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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > Vietnam War

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Vietnam War The Battle for Vietnam. .

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  #1  
Old 27 Apr 09, 18:08
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NVA counter recce team

Hello everybody,

I am a FNG on the forum, but I've read on a post on the thread about "worst place to be in Vietnam" that the NVA has counter-recce units in some places (Where?). I've never heard before about those units. Could someone give me more info ? Who were their main adversaries (LRRPs, Special Forces, Seals ,...?)

I thank you beforehand
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  #2  
Old 27 Apr 09, 19:11
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Yes. They hunted recon unts. John Plaster talks about them a lot in his book on SOG. He talks of them operating in Laos and Cambodia against the SOG recon units there. I have also read in LRRP books about teams that hunted them in the RVN, but I am not sure if these were of the same level of training and professionalism as those protecting the sanctuaries in Laos and Cambodia.
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Old 27 Apr 09, 20:48
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On a number of missions in Laos, we were hunted by these teams. They were outstanding trackers. We used to sleep on nearly vertical positions when we knew they were hunting us. We would have to prop ourselves or tether ourselves so as not to slide down the hill. On a number of occasion, we heard them all around us but in the dead of night, pitch black darkness, clinging to such a steep vertical saved us. On another occasion, they knew we were there so they took the step to recon b fire. We never responded. They came real close. Many a team came out by the hair on their chinny-chin-chin from these hunters.
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Old 27 Apr 09, 21:05
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When hunted on such operations, could you still fulfill the original mission? If you are constantly evading, wouldn't it be fair to say that the mission was already compromised and pull you out to re-insert another day?
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  #5  
Old 27 Apr 09, 23:39
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In the Plaster book he acusses elements within ARVN of giving the NVA the grid details of US recon team insertion LZ's. So many of the US recon teams were compromised either on insertion or very shortly after.
Plaster also gives an interesting description of the dogpiling NVA forces that gather against a compromised RT the longer they remain on the ground as they run for their lives to the nearest extraction LZ.
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Old 28 Apr 09, 00:01
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In the Plaster book he acusses elements within ARVN of giving the NVA the grid details of US recon team insertion LZ's.
Indeed, I understand that this was the rationale for launching the Son Tay prison camp raid from the U.S., rather than from within MACVSOG. Better to have found an empty camp than a waiting enemy.
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Old 28 Apr 09, 00:41
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In the book 'The Raid' it claims that the only people not told that the camps were empty were those tasked with going on the raid.
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Old 28 Apr 09, 07:36
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I have yet to read about any specialized larger counter-recce units within the PAVN. Counter infiltration operations in North Vietnam proper were within responsibility of Armed Militia (Police), sometimes with the help of PAVN specialized teams subordinated to Military Regions' HQ.

Along the Trail, counter-commando operations were responsibility of the 559th, and were conducted by organic troops of each Military Post within its designated AO. Organizationally speaking there was no specialized counter commando formation, any unit that normally would perform, say, road repairs, could be diverted to commando hunting. I believe there might be teams that were more experienced than others, but apparently there weren't dedicated counter-commando units per se.

Last edited by altus; 28 Apr 09 at 15:17..
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Old 28 Apr 09, 14:44
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Many thanks to all of you for sharing all these interesting information (thank RR !) on the subject.

Last edited by Arc Light; 28 Apr 09 at 18:03..
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Old 28 Apr 09, 15:24
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I have yet to read about any specialized larger counter-recce units within the PAVN. Counter infiltration operations in North Vietnam proper were within responsibility of Armed Militia (Police), sometimes with the help of PAVN specialized teams subordinated to Military Regions' HQ.

Along the Trail, counter-commando operations were responsibility of the 559th, and were conducted by organic troops of each Military Post within its designated AO. Organizationally speaking there was no specialized counter commando formation, any unit that normally would perform, say, road repairs, could be diverted to commando hunting. I believe there might be teams that were more experienced than others, but apparently there weren't dedicated counter-commando units per se.
Altus, these counter recon guys were far above the already good NVA soldier. You may not find much written about them but I have dealt personally with them.
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Old 28 Apr 09, 15:30
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When hunted on such operations, could you still fulfill the original mission? If you are constantly evading, wouldn't it be fair to say that the mission was already compromised and pull you out to re-insert another day?
Yes HH. Once we were compromised, we called for extraction. Sometimes there were no air assets available due to either weather or other action. We would be told to evade and go to ground. As soon as we could and there were assets available, we were pulled out. The mission would have to wait.
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Old 28 Apr 09, 17:02
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Altus, these counter recon guys were far above the already good NVA soldier. You may not find much written about them but I have dealt personally with them.
Who trained them up to this level ? NVA instructors or Russian or ChiCom advisors ?
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Old 28 Apr 09, 17:03
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Many thanks to all of you for sharing all these interesting informations on the subject.
For Arc Light, Boonie, and other Franglish types: "Information" is both a singular and a plural noun in English, unlike, par exemple, "renseignements".

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Old 28 Apr 09, 17:05
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Altus, what about the 305th Airborne Brigade, which was reportedly disbanded in March 1967 to form the 305th Sapper (Dac Cong) Command? Is it possible that some of either had an anti-recce role?
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Old 28 Apr 09, 17:33
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Altus, what about the 305th Airborne Brigade, which was reportedly disbanded in March 1967 to form the 305th Sapper (Dac Cong) Command? Is it possible that some of either had an anti-recce role?
I know Plaster wrote something about the 305th Brigade, that parts of it were trained in counter recon. I'd be equally interested to know where he got that information from. According to the History of PAVN's Sapper Branch, in 1967 the 305th was one of the three units that together formed the Sapper HQ of the PAVN, with all their personnel and equipment. 305th's commander Nguyễn Chí Điềm became the first commander of the Sapper Branch, consisting of nine sapper battalions. There was no such thing as the 305th Sapper Command.

I have not read about any sapper unit performing counter recon tasks along the Trail, but perhaps chiangshan might have something more to say on this matter.
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