Battle of Hamburger Hill
The Battle of Hamburger Hill was a battle of the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 which was fought by the United States and South Vietnam
South Vietnam
South Vietnam was a state which governed southern Vietnam until 1975. It received international recognition in 1950 as the "State of Vietnam" and later as the "Republic of Vietnam" . Its capital was Saigon...

 against North Vietnamese forces from May 10–20, 1969. Although the heavily fortified Hill 937 was of little strategic
Strategy, a word of military origin, refers to a plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal. In military usage strategy is distinct from tactics, which are concerned with the conduct of an engagement, while strategy is concerned with how different engagements are linked...

 value, U.S. command ordered its capture by a frontal assault
Frontal assault
The military tactic of frontal assault is a direct, hostile movement of forces toward the front of an enemy force . By targeting the enemy's front, the attackers are subjecting themselves to the maximum defensive power of the enemy...

, only to abandon it soon thereafter. The debacle caused an outrage both in the American military and public.

The battle was primarily an infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

 affair, with the U.S. Airborne
Airborne forces
Airborne forces are military units, usually light infantry, set up to be moved by aircraft and 'dropped' into battle. Thus they can be placed behind enemy lines, and have an ability to deploy almost anywhere with little warning...

 troops moving up the highly sloped hill against well entrenched troops. Attacks were repeatedly repelled by weather, friendly fire
Friendly fire
Friendly fire is inadvertent firing towards one's own or otherwise friendly forces while attempting to engage enemy forces, particularly where this results in injury or death. A death resulting from a negligent discharge is not considered friendly fire...

, accidents, and Vietnam People's Army
Vietnam People's Army
The Vietnam People's Army is the armed forces of Vietnam. The VPA includes: the Vietnamese People's Ground Forces , the Vietnam People's Navy , the Vietnam People's Air Force, and the Vietnam Marine Police.During the French Indochina War , the VPA was often referred to as the Việt...

 (VPA) defenses. Nevertheless the Airborne troops took the hill through direct assault, causing extensive casualties
Casualty (person)
A casualty is a person who is the victim of an accident, injury, or trauma. The word casualties is most often used by the news media to describe deaths and injuries resulting from wars or disasters...

 to the VPA forces.


The battle took place on Dong Ap Bia
Dong Ap Bia
Dong Ap Bia is a mountain on the Laotian border of South Vietnam in Thua Thien-Hue Province. Rising from the floor of the western A Shau Valley, it is a looming, solitary massif, unconnected to the ridges of the surrounding Annamite range. It dominates the northern valley, towering some 937 metres...

 (Ap Bia Mountain) in the rugged, jungle-shrouded mountains of South Vietnam
South Vietnam
South Vietnam was a state which governed southern Vietnam until 1975. It received international recognition in 1950 as the "State of Vietnam" and later as the "Republic of Vietnam" . Its capital was Saigon...

, 1.2 miles (1.9 km) from the Laotian
Laos Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west...

 border. Rising from the floor of the western A Shau Valley
A Shau Valley
The A Shau Valley is a valley in Vietnam's, Thừa Thiên province, west of the city of Huế along the border with Laos. The valley was one of the key entry points into South Vietnam for men and matériel brought along the Ho Chi Minh Trail by the communist forces and was the scene of heavy fighting...

, Ap Bia Mountain is a looming, solitary massif, unconnected to the ridges of the surrounding Annamite range. It dominates the northern valley, towering some 937 metres (3,074.1 ft) above sea level. Snaking down from its highest peak are a series of ridges and fingers, one of the largest extending southeast to a height of 900 metres (2,952.8 ft), another reaching south to a 916 metres (3,005.2 ft) peak. The entire mountain is a rugged, uninviting wilderness blanketed in double- and triple-canopy jungle, dense thickets of bamboo
Bamboo is a group of perennial evergreens in the true grass family Poaceae, subfamily Bambusoideae, tribe Bambuseae. Giant bamboos are the largest members of the grass family....

