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CIVILIAN LOSSES DURING TET IN l CTZ AND HUE

From Operations of US Marine Forces Vietnam 1968.

The Tet Offensives and Operation Recovery


Initially, the enemy Tet offensive was a tremendous setback for both the Marine and country-wide pacification program. With the attacks on the major cities of Vietnam and especially the one-month battle for Hue, the enemy added an entire new dimension to the war. The enemy attacks during the holiday period resulted in an enormous increase of new refugees, ranging from estimates of 750,000 to over a million, with nearly 17(),()()0 in I Corps and, of that number, about 75,000 from the city of Hue. In February 1968, III MAF reported that the number of enemy defectors was the lowest in five months. According to pacification reports, before Tet, the allies claimed 5,.-).-) l out of 12,()()() hamlets under government control. The number cited after Tet was 4,472, a loss of 859. By April 1968, Ambassador Komer related that the total of hamlets then under government control had risen slightly, reaching 4,559, a gain of some 87 hamlets "back in the fold." Despite the tremendous onslaught ot the enemy, the ARVN had not defected and the South Vietnamese government apparatus had not collapsed.25


After the first attacks and initial surprise, the South Vietnamese government launched Operation Recovery. At the urging of U.S. pacification officials. President Thieu created, with American participation and support, a high-level task force "to direct and coordinate" civilian relief activities. Thieu temporarily placed Vice President Ky in charge of the South Vietnamese government endeavor while Ambassador Komer directed the U.S. effort. Both men set up subordinate complementary organizations on the corps, province, and district levels, whose mission was four fold: to provide immediate assistance to the refugees, to get the cities functioning once more, to open lines of communication so the economy could function, and to reestablish order. According to MACV, the major innovation in the project was the "provision of cash and commodities to the people so that they themselves could rebuild." In actuality, III MAF had employed this same concept as the basis for its civic action program since 1965, but with fewer resources.-'''


In I Corps under Operation Recovery, the South Vietnamese apparatus authorized a 57 million piaster ($485, ()()().()()) budget for a three-month period. The first aim was to provide for food, reconstruction of homes, and some compensation to survivors of those civilians killed and to the wounded as a result of the fighting. In Hue, each displaced person was entitled to 1(),0()0 piasters (S85.00), 20 sheets of roofing, and 10 bags of cement to begin to rebuild. By the end of March, more than 830 families received reconstruction material and all the displaced received a temporary relief payment. For the most part, the initial phase of the rebuilding of the city had been completed. Relief workers brought in 4,100 tons of rice to teed the peo-







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