Khe Sahn

The Battle of Khe Sahn was conducted in Khe Sahn Northwestern region of Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam ( South Vietnam ) between 21st January and 9th July 1968 during the Vietnam War. The belligerent parties were elements of the United States Military III Marine Amphibious Force ( III MAF ), 1st Cavalry Division, The US 7th Air Force, First Battalion 9th Marine Regiment, minor elements of the South Vietnamese Army ( ARVN ) against two to three division size elements of The People's Army of Vietnam , referred to as the North Vietnamese Army or NVA at the time under the military leadership of General Vo Nugyen Giap.

The American command in Saigon ( Ho Chi Minh City ) initially believed that combat operations around the Khe Sahn Combat Base during the summer of 1967 were just part of a series of North Vietnamese offensives in the border regions. That appraisal was altered when it was discovered that the NVA were moving major forces into the area during the autumn and winter. A build-up of US Marine Corps forces took place and actions around the Khe Sahn base took place when the Marine Base was isolated. During a series of desperate actions that lasted 5 months and 18 days, Khe Sahn Combat Base and the hilltop outposts around it were under constant North Vietnamese ground, artillery, mortar and rocket attacks.

The US Military Forces dropped over 100,000 tons of bombs ( equivalent destructive force to 5 Hiroshima Atomic bombs ) into the area of Khe Sahn . In March 1968 , Operation Pegasus deployed as an overland relief launch by combined US Army , Marines and Vietnamese Task Force that eventually broke through to the Marines at Khe Sahn. American commanders considered the defence of Khe Sahn a success and eventually the base was disbanded and dismantled under the new US commanding General who decided not to risk similar battles in the future. General Westmoreland came to the decision that the offensive was to distract forces from Khe Sahn.

Historians say that the offensive at Khe Sahn may have been to distract the Americans and GVN attention away from the build up and preparedness of the Viet Cong in the South in readiness for the 1968 Tet Offensive.

In June 1968 after the total dismantling and destruction of the Khe Sahn base, the NVA continued to shell the base by a smaller infantry unit and in July 1968 Ho Chi Minh sent a message to his soldiers of route-9 Khe Sahn Front affirming their victory at Khe Sahn. It was the first time in the war that the Americans abandoned s major combat base because of enemy pressure.

Xin Chao va Tam Biet