May Offensive

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During the early morning hours of 1 May, communist units initiated PHASE II of the Tet Offensive of 1968 (also known as the May Offensive, "Little Tet", and "Mini-Tet") by striking 119 targets throughout South Vietnam, including Saigon. This time, however, allied intelligence was better prepared, removing the element of surprise. Most of the communist forces were intercepted by allied screening elements before they reached their targets. 13 NLF battalions, however, managed to slip through the cordon and once again plunged Saigon into chaos. Severe fighting occurred at Phú Lâm (where it took two days to root out the 267th NLF Local Force Battalion), around the Y-Bridge in Saigon, and at Tan Son Nhut Air Base. By 12 May the offensive was over as NLF forces withdrew from the area leaving behind over 3,000 dead[1] and 7,500 wounded.[2]

Attacks on Saigon

The communists returned to Saigon on 25 May and launched a second wave of attacks on the city. The fighting during this phase differed from Tet Mau Than in that no U.S. installations were attacked. During this series of actions, NLF forces occupied six pagodas in the mistaken belief that they would be immune from artillery and air attack. The fiercest fighting once again took place in Cholon.[3] One notable event occurred on 18 June when 152 members of the NLF Quyet Thang Regiment surrendered to ARVN forces, the largest communist surrender of the war. The actions also brought more death and suffering to the city's inhabitants. 87,000 more had been made homeless while more than 500 were killed and another 4,500 were wounded. During the second phase (5 May - 30 May) U.S. casualties amounted to 1,161 killed and 3,954 wounded. 143 South Vietnamese servicemen were killed and another 643 were wounded. The May Offensive was considered much bloodier than the initial phase of the Tet Offensive.[4]

The first part of May 1968, as witnessed by a combat veteran, it was a fact that Communist forces overran a portion of the Tan Son Nhut International Airport and closed the runway for a period of time also attacking the military troop holding compound at Bien Hoa Air Base with rockets and mortars in early May 1968. In the attack on the military troop holding compound, many buildings were damaged, also troops were wounded and killed. Some U. S. troops killed were going home. [5]


  1. Hoang, Ngoc Lung (1978). The General Offensives. General Research Corporation. p. 98.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Cash, John A.; Albright, John; Sandstrum, Allan W. (1985 (reissue from 1970)). "7. Gunship Mission". Seven Firefights in Vietnam. Washington, D.C.: The United States Army Center of Military History. Check date values in: |year= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Nolan, Keith (2006). House to House: Playing the Enemy's Game in Saigon, May 1968. Zenith Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Tucker Spencer C. (2011). The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War: A Political, Social, and Military. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. p. 759. ISBN 1-85109-961-1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. John C. Brunger, M.S. Ed.; 1968 United States Army Disabled Republic of Vietnam Combat Veteran, Primary Source

Further reading