Tuesday, December 06, 2022, 20:09 (GMT+7)

Tuesday, December 26, 2017, 14:20 (GMT+7)
Southern soldiers and people shared the brunt of U.S. imperialism aggression with the North during the Air Defence Campaign in late 1972

Late 1972, the U.S. conducted a destructive strategic bombing campaign against the North to reverse the grave situation and force our Government into accepting the terms and conditions favourable for them at Paris Peace Talks.

From 18th to 30th December 1972, the U.S. launched a large number of warplanes, warships in a strategic bombing raid called Operation Linebacker II, aiming at Hanoi, Haiphong and several other places in the North. “To bomb them (the North) back to the stone age”, the U.S. Air Force dropped over 35.000 tons of bombs, which were, in aggregation, many times more powerful than the nuclear bomb they released to Hiroshima city in August 1945. After 12 days of fierce fights, however, with the great determination to fight for victory, our armed forces and people performed miracles: shot down 81 warplanes in total, of which, there were 34 B-52 bombers – the trump card of U.S. Air Force – and forced them to be back to the Paris Peace Talks.

The brutal act of the U.S. destroyed a lot of residential quarters, schools, hospitals, economic and defence facilities and caused death to thousands of people including many old persons, women and children. Acknowledging that brutality, the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam announced on Liberation Radio that “How strong the U.S. invaders hurt the North, the Southern soldiers and people will pay back five, ten times stronger than that!” The Radio also sent the message of Saigon to Hanoi: “The North’s fire ignites the South’s. The Hanoi’s fire fans the Saigon’s.” On those fierce days, our Southern soldiers and people shared the brunt of U.S. imperialism aggression with the North by intensifying our attacks in all fronts and battlefields in the South.

From late 1972 to the day when Paris Peace Accords was signed, our forces and the enemy were at a violent struggle on the Southern Battlefield. On the Southeast Battlefield, the Command of Nguyen Hue Campaign1 decided to launched the third wave of attacks, beginning from the 1st October 1972 to the 19th January 1973, against the enemy in the area to the East of  the No.1 Provincial Highway (Vinh Truong – Khanh Son – Phu Chanh) and the area around the No.8 Provincial Highway at Phu Hoa Dong while firmly guarded the position at Tau O, Xom Ruong on the No.13 National Highway and besieged and isolated Binh Long town from enemy’s major forces at Chon Thanh and Lai Khe. On the 6th December, our artillery forces fired on Tan Son Nhat Airport and destroyed 85 airplanes of all kinds and two rows of fuel storehouse, killed and seriously injured over 200 technicians. On 13th December, our commandos stormed the strategic arms depot at Thanh Tuy Ha and annihilated 18,000 tons of bombs and shells. In this wave, over 13,000 enemy troops were killed; 45 artillery guns were seized; over 400 airplanes were shot down and destroyed; a large area at the key direction in the Northwestern of Saigon city was liberated; and the situation was changed fundamentally. Moreover, we launched a number of integrated offensive campaigns which engaged military attacks, political struggles and people’s uprisings to liberate a large area. Until December 1972, we seized 27 communes, 22 hamlets with 240,000 residents, and wiped more than 34,000 enemy troops out, shot down 60 airplanes as well as demolished many groups of “new life hamlets” and their administrative system, thereby defeating the Vietnamization Strategy of the U.S.

