Battle of A Shau
Battle of A Shau was waged in 1966 during the Vietnam War. The
battle began on March 9 and lasted until March 10 with the fall
of the special forces camp of the same name. The battle was an
outright victory for the North Vietnamese; it was nevertheless a
costly battle that U.S. estimates suggest cost the attackers
almost half of their force.
What do you know about
the Battle of A Shau? Try this Vietnam War History Made Easy
1. The A Shau Special Forces Camp was
located in the A Shau Valley, about 30 miles southwest of this
South Vietnam cityHue in Thua Thien Province. What was the city?
2. It was strategically important for the
North Vietnamese Army as a major infiltration route because it
was adjacent to the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Defending the camp were
10 Green Berets and 210 South Vietnamese Civilian Irregular
Defense Group, supported by Air Commando units equipped with
vintage A-1 Skyraiders and AC-47 Spooky gunships.
3. The camp was routinely harassed by
small Viet Cong formations leading up to the battle. Throughout
February and March, troops from the camp were often sent out to
conduct reconnaissance patrol and were prepared to destroy any
suspected enemy position in the surrounding area. What was the
normal size of the troops on recon?
4. On March 5, two defectors from the
North Vietnamese Army turned up at the camp. Under
interrogation, they indicated that units from the North
Vietnamese 325th Division were planning to attack the camp. How
many battalions were to attack the camp?
- 1 battalion
- 4 battalions
- 8 battalions
5. When was the A Shau camp reinforced
with seven U.S. special forces personnel, nine interpreters and
a MIKE Force Company in anticipation of the North Vietnamese
6. On March 8, the camp was placed on
general alert and the camp's defenders had taken up their
positions. During the night an enemy assault was thrown back.
When was the camp placed on general alert?
7. The attack on the Special Forces Camp
began during the early hours of March 9 with mortar bombardment,
damaging the communication line and reducing defensive positions
to rubble. Upon the request of the detachment commander, at
13:00 an AC-47D "Spooky 70" from the 4th Air Commando
Squadron, circling the camp, managed to attack North Vietnamese
formations but was shot down and crashed about five kilometers
north of the camp. All six crewman died in the crash.
8. On the morning of March 10, the North
Vietnamese Army launched another attack with mortar and
recoilless rifle fire. An assault team penetrated the east wall
of the camp, where hand-to-hand combat took place for three
hours. What time was the east wall penetrated?
9. At 17:00 all communication equipment
was destroyed. The survivors carried out their evacuation orders
and destroyed all their weapons and withdrew further to the
north wall of the camp. Leading the evacuation effort were
fifteen H-34 helicopters from HMM-163 supported by four UH-1B
gunships. Panic-stricken Vietnamese mobbed the evacuation
helicopters and overwhelmed U.S. Special Forces troops as they
abandoned the camp. The evacuation of the camp was complicated
by heavy enemy anti-aircraft fire. How many H-34 helicopters
- two H-34s
- four H-34s
- eight H-34s
10. The camp was officially closed at
17:45 and finally overrun by enemy troops. In the aftermath of
the battle the United States suffered heavy casualties on the
ground: 5 killed and 12 wounded. More losses were suffered
during the evacuation efforts. What time was the camp officially