|Author||Nghia M. Vo and Van Nguyen Duong|
Inside An Lộc
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Inside An Lộc
The Battle to Save Saigon,
VAN NGUYEN DUONG
with NGHIA M. VO
McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers
Jefferson, North Carolina
RECENT WORKS ALSO OF INTEREST AND FROM MCFARLAND
Legends of Vietnam: An Analysis and Retelling of 88 Tales, by Nghia M.
Vo (2012); Saigon: A History, by Nghia M. Vo (2011); The Viet Kieu in
America: Personal Accounts of Postwar Immigrants from Vietnam, by
Nghia M. Vo (2009); The Tragedy of the Vietnam War: A South Vietnamese
Ofﬁcer’s Analysis, by Van Nguyen Duong (2008); The Vietnamese Boat
People, 1954 and 1975–1992, by Nghia M. Vo (2006); The Bamboo Gulag:
Political Imprisonment in Communist Vietnam, by Nghia M. Vo (2004)
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGUING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA
Names: Duong, Van Nguyen, 1934– author. | Vo, Nghia M., 1947– Co-author.
Title: Inside An Lộc : the battle to save Saigon, April–May 1972 / Van
Nguyen Duong with Nghia M. Vo.
Description: Jefferson, North Carolina : McFarland & Company, Inc.,
Publishers, 2016. | Includes bibliographical references and index.
Identifiers: LCCN 2015040400| ISBN 9780786499342 (softcover : acid
free paper) | ISBN 9781476621210 (ebook)
Subjects: LCSH: An Lộc, Battle of, An Lộc, Vietnam, 1972. | Vietnam
War, 1961–1975—Personal narratives, Vietnamese. | Duong, Van Nguyen,
Classification: LCC DS557.8.A5 D86 2016 | DDC 959.704/342—dc23
LC record available at http://lccn.loc.gov/2015040400
BRITISH LIBRARY CATALOGUING
DATA ARE AVAILABLE
© 2016 Van Nguyen Duong and Nghia M. Vo. All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form
or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying
or recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system,
without permission in writing from the publisher.
Front cover: An ARVN soldier peers out from a bunker in a position north of
Chơn Thanh in South Vietnam on May 7, 1972
Printed in the United States of America
McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers
Box 611, Jefferson, North Carolina 28640
To the valiant ARVN soldiers who fought at the An Lộc
To the brave U.S. advisers and pilots who supported the
ARVN during that battle.
To the people of An Lộc who suffered so much during the
Table of Contents
I. The Border War
II. General Lê Văn Hưng and I
III. Prelude to the Bình Long Battle
IV. The Fall of Lộc Ninh
V. Crucial Decisions Made to Save An Lộc
VI. The First Attack on An Lộc
VII. A Clash of Personalities
VIII. The Siege
IX. The War Game in Chơn Thành
X. Breaking the Siege
XI. Releasing the Pressure on An Lộc
XII. Besieged Towns
XIII. Return to the Mekong Delta
XIV. Hell in a Very Insigniﬁcant Place
Appendix: War Self-Immolation in Vietnam (Nghia M. Vo)
armed personnel carrier
B-52 bombing strike
Armed Forces of the Republic of Vietnam
computerized aerial drop system
cluster bomb unit
Central Ofﬁce for South Vietnam (communist)
Communist Party of [North] Vietnam
Delta Regional Assistance Command
Democratic Republic of [North] Vietnam
forward air controller
First Regional Assistance Command
ﬁre support base
Government of [South] Vietnam
high altitude, low opening
high explosive anti-tank rocket
Indochinese Resource Center
Joint Chiefs of Staff
Joint General Staff (RVNAF)
killed in action
light anti-tank weapon
Military Assistance Command, Vietnam
A B B R E V I AT I O N S
missing in action
National Liberation Front
North Vietnamese Army (we will use PAVN and NVA interchangeably)
People’s Army of [North] Vietnam
prisoner of war
Provisional Revolutionary Government
Republic of [South] Vietnam
Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces
Strategic Air Command
Students for a Democratic Society
Second Regional Assistance Command
tactical operations center
tube-launched optically tracked wire-guided missile
Third Regional Assistance Command
Việt Cọng (communists in South Vietnam)
Việt Minh (communists in North Vietnam before 1954; interchangeable with PAVN or NVA)
[South] Vietnamese Air Force
wounded in action
An Lộc represented one of the deﬁning moments in the history of the
Vietnam War in general and of the Republic of South Vietnam in particular.
