U.S. Army in Vietnam

COMBAT OPERATIONS: STAYING THE COURSE, OCTOBER 1967-SEPTEMBER 1968

COMBAT OPERATIONS: STAYING THE COURSE, OCTOBER 1967 to SEPTEMBER 1968

Erik B. Villard

U.S. Army in Vietnam
CMH Pub 91-15, Cloth; CMH Pub 91-15-1, Paper
2017; 773 pages, illustrations, bibliographical note, map symbols and terms, index

GPO S/N: 008-029-00626-0, Paper

Combat Operations: Staying the Course, September 1967 to October 1968, describes the twelve-month period when the Viet Cong and their North Vietnamese allies embarked on a new and more aggressive strategy that shook the foundations of South Vietnam and forced the United States to reevaluate its military calculations in Southeast Asia. Hanoi's general offensive–general uprising brought the war to South Vietnam's cities for the first time and disrupted the allied pacification program that was just beginning to take hold in some rural areas formerly controlled by the Communists. For the enemy, however, those achievements came at a staggering cost in manpower and material; more importantly, the Tet offensive failed to cripple the South Vietnamese government or convince the United States to abandon its ally. As the dust settled from the Viet Cong attacks, President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered his military commanders to press ahead with their current strategy unchanged apart from some short-term tactical adjustments and a modest increase in the U.S. troop deployment. His decision to stay the course seemed to bear fruit as the allies repaired their losses and then forged new gains throughout the summer and autumn of 1968. Even so, the allied situation at the end of this period appeared to be only marginally better than it had been in late 1967; the peace talks in Paris had stalled, and American public opinion had turned decisively against the war.

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