Fields of Fire: "Keep Up the Fire!" The 9th US Infantry "Manchus"
Vietnam Missions & Order of Battle
1. Operation ALA MOANA December 1, 1966 - February 28, 1967, Filhol Plantation, Hau Nghia Province, III Corps
2. The Horseshoe (Saigon River) August 30, 1967 - Lt.Col. Stanley Converse Commanding
3. Operation YELLOWSTONE, Bo Tuc (FSB Beauregard) December 18 - 24, 1967
(8km South of the Cambodian Border) - Lt. Col John M. Henchman, Commanding
1st Brigade, 25th Inf Div Mar 1966 - Dec 1970
4th Bn/9th Inf Apr 1966 - Dec 1970
2nd Bn/14th Inf Apr 1966 - Jan 1970 ("Golden Dragons" w/ the 9th during the Boxer Rebellion, too)
4th Bn(Mech)/23rd Inf Apr 1966 - Dec 1970
3rd Bn/22nd Inf Feb 1970 - Nov 1970
7th Bn/11th Art (105mm How) DS 1st Bde Apr 1966 - Dec 1970
3rd Bn/13th Art (155mm How/8" How) Apr 1966 - Dec 1970
25th Aviation Battalion
Co. A "Little Bears"
Co. B "Diamondhead"
3rd Sqn/4th Cav Mar 1966 - Dec 1970
187th and 188th Assault Helicopter Companies.
1st Bn /69th Armor Mar 1966: transferred to 4th Inf Div Aug 1967
2nd Bn/34th Armor Transferred from 4th Inf Div Aug 1967 - Dec 1970
Battalion was organized as follows:
HHC (4x4.2" Mortars), A (Alpha), B (Bravo), C (Charlie) Rifle Companies
In early August 1967 a fourth rifle company D (Delta) was added.
During much of 1967, Lt Col Henchman was the Battalion Commander
CO HQ, CO XO, CO 1stSGT , 1xRunners (4 Steps)
1st PLT HQ, 1 / 1st PLT, 2 / 1st PLT, 3 / 1st PLT ,
Weapons Squad / 1st PLT 2xLMG Teams (12 Steps)
2nd PLT HQ, 1 / 2nd PLT, 2 / 2nd PLT, 3 / 2nd PLT
Weapons Squad / 2nd PLT 2xLMG Teams (12 Steps)
3rd PLT HQ, 1 / 3rd PLT, 2 / 3rd PLT, 3 / 3rd PLT
Weapons Squad / 3rd PLT 2xLMG Teams (12 Steps)
Either 81mm Mortar Section (1 Section) (3 Steps)
Or 4th PLT HQ, 1 / 4th PLT, 2 / 4th PLT (5 Steps)
(The 81mm Mortars were very heavy and the section was often either left behind or converted into a 4th (albeit smaller) rifle platoon - If used as a rifle platoon, the squads may never be full 3 step squads)
Total Steps: 43 or 45
(For Defensive Positions Only)
1 Step from each of 1st - 3rd PLT can be converted to 90mm Recoilless Rifle Team (These weapons were not taken into the field due to their weight and limited utility)
1 PRC25 VHF Radio Battalion Tactical Net
7 PRC25 VHF Radio Company Tactical Net
4 Field Phones + 8 Phone Lines (For Defensive Positions Only)
Pyrotechnics 1 each Red Star Parachute (RSP), Green Star Parachute (GSP), Red Star Cluster (RSC), Green Star Cluster (GSC).
2xWP Smoke, 2xHC Smoke, 4xColored Smoke, 8xHand Held Illum
The PRC25 Radio was a huge improvement over both the SCR300 and SCR536 it replaced. In game terms it provides Radio communication across the entire map regardless of LOS.
Basic Load of Ammunition
5xMG per Gun, 3xRkt per Recoilless Rifle (if in use), 4xMtr for Mortar Section, 2xMtr Illum (if in use)
Pyrotechnics and Ammunition are replenished between missions. A basic load of ammo is issued each mission and can be saved up between missions.
Replacements and Individual Rotation (Rotation of individuals through combat units in the Vietnam War was controversial and often hurt the combat effectiveness):
After each mission you receive one new Green Platoon Leader (new 2nd Lieutenant) that must replace a Line or Veteran PLT HQ unit. 2 Veteran steps must rotate home or receive R&R. Influx of replacements was inadequate and most units were very under strength in the field. After each mission a unit receives a maximum of 6 replacement steps (counting the new 2nd Lieutenant). It was common for US Rifle companies to have less than 100 men in the field, despite a paper strength of over 150.
Taking VC and NVA prisoners was highly sought after, but exceedingly difficult to do given the nature of much of the combat. In the missions included there is no taking of prisoners by either side.
One of the primary methods of moving infantry into battle during the Vietnam War was via Helicopter. This had some advantages and disadvantages. On the good side it gave US forces unprecedented mobility and flexibility. They were not road bound in a country with few decent roads. On the negative side, though the helicopters provided "tactical" surprise, they did not provide actual surprise - they certainly gave your position away. This was made worse by the dependence on helicopters for resupply. Another problem with helicopters was the that they could not carry much heavy equipment. The Heavy Weapons Company of Korea with all the HMGs and Recoilless Rifles were gone, when the US troops got off the helicopters they were very light, so they were very dependent on artillery and air support. The VC and NVA still had Heavy Weapons platoons and companies, so US troops were often outgunned in the critical opening stages of a firefight.
Conduct of a Helicopter AssaultStep 1. A Landing Zone (LZ) is selected. It is hit by Artillery and/or Air Strikes to suppress any enemy. This artillery and air prep had little effect other than to announce the impending arrival of US troops.
Step 2. First Wave, 3-4 UH1 Troop Transports (Slicks), escorted by a section of Gunships deposits a platoon to secure the LZ. In larger LZs an entire company may be brought in in a single wave of 10-12 UH-1s (An Air Assualt Company had 12 helicopters at full strength)
Step 3 Second Wave, 3-4 UH1 Troop Transports (Slicks), the company command element lands and expands the fire support capability of the LZ
Step 4 Additional Waves, including larger CH-47 Heavy Lift helicopters bring in the reminder of the company. The company then organizes and proceeds to the objective. Upon securing the objective (usually sweeping an area) an new LZ is secured and the company is extracted in reverse order.
Step 2 was the most vulnerable time for the company, as a lone platoon is an easy target if the enemy was ready, a rapid response could force on coming waves to abort, leaving the forward element stranded.
There is never enough room on all the aircraft to get all the troops there perfectly, so Squads may be forced to split up or leave steps behind. Squads can be split into Fire Teams as part of an assault plan.
An example plan (you have no obligation to use this one):
1st Wave: 3 UH-1s (3 step capacity each) Total of 9 steps - A full strength platoon is 12 Steps so… (note troops assigned to an aircraft are called "sticks")
Stick 1 - 1st PLT HQ, 1 / 1st PLT (-) = 3 Steps
Stick 2 - Wpns / 1st PLT, 2 / 1st PLT(-) = 3 Steps
Stick 3 - Wpns / 1st PLT, 3 / 1st PLT(-) = 3 Steps
Tip: Spread load important units like weapons teams, HQs and FOs so they aren't all in one aircraft should an aircraft be downed.
Note: Each Squad had to leave one step behind (if they had the step to leave) Leaving steps behind must be noted on the log so they are available for subsequent missions.