It was in 1972, a place where one South Vietnamese division stood its ground
against three North Vietnamese infantry divisions (NVA) and won. Throughout the two-decade war (1954–1975), all the battles had been fought in the
countryside, swamps and villages of South Vietnam or the hills of central
Vietnam, with the possible exceptions of Huế, Saigon probably Quảng Trị.
But An Lộc was almost an urban war, with house-to-house and street-tostreet ﬁghting, where opponents shot at each other at close range.
An Lộc was only 11 city blocks long by six blocks wide, so small that
its aerial photograph could ﬁt onto one book page. Tucked in the middle of
vast rubber tree plantations, it was in 1972 a provincial town with 15–20,000
inhabitants at its peak. The tallest buildings were the scattered two- or threestory houses that lined the main city streets. One could have easily missed
the town while driving on the ground. No heavy fortiﬁcations dotted the
landscape because it was home to no major army unit, installation, or ordnance depot. For this reason, no one thought the communists would launch
an attack on a rural town with such low strategic value—so low that U.S.
then South Vietnamese troops did not build any heavy fortiﬁcation to
However, it turned out to be a town where brand-new 36-ton T-54 enemy
tanks1 roamed through until they were destroyed by valiant ARVN2 soldiers
carrying anti-tank rocket launchers. The town was physically so small that
one could see ARVN soldiers chasing after tanks in order to have a better
shot at them at close range.
For more than 60 days,3 that unprotected small rural town was pounded
daily by 1,000 rounds of shells, mortars and more. It was so thoroughly
shelled that almost nothing was left standing after the battle, except for ﬁve
or six crumbling buildings riddled with holes and bullets; a few weeks into
the battle had rendered visibility across town almost perfect from north to
south and east to west.
The An Lộc battle ranked high in the history of strategic battles, probably at the same level as Điện Biên Phủ and Khe Sanh: all these battles had
been savagely fought on Vietnamese soil. The signiﬁcant strategic and military differences of these battles will be discussed in Chapter XI.
An Lộc was one of the three battle sites where the NVA waged war
against the South Vietnamese in their 1972 summer offensive that was ﬁttingly called Mùa Hè Đỏ Lửa, the Fiery Red Summer. The others were Quảng
Trị and Kontum in the northern and central parts of South Vietnam. This
was the three-pronged attack engineered by Hanoi to destabilize the South
Vietnamese government. An Lộc was also one of the bloodiest battles in
Vietnam in which more than 20,000 soldiers and civilians died in a fewsquare-mile area. This was how heavily contested that area was in 1972.
The An Lộc battle came at a time when U.S. troops were leaving Vietnam, turning everything over to the Vietnamese as a consequence of the
Vietnamization of the war.4 Only a small contingent of U.S. troops remained
on the ground in 1972. At the An Lộc battleﬁeld, a dozen U.S. cố vấn or
advisers at most worked on site. No foreign reporters, except maybe one or
two, showed up in town later; which means that one of the bloodiest battles
of the war was ignored, under- or mis-reported by world press.
