The Tet Offensive

By Marc Jason Gilbert; William Head | Go to book overview

11
Tet beyond the Wire: TCK/TKN, the General Offensive/General Uprising

Robert Nourse

The general uprising phase of the Tet Offensive of 1968 has often been portrayed as a spontaneous event that the enemy hoped would accompany and assist the offensive's wider strategic and tactical objectives. However, at least in I Corps, the northernmost military region of the Republic of South Vietnam, the general uprising phase of the Tet Offensive followed a detailed plan that left little to chance. A series of preparatory attacks in I Corps during December and January 1968 were launched as part of an effort to weaken the will and destroy the confidence of local peasants in the South Vietnamese government. These attacks were designed to ensure that subsequent main force VC and NVA operations would both complete the revolutionary education of the masses and employ them in support of what Hanoi and the NLF hoped would be the decisive action of the war. The relationship of these localized attacks and their sequels during the Tet Offensive were made apparent to me as the American in Ly Tin District of Quang Tin Province in I Corps during the months immediately before and after the Tet Offensive.

In December 1967 the 1st Battalion, 46th Infantry, was operating in my area of Quang Tin Province. On December 4 they captured an enemy document that gave more specific guidance to the local VC cadres than had as yet been seen in higher-level documents previously obtained by American military intelligence. This document, described in MACV Bulletin No. 8613, dated November 17, 1967, instructed the VC cadres

to intensify proselyting activities and concurrently promote political struggle among the population within their respective areas. The document announced that the "strategic objectives" set forth by the Party consisted of: 1. An all-out effort to

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The Tet Offensive
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Abbreviations and Acronyms ix
  • Preface xiii
  • 1: Introduction 1
  • Notes 15
  • 2 - The Tet Offensive 17
  • Notes 43
  • 3 - The Tet Offensive and Sino-Vietnamese Relations 45
  • Notes 59
  • 4 - The Nlf and the Tet Offensive 63
  • Notes 69
  • 5 - Giap and Tet Mau Than 1968: The Year of the Monkey 73
  • Notes 85
  • 6 - The Tet Offensive and Its Aftermath 89
  • Notes 119
  • 7 - My Recollections of the Tet Offensive 125
  • Notes 134
  • 8 - The Tet Offensive and Middletown: A Study in Contradiction 135
  • Notes 141
  • 9 - The Warning That Left Something to Chance: Intelligence at Tet 143
  • Notes 163
  • 10 - Don't Bother Me with the Facts; I've Made Up My Mind: The Tet Offensive in The Context of Intelligence and U.S. Strategy 167
  • Notes 179
  • 11 - Tet Beyond the Wire: TCK/TKN, the General Offensive/General Uprising 181
  • Notes 189
  • 12 - The Battle of Khe Sanh, 1968 191
  • Notes 210
  • 13 - President Johnson and the Decision To Curtail Rolling Thunder 215
  • Notes 228
  • 14 - The Myth of Tet: American Failure and The Politics of War 231
  • Notes 249
  • Selected Bibliography 259
  • Index 269
  • About the Authors and Editors 283
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