History of War

SIEGE OF KHE SANH

hisofwaruk1802_article_070_01_01
hisofwaruk1802_article_070_01_02

“JOHNSON REQUIRED THE MEMBERS OF THE JCS TO SIGN A PLEDGE THAT THEY WOULD NOT ALLOW KHE SANH COMBAT BASE TO FALL TO THE ENEMY”

QUANG TRI PROVINCE, SOUTH VIETNAM 21 JANUARY – 8 APRIL 1968

North Vietnamese artillery and mortar shells exploded atop American-held Hill 64 slightly north of Khe Sanh Combat Base in the predawn darkness of 8 February 1968. Communist sappers shoved Bangalore torpedoes through the triple concertina wire on the outpost’s perimeter and unrolled spools of canvas over the wire so that the assault troops could breach the perimeter. Khaki-uniformed troops armed with AK-47 assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and satchel charges streamed into the compound.

The 65 marines of Alpha Company of the First Battalion, Ninth Marine Regiment reeled under the shock of the attack. Some of the marines fought from the protection of the trenches and bunkers, while others climbed out of the trenches and charged at the invaders to stop them from reaching the heavy weapons and bunkers. The marines fired M16 assault rifles and M60 machine guns, as well as M79 grenade launchers and one-shot disposable rocket launchers in an effort to check the enemy onslaught.

As the fighting grew in intensity, the shouts and screams of the combatants were drowned out by the roar of incoming artillery shells fired from American and North Vietnamese mortars and howitzers, as each side brought supporting fire to bear on the contested hill. After 90 minutes of fighting, the NVA had captured most of the compound, except for the trenches on the southern side of the stronghold. The Communists broke off their attack at dawn. A Marine Corps relief column backed by a section of M48 tanks arrived after daybreak to mop up any remaining resistance.

The fight for Hill 64 was typical of the savage, limited attacks that the NVA made against the Marine Corps units garrisoning Khe Sanh Combat

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from History of War

History of War1 min read
War In Focus
German War Minister and Commander-in-Chief, Field Marshall Werner von Blomberg, inspects British tanks during a visit to the Royal Tank Corps at Bovington Camp, Dorset, England. The following year Blomberg was ousted from power by his rivals in high
History of War1 min read
Life On “Formy”
An Illustrious-class, 23,000-ton, aircraft carrier, Formidable was commissioned in November 1940. Measuring 740 feet long with a top speed of 31 knots, the ship was protected by a thick steel flight deck and could carry 36 aircraft. Nicknamed “Formy”
History of War1 min read
Turnover Tank
This toy was made by Louis Marx and Company Limited in 1931. Louis Marx was initially established in New York in 1919 but production began in Dudley, Worcestershire in 1931. This particular tinplate, clockwork model was based on a World War I armoure