, and waist-high elephant grass
Miscanthus sinensis
Miscanthus sinensis Miscanthus sinensis Miscanthus sinensis (Chinese silver grass, Eulalia grass, maiden grass, zebra grass, Susuki grass, porcupine grass; syn. Eulalia japonica Trin., Miscanthus sinensis f. glaber Honda, Miscanthus sinensis var. gracillimus Hitchc., Miscanthus sinensis var....

 that in some cases was taller than an M113 Armored Personnel Carrier
M113 Armored Personnel Carrier
The M113 is a fully tracked armored personnel carrier that has formed the backbone of the United States Army's mechanized infantry units from the time of its first fielding in Vietnam in April 1962. The M113 was the most widely used armored vehicle of the U.S...

. Local Montagnard
The Degar are the indigenous peoples of the Central Highlands of Vietnam. The term Montagnard means "mountain people" in French and is a carryover from the French colonial period in Vietnam. In Vietnamese, they are known by the term thượng - this term can also be applied to other minority ethnic...

 tribesmen called Ap Bia "the mountain of the crouching beast". Official histories of the engagement refer to it as Hill 937 after the elevation displayed on U.S. Army maps, but the American soldiers who fought there dubbed it "Hamburger Hill", suggesting that those who fought on the hill were "chewed up like a hamburger" and in joking reference to the Battle of Pork Chop Hill
Battle of Pork Chop Hill
The Battle of Pork Chop Hill comprises a pair of related Korean War infantry battles during the spring and summer of 1953. These were fought while the U.S. and the Communist Chinese and Koreans negotiated an armistice. In the U.S., they were controversial because of the many soldiers killed for...

 during the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...


Order of battle

The battle on Hamburger Hill occurred in May 1969, during Operation Apache Snow
Operation Apache Snow
Operation Apache Snow was a joint U.S. and South Vietnamese military operation during the Vietnam War in the A Shau Valley. The A Shau Valley was an important corridor for the North Vietnamese Army , moving supplies into South Vietnam and used as staging area for attacks...

, the second part of a three-phased campaign intended to destroy People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) Base Areas in the remote A Shau Valley
A Shau Valley
The A Shau Valley is a valley in Vietnam's, Thừa Thiên province, west of the city of Huế along the border with Laos. The valley was one of the key entry points into South Vietnam for men and matériel brought along the Ho Chi Minh Trail by the communist forces and was the scene of heavy fighting...

. This campaign was a series of operations intended to neutralize the A Shau, which had been an infiltration route into South Vietnam prior to 1966, when the North Vietnamese seized the Special Forces
Special forces
Special forces, or special operations forces are terms used to describe elite military tactical teams trained to perform high-risk dangerous missions that conventional units cannot perform...

 camp in the valley during the Battle of A Shau and established a permanent presence. Subsequent U.S. efforts to clear the valley had been consistently unsuccessful. Lieutenant General Richard G. Stilwell
Richard G. Stilwell
General Richard Giles Stilwell served as Commander, United States Forces Korea from 1973 to 1976, and Acting Commander of the U.S. Army, Pacific from September to December 1974...

, commander of XXIV Corps, amassed the equivalent of two divisions supported by substantial artillery and air support to accomplish the task. The North Vietnamese had moved their 6th, 9th, and 29th Regiments into the area to recover from losses sustained during a previous U.S. Marine
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 operation (Operation Dewey Canyon
Operation Dewey Canyon
Operation Dewey Canyon was the last major offensive by the United States Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. It took place from January 22 through March 18, 1969 and involved a sweep of the North Vietnamese Army -dominated A Shau Valley by the 9th Marine Regiment reinforced by elements of the 3rd...

) in February.

