HANOI'S APPRAISAL OF ITS STRATEGIC POSITION PRIOR TO THE CURRENT OFFENSIVE

Created: 2/27/1968

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

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MEMORANDUM

SUBJECT: Hanoi's Appraisal of its StrategicPrior to the Current Offensive

CIA has reviewed key Communist documents captured in Vietnam in order to bring into sharper focus Hanoi's own appraisal of its strategicprior to the Tet offensive. One Northdocument used for indoctrination of middle-level cadre seems to us to spell out Hanoi'sin particularly clear and explicit terms. This document, entitled "Clearly Understand the New Situation andas capturod in latebut was not available in Washington until the end of January.

The North Vietnamese assessment has the ring of authority. Issuedeptember forpurposes, it was drawn from an analysis prepnrodigh-level party committee in Hanoi. The document reviews the development of the war from the summerhen US forcesarge scale, through each campaignto the summer Each stage of the struggle is represented in terms of Communist gains and allied reverses. Hanoi sees every step in the strengthening of US forcesindication ofstrategy, and points to its success inpace with the buildup.

Hanoi argues in this analysis that it has brought the conflictew stage, not because its "protracted war" strategy has failed butit has succeeded. The introduction of the document describes in plain terns the opportunities now open to the Communists: "the immediatebecomes increasingly more favorable for us and detrimental to the enemy." This will enable the revolutionary movement in the South to "secure

great victoriesather short period ofhese victories will entail the destructionlarge part of the US combat forces" and the "main body of the Puppet Array."

confident assessment of theits position clearly is central to its Just as it provided the rationale for"winter-springtalso govern the North Vietnamese response totactical situation. If Hanoi believesosition of strength, as thissuggests, it can be expected to press itsat the cost of serioustheir view of the strategic balance, itthat the Communists would be inclinedfor limited military gains intended merely

to improve their bargaining position in negotiations.

few excerpts from the Northshow how the Communists arrive atthat the time has come forreaton the way to "complete victory."

"In the winter-spring5fter pouring coreS and Allied troops into SVN to join morealfpuppet troops, the US imperialists launched their plans of strategic counterof-fensive in the dry season, hoping toarge part of our main body, disperse our troops, destroy the revolutionaryin our military installations,the struggle of our people, wipe out the party forces and guerrilla forces,our land, and reduce our area. they reinforced their air force and escalated the war in the North, hoping to prevent us from reinforcing thehey could not destroy any element of our forces and they were badly worn

"In the rainy seasonhe enemy did not have enough strength to launch great attacks againsthey were activelyto reopen greater strategic counterof-fensive phases with larger forces in thodry season."

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"In the dry season, with an increased US force of moreroops or more than one million including the Allied forces and thetroops, using modern weapons, aircraft, artillery, and mechanized means which had been increased four or five fold, the US imperialistsuch fiercer coun-teroffensive phase than they had launched previously. They applied the tactics of "pincers" to seek and destroy our main force and concurrently launch raids to pacify and herd the people, hoping that they would be able to regain the initiative on the battlefield and avoid great defeats. They deployed all their forces and launched dozens of operationsime, ranging froa regimental level to army corps level on all battlefields. The most important of these operations was OPERATION JUNCTION CITY, in which they0 of their troops against the northern part of Tay Ninh. They had concurrently pushed forward their pacification plan and stepped up their psywar and Open Arms activitiesIn the North, they increased the rate of destructionigh degree androader

"They failed to achieve their goal of destroying us and they suffered an unpre-cedentedly high number of casualties and material losses. They boasted that with their great strength and their numerous weapons, aircraft, tanks and bombs, they would surely wipe out all our main units and installations. But our mainremain intact, our armed forcesto develop, and our rear bases and installations continued to fill thefor fighting the onemy. More importantly, we have also opened manyfronts and battlefields, especially the Triattlefields, in which we have destroyed many of the enemy. We have attracted the enemy toward such battlefields and caused confusion to them

as well as prevented them fromtheir plans of bringing US troops to the Mekong

"Their pacificationrogram highly boasted by the US imperialists and puppet regime and carried out at theofercent of the puppet forces with the assistance of the US imperialists, has also proven toailure. They themselves recognize their pacification failure. They are suffering politicaland they are striving to consolidate and stabilize the puppet army and regime, but these deteriorate steadily. Puppet troops have been degenerated from organic mobile soldiers to pacification andtroops. They have proved to behave demonstrated pronouncedand are continuing to disintegrate..

"In the North, they have stepped up their destructive activities through intense deployment of their air force and navy. They have launched fierce operations,to be able to scare our people andus from reinforcing our brothers in the South. However, we remain unshakable in our determination. On the contrary, we have fought bravely and destroyed moref their aircraft, and right now we are standing side by side with the people in the South and are doing our best to support their revolution and to liberate the South..

"In spite of the cunning plots of the US imperialists and their cruel henchmen, and in spite of their mammoth strength, their great firepower, and all theirwar means, the strategic objectives which had been selected by them could not be achieved. The defeats they arebecome more burdensome and occur more

"On ourven though we haveertain number of great difficulties...

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we have caused the first phase of the greatest limited war ever waged by the US imperialists to

"At present, the situation hasinay that it is very favorable for usritical deadlock for the enemy. After the failure of two major strategic coun-teroffensive campaigns, the leaders in the United States have become pessimistic over their war escalation policy in South Vietnam. The increase of combat troops in SVN met with many

"Thiserfect opportunity for us to emphasize attacking the enemy in all fields and taking adyVirtage of the victories to' push the SVNreat stepn this historical period, if our entire party, army, and population will fully understand the situation and rush forward to fight without fear of hardship and sacrifice, then we will certainly be able to bringurning point in our confrontation with the enemy and also cause the US limited war policy toailure which can no longer be carried out. From that situation, we can proceed toward realizing our immediate objective andomplete victory."

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