An Lộc was a lengthy, bloody, and ugly battle that looked more like
World War I trench warfare than a modern-day battle. Whichever side lasted
the longest would win it. It was a battle of attrition rather than a fast-paced
and decisive battle where one side just overwhelmed the other either by force
or power. Although force and power were employed in An Lộc, they neutralized each other effectively to a stalemate in the beginning until the communists had no more force to throw into the siege. When it ended, the town
lay wasted like a huge pile of rubble. It looked like the devastation left
behind by a Category 4 or 5 hurricane that had just touched down smack in
the middle of town. A hurricane would have been better for the townspeople;
it would have come unannounced and left as fast as it arrived. The pain and
sorrows would have been short-lived. After a short but tragic nightmare,
people would be ready to rebuild their lives. The war in An Lộc, which lasted
for more than two months, on the other hand, left daily evidence of killings,
ravages, and destruction. People and soldiers suffered from the shelling,
noise, destruction, killing, horror, fatigue, hunger, thirst, pain, and grieving
almost daily for almost three long months. They bore down and lived in hell
during that time, trying to survive day by day. Their physical and psycho-
logical wounds broke open, bled, and re-bled daily without getting time to
heal. Even the dead were not allowed to solemnly die in one piece; their
bodies were shelled and shelled repeatedly until they were shredded into
thousands of small pieces that scattered over a large area. If bodies were
shredded into pieces, how could their souls remain intact in one piece?
No town had been so thoroughly and so much shelled and bombed as
An Lộc had been. Andrade, a westerner, rightly called it “Hell in a Very
Insigniﬁcant Place,”5 for An Lộc was an insigniﬁcant small provincial town
smack in the middle of nowhere, among its well-known and age-old rubber
plantations close to the Cambodian border. Its importance lay in the mind
of the North Vietnamese communists who were determined to conquer it at
all costs to make it their “capital” in South Vietnam, a place to boost their
legitimacy and a base to conquer Saigon. From there, they could roll their
tanks down Highway 13 and be in Saigon in a couple of hours. They could
make it the terminus of the Hồ Chí Minh Trail and cut down by more than
half the travel time for their troops from North to South. In the process, they
would leave their troops exposed to U.S. and South Vietnamese air strikes.
But they were willing to take this gamble: sacriﬁce tens of thousands of their
soldiers for the conquest of a town. Otherwise, in a sparsely populated province, which was no larger than an average eastern U.S. county, An Lộc held
minimal strategic value. The goal of “liberating” a town ended up tearing it
apart, destroying it, and laying it into ruins. Conquest had become murder,
killing and destruction. This was how murderous the communist mind could
be.6 Strangely, world news reporters and anti-war activists had never mentioned the cruelty and savagery of the communist leaders during all these
ﬁghts. Where did all these T-54 tanks and all these artillery guns come from?
Did the communists build these fancy, top-of-the-line killing machines in
the jungles of South Vietnam, or had they been shipped from Hanoi to South
Vietnam? If they had been shipped from faraway lands, Hanoi had simply
invaded South Vietnam.
An Lộc’s population may have doubled in size with the arrival of the
soldiers of the ARVN 5th Infantry Division. The latter just showed up for
this battle: although it was not their home, it was their sacred land to defend.
They came, dug their own foxholes, and put up bunkers made of sandbags
around the periphery of An Lộc to protect themselves and the town. A few
concertina wires were spread here and there and that was all. The few rare
heavy fortiﬁcations left behind by the Japanese during World War II and the
Americans later explained the reason why enemy tanks rolled so easily into
the middle of the town, which was basically a lowly residential, commercial,
and rural town, not a fortiﬁed military camp.
An Lộc was the story of its defenders who bravely withstood more than
two months of endless shelling, fatigue, hunger, suffering, and misery to
survive and ﬁght another day. Major General James H. Hollingsworth said,
“The real credit goes to the little ARVN soldier. He is just tremendous, just
magniﬁcent. He stood in there, took all that ﬁre and gave it back.”7 It was
the story of a brave commander General Lê Văn Hưng who vowed to “die
with An Lộc” until it fell. It was the story of a U.S. TRAC commander who
promised to rain down enough bombs to dislodge the attackers and prevent
them from capturing the town.