Assigned to Apache Snow were three airmobile infantry battalions of the 101st Airborne Division
101st Airborne Division (United States)
The 101st Airborne Division—the "Screaming Eagles"—is a U.S. Army modular light infantry division trained for air assault operations. During World War II, it was renowned for its role in Operation Overlord, the D-Day landings on 6 June 1944, in Normandy, France, Operation Market Garden, the...

, commanded by Major General Melvin Zais
Melvin Zais
General Melvin Zais was a United States Army general.General Zais attended the University of New Hampshire and graduated with a B.A. in Political Science. In 1937 he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve. He attended the U.S...

. These units of the division's 3rd Brigade (commanded by Colonel Joseph Conmy) were the 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry (Lt. Col. Weldon Honeycutt); 2nd Battalion, 501st Infantry (Lt. Col. Robert German); and the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment (Lt. Col. John Bowers). Two battalions of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam
Army of the Republic of Vietnam
The Army of the Republic of Viet Nam , sometimes parsimoniously referred to as the South Vietnamese Army , was the land-based military forces of the Republic of Vietnam , which existed from October 26, 1955 until the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975...

's (ARVN) 1st Division (the 2/1st and 4/1st) had been temporarily assigned to the 3rd Brigade in support. Other major units participating in Apache Snow included the 9th Marine Regiment; the 3rd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment and the 3rd ARVN Regiment.


Colonel Conmey characterized the operation as a reconnaissance in force. His plan called for the five battalions to "combat assault" into the valley by helicopter on May 10, 1969, and to search their assigned sectors for PAVN troops and supplies. The overall plan of attack called for the Marines and the 3/5th Cavalry to reconnaissance in force toward the Laotian border while the ARVN units cut the highway through the base of the valley. The 501st and the 506th were to destroy the enemy in their own operating areas and block escape routes into Laos. If a battalion made heavy contact with the North Vietnamese, Conmy would reinforce it by helicopter with one of the other units. In theory, the 101st could reposition its forces quickly enough to keep the PAVN from massing against any one unit, while a U.S. battalion discovering a North Vietnamese unit would fix it in place until a reinforcing battalion could lift in to cut off its retreat and destroy it.

The U.S. and ARVN units participating in Apache Snow knew, based on existing intelligence information and previous experience in the A Shau, that the operation was likely to encounter serious resistance from PAVN. Beyond that, however, they had little intelligence as to the actual strength and dispositions of PAVN units. Masters of camouflage, the North Vietnamese completely concealed their bases from aerial surveillance. When PAVN forces moved, they did so at night along trails under triple-canopy jungle. They effected their command and control mainly by runner and wire, leaving no electronic signature to monitor or trace. U.S. battalion commanders had to generate their own tactical intelligence by combat patrols, capturing equipment, installations, documents, and occasionally prisoners of war to provide the raw data from which to draw their assessment of the North Vietnamese order of battle and dispositions. It was this time-consuming and hit-or-miss task force which characterized the main efforts of Colonel Honeycutt's 3/187th Infantry during the first four days of the operation.

Initially, the operation went routinely for the 101st Airborne Division. Its units experienced only light contact on the first day, but documents captured by 3/187th indicated that the 29th PAVN Regiment, nicknamed the "Pride of Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh
Hồ Chí Minh , born Nguyễn Sinh Cung and also known as Nguyễn Ái Quốc, was a Vietnamese Marxist-Leninist revolutionary leader who was prime minister and president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam...

" and a veteran of the 1968 Tet Offensive assault on Hue, was somewhere in the valley. Past experience in many of the larger encounters with PAVN indicated the North Vietnamese would resist violently for a short time and then withdraw before the Americans brought overwhelming firepower to bear against them. Prolonged combat, such as at Dak To
Battle of Dak To
The Battle of Đắk Tô was a series of major engagements of the Vietnam War that took place between 3–22 November 1967, in Kontum Province, in the Central Highlands of the Republic of Vietnam . The action at Đắk Tô was one of a series of People's Army of Vietnam offensive initiatives that began...

 and Ia Drang
Battle of Ia Drang
The Battle of Ia Drang was the first major battle between the United States Army and the People's Army of Vietnam The Battle of Ia Drang was the first major battle between the United States Army and the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) The Battle of Ia Drang was the first major battle between the...

