The Battle of Hue was a military engagement between the US Marines and the North Vietnamese Army in the city of Hue, from January 31 to March 3, 1968, during the Tet offensive of the Vietnam War. The US and South Vietnamese victory over the communist forces proved that the Tet Offensive, launched by North Vietnam during the Vietnamese Lunar New Year had failed, eventhough the American press put it as if the communist forces had definitely gained the upper hand in war. As a result, Congress significantly reduced the war budget, which crippled the US counter-offensive, giving the communists time to recover.
Despite the Tet Truce (Lunar New Year cease fire), the North Vietnamese, along with the Viet Cong, launched a major offensive throughout South Vietnam (known as the Tet Offensive) as many military installations and cities were viciously attacked by the communist forces, taking the Americans by surprise. On January 31, on the same day they had launched the massive assault, the communist forces took Hue, quickly controlling most of the city. The main objective of the North Vietnamese Army was to capture the whole city to help sweep the Communist insurgents into power. Two of the targets hit the hardest were the local airfield and the US Military Assistance Command, Vietnam.
For about thirty two days, the US 1st Battalion (1st Marines), the 2nd Battalion (5th Marines), and South Vietnamese forces fought ferociously a house-to-house street fighting in their attempt to reconquer the city. During the Battle of Hue more than 4,000 civilians were killed, most of them executed by the Viet Cong. Casualty among the communists were very high, around 9,000 men, as the South Vietnamese and American forces lost only 700 soldiers. It was an outright military victory for the Marines and South Vietnamese units as they totally recovered the city of Hue, annihialating the enemy forces. But it was a political and ideological defeat, for most of the American press put it the other way round.
Battle of Hue Documentary (Video)