Skip to comments.THE TET OFFENSIVE -Jan. 31 1968
Posted on 01/31/2005 6:48:35 AM PST by Valin
This page is dedicated to all US Military Police killed or wounded during the 1968 Tet Offensive.
May they never be forgotten.
During the TET Offensive, the 716th Military Police Battalion became involved in the Battle of Saigon: the fiercest battle in which a military police unit has ever been engaged. At approximately 0300 hours, 31 January 1968, Viet Cong elements launched attacks within the Saigon area on such key targets as the United States Embassy, BOQ #3, the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) Annex Area, the Embassy Hotel, and in the vicinity of the race track on Plantation Road. Viet Cong units roamed the streets dressed in black uniforms or in civilian clothes with arm bands designating unit identification. Many also wore yellow handkerchiefs around their necks.
Shortly after 0300 hours, the MP guards at the Embassy were attacked and two MP were shot in the back. Patrols from the 716th quickly surrounded the area. The Viet Cong also set up a machine gun in a building across the street from the Embassy. When a two-man MP patrol stopped in front of the Embassy, both men were killed by automatic weapons and small arms fire. During the hours of darkness, choppers attempted to land a 101st Airborne element on the Embassy roof but were constantly repelled. At 0630 hours, the enemy machine gun was silenced and the MP crashed the main gate and stormed into the Embassy grounds. At no time had the Viet Cong gained entry into the Embassy building, but they were on the surrounding grounds. As the MP battled the Viet Cong inside the grounds, the 101st Airborne landed on the Embassy roof. The paratroopers then proceeded down the stairs at the same time as the MP were coming inside the compound. The enemy was armed with AK47s, machine pistols, and some rocket launchers. This engagement resulted in four MP and nineteen Viet Cong being killed in action.
At 0400 hours on the same morning, the 716th received a report that the Viet Cong had surrounded BOQ #3. A reaction force was dispatched to assist there. As the force approached the BOQ in four 1/4-ton vehicles and one 2 1/2-ton truck, they were hit by claymore mines and recoilless rifle fire. Initially, approximately thirteen MP were killed and thirteen others wounded in this action. An additional reaction force then was dispatched to help recover the dead and wounded. Heavy fighting continued for thirteen to fourteen hours while the MP, with infantry and armored support, cleared the area and retrieved bodies.
At 0530 hours, across from the Korean Embassy, a jeep with an officer and enlisted man in it from the 716th was hit by recoilless rifle fire, wounding both men. Soon after, a machine gun jeep from the 716th was hit by small arms fire. The two MP in it were killed and their machine gun was captured. The Viet Cong then took the machine gun to the Embassy Hotel roof and fired on MP patrols, Korean troops, and Vietnamese National Policemen who were in the area. The 716th responded by sending a 3.5 rocket launcher team to the area. At 1630 hours the area was cleared and the machine gun recovered.
At 0630 hours, an alert force from the 716th was pinned down in the vicinity of the race track and another alert force from the 716th was dispatched to its aid. As the vehicles proceeded down Plantation Road toward the race track, they came under .50-caliber fire. LT Braddock, C/52d Inf, 716th was killed by the automatic fire. The vehicle he was in then was hit by a satchel charge and burned. Another officer and two NCOs were wounded in a gallant but futile attempt to retrieve LT Braddock from the vehicle. Despite these loses the two alert forces linked up and engaged the enemy. Heavy fighting continued throughout the day. Additional assistance was requested and a mechanized infantry platoon was dispatched to the area. Fighting continued at the race track for an additional ten days.
Many other areas in Saigon were under attack during this period with BOQs, BEQs, and National Police Headquarters being primary targets. At 0330, 31 January 1968, a black civilian car came down the street toward the Presidential Palace. The vehicle failed to heed a warning stop by the MP and was engaged and destroyed by two machine gun jeeps. Around 0800 hours, Viet Cong elements penetrated Tan Son Nhut Airbase and attempted to attack the MACV Complex located there. A reaction force from the 716th engaged the enemy in the vicinity of the MACV Annex. Joined by a backup force from the 92d Military Police Battalion, MP cleared the area at 1500 hours.
On the 1st of February, 1968, United States and ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) tactical units moved into Saigon and assumed control of operations against the enemy. MP patrols then were set up at strategic points in the city and the MP also assisted in traffic control and maintaining security at US facilities and installations. Sporadic firing continued for several days. During the period from 31 January to 6 February 1968, the 716th Military Police Battalion suffered twenty-seven killed and forty-five wounded in action while serving in the Saigon area.
