the same time as Dai Do had good reason to believe that the attacks
on Nhi Ha to the northeast and at Cam Phu to the southwest may have
been the main effort of the 320th. With the beginning of the
drawdown of forces from the Scotland area of operations, General Davis
had more freedom of action to implement a more mobile concept in the
3d Marine Division sector, a strategy that the Marines had recommended
in the DMZ area since late 1966 and early 1967. At that time, instead
of the barrier, the Marines had recommended "a mobile defense by an
adequate force-say one division give or take a battalion ...." Different
circumstances provided different opportunities.81*
* Many of the reviewers of this chapter still had strong opinions about
the differences between the earlier and later tactics of the division.
Captain McTiernan, for example, wrote that, "the decisive change in
tactics initiated by General Davis" was the most important factor in
the defeat of the NVA offensive. Capt Matthew G. McTiernan, Comments
on draft, n.d. [Jan 1995] (Vietnam Comment File). Colonel Max McQuown
argued that prior to Davis assuming command there were "a myriad of
static defensive positions of little tactical value. These positions
and the rigid control the Division exercised over every combat unit,
fragmented battalions, reduced their combat capability, and severely
limited their freedom of action. Thus, after soundly defeating the NVA
'Tet' offensive the initiative passed to the NVA by default in the 3d
Marine Division TAOR." McQuown Comments. On the other hand. Colonel
Vaughn R. Stuart, who served on the division staff and as a regimental
commander later under General Davis, observed that although members
of the division "knew very well that we were not mobile, that we were
not carrying the war to the enemy . . ., General Tompkins did what he
could to change the status quo." He blamed Tompkins' problems, in part,
on the factor that the 3d Marine Division commander could not obtain
enough helicopters from the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. Col Vaughn R.
Stuart, Comments on draft, did 20Dec94 (Vietnam Comment File). See the
discussion in Chapter 25 on this last subject. Colonel William M. Cryan,
who was the 3d Marine Division G-3 under General Davis, agreed that
the division "was stymied by Dyemarker and fixed bases . . .," and credits
General Davis for getting "the division moving." Col William M. Cryan,
Comments on draft, 12Dec94 (Vietnam Comment File). Colonel William H.
Dabney, who served on the division staff under both Generals Tompkins
and Davis, agreed with the statement in the text that "different circumstances
provided different opportunities." He also declared that intelligence
"was far from perfect the first time around, and that General Davis
had the benefit of General Tompkins' experience for the second round."
Dabney concluded, however, that the "difference in style' [emphasis
in the original) between Davis and Tompkins may also have affected the
outcome of Round II." Col William H. Dabney, Comments on draft, n.d.
[Dec94] (Vietnam Comment File).