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Page 188 (1968: The Defining Year)

Department of Defense (USMC) Photo A371124

A Marine from Company H, 2d Battalion, 5th Marines
carries an elderly woman patient out of the hospital complex to relative
safety. During the heavy fighting, the Marines evacuated the patients
from the hospital as best they could.

employed the vehicle in hull defilade, 'even if the defilade was only behind a brick wall . . ..'39

Lieutenant Colonel Chearham reserved his greatest praise for his own
battalion's organic supporting weapons, including 106mm recoilless rifles,
the 3.5-inch rockets, and mortars. He especially liked the 5.5-inch
rockets char could penetrate 11 inches of steel and 'that thing would
pop these walls.' He specifically remembered one firefight that lasted
tor nearly two hours between Marine and enemy gunners shooting 3.5-inch
and B-40 rockets at one another at a range of 50 meters. Cheatham recalled
'hundreds and hundreds of rockets going out . . . And the same thing
is coming back at us. But we had more ammunition than they did.'40*

Company F's commander, Captain Downs, recollected the similar use
of 81mm mortars at extremely close quarters. He regularly brought his
own mortar fire within 55 meters of his men: 'We were on one side of
the street and the 81s were fired on the other side of the street.'
Cheatham compared his battalion's application of 81mm monars to a sledge
hammer: 'If you put enough 81 rounds on top of a building, pretty soon
the root tails in.' Captain Downs remembered that his orders from Lieutenant
Colonel Cheatham were chat 'if we even suspected that the enemy were
in a building to blow it down.' In Down's opinion, this was when 'we
really became serious about retaking the city.'41

On the morning of 5 February, both Marine battalions resumed the attack
in a southwesterly direction toward the city hospital and provincial
headquarters. On the right flank. Captain Christmas' Company H advanced
along Le Loi street, paralleling the riverfront. The two companies ot
the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines secured the left flank. Lieutenant Colonel
Gravel tried to keep a two-block front, which he later explained, 'is
simple enough. But when you realize that there's no one on your left
. . . you've got to expand this out.. ..' This rook troops, 'resources
that we were very, very short ot.' Lieutenant Smith later wrote that
5 February was 'an extremely rough day'

* Brigadier General Downs, who commanded Company F in Hue City, wrote
in 1994 that Cheatham should receive credit for bringing the 3.5 rocket
launchers and ammunition into the city with him: 'He collected them
from the 2/5 company supplies at Phu Bai. We had not been carrying any
with us.' Downs recalled that the manuals stated that the 3.5s and the
LAAWs were similar, but 'in fact the 3.5's were far more effective.'
Downs Comments, Dec94.

Page 188 (1968: The Defining Year)