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Thursday, 14 June 2007

From victory to fatal compromise. Saigon, Vietnam

During this offensive it was said President Thieu kept himself hidden in his palace not showing any signs of leadership. Perhaps even in a state of fear. The only positive thing he did was to fire some of his incompetent generals.

Kontum and An Loc having been held the South now set about re-capturing Quang Tri. The second battle lasted from June 28th until September 16th.

From what I can remember the Marine division was sent in. During very bitter fighting they were effectively destroyed as a fighting force for the rest of the war.

The Parachute division were then sent in. They eventually managed to retake the town but were themselves so badly knocked about that they were of little further use in the war effort.

It was said that as the North Vietnamese forces at An Loc had made the mistake of surrounding the town and not giving the South the possibility to withdraw, so at Quang Tri the South also surrounded the town and forced the North to fight to the end.

It was another victory for the South, but in the war of attrition that was going on it was they and not the North who were being worn down. Or perhaps I should say the North could bear much more pain than the South.

The peace accords that had begun in Paris in 1968 were eventually signed in 1973 the year in which the final US forces withdrew. All I can remember about these talks is the endless bickering about the size and shape of the negotiating table.

I concluded that after the offensive of 1968 and that of 1972 the next would be in 1976. I decided to just hang on until the inevitable end of the war which I thought not too far off.

I had no personal plans for myself and was incapable of thinking about the future. The so called peace was an utter farce and any clear sighted person on the ground could see what would happen. The only question was when.

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