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Sunday, 9 September 2012

The death of a town. An Loc. South Vietnam

The death of a town. An Loc. South Vietnam

A heavy attack was launched against Kontum with tanks and artillery. I believe part of the town was captured but the South held on with the aid of their advisers and American air support.

Of more concern to us in Saigon was the attack on An Loc. A small town of about 15,000 inhabitants it was situated about sixty miles North West of Saigon. The attack was undertaken by three divisions of North Vietnamese forces coming in from Cambodia. The communists had tank and artillery support. The attack began on April 13th and the fighting lasted until July 11th.
I had never heard of this town before but followed its destruction on the radio and television. The town held on under the command of a certain Brigadier General Le Van Hung who said " If I'm still alive, An Loc still stands". There were sadly not enough men of his calibre in the South. At the end of the war when Saigon fell Hung, who was deputy commander of IV Corps in Can Tho committed suicide along with his commander, General Nguyen Khoa Nam.

If An Loc had fallen the way to Saigon would have been open. I read that the communists possibly made the mistake of surrounding the town and not leaving a way open for the forces of the South to withdraw. The South Vietnamese fought very well but it is doubtful they would have held on without US air support.

The US had resumed bombing North Vietnam at this time. They had also mined Haiphong harbour to stop supplies getting through.

An Loc had been turned into rubble. I cannot say it had been sacrificed to save Saigon. The fact was it had held out and as a result was destroyed. The photos I saw at the time were of complete desolation.

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