Siege of Khe Sanh

21 Jan 1968

On the morning of 21 January 1968 People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN) forces made their first attacks on the United Sates Marine Corps outpost at Khe Sanh. What followed was a 77 day siege whereby no one could get in or out. Indeed, the outpost could only be resupplied by air.

The Australian involvement in the events at Khe Sanh were represented by the missions carried out by Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) No 2 Squadron. Within days of the siege’s commencement, No 2 Squadron began daylight bombing operations around the base, although they also occasionally flew night missions.

The number of aircraft over Khe Sanh and the Demilitarised Zone was so large that the airspace frequently became congested. On 2 February, No 2 Squadron crews found they had to return to Phan Rang without being able to drop their bombs. Over the course of the siege 115,000 tonnes of bombs, rockets and napalm were delivered by American and allied aircraft, frequently including B-52 strategic bombers.

To read more about the role of air power in the siege of Khe Sanh download the article ‘Air power in the siege of Khe Sanh’ by Mr Rhett Mitchell.

Related aircraft

  • Canberra