A bad day at Nui Ba Den

Discussion in 'The VMBB True Story Tellers' started by Guest, Feb 27, 2003.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    dirty423
    Member
    Posts: 31
    (7/28/01 11:22:46 am)
    | Del All A bad day at Nui Ba Den
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    My platoon was outposting the road to French Fort. We had our tracks about 2 klicks apart parked alongside the road. I was squad leader on the command track but Lt. Blake was riding with 2nd squad that day. The platoon was mostly new guys and Blake had only been with us a couple of months, we had at most ten guys with at least three months on the line and maybe fifteen more with less experience.

    One track set up at a road junction near the base of the mountain and of course was soon surrounded by kids and mama-sans selling an assortment of goods like beer and dope. A young man grabbed a camera from one of the guys and took off on a motorcycle. He and another guy grabbed another bike and took off after him. Shortly after they got out of sight, the squad heard a full magazine burst from an AK. About that time Lt. Blake shows up on 22 track, gets the story and goes up the road after them. Why we had no radio contact I don't remember, the first I knew of it was when 23 track hauls ass into the clearing we're set up in with some pretty hysterical troopers on board. After 22 went out of sight they couldn't make radio contact and didn't know what to do.

    We headed up to where this all occured, I only had maybe ten people to put on the ground so I spread them out on about a 200 meter line to cross a wide open area before we came to the rise which was hiding the road from view. When I topped the rise I saw 22 about 300 meters down the road and one person in an American uniform waving us forward, we continued our cautious advance. The guy on the road jumped in the track and I hear Blake's voice on the radio telling me to haul ass up there. I left one track behind and told my people on the ground to continue coming up slowly, I absolutely smelled ambush. When we got to 22 my driver, Pepper, went ballistic because the whole second squad was standing on the side of the road looking at the bodies of our two brothers stretched out about ten meters off the road. He yells at them to make some kind of perimeter and get somebody on the fucking fifty. Pepper and I figured the bodies might be trapped so we tied ropes to their ankles and pulled them to the road. By that time the people I left on the ground had come up and expanded our perimeter so that we could bring in a dust-off.

    Lt. Blake later started to chew my ass for not hurrying the whole platoon up as ordered. In a matter of fact fashion Pepper and I explained why we did what we did and told him if it happened again we'd do it just the same. Blake was a fine officer and a good soldier and he knew we were talking sense, the lapse of judgement was his. He didn't often question the gut feelings of his experienced troopers after that day.
    The point of the spear

    TShooters
    V.I.P. Member
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    (7/29/01 10:21:36 am)
    | Del Re: A bad day at Nui Ba Den
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    Glad you could keep a cool head in this situation,
    dirty. I'm sure you saved a lot of lives in doing so.

    Sharon


    dirty423
    Member
    Posts: 37
    (7/29/01 10:57:16 am)
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    My brother Pepper recently came up from San Francisco and spent some time with me, this was one of the memories we dredged up while he was here.
    The point of the spear

    TShooters
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 452
    (7/29/01 11:31:21 am)
    | Del Re: A bad day at Nui Ba Den
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    Hope you and Pepper had a great time together.

    When you speak of "tracks", are those tanks? Amtracers? Quads50s?

    Hubby always talked of how cautious a person in country should be about
    booby traps..not picking up anything that looked harmless, like a doll on
    the ground, etc. About the shoeshine kids that could possibly themselves be a
    walking booby trap. Must have been rough to be constantly on the alert.

    Sharon

    dirty423
    Member
    Posts: 40
    (7/29/01 12:10:32 pm)
    | Del Re: A bad day at Nui Ba Den
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    'tracks' were M-113 armored personnel carriers powered by a V-6 two stroke diesel with a four speed Allison automatic transmission. Full tracked aluminum hull 2 1/2" thick on the sides. About 14 tons empty as I recall, we usually carried 10-12 thousand rounds of .50 caliber for one manual turret mounted machine gun. Another 10 thousand each of M-16 and M-60 and you're ready to run with the big dogs. They did around 50 mph fully loaded and generally outperformed what the Army said they would. The Israelis are still using them with great success and US forces still use them for mobile C and C.

