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Tuesday, December 12, 2017, 13:12 (GMT+7)
Victory of unique, creative people’s warfare in the air defence front

Vietnam’s heroic history of fighting the enemy attaches to glorious victories. One of the most resounding victories is the battle of “Dien Bien Phu in the air” in late 1972 which defeated the US strategic aerial bombing campaign against Northern Vietnam (known as Operation Linebacker II) mainly conducted by B-52 strategic bombers and chiefly targeted at  Hanoi and Hai Phong.

Previously, in 1954, under the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam and President Ho Chi Minh, our military and people won the 'resounding throughout five continents, stirring up the world' victory of Dien Bien Phu, ending the 9-year resistance war against the French colonialists, forcing them to sign the Geneva Accords, restoring peace in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

18 years later (in 1972), the epic of Dien Bien Phu once again resounded in the air of Hanoi with the Victory of “Hanoi - Dien Bien Phu in the air” which compelled the most powerful imperialist - the U.S. - to announce its defeat, sign the Paris Peace Accords of 1973, withdraw its troops and end its aggressive war in Vietnam.

The two victories against the US imperialists and the French colonialists represent wonders of Ho Chi Minh era, a milestone and pride of the Vietnamese nation. Those great victories are the inevitable in accordance with rules and trends of the times. They share common things in reasons, significance, stature and factors. Accordingly, the most central determinant was the Party’s line on unique, creative people’s warfare. That line was established and developed on the basis of Marxist-Leninist fundamental principles on revolutionary warfare, Ho Chi Minh’s military thought, national military tradition and military quintessence of the world.

“Hanoi - Dien Bien Phu in the air” is the victory of people’s warfare in the anti-air front which is unique in national history and the world’s war history. That was an unequal confrontation in terms of potential, weapon and technical equipment between the US strategic air force deploying nearly 200 B-52 bombers and over 1,000 tactical aircraft and Vietnam’s three-category air defence force, taking place in an extremely short time span (12 days and nights) and a narrow space (in several Northern localities), mainly targeting Hanoi and Hai Phong. However, the U.S. had suffered a catastrophic defeat with the loss of 81 aircraft of various types including 34 B-52 bombers and many pilots. In general, we were stronger than the enemy as the rule of war “survival of the fittest”.

The Victory of “Hanoi - Dien Bien Phu in the air” delighted the people nationwide, international friends and those who love peace worldwide, while shocking the US Administration. The “Super B-52 Stratofortress”, which had ever been the symbol and pride of the US air force and never been shot down yet, was “collared” in the North of Vietnam with so high rate of loss that they couldn’t bear. Since then, B-52 was no longer a bugbear as people had thought. Never had human race witnessed such a clash and such a massive surface-to-air victory.

However, we - Vietnamese people - know better than anyone else about the source of and have a great faith in that heroic victory. By its line on unique, creative people’s warfare in the air defence front, our Party brought into play at the highest level the total strength of the whole country and combined the national strength with the strength of the times to defeat the enemy.

The unique feature of the people’s warfare in general, and that in the air defence front in particular, was demonstrated in sound leadership and clear-sighted strategic direction of our Party and President Ho Chi Minh. With its strategic vision and arts of war, our Party perceived the rules of war, correctly assessed the correlation of force, our and enemy’s strong and weak points, anticipated the enemy’s schemes and artifices, thereby making a thorough preparation in many years for this 12-day-and-night battle in late 1972 with the US air force in the air of Northern Vietnam. Another feature was that all people engaged in and served the fight, particularly the three-category air defence force with the Air Defence - Air Force Service as the core. It is the strength of a just war, ardent patriotism, will and determination to fight and capability to defeat the US invaders that was the overwhelming advantage we had over the enemy. Creativity of the people’s warfare in the air defence front during the Late 1972 Air Defence Campaign was manifested in various fields, but the most outstanding was the art of air defence operation, and the most important was finding the way to engage B-52 in a proper, effective manner. In an air battle that the enemy had overwhelming advantage in terms of weapons and technical equipment, if we had only fought them by our willpower, determination and courage, that would have not been sufficient. We must fight and defeat them by our intelligence and creativity. That is also a manifestation of Vietnam’s power and knowledge which have been promoted during the course of history of national construction and protection. The Victory of “Hanoi - Dien Bien Phu in the air” was a directly decisive military blow prompting the diplomatic victory, forcing the U.S. to sign the Paris Peace Accords of 1973 with provisions beneficial to us. That glorious victory marked a turning point in the resistance war against the U.S., for national salvation, realizing the Party’s strategic resolution: “fighting to drive the US troops away” and then “fighting to topple the Saigon puppet regime” in 1975, gloriously fulfilling our military and people’s 30-year cause of national liberation full of sacrifice and hardships.

45 years have gone by, but the epic of Victory of “Hanoi - Dien Bien Phu in the air” still resounds in the memory of compatriots and troops nationwide, particularly of Hanoi Capital’s military and people as well as heroic Air and Air Defence troops. That historic victory provides us with valuable lessons and serves as a great spiritual encouragement for the entire Party, people and military to overcome all difficulties and challenges, uphold the goal of national independence and socialism, and stand firm in the cause of national reform, construction and protection in the era of integration and development.

National Defence Journal  

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