Hill 174

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Hill 174

Postby BobAverill » Thu Nov 04, 2010 2:47 pm

During July '68 on Op. Lancaster II "H" Co found themselves several hundred meters south of Hill 174. Reading the command chronology the last few days brought to mind several events. We were given the task of securing Hill 174. When I met with the Bn staff and told what our mission was to be the next day, I gazed across the open terrain to the objective as I listened to the S-2 give his report that they thought the hill to be fortified with perhaps a CO. of NVA. It was believed the hill served as an OP. In previous actions there, I was informed that it had been bombed on several occasions. So as the ball was tossed into my hands I asked for what supporting arms we had. Fortunately not much was going on in the DMZ then and we could get pretty much what we wanted. Thus, firecracker was placed on the hill during the night. In the AM we had a heavy barrage of Arty and air on the objective. I had rolling smoke across the LOD all the way to the base. The "patrol" - I would swear it was a frontal assault. 1st Plt lead the way with 2nd & 3rd Plts. in trace. I was behind 1st Plt. We pretty much climbed from tree root to tree root going up the hill. 1st Plt got into contact as they reached the top. As the Co. crested the hill, the Platoons took up defensive positions beyond the NVA positions to avoid being in the X-ring of the counter NVA fire which we knew would come. Unfortunately due to thick vegetation on the north side some Marines were not able to get far enough forward. I had two Marines wounded, one who later died(Pvt. Benjamin) after being choppered to the hospital ship.

With an AO upstairs and two sticks of Nape and Snake on station we were quick to find where the NVA were shooting from and we continued to pursue the NVA by fire. I recall watching through the binocs seeing bodies flying as a result of efforts. While the AO was having a good day, we felt we should continue our attack to the Ben Hai. I requested from the Bn that we be allowed to do that. The request had to go to the White House since we would be well within the DMZ. In the meantime Air and Arty continued to pound. Several hours later, our request was denied. However Col Barrows landed on our pos. and gave a well done to the Marines.

The bunker complex was impressive. Obviously the NVA could sit on their well worn log benches, see all the square and call on their supporting arms to deliver fire from the ocean to Camp Carroll. A significant amount of intel. was gathered on that hill and the NVA paid a high price getting their radio equipment off the hill before we took it. The Corps did it right that day with supporting arms playing the key role. Without air and Arty it would have been messy "patrol".
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