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Video: 40 Years Ago - The Siege of Khe Sanh

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  • Video: 40 Years Ago - The Siege of Khe Sanh

    On 21 January 1968, one of the most famous battle of the Vietnam War began when 3 NVA Divisions besieged the Khe Sanh Combat Base held by the 26th Marines. Here's a 10 min clip taken from Dear America and dealing with Khe Sanh and Tet:

    Last edited by Boonierat; 21 Jan 08, 11:30.

  • #2
    I've seen enough of war and destruction. I'm scared by it, but not scared enough to quit. I'm a Marine and hope some day to be a good one
    A very nice quote from a Marine in the video.

    The interesting thing about Khe Sanh is it was originally established as a potential jumping off point for going into Laos to cut the Ho Chi Minh trail. General Walt didn't want to keep the base open, but Westmoreland kept the base open the whole time in hopes of getting permission to go into Laos. The permission never came.

    When finally the ARVN were finally given the go ahead to go into Laos for Lam Son 719, the first thing they did was re open Khe Sanh combat base.

    It would seem that both General Walt and General Westmoreland were right given their points of view, but both men were coming at the problem from different perspectives.

    General Giap has denied that the assault on Khe Sanh was anything more than a diversion from the real objectives of Tet, but I have read some very convincing arguments from several sources that say indeed that Giap had hoped to use Khe Sanh as another Dien Bien Phu. Have the Communists finally admitted this one yet?

    Given the ratio of NVA versus Marines, the amount of artillery used by the NVA, and the tactics, I think it seems obvious that they were going for a Dien Bien Phu type defeat at Khe Sanh.

    At Dien Bien Phu I have always thought that it would have been a great move for the French to wait until the Viet Minh build up was almost complete and then pull out. That would have been a great humiliation to Giap and morale killer for the Viet Minh. Unfortunately that did not happen.
    Last edited by Miss Saigon; 21 Jan 08, 12:02.

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    • #3
      Miss Saigon,

      Navarre needed DPB open to complete operatrion Atalante and Arethuse. It was a gamble, they gamble really much on the air force that was the weakest part of their forces (interestingly enough in the last days of the siege with real bomber officers coming from france and a real planning division they strarted to take an awesome toll on the baddies and drop mcuh more supplies than in the start of the battle notwitstanding the iron ring of flak). BTW there was some internal problems in the Vietminh leadership during the DPB campaign Giap was saved once again by Ho... (notice how until Ho was alive he was pretty much safe from every disaster... then after eastertide even if he wasn't the only proponent of the offensive he was the scapegoat).

      I agree that Giap was at khe sanh for the kill and instead got smashed... but Khe Sanh is still puzzling... maybe there were internal struggle on NVA leadership we are not yet able to discern... Prados and Stubbe have made a good case on Khe Sanh being puzzling...
      the real credit goes to the little ARVN soldier. He is just tremendous, just magnificent. He stood in there, took all that fire and gave it back. General James F. Hollingsworth USA.

      Bomben, Bomben, Bomben auf Hamasland!

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      • #4
        Love Dear America, one of my favorite documentaries, the scenes of Khe Sanh stick with me well.
        The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed. -Carl Jung

        Hell is other people. -Jean-Paul Sarte

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Arrigo View Post
          Miss Saigon,

          Navarre needed DPB open to complete operatrion Atalante and Arethuse. It was a gamble, they gamble really much on the air force that was the weakest part of their forces (interestingly enough in the last days of the siege with real bomber officers coming from france and a real planning division they strarted to take an awesome toll on the baddies and drop mcuh more supplies than in the start of the battle notwitstanding the iron ring of flak). BTW there was some internal problems in the Vietminh leadership during the DPB campaign Giap was saved once again by Ho... (notice how until Ho was alive he was pretty much safe from every disaster... then after eastertide even if he wasn't the only proponent of the offensive he was the scapegoat).

          ...
          I am not as up on the French fight against the Communists. You clearly are more knowledgeable than I about this. I need to read more for sure.

          But think about it. The Viet Minh went through great pains to get all that artillery there. Thousands toiled to do so. Can you imagine what it would have made the Viet Minh leadership look like if just when they got everything in place the French left?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Miss.Saigon View Post
            I am not as up on the French fight against the Communists. You clearly are more knowledgeable than I about this. I need to read more for sure.

            But think about it. The Viet Minh went through great pains to get all that artillery there. Thousands toiled to do so. Can you imagine what it would have made the Viet Minh leadership look like if just when they got everything in place the French left?
            mhmm that idea is surely tempting... it looks like a cartoon... and not bad as point of view...

            Giap: Ho we are in position for the attack

            Ho: yes but the french aren't here

            Giap: but there are their trenches

            Ho: yes but no french.

            Giap: ok... boys take these guns and move them back...

            Porters:

            Ok funny mode off...

            One thing that you haven't considered Miss Saigon is that capturing the camp even without a fight they could have said oh look the french are running... actually DBP wreaked the Viet Minh corps de bataille; in the last stage of the attack infantry was amde up of untrained peasants having exhausted the replacement pool created before the battles in numerical term DBP is a french victory... (and strategically it did what was supposed to do Arethuse and Atalante were successes) yet look at the public reaction...

            BTW a good reading about the french war is "The Last Valley" By Martin Windroow.
            Last edited by Arrigo; 22 Jan 08, 06:20.
            the real credit goes to the little ARVN soldier. He is just tremendous, just magnificent. He stood in there, took all that fire and gave it back. General James F. Hollingsworth USA.

            Bomben, Bomben, Bomben auf Hamasland!

            Comment


            • #7
              tag
              You called down the thunder, well now you've got it! You see that? It says United States Marshal! I see a red sash, I kill the man wearin' it! So run, tell all the other curs the law's comin'! You tell 'em I'M coming...and hell's coming with me.

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              • #8
                The strategy of a quick withdrawl from DBP sounds good, but I have my doubts if that could realistically been done. There was no way that aircraft could have gotten in for a large transport of people and they were surrounded and outmanned by the Viet Minh. They might have been able to withdraw like the US Marines did at the Chosen Reservoir, but I still have my reservations.

                I too have read and am under the impression that General Giap wanted to make Khe Sanh another DBP and that LBJ was scared to death of this happening which is why there was so much bombing, etc. General Giap and LBJ both knew if thousands of American GIs had been captured that America would have demanded an immediate withdrawl. Unfortunately rather than making the siege of Khe Sanh into a victory Walter Cronkite and his ilk made it seem that the NVA were winning simply because they could lob a lot of shells. The media never bothered to look at the loss of manpower and armaments the commies lost.
                "If you are right, then you are right even if everyone says you are wrong. If you are wrong then you are wrong even if everyone says you are right." William Penn.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Arrigo View Post
                  mhmm that idea is surely tempting... it looks like a cartoon... and not bad as point of view...
                  Ok. So no one likes my idea

                  actually DBP wreaked the Viet Minh corps de bataille; in the last stage of the attack infantry was amde up of untrained peasants having exhausted the replacement pool created before the battles in numerical term DBP is a french victory... (and strategically it did what was supposed to do Arethuse and Atalante were successes) yet look at the public reaction...
                  As was true with almost all of the battles fought by Giap. I have repeated this many times. The way he piled up the bodies of his own men he would have been sacked in any country with a representative government.

                  BTW a good reading about the french war is "The Last Valley" By Martin Windroow.
                  I have it in my library but have not gotten to it yet. Same with "Hell in a very small place"

                  Long war, so many books, so little time

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