SHARPENING THE COMBAT
THE USE OF ANALYSIS TO REINFORCE MILITARY JUDGMENT
Lieutenant General Julian J. Ewell
Major General Ira A. Hunt, Jr.
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 74-14649
First Printed 1974-CMH Pub 90-20
For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office
Superintendent of Documents, Mail Stop: SSOP, Washington, DC 20402
The United States Army has met an unusually complex challenge in Southeast Asia. In conjunction with the other services, the Army has fought in support of a national policy of assisting an emerging nation to develop governmental processes of its own choosing, free of outside coercion. In addition to the usual problems of waging armed conflict, the assignment in Southeast Asia has required superimposing the immensely sophisticated tasks of a modern army upon an underdeveloped environment and adapting them to demands covering a wide spectrum. These involved helping to fulfill the basic needs of an agrarian population, dealing with the frustrations of antiguerrilla operations, and conducting conventional campaigns against well-trained and determined regular units.
Although this assignment has officially ended, the US Army must prepare for other challenges that may lie ahead. While cognizant that history never repeats itself exactly and that no army ever profited from trying to meet a new challenge in terms of the old one, the Army nevertheless stands to benefit immensely from a study of its experience, its shortcomings no less than its achievements.
Aware that some years must elapse before the official histories will provide a detailed and objective analysis of the experience in Southeast Asia, we have sought a forum whereby some of the more salient aspects of that experience can be made available now. At the request of the Chief of Staff, a representative group of senior officers who served in important posts in Vietnam and who still carry a heavy burden of day-to-day responsibilities has prepared a series of monographs. These studies should be of great value in helping the Army develop future operational concepts while at the same time contributing to the historical record and providing the American public with an interim report on the performance of men and officers who have responded, as others have through our history, to exacting and trying demands.
All monographs in the series are based primarily on official records, with additional material from published and unpublished secondary works, from debriefing reports and interviews with key participants, and from the personal experience of the authors. To
facilitate security clearance, annotation and detailed bibliography have been omitted from the published version; a fully documented account with bibliography is filed with the Office of the Chief of Military History.
The reader should be reminded that most of the writing was accomplished while the war in Vietnam was at its peak, and the monographs frequently refer to events of the past as if they were taking place in the present.
Lieutenant General Julian J. Ewell, one of the coauthors of this monograph, has been a combat infantryman during his entire Army career. He served as a battalion and regimental commander in the 101st Airborne Division in World War II. He ended the Korean War as a regimental commander in the 2d Infantry Division. After a tour in Combat Developments Command, where he gained insights into the use of operations research, he commanded the 9th Infantry Division in the delta area of Vietnam in 1968 and 1969. He then commanded II Field Force Vietnam in the area around Saigon until April 1970.
Major General Ira A. Hunt, Jr., was assigned to the Corps of Engineers upon graduation from the United States Military Academy in 1945. He has served as an engineer battalion commander in the 8th Infantry Division in Europe and as a Military Assistant in the Office of Organization and Management Planning, Office of the Secretary of Defense. In Vietnam, he served with General Ewell as Chief of Staff of the 9th Infantry Division and as the 1st Brigade Commander. He is currently assigned as Deputy Chief of Staff for Training and Schools, Headquarters, United States Army Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Monroe, Virginia.
|Washington, D. C.
15 October 1973
|VERNE L. BOWERS
Major General, USA
The Adjutant General
This monograph focuses on the use of analysis in combat operations and concentrates on the utilization of techniques in situations with which the authors were personally familiar. It covers primarily the systematic blending of military judgment, data collection, and simple problem solving techniques as utilized in the 9th Infantry Division and II Field Force, Vietnam in 1968, 1969 and 1970. The approach is rather tentative because it was not possible in many cases to determine exactly what factors made the operations go so well. Rather we have laid out the most important and interesting factors in the hopes that the readers will be stimulated and perhaps decide for themselves what the critical points were. Fortunately, a large amount of basic data was available to support the manuscript. On the other hand, some basic data has been lost. In these cases we drew on memory and tried to double check the accuracy of our recollections. We think any general statements are reasonably accurate.
