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Vong. It was obvious to both Captain Williams and Lieutenant Colonel Weise
that it would take more than a platoon to get the North Vietnamese out of
the objective area. The battalion commander directed Williams to pull his
platoon back and wait for the rest of his company and the two platoons from
Company F to arrive. He also reinforced Williams with the reconnaissance
platoon attached to his BLT and two M48 tanks. Before the Marines could
reach An Loc, they had to eliminate the NVA from Dong Huan.14

Expecting resistance from the enemy, Weise asked for permission to move Company
G from Nhi Ha and the Company F platoon from My Loc to Bac Vong to support
the attack. At this time, about 0900, Lieutenant Colonel Weise and a small
operational group, consisting of his sergeant major, air liaison officer,
and three radio operators, boarded a Navy monitor (an armored LCM 6) so
that he could see and possibly control the course of events. According to
Weise, the "monitor proved to be an ideal command post with good communications
and significant fire power -a breech-loaded 81 mm mortar, two 20mm cannons,
plus .50- and .30-caliber machine guns." The Navy ship sailed up the Cua
Viet from Mai Xa Chanh to a point on the river opposite Dong Huan.15

Weise's plan for the attack was to have artillery and air to prepare the
objective area and then for William's Company H to cross the stream. The
two M48 tanks, the reconnaissance platoon, and Company F and the amphibian
tractors reinforced with two 106mm recoilless rifles were to lay down a
heavy base of fire to cover the Company H attack. Once Company H was well
established on the other side of the stream, Company F with the two 106s
and the amphibian tractors would cross. Company F was to create a diversionary
effort to draw the enemy's attention from Company H, which would then attack
Dong Huan. With the securing of Dong Huan, Company F would then take Dai
Do. If the situation became tenuous, Lieutenant Colonel Weise, who had received
back operational control of his Company G at Nhi Ha, hoped to helilift the
latter company back to the former battalion CP at Mai Xa Chanh. From there,
the company with the BLT's two tanks would board an LCM-8 to reinforce the
two other companies in the Dai Do sector.16


At first, the plan appeared to be working. With radio links to an aerial observer, the battalion directed helicopter gunship and fixed-wing airstrikes as well as artillery on suspected enemy positions throughout the entire five-hamlet village complex. According to the aerial observer, the 'airstrikes
knocked out at least three of the North Vietnamese .50-caliber machine gun positions. With the lifting of the air bombardment, Company H crossed the stream about 400 meters northwest of Bac Vong. According to Lieutenant Colonel Weise, "Captain Williams did a masterful job of moving his company . . . across open rice paddies under enemy fire," ford the stream, and then move south, literally crawling the last 1,500 meters, again in the open, to reach the assault position with relatively light casualties. As planned, the tanks, the amphibian tractors, the reconnaissance Marines, and the Marines of Company F provided covering fire for the assault company. The artillery batteries of the 12th Marines used white phosphorous and smoke shells to cloak the movement of Company H.17

With Company H in the assault positions, the two platoons of Company F
on top* of the amphibian tractors crossed the stream and took positions
on the right flank of Company H. While Company H was to attack Dong Huan,
Captain Butler was to secure Dai Do, about 700 meters to the west of Fong
Huan. About 1400, both companies launched their assaults. In a relatively
short, but fierce struggle, Company H successfully fought its way into Dong
Huan, but at some cost. Among the casualties was Captain Williams, wounded
by a grenade about half-way through the hamlet. Williams killed his assailant
with a well-placed shot from his .45-caliber service pistol. With the company
commander down, First Lieutenant Alexander F. Prescott assumed command,
rallied the troops, and continued the attack. By 1500, the Marines controlled
Dong Huan. Company H had consolidated its positions and began evacuating
its casualties.18


Captain Butler's Company F with the amphibian tractors had not fared as well. Sporadic enemy artillery from the north and enemy mortars, recoilless rifles, and machine guns from positions in Dai Do prevented the company from reaching its objective. The enemy recoilless rifles took out two of the tractors. As a field expedient, the Marines had mounted their two 106mm recoilless rifles on top of two of the tractors, "secured by sandbags." Despite the added fire power, the 106s failed to silence the enemy weapons in Dai


* Brigadier General Weise later explained that "we usually avoided riding
inside the LVTP-5 Amphibian Tractor . . . because its highly volatile gasoline
fuel tanks were located beneath the troop compartment. It was feared that
there would be little chance of escape if the amtrac struck a land mine.
Land mines were plentiful in our area." Weise, "Memories of Dai Do," footnote
4, Footnotes, p. 3.

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