Battle of Hamburger Hill – 20 May

The Battle of Hamburger Hill was a battle of the Vietnam War that was fought by the United States and South Vietnam against North Vietnamese forces from May 10–20, 1969. Although the heavily fortified Hill 937 was of little strategic value, U.S. command ordered its capture by a frontal assault, only to abandon it soon thereafter. The action caused a controversy both in the American military and public.

Terrain
The battle took place on Dong Ap Bia in the rugged, jungle-shrouded mountains of South Vietnam, 1.2 miles (1.9 km) from the Laotian border. Rising from the floor of the western A Shau Valley, Ap Bia Mountain is a solitary massif, unconnected to the ridges of the surrounding Annamite range. It dominates the northern valley, towering some 937 meters (3,074 ft) above sea level

Order of battle
The battle on Hamburger Hill occurred in May 1969, during Operation Apache Snow, the second part of a three-phased campaign intended to destroy North Vietnam Army (NVA) Base Areas in the remote A Shau Valley.

Planning
Colonel Conmy 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.

Battle
Reinforcing the assault on Hill 937. They 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.

Hamburger Hill
On May 16, Associated Press 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.

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