In order to hold the length of the manuscript down to reasonable limits, the authors found it necessary to assume that the reader was generally familiar with the Vietnamese war and had a good grasp of the operations, tactics and techniques of the combined arms. A knowledgeable professional military reader should find the material fairly easy to grasp. A reader with more limited military background may find it rather hard going.
The analytic approach when tried on the battlefield seemed to help produce sizable increases in both overall performance and efficiency. Whether these improvements were due more to good basic concepts or to good execution or both is difficult to determine.
We can say that first class officers and first class soldiers are capable of outstanding battlefield performance. To list the thousands of people who contributed to this tremendous team effort would be impossible. However, the monograph is dedicated to all those members of the 9th Infantry Division and of II Field Force Vietnam who acquitted themselves so well in Vietnam.
To assist the reader in placing the events discussed in this monograph in proper time perspective, a chronological list of milestones is included as an Appendix.
We wish to thank Colonel Charles Hayward, who did much of the original work on the II Field Force Vietnam portion of this monograph, and Colonel Archibald W. McFadden, Colonel Leonard Spirito, Lieutenant Colonel James Lindsay, Lieutenant Colonel Fred Mahaffey, Dr. David Wigdor, and Mr. Alfred Beck for their assistance in the preparation and review of the manuscript.
|Washington, D. C.
15 October 1973
| JULIAN J. EWELL
Lieutenant General, US Army
IRA A. HUNT, JR.
CLICK ON IMAGES IN THE CHAPTERS TO VIEW
FULL RESOLUTION VERSIONS
|II. UNIT MANAGEMENT AND PERSONNEL ACTIONS||15|
|III. OPTIMIZING ARMY AVIATION ASSETS AND SUPPORT FACILITIES||44|
|IV. GENERAL BACKGROUND FOR BATTLEFIELD ANALYSIS||75|
|V. THE INTELLIGENCE FUNCTION||96|
|VI. TACTICAL REFINEMENTS AND INNOVATIONS||106|
|VII. THE ANALYTICAL APPROACH||150|
|IX. DIVISION WRAP-UP||184|
|X. CORPS LEVEL OPERATIONS||191|
|XI. ON CONTROLLING THE WAR||225|
|XII. LIMITATIONS AND PROBLEMS IN THE USE OF ANALYSIS||233|
|XIII. OVERALL CONCLUSIONS||237|
|2.||Fungal Disease (Foot and Boot Area)||29|
|3.||Tropical Immersion Foot Syndrome||32|
|4.||Pyoderma-Bacterial Infection (Foot and Boot Area)||33|
|5.||Combat Man-Days Lost Due to Dermatosis, 3d Battalion, 47th Infantry, July-December 1968||34|
|6.||Comparison Actual vs. Computed (Base Period March-August 1968) Viet Cong Eliminated in Airmobile Operations December 1968 thru May 1969||71|
|7.||Pattern of Enemy Losses Resulting from Sweeps||80|
|8.||Pattern of Enemy Losses Resulting from Reconnaissance Mode||81|
|9.||The Communist Structure||85|
|10.||Timeliness of Intelligence Reports||97|
|11.||Simplified Jitterbug Flow Chart||115|
|12.||Sniper Kills, 9th Infantry Division, November 1968-July 1969||122|
|13.||Fire Power versus Time Conception||127|
|14.||Time Distribution of Booby-trap Incidents, 9th Infantry Division, 1-30 April 1969||139|
|15.||Number of Chien Hois in 9th Division Tactical Area||168|
|16.||Ground Loudspeaker Hours||169|
|17.||US Labor Used on Civic Action Projects||171|
|20.||Medcap Patients Treated||176|
|22.||Bridges Constructed or Repaired||179|
|23.||Roads Constructed or Repaired||180|
