Case Study of North Vietnamese Army Mortar Attack on U.S. Marine Infantry Company and Battalion Command Post at Hill 256 near the Ben Hai River

by S. H. Miller


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The RAND FAST-VAL II simulation model (1) computes casualties inflicted during ground combat by small arms, mortars, artillery, and air ordnance; (2) evaluates casualty-related effects on the performance of ground units; and (3) appraises outcomes of military ground actions. This report compares the model's computation of casualties caused by mortars with actual combat casualties. The comparison is made using information obtained from interviews that report a 4-to-6-min North Vietnamese Army (NVA) attack with 82-mm mortar rounds on Bravo Company and the Command Post of the U.S. Marine lst Battalion 9th Regiment on 17 September 1968 near the Ben Hai River. Although the casualties computed by FAST-VAL seem to agree closely with the reported casualties, analysis indicates that they differ significantly in a statistical sense.

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