Battle of Hamburger Hill, 1969

BATTLE OF HAMBURGER HILL – VIETNAM WAR

10 MAY-23 MAY 1969

Battle on Hill 937

SUMMARY

The U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division with nearly 3,000 troops assaulted Hill 937; and took it from the occupying 1260 soldiers of the North Vietnamese 29th Regiment in a 13-day battle.  In the course of battle, the U.S. forces dropped 1,088 ½ tons of bombs, 142 ½ tons of napalm, fired 19,213 artillery rounds, and 72,023,200 rounds of 20mm ammunition.

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BACKGROUND

Dong Ap Bia (which means “the Mountain of the Crouching Beast) is located in the A Shau Valley of the Thua Thien Province, Vietnam; about 1 mile from the Laos border.  As part of Operation Apache Snow, U.S. forces swept the valley in order to cut off NVA infiltration routes from Laos to the cities of Hue and Da Nang.  Designated Hill 937 by the American military for its height in meters, the hill served as a base for the NVA 29th Regiment.  In a bloody 13-day battle, the Americans and South Vietnamese assaulted what became known as Hamburger Hill after a reporter quoted 19-year-old Sergeant James Spears as saying, “Have you ever been inside a hamburger machine? We just got cut to pieces by extremely accurate machine gun fire.”

U.S. troops on Hamburger Hill

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LOCATION

A Shau Valley, Thua Thien Province, Vietnam

Hamburger Hill, 1969

Dong Ap Bia today

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THE UNITED STATES ARMY

101st Airborne DivisionLed by

Major General Melvin Zais

Gen. Zais

Colonel Joseph Conmy

Col. Conmy in Vietnam

Lieutenant Colonel Weldon Honeycutt

Lt. Col. Honeycutt on Hill 937

Lieutenant Colonel Robert German

Lieutenant Colonel John Bowers

 

Supported by

9th Marine Regiment

3rd Squadron, 5th Cavalry Regiment

Army of the Republic of Vietnam’s (ARVN) 1st Division

3rd ARVN Regiment.

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NORTH VIETNAMESE PEOPLE’S ARMY OF VIETNAM

29th Regiment

Led by

General Ma Vinh Lan

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RESULT

A victory for the Americans.

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CONSEQUENCE

Evacuating U.S. wounded from Hamburger Hill

The North Vietnamese had 630 killed in action, 3 taken prisoner, 152 individual weapons captured, and 25 crew serviced weapons captured.  The Americans had 72 killed in action, 372 wounded and no prisoners.  The Americans “estimated that two NVA battalions involved in this operation were no longer combat effective and that the ability of the newly arrived 29th NVA Regiment to conduct offensive operations in the immediate future has been severely limited. Thus, a major threat to Thua Thien Province had been removed.”  The hill was abandoned on June 5, 1969 as it held no military strategic advantage.  Actual CBS archive footage of the Battle of Hamburger Hill can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5iTw5g_KiA

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