Did Tet Decimate the Viet Cong?




A sequence inspecting contentious problems with the Vietnam Conflict
On the finish of December 1967, a month earlier than the communist Tet Offensive assaults all through South Vietnam, roughly 225,000 Viet Cong and North Vietnamese fighters have been working in South Vietnam.
They consisted of 68,000 full-time fight troopers born in North Vietnam, 47,000 Viet Cong fight troopers born within the South, 37,000 Southern-born Viet Cong administrative personnel who ran the communist shadow authorities in lots of elements of the nation and 71,000 part-time Viet Cong guerrillas born within the South, in line with estimates by Army Help Command, Vietnam.
MACV calculated that the communists dedicated 124,000 fight troops and guerrillas to the 1968 Tet Offensive—84,000 within the preliminary battles of Jan. 30-31, plus 40,000 over the following a number of weeks. About half of them served in North Vietnamese models, and the remainder belonged to Viet Cong models. A number of the Viet Cong administrative personnel took an lively and visual half within the offensive by trying to arrange uprisings in cities.
The attacking models suffered extreme losses in the course of the five-week offensive. By March 5, 1968, the date Vietnamese postwar histories establish as the top of the Tet Offensive, noncommunist forces had killed or captured about 40,000 fight troopers.
Moreover, about 10,000 people not listed on MACV’s roster of enemy army models have been killed or captured. Many in that group have been civilians the Viet Cong had pressed into service as ammunition bearers or stretcher carriers previous the Tet Offensive, however maybe 2,000 of these civilians have been Viet Cong administrative personnel whose shadow authorities was decimated in a number of massive cities, notably Saigon, Hue, Nha Trang and Qui Nhon, but survived with little harm in most different cities and villages.
The estimated 40,000 deaths amongst enemy troopers have been about evenly divided between North Vietnamese models and Viet Cong models. A few of these Viet Cong models sustained catastrophic casualties, notably models that attacked Saigon, Hue and several other regional capitals within the Central Highlands and the Mekong Delta, however sufficient survivors returned to base to type the nucleus for the following era of that unit.
On the finish of 1968, after the Tet Offensive and extra communist offensives throughout Could-June and August-September, the Viet Cong fielded a bigger drive than it had on the finish of 1967, regardless of the depth of the combating throughout Tet. MACV estimates put whole enemy power in South Vietnam at 251,000 troops, a rise of 26,000 from a 12 months earlier.
That year-end 1968 whole included 138,000 fight troopers—86,000 from North Vietnam (up from 68,000 earlier than Tet) and 52,000 Southern-born Viet Cong fighters (up from 47,000). Viet Cong guerrilla power stood at 78,000 (up from 71,000), though Viet Cong administrative power declined barely from 37,00 to 35,000.
Within the years from 1968 to 1975, communist models within the South relied increasingly more on the insertion of North Vietnamese Military troops to interchange their losses, however the Viet Cong remained a viable combating drive by means of the top of the struggle.
Dr. Erik Villard is a Vietnam Conflict specialist on the U.S. Military Heart of Army Historical past at Fort McNair in Washington D.C.
This text appeared within the February 2021 concern of Vietnam journal. For extra tales from Vietnam journal, subscribe right here and go to us on Fb:



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