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The relief group, transported by helicopter, landed about 5 kilometres 3. Beckwith took command of Plei Me and was ordered to rally outside the camp to confront the besiegers, but his force of two companies of Rangers quickly suffered 14 dead and retreated to Plei Me again. Some of the air drops landed outside the camp, while two defenders were killed when a pallet of supplies fell on them.

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Several U. The leading elements of the convoy responded effectively to the PAVN assault, but the ARVN suffered heavy casualties in the second attack toward the rear of the convoy. Both attacks were repelled by U. Fearing another attack, General Vinh Loc remained in place on October 24, but proceeded onward to Plei Me with only minor resistance on October In the aftermath of the siege, elements of the 1st Cavalry were airlifted to Plei Me and the camp was visited by the U.

Knowles , 1st Cavalry Division Deputy Commander. But the enemy would attempt to take revenge and furthermore, the remote Pleime camp remains an eye sore to them. The 33rd Regiment had suffered heavy casualties; the 32nd remained mostly intact. In the pursuit, the 33rd would continue to be punished by the U. Approximately 40 percent, or , of its 1, men were killed in the siege and its aftermath. On 1 November elements of the 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry located a PAVN hospital area and killed 99 or more soldiers at a cost of 11 Americans dead and 47 wounded. This firefight was distinguished by the first use of helicopters to reinforce and supply an American unit at night.

On 6 November, two American companies engaged in a lengthy firefight with PAVN elements with the US claiming to have killed 77 at a cost of 26 American dead and 73 wounded.

Between 9 and 11 November the 1st Brigade was withdrawn to its base at An Khe and replaced with the 3rd Brigade. On November 10, the 3rd Brigade was ordered to perform a diversionary maneuver by switching the operational direction to the east [29] to entice B3 Field Front to regroup its three regiments in assembly areas, [30] to stage a second attack on Plei Me camp set for November On November 12, the 3rd Brigade was given orders to prepare for " On November 15, at precisely hours, Bs began bombing grid YA about 7 kilometers west of LZ X-Ray and would carry on for 5 consecutive days.

During the siege, U. The weary Special Forces team scratched together a rescue party, and sent it out in a vain attempt to reach the downed aircraft. After a harrowing encounter with an NVA machine-gun nest, during which one of the Special Forces sergeants was mortally wounded, the shaken survivors fell back into camp. By contrast the larger combat sweep patrol was notified to rejoin the camp and walked back through the gates without incident.

Charlie A. They gathered at Pleiku airfield at five o'clock that evening, just thirty minutes after a 1,man ARVN mechanized relief force headed south on Highway The mechanized group would run into a major ambush halfway to Plei Me, would suffer considerable personnel and vehicular losses, and would not reach the camp until October Lack of helicopter lift forced Major Beckwith to spend the night planning. Major Beckwith wisely decided to move his men due east a few miles before turning south toward the camp.

The force slowly cut its way through the dense, vine-tangled jungle. The torturous trek was extremely difficult, and soon tired arms and heat exhaustion were reducing the strength of Beckwith's command. In mid-afternoon they ran into a three-man NVA recoilless rifle crew, resulting in turning deeper into the jungle. Major Beckwith personally went forward with his machete and started cutting trail to con5. As night fell they formed a perimeter and prepared to enter camp the next morning.

At A. The pilot was seen parachuting out but was never found. A second plane was lost, but its pilot was eventually rescued. At one o'clock in the afternoon a three-company force from the camp passed their wire and got into a skirmish line to clear a nearby hill. A bypassed heavy machine gun suddenly ripped into them, throwing the force into confusion, killing Special Forces Captain Thomas Pusser and twelve indigenous soldiers, and wounding scores more.

The rest of the composite clearing force retreated. During an assault on two other machine-gun positions, one NVA soldier suddenly charged the force. Before he was killed, the rangers fled back in disorder. On October 24, a recovery party managed to pull in the bodies from this botched attack. On the morning of October 25, a commando squad, led by two Special Forces flamethrower sergeants, charged light machine guns surrounding the camp.

Although the flamethrowers malfunctioned, the commandos destroyed one of the bunkers. That evening the armored-infantry task force from Pleiku arrived in the camp. Although clearing operations would continue for several days, the battle was over. The morning after the ARVN mechanized force showed up, a helicopter touched down at the camp carrying several United States Army combat officers. Elvy B.

Roberts, commander of the 1st Brigade Airborne , 1st Cavalry Division Airmobile , stepped onto the sun-scorched clay of the Plei Me Special Forces camp at nine o'clock on the morning of October 26, , for a full briefing. He had moved an entire American infantry brigade to Camp Holloway outside Pleiku, and the rest of the division was now located at An Khe. The conflict in Vietnam was no longer a Special Forces affair. At the beginning of , Gen. William C. Westmoreland's MACV command determined the urgent need for immediate and responsive combat service support. Summary During a week of savage fighting, defenders of the besieged outpost repelled repeated NVA attacks.

The tide of the battle turned finally with the arrival of several hundred South Vietnamese reinforcements and numerous Allied air strikes. NVA losses were heavy. With the camp secured, General William Westmoreland, senior U. More were mentioned but not verified. The Degar, also known as the Montagnard, are the indigenous peoples of the Central Highlands of Vietnam.

Plei Me fight stands as war turning point

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