During the Vietnam War, the South Vietnamese Regional Forces were Army of the Republic of Vietnam militia. Recruited locally, they fell into two broad groups - Regional Forces and the more local-level Popular Forces (The RFPF's, called Ruff-Puffs by American forces). In 1964, the Regional Forces were integrated into the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) and placed under the command of the Joint General Staff.
Initially fielded as village-level or province-level defence forces, these units were militia-men while also working part or full-time. Given the worse equipment available, they served as a front-line force against armed attacks but were considerably marginalised and demoralised during the American-intervention, as ARVN Regular Forces were relegated to guarding duty. Following Vietnamization these units once again came back to prominence as they became better trained and tasked with carrying out wider area operations despite lacking artillery and air support. They would serve as front-line provincial defence units while Regular Forces were deployed against conventional People's Army of Vietnam forces, and grew to gradually number almost 250,000 by 1974.
The concept of Regional and Popular Forces is in-line with countering the Local Force and Main Force structure of the Viet Cong as they lacked firepower support, while the ARVN Regular Forces fought the PAVN. Local militia came to play a very effective role in the war, as the style of small-unit warfare was better suited for guerrilla conflicts with most more familiar with the region and terrain. Despite being poorly paid, these forces were much more capable at detecting infiltration and holding civilian areas. Accounting for an estimated 2-5% of war budget, they were thought to have accounted for roughly 30% of casualties inflicted upon VC/NVA throughout the entire war. Part of this derives in these units generally being more capable of engaging in small-unit, highly-mobile tactics which proved difficult for slow-moving equipment-heavy units.
|South Vietnamese Regional Force|
|Nickname(s)||Ruff-Puffs (used by American Forces)|
|Motto(s)||Bảo quốc, An dân (The Nation, The People)|
|Engagements||War in Vietnam|
During the early 1960s the Regional Forces manned the country-wide outpost system and defended critical points, such as bridges and ferries. There were some 9,000 such positions, half of them in the Mekong Delta region.
Regional Forces played a key role in regional security in the early phase of the war, and while RF/PF members were marginalised and side-lined during the American-intervention as Regular Force Army of the Republic of Vietnam Units were relegated to guarding bases and areas, badly affecting morale and purpose. When U.S. forces began to withdraw from South Vietnam during 1969 and the ARVN began the task of fighting the communist main force units, Regional Forces took on a new importance. For the first time, they were deployed outside their home areas and were sometimes attached to ARVN units. By 1973 the Regional Forces had grown to 1,810 companies, some of which were consolidated into battalions. Charged primarily with local defense under provincial government control, they were too lightly armed and equipped, marginally trained, and lacked the unit cohesion to withstand attack by regular People's Army of Vietnam units supported by tanks and artillery. Most forces were easily subdued, retreated or were destroyed during the Easter Offensive.
The 25th Division of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN)—the army of the nation state of South Vietnam that existed from 1955 to 1975—was part of the III Corps that oversaw the region of the country surrounding the capital, Saigon. It was based at Củ Chi Base Camp to the northwest of the city.Battle of Ba Gia
The Battle of Ba Gia was a major battle that marked the beginning of the Viet Cong's (VC) Summer Offensive of 1965, during the early phases of the Vietnam War, known in Vietnam as the American War. The battle took place in Quảng Ngãi Province, South Vietnam, between May 28–31, 1965.
