Dong Ap Bia is a double-humped mountain covered in broad-leaved subtropical forest, rising a thousand feet above A Shau Valley in central Vietnam. By the end of May 1969 there was scarcely a tree left alive on Dong Ap Bia, which had been pulverized by artillery barrages and airstrikes as three US battalions fought to drive a North Vietnamese Army (NVA) regiment from the summit of what the Americans had taken to calling Hamburger Hill. The nickname referred to the heavy casualties sustained by US forces, particularly those of the Third Battalion of the 187th Infantry Brigade under the hard-driving Lieut. Col. Weldon Honeycutt, who, after ten days of struggling through fortified enemy positions, finally reached the top of the mountain on May 20. The battle ended with the annihilation of the NVA regiment, but press coverage of the fighting reinforced the American public’s sense that the war had been fought to a stalemate, particularly after US forces abandoned the hill they had won at such cost. Hamburger Hill was the last major confrontation between American and North Vietnamese ground forces: under pressure to reduce casualties, the Nixon Administration accelerated its program of “Vietnamization,” training and equipping the South Vietnamese… Read full this story
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