If one looks at the map of South Vietnam, one is surprised to see that
the Cambodian border is only 100 kilometers away from Saigon, the heart
of the Republic of South Vietnam. Hanoi had opened since 1955 the so-called
Hồ Chí Minh Trail that began in North Vietnam, went through the mountainous jungles of Laos and Cambodia, and ﬁnally ended in Cambodia across
the border from the Bình Long Province of South Vietnam. By skirting the
South Vietnamese border, the communists avoided major military air strikes
on the movement of their troops and trucks. Once in Cambodia, they settled
down in the Parrot’s Beak and Fish Hook areas—fancy names for the Cambodian territorial indentations into South Vietnam—and could then aim
straight into the heart of Saigon. It was no wonder that their aim in 1972,
when the U.S. had withdrawn most of its troops out of Vietnam, was to target
An Lộc and use it as a “liberated town” to promote the National Liberation
Front, a front cover for the Hanoi communist government. Once this Vietnamese border town was taken, they could just roll down Highway 13 and
within two hours be in the heart of Saigon. This was how strategic and important An Lộc had become to the communists.
An Lộc was not only one of the biggest battles of the war; it was also
bigger than Điện Biên Phủ or Khe Sanh (Chapter XI). It was a full battle
with infantry, tanks, aircraft, artillery and anti-aircraft missiles. Yes, the
enemy brought down the huge Russian-made M-54 tanks that frightened any
foot soldier, to mount attacks on the town. But An Lộc was not the only
battle; it was also a complex three-part battle with the prelude in Lộc Ninh
north of An Lộc, the main battle at An Lộc itself and the third one south of
An Lộc—for the latter city to be freed, the southern corridor from Saigon
to An Lộc should be freed. Attempts to downgrade these three phases would
be ignoring the multi-dimensional strategy of this bloody battle.
An Lộc would only be saved if two conditions were to occur:
1. It had to hold its own despite being shelled 1,000 plus rounds each
day and attacked three or four different times with infantry and tanks.
2. Reinforcement troops could only come from the South through Highway 13.8
Since Highway 13, which ran in a south-north direction through the
province before crossing An Lộc, was blocked by enemy troops at Tàu-Ô
Stream, to liberate An Lộc the ARVN had to take down the dense blockade
at Tàu-Ô Stream north of Chơn Thành. Otherwise, An Lộc could not be
resupplied and peace could not be reestablished in the province. Although
the battle had ceased by the end of the second month in An Lộc, it lingered
on for another month south of town—the time it took ARVN soldiers to
uproot the blockade north of Chơn Thành.
The book is divided into 15 chapters and one appendix.
Chapter I, “The Border War,” details the different parties involved in
the Vietnam War, namely the U.S., the Army of the Republic of Vietnam
Armed Forces (RVNAF), and the North Vietnamese Army forces (NVA) and
the Việt Cộng (VC). The border war involves cross-border ﬁghting against
communist forces stationing in neutral Cambodia. These latter forces, if not
neutralized, would later cross the border to wage war in An Lộc.
Chapter II, “General Lê Văn Hưng and I,” discusses the educational
and training relationships between the author and Lê Văn Hưng, who would
later become the commander of the ARVN’s forces in An Lộc.
Chapter III, “Prelude to the Bình Long Battle,” details the strategy and
forces involved in this bloody and little-discussed battle of the Vietnam War.
Chapter IV, “The Fall of Lộc Ninh,” describes the sudden communist
attack on Lộc Ninh, a 3,000-people village used as an ARVN ﬁrebase across
the border from Cambodia and 30 kilometers north of An Lộc.
Chapter V, “Crucial Decisions Made to Save An Lộc,” details how General Lê Văn Hưng’s crucial decisions made while ﬂying over the Cần Lê
Bridge, 15 kilometers north of An Lộc, eventually saved the town from imminent disaster. General Hưng’s vow to take a stand and defend the town until
death galvanized local defenders.
“The First Attack on An Lộc” is described in Chapter VI along with
details about communist shelling of civilians who tried to escape from the
war zone; the two hospitals that treated thousands of injured people, civilians
as well as military personnel, during this battle; and the ranger group, the
Airborne brigade, and the Commando group that were involved in the battle.
