Ngo Huy Phat
“During the Tet Offensive of 1968, I served as Chief of the Division to organize the plan for the Battle of RN 9 near the DMZ in Quang Tri province. The purpose was to stop the movements of the American soldiers so they could not cross Route 9, which ran from the coast to Laos.
We had sent in regiment after regiment until we had the whole division in the area. Finally we got closer and closer to Dong Ha. Our unit faced difficulties. The American defenses were very strong and the area near the base was just sand with nothing to conceal our troops. So we dug in under the sand at night. During the day the sunshine made the temperature very hot.
Everything was very difficult for the Vietnamese soldiers but we appeared suddenly and the Americans were surprised by our attack. The battle was Tien Tanh of Cua Viet-it means the surprise attack of the Cua Viet River. Our troops were buried in the sand the whole day and that night we came out and surprised the Americans.
We knew very well the organization of the American defenses in the Cua Viet area, which was protected by an electric fence. The water level in the river was not so deep. The American side had artillery and bombs all day and even at night so to avoid that we went where the water was deeper. We attacked where the American bombs and artillery had damaged the fence. We went through the wires.
We understood the schedule of the bombings and artillery and waited until they stopped. We took off all our clothes and crossed the river with everything carried on our heads. When we got across the bombing started again. Once we got to the other side of the fence we put our clothes on.
Our special forces that led the attack were naked and covered with mud from head to toe. They coordinated their movements to make no noise. During the artillery barrage if one of the soldiers was wounded or killed the one behind him would carry him back but always we were moving forward. We had to do everything we could to fulfill the mission.”
For months we kept the supply line cut to the American base at Khe Sanh. The Americans had to focus on trying to get troops and supplies to Khe Sanh.”