lead directly toward Hue City. A III MAF intelligence report on the
road said, "agent reports have mentioned the possibility of enemy tank
battalions in eastern Laos awaiting the completion of this road."51
TF Hotel planned a two-part operation in accordance with the 3d Marine Division's fresh emphasis upon mobility and firebases, under its new commander, Major General Raymond G. Davis, to counter the enemy buildup in the area.* The first phase, Operation Robin North, called for Colonel Hughes" 1st Marines to thrust south from the combat base into the mountains, engaging the newly introduced enemy forces near Route 9. In the second phase. Operation Robin South, Colonel Edward J. Miller's 4th Marines would conduct airmobile operations even further south to locate and destroy the enemy road.52
Preparations for Operation Robin began at the end of May. Units garrisoning the hill positions around Khe Sanh shifted to make battalions available for the attack. Marine Aircraft Groups 36 and 39 delivered a five-day supply of ammunition to the units left around Khe Sanh so that helicopter assets could concentrate on supporting the extensive airmobile requirements of the operation. For the five days prior to D-Day, TF Hotel coordinated preparation fires which included 219 sorties ot attack aircraft and 30 B-52 sorties delivering thousands of tons of bombs to blast landing zones in the jungle and to destroy enemy weapons and troop concentrations. Nine artillery batteries representing every caliber 01 artillery weapon in the Marine Corps fired over 10,000 rounds into the area of operations.53
D-Day, 2 June, began with the 2d Battalion, 3d Marines occupying blocking positions along Route 9 immediately south 01 the combat base. At midday, Lieutenant Colonel Archie Van Winkle's 1st Battalion, 1st Marines conducted a helicopterborne assault into LZ Robin, a newly prepared landing zone situated in the steep hills 10 kilometers southeast of Khe Sanh. After landing, the battalion attacked north, hoping to drive the enemy into the blocking positions along Route 9. The 2d Battalion, 4th Marines flew from Ca Lu to LZ Robin and set up a defensive perimeter for the night.54
On 3 June, the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines continued its attack to the north and TF Hotel fed the 1st Battalion, 4th Marines into the operation at LZ Robin. Relieved of the responsibility for defending LZ Robin, the 2d Battalion, 4th Marines boarded helicopters once
*See both Chapters 15 and 18 for discussion of the tactical concepts introduced by General Davis.
Mar ComdC, Jan69
from the air, Landing Zone Robin, located in the steep hills, is about
10 kilometers southeast of Khe Sanh. Below, LtCol Archie Van Winkle,
left, with the 3d MarDiv commander, MajGen Raymond G. Davis. LtCol Van
Winkle's 1st Battalion, 1st Marines opened Operation Robin with the
helicopter assault onto LZ Robin in line with Gen Davis' tactical emphasis
upon mobility and fire support bases.
of Defense (USMC) Photo A191666