Inside An Loc : The Battle to Save Saigon, April-May 1972 by Nghia M. Vo and Van Nguyen Duong

725aa21870b6d88.jpg Author Nghia M. Vo and Van Nguyen Duong
Isbn 9780786499342
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Year 2016
Pages 268
Language English
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Inside An Lộc This page intentionally left blank Inside An Lộc The Battle to Save Saigon, April–May 1972 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, 1934– Classification: LCC DS557.8.A5 D86 2016 | DDC 959.704/342—dc23 LC record available at 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 Battle. 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 battle. Table of Contents Abbreviations viii Introduction 1 I. The Border War 9 II. General Lê Văn Hưng and I 35 III. Prelude to the Bình Long Battle 48 IV. The Fall of Lộc Ninh 62 V. Crucial Decisions Made to Save An Lộc VI. The First Attack on An Lộc 77 94 VII. A Clash of Personalities 117 VIII. The Siege 134 IX. The War Game in Chơn Thành X. Breaking the Siege 146 154 XI. Releasing the Pressure on An Lộc XII. Besieged Towns 172 196 XIII. Return to the Mekong Delta 208 XIV. Hell in a Very Insignificant Place 215 Epilogue 221 Appendix: War Self-Immolation in Vietnam (Nghia M. Vo) 225 Chapter Notes 238 Bibliography 249 Index 253 vi Abbreviations APC armed personnel carrier Arc Light B-52 bombing strike ARVN Armed Forces of the Republic of Vietnam CARP computerized aerial drop system CBU cluster bomb unit COSVN Central Office for South Vietnam (communist) CP command post CPV Communist Party of [North] Vietnam DMZ Demilitarized Zone DRAC Delta Regional Assistance Command DRV Democratic Republic of [North] Vietnam FAC forward air controller FRAC First Regional Assistance Command FSB fire support base GVN Government of [South] Vietnam HALO high altitude, low opening HEAT high explosive anti-tank rocket IRC Indochinese Resource Center JCS Joint Chiefs of Staff JGS Joint General Staff (RVNAF) KIA killed in action LAW light anti-tank weapon MACV Military Assistance Command, Vietnam vii viii A B B R E V I AT I O N S medevac medical evacuation MIA missing in action MR Military Region NLF National Liberation Front NVA North Vietnamese Army (we will use PAVN and NVA interchangeably) PAVN People’s Army of [North] Vietnam PF Popular Forces POW prisoner of war PRG Provisional Revolutionary Government RF Regional Forces RPG rocket-propelled grenade RVN Republic of [South] Vietnam RVNAF Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces SAC Strategic Air Command SAM surface-to-air missile SDS Students for a Democratic Society SRAC Second Regional Assistance Command TF task force TOC tactical operations center TOW tube-launched optically tracked wire-guided missile TRAC Third Regional Assistance Command VC Việt Cọng (communists in South Vietnam) VM Việt Minh (communists in North Vietnam before 1954; interchangeable with PAVN or NVA) VNAF [South] Vietnamese Air Force WIA wounded in action Introduction 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 strengthen it. 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 1 2 INTRODUCTION 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- Introduction 3 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. 4 INTRODUCTION 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. Introduction 5 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- 6 INTRODUCTION 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 Introduction 7 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. This page intentionally left blank I 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 9 10 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. Washington’s War 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 11 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 Vietnam’s Vital Hilltop Base (osprey Campaign 150) Load more posts

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