Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone
The Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone was a demilitarized zone established as a dividing line between North and South Vietnam as a result of the First Indochina War. During the Vietnam War, it became important as the battleground demarcation separating North from South Vietnamese territories; the zone ceased to exist with the reunification of Vietnam, though the area remains dangerous due to the numerous undetonated explosives it contains. The Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone ran from east-west near the center of present-day Vietnam and was a couple of kilometers wide, about a hundred kilometers north of the city of Huế, it ran along the Ben Hai River for much of its length, an island nearby was controlled by North Vietnamese forces during the Vietnam War. Although it was nominally described as being at "the 17th parallel," all of the zone lies to the south of the parallel, with only a small portion of the zone near the eastern end including the parallel; the First Indochina War was fought in French Indochina from 1946 through 1954 between France and the French-controlled State of Vietnam on the one side, the Communist-dominated independence movement, the Viet Minh, on the other.
The Viet Minh won the war, gaining effective control of all northern Vietnam except an enclave around Hanoi. In 1954, France gave up its control of Vietnam, the Viet Minh was recognized as the government of northern Vietnam; the post-colonial conditions of Vietnam were set at the Geneva Conference of 1954. The Geneva agreement reflected the military results at that time; the northern part of Vietnam, entirely controlled by the Viet Minh became the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, under Communist leader Ho Chi Minh. The southern part of Vietnam, where the Viet Minh controlled small and remote areas, became the independent State of Vietnam under Bảo Đại, the last scion of the old Vietnamese imperial house; the State of Vietnam became the Republic of Vietnam. The boundary between these two zones was established at the Ben Hai River, which enters the South China Sea at 17 degrees 0 minutes 54 seconds N latitude; the boundary followed the Ben Hai to its headwaters, about 55 km WSW, thence to the Laotian border.
The area within 5 km on either side of the border was declared to be a demilitarized zone. Troops of both governments were barred from this area. 3rd Marine Division intelligence estimated the combat strength of NVA and VC forces in the DMZ area in January 1968 was 40,943 troops. Exploring the Demilitarized Zone can today be comfortably achieved by joining one of various organised tours starting daily from Hué. Together with a local guide the most famous war settings, as Khe Sanh Combat Base, The Rockpile, Ho-Chi-Minh-Trail, Doc-Mieu-Station or the Vinh Moc tunnels are visited on a full-day trip. Although the Vietnam War ended decades ago, walking outside marked tracks can still be dangerous because of numerous unexploded ordnance devices. McNamara Line Ben Hai River Hien Luong Bridge First Indochina War Vietnam War Demilitarized zone Vinh Moc tunnels The Rockpile Khe Sanh Combat Base Hué Clear Path International: An American NGO assisting victims of bombs and landmines left over from the Vietnam War in Central Vietnam 1st Searchlight Battery Archive.org: Blurry Travel Guide to the DMZ — with photos.
Honan.ne: Photos of DMZ Washington Post map of the DMZ
Army of the Republic of Vietnam
The Army of the Republic of Vietnam known as the South Vietnamese army, were the ground forces of the South Vietnamese military from its inception in 1955 until the Fall of Saigon in 1975. It is estimated to have suffered 1,394,000 casualties during the Vietnam War; the ARVN began as a post-colonial army trained and affiliated with the United States and had engaged in conflict since its inception. Several dramatic changes occurred throughout its lifetime from a'blocking-force' to a more modern conventional force using helicopter deployment in combat. During the U. S. intervention, the role of the ARVN was marginalised to a defensive role with an incomplete modernisation, transformed again most notably following Vietnamization as it was up-geared and reconstructed to fulfil the role of the departing U. S. forces. By 1974, it had become much more effective with foremost counterinsurgency expert and Nixon adviser Robert Thompson noting that Regular Forces were well-trained and second only to U. S. and IDF forces in the free world and with General Creighton Abrams remarking that 70% of units were on par with the U.