, had been relatively rare. Honeycutt anticipated his battalion had sufficient capability to carry out a reconnaissance on Hill 937 without further reinforcement, although he did request that the brigade reserve, his own Bravo Company, be released to his control.

Honeycutt was a protégé of General William C. Westmoreland, the former commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam. He had been assigned command of the 3/187th in January and had by replacement of many of its officers given it a personality to match his own aggressiveness. His stated intention was to locate the VPA force in his area of responsibility and engage it before it could escape into Laos.

Initial sweeps

On May 11, Honeycutt assigned Alpha and Delta Companies to recon the north and northwest fingers of Ap Bia Mountain, while Bravo and Charlie Companies climbed towards the summit by differing routes. Moving out of the helicopter landing zone
Landing Zone
A Landing Zone or "LZ" is a military term for any area where an aircraft can land.In the United States military, a landing zone is the actual point where aircraft land...

 (LZ) on the north ridge, Bravo Company made heavy contact with the North Vietnamese within 1 kilometre (0.621372736649807 mi) of the summit late in the day. Honeycutt quickly directed Cobra helicopter gunships, known as Aerial Rocket Artillery
Aerial Rocket Artillery
Although sometimes used as a generic term for any armed helicopters, the term Aerial Rocket Artillery refers specifically to the armed helicopter units which were organic to the division artillery of the United States Army’s two airmobile divisions during the Vietnam War...

 (ARA), to support a hasty assault. In the heavy jungle, the Cobras mistook the 3/187th battalion command post on the LZ for a PAVN unit and attacked, killing two and wounding thirty-five, including Honeycutt. This friendly fire
Friendly fire
Friendly fire is inadvertent firing towards one's own or otherwise friendly forces while attempting to engage enemy forces, particularly where this results in injury or death. A death resulting from a negligent discharge is not considered friendly fire...

 incident disrupted battalion
A battalion is a military unit of around 300–1,200 soldiers usually consisting of between two and seven companies and typically commanded by either a Lieutenant Colonel or a Colonel...

 command and control and forced 3/187th to withdraw into night defensive positions. The contact, however, confirmed that a substantial North Vietnamese force was present, which Honeycutt estimated as a reinforced platoon
A platoon is a military unit typically composed of two to four sections or squads and containing 16 to 50 soldiers. Platoons are organized into a company, which typically consists of three, four or five platoons. A platoon is typically the smallest military unit led by a commissioned officer—the...

 or company
Company (military unit)
A company is a military unit, typically consisting of 80–225 soldiers and usually commanded by a Captain, Major or Commandant. Most companies are formed of three to five platoons although the exact number may vary by country, unit type, and structure...


For the next two days, Honeycutt maneuvered his companies toward positions for a coordinated battalion attack on May 13 but was frustrated by both difficult topography and North Vietnamese resistance. One unit, Delta Company, descended into a steep muddy ravine on May 12 in a flanking maneuver
Flanking maneuver
In military tactics, a flanking maneuver, also called a flank attack, is an attack on the sides of an opposing force. If a flanking maneuver succeeds, the opposing force would be surrounded from two or more directions, which significantly reduces the maneuverability of the outflanked force and its...

, suffered numerous losses, and was unable to extricate its casualties for two days. The company eventually returned to the battalion LZ on May 15 without participating in the assault.

Map reconnaissance and helicopter overflights had not indicated that the initial scheme of maneuver was impractical, but the three contacts indicated that the North Vietnamese strength was greater than originally estimated, had likely received reinforcements from Laos, and were entrenched in well-concealed bunkers. The North Vietnamese absorbed and inflicted heavy losses, foreshadowing the heaviest fighting to come.

