The reserve artillery at the military region level alone consisted of 56 mortar battalions (34 portable artillery units and 22 towed artillery units), from the tactical to operational levels. In particular, there were some types of long-range batteries powerful but compact like A12 and DKB.

The main task of the artillery force was to provide fire support for infantry troops to capture bases in townships, districts, and cities; destroy the enemy’s forces inside and outside fortifications, among others, so as to disturb the enemy’s command and control systems and prevent them from being supplied from the outside.

Thanks to good preparation on the battlefield, the artillery force was reinforced and was able to join long-lasting operations. Particularly, during the first phase of the 1968 Spring General Offensive and Uprising (from January 30 to March 31), the artillery force partook in 652 major battles (11 per day), contributing to disabling more than 14,500 U.S. and Saigon puppet troops; destroyed a lot of aircraft, motorized vehicles and heavy artillery equipment, logistics depots, warships, and cargo ships of the enemy.

U.S. military tank captured by the Vietnam Liberation Army during the 1968 Spring General Offensive and Uprising

During the 1968 Spring General Offensive and Uprising, tactical forms of artillery reached a new level of development, especially the independent tactics of fire attacks. The joint combination of artillery units had been well implemented in line with the organization of battlegrounds at all levels, among different classifications, in order to set up multi-layer artillery firepower against the enemy.

For the first time in history, artillery units provided fire support to the infantry force and tanks to fight the enemy in fortifications. Notably, at the battle of Lang Vay, the artillery force closely worked with infantry and armored forces, and promoted coordination between tank and artillery firepower to assist the combined-arms attack. Battles in the 1968 Spring General Offensive and Uprising marked a new development in artillery tactics.

Also in this campaign, we sent two artillery regiments (675 and 45) with 24 D74 and 36 DKB guns to participate in fire raids in Ta Con to support infantry attacks. The battle lasted for 54 days and nights, and the artillery force supported other forces to shift from siege to encirclement. Besides, in addition to using long-range campaign artillery firepower, we also used portable types (such as mortars and DKZ recoilless launchers) to attack airfields with the aim of cutting off the supply by road and limiting the enemy’s airborne capability, forcing the enemy to quickly send troops to rescue Ta Con as we planned.

In addition, ambush tactics by the artillery force also reached a new height. Accordingly, the artillery force promptly moved to occupied areas to get close to targets, then suddenly opened fire at the enemy’s strongholds and carried out multiple directions at the same time, with some big attacks on Hue, Da Nang, and Saigon. The development of artillery ambush tactics contributed to Vietnam’s victory.

Evaluating the role of the artillery force during the 1968 Spring General Offensive and Uprising, the Central Office of South Vietnam, officially known as the Central Executive Committee of the People's Revolutionary Party, underlined, “In the overall victory, the artillery force reached important goals in areas where our commandos had not been able to reach yet. The artillery force operated continuously while the infantry force had to temporarily pause their attacks or withdraw to reinforce their organization. The artillery troops forced the enemy to make major adjustments in term of force arrangement, strengthen its defense posture, and return to its defensive positions.”

The 1968 Spring General Offensive and Uprising showed the strength of many forces, including the great strength of the Vietnamese artillery force in organizing and building strategic artillery capability; the art of using concentrated artillery force in each campaign and each important battle, especially the key and decisive ones. Meanwhile, it also proved the flexibility and creativity of Vietnam in combat.

With valuable lessons and experience, along with the ability to fight independently or join combined-arms operations, the artillery force will continue to uphold and promote the heroic tradition of “Bronze feet, iron shoulder, good combat, accurate firing” of the heroic artillery troops, deserving to be the main ground firepower of our military.

Translated by Minh Anh