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THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT THE 12 DECISIVE BATTLES OF THE THREE INDO-CHINA WARS.

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Presentation on theme: "THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT THE 12 DECISIVE BATTLES OF THE THREE INDO-CHINA WARS."— Presentation transcript:

1 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT THE 12 DECISIVE BATTLES OF THE THREE INDO-CHINA WARS presented by DAVE SABBEN MG 12 - DICH VAN today

2 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT DICH VAN (Lit: "Action among the enemy") This was the name given to the Communist Psy-Ops, aimed at the civilians at home. As in most Psy-Ops, it was based on distortions, highlighting of isolated or extreme incidents, twisting of facts, omissions and outright lies. Here are some of the many ways Dich Van sought to influence Western thinking: Use of "VC" instead of "NVA"For most of the war, NVN denied having troops in SVN. Using "VC" made it sound like a civil war. Constant reiteration of phrases like "the war is un-win- able", " kill one of us and 10 more will rise up", "life is cheap to us" etc Stressing the inevitability of communist victory and therefore the uselessness of western resistance. Stressing that the American people were not the enemy - only the soldiers in SVN Driving a wedge between the soldiers and their support base back home. Presenting the communist as idealistic, tough, motivated, dedicated, nationalistic, wanting peace and reunification etc Therefore making the Allies & SVN aggressors, mercenaries, undemocratic, manipulated and victims of their politicians. Saying the Communists were the small, barefoot army, poorly equipped with primitive weapons, using skill, cunning and dedication to win over the big bully forces VC & NVA well equipped with Soviet & Chicom weapons & ammo, with intelligence & other support from China & USSR The war is domestic - it's a civil war. Therefore outside intervention is illegal, immoral, illegitimate and thus inexcusable. Nth & Sth VN different in culture, dialect, religion & politics. The two countries were formally divided in the 50s We will look at some specific Dich Van examples in this presentation…

3 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT PSY-OPS Other factors allowed NVN to put Psy-Ops to better effect : NVN could hide from the Allies and not be found (they hid in Laos & Cambodia) Allies remained within SVN until late in the war Communist forces attacked infrastructure and civil targets at will in SVN & indulged in widespread terrorism of SVN population. Allies only attacked military targets until late in the war, and then only limited attacks on selected civil targets right at the end. Closed press in NVN did not permit discussion of failures or even options Open Western press discussed failures and options - in fact, came to stress failures. NVN used threat of Soviet and Chinese involvement as an option throughout the war to limit Allied use of powerful weapons Allied policy was NOT to use all the power at their disposal in order not to over-react. NVN was on a total war footing, including full conscription and total dedication of resources. Allies were never on a total war footing - in fact, were never even near creating a war psychology at home.

4 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT KHE SANH 1968 Khe Sanh is frequently painted as an American failure to learn the lessons of Dien Bien Phu. The Americans are claimed to have established a large base in a valley overlooked by hills, which the VC then occupied and directed fire from. A small VC force was then able to "pin down" a large US force for many weeks, pouring Artillery fire into the base with few casualties to their own forces. This assessment is totally wrong. The US forces occupied all the overlooking hills with just a Company on each hill. The "VC" forces were in fact the two very best NVA Divisions available. The US forces peaked at three Battalions - less than one third of the NVA forces. For every 1 NVA round incoming, there were more than 10 rounds fired outgoing. Far from "pinning down" the US forces in a battle of artillery attrition, the NVA constantly attempted to assault the various US perimeters. Over several days, they never penetrated the perimeter. The NVA were only able to bring artillery fire to bear by using large-calibre Soviet artillery based in Laos, where US artillery and air support could not fire suppression missions.

