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ical search of the area with the objective of destroying the enemy
position and capturing weapons, equipment, and personnel.

While both reemphasizing time-honored infantry company operations
and incorporating a number of recently learned tactics, General Davis
reiterated that "any tactic which denies the enemy sanctuary-physical
or psychological for rest, resupply and security- will enhance the effectiveness
of future operations by the Division."5*


In addition to placing a greater emphasis on infantry company operations as the basis for all future division operations, Davis also stressed the importance of intelligence, specifically intelligence gathered by long-range reconnaissance patrols, which would be continuously employed throughout the division's area of responsibility. Lieutenant Colonel Donald R. Berg's 3d Reconnaissance Battalion, reinforced by the 3d Force Reconnaissance Company, would continue to maintain a large number of teams in the field at any one time." "This has meant," Davis noted, "that every indication of enemy activity from whatever means is explored by the insertion of reconnaissance teams .... everywhere-on a continuing basis, a massive reconnaissance team effort is maintained."6


Reconnaissance Marines generally employed two types of long-range patrols in this massive intelligence effort. The 8- to 12-man, heavily armed Stingray patrols operated within range of friendly artillery. Their mission was to seek, fix, and destroy the enemy with all available supporting arms. These patrols would be reinforced by "Sparrow Hawk" or "Bald Eagle" rapid-reaction forces, if the opportunity arose to destroy the entire enemy force. In the more remote areas of Quang Tri Province, beyond artillery range, "Key Hole" patrols would be used. Much smaller in size, normally composed of four to five men, and armed with only essential small arms, ammunition, and communications equipment, "Key Hole" patrols were to remain out of sight and observe. If discovered, they were to evade the enemy and attempt escape. These long-range patrols would not normally be reinforced unless artillery could be inserted; if under fire and taking casualties, the team would be extracted by helicopter.7 The 3d Marine Division, as Davis later stated, "never launched an operation without acquiring clear definition of the targets and objectives through intelligence confirmed by recon patrols. High mobility operations [were] too difficult and complex to come up empty or in disaster."8

The increased number of operations and clear weather experienced during
the mid-summer months increased the ability of Marine forces to observe
the enemy's movement, provide close air support, and interdict his lines
of communication and logistic operations, causing him difficulties in
the resupply of personnel and equipment. This, coupled with a steady
increase in the loss of food, ammunition, personnel, and previously
prepared forward positions, forced the North Vietnamese to reassess
or alter their plans for the major offensive, slated to be launched
sometime in mid-August. Despite inroads by the 3d Division, the infiltration
of personnel, supplies, and equipment into Quang Tri Province continued,
but at a slower pace. Division intelligence analysts, however, still
considered the 320th Division and three independent regiments
to be combat ready and capable of conducting regiment or division-sized
attacks on allied units, fire support bases, and installations along
the Demilitarized Zone. In addition, the disposition of these four enemy
units was such that a large-scale attack could come at any time.9

The Eastern DMZ


As August began, allied forces continued the pressure on enemy units throughout Quang Tri Province. The heaviest fighting was to take place in the northeastern portion of the province in the Napoleon-Saline area of operation. The first significant contact occurred on 2 August when several squads of North Vietnamese attacked the forward naval gunfire observation post at Oceanview, 10 kilometers north of Cua Viet. Support-



*Colonel Thomas H. Galbraith, who commanded the 1st Battalion, 4th Marines at the time, observed that actual company tactics employed by his battalion differed very much in practice than the ideal described by General Davis. Galbraith wrote that these tactics "may have been feasible in the eastern portion of Quang Tri Province, but in the mountainous jungle terrain of the western portion, particularly north of Route 9, they were virtually impossible to employ." He explained that "conditions simply would nor permit companies and platoons to "sweep out' of patrol bases in 'mutually supporting columns,' registering supporting arms and cutting LZs as they went." Col Thomas H. Galbraith, Comments on draft, n.d. {Dec94} (Vietnam Comment File), hereafter Galbraith Comments.


**See Chapter 26 for chart showing average number of 3d Reconnaissance Battalion daily patrols for the months July-December 1968. Lieutenant Colonel Berg observed that the number of patrols varied for several reasons. For example during September and October, monsoon rains "made inserts and extraction schedules unpredictable and difficult." Other variables besides the weather included operations by other battalions and changes in enemy locations. LtCol Donald R. Berg, Comments on draft, dtd 4Dec94 (Vietnam Comment File), hereafter Berg Comments.







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