Chantrea

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pointman
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Chantrea

Postby pointman » Fri May 08, 2020 6:38 pm

Fifty years ago today, Alpha Company's first sweep into Chantrea. Pulled back, and let artillery have a go at it. I almost got knocked off twice that day, from pieces of metal flying off of marking rounds. The piece that landed closest, I swear it was ringing when it came in. Trying to remember the name of the temporary firebase they sat up inside of Cambodia? We also swept through another town that morning before going to Chantrea. I'll have to do a little research in "Into Cambodia" tomorrow. Imagine most of the info on 6/31st came from Lowe.
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Niner Alpha
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Re: Chantrea

Postby Niner Alpha » Sat May 09, 2020 3:05 pm

When we first got into Chantrea the arty wasn't set up yet. It was where a border village once stood called Ba Thu. Then when the half battery was set up it was still 10 kilometers from the West side of Chantrea. I'll post an image in the photo section and link it. The arty was set up at 27530283. You can read it off of your map.... I sent you one some years ago, didn't I? In any case. I measured it out just now and it was 10 k away and max relatively close support for infantry ends about 9000 meters away for a 105. When we did get arty support it wouldn't reach targets on much of the village. We had jets come in and drop some bombs at one point. The dead metal from the bombs flew over our heads and some hot metal landed among us where I was.

A lot of the background in the Into Cambodia book came from Col. Lowe's point of view. Delta Company didn't get to Chantrea until every other company was there and a day later....Alpha being the first there with one platoon and I was with them so I had bragging rights for being on the scene earlier and at least knowing where I was. Much of Lowe's locations for companies came from the Arty Brigade commander. Much of it is wrong, at least for Alpha. That arty Colonel had no first hand knowledge at all about anything that happened in Cambodia....but apparently he was asked and he put his two cents worth in. I discussed this with Col. Lowe a half dozen or more years ago.

http://www.6thofthe31st.com/gallery/ind ... m/P1000181
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Re: Chantrea

Postby Niner Alpha » Sat May 09, 2020 3:14 pm

Here's an image I took of one of the bomb runs.

http://www.6thofthe31st.com/gallery/ind ... art/cambo4
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Re: Chantrea

Postby Niner Alpha » Sun May 10, 2020 10:50 am

Now that the subject of things that came through the air has been brought up, I remember something Jerry Holderness said at the one and only reunion at Branson. He was the Alpha FO at the time of the Cambodian incursion while I was his assistant and RTO. Two weeks after coming back to Ben Luc he was promoted to captain and out of the field and I took his place without any change in rank. At the time of the reunion he was a retired full colonel.

What he remarked on was he was afraid Captain Lavazzi thought he, Holderness, didn't know what he was doing at one point. Holderness was calling in an artillery fire mission after the platoon we were with went into the woodline and just after he called it in some explosions erupted close to where we were and we had to pull back out into the open paddy. It was going through Holderness' mind that Lavazzi thought those rounds were his doing. Actually the explosions were enemy mortar rounds that we had just found out they had.

Holderness was a West Point grad and knew his stuff. At one point he and I went off on our own across the dry paddy to get a better angle on a machine gun position that had stopped another move into the woodline that surrounded Chantrea's edge. He directed the arty on it expertly, even at max range from the half battery. It is unknown if the arty worked directly on the machine gunner or not, Holderness thought not, but when we went back in again I noticed someone of our soldiers come back with what looked like an RPK with a bipod from about where that machine gun position was.

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