Early in 1968, the North Vietnamese began an artillery barrage that continued for several weeks of Khe Sanh Combat Base in the northwest corner of South Vietnam. Observers speculated that the siege might turn into ``another Dienbienphu,'' but the defenders pulled out in April after suffering heavy casualties, and only the most hard-headed student of the affair calls it anything but a Communist victory. The story of the thankless siege is told in this vivid oral history by nearly 100 articulate survivors, mostly U.S. Marines, who convey the frustration experienced by men trained for aggressive mobile warfare, forced for the most part to huddle inside a crowded perimeter. The siege of Khe Sanh was a bad scene all around, typified by the ambush/massacre on February 25 of a platoon-size Marine patrol just outside the perimeter and the refusal of higher command to intervene for fear the rescuers would be lost as well. Hammel is a military historian. Photos. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989 Release date: 04/01/1989 Genre: Nonfiction
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