Tet Offensive

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For more information, see: Vietnam War.
See also: General Offensive-General Uprising
See also: Vietnam, war, and the United States
Tet Offensive Map

On January 31, 1968, during the traditional cease-fire of the Tet holiday, Communist forces attacked 36 of 44 provincial capitals and 5 of 6 major cities is most often called the Tet Offensive, but it is worth noting that the North Vietnamese called it the Nguyen Hue offensive, which has great historical significance, especially as events developed in Hue. The worst fighting was in Hue, although there was highly publicized combat in Saigon.

If the center of gravity that the Communists targeted were the South Vietnamese populace, the control of land in South Vietnam, the South Vietnamese government, or the opposing forces in the field, the Offensive was a Communist defeat. They took enormous casualties. If, however, they considered American political support for the war as the center of gravity, they scored a major victory. After Tet, there was no widespread U.S. popular support for continuing major involvement in the Vietnam War, although there was also little popular support for immediate withdrawal.

Tet is a holiday period of immense significance in Vietnamese culture, and there had been Tet truces even during the modern wars. In hindsight, a seemingly innocent North Vietnamese government order, changing the start of Tet from January 30th to January 20th, respected the alignment of heavenly bodies. In actuality, it may have been an attempt to preserve civilian morale after the retaliatory bombing that Ho expected to start on the 30th.[1]

To add to the political context, GEN William Westmoreland, the U.S. commander in Vietnam, had been been on a public relations tour, in November 1967, ordered by the President. He had said to the National Press Club, "We have reached an important point where the end has come into view...I hope they try something, because we are looking for a fight."[2] North Vietnamese psychological planners presumably were aware of the bold public position of the U.S.

A timeline of possibly connected events includes:

  1. Intensified battles for the northern provinces, far from major cities, with the People's Army of Viet Nam being willing to sustain exceptionally heavy casualties
  2. A general increase in small raids, without much military effect but a stronger psychological one that the Communist forces were everywhere and the Government of Vietnam could not provide security
  3. Major urban attacks in early 1968

The "Tet offensive" is usually restricted to the third; a major open question is whether the three classes of events were specifically related.

The mysterious context

It remains a mystery whether the Tet Offensive, and various actions leading up to it including the Battle of Con Thien and Battle of Khe Sanh, were a completely planned part of a strategy called Tet Mau Than or Tong Kong Kich/Tong Kong Ngia. (TCK/TCN, General Offensive/Uprising) [3] It is possible that it was, but that certain units started fighting prematurely and disrupted the schedule. It is unclear to which the Battle of Khe Sanh was part of an overall strategy to draw American forces away from the cities. Some agencies did not expect it, while others had suspected an oncoming offensive.

What is known or has been learned

  1. In 1967, there was a general increase in the number, although not necessarily the size, of Communist attacks.
  2. Also in 1967, there were several large and continued attacks, which might even be called sieges, of a type that had not previously been attempted. The PAVN seemed to accept very heavy casualties without an obvious reason.
  3. The large battles tended to be in isolated areas far from South Vietnamese prisoner interrogations.
  4. Interviews with defectors and prisoners, as well as captured documents, suggest that the North Vietnamese had some concept of a new strategy that would give them a clear victory, most likely in 1968 although earlier dates had been suggested. [4] communications intelligence showed general patterns of preparation for some major activity.[5]
  5. An unusual poem, attributed to Ho Chi Minh himself speaking of upcoming "certain victory", had been given to diplomats and journalists in December, and broadcast on Radio Hanoi on January 1. Poems and music have long been a way of sending one-way message to guerrillas, as with the warning to the French Resistance of the upcoming Normandy invasion. [6]
  6. In particular, a document entitled "For an Understanding of the New Situation and the New Tasks" was captured on November 27, 1967. [7] It was interpreted as a plan for an undated major attack, and the Joint United States Public Affairs Office (JUSPAO) even mentioned it to the press on January 5, although they did not take it seriously,[8]
  7. Nguyen Chi Thanh, commanding officer for operations in the South was dead, possibly due to combat wounds and possibly to natural causes, but who was sufficiently important that finding a successor could delay a planned offensive
  8. North Vietnamese doctrine, including material from public speeches and documents, appears to contain a concept of "popular uprising" (khnoi nghai), which is not in the Maoist protracted war theory that appeared to guide much of their doctrinal development.[9]
  9. A burst of major urban offensives, starting not at once, took place in late January and early February 1968. There are indications that these may have been expected to have much more decisive results.