5 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT HUE Hue is frequently painted as a demonstration that the VC could have occupied and defended territory if they wanted to. It is held that the civil population welcomed the VC forces as liberators and helped to defend them when they came under attack. The fact that they held the Citadel for so long is supposed to prove the ineffectiveness of the US forces. This assessment is also totally wrong. Prior to the main attacks, the local VC forces made diversionary attacks only. The main assaults and occupying forces were all NVA units. Hue was the third largest city in SVN. It was essentially two cities in one, divided by the Perfume River and connected by the Nguyen Huoang Bridge. On the North side of the river was the three- square-kilometre "Citadel" - a fortress defended by massive walls and deep moats - which was itself the seat of the Provincial government and had deep historic and cultural significance to SVN. There was just one Company of combat troops in the city itself. Nine NVA Battalions took Hue on the first day. It was agreed that due to the cultural significance of the Citadel, its recapture would be reserved for the SVN Army - the US forces would recapture the city itself. No Artillery or bombing was permitted in the city or Citadel. The city was retaken after 10 days of heavy small arms fighting. The South Vietnamese units struggled to retake the Citadel but failed. Ultimately it fell to US forces After the city and Citadel were safe, the local population reported that the local VC had massacred large numbers of the city's residents bodies were subsequently found in a number of mass graves, and a further 1946 remained unaccounted for (Highest number for My Lai was 504). To the NVA Commander's credit, he stopped the VC massacre when he found out about it. Communist actions at Hue leave little to be proud about.

6 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT "DAVID versus GOLIATH“ or “GRASSHOPPER versus ELEPHANT” The "fact" that the small, weak, isolated but dedicated VC prevailed over the giant American bully. smallNVN smaller in geography but similar in manpower available weakVC & NVA were as well equipped in small arms as any Allied force: AK47 compares better than the SLR and Armalite RPD MG compares better than the GPMG M60 RPG7 antitank rocket better than the US shoulder-fired rocket launcher In fact, at the infantry level, man-for-man, the Allies were outgunned. isolatedSoviet & China support throughout the war. In Nth of SVN, NVA used Soviet Artillery of greater range than Allies. NVA had Soviet main battle tanks better than the US equivalent Soviet "trawlers" off Guam tracked B52s and forewarned Hanoi of raids. Soviets installed and ran a sophisticated SAM air defence system in NVN. Soviets ran the air war at first, using advanced MiG 19s and MiG 21s. China stationed its best air force units on the NVN border - and shot down 10 US planes This assessment is also totally wrong.

7 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT MORE LIES The "fact" that the cunning VC forces used primitive weapons like punji stakes and booby-traps to devastating effect against the Allies. They employed captured weapons. They were invariably few in number. punji stakes Only 2% of US casualties were attributed to punji stakes, and ZERO KIAs booby- traps Almost invariably advanced mines or grenades rigged with trigger devices - these were not normally home-made devices assembled from unexploded bombs etc. captured wpns These were only used by the lowest part-time VC troops, couriers etc. No regular VC soldier carried a captured or old weapon. (resupply issue) few in number At all the major battles, VC/NVA outnumbered Allies - often up to 20:1 Khe Sanh, Hue, even Aust examples of Long Tan, Coral/Balmoral/Coogee …..all wrong….. Do you want to know what part punjis & booby traps played?.

8 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT Source: Lt Col David Miller, "Weapons and Warfare Techniques Used in Vietnam", in Bonds, "The Vietnam War", 23. (Statistics are from Jan 1965 to June 1970.) Not a single recorded death from a punji stake!

9 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT THE FRENCH INDO-CHINA WAR The "fact" that the war with the Allies was just a re-run for the Communist forces of the previously successful war against the French. All we ever hear about the French Indo-China War is the Viet Minh victory at Dien Bien Phu. We never hear about French victories at Vin-Yen, Mao Khe and Minh-Binh. Viet Minh losses in these three battles alone exceeded 9000 KIA. Nor do we hear of the near catastrophies General Giap caused – THREE TIMES – at Dien Bien Phu: First, by delaying the battle and allowing the French to develop their defences. This almost caused a first mutiny among the Viet Minh. Second, after the first battles, the Viet Minh were totally exhausted and demoralised – some units DID mutiny. Replacements were hurriedly brought in from Laos. Third, after the battle, the Viet Minh were even more exhausted and demoralised – they would have been unable to carry on fighting if the French hadn’t surrendered. Dien Bien Phu was a political victory far more than a military one. …..wrong…..

10 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT BODY-COUNTS EXAGGERATED The "fact" that Allied body-count was inflated and therefore highly inaccurate. On the contrary, body-count ensured that only confirmed killed were included. It ensured that "I think I hit him" estimates were omitted. The VC and NVA forces did whatever they could to hide bodies, including routinely burying bodies one beneath another in single graves. By the end of the war, Allied estimates of VC and NVA body-count totalled about 500,000 KIA. In 1995, Giap admitted to a figure of 1.1million communist soldiers killed in the war. The Allied body-count of communist killed was almost always underestimated. On the other hand, communist estimates of Allied killed and other casualties were almost always grossly overestimated. 6RAR was wiped out twice in its first tour alone! …..wrong…..