Another target of the TET Offensive of 1968 was Dalat. It was probably the scene of the heaviest fighting outside the Saigon area. Early in the morning on 31 January 1968 large size enemy forces began to attack Dalat. The Viet Cong soon controlled all the roads into the town. The MP villa was demolished by mortar and rocket fire. Two MP were wounded and communications were lost within the city. A military reaction force extracted the MP from their villa. As heavy mortar fire continued in the city, MP who had relocated in a medical villa came under ground attack. On 3 February 1968, the MP personnel who had been driven from the villa returned to retrieve items of equipment. They were able to recover vehicles, radios, and records which they had abandoned during the initial attack. Again, they received a small arms attack but sustained no additional casualties. As the remaining activity in the area began to center on the Dalat airfield, the MP in the area responded to the crisis by providing reinforcements to friendly forces at that location. As fierce fighting continued on 3 February, the city of Dalat became the only critical area in the II Corps tactical zone. With the airfield under Viet Cong control, the local defending elements, particularly the MP, began to run low on ammunition. Ammunition resupply was completed by air. With an enemy battalion believed still to be in the city on 5 February 1968, additional MP replacements were flown into Dalat. Viet Cong elements continued to hold two strong points in the city until 9 February when they finally were forced to withdraw.
The Viet Cong also launched mortar and rocket attacks against the city of Kontum during the early morning hours of 31 January 1968. An estimated two-battalion-sized enemy force continued bombarding the city as the day progressed. MP elements from B Company, 504th Military Police Battalion, provided early warning of enemy infiltrators and returned sniper fire throughout the city. Sporadic action continued there during the following week, marked by small unit contacts and exchanges of small arms fire. Activity finally subsided after one week and the MP resumed normal activities.
The city of Pleiku likewise began receiving mortar attacks during the morning of 30 January 1968. A battalion-sized enemy force launched a ground attack against the city immediately following the mortar barrages. MP from B Company, 504th Military Police Battalion, succeeded in transferring the provost marshal's office from Pleiku to Camp Schmidt during the initial stages of the encounter. Throughout the following week numerous incidents of sniping were reported and small pockets of enemy resistance reduced. Street fighting and enemy contact ceased completely on 7 February 1968, and normal MP operations resumed.
At approximately 0300 hours on 31 January 1968, the Qui Nhon Ammunition Supply Depot at Valley F received recoilless rifle fire. This area was secured by guards from the 93d Military Police Battalion. There were no personnel casualties, but two pads of ammunition were destroyed. During the same period enemy forces attacked the city of Qui Nhon and temporarily occupied the radio and railroad stations there. The enemy was routed that same day. On the morning of 1 February 1968, the 93d Military Police Battalion cantonment area received a mortar attack. Street fighting and resistance by enemy forces continued in Qui Nhon until approximately 7 February 1968. On 3 February 1968, LT Banks from the 127th Military Police Company was fatally wounded as he attempted to flush a sniper from a building in the city. At the time LT Banks was participating in combined police patrol activities with the Vietnamese National Police. The 93d Military Police Battalion was able to reinforce the defenses at the Valley F Supply Depot on 3 February 1968 with the addition of a 105-mm Howitzer Battery. By 8 February 1968, conditions were stable in the city and refugees who had fled from there began to return. The MP carefully screened them in order to prevent infiltration by the Viet Cong.
Enemy activity at the Ban Me Thout during TET consisted of major rocket and mortar attacks in and around the city including the local airfield. These attacks began on the morning of 31 January and continued until the 7th of February 1968. On the morning of 2 February, three MP sentry dog handlers were wounded by an explosion of unknown origin while working in the kennel area of the 981st Military Police Company.
Cam Rahn Bay experienced very little overt enemy activity during the 1968 TET period. On the morning of 31 January, a North Vietnamese Army frogman trained in demolitions and assigned the mission of sabotaging friendly vessels was captured in the harbor. The mayor of Cam Rahn Bay immediately placed the civilian population under strict curfew and limited water traffic by Vietnamese nationals in the harbor area. During the next week, there were numerous sightings of frogman activity in the Cam Rahn Bay area. Elements of the 97th Military Police Battalion, particularly those from the 981st Military Police Company (SD) assisted in the search for infiltrators in the bay.
On the morning of 30 January 1968, the city of Nha Trang and surrounding installations began receiving mortar attacks. A ground attack followed and large numbers of enemy troops entered the city. Street fighting was heavy, and resistance continued for the next two or three days. Several unsuccessful attempts were made by the enemy to seize the local railroad station. The element that invaded the city was estimated to be a two-battalion-sized force. One prong of the attack was directed at the 272d Military Police Company compound. By 3 February 1968, the civilian population began moving from the area. For several days, resistance was strong within the city, but it subsided gradually until approximately 7 February 1968, when operations returned to normal. The rapid reaction of the MP during this engagement succeeded in delaying the enemy forces and diverting the direction of their ground attack.
