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LCM-6s. Lieutenant Colonel Weise, once more in his "skimmer" boat,
intercepted Company G on the water. He joined Captain Vargas on the
lead LCM and briefed the company commander on the situation and the
revised plans. The company was to come ashore at An Loc, pass through
Company B's lines, and then take the hamlet of Dai Do. Company B was
to remain in reserve, while Companies F and H would provide covering
fire from Dong Huan.31

As planned, around 1000, Company G landed at An Loc and prepared to
launch its attack on Dai Do. So as not to reveal the presence of the
two M48 tanks, the amphibian tractors with Company B revved up their
engines and made several false starts. Marine artillery and naval gunfire
continued to pound the North Vietnamese troops in Dai Do and just after
the artillery fire lifted, two Marine A-4s swooped low and dropped bombs
and napalm on the hamlet. Passing by the eastern flank of Company B,
the Marines of Company G with the tanks between the two assault platoons
and under covering smoke and white phosphorous rushed forward to cover
the 500 meters of open rice paddy between them and Dai Do.


While heavy mortar and automatic weapons stopped the left flank about 200 meters short of Dai Do, the rest of the company reached the enemy's first line of bunkers. As one company officer told a newspaper reporter later: "We could have used 10 tanks. We had two and we had to send both of them to the rear with damage." The fighting in Dai Do reverted to intensive short-range fighting, with the Marines blowing holes in the enemy bunkers with satchel charges and grenades. Bypassing some of the defenses, by 1400, the company attained the northern reaches of Dai Do. Indicative of the heavy combat, Captain Vargas later related that "I started out with 123 men and by the time I got through the village I was down to 41. ... Every trooper had a captured AK-47." The Marines also had taken several prisoners.32


The North Vietnamese were not about to allow the Marines to stay in Dai Do and mounted a counterattack in about battalion strength from both north and west of Dai Do. Employing both well-aimed artillery from positions north of the DMZ and mortars, the enemy troops forced Company G to give ground. Also North Vietnamese troops in Dai Do who had been bypassed, especially in the southwestern part of the hamlet, opened fire on the Marines of Company G from the rear. Given the situation, Lieutenant Colonel Weise ordered Vargas "to fall back and establish a defensive perimeter in the eastern part of Dai Do." By 1700, Company G had established its new perimeter, called in supporting arms, and waited for resupply and reinforcements and a new enemy attack. In the process, Captain Vargas was wounded but not seriously enough to relinquish command.


While sitting in its new perimeter. Company G reported the sighting of a large number of enemy troops in the vicinity of True Kinh, about 3,000 meters northeast of Dai Do. At about the same time, an aerial observer spotted the troop movement at True Kinh and also a North Vietnamese artillery forward observation team and called in fixed-wing and helicopter gunships on both positions. According to one report, the fixed-wing sorties killed all 13 of the NVA artillery spotter team, which resulted in a reduction of the effectiveness of the enemy artillery. Lieutenant Colonel Weise remembered that "on our air net we could hear the excited pilots as they strafed, bombed, and rocketed enemy in the open in daylight, a rare sight!" BLT 2/4 now had priority for close air support, although Weise later asserted not as much as "we requested nor as quickly as we needed it."33


At An Loc, Lieutenant Colonel Weise tried to reinforce Company G. At first, he ordered Company F to attack from Dong Huan to relieve the embattled company. Enemy artillery and automatic weapons and small arms fire stopped the attack far short of its objective. Although the North Vietnamese attempted to jam the Marine radios, the battalion by changing frequencies was able to call in supporting arms including airstrikes to provide protective cover for the second Marine company. At this point, around 1700, Weise had few reserves that he could send into the battle. Although earlier in the day, he had requested and received operational control of his Company E from the 3d Marine Division, the company had not yet arrived from its former position along Route 1. With the number of casualties that it sustained the day before, Company H in Dong Huan was not in any position for "a major effort." This left only Company B, 1st Battalion, 3d Marines at An Loc, where its parent battalion had sent in several replacements including a new company commander, executive officer, and several experienced noncommissioned officers.34


About 1700, Lieutenant Colonel Weise ordered Company B, 3d Marines into the attack. According to Weise, the plan was for the company, on top of the LVTs, to cross rapidly the 500 meters of rice paddy separating it from Dai Do, "dismount and fight its






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