On April 1, 1975, the politburo of the Executive Committee of Vietnam’s Communist Party, had a meeting to assess its battle plan against the Saigon Regime and reached this conclusion: “We have an overwhelming strength over the enemy, both in military strategy and forces and political standing. The enemy is facing collapse and destruction. The U.S. appears to be completely incapable of rescuing the situation, and despite its increased support, will not be able to save the puppet regime from its imminent fall. The revolutionary war in South Vietnam has entered a breakthrough stage where the strategic opportunity to launch a general offensive into the enemy’s heartland is fully available to us. This moment is the start of the decisive battle of our army and people to complete the national, democratic revolution in the South and achieve national reunification.”
The revolution was entering its most exciting phase with the fastest pace of development, and the politburo laid down a strong resolution: “We must grasp the opportunity. Our guiding ideology is quickness, audacity, surprise and sure victory. A general offensive and uprising must be launched at the earliest time possible, in April 1975 at best.” With this resolution, the politburo made decisions on issues such as working out the action guideline, speeding up operations in the area to the west of Saigon and in the Mekong Delta, mobilizing forces from the North to the Southeastern region, and forming a command for both the battlefield in the South and the Saigon-Gia Dinh liberation campaign. It was concentrating on mobilizing and directing forces to ensure success in the decisive battle.
Spurred on by the scent of victory and observing the enemy’s disintegration, from April 9, revolutionary forces began to strike Xuan Loc in the east to pave the way for a general offensive on Saigon. In the southwest, armed forces and the revolutionary masses launched attacks at the enemy’s posts and sub-military zones to open the way for the regular army to encircle and divide the enemy. These operations destroyed some enemy forces but did not achieve the expected goal.
On April 14, the politburo passed the plan for a campaign to liberate Saigon-Gia Dinh. The Ho Chi Minh Campaign was a large-scale coordinated offensive in combination with attacks and uprisings. It was a decisive campaign, bringing a victorious end to the Vietnamese people’s war against American forces for national salvation.
The Ho Chi Minh Campaign started at 5 p.m. on April 26, 1975. In the east, Army Corps No. 4 attacked and took control of the enemy’s military sub-zones in Trang Bom, Ho Nai and Bien Hoa. Army Corps No. 2 seized Duc Trach, Long Thanh sub-zone, the Armor Officer School, Nuoc Trong base and Ba Ria Township. Commandos occupied bridges over the Dong Nai and Saigon rivers. Bien Hoa Airport was within the range of heavy artillery deployed in Hieu Liem.
In the southwest, the revolutionary army cut Road No.4 from Ben Luc Bridge to Trung Luong Junction to attract the enemy’s forces from divisions 7, 9 and 12 and to allow operations in other directions. Army Corps 232 launched a division to capture one end of the bridge at An Ninh, Loc Giang in order to help Division 9, the main striking force, cross the river. Meanwhile, Regiments 24 and 88 moved toward District 8 in Saigon.
In the north, Army Corps No.1 (without Division 308) destroyed some enemy artillery battlefields and took control of Road 16 for further penetration. Its troops were only seven kilometers north of Thu Dau Mot.
In the northwest, Army Corps No.3 destroyed 11 out of 18 of the enemy artillery posts within only one day and night, cut roads 22 and 1 to prevent the enemy Division 25 from moving to Dong Du from Tay Ninh, forcing one battalion of its Regiment 50 to surrender.
The Gia Dinh Regiment and commandos took hold of the belt road around Saigon from Phuoc Binh Bridge to Quan Tre and demolished obstacles north of Tan Son Nhat Airport to clear the way for attacks by regular forces.
In the east and northwest, the enemy put up fierce resistance to block the revolutionary army from seizing Nuoc Trong base and Ho Nai and cutting off Tay Ninh from Saigon. However, in the face of the army’s overwhelming attack and brave tactics, the regime forces could not protect the defense systems in these two directions and were crushed.
At 5 p.m. on April 29, the revolutionary troops from many directions advanced toward Saigon-Gia Dinh. With dominant strength, they were able to destroy enemy forces in the outer line and penetrated quickly into the inner city to attack five key targets.
In the east, Army Corps No. 2 and 4 breached the defense line of the enemy marines, paratroops and armor unit in Long Binh. Division 325 took hold of Nhon Trach and Thanh Tuy Ha, advanced toward Cat Lai and cut the Long Tau River to prepare for crossing to attack the enemy in District 9. Also in the morning of April 29, the heavy artillery in Nhon Trach pounded Tan Son Nhat Airport. Division 304 launched fierce attacks on the enemy’s remaining posts, took control of Nuoc Trong base and Long Binh Junction, and moved fast to Dong Nai Bridge. In the evening, Army Corps No.2 crossed the bridge. At the same time, Division No.3 moved to liberate Vung Tau. Army Corps No.4 attacked the enemy in Ho Nai and Bien Hoa but met with fierce resistance, which slowed their advance.
In the west, Army Corps No.3 broke the enemy’s counter-attacks, and seized Dong Du base and Trang Bang, destroying the enemy’s Division 25. At 9 p.m, Regiment 24 of Division 10 reached Ba Queo.
In the southwest, Army Corps 232 captured Hau Nghia Township, defeated enemy forces in Lac Hoa District and forced them to withdraw from Duc Hue and Tra Cu, clearing the corridor of Vam Co Dong River. The troops regrouped in My Hanh, and one regiment moved to Ba Hom.
After one day of general offensive, the revolutionary army had besieged and destroyed most of the enemy’s divisions 5, 2, 18, 25 and 7 in the outer line, securing key bridges to inner Saigon.
The siege was tightening. U.S. helicopters took thousands of Americans and officials of the Saigon regime out of Vietnam. U.S. Ambassador Martin also boarded a helicopter and flew toward the East Sea.
In the early morning of April 30, the revolutionary troops poured into Saigon from many directions. Division 10 of Army Corps No.3 attacked Tan Son Nhat Airport and joined forces with Army Corps No.1 to capture the general headquarters of the Saigon regime’s army. Army Corps No.1 seized Lai Khe base and captured the staff of the enemy Division 4. Division 312 defeated enemy forces in Phu Loi base, seized many vehicles and captured more than 1,000 troops. It then moved on to the Bang area and captured more than 7,000 enemy troops retreating to Lai Thieu. Division 320B took hold of Lai Thieu, moved to Go Vap and routed the enemy Armor Legion No.3, using their tanks to lead the way to the general headquarters of the Saigon regime’s army. Army Corps No.4 occupied the command post of the enemy Corps No.3 in Bien Hoa, defeated their troops in Ho Nai and Tam Hiep, and seized Bien Hoa City. Army Corps No.2 advanced close to the highway by the Dong Nai River. Its striking division crossed the Dong Nai Bridge with the
help of commandos and special forces. At 11:30 a.m, they entered the Independence Palace, forced the Saigon regime’s president and cabinet to surrender and raised the revolutionary flag on top of the palace, signaling total victory in the Ho Chi Minh Campaign.
(HCM City - March 17)