Company G Marines killed three of the enemy troops and captured two.
The two North Vietnamese prisoners identified themselves as members
of the H-2 Engineering Company, part of the 2d Sapper Battalion.
According to the enemy soldiers, their mission was to mine and interdict
allied traffic in the Hai Van Pass area. Their weapons included AK-47s
and B-40 Rockets. Despite the Marine patrolling, NVA sappers, probably
from the 2d Sapper Battalion, blew three bridges and one culvert
over Route 1 in the pass area. An entry in the 1st Marine Division Journal
for 30 January read "Rt # 1 from Hai Van Pass to Phu Loc closed as a
result of enemy action."48
On the night of the 30th, elements of a battalion of the NVA 4th
Regiment attacked an ARVN outpost at the foot of the Hai Van Pass.
The South Vietnamese quickly rushed the newly arrived 5th ARVN Ranger
Battalion into the area north of Da Nang City. Supported by U.S. artillery
and air, the South Vietnamese successfully contained the Communist units
in the Nam O and Lien Chien regions. This fighting would continue in
a desultory fashion throughout the night.49
South of Da Nang, in Hoi An, on the 30th, the South Koreans, reinforced by elements of the ARVN 51st Regiment, tried to tighten the loop and began preparations to retake the city. At 0730, the South Koreans reported about 200 to 300 enemy troops still in Hoi An. An American advisor within the MACV compound reported at 1145 that the VC were digging in the engineer compound and that "numerous boats in river loaded with Charlie." After calling in helicopter gunships, the Korean Marines, at 1320, reached the old MACV compound and linked up with U.S. advisors there. The VC continued to hold the hospital, however, and part of the engineer compound. Although the Koreans and the ARVN surrounded most of the city, the Communist troops still were able to keep their southern flank open.50
The Korean Marines sent three companies to close the southern link and then moved forward into the attack. By dark the Koreans had captured the hospital and were in position to relieve the engineer compound. The Koreans kept one company at the MACV compound for security and prepared for a sweep to clear out the city in the morning. During the night, enemy resistance dwindled to sniper fire on the Marine positions. Colonel Franklin Smith, from the III MAF perspective, suggested later that a reluctance upon the part of the South Korean Marine Brigade commander to cause undue damage and to avoid civilian casualties lay behind the slowness and deliberateness of the Korean advance. According to U.S. advisors and to South Vietnamese sources, the fight for Hoi An resulted in allied casualties of 58 killed, 103 wounded in action, 21 missing in action, and 14 weapons lost. The allies claimed they killed 343 of the enemy and detained 195 prisoners. Of the prisoners, the South Vietnamese identified 6 as military, 109 as workers, and the remaining 80 as VC cadre.
Throughout the Da Nang TAOR, the intensity of activity increased during the night. From 1800 to 2400 on the 30th, the 1st Marine Division reported to III MAF over 30 incidents ranging from sightings of large enemy forces, to mortar attacks, and a few infantry assaults. At the same time, the 1st Division had sent out several reconnaissance elements which began to pay dividends. At 1835, Recon team "Ice Bound," positioned in the mountains about eight miles northwest of Da Nang observed an enemy rocket unit prepare a firing position for their missiles. After calling in artillery which resulted in three secondary explosions, the reconnaissance Marines reported seven enemy killed. The enemy launched no rockets from this site.51
Another reconnaissance patrol, Recon Team "Rummage," about 30 kilometers south of Da Nang in the Que Son Mountains below An Hoa, had even more spectacular results. About 1900, it spotted a column of about 40 NVA at the head of even a larger column moving east along a trail. The North Vietnamese soldiers wore flak jackets and helmets and carried a machine gun, and a small rocket detachment with six 122mm rockets. "Rummage" soon determined that the total number of North Vietnamese troops approximated 500 or more men, moving in two columns. The lead column consisted of about 100 to 150 men, followed by the main body. The main body advanced in column maintaining about three to four feet space between each man. Instead of calling artillery fire immediately, the reconnaissance Marines arranged with Battery K, 4th Battalion, 11th Marines and a detachment of the 3d 155mm Gun Battery at An Hoa for an "artillery ambush."52
After counting 500 men pass their position, Rummage sprung the trap. Landing in large bursts, about 50 to 75 artillery rounds fell on the lead column. Rummage reported about 50 NVA dead with another 100 "probable." Immediately after the artillery shelling, a C-47 Spooky arrived on station and worked over the same area with its Gatling guns. Rummage radioed back that Spooky caught about 50 NVA crossing a stream and the recon Marines could