The Battle for Hue, 1968
James H. Willbanks, PhD
3. The Viet Minh defeated the French forces in a decisive battle at Dien Bien Phu on 7 May 1954 after a two-month siege. The French subsequently withdrew from Vietnam.
4. Edward F. Murphy, Semper Fi Vietnam: From Da Nang to the DMZ, Marine Corps Campaigns, 1965-1975 (Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1997), 189.
5. The Viet Cong, or as it was more properly known, the People’s liberation Armed Forces (PLAF), included regular forces, called main force VC, full-time guerrillas, and a part-time self-defense militia. The main force VC battalions were organized, trained, and equipped similarly to the PAVN battalions.
9. George W. Smith, The Siege at Hue (New York: Ballentine Books, 2000), 17; Keith W. Nolan, Battle for Hue (Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1983), 3.
10. James J. Wirtz, The Tet Offensive: Intelligence Failure in War (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991), 98.
12. Jack Shulimson, Leonard A. Blasiol, Charles R. Smith and David A. Dawson. U.S. Marines in Vietnam: The Defining Year 1968 (Washington, D.C.: Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, 1997), 171.
18. Westmoreland message to Wheeler, dated 31 Jan 68, Westmoreland Messages, Westmoreland Papers, Center of Military History, quoted in Shulimson, et al., 174.
21. 1st Marines (Rein), 1st Marine Division (Rein) Combat Operations After Action Report (Operation HUE CITY), dated 20 Mar 1968, 11 (hereafter referred to as 1st Marines AAR).
51. Capt. G. R. Christmas, “A Company Commander Reflects on Operations Hue City,” in The Marines in Vietnam 1954-1973, An Anthology and Annotated Bibliography, ed. Edwin H. Simmons, et al (Washington, D.C.: Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, 1974), 162.
52. Nicholas Warr, Phase Line Green: the Battle for Hue, 1968 (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1997), 124.
57. There are indications that public opinion had already begun to shift by the end of 1967, but the Tet Offensive certainly accelerated this shift.
Arnold, James R. Tet Offensive 1968: Turning Point in Vietnam. London: Osprey, 1990. One of the Osprey Military Campaign Series that contains extremely good maps, diagrams, and photographs.
1st Cavalry Division, 14th Military History Detachment, Combat After Action Report – Op Hue, Period 2-26 February 1968, dated 16 August 1968.
1st Marine Division, 1st Mar Div Commanders AAR, Tet Offensive, 29 Jan –14 Feb 68, dated 25 May 68.
1st Marine Division, TF X-Ray AAR, Operation Hue City, with enclosures, dated 14 Apr 68.
1st Marines (Rein), 1st Marine Division (Rein) Combat Operations After Action Report (Operation HUE CITY), dated 20 Mar 1968.
Ford, Ronnie E. Tet 1968: Understanding the Surprise. London: Frank Cass, 1995. Addresses the intelligence breakdown that contributed to the surprise and impact of the Tet Offensive.
Hammel, Eric M. Fire in the Streets: the Battle of Hue, Tet 1968. Chicago: Contemporary Books, 1991. A very thorough hour-by-hour, day-by-day account of the battle that also addresses the strain that the surprise attack put on the South Vietnamese-U.S. alliance.
Karnow, Stanley. Vietnam: A History, 2d revised and updated ed. New York: Penguin Books, 1997. One of the most comprehensive overall accounts of the entire American experience in the Vietnam War that provides a useful context for the events that unfolded in Hue in 1968.
Krohn, Charles A. The Lost Battalion: Controversy and Casualties in the Battle of Hue. Westport, CN: Praeger, 1993. A first-hand account from the battalion intelligence officer of 1/12 Cavalry of operations by the 1st Cavalry Division against the PAVN forces on the outskirts of Hue in February, 1968.
Murphy, Edward F. Semper Fi: From Da Nang to the DMZ, Marine Corps Campaigns, 1965-1975. Novato, CA: Presidio, 1997. Addresses U.S. Marine Corps operations in I Corps Tactical Zone during the Vietnam War.
Nolan, Keith William. Battle for Hue: Tet, 1968. Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1983. A detailed account of not only U.S. Marine operations in Hue, but also the actions of the South Vietnamese soldiers and Marines who participated in the fight to retake the city.
Oberdorfer, Don. Tet! New York: Doubleday, 1971. The classic work on the 1968 Tet Offensive; includes a particularly good description of the round-up and massacre of civilians by the Viet Cong at Hue.
Pearson, Willard. The War in the Northern Provinces, 1966-1968. Washington, D.C.: Department of the Army, 1975. An official history of U.S. Army operations in I Corps Tactical Zone, to include the action around Hue in 1968.
Pham Van Son. Tet – 1968. Salisbury, N.C.: Documentary Publications, 1980. A study written by the Military History Division, Joint General Staff, Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces; provides the South Vietnamese perspective of the fighting during the Tet Offensive, to include the action at Hue.
Shulimson, Jack; Leonard A. Blasiol; Charles R. Smith; and David A. Dawson. U.S. Marines in Vietnam: The Defining Year 1968. Washington, D.C.: Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, 1997. An official Marine Corps history that addresses operations in 1968, focusing on the fighting at Khe Sanh and Hue; impeccably documented with detailed maps.
Simmons, Edwin H., et al. The Marines in Vietnam 1954-1973, An Anthology and Annotated Bibliography. Washington, D.C.: Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, 1974. A compendium of articles and first-hand accounts of Marine Corps operations during the Vietnam War.
Smith, George W. The Siege at Hue. New York: Ballentine Books, 2000. A first-hand account of the fighting in Hue by a former MACV adviser with the 1st ARVN Division in 1968.
Tucker, Spencer. Vietnam. London: UCL Press, 1999. A detailed overview of the numerous wars of Vietnam, concentrating on the period of U.S. involvement; it is particularly useful in putting the action at Hue in the larger context of North Vietnamese strategy and tactics.
Warr, Nicholas. Phase Line Green: the Battle for Hue, 1968. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1997. A first-hand account by a platoon commander in Company C, 1-5 Marines.
Wirtz, James J. The Tet Offensive: Intelligence Failure in War. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991. Focuses on the failure of allied intelligence to anticipate the timing and scope of the enemy offensive; draws heavily on Viet Cong and declassified U.S. sources.