to a foot infection. Things got real interesting one of those evenings.
that had taken four or five RPGs and had just about been turned to junk. The hydraulics
were blown out, the electrical system was haywire and it had to have certain areas
bypassed with jumpers around the shorts. Not to mention the holes blown through the
turret and TC’s cupola.
being stripped down to be sent back to the States, for refitting. I had had to bang an
empty cartridge case into part of the electrical system to jump around a short, just to get it
ammunition. We had to unload twenty or so 90mm rounds, a few hundred .50
machinegun rounds, and a few thousand .30s for the coaxial machinegun. We also
stripped the tools and any serviceable equipment. It was hot, tiring work and we were all
beat by the end of the day.
got off the “horn” with Division Intelligence. He had more good news. It seems the
Division Recon teams had spotted two divisions of NVA and they were moving towards
our area of responsibility. Intelligence had surmised the scenario, that the NVA intended
to sweep into our compound, overrun us, and capture the artillery in our perimeter and
use it to shell Da Nang. This had to be the wildest Intel briefing I’d ever heard, but they
were all being deadly serious.
time, you guessed it, the one we had just spent the day unloading, fueled, rearmed and
running. We were to hold the perimeter as long as possible, but at the first sign that the
berm was being breached, we were to turn our main gun on the artillery emplacement,
inside of our own wire, and blow it away. Accomplishing this, we were to throw a
thermite grenade into the breach of our main gun, close the breach and fuse the gun into a
molten lump. After all of that we had no choice but to abandon the vehicle. We would
then be on foot and our own. Real fun news to start the evening with.
electrical shorts below the turret floor, and even got the Xenon searchlight working. We
were a few hours into the night by this time. We decided to take the tank around to the
main gate to check out the search light and try to do a minimal sight check. We called in
on the radio net, received permission and pulled into the road at the main gate. I was
gunning and traversing along a tree line about a thousand meters out. The TC flipped the
switch on the searchlight, with the system on infrared I saw something moving and yelled
out on the intercom “I think I’ve got something here!” I’d briefly seen four figures
moving over a sand dune. We called the Company C. O. to check that there were no
friendly patrols operating in that area. He came back on the radio, in seconds, saying
“There is no one anywhere around that area, fire, right now! I’ll clear permission with
The TC turned the switch on the white light and I let it rip. Three rounds later there was
not much sand dune left. We talked to the C. O. and he said they were arranging a patrol
for early morning to check it out, but as far as he was concerned, we had “Four confirmed
kills, ‘cause they’re probably blown to pieces!”
NVA never showed up. Either the intelligence out of Division was bullshit, or our little
show made them shy off. I didn’t know which was the reason and I damn sure didn’t
care. I’m just glad we didn’t have to play out the Captain’s earlier plans. I didn’t much
NVA attack. Armed only with four .45s and 50 some rounds of ball pistol ammunition. I
could live very well, thank you, without the thought of that scenario, let alone it’s reality!
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