Chapter VII deals with the intimate details of “A Clash of Personalities”
between General Hưng and his U.S. adviser, Colonel Miller.
“The Siege” of the town is detailed in Chapter VIII, along with a dis-
cussion about the tactical assessments of the battle between General Hưng
and his adviser.
Chapter IX, “The War Game in Chơn Thành,” details the second front
south of An Lộc where enemy forces used “choke points” to try to prevent
reinforcing forces from relieving the pressure around the besieged town.
This was a miniature war of the trenches.
Chapter X, “Breaking the Siege,” describes the brutal attack on the
town, which received close to 10,000 rounds of mortars and shells on the
ﬁrst day of the third attack but survived to repel the attackers; the battle
between TOW rocket launchers and tanks; and the feats of the Airborne battalion.
The unique strategic moves made by General Nguyễn Văn Minh to
bring reinforcement troops to An Lộc underline the war games played by
General Minh and his opponent, General Trần Văn Trà, in Chapter XI,
“Releasing the Pressure on An Lộc.” Also discussed are the counterattack
mounted by Lieutenant Colonel Nguyễn Văn Đỉnh and his paratroopers; the
village of Phú Đức that took care of wounded patients displaced from the
destroyed An Lộc hospital; and President Thiệu’s visit to the liberated town
of An Lộc.
The three major sieges and battles waged in An Lộc (1972), Khe Sanh
(1968) and Điện Biên Phủ (1954) during the Vietnam War had major implications on the course of events in Vietnam. They are discussed in Chapter
XII, “Besieged Towns.”
General Lê Văn Hưng’s reassignment to the Mekong Delta is detailed
in Chapter XIII, “Return to the Mekong Delta,” where he became the deputy
commander of the IV Corps and IV Military Region until his death in 1975.
Chapter XIV, “Hell in a Very Insigniﬁcant Place,” describes the signiﬁcance and insigniﬁcance of this An Lộc battle in a remote southwest corner
of South Vietnam close to the Cambodian border. The Vietnam War ﬁnally
ended three years later with the self-sacriﬁce of ﬁve South Vietnamese generals and scores of other ofﬁcers—the largest number of self-immolated generals in a war—who could not stand to live without their defeated country.
The epilogue discusses the signiﬁcance of the loss of South Vietnam.
As the former chief of the staff’s intelligence unit of the ARVN 5th
Infantry Division, or J-2/5th Div/ARVN, Van Nguyen Duong was privileged
to be present for the duration of the siege of An Lộc. Duong lived in the
same bunker as the divisional staff of the ARVN 5th Division and attended
meetings with General Lê Văn Hưng, the 5th Division commander. As all
the staff ofﬁcers of the S-3 Operations staff of the division were killed in
the early stage of the battle, except its chief, he was the ofﬁcer—with the
help of his two captains—who recorded the history of the An Lộc battle and
later submitted it to the Division of History Branch of the J5/JGS/RVNAF.
This is an accurate depiction of battle as it was submitted in 1973. It contains
unique features only known to Duong and the ARVN. However, since memories are not always accurate with years passing by, we have added various
other sources, mostly South Vietnamese, that are not known to or have been
ignored so far by western reporters.
It is therefore our privilege to present the battle of An Lộc as well as
the strategy and perspectives of General Lê Văn Hưng, the man who stood
in the “trenches” to lead our forces during the more than two-month bloody
siege, endured the tens of thousands of artillery shells and bombs that rained
down on the tiny town like any foot soldier, and fought the attackers until
the end. It is our hope that this presentation will convey a better and more
comprehensive view of one of the most important battles of the Vietnam
War and in extension the Vietnam War in general.
Finally, this book is dedicated to the brave ARVN soldiers who courageously stood in their foxholes and trenches day and night for three months
in An Lộc ready to ﬁght against an army of invaders led by huge T-54 tanks
and supported by long-range artillery and anti-aircraft guns, to the few valiant
U.S. advisers still on the ground, and U.S. and VNAF pilots who day and
night supported An Lộc defenders.
