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Page 550 (1968: The Defining Year)

hill." In building the base. Marine engineers blew off the top of the ridgeline and used bulldozers to dig the gun pies. The 105mm artillery battery there had a battery front of 75 meters. There were sheer drops to the rear and front, as well as to the left flank of the howitzers. For resupply, Dick depended entirely upon helicopters. The base was large enough to accommodate 2,()()() rounds of 105mm ammunition. According to Scoppa, the Marines carefully monitored "the levels of units [oi fire] on a fire base so that you can provide uninterrupted support to the infantry as ret]uired."'"

This dependence upon air delivery of supplies required close coordination between the artillery and helicopters. First of all in establishing the landing zone on the fire base, the Marines attempted to place it on a piece ot terrain "which is at perpendicular to the prevailing winds so that the helicopter can come in one smooth motion, drop his load, and proceed."

Above. Fire Support Base Dirk near the Ba Long Valley is u'here Battery E, 2d Battalion, 12th Marines established a 105mm howitzer firing site. Be/on', a ground view ofthe Fire Support Base includes firing stakes, and hootches made of empty ammunition boxes. An artillery tithe ran he faintly seen at the upper right of the fire base.

The top photo is from the 12th Mar ComdC, Dec68, and bottom is Department of Defense (USMC) Photo A801291

Page 550 (1968: The Defining Year)