Reinforcing the assault on Hill 937

The 1/506th had made no significant contacts in its area of operations, and at midday on May 13, the brigade commander, Colonel Conmy, decided it would move to cut off North Vietnamese reinforcement from Laos and to assist Honeycutt by attacking Hill 937 from the south. Its Bravo company was heli-lifted to Hill 916, but the remainder of the battalion made the movement on foot, from an area 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) from Hill 937, and both Conmy and Honeycutt expected the 1/506th to be ready to provide support no later than the morning of May 15. Although Bravo Company seized Hill 916 on May 15, it was not until May 19 that the battalion as a whole was in position to conduct a final assault, primarily because of nearly impenetrable jungle.

The 3/187 conducted multi-company assaults on May 14 and May 15, incurring heavy casualties, while the 1/506th, led by 1st Lt. Roger Leasure, made probing attacks on the south slopes of the mountain on May 16 and May 17. The difficult terrain and well organized North Vietnamese forces continually disrupted the tempo of U.S. tactical operations on Hills 916, 900, and 937. Steep gradients and dense vegetation provided few natural LZs in the vicinity of the mountain and made helicopter redeployments impractical. The terrain also masked the positions of the 29th PAVN Regiment, making it nearly impossible to suppress anti-aircraft fire, while the jungle covered the movement of North Vietnamese units so completely that it created a nonlinear battlefield. PAVN soldiers, able to maneuver freely around the LZs, shot down or damaged numerous helicopters with small arms fire, rocket-propelled grenades, and crew-served weapons. The North Vietnamese also assaulted nearby logistical support LZs and command posts at least four times, forcing deployment of units for security that might otherwise have been employed in assaults. Attacking companies had to provide for 360-degree security as they maneuvered, since the terrain largely prevented them from mutually supporting one another. PAVN platoon- and company-sized elements repeatedly struck maneuvering U.S. forces from the flanks and rear.

Tactical difficulties

The effectiveness of U.S. maneuver forces was limited by narrow trails that funneled attacking companies into squad or platoon points of attack, where they encountered PAVN platoons and companies with prepared fields of fire. With most small arms engagements thus conducted at close range, U.S. fire support was also severely restricted. Units frequently pulled back and called in artillery fire, close air support, and ARA, but the North Vietnamese bunkers were well-sited and constructed with overhead cover to withstand bombardment. During the course of the battle the foliage was eventually stripped away and the bunkers exposed, but they were so numerous and well constructed that many could not be destroyed by indirect fire
Indirect fire
Indirect fire means aiming and firing a projectile in a high trajectory without relying on a direct line of sight between the gun and its target, as in the case of direct fire...

. Napalm
Napalm is a thickening/gelling agent generally mixed with gasoline or a similar fuel for use in an incendiary device, primarily as an anti-personnel weapon...

, recoilless rifle
Recoilless rifle
A recoilless rifle or recoilless gun is a lightweight weapon that fires a heavier projectile than would be practical to fire from a recoiling weapon of comparable size. Technically, only devices that use a rifled barrel are recoilless rifles. Smoothbore variants are recoilless guns...

 fire, and dogged squad and platoon- level actions eventually accounted for the reduction of most fortifications, though at a pace and price thoroughly unanticipated by the American side.

U.S. battle command of small units was essentially decentralized. Though Honeycutt constantly prodded his company commanders to push on, he could do little to coordinate mutual support until the final assaults, when the companies maneuvered in close proximity over the barren mountain top. Fire support for units in contact was also decentralized. Supporting fires, including those controlled by airborne forward air controllers, were often directed at the platoon level. Eventually human error led to five attacks by supporting aircraft on the 3/187th, killing seven and wounding 53. Four of the incidents involved Cobra gunship helicopters, which in one case were more than 1 kilometre (0.621372736649807 mi) away from their intended target.

