Page 451

Page 451 (1968: The Defining Year)

of Defense (USMC) Photo A800541

Marines of Company B, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines
cross a fast-rushing stream in Operation Scotland II, east of Vandegrift
Combat Base. Drinking water appears to be at a premium, judging from
the extra number of canteens that each Marine is carrying.

numerous unoccupied or hastily abandoned living areas, harbor sites,
and natural caves containing a considerable number of supply, weapons,
and ammunition caches. But, as Companies A and B progressed eastward,
enemy forces in the region began a series of delaying actions which
took the form of small but sharp engagements between point elements
of the companies and small groups of enemy. When contact was broken,
pursuit of the enemy inevitably led to the discovery of further caches.

On 21 November, Companies C and D, which had secured Argonne and Alpine,
replaced Companies A and B in the search to the ease. Thirteen days
later and 14 kilometers further east, as the two companies crossed the
Khe Ta Bong and moved toward higher ground, they began the process of
developing a new fire support base, to be named Neville, atop Hill 1103.
With the positioning of Battery G, 3d Battalion, 12th Marines at Neville
on 14 December, Task Force Hotel ordered all search and destroy operations
to the west halted and Fire Support Bases Argonne, Gurkha, and Alpine
closed. With Neville in full operation. Companies C and D evacuated
the area and subsequently were placed under the operational control
of Task Force Bravo to assist in the Cam Lo Refugee Village cordon,
while Companies A and B helilifted to Vandegrift Combat Base.

After a short stay at Vandegrift, where it secured the combat base
and surrounding Marine positions following the search around Gurkha,
Lieutenant Colonel Fowler's 3d Battalion moved by helicopter 14 kilometers
to the north on 21 November to defend and further develop Fire Support
Base Winchester and Landing Zones Mack and Sierra. Known as the Son
Phan Cong Hoang Quoc Gia National Forest Reserve, the mountainous region
surrounding the battalion's positions was characterized by steep slopes
and long narrow ridgelines covered with dense forest and jungle consisting
of a single, but thick, canopy. The battalion was joined on the 24th
by Company E, 2d Battalion, 4th Marines, which assaulted into Winchester
and then moved one kilometer east along the Dong Tien ridgeline and
began construction of Fire Support Base Russell. Other than occasional
sniper fire, battalion patrols

Page 451 (1968: The Defining Year)