History Of The 6-11 In Viet Nam

DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
Headquarters, 6th Battalion, 11th Artillery
Americal Division
APO San Francisco 96217

History of the 6th Battalion, 11th Artillery in the Republic of Vietnam

On 19 December 1967, the 6th Battalion, 11th Artillery arrived in Quin Nhon, Republic of Vietnam. Arriving from Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, by sea transport, the battalion became a unit of the 11th Infantry Brigade of the Americal Division.

Under the command of LTC Robert Luper the 6th of the 11th undertook the task of getting squared away on fire bases and dispersing equipment and personnel to their assigned stations. Headquarters for the battalion was established near the town of Duc Pho which is 46 miles south of Chu Lai---the location of the Americal Division Headquarters.

Upon arrival, the battalion was composed of a Headquarters Service Battery and three firing batteries. The headquarters battery was located on Fire Support Base Bronco, Alpha Battery was located on Landing Zone Liz, Bravo Battery fires were directed from Fire Support Base Bronco and Charlie Battery occupied LZ thunder which was later changed to LZ Debbie. After two months of operation in the 11th Infantry Brigade area of operation, the 6th Battalion, 11th Artillery added a provisional battery composed o four M101A1 105mm howitzers. The new battery, Delta Battery, took position on a secured LZ in the mountains south of Duc Pho. The guns and personnel to man them were taken from Alpha, Bravo and Charlie batteries. Six months later, Delta gained full recognition as being a permanent firing battery in the 6th Battalion, 11th Artillery.

In order to give the Infantrymen of the 11th Brigade fast, accurate artillery support, the 6th of the 11th had to become as mobile as the infantryman and move where he moved. In 1969, the battalion traded their old split-trail M101A1 howitzers for the new, more mobile M102A1. Through the coordination with Army aviation units, big CH-47 "Chinook" helicopters sky-lifted the guns of the "ON TIME" 6th Battalion, 11th Artillery to locations close enough to infantry units to insure the artillery support that every fighting man in the field should have. These shy-lifts soon became known as "Artillery Jumps". After three years in the Republic of Vietnam the battalion is accredited with over 150 Artillery Jumps. Delta Battery, having made a large number of the jumps has earned the name of the "Delta Danglers" by constantly seeing their artillery pieces "dangle" under the blades of the "Chinook" aircraft.

In early April, 1968, Operation Norfolk Victory was undertaken by elements of the 11th Infantry Brigade and supporting fires came from the guns of the 6th of the 11th Artillery. During this operation, the American units succeeded in completely destroying the enemy’s major base of operations and capturing enormous weapons and munitions caches.

During the period 4 – 24 September 1968 the 6th Battalion, 11th Artillery fired support for three battalions and one Cavalry Troop of the 11th Infantry Brigade in an operation called Champagne Grove. Concentrated enemy forces capable of rapidly massing to division size and launching a major attach on Quang Ngai City prompted this action. This single operation resulted in over 450 enemy dead.

The biggest and most successful operation of the year was Vernon Lake II (2 November 1968 through 28 February 1969). The operation was conducted in an area which preliminary intelligence indicated was a massive VC/NVA resupply and consolidation region. The operation resulted in the capture of large quantities of VC/NVA supplies, thereby putting an additional burden on an already overtaxed supply system. Vernon Lake II also resulted in the capture of large amounts of enemy ammunition and weapons, thereby reducing the enemy’s short term combat effectiveness and increasing his long term logistical problems. Supply and consolidation locations which previously had been virtually uncontested were subject to systematic harassment and attack. This action demonstrated to the enemy, as well as to the general population of Southern Quang Ngai Province, the ability of the friendly forces to conduct operations in what had been considered VC/NVA sanctuaries. Supporting fire from the guns of the 6th Battalion, 11th Artillery combined with the efforts of the 11th Infantry Brigade in making Vernon Lake II the most successful operation ever undertaken in the 11th Brigade area of operation.

Since the arrival of the 6th Battalion, 11th Artillery in the area around the town of Duc Pho, there have been many changes in battery locations and in the command structure. The battalion is now under the command of LTC Robert H. Kleinfelder and Major George R. Keech, Battalion Executive Officer. Alpha Battery is situated on Fire Support Base Debbie and is commanded by Captain Craig V. Silcox, Bravo Battery is located on Fire Support Base San Juan Hill and is commanded by Captain Warren W. Higgins. Charlie Battery’s home is Fire Support Base Liz and is commanded by Captain James P. Spencer. Delta Battery is located on faraway Fire Support Base 4-11 and is commanded by Captain Patrick D. Connor. Headquarters and Headquarters Service Battery is located on Fire Support Base Bronco and is commanded by Captain Henry E. Marsolais.

"Not all are privileged to be Field Artillerymen".

                                                                                ---T.W. Dunn
                                                                                    Lt. Gen. U.S.A.

(NOTE: Re-typed from original document provided by
Dennis Burt – January 2006)
 

Return To Contents