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bringing the newly arrived 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) into the Hue battle. In late January, the 1st Air Cavalry with two of its brigades had relieved the 1st Marines at Camp Evans, about 12 miles north of Hue. Since 31 January, the division's 1st Brigade, reinforcing the 1st ARVN Regiment, was committed to the fight for Quang Tri City. On 1 February, General Cushman then alerted the 1st Air Cavalry commander, Major General John J. Tolson, to be ready to deploy his 3d Brigade from Evans into a sector west of Hue. By 2215 that night, Tolson's command had asked III MAF to coordinate with I Corps and Task Force X-Ray its designated area of operations in the Hue sector.8

Tolson's plan called for the insertion of two battalions of the 3d Brigade northwest of Hue. The 2d Battalion, 12th Cavalry was to arrive in the landing zone first, followed by the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry and the 3d Brigade headquarters. Attacking in a southeasterly direction, the two battalions would then attempt to close the enemy supply line into Hue. An attached battalion from the 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile), the 2d Battalion, 501st Airborne, would cover the Camp Evans base area. The l sr Brigade would continue to operate in the Quang Tri sector.9

Under difficult circumstances, the 'First Team' began its movement
into the Hue area. Peter Braestrup of the Washington Post remembered
that he dined with General Tolson a week later and that he 'heard and
saw how the bad weather was hampering . . . [the] newly moved division's
logistics buildup and its efforts to move down on Hue.'10
In mid-afternoon on the 2d, the 2d Battalion, 12th Cavalry arrived in
a landing zone about 10 miles northwest of Hue and then pushed towards
the city.11

In southern Hue, on 2 February, the Marines made some minor headway
and brought in further reinforcements. The 1st Battalion finally relieved
the MACV radio facility that morning and later, after a three-hour fire
fight, reached the Hue University campus.' Although the NVA, during
the night, had dropped the railroad bridge across the Perfume River
west of the city, they left untouched the bridge across the Phu Cam
Canal. About 1100, Company H, 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, commanded by
Captain G. Ronald Christmas, crossed the An Cuu Bridge over the canal
in a 'Rough Rider' armed convoy.12

Department of Defense (USMC) Photo A371126

Marines of Company A, 1st Battalion. 1st

Marines lower a wounded comrade from the rooftop of one of the buildings of the

Hue University campus.

 

As the convoy, accompanied by Army trucks equipped with quad .50-caliber
machine guns and two Onros, entered the city, enemy snipers opened up
on the Marine reinforcements. Near the MACV compound, the Marines came
under heavy enemy machine gun and rocket fire. The Army gunners with
their 'quad .50s' and the Marine Onros, each with six 106mm recoilless
rifles, quickly responded. In the resulting confusion, the convoy exchanged
fire with a Marine unit already in the city. As one Marine in the convoy
remembered, 'our guys happened to be out on the right side of the road
and of course nobody knew that. First thing you know everybody began
shooting at our own men . . . out ot pure fright and frenzy.13**


* Although the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines Journal makes reference to
securing the University at 1630 on 2 February, Brigadier General Downs
recalled that the battalion did not secure the University that day:
'We got to Hue University. Had a tank hit and didn't get any further.
We were then ordered back to our MACV positions.' 1/1 Jnl File, did
2Feb68, Encl 1/1 ComdC, Feb68; Downs Comments, Dec94.

**General Downs recalled that his company was shot at by one of the Marine convoys that entered Hue. He believed, however, this occurred on 3 February rather than 2 February. Downs Comments, Dec94.




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