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U.S. Marines in Vietnam: Fighting the North Vietnamese, 1967

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U.S. Marines in Vietnam: Fighting the North Vietnamese, 1967
  • by Major Gary L. Telfer, USMC, Lieutenant Colonel Lane Rogers, USMC, and V. Keith Fleming, Jr.
    • History and Museums Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, Washington, D.C., 1984
      • 354 pages
      • 197 photos
      • 24 maps
      • 2 tables
This is the fourth volume in a planned 10-volume operational and chronological series covering the U.S. Marine Corps' participation in the Vietnam War. A separate topical series will complement the operational histories. This volume details the change in focus of the III Marine Amphibious Force (III MAF), which fought in South Vietnam's northernmost corps area, I Corps. III MAF, faced with a continued threat in 1967 of North Vietnamese large unit entry across the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Vietnams, turned over the Chu Lai enclave to the U.S. Army's Task Force Oregon and shifted the bulk of its forces—and its attention—northward. Throughout the year, the 3d Marine Division fought a conventional, large-unit war against the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) near the demilitarized zone. The 1st Marine Division, concentrated in Thua Thien and Quang Nam provinces, continued both offensive and pacification operations. Its enemy ranged from small groups of Viet Cong guerrillas in hamlets and villages up to formations as large as the 2d NVA Division. The 1st Marine Aircraft Wing provided air support to both divisions, as well as Army and allied units in I Corps. The Force Logistic Command, amalgamated from all Marine logistics organizations in Vietnam, served all major Marine commands.
     This volume, like its predecessors, concentrates on the ground war in I Corps and III MAF's perspective of the Vietnam War as an entity. It also covers the Marine Corps participation in the advisory effort, the operations of the two Special Landing Forces of the U.S. Navy's Seventh Fleet, and the services of Marines with the staff of the U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam. There are additional chapters on supporting arms and logistics, and a discussion of the Marine role in Vietnam in relation to the overall American effort.
     The nature of the war facing III MAF during 1967 forced the authors to concentrate on major operations, particularly those characterized by heavy combat. The uneven quality of the official reports submitted by combat units also played a role in selecting the materials presented in this volume. This is not meant to slight those whose combat service involved long, hot days on patrol, wearying hours of perimeter defense, and innumerable operations, named and unnamed. These Marines also endured fights just as deadly as the ones against large enemy regular units. III MAF's combat successes in 1967 came from the efforts of all Americans in I Corps.
     All three authors have been historians in the History and Museums Division. Major Gary L. Telfer, now a retired lieutenant colonel, has a bachelor of arts degree from Muskingum College, Ohio. He had two tours in Vietnam, first as an advisor with a Vietnamese Army artillery battalion and, three years later, with the 12th Marines. Major Telfer began this history project and produced the initial manuscript. His replacement, Lieutenant Colonel Lane Rogers, now also retired, expanded the materials into a second draft. He is a member of the class of 1953 of the U.S. Naval Academy and was an advisor with the Vietnamese Marine Corps. The third author, Dr. V. Keith Fleming, Jr., is a former Marine officer who served as a rifle company commander in Vietnam. He prepared the comment edition and then incorporated the suggestions of the reviewers. He has bachelor of arts and master of arts degrees from the University of Alabama and a doctoral degree in American military history from Ohio State University.
  • Foreword
  • Preface
    • Chapter 1: The Situation at the Start of the Year
      • The Early Days
      • Command Relations
      • A Change in Strategy
      • The Plan for the Year
      • The Enemy Organization
      • Tactical Considerations
    • Chapter 2: Spring Action South of the DMZ—February-April 1967
      • Operation Prairie I Continues
      • Operation Prairie II
      • Operation Prairie III
    • Chapter 3: Combined US/ARVN Operations in the DMZ
      • Operation Prairie IV Begins
      • Attack on Con Thien
      • Into the DMZ
      • Operation Lam Son 54
      • Operation Beau Charger
      • Operation Hickory
      • Operation Prairie IV Ends
    • Chapter 4: The First Battle of Khe Sanh
      • The Early Days
      • Opening Moves of the Battle
      • Reinforcing the Hill 861 Attack
      • Attacking Hill 881S
      • The Final Objective: Hill 881N
      • End of the Battle
      • Operation Crockett
    • Chapter 5: The War in Southern I Corps
      • The Situation
      • Operation Desoto
      • Deckhouse/Desoto
      • Desoto Continued
      • Operation Union
      • Union II
    • Chapter 6: Task Force Oregon
    • Chapter 7: The Barrier—Another Approach
      • Evolution of the Concept
    • Chapter 8: Con Thien and the Summer Battles Along the DMZ
      • Why Con Thien?
