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Several strategic directions of the Party for the South revolution in 1971

In 1971, under the Party’s sound leadership, our military and people defeated the enemy’s large-scale operations, “pacification” plan, and strategy of “Vietnamisation” to create advantages and strength for the South revolution. 50 years have elapsed, but that leadership remains valuable and should continue to be studied and applied to the war to defend the Homeland (if occurred).

In 1971, the enemy organised large-scale operations towards the perimeter, such as Lam Son 719 in the Route 9 - Southern Laos, Toan Thang 1/71 NB in Northeastern Cambodia, and Quang Trung 4 from North Kon Tum to the Indochina T-junction, with a hope of cutting off our strategic transport line, destroying our big rears in Middle Laos, Lower Laos, and Northeastern Cambodia, and completely isolating South Vietnam. In addition, they enhanced the pacification plan, drafted more young females, and drove the people into hamlets, with a view to weakening our Southern military and people’s resistance war and basically completing the strategy of “Vietnamisation.”

Predicting that the enemy would launch large-scale operations in the dry season of 1970 - 1971 and accelerate their pacification plan, our Party Central Committee gave strategic directions to defeat the enemy’s scheme and change the complexion of the war. Under the Party’s directions, the Central Military Commission (CMC) and the Central Office for South Vietnam (COSV) directed the Southern military and people to develop combat plans, prepare personnel, means, and battlefields, and closely cooperated with the revolutionary forces of Laos and Cambodia in stepping up the military and political struggle and the work of enemy agitprop to smash the enemy’s pacification conspiracy. Under the Party’s leadership, our military and people achieved great victories on the Southern battlefield in 1971 as the basis for a decisive victory in 1972. The Party’s strategic leadership and direction are manifested in several basic points as follows.

1. We resolutely enhanced military attacks against the enemy’s operations

With the determination to “defeat the U.S. policy of Vietnamisation and gain massive military victories,” the Party Central Committee required the CMC and the Ministry of National Defence to launch campaigns against the enemy’s operations in 1971. If successful, we would annihilate a large number of enemy troops, destroy a lot of their means of war, push the enemy into passive, and create a favourable condition for the South revolution. Hence, we organised the Route 9 - Southern Laos Campaign against the enemy’s largest Operation Lam Son 719. In addition to adjusting forces and means, building a campaign-level posture, providing logistics and technical support, and consolidating the traffic system, we closely worked with the military and people of Laos in making all necessary preparations for combat. After 52 days and nights of courageous combat, we successfully ended the Campaign and destroyed many of elite units of the enemy’s strategic reserve force. Defeating the Operation Lam Son 719 is of political and military importance to thwarting the enemy’s greatest effort in their strategy of “Vietnamisation” and opening up the prospect of defeating this strategy to maintain the safety and smoothness of the North - South strategic transport line.

A part from the Route 9 - Southern Laos Campaign, we organised large-scale counter-attacks in the Southeast Region and Northeastern Cambodia to deal a death blow to the enemy. Our Regional Command used most of our main units on the South battlefield together with specialised units and the on-the-spot force in Northeastern Cambodia bases. Under the direct leadership and direction of the COSV and the Regional Command, our Southern military and people in cooperation with Cambodia’s military and people completely defeated the enemy’s Operation Toan Thang 1/71 NB, annihilating many enemy troops, destroying a lot of means of wars. Together with the victories in the Route 9 - Southern Laos Campaign and Northeastern Cambodia, we also gained an important victory against the enemy’s Operation Quang Trung No.4 in the Central Highlands. Victories of the militaries and peoples of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia against the enemy’s large-scale operations in a short time proved the Party Central Committee’s sound leadership and direction and the development of our main units in large-scale joint operations, while creating a new opportunity for the revolution in Indochina and encouraging the revolutionary struggle in South Vietnam, particularly against the enemy’s pacification strategy.

