2nd Platoon air assaulted into the LZ outside the village of Gi Lang (2864) in light rain, responding to intel that placed a Communist Rally taking place there. Maybe there was or maybe the rally leaders slipped away in the bad weather but by the time 2nd Platoon got there the only enemy who wanted to engage with them were content to pot shot a few long range rifle rounds and then skedaddle. The afternoon was spent cowering under ponchos the light rain building to monsoon levels, grounding all aircraft and changing the plans for the Platoon to be airlifted back to the FSB. The men were grateful for the extra supplies they’d carried in knowing they’d now be out for at least the night.
The platoon settled into ambush positions before dark. It wasn’t long before 1st Squad had movement to their front. The platoon command element had chosen those moments to check on their positions so were on hand to watch what unfolded (fortuitously as it turned out!)
The squad were deployed in a patch of single canopy jungle overlooking paddy fields and the outskirts of the village. The NVA squad were picking their way along a paddy dike, the column stretching back into some triple canopy jungle the other side of the stream. Unfortunately the American claymore had been set up pointing directly away from the patrol towards the village and thus would be no help.
The NVA approached carefully, watchful for any sign of Americans knowing they had been in the area earlier. They didn’t spot the ambush though, the first rounds sending one of their number scurrying for cover over the paddy dike, another tumbling to the ground hit by the Americans bullets but the others were untouched and able to return fire. The firefight was brief and ineffective, ending with several out of ammo combattants. Further attempts to fire at each other resulted in the NVA squad leader breaking and running while two of the Americans were hit and went down hard. The most significant problem for the ambushers was that half the NVA had yet to leave the jungle and were in fact moving round to flank the ambush positions. Realising the danger the platoon command moved in that direction sending the medic to aid one of the fallen men while the M60 cleared its jam and took down another enemy in the paddy. An attempt to call for help on the radio recieved nothing but static in reply.
As the Lt and radioman got to the flank, the vietnamese were streaming across the jungle. In a frantic burst of fire the radioman nailed one crossing the stream, while the Lt firing wildly came close but ultimately missed or the rounds hit equipment not flesh.
With the NVA lmg temporarily out of ammo in the paddy, the M60 team pulled back blowing the claymore to prevent it being found and reused by the enemy. Things were desperate for the Americans and then salvation! Their call on the radio had been heard, and a barrage of medium artillery rounds was ready to fire, waiting only for the coordinates. In some inspired mapreading, the Lt gave the directions and fell back with the RTO to where the medic had dragged the badly wounded casualty. The other casualty was also being tended by the squad leader when the artillery rounds fell. The first was close to the American’s position showering them with debris but causing no casualties. The second disappeared into the night, exploding in the jungle across the stream. The final round landed amongst the charging NVA and all of them went down.
The remaining NVA in the paddy carefully picked up their fallen comrades and carried them off into the night leaving no trace of their existence except a handful of spent cartridge cases.
The Americans called in a Medevac chopper to exfil their wounded and the enemy casualties. 2 wounded NVA were captured and sent back to be patched up and interrogated, while 4 bodies were recovered and quickly buried. It had been a successful night.