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The initial Marine attack, nevertheless had stalled. Captain Pipes
recalled that his command group had been "decimated." Among the dead
was his artillery forward observer First Lieutenant Marion H. "Hank"
Norman, who died in his arms and assisted in the preparation of the
firing plans. Lieutenant Dillon brought up the 2d Platoon and "covered
the ordered withdrawal back to the base."103

The North Vietnamese bunker complex was a flaming ruin, but the Marines
had failed to locate the remains of the men killed in the February ambush.*
Casualties on both sides had been heavy. The Marines claimed to have
killed 115 of the enemy and intercepted enemy messages indicating that
the NVA unit, later identified as the 8th Battalion, 66th Regiment,
304th Division
, sustained grievous losses. Company B, however,
had not gone unscathed: it suffered 10 dead, 100 wounded and 2 missing.
One Marine artillery officer later wondered if the raid to try to bring
back the bodies had been worth the additional bloodshed: "No matter
whether you get the bodies back at that point or not, you still [had]
left your bodies out there." He argued at that point "getting the bodies
simply wasn't that important." Nevertheless, as Lieutenant General Victor
H. Krulak, the FMFPac commander who happened to have witnessed the Company
B attack, later wrote, the attack served to signal "that the siege was
ended." It may not have been over as yet, but it was indicative that
the Marines on the ground had started to bring the fight to the NVA
and a new phase was about to begin.104

On the day following Company B's raid. Operation Scotland ended, giving
way to Operation Pegasus. Elements of the 101D Regiment still
remained in the area, possibly to cover the withdrawal of their comrades.
Although the official enemy casualty count for Operation Scotland totalled
1,602 dead, 7 prisoners, and 2 ralliers, intelligence estimates placed
the death toll in the neighborhood of 10,000 to 15,000.105

The allies had applied an incredible amount of firepower upon the North Vietnamese. Tactical aircraft and B-52s flew 24,449 sorties in support of Khe Sanh, dropping 103,500 tons of ordnance. The artillerymen of the 1st Battalion, 13th Marines and the 2d Battalion, 94th Field Artillery fired 102,660 rounds of various calibers at enemy positions.106

The North Vietnamese, in turn, fired 10,908 rounds of artillery, mortars,
and rockets into U.S. positions in and around Khe Sanh. This fire, combined
with small-unit action from Operation Scotland, beginning on 1 November
1967, caused the deaths of 205 defenders of Khe Sanh. Another 1,668
fell wounded, about half of them serious enough to require evacuation.107**

Operation Pegasus

While in March the garrison of the Khe Sanh Combat Base remained in
the grip of strong North Vietnamese forces, the allies had already taken
initial steps to lift the siege. During Operation Scotland, the defenders
had endured daily pounding by enemy artillery, mortar, and rocket fire,
as well as frequent probes which kept alive the threat of a massive
ground assault. Route 9, the only practical overland route to Khe Sanh
from the east, was impassable due to its poor state of repair and the
presence of enemy units. Supplies continued to reach the combat base
by air, but the massive logistical effort strained the already thinly
stretched supply of transport aircraft available in Vietnam. Intelligence
officers at General Tompkins' 3d Marine Division headquarters noted
reports from prisoners, ralliers, and agents that the North Vietnamese
were moving missiles into the DMZ and northern Quang Tri Province for
use against Con Thien and Khe Sanh. It was obvious the American command
could not permit this situation to continue for much longer.108***

On 2 March, General Cushman met in Da Nang with his subordinate commanders and, with General Abrams present, approved the initial concept to open Route 9 and relieve Khe Sanh. The following week, in a meeting on 10 March, also at Da Nang, General Westmoreland, in turn, agreed to the concept of operations for the relief of Khe Sanh, now codenamed Operation Pegasus. Among the members of this conference was Army Lieutenant General William B. Rosson, the commander of the newly created Provi-

* The remains were recovered a few days later.

** U.S. casualty figures for Operation Scotland are sometimes questioned
as being too low. The casualty reporting system listed only those casualties
suffered by the unit (and its attachments) responsible for a given operation.
Other casualties incurred in an operational area, by air crews flying
in support, for instance, were usually reported by the patent unit.
For example, some of the 43 men killed in the C-123 crash of 6 March
are not included in Operation Scotland figures because they were members
of the aircrew and others were Marines who had not yet reported to the
26th Marines.

*** Prados and Stubbe quote Captain Dabney about the possible firing
of a Soviet FROG (Free Rocket Over Ground) missile, but found no other
evidence of the NVA employing ground to ground missiles during the Khe
Sanh campaign. Prados and Stubbe, Valley o/Decision, p. 392.

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