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Bình An/Tây Vinh massacre

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bình An/Tây Vinh massacre
LocationTây Sơn District of Bình Định Province, South Vietnam
DateFebruary 12, 1966 – March 17, 1966
TargetTay Vinh villagers
Attack type
PerpetratorsROK Capital Division

The Bình An / Tây Vinh massacre (Korean: 타이빈 양민 학살 사건) was a series of massacres alleged to have been conducted by the ROK Capital Division of the South Korean Army between February 12, 1966 and March 17, 1966 of 1,200 unarmed citizens in the Go Dai village and other areas in the rural commune of Bình An/ Tây Vinh area, Tây Sơn District of Bình Định Province in South Vietnam.[2][3]

The massacre was reported to have occurred over the course of three weeks, in which 1,004-1,200 civilians were allegedly massacred, primarily women, children, elderly men and infants. They were conducted as part of Operation Maeng Ho which formed a part of Operation Masher, and were reported as "enemy KIA".[4]

Documents and testimonies on the massacre was internally investigated but not publicly disclosed[citation needed] until the news of the massacre and its outcome was uncovered by a Korean graduate student Ku Su-Jeong and reported in the Korean media. The Asian Human Rights Commission had reported on the massacre and sent a letter to Kim Dae-jung for justice on the matter, with Kim Dae-jung expressing regret for war-time atrocities on a state visit to Vietnam.[5]

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BATTLEFIELD VIETNAM Siege at Khe Sanh The defense of the American combat base at Khe Sanh... ...was given the codename Operation Scotland. Khe Sanh was one of the most remote outposts in Vietnam... ...but by January 1968 even the American President, Lyndon Johnson, ...had taken a personal interest. With the Marines facing a full scale siege by the North Vietnamese Army, the question was being asked “Should the base be held?... ...or should it be quietly abandoned?”. Many in Washington worried that defending Khe Sanh... ...could invite a costly and humiliating defeat. General Westmoreland, the U.S. Commander in Vietnam, dismissed all such fears. Already Khe Sanh was tying up 20,000 North Vietnamese troops... ...and there might be a chance of winning a major American victory. General Rathvon Tompkins, the new commander of the 3rd Marine division, was also convinced that the base could and should be held. To boost the defenses, he had sent a third battalion... ...of the 26th Marines as reinforcements. They were directed to hill 558, from where they could provide fire support. There were now 5,000 American troops at Khe Sanh. The combat base at Khe Sanh was built around... ...the 3,900 foot airstrip. Beside the strip was the Marine Air Traffic Control unit. Nearby was the 26th Marines Command Post... and the Fire Support Coordination Center. At the Eastern end of the base was the main Ammunition Dump, with a secondary dump to the west. The Base perimeter was manned by the first battalion... ...and a company of the third. There was also a Forward Operating Base run by Special Forces. The infantry were backed by tank and anti-tank units, and an artillery battalion of the 13th Marines. Outside the Khe Sanh base the Marines held... hill 881 South, hill 861, ...and a radio relay station at hill 950. The whole second battalion occupied hill 558... block the Rao Quan River valley. Beyond 881 South, the North Vietnamese 325C division... ...had secretly fortified a chain of hills. On January 20th 1968, the Americans thwarted an attempt to take 881 South... and just after midnight the next day, 861 was partially overrun, but the attackers were also driven off. At 5:30am Khe Sanh base itself was hammered... a massive North Vietnamese Artillery bombardment. The shattering barrage of shells, mortars and rockets... ...would slam in to the Marine combat base at 05:30 on January 21st... ...signaled the start of the battle for Khe Sanh. The North Vietnamese gunners had targeted their bombardment... ...with unerring accuracy. As Marines had dived for cover, one of the first rounds... ...had scored a direct hit on the main ammunition store. The number 1 dump stored 1,500 tons of artillery and mortar rounds... ...90% of the base's entire stock, or 10,000 rounds. All of it was lost. 18 men were killed instantly and 40 were wounded as the ammunition exploded... ...and shells and mortar rounds flew in every direction. The explosions would go on for another 48 hours. Even at the height of the chaos, the Marines were still able... fire their mortars and guns against the enemy batteries. They also called in Air support, and very quickly, fighter-bombers were blasting the suspected locations... ...of the North Vietnamese artillery, which, in return, ...scored 300 direct heavy artillery hits on the fire base. As the bombardment of the base reached a crescendo... ...the 26th Marines commander Colonel David Lownds expected... ...a massive