Fire Base Illingworth: An Epic True Story of Remarkable Courage Against Staggering Odds

( 2 )

Overview


In the early morning hours of April 1, 1970, more than four hundred North Vietnamese soldiers charged out into the open and tried to overrun FSB Illingworth. The battle went on, mostly in the dark, for hours. Exposed ammunition canisters were hit and blew up, causing a thunderous explosion inside the FSB that left dust so thick it jammed the hand-held weapons of the GIs. Much of the combat was hand-to-hand. In all, twenty-four Americans lost their lives and another fifty-four were wounded. Nearly one hundred ...
See more details below
Hardcover
$19.89
BN.com price
(Save 23%)$25.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (19) from $9.78   
  • New (13) from $14.47   
  • Used (6) from $9.78   
Fire Base Illingworth: An Epic True Story of Remarkable Courage Against Staggering Odds

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$12.99
BN.com price

Overview


In the early morning hours of April 1, 1970, more than four hundred North Vietnamese soldiers charged out into the open and tried to overrun FSB Illingworth. The battle went on, mostly in the dark, for hours. Exposed ammunition canisters were hit and blew up, causing a thunderous explosion inside the FSB that left dust so thick it jammed the hand-held weapons of the GIs. Much of the combat was hand-to-hand. In all, twenty-four Americans lost their lives and another fifty-four were wounded. Nearly one hundred enemy bodies were recovered. It was one of the most vicious small-unit firefights in the history of U.S. forces in Vietnam.

As in his acclaimed book Blackhorse Riders, a finalist for the prestigious Colby Award, Phil Keith uncovers a harrowing true story of bravery and sacrifice by the men who fought valiantly to hold FSB Illingworth—a tale never-before-told and one that will not be soon forgotten.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
As he did in 2012’s Blackhorse Riders, former Navy aviator and Vietnam vet Keith tells a harrowing tale that centers on an exhausted, ragtag group of U.S. Army troops as they fought for their lives against a 400-man North Vietnamese Army regiment in a vicious engagement in 1970. The action described in the previous book took place on March 26; what Keith chronicles in this follow-up is a disastrous fight that played out in the early morning hours of April 1 at a remote firebase near the Cambodian border. Fifty-four Americans were wounded in the melee (which included hand-to-hand combat) and 25 perished—a casualty rate of nearly 40%. As the subtitle indicates, this is a paean to the American soldiers who fought that little-known battle—men Keith calls “brave warriors.” The heart of the book is a virtually minute-by-minute description of the fighting, fleshed out with some reconstructed dialogue, and based on two years of research that included interviews the author conducted with many of the American survivors. 8-page b&w photo insert and 1 map. Agent: Nat Sobel, Sobel Weber Associates. (Oct. 29)
Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-15
The propulsive history of American soldiers under siege in the last days of the Vietnam War. Keith (Blackhorse Riders: A Desperate Last Stand, an Extraordinary Rescue Mission, and the Vietnam Battle America Forgot, 2012), a decorated veteran of three tours in Vietnam, explains that by 1970, as part of Nixon's "Vietnamization" strategy to conclude the war, lightly fortified "fire support bases" were increasingly positioned to lure the North Vietnamese Army into mounting cross-border attacks from Cambodia. At FSB Illingworth, a hodgepodge of ill-equipped infantry and artillery units, along with a cavalry unit with inoperable tanks, were well-aware that the FSB had not been moved in far too long; in effect, the luckless soldiers were being used as bait. Their suspicions proved correct during a massive pre-dawn NVA assault, which Keith depicts with precise chronology and gruesome detail. The author highlights both the bravery of individual soldiers and the impractical planning that pervaded the conflict. He suggests that the battle's survivors still feel they were treated shabbily by the command structure: "They do not see their victory as an accomplishment, except in terms of making it out alive." Yet, to the officers behind the confrontational strategy, the few-dozen casualties were deemed " ‘acceptable' if the action had destroyed the enemy's capability to conduct operations in this sector." But Keith also claims that news of the engagement traveled far up the chain of command. His extensive research produces impressive verisimilitude, and the moment-by-moment accuracy of his battle re-enactment makes up for occasional purple prose--e.g., "the entire company…were on the hot seat again, and the NVA was turning up the flames." A respectful account of a battle that was "a perfect microcosm of what the Vietnam War was becoming in the early days of Vietnamization."
From the Publisher
"A harrowing tale that centers on an exhausted, ragtag group of U.S. Army troops as they fought for their lives against a 400-man North Vietnamese Army regiment in a vicious engagement in 1970. The heart of the book is a virtually minute-by-minute description of the fighting." —-Publishers Weekly
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781250024954
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 10/29/2013
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 95,658
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author


Philip Keith served three tours in Vietnam as a naval aviator after graduating from Harvard. He is the author of Blackhorse Riders. Philip lives in Southampton, Long Island.