Whether or not it was the fundamental North Vietnamese intention, the Tet Offensive proper had a major impact on U.S. public opinion, especially in an election year. However, the Tet Offensive had a devastating impact on Johnson's political position in the U.S., and in that sense was a strategic victory for the Communists. [10]

What is speculated

North Vietnamese planners expected popular uprising, but this almost completely failed to occur. Many South Vietnamese demonstrated stronger support for the ARVN. [11]

On the 30th, seven cities, all in PAVN Military Region 5 in the north, were attacked simultaneously. Oberdorfer speculates that the 30th was the original starting date, postponed one day by the PAVN high command, and somehow, MR5 did not get the postponement order. [12]

Various acts on the South Vietnamese and U.S. side, some of which seem coincidental and others which were at least contingency plans, disrupted the attackers' plans to a striking effect. [13]

Defensive acts that were at least partially deliberate

  1. The attackers had planned to seize Radio Saigon and use it for major psychological warfare. While they did seize the main studio, the physically distant transmitter had prerecorded and noninflammatory material to be broadcast in the event of loss of studio content or if the studio material seemed questionable.
  2. Raiding forces included tank and artillery crews. When they attacked the South Vietnamese tank center, they found the tanks had been moved. Army of the Republic of Viet Nam (ARVN) personnel had disabled their howitzers before they evacuated.
  3. LTG Fred Weyand, the commander of U.S. Forces in the III Corps tactical zone in the Saigon area, had been ordered to use most of his troops to sweep areas at the edge of the zone, but argued against moving them out of the inner defensive area. He was the American commander that had the greatest suspicion that a major attack was imminent, although not where it would strike. In such a situation, he wanted forces near the most valuable targets.[14]

Defensive acts that were lucky

  1. General Cao Van Vien, chief of the ARVN Joint General Staff (JGS), had two remaining battalions, based in Saigon, in the strategic reserve. He had promised them to reinforce areas that had come under attack on January 30, but the flights to move them had not arrived at Saigon's Tan Son Nhut airfield. These were thus available for the critical defense of Saigon on January 31.[15]
  2. While the national operations center and the U.S. operations center for the Saigon area came under heavy artillery fire, there were no hits that disrupted command and control.

Intelligence and warning

In U.S. intelligence, three components appeared to have predicted the Tet action:[16]

These failed, however, to make much impression outside the areas tactically concerned. Indeed, they were being delivered in a context where senior officials did not want to hear contradictory information; In September 1967, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Walt Rostow said that told the Agency that because President Lyndon Baines Johnson wanted some "useful intelligence on Vietnam for a change," the CIA should prepare a list of positive (only) developments in the war effort, which Director of Central Intelligence Richard Helms sent to Rostow with a dissenting cover note that Rostow removed. but Rostow pulled off that cover note and so was finally able to give the President a "good news" study from the CIA.[19]

Military intelligence

By December 9, MG Weyand asked GEN Westmoreland for permission to concentrate his troops around Saigon. ARVN troops, on 20 December, captured documents pointing to attack plans for Ban Me Thuot and Qui Nhon. [20] On January 28, ARVN security officer captured a Viet Cong safehouse in Qui Nhon, including prerecorded tapes to be played on the Qui Nhon radio station, calling for an uprising and saying that government troops had mutinied. As a result, II Corps tactical zone issued an alert that the VC might not honor the truce; the province chief, who was not in the military chain of command, played the tapes to the Joint General Staff.[21]