North Vietnamese ground attack at any moment. But the attack didn't come. The North Vietnamese infantry had a different objective. The target was Khe Sanh village, 3 miles from the Marine combat base. At dawn on January 21st, NVA troops attacked Khe Sanh village... ...where 200 Marines and South Vietnamese troops were stationed. The North Vietnamese attackers were a 400 men battalion of the 66th regiment. The battalion attacked twice, but in the face of powerful American artillery and air strikes, ...failed to take the village. An attempt at reinforcement by a South Vietnamese unit... ...went disastrously wrong and the whole force was destroyed. Later in the day the village was evacuated and abandoned to the NVA. Later that evening, Khe Sanh base itself was probed... a North Vietnamese assault unit. L company of the third battalion drove off the attack. The following day the base's western flank was reinforced... the newly arrived 1st battalion of the 9th Marines, ...deployed at a quarry a mile from the perimeter. A platoon was detached from the battalion to occupy the nearby hill 64. For the Marines inside the Khe Sanh base... ...the days were now filled with feverish activity. There were sudden heavy bombardments from NVA guns and rockets. The massive damage done by the first barrage still had to be repaired. The biggest worry was ammunition. The first aircraft to land all carried shells. More than 130 tons were delivered in just two days. Reinforcements arrived too, the Marines were joined... 300 South Vietnamese Army Rangers, and Colonel Lownds now had more than 6,000 men inside the compound ...and the seven defended positions on the surrounding hills. While the Marines at Khe Sanh braced themselves... ...for the attack that was surely coming, General Westmoreland warned Washington that the battle could be... ...the turning point for the whole war. In the United States, president Johnson was getting more and more worried... ...about what might happen. The last thing he wanted was an American version of Dien Bien Phu. But he was determined to support his commander. Westmoreland would be allowed to fight the battle he wanted. There would be no U.S. withdrawal from Khe Sanh despite the fact... ...that the NVA were still raining between 150 and 300 shells a day on Khe Sanh. OPERATION NIAGARA It was the awesome potential of American air power... ...that convinced U.S. military leaders that Khe Sanh could be defended. Before the battle had started, on 5th January, ...Westmoreland and U.S. tacticians devised a plan... ...for defending Khe Sanh by bombing. It was already being unleashed on the North Vietnamese divisions... ...with devastating effect. The Americans called it Operation Niagara. The first part of Niagara was to pinpoint North Vietnamese troop concentrations. Information from air reconnaissance, Special Forces teams, radio interception... ...and every other possible source was fed into the intelligence system. Niagara also deployed the most advanced and secret... ...surveillance technology in the world. Aircraft and helicopters scattered hundreds of electronic sensors... ...across the enemy's main lines of approach. They could detect the movement of troops... ...and send signals to alert the Americans. As the intelligence picture built up, ...Operation Niagara quickly gathered momentum. In spite of rivalry between the Air Force and the Marines... ...over who should control operations... ...every available warplane in the area was standing by. At the peak of the siege, American planes dropped triple the tonnage of bombs... ...delivered on a peak day during World War II. Added to this, fighter bombers would deliver 54,500 tons of Napalm alone. Although fighter bombers were flying the vast majority of Niagara missions, most of the sheer weight of bombs was being delivered by B-52's... part of an ongoing operation codenamed Arc Light. The strikes were flown around the clock. A cell of three B-52 arrived over the Khe Sanh area every 90 minutes. The giant heavy bomber was able to carry a massive 27 tons of bombs. The aircraft dropped their loads from 30,000 feet, high enough so that the planes couldn't be seen or heard from the ground. The only warning most North Vietnamese troops got of a raid... ...was the shattering detonation of the first bombs. Over the 77 days of the siege, B-52s flew over 2,500 sorties ...dropping more than 53,000 tons of bombs. The biggest Arc Light raid of the Vietnam War so far... was launched as part of Operation Niagara on January 30th. American Radio Direction Finding seemed to have discovered... ...the North Vietnamese Army headquarters for the Khe Sanh offensive. Whether it was or not no one is sure, ...but the site was annihilated by two B-52 raids in a single day. TET! Early in the morning of January 30th and 31st 1968, the general offensive... ...the Vietcong had been planning for more than six months... ...drove with shattering force all over South Vietnam. As tens of thousands of