• Document: The Battle of Hue City: 31 January-25 February Keystone Battle Series Marine Corps History Division
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The Battle of Hue City: 31 January-25 February 1968 Keystone Battle Series Marine Corps History Division Lecture Overview I. Hue II. Friendly Unit Disposition III. The Tet Offensive IV. Hue - 31 January V. The Battle for southern Hue A. 31 Jan-1 Feb B. 2 Feb C. 3-4 Feb D. 5-8 Feb - Block by Block E. 6-10 Feb VI. The Battle for the Citadel A. 3-12 Feb B. 11-14 Feb C. 15-17 Feb D. 18-20 Feb E. 21-23 Feb F. 24-25 Feb - Final Stages VII. Closing out Operation Hue City 24 Feb-2 Mar VIII.Summary IX. Conclusions and Takeaways X. Suggested Reading Right: “Flushing out Snipers, Hue” by Ned Conlon. A Marine fires a 3.5” rocket launcher at sniper positions in Hue City during the 1968 Tet Offensive. I. Hue Hue • Cultural and religious center of Vietnam • Divided into two districts • Citadel (Old City) – north of Perfume (Huong) River • Built in 19th Century • Designed after Forbidden City in Peking • modern city – south of Perfume (Huong) River Above Center: Aerial view of Hue City Left: The gate to the inner wall of the Imperial Palace of Hue, photographed during a tour of the city as part of a cultural development program. This picture taken in February 1967, long before the battle, shows the elaborate entrance and part of the surrounding wall to the Imperial Palace grounds in the Citadel. This wall is separate from the walls of the Citadel itself II. Friendly Unit Disposition Hue • South Vietnamese controlled north of Perfume River • MACV Compound • 1st and 5th Marines III. Tet Offensive (Launched 30 January 1968) • NVA targeted major U.S. Installations, major population centers, and nearly every provincial city. • 15-18 NVA Bns took part in battle for Hue City • Enemy strength in Hue greatly underestimated by American commanders Top Center: NVA Flag Bottom Center: Vietcong Flag Above Left: U.S. Military Police escort a captured Viet Cong from the buildings next to the American Embassy in Saigon. In the early morning attack, January 31, 19 of this Viet Cong’s comrades were killed in the Embassy compound while they were attempting to storm the main building. IV. Hue - 31 January • Only General Truong’s HQ at Mang Ca (Citadel) and MACV Compound (southern city) not overrun • 3000 South Vietnamese citizens and foreigners executed • Company A, 1st Bn, 1st Marines and Company G, 2d Bn, 5th Marines fight their way to MACV Compound • Costly assault across Nguyen Hoang Bridge Left: Positions occupied in strength by the enemy on 31 January. Center: This Hue market-place was totally destroyed in the Viet Cong attack. V. The Battle for southern Hue: 31 Jan- 1 Feb • Operation Hue City begins • 1/1 launches two-company attack towards provincial building and prison • Tay Loc Airfield recaptured by 1st ARVN Division Right: Refugees pass by a supporting tank as it moves up the street during Operation Hue City. The civilian population of Hue was caught in the middle of the battle. V. The Battle for southern Hue: 2 Feb • 3d Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division attacks southeast towards Hue to cut off enemy supply lines and escape routes but attack is badly mauled • Marines in southern city get reinforced and reach the Hue University Campus Top Center: A Marine scans Hue streets for enemy snipers with a M-48 ready for heavy firepower in the University area. Bottom Center: Supported by tanks, Marines move to clear buildings in street fighting near Hue University. Left: “Bushwhackers, Hue” by John T. Dyer. A Marine tank, destroyed in the heavy street

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