The Battle of Khe Sanh was a battle that took place in Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam located in South Vietnam, between January 21st and July 9th 1968 during the Vietnam War. The Battle of Khe Sanh was the longest, deadliest and most controversial battle of the Vietnam War, pitting the U.S. Marines and their allies against the North Vietnamese Army. In a war with unclear enemies and unconventional battle lines, body count and statistics became the tell-tale signs of victory.
The battle was fought at the Khe Sanh Combat Base (KSCB), formally a French outpost, was being used by the U.S. as a staging area for forward patrols and was a potential launch point for contemplated future operations to cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos. This Base was threatened when General Vo Nguyen Giap deployed the People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN) to overrun the village of Khe Sanh and opened fire on the base itself, hitting its main ammunition dump and detonating 1,500 tons of explosives. As a result, U.S. Marine Corps helicopter units, under the command of General William Westmoreland, were deployed around Khe Sanh to support operations by U.S. Special Forces and the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) in a campaign known as Operation Niagara. The Battle of Khe Sanh had begun.
During the battle that lasted 77 days, the KSCB and the hilltop outposts around it were under constant North Vietnamese ground, artillery, mortar, and rocket attacks; because of the incessant barrage Khe Sanh's Marine defenders pinned down in their trenches and bunkers. During the 66-day siege, U.S. planes, dropping 5,000 bombs daily, exploded the equivalent of five Hiroshima-sized atomic bombs in the area. The relief of Khe Sanh, known as Operation Pegasus, began in early April as U.S. Airmobile and a South Vietnamese battalion approached the base from the east and south, while the Marines pushed westward to re-open Route 9.
Almost simultaneously in Lang Vei, the Tet Offensive was...