Along and north of what is now QL49 between Hue and Aluoi there were a number of Fire Support Bases established in order to monitor and stop the infiltration of PAVN troops from the Ashau Valley towards the lowlands where Hue is located. These bases also served as artillery bases as well as launch points for operations in to the Ashau Valley and Dakrong Valley.
You can follow our drive there from Hue in the below embedded video:
Although the sites are abandoned since long, they have a lot to offer the history traveler. Walking around the site of FSB Bastogne, we uncovered plenty of items from this once so important artillery base, pieces of Claymore mines, jungle fatigues, soles of jungle boots, sandbags and much more. And although the base area is partly cultivated, there are also clear traces of artillery positions and other installations. We also assume that the roads used to be the old base roads.
Traveling through this area, another interesting insight for the history traveler is understanding where all these bases were placed in relation to each other and how the terrain looks like together with the overall geography of the area. Looking south from up on the Command Post area, the former base FB Checkmate is well visible.
Even so close to Hue and the large camps of Camp Eagle and Camp Evans, this was considered hostile territory through the war due to the location right on the PAVN infiltration routes.
The rivers in the area such as Song Bo and Song Huong were frequently used by PAVN troops for transport of men and material. The returning veteran should be able to seek out his old location at least at Bastogne which is more open and accessible than Birmingham.
How to get there
Travel south west along the QL49 towards Aluoi and you will shortly arrive at the sites. The coordinates below gives a spot of where the bases were located, but remember that they often stretched over hundreds of meters across several hills.
Decimal coordinates for FSB Bastogne are: 16.3555556 107.448611
Decimal coordinates for FSB Birmingham are: 16.363 107.533
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20 thoughts on “FSB Bastogne”
I was at lz boyd w the 27th engineer co. A. from may68 till sept69. Worked the road to birmingham and bastogne. Last few months i helped build the road into the ashau valley. It got pretty hairy in the valley. Remember the attack on bastogne, spent that night at a camp below birmingham that night, alternated between that camp and bastogne. After we had built the initial road to the first fb in the ashau valley i was the first g.i. to take a 10 ton tractor trailer into the valley, it was a test to see if it could be done and the trip was documented by a stars and stripes reporter but never saw the article as i left the country and army ten days later. All mountain road and my trailer would actually slide over the side of the mountain in the turns and my truck would be bucking and bouncing trying to get it back on the road. Hairiest trip i ever took but i made it, what i way to end my time in nam.
Hello. Thank you for your comment. I was recently up in that area again. This time I went with veterans from the Hamburger Hill battle. We explored the hill in detail and we also visited FSB Bastogne on out way back. One of the guys had been on the hill while they were building the road up to the top of the mountain.
I would be happy to send some pictures to you from our visit that I shot in the area and at Bastogne and Birmingham. You can always send me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Jonas, founder of namwartravel.com
I was a Combat Engineer with A Co 326th Engineers, 101st Airborne and worked on Bastogne from April ‘71 until November ‘71 off and on. We stayed out for a couple of weeks and then rotated either to Camp Eagle, Checkmate, FSB Birmingham or one of the other Fire bases in the area. We did daily mine sweeps either towards Vehgel or Birmingham off of Bastogne, and general all around Engineer crap. I went back to both Firebases in January 2020 and May 2023. Neither time was I able to do much on Bastogne because of all of the tree growth. In January 2020 I was able to reach the summit of Birmingham because all of the trees were cleared 2-3 months prior to my arrival. I got some great pics of it from the top. In May 2023 the tree growth prevented me from climbing Birmingham but this time I was able to see much more of Bastogne. It was really nice to see that the area has re-forested itself and the houses and businesses along old Hwy 547 (now QL 49) that have cropped up along that road is awesome.
I was with 326th Combat Engineers 101st Airborne 7/70/to7/71. I was a squad leader with A Company..
We did minesweeping from FB Veghel halfway to FB Bastogne for about 4 months (9/70-1/71) and another squad from our company started at Bastogne and met us. Only one bad day, a jeep hit a mine after we had completed our sweep it was not good. We also built a small emergency landing zone about a mile or so that looked down on Bastogne and Birmingham, it was nice there we were above the fog
but had a lot mortar fire just to keep us on our toes.
I was on Bastogne with Bravo Battery 2/11. September 70 to October 71
155mm split trails. I was FDC chief for a good part of the time.
We moved often and split the Battery frequently but Bastogne was our home.
Odd to see it overgrown and peaceful.
