Battle of Saigon (1968)

First Battle of Saigon
Part of the Tet Offensive of the Vietnam War
Black smoke covers areas of the capital city and fire trucks rush to the scenes of fires set during attacks by the Viet - NARA - 541874.tif
Black smoke covers areas of the capital city and fire trucks rush to the scenes of fires set during attacks by the Viet Cong during the festive Tet holiday period. Saigon, 1968.
DateJanuary 30 – March 7, 1968
Location
Result

American/South Vietnamese tactical victory

  • Communist attack repelled

Viet Cong/North Vietnamese political and propaganda victory

  • Increased anti-war sentiment in the United States
Belligerents
 South Vietnam
 United States
FNL Flag.svg National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam
 North Vietnam
Commanders and leaders
South Vietnam Nguyễn Văn Thiệu
United States William Westmoreland
United States Robert McNamara
FNL Flag.svg Trần Độ
FNL Flag.svg Trần Văn Trà
Casualties and losses
Unknown1,100 killed

The First Battle of Saigon, fought during the Tet Offensive of the Vietnam War, was the coordinated attack by communist forces, including both the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong (VC), against Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam.

Background

In late January 1968 the VC launched the Tet Offensive attacking U.S. and South Vietnamese positions across South Vietnam.

Saigon was the main focal point of the offensive, but a total takeover of the capital was not intended or feasible. They rather had six main targets in the city which 35 battalions of VC were to attack and capture: the ARVN Joint General Staff compound near Tan Son Nhat International Airport, the Independence Palace, the U.S. embassy, Tan Son Nhut Air Base, the Long Binh Naval Headquarters and the National Radio Station. Because it was Tết (the Vietnamese New Year), the sound of firecrackers exploding masked that of gunfire, giving an element of surprise to the Vietcong attacks.