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"to send three platoons to blocking positions south of I Corps headquarters."
With one of his companies on the Tiensha Peninsula and the other three
protecting the main airbase perimeter, Hill argued that he could not
spare three platoons. He and Randall agreed that they would deploy one
of the battalion's two reserve provisional Quick Reaction platoons composed
of headquarters personnel. This platoon under First Lieutenant John
E. Manning departed the airbase about 0415 and arrived in the blocking
positions about 0515.23*

About a half-hour later, the 1st Division learned that the enemy squad
in the headquarters compound had disengaged and took its casualties
with it. In this fighting, which had lasted about three hours, the South
Vietnamese defenders sustained casualties of three dead, seven wounded,
and two damaged armored vehicles. The skirmishing south of the headquarters
near Hoa Vang, however, continued. Mortars and recoilless rifle rounds
continued to land inside the headquarters compound from enemy firing
positions in Hoa Vang. General Lam arrived at the headquarters compound
shortly after dawn. After a quick appraisal of the situation, the I
Corps commander turned to the senior U.S. advisor at the I Corps Tactical
Operations Center, Army Major P. S. Milantoni. According to Washington
Post
correspondent Don Oberdorfer, Lam pointed with his swagger
stick to the enemy's firing positions on the large map in the room and
said: "Milantoni, bomb here. Use big bombs." The U.S. major remonstrated
that the site was relatively close to the compound, but Lam insisted
that the air strikes be flown. Milantoni relayed the request to the
air support center. The Air Force watch officer on duty protested, "that's
too close, you'll never get a clearance for it." Major Milantoni replied,
"General Lam just gave it."24

Shortly afterwards, Marine fixed-wing aircraft and helicopter gunships
blasted the enemy in Hoa Vang. This apparently broke the back of the
VC resistance. Under pressure from the Vietnamese relief forces and
the Marine MP platoon, the enemy retreated with the allies in full chase.
In the initial fighting for Hoa Vang, the South Vietnamese and Americans
accounted for 25 enemy dead. In the pursuit, which amounted to a rout,
the VC lost nearly 100 dead. In the attack on the I Corps headquarters
and in the defense of Hoa Vang village the allies sustained losses of
nine dead and several wounded. Among the casualties were two Marines
killed, including Lieutenant Manning, and six wounded from the 1st MP
Battalion.25

The rockets and mortar bombardment of Da Nang also took a toll of
Marine lives and inflicted greater material damage upon the Da Nang
base and especially upon the airfield and aircraft. In scattered and
intermittent attacks beginning before 0200 and lasting about one-half
hour, enemy gunners fired both mortars and rockets that landed near
positions of Marine artillery, antiair missiles, and the Force Logistic
Command. Battery A, 1st Light Antiaircraft (LAAM) Missile Battalion
armed with HAWK (Homing All the Way Killer) surface-to-air missiles,
in the mountainous Hai Van Pass sector north of Da Nang, reported about
0140 coming under 82mm mortar fire. About 20 minutes later the missile
battery sighted enemy rocket firing sites and two minutes later radioed
that 12 rockets of undetermined size landed in and around its area.
One of the rockets damaged one of the missile launchers and wounded
three of the Marines. At about the same time, approximately 15 enemy
122mm rockets struck an artillery complex in the 11th Marines Northern
Sector Defense Command which included a detachment from the 1st Armored
Amphibian Company, the 155mm Gun and 8-inch Gun Batteries, as well as
Batteries H, 3d Battalion and M, 4th Battalion, 11th Marines. The artillerymen
sustained two wounded and some equipment damage, but escaped relatively
unscathed. Other enemy rocketeers took the Marine Force Logistic Command
compound near Red Beach under fire. Approximately at 0200, about four
of the 122mm rockets fell in or near the compound, one landing near
the 1st Air Cavalry air pad temporarily located there, damaging four
of the helicopters, but resulting in no Marine or Army casualties.26

After a lull of about an hour to an hour and a half, the enemy gunners
renewed their assault on the airbase and also included the helicopter
air facility at Marble Mountain. About 0330, perhaps to divert Marine
attention from the ground assault on I Corps headquarters and the city
of Da Nang, enemy mortars opened up on Marble Mountain. Approximately
16 rounds impacted in the MAG-16 sector and another four in the Army
aviation company area. About the same time, from their firing positions
on the western fringes of the Da Nang TAOR, NVA rocketeers let go with
a fusillade of 122mm rockets aimed at the main airbase. Some 36 of the
large missiles landed on the main base, including the airfield. Fifteen
minutes later,

*In his comments, Colonel Hill stated that he deployed only one of
his reserve platoons. The battalion's monthly report, however, indicates
that both platoons may have eventually moved into the blocking positions
south of the I Corps headquarters. Col Twyman R. Hill, Comments on draft,
dtd 29Nov94 (Vietnam Comment File) and 1st MP ComdC, Jan68.




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