History of the ARVN: Republic of Vietnam and their War against China/Russia

The real story is basically that Congress cut off logistics to the ARVN and no air support from the US. Those were the two key factors. Without food, fuel, or bullets, not even elite US military units can hold out for long. Also without air support, the Chinese/Russian armored columns just could not be defeated or even appreciatively held up.

Many Americans would not like hearing it said that the totalitarian states of China and the Soviet Union had proven to be better and more faithful allies than the democratic United States, but that was in fact the case. William Tuohy, who covered the war for many years for theWashington Post, wrote that “it is almost unthinkable and surely unforgivable that a great nation should leave these helpless allies to the tender mercies of the North Vietnamese,” but that is what we did.

Until the progressive and draconian reductions in assistance began to have drastic effects, the South Vietnamese fought valiantly. In the two years after the January 1973 signing of the Paris Accords, South Vietnamese forces suffered more than 59,000 killed in action, more in that brief period than the Americans had lost in over a decade of war. Considering that such losses were inflicted on a population perhaps a tenth the size of America’s, it is clear how devastating they must have been, and the intensity of the combat that produced them.
Merle Pribbenow has pointed out that North Vietnam’s account makes it clear that during the 55 days of the final offensive much hard fighting took place. This is a tribute to the South Vietnamese, who had to know at that point what the eventual outcome would inevitably be. Noted PAVN Lieutenant General Le Trong Tan, during the final campaign “our military medical personnel had to collect and treat a rather large number of wounded soldiers (fifteen times as many as were wounded in the 1950 border campaign, 1.5 times as many as were wounded at Dien Bien Phu, and 2.5 times as many as were wounded during the Route 9-Southern Laos campaign in 1971.” Pribbenow calculates that “this would put PAVN wounded at 40,000-50,000 at the very minimum, and possibly considerably higher, not the kind of losses one would expect in the total ARVN ‘collapse’ that most historians say occurred in 1975.”

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