The Defense of the American Combat Base at Khe Sanh, also known as Operation Scotland began on the Night of January 20th and again after midnight on January 21st, 1968. With an attack on hills 881 South and 861 just North of the base. In the early dawn hours of the 21st. A massive NVA artillery bombardment was begun upon the base. Thus, beginning the siege of Khe Sanh. A battle that would rage between the US and the NVA for 77 days. Over 1600 NVA soldiers were reported killed by the North Vietnamese Army. Thousands more were more likely killed in the bombing strikes conducted on the outskirts of the base. Official figures released by the US indicated 250 soldiers were lost in combat to enemy fire. In June 1968, General Westmorland approved the destruction of the Khe Sanh Combat Base. President Johnsonís decision to not widen the war in Vietnam meant there could be no offensive into Loas. Thus, rendering the fort useless.