At approximately 0300 hours, 31 January, coordinated attacks were launched on the Bien Hoa Airbase, II Field Force Vietnam Headquarters, the Long Binh Ammunition Supply Depot, and various other friendly installations in the local area. Following a mortar and rocket attack, the perimeter of the Bien Hoa Airbase was penetrated. The city of Bien Hoa, patrolled by elements of the 720th Military Police Battalion, also was infiltrated by large numbers of Viet Cong. All roads into and out of the city were controlled by the enemy. After the attackers had succeeded in destroying one building and two jet aircraft, friendly forces killed 101 enemy and reestablished the perimeter of the airbase. The Long Binh Ammunition Supply Depot was penetrated by a company sized unit employing sapper techniques. Bangalore torpedoes and satchel charges were planted on several pads of ammunition in the area. Two security personnel, one from the 95th Military Police Battalion and one from the 212th Military Police (Sentry Dog) Company, were killed. One pad of ammunition was blown, producing secondary explosions by two additional pads. Ammunition loss was set at $1,677,000. The enemy capability for large scale attacks was quickly reduced by friendly forces using rapid ground counterattacks and supporting artillery and air fire. However, for several days, harassing incidents including light mortar and rocket attacks continued.
By 1 February 1968, refugees were leaving the area in large numbers. It was felt that many enemy soldiers would attempt to leave the area along with the refugees. Therefore, checkpoint operations were intensified by the local MP. Local barge and shipping sites began to receive isolated attacks. Retreating enemy soldiers were believed to be responsible for the burning of many homes in their path. In conjunction with an attack on the Cogido Barge site, secured by the 95th Military Police Battalion, enemy forces burned the village to the ground. Friendly forces from the battalion, who were responding to the activity in the area, were ambushed. While firefights and resistance continued in the area, sweep and search operations were initiated by friendly tactical units.
On 2 February 1968, the village of Thu Duo received an enemy ground attack. When the Thu Duo Highway Patrol Station was threatened, the 720th Military Police Battalion, equipped with M113 vehicles, reinforced the station and established critical checkpoints in the area. By 3 February 1968, enemy activity in Long Binh/Bien Hoa had been reduced to small pockets of resistance. Attempts then were made by the 720th Military Police Battalion to resume its normal operation of escorting replacement and rotatees to and from the Bien Hoa Airbase. However, the operation was postponed due to the still existing enemy threat. Facing a tremendous backlog at local docks, mail, and fuel sites, and other activities that had suspended actions during the hostilities, the 720th Military Police Battalion then began to restore convoy operations. Shortages in fuel and ammunition made it imperative that resupply convoys return to normal operations at once. The combined police patrol, utilizing part of the 720th Military Police Battalion, the national police, and the Vietnamese military police, resumed patrol activities on Highway 1A from Long Binh to Saigon. By 5 February 1968, normal operations had been reestablished in the Long Binh/Bien Hoa areas.
On 31 January 1968, Vinh Long was attacked by an estimated force of two enemy battalions. The assault began with mortar attacks followed by ground attacks. One MP from the 148th Military Police Platoon was wounded. On 1 February 1968, Vinh Long received additional heavy mortar and small arms attacks directed at the city and its airfield. The MP Villa was evacuated due to attacks on the site, and the personnel from it moved to the airfield. Several items of equipment had to be abandoned when they evacuated the area. Enemy forces then proceeded to occupy the military police billets. On 2 February 1968, attempts were made to reoccupy the villa, but the first ones were unsuccessful. The men of the 148th Military Police Platoon remained with personnel from the 212th MP Company (SD) at the airfield until they were able to return to their villa later that day. By 3 February 1968, the MP elements in Vinh Long were able to perform regular operations, although sporadic resistance was still in evidence within the city.
Can Tho City and airfield received mortar and ground attacks on the morning of 31 January. The airbase was penetrated but the attack was repulsed, resulting in six Viet Cong being killed in action. In addition, an estimated fifty to seventy-five Viet Cong were killed in the city as a result of street fighting. The MP Villa in Can Tho also received numerous small arms attacks. US civilians from the area were moved into the military police compound for security reasons. On 1 February, fighting in the city continued, and the MP station received small arms fire. By 3 February, MP operations were almost back to normal in Can Tho with the exception of highway patrols. They could not be resumed because Highway Four was closed to traffic. It was blocked by several blown bridges and other obstacles.
