Tag Archives: Ho Chi Minh City

Vietnam Notebook: First Indochina War, Dien Bien Phu (1953-1954)

English: memorial to the 10,000+ French coloni...

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…Cabanier arrived in Saigon on the 19th of November, 1953, just as Operation CASTOR, the occupation of Dien Bien Phu by airborne assault, was launching.  He would meet with General Navarre as the first French paras were floating down over Dien Bien Phu. Interestingly, the weather was questionable for jumping over western Tonkin that day. Cogny and the commander of the assault force, Brigadier General Jean Gilles, considered calling the operation off. The window of opportunity was a brief one, and it’s quite possible that had they opted out that day the operation would not have been re-mounted, ever…. MORE >>

Vietnam Notebook: 1962 Diem Survives Coup Attempt

Madame Ngô Đình Nhu and Lyndon Baines Johnson,...

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In February 1962 South Vietnamese president Ngo Dinh Diem was unharmed as two planes bombed the presidential palace in Saigon. Republic of Vietnam Air Force pilots Lieutenants Pham Phu Quoc and Nguyen Van Cu tried to eliminate Diem and his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu by bombing and strafing the presidential palace. Both men escaped but Madame Nhu sustained a broken arm when she fell through a floor.

Lieutenant Quoc was arrested after his fighter-bomber crash-landed near Saigon. Lieutenant Cu fled to Cambodia, where he remained until November 1963.

The attack confirmed Diem’s conviction that his main adversaries were domestic. As a result, he retreated deeper into himself, delegating more authority to his brother Nhu, who set about eradicating dissidents–dozens of Diem political opponents disappeared, and thousands more were sent to prison camps. The coup attempt clearly elevated the level of paranoia in the Palace to new heights.

The Viet Cong were able to exploit the situation to their own advantage effectively and led the way in taunting and resisting the regime. The flames got even hotter in 1963– fanned by the Buddhists, their student supporters, the Viet Cong, and an impatient and conflicted White House– Diem and Nhu did not survive the heat. Then President Kennedy was killed three weeks later. Vietnam continued to spiral out of control. Only faster…

Online Book: The US Army in South Vietnam, Troop Topic Sep. 1968

Map of Vietnam, scalable format

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From pamphlet: “We have seen that our goal in Vietnam is to achieve order by helping the South Vietnamese to exercise authority over their own territory and people. The combat required to attain this goal adds up to a strange kind of war -a mixture of the familiar and the unfamiliar”…More>>

Online Book: 1970 US Army Vietnam War Phung Hoang Advisor Handbook

Propaganda leaflets urging the defection of NL...

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Some say American soldiers “who served as a Phung Hoang Advisor”  succeeded in helping reduce the threat of the Viet Cong infrastructure and provided increased security. Some say differently about those who brought such fear and actual harm to the villages and villagers. Here is the handbook they went by.More>>