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The Vietnam War

Major Battles of Vietnam War

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Stephanie Grauer

 

Major Battles of Vietnam War

 

            After the French were defeated in 1954, the United States sent military advisors to South Vietnam to aid the government of Ngo Dinh Diem. The pro-Communist Vietcong forces gradually grew in strength, partly because Diem failed to follow through on promised reforms. They received support from North Vietnam, the Soviet Union, and China. The U.S. government supported a successful military coup against Diem in the fall of 1963. The Vietnam War was a war fought between 1964 and 1975 on the ground in South Vietnam and bordering areas of Cambodia and Laos, and in bombing runs over North Vietnam. There were many battles fought in the Vietnam War. The major battles of the Vietnam War began with the Battle of Ap Bac and continued with the Tet Offensive, the Fall of Saigon and ended with the Battle of Xuan Loc.

            The Battle of Ap Bac took place on January 2, 1963. This small-scale battle took place near the Hamlet of Ap Bac, that escalated into the Vietnam War. It was the first major battle which resulted with a victory with the forces. On this day the Army of the Republic of Vietnam seventh Division was ordered to destroy a Viet Cong in the Hamlet (AP) of Tan Thoi. “The plan was for Army of the Republic of Vietnam infantry to be landed by helicopter to the north of the hamlet, while two Civil Guard battalions supported by a company of M-113s approached from the south through the neighboring hamlet of Bac” (http://www.vietnam-war.info/battles/hamlet_of_ap_bac2.php). The transmitter was thought to be guarded by about 120 Viet Cong, but it was guarded by 360. The attack from the Army of the Republic of Vietnam went wrong from the very beginning and ended with the Viet Cong slipping away leaving with eighteen dead, the United States with three perished and the Army of the Republic of Vietnam with eighty of themselves gone. The Army of the Republic of Vietnam had eighty loses because of their leaders indecisiveness. The thick fog and bad weather predictions severed the helicopter plan of the Republic of Vietnam, which was also a cause for their great loses. It was a victory, but the conflict in South Vietnam ended badly. This conflict later escalated into assassination plot against Diem for his oppressive nature against the Buddhist religion. “The United States at this point could not back out of the conflict and was committed by November 1, 1963” ( http://www.vietnam-war.info/battles/hamlet_of_ap_bac2.php ). The Battle of Ap Bac contributed to the United States being involved in the Vietnam War.

On January 30- 31, 1968 the first day of the Vietnamese New Year (Tet), the Viet Cong attacked numerous cities and towns, American bases and even Saigon. “Although the Viet Cong suffered large loses, they won a psychological victory, as American opinion began turning against the war” (Feldmeth 339).  The series of battles that occurred were called the Tet Offensive. The Tet Offensive was the largest military operation yet conducted by either side up to that point in the war. “The purpose of the operations, which were unprecedented in this conflict, was to strike military and civilian command and control centers throughout the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) and to spark a general uprising among the population that would hopefully then topple the Saigon government, thus ending the war in a single blow” (http://www.vietnam-war.info/battles/tet_offensive.php ).  The First Battle of Saigon was a major battle fought on March 7, 1968. The First Battle of Saigon was fought during the Tet Offensive of the Vietnam War which was a coordinated attack by the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong.  North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong attacked from all sides of the South Vietnam's capital, Saigon. Another battle resulting from the Tet Offensive was the Battle of Hue, fought on January 31, 1968. The battle of Hue lasted 26 days and became known as one of the longest and bloodiest single battles of the Vietnam War. “The Tet Offensive ended with the NLF and the North Vietnam Army fatality around 35,000 men killed, 60,000 wounded and 6,000 POWs for no military success,  the US and Army of the Republic of Vietnam dead totaled around 3,900 (1,100 US)” (http://www.vietnam-war.info/battles/tet_offensive.php ). Without a U.S. victory and no motive for being in the war any longer America began to stop U.S. involvement.

The Fall of Saigon on April 29, 1975 was the last straw for the United States. With Saigon token over the war looked endless and the American people had enough of the Vietnam War. “At 4:03 a.m., April 30th, 1975, two U.S. Marines were killed in a rocket attack at Saigon's Tan Son Nhut airport. They were the last Americans to die in the Vietnam War. At dawn, the remaining marines of the force guarding the U.S. Embassy lifted off” (http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1880.html ).

The final battle of the Vietnam War was the Battle of Xuan Loc. It was officially the last battle of the Vietnam War beginning on April 9, 1975 and ending on April 20, 1975, lasting twelve days. The battle took place in Xuan Loc, Dong Nai Province. The Army of the Republic of the Vietnam (18th Infantry Division) then attempted to prevent the People's Army of Vietnam divisions from over running the town. During the fight for Xuan Loc both sides displayed feats of courage, leadership and determination. For the soldiers of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam led by Major General Le Minh Dao in particular, the battle proved that they were determined fighters, contradicting reports in some Western media that described them as cowards.

The major battles of the Vietnam were the Battle of Ap Bac, the Tet Offensive, the Fall of Saigon and the Battle of Xuan Loc.  The United States never wanted to go to war, but was pushed in after the Battle of Ap Bac. The Vietnam War ended in 1975, when Communists took control of Saigon and President Nixon instructed on January 15, 1973, a suspension of offensive action in North Vietnam and later by the unilateral withdrawal of US troops from Vietnam. Afterwards, the Paris Peace Accords were later signed on January 27, 1973 which officially ended US involvement in the Vietnam conflict. The Vietnam War affected a vast majority of the country's population. In the eight years of warfare, about two million Vietnamese died, while three million were wounded and another 12 million became refugees. The Communists renamed Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam was unified the following year, but periodic violence continued over the next 15 years, including conflicts with neighboring Cambodia and China. War had ruined the country's infrastructure and economy, and reconstruction proceeded slowly. Under a broad free market policy put in place in 1986, the economy began to improve, boosted by oil export revenues and an influx of foreign capital. In the 1990’s trade and diplomatic relations between Vietnam and the United States were resumed. The current prime minister of Vietnam is Nguyen Tan Dung. Nguyen Tan Dung is regarded as the country's most progressive leader. The many major battles left Vietnam with a country of destruction. Today Vietnam is still trying to repair what it lost in the Vietnam War.

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

 

1. “ Battle at Hamlet Ap Bac.” 2 pages. Online. Internet. 25 May 2008. Available http://www.vietnam-war.info/battles/hamlet_of_ap_bac2.php .

 

2. “ Tet Offensive.” 1 page. Online. Internet. 25 May 2008. Available http://www.vietnam-war.info/battles/tet_offensive.php.

3. “Wars and Battles Fall of Saigon April 1975.” Online Highways 1page. Online. Internet. 25 May 2008. Available http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1880.html.

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