Vietcong attacked towns, cities and military installations, American commanders were stunned by the sheer scale of the assault. While most of South Vietnam erupted in violence, Khe Sanh was uncannily quiet. A North Vietnamese Army defector had confirmed... ...that there was to be a major attack but nothing had happened yet. Some U.S. commanders believed that the Arc Light raids... ...had shattered the North Vietnamese command system. There was no way of telling. As the tide of the Vietcong's Tet offensive swept over South Vietnam, ...most of the advance was being countered by the South Vietnamese Army. The Americans had been heavily committed in only a few places, ...mainly around Saigon and in Hue. General Westmoreland was holding back his forces, still convinced that the main attack would come at Khe Sanh. By this time, the weather in the Khe Sanh area had deteriorated badly. Heavy cloud cover had limited American air strikes. The battle for the combat base had settled into a straight fight... ...between American and North Vietnamese gunners. The busiest time for the American guns was after dark, when the NVA were most active. Every night, the Marines laid down... ...concentrated patterns of fire on likely areas. Sometimes, in bombardments known as mini Arc-Lights, intense artillery barrage was combined with radar guided air strikes... saturate a target completely. As for the North Vietnamese artillery, most of the guns, ...rockets and mortars were by now in place. Getting them into position had been a massive job. Northern troops had also sided hundreds of ammunition dumps... ...around Khe Sanh and across the border in Laos. The North Vietnamese had placed large numbers... ...of their shorter range guns and mortars... ...within two miles of the Khe Sanh base. Most of the big rockets were fired from hill 881 North. The heavy guns were much further away, on hill 305... and in caves and slopes of the Co Roc mountain across the border in Laos. While they could hit the Americans, ...the Marine guns didn't have the range to hit back. Even the Army's big guns at the Rockpile and Camp Carroll... ...couldn't reach the NVA's heavy batteries. By now, more than two weeks into the battle, ...over 150 North Vietnamese artillery rounds were hitting... ...the Khe Sanh base and its outposts every day, ...rising to a peak on February 23rd of 1,300. For the Marines, building the best possible protection... ...was a matter of life and death. Orders were that every man had to have access to a bunker... to stop an 82mm mortar round. Command posts were to withstand a 120mm hit. As for the heavy shells of the NVA biggest guns... ...nothing could stop those. The North Vietnamese artillery hitting Khe Sanh... ...and the Marine outposts was all indirect fire. Spotters on the hills corrected the gunners aim by radio, but the gunners themselves could never see the targets. What NVA commanders wanted most of all... ...was to place guns on the hills overlooking the base. From there they could pour devastating fire straight down onto the Americans. On February 5th 1968 the American chain of electronic sensors... ...detected a large scale NVA movement. The activity seemed to point to an imminent attack on hill 881 South. The U.S. reaction was a massive Niagara raid. Whole North Vietnamese units were caught in the open... the entire area around the hill was devastated in a massive storm of bombs. Although the North Vietnamese attack on hill 881 South had been blocked, the Americans had failed to detect a battalion... ...closing on an outpost called 861A. There, a single Marine company drove off two determined assaults... artillery fire destroyed the follow-on waves of NVA troops. On the night of February 6th, the North Vietnamese 304th Division... ...began to clear ground approaches to Khe Sanh from the West. The first objective was the American Special Forces camp at Lang Vei... manned by a handful of U.S. troops and a battalion of South Vietnamese local militia. The attack was launched by the 66th regiment, 1,500 men, ...backed for the first time by tanks. In less than three hours, the Lang Vei camp was overrun... and only 74 of the 400 U.S. and South Vietnamese defenders survived. The next target for the NVA was hill 64... ...occupied by a single American platoon. A two pronged infantry attack was launched against the hill, but a relief platoon, supported by fierce air and artillery fire, drove the North Vietnamese to the West. There they were again hammered by a massive American bombardment. Even though the NVA had again failed... take any more American hill outposts... ...and it lost hundreds of men in the attempt, they had at least captured Lang Vei. A thorn in their side had been eliminated... ...and they had cleared route 9 for their own use. Artillery reinforcements, including 130mm guns, ...could now be brought much closer to the Khe Sanh base. The Americans were sure the NVA was finished building up their forces at Khe Sanh ...and were ready