The Tet, February 29, 1968
The Tet attack on Huễ became the longest battle during the Tet offensive of 1968. It began when Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops stormed the citadel, or fort, of the city of Huễ on January 31, 1968, and overwhelmed the local authorities and South Vietnamese defense forces. American marines rushed up from Phu Bai air base, which also was under attack, and American army forces of the 101st and 1st Cavalry Divisions joined the battle that was to rage for 26 days.
When on February 29 the battle was deemed over, the city had been destroyed. By this day no enemy troops were alive in Huễ. However, the attackers were found to have murdered more than 3,000 residents who failed to join a hoped-for uprising. Four hundred eight Americans and over three hundred South Vietnamese troops died; communist forces sustained at least 2,500 deaths and unknown numbers of wounded. However, Walter Cronkite reported on television that the war was not winnable and would be a stalemate. The last vestiges of public support to continue the war in Vietnam turned against it.
First Draft will publish a special edition on Hope and Courage on March 16, 2016. Don’t miss it. If you don’t yet subscribe to First Draft, click on the subscribe button at this site or send me an email at email@example.com.