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Page 291(The Battle for Dong Ha )previous pagenext page


Chapter 15

The Battle for Dong Ha

Why Dong Ha?-The Fight for Dai Do, The First Day-The Continuing Fight for Dai Do The End of the First Offensive-The Second Offensive

Why Dong Ha?

With the commitment of large U.S. forces to the far western reaches of I Corps in Operations Scotland II around Khe Sanh and Delaware in the A Shau Valley, the North Vietnamese decided to mount a new offensive in the eastern DMZ. Perhaps hoping that the American command with its attention riveted to the west would be caught off guard, the 320th NVA Division at the end of April and early May struck in the sector just above Dong Ha. Dong Ha served not only as the command post for both the 3d Marine Division and the 9th Marines, but also remained the main logistic base for the north. It lay at the junction of Routes l and 9 and was the terminus of the Cua Viet River route. During the month of April, while the new Quang Tri base and Wunder Beach further south in Quang Tri Province alleviated some of the logistic pressure on Dong Ha, nearly 63,000 tons of supplies came in by sea at the Cua Viet port facility for the 3d Marine Division and then were shipped up the Cua Viet River to Dong Ha.'

Despite its obvious importance, Dong Ha was vulnerable to a determined enemy attack. The most immediate available troops were from the nearby 2d ARVN Regiment which had its command post in the town of Dong Ha. Marine support units rather than line infantry were at the Dong Ha base itself. Major General Rathvon McC. Tompkins' only reserve was Task Force Robbie, under Colonel Clifford J. Robichaud, consisting of a rifle company. Company D, 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, and an armored company,-Company A, 3d Tank Battalion, reinforced by four Army vehicles including two M42 'Dusters,' a pla-

An aerial photo shows the sprawling Dong Ha hose ana surrounding terrain. Dong Ha was the headquarters and forward base of the 3d Marine Division. The airstrip can be seen in the center of the picture.

Department of D.'', -s, T-s\[(--, Phnm AS01I22



Page 291(The Battle for Dong Ha )previous pagenext page



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