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WATER BUFFALO Snippet - 1st Platoon Leader, D Co. 1/28th

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  • WATER BUFFALO Snippet - 1st Platoon Leader, D Co. 1/28th

    Water buffalo were the beast of burden for the Vietnamese people. The folks tending the rice paddies would always use these animals while tending their paddies. You could always spot little kids beating/coaching/steering these animals with a stick and/or riding on the backs of these beasts. One had the impressions that these were fairly docile animals because the way they were cared for and used by the local folks and kids. However, let a GI get within the smelling distance of these creatures and you would think the GI was waving a red cape in the middle of a bullring hollering TORO TORO!

    When these beasts were not in use, the locals would sometime pen these animals up in the center of a road/path that went through their village. By center I mean the PENS were located between rows of hoochs with about 5 meters from a hooch on one side of the road/path, and about another 5 meters from another hooch directly across from the first hooch. The pens themselves were about 5 meters square and dug about one or two meters deep, forming a bull pit. The pit was corralled off with small to medium tree limbs.

    Heard a story once that a GI had shot a water buffalo with an M79 Grenade round, that hadn’t yet armed, and the round went right through the midsection of the beast and it hardly phased the beast.

    Anyway, one day we were searching this village (the folks had skipped town). The only thing left in the village were the animals (dogs, chickens, pigs, and penned up water buffalo). One of my troops was about 5 meters in front of me walking between a hooch and a bull pin that contained a very pissed off water buffalo. This beast jumped out of the pit, broke the corral fence, and was inches away from the troop before receiving an M16 bullet between the eyes. Water buffalo instantly dropped with one horn barely missing the mid-section of my troop. Troop scared – I’m laughing – troop pissed at me for laughing.

    Friggin war; had to report the killing of one water buffalo. Naturally management was pissed off. How we ever gonna win the “hearts and minds”?.


    KEN
    DO NO HARM
    Last edited by KEN JENSEN; 05 Sep 07, 09:23.
    1st ID, 1/28th '67/'68 Phouc Vinh & Quan Loi
    Skirmishes Bu Dop Dec-67, An My, Thu Duc Feb-68
    Plt. Ldr - CIB, Purple Hearts, Silver Star
    What we write can be considered to be a reflection of our SOUL providing others to know our CHARACTER.

  • #2
    I have read many tales such as these. The water buffalo was the primary farming tool of the rural people. For some reason they didn't like Americans. Perhaps because Americans smelled differently than VN.

    This was an all too common story. GI shoots water buffalo, Army has problem. Often the Army replaced the water Buffalo. Sometimes not because the incident goes un reported. Of course such situations would be economically devastating to the family. I have even read where soldiers who shot a water buffalo when it wasn't in self defense being forced to pay themselves for the replacement. The killing of a water buffalo was no small incident.

    A while back I posted my comments about operation Dumbo Drop. A story written by a Green Beret who worked with the montagnards. The story was supposed to be based on truth and was about the GBs going to great lengths to replace a montagnard elephant. Most people were critical of the story for it seeming so silly. I said at that time that given how important the elephants were to the mountain people, and the Army's policy of replacing the beasts of burden when killled in action, I could easily see how much of the story could have been factual except the airborne portion.

    It was no small thing for a VN farmer to lose a water buffalo or a montagnard tribe to lose its elephant.

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    • #3
      wow ken you have lots of good stories mate ..
      owner of the yahoo group for WW1 ,WW2 and Modern TO&Es
      (Tables of organisation & equipment or Unit of action )

      http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/TOandEs/

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Miss.Saigon View Post
        A while back I posted my comments about operation Dumbo Drop. A story written by a Green Beret who worked with the montagnards. The story was supposed to be based on truth and was about the GBs going to great lengths to replace a montagnard elephant. Most people were critical of the story for it seeming so silly. I said at that time that given how important the elephants were to the mountain people, and the Army's policy of replacing the beasts of burden when killled in action, I could easily see how much of the story could have been factual except the airborne portion.
        I've seen actual footage of such an operation in a documentary. The elephant wasn't air dropped of course but put to sleep by some SF guys with a flechette gun then transported with a sling by a chinook to some remote outpost in the highlands. If you're interested I can post screenshots from the DVD.
        Last edited by Boonierat; 05 Sep 07, 10:53.

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        • #5
          Boonie, please do.

          D1
          "War is hell, but actual combat is a motherf#cker"
          - Col. David Hackworth

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          • #6
            yeah please boonie ..
            owner of the yahoo group for WW1 ,WW2 and Modern TO&Es
            (Tables of organisation & equipment or Unit of action )

            http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/TOandEs/

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            • #7
              There you go. Turns out it wasn't a Chinook but a CH-3:











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              • #8
                boonie thats a CH-53 mate ...
                owner of the yahoo group for WW1 ,WW2 and Modern TO&Es
                (Tables of organisation & equipment or Unit of action )

                http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/TOandEs/

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by thomas.tmcc View Post
                  boonie thats a CH-53 mate ...
                  Always had a hard time making the difference between the Jolly Green and the Sea Stallion

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                  • #10
                    Thanks once again Boonie .
                    SPORTS FREAK/ PANZERBLITZ COMMANDER/ CC2 COMMANDER

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Boonierat View Post
                      Always had a hard time making the difference between the Jolly Green and the Sea Stallion
                      they are easy to mix up ..
                      owner of the yahoo group for WW1 ,WW2 and Modern TO&Es
                      (Tables of organisation & equipment or Unit of action )

                      http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/TOandEs/

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                      • #12
                        Thanks Boonie. Great shots of the elephant drop.
                        These farmers really depended on their water buffalo and to kill one was a real no-no. On the other hand, these animals made me very nervous. On a number of occasions, I witnessed the farmers asking for compensation when their animal was killed.

                        D1
                        "War is hell, but actual combat is a motherf#cker"
                        - Col. David Hackworth

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                        • #13
                          I had a friend of mine from Oklahoma who was into rodeo bull riding. He had his rigging sent over and after paying some villagers they let us 'borrow' their water buffalo. I snubbed it down and we put the rigging on it. He didn't stay on the full 8 seconds to say the least. Fortunately we were young and spry and could outrun the water buffalo to the fence. We had to pay extra to get his rigging back. As far as I could tell all the water buffalo hated USA GIs and would charge with no provocation. One of the most favored places the VC had to hide were in spider holes in water buffalo pens since they knew it was unlikely the GIs would spend a lot of time looking there.
                          "If you are right, then you are right even if everyone says you are wrong. If you are wrong then you are wrong even if everyone says you are right." William Penn.

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