Page 359

Page 359 (1968: The Defining Year)

Vietnamese forces conducted a house-to-house search of the village, arresting
more than 100 Viet Cong suspects ot whom half were detained. Once the
village was secured. Marine engineers immediately began construction of
the resettlement camp. Palatas' Marines remained in the area tor a week,
conducting medical and dental examinations of the refugees and participating
in other civic action projects.16 Following the Thon Duc Kinh cordon,
the 9th Marines passed control of the Lancaster II area of operations
to Task Force Hotel and the regimental command group returned to Dong
Ha and the battalions to patrol and security sweeps throughout Leatherneck
Square and the remainder of the Kentucky area of operations.

The Pressure Continues

The enemy continued to remain reluctant to commit his forces to decisive combat in large numbers during July. Although the NVA'S aversion may have been due to a planned, periodic pause to provide temporary respite for its combat units, it was clear this reluctance was in part due to the continuing and unrelenting pressure applied by 3d Marine Division forces during June. Enemy assembly and staging areas, bases, supply caches, and trail networks were subjected to constant allied air, artillery, naval gunfire, and ground attacks, taxing his capacity to maintain frontline and support units at an effective combat strength. Despite the enemy's reluctance, there was no diminution ot the 3d Marine Division effort in July.

On the first day of the month, a massive combined supporting arms attack was launched against enemy artillery and antiaircraft concentrations located in the Cap Mui Lay Sector of North Vietnam. The sector encompassed that region from the southern edge of the Demilitarized Zone, north some 14 kilometers to Cap Mui Lay, and extended from the South China Sea westward to a point approximately 25 kilometers inland.

Planning for the attack began on 24 March when General Davis' predecessor, Major General Rathvon McC. Tompkins, proposed a combined and c(x>rdi-nated supporting arms attack against the Cap Mui Lay Sector to destroy enemy long-range shore batteries and artillery, limit the flow of enemy supplies ro the south, and relieve the artillery threat against the Dong Ha-Cua Viet area. Provisional Corps, Vietnam developed a formal plan and submitted it to III MAF,

An ammunition supply dump at Dong Ha goes up m flames after an NVA artillery bombardment.

Photo from the Abel Collection

Page 359 (1968: The Defining Year)