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Page 202 (1968: The Defining Year)

Department of Defense (USMC) Photo A190588

During a lull in the fighting in the Citadel, a
Marine takes time out to clean his M16 rifle. Marines had discovered
through bitter experience that the M16, if not cleaned regularly, was
prone to jamming.

cially his mortars and automatic weapons, and the tanks and Onros that reinforced his battalion. He placed both the tanks and On cos under the control of the attached tank platoon commander. The infantry provided a screen while the mobile Ontos or tanks furnished direct fire support. In order to enhance observation, the tank or Ontos commander together with the infantry commander would reconnoiter the target area, generally a building blocking the Marine advance. The tank or Ontos commander then returned to his vehicle, prepared to move forward at full speed as the infantry Marines laid down a heavy volume of fire: 'Upon reaching a position where fire could be placed on the target, the vehicle commander halted his vehicle and fired two or three rounds into the target then reversing his direction, returned quickly within the friendly front lines.'

At first, the M48 tank's 90mm guns were relatively ineffective against
the concrete and stone houses; shells occasionally even ricocheted back
upon the Marines. The tank crews then began to use concrete-piercing
fused shells which 'resulted in excellent penetration and walls were
breached with two to four rounds.' Although casualties among the Ontos
and tank crews were high, the tanks themselves withstood with relatively
little damage direct hits by the enemy RPG rounds. Major Thompson compared
the tankers to the 'knights of old sallying forth daily from their castles
to do battle with the forces of evil . . . .' One Marine rifleman scared:
'If it had not been for the tanks, we could not have pushed through
that section of the city. They [the NVA] seemed to have bunkers everywhere.'42

From its firing positions in southern Hue, the two-tube 4.2-inch mortar detachment from the 1st Battalion, 11th Marines supported the battalion's advance with both high explosive and CS rounds. One of the Marine gunners. Private First Class Edward M. Landry, remembered several years later, 'I did my job ... on the mortar, followed orders, was scared . . . the whole time, and took care of my buddies.' Landry recalled, 'we had one sergeant in charge . . . and no officer. Which we didn't need anyway as we knew our job.' On 18 February, he noted in his diary: 'Firing a CS

Page 202 (1968: The Defining Year)