25th Division (South Vietnam)

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25th Infantry Division
ARVN 25th Infantry Division SSI.svg
25th Division SSI
Active1 July, 1962 – 1975
CountrySouth Vietnam South Vietnam
BranchFlag of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam.svg Army of the Republic of Vietnam
Part ofIII Corps
Garrison/HQCu Chi
EngagementsVietnam War
Insignia
Division flagFlag of the ARVN 25th Division.svg

The 25th Division [1] of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN)—the army of the nation state of South Vietnam that existed from 1955 to 1975—was part of the III Corps that oversaw the region of the country surrounding the capital, Saigon. It was based at Củ Chi Base Camp to the northwest of the city.

History[edit]

In 1965 the Division was under the command of Col Phan Trong Chinh, a friend of both Republic of Vietnam Air Force commander Nguyễn Cao Kỳ and III Corps commander General Nguyễn Chánh Thi; the Division guarded Highway 4, the major rice supply route to the Mekong Delta, and protected the roads and towns of Tây Ninh, Hậu Nghĩa and Long An Provinces (with a total of fourteen districts). Strong Viet Cong (VC) forces operated in both Hậu Nghĩa and Long An, close to the capital, but the Division, although reinforced by four Ranger battalions, appeared unable to come to grips with the local VC, or otherwise interfere with their activities. American advisers at Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) and in the field were puzzled and angry, blaming Chinh's lack of aggressiveness. Unbeknownst to the Americans, however, Kỳ had instructed Chinh to orient the bulk of his unit south as an anti-coup force, perhaps as a counter to the neighboring 5th Division commanded by General Phạm Quốc Thuần, a close friend of General Nguyễn Văn Thiệu. Kỳ had given him strict orders not to commit any more than one battalion of each regiment to combat at anyone time. Chinh thus had his hands full providing static security for those provinces under his authority and keeping an eye on the political situation in Saigon; some of his most critical military operations consisted of merely opening the main roads from time to time so that produce could be brought into the capital and supplies and other goods taken out to the towns and military bases within his jurisdiction. Defeating the VC was not his first priority;[2]:47-8 the Corps senior US adviser had requested Chinh's immediate relief, but Westmoreland chose not to press the matter, hoping that combined operations with American forces "will be able to develop the unit." Several months later he noted that the recent arrival of U.S. combat troops in the area was "already causing some increase in the morale of the Division" but the unit was still "the weakest division in the ARVN," barely "hanging on by its teeth in Hậu Nghĩa Province," just north of Saigon. Westmoreland was well aware that Chinh's close ties with members of the current ruling junta made his replacement difficult.[2]:114-5

On 29 May 1965 in the Battle of Ba Gia the Division's 1st Battalion, 51st Regiment was ambushed by VC as it attempted to relieve a South Vietnamese Regional Force unit in the village of Phuoc Loc. In less than one hour of fighting, the battalion was completely destroyed with 270 soldiers either killed or wounded and 217 men were captured. Only 65 ARVN soldiers and three American advisors managed to return to government lines.[3]: On the afternoon of 29 May III Corps commander General Thi formed a Task Force consisting of the 2nd Battalion, 51st Infantry Regiment, the 3rd Marine Battalion, the 39th Ranger Battalion and one squadron of M113 armored personnel carriers to recapture Ba Gia.[4] On the morning of 30 May the Task Force assembled in Quảng Ngai and following extensive air support from U.S. fighter-bombers and helicopter gunships the force advanced towards their objectives in two separate columns.[3]:14–15 The VC first attacked the 2nd Battalion, 51st Infantry and then ambushed the 3rd Marine Battalion as it attempted to support the 2/51st forcing both units to retreat to Phuoc Loc. On the morning of 31 May the VC renewed their attacks capturing Phuoc Loc and attacking the 39th Rangers inflicting heavy casualties.[3]:17

From 19–21 June 1967 the Division's 46th Regiment participated in Operation Concordia with the US Mobile Riverine Force against the VC 5th Nha Be Battalion in Cần Giuộc District of the Mekong Delta.[5]:104-8

