In the early morning hours of January 31, over sixty-seven thousand PAVN and Viet Cong troops, plus several thousand guerilla forces, attacked targets across South Vietnam. This ﬁrst wave of assaults hoped to inﬂict as much damage as possible and capture key targets, holding them until reinforcements could arrive. Surprise was crucial, but much of the surprise was lost when some units began their attacks prematurely on January 29 at places such as Pleiku, Qui Nhon, Ban Me Thuot, and Nha Trang. In order to allow its soldiers to enjoy the Tet holiday, the North Vietnamese government announced in late January that Tet would begin on the evening of January 29 rather than January 30, thus perhaps contributing to the confusion for some PLAF and PAVN commanders. Many, but not all, American and ARVN units went on high alert on the eve of Tet. In so many towns and cities across South Vietnam, Tet celebrations went on as normal-that is, until it became apparent that what many thought were ﬁreworks were actually mortars, rockets, and gunﬁre.