In May 1969, the US Army’s 101st Airborne Division launched several assaults against a ridge near the Laotian border. Their objective — Hill 937, or “Hamburger Hill” — was heavily defended by hundreds of battle-hardened soldiers of the North Vietnamese Army’s 29th Regiment.
For more than a week, US troops climbed the steep slopes of the Ap Bia Mountain to seize the NVA stronghold. Their assaults came under constant enemy machine gun fire, rocket attacks, and mortar strikes. Sometimes the paratroopers fought amidst heavy tropical rainstorms that made visibility near impossible. Ultimately, the Americans captured the NVA garrison on the 11th bloody assault. The remaining defenders escaped into the jungle sanctuary of Laos.
The mission’s success was short-lived. Days after the hard-fought victory, US troops abandoned Hill 937 as it posed zero strategic value. The NVA reoccupied the position a month later.