NSA communications intelligence

Significant SIGINT came from several clusters of activity. One was from the "tri-border" area of Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, where the B-3 Front headquarters and 1st PAVN Division were known to be located. Another was in the Kontum-Pleiku area. East of the central highlands, 2nd PAVN Division was moving in the direction of coastal provinces including Quang Ngai, Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa. On the 21st, a forward headquarters was located 10 km from Hue. [22]

NSA observed patterns of communications security changes that, when taken together, indicated increased preparedness for some action.[23]. Also, intercepts showed that North Vietnamese intelligence was transmitting very specific target information. After the Battle of Pearl Harbor, the U.S. decrypted some prior messages that were very specific as to the locations of ships, at a level of detail that would suggest a unit about to attack needed specific target information; the sudden appearance of this level of detail has become a classic indicator to intelligence analysts, as a clear warning distributed urgently.

CIA Saigon station analysis

Reports from the Saigon station may have been strong warnings, but two assessments, from Bob Layton, on 21 November and 8 December 1967) based on human-source intelligence from prisoner interrogations and documents. They suggested that the PAVN was planning some type of decisive defeat for Allied forces in 1968. In conflict with the attention being given to Battle of Khe Sanh, these indicators pointed to urban terrorism coupled by military attacks on cities. There was a strong Communist belief that the GVN was so unpopular that an urban attack could irreparably damage confidence in the ARVN. These assessments also pointed to increasing international pressure on the Johnson administration to end the war.

A more detailed analysis, on December 8, described a distinct change in Communist thinking, away from the protracted war attritional model to something more decisive. It cited documentation of "an all-out military and political offensive during the 1967-68 winter-spring campaign [the period beginning around Tet] designed to gain decisive victory...large-scale continuous coordinated attacks by main force units, primarily in mountainous areas close to border sanctuaries"--a strategy subsequently reflected in the enemy's major attacks on Khe Sanh--and "widespread guerrilla attacks on large US/GVN units in rural and heavily populated areas." The PAVN saw the urban population as the center of gravity, not attrition to U.S. troops or the defeat of ARVN forces.

The plan was seen (emphasis added) "a serious effort to inflict unacceptable military and political losses on the Allies regardless of VC casualties during a US election year, in the hope that the US will be forced to yield to resulting domestic and international pressure and withdraw from South Vietnam." Even if the results did not force a settlement, the Communists would be in a "better position to continue a long-range struggle with a reduced force." He continued: "If the VC/NVN view the situation in this light, it is probably to their advantage to use their current apparatus to the fullest extent in hopes of fundamentally reversing current trends before attrition renders such an attempt impossible."
"In sum," the study's final sentence read, "the one conclusion that can be drawn from all of this is that the war is probably nearing a turning point and that the outcome of the 1967-68 winter-spring campaign will in all likelihood determine the future direction of the war."[24]

A 19 December report added more indicators that the NVA was preparing an all-out effort, although the Saigon analysts recognized the CIA Headquarters position that all of this exhortation might be an effort to bolster PAVN/VC morale. [25]

These field reports conflicted with a major Headquarters analysis of December 8, from the jointly by the Office of Current Intelligence, the Office of Economic Research, Office of National Estimates (O/NE), and Special Assistant to the DCI for Vietnam Affairs (SAVA). [26]

At the Central Intelligence Agency, Undersecretary of State Nicholas deB. Katzenbach and Assistant Secretary of State Philip Habib were being briefed about a suspected offensive, probably at the end of Tet, when the word of the first attacks came. [27]

Fighting in the Northern Provinces

Northern areas of conflict

Beginning in 1966, the People's Army of Viet Nam (PAVN) started a campaign against U.S. base to the two northernmost provinces of South Vietnam, Quang Tri and Thua Thien.[28] U.S. Army and Marine Corps forces in those areas could not ignore the threat, since if the PAVN chose to make a conventional, Korean War-style invasion, it would probably come through these provinces. Further, North Vietnamese forces in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the adjacent part of North Vietnam and neighboring parts of Laos secured the start of the Ho Chi Minh trail, so observation was needed, as well a base presence that could threaten an attack that crossed the South Vietnamese border against the Trail. While such an attack was planned by U.S. commanders,[29] and, it was learned after the war, was the greatest fear of the PAVN operating the Trail, it was never authorized by the U.S. civilian leadership. Nevertheless, the area was critical to both sides.

Con Thien

In May 1967, the PAVN started to repeatedly attack the area near Con Thien, a town two miles south of the Demilitarized Zone, near the eastern end of DMZ. A U.S. Marine Corps on Hill 558 near Con Thien had an excellent view of the area, and became the western end of a cleared, obstacle-strewn, electronically barrier that ran eight miles to Gio Linh. The Con Thien base, which always held at least a battalion of Marines and could easily be reinforced with several more, served as a fire support base, a sensor monitoring station, and a staging area for ground patrols.[30]

Khe Sanh

While the Battle of Khe Sanh had been going on for some time, it intensified ten days before Tet, including the capture of two outlying positions on January 20. Khe Sanh, the area of the most intense fighting prior to Tet, was drawing the attention of high commanders in Saigon and Washington.

Some argue that Khe Sanh was not simply a diversion for Tet, because the main assaults did not begin until February 5. Nevertheless, there was still active fighting in the cities, Tet not being secured until February 24th. If any of the urban fighting did go well, keeping up the pressure at Khe Sanh would divert resources that otherwise could reinforce the city defenses. It is also possible that the ability to fight both in the far north while in the cities was meant to have a psychological effect, especially on U.S. opinion.

The outlying position at Lang Vei was over-run on February 7 and the lines at Khe Sanh were very heavily attacked, the defense holding, in part, due to intensities of air and artillery support undreamed-of by the French at Dien Bien Phu. Although there has been speculation that Giap still hoped to repeat Dien Bien Phu at Khe Sanh, the correlation between his forces, and those of the enemy, at the two battles was so different that it is hard to accept he had that hope.

After the early February attacks, when Tet was still active, the PAVN reduced their intensity, although still launching assaults on the 17-18th (i.e., when Hue was still a battleground) and the 29th. Khe Sanh was officially relieved on April 6 and fighting ended around April 14.

Urban Warnings and Attacks

A number of sources believed the urban attacks started prematurely on January 29, Most of the urban attacks were on the night of January 30-31.

Warnings

Qui Nhon

Police captured Viet Cong agents on the 28th, who were carrying a tape recording, presumably to be played on a captured radio, to urge the population to join the General Uprising. [31]

Pleiku

An operations order for an attack on Pleiku was captured. It included instructions for a victory parade, implying the Viet Cong expected to hold the town, a change over previous raids. [32]

Attacks

Urban areas outside Hue and Hanoi

Besides the symbolic targets in Saigon (III CTZ), and the very serious fighting in Hue (I CTZ, eight cities had substantial attacks, starting on the night of the 29th-30th. The ARVN and the U.S. cancelled their truce early on the 30th.

Urban targets
Location ARVN CTZ Attacks began
Quang Nam I CTZ 1-30
Kontum II CTZ 1-30
My Tho IV CTZ 1-31
Ban Met Thuot II CTZ 1-30
Nha Trang II CTZ 1-30
Ben Tre IV CTZ 1-31
Can Tho IV CTZ 1-30
Da Lat II CTZ 2-1

It was respect to Ben Tre that the comment was made, "it became necessary to destroy the town in order to save it."

Hue

The harshest fighting was in Hue. Hue is not infrequently called the "old imperial capital", but there is historical significance of a Tet attack, involving Hue, to Vietnamese. his term, and its association with Tet, had historical and psychological significance to the Vietnamese. Two groups of warlords, the Nguyen and the Trinh, had ruled Annam under the Chinese, as the Le Dynasty.[33] In 1789, a year also significant in American history, the Chinese were defeated by a rebellion led by a soldier named Quang Trung, who took the name Nguyen Hue. He probably took that name to show the transfer of power from the Nguyen warlords, but, as confusing as the names may be, Nguyen Hue was not of the Nguyen warlords. He did, however, overthrow the Chinese-backed warlords with a sudden attack during Tet, and created the Nguyen dynasty.

Nguyen Hue died in 1792, with no adult heir. One of the surviving "old Nguyens," Nguyen Phuc Anh, who took the name Gia Long, overthrew the existing government of the Nguyen dynasty, killed the son of Nguyen Hue after forcing him to watch his father's bones being desecrated, and took power in 1802, with French assistance.[34] Now-Emperor Gia Long's first act was to move the capital from Saigon to Hue. He also named his new reign, Vietnam. While he permitted French missionaries, he resisted further French penetration.[35] So, the significance of overthrowing a government in Hanoi, and moving it to Hue, resonates with the father of Vietnam as a state. An attack during the normal peace of Tet resonates with the revolt of Nguyen Hue.

Gia Long built the Citadel of Hue, which was one of the priority targets taken by the Communists in 1968, and the Vietnamese only felt the city was returned to government control whan RVN Marines forced their way into the Citadel and raised the South Vietnamese flag. To the surviving Vietnamese Marines, that had some of the same emotional significance that the raising of the flag on Iwo Jima will always have to the United States Marine Corps.

When Hue fell to the Communists, they immediately set out to identify and execute previously listed government supporters among the civilian population. The allies fought back with all the firepower at their command. House to house fighting recaptured Hue on February 24, with the raising of the flag over the citadel.

In Hue, five thousand enemy bodies were recovered, with 216 U.S. dead, and 384 ARVN fatalities. Viet Cong defectors later led government forces to a riverbed, where 428 bodies were identified. They had been shot or beaten to death. Others were found, apparently buried alive. [36] Douglas Pike, who, at various times, infuriated both the U.S. government and the U.S. antiwar movement, gave news reports in 1969, [37] and in a book, Viet Cong Strategy of Terror.[38] )see except at [1]]. Pike's claims have been disputed. [39]

Saigon

The command responsible for operations against the Saigon area, the B-2 Front, had prepared a key target list in 1964, which differed from the actual operation in 1968.[40]

1964 target list
  • First priority, "to be destroyed simultaneously and seized at all costs for the [[General Offensive-General Uprising] to be carried out in the heart of the enemy's capital city"
    • Saigon Office of the General Staff (military command)
    • Office of the Special Forces of the Capital (defense of the inner city)
    • The Office of the National Police ("which would repress the people's uprisings)
    • Tan Son Nhut airport ("to neutralize the command of the air"); the Joint General Staff and MACV headquarters were at the edge of this area
    • The Presidential Palace of the Saigon Government
  • Second priority
    • Radio Saigon
    • Saigon Navy Command
    • Post offices
    • the U.S. Embassy
    • the residence of the chief of Gia Dinh Province
    • Chi Hoa Prison
    • the command centers of the armored and artillery forces
    • Quang Trung military training center
    • Bien Hoa air base, which also held the U.S. operational command for the Saigon area
    • headquarters of the [[III Corps tactical zone
  • Third priority: generic warehouses, economic and logistical facilities, ports, power plants and government offices
1968 operations

Thirty-five Communist battalions took part in the attacks in the Saigon area, with the largest number of troops committed to areas outside the city core. The 7th and 9th Divisions blocked roads and delayed reinforcement. Two battalions attacked the Armored and Artillery Command, expecting to capture heavy weapons. The largest attacks, however, were directed at bases, especially major airbases in the Saigon area. Tan Son Nhut airbase, which was also the ARVN and MACV headquarters, was hit by around 700 men of the 9th VC Division, with 110 American casualties. Bien Hoa airbase was also attacked by the 5th division and twenty aircraft were destroyed; they also attacked the Long Binh logistical center. [41]

A company-sized unit, apparently planning to attack the Joint General Staff command center, at the edge of Tan Son Nhut, got into a firefight with U.S. military police at a Bachelor Officers' Quarters (BOQ); the attack here seesawed for 24 hours.

