Introduce to the famous Battle of Hue
“A romantic ancient city” was often the first comment many people recall about Hue. However, did you know that this ancient city has suffered so much from the wars of the past? And one of the longest and bloodiest battles of the Vietnam war, the Battle of Hue in 1968 was the third of the three great catastrophes to befall the Hue city.
What happened in Hue?
In 1965, The United States began the invasion of southern Vietnam on a large scale both by force and by weapons. They performed fierce aerial and naval warfare against the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. The United States has pushed the Vietnam War was considered a historic battle with the unprecedented scale.
In addition, the United States proclaimed to destroy the Liberation Army of the South within 18 months. However, the weakness of the American side is that their armies have been stuck in an extremely costly war.
To add to their struggle, criticism from citizens and politicians in the US has become increasingly forceful due to the fact that, the US has been involved in the war so long in many foreign countries.
At this time, the Liberation Army secretly planned a major battle to create a breakthrough for the war. It was called The General Offensive and Uprising of Tet Mau Than 1968
Battle of Hue, 1968
Hue is one of the three major battlegrounds and one of the three main targets of the 1968 Tet Offensive and Revolution. It is the third largest city in the South (after Saigon and Da Nang). The United States and the Republic of Vietnam were quite strong, with about 25,000 to 30,000 troops.
The Tet Mau Than Offensive in 1968 was probably the most remembered Tet in the life of our parents’ generation.
The battle was such a surprise to everyone on over 100 towns and cities while the drastic battles for nearly a month (31 January to 24 February).
The process of battle
Firstly, on January 30, 1968, the National Liberation Front South Vietnam (NLF) fired at enemy targets in the Triangle area, Phan Sào Nam area, Phú Bài, Động Toàn and Đông Ba at 02:33 am.
The battalion 1 and Battalion 2 attacked Mang Cá. Due to the uncertainty about the terrain, units must use the power to break into the main gate. The battle was fierce and the number of casualties increased.
At 11 noon, the entire task force must withdraw and finished the battle and two battalions occupied the Tây Lộc Airfield.
31 January, 1968, People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN) and the National Liberation Front the South Vietnam (NLF) performed an attack at Khe Sanh to lure American Forces. It seemed as a creative strategy.
The fact that the PAVN launched into the city areas were unpredictable. It made the America and the Republic of Vietnam completely surprised while a part of force have returned to the countryside to celebrate Tết holiday.
Ever since, at 8 AM on January 31, 1968, the Liberation Army of the South captured Ky Dai. Then, a new flag was pulled up for 26 days and nights. That event had a high historical value and marked a new transition in the history of the nation.
However, under the counterattack of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), PAVN and NLF withdraw from the Huế city.
Sadly, from on 9th February to on 12th February, the National Liberation Front for South Vietnam must constantly fight and no possibility of attacking.
By 14th February, most of city south of river had been recaptured.
Finally, on 26 February 1968, US-ARVN forces declared Hue to be secure.
The end the Tet offensive in Vietnam
The battle took the lives of 384 ARVN (The Republic of Vietnam). Having 147 American and an estimated 5000 PAVN/ National Liberation Front troops with thousands more wounded or missing in action. The fact that, the battle left heavy consequences for both forces.
Here are heartbreaking images about the battle you can refer :
It not only damaged people but also caused great damage to property. The battle of Huế reduced large areas of the city to rubble. According to the statistics, it destroyed around 40 percent of its building and leaving some 116,000 civilians homeless.
They devastated many building during the battle for Hue. We can not forget the image of Trường Tiền bridge with thousand of civilians running away from the fierce battle.
The heavy damages was caused to the Imperial city and Forbidden city. This is the reason why many palaces in Hue Citadel is no longer there.
The Tet Offensive and the Battle in 1968 engraved in national history as an eternal epic of revolutionary heroism.
When traveling in Hue, if you want to trace the remained ruins of the Tet Offensive, you can visit the Hue Imperial City or Hue Citadel. Also, there are the relics of Tay Loc Airfield and Mang Ca Bastion that you can visit.
To have a guide explaining what happened during the Tet Offensive, you can have a look at these two educational walking tours in Hue: