Tet Offensive, 1968

TET OFFENSIVE – VIETNAM WAR

30 January – 23 September 1968

Tet Offensive

SUMMARY

Between 323,000 – 595,000 North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces attacked more than 100 cities, villages and military installations in South Vietnam as part of the Tet Offensive (so named because it occurred during the lunar New Year known as “Tet”).  More than 1,000,000 South Vietnamese, United States and allied forces fought in the Tet Offensive.

Tet

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BACKGROUND

The North Vietnamese, who had been conducting a guerilla campaign, devised a plan for a massive conventional attack on South Vietnamese and United States forces in South Vietnam.  The North Vietnamese and Viet Cong found themselves spread too thin as they faced much superior numbers and equipment in an operation that lasted 9 months.

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LOCATION

South Vietnam

South Vietnamese soldiers defending Saigon during Tet

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SOUTH VIETNAMESE ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM

Led by

General Cao Văn Viên

Gen. Vien

UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES

Led by

General William Westmoreland

Gen. Westmoreland

Lieutenant General Frederick C. Weyand

Gen. Weyand

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NORTH VIETNAMESE PEOPLE’S ARMY OF VIETNAM

VIET CONG

Led by

General Võ Nguyên Giáp

Gen. Giap

Lieutenant General Hoàng Văn Thái

Gen. Thai

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RESULT

A military victory for the United States.  A propaganda victory for the North Vietnamese.

Tet

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CONSEQUENCE

The North Vietnamese and Viet Cong reported 45,267 killed in action, 61,267 wounded, and 5,070 missing.  The U.S. estimated 181,149 NVA and VC were killed.  These numbers decimated the Viet Cong which lost over 1/3 of their ranks.  The U.S. and South Vietnamese had over 9,000 killed in action, 35,212 wounded, and 1,530 missing.  Although a tactical victory for the U.S. it turned into a propaganda victory for the North Vietnamese as public support for the war in the U.S plummeted.

Tet

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