The Battle of An Khe Pass (1972): The Implications of the South Korean Army’s Pyrrhic Victory in the Vietnamization Phase of the Vietnam War

In: International Journal of Military History and Historiography
Author: Hosub Shim*
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  • University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, usa

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The Battle of An Khe Pass (1972) was a Pyrrhic victory. The South Korean forces’ conduct in this battle neither frustrated the enemy’s purpose nor minimized Korean sacrifices; and the combination of the Korean’s passive attitude and the pressure to act quickly resulted in poor performance and heavy casualties. This battle revealed the Korean forces’ inherent problems and heightened their pre-existing frictions with the U.S. and South Vietnamese forces during the Vietnamization period (1969–1973). Yet, the result of the battle created the necessary circumstances to justify the Koreans’ further presence in Vietnam. Based on extensive research of various U.S. and South Korean archives, this article explores the Battle of An Khe Pass in the context of the Vietnamization phase of the Vietnam War.

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