Hamburger Hill

On May 16, Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

 correspondent Jay Sharbutt learned of the ongoing battle on Hill 937, traveled to the area and interviewed Zais, in particular asking why infantry, rather than firepower, was used as the primary offensive tool on Hill 937. More reporters followed to cover the battle, and the term "Hamburger Hill" became widely used.

The U.S. brigade commander ordered a coordinated two-battalion assault for May 18, with 1/506th attacking from the south and 3/187th attacking from the north, trying to keep the 29th PAVN Regiment from concentrating on either battalion. Fighting to within 75 metres (246.1 ft) of the summit, Delta Company 3/187th nearly carried the hill but experienced severe casualties, including all of its officers. The battle was one of close combat, with the two sides exchanging small arms and grenade fire within 20 metres (65.6 ft) of one another. From a light observation helicopter, the battalion commander attempted to coordinate the movements of the other companies into a final assault, but an exceptionally intense thunderstorm reduced visibility to zero and ended the fighting. Unable to advance, 3/187 again withdrew down the mountain. The three converging companies of 1/506th struggled to take Hill 900, the southern crest of the mountain, encountering heavy opposition for the first time in the battle.

Because of the heavy casualties already sustained by his units and under pressure from the unwanted attention of the press, Zais seriously considered discontinuing the attack but decided otherwise. Both the corps commander and the MACV
Military Assistance Command, Vietnam
The U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, MACV, , was the United States' unified command structure for all of its military forces in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War.-History:...

 commander, General Creighton W. Abrams, publicly supported the decision. Zais decided to commit three fresh battalions to the battle and to have one of them relieve the 3/187th in place. The 3/187th's losses had been severe, with approximately 320 killed and wounded, including more than sixty percent of the 450 experienced troops who had assaulted into the valley. Two of its four company commanders and eight of twelve platoon leaders had become casualties.

The battalion commander of the 2/506th, Lt. Col. Gene Sherron, arrived at Honeycutt's CP on the afternoon of May 18 to coordinate the relief. 3/187th was flying out its latest casualties, and its commander had not yet been informed of the relief. Before any arrangements were made, Zais landed and was confronted by Honeycutt, who argued that his battalion was still combat effective. After a sharp confrontation, Zais relented, although he assigned one of Sherron's companies to Honeycutt as reinforcement for the assault.

Final assault

Two fresh battalions—the 2/501st Infantry and ARVN 2/3d Infantry—were airlifted into LZs northeast and southeast of the base of the mountain on May 19. Both battalions immediately moved onto the mountain to positions from which they would attack the following morning. Meanwhile the 1/506th for the third consecutive day struggled to secure Hill 900.

The 3rd Brigade launched its four-battalion attack at 10:00 on May 20, including two companies of the 3/187th reinforced by Alpha Company 2/506th. The attack was preceded by two hours of close air support and ninety minutes of artillery prep fires. The battalions attacked simultaneously, and by 12:00 elements of the 3/187th reached the crest, beginning a reduction of bunkers that continued through most of the afternoon. Some PAVN units were able to withdraw into Laos, and Hill 937 was secured by 17:00.

ARVN participation

According to recent research, particularly the admission by General Creighton W. Abrams in "The Abrams Tapes", the 2/3 ARVN unit participating in the final assault, positioned on a stretch of the PAVN defense line that was lightly defended, sent a scout party to test the forward enemy lines, earlier than the proposed assault time, to which it was quickly able to discern the minimal enemy strength. The 2/3 ARVN commanding officer decided to exploit the situation, and attack in advance of the other units. The 2/3 ARVN reached the crest of Hamburger Hill around 10:00, ahead of the 3/187th, but was incredibly ordered to withdraw from the summit, under the pretense that allied artillery was to be directed on to the top of the hill. The opportunity to threaten the PAVN lines facing the 3/187th was lost. Shortly after the 2/3 ARVN completed their withdrawal, the 3/187th was able to break through the PAVN defenses and occupy the summit, giving the illusion that American troops had conquered their objective first.


