Category: ARVN

ARVN soldiers, circa 1966

ARVN soldiers, circa 1966

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.

Significance/Notes:

  • 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.

Sources:

Further Reading:

ARVN soldiers, as photographed by a member of DASPO (Dept of the…

ARVN soldiers, as photographed by a member of DASPO (Dept of the Army Special Photographic Office), date and location unknown.

usnatarchivesexhibits: Corruption Constitutes Collapse,…

usnatarchivesexhibits:

Corruption Constitutes Collapse, 1972

There were many reasons why the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) struggled against North Vietnamese forces. However, in this telegram from the American Ambassador in Vietnam, Ellsworth Bunker, to the secretary of state, Bunker recounts what the South Vietnamese Vice President Tran Van Huong thought was the main problem: that internal corruption was an integral force destroying the power of South Vietnam.

Telegram from Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker Related to Corruption in South Vietnam

Learn more about “Remembering Vietnam.”

uss-edsall:New Zealand gunner in Saigon, Vietnam, being…

uss-edsall:

New Zealand gunner in Saigon, Vietnam, being presented a garland of flowers by a woman from the South Vietnamese Army, during an official welcome ceremony for the artillery unit. Photograph taken by an unidentified photographer for the Associated Press Limited, circa 5 August 1965.

Training ARVN airborne, date unknown.

Training ARVN airborne, date unknown.

ARVN soldiers at Phu My, 1968.The soldier on the left is holding…

ARVN soldiers at Phu My, 1968.

The soldier on the left is holding a M1 Garand, and the soldier on the right holds a BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle).

soldiers-of-war: SOUTH VIETNAM. August 6, 1963. Vietnamese…

soldiers-of-war:

SOUTH VIETNAM. August 6, 1963. Vietnamese airborne rangers, their two U.S. advisers, and a team of 12 U.S. Special Forces troops set out to raid a Viet Cong supply base 62 miles northwest of Saigon. As the H-21 helicopters hovered six feet from the ground to avoid spikes and wires and under sniper fire, the troops jumped out to attack.

Photograph: Horst Faas/AP

ARVN outpost, 1969. Exact location unknown.

ARVN outpost, 1969. Exact location unknown.

“The Communist leadership regarded the Dak Ha offensive as ‘our biggest victory in the…”

“The Communist leadership regarded the Dak Ha offensive as ‘our biggest victory in the Highlands in 1961’ and reckoned that it ‘helped consolidate and maintain the masses’ faith in the face of the wave of enemy terrorism.’ Indeed, it seems that this second Communist offensive in Kontum Province within a year achieved quite dramatic results. It shook the South Vietnamese government’s confidence badly; made the ARVN nervous about operating on the high plateau, except in large units; revived Communist morale; and put the initiative back in Communist hands. It was followed by a widespread upsurge in guerrilla activity that included attacks on small government posts and road ambushes. The latter threatened to paralyze road traffic, and thus effective government control, over a large part of the Central Highlands and to jeopardize connections between the Central Highlands and the coast.”

Vietnam’s High Ground: Armed Struggle for the Central Highlands, 1954-1965 by JP Harris, page 61.