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Post: “I didn’t notice right away.” Where did the US take its biggest defeat?


American soldiers in Vietnam with a prisoner. Archive photo. archive photo

MOSCOW, March 29 – RIA Novosti, David Narmania. “It wasn’t a movie. When it was all over, the dead didn’t rise, they didn’t shake off their ashes. The wounded didn’t wash off the red paint and lived on as if nothing had happened. first, US troops left Vietnam.About the heaviest military defeat of Washington – in the material of the RIA Novosti.

communist threat

In the early 1950s, France tried to suppress the national liberation movement in its colony. United States of America allocated an ally for this $2.6 billion – To stop the spread of communism in Indochina.

It didn’t help. The former metropolis signed the Geneva Accords, Vietnam was divided along the 17th parallel. The north came under the control of socialist forces led by Ho Chi Minh, while the Americans in the south soon brought Ngo Dinh Diem to power. The agreement ensured the holding of elections in 1956 and the subsequent unification of the country. But Washington’s apprentice usurped power and foiled these plans.

Deportation of the American army to Vietnam - RIA Novosti, 1920, 28.03.2023
The landing of the American army in Vietnam

“When the Buddhist demonstrations against Diem began, it became clear to most Americans that we were supporting a police state,” said Ian Barry, a radio engineer with the 18th Air Company of the USA. Army.

In 1957 the communist underground took up arms. Three years later, the National Liberation Front (NLF) was formed in South Vietnam.

The Americans indirectly participated in the fight against the partisans. The reason for the full intervention was the incident in the Gulf of Tonkin. The destroyer Maddox crashed into North Vietnamese torpedo boats on August 2, 1964. It is still unknown who opened fire first.

Congress gave President Lyndon Johnson the right to use the military.

A US Navy escorts a Vietnamese suspected NLF member.  Da Nang district, August 1965 - RIA Novosti, 1920, 28.03.2023
A US Navy escorts a Vietnamese suspected NLF member. Da Nang district, August 1965

burn everything

The Americans took control of the residential areas near the demilitarized zone through which the guerrillas passed. But they couldn’t do anything with the “Ho Chi Minh road”, the route by which communist troops were transported from the north through Laos and Cambodia.

The United States acted on the principle of “search and destroy”: they sent soldiers to the right square to detect the Viet Cong and transmit the artillery’s coordinates by plane. At the height of the conflict in Vietnam there were 540,000 Americans.

Bombing of targets during the Vietnam War - RIA Novosti, 1920, 28.03.2023
Bombing of targets during the Vietnam War

The whole forest-covered country hid a threat for them.

“A Vietcong is a peasant you wave from your jeep by day and a man approaching you at night with a gun in hand,” said David Ross, a janitor of the 1st Infantry Division. More losses from wars than booby traps. You go on your own – and suddenly your friend no longer has legs. Or neither do you. “

That’s why the Americans used Agent Orange defoliants. According to various estimates, aviation sprayed between 72 and 80 million liters of chemicals that caused liver, blood and pregnancy disorders by the end of the war. In total, around 4.8 million Vietnamese were affected.

Troops destroyed 40 to 100 percent of rice, banana, sweet potato, tomato and papaya crops. Of the 150 bird species in the affected areas, 18 remained, with many species of amphibians and insects extinct.

Nguyen Thi Kieu Nhung, Agent Orange victim - RIA Novosti, 1920, 28.03.2023
One of Agent Orange’s victims

My Song Massacre

One of the most tragic events of the war was the massacre in the village of Song My. On March 16, 1968, Charlie Company destroyed the settlement and killed 504 civilians, including 210 children.

Two days ago, a sergeant from this company stepped on a mine and blew up. And the commander called for revenge. The soldiers threw grenades at the barracks, raped women and shot everyone they saw.

Phan Thanh Kong, who was 11 at the time, said, “They ordered us to return to the bunker. When we went downstairs, they threw three grenades at us and fled. I think my mother understood everything. She wanted to kill us that way – grenades. Therefore, she ordered my sisters and brother to retreat deep into the bunker. . And he himself remained at the exit. He was torn into pieces. “

Monument in Songmy - RIA Novosti, 1920, 28.03.2023
The Monument in My Song. archive photo

The crew of the OH-23 observation helicopter, who accidentally witnessed the massacre, put an end to the brutality. Commander Hugh Thompson called in helicopters to evacuate the survivors – 12 people were rescued, one boy was taken to a ditch with the bodies.

This list of US war crimes is not over. Another sad page in the history of that war is the actions of the “Tiger Force”, a special unit to fight partisans. Fighters of the detachment were accused of killing large numbers of civilians and torturing prisoners of war. The victims’ ears were cut off, their scalps were taken from the dead.

important moment

In 1965-1967 there was the initiative of the USA and South Vietnam. The number of troops and local armed forces increased. But the losses also increased.

At the end of January 1968, the North Vietnamese army launched the “Tet” offensive, which they called the Lunar New Year. Several cities were attacked simultaneously. There were even fights in front of the US embassy in Saigon.

A resident of one of the Vietnamese villages burned by the American army and US soldiers - RIA Novosti, 1920, 28.03.2023
A resident of one of the Vietnamese villages burned by the American army and US soldiers

The operation as a whole was not successful, but made a strong impression on the public in the United States. The Americans were told of the imminent victory and extinction of the enemy. Reports from Saigon showed that the Pentagon had finally lost control of the situation.

One of the most striking symbols of what happened was the “Murder in Saigon” photograph of South Vietnam Police General Nguyen Ngoc Loan, who shot an imprisoned guerilla in the head.

“The wave of protest and criticism in the media that culminated in the Tet Offensive in 1968,” wrote Henry Kissinger, then a White House adviser, created a delicate vein in the psyche of administration officials.

As a result, President Richard Nixon announced preparations for the withdrawal of troops.

Protest against American aggression in Vietnam - RIA Novosti, 1920, 28.03.2023
Demonstration to protest American aggression in Vietnam

Vietnamization War

Washington needed peace talks to save its reputation. There was no rush in Hanoi.

In 1972 they staged the Easter Offensive, which again failed. The US then stepped up the bombardment.

During the entire Vietnam War, the Americans dropped more than 6.7 million tons of bombs – almost three times more than Germany dropped in the Second World War.

As a result, on January 27, 1973, the parties signed the Paris Peace Agreement. The overseas contingent left the country completely by 29 March.

Two years later, South Vietnam, without support, conceded defeat.

US losses – 58,220 killed. Wounded – 303 thousand. No one counted casualties among Vietnamese civilians. According to various estimates, we are talking about two million people.

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Source: Ria

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