Hamburger Hill

Closing Thought–12May20

It’s official designation is Hill 937…..or Ap Bia Mountain…….in the A Shau Valley……

51 years ago this week….the US forces faced the forces of the Army of North Vietnam…..a loss of 400 American soldiers and 600 for the NVA…..the battle was fought over 10 days in 1969.

This battle was a failure in more ways than not…..and helped turn the temperament of the nation against the war…..there was more to this battle than the entertainment of the movies….

Information on the Battle of Hamburger Hill during The Vietnam War, also known as Hill 937. The battle, which was fought on May 10-20, 1969 was a direct assault against a heavily defended and strategically insignificant hill, resulted in over 400 U.S. casualties and caused an outrage back home.

‘Don’t mean nothin’. That was the refrain of the powerful 1987 movie about the battle for Hamburger Hill, more correctly called Ap Bia Mountain or Hill 937. Many veterans of that May 1969 fight would no doubt agree, since the hill was abandoned to the enemy soon after it was taken. But the truth is that it was one of the most significant battles of the war, for it spelled the end of major American ground combat operations in Vietnam.

The Hamburger Hill battle had run afoul of a fundamental war-fighting equation. Master philosopher of war Karl von Clausewitz emphasized almost a century and a half earlier that because war is controlled by its political object, the value of this object must determine the sacrifices to be made for it both in magnitude and also in duration. He went on to say, Once the expenditure of effort exceeds the value of the political object, the object must be renounced. And that’s exactly what happened. The expenditure of effort at Hamburger Hill exceeded the value the American people attached to the war in Vietnam. The public had turned against the war a year and a half earlier, and it was their intense reaction to the cost of that battle in American lives, inflamed by sensationalist media reporting, that forced the Nixon administration to order the end of major tactical ground operations.

Battle Of Hamburger Hill During The Vietnam War

“When will we ever learn?”

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

4 thoughts on “Hamburger Hill

  1. I thought the film handled both sides well, showing the NVA as equally brave and desperate. Though I didn’t expect historical accuracy in two hours, I got a real sense of the futility of the mission, and the overall pointlessness of the war.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. I do not watch many Vietnam movies since I was a participant…..I would expect Hollywood to always put a spin on their work. chuq

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