Combat Skyspot and the Battle of Khe Sanh
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Unfortunately it was not possible to obtain accurate damage assessments for the B-52s. Limited visibility was the main culprit. It was also impossible to know for sure how many casualties the PAVNsuffered, but it was estimated to be close to 10,000, or about half of the attacking force. There were many accounts taken from notebooks left behind by the enemy and received through interrogation detailing the devastation of the B-52's. “A captured NVA officer estimated that 75 percent of his 1,800-man regiment had been killed by a single Arc Light strike.” [12]

Time Magazine published an article in April of 1968, “How the Battle of Khe Sanh was Won”, offering further evidence of a decisive victory:

The evidence on the battlefield was even more persuasive testimony of the extent of the U.S.victory. The North Vietnamese are normally an extremely frugal foe that never leaves even a rifle bullet behind. In their haste to get away from Khe Sanh, they left piles of valuable matériel.In only a cursory search of the area, U.S. troopers counted 182 rockets and mortars, 260,000 rounds of small-arms ammunition, 13,000 rounds of larger-caliber ammunition and 8,700 handgrenades and mines. Several hundred North Vietnamese even left behind their AK-47 rifles, violating the most basic principle of war—that an infantryman never loses his weapon even in retreat. The idea that the North Vietnamese pulled out as a voluntary gesture of de-escalation isthus contradicted by all the facts. The biggest fact is that at Khe Sanh they were badly whippedby U.S. airpower. [13]

General Westmoreland was elated with the success of the B-52s. In a speech to the officers and men ofthe 3d Air Division at Guam on June 13, 1968, he said, “the thing that broke their backs was basically the fire of the B-52's.” [14]

Map of Khe Sanh [15]


[12] Head, WAR FROM ABOVE THE CLOUDS, Air University Press, Maxwell AFB, July 2002, pg. 32
[13] Time Magazine, “How the Battle of Khe Sanh was Won”, Friday, April 19, 1968,,9171,838216-1,00.html
[14] Nalty, The Fight for Khe Sanh, pg. 88
[15] Wikipedia, “Battle of Khe Sanh”

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