2. We conducted the military and political struggle, the work of enemy agitprop, and the fight against the enemy’s pacification plan at the same time

When the enemy’s main units were scattered, the Party Central Committee directed the CMC, the Regional Command, war zones, and provinces in the South to “step up offensives and uprisings, crush the enemy’s pacification scheme, with a focus on the Southern Delta, adjacent areas of Saigon, and the border between Vietnam and Cambodia, and destroy troops of the U.S. and Saigon puppet regime simultaneously.” Under the Party’s direction, the Southern military and people cooperated with our main force in promoting the local people’s war, particularly the guerrilla’s war, resolutely fighting against the enemy’s pacification strategy, expanding liberated zones, restoring and developing the force, and carrying out the work of enemy agitprop. In the provinces of Tay Ninh, Long An, and Ba Ria, our armed forces organised military activities against the enemy’s main units and boldly attacked districts under the enemy’s control to support the masses’ political struggle. With great support from the main force, the guerrilla war and the movement to build, protect, and expand bases and liberated zones were developed rapidly. Many districts opened political “troughs” to provide assistance for our main units in preparing personnel and means to organise the fight against the enemy’s plot of driving citizens into hamlets. Victory against the enemy’s pacification plan in the provinces of Tay Ninh, Long An, and Ba Ria gave valuable lessons to other localities in the South. Notably, our military and people in Thu Dau Mot - Bien Hoa and adjacent areas of Saigon - Gia Dinh applied other provinces’ combat experience to fighting against the enemy’s pacification strategy, resolutely destroying the enemy’s grip, and building the armed and political forces. At the same time, the Municipal Party Committee of Saigon - Gia Dinh divided the two main regiments, namely Quyet Thang and 268 into powerful battalions in districts to cooperate with the guerrilla force in building and expanding revolutionary bases, secretly annihilating enemy troops, and supporting the people’s fight for civil rights and democracy.

Victories on battlefields and in the movement against the enemy’s pacification strategy encouraged the political struggle and the work of enemy agitprop. Tens of thousands of working people and students in Saigon joined demonstrations, dropped leaflets, and burnt enemy military vehicles. The military and people of Ben Tre persuaded a number of enemy troops to surrender, while several enemy posts made no move and accepted our conditions. In the Mekong Delta provinces, despite being fiercely attacked by the enemy, our military and people proactively overcame difficulties to enhance military activities associated with the political struggle, gradually defeat the enemy’s pacification plan, and regain power. By correctly analysing the situation comprehensively, the Party Central Committee directed the Southern military and people to flexibly apply combat strategies and combine military activities with the political struggle and the work of enemy agitprop to create new advantages, change the complexion of the war, and thwart the enemy’s pacification programme in all strategic regions.

3. We brought into play international solidarity, especially the combat coordination between three Indochina countries

To completely the enemy’s plot and force them to withdraw troops from Indochina, the Party Central Committee directed “our military and people to stand shoulder to shoulder with the peoples of Laos and Cambodia and strengthen a sense of unity and combat alliance.” Our Southern military and people closely collaborated with the militaries and peoples of Laos and Cambodia in stepping up military activities in Middle Laos, Lower Laos, Northeastern Cambodia, and Central Cambodia. Together with the Pathet Lao and Cambodia’s Army, our armed forces launched the campaign to liberate the Plain of Jars - Long Cheng, attack the enemy in the Bolaven Plateau (Lower Laos), liberate Saravane and Tha Teng, defeat the enemy in Northeastern Cambodia, and destroy the enemy’s Operation Chenla No.2 in Kampong Thom (Cambodia). Those resounding victories expressed the spirit of international unity and the close-knit bond between the militaries and peoples of the three Indochina countries, while proving our Party’s sound, creative guidelines on international solidarity against the common enemy for national liberation.

The Party Central Committee’s strategic directions for the South revolution in 1971 are both theoretical and practical valuable lessons that should continue to be studied and creatively developed in the war to defend the Homeland (if occurred).

Col. NGUYEN VAN CU, MA

Infantry Officer College No.1

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