Hue was the capital city of Vietnam that stood in its original glory for over 150 years. However, in 1968 the city of Hue was pulled into it.
On January 30, 1968, the American military fought against the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong guerrillas in a long, drawn-out battle. It was also one of the bloodiest.
A Turning Point
Hue did not see any effects of the war until 1968. When the French left the region, the area was split into the south and the communist north.
As the United States increased its involvement, the city of Hue became important since it was used as a supply area of the U.S. Navy and the Army.
Until 1968, the communist army had not successfully attacked urban areas because they did not have enough support and supplies in South Vietnam. However, that would soon change.
The Viet Cong, South Vietnamese who fought for the communist north, had soldiers that were previously farmers. However, the Noth Vietnamese army overall was much more talented.
They had support from China and the Soviet Union in the form of the air force, weapons, tanks, APCs, artillery, and more. Since the Vietnamese had been fighting outside forces for so long, many of the families had generations of soldiers.
Over two days, Jan. 30-31, 1968, North Vietnam simultaneously attacked every city and military installation in South Vietnam. The ARVN took the biggest hit. Around 14,300 civilians were killed, with 24,000 injured and 630,000 had to leave their homes. Since Thieu did not respond well to the Tet Offensive, he lost much of his support.
The CIA had been watching the NVA, and them pulling together 80,000 troops was difficult to keep secret. Although Gen. William Westmoreland said there would likely be an attack from the NVA, overall, the U.S. and South Vietnam did not believe it was possible.
Tet was also the first day of the year for the Vietnamese, so many of the ARVN soldiers had returned home to spend time with their families. Even once they realized the attack was happening and leave was canceled, many soldiers went home anyway.
U.S. Marines were sent into Hue to clear out the communists, but instead of small groups, they found heavily armed NVA fighters. A month-long battle ensued between the Marines and ARVN and the NVA, which became incredibly bloody.