Communist casualties in these two assaults and other actions in Saigon were over 1,100 men but they took control of large parts of the city for about a week. The longest fight was in the Chinese suburb of Cholon, where there was heavy damage and fighting for two weeks.

There was no particular attempt to hold ground; it was a matter of many small engagements, as opposed to the 1964 concept of seizing and holding critical targets "at all costs". Given that Gen. Tra wrote this after the event, and could have made the 1964 plan seem identical to the execution, there is reason to believe there was, indeed, a change in emphasis.

They made small attacks within the city, mostly symbolic and suicidal; not at all of the size that would be suggested by the 1964 priorities

  • a 20-man unit on the U.S. Embassy. Five U.S. military guards were killed; 18 of the VC died and two were captured, with wounds, [42]
  • 14 soldiers against the Presidential Palace, perhaps the best-guarded installation
  • 12 VC at the Vietnamese Navy headquarters

General Tran Do later criticized the planning by his Saigon command, questioning why they had not realized that American helicopter-borne reinforcements could land on the Embassy roof.

Some targets, such as Radio Saigon, were attacked and overrun. The attacker, however, had not planned for the remote transmitter having prerecorded "normal" programming on hand, so they were unable to broadcast their propaganda message.

Other attacks on troops

Allied forces, especially U.S., actually were able to reconstitute quickly, but this reality did not gain press attention. A mortar attack on the Da Nang base destroyed a major supply warehouse, losing 16,000 line items of supply. The new logistics computer system was given a high priority code for Da Nang replacement; the computer sent replacement requests, for the 16,000 items now in zero supply, to U.S. suppy depots on the same day. Within 5 days, 78 percent of the requisitioned stock was in the supply-receiving line at Da Nang. [43]

Political aftermath

Indisputably, the Communist forces suffered enormous casualties. Bui Tin wrote "The troops in the South suffered debilitating losses...the NLF [i.e., the VC fighters rather than the PAVN] was virtually eliminated as a fighting force, and it could no longer replenish its ranks...the North had lost the initiative in the war."[44]

Not illogically from a pure military standpoint, Westmoreland, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff GEN Earl Wheeler, along with many other senior military leaderships, wanted to exploit the losses and thoroughly crush the enemy. To do so, however, they asked for an additional 206,000 troops. The New York Times printed the request on March 10, but the article did not make it clear that the request was to enable offensive operations.

While some U.S. intelligence offices predicted quite well, in the broadest sense, the intelligence process failed because the top leadership failed to recognize the threat, and were perceived as unprepared by the electorate.

From a political and psychological standpoint, this request came from the same general who, in November, saw the enemy reeling and unable to take the initiative. That same enemy very much took an initiative in January and February, although the cost to the Communist forces was not well known to the American public. The perception, then, was that the same people who claimed everything was getting better was wrong about that, and were now asking for massive reinforcements. This fundamentally changed public opinion, and there was no longer a political possibility of Democrats getting authorization for more troops. Two days later, Eugene McCarthy, running on an antiwar platform for the Democratic nomination, received an impressive vote in the New Hampshire primary; Robert F. Kennedy declared his opposition four days later; Johnson said he would not run for re-election on the 31st.[45]

By objective military standards, the Tet Offensive was a military disaster for the Communists. They suffered horrible casualties, triggered no popular uprising, and controlled no territory after the battle. Clausewitz's dictum that wars are the national politics by military means was reversed; Tet caused American national politics to reject additional military means in Vietnam.

