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Phu Bai compound. This barrage resulted in 4 dead, 2 Marine and 2
ARVN, and 46 wounded, most of whom were Marines. Despite hitting the
airfield, the Force Logistic Support Group sector, and an ARVN training
area, the rockets and mortars caused only relatively light damage to
three aircraft, two helicopters and a C-117D transport, and destroyed
two 10,000-gallon fuel bladders.72

Instead of further bombardments on the Phu Bai base, on 31 March 1968,
under cover of a mortar and ground attack, enemy sappers successfully
placed demolitions on the Truoi River Bridge and a smaller bridge, designated
Bridge No. 4. The K-2 VC Battalion with three companies reinforced
by three sapper platoons had simultaneously attacked the two bridge
outposts and a nearby Combined Action Platoon, CAP H-3. Alerted by one
of their ambushes, the Combined Action Marines repulsed the enemy attack
after it reached the outer wire. The bridge outposts were not so lucky.
Both the Truoi Bridge and Bridge No. 4 sustained substantive damage
with both bridges impassable for motor traffic and Bridge No. 4 to foot
traffic as well. Company C, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines had placed two
squads on the smaller bridge supported by a machine gun and a recoilless
rifle and a platoon supported by two machine guns and two mortars on
the Truoi River Bridge. The attacking force on Bridge No. 4 killed eight
Marines and wounded seven more. On the Truoi River Bridge, the Marine
platoon sustained casualties of 6 dead and 23 wounded. The Communists
lost a total of 12 men in the attacks. In an investigation of the attack,
Colonel Bohn, the 5th Marines commander, reported "the strength of the
security forces was adequate." He blamed the success of the enemy attack
partially on the fact that the company was new to the sector and had
only occupied these positions the day before.73

Although the Marines improved their defensive dispositions and coordination
of supporting arms and placement of reaction forces. Task Force X-Ray
at the end of the month was hard pressed to maintain any initiative.
Originally Task Force X-Ray had planned to expand operations in April,
but General LaHue admitted that he had postponed the detailed planning
for these undertakings. Any new offensive actions "were contingent upon
the developing situation and what economies of forces can be instituted
. ..." Still if the war had reached a stalemate in the Task Force X-Ray
area of operations, the allies were ready to launch their major counteroffensive
in the north.74

Regaining the Initiative


While the much-heralded relief of Khe Sanh, Operation Pegasus, grabbed most of the attention, the allies in April appeared to have regained the initiative in most of I Corps. According to U.S. pacification statistics, 7,000 more civilians in I Corps were living in secure areas than the previous month, marking the first increase since the enemy Tet offensive. In what amounted to a corps-wide offensive, III MAF conducted 17 major operations of battalion-size or larger, resulting in over 3,500 enemy casualties. The South Vietnamese were also active. In Quang Tin Province, for example, the 2d Battalion, 6th ARVN Regiment opened up 15 miles of road between the district town of Tien Phouc and the province capital of Tam Ky. For the most part, however, in the three southern provinces of I Corps, the Communist forces avoided battle and limited most of their activity to scattered guerrilla attacks and mines and boobytraps.75


At Da Nang, as in the rest of southern I Corps, the 1st Marine Division reported that "irregular activity . . . continues to inflict more casualties than actual contact with the enemy." At the same time, however, the division for the first time since Tet began offensive operations about 12 miles south of the airbase in the Go Noi Island, formed by the channels of the Thu Bon, Ky Lam, and Ba Ren Rivers. From 10-14 April, the 3d Battalion, 7th Marines conducted Operation Jasper Square in the western Go Noi. In the four days of the operation, the battalion killed 54 of the enemy at the price of 6 Marine dead and 30 wounded. While the operation ended on the 14th, the 3d Battalion remained in the Go Noi "with all units becoming part of the Da Nang TAOR."76


In the interlude, Marine and Army radar imagery aircraft and "Stingray" reconnaissance patrols reported continued enemy improvement of the enemy road network leading through Charlie Ridge into Happy Valley and also into the Arizona Territory and Go Noi Island sectors. The Marine reconnaissance teams not only observed enemy troop movement, but also directed artillery and air onto the enemy forces. For example, on the morning of 7 April, one Stingray patrol with the radio call sign "May Fly" from its perch on a ridgeline looking into





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