Tet and Beyond, 1968
In the predawn hours of January 31, as the people of Saigon were preparing to celebrate Tet, Vietnam's most important holiday, a squad of Viet Cong commandos approached the American Embassy in the center of the city. This impressive six-story structure, completed the year before, was shielded by a honeycombed concrete screen and sat in the middle of a compound surrounded by a protective wall. With storming the main entrance out of the question, the commandos blasted a hole in the perimeter wall and ran into the compound; they did not get far before a handful of American military police opened fire. After six and a half hours of fighting, the guerrillas, who never gained access to the embassy building itself, were wiped out. But the audacity of their attack was extraordinary, as was the general offensive of which it was a small part. As the day unfolded, elsewhere in the capital and across the nation 80,000 enemy troops, mostly Viet Cong units, surged into thirty-six of the sixty-four provincial capitals, five of the six major cities, the sixty-four district capitals, and fifty hamlets. The 4,000 insurgents who entered Saigon mostly attacked major South Vietnamese facilities—Independence Palace, Navy headquarters, the Joint General Staff compound, and the state-run radio station. For the
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Publication information: Book title: America's Lost War: Vietnam, 1945-1975. Contributors: Charles E. Neu - Author. Publisher: Harlan Davidson. Place of publication: Wheeling, IL. Publication year: 2005. Page number: 147.
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