chapter
North Vietnamese planning and objectives
Pages 6

By mid-1967, North Vietnamese and Viet Cong units were feeling the effects of American-led attacks. While they never suffered a decisive defeat, the costs of engaging American forces and their superior firepower were beginning to tell. Since a decision among the top North Vietnamese leadership in 1966 to seek a decisive victory at an opportune point in the war, North Vietnamese leaders had discussed the idea of a general offensive to force the United States to withdraw from Vietnam and irreversibly weaken the South Vietnamese government. The problem, however, came in establishing favorable battlefield conditions to initiate such an offensive. The United States had continued its steady escalation of forces in South Vietnam, and although PAVN and PLAF tactics were designed to minimize casualties, American firepower was having an adverse effect. Moreover, as the war settled into a stalemate in 1967, the lack of progress toward victory had an adverse effect on morale, especially among the NLF insurgents in the South.