Vietnam War

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1968 Jan 31 - Mar 2

Battle of Hue

Hue, Thua Thien Hue, Vietnam

By the beginning of the North Vietnamese Tet Offensive on 30 January 1968, which coincided with the Vietnamese Tết Lunar New Year, large conventional American forces had been committed to combat operations on Vietnamese soil for almost three years. Highway 1, passing through the city of Huế, was an important supply line for Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) and United States forces from the coastal city of Da Nang to the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the de facto border between North and South Vietnam only 50 kilometers (31 mi) to the north of Huế. The highway also provided access to the Perfume River (Vietnamese: Sông Hương or Hương Giang) at the point where the river ran through Huế, dividing the city into northern and southern parts. Huế was also a base for United States Navy supply boats. Due to the Tết holidays, large numbers of ARVN forces were on leave and the city was poorly defended.

While the ARVN 1st Division had cancelled all Tết leave and was attempting to recall its troops, the South Vietnamese and American forces in the city were unprepared when the Việt Cộng (VC) and the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) launched the Tet Offensive, attacking hundreds of military targets and population centers across the country, including Huế. The PAVN-VC forces rapidly occupied most of the city. Over the next month, they were gradually driven out during intense house-to-house fighting led by the Marines and ARVN.