Some good and some bad memories.
ABU, We remember.
I verify Delta Alpha Mike.
I was with the 3/5 calvary part of the 9th infantry division january 30, 1968 we were in xuan loc and when the tet offensive began we fought around long binh and when the fighting died down we were sent by LST to da nang and then hue, then on to the a shaw valley as we were attatched to 101st. along the way we sent to bastonge due constant attacks we added extra security. we were only there a few days but getting there was very hairy
We’re you part of the 9th ID Armored Calvary unit that escorted us (101st) to Bastogne? We were ambushed before we were got to where FSB Bastogne was to set up?
If you were that unit, thanks for the protection you provided!
Hi, just looking for pics, info about Bastogne and came across your review. Got some chill bumps when read it. Funny but I was the gunner on the lead tank that hit by an RPG. Glad charlie was a tad nervous and if he took better aim we would have been roasted. Tank commander got blown out, and ran back to the platoon leaders apc. I remember it like it was yesterday. Take care, B J S.
Hello Tom; Sounds like we were both there at the same time. I was the gunner in the lead tank going to Bastogne that got RPG’d. The trip from Saigon to DaNang, Birmingham to Bastogne and back to Eagle are super fresh in my mind- survived so wasn t that bad. Take care B. Scher
I was with 2nd 138th artillery [ 155 SP’S, we moved on Bastogne around the end of February 1969 no one was there at that time. I left on May 7th to go to Hawaii on R&R when I landed in Hawaii one of the first things I told my wife that something has happened on the hill. Actually it hadn’t been hit yet but I guess I could feel it coming. Got back to Phu Bai and the jeep driver picked me up and said your never guess what happened and I said the hill got hit and in shock he said how did you know. They had moved back to Birmingham, and the next day I was transferred to the 6/33rd .artillery and sent to Panther two.
Spent August and September 68 at Bastogne, back to Gia Le for
The monsoon season. Conveyed after monsoons to set up Blase.
Left the field from Rendezvous to go home July 69.
Co B 27th Engineers.
I was the Chaplain for the 27th Engineers in ’68 to “69. We had Companys at Bastogne, Blaze and on the Easternmost rim of the Ashau while building a road for heavy armor to the valley. We also had troops at Gia Le, Sally, Boyd and Birmingham. I was at Blaze when Hamburger Hill was hot. conventional thinking about our engineers, who did not have the heavy casualties of the fighting units, was that we were building a road for our troops during the day which was used by the enemy at night. Reference Angelo’s comment above, I may have conducted a memorial service for Fred Paddleford, RIP.
Fred Paddleford was in my unit C Btry 1st 83rd Arty. He died a few weeks before I got into country
Thanks for the detail in your website. I had questioned Your YouTube post of a trip to Bastogne previously, because it didn’t look anything like I remembered. But I used your map coordinates on google maps satellite view and it all seems to match up. I do recall the small stream that flowed on the westerly edge of the base that shows clearly on google maps. Once you crossed that stream, the jungle quickly enveloped you, and you were on “alert.” Now there is a row of houses on the other side of the stream. Anyway, thanks much. I doubt I’ll ever get there again, but it’s nice to know life has returned to what was such a violent place.
John, thank you for your comment. I think the video shows just the outside of the old base just like you point out, the pictures on the website are from a later visit that I did last year where we were on top of the old base. All feedback is good as our aim is to make sure we publish the correct information here on the website.
SPENT MANY MONTHS ON BOTH FIRE SUPPORT BASES IN 1969 , WOUNDED ON BASTOGNE 5-12-69 , RPG AND ROCKET ATTACK 2 AM . FIRING SUPPORT FOR HAMBURGER HILL . THEY TOOK OUT OUR 175 . LOST MANY GUYS THAT NIGHT.
Mike, thank you for your comment and I am glad you made it out, The whole Apache Snow operation sure demanded a lot of resources and support from the bases in the area. It wasn’t much to see at the site. Perhaps if I had had more time and more detailed information I could have found something. As for Birmingham, I understand the bulk of the base was around the hill by the road and I couldn’t get up there this time. Perhaps there is more to see on the site.
Was in 2nd gun section that night ,17 wounded and Doc Paddleford mortally wounded
Welcome home ,brother
Hi Angelo, this is Ted Belajac, how are you buddy
I was with the 591st LE Com working on Rt 547 and was at Bastogne at that time. I had 20 days to go for a special leave when Bastogne was hit that time. Welcome Home Mike, glad you survived.