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Page 412 (1968: The Defining Year)

from Abel Collercion

Army company commander from the 1st Air Cavalry Division points out
terrain features to Capt 'William O. Moore. Jr., whose company will
relieve the Army unit south of Quang Tri City. The 1st Air Cavalry Division
began departing l Corps in October for III Corps.

In light of the anticipated loss of the 1st Cavalry Division, XXIV
Corps ordered an adjustment in the boundary between the 3d Marine and
101st Airborne Divisions. The adjustment, scheduled to be completed
on 8 November, would generally correspond to the provincial boundary
between Quang Tri and Thua Thien. To nil the void, the 1st Brigade,
5th Infantry Division would be shifted south and a brigade of the 101st
Airborne Division would move north. In an attempt to make the transition
as smooth as possible, the remaining elements ot the cavalry division
were directed to cordon the village of Then My Chanh and eliminate the
Viet Cong infrastructure from the village to the coast. On 2 November,
the cordon around Thon My Chanh was established by an armored battalion
task force from the 1st Brigade, 5th Infantry Division, an armored battalion
from the 101st Airborne Division, and a cavalry squadron from the 2d
Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division. U.S. helicopters brought into forward
landing zones maneuver elements of the 1st ARVN Regiment which began
search operations throughout the area. Although enemy resistance was
light, the combined Army and ARVN force discovered several food caches,
containing more than 12 tons of unpolished rice. With the end of the
2d Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division's participation in the cordon on 7
November, the area was released to the 1st Brigade and the 2d Brigade
deployed to Phuoc Vinh.67

South of the 1st Cavalry Division, the 101st Airborne Division continued to conduct operations in coordination with the 1st ARVN Regiment to provide security tor Hue City; interdict Routes 547 and 547A; implement the rice denial program; destroy the enemy's main force units and infrastructure; and assist in the Thua Thien Province pacification program. In late July, the division finalized plans, marshalled forces, and constructed fire support bases for a combined Army and ARVN two-brigade airmobile assault into the A Shau Valley. On 4 August, Army helicopters flew the 2d Battalion, 502d Infantry and 2d Battalion, 327th Infantry into landing zones in the vicinity of A Luoi and Ta Bat. While the 2d Battalion, 327th Infantry secured landing zones near Ta Bac, the 2d and 3d Battalions, 1st ARVN Regiment were helilifted into the valley on the 5th. Tlie combined reconnaissance in force encountered only a few squad- and company-sized enemy units, much smaller than anticipated by intelligence sources. The enemy employed a series of delaying and harassing tactics to slow the advance. While finding no major enemy caches or installations, the maneuver forces implanted minefields and sensors at three choke points in the valley before withdrawing on the 20th.

On the heels of the A Shau Valley operation, the 1st Battalion, 508th
Infantry assaulted into landing zones in the Nui Ke mountain complex
southeast ot Hue. Led by a North Vietnamese Army corporal who had rallied
to a local Marine Combined Action platoon, the battalion moved west
toward the suspected base camps of the 5th NVA Regiment. Following
two weeks of heavy fighting, the 1st Battalion reported killing more
than 180 enemy troops and captured numerous individual weapons and tons
ot munitions.

As a result of the decreasing number of engagements in August with North Vietnamese main force and Viet Cong local force units in the coastal lowlands surrounding Hue, a series of operations, or "soft cordons," were carried out to destroy the Viet Cong infrastructure in the area. These operations, targeted at Vinh Loc, Phu Vang, Huong Thuy, Phu Thu Districts, emphasized coordination with and use ot local South Vietnamese forces, surprise, isolation of the battlefield, detailed search, minimum destruction of civilian property, and population control. The soft cordon normally rook place in populated areas where enemy forces were suspected to be widely dispersed among the civilian population. The expectation was that the enemy forces would

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