    There were also gas powered versions but they were an unpleasant place to be if an RPG lit off the fuel.
    The point of the spear

    TShooters
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 461
    (7/31/01 5:43:50 pm)
    | Del Re: A bad day at Nui Ba Den
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    Thanks, dirty....

    for the clarification/description. It's been a learning experience (and interesting)
    to hear about all the different types of equipment used during the VN War.
    Funny...but my perception had been only of helicopters, planes, convoy trucks,
    jeeps, etc. used over there, until a few years ago.

    Sharon

    dreamcatcher27371
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 140
    (7/31/01 9:31:53 pm)
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    Good thinking Dirty. Good soldiering. The navy lost a PBR
    and some good sailors when they went in next to a river bank to collect a trapped VC flag hanging from a pole in the water.

    Misterstan
    Moderator
    Posts: 461
    (8/2/01 9:56:58 am)
    | Del Re: A bad day at Nui Ba Den
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    A picture of the M113 APC (Armored Personnel Carrier)

    dirty423
    Member
    Posts: 45
    (8/2/01 7:35:59 pm)
    | Del Re: A bad day at Nui Ba Den
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    That's the cavalry edition Stan. We didn't have the side mount 60's, we were mounted infantry. The cupola around the track commander finally got to VN in mid '68. Prior to that we had homemade cupolas fashioned from 1/2" steel plate and we hung spare road wheels on the outside. That track looks pretty neat compared to ours, we always had concertina wire hanging off the sides and stuff tied down on top for seats. That trim vane saved a lot of driver's lives by predetonating RPG's a couple of inches from the hull.
    The point of the spear

    gorourke
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 87
    (8/2/01 9:36:26 pm)
    | Del Re: A bad day at Nui Ba Den
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    Good post dirty. I served with the “Triple Deuce” and your posts have been jogging the memories. I can close my eyes and see the mountain in all its detail. If my scanner worked, I would post a photo of the old Black Virgin.

    Sharon, here is a photo of a Track I got in before the scanner went dead. That’s me in the TC behind the 50.



    P. Gary



    Edited by: gorourke at: 8/2/01 11:12:47 pm

    homer4
    Moderator
    Posts: 1337
    (8/3/01 6:16:52 am)
    | Del Re: A bad day at Nui Ba Den
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    Good posts All!!! Alot young men there P. Always nice to have to have the faces. I can see faces and I remember some of the names P, but not all.
    ...and two hard boiled eggs.

    TShooters
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 471
    (8/3/01 9:25:34 am)
    | Del Re: A bad day at Nui Ba Den
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    Thanks for the pic, P.Gary. Always enjoy seeing pics from
    your tours, guys!

    I can see your track has "To the Alps" painted on the side.
    And, somebody's "Army" on the front...can't quite make that one out.

    Neat pic!

    Sharon


    donbrails
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 55
    (8/3/01 7:41:36 pm)
    | Del NuiBaDen
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    Just some random thoughts.
    The pic's are great! Everytime I see pictures like this my thoughts always, for some reason, go back to the outstanding book, "We Were Soldiers Once...and Young."
    I can't make out all of the writing on the side of the track either but my favorites, between the Mountain and French Fort, were Little Annie Fannie (with the painting on the side) and Viet Cong Birth Control. (No picture needed!)
    Thanks,
    Don

    gorourke
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 88
    (8/3/01 10:09:05 pm)
    | Del Re: Track Names.
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    Sharon – Don,

    The words on the trim vane in front of the track are “Rommel’s Army”. On the side was painted “To the Alps” and on the Cupola, the words “Alice’s Restaurant”. Wish I could tell you who painted them and their significance to the painter, but I just don’t remember, if I ever even knew. All the tracks that had names and phrases painted on them were already painted when I joined the Company.