S. Army. However, the withdrawal of American forces through Vietnamization meant the armed forces could not fulfil all the aims of the program and had become dependent on U. S. equipment, given it was meant to fulfill the departing role of the United States. At its peak, an estimated 1 in 9 citizens of South Vietnam were enlisted and it had become the fourth-largest army in the world composed of Regular Forces and more voluntary Regional Militias and Village-level militias. Unique in serving a dual military-civilian administrative purpose in direct competition with the Viet Cong political and armed wing, the PLAF; the ARVN had in addition became a component of political power and notably suffered from continual issues of political loyalty appointments, corruption in leadership, factional in-fighting and occasional open conflict between itself. After the fall of Saigon to the North Vietnamese army, the ARVN was dissolved. While some high-ranking officers had fled the country to the United States or elsewhere, thousands of former ARVN officers were sent to reeducation camps by the communist government of the new, unified Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
Five ARVN generals commit suicide on Black April to avoid captured by PAVN/VC. On March 8, 1949, after the Élysée Accords the State of Vietnam was recognized by France as an independent country ruled by the Vietnamese Emperor Bảo Đại, the Vietnamese National Army was soon created; the VNA fought in joint operations with the French Union's French Far East Expeditionary Corps against the Viet Minh forces led by Ho Chi Minh. The VNA fought in a wide range of campaigns including but not limited to the Battle of Nà Sản, Operation Atlas and the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. Benefiting from French assistance, the VNA became a modern army modelled after the Expeditionary Corps, it included infantry, signals, armored cavalry, airforce, navy and a national military academy. By 1953 troopers as well as officers were all Vietnamese, the latter having been trained in Ecoles des Cadres such as Da Lat, including Chief of Staff General Nguyễn Văn Hinh, a French Union airforce veteran. After the 1954 Geneva agreements, French Indochina ceased to exist and by 1956 all French Union troops had withdrawn from Vietnam and Cambodia.
In 1955, by the order of Prime Minister Diệm, the VNA crushed the armed forces of the Bình Xuyên. On October 26, 1955, the military was reorganized by the administration of President Ngô Đình Diệm who formally established the Army of the Republic of Vietnam on December 30, 1955; the air force was known as the Vietnamese Air Force. Early on, the focus of the army was the guerrilla fighters of the Vietnam National Liberation Front, formed to oppose the Diệm administration; the United States, under President John F. Kennedy sent advisors and a great deal of financial support to aid the ARVN in combating the insurgents. A major campaign, developed by Ngô Đình Nhu and resurrected under another name was the "Strategic Hamlet Program", regarded as unsuccessful by Western media because it was "inhumane" to move villagers from the countryside to fortified villages. ARVN leaders and President Diệm were criticized by the foreign press when the troops were used to crush armed anti-government religious groups like the Cao Đài and Hòa Hảo as well as to raid Buddhist temples, which according to Diệm, were harboring NLF guerrillas.
The most notorious of these attacks occurred on the night of August 21, 1963, during the Xá Lợi Pagoda raids conducted by the Special Forces, which caused a death toll estimated to range into the hundreds. In 1963 Ngô Đình Diệm was killed in a coup d'état carried out by ARVN officers and encouraged by American officials such as Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. In the confusion that followed, General Dương Văn Minh took control, but he was only the first in a succession of ARVN generals to assume the presidency of South Vietnam. During these years, the United States began taking more control of the war against the NLF and the role of the ARVN became less and less significant, they were plagued by continuing problems of severe corruption amongst the officer corps. Although the US was critical of the ARVN, it continued to be US-armed and funded. Although the American news media has portrayed the Vietnam War as a American and North Vietnamese conflict, the ARVN carried the brunt of the fight before and after large-scale American involvement, participated in many major operations with American troops.
Hue–Da Nang Campaign
The Hue–Da Nang Campaign was a series of military actions conducted by the People's Army of Vietnam against the Army of the Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam War known in Vietnam as the American War. The campaign was centred on the cities of Huế and Da Nang, with secondary fronts in the provinces of Quảng Trị and Quảng Ngãi; the campaign began on March 5 and concluded on April 2, 1975. During the spring season of 1975, the PAVN High Command in Hanoi made the decision to seize the major South Vietnamese cities of Huế and Da Nang, destroy the various South Vietnamese units in I Corps Tactical Zone, led by ARVN General Ngô Quang Trưởng; the campaign was planned to take place over two phases. However, as the North Vietnamese forces rolled over South Vietnamese defences on the outskirts of Huế and Da Nang, President Nguyễn Văn Thiệu ordered General Trưởng to abandon all territories under his control, pull his forces back to the coastal areas of I Corps; the South Vietnamese withdrawal turned into a rout, as the PAVN 2nd Army Corps picked off one South Vietnamese unit after another, until Huế and Da Nang were surrounded.
