Battle of FSB Burt information
for 3 BDE 25 INF

 

The Battle Of FSB Burt - Soui Cut (from 22nd Infantry Society Battles Page)

..... on the night of January 1 - 2, 1968 , the 2-22 Infantry (Mechanized), 3-22 Infantry, and the 2-77Artillery were involved in a massive human wave attack by four battalions of NVA and VC at a place called Fire Support Base Burt in Vietnam. Throughout the night, the 22nd Infantrymen, supported by their artillery brothers and helicopter crewman from the 187th and 188th Assault Helicopter Companies fought back against the determined enemy assault. When the firing stopped between 0530 and 0600 the next morning, The Americans were victorious in repulsing the attack. Over 401 NVA and VC were killed with American losses at 23 killed and 153 wounded.

The following After Action report was written by Cpt. Jerry Brown, Bn Adjutant, a few hours after the Battle of  FSB Burt (Soui Cut) 31 Dec - 2 Jan 1968. It has been declassified. (Taken from C Co, 3rd Bn, 22nd Infantry web pages http://www.c322association.org/c322association_016.htm)

3D BATTALION 22D INFANTRY
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
HEADQUARTERS, 3D BATTALION, 22D INFANTRY
APO San Francisco 96268

SUBJECT: Major Action After Action Report

TO: Commanding Officer
3d Brigade, 25th Infantry Division
ATTN: S-3
APO San Francisco 96268

