The enemy continued harassing them every step of the way, and in some cases pitched battles broke out. Among Conmey's forces were the 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Lt. Take what they have left and what they have taught you with their dying and keep it with your own. The Americans were reinforced by air on several occasions. Undaunted by this enemy action, the units of 3rd Brigade continued to uncover huge amounts of enemy stores and equipment and to destroy his forces. It was finally time to clean out the notorious A Shau Valley.
At 1000 hours on May 20, after 10 artillery batteries fired more than 20,000 rounds and 272 tactical airstrikes dumped more than 1 million pounds of bombs and 152,000 pounds of napalm virtually denuded the top of the mountain, the 3-187 once again started up the mountain, supported by the 1-506, which renewed its attack on the southern side. Hamburger Hill Abandoned On June 5—just days after the hard-won victory—Ap Bia Mountain was abandoned by U. While reports of the Hamburger Hill battle had been appearing in newspapers since May 14, most were innocuous descriptions of the fight in routine terms. Retired Army officer James H. Army soldiers of B Company, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. There was nothing to hold the tons of water that fell and the hillside became a slurry, washing soldiers down the slopes.
This time, when they came out again, I issued orders that they were to be intercepted and defeated before they could get to Hue. Earlier, in November 1952, the U. After Hue was retaken, a counterattack into the A Shau was mounted on April 19, 1968, by the U. Despite the fratricide, the attack ground on. They were complaining about the loss of life at Hamburger Hill. The public outcry against the seemingly senseless bloodshed at appears to have had an impact on deliberations in the Nixon administration about the way ahead in the war. In preparation for the new attack, Conmy threw every resource he had against the mountain.
The battle around the Bravo perimeter was desperate but the troopers held. Unconnected to the surrounding ridges, Hill 937 stood alone and, like the surrounding valley, was heavily forested. Soon after that, even before the storm ended, Lt Col Honeycutt reluctantly ordered the companies back from the hill. Later it became known as the Ho Chi Mnh Trail. Still, Conmy knew that the North Vietnamese were in the area in force and spoiling for a fight; he was eager to oblige them. The enemy had lost his Sunday punch, so to speak.
Further casualties were suffered as attempts were made to retrieve the dead and wounded. For four days the enemy harassed the men of the Brigade with mortar, rocket-propelled grenades, and small arms fire. This time they made it to within 150 meters of the summit, but yet again, a helicopter gunship mistaking friendly troops for the enemy salvoed an entire rack of rockets into Bravo, pummeling the company command post, killing one American soldier and wounding the company commander. Before Hamburger Hill, the U. Honeycutt ordered Charlie Company to the aid of Delta, but a sudden blinding rainstorm halted the attack and the Rakkasans again reluctantly withdrew back down the mountain. Although the heavily fortified Hill 937 was of little strategic value, U.
At 0710 hours, after the prep fires were concluded, 64 Huey helicopters inserted the lead elements of the 1-506 and 3-187 into their assigned landing zones at the northern end of the valley. This made it easy for North Vietnamese units to cross from their Laotian sanctuary, lure allied units into battle, inflict heavy casualties, then vanish into sanctuary. Operation Apache Snow was phase two of a three-phase operation to clean out the valley. So problematic had Delta's situation become that a platoon from Alpha Company was dispatched to help with the extraction of the wounded, who had to be carried up the steep slopes by hand. The summit was prepped by a massive artillery barrage, and then the three companies began to advance.
What the military did not realize was that the American public had always been the greatest limitation on the use of military force. After some initial gains they were beaten back, only to resume the attack on April 16. The men were greatly overloaded, hauling back as much ammo and weaponry as possible. The ten days of combat that followed became the human meat grinder known around the world as Hamburger Hill. And that irrelevance is what made Hamburger Hill so frustrating. The squad consisted of 14 U. Unlike Platoon and Full Metal Jacket, which were released around the same time, Hamburger Hill lacks a grand narrative or central character.
With the Currahees halted, Colonel Conmy ordered Honeycutt to postpone his attack to wait for the 1-506. He promised that the Rakkasans would take the mountain this time. Cobra gunships and aerial rocket artillery were called in. What lay ahead was a massive incursion into the A Shau to disrupt the flow of men and supplies along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, to find and destroy enemy supply depots and, primarily, to find and destroy the enemy himself. Bravo Company, unable to move forward, withdrew into defensive positions for the night about 1,000 meters from the summit.
It was preceded by Operation Massachusetts Striker and would be followed by Operation Montgomery Rendezvous, each targeted against a different area of the A Shau. Instead of seeking to surround the enemy and seeking to assault the hill from the sides and the front simultaneously, there was one frontal assault after another, killing our boys who went up Hamburger Hill. The attack commenced on May 10th, troops were flown in by helicopter. As they attacked, they mistook the 3-187 command post for enemy and opened fire, killing two Americans and wounding 35, including the battalion commander. Enlisting in the Army at age 16 as a sixth-grade dropout, Honeycutt advanced from private to captain in five years and in the Korean War ended up commanding a rifle company in the 187th Regimental Combat Team, then commanded by Brig. The A Shau sheltered enemy Base Area 611 and had long provided a major infiltration corridor for Communist forces from the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos to the coastal cities of northern I Corps Tactical Zone.