By March 29, 1975, PAVN troops had full control of Huế and Da Nang, while South Vietnam lost all territories and most of the units belonging to I Corps. The fall of Huế and Da Nang did not spell the end of the misery suffered by the ARVN. On March 31, ARVN General Phạm Văn Phú—commander of II Corps Tactical Zone—attempted to form a new defensive line from Qui Nhơn to cover the retreat of the ARVN 22nd Infantry Division, but they too were destroyed by the PAVN. By April 2, South Vietnam had lost control of the northern provinces, as well as two army corps. During the Huế–Da Nang Campaign of 1975, North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces were organised into three formations; the 2nd Corps fielded three infantry divisions, the 673rd Air-Defence Division, the 164th Artillery Brigade, the 203rd Armoured Regiment, the 219th Combat Engineers Brigade, the 463rd Communications Regiment. The 2nd Corps was led by Major-General Nguyễn Hữu An, with Major-General Le Linh as Political Commissar. Colonel Hoang Dan was the deputy commander, Colonel Nguyen Cong Trang was the deputy political commissar.
Led by Brigadier-General Lê Tự Đồng, the Tri Thien Military Zone had three infantry regiments, two battalions. Military Region 5 had one infantry division, supported by the 141st Regiment, the 52nd Independent Brigade, two artillery regiments, two local battalions, two local regiments. North Vietnamese and Viet Cong units of Military Region 5 were placed under the responsibility of Major-General Chu Huy Mân, with Vo Chi Cong as political commissar. On February 21, 1975, PAVN field commanders from Tri-Thien Military Zone and the 2nd Army Corps held a conference to establish their objectives, which were planned to occur in two phases; the PAVN objective was to take control of Quảng Trị Province, isolate the city of Huế and, if the opportunity presented itself, capture the entire Tri Thien-Huế area. To isolate Huế, the PAVN 2nd Army Corps would move against their target from the north-west direction along Route 12 down to the south-west along Highway 14, thereby isolating the region from South Vietnamese forces in II Corps Tactical Zone.
In preparation for the Huế–Da Nang Campaign, the PAVN 2nd Army Corps had captured several important base areas that surrounded South Vietnamese units in Quảng Trị Province and Thừa Thiên Province. Those areas included Đông Hà–Ái Tử to the north, Khe Sanh-Ba Long to the west, A Lưới-Nam Dong in southern Huế; the main body of the 304th Division and the 3rd Regiment, 324th Division, had assembled in Nong Son and Thường Đức to attack Da Nang from the west. In Military Region 5, the 2nd Division had established its positions in Tiên Phước, Tra My and Trà Bồng in Quảng Ngãi Province, Đắk Tô and Tân Cảnh in Kon Tum Province. Once Huế had been isolated, Military Region 5 Command would initiate the Nam-Ngai Campaign from the provinces of Quảng Tin and Quảng Ngãi, to isolate Da Nang from the Central Highlands. PAVN units such as the 2nd Division, the 141st Regiment, the 52nd Brigade, along with two artillery regiments would coordinate their efforts with the VC 94th and 96th Local Force Regiments, the 70th and 72nd Local Force Battalions.
