North Vietnamese troops shatter defenses north of Quang Tri and move to within 2.5 miles of the city. Using Russian-built tanks, they took Dong Ha, 7 miles north of Quang Tri, the next day and continued to tighten their ring around Quang Tri, shelling it heavily. South Vietnamese troops suffered their highest casualties for any week in the war in the bitter fighting.
This was the northern-most front of the North Vietnamese Nguyen Hue Offensive, launched on March 30 when more than 120,000 North Vietnamese troops invaded South Vietnam. The attacks on Quang Tri were followed by attacks on Binh Long province, just 75 miles north of Saigon, and Kontum in the Central Highlands.
Hanoi’s 304th Division, supported by tanks, artillery, and antiaircraft units, swept across the Demilitarized Zone and routed the South Vietnamese division that had been guarding outlying positions on the approach to Quang Tri. The attackers quickly overwhelmed the South Vietnamese troops, who fell back toward the city of Quang Tri.
The North Vietnamese encircled the city and continued to pound it with artillery and rockets. On May 1, the North Vietnamese captured the city as the South Vietnamese 3rd Division collapsed as a fighting force. This was the first provincial capital to fall during the North Vietnamese offensive and ultimately the North Vietnamese controlled the entire province. Hanoi claimed 10,000 South Vietnamese and Allied casualties were captured during the battle for Quang Tri.