for the main attack. But to their surprise, the expected assault still didn't come. Instead the siege settled down to a deadly daily duel... ...fought by artillery and aircraft. At the same time, the North Vietnamese began to launch... ...frequent small scale probes against the base perimeter. THE AIR BRIDGE In Washington, anxiety about the fate of the Marines at Khe Sanh was mounting. A relief operation was being planned but it would demand powerful forces... ...and couldn't be mounted for weeks. The weather was still too poor. Meantime, if the base's air bridge was cut, it would be all over for Khe Sanh. The troops manning the base needed ammunition, food and medicines. Casualties had to be evacuated. Men finishing their tours of duty had to be flown out and replacements brought in. The main base alone needed 160 tons of supplies a day, just to keep on fighting. The supply effort depended above all on the huge load carrying ability... ...of the C-130 Hercules transport. The aircraft was able to carry up to 20 tons of cargo, but for that very reason it needed most of the strip to land... ...and took time to turn around. Every plane met a storm of anti aircraft fire, mortars and artillery. On February 11th 1968, the North Vietnamese anti aircraft gunners scored... ...their first major success against a Marine KC-130 Hercules landing at Khe Sanh. The plane was carrying a cargo of helicopter fuel and burst into flames. Six of their crew were burned to death. The loss of the C-130 marked the end of attempts... land very large aircraft at Khe Sanh. Smaller, more nimble planes like the C-123 provider... well as Marine helicopters would still come in. But without the big loads of the Hercules, the base would never survive. Other methods would have to be tried. The most successful new method was called LAPES... ...the Low Altitude Parachute Extraction System. The Hercules flew only five feet above the runway while a parachute... ...snatched the cargo pallets out of the hold. Another technique used a hook and a raster cable... drag the load from the aircraft. In February 1968, appalling weather with ground fog and low cloud... ...stopped all low altitude deliveries. The only option was to parachute supplies... ...into a drop zone just outside the perimeter. Several thousand tons would arrive this way... but still, for the Marines, bad weather invariably meant tighter rations. Although the battle to supply the main base was being won, the hill outposts were a much bigger problem. A fifth of Khe Sanh's manpower was stationed on the hills. The men were suffering almost 50% casualties and the posts depended completely on helicopters for supply. For the crews of helicopters supplying the hill outposts, every mission was a gamble with death. North Vietnamese gunners were quick to target the approaches... ...and the landing zones. Anti aircraft fire followed the helicopters in and as soon as they landed, ...mortar crews and machine gunners opened up. As the slopes of the hills became a graveyard for American helicopters... the Marines realized that the survival of the hill outposts... ...was under serious threat, ...and if they fell, the main base couldn't last for long. Air commanders worked frantically to devise new tactics... ...for getting helicopters in and out of the hill top bases safely. The tactics the Americans devised depended on swamping... ...the enemy anti aircraft guns and mortars around the landing zone... ...with a high speed assault. 12 skyhawk fighter bombers, 4 Huey gunships, up to 16 supply helicopters... ...and an airborne command and control aircraft all acted together. The first stage was for 4 Skyhawks to hit North Vietnamese positions... ...with bombs and NAPALM. Two more laid tear gas. Next, two skyhawks droppped smoke bombs to create a corridor... and 30 seconds later, the transport helicopters swooped in... ...covered by the Huey gunships. Meanwhile, four more Skyhawks with rockets, bombs and guns, ...made close in attacks. The whole operation was over in less than 5 minutes. The new tactics quickly earned the title "Super Gaggle"... ...because the helicopters looked like an over sized flock of geese. With the fighters and gunships on the air too, ...the method took incredible timing to pull off successfully. But it worked. Only two more helicopters would be shot down supplying the hill outposts. By now, the strain of the long siege... ...was beginning to tell on the troops at Khe Sanh. Being under shell fire every day meant... ...a steady drain of casualties and constant tension. Food was often down to two C-Ration meals daily. Conditions were appalling, the bunkers were knee deep in filth and mud... ...and overrun by rats. In addition it was impossible to forget that up to 20,000 enemy soldiers... ...were waiting for the signal to storm the base. To stop the men brooding about their possible fate, officers and NCOs kept the troops as busy as possible. Digging trenches, filling sandbags and improving