Operation Maui Peak

Operation Maui Peak was a US Marine Corps operation that took place near the Thường Ðức Camp southwest of Danang, lasting from 1 to 19 October 1968.

Background

In late September 1968 1st Marine Division intelligence detected the presence of the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) 21st Regiment, 2nd Division, 141st Regiment and the 368B Rocket Regiment near the Thường Ðức Camp. In an early morning attack on 28 September the PAVN overran two of the Camp's outposts. As bad weather made tactical air support impossible a Marine tactical air control group flew into the camp with a radar beacon which was used to guide Marine A-6s to make precision bombing attacks on the PAVN positions forcing them to abandon them on 29 September.[1]:418

The 7th Marine Regiment supported by the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines and 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines were tasked with relieving the siege around Thường Ðức.[1]:419

Operation

Marine Armored Amphibian Tractors Fire 105mm Howitzers, 1968 (22114901128)
Marine LVTH-6s fire their 105mm guns

On 6 October B-52s and tactical aircraft began bombing the intended landing zones in the hills around Thường Ðức while the 2/5 Marines moved west along Route 4 towards the Camp. As they advanced the Marines were engaged by the PAVN 1st Battalion, 141st Regiment in a battle that lasted all day.[1]:419–20

At 07:30 the helicopters carrying the 3/5 Marines approaching Landing Zone Sparrow 4 km south of Thường Ðức were met with intense antiaircraft fire forcing the helicopters to return to An Hoa Combat Base. At 11:00 BLT 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines was landed at Landing Zone Vulture and two ARVN Battalions were landed at Landing Zone Hawk 7 km northwest of Thường Ðức. Two Companies from 2/7 Marines began traversing the hills towards Thường Ðức.[1]:420 At 17:40 3/5 Marines were landed at Landing Zone Kiwi southeast of Thường Ðức.[1]:421

On 7 October the Marine units began to close in on Thường Ðức. Landing Zone Sparrow was hit again by tactical aircraft dropping 750 lb and fuel-air bombs in preparation for a landing by the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines however as the helicopters approached at 09:10 they were once again forced back by intense anti-aircraft fire.[1]:421

On Route 4 2/5 Marines encountered another well entrenched PAVN position 200m west of the site of the previous day's battle and were forced to withdraw with 12 wounded.[1]:421

On the afternoon of 8 October after artillery and airstrikes, 2/5 Marines renewed their attack supported by 4 M-48 tanks quickly overrunning the PAVN position and killing 37 PAVN for 1 Marine killed.[1]:421

At 04:00 on 12 October following a preparatory mortar attack the PAVN attacked the 2/5 Marines on Route 4. The Marines called in extensive artillery and gunship support killing 46 PAVN and capturing 1 for the loss of 8 Marines killed[1]:421

On 14 October Company F 2/7 Marines arrived at Thường Ðức officially ending the siege.

Aftermath

Operation Maui Peak concluded on 19 October, the Marines had suffered 28 dead and 143 wounded and claiming the PAVN suffered 202 killed.[1]:726

Notes

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Shulimson, Jack (1997). U.S. Marines in Vietnam: 1968 The Defining Year. History and Museums Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. ISBN 016049125-8. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
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