As part of their overall objective, they would tie down the ARVN 2nd Division, the 11th Armoured Squadron and the 912th Regional Force Company in Quảng Ngãi Province, and, if the opportunity arose, they would capture Bình Định Province and the city of Qui Nhơn. In the final phase of their operation, the PAVN and VC would cut off Da Nang from the surrounding regions which made up I Corps Tactical Zone, prevent reinforcements from retaking the city. Depending on the situation, the PAVN would organize an attack to capture the major South Vietnamese army and air force installations in the city. South Vietnamese military forces in Huế and Da Nang belonged to the ARVN I Corps Tactical Zone. Commanded by Lieutenant General Ngô Quang Trưởng, the South Vietnamese I Corps was considered to be the strongest amongst all the military formations of South Vietnam, it had three infantry divisions (1st
Laos the Lao People's Democratic Republic referred to by its colloquial name of Muang Lao, is a socialist state and the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia. Located at the heart of the Indochinese peninsula, Laos is bordered by Myanmar and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the southwest, Thailand to the west and southwest. Present-day Laos traces its historic and cultural identity to the kingdom of Lan Xang Hom Khao, which existed for four centuries as one of the largest kingdoms in Southeast Asia. Due to Lan Xang's central geographical location in Southeast Asia, the kingdom became a popular hub for overland trade, becoming wealthy economically as well as culturally. After a period of internal conflict, Lan Xang broke off into three separate kingdoms—Luang Phrabang and Champasak. In 1893, it became a French protectorate, with the three territories uniting to form what is now known as the country of Laos, it gained independence in 1945 after Japanese occupation, but was recolonised by France until it won autonomy in 1949.
Laos became independent with a constitutional monarchy under Sisavang Vong. Shortly after independence, a long civil war began, which saw the communist resistance, supported by the Soviet Union, fight against, the monarchy and a number of military dictatorships, supported by the United States. After the Vietnam War ended in 1975, the Communist Pathet Lao movement came to power, seeing the end to the civil war. During the first years of Communist rule, Laos was dependent on military and economic aid supported by the Soviet Union until its dissolution in 1991. In 2018, the country had the fourth highest GDP per capita in Indochina, after Singapore and Thailand. In the same year, the country ranked 139th on the Human Development Index, indicating medium development. Laos is a member of the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, East Asia Summit and La Francophonie. Laos applied for membership of the World Trade Organization in 1997, it is a one-party socialist republic espousing Marxism–Leninism governed by the Lao People's Revolutionary Party.
The capital and largest city is Vientiane. Other major cities include Luang Prabang and Pakse; the official language is Lao. Laos is a multi-ethnic country, with the politically and culturally dominant Lao people making up about 55 percent of the population in the lowlands. Mon-Khmer groups, the Hmong and other indigenous hill tribes, accounting for 45 percent of the population, live in the foothills and mountains. Laos's strategies for development are based on generating electricity from its rivers and selling the power to its neighbours, namely Thailand and Vietnam, as well as its initiative to become a "land-linked" nation, shown by the construction of four new railways connecting Laos to its neighbours. Laos has been referred to as one of East Asia and Pacific's Fastest Growing Economies by the World Bank, with annual GDP growth averaging 7.8% for the past decade. The English word Laos was coined by the French, who united the three Lao kingdoms in French Indochina in 1893 and named the country as the plural of the dominant and most common ethnic group, which are the Lao people.
In the Lao language, the country's name is "Muang Lao" or "Pathet Lao", both mean "Lao Country". An ancient human skull was recovered from the Tam Pa Ling Cave in the Annamite Mountains in northern Laos. Stone artifacts including Hoabinhian types have been found at sites dating to the Late Pleistocene in northern Laos. Archaeological evidence suggests agriculturist society developed during the 4th millennium BC. Burial jars and other kinds of sepulchers suggest a complex society in which bronze objects appeared around 1500 BC, iron tools were known from 700 BC; the proto-historic period is characterised by contact with Indian civilisations. According to linguistic and other historical evidence, Tai-speaking tribes migrated southwestward to the modern territories of Laos and Thailand from Guangxi sometime between the 8th–10th centuries. Laos traces its history to the kingdom of Lan Xang, founded in the 14th century by a Lao prince Fa Ngum, with 10,000 Khmer troops, took over Vientiane. Ngum was descended from a long line of Lao kings.