Following the victory of VC forces in the Battle of Binh Gia earlier in the year, the North Vietnamese leadership in Hanoi decided to intensify their war effort in order to defeat the American-backed Government of South Vietnam. The North Vietnamese war effort received a major boost in the first half of 1965, when the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China stepped up the delivery of military aid, which included the deployment of military specialists and other personnel to train North Vietnam's armed forces. The North Vietnamese decision to intensify the war culminated in the Summer Offensive of 1965, which aimed to destroy the regular divisions of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) in large-scale battles, and pin down the elite units of the ARVN strategic reserve. In Quảng Ngãi Province, South Vietnam, the VC kick-started their summer campaign by attacking elements of the ARVN 51st Infantry Regiment during the early hours of May 29, 1965. In the days that followed, the VC destroyed an entire ARVN Task Force to mark a successful start to their summer campaign.Battle of Ban Me Thuot
The Battle of Ban Me Thuot was a decisive battle of the Vietnam War which led to the complete destruction of South Vietnam's II Corps Tactical Zone. The battle was part of a larger North Vietnamese military operation known as Campaign 275 to capture the Tay Nguyen region, known in the West as the Vietnamese Central Highlands.
In March 1975 the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) 4th Corps staged a large-scale offensive, known as Campaign 275, with the aim of capturing the Central Highlands from the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) in order to kick-start the first stage of the 1975 Spring Offensive. Within ten days, the North Vietnamese destroyed most ARVN military formations in II Corps Tactical Zone, exposing the severe weaknesses of the South Vietnamese military. For South Vietnam, the defeat at Ban Me Thuot and the disastrous evacuation from the Central Highlands came about as a result of two major mistakes. Firstly, in the days leading up to the assault on Ban Me Thuot, ARVN Major General Pham Van Phu repeatedly ignored intelligence which showed the presence of several PAVN divisions around the district. Secondly, President Nguyen Van Thieu's strategy to withdraw from the Central Highlands was poorly planned and implemented.In the end, it was the ordinary South Vietnamese soldiers and their families who paid the ultimate price, as North Vietnamese artillery heavily destroyed much of the South Vietnamese military convoy on Route 7.Battle of Binh Ba
The Battle of Binh Ba (6–8 June 1969), also known as Operation Hammer, was a battle during the Vietnam War. The action occurred when Australian Army troops from the 5th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (5 RAR) fought a combined communist force of North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong, including a company from the 33 NVA Regiment and elements of the Viet Cong D440 Provincial Mobile Battalion, in the village of Binh Ba, 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) north of Nui Dat in Phuoc Tuy Province. The battle was unusual in Australian combat experience in Vietnam as it involved fierce close-quarter house-to-house fighting, although the majority of enemy killed was through heavy artillery and air-bombardment. In response to communist attempts to capture Binh Ba the Australians assaulted the village with infantry, armour and helicopter gunships, routing the Viet Cong and largely destroying the village itself. Such battles were not the norm in Phuoc Tuy, however, and the heavy losses suffered by the communists forced them to temporarily leave the province. Although the Australians did encounter communist Main Force units in the years to come, the battle marked the end of such large-scale clashes, and ranks as one of the major Australian victories of the war.Battle of Coral–Balmoral
The Battle of Coral–Balmoral (12 May – 6 June 1968) was a series of actions fought during the Vietnam War between the 1st Australian Task Force (1 ATF) and the North Vietnamese 7th Division and Viet Cong Main Force units, 40 kilometres (25 mi) north-east of Saigon. Following the defeat of the communist Tet offensive in January and February, in late April two Australian infantry battalions—the 1st and 3rd Battalions of the Royal Australian Regiment (RAR)—with supporting arms, were again deployed from their base at Nui Dat in Phước Tuy Province to positions astride infiltration routes leading to Saigon to interdict renewed movement against the capital. Part of the wider allied Operation Toan Thang I, it was launched in response to intelligence reports of another impending communist offensive, yet the Australians experienced little fighting during this period. Meanwhile, the Viet Cong successfully penetrated the capital on 5 May, plunging Saigon into chaos during the May Offensive in an attempt to influence the upcoming Paris peace talks scheduled to begin on the 13th. During three days of intense fighting the attacks were repelled by US and South Vietnamese forces, and although another attack was launched by the Viet Cong several days later, the offensive was again defeated with significant losses on both sides, causing extensive damage to Saigon and many civilian casualties. By 12 May the fighting was over, and the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong were forced to withdraw having suffered heavy casualties. US casualties were also heavy and it proved to be their most costly week of the war.
