In January 1968, the 1st Air Cav received orders to move to I Corps and reinforce the allied troops in the area and prepare for
the Lunar New Year, "TET".
By January 26 all maneuver elements of the 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry were at L.Z. Anne in Quang Tri province and ready to go to
battle. Little did they know that it would not be long in coming.
January 30, 1968 found the 1st Brigade well established in the Quang Tri area, but not fully prepared for what was about to
happen, after all it was the Lunar New Year truce, aka "TET".
At the same time enemy troops attacked Hue, five battalions of North Viet Namese and Viet Cong soldiers launched an attack on
Quang Tri, capital city of the northern most province. The venture was to prove unsuccessful and to lead to the deaths of more
than 900 enemy at the hands of the 1st Brigade and South Viet Namese units. An NVA sapper team had entered the city January
30 and at 0200 hours they initiated acts of terror and sabotage intended to coincide with major assaults on the east and north
side of the city. Due to rain swollen streams and the inexperience of the attacking troops, not everything went as planned.
Instead of all units attacking at the same time, it happened over a period of 2 hours, which gave the allied forces ample warning.
At 1200 hours, the enemy had not reached their goal of capturing Quang Tri city, but had strained the defenders to the limits.
Accordingly, the 1st Air Cav committed its 1st Brigade to the east of the city. When the attack order came, most of the 1st
Brigade units were south and west of the city and had to be air assaulted into the battle. By 1600 hours all committed units were
in place and in contact.
The NVA / VC were caught completely off guard by the Air Cav. They had not seen the likes of the Air Cav before, or the choppers
that brought fresh troops to the battlefield. Some of the enemy just stood and watched as the choppers flew overhead. Their
mistake, because the door gunners opened up with their M-60 machine guns. Very few of the enemy even shot at the choppers,
waiting until the troops were on the ground and in position before the fighting broke out.
By noon on February 1st, Quang Tri city was clear of the enemy and the 1st Brigade initiated a relentless pursuit that continued
thru the first 3 weeks of the month. During the week beginning with the attack on Quang Tri, 1st Brigade troopers killed 381
enemy and lost 4 of their own.
On February 16 at 0601 hours "C" company moved by land to a location at YD392544, Xa Dong, to provide fire base security for
"A" Battery 2nd Battalion 19th Artillery. This move was finished by 0705 hours and during a detailed search of the area "C" Co.
found 3 Chi Com LMG's, 4 SKS Carbines, 1 AK-47 and 3 Rocket Launchers. "A" Battery's air move was complete by 0900 hours
and the battery was laid and ready to fire by 0930 hours in support of "A" & B" companies in their search of Gia Dang II & III, or "
The Beach " as it is sometimes called. For a further account of the action at "The Beach" go to Bravo Company 1968 by clicking
on the Cav patch.
The following is the after action report for the contact at Xa Dong
1. Maneuver element was " C " Co 1/8th Cav, with the following Fire Support Elements, "A" Battery 2nd Battalion 19th Artillery,
"B" Battery 1st Battalion 77th Artillery and "B" Battery 1st Battalion 30th Artillery. Air Lift Elements consisted of 1. Resupply, "B"
Co 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 2. Medevac 15th Med Det and 3. Flare Ships "B" Co 229th AHB.
2. Concept of Operation: "C" Co, while still deployed in a defensive posture at Xa Dong, YD392544, was attacked by an
estimated NVA Battalion on 18 February at 0107 hours. The attack had been forecasted by an intelligence report received
during the early evening 17 February, and the Company accordingly stiffened their defenses and committed additional OP's.
The attack, scheduled for 0200 hours, was triggered prematurely at 0107 hours by an OP vicinity YD392544. The company,
directed by the Battalion Commanding Officer to be on 100% alert as of 0100, immediately responded with overwhelming organic
and inorganic fires, pulling in the compromised OP. The 40 NVA troops, comprising the enemy's initial ground attack echelon,
was sent reeling back in disorder. At 0130 heavy enemy mortar and B-40 rockets saturated the company's defensive area.
Inclement weather precluded use of Aerial Rocket Artillery (ARA). Three artillery batteries massed fires on suspected enemy
locations. Enemy fires were temporarily suspended, resuming again at 0152 hours. These enemy fires were complemented with
two ground attacks from the West and Northwest of the perimeter. At this juncture, the company fired its final protective fires,
and all 3 supporting batteries fired an awesome barrier of steel around the company's position. Plaster from buildings within
the perimeter, chipped by friendly fires, rained down on the defender's' heads. Easily the turning point of the attack, the NVA
elements were again sent reeling back into protective irrigation dikes 100 to 200 meters from the perimeter. Medevac and
resupply missions were accomplished under sporadic automatic weapons fire, as the company reorganized and consolidated
its position, preparing for the next attack. IT DID NOT COME!
Although mounting several more sporadic and ineffective rocket and mortar attacks and one additional ground probe from the
east, the enemy's back was broken and he retreated, dragging his dead and wounded with him.
Police of the battle area the next day revealed 8 NVA KIA, 6 AK-47's, numerous satchel charges, 35 grenades, large quantities of
B-40 rockets, AK and LMG ammunition, medical supplies, and assorted NVA equipment. Numerous blood pools and drag marks
indicated large numbers of NVA KIA had been successfully carried away. Shallow graves discovered in the following week
verified this indication. Of curious note, one of the NVA KIA was found in a sitting position, notebook and pencil in hand.
Document readouts indicated that this individual was the Company Commander of one of the attacking infantry elements, and
he had been taking notes of the battle from a position within 20 meters of the defensive perimeter.
This battle cost Charlie Company 4 Killed in Action and several Wounded in Action. Several company members were
recommended for medals for their gallantry in action.
Move from II Corps to I Corps
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