LZ Margo and the DMZ (continued)
Flash! North Vietnamese Artillery In the DMZ!
On October 4, Hotel found what the North Vietnamese didn't want us to find: a 152mm gun position and ammunition in the supposedly-demilitarized zone. They stumbled upon it while they were moving to support Golf Company's attack on a bunker complex.
Of course we were all too aware of the presence of large Soviet cannons -- we had been on the receiving end of their fire for days. But actually locating a physical gun position with ammunition in an area in which North Vietnam claimed to have no such weapons was a a big deal.
The find was reported to 3rd Marines and then, unbeknownst to us, went to Washington at warp speed, which forwarded the information immediately to the ongoing Paris Peace Talks to refute the NVA's denial of artillery in the DMZ.
Nor did the North Vietnamese complain publicly about Fox Company's feat of crossing the Ben Hai river into North Vietnam, the only American infantry unit to do so.
An hour after discovering the artillery position, H Company made contact with 25 NVA and destroyed three machine gun bunkers and a 60mm mortar position, an action in which the enemy mortar was physically wrestled from the arms of its crew. The action resulted in 3 enemy killed and 14 Marines wounded.
Two hours later, G Company took on an NVA machine gun position and several bunkers with grenades and small arms. One Marine was killed, two were wounded and the NVA lost two soldiers defending the bunkers.
The next day, artillery fire was called in on an enemy bunker and truck, with secondary explosions. H Company received 6-8 rounds of 130mm artillery, which had proved so deadly to the 81s platoon and Fox Company days earlier. The Marines called in a counter-battery mission which impacted with 3 secondary explosions.
On October 8, Hotel got into a firefight which resulted in the confirmed deaths of 29 NVA soldiers.
And so it went, day after day, for long weeks. Every day the battalion engaged the enemy and took incoming fire, and every day it aggressively patrolled into the fortifications and supply trails of the enemy, destroying weapons, ammunition and equipment.