|24.||Activity Levels-9th Division, August 1968-June 1969||185|
|25.||South Vietnamese Army Contributions to III Corps Tactical Zone Combat Load||206|
|26.||Exchange Ratios, III Corps Tactical Zone, July 1968-April 1970||223|
|1.||9th Division Tactical Area, 1968-1969||10|
|2.||III Corps Tactical Zone, 1968-1970||192|
|3.||The Enemy System, 1968||197|
|4.||Sub-Region One, 1968||202|
|1.||Paddy Strength Report||21|
|2.||Combat Man-Days Lost, Maneuver Battalions||24|
|3.||Weekly Dermatology Sick Call Report Summary||35|
|4.||Daily Aircraft Availability||46|
|6.||Combat Statistics March-August 1968||56|
|7.||Utilization Statistics, Air Cavalry Troop||63|
|8.||Utilization Statistics, Assault Helicopter Company||65|
|9.||Utilization Statistics Organic Division Aviation Assets||66|
|10.||Operational Requirements, Hours/Month/Aircraft||67|
|11.||Brigade-Days with Aircraft Assets, Computation of Viet Cong Eliminated||69|
|12.||Actual Viet Cong Eliminated||69|
|13.||Combat Efficiency Exchange Ratio||70|
|14.||Partial List of External Intelligence Sources||98|
|15.||Reliability of Intelligence Resources||104|
|16.||Aircraft Damaged by Hostile Fire||117|
|17.||Total Ambushes Conducted||120|
|18.||Comparison of Tactical Results, Contacts per Operation, April 1969||128|
|19.||Results of Night Search Operations||132|
|20.||Exchange Ratio, June 1968 thru June 1969||134|
|21.||Viet Cong Eliminated, Day-Night Operations||135|
|22.||Method of Detection of Enemy Mines and Booby-trap||138|
|23.||Location of Enemy Devices||140|
|24.||Type Firing Device||140|
|25.||Origin of Manufacture of Booby-trap||141|
|26.||Mine and Booby-trap Casualty Statistics||143|
|27.||Operational Summary, Go Gong Province, Regional Force and Popular Force||156|
|28.||2d Brigade Statistics||187|
|30.||Exchange Ratio, II Field Force Vietnam, April 1969-March 1970||195|
|31.||Selected Combat Statistics, III Corps Tactical Zone||224|
|The Leader in Action||4|
|The Plain of Reeds||11|
|Typical Delta Terrain||12|
|The Combat Edge||17|
|The Delta Environment-Finding a Cache||22|
|Helicopter Mechanics (Drawing)||49|
|Pickup Zone||50, 51|
|Team of Air Workhorses||64|
|Dong Tam Before and Dong Tam After||73|
|Keeping the Pressure On||87|
|Load of the Soldier||91|
|Viet Cong Infrastructure||101|
|Tiger Scout Persuading the Enemy||112|
|On a "Seal" Operation||113|
|Sniper at Work (Sgt. Waldron)||124|
|Mortar at Night||137|
|Mine Detection, The Hard Way!||138|
|The Deadly Enemy Booby Trap||142|
|Breaking the Language Barrier||165|
|Christmas with the Orphans||170|
|Providing Aid to the Population||175|
|Medical Civic Action Program||177|
|Transporting Artillery Firing Platforms||208|
|The Inscrutable East (Painting)||215|
|Rome Plow Operation||219|
|The Authors Listen to Colonel Geraci||238|
Illustrations are from Department of the Army files except for the five pieces of artwork by members of the Combat Art Team of the 19th Military History Detachment: the photograph on page 49 of an ink drawing by Sergeant Thomas Sherwood, the photograph on page 59 of a painting by Specialist Edward Rohrbach, the photograph on page 187 of a pencil drawing by Specialist Rohrbach, the photograph on page 215 of an oil painting by Specialist Donald Orosz, and the photograph on page 226 of another oil painting by Specialist Orosz.
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