1 ATF was redeployed on 12 May to obstruct the withdrawal of forces from the capital, with two battalions establishing a fire support base named FSB Coral, just east of Lai Khê in Bình Dương Province, in an area of operations known as AO Surfers. However, poor reconnaissance and inadequate operational planning led to delays and confusion during the fly-in, and the Australians had only partially completed FSB Coral by the evening. The North Vietnamese mounted a number of battalion-sized assaults on the night of 12/13 May, with a heavy bombardment from 03:30 signalling the start. Exploiting the disorganised defence to penetrate the Australian perimeter, the North Vietnamese 141st Regiment temporarily captured a forward gun position during close-quarters fighting, before being repulsed by superior firepower the following morning. Casualties were heavy on both sides but the Australians had won a convincing victory. The following day 1 RAR was deployed to defend FSB Coral, while 3 RAR established FSB Coogee to the west to ambush staging areas and infiltration routes. Coral was again assaulted in the early hours of 16 May, coming under a heavy barrage followed by another regimental-sized attack. Again the base was penetrated but after a six-hour battle the North Vietnamese were forced to withdraw after suffering heavy losses. Expecting further fighting, the Australians were subsequently reinforced with Centurion tanks and additional artillery. On 22 May, FSB Coral was again attacked overnight, coming under a short but accurate mortar bombardment which was broken up by Australian artillery and mortars.
The Australians then moved against the communist base areas east of Route 16, with 3 RAR redeploying to establish FSB Balmoral on 24 May, 4.5 kilometres (2.8 mi) to the north. Now supported by tanks which had arrived from Coral just hours before, the infantry at Balmoral were subjected to a two-battalion attack by the North Vietnese 165th Regiment. Following a rocket and mortar barrage at 03:45 on 26 May, the attack fell primarily on D Company before being repelled with heavy casualties by the combined firepower of the tanks and infantry. The next day the Australians at Coral assaulted a number of bunkers that had been located just outside the base, with a troop of Centurions supported by infantry destroying the bunkers and their occupants without loss to themselves. A second major North Vietnamese attack, again of regimental strength, was made against Balmoral at 02:30 on 28 May but was called off after 30 minutes after being soundly defeated by the supporting fire of the tanks, artillery and mortars. Regardless, the battle continued into June as the Australians patrolled their area of operations. However, with contacts decreasing, 1 ATF returned to Nui Dat on 6 June, being relieved by US and South Vietnamese forces. The battle was the first time the Australians had clashed with regular North Vietnamese Army units operating in regimental strength in conventional warfare. During 26 days of fighting the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong sustained heavy losses and were forced to postpone a further attack on Saigon, while 1 ATF also suffered significant casualties. The largest unit-level action of the war for the Australians, today the battle is considered one of the most famous actions fought by the Australian Army during the Vietnam War.Battle of Nui Le
The Battle of Nui Le (21 September 1971) was the last major battle fought by Australian and New Zealand forces in South Vietnam. The battle was fought in the former Phuoc Tuy Province between elements of the 33rd Regiment of the North Vietnamese Army and 'B' and 'D' Companies of the 4RAR/NZ (ANZAC) Battalion (4 RAR/NZ) and during Operation Ivanhoe. Nui Le, a hamlet of Quang Thanh commune in Chau Duc District, is today in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province.Battle of Đồng Xoài
The Battle of Đồng Xoài (Vietnamese: Trận Đồng Xoài) was a major battle fought during the National Liberation Front Summer Offensive of 1965 as part of the Vietnam War. The battle took place in Phước Long Province, South Vietnam, between June 9 and 13, 1965.
