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The heaviest action occurred in the 3d Battalion, 5th Marines and
4th Battalion, 51st ARVN sectors along Route 1. Corporal Igor Bobrowsky
with CAP D-2 located near the Thanh Quit Bridge along Route 1 remembered
being besieged in his compound by North Vietnamese regulars. As he recalled
suddenly the enemy was there and forced his Marines and PFs to take
refuge in the compound together with many local villagers: "We were
running out of ammunition and everything else, so that was a big fear."
According to Bobrowsky, the NVA suddenly disappeared as quickly as they
had appeared. He later conjectured that "what saved us from being .
. . taken out totally was the fact that they had bigger fish to fry,
they were headed to Da Nang."72*


The bigger fish was the 4th Battalion, 51st ARVN Battalion base camp about 5,000 meters north on Route 1 above the Thanh Quit River. At about 0300, two North Vietnamese battalions struck the ARVN compound. Two LVTH-6s from the Marine 1st Armored Amphibian Company attached to the 11th Marines responded to a call from the U.S. Army advisor attached to the ARVN unit. Firing 290 105mm shells, the tractor artillery reportedly killed about 80 of the enemy attackers caught in the open.73


About 0900, Lieutenant Colonel William K. Rock-ey, the 3d Battalion, 5th Marines commander, ordered a small command group and two companies, Company M of his battalion and Company F, 2d Battalion, 3d Marines attached to his command, to the relief of the ARVN camp. Accompanied by tanks and LVTs, Company F maneuvered to the north of the ARVN base. Company M advanced toward a hamlet to the south of the ARVN. Both Marine companies encountered heavy small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades as they approached their objectives. The Marine companies then pulled back and called in artillery and air. Lieutenant Colonel Rockey then directed Company G of the 3d Marines, also attached to him, to move up along the banks of the Bau Xau River toward a blocking position southwest of the ARVN base "to seal up" any escape route in that direction. As Company G began its redeployment along the river route it ran into enemy forces attempting to retreat in that direction. Rockey then ordered a platoon from his Company K to reinforce Company G. By the end of the day, the elements of the four Marine companies had established their night positions. During the day's fighting, Rockey s battalion killed 107 of the enemy and took two prisoners. His Marines sustained casualties of 11 killed and 53 wounded.74**

The fighting continued during the night and into the next day. From
their night positions, Company G observers saw large numbers of North
Vietnamese approaching them from the north. The Marine company called
in mortar and artillery fire. Battery F, 2d Battalion, 11th Marines
alone shot off some 1,200 rounds. Even in the face of the artillery,
the North Vietnamese continued their advance upon the Marine positions.
Company G repulsed a number of probes throughout the night until the
enemy broke contact at dawn. The 3d Battalion, 5th Marines together
with Companies F and G, 2d Battalion, 3d Marines then began methodically
to eliminate pockets of enemy resistance in the general area. In one
contact about 1645, Company M, 3d Battalion, 5th Marines met a force
of 100 enemy troops. The Marines and VC in the ensuing firefight fought
at a range as close as five meters from one another with the Marines
achieving the upper hand. According to the Marine after-action report,
Lieutenant Colonel Rockey's battalion and the attached two companies
from the 2d Battalion, 3d Marines accounted for more than 320 enemy
dead in less than 36 hours.

By this time, Major General Robertson, the 1st Marine Division commander,
was worried about the ability to contain the enemy offensive south of
Da Nang. The VC R-20 and V-25th Battalions had struck
again at Hoi An, engaging both the Korean Marine Brigade and the 1st
and 2d Battalions of the ARVN 51st Regiment. North Vietnamese battalions
from the 2d NVA Division had eluded the Korean and ARVN defenses
in the southern sector and had penetrated the defensive perimeter of
the 2d Battalion, 3d Marines and 3d Battalion, 5th Marines just below
the main base. While the Marine battalions successfully kept these initial
assaults on the night of 5-6 February in check. General Robertson was
not


* Igor Bobrowsky commented on the "audacity (stupidity) of the NVA at the start of their push, when-as in our area, they moved in such numbers, openly and in the broad daylight that until they began to fire on us our only thought was that they must be an allied unit that strayed into our area." He added that although the NVA main group moved out they left "a blocking force behind to keep the CAP under fire . . . ." He believed these troops "were deliberately left in place to serve as stepping stones along the line of retreat-in the event of a withdrawal." Bobrowsky Comments.

** Igor Bobrowsky with CAP D-2 remembered that Company M was "ambushed
in the streets near the north end of Thanh Quit . . . . A good number
of M Company that survived the ambush got down to us, along with some
of their dead and a lot of wounded." Bobrowsky Comments,




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