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Old October 15th, 2005, 10:27 PM
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Default Divisional Artillery support on LZ X-ray

In September the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) arrived and brought with it the first U.S. Army division artillery to arrive in Vietnam.

The organization of the 1st Cavalry Division Artillery was typical of other division artilleries that followed. The division artillery consisted of three light 105-mm. howitzer battalions with three batteries of six guns each and an aerial rocket artillery battalion with thirty-nine aircraft. Most division artilleries contained three 105-mm. battalions but also included a fourth battalion of three 155-mm. howitzer batteries and one 8-inch howitzer battery. Whether aerial rocket artillery or heavy cannon artillery, the fourth battalion augmented and extended the range of the three 105-mm. battalions, each of which was in direct support of a brigade of the division.

Before the end of 1965, the remainder of the 1st Division Artillery arrived to provide support for the Big Red One in III Corps. Its organization was typical of most of the division artilleries that would arrive later, its fire power coming from three 105-mm. battalions and a composite 155-mm. and 8-inch battalion. The initial field artillery buildup also included the first few separate battalions that provided the general support and reinforcing fires needed to complement the divisional artillery.

15/10 To provide additional artillery support, Landing Zone COLUMBUS was established 4 1/2 kilometers to the northeast of X-RAY. This landing zone was midway between X-RAY and FALCON, where Batteries A and C of the 1st Battalion, 21st Artillery, were located. Battery B of the 1st Battalion, 21st Artillery, and Battery C of the 2d Battalion, 17th Artillery, were now moved into COLUMBUS.

The enemy broke contact and filtered back into the mountains after suffering tremendous losses. He was pursued with heavy firepower: cannon artillery continually pounded the area; Air Force tactical air provided continuous support with a fighter bomber on a target run on an average of once every fifteen minutes; but the most devastating support was provided by B-52 bombers which struck without warning six kilometers west of X-RAY. Though the bombers had been employed initially in Vietnam some six months earlier, this was their first use in direct support of U.S. troops on a tactical operation. For the next five days, the big bombers systematically bombed large areas of the Chu Pong Massif.

p.s PleiMe battle:
On the morning of 26 October, the Vietnamese task force conducted a sweep around the Plei Me camp. Five minutes after noon the task force encountered mortar, small-arms, and recoilless rifle fire. The force immediately took casualties and faltered. The two batteries of the 2d Battalion, 19th Artillery, responded at once with supporting fires, which enabled the task force to regroup, withstand the attack, and take the offensive.
Of the three North Vietnamese Army regiments, the 33d had been particularly hard hit. When the unit attacked Plei Me, its strength was 2,190 men. In actions against the 1st Brigade, the regiment had lost 890 men killed, more, than 100 missing, and still more suffering incapacitating wounds. Materiel losses had also been heavy. The regiment lost 13 of its 18 antiaircraft guns as well as 11 mortar tubes and most of its recoilless rifles.

p.s ***opponents:Reacting swiftly to the cavalry landings, the enemy Field Front ordered the 66th Regiment to attack the landing zone. Strong elements of the regiment were established on the ridge line overlooking the landing zone to provide a base of fire for the attack. The 9th and 7th Battalions of the 66th and a composite battalion of the 33d (the combined forces of what remained of the 2d and 3d Battalions) provided the initial assault forces.
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