In 1964, General Nguyễn Khánh gained control of the South Vietnamese government after General Dương Văn Minh was overthrown in a military coup. Although General Khánh was able to gain control of the military junta, he failed to garner support from the civilian population when he implemented various laws which limited the freedoms of the South Vietnamese people. He then had a falling-out with the Catholic faction within his own government, when he became increasingly reliant on the Buddhist movement to hold on to power. Consequently, on February 20, 1965, General Khánh was ousted from power and was forced to leave South Vietnam forever. The political instability in Saigon gave North Vietnamese leaders in Hanoi an opportunity to step up their military campaign in the south. They believed the South Vietnamese government was able to survive because it still had a strong military to combat the growing influence of the Viet Cong. With the summer campaign of 1965, North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces aimed to inflict significant losses on the South Vietnamese military. In Phước Long Province, the Communist summer offensive culminated in the Đồng Xoài campaign.
The fight for Đồng Xoài began on the evening of June 9, 1965, when the Viet Cong 272nd Regiment attacked and captured the Civilian Irregular Defense Group and U.S. Special Forces camp there. In response to the sudden Viet Cong assault, the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) Joint General Staff ordered the ARVN 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, to retake Đồng Xoài district. They arrived on the battlefield on June 10, but were quickly overwhelmed by the Viet Cong 271st Regiment near Thuận Lợi. Later that day, Đồng Xoài was recaptured by the ARVN 52nd Ranger Battalion, which had survived an ambush while marching towards the district. On June 11, further South Vietnamese reinforcements arrived in the form of the ARVN 7th Airborne Battalion. The South Vietnamese paratroopers, while searching for survivors of the 1st Battalion in the Thuận Lợi rubber plantation, were defeated in a deadly ambush by the Viet Cong. On June 13 U.S. Army General William Westmoreland decided to insert elements of the U.S. 173rd Airborne Brigade into a major battle for the first time, because he feared the Viet Cong could secure a major base area in Phước Long Province. By that time, however, the Viet Cong had already withdrawn from the battlefield, so the U.S. paratroopers were ordered to return to base without a fight.Coast Guard Squadron One
Coast Guard Squadron One, also known in official message traffic as COGARDRON ONE or RONONE, was a combat unit formed by the United States Coast Guard in 1965 for service during the Vietnam War. Placed under the operational control of the United States Navy, it was assigned duties in Operation Market Time. Its formation marked the first time since World War II that Coast Guard personnel were used extensively in a combat environment.
The squadron operated divisions in three separate areas during the period of 1965 to 1970. Twenty-six Point-class cutters with their crews and a squadron support staff were assigned to the U.S. Navy with the mission of interdicting the movement of arms and supplies from the South China Sea into South Vietnam by Viet Cong and North Vietnam junk and trawler operators. The squadron also provided naval gunfire support to nearby friendly units operating along the South Vietnamese coastline and assisted the U.S. Navy during Operation Sealords. As the United States' direct involvement in combat operations wound down during 1969, squadron crews began training Republic of Vietnam Navy (RVN) sailors in the operation and deployment of the cutters. The cutters were later turned over to the RVN as part of the Vietnamization of the war effort. Turnover of the cutters to RVN crews began in May 1969 and was completed by August 1970. Squadron One was disestablished with the decommissioning of the last cutter.
The squadron was awarded several unit citations for its service to the U.S. Navy and the South Vietnamese government during the six years the unit was active with over 3,000 Coast Guardsmen serving aboard cutters and on the squadron support staff. Six squadron members were killed in action during the time the unit was commissioned.
