mines, mining incidents along the vital waterway continued.
In October the 1st Amphibian Tractor Battalion, under Lieutenant Colonel George F. Meyers, maintained security of the Cua Viet waterway and conducted numerous patrols, cordons, and sweeps in the Napoleon-Saline area of operations. North of Lieutenant Colonel Meyers' battalion, elements of the 2d ARVN Regiment continued reconnaissance-in-force operations in the vicinity ot A-1 and Gio Linh. To the west, in the Kentucky area of operations. Colonel Glikes' 1st Brigade, 5th Infantry Division (Mechanized) emphasized offensive actions away from fixed positions, focusing on the enemy rather than terrain, employing infantry/armored task forces.
The first significant ground contact occurred on the 11th, when a brigade mechanized infantry and tank force, composed of Companies B and C, 61st Infantry and Company B, 77rh Armor, engaged an estimated platoon of well-entrenched NVA troops. From heavily fortified bunkers, 2,500 meters northeast of Con Thien, the enemy effectively employed rocket propelled grenades and 60mm mortars, crippling three tanks and one armored personnel carrier (APC). Mines disabled another two tanks and one APC, killing a total of .3 and wounding 20 brigade troops. Fighting back with 90mm tank, artillery, and small arms fire, the companies swept through the area after five hours of battle and counted 26 North Vietnamese bodies.32
Heavy monsoon rains again tell throughout the area during mid-October,
curtailing both ground and air operations. On 15 October, nevertheless,
elements of the 2d ARVN Regiment engaged an estimated enemy company,
four kilometers east ot Gio Linh. Artillery, gunships, and Marine tactical
air supported the ARVN infantrymen. One troop of the 11th ARVN Armored
Cavalry moved up to reinforce, but was delayed due to the water-logged
ground. Fighting continued throughout the 15th and into the next day.
On the morning of 16 October, the 1st and 3d Troops, 11th Cavalry joined
with the ARVN infantry, and by noon the enemy force now estimated at
battalion-size was supported by artillery and mortar fire. The proximity
ot the opposing forces prohibited the use of airstrikes and the ARVN,
like their opponent, relied heavily on accurate artillery fire. When
the enemy force, thought to be an element of the 138th NVA Regiment,
broke contact at the end of the day, it had suffered more than a reported
105 killed in two days of fighting, while the ARVN units sustained 5
Photo from the Abel Collection
from the 3d Marine Division visiting the New Jersey (BB 62) watch as
the 16-inch guns of the battleship blast North Vietnamese positions
near the DMZ.