Military history

Ripcord: Screaming Eagles Under Siege, Vietnam 1970

Ripcord: Screaming Eagles Under Siege, Vietnam 1970

On April 10, 1970, Hill 927 was occupied by troopers of the Screaming Eagles of the 101st Airborne Division. By July, the activities of the artillery and infantry of Ripcord had caught the attention of the NVA (North Vietnamese Army) and a long and deadly siege ensued. Ripcord was the Screaming Eagles’ last chance to do significant damage to the NVA in the A Shau Valley before the division was withdrawn from Vietnam and returned to the United States.

At Ripcord, the enemy counterattacked with ferocity, using mortar and antiaircraft fire to inflict heavy causalities on the units operating there. The battle lasted four and a half months and exemplified the ultimate frustration of the Vietnam War: the inability of the American military to bring to bear its enormous resources to win on the battlefield. In the end, the 101st evacuated Ripcord, leaving the NVA in control of the battlefield. Contrary to the mantra “We won every battle but lost the war,” the United States was defeated at Ripcord. Now, at last, the full story of this terrible battle can be told.

Introduction

PART ONE - A Bad Beginning

Chapter 1. Incoming

Chapter 2. Rube’s Roost

Chapter 3. Stay Alert, Stay Alive

Chapter 4. Hell Night

Chapter 5. Picking Up the Pieces

PART TWO - What Came Before

Chapter 6. Two Strikes and a Walk

Chapter 7. Dinks in the Wire

Chapter 8. The Forever War

PART THREE - An Escalating Situation

Chapter 9. Cat ’n Mouse

PART FOUR - Hill 1000

Chapter 10. First Blood

Chapter 11. Fighting the Good Fight

Chapter 12. Hitting the Wall

Chapter 13. Sideshow

Chapter 14. Another Try

Chapter 15. Guillotine

PART FIVE - Maximum Pressure

Chapter 16. Into the Fray

Chapter 17. Holding the High Ground

Chapter 18. Piling On

Chapter 19. Regrouping

Chapter 20. To What End

PART SIX - Siege

Chapter 21. One Long, Mad Minute

PART SEVEN - The Storm

Chapter 22. Behind Enemy Lines

Chapter 23. Wrong Place, Wrong Time

Chapter 24. Rethinking the Problem

Chapter 25. Kill or Be Killed

Chapter 26. The Evacuation

Epilogue

APPENDIX A

APPENDIX B

Notes

Glossary

Photographs

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