Squadron One, along with American and South Vietnamese naval units assigned to the task force that assumed the Market Time mission, were successful interdicting seaborne North Vietnamese personnel and equipment from entering South Vietnamese waters. The success of the blockade served to change the dynamics of the Vietnam War, forcing the North Vietnamese to use a more costly and time-consuming route down the Ho Chi Minh trail to supply their forces in the south.Gia Nghĩa Camp
Gia Nghĩa Camp (also known as Gia Nghĩa Special Forces Camp) is a former U.S. Army and Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) base east of Gia Nghĩa in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.Hill 724
Hill 724 is a former U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) base near the summit of the Hải Vân Pass north of Da Nang in central Vietnam.Non-U.S. recipients of U.S. gallantry awards
This is a list of non-U.S. recipients of U.S. gallantry awards.Operation Bribie
Operation Bribie (17–18 February 1967), also known as the Battle of Ap My An, was fought during the Vietnam War in Phuoc Tuy province between Australian forces from the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (6 RAR) and two companies of Viet Cong from D445 Battalion, likely reinforced by North Vietnamese regulars. During the night of 16 February the Viet Cong attacked a South Vietnamese Regional Force compound at Lang Phuoc Hai, before withdrawing the following morning after heavy fighting with South Vietnamese forces. Two hours later, a Viet Cong company was reported to have formed a tight perimeter in the rainforest 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) north of Lang Phuoc Hai, near the abandoned hamlet of Ap My An. In response, the Australians deployed a quick reaction force. Anticipating that the Viet Cong would attempt to withdraw, as they had during previous encounters, forces from the 1st Australian Task Force (1 ATF) were inserted to block the likely withdrawal route in the hope of intercepting and destroying them.
On the afternoon of 17 February, American UH-1 Iroquois helicopters and M113 armoured personnel carriers (APCs) deployed 6 RAR into the area north-west of Hoi My. Following an airmobile assault into an unsecured landing zone at 13:45, A Company 6 RAR was surprised by a strong, well-sited and dug-in Viet Cong force — which, rather than withdrawing, had likely remained in location in an attempt to ambush any reaction force sent to the area. The Australians were soon contacted by heavy small arms fire, with a third of the lead platoon falling wounded in the initial volleys. A Company subsequently broke contact and withdrew under heavy fire from what appeared to be a Viet Cong base area. Initially believing they were opposed by only a company, 6 RAR subsequently launched a quick attack by two companies. However, unknown to the Australians, the Viet Cong had been reinforced and they now faced a battalion-sized force in well prepared positions.
At 15:35, supported by air strikes, armour, and fire from A Company, B Company assaulted the position. From the outset, lead elements came under constant Viet Cong sniper fire from the trees, and from previously undetected machine-guns. The assault soon faltered, with steadily increasing casualties as the Viet Cong withstood multiple frontal assaults, including bayonet charges by two separate platoons. Surrounded and receiving fire from all sides, the lead Australian elements from B Company could advance no further against the determined dug-in force; all attempts to regain momentum failed to dislodge the defenders. Initially, the Australians used their APCs to secure the landing zone at the jungle's edge, but when the infantry was in trouble they were dispatched as a relief force. Fighting their way forward, the M113s finally arrived by 18:15 and began loading the most seriously wounded as darkness approached. The Viet Cong subsequently launched two successive counter-attacks, both repulsed by the Australians. During the fighting, one of the APCs was disabled by a recoilless rifle at close range, killing the driver.
By 19:00, after a five-hour battle, B Company broke contact and withdrew into a night harbour near the landing zone with the remainder of the battalion. Mortars, artillery fire and airstrikes covered their withdrawal, then pounded the battlefield into the evening. After a tense night, the Australians returned in the morning to find the Viet Cong had left the area, dragging most of their dead and wounded with them while avoiding a large blocking force. A hard-fought affair at close range, the disciplined Viet Cong force matched the Australians as both sides stood their ground, inflicting heavy casualties on each other, before each fell back. Although 6 RAR ultimately prevailed, the vicious fighting at Ap My An was probably the closest the Australian Army came to a major defeat during the war.Operation Diamond Head
Operation Diamond Head was an operation conducted by the 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division in Tây Ninh Province, lasting from 11 July to 31 October 1967.Peter Badcoe
Peter John Badcoe, VC (11 January 1934 – 7 April 1967) was an Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross (VC), the highest award for gallantry in battle that could be awarded at that time to a member of the Australian armed forces. Badcoe, born Peter Badcock, joined the Australian Army in 1950 and graduated from the Officer Cadet School, Portsea in 1952 as a second lieutenant in the Royal Australian Artillery. A series of regimental postings followed, including a tour in the Federation of Malaya in 1962, during which he spent a week in South Vietnam observing the fighting there. In that year, Badcock changed his surname to Badcoe. After another regimental posting, he transferred to the Royal Australian Infantry Corps, and was promoted to major.
