Easter OffensiveDates: 30 March 1972 – October 1972Area of…

Easter Offensive map, 1972

“Only a few Americans remained in South Vietnam when the NVA invaded in 1972. Here, Captain John Ripley advises his Vietnamese Marine counterpart during operations near Dong Ha.”

“North Vietnamese Type 59 tank captured by South Vietnamese 20th Tank Regiment south of Dong Ha.”

“PAVN 130 mm artillery battery goes into action on the Kon Tum front.”

Easter Offensive

Dates: 30 March 1972 – October 1972

Area of Operation: I Corps provinces; Binh Long Province; Central Highlands

Allied Units: South Vietnamese military (ARVN, VNN, VNMC, VNAF), USAF, USN

Allied Casualties: ARVN 10000 KIA, 33000 WIA, 3500 MIA

Enemy Units: 14 NVA divisions

Enemy Casualties: Estimated up to 100,000 killed

Objective: To deal a decisive blow against South Vietnam with a three pronged attack. To force the US to peace negotiations that would result in favorable terms for North Vietnam.


  • North Vietnamese troops used conventional warfare tactics on a level not previously seen in their fight to conquer South Vietnam. This included the use of T-54 tanks and other advanced weaponry from the Soviet Union and China. Large quantities of these tanks and the large-caliber artillery would be destroyed or captured.
  • Leaders in North Vietnam believed that the anti-war sentiment in the US would prevent Pres. Nixon from sending more American troops back into Vietnam. Ultimately they hoped it would force Nixon to negotiate peace with terms favorable to the DRV.
  • Nixon did retaliate militarily through the commencement of Operation Linebacker I, bombing North Vietnam, and also ordered the mining of Haiphong Harbor.
  • Due to the withdrawal of American forces, most units the NVA faced were ARVN units. Though ARVN units in the northern provinces were overrun, they held elsewhere with the aid of American airpower and military advisers.
  • Held more territory in South Vietnam than at any previous point. Though the blow had not been as devastating as intended and ARVN units held in many areas, the North Vietnamese leadership still considered the offensive to be successful and believed they now had a stronger position at the bargaining table.


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