By Willard Pearson
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Extra resources for The war in the northern provinces, 1966-1968
At 0340 hours, 31 January, the enemy initiated a closely co-ordinated rocket, mortar, and ground assault against Hue. Attacking with seven to ten battalions, the enemy struck selected targets within the city, both north and south of the Huong River. (Map 6) The enemy had carefully selected the time for his attack. In addition to the fact that most military units would normally be at reduced strength because of the holidays, the weather favored the attacker. The northeast monsoon produced foul weather which hampered resupply operations and grounded most of the air sup port which otherwise would have given the Free World Forces considerable help.
The actions at Quang Tri and Hue were conducted by these troops in an attempt to regain control of the population. Battle for Quang Tri While the struggle for Hue was the most spectacular battle of the Tet period in northern I Corps, it was by no means the only one. At Quang Tri City further north the enemy made a deter mined attempt to duplicate his initial success at Hue. THE BLEAK PICTURE 51 AERIAL VIEW OF QUANG T R I Quang Tri City is the provincial capital for the northernmost province of South Vietnam.
The 3d Brigade had been reinforced with the 2d Battalion, 501st Airborne, which began actively patrolling the vicinity on 19 February. Also on 19 February, the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, was relieved from its base defense mission at Camp Evans and was de ployed south to the area of operations on 20 February. The 3d Brigade, controlling four battalions by 20 February, continued to search north and south of the initial contact area and prepared to attack eastward towards Hue the next day. According to the bri gade's plan, the two 7th Cavalry battalions were to push into the area of enemy resistance at Thon Que Chu, the 2d Battalion, 501st Airborne, would advance in the center while the 2d Battalion, 12th Cavalry, would advance northward with two companies held as brigade reserve.