MARINES IN HUE CITY: A Portrait of Urban Combat, Tet 1968.
Urban combat training for today’s Marines is a requirement, but in the late ’60s specialized training in the art of house-to-house warfighting was in short supply. When the Vietnam War’s 1968 Tet offensive exploded in Hue City, Marines had to quickly acquire combat skills while fighting within the city’s three-dimensional setting. In “Marines in Hue City,” Eric Hammel tells the graphic tale of this heroic battle with a multitude of newly published photos.
As military historians go, Hammel stands among the very best. His 30-plus volumes dutifully record great Marine battle epics. Included among these earlier works is his classic 1991 (republished in November 2006) account, “Fire in the Streets,” of the 1968 Hue City battle. In reading of “Hue City,” Marine veterans of the battles for Fallujah, and other Iraq city fighting, will relate through the photographs included in this coffee-table-size volume.
The monthlong battle for Hue City commenced on Jan. 31, 1968, as part of a Vietnam-wide offensive conceived by Senior General Vo Nguyen Giap, commander of the communist People’s Army of Vietnam (NVA) and the Viet Cong (VC). The bloody offensive, designed to bring on a general uprising of the South Vietnamese population, is graphically presented by Hammel in a wide array of carefully selected but well-researched photographs.
The accompanying text is just enough to ensure each reader understands the magnitude of this particular battle in the overall offensive; the importance of Hue City to all Vietnamese; the communists’ willingness to kill all civilians to accomplish their goal; and the Marines’ efforts, which gained the victory.
Veterans of urban combat will readily identify with the numerous photos contained within this photographic collection. Additionally, readers unfamiliar with the complexities of today’s modern city-street combat will swiftly grasp the need for advanced urban warfare training.
In “Marines in Hue City,” Eric Hammel does an outstanding job of combining the account of the battle with a bevy of new, never-before-published photographic images.