U.S. losses during the ten-day battle reportedly totaled 72 dead and 372 wounded. To take the position, the 101st Airborne Division eventually committed five infantry battalions, about 1,800 men, and ten batteries of artillery. In addition, the U.S. Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 flew 272 support sorties and expended more than 450 tons of bombs and 69 tons of napalm.

U.S. claimed the 7th and 8th Battalions of the 29th PAVN Regiment suffered 630 dead discovered on and around the battlefield, including many found in makeshift mortuaries within the tunnel complex, and an unknown number of wounded that likely totaled most of the remainder of the two units.


Major General John M. Wright quietly abandoned the hill on June 5. The debate over "Hamburger Hill" reached the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

, with particularly severe criticism of military leadership by Senators Edward Kennedy
Ted Kennedy
Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy was a United States Senator from Massachusetts and a member of the Democratic Party. Serving almost 47 years, he was the second most senior member of the Senate when he died and is the fourth-longest-serving senator in United States history...

, George McGovern
George McGovern
George Stanley McGovern is an historian, author, and former U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator, and the Democratic Party nominee in the 1972 presidential election....

, and Stephen M. Young
Stephen M. Young
Stephen Marvin Young was an American politician of the Democratic Party from Ohio. He was a United States Senator from Ohio from 1958 until 1971....

. In its June 27 issue, Life Magazine published the photographs of 241 Americans killed in one week in Vietnam, considered a watershed turning point in the war. While only five of these were casualties on Hamburger Hill, many Americans had the perception that all the dead were victims of the battle.

The controversy of the conduct of the Battle of Hamburger Hill led to a reappraisal of U.S. strategy in South Vietnam. As a direct result, to hold down casualties, General Abrams discontinued a policy of "maximum pressure" against the North Vietnamese to one of "protective reaction" for troops threatened with attack, while President Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

 announced the first troop withdrawals. Although the battle did not have the most U.S. KIAs of any single engagement, nonetheless the battle became a turning point in the war.

In popular culture

John Irvin
John Irvin
John Irvin is an English film director. Born in Newcastle upon Tyne, he began his career by directing a number of documentaries and television works, including the BBC adaptation of John le Carré's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy...

's 1987 film, Hamburger Hill
Hamburger Hill
Hamburger Hill is a 1987 American war film about the actual assault of the U.S. Army's 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, part of the 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division 'Screaming Eagles', on a well-fortified position, including trenchworks and bunkers, of the North Vietnamese Army on Ap Bia...

, is a fictionalized account of the battle. (The film's plot is based on real events but features fictional characters.)

In Eminem
Marshall Bruce Mathers III , better known by his stage name Eminem or his alter ego Slim Shady, is an American rapper, record producer, songwriter and actor. Eminem's popularity brought his group project, D12, to mainstream recognition...

's song "Amityville", a reference is made to The Battle of Hamburger Hill in the line, "This ain't Detroit, this is motherfuckin' Hamburger Hill!"

The American documentary television miniseries, Vietnam in HD
Vietnam in HD
Vietnam in HD is a 6-part American documentary television miniseries that originally aired from November 8 to November 11, 2011 on the History Channel. From the same producers as WWII in HD, the program focuses on the firsthand experiences of thirteen Americans during the Vietnam War...

(which aired on the History Channel), features The Battle of Hamburger Hill. In particular, the Battle of Hamburger Hill is related by featured veterans Karl Marlantes and Arthur Wiknik.

The videogame Battlefield Bad Company 2: Vietnam features a multiplayer map named Hill 137 (rather than 937), which includes heavily fortified positions similar to those seen on Hill 937. Additionally, if the US side loses a round, a newsreel-style voiceover states that the US Army nicknamed the hill "Hamburger Hill".

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.