This Day in History
Ramey Air Force Base, Puerto Rico - Cutting Sugar Cane (detail)

The Siege of Khe Sanh Begins
January 21, 1968

During the Vietnam War, the North Vietnamese Army launched an attack against the remote Marine base at Khe Sanh on January 21, 1968. Each day brought massive shelling and increased casualties. The North Vietnamese were successfully using an old fashioned method of digging miles of trenches and bunkers as they approached Khe Sanh. The turning point of the battle came when the United States deployed B-52’s to the scene. Under close radar guidance, the planes dropped bombs within 1,200 yards of the base, causing massive damage to the North Vietnamese. The siege lasted 77 days killing 1,600 North Vietnamese and 250 Americans. By June 1968, President Johnson had decided not to escalate the war and the base was destroyed by the United States since it was no longer needed for defense.

Mort Künstler did this painting of a B-52, which typifies the planes used in Vietnam.

February's Archived Features:

Wednesday February 1, 2023
Thursday February 2, 2023
Friday February 3, 2023
Saturday February 4, 2023
Sunday February 5, 2023
Monday February 6, 2023



All illustrations by Mort Künstler. Text by Michael Aubrecht, Dee Brown, Henry Steele Commager, Rod Gragg, Mort Künstler, Edward Lengel, James McPherson, and James I. Robertson, Jr. - Copyright © 2001-2019. All Rights Reserved. No part of the contents of this web site may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means without written consent of the artist.