  1. On 1 January 1968, at approximately 2330 hours, 3-22 Infantry received a heavy ground and mortar assault from an estimated reinforced VC regiment while securing FSB BURT vicinity XT499806.
  1. Events leading up to the mass night attack began on 31 December 1967. At approximately 2130 hours, Company Commander of Company A reported that one of his LP’s, approximately 200 meters out from the perimeter, saw movement near its position. A 16, on perimeter reported movement to its front. The A 16 line detonated three (3) or four (4) Claymore mines. The LP requested permission to return due to VC movement all around its position. A 6 denied request. Both the LP and A 16 element threw two hand grenades, the LP putting their grenades between themselves and the perimeter. Movement stopped for the remainder of the night.
  1. The next morning, 1 January 1968, at 0730 hours, Company A made a sweep from their perimeter to the LP position. They discovered two (2) dead VC, one (1) was an officer with a Russian made pistol, and a search of the body resulted in documents including 82mm mortar firing tables. At 0800 hours, the Company A sweep found one (1) wounded VC from the same group and one (1) M-16 US rifle. Results upon questioning the wounded POW and document read-out, found that the dead officer was from the 271st or 272nd VC Main Force Regiment and to that the group was most likely a recon party to include the Forward Observer. The size of the recon party was unknown, but believed to be more than just the three found, due to extensive blood trails leading from impact point of grenade.
  1. At approximately 1830 hours, 1 January 1968, a Company A LP reported movement to its front in the fairly thick jungle. Falcon 3 was notified and ordered a sweep of the area. Company Commander of Company A said that his ambush patrol was preparing to leave the perimeter, so they would sweep the area on their way to the ambush site. At 1845 hours, the ambush patrol received S/A fire when they were approximately 200 meters east of the company perimeter, from an unknown VC force resulting in two (2) US KIA and (1) US WIA. The patrol returned to the perimeter and the LP followed. It was 1905 hours and too dark for the ambush to move out. However the LP returned to a different position. Between 2000 hours, and 2030 hours, the Battalion perimeter received 15 60mm mortar rounds which landed inside the perimeter behind and near Company B reserve and behind Battalion Command Group. After the mortar attack Company A CO reported personnel manning one of his bunkers had left their position for an unknown reason. Falcon 3 was notified and told A 6 to get the three men back into position. Two (2) of the former occupants returned, but did not enter the bunker because of a noise inside. The third occupant could not be found. Bunker was surrounded to listen to sounds inside, but not entered due to the possibility of VC occupancy. No firing was done or grenades thrown into the bunker due to the possibility that US personnel might be inside. The name of the third man was called several times but no response. In the morning it was found to be the missing US personnel.
  1. During the hours 2030 – 2300, LP’s of both Company A and C and Company B AP reported movement around their positions. At 2330 hours, 60mm mortars began coming in heavily. Approximately 200 rounds fell until 2345 hours, when perimeter saw movement and elements from Fullback and Falcon on the south part of perimeter opened fire. At 0001 hours, Company B ambush patrol on west side of road, north of perimeter (see Enclosure 1) reported heavy movement to its front and to the west. Company C ambush patrol reported heavy movement past its position. Neither patrol initially sprung its ambush due to the overwhelming VC force moving past.
  1. The main force of the attack began at approximately 0001 hours, beginning at the northern portion of the perimeter. The main force moved down the west side of the road and peeled off to the portion of the perimeter occupied by 2-22 Infantry (M) with only a small force attacking one platoon of Company B, 3-22 Infantry on the east side of the road. Almost simultaneously a heavy attack of RPG’s, machine guns and small arms opened up on the southern portion of the perimeter along the road. The heaviest force peeled to the east attacking Company C while a smaller assault element moved to the west toward the element of the 2-22 Infantry (M) on the west side of the road. The attack from the south followed the road, the majority of the attackers moving along the ditches which paralleled the road on both sides. Within minutes, a large force opened up with RPG’s, machine guns, small arms, and grenades at the eastern perimeter, attempting to penetrate the company perimeter. The VC continued to cover their attack with 60mm mortar fire. All US personnel not occupying LP or ambushes were defending from sandbagged bunkers with overhead covers.
  1. Between 0100 to 0230 hours, 105mm Beehive direct fire was requested and fired along Company C perimeter. VC had penetrated a portion of Company C perimeter at approximately 0200 hours. Beehive rounds eliminated penetration except for four (4) VC. From 0230 to 0400 hours, direct fire from 105mm artillery across Company C perimeter, firing Beehive until expended, then firing HE direct. Company A was reinforced by direct fire across its perimeter from 155mm artillery. At 0200 hours, Company A lost radio communications with its 16 element and two (2) or three (3) VC penetrated the perimeter. At 0300 hours, 2 platoons of Company B (reserve) were committed to reinforce and hold Company A perimeter. From 0445 to 0500 hours, Reconnaissance Platoons was committed to reinforce Company C, who had sustained slight penetration. Recon Platoon could not reinforce previous to this because constant direct fire of Beehive rounds prevented any movement in that area. At 0330 hours, one (1) APC from 2-22 Infantry (M) perimeter was moved to reinforce Company C from rear, and a second APC was placed at 0430 hours. Between 0230 hours and 0330 hours, air strikes were placed on area to the southeast in front of Company C perimeter employing both napalm and CBU.
  1. At approximately 0230 hours, Company C ambush reported that 50% of its personnel were casualties. At the time one (1) was KIA from RPG, and several were wounded. In the morning, it was determined that of the 16 men ambush, there had been 1 KIA, 11 WIA from enemy fire and 1 KIA due to the close air support.
  1. Fierce close in fighting continued until approximately 0500 hours, when the VC began to withdraw leaving behind their dead and wounded. By 0630 hours, the fighting had nearly stopped with only occasional sniper and some automatic weapons fire. Estimated enemy casualties after early morning sweep near perimeter, 105 VC KIA (BC), 2 VC (PW). Undetermined number of VC individual and crew served weapons. US losses, 16 KIA, 99 WIA. The enemy size and units were not determined exactly, however, it was fairly certain that the size of the force was at least a reinforced regiment with elements from the 271st and 272nd VC Regiments positively identified both from documents and PW interrogation.

More information and notes on the Battle for Fire Support Base Burt

187th Assault Helicopter Company Report on FSB Burt (Soui Cut)

2/77th Artillery Website on FSB Burt, Very good with pictures and descriptions.

Tribute by 2/77th to the 22nd Infantry and 2nd Bn Mech (click on 22nd Inf tab on the right)

Tropic Lightning News on Battle "near" Soui Cut

22nd Infantry Society Letter about FSB Burt

Tribute by 2/77th to the 22nd Infantry and 2nd Bn Mech (click on 22nd Inf tab on the right)