Battle of Khe Sanh Facts

Battle of Khe Sanh Facts
The Battle of Khe Sanh was a major battle in the Vietnam War between the American forces - primarily led by the Marines with some support from the Army, Air Force, and South Vietnamese Army (ARVN) - and the North Vietnamese Army (NVA). The battle took place from January 21, 1968 to July 9, 1968 in the Khe Sanh region of South Vietnam near the South Vietnam-North Vietnam border. Khe Sanh was a Marine base that was used to patrol the demilitarized area between the North and South, so when it was attacked and sieged by the NVA, the Americans did everything they could to supply the Marines via air and ground. The NVA attack on Khe Sanh coincided with the Tet Offensive, which many in the American military believed was done to distract from the NVA attack on Khe Sanh. Through the use of superior air power, the Americans were able to life the siege of Khe Sanh. The results of the battle were mixed. The Americans won a tactical victory by lifting the siege, but they then abandoned the camp and ceded territory to the NVA, thereby giving the North Vietnamese a strategic victory.
Interesting Battle of Khe Sanh Facts:
The base was originally built in 1962 as an Army Special Forces base before the Marines turned it into one of their camps. Khe Sahn had strategic importance for the Americans and South Vietnamese because it was close to the border with North Vietnam and Laos, which was also fighting a communist insurgency.
The NVA was known officially as the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN).
It remains unknown if the NVA ever intended or believed they could take the base outright. More than 6,000 Marines were camped at the base, which would have made it extremely difficult for the NVA to take it.
The NVA strategy at Khe Sahn was simple: surround the camp on the many hills, using them for sniper, mortar, rocket, and blitz type attacks.
The base was reinforced through the siege by Bell UH-1 Iroquois helicopters, more commonly known as "Hueys."
General William Westmoreland, the Chief of Staff of the United States Army at the time considered the use of tactical nuclear weapons, but was ruled due to the terrain, not geo-political considerations.
The U.S. Air Force aerial bombings in support of the Marines at Khe Sahn was known as "Operation Niagara."
The base had an airstrip, which allowed some supplies to come in that way. Other supplies were parachuted in from low altitude by helicopters.
The Marines counterattacked against the NVA in what was known as "Operation Scotland," "Operation Pegasus," and "Operation Scotland II."
The evacuation of the camp was known as "Operation Charlie." Since the Americans realized that that the NVA would more than likely move into the base once they left it, they had to destroy anything of value.
Although some military minds believed that the Tet Offensive was done to pull American forces from Khe Sahn, Vietnamese commander later said it was the other way around. Since 30,000 Americans troops were needed to lift the siege of Khe Sahn, the Vietnamese assessment seems true.


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