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Department of Defense (USMC) A192420

Marines from the 3d Engineer Battalion construct hunkers on LZ Gates, a nan' fire suppmt base for the 2d Battalion, 4th Marines. The f ire support bases u'ere fiart u/the neu' mifhasis nn helu'n/Jter-mohile operations by both Marine divisions at the end of the year.

of the I Corps lines of communications. They had not only helped in the resrordrion of the road network including both Routes l and 9, but were even involved in the completion of the railroad link between Da Nang and Hue.' By December 1968, both the 1st and 3d Engineer Battalions, supported by the three heavier battalions, the 7ch, 9th, and 11th Engineer Battalions, had taken on new tasks in establishing fire bases in support of the helicopter mobile tactics adopted by both divisions. From the building of bunkers, mine sweeps, road building, improving the living cantonments of the troops, to supporting III MAF civic action engineering projects, all five engineer battalions contributed to the allied resumption of the offensive by the end of the year. The FLC Continues to Cope

Even with the end of the initial Tet offensives enemy gunners continued to threaten III MAF stockpiles. While few attacks were as spectacular as the one on 21 January at Khe Sanh," both conventional enemy artillery in the DMZ and Laos and large-caliber rockets struck at facilities at Khe Sanh, Dong Ha, and Cua Viet. In the rest of I Corps, enemy rockets throughout the year continued to fall upon Marine base areas with their large storage facilities. Despite the best efforts of Marine ground and air combat units to prevent them, these attacks by fire were relatively cost effective as the enemy with limited resources could cause extensive damage. One of the worst incidents occurred on 10 March, when enemy artillery hit the Cua Viet Facility, blowing up the ammunition dump. The resulting explosions destroyed the mess hall and 64 10,000-gal-lon fuel bladders, caused American casualties of l dead and 22 wounded, and knocked out communications for 30 hours. Even at the end of the month, more than 40 percent of the damaged equipment and buildings remained unrepaired.''

From mid-April through 14 May, the enemy gunners enjoyed a series of minor successes in the north

*See Chapter 29.

"See Chapter 14.

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