AMBUSH VALLEY: I Corps, Vietnam, 1967, the Story of a Marine Infantry Battalion's Battle for Survival by Eric Hammel

AMBUSH VALLEY: I Corps, Vietnam, 1967, the Story of a Marine Infantry Battalion's Battle for Survival

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Another of Hammel's harrowing eyewitness accounts of a Vietnam War campaign that remains a puzzling episode in a bitterly debated conflict. This time around, Hammel (Khe Sanh 1989, etc.) focuses on efforts by the 3rd Battalion of the 26th Marine Regiment (3/26) to secure the main supply route to Con Thien. During the summer of 1967, this combat base and allied installations along the DMZ were besieged by units of the North Vietnamese Army under the command of General Vo Nguyen Giap. Once inserted, the 3/26 caught hell. On September 7, the battalion's first full day on patrol in the hostile new terrain, separate elements were attacked and nearly overrun in nightlong actions by sizable NVA forces. Three days later, the 3/26 barely dodged another bullet when it had to repulse repeated assaults by waves of enemy troops. Badly mauled but undefeated, the survivors were withdrawn from the area in less than a week's time with no clear idea of whether their blood sacrifices had served any useful purpose. Hammel leaves this issue an open question as well, allowing the veterans he tracked down to speak for themselves. Their firsthand recollections afford a vivid, unsparing record of bloody set-piece battles atypical of the unconventionally waged war. Oral history that, absent any systematic assessment of the Con Thien engagements' implications, serves largely as a lest-we-forget tribute to the brave men who participated.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1990
Publisher: Presidio