The Tet offensive was a well-coordinated attack against some targets in South Vietnam by North Vietnam led by communist Viet Cong Forces. This attack which saw the U.S. and South Vietnam militaries suffer severe casualties was orchestrated in 1968 during the lunar New Year which is also known as “Tet”, hence the name of the offensive.
What was the goal of the offensive?
The attack targeted over 100 cities in South Vietnam. The aim of the attack was to diffuse the rebellion among the population in the South Vietnamese and, at the same time, get the U.S to reduce its involvement in the war in Vietnam.
The U.S and the South Vietnamese forces were able to hold off the attacks. Despite being held back, North Vietnam had a strategic win since the Americans started their long and slow withdrawal from the region.
The beginning of the Tet Offensive
The Tet Offensive started in the early morning of 30th January 1968 when the Viet Cong Forces attacked 13 cities in South Vietnam. A day later, more areas were hit by the forces from North Vietnam. These areas included buildings, towns, and cities. In total, there were 120 attacks.
The U.S. Embassy was also attacked but was defended by U.S forces when the Viet Cong Platoon tried to get inside the complex.
Even though the win was not immediate for North Vietnam, it was quite strategic in the long run. The U.S reduced its bombing of North Vietnam and scaled back its association in the war. There were no rebellions in South Vietnam. Even though it would take another five years for peace talks to be concluded, the New Year attacks executed by about 85,000 troops had proven to be quite effective for the North Vietnam forces.