Magazine article Army

Expendable Warriors: The Battle of Khe Sanh and the Vietnam War

Magazine article Army

Expendable Warriors: The Battle of Khe Sanh and the Vietnam War

Article excerpt

Varied Fare Expendable Warriors: The Battle of Khe Sanh and the Vietnam War. Bruce B.C. Clarke. Praeger Security International. 169 pages; black and white photographs; maps; index; $49.95.

The siege of Khe Sanh during the Vietnam War is remembered as a Marine Corps fight, but the Army had an important hand in the battle. A small outpost in Khe Sanh village, a few miles southwest of the main Marine combat base, was home to a handful of Army and Marine advisers, Vietnamese soldiers and a tribe of local Montagnards called the Bru. The North Vietnamese Army (NVA) struck this outpost days before the siege of the combat base began, but the communists were thrown back after 36 hours of heavy fighting.

Col. Bruce B. G. Clarke, U.S. Army retired, has compiled after action reports and interviews with the defenders of the village, which make up Expendable Warriors, a report on the successful defense of the village. Clarke (no relation to the World War II general of the same name) was one of the Army advisers in the village and a captain. He called artillery rounds onto his own position to help stop the assaulting NVA.

The fight for the village began on the morning of January 21, 1968, as an NVA regiment attacked through a thick fog, which allowed them to close on the village undetected. The defenders, alarmed by an ammunition dump explosion, manned their posts and called in artillery and airstrikes. As the day wore on, Clarke called for reinforcements, but a combat assault of Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) troops in U. …

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