Along with military actions, the Central Office for South Vietnam and the South Vietnam National Liberation Front directed local institutions, units and administrations to strengthen political struggles with the enemy, and be more active in persuading people of all groups in urban and rural areas, including workers, traders, students, monks, priests, the bourgeois among others, even those from the other side of the war to participate in anti-war activities and movements for peace, independence, democracy and welfare of people. The Liberation Radio, Liberation Army’s Newspaper and cadres propagated our Party’s resisting policies and guidelines to our officers, soldiers and people of all classes; disclosed plots, expedients and crimes of the U.S. and the South Vietnam’s forces; provided news about every victory of us on all battlefields as well as each B-52 bomber shot down in Hanoi, Hai Phong, etc.; and encouraged our cadres, officers, soldiers and people to heighten the revolutionary heroism and be determined to fight and defeat the U.S. invaders. Despite the censorship of Saigon Authorities, many newspapers such as The Morning News, Telegraph, Students (Saigon Students’ General Association), The Facing Magazine, etc. continuously updated news and released articles to oppose the war escalation of the U.S, especially when their B-52 bombers carpet-bombed and devastated Kham Thien street, Bach Mai hospital, taking lives of many patients including women, children, stunning and angering the world. Those activities, done in the centre of Saigon, reflected the spirit of national solidarity as well as aspiration for peace and national unification of people in the South and contributed to the enlightenment of many people working for Saigon Government and Western administrations and media. The public in many countries made pressure on their governments to officially raise their voices against the bombing. An International Court of Human Conscience was founded to judge the U.S.’ war crimes. Progressive forces across the world were strongly encouraged to protest against the cruel war conducted by the U.S. and support our movement for peace, independence and freedom. Even in the U.S., many people and members of Parliament made their request to their Government for stopping bombing the North of Vietnam.

The great victory of our operation against the 12-day U.S. bombing together with victories in other battlefield nation-wide forced the U.S. to sign the Paris Peace Accords and withdraw all of their forces from Vietnam, fundamentally changing the war situation and creating a strategic opportunity for our Party, military and people to win the final victory in our resistance war. The victory originated from our policy of all-people defence, people’s warfare and Vietnamese art of war. To effectively implement the ideology and policies in our recent course of national construction and defence, the armed forces of No.7 Military Region need to follow these instructions.

First, to proactively educate local people of all classes to enhance their understanding of and responsibilities for the development of all-people national defence and people’s warfare to defend our Homeland. Our people’s war strategy, which derives its power from the all-people unification, needs to engage the majority of our people and be carried out in diversified, enthusiastic, active and self-conscious ways. Party committees and agencies of the Military Region should be proactive in providing consultancy for local Party committees and leadership to give directions for better propagation and education in order to improve people’s awareness of the directions, urgency and measures of building our all-people national defence strategy, thereby making greater readiness for our national defence war (if there is), as well as to enhance people’s love for Homeland and their confidence in our socialist regime, Party and Government. These sentiments then could be transformed into in-depth understanding, strong determination and firm actions of everyone, thus creating a great political and spiritual motivation of the entire nation for our course of national building and defence. In addition, following the instructions of Party Committee and High Command of the Military Region, bodies and units at lower levels should innovate both topics, forms and methods of propagation in order to increase the effectiveness of propagating the Party’s guidelines and directions and the Government’s policies and laws, especially in ethnic minorities and religious communities. Moreover, all distorted information from adversaries and reactionaries must be corrected immediately. The units and bodies should also participate in building political bases in their locals, closely observe the local situation and opportunely resolve emerging problems to prevent them from developing into hot issues. Additionally, they should collaborate with local authorities to help people eradicate poverty and build new model of rural areas, thereby strengthening military – civil relations and people’s confidence in VPA, our Party, Government and socialist regime, which is the strong foundation for our “people’s hearts and minds posture”.

Second, to call the key role of armed forces into play in building province and city defence areas. Following our military guidelines and resolutions and instructions concerning defence area building, especially Resolution No. 28-NQ/TW by the 10th Politburo, Decree 152/2007/NĐ-CP by the Government, the Party Committee and High Command of No. 7 Military Region directed Ho Chi Minh City’s and other Provinces’ Military Party Committees and Commands to proactively provide consultancy to Party Committees and People’s Committees of those provinces and city to build firm defence areas, which are tightly integrated into the general defence posture of the Military Region as well as of our country. During the process, efforts should be focused on developing the military power and defence area posture, in which economic and social development should go in parallel with defence improvement. In a city or a province, economic and social development projects have to be implemented in accordance with the general defence and security posture. Focus should be put on local infrastructure management, especially industrial zones and clusters, residential clumps and lines, traffic system, border patrol routes, and most importantly, economic - defence complexes on key defence directions and areas. The Military Region’s economic - defence units should foster their restructuring and equitization in accordance with the guidelines of our Party and the directions of Ministry of National Defence in order to strengthen our defence potential while enhancing economic, cultural and social development, thus upholding our all-people defence posture, especially in remote and border areas, waters and islands. In building our military posture, we need to finish constructing defence facilities in time, which are combat bases, command posts, defensive constructions, etc, to create a concrete posture integrating nearby defence areas at various levels. At the same time, to further consolidate our all-people defence and all-people war postures in close connection with people’s security posture at local level, local authorities and branches should hold defence area exercises following the motto: “Leadership from Party; Directions from Authorities; Consultancy from Military and Public Security Organs”.

