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Page 33 (1968: The Defining Year)



Map from Marine Operations in Vietnam, Dec67


Tri Province. The FMFPac order of battle also held another 5,000 enemy
troops operating in southern Quang Tri that could be brought up to support
the enemy forces in the DMZ sector. These included the 5th
and 9th NVA Regiments, as well as elements of the 6th
and the 27th Independent Battalions.5

While building up their infantry strength in the DMZ sector, the North
Vietnamese maintained a credible artillery threat to the allied forces
in the north. With some 100 artillery pieces, rockets, and mortars ranging
from 60mm mortars to 152mm field guns, the North Vietnamese had all
of the major Marine bases in the central and eastern DMZ well within
their artillery fan. Their Soviet-built 130mm field guns with a range
of over 27,000 meters easily reached Dong Ha, about 15 kilometers south
of the Ben Hai.6

Dependent upon a relatively rudimentary supply system, however, the
enemy failed to sustain a high rate of fire, seldom reaching a level
of 1,000 rounds per day. From April through December 1967, NVA American-made
105mm howitzers and 81mm/82mm mortars accounted for the largest amount
of enemy artillery expenditure. Over 13,000 of the mortar shells and
slightly more than 5,000 105mm rounds impacted in or near American defensive
positions, mostly around Con Thien or Gio Linh. These latter two allied
bases were the only ones that were within the range of

Page 33 (1968: The Defining Year)