bunkers... ...was a big part of every day. There was some patrolling too, although not more than 500 yards from friendly lines. Colonel Lownds had no intention of sending his men into certain ambushes... ...and in any case they had to be kept clear of the Niagara bombing raids. On the base perimeter, the watchword was constant vigilance. The North Vietnamese were probing the defenses with infantry and sapper teams. The Americans were facing assaults of up to 200 men at a time... the enemy tested for weaknesses in the line. The Marines were also plagued by hidden machine gun nests... ...which could open up at any moment, day or night. THE GROUND ASSAULT By now the attention of the American public was riveted by the battle of Khe Sanh. The story was being covered by dozens of journalists... ...and was featured on Network Television every day. Stories about Khe Sanh accounted for 25% of all filmed news reports... ...about the war on U.S. networks and up to 50% on CBS. Arguments raged over the rights and wrongs of trying to hold the base. In Washington, president Johnson was deeply worried... ...about the fate of the Marines at Khe Sanh. He was constantly demanding the latest information on the battle. A model of the base had even been brought into the White House situation room. For the first time in the Vietnam War... ...the room was on full alert, 24 hours a day. A multitude of doubts and fears haunted the president and its advisors. Should nuclear weapons be used to save the base, as some had suggested? What if the enemy diverted or poisoned the base's water supply? Most worrying of all, What if enemy jets... ...mounted a sudden bombing attack on Khe Sanh? It would be a massive propaganda victory for the North. Although North Vietnamese aircraft did penetrate... within striking distance of Khe Sanh... ...they made no attempt to attack the Marine base. American air defenses over the DMZ were far too strong. The biggest threat to the Marines at Khe Sanh ...did not come from modern fighter aircraft. It came from one of the most primitive weapons in warfare. The North Vietnamese besieging Khe Sanh were digging mile upon mile... ...of trenches and bunkers just as they had at Dien Bien Phu. They were fast approaching the perimeter of the combat base itself. Already there was a major system of North Vietnamese fortifications ...on hill 471, less than two miles to the South of the Khe Sanh base. Now at incredible speed, the trench lines were being extended Northwards... ...until they reached to within 25 yards of the American perimeter. Another line of trenches and bunkers was creeping across from the South East. The NVA plan was for the infantry to mass... ...under cover of the trenches before launching their final assault. By the last week of February 1968, few Americans inside Khe Sanh doubted... ...that the big North Vietnamese ground assault would have to come soon. The moon was in its darkest phase, and a night infantry attack... ...would have a good chance of overwhelming the perimeter defenses. Smashing the enemy trench lines was an absolute priority. The Americans tried every conceivable method to destroy the trenches. Napalm and bombs were rained down in huge quantities. The Marines fired countless artillery barrages. But the Americans had little success. The discouraging fact, learned from other wars... ...was that it could take 1,000 hits to destroy 100 yards of trenches. In the end the answer lay with the B-52's. Up to now, Arc Light raids had been kept more than two miles... ...away from the base perimeter. On February 27th 1968, the restriction was lifted. For the first time, the B-52's, under close radar guidance... ...dropped their bombs to within 1,200 yards of the Khe Sanh base. The effect was shattering. There was massive damage to the North Vietnamese trenches and bunkers. It was a turning point in the battle for Khe Sanh. From now on, close-in bombing by B-52's... ...would play a major part in the defense. The sudden increase in North Vietnamese activity around Khe Sanh... ...had left no one in any doubt that the climax of the battle was near. A few days before, a Marine patrol trying to get information... ...had been almost wiped out. North Vietnamese traffic along route 9 from Laos had also risen to a new peak. Enormous quantities of supplies were being rushed... the Khe Sanh divisions for the final assault. The 66th regiment of the North Vietnamese 304th division... ...was assembling near a plantation to the South the Khe Sanh base. Units were also massing near an old French fort. On the night of February 29th, a battalion of the 304th NVA division... ...assaulted the 37th ARVN Rangers at the Eastern edge of the camp, a diversion to cover the unexpected and imminent withdrawal... ...of all NLF troops from Khe Sanh. The American defense was to coordinate strikes by artillery, fighter bombers and B-52's on three main areas... ...through which the attacking NVA had to pass. Then, as the final assault waves approached