References

  1. Palmer, Dave R. (1978), Summons of the Trumpet, Presidio Press, p. 184
  2. Karnow, Stanley (1983), Vietnam, a History, Viking Press, pp. 513-514
  3. Hanyok, Robert J. (2002), Chapter 7 - A Springtime of Trumpets: SIGINT and the Tet Offensive, Spartans in Darkness: American SIGINT and the Indochina War, 1945-1975, Center for Cryptologic History, National Security Agency, p. 310
  4. Hanyok, p. 312
  5. Hanyok, pp. 307-308
  6. "Pierre Holmes, 81; Broadcast Messages For the Resistance", Time, December 18, 1993
  7. Gibbs, James William (1986), The Perfect War: Technowar in Vietnam, Atlantic Monthly Press, p. 165
  8. Oberdorfer, Don (2001), Tet! The Turning Point in the Vietnam War, JHU Press, p. 75
  9. Mao Tse-tung (1967), On Protracted War, Foreign Languages Press
  10. Willbanks, James H. (2006), The Tet Offensive: A Concise History
  11. Adams, Sam (1994), War of Numbers: An Intelligence Memoir, Steerforth Press
  12. Oberdorfer, p. 122
  13. Oberdorfer, p. 151
  14. Palmer, p. 185
  15. Oberdorfer, pp. 149-150
  16. Ford, Harold R. (1997), Episode 3 1967-1968: CIA, the Order-of-Battle Controversy, and the Tet Offensive, CIA and the Vietnam Policymakers: Three Episodes 1962 - 1968, Center for the Study of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, Ford Episode 3
  17. Ford Episode 3, General Fred Weyand, to author, 17 April 1991. Weyand's communications intelligence battalion commander, LTC Norman Campbell, supports Weyand's accounts.
  18. Hanyok, pp. 326-333
  19. George Allen, The Indochina Wars, cited in Ford Episode 3
  20. Hanyok, p. 327
  21. Oberdorfer, pp. 126-128
  22. Hanyok, p. 326
  23. Hanyok, pp. 327-328
  24. Saigon telepouch FVSA 24242, 8 December 1967. CIA files, Job No. 80R01580R, DCI/ER Subject Files, Box 15, Folder 3, cited in Ford Episode 3
  25. Saigon telepouch SAIG 5624 (IN 69402), 19 December 1967. CIA files, Job No. 80B01721R, O/D/NFAC, Box 2, "Substantive Policy Files, DDI Vietnam Files, Folder 5. cited in Ford Episode 3
  26. CIA Memorandum, "A Review of the Situation in Vietnam," 8 December 1967, prepared jointly by the Office of Current Intelligence, the Office of Economic Research, O/NE, and SAVA. CIA files, Job No. 78T02095R, O/DDI, Box 1, Folder 1.cited in Ford Episode 3
  27. Oberdorfer, pp. 18-20
  28. Pearson, Willard (1975), Preface, Vietnam Studies: The War in the Northern Provinces 1966-1968, Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army, p. iv
  29. Oberdorfer, p. 79
  30. Pearson, Willard (1975), Chapter I: Early Developments, Vietnam Studies: The War in the Northern Provinces 1966-1968, Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army
  31. Palmer, p. 197
  32. Palmer, p. 127
  33. The Nguyen Dynasty, from the Le to the Nguyen Rulers, University of Richmond.
  34. Oberdorfer, p. 203
  35. Emperor Gia Long, University of Richmond.
  36. Oberdorfer, pp. 215-216
  37. Woo, Elaine (May 17, 2002), Douglas Pike, 77; Historian, Archivist of the Vietnam War
  38. Douglas Pike (1970), Viet Cong Strategy of Terror, MIT Press
  39. Porter, Gareth (October 29, 1987), "Letter to the Editor: Little Evidence of 1968 Tet Massacre in Hue", New York Times
  40. Tran Van Tra (1993), Tet: The 1968 General Offensive and General Uprising, in Jayne S. Werner and Luu Doan Huynh, The Vietnam War: American and Vietnamese Perspective, M.E. Sharpe, Tran Van Tra, Tet, pp. 43
  41. Oberdorfer, pp. 134-151
  42. Oberdorfer, pp. 2-14
  43. Blank, Jonas L. (March-April 1973), "The Impact of Logistics Upon Strategy", Air University Review
  44. Bui Tin (2006), Fight for the Long Haul: The War as seen by a Soldier in the People's Army of Vietnam, in Wiest, Andrew, Rolling Thunder in a Gentle Land: the Vietnam War Revisited, Osprey Publishing, pp. 56-57
  45. Palmer, pp. 205-206