Gulf of Tonkin incident

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Gulf of Tonkin incident
Photograph taken from USS Maddox (DD-731) during her engagement with three
North Vietnamese motor torpedo boats in the Gulf of Tonkin, 2 August 1964.
The view shows all three of the boats speeding towards the Maddox.
Tonkingunboats
Official name Gulf of Tonkin incident
Year 1964
Date 08/02
Place United States
Place Viet Nam
Story Perps/s US Imperialism, USSR Imperialism, China Imperialism


Official summary

The Gulf of Tonkin incident, also known as the USS Maddox incident, was an international confrontation that led to the United States engaging more directly in the Vietnam War. It involved either one or two separate confrontations involving North Vietnam and the United States in the waters of the Gulf of Tonkin.

The original American report blamed North Vietnam for both incidents, but eventually became very controversial with widespread belief that at least one, and possibly both incidents were false, and possibly deliberately so. On August 2, 1964, the destroyer USS Maddox, while performing a signals intelligence patrol as part of DESOTO operations, was pursued by three North Vietnamese Navy torpedo boats of the 135th Torpedo Squadron. Maddox fired three warning shots and the North Vietnamese boats then attacked with torpedoes and machine gun fire. Maddox expended over 280 3-inch (75 mm) and 5-inch (130 mm) shells in a sea battle. One U.S. aircraft was damaged, three North Vietnamese torpedo boats were damaged, and four North Vietnamese sailors were killed, with six more wounded. There were no U.S. casualties.


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