Third, to develop comprehensively powerful armed forces for the No. 7 Military Region with high total quality and great combat power. To successfully implement our all-people war strategy in Homeland defence, we need to well coordinate various measures of military, politics, economy, diplomacy, etc., among which, military readiness plays a key role. Hence, it is critical to develop a revolutionary, regular, elite and gradually modern army. Understanding the need, the Military Region’s leadership regularly focus their efforts on developing comprehensively powerful armed forces, who play as a politically and combatively reliable and loyal force of our Party, Government as well as local Party Committees, Authorities and people. Most importantly, those armed forces have to be firm in politics, ideology and organization. Towards the target, Military Regions’ affiliates should regularly organize politics training courses and effectively undertake Project “To renovate political education in low-level units in the new period”, focusing on Marxism-Leninism, Ho Chi Minh’s ideology, traditions, patriotism, national laws and the moral and virtue of “Uncle Ho’s soldiers” as well as substantive arguments against misrepresentation and sabotage of undercover adversaries in the Region. Party Committees and bodies need to pay attention to the improvement of their comprehensive leadership and the effective implementation of the Resolution of the Party Central Committee’s 4th Meeting (12th Committee) on the development and rectification of our Party, Directive No. 05-CT/TW by the 12th Politburo on the enhancement of learning and following Ho Chi Minh’s ideology, morality, lifestyle and virtues through specific practices and emulation enforcement. Moreover, it is important to ensure the Military Region’s armed forces a strong political will and confidence in our Party. It is also needed to proactively prevent the degradation of political ideal, morality, lifestyle as well as the inner self-evolution and self-transformation.

In addition, the system of all bodies and units of the Military Region needs to be consolidated to have “qualified, compact and strong” forces, in which the proportion of different components is balanced. The reserve forces needs to be developed in both quality and quantity, particularly in their political will, military skills, organization and management. Our civil self-defence forces are being developed “stably and extensively” so that they will have high quality, adequate number and suitable component proportion. The development of sea, air and non-government business civil self-defence forces is highlighted. All units in the Region should devote their efforts to improving the quality of training activities by proactively formulating new training lessons and exercises that fit into their operational plans, especially civil defence ones and those against riots and conversion activities. At the same time, units must closely follow all principles of combat readiness and regular routines, maintain strict disciplines and provide adequate supplies and technical support, thereby enhancing their fighting power.

The South shared the brunt of U.S. imperialism aggression with the North, making valuable contributions to the great victory of the Hanoi - Dien Bien Phu in the air – one of the miracles in our people’s resistance war in Ho Chi Minh era. The values of the lessons about making use of our people’s solidarity and fighting determination for the Homeland’s independence and freedom still remain today. We should further study those lessons and flexibly and creatively apply them to the current situation to firmly defend our national dependence, sovereignty, territorial unity and integrity.

Lt. Gen. Pham Van Dy, Political Commissar of No.7 Military Region

1 – Nguyen Hue Operation, started from 1st April 1972 to 19th January 1973, in which the No. 13 National Highway was chosen as the main offensive direction, freed Binh Long, Phuoc Long and several other buffer areas in Tay Ninh and Binh Duong provinces, creating an important springboard for the regular troops, who moved from outside the border to station in the South and later collaborated with other wings from Tri Thien province in a number of offensive operations in 1972.

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