Soc Trang began to receive mortar and ground attacks on the morning of 31 January. While they were generally unsuccessful, enemy troops dug in around the airfield and offered substantial resistance for a time. Street fighting and sporadic resistance continued for the next two or three days, but by 3 February, operations were almost back to normal.
The employment of MP firepower, mobility, and communications during the TET Offensive in the Republic of Vietnam provided a first line of defense against enemy combat forces. On many occasions during that crisis, MP were the first to become aware of enemy threats and to become engaged in open combat in major cities and other built-up areas. During this general offensive the MP responded rapidly and prevented or delayed Viet Cong as well as North Vietnamese Army attempts to infiltrate major cities throughout the Republic. The ability of the MP to remain in direct contact with the enemy and to block their advance, pending the arrival of tactical units, attests to their close affinity to a combat arm. Even after the arrival of tactical units, the MP remained on the scene and performed a variety of direct support missions including escorting convoys carrying critical supplies and equipment, evacuating prisoners, and providing security at vital installations.
Thanks for remembering. I will bookmark to read later.
Wasn't Kerry in Cambodia during this?
1968 Viet Cong attack U.S. Embassy
As part of the Tet Offensive, Viet Cong soldiers attack the U.S. Embassy in Saigon. A 19-man suicide squad seized the U.S. Embassy and held it for six hours until an assault force of U.S. paratroopers landed by helicopter on the building's roof and routed them.
The offensive was launched on January 30, when communist forces attacked Saigon, Hue, five of six autonomous cities, 36 of 44 provincial capitals, and 64 of 245 district capitals. The timing and magnitude of the attacks caught the South Vietnamese and American forces off guard, but eventually the Allied forces turned the tide. Militarily, the Tet Offensive was a disaster for the communists. By the end of March 1968, they had not achieved any of their objectives and had lost 32,000 soldiers and had 5,800 captured. U.S. forces suffered 3,895 dead; South Vietnamese losses were 4,954; non-U.S. allies lost 214. More than 14,300 South Vietnamese civilians died.
While the offensive was a crushing military defeat for the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese, the early reporting of a smashing communist victory went largely uncorrected in the media and this led to a great psychological victory for the communists. The heavy U.S. casualties incurred during the offensive coupled with the disillusionment over the earlier overly optimistic reports of progress in the war accelerated the growing disenchantment with President Johnson's conduct of the war. Johnson, frustrated with his inability to reach a solution in Vietnam announced on March 31, 1968, that he would neither seek nor accept the nomination of his party for re-election.
Yes I won' forget as I was half way through my tour at Nakhon Phanom along Mekong, as our other brothers in TLC and Vietnam. NKP 67-68.
Yesterday on Meet the Press, Kerry said he might not have been there exactly on Christmas day, 1968, but it was around then and he had been sent to help the CIA deliver weapons to the Khymer Rouge. And he was there, he had lots of pictures he had taken to prove it, and he had a cap the CIA guy had given him. And even though Nixon was president-elect in Dec. 1968, he apparently was able to authorize the CIA for this mission, although Kerry was very sketchy about the Nixon part.
BTW, if you buy all that I'd really like to talk to you about some prime real estate deals I have.:)
Yet Walter Cronkite . . . the Liberals poster boy of "virtue and truth" . . . declared it a defeat, thereby sealing our fate because us Conservatives had no way of firing back at the MSM'ers then.
I will be forever shamed for my timidity at that time.
I knew the truth . . . that we'd kicked VC and North Vietnam Regulars butt . . . and so did many, many other Conservatives . . . but we did nothing to counter Uncle Walter's and his Media Whores' claims that "ALL WAS LOST."
My generation allowed the U.S. to lose the ONLY war she's ever lost. I vowed then . . . NEVER AGAIN. NEVER! So long as I had breath . . . I would never again turn my back on U.S. soldiers.
I've kept that promise so far . . . the shame I feel is a healthy motivator.
"tet" is major evidence that the MSM has lied to america before and cannot be trusted...
"I vowed then . . . NEVER AGAIN. NEVER! So long as I had breath . . . I would never again turn my back on U.S. soldiers."
Just make sure that you do so!
And you educate the next generation and the next and the next...
Thanks, I am very interested and will try to get the book.
Well th MSM just has to be held to a higher standard!
What our fathers and grandfathers taught us applies more so today than ever before, "don't believe everything you read in the papers!"
Because the MSM in America and around the world is inundated with socialists and communists!
Never forget the blood of heroes.
The offensive that broke the VC's back bump.
May they never be forgotten.
As long as good men remember, they will never be forgotten.
Thank you for posting this.
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