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The Border War
“When the NVA1 crossed the DMZ and invaded Quảng Trị Province on
30 April 1972, the Joint General Staff was still having serious doubts about
the enemy’s real objective.” So wrote General Ngô Quang Trưởng.2
Huế was the main threat because it was a historic capital and easily
accessible from the north. The Central Highlands were also a possibility
because of enemy buildup there. But little attention was paid to the Military
Region III (MR3) and An Lộc because they were at the end of the Hồ Chí
Minh Trail where supplies and reinforcements would be difﬁcult for the
communists to deliver. But the three-pronged attack against Quảng Trị (MR1),
Kontum (MR2), and An Lôc (MR3) would give the enemy some “ﬂexibility”
because an “initial success of any thrust could be reinforced and turned into
the main effort.” Andrade, however, argued that the capture of An Lộc would
be symbolic but insigniﬁcant because “American B-52 [would] soon unseat
the North Vietnamese.”3 This may be true, but for the communists, who did
not control any city or town in South Vietnam in 1972, symbolism could
mean a lot of things.
The real prize was always Saigon, the capital of the Republic of South
Vietnam and the nerve center of its army, the Army of the Republic of Vietnam or ARVN. Saigon was also the political nemesis of Hanoi, the opposition
center of communist expansion throughout Indochina. No matter what the
communists did and said, they never took their eyes off that city. This was
where the power was; this was what they aimed for. All the rest was secondary. Besides, Saigon was only 100 kilometers from the border with Cambodia where large NVA units had been stationing in plain view of the world
along with huge armament caches in very safe sanctuaries inside Cambodia.
And the Vietnam War could not be won without these safe sanctuaries.
The main question that needed to be answered was how did Hanoi manage to bring its troops from the North all the way down to Cambodia to take
INSIDE AN LOC
aim at Saigon, the heart of South Vietnam? How did Hanoi manage to create
sanctuaries inside neutral Cambodia where it could rest its troops, replenish
their reserves, and send them back to ﬁght in Vietnam? This was a long story
that began back in Geneva in 1954 where the U.S. attempted to block Hanoi
from expanding its hegemony all over Indochina but could not.4 The Geneva
failure would later come back and haunt the U.S.
The War in Laos (1954–1962)
Indochina was from the 9th to the 14th centuries home to a huge and
powerful Indianized culture.5 One just has to look at the pharaonic temples
of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom to realize its past greatness and might.6
The Khmer (Cambodian) empire then encompassed present-day Cambodia,
Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia.7 That vital and important culture
slowly ebbed in the 15th century from internecine rivalry and outside attacks
by rival states—Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia—that slowly nipped at its
fringes. By the end of the 17th century, Cambodia had become a vassal to
Vietnam,8 which had transformed the Khmer ﬁshing village of Prey Nokor
in the Mekong Delta into the Vietnamese Saigon in 1698. By the 1800s, the
king of Cambodia each year had to come to Saigon to wish well to the king
of Vietnam on the New Year Tết celebration.9
When the French arrived in Vietnam in the late 19th century, they
lumped three neighboring but different states (Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia)
together to form Indochina. That tour of force held on its own for many
decades until French Indochina broke apart after World War II. Although
they were Asian neighbors, these three states were racially, culturally, and
socially different: Laos and Cambodia formed the “Indo” side while Vietnam
was the “China” side of the Indo-China equation. Laos and Cambodia were
heavily Indianized or Hinduized, while Vietnam was Chinese inﬂuenced.
The former used the Sanskrit alphabet and the latter the Chinese alphabet.
The Indianized (Hindu, Buddhist) and Chinese (Confucian) civilizations
clashed inside the peninsula for centuries before the latter ﬁnally prevailed
in the 17th century with Cambodia becoming Vietnam’s vassal. The northernmost extension of the Hinduized civilization which once reached all the
way to present-day Huế and Quảng Trị Province in the third century AD, was
slowly pushed back by Vietnamese southward advance (nam tiến).
