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Operational Art in the People's Army of Vietnam: From the 1972 Easter Offensive to the 1975 Ho Chi Minh Campaign

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Technical Report,26 Jun 2017,24 May 2018

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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In April 1975, the Peoples Army of Vietnam PAVN defeated the Army of the Republic of Vietnam ARVN in the Ho Chi Minh Campaign, which enabled the unification of Vietnam. Most historical studies of the Vietnam War have explained this outcome by focusing on the decisions and actions of the United States and South Vietnam. This monograph attempts to contribute to a more holistic analysis of the Vietnam War by exploring this conflict through the perspective of North Vietnamese operational art. This study conducts a structured, focused comparison of the 1972 Easter Offensive and 1975 Ho Chi Minh Campaign by asking six research questions related to operational art. These questions focus on testing two hypothesis concerning the North Vietnamese leaderships understanding of the strategic environment and its efforts to combine and arrange tactical actions using depth, simultaneity, and tempo. The empirical evidence examined supports this monographs thesis that the PAVN successfully applied operational art during the Ho Chi Minh Campaign of 1974-75, which enabled it to defeat the ARVN and unify Vietnam as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. During the Ho Chi Minh Campaign, unlike during the 1972 Easter Offensive, the PAVN understood the strategic environment, which enabled it in its application of operational art, integrating operational depth, simultaneity, and tempo, to achieve operational effects, and, ultimately, its strategic objectives.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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