.m. PST

Sam,

Thanks man, I'm glad to hear from you and glad you enjoyed it. There was a time there when I didn't think any of them were going to make it, too!

The dice rolls were definitely with Doc, so he got to be the big hero in this fight, and I thought it was cool to have him rotate out, but you're absolutely right, Rob Little had to ship over, no way he was heading home.

I'll have to remember that comment about keeping you guys in suspense ;)

Holy crap, PMIs and Edson's Range, eh? Man, I haven't heard that in quite some time. I can't believe you remember that stuff! I will be honest: much to my shame, I don't recall my PMIs name. I can still see his face, but I truly do not recall his name. I still remember all my DIs, but I suppose I'd better right them down before the sands of time scrub them from my frail memory banks…

And I can't believe you mentioned Richard Tregaskis and 'Guadalcanal Diary"! I was probably in 4th or 5th grade the first time I read that book, and the version I had was a drawing of a Marine sprinting at port arms, bayonet on his rifle, and I can recall tracing that on a sheet of notebook paper and then drawing it over and over again on every piece of paper I could get my hands on…

Well, that was the end of Operation Utah, my favorite part of the whole first tour. The boys will be headed for a rough time up on the DMZ shortly… And Semper Fidelis backatcha.

V/R,
Jack

Bismarck31 Mar 2021 1:01 p.m. PST

I still remember meeting Ssgt. Rivera and his introduction.
"My name is Staff Sergeant Rivera. I will be your Primary
Marksmanship Instructor. I am Mexican, but you will learn
from me. You marines have just completed your close combat
training. If you pay attention and learn what I will teach you, you will never have to use it."

I think of him every time I do any target shooting. With
fading eyesight,age and limited income, that is restricted to 10 meter air rifle shooting in my back yard. Never forgot a thing he and the coaches taught me.

I even use scaled down ABLE,BAKER and DOG targets to match
the 200,300 and 500 meter targets from back in the day. Just a lot harder to get in position or get up from the sitting and kneeling positions! LOL.

Sam

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP01 Apr 2021 7:16 a.m. PST

Sam,

" You marines have just completed your close combat
training. If you pay attention and learn what I will teach you, you will never have to use it."
Classic! ;)

Shooters, you may engage a Dog target when your target appears, TARGETS! I remember more pulling butts, screwing around, getting caught, and getting thrashed ;) And the ump coming by: "So you're telling me the shooter dropped back to the five needing 50 points to qual, and he somehow shot 10 bulls?" (That wasn't me marking, by the way, I scored'em straight up, but I still remember hearing that and laughing my ass off)

Goodness, I couldn't imagine getting into a good kneeling position anymore!

V/R,
Jack

Bismarck01 Apr 2021 12:30 p.m. PST

Jack,
Back before the last dinosaur died, they showed us an "olympic kneeling position". Basically you were sitting on a bent leg under your buttocks with the other knee raised as the usual resting point for your arm. It was steadier than the standard
kneeling position and not everybody could do or even try it.

To paraphrase, pain is not weakness leaving the body, it is
"snapping in." Hurt like hell but it sure was steady. I fought through it and used it to qualify. At almost 74, I can still get into that position. Takes a long time and your joints feel it days later. Now when I take a shine to set up
the target and backstop to spend an afternoon on "the range"
I use the standard kneeling.

Did they teach you new Marines BRASS? Breathe,relax, aim, slack and squeeze? Or did that go by the wayside like our
old beloved quanset huts?

Semper Fi!

Sam

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP02 Apr 2021 7:25 a.m. PST

Sam,

Yeah, I'm with ya, that's how I shot the kneeling, too, get as low as humanly possible, lower equals more stable no doubt. Snapping in for 'grass week' hurt, even back then, I can't imagine doing it now. I'm afraid all my shooting is done off-hand or seated nowadays ;)

And yes on BRASS, and "Tap-Rack-Bang" for Immediate Action, and SPORTS (Seek cover, Pull charging handle to rear, Observe the chamber, Release the bolt, Tap the forward assist, Sight in and attempt to fire) for Remedial Action.

And they still had Quonset Huts at 52 Area Camp Pendleton in '95 and Camp Upshur (aboard Quantico) in '96!

V/R,
Jack

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