The great victory in 1975 contributed to successfully ending the national resistance war against U.S.  imperialists, marking a giant development in the Vietnamese operational combat arts.

Art of creating force strength

In Ho Chi Minh Campaign, which was a major offensive operation launched by the Vietnamese revolutionary forces in the Spring of 1975, we witnessed an unprecedented advantage over the enemy in terms of strength. The plan to build large strategic military units for the decisive battle was executed early under the guidance of the Central Military Commission and the General Command. Following the victories of the Tay Nguyen and Hue - Da Nang offensives, we mobilized a much superior force compared to the enemy, both in terms of quantity and quality, by quickly bringing together the main forces from the Northern and Central regions to the campaign area. This allowed us to organize strategic units to quickly maneuver long distances, prepare for battles, and engage in continuous combat.

Liberation Army’s tank storms Independence Palace, April 30, 1975.

To be specific, Army Corps 1 crossed more than 1,500 km in 24 days; Army Corps 2 maneuvered and opened fire along a route of over 900km, and Army Corps 3 continuously fought and maneuvered more than 1,000km until they arrived at the battlefield on the scheduled date from April 21 to 25, where they merged with Army Corps 4 and Group 232 at their respective locations. By April 25, 1975, we had amassed around 270,000 troops, including 250,000 of regular forces, with 15 divisions, 14 infantry regiments, four army corps, and Group 232 (equivalent to one army corps), along with several independent brigades and regiments. We also mobilized more than 1,000 artillery pieces of various types, 320 tanks and armored vehicles, and other military equipment.

In addition to building up our military strength, we also made significant preparations for the people's forces, which were organized as the backbone of the uprising in the city prior to the campaign. We strengthened the outskirts and inner city areas with 1,700 cadres, who were positioned 3 to 15km away from the city, and prepared to bring in another 1,300 cadres. There were over 1,200 Party members, 10,000 people as the backbone of the people's forces in the suburbs and inner city, 40 "political cells" with 7,000 people in charge, and 400 openly "transformed" organizations with nearly 25,000 people under our control. We also mobilized more than 1,600 combat engineering vehicles, over 10,000 transport vehicles, and nearly 60,000 tons of material, including 15,000 tons of ammunition (190,000 large caliber shells).

Moreover, we actively reduced the enemy's forces through major destructive blows in the Central region, not allowing them to regroup, and attacked the enemy's strategic reserves, not allowing them to supplement and rescue each other. Our concentrated force tactics and breaking the enemy's concentrated force strategy brought us a significant advantage. By the start of the Ho Chi Minh Campaign, the enemy had suffered losses of up to 35% of their personnel, 40% of their logistic sources, and 40% of their technical weapons and equipment. The Mekong Delta, which was the enemy's strategic reserve, could no longer mobilize supplementary troops. We also implemented the strategy to divide and cut off the enemy, not allowing them to be reinforced by forces from the Mekong Delta to Saigon.

Despite the fact that the enemy in Military Region 3, along with remnants from Military Region 1 and Military Region 2, were still retreating with a significant number of about 245,000 troops (including 152,000 main troops), more than 500,000 civil defense troops with 6 divisions and 5 regiments (later added 1 separate armored division), 407 artillery pieces, 624 armored vehicles, and 229 fighters, their fighting spirit had collapsed by April.

It is clear that we had a dominant advantage in terms of force compared to the enemy (the ratio of our force/enemy is 1.7/1 for regular troops and 3/1 for concentrated units). This is a special feature of the Ho Chi Minh Campaign that had never been seen before in the entire resistance war against the U.S. to save the country. It also showed that our ability to build and gather forces of Army Corps 1, 2, 3, and 4 and the divisions of our Military Regions 7, 8, and 9, and infantry battalions of Military Region 6 were extremely important conditions in preparing for the final strategic battle phase of the war.

Art of creating strength in battle posture

In the Ho Chi Minh Campaign, one of the critical factors in achieving a resounding victory was the early preparation of a formidable strategic position. This experience provided valuable lessons in both theory and practice in the art of creating a strategic posture for a decisive campaign. The preparation of the standing position and the starting line of the regular force's offensive were done simultaneously, and the posture for both the on-site main force and the mobile regular force was prepared. This allowed for a large force to gather at the starting line without having to prepare their entire posture themselves.

The strategic posture for the Ho Chi Minh Campaign was deployed on many wide and complex fronts to ensure the use of very large forces, attacking the enemy outside and inside, penetrating deep into important areas, and attacking from inside and outside. The complete operational battlefield had high combat effectiveness and increased the advantage of the forces. The battle was organized carefully with strategic logistic services and campaigns fully prepared before launching the operation. The logistics divisions were tightly organized, and nearly 60,000 tons of materials were prepared before the opening of the battle.

The battle was successful, and the enemy was surrounded and cut off completely. The enemy was unable to provide mutual assistance from inside or outside, which further weakened their already shaken morale. The complete operational battlefield had high combat effectiveness and increased the advantage of the forces.

The Ho Chi Minh Campaign's victory provided valuable lessons and experiences regarding the art of warfare in general, and the art of creating strength in terms of forces and strategy in particular. These have historical significance and deep significance for the current era, and they are valuable theoretical and practical lessons that need to be creatively applied to help protect and strengthen the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

In conclusion, the Ho Chi Minh Campaign was a remarkable success due to the early preparation of a formidable strategic position, the deployment of a large force attacking from inside and outside, and the careful organization of strategic logistic services and campaigns. These lessons and experiences are a valuable legacy for future generations of Vietnamese people, inspiring patriotism and national pride and strengthening the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Senior Lieutenant General TRAN VIET KHOA, Director of the Defense Academy

Translated by Trung Thanh