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Da Nang. Colonel Hall of the 7th Marines later wrote that his 3d Battalion's
reentry into the Go Noi under cover of darkness in the early morning
hours of 16 May foiled the designs of the enemy which had begun to stage
its forces. Hall observed that the North Vietnamese unit engaged by
his units was from the 36th Regiment, 308th NVA Division. According
to a North Vietnamese prisoner from the 2d Battalion of that
regiment, his unit had departed North Vietnam in February and only arrived
in the Go Noi the night of the 15th with orders to assault allied positions
north of the Thu Bon and Ky Lam Rivers. The 27th Marines would engage
both the 2d and 3d Battalions of the 36th
during the fighting in the Cu Ban and Le Bac complex.20

The appearance of the 36th Regiment in the Go Noi was of
some concern to the Marine command. III MAF and the 1st Marine Division
had expected to find elements of the 2d NVA Division which
previously had used the sector during the Tet offensive. This was the
first evidence that any unit of the 308th NVA Division had
ventured so far south. There were already indications that the North
Vietnamese had built up their regular forces in the Da Nang sector.
From 16-25 May, just to the ease of the Marine units on the Go Noi,
the 51st ARVN regiment, reinforced by two Ranger battalions, in a series
of running battles engaged approximately two enemy battalions. While
sustaining casualties of 53 dead and 144 wounded, the ARVN claimed to
have killed 284 of the enemy during this period.

Mini-Tet and Operation Mameluke Thrust, May 1968

By mid-May it was apparent that the enemy buildup in the Go Noi sector
was part and parcel of the long-awaited second phase of the enemy's
"Tet" offensive. Outside of the flareups in the capital city of Saigon
and especially in the eastern DMZ near Dong Ha* with some of the bloodiest
combat of the war, the renewed righting elsewhere was only a pale reflection
of the first "Tet." Called "Mini-Tet" by the allies, this second enemy
offensive largely confined itself to rocket and mortar fire and small
ground probes against the major bases and attacks against the most vulnerable
of the Special Forces camps near the Laotian border.

Still the enemy "Mini-Tet" could not be taken lightly. At Da Nang,
in all probability it was the Marine thrust into the Go Noi that forestalled
a renewed enemy ground assault on either the airfield or city itself.
While enemy infantry units were unable to penetrate the Marine defenses,
NVA rocketeers increased their efforts throughout I Corps. [See Chart]
Ac Da Nang, from 5 May through 29 May, enemy rockets fell on major installations,
including Marble Mountain, the main airfield, the FLC, and III MAF headquarters,
on 12 separate occasions with the highest number of incidents, 4, on
the first day of the attacks. In the Da Nang TAOR,

* See Chapter 15.

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