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observers had twice sighted enemy armored fighting vehicles west of
An Hoa.

Originally, intelligence estimates had set the start date tor the
offensive on 20 July, to coincide with the new moon when illumination
would be low. Although speculative, this theory fit a pattern of increased
enemy activity during the darkest nights of a given month.7
However, when this dare passed without serious incident, intelligence
officers revised their estimates to reflect the next new moon phase
as the start date: 23 August 1968. In tenuous confirmation ot this supposition,
a prisoner revealed that the month of August was to bring the "decisive
battle for revolutionary history."8

As III MAF developed intelligence concerning the third offensive,
subordinate units prepared for the coming battle. Acting on the reports
of enemy tanks and extensive Communist road-building activity southwest
of Da Nang, the 1st Marine Division revised its anti-mechanized defense
plan to meet the new threat.9 Major General Carl A. Youngdale,
who had relieved Major General Robertson as division commander in June,
directed his subordinate commanders to review plans for the defense
of the Da Nang TAOR and to increase the readiness of their units. Anticipating
that the enemy would strike during darkness, he ordered that all units
maximize night activities and "reduce day workloads accordingly to allow
adequate rest for all hands."10 In the area surrounding Da
Nang, Operations Allen Brook and Mameluke Thrust continued with the
participating units frequently shifting their areas of operations in
an effort to engage and destroy the major Communist units which would
have to concentrate to conduct an offensive of the magnitude III MAF

Jusr past noon on 18 August, less than a kilometer west of Marble
Mountain Air Facility, a patrol from Company B, 1st Military Police
Battalion apprehended a 16-year-old Vietnamese boy who confessed that
he was a member of a VC platoon which was hiding nearby. The MPs cordoned
off the area and, with the assistance of the South Vietnamese 106th
Regional Force Company and Company C, 3d Military Police Battalion,
conducted a thorough search. Several light contacts with small groups
of VC resulted, leading to the discovery of weapons, ammunition, and
explosives caches as well as a radio receiver.11

Major General Youngdale, in a report to Lieutenant General Robert
E. Cushman at III MAF headquarters, noted:

. .
. enemy activity has increased .... there are indications that the enemy
may be in the latter stages of preparation for his third offensive.
As yet, however, there are no indications that the enemy is prepared
to conduct a major attack within the next twenty-four hours.12

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