From 11 March to 7 April 1968 the Division participated in Operation Quyet Thang to reestablish South Vietnamese control over the areas immediately around Saigon in the aftermath of the Tet Offensive;[6]:460-1 the US 3rd Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (11th ACR) moved into southeastern Hậu Nghĩa Province to support the 49th Regiment and the US 2nd and 3rd Brigades, 25th Infantry Division worked with the Division's 10th Cavalry Squadron and Regional Force units in northern and western Hậu Nghĩa Province. The 3rd Brigade, 9th Infantry Division partnered with the 50th Regiment in Long An Province.[6]:460–1 On 12 March, Troop M, 3rd Squadron, 11th ACR and a Regional Force company engaged more than 100 VC from the 267th and 269th Battalions in forest 6km north of Đức Hòa in eastern Hậu Nghĩa Province; the Allied force killed 36 VC and captured 10.[6]:462 From 15–17 March the 3rd Squadron, 11th ACR and ARVN forces engaged the 272nd Regiment between Đức Hòa and Củ Chi, killing 273 VC before losing contact. On 20 March Troops L and M and an ARVN Battalion regained contact with the 272nd Regiment killing 142 VC that day and 57 more in the same area 6 days later. Following these losses the 272nd Regiment withdrew into War zone C.[6]:462

From 8 April to 31 May 1968 the Division participated in Operation Toan Thang I to continue pressure on PAVN/VC forces in III Corps after the successful Operation Quyet Thang; the operation involved nearly every combat unit in III Corps. The operation was a success with allied forces claiming 7645 VC/PAVN killed, however the operation did not prevent the PAVN/VC from launching their May Offensive attacks against Saigon.[6]:464-6

On 30 April 1970 as part of Operation Toan Thang 42 (Total Victory), an early phase of the Cambodian Campaign, a Division infantry regiment and the 10th Armored Cavalry Squadron together with other ARVN forces crossed into the Parrot's Beak region of Svay Rieng Province.

In mid-July 1972 during the last phases of the Battle of An Lộc, the Division replaced the 21st Division at Tau O (11°30′50″N 106°36′50″E / 11.514°N 106.614°E / 11.514; 106.614) 13km north of Chơn Thành Camp on Route 13 where it had been stopped by the well-entrenched PAVN 209th Regiment, 7th Division. The Division completed the destruction of the remaining PAVN strongpoints by 20 July.[7]:135

In March 1974 a battalion from each of the 46th and 50th Infantry Regiments were used to break the PAVN siege of Đức Huệ at the start of the Battle of Svay Rieng. Subsequently the 49th Regiment and Ranger forces made the initial sweep of PAVN base areas in Svay Rieng Province and then a Division battalion and 3rd Troop 10th Armored Cavalry Squadron formed part of Task Force 310 for a sweep into the Angel's Wing area of Cambodia.[8]:93-5

On 2 October 1974 the 2nd Battalion, 46th Infantry was committed to reinforce the 2nd Battalion, 9th Infantry, 5th Division which was fighting to recapture Base 82 in the Battle of the Iron Triangle, the combined force recaptured the base on 4 October. In mid-November the 46th Infantry and one battalion of the 50th Infantry joined the battle in its final phases.[8]:101-5

Organisation[edit]

Component units:

  • 46th Infantry Regiment
  • 49th Infantry Regiment
  • 50th Infantry Regiment
  • 250th, 251st, 252nd and 253rd Artillery Battalions
  • 10th Armored Cavalry Squadron
  • US Advisory Team 99

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tổ quốc ghi ơn
  2. ^ a b Clarke, Jeffrey (1998). The U.S. Army in Vietnam Advice and Support: The Final Years, 1965-1973 (PDF). U.S. Army Center of Military History. ISBN 978-1518612619. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  3. ^ a b c Comrade T.N. (1965). A Diary on the Battle of Ba Gia. Saigon-Gia Dinh. Office of Information, Culture and Education.
  4. ^ Nguyen, Dinh Uoc; Nguyen, Van Minh (1997). History of the War of Resistance Against America (3rd edn). National Politics Publishing. p. 118.
  5. ^ Fulton, William (1973). Vietnam Studies Riverine Operations 1966-1969. Department of the Army. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  6. ^ a b c d e Villard, Erik (2017). United States Army in Vietnam Combat Operations Staying the Course October 1967 to September 1968. Center of Military History United States Army. ISBN 9780160942808. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  7. ^ Ngo, Quang Truong (1980). The Easter Offensive of 1972 (PDF). U.S. Army Center of Military History. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  8. ^ a b Le Gro, William (1985). Vietnam from ceasefire to capitulation (PDF). US Army Center of Military History. ISBN 9781410225429. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.