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Bad Moon Rising - The Fight for Fire Base Illingworth, April 1, 1970

Condition: MINT/New
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Bad Moon Rising - The Fight for Fire Base Illingworth, April 1, 1970
Category: War Games
Author: Paul Rohrbaugh
Publish Year: 2016
Dimensions: 8.5x11x.25"
Restockable: Yes
NKG part #: 2148943246
Type: Ziplock

Description

Up until March 26th, 1970, the 1st Air Cavalry Division’s “in country” reputation was a relatively fortunate one. It had not suffered particularly horrendous losses since its battles in the Ia Drang valley years before, and those who received orders from the Replacement Depot to report to the 1st Air Cav’s units considered themselves rather fortunate to be sent to a “lucky outfit”. That luck ran out on that day in March when Charlie Company was caught in a large scale ambush set up by the NVA’s 9th Division’s 272nd Infantry Regiment. Alpha Troop of the 11th Armored Cavalry, attached to the 1st Air Cavalry Division, that was a little more than 4 kilometers away, immediately “saddled up” and “busted humps” through the jungle in an epic trek through the jungle that savaged men and machine alike. After driving off the NVA and rescuing Charlie Company, the combined US force made it back to Fire Base Illingworth, named for one of the heroes of an earlier battle fought by the 1st Air Cavalry.

The strategy of using Fire Bases (also termed Fire Support Bases) was created as part of the “Vietnamization” of the conflict in which US forces were gradually withdrawn and the bulk of the fighting turned over to the ARVN (Army of the Republic of [South] Vietnam). General George Casey, Sr. developed the Fire Base strategy in which US Artillery and other battlefield support assets were deliberately deployed in forward areas to disrupt the Communists’ lines of communication and supply, thereby inviting them to attack. Once the enemy was in the open and engaged the US forces would then call in massive amounts of air and artillery support to wreak devastation upon their foe. A Fire Base was only to be in one location 3 to 5 days, and extensive fortifications were not possible as everything had to be removed and redeployed by helicopter in a matter of hours. By April 1st Fire Base Illingworth was in place for 11 days, allowing the NVA to completely map out the base’s positions, garrison, and weak points. Adding to Fire Base Illingworth’s woes was the arrival of thousands of 8 inch artillery rounds on March 31st. The garrison had only hours to provide rudimentary protection for the new ammo dump by the time of the NVA’s attack.

The survivors of Alpha Troop and Charlie Companies thought they had reached a place of refuge where they could rest, recuperate, and train their newly arrived replacements (FNGs as they were derisively termed by the veterans). However, the NVA saw their opportunity to exact revenge upon the Americans grow with each passing day Fire Base Illingworth remained in place. Little did they know, that those who fought on March 26th had leapt from the frying pan directly into the fire that exploded all around them at 0214 on April Fool’s Day, 1970.