Khe Sanh–1968

One of the more notable battles of the Vietnam War is Khe Sanh….there have been documentary after film about this battle….but since that was  50 years ago maybe some do not know what I am talking about…..

The U.S. military presence at Khe Sanh began in 1962, when Army Special Forces built a small camp near the village, located some 14 miles south of the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between North and South Vietnam and 6 miles from the Laotian border on Route 9, the principal road from South Vietnam into Laos.

U.S. Marines built a garrison adjacent to the Army camp in 1966. In the fall of 1967, the People’s Army of North Vietnam (PAVN) began to build up its strength in the region, and U.S. officials began to suspect that Khe Sanh would be the target of an attack.

This short video that lets you get a grip on the action taking place….

I bring this to your attention after reading a declassified document about those days …..

The top commander of U.S. military forces in Vietnam readied nuclear weapons for use on the battlefield in the early months of the brutal 1968 battle at Khe Sanh, according to recently declassified documents obtained by the New York Times.

It is so sad that a nuke is their first response to the battle….did anyone consider the American troops in line with that possible nuke strike?

So sad that a nuke was even an option.

War, as French leader Georges Clemenceau famously said, is too important to be left to generals. Generals often see the battlefield in narrow terms, seeking victory at any price, if only to avoid the stain of defeat.

But what price victory if the world ends as a result?

8 thoughts on “Khe Sanh–1968

  1. Well, one would think they were considering the use of tactical battlefield nuke weapons.. that have localized yield. One of the dangers that were revealed about the Cuban Missile Crisis that had there actually been an American invasion of Cuba the Russians were NOT in control of using tactical battlefield nukes against the invading troops.. but it was up to the local Cuban military commanders who had possession of them. The point being is that these weapons, generally artillery fired, are not regionally devastating but more locally surgical. I would guess that with Khe Sanh they would have lobbed a few rounds or from a local missile launch into the surrounding hills miles away.

    In any event… the strategy surrounding Khe Sanh (and all of Vietnam for that matter) was idiotic. I think they held out for something like 30 days, and when the shooting stopped it took a few weeks for us to abandon the base and bulldoze it out of existence. Guys died all for holding a piece of questionable land, by stubborn commanders with faulty strategy, for pure politics.

      1. I am not aware that the command decision would include using a nuke in close quarters to American defensive positions. BUT…. stupidity was common in that war. I was under the impression that the early stages of that engagement was essentially an artillery duel, infantry assault coming later.

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