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Marine commanders and staffs, nevertheless, shared some ot Westmoreland's
concerns. At the beginning of the year, the headquarters of the Fleet
Marine Force, Pacific in Hawaii prepired a 92-page "Estimate of
the Enemy Situation, DMZ Area, Vietnam, 1 January 1968." In this
detailed study, the FMFPac intelligence staff outlined both the perceived
NVA strengths and weaknesses, the options available to the NVA commanders,
and their most likely courses of action.16

According to the FMFPac staff, the North Vietnamese Army was "one
of the best in Southeast Asia . . . ." The NVA adapted well to
the DMZ situation where they knew the exact location of the American
positions and were generally more familiar with the terrain than the
Marines. Although limited for the most part to movement by foot, the
North Vietnamese soldier also gained a singular leverage from this apparent
liability. As the Marine report noted, "This is certainly a slow
mode, but due to this circumstance he [the NVA soldier] is restricted
only from those areas which are virtually impassable to foot movement."
Acknowledging the relative high morale and dedication of the North Vietnamese
Army, the FMFPac staff writers observed that one of the enemy's major
attributes was chat he viewed "the present conflict as one which
has existed for two generations, and he has no great expectations that
it will end soon, thus all of his actions are tempered by patience."17

The enemy, nevertheless, had obvious vulnerabilities. His troops lacked
technical and mechanical training and experience. North Vietnam's "archaic
logistical support system" depended upon a large reservoir of manpower
and the NVA "continually revealed an inability to exploit any tactical
opportunity calling tor the rapid deployment of units and material."
Moreover, the lack of modern communications often prevented senior NVA
commanders from influencing decisions at critical moments once the battle
was joined, handicapped by their limited capability to coordinate and
control their units in rapidly changing situations. Prisoner interrogation
also revealed that the high morale of the NVA soldier deteriorated "the
longer he remains below the Ben Hai River."18

Balancing the assets and debits of the NVA forces in the north, the
FMFPac staff officers then evaluated the most likely stratagem that
the enemy would adopt in the DMZ sector. According to the Marine analysis,
the North Vietnamese had various feasible alternatives, the most likely
being:

1. a
division-strength attack into northeastern Quan^; Tri to 'establish
temporary- control of selected areas . . . .; 2. conduct
multi-battalion or regimental-size attacks against "multiple"
allied targets between Highway 9 and




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