The last try in Hue 1968

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The lynchpin of Tet Offensive 1968 was the capture of Hue, on the road, there were one man and one woman, perhaps they used to be a family, as the ruins around them were a city. Both their families and Hue City, now in the remains, do not know if they survived.

Hue was Vietnam’s intellectual and cultural capital, by 10,000 National Liberation Front troops who descended from hidden camps and surged across the city of 140,000. Within hours the entire city was in their hands save for two small military outposts. American commanders refused to believe the size and scope of the Front’s presence, ordering small companies of marines against thousands of entrenched enemy troops. After several futile and deadly days, Lieutenant Colonel Ernie Cheatham would finally come up with a strategy to retake the city, block by block and building by building, in some of the most intense urban combat since World War II.

In the path of the broken boards, past the mess of steel, which had been a bridge and now in the river, two old men crawling over, full of blood on their heads. belts, clinging to each other and being supported by a teenager. Behind them was a young man, not injured. He brought a baby girl, probably six years old, and died.

They are just one family among thousands of families, who suffer or die with their city, the ancient throne of the emperors in the Central.

There are 3,000 civilians in Vietnam (besides Saigon) who were victims, the Saigon government said on the same day of the Viet Cong attack earlier in the year – just a wishing well. Like many others, the Americans in Saigon secretly estimated the number of casualties among civilians at 21,000, and at least 3,000 in Hue alone.

But perhaps this city is not mentioned by Saigon, although it is the third largest city in the country: for Hue, the city of glory and the spirit of Vietnam, where President Ho Chi Minh and prime minister General Pham Van Dong went to school, also the center of the rebellious youth of it.

Over 150 years ago, Emperor Gia Long first ruled a unified Vietnam from Hue. From here, the city between the Perfume River and Ngu Binh Mountain is always a symbol of this country. Resistance against the French colonialists also grew up in Hue. In Hue, Buddhists and intellectuals revolted against US Air Force Commander, disobeying the Americans and firing at the Consulate General. It is a last resort, coming from the ancient city – which lies between Saigon and Hanoi not only geographically – to create a third, national power, between the Communists and the corrupt. That effort has failed, and since then, Hue people have been more anti-American than anti-Communists. Thus, the Red Army and its guerrillas, with three regiments strong, were able to capture the city as the main target of their Tet offensive without having to fight.

They chose Hue to be their stronghold. While in the attacked cities there were only red marksmen and saboteurs, the Communist flag was still flying over the emperor’s palace in the Citadel.

The infantrymen, paratroopers, and rangers of the South Vietnamese army could not do what their generals ordered: to recapture Hue quickly. American marines captured the suburbs of the southern suburbs of the river, but failed because of the four-meter-thick walls of the Imperial Citadel.

That is the death sentence for the city. He had bleeding from many injuries before. The university and mental hospital were built with the help of the devastated Germany, the ash market, and in the wreckage of the front lines there were hundreds of dead, no water, no food, no medical assistance.

More than 30,000 people fled, jogged into villages and hills around the city, aboard the riverboat, or hid in the ruins of the suburbs. But in the center of the city, strengthened by students and Buddhists, were red soldiers and guerrillas under the command of a general from Hanoi.

But the secret capital of the country is not allowed in the hands of the enemy. US commander General Westmoreland sent his chief of staff, General Abrams, to Hue. For the first time since the legendary General MacArthur of the Pacific War and the Korean War, a general of infantry received command of the Marines.

Abrams decided: If it did not regain Hue, it would have to be destroyed and the Americans would have to destroy it. On Wednesday at 12:14 am – the 16th day of the battle – the first Marine F-8 Crusaders jets from the direction of Ngu Binh Mountain, which protects Hue city from the south winds. storms, swooping down the roof of the Citadel. The dark-colored glow lights up and then forms black mushrooms.

The South Vietnamese Air Force’s A-1 Skyraiders attempted to break through the walls of the Imperial Citadel with bombs, gunship helicopters and rocket-propelled grenades. their 152 millimeter cannon. It was the largest air force coordination battle in a South Vietnamese city.

But there are more refugees and wounded across the river in Hue 1968 – all the time in Vietnam, children, women, the elderly.

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