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The Siege of Firebase Gloria
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In Vietnam, Americans used firebases or large perimeter based reinforced facilities to supply troops in the field and to lay fire down on enemy troops in all directions. Gloria was one such firebase which this movie is about. One platoon of US troops escapes enemy attack and arrives at the firebase and discovers that its current leader is very incompetent. The current Commanding officer, speaks in riddles and seems more interested in drinking and viewing porn than on preparing his base's defenses. The commander of the newly arrived troops and one of his trusted men decide its time for a change of leadership. In the darkness of night one of them fires a rocket into the air while yelling incoming. After that, one is fired into the commanders bunker. The injured CO is carried off in a stretcher and the problem appears to be solved. The new CO immediately takes to reinforcing the bases perimeter. Vietcong will be arriving in droves to strike the base in a short period of time, and everyone knows it.
On the first day the base is attacked "Charlie" almost overwhelms the base on its rear flank. Troops shift from one side to the other and reposture to meet enemy forces where they present the greatest immediate danger. The odds are very much against the lone desolote Gloria firebase, as the whole of Saigon is under attack during the great Tet Offensive. Three GI's sneak out into the night in black Vietcong attire and weaponry on a mission to "even the odds." Mines are set everywhere at the Vietcong camp. Just when everyone is about to go, one of the GI's steps on a land mine and right when a Vietcong patrol is coming nearby. He ducks down in the fields and just hopes as he cuts his shoe off with his knife and places a rock ontop of it to prevent the mine from going off. He then heads back to firebase Gloria a bit later. As he arrives, the mine he was standing off earlier goes off. He declares "I guess that one had my name on it." The planted mines at the Vietcong camp go off striking fear in the Vietcong. This was not going to be an easy battle for them. The American CO states that now Charlie knows that "We aren't just going to lie down and die." Supplies are brought in by US air cavalry helicopters. On the way in they kill hundreds and on the way out they leave behind "some orphans." The movie has climatic seige battles one right after the other.The American CO in the film states "Charlie was being slaughtered wholesale, yet he didn't care. If he occupied South Carolina, I suppose we would do the same." That really sums up the Vietcong thinking and dedication which this film exemplifies. This movie is famous for its seige battles on the American firebase. This movie is the ultimate movie of siege battles, and the fortify and defend tactics they entail. Although clearly one of the least famous Vietnam movies, it offers action sequences that go beyond what any written review can ever hope to explain. Some say action has to be seen rather than explained and this movie surely fits within the realm of this statement..
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