HO CHI MINH
Ho Chi Minh was born on the 19th of May 1890. His name was Nguyen Sinh Cung. Of course
during his lifetime he was known by many different names but the one mostly recognized is Ho
Chi Minh, meaning “He Who Enlightens”.
The foundation for Ho Chi Minh’s education came because he spent most of his life away from
Vietnam. Whilst away he learned about Western culture and politics, and embraced communism.
To break free from colonialism it was necessary for his people to establish socioeconomic
standards so that they no longer needed to rely upon those of the European nations.
When he returned to Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh led the Viet Minh independence movement in 1941
against Japanese occupation. Then again following the Declaration of Independence of Vietnam
on 2 Sep 1945 against the French. For this he was and still is regarded as the father of Vietnam.
The formation of an organised communist insurgency in South Vietnam was masterminded by Le
Duan. A native of Vietnam’s southern provinces, Le Duan was active in communist groups in the
Mekong region in the 1940s. By the mid1950s he was a high ranking member of the North
Vietnamese government, occupying a seat in the Lao Dong Politburo. In 1956 Le Duan developed
a plan, the ‘Road to the South’. In it he called for communists to rise up and gather support,
overthrow South Vietnam’s leader Ngo Dinh Diem and expel foreign advisors and businessmen.
Le Duan presented this plan to members of the Politburo but they did not support his call for a full
scale war. The Politburo considered North Vietnam’s domestic policies, such as economic and
military reform, to be more pressing. It would be better, they said, to wait three years for attempting
to facilitate a revolution in South Vietnam. Nevertheless the Politburo authorised communist
insurgents in the South to begin a limited campaign of violence.
General Hoang Van Thai
Viet Cong leader during
the time the U.S Army took
part in the Vietnam War
from 1957 to 1973, also
Tet Offensive main leader.
From 1973 to 1975, he
returned to the North in
charge of making plans
leading to the fall of Saigon
The Viet Cong (VC) also known as the National Liberation Front (NLF), was
a political organization with its own army the Peoples Liberation Armed
Forces of South Vietnam (PLAF). It had both guerrilla and regular army
units, as well as a network of cadres who organized peasants in the
territory it controlled. Many soldiers were recruited in South Vietnam, but
others were attached to the Peoples Army of Vietnam (PAVN), the regular
North Vietnamese army. During the war, communists and anti-war
spokesmen insisted the Việt Cộng was an insurgency indigenous to the
South, while the U.S. and South Vietnamese governments portrayed the
group as a tool of Hanoi. Although the terminology distinguishes
northerners from the southerners, communist forces were under a single
command structure set up in 1958.
The origins of the Viet Cong begin with the Geneva Accords of 1954. Under the terms of the Accords, military personnel were
ordered to return to their place of origin, either North or South Vietnam. Many Viet Minh soldiers and sympathisers, however,
stayed in South Vietnam and remained ‘underground’, mostly in rural or remote areas. By 1959 there were as many as 20 different
communist cells scattered around South Vietnam. In total these cells contained as many as 3,000 men.
Thousands of South Vietnamese, marginalised and dispossessed by the corruption and brutality of the Diem regime, enlisted to
fight with the NLF. Those unable to fight – including women, children and the elderly – gave support in other ways, promising to
provide food, safety and information about enemy troop movements. Buddhist monks, former members of religious sects like the
Cao Dai and Hoa Hao, displaced peasants and urban workers could be found in NLF ranks. Support did not only flow one way,
however. The NLF’s bombings, sabotage and assassinations also generated considerable opposition. These attacks, though
aimed at foreign or South Vietnamese government targets, often killed innocent civilians, destroyed private property and disrupted
business. As a consequence there were many South Vietnamese who supported neither the Diem government or the NLF.
D445 was the Battalion that we in Whiskey Company often heard about and at many times were patrolling for and coming in
contact with elements of this battalion. The D445 Provincial Mobile Battalion or the Ba Ria Battalion, was a Local Force battalion
of the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War.
Ho Chi Minh was not as active in policy during the Vietnam War. From 1945 until 1969 he was President/Prime Minister of North
Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh is known to have been instrumental in the development of many policies and organisations throughout his
life. Nguyen Sinh Cung or Ho Chi Minh, as we knew him, died on the 2nd of September 1969
To us in Whiskey Company the enemy were those that we came in contact with whilst we were on operation. Primarily these
were individuals who were in areas that as far as we were concerned should have been areas free of friendly persons. To most
of us these were "Charlie" (shortened version of Viet Cong (VC) or phonetically Victor Charlie). We were mainly looking for black
clothing wearing what we termed "Ho Chi Minh Sandles" and of course carrying weapons of some sort. Whenever mentioned
the enemy were almost always refered to as "Charlie".
|This photograph is identified as a group from
D445 Battalion in the Phouc Tuy province.
The battalion operated in the Dong Nai river basin and
also the Bien Hoa, Phouc Tuy and Long Khanh
provinces. It recruited principally from Dat Do, Long
Dien and Hoa Long. The battalion was formed on 19
May 1965. It consisted of three rifle companies and
one weapon’s company with a total strength of
approximately 350 men and was commanded by
Nguyen Van Kiem. Nguyen Van Kiem was an
experienced soldier who had fought the French before
1954 in this area. In 1967 the D445 were also joined
and supported by D440 Battalion which was made up
of members who had come south from North Vietnam.