      • Operation Buffalo
    • Chapter 9: Continuing Operations Against the 2d NVA Division
      • Raids and Rockets in Quang Nam
      • Operation Cochise
      • Operation Swift
    • Chapter 10: Fall Fighting in the North
      • Operation Kingfisher
      • Medina/Bastion Hill/Lam Son 138
      • Adjustments within the 3d Marine Division
    • Chapter 11: The Special Landing Force
      • Doctrine Versus Expedient
      • Operation Deckhouse V, 6-15 January
      • Deckhouse VI/Desoto, 16 February-3 March
      • Beacon Hill I, 20 March-1 April
      • Beaver Cage/Union I, 28 April-12 May
      • Beau Charger/Belt Tight/Hickory/Prairie IV/Cimarron, 18 May-10 June
      • Day On, Stay On —SLF Operational Tempo Increases
      • Bear Bite/Colgate/Choctaw/Maryland, 2-27 June
      • Beacon Torch/Calhoun, 18 June-2 July, 25 June-2 July
      • SLF Alpha in Bear Claw/Buffalo/Hickory II, 3-16 July
      • SLF Bravo in Beaver Track/Buffalo/Hickory II, 4-16 July
      • Bear Chain/Fremont, 20-26 July
      • Beacon Guide, 21-30 July
      • Kangaroo Kick/Fremont, 1-21 August
      • Beacon Gate/Cochise, 7-27 August
      • Belt Drive/Liberty, 27 August-5 September
      • A Change in Scenario—The 46s are Grounded
      • Beacon Point/Fremont/Ballistic Charge/Shelbyville, 1-28 September
      • Fortress Sentry/Kingfisher, 17 September-15 October
      • Bastion Hill/Medina/Liberty II/Fremont, 10-23 October
      • Formation Leader/Liberty II/Knox, 17 October-4 November
      • Granite/Kentucky II and III, 26 October-16 November
      • Badger Hunt/Foster, 13-29 November
      • Fortress Ridge, 21-24 December
      • Badger Tooth, 26 December 1967-2 January 1968
      • Ballistic Arch/Kentucky V/Osceola, 24 November-31 December
    • Chapter 12: Pacification
      • The Problem Defined
      • County Fair
      • Marine Grass-Roots-Level Participation
      • Reporting and Evaluation
    • Chapter 13: Supporting Arms
      • Marine Air Operations
      • Fixed-Wing Operations
      • Helicopter Operations
      • Artillery
    • Chapter 14: Logistics
      • Upgrading the Logistic System
      • Problems with the M-16 Rifle
      • Navy Support
      • Marine Corps Engineers
    • Chapter 15: Other Marine Activities
      • Marines with MACV
      • The Embassy Guard
      • The Advisors
      • I Corps Advisors
      • The Rung Sat Special Zone
      • The Marine Advisory Unit
      • Action in Binh Dinh Province
      • Action in the South
    • Chapter 16: The Situation at the End of the Year
      • Operational Aspects
      • Personnel and Logistics
      • The Outlook for Victory
      • Enemy Dispositions
      • The Changed Situation
    • Marine Command and Staff List, January-December 1966
    • Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations
    • Chronology of Significant Events
    • Medal of Honor Citations, 1966
    • List of Reviewers
    • Distribution of Aircraft, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific
    • Distribution of Personnel, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific

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