The Rise and Fall of an American Army: U.S. Ground Forces in Vietnam, 1965-1973

By Shelby L. Stanton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 11.
BATTLE FOR THE
HIGHLANDS

1. Western Battles

Major General William R. Peers took command of the 4th Infantry Division two days after it had marked its first New Year's Day in Vietnam. He moved it into the western portion of the Central Highlands plateau, a dangerous area occupied by both 1st NVA and recently formed 10th NVA Divisions. Tagged as Operation SAM HOUSTON, two infantry brigades would be pushed into the steep-walled valleys and rugged jungles falling off the Chaine Annamitique mountain spine which marked the Cambodian border.

The 4th Infantry Division was one of those divisions that mirrored the distinctive slogan officially bestowed upon it. The motto, Steadfast and Loyal, reflected the division's image perfectly. It was dignified, traditional, and definitely Regular Army. Perhaps that was needed in the rough, mountainous western wilderness of South Vietnam. Anyway, in case more gunslingers were needed to help out, the paratroopers of the elite 173d Airborne Brigade could always be slammed in.

The first phase of the operation was a piece of cake. Conducted over the rolling tropical plains of Pleiku and Kontum provinces, the only resistance encountered was occasional mortaring and road mines. January was spent uncovering tunnel

-157-

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The Rise and Fall of an American Army: U.S. Ground Forces in Vietnam, 1965-1973
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vi
  • Foreword x
  • Introduction xv
  • Part 1 1965 1
  • Chapter 1. Advisors and Special Forces 3
  • Chapter 2. an Army Girds for Battle 18
  • Chapter 3. Marines at War 29
  • Chapter 4. an Army Goes to War 45
  • Part 2 1966 63
  • Chapter 5. the Build-Up 65
  • Chapter 6. the Area War 81
  • Chapter 7. the Central Front 97
  • Chapter 8. the Northern Front 117
  • Part3 1967 131
  • Chapter 9. the Year of the Big Battles 142
  • Chapter 11. Battle for the Highlands 157
  • Chapter 12. Holding the Line 179
  • Chapter 13. Battle for the Coast 191
  • Part 4 1968 203
  • Chapter 14. Year of Crises 205
  • Chapter 15. the Battles of Tet-68 219
  • Chapter 16. Siege and Breakthrough 247
  • Chapter 17. Counteroffensive 260
  • Part 5 1969 281
  • Chapter 18. One War 283
  • Chapter 19. One War in the Northern Provinces 295
  • Chapter 20. One War in the Southern Provinces 308
  • Part 6 333
  • Chapter 21 335
  • Chapter 22. an Army Departs the War 350
  • Guide to Unit Organization and Terms 369
  • Sources and Bibliography 371
  • Index 395
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