    The first track I was on was called “My Special Angel”. I can only guess the grunt who painted those words was hoping some one would look after him. That track was kind to me also, but after I moved on it was bad luck for others. Another name I liked was on the Command Track, “House of the Rising Sun”.

    The battalion mechanics had “Maniacs” painted in large red letters on the side of their track. When we moved into Cambodia in convoy formation, the NVA picked that track out for RPG practice. I guess the large red letters were the attraction. The hit was low, just above the tracks and into the engine. Because of that the driver was OK and the mechanics riding on top were not badly hurt. It did take the track out though, I have a good photo of the hole bored through the hull by the RPG, but with my scanner down posting it will have to wait. I also have a photo of the Flying Crane that swooped down and lifted the damaged track back to base in Vietnam.

    P. Gary


    dirty423
    Member
    Posts: 50
    (8/4/01 7:06:17 am)
    | Del Re: Track Names.
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    Don, I don't know if we're talking about the same track, but a large and well done 'Little Annie Fannie' was on the side of our 41 track. That was the mortar platoon FDC. I gotta get my scanner up and show you the art on a couple of my tracks.
    The point of the spear

    Bill Braniff
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 70
    (8/6/01 2:53:54 pm)
    | Del Re: Track Names.
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    I spent a lot of time on and near "The Black Virgin" You musst have been there after me, cause I never seen anyone selling dope in '68. Was just over ther in June of this year. They are talking about putting a tramway in to take tourists to the top. I was up there on the reactionary force in May of 68 when the outpost got overrun. Memories. Yuup.

    Bill B

    dap22
    Senior Chief Moderator II
    Posts: 1027
    (8/17/01 2:43:53 pm)
    | Del
    ezSupporter
    Re: Track Dangers.
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    Reading about the RPG holes in tracs stirred a couple memories about how often our missions took us to armor locations. Seemed like every day we'd be doing atleast one or two missions taking casualties and dead out of tanks and M113's.......especially APC's since I think the flat sides were ideal for the penetration of a RPG. Interesting how the hole was always so perfect in shape and scary as to the havoc it would wreak after getting through the armor. Most of the injuries and death were caused from the shrapnel of the inside of the tank or trac after the RPG intered......the inside wall would break into many small and large sized pieces completely riddling the inhabitants...........wasn't pretty and happened too often.

    Edited by: dap22 at: 8/18/01 9:32:27 pm

    high2fly
    *Senior Chief Moderator*
    Posts: 128
    (8/23/01 10:38:49 pm)
    | Del Re: Track Dangers.
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    Dave, what you mentioned about the 'bird-shit' sharpnel the flies around inside the crew spaces after an armor piercing round/RPG punches a hole through it. That is exactly what happened to the USS Stark when those Exocet missles were fired at her by Iran/Iraq in 1984--the protective aluminum shielding become the lethal sharpnel--like getting bit in the ass by your own dog!!!!. Do you recall my story about Gordie--he was a Stark crew member? Wilborn
  2. kevrev

    kevrev New Member

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    Apr 11, 2009
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    Location:
    leicester england
    Hi can any one help me with photos and infomation on a m113 called little annie fanny as i am making a modle of her many thanks
  3. rooter

    rooter *VMBB Senior Chief Of Staff*

    Joined:
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    Marty Robbins old hometown, Glendale Arizona--a su
    Greetings KEVREV....I began to read the posts right before yours before I realized that those come from way back....mid 01 in fact....I am sure if you keep looking in someone will provide the pictures you requested....The last post right before your question was from me and I was mentioning the sharpnel damage to the USS STARK....that's when IRAN fired some French missiles called EXOCETS at the USS STARK causing American loss of life. Wilborn (aka) Chief
  4. skinner

    skinner New Member

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    Dirty, i was in Dauteing in 68-69 with the 1st CAV,229t ahb. we got a lot of missions to go out and help you guys in the tracks. Our cobra gunships, of "Delta company" were smoke bringers. along with the killer spades of "Bravo company" WELCOME HOME BROTHERS.