of Defense (USMC) Photo A 371827
Marine engineers probe for more rockets as they explore an enemy rocket site. On a mud ramp ready to fire are three NVA 140mm rockets.
troops donning disguises, hiding their weapons, and attempting to slip through Marine lines in the dark.38
On 16 November, the enemy went on the offensive around Da Nang, conducting
ground attacks and firing 122mm rockets at Da Nang Airbase and the port,
one of which scored a direct hit on the deep-water pier, killing 2 people
and wounding 16 others. Within the city, several small firefights erupted,
in which Free World security units captured seven prisoners claiming
to belong to the Q.91 Special Action Sapper Unit. North of
the city, near the Song Cu De, North Vietnamese forces overran and annihilated
a seven-man ambush team from the 1st Battalion, 26th Marines. The dead
Marines all suffered bullet wounds to the head inflicted at close range,
in execution fashion. At the opposite end of the Da Nang TAOR, at the
Vinh Dien Bridge north of Dien Ban, elements of the NVA 36th Regiment
attacked ARVN bridge security units and a Combined Action platoon. In
heavy fighting that lasted through the following day, the Marine command
reported 305 North Vietnamese dead.39
The enemy offensive around Da Nang continued for several days. In an indirect fire attack during the night of the 19th, 13 rockets fell on the Force Logistic Command, and another 12 struck the city. At Marble Mountain Air Facility, mortar fire wounded 7 men and damaged 13 helicopters. Mortar fire also struck the NSA Hospital. On the morning of the 21st, 10 rockets hit the 1st Marine Division command post, killing 2 American soldiers and destroying a helicopter and 2 jeeps.40
During the night of the 21st, an enemy battalion attacked An Hoa. Supported by fire from 82mm and 60mrn mortars, 57mm recoilless rifles, and B-40 rockets, North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops advanced against the base's eastern perimeter. When the attack began at 2200, Marine tank and artillery crews on the perimeter began direct fire against the advancing enemy, using "Beehive" antipersonnel ammunition.' Amphibian tractors arrived and added the weight of their machine guns to the battle.
CAP 2-9-1, positioned in the hamlet of Mau Chanh (2), about a kilometer east of the base, lay in the path of the attack. The CAP Marines and their PF counterparts took the enemy flanks and rear under fire, calling for air and artillery support. At 2330, the Communist troops fell on CAP 2-9-1. AC-47 gunships held back the enemy while a platoon of Marines mounted in amphibian tractors, with tanks and helicopter gunships escorting, attacked east from An Hoa to reinforce the hamlet and bring an ammunition resupply.
The battle raged for five hours, during which the Marines threw back tour waves of attacking NVA and VC. At 0330 the shooting died down. Despite the
* Each "Beehive" projectile contains thousands of tiny dans, called
flechettes, which are expelled and thrown forward at high velocity,
spreading in a deadly pattern.