THE EASTER OFFENSIVE OF 1972
by Lt. Gen. Ngo Quang Truong
Published by U.S. Army Center Of Military History
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THE EASTER OFFENSIVE OF 1972
In 1968, a U.S. presidential election year, Communist North Vietnam initiated the Tet Offensive, striking at almost all major cities and towns of South Vietnam. This general offensive was eventually defeated by the collective efforts of the Republic of Vietnam, United States and Free World Assistance forces. Four years later, in l972~gain a U.S. presidential election year North Vietnam threw its entire military might behind an invasion to conquer the South. This time, however, South Vietnam had to fight for survival with only logistics and combat support provided by the United States. Almost all U.S. and Free World Military Assistance combat forces had been withdrawn when the first attacks began on 30 April 1972.
By all standards, the Easter Offensive of 1972 was one of North Vietnam1 5 most significant initiatives during the Vietnam War. This all out effort involved eventually in excess of ten divisions on each side and affected the lives of well over a million South Vietnamese people. During the eight long months of fierce fighting, the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces put Vietnamization to a severe test.
During the period of the Easter Offensive, I had the privilege of participating in some of its major battles, first as IV Corps and then as I Corps commander beginning in early May 1972. I visited many of our combat units as they fought the North Vietnam Army and commanded the RVNAF counteroffensive to retake Quang Tri City. My critical analysis of the enemy 1972 Easter Invasion, therefore, is based almost exclusively on my own personal observations, impressions and interviews with Vietnamese who were directly involved.
I am indebted to several distinguished officers of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces whose contributions I wish to acknowledge here. My gratitude first goes to General Cao Van Vien, Chairman of the Joint General Staff, RVNAF and my former airborne commander, who has provided me with several untold aspects of the offensive as seen from his vantage point and valuable guidance. Next, Lieutenant General Dong Van Khuyen, Commander of the Central Logistics Command, RVNAF, has contributed his unbiased comments on the joint RVNAF-US logistic effort to keep the areas under siege resupplied. Major General Nguyen Duy Hinh, who served in my corps as commander, 3rd ARVN Division and who successfully rebuilt and reshaped this division into a strong combat unit, has provided me with his critical comments and judicious observations. Finally, Brigadier General Tran Dinh Tho and Colonel Hoang Ngoc Lung, the J- 3 and J-2 of the Joint General Staff respectively, have contributed significant information concerning combat operations and intelligence from the JGS echelon.
Finally, I am particularly indebted to Lieutenant Colonel Chu Xuan Vien and Ms. Pham Thi Bong. Lt. Colonel Vien, the last Army Attache serving at the Embassy in Washington, D. C., has done a highly professional job of translating and editing that helps impart unity and cohesiveness to the manuscript. Ms. Bong, a former Captain in the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces and also a former member of the Vietnamese Embassy staff, spent long hours typing, editing and in the administrative preparation of my manuscript in final form.
McLean, Virginia Ngo Quang Truong 31 August 1977 Lieutenant General, ARVN
|1||The NVA General Offensive of 1972||2|
|2||Key Locations and Fire Support Bases, MR-l||17|
|3||NVA Attacks Across the DMZ, Quang Tri Province, 30 April 1972||26|
|4||The Defense of Quang Tri, 2 April 1972||28|
|5||The Shrinking 3d Infantry Division AO, Quang Tri Province||42|
|6||The Defense of Hue, 5 May 1972||55|
|7||Phase Lines North of Quang Tri||68|
|8||Military Region 2||79|
|9||Western Highlands Battlefield||84|
|10||The Attack On Kontum||96|
|11||Enemy Base Areas On Camhodian-RVN Border||109|
|12||NVA Plan of Attacks in MR-3||111|
|13||Key Locations, Binh Long Province, MR-3||113|
|14||The Defense of An Loc, 12 April 1972||120|
|15||The Mekong Delta, MR-4||138|
|16||Enemy Base Areas in Military Region 4||140|
|17||Enemy Regimental Dispositions in MR-4 (01 April 1972)||143|
|18||Enemy Attacks in MR-4||147|
|19||Enemy Regimental Dispositions in MR-4 (31 December 1972)||156|
|3d Division Soldier Digging In Near Dong Ha, 10 April 1972||34|
|A M-48 Tank of the 1st Armor Brigade Guarding Route QL-9 Near Cam Lo||35|
|ARVN Defensive Position on the My Chanh River||51|
|I Corps Forward Headquarters, Hue Citadel||52|
|An ARVN Antiaircraft Position Defending Hue City||58|
|Hue Citadel Bracing for Defense, 8 May 1972||59|
|President Thieu Visited the Defenses of the 1st Division||63|
|The Author and MG H. H. Cooksey Beside the Symbol of Victory at Quang Tri City||72|
|NVA l30-mm and 122-mm Artillery Captured in Quang Tri||73|
|Captured NVA T-54 Tank Displayed in Saigon, 14 May 1972||161|
|Public Display of NVA Weapons Captured During 1972 Easter Offensive||162|
Note about page numbers: Page numbers are provided the same way as in the original book to facilitate the citing of the document in the same fashion as one might have done from the original book.
Some of the page numbers skip because of the maps and pictures in the original book. However the book in this electronic form is complete except for the pages 172 and 173 which the web page creator will attempt to locate in the near future.