He made Theravada Buddhism Lan Xang prospered. Within 20 years of its formation, the kingdom expanded eastward to Champa and along the Annamite mountains in Vietnam, his ministers, unable to tolerate his ruthlessness, forced him into exile to the present-day Thai province of Nan in 1373, where he died. Fa Ngum's eldest son, Oun Heuan, ascended to the throne under the name Samsenthai and reigned for 43 years. Lan Xang became an important trade centre during Samsenthai's reign, but after his death in 1421 it collapsed into warring factions for 100 years. In 1520, Photisarath came to the throne and moved the capital from Luang Prabang to Vientiane to avoid a Burmese invasion. Setthathirat became king in 1548, after his father was killed, ordered the construction of what became the symbol of Laos, That Luang. Setthathirat disappeared in the mountains on his way back from a military expedition into Cambodia and Lan Xang began to decline, it was not until 1637, when Sou
The Annamite Range or the Annamese Mountains is a mountain range of eastern Indochina. It extends 1,100 km through Laos, a small area in northeast Cambodia; the mountain range is referred to variously as Annamese Range, Annamese Mountains, Annamese Cordillera, Annamite Mountains and Annamite Cordillera. The highest points of the range are 2,819 m high Phou Bia, 2,720 m high Phu Xai Lai Leng and Ngọc Linh, 2,598 m; the latter is located in central Vietnam. Important passes are the Mụ Giạ Pass; the Annamite Range runs parallel to the Vietnamese coast, in a gentle curve which divides the basin of the Mekong River from Vietnam's narrow coastal plain along the South China Sea. Most of the crests are on the Laotian side; the eastern slope of the range rises steeply from the plain, drained by numerous short rivers. The western slope is more gentle, forming significant plateaus before descending to the banks of the Mekong; the range itself has three main plateaus, from north to south: Phouane Plateau, Nakai Plateau and Bolaven Plateau.
Laos lies within the Mekong basin, west of the divide, although most of Houaphan Province and a portion of Xiangkhoang Province lie east of the divide. Most of Vietnam lies east of the divide, although Vietnam's Tây Nguyên region lies west of the divide, in the Mekong basin. "An-nam" means in Chinese "to pacify the south", referring to the region's location relative to China. The Annamite mountains now form an important tropical seasonal forest global ecoregion, the Annamite Range Moist Forests Ecoregion, which consists of two terrestrial ecoregions, the Southern Annamites montane forests and the Northern Annamites moist forests; the range is home to rare creatures such as the discovered Annamite rabbit and the antelope-like saola, the Douc langur, the large gaur, the Chinese pangolin and the Indochinese tiger. Most of the highlands like the Annamite Range and the Central Highlands were populated by ethnic minorities who were not Vietnamese during the 20th century's start; the demographics were drastically transformed with the mass colonization of 6 million settlers from 1976 to the 1990s, which led to ethnic Vietnamese Kinh outnumbering the native ethnic groups in the highlands.
List of Ultras of Southeast Asia BBC In Pictures: Uncovering Viet Nam's secret wildlife Cat Tien National Park Paleoanthropology in mainland Southeast Asia.
Vũng Tàu is the largest city and former capital of Bà Rịa–Vũng Tàu Province in Vietnam. The city area is 140 square kilometres, consists of thirteen urban wards and one commune of Long Son Islet. Vũng Tàu was the capital of the province until it was replaced by the much smaller Bà Rịa city on 2 May 2012; the city is the crude oil extraction center of Vietnam. 16 wards: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Thắng Nhất, Thắng Nhì, Thắng Tam, Nguyễn An Ninh, Rạch Dừa and 1 commune: Long Sơn. During 14th and 15th centuries, the cape that would become Vũng Tàu was a swamp which European trading ships visited regularly; the ships' activities inspired the name Vũng Tàu, which means "anchorage". The French Indochinese government named it Cap Saint-Jacques; the cliff of Vũng Tàu is now called Mui Nghinh Phong. Vũng Tàu was referred to as Tam Thắng in memory of the first three villages in this area: Thắng Nhất, Thắng Nhị, Thắng Tam, within the province of Biên Hòa under the Nguyễn Dynasty. Under the reign of king Gia Long, when Malay pirates built a base here and subsequently became a danger to traders in Gia Định city, the king sent his army to crack down on the pirates.
