Page 031

Page 31 (1968: The Defining Year)





from their positions including bunkers, fighting holes, trench lines,
wire, and minefields against the enemy with as few men as possible.50

Bunkers and fighting holes were still subjects of discussion among
MACV, III MAF, and the ARVN 1st Division. General Metzger observed that
the ARVN-built bunkers varied greatly from the Marine. He compared the
A-1 Strongpoint on the coast to "an immigrants' wagon train deployed
in concentric circles to fight off an Indian attack." According to Metzger,
C-1 looked like "an octagonal French Fort," and he described the Gio
Linh strongpoint as "basically triangular in shape." The ARVN, he maintained,
insisted that the bunkers "were not only for living, but also for fighting."51
By 14 January 1968, the MACV staff and ARVN staff members together with
General Murray had worked out an agreement on the organization of the
defenses. The ARVN accepted the concept of three-man fighting bunkers
as opposed to 14-man living bunkers for primary defense. These fighting
bunkers would be mutually supporting and connected by communication
trenches. U.S. Seabees and engineers would prepare small prefabricated
concrete fighting bunkers as soon as possible. Strongpoint A-1 would
be redesigned and the engineers would install new fighting bunkers at
Strongpoints A-2 at Gio Linh and A-3.52

Work on the bunkers, minefields, and wire emplacements continued until
the end of the month when "tactical requirements took precedence over
Dye-marker."53 Earlier, on 20 January 1968, General Cushman
and General Westmoreland agreed to suspend the installation of the linear
obstacle system along the trace "pending clarification of the enemy
situation in Quang Tri Province."54 For all practical purposes
this was to end the command emphasis on the barrier. As General Cushman
later admitted, he "just quit" building what he termed the "fence,"
and "Tet came along and people had something else to think about."55
Yet, as General Tompkins concluded:

Dyemarker
was a bete noire that influenced almost everything we did and they wouldn't
let us off the hook .... The 3d Division was responsible for Dyemarker
and if we were responsible for Dyemarker . . . then we had to have Carroll,
we had to have Ca Lu, we had to have Con Thien, we had to have Khe Sanh.
These are all part of this bloody thing ... it had a great deal to do
with the 3d Division being tied to static posts.56*



*General Earl E. Anderson, who in 1968 was the III MAF Chief of Staff
as a brigadier general, commented that he and General Cushman agreed with
the opinion expressed by General Tompkins that Dyemarker influenced the
entire tactical situation for the 3d Marine Division. Gen Earl E. Anderson,
Comments on draft chapter, dtd 18Dec94 (Vietnam Comment File).





Page 31 (1968: The Defining Year)