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Manning defensive positions, the Marine communicators and engineers
repelled the attacking force, killing four of the VC. Enemy gunners
then replied with a mortar barrage, which resulted in two Marine dead
and two wounded.18


A half-hour after the assault on the 7th Communication Battalion, the enemy hit even closer to the Marine command nerve center at Da Nang. Another enemy sapper squad, about the same size as the one that carried out the earlier attack, penetrated the 1st Marine Division Subsector Bravo combat operations center and communications facility on Hill 200, less than 1,000 meters from the main command post on "Division Ridge" (Hill 327). Employing small arms fire, satchel charges, rocket propelled grenades, and bangalore torpedoes, the enemy troops thrust through blown gaps in the Marine wire. The communications bunker bore the brunt of the enemy attack where the sappers destroyed both the bunker and the equipment inside and "put the division tactical net off the air until 0400." Headquarters Marines quickly manned their defenses and called in artillery illumination and a fire mission. The Northern Sector Defense Command rapidly assembled its reaction company and deployed one platoon to the division command post. Two other platoons took up positions around nearby hills 244 and 200. In the assault, the Communists killed four Marines and wounded another seven before withdrawing. At first light, a Marine reaction force found enemy blood trails. Major General Robertson later praised the Security and Communications platoons of the 1st Marine Division Headquarters Battalion for their efforts in the defense. He pointed to the rapid reaction of the Security Platoon in reinforcing the perimeter and providing a mobile reserve and "the off-duty personnel from the bunker and staff sections for their provision of security of the immediate bunker area."19

At 0330, about one hour after the sapper attack on the Marine command
post, enemy forces launched an assault against General Lam's I Corps
headquarters. Under cover of darkness, elements of the VC R-20th
and V-25th Battalions had crossed the Cau Do River and penetrated
the Hoa Vang village complex. With covering fire provided by 81mm and
82mm mortars, about a reinforced company reached the I Corps headquarters
compound actually located within the city of Da Nang just outside the
northern perimeter of the main airbase. The enemy attacked the compound
from two directions, from the south and the east. From the south, about
a dozen of the enemy used boards to cross the outer wire and ladders
and boards to clamber over the compound wall into the courtyard below.
An alert ARVN sentry took the VC under fire near the flagpole. Four
ARVN armored personnel carriers reinforced by a reconnaissance squad
maneuvered to contain the attackers. A conglomeration of internal security
forces threw back the enemy force from the east that tried to use similar
tactics to get inside the compound from that direction.20


Colonel Nguyen Duy Hinh, who was acting Chief of Staff, I Corps, at the time, remembered that he had earlier that night received a call from the South Vietnamese Joint General Staff alerting the command to expect "an increased surge of activities" by enemy forces. After informing General Lam and issuing instructions to subordinate units to be on special alert, Colonel Hinh returned to his quarters about 500 meters from the main headquarters building. About 0330, the colonel woke up to the sound of battle. From his bedroom window, he could see tracers lighting up the nighttime sky. He quickly picked up the phone and called General Lam and told him that the headquarters was under enemy attack. An incredulous I Corps commander gave the equivalent reply in Vietnamese to "baloney! baloney!," but, nevertheless, hurriedly dressed and prepared to depart for his headquarters, which was some distance from his house.21


The fighting within the compound continued until daylight. After their breaching of the outer defenses, the enemy squad fired B-40 rockets at the headquarters building, but then fought a delaying action, waiting for reinforcements. These reinforcements never came. The bulk of the enemy attack force remained in Hoa Vang Village bogged down in a firefight with local PF and Regional Force troops reinforced by a Combined Action platoon, E-3. Viet Cong gunners from Hoa Vang, nevertheless, maintained an intermittent mortar bombardment upon the I Corps tactical operations center. Shortly after 0445, General Lam ordered the 4th ARVN Cavalry Regiment, a Ranger battalion, and a detachment of National Police to augment the South Vietnamese militia units in Hoa Vang and the headquarters personnel forces in the compound.22


III MAF also sent reinforcements. Lieutenant Colonel Twyman R. Hill's 1st MP Battalion operated directly under III MAF and was responsible for the "close-in defense" of the Da Nang Airbase, the two bridges between Tiensha Peninsula and the main airbase, and the Naval Hospital on the Tiensha Peninsula. The MP commander remembered that he received a telephone call at 0345 on the 30th from Colonel Thomas L. Randall, the III MAF G-3, who asked him




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