The pirates were ousted and the troops were given the land as a reward. 10 February 1859 marked the first use of cannons by Nguyễn's army, when they fired at French battleships from the fortress of Phước Thắng, located 100m from Vũng Tàu's Front Beach. This marked an important period in Vietnam's war against French invaders in South Vietnam. In 1876, according to a decree by the French government, Vũng Tàu was merged in Bà Rịa county per Saigon's administration. During the 1880s there were talks about moving Saigon's port facilities to Vũng Tàu, but this came to nothing due to Saigon's better infrastructure. On 1 May 1895, the governor of Cochinchina established by decree that Cap Saint Jacques would thereafter be an autonomous town. In 1898, Cap Saint Jacques was merged with Bà Rịa county once again, but re-divided in 1899. In 1901, the population of Vũng Tàu was 5,690, of which 2,000 persons were immigrants from North Vietnam. Most of the town's population made their living in the dancing industry.
On 4 April 1905, Cap Saint Jacques was made an administrative district of Bà Rịa province. In 1929, Cap Saint Jacques became a province, in 1934 became a city; the French governor of Indochina, Paul Doumer, built a mansion in Vũng Tàu, still a prominent landmark. During the Vietnam War, the 1st Australian Logistics Support Group was headquartered in Vũng Tàu – as were various United States military units at different times. Vũng Tàu became popular for R&R, amongst in-country US, Australian and New Zealand personnel. After the war, Vũng Tàu was a common launching place for the "Vietnamese boat people" fleeing the communists. On 30 May 1979, Vũng Tàu town was made the capital of Vũng Tàu-Côn Đảo Special Administrative Zone. On 12 August 1991, Bà Rịa–Vũng Tàu Province was founded and Vũng Tàu town became Vũng Tàu City; the city is located in the south of Vietnam, situated at the tip of a small peninsula. It has traditionally been a significant port during Vietnam's period of French rule. Today, the city's importance as a shipping port has diminished, but it still plays a significant role in Vietnam's offshore oil industry.
Vũng Tàu is the only petroleum base of Vietnam where crude oil and natural gas exploitation activities dominate the city's economy and contribute principal income to Vietnam's budget and export volume. Vũng Tàu shipyard's reconstruction is scheduled to be completed in 2008, supplied with up-to-date anchor handling supply vessels of Aker. PEB Steel operates several factories in Vũng Tàu, for constructing steel buildings to be erected around Asia. Vũng Tàu has extensive beaches, including Front Beach. A big resort project has just been licensed by the Saigon Atlantis. Upon completion, this entertainment project worth US$300 million in capital investment will include resorts and sailing; the investor of this project is proposing to raise the investment capital to USD $4 billion. Two other noteworthy entertainment projects awaiting licensing are Vũng Tàu Aquarium, which will cost USD 250 million, Bàu Trũng, a Disneyland-like entertainment park which will cost US$250 million; the project includes Landmark Tower, an 88-story skyscraper proposed to be built and completed by 2010 in Vũng Tàu by a USA-based company, Good Choice Import – Export Investment Inc, once built will be the highest building in Vietnam.
The project is under consideration for approval by the local provincial government. In Vũng Tàu, one of the most celebrated holidays is Lễ hội Cá Ông. Festivals in the region include the Kite Festival and World Food Festival Culture Australian tourists come to Vũng Tàu in August to mark the anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan; as in most provinces and cities in Vietnam, Buddhism is the predominant religion. Mahayana Buddhism, the dominant form of the religion in Vietnam, was brought to Ba Ria-Vũng Tàu by the Vietnamese settlers from the north at the beginning of the 17th century during the expansion of the Nguyễn lords; when they came bringing their original religion they built many Buddhist pagodas and statues in the city. The Thích Ca Phật Đài and Niết Bàn Tịnh Xá temple, both Buddhist sites, draw pilgrims from around the country. Before the area was settled by ethnic Vietnamese, the Khmer people practiced Theravada Buddhism; the a
Battle of Khe Sanh
The Battle of Khe Sanh was conducted in the Khe Sanh area of northwestern Quảng Trị Province, Republic of Vietnam, during the Vietnam War. The main US forces defending Khe Sanh Combat Base were two regiments of US Marines supported by elements from the United States Army and the United States Air Force, as well as a small number of South Vietnamese Army troops; these were pitted against two to three divisional-size elements of the North Vietnamese Army. The US command in Saigon believed that combat operations around KSCB during 1967 were part of a series of minor North Vietnamese offensives in the border regions; that appraisal was altered when the NVA was found to be moving major forces into the area. In response, US forces were built up. Once the base came under siege, a series of actions was fought over a period of five months. During this time, KSCB and the hilltop outposts around it were subjected to constant North Vietnamese artillery and rocket attacks, several infantry assaults. To support the Marine base, a massive aerial bombardment campaign was launched by the US Air Force.
