See you in the morning... I hope!

A short story is about one of our A-109 patrols

There is only so much you can do

We were bringing one of our patrols back to camp. It had been another physically grueling trip. The terrain and the dense jungle growth sap your strength quickly. Knowing that we could not cover the remaining distance before darkness set in, we found a spot to spend the night. We reported our position to camp by radio and prepared to bed down. Another typical night in the jungle.

Not too long after nightfall the radio crackled to life. Base camp was calling us. They advised us that they were under attack. Could we break camp and come in behind the attackers? Our answer was quick and short: No!

Elsewhere in this web site I have described the difficulty in moving through the jungle during daylight hours. Moving at night was simply impossible. Not only can you not see, the noise generated by your movement would make you extremely vulnerable to an ambush. No... our patrol would be better off staying where we were. The base camp is more prepared to ward off an attack, even at night, than our patrol would be to defend itself if ambushed.

We advised base that we could not help. (Frankly, we were surprised they asked!) We wished them well and told them we would call them by radio at first light. If at that point the attack continued, we would try to flank the attackers.

Early the next morning we radio'ed base to ascertain their situation. Things had returned to normal later that evening. Their assessment was that the VC had shelled the camp and probed the perimeter to assess the manner and strength of the camp's response. Either the VC were deterred by the speed and strength of the response (and called off a more aggressive attack) or they were gathering data to formulate an attack plan for a later date. The attack ended about two or three hours after it began.