The United States has begun a new series of bombings raids on targets in South Vietnam and the demilitarised zone, in an apparent attempt to disrupt and head off an anticipated North Vietnamese and Vietcong offensive during the Tet lunar new year festival, which starts on 15 February this year.
LV & CU Tanks fighting their way down Saigon street (6 shots)
LV & CU Tanks & troops fighting in Hue (6 shots)
CU Wounded soldier
LV & SV Fighting continues
LV & CU Refugees crying & burying dead (3 shots)
LV Civilians in streets
Initials SGM/1624 SGM/1606
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Background: The United States has begun a new series of bombings raids on targets in South Vietnam and the demilitarised zone, in an apparent attempt to disrupt and head off an anticipated North Vietnamese and Vietcong offensive during the Tet lunar new year festival, which starts on 15 February this year.
Raids have been stepped up both by B-52 heavy bombers based in Thailand, and fighter bombers operating from there aircraft carriers in the Gulf of Tonkin.
The increased military activity recalls the massive Tet offensive by North Vietnamese and Vietcong forces in January and February 1968. It followed a major siege of the United States base at Khe Sanh in mid-January. The Tet truce was cancelled by the South Vietnamese Government on 29th January, and the next day a big offensive began in the north and central highlands of South Vietnam.
On 31 January Saigon and the northern coastal city of Hue were attacked, and fierce fighting continued in both cities for three weeks Hue - the ancient imperial capital -- saw bitter battles which left large areas of the city in ruins. Many civilian dead were found after the fighting ended.
More than 5,000 Vietcong were reported to have infiltrated Saigon, and some made daring "suicide commando" raids on key targets. There were severe street battles in the city and suburbs. The guerrillas had mostly withdrawn from the city by 23 February, but returned in force in a number of subsequent attacks.
SYNOPSIS: The Tet offensive of 1968 saw same of the bitterest fighting of the Vietnam war especially in Saigon and other major cities of South Vietnam. North Vietnamese and Vietcong forces launched a coordinated attack in many different parts of South Vietnam to coincide with the lunar new year holiday. In Saigon itself 17 battalions of guerrilla troops - about five-thousand men - infiltrated the capital and launched a Systematic attack on key areas of the city. It was three weeks before heavily-armed United States and Government forces regained central throughout the city and suburbs.
The attack on Hue -- Vietnam's ancient imperial capital -- began on the same day as Saigon. North Vietnamese and Vietcong troops came in from the south and rapidly overran every Government stronghold but one. United States Marines and Air Cavalry counter-attacked and the three-week battle left much of the city in ruins.
The Americans suffered heavy casualties as they fought their way into the city and the massive walled citadel to the west.
It was a battle that brought immense suffering to the large civilian population. Many were killed in the fighting, and more were later found in mass graves. Almost two thirds of the city's people became homeless refugees.