In August 1966, Badcoe arrived in South Vietnam as a member of the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam. He was initially a sub-sector adviser, but in December became the operations adviser for Thừa Thiên-Huế Province. In this role, between February and April 1967, he displayed conspicuous gallantry and leadership on three occasions while on operations with South Vietnamese regional force units. In the final battle, he was killed by a burst of machine gun fire. He was highly respected by both his South Vietnamese and United States allies, and was posthumously awarded the VC for his actions. He was also awarded the United States Silver Star and numerous South Vietnamese medals. He was buried at Terendak Garrison Cemetery in Malaysia.
In 2008, his medal set was auctioned for A$488,000 to Kerry Stokes in collaboration with the Government of South Australia. After going on display at the South Australian Museum and touring regional South Australia, it is now displayed in the Hall of Valour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. He has been honoured by the naming of various buildings and awards after him, including a soldiers' club in South Vietnam, an assembly room and library at Portsea, the main lecture theatre at the Royal Military College, Duntroon, and a perpetual medal for an Australian Football League match held on Anzac Day.South Vietnamese Popular Force
During the Vietnam War, the South Vietnamese Popular Force (nghĩa quân) (sometimes abbreviated RF/PF or PF) consisted of local militias that protected their home villages from attacks by first Viet Cong forces and later by People's Army of Vietnam units. Originally called the Civil Guard and the Self-Defense Corps, they were integrated into the Army of the Republic of Vietnam in 1964 and placed under the command of the Joint General Staff. The Popular Force was one of two broad groups of militia, the other being the Regional Forces (địa phương quân). The American forces referred to both groups collectively as "Ruff-Puffs" referring to the abbreviation RF/PF. Popular Forces themselves are divided between larger and better organised Popular Forces as well as the much more provisional People's Self-Defense Forces and resembled the Local Force and village-guerrilla level component of the Viet Cong. These units served on a voluntary, part-time basis and together with South Vietnamese Regional Force members, were the lowest paid and numbered almost 500,000 in 1974.Initially very poorly-trained, and recruited on a voluntary basis as part-time village or area militiamen, these forces often-times bore the brunt of People's Army of Vietnam and PLAF incursions, and essentially served as front-line standing forces. The abrupt U.S ground-force intervention in the war had caused many to become sidelined, due to the ARVN Regular Army being sidelined and fulfilling regional defence roles, despite being the most immediately capable of defending against guerrilla insurgency. These units became gradually better-trained and equipped during Vietnamization, and experienced doubled the casualties of Army of the Republic of Vietnam Regular Forces from 1970 on-wards. Nevertheless RF/PF units were responsible for inflicting an estimated 30% of the total People's Army of Vietnam and Viet Cong casualties throughout the war, and were much more capable of fulfilling ambush and small-unit movement, reconnaissance and detection roles than larger, slow-moving conventional forces.Vietnam War
The Vietnam War (Vietnamese: Chiến tranh Việt Nam), also known as the Second Indochina War, and in Vietnam as the Resistance War Against America (Vietnamese: Kháng chiến chống Mỹ) or simply the American War, was an undeclared war in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. It was the second of the Indochina Wars and was officially fought between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. North Vietnam was supported by the Soviet Union, China, and other communist allies; South Vietnam was supported by the United States, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Thailand and other anti-communist allies. The war is considered a Cold War-era proxy war from some US perspectives. It lasted some 19 years with direct U.S. involvement ending in 1973 following the Paris Peace Accords, and included the Laotian Civil War and the Cambodian Civil War, resulting in all three countries becoming communist states in 1975.