11 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT USING B52 BOMBERS AGAINST THE NVN CIVIL POPULATION The "fact" that the uncivilised Americans targeted civilians in NVN with B52 strikes. First, there were many more B52 strikes over SVN than there were over NVN. B52 sorties over NVN were mostly in the early 70's, to convince Hanoi to sign the Peace Accord, so they were directed at military and infrastructure targets. There was no benefit to this activity in bombing civil centres other than where Hanoi had deliberately placed sites of military importance within residential areas - a tactic frequently used by Hanoi. US bombing was at all times used or withheld based upon Hanoi's keeping to its agreements or breaking them. To stop the bombing, Hanoi had only to honour its own promises. …..wrong…..

12 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT THE VC WENT FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH The "fact" that the longer the war took, the better the VC were by virtue of the fact that they gained experience and wore down the Allies. Before Tet 1968, POW statistics revealed that almost all of the VC and NVA POW had more than 6 months of training before entering a unit and fighting in SVN. After Tet 1968, NVN rushed 80,000 to 90,000 troops down the Ho Chi Minh trail to replace losses and the statistics showed a dramatic change. By the end of 1968, less than 40% of the new POWs had 6 months of training and 50% had 3 months or less. This included the time spent travelling from NVN. …..wrong…..

13 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT THE TUNNELS The "fact" that the wily VC chose to go underground to deceive the Allies. The tunnel systems were originally constructed for temporary hides, storage, safe routes between points and for refuge against bombardment - not for permanent living. As the war continued after Tet 1968, the VC and even the NVA units found it increasingly more difficult to hide from the Allied aerial surveillance and bombardment. They sought refuge from the constant pressure by living more and more underground until they were forced to develop full time living accommodation below ground, believing that the Allies would not follow them. Tunnel living was, in fact, the last VC hope of survival towards war’s end. Once the tunnel systems were found, the American and Australian "Tunnel Rats" took the war to them. …..wrong…..

14 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT Sources: Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defence (Comptroller), Directorate for Information Operations, cited in Thayer, "War Without Fronts", 116. THE WAR WAS A SOUTH VIET NAM CIVIL WAR The "fact" that the war was really a civil war - thus, that foreigners should not have interfered. The obvious conclusion is that the heaviest casualties were where the NVA units routinely operated. This being the case, it is equally obvious that the War was NOT a civil war confined to South Viet Nam. …..wrong….. The allegation that the Viet Nam war in the South was a civil war without interference from the North is shown to be false by noting where the fighting took place.

15 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT Sources: Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defence (Comptroller), Directorate for Information Operations, cited in Thayer, "War Without Fronts", 116. THE WAR WAS A SOUTH VIET NAM CIVIL WAR The "fact" that the war was really a civil war - thus, that foreigners should not have interfered. The obvious conclusion is that the heaviest casualties were where the NVA units routinely operated. This being the case, it is equally obvious that the War was NOT a civil war confined to South Viet Nam. …..wrong….. The allegation that the Viet Nam war in the South was a civil war without interference from the North is shown to be false by noting where the fighting took place.

16 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT CIVILIAN ATROCITIES The "fact" that the Allied forces were responsible for widespread civilian atrocities during the war..... Hardly a war history is published that doesn't recount My Lai. Yes - it was wrong. Yes - it was inexcusable. But No - it wasn't typical. Estimates vary on the My Lai numbers but the highest estimate is 504. There is NO other similar event recorded in the whole of the Allied war. Yet the killing of civilians WAS widespread. Here are the figures for civilian executions by VC forces: Which force killed civilians as a matter of routine?

17 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT TREATMENT OF POWs The "fact" that communist POWs were routinely tortured, thrown out of helicopters etc.... The Allies were signatories to the Geneva Convention and generally complied with its rulings. There were presumably breaches, but, despite many allegations, few examples have been documented. On the other hand, NVN was not a signatory and did not apply the Conventions. POWs were routinely paraded to the civilians, filmed, interviewed and, in many documented cases, tortured, both physically and psychologically. Fewer than 10% of POWs from the First Indo-China War ever left Viet Nam. …..wrong…..