By the 1950s, the North Vietnamese communists attempted to reconstitute
I. The Border War
a new Indochina under their control and at the same time to expand the realm
of communism in Southeast Asia. In that sense, they were not truly nationalists but internationalists: they were ﬁghting not for Vietnam, but for international communism and its worldwide spread. For them, Vietnam was
secondary to their primary goal of supporting communist expansion.
In Geneva in 1954, the U.S. among other nations negotiated the partition
of Vietnam through the 17th parallel, creating two new countries: North and
South Vietnam. In fact, the U.S. wanted more: they wanted to lock the belligerent North Vietnamese forever inside North Vietnam but could not. The
plan did not work because the Vietnamese communists who already had
troops in Laos refused to withdraw from that country. This may be one of
the reasons why the U.S. opted not to sign the Geneva Accords.
In 1961 the Republican Averell Harriman became Kennedy’s roving
ambassador for the complex Laotian problem with its continuous inﬁghting
between the various factions: Laotian nationalists, neutralists, and communists (Pathet Lao). The central Laotian government was too weak to ﬁght
against the Pathet Lao who were supported by Hanoi’s communist troops.
Despite being a veteran politician and diplomat, Harriman had minimal experience in Southeast Asia. When he visited Diệm in May 1961, the latter
advised him to “stop the communists from taking over Laos,” and South
Vietnam could defeat the Việt Cọng.10 Harriman, however, suggested a diplomatic solution by promoting Laos as a neutral country. He believed he could
rely on the Soviet Union to control the North Vietnamese communists who
were stationing in Laos. After witnessing the various battles occurring in his
kingdom, Laotian King Savang quickly realized that the Americans did not
want to open a new front in Laos by ﬁghting the Pathet Lao and the North
Vietnamese communists. Left to defend his kingdom on his own, the king
knew he would soon lose his power to the communists. The realistic Cambodian King Sihanouk, seeing the communists advancing militarily in Laos
while the Americans remained passive and knowing he could not unilaterally
ﬁght against the communists, also decided from that time on to accommodate
communist Hanoi.11 Laos and Cambodia, which eventually became neutral
countries, basically gave the green light to the communists to forge ahead
militarily to conquer South Vietnam. This was where Harriman had failed:
by ignoring or turning a blind eye to the North Vietnamese aggression, he
de facto acknowledged their expansion into Laos and stimulated their continuing aggression into Cambodia and South Vietnam. Laos was the ﬁrst
step in the conquest of South Vietnam.
The 1962 Geneva Accords on Laos thus sanctioned the neutralization
of Laos and the withdrawal of all forces from that country.12 If correctly
Author Nghia M. Vo and Van Nguyen Duong Isbn 9780786499342 File size 1MB Year 2016 Pages 268 Language English File format PDF Category History Book Description: FacebookTwitterGoogle+TumblrDiggMySpaceShare The Battle of An Loc was one of the bloodiest battles in the Vietnam War and a defining moment in the history of the Republic of South Vietnam. A few square blocks tucked among vast rubber tree plantations, the provincial town was thought to be of little strategic value to the North Vietnamese. Yet for 66 days in 1972, it was the scene of savage house-to-house street fighting as artillery and mortar fire pounded the town daily until almost nothing was left standing. Facing three North Vietnamese infantry divisions, General Le Van Hung defended the town with 7,500 men, vowing to “die with An Loc.” A decisive victory for the South Vietnamese, the battle came at a time when the United States had begun pulling out of Vietnam and few American troops were on the ground. No foreign reporters were on hand and the action was ignored or misreported by the world press. This book tells the story of An Loc from the unique perspective of an officer who shared a bunker with the general during the fight. Download (1MB) The Vietnam War: From Da Nang To Saigon (the United States At War) 10,000 Days of Thunder: A History of the Vietnam War The Cambodian Campaign during the Vietnam War Vietnam At War: The History, 1946-1975 Khe Sanh 1967-1968: Marines Battle For Vietnams Vital Hilltop Base (osprey Campaign 150) Load more posts