This document talks about the battle of Hue during the Tet Offensive in 1968 and urban conflict as part of a major regional contingency. Battle for Hue was a simple operation in the American and South Vietnamese campaign to counter the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong Tet Offensive. It was a 26-day battle and the largest U.S. battle in a city since the one for Seoul during the Korean War. Hue is Vietnams 3rd largest city with a population of 140,000 and is divided by the Perfume River.
The north side of the river was once the residence for Annamese emperors, and the south side was the main area for French style residential areas along with the city’s university and the French provincial capital. Hue was also the home of the predominant cultural, spiritual, and educational center of Vietnam, as well as the headquarters of the lst Infantry Division of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. All together the city distrusted both Ho Chi Minh’s Communist government in Hanoi and the U.S. supported government in Saigon.
Tet is known as the lunar New Year in Vietnam and is the largest annual Vietnamese holiday. Since Hue is the imperial city it is the hosts of this major festival. By late January, several thousand visitors had arrived in Hue to participate in the festivities.
Hue had a huge role in the NVA campaign plan. As stated in the document, “The city was a key chokepoint along the critical U.S. and ARVN north-south line of communications highway”. There was also a railroad that ran through Hue, and Navy supply boats used it as an pick up and drop off point for supplies moving to and from the ocean. Taking Hue would hurt the American’s line of communication and stop the movement of supplies from Da Nang to the DMZ. The battle of Hue makes it obvious how difficult it is to shape the battle space at the operational level in the response to a surprise attack in a built up area.