Michael Prichard is a professional narrator and stage and film actor who has played several thousand characters during his career. An Audie Award winner, he has recorded well over five hundred books and has earned several AudioFile Earphones Awards. Michael was also named a Top Ten Golden Voice by SmartMoney magazine.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

1
 
 
THE TRAP IS BAITED
It was quiet, but it wouldn’t be for long. Lt. Col. Mike Conrad, commanding officer of the 2/8, and the senior officer commanding at FSB Illingworth, knew the NVA were out there. His ground surveillance radar had found them stacked up and swarming in the tree line, and they would come boiling out of the jungle and attempt to overrun his undermanned and vulnerable position as soon as they felt ready. That would be just about any moment. He knew he’d get a warning, though—maybe a few minutes—before the assault began. The NVA were experienced, tough, capable, and far from stupid. They’d begin by pounding the bejesus out of Conrad’s base with mortars, rockets, recoilless rifles, and whatever artillery they might have been able to drag through the woods and place behind their front lines. They would soften up the Americans before blowing their bugles and charging Conrad’s works.
It was 0217, April 1, 1970. Every man on the fire base, about 220 of them, had been woken up in anticipation of an attack. Conrad had demanded that every officer and every sergeant make sure that every man was awake and alert. The “Pipsy-5”1 antipersonnel radar that Conrad and his men had deployed to scour their perimeter had initially picked up strong movement right before midnight, especially in the jungle area facing the southwest corner of their pitifully small berm. Conrad did not hesitate. He ordered the Cobra gunships he had standing by to zoom in and rake the tree lines. They unloaded salvo after salvo of rockets and ripped the foliage with their miniguns. Artillery from nearby firebases like FSB Hannas, FSB St. Barbara, and Camp Hazard opened up on the preprogrammed coordinates they had carefully calculated, aiming points designed to support FSB Illingworth. Conrad also unleashed his own .50 cal machine guns and whatever M-60s were available, and all guns poured fire directly into the trees ahead.
No response came back toward Conrad’s lines, however, and after a few minutes, the firing of the defenders slowed to a stop. Rotor blades flicked away in the night sky, their sounds becoming faint as they sped away to refuel and resupply. The throaty cannons and mortars fell silent, too. Machine-gun barrels glowed, and the smell of warm gun oil wafted on the night air. The grunts put their personal weapons back on “safe.” It became eerily quiet. After a few minutes the night sounds returned. Crickets recommenced their chirping; a monkey screeched in the trees. Within the lines, the men nervously began the never-ending process of wiping down and reloading their weapons. They relaxed—as much as they could given the tension swirling around them. A number of them decided to catch a few z’s. Those who could sleep did so in place, boots on, heads resting on helmets or other equally uncomfortable, makeshift pillows.
Colonel Conrad cautiously stepped out from his TOC (tactical operations center) and peered into the blackness. With his RTO (radio telephone operator) at his side he decided to walk the perimeter—again. It would be one more sweep of the interior lines, just to be sure that he and his men had done everything humanly possible to be ready.
A thousand things were racing through Conrad’s brain. Uppermost in his thoughts was the fact that as bad as their situation had become, it was exactly what his bosses had wanted it to be. His men were being used as lures, very expensive and vulnerable lures, to draw out the NVA and get them to expose themselves. It had worked, that was for sure, and since it had, Conrad’s job had morphed into keeping the lures from being swallowed whole. It wasn’t going to be easy.
After his last stroll Conrad returned to the TOC. He decided to lie down and try to catch a few precious moments of sleep. He would not get very much rest. About an hour later, after tossing around miserably on his cot, he was wide awake. At 0217, somewhere out in the inky blackness, he heard them: faint whistles followed by the barking of artillery. Conrad leapt from his rack and tried to race outside. Bad move—he was forced to dive back into the TOC as sheets of steel rained down on his post. The explosions ripped the night sky apart and enveloped the entire compound in deadly shards of red-hot metal.

 
Copyright © 2013 by Philip Keith

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 31, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent

    Great writing, loved his other book also.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 22, 2013

    I recommend this book to all that have been there.

    very good read, been to some of the fire bases.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)