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LTC Stephen F.
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Thanks for posting SFC Joe S. Davis Jr., MSM, DSL. Here are some images from the battle at Khe Sanh and some text from a coldwar.org site article site article.
"SIEGE OF KHE SANH DURING THE VIETNAM WAR
In the early hours of January 21, 1968 the siege of Khe Sanh, the longest single battle of the Vietnam War, began as North Vietnamese Army forces embodied the building tension with a bombardment of bullets, mortars, and missiles that would kill eighteen Marines instantly, injure forty more, and destroy the majority of ammunition and fuel supplies within the first two days of the encounter. President Lyndon Johnson and United States officials had previously and controversially decided to defend rather than abandon the highly isolated outpost, but continuous attacks and the Tet Offensive from January 30 to January 31, 1968 strained the attempt at defense. Within two months over thirteen-hundred rounds of artillery had been fired upon the desperate Marine base and its surrounding outposts or “hills,” and bunkers were rebuilt to withstand an additional twenty-two millimeter of rounds more than the standard sixty-millimeter guarantee. With constant assault there was little opportunity for supply drop-offs, causality pick-ups, or relief transports, and water shortages always seemed imminent. The literally stranded, surrounded, and outnumbered soldiers would often gaze at a long-awaited helicopter attempting to reach an air strip only to see it shot down or the supplies land in dangerously unreachable ground. After several weeks of tense preparations and relative inactivity that was almost as nerve-wracking as the assails, the North Vietnam Army produced a colossal attack on Khe Sanh on March 22 with over one-thousand rounds at a minimum of one-hundred each hour. As American forces responded with bombs during ferocious night skirmishes, active patrolling to keep trench line penetration attempts at bay, and secure air support when feasible, home front Americans relived the trauma with daily newspaper articles and nightly television reports that intensified the belief in the fearful possibility of a Northern Vietnamese and Vietcong victory.
After seventy-seven days under full-scale siege at Khe Sanh, the American Forces were finally able to retake a strategically essential transportation path known as Route 9 to end the battle. Due to this newly safe passage, transportable American units were able to swarm the base by June 1968 and relieve the anxious soldiers from their defense station. After an apprehensive battle of attrition and sacrifice of life and nerves, United States General Westmoreland ordered the hard fought for base of Khe Sanh to not only be deserted but also destroyed. Although the siege at Khe Sanh would historically be remembered as an American victory with an outstanding ratio, from fifty Vietnamese deaths per one American death to seventy-five Vietnamese deaths per one American death the battle was not a complete American victory. In fact Khe Sanh only served as a military victory for America, but more significantly served as a psychosomatic victory for pro-communist Vietnamese forces. The statistics of American deaths were faulty as well, as eligibility of being termed “killed in action” at Khe Sanh required meeting very strict criteria. With many different operations taking place during the months of the siege, such as Operations VIRGINIA, PRAIRIE IV, CROCKETT, ARDMORE, KINGFISHER, SCOTLAND I, NIAGARA, PEGASUS, DELAWARE, and SCOTLAND II respectively, many deaths were able to be written off under different operations in order to keep the American causality numbers low and allow a victory for the United States to be declared thus keeping positive morale.
In all reality, the siege of Khe Sanh was the second deadliest Vietnam War battle, in terms of single actions, with two-hundred-five American deaths. Lasting from January 20, 1968 through April 14, 1968, the siege of Khe Sanh was also one of the longest Vietnam War battles. It also had a noteworthy effect on the morale of both the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong, and the stunning publicity gripped the American nation as they waited to see how the trapped Marines — Americans surrounded by enemies and unfathomable vegetation, under constant and devastating fire, unable to receive militaristic or emotional aid, and cut off from any socially endearing outside contact — would fare within their combat base of democracy amid a sea of communism.
No matter the spin history has placed upon the siege of Khe Sanh, the inability of the American military to break a siege for seventy-seven long and fateful days represented the future conclusion of a war in which the United States’ aid against communism was unwanted."
http://www.coldwar.org/articles/60s/SiegeofKheSanhduringVietnamWarJanuary211968.asp
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Capt Tom Brown
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From what I have read about this battle, the NVA used the same tactics they used on the French before and which eventually worked against the French. Unfortunately for the French, they had little to no CAS. Often wondered what would have happened to US if we were without our air and artillery support in RVN.
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SFC Joe S. Davis Jr., MSM, DSL
SFC Joe S. Davis Jr., MSM, DSL
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Capt Tom Brown it makes you wonder for real! Thank God for CAS!
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LTC Stephen Kubiszewski
LTC Stephen Kubiszewski
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Yes! Unfortunately!
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LTC Stephen Kubiszewski
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At Fort Bennington, we were repeated told to "seize the high ground and to hold it."
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