the base, Khe Sanh's own defensive fireplan was unleashed. The base perimeter at the point of attack was manned... the 37th South Vietnamese Ranger battalion. As the lead NVA units advanced, the base fired an artillery pattern... ...forming the sides of an open box. A creeping barrage was then walked up and down inside. At the same time, two NVA battalions cut off behind the box... ...were hit by fighter bomber strikes, while long range artillery from the Rockpile and Camp Carroll... ...created a moving outer cordon. The North Vietnamese troops who survived to emerge... ...from the open end of the box then faced the direct fire... ...of the South Vietnamese Rangers. Over the next week, despite continued aerial bombardment, and the barrage of artillery fire, the trenches came even closer. Then, for no apparent reason they stopped. On March 6th, with the Marines still waiting for the final assault, many of Giap's troops stumbled away through what was left of the jungle... area of land that had received 100,000 tons of bombs. The heaviest aerial bombardment on a single piece of land... the history of warfare. The next three weeks were relatively quiet around Khe Sanh. American air activity increased steadily as the weather improved, and more NVA units began to withdraw into Laos. But the battle for Khe Sanh was not yet over. On March 22nd 1968 there was a sudden explosion of violence. Without warning, a massive North Vietnamese bombardment... ...including huge numbers of heavy shells from the Co Roc mountain... ...slammed into Khe Sanh. More than 1,000 rounds hit the base at a rate of 100 every hour. At the same time the electronic sensors around Khe Sanh... again indicated NVA movements and the Americans replied with heavy bombing. As the weather steadily improved, U.S. air attacks... ...around the Khe Sanh base, grew fiercer by the day. Further afield over the North Vietnamese rear areas, fighter bombers roamed... ...with orders to pounce on any movement. For the North Vietnamese the situation could only get worse. General Giap was forced to concede that Khe Sanh could not now be taken. By this time, the Marines were mounting small but aggressive attacks... ...out of the base. General Giap now ordered the remainder of his units to pull back from Khe Sanh. One by one, the NVA regiments around the base melted away. Only 6,000 troops were left behind to continue the siege... ...of the Marine combat base. Although fighting would go on, the worst of Khe Sanh's ordeal was over. OPERATION PEGASUS On April 1st 1968 the Americans formally ended Operation Scotland, the defense of Khe Sanh, and seven days later began Operation Pegasus. April 9th was the first time in 45 days that no shells fell on Khe Sanh. The aim of Pegasus was to reopen route 9... ...the road linking Khe Sanh to the other American bases... ...along the Demilitarized Zone. As well as the Marines, Pegasus deployed the 1st Air Cavalry Division, the most mobile American unit in Vietnam. The Air Cavalry had more helicopters and airborne fire power... ...than any other U.S. unit. It was perfectly suited to the rugged and demanding terrain near Khe Sanh. For Pegasus, the Division's commander, Major General John Tolson... was also given the 1st Marine regiment, a South Vietnamese airborne Task Force... ...and the 26th Marines in Khe Sanh. The entire length of route 9 was still dominated by North Vietnamese Army units... especially elements of the 66th and 29th regiments. For Operation Pegasus the Americans built a main base... ...for the Air Cavalry at Landing Zone Stud. The Marines would operate out of Ca Lu. The plan was for air assaults to seize Landing Zones and fire bases... North and South route 9, while other forces pushed down the road. Although the weather was poor for fighter-bombers, the weight of American firepower supporting Pegasus was still enormous. In a single day the Americans fired more than 10,000 artillery rounds. Before the operation was over, B-52's launched 45 Arc Light strikes. The American offensive was unstoppable. By April 5th 1968, the Air Cavalry had forged past Khe Sanh... ...and established landing zones West and South of the combat base. While the Cavalry consolidated their new positions, the Marines in Khe Sanh mounted their own break out assaults. There was strong resistance from battalions of the North Vietnamese 66th regiment... ...which mounted fierce counterattacks, ...but the Marines succeeded in taking hill 471. It was the first of a string of NVA hills... ...recaptured over the next few days. On April 8th 1968, the Air Cavalry and the 26th Marines of the combat base... ...linked up, formally ending the siege of Khe Sanh. In fact the Marines were less than pleased... be seen as being rescued by the army. In their view, they had long since guaranteed their own survival. AFTER THE BATTLE The 77 day siege of Khe Sanh... ...had turned into the biggest single battle of the Vietnam war. The official assessment of the North Vietnamese Army