OP: Masher

The first iteration of our Masher series took place from FEB 27 to MAR 1, 2009 in Port Vincent, LA. Attendee’s were trained in US tactics utilized during the Vietnam War by retired US Army officer John Robison. Captain John Robison is a graduate of RANGER
school, the Jungle warfare course in Panama and both the
101st and 9th ID RECONDO schools. He served as the training officer for the 1st Brigade RECONDO school for 3 cycles. He retired from the Army in 1977.

US Forces Storyline

In response to reports of increased enemy activity and ammonia sniffer indications of significant occupation in several concentrated locations, Special Forces teams from Project B-52 Delta were inserted into the Kim Son vicinity in the jungle and mountainous regions of the Vietnamese Coastal plains. These insertions were in advance of planned sweeps by elements of the First Cav taking advantage of their mobility and support. Contact with the SF units was lost almost immediately after their insertion and they were assumed to be overwhelmed and destroyed. Clearly the region was more thoroughly occupied then initially predicted. Initial insertion by the Cav units was delayed by two days due to adverse weather. This was the first time in the war that major operations were significantly impacted by weather. This allowed the NVA/ VC to abandoned numerous fortified camps and establish both delaying actions and deliberate planned engagements that favored their forces. The Main force US elements became engaged in a sweep and pursuit operation that was intense and challenging. Frequent, sharp, small unit, encounters occurred within the Kim Son area and throughout the operation. The 2nd Battalion of the 5th Cavalry inserted each of their companies with two days rations to screen and block main exit avenues and the bulk of intense action was absorbed by these units. The remaining units drove the enemy forces toward these blocking forces. Their flexibility and mobility proved highly effective in confusing and canalizing the enemy but at great cost. Due to the terrain the blocking companies had to conduct a mobile rather than a stationary defense in many cases and develop the situation whenever possible using the Divisions Air assets.

The VC/ NVA utilized mortars, recoilless rifles and Anti Aircraft batteries to great effect. The confirmed enemy units encountered included the heavy weapons battalion of the 18th NVA Regiment, A captured NVA Colonel revealed the presence of the Headquarters element of the 22nd NVA Regiment. In addition three provisional VC units were confirmed involved in the operation. The engagement included multiple assaults on enemy strongholds and a number of intense multi wave assaults by NVA elements on Cav. defensive positions. Ultimately the only way to secure the area was through the use of numerous Arc Light B52 raids which finally drove the enemy from the field.