American military advisors began arriving in what was then French Indochina in 1950 to support the French in the First Indochina War against the communist-led Viet Minh. Most of the funding for the French war effort was provided by the U.S. After the French quit Indochina in 1954, the US assumed financial and military responsibility for the South Vietnamese state. The Việt Cộng, also known as Front national de libération du Sud-Viêt Nam or NLF (the National Liberation Front), a South Vietnamese communist common front aided by the North, initiated a
guerrilla war against the South Vietnamese government in 1959. U.S. involvement escalated in 1960, and continued in 1961 under President John F. Kennedy, with troop levels gradually surging under the MAAG program from just under a thousand in 1959 to 16,000 in 1963.By 1964, there were 23,000 U.S. troops in Vietnam, but this escalated further following the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, in which a U.S. destroyer was alleged to have clashed with North Vietnamese fast attack craft. In response, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution gave President Lyndon B. Johnson broad authorization to increase U.S. military presence, deploying ground combat units for the first time and increasing troop levels to 184,000. Past this point, the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN), also known as the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) engaged in more conventional warfare with US and South Vietnamese forces. Every year onward there was significant build-up of US forces despite little progress, with Robert McNamara, one of the principal architects of the war, beginning to express doubts of victory by the end of 1966. U.S. and South Vietnamese forces relied on air superiority and overwhelming firepower to conduct search and destroy operations, involving ground forces, artillery, and airstrikes. The U.S. conducted a large-scale strategic bombing campaign against North Vietnam. The Tet Offensive of 1968, proved to be the turning point of the war; despite years of American tutelage and aid the South Vietnamese forces were unable to withstand the communist offensive and the task fell to US forces instead. The Tet Offensive showed that the end of US involvement was not in sight, increasing domestic skepticism of the war. The unconventional and conventional capabilities of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) increased following a period of neglect and became modeled on heavy firepower-focused doctrines like US forces. Operations crossed international borders; bordering areas of Laos and Cambodia were used by North Vietnam as supply routes and were heavily bombed by U.S. forces.
Gradual withdrawal of U.S. ground forces began as part of "Vietnamization", which aimed to end American involvement in the war while transferring the task of fighting the communists to the South Vietnamese themselves and began the task of modernizing their armed forces. Direct U.S. military involvement ended on 15 August 1973 as a result of the Case–Church Amendment passed by the U.S. Congress. The capture of Saigon by the NVA in April 1975 marked the end of the war, and North and South Vietnam were reunified the following year. The war exacted a huge human cost in terms of fatalities (see Vietnam War casualties). Estimates of the number of Vietnamese soldiers and civilians killed vary from 966,000 to 3.8 million. Some 275,000–310,000 Cambodians, 20,000–62,000 Laotians, and 58,220 U.S. service members also died in the conflict, and a further 1,626 remain missing in action. The Sino-Soviet split re-emerged following the lull during the Vietnam War and confllict between North Vietnam and its Cambodian allies in the Royal Government of the National Union of Kampuchea, and the newly-formed Democratic Kampuchea begun almost immediately in a series of border raids by the Khmer Rouge and erupted into the Cambodian–Vietnamese War, with Chinese forces directly intervening in the Sino-Vietnamese War. The end of the war and resumption of the Third Indochina War would precipitate the Vietnamese boat people and the bigger Indochina refugee crisis, which saw an estimated 250,000 people perish at sea. Within the US the war gave rise to what was referred to as Vietnam Syndrome, a public aversion to American overseas military involvements, which together with Watergate contributed to the crisis of confidence that affected America throughout the 1970s.Đức Phong Camp
Đức Phong Camp (also known as Đức Phong Special Forces Camp) is a former U.S. Army and Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) base east of Sông Bé in southern Vietnam.
|Ranks and insignia|