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Department of Defense (USMC) Photo A371336

A Marine M48 tank mores in one direction on one of
the broad streets of modern Hue, while a group of South Vietnamese citizens
flee the fighting in the other direction. Marine tanks from the 3d Tank
Battalion supported the first Marine units to enter the city

any helicopters in there . . . .' According to Gravel, this 'was a terrible longshot . . but it worked . . . .'32

With the tanks in the lead, then Company A, the battalion headquarters
group, and Company G following in trace, Gravel's makeshift command
made its way toward the MACV compound, arriving there about 1515. By
this time, the enemy attackers had pulled back their forces from the
immediate vicinity of the compound. Lieutenant Colonel Gravel met with
Army Colonel George O. Adkisson, the U.S. senior advisor to the 1st
ARVN Division. According to Marine accounts, Adkisson told the Marine
battalion commander that the 'Citadel was in fine shape,' but that they
needed assistance in evacuating American nationals.33

This contradicted an earlier telephone conversation between the South
Vietnamese I Corps and the III MAF command centers, both located at
Da Nang. General Lam, the I Corps commander, had heard that the ARVN
troops in Hue were surrounded and out of ammunition. The Task Force
X-Ray commanding general. Brigadier General LaHue, remembered that reports
came in that the 1st ARVN Division was 'in trouble' and 'we were ordered
to go across the river to relieve some of the pressure.' He relayed
these orders to Lieutenant Colonel Gravel.34*

Leaving Company A behind to secure the MACV compound, the Marine battalion
commander took Company G, reinforced by the three tanks from the 3d
Tank Battalion and a few South Vietnamese tanks from the ARVN 7th Armored
Squadron, and attempted to cross the main bridge over the Perfume River.
Gravel left the armor behind on the southern bank to provide direct
fire support. As he remembered, the American M48s were too heavy for

*In a personal letter to Captain Barcheller, Lieutenant Colonel Gravel
expressed his anger about the order: 'We proceeded to the MACV compound
then were gifted with the most stupid idiotic mission to cross the Perfume
River Bridge and go to the aid of the CG 1st ARVN Division.' He stated
that he told 'Task Force X-Ray' about his concerns, but was ordered
to go anyway.' LtCol Mark Gravel Itr to Capt Gordon D. Batcheller, dtd
24Feb68, Encl to Batchcller Comments, hereafter Gravel Itr, Feb68.

Page 173 (1968: The Defining Year)