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
APO San Francisco 96268
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
This 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.
FSB Burt perimeter
C/3/22 was at bottom,
right side of road
Ch. Jim Tobin giving
Communmion at Burt
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.