Over 100,000 tons of bombs were dropped by US aircraft and over 158,000 artillery rounds were fired in defense of the base. Throughout the campaign, US forces used the latest technology to locate NVA forces for targeting. Additionally, the logistical effort required to support the base once it was isolated demanded the implementation of other tactical innovations to keep the Marines supplied. In March 1968, an overland relief expedition was launched by a combined Marine–Army/South Vietnamese task force that broke through to the Marines at Khe Sanh. American commanders considered the defense of Khe Sanh a success, but shortly after the siege was lifted, the decision was made to dismantle the base rather than risk similar battles in the future. On 19 June 1968, the destruction of KSCB began. Amid heavy shelling, the Marines attempted to salvage what they could before destroying what remained as they were evacuated. Minor attacks continued before the base was closed on 5 July. Marines remained around Hill 689, fighting in the vicinity continued until 11 July until they were withdrawn, bringing the battle to a close.
In the aftermath, the North Vietnamese proclaimed a victory at Khe Sanh, while US forces claimed that they had withdrawn, as the base was no longer required. Historians have observed that the Battle of Khe Sanh may have distracted American and South Vietnamese attention from the buildup of Viet Cong forces in the south before the early 1968 Tet Offensive; the US commander during the battle, General William Westmoreland, maintained that the true intention of Tet was to distract forces from Khe Sanh. The village of Khe Sanh was the seat of government of Hương Hoa district, an area of Bru Montagnard villages and coffee plantations, situated about seven miles from the Laotian frontier on Route 9, the northernmost transverse road in South Vietnam; the badly deteriorated Route 9 ran from the coastal region through the western highlands, crossed the border into Laos. The origin of the combat base lay in the construction by US Army Special Forces of an airfield in August 1962 outside the village at an old French fort.
The camp became a Special Forces outpost of the Civilian Irregular Defense Groups, whose purpose was to keep watch on NVA infiltration along the border and to protect the local population. James Marino wrote that in 1964, General Westmoreland, the US commander in Vietnam, had determined, "Khe Sanh could serve as a patrol base blocking enemy infiltration from Laos. In November 1964, the Green Berets moved their camp to the Xom Cham Plateau, the future site of Khe Sanh Combat Base. During the winter of 1964, Khe Sanh became the location of a launch site for the classified Military Assistance Command, Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group. From there, reconnaissance teams were launched into Laos to explore and gather intelligence on the NVA logistical system known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail. According to Marino, "by 1966, Westmoreland had begun to consider Khe Sanh as part of a larger strategy". With a view to gaining approval for an advance through Laos to interdict the Ho Chi Minh Trail, he determined, "it was essential to hold the base", he gave the order for US Marines to take up positions around Khe Sanh.
Military Assistance Command, Vietnam subsequently began planning for incursion into Laos, in October, construction of an airfield at Khe Sanh was completed. The plateau camp was permanently manned by the US Marines during 1967, when they established an outpost next to the airstrip; this base was to serve as the western anchor of Marine Corps forces, which had tactical responsibility for the five northernmost provinces of South Vietnam known as I Corps. The Marines' defensive system stretched below the Demilitarized Zone from the coast, along Route 9, to Khe Sanh. During 1966 the regular Special Forces troops had moved off the plateau and built a smaller camp down Route 9 at Lang Vei, about half the distance to the Laotian border. During the second half of 1967, the North Vietnamese instigated a series of actions in the border regions of South Vietnam. All of these attacks were