[44] The North Vietnamese fought for several days, took casualties, and fell back. One battery was at a base codenamed “Rockpile” located about nine miles north-northwest of Khe Sanh, and the other three were based at Camp Carroll about thirteen miles northeast. This is a true account of the Khe Sahn Siege. "[127] NVA General Giap explained that their strategy was to create a diversion to draw U.S. forces away from the populated areas of South Vietnam. Lt. Crenshaw described one use of the artillery box. Later that afternoon, after a heavy U.S. artillery bombardment followed by the prolonged combat of a ground assault, the Marines finally dislodged the NVA soldiers from their bunkers. Though presented as a victory for American and South Vietnamese forces, the NVA did force a complete retreat of U.S. servicemen and materiel from the combat base of Khe Sanh afterwards. The beleaguered troops—substantially reinforced in response to Johnson's order to hold at all cost—lifted the siege in early April. 1st Lieutenant Fred McGrath remembered that near the end of February, “Colonel Lownds personally came to our position and thanked every Marine in the position for the superb fire support his regiment had received.” Lownds would later receive the Navy Cross for his role in the defense of Khe Sanh and accept for the 26th Marines the Presidential Unit Citation. On 22 March over 1,000 North Vietnamese rounds fell on the base, and, once again, the ammo dump was detonated. [98] As a result, 65 percent of all supplies were delivered by paradrops delivered by C-130 aircraft, the vast majority by the U.S. Air Force, whose crews had significantly more experience in airdrop tactics than Marine air crews. In early October, NVA intensified battalion-size ground probes and sustained artillery fire against Con Thien, a hilltop stronghold in the center of the Marine's defensive line south of the DMZ in northern Quang Tri Province. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS, 14 Jun 1968, Khe Sanh, South Vietnam --- A helicopter arrives at a hill near Khe Sanh to pick up those soldiers killed and wounded when a US fighter plane accidentally fired upon a US position during the Vietnam War. Once Hill 861 was secured, Mike Company of Wilder’s battalion moved up on Delong’s western flank from Khe Sanh. Hernandez was killed. On 27 October, a NVA regiment attacked an Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) battalion at Song Be, capital of Phuoc Long Province. He writes on military topics for history publications. Giles helped provide covering fire that enabled Spivey to withdraw. More rapid still was the micro Arc Light, which could be put into effect within ten minutes. For seven weeks, American aircraft delivered from 35,000 to 40,000 tons of bombs in nearly 4,000 airstrikes.[44]. NVA used a number of types of artillery including tube and rocket. The direct fire against targets of opportunity was used by Marine artillery on Khe Sanh. “After arriving at the top of Hill 861 we came under heavy enemy mortar attack,” Price said. [45] There, the presence of the 1st NVA Division prompted a 22-day battle that saw some of the most intense close-quarters fighting of the entire conflict. The fate of a USMC KC-130F of VMGR-152, provided a typical example of the difficulty in resupplying the firebase. Nonetheless, three of the four battalions of the 4th Infantry and the entire 173rd were rendered combat ineffective during the battle. Two days later, the first NVA trenches appeared, running due north to within 25 meters of the Combat Base perimeter. [108], On 30 March, Bravo Company, 26th Marines, launched an attack toward the location of the ambush that had claimed so many of their comrades on 25 February. For some unknown reason, the NVA troops did not press their advantage and eliminate the pocket. A few days after the siege had begun, Crenshaw, on night watch duty in the Charlie Battery command bunker had an opportunity to see the FADAC in action. The NVA hit them with automatic weapons fire from concealed bunkers and snipers in trees. | Owned by VeteranWebDesign LLC. [83] Westmoreland was so obsessed with the tactical situation that he threatened to resign if his wishes were not obeyed. The battalion was assaulted on the night of 23 January by three NVA battalions supported by seven tanks. It's really easy.' It tested American concepts of defense and demonstrated that good fire support could effectively neutralize a superior force.” —Major General David Ewing Ott, USA (US Army Vietnam Studies: Field Artillery 1954-1973). Five NVA were known dead. On that day, General Tolson ordered his unit to immediately make preparations for Operation Delaware, an air assault into the A Shau Valley. The Marines then went back and recovered two of the bodies. "It doesn't follow any of those rules, it has no chorus. Naval aircrews, many of whom were redirected from Operation Rolling Thunder strikes against North Vietnam, flew 5,337 sorties and dropped 7,941 tons of ordnance in the area. For them there appeared to be no logic behind the sustained NVA/NLF offensives, other than to inflict casualties on the allied forces. Experience LIFE's visual record of the 20th century by exploring the most iconic photographs from one of the most famous private photo collections in the world. To counter the expected NVA assault, the III Marine Amphibious Force headquarters at Da Nang sent elements of 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, to Khe Sanh on April 25. Khe Sanh would be relieved and then used as the jump-off point for a "hot pursuit" of enemy forces into Laos. [120] The 11th Engineers proclaimed Route 9 open to traffic on 11 April. First there had been Operation. When NVA commanders of the lead assault units attempted to call in support or reinforcements for an effective schwerpunkt, they discovered that their reserves were already under heavy combined arms attack. Simultaneous with the artillery bombardment at KSCB was an attack launched against the village of Khe Sanh, seat of Huong Hoa District. Spivey’s entire command dug in for the night. [91] It was not until 15:00 hours that the relief effort was launched and it was successful. The border battles did, however, have two significant consequences that were unappreciated at the time—they fixed the attention of the American command on the border regions and they drew American and ARVN forces away from the coastal lowlands and cities, in preparation for the Tet Offensive. The siege began on 20 January when a patrol between hills 881 North, held by the NVA, and 881 South, held by the Marines, led by Captain William Dabney made contact with elements of the NVA. NVA, however, was not through with the ARVN troops. They found 11 enemy dead from the gun battles and airstrikes. There had not been much activity (with the exception of patrolling) thus far during the battle for the Green Berets of Detachment A-101 and their four companies of Bru CIDGs stationed at Lang Vei. Trails crossing the hills and low mountains were covered by jungle canopy up to 60 feet tall, while lower paths were hidden by dense elephant grass and bamboo thickets. 239–240. Regardless, on 1 April, Operation Pegasus began. On 13 July 1968, Ho Chi Minh sent a message to the soldiers of the Route 9-Khe Sanh Front affirming "our victory at Khe Sanh.

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