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Phoro courtesy of Col Tullis J. Woodham, USMC (Ret)

LtCol Tullis J. Woodham. Jr., commander of the 3d Battalion,
27th Marines, left, waits to hear about the situation in Le Bac from
his operations officer, Maj Ernest T. Fitzgerald, using the radio,
during Allen Brook.

before moving into an area. If a Marine unit encountered heavy' small arms fire, it was either to hold its position or move back so that supporting arms could be employed as much as possible under the circumstances. Colonel Schwenk remarked that tanks with their 90mm guns proved most effective in these circumstances, both with high explosive rounds to breach enemy fortifications and with canister rounds against troops in the open. Schwenk wrote that once he committed the tanks, "the enemy would break contact almost immediately." The tanks were also at a disadvantage, however, in that the terrain "caused . . . [them] to become channelized making them highly vulnerable to RPG fire and mines." On 24 May, two Marines from the 3d Battalion, 27th Marines, Corporal Richard W. Buchanan from Company M and Private First Class Charles R. Yordy, from Company K, were later awarded the Navy Cross for their actions that day in Le Bac (l) about 800 meters northwest of Le Bac (2). The fight for Le Bac (2) lasted until the 27th and featured some of the heaviest combat of the campaign until a torrential rain storm ended the fighting. Lieutenant Colonel Donald N. Rexroad, the commander of the 3d Battalion, 5th Marines, remembered that his battalion near the end of the month overran "an apparent NVA regimental command post."18

Casualties on both sides had been heavy. For the entire operation through
the end of May, the Marines reported to have killed over 600 of the
enemy. They themselves sustained since the beginning of the operation
138 killed, 686 wounded including 576 serious enough to be evacuated,
and another 283 non-battle casualties that had to be evacuated. The
number of heat-induced "non-battle casualties" had soared towards the
end because of the extreme high temperatures averaging almost 110 degrees
and the physical exertion expended in the firefights. In many engagements,
the number of heat casualties equalled or exceeded the number of Marines
killed and wounded.19*

In Operation Allen Brook, the Marines believed they had broken the
back of a planned enemy attack on


* The 7th Marines in its account reported only seven non-battle casualties
through 17 May. It can be assumed then that the bulk of the heat casualties
occurred after the 27th Marines took over the operation. For the period
4-17 May, the 7th Marines account showed that the Marine units in Allen
Brook sustained 85 killed and 359 wounded, 323 of whom were evacuated
in addition to the non-battle casualties. 1/7 AAR, Allen Brook.







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