dead... ...was just over 1,600 with two divisions all but shattered. But thousands more were probably killed by bombs... ...and left no trace of ever having existed. By the end of Operation Pegasus, American and South Vietnamese units... ...had suffered 1,000 dead and 4,500 wounded. But official figures state that under 250 had been killed... the Khe Sanh combat base and its outposts. In the aftermath of the battle, General Westmoreland had high hopes... ...that the next phase would be the thrust into Laos he had long advocated. He now had the forces he needed. But Westmoreland's hopes for a great campaign... follow up his victory at Khe Sanh were soon dashed. In the United States, by the spring of 1968, American public opinion had turned sharply against the war in Vietnam. The shock of the Tet offensive had led many to believe... ...that the U.S. would have to withdraw sooner or later. Under severe pressure, President Johnson had promised to search... ...for a negotiated peace. He ruled out any big troop increases and any widening of the conflict. In June 1968, General Westmoreland approved the destruction... ...of the Khe Sanh combat base. The President's decision not to widen the war... ...had meant there would be no offensive into Laos. Nor was the base needed for defense... there were now strong and highly mobile American forces in the area. In any case, as both sides were slowly beginning to realize, even as the battle had raged at Khe Sanh... ...the war had changed out of all recognition. Subtitling: DeStrangis



The Associated Press (AP) in April 2000 investigated allegations of the Bình An/Tây Vinh massacre and stated that it "was unable to independently confirm their [the Vietnamese victims'] claims" and wrote that "Neither the Pentagon nor the South Korean Defense Ministry would comment on the allegations or offer independent confirmation".[6] The AP further reports "An additional 653 civilians were allegedly killed the same year by South Korean troops in neighboring Quang Ngai and Phu Yen provinces, according to provincial and local officials interviewed by the AP on a trip the government took two months to approve. As is routine with foreign reporters, several government escorts accompanied the AP staff. The AP was unable to search for documents that would back up the officials' allegations".

A Reuters story from January 2000 stated that "Three local officials, including one who said he survived the alleged killings, spoke at length about the events in Binh Dinh. The officials, who declined to be identified, said that in early 1966, Korean troops entered what was then the Binh An commune, a collection of villages within Tay Son district that they believed was a Viet Cong stronghold. The Koreans were intent on flushing out opposing forces, but civilians bore the brunt of their actions, the officials said. An official at Tay Son's Communist Party history unit said the attacks began in early 1966 and culminated in a massacre of 380 people on Feb. 26, 1966, at a place called Go Dai." and that "A People's Committee official in Tay Son district also confirmed the details, saying 1,200 people were killed. A government official in Hanoi said central authorities had later investigated what happened at Binh Dinh and compiled detailed reports, which showed more than 1,000 people were killed during the period, about 380 of them at Go Dai. However, when asked for comment and to confirm the alleged killings, Vietnam's foreign ministry said it did not want to dwell on the matter. "South Korean troops committed crimes against Vietnamese people. With humanitarian and peaceful neighbourly traditions, it is Vietnam's policy to close the past..." the ministry said in a statement in response to questions." [7]

A series of reports by the Tuổi Trẻ newspaper chronicled life after the massacre in this village, chronicling the life of village massacre survivors.[8] Survivors of the massacre have also testified at the Korean Peace Museum in Seoul, although these massacres were denied by some Korean veterans serving in South Vietnam.

See also


  1. ^ "Words of Condemnation and Drinks of Reconciliation Massacre in Vin Dinh Province All 380 People Turned into Dead Bodies Within an Hour". Hankyoreh. 1999-09-02. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
  2. ^ "Vietnam memorial recalls massacre by Korean troops". Retrieved 2018-06-08.
  3. ^ "In Vietnam, a rare discussion of South Korean soldiers' wartime civilian massacres". Retrieved 2018-06-08.
  4. ^ Clodfelter, Micheal (2017-05-09). Warfare and Armed Conflicts: A Statistical Encyclopedia of Casualty and Other Figures, 1492–2015, 4th ed. McFarland. p. 676. ISBN 9781476625850.
  5. ^ "SOUTH KOREA: Exposed South Korean Soldiers Massacred Vietnamese during Vietnam War — Asian Human Rights Commission". Asian Human Rights Commission. Retrieved 2018-06-08.
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External links

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