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Khe Sanh

Discussion in 'Military History' started by GRW, Oct 13, 2010.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    This battle has always fascinated me. I remember watching the newsreels when I was a kid.
    "In the summer of 1967, American commanders learned of a build-up of People's Army of North Vietnam (PAVN) forces in the area around Khe Sanh in northwest South Vietnam. Responding to this, the Khe Sanh Combat Base (KSCB), located on a plateau in a valley of the same name, was reinforced by elements of the 26th Marine Regiment under Colonel David E. Lownds. Also, outposts on the surrounding hills were occupied by American forces. While KSCB possessed an air strip, its overland supply route was over the dilapidated Route 9 which led back the coast.

    That fall, a supply convoy was ambushed by PAVN forces on Route 9. This was the last overland attempt to resupply Khe Sanh until the following April. Through December, PAVN troops were spotted in the area, but there was little fighting. With the increase in enemy activity a decision was needed regarding whether to further reinforce Khe Sanh or abandon the position. Assessing the situation, General William Westmoreland elected to increase the troop levels at KSCB."
    http://militaryhistory.about.com/od/vietnamwar/p/khesanh.htm
    Makes you wonder why they bothered defending the firebase just to abandon it a few months later.
     
  2. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Just my opinion, but for once the NVA/VC finally decided to fight a pitched battle and Westmoreland was hoping to bring a decisive amount of firepower against them, thus finally achieving a solid victory over the NVA/VC.
     
  3. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    If you google: "Hill 881 South" "Hill 881 North" and "Hill 861" you'll find more that quite a few stories regarding the Battle of Khe Sanh.
     
  4. Falcon Jun

    Falcon Jun Ace

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    A good book regarding the series of fights in that area is "Night of the Silver Stars." It's about Lang Vei, one of the primary outposts protecting Marine base in that city and also chronicles the first use of armor by the North Vietnamese.
     
  5. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Thanks for the tips, chaps! :cool:
    I've always thought there were similarities with Dien Binh Phu; in both cases the troops could only be resupplied by air, yet the Americans didn't allow the VC to get the upper hand with anti-aircraft measures.
     
  6. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Actually the fighting started in the spring of 1967 (April) with the "Hill Fights". My dad fought in the first set. The fighting then moved to around Con Thien (Operation Buffalo). He was involved in that also. The book "Operation Buffalo" by Keith Nolan goes into great detail about the 1967 fights. "The End of the Line: The Seige of Khe Sanh" by Robert Pisor is also very good.

    My son, myself and my brother went up to VMI to see Col. Dabney get his Navy Cross back in 2005. (Btw, Dabney is married to Chesty Puller's daughter Virginia. She is a very attractive, elegant lady.) We stayed in the same hotel and when all the Khe Sanh vets found out we were Marines they invited us down to the hospitality room for drinks and sea stories. It was evident from the reverent way they spoke of Dabney that he was truly loved and respected by his men, even 37 years later. He is a very large man but was wheel chair bound because he was very ill (cancer I think they said). They had the Corps of Cadets parade in his honor, he was sitting there in his wheel chair, on oxygen, when the band passed playing the Marine Corps Hymn. He struggled and stood up at attention until they passed. I knew then he was a hell of a man. After the parade we went to Jackson Chapel for his award ceremony. There were probably 40 or so of his men there, several with Navy Crosses. He was presented the award then said a few words, praising his men and saying it was their award not his. He ended his speach and his wheel chair was being wheeled down the aisle when he stopped and said "one last time men, follow me!" They all broke down crying as they followed him out of the Chapel to the reception. We were crying also, it was a very moving moment. I've got a bunch of pictures from it.

    Here are a couple of links with more information for those interested.
    William H. Dabney

    Warriors of Hill 881South; 12-26-67 to 04-18-68

    Check out this roster, note the awards beside the names, beaucoup Navy Crosses and Silver Stars and even a Medal of Honor.
    Hill 881S Roster
     
  7. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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