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First Battle of Quảng Trị
Part of the Vietnam War
Quang Tri Province and DMZ.jpg
DateMarch 30 – May 1, 1972
Location16°44′N 106°58′E / 16.733°N 106.967°E / 16.733; 106.967 (First Battle of Quảng Trị)Coordinates: 16°44′N 106°58′E / 16.733°N 106.967°E / 16.733; 106.967 (First Battle of Quảng Trị)
Quảng Trị Province, South Vietnam
Result North Vietnamese victory
Belligerents
Flag of Vietnam.svg North Vietnam
FNL Flag.svg Viet Cong
Flag of South Vietnam.svg South Vietnam
Commanders and leaders
Văn Tiến Dũng Vu Van Giai
Strength
45,000+[1]
~100 tanks and APCs

Regular Force: 40,000

Regional Force: ~100,000
600 tanks and APCs
400 aircraft and helicopters
Casualties and losses
2,000+ KIA, 4,169 WIA
~60 tanks and APCs destroyed
~26,000 killed and wounded
3,368 captured
500+ tanks and APCs destroyed or captured (inculding 110 M48 Patton)

The First Battle of Quảng Trị resulted in the first major victory for the North Vietnamese Army during the Nguyen Hue Offensive of 1972.

The province of Quảng Trị was a major battle ground for the opposing forces during the Vietnam War. As South Vietnamese soldiers were gradually replacing their American counterparts, North Vietnam's General Văn Tiến Dũng was preparing to engage three of his divisions in the province.

Just months before the battle, the Army of the Republic of Vietnam deployed its newly formed 3rd Division to the areas along the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone to take over former U.S bases. North Vietnamese forces deployed against the inexperienced ARVN 3rd Division included the North Vietnamese 304th, 308th and 324B Divisions.

Battle[edit | edit source]

The battle for Quảng Trị began on March 30 with preparatory artillery barrages on the key areas of the province. Meanwhile, infantry assaults supported by tanks overran outposts and firebases. The lightning speed of Communist attacks on those positions delivered a great shock to the soldiers of the ARVN, who were largely unprepared for the onslaught.

Camp Carroll[edit | edit source]

In 1972 Camp Carroll at 16°46′35.3″N 106°55′20.1″E / 16.776472°N 106.92225°E / 16.776472; 106.92225 (Camp Carroll) was occupied by the ARVN 56th Regiment, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Pham Van Dinh. During the first hours of the Easter Offensive, Camp Carroll was one of the first targets to come under North Vietnamese artillery barrage.

The North Vietnamese Army deployed a full artillery regiment against Camp Carroll with supporting infantry units, showing their full intention to take the camp. Throughout February and March 1972, the North and South Vietnamese armies exchanged artillery fire, but South Vietnamese resistance gradually worn down as ARVN artillerymen began seeking shelter against the devastatingly accurate North Vietnamese 130mm shells.

By Easter, the morale of the South Vietnamese had dropped after suffering heavy casualties, as a result Lieutenant Colonel Dinh informed his American advisors that what was left of the 56th Regiment would surrender to the Viet Cong. As the senior advisor to the ARVN 56th Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel William Camper refused to go through with the surrender, so he decided to leave Camp Carroll along with three officers.

On April 2, 1972, Camp Carroll was officially surrendered to the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong, with a white flag raised over the main gate of the camp. Following the surrender, a B-52 strike was ordered against Camp Carroll. However, it was too late as the North Vietnamese had already moved the M107 self-propelled gun out of the camp.

Dong Ha[edit | edit source]

Following the loss of Camp Carroll on April 2, South Vietnamese forces continued to put up resistance elsewhere. At Dong Ha at 16°49′50.2″N 107°5′51″E / 16.830611°N 107.0975°E / 16.830611; 107.0975 (Dong Ha) the South Vietnamese 3rd Marines Battalion, under the command of Major Le Ba Binh, faced the tremendous task of stopping, or at least delaying a huge force of over twenty-thousand North Vietnamese troops well-equipped with tanks and armoured vehicles.

Major Le Ba Binh's seven hundred-men battalion was reinforced with M-48 tanks from the ARVN 20th Tank Regiment. Their task was to stop the North Vietnamese from crossing over the Dong Ha bridge stretched across the Cua Viet River. In order to do so the bridge had to be destroyed. Marine Captain John Ripley, advisor to the 3rd Marines Battalion, carried out the task of destroying the Dong Ha bridge. In full view of the North Vietnamese, Captain Ripley climbed under the bridge and placed the explosives in key positions. At 1245 hours an order was given for the bridge to be blown up.

At this point the North Vietnamese Army had failed in its attempt to cross the Dong Ha bridge, but it continued to hit South Vietnamese positions with artillery strikes. The South Vietnamese 3rd Marines Battalion and the 20th Tank Regiment held on to their positions on the other side. Although vastly outnumbered by enemy T-54 and PT-76 tanks, South Vietnamese M-48s inflicted heavy damages on their North Vietnamese counterparts, demonstrating their superior training and discipline.

Four days following the destruction of the Dong Ha bridge, Major Le Ba Binh intended to hold Dong Ha at all costs. However, his unit was completely surrounded and casualties were mounting. So the 3rd Marines Battalion fought their way out of Dong Ha, grudgingly giving ground to the North Vietnamese Army.

Dong Ha was captured on April 28 and all of Quảng Trị was in Communist hands by May 1.

none of this is right lmao

See also[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  • Donnell, John C., “South Vietnam in 1975: The Year of Communist Victory”
  • Asian Survey, Vol. 16, No. 1, A Survey of Asia in 1975: Part I. (Jan., 1976), pp. 1–13.
  • Murfin, Gary D., A. Terry Rambo, Le-Thi-Que, “Why They Fled: Refugee Movement during the Spring 1975 Communist Offensive in South Vietnam”
  • Asian Survey, Vol. 16, No. 9. (Sep., 1976): 855-863

External links[edit | edit source]

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