Academic journal article Military Review

Night of the Silver Stars: The Battle of Lang Vei

Academic journal article Military Review

Night of the Silver Stars: The Battle of Lang Vei

Article excerpt

NIGHT OF THE SILVER STARS: The Battle of Lang Vei by William R. Phillips with William (ff. Westmoreland. 272 pages. Government Printing Office, Washington, D,C. 1997. $29.95.

The battle of Lang Vei, on the night of 6-7 February 1968, is easily lost in the overall context of the Vietnam War. It was overshadowed by the Tet Offensive and is sometimes viewed as just a small part of the North Vietnamese Army's (NVA's) siege at the US Marine Corps enclave 5 miles east of Lang Vei. The NVA assault against Lang Vei involved a substantial force supported by extensive artillery fires. The assault force included 11 Soviet-designed PT-76 amphibious tanks-the first use of armor in an NVA assault against US and South Vietnamese forces during the Vietnam War.

Authors William R. Phillips and William C. Westmoreland provide a detailed and readable description of the battle. In addition to both published and unpublished sources, research included interviews with a few US survivors of the battle and several other US forces personnel associated with the operation.

Taking its name from an adjacent Bru (Montagnard tribe) village, the Lang Vei camp had been developed by US Special Forces (SF) with significant support from a US Navy SEABEE unit. In addition to SF personnel at Lang Vei, the defenders included an Army of the Republic of (South) Vietnam (ARVN) SF team, four half-strength civilian irregular defense group companies (made up of both ethnic Vietnamese and Bru tribesmen), one "MIKE Force" company (Hre tribesmen) and three ARVN combat reconnaissance platoons. …

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