In 1967–68, the United States Marine Corps (USMC) was on the front line of the defence of South Vietnam's Quang Tri province, which was at the very heart of the Vietnam conflict. Facing them were the soldiers of the North Vietnamese Army (NVA), men whose organization and equipment made them a very different opponent from the famous, irregular Viet Cong forces. From the 'Hill Battles' in April 1967 to the struggle for the city of Hue (January–March 1968) this bloody campaign forced the two sides into a gruelling trial of strength. The USMC held a general technological and logistical advantage – including close air support and airborne transport, technology, and supplies – but could not always utilize these resources effectively in mountainous, jungle, or urban environments better known by their Vietnamese opponents. In this arresting account of small-unit combat, David R. Higgins steps into the tropical terrain of Vietnam to assess the performance and experience of USMC and NVA forces in three savage battles that stretched both sides to the limit.