Khe Sanh decisive battle at Dmz Vietnam was a symbol of strength and clever mind of the Vietnamese army and the public.
Strongly defended and subjectively relied on their own strength, the American could not understand the power of the public war and the strong mind of Vietnamese people for national liberation and independence.
Preparation for the fighting at Khe Sanh at DMZ Vietnam:
The central military commission decided to open fires in Khe Sanh to attract the attention of the American forces and South Vietnamese army here. This created for general offensive attack and uprising in the whole south of Vietnam. All units of regular forces to local soldiers and people of Quang Tri and Huong Hoa district actively responded and prepared for this decisive battle.
Although in years of “localization war”, American sprayed chemicals on four fifth area of the district and caused a terrible hunger for ethnic people, when hearing the situation and duty in spring-winter 1967 – 1968 appealed by the district party, people in all communes strongly sympathized, spontaneously contributed human and material resources to the campaign.
In the first mobilization, there were 3000 conscripted labor volunteers and besides the volunteers at a site, the district also mobilized 200 people and established an engineering company to open the way for the attack in Quang Tri and Hue.
Van Kieu and Pa Co ethnic minority people collected food to supply for the revolutionary army. Partly speaking in southern communes of Huong Hoa, people had to eat forest roots to reserve 200 tons of rice and 2 millions of cassava roots for the campaign.
Being a mountainous district with a population of 48,000 people including the old, children and women, its crop was devastated by American poisonous chemicals. Additionally, people had to live in a continuous hunger. But with a significant contribution in kinds and human resource for the campaign, people of Huong Hoa had shown their big sacrifice, expressed their deep patriotism and the strong determination.
Khe Sanh Battlefield:
Highway 9 – Khe Sanh battlefield was adjacent to the big rear of the socialist north of Vietnam. This was where people’s armed forces, especially regular troops had advantages in the mobile and direct attack the enemy. This was also a chance for Vietnamese soldiers (including technical units) to practice fighting and learning experience in training and in fighting actions.
When commanding post of American forces guessed the war would come to a turning point by a strategic decisive battle like Dien Bien Phu in Khe Sanh, the party of the North Vietnam had invented a new way of attack to “invalidate” the American, disperse their forces, give them big blow, discourage invasion thoughts, and lead them from one unexpectedness to another.
At the beginning of 1968, in highway 9 – Khe Sanh front, the American had 45,000 troops, of which 28,000 were American in 3 marine regiments, 9 artillery battalions, and 1 mechanic company. From liberation side, besides infield forces like infantry division 325; regiments 1, 2, 3 of infantry division 324; 3 artillery regiments; 2 anti-aircraft gun regiment; and local troops, the ministry of defense had moved here infantry divisions of 304 and 320; 2 artillery regiments; 1 anti-aircraft gun regiment, 5 commando companies; and especially 4 tank companies engaged in the battle for the first time. Concerning artillery power, the north soldiers pulled here 210 cannons and 9 rocket launching pads BM 14. Besides, there were hundreds of mortars 82-120mm and DKZ. This was the biggest encounter between our regular forces and the American crack regular troops.
You may like to check this: Tour to Battlefields in Vietnam
1968 War happened at Huong Hoa, Quang Tri:
On January 20, 1968, North Vietnam opened fire on Khe Sanh and quickly held Huong Hoa administrative unit as planned. At the same day, the North Soldiers attacked the heights of 845 and 950 in the northwest of Ta Con. They launched a siege to Lang Vay and Ta con.
Meantime, the liberation army moved troops to the east and held positions in Lam Xuan, Hoang Ha. The soldiers blocked the navigation from Cua Viet Seaport to Dong Ha.
From that moment, the liberation army looked for American to fight and destroyed a number of the enemy strongholds in Huong Hoa, Huoi San and Lang Vay. The liberation army controlled the heights of 832, 845 and950 around Khe Sanh Valley.
The liberation army occupied three positions of Huoi San, Lang Vay and Khe Sanh on the west side of Ta Con and controlled highway 9 from Lao Bao to Ka Lu to wring a siege to Ta Con. The American marines in Ta Con continuously and fiercely counter-attacked but failed. They had to hide in underground trenches, bunkers, kept calling for support and waited for reinforcement.
At the beginning of the siege, President Johnson had paid big attention and asked General Taylor to establish “a special situation room” right in the White House to follow up the situation in the battlefield. He requested the chief advisory council of joint forces to guarantee holding Khe Sanh at all costs, never let a “new Dien Bien Phu” happen.
Although suffered a big blow in the whole South of Vietnam, due to the strategic importance in both military and politics, the American commanding post had to send a great number of troops to Khe Sanh to lift the siege. (Quang Tri Management Board of relics and tourist sights)