18 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT In this Feb. 1, 1968 file photo, South Vietnamese Gen. Nguyen Ngoc Loan, chief of the national police, fires his pistol into the head of suspected Viet Cong officer Nguyen Van Lem, also known as Bay Lop, on a Saigon street, early in the Tet Offensive. (AP Photo/Eddie Adams)

19 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT While discussing POWs, we should look at the famous (or infamous) photograph of SVN General Loan executing a VC POW. Here are some of the other facts, which are rarely revealed: General Loan was, in fact, the Chief of the National Police - he was not acting in an Army capacity but in a Police capacity. Loan was the target of a VC unit sent in to Saigon to assassinate him. The VC unit failed to locate Loan on the day, but broke instead into the home of one of his best friends, a Colonel in the National Police. The VC unit then murdered the Colonel, his wife and their six young children, some of who were godchildren to Loan. SVN Marines discovered and engaged the unit and all but one of the VC were killed. The remaining one was found to be carrying a pistol, indicating he was the leader. He was taken directly to Loan. The VC was in civilian clothes on a terrorist mission in a city under Police, not Army, jurisdiction. When told of the circumstances of the capture, Loan summarily executed him. The National Chief of Police acted within his powers in the summary execution. The usual explanation tells us that the high ranking SVN officer took a VC prisoner out into the street and shot him in the head in front of the media to show other VC what awaited them if captured. THE GENERAL LOAN EXECUTION SAIGON TET 1968

20 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT CONCLUSION Aided by journalists with their own agenda and by misled academics, the West has generally accepted the "Dich Van" allegations made by NVN during and since the war. The facts to support an Allied victory in 1973 are ignored and the duplicity of the Communists in breaking their agreements (not once but several times) is excused in the rush to accord them the honours of victory. A careful assessment of the facts will give any amount of evidence that: The VC force was broken after Tet 1968, and was a negligible threat by 1970; The NVA were beaten by the Allies in every major battle and campaign; The NVA were broken in 1970 but were allowed to regroup in Laos & Cambodia; NVN was broken when they signed the Peace Accord in the Allies had won; Having won the war and achieved a Peace signoff, SVN reduced its armed forces; After two years of rebuilding, NVN then initiated a second war against SVN; The new war was nothing less than an NVN invasion with Soviet arms and aid; The Communist "win" was accepted by the international community who then recognised that the only alternative was to entirely eliminate NVN (and possibly even their supporters) by a Nuclear War, and this was not acceptable to the West.

21 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT DICH VAN was the most decisive battlefield of them all. The lies were big enough and they were repeated often enough and the world media was compliant enough and the Western public was gullible enough that the world accepted them. It was the only decisive battle the VC/NVA won but it was enough for “common” wisdom to say “they won the war”!

22 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT THE 12 DECISIVE BATTLES OF THE THREE INDO-CHINA WARS presented by DAVE SABBEN MG 12 - DICH VAN QUESTIONS?

23 THIS SLIDE AND PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED BY DAVE SABBEN WHO RETAINS COPYRIGHT © ON CREATIVE CONTENT THE FINE PRINT This Powerpoint show is copyright to Dave Sabben but is freely available for any non-profit use. It may be downloaded free from Dave’s website: It was prepared for presentation to those who join his Decisive Battlefields and Long Tan Trek Tours of Viet Nam (see other panel for the “commercial”) as introductions for the various battles. Because the shows are live presentations, much more is in the narrative than is included in the text on the slides. The shows are intended to be introductions and overviews – not detailed expositions or analyses. Views and conclusions are the author’s and are not offered as the only possible or even as fully comprehensive views. Where possible, permissions have been obtained to use maps or photos but some have been used without specific permission. Copyright holders who want their material either not used or credited, please contact Dave Sabben at Anyone wishing to make an anonymous donation towards the cost and time of putting this show together is invited to make a donation of any amount to (Australian) Westpac bank account BSB# , Account# (branch = 360 Collins St, Melbourne), or (Australian) CBA bank account BSB# , Account# (branch = Hampton, Victoria), either account in the name of David Sabben. If passing this slide show to others, please don’t remove this slide. THE “COMMERCIAL” As at 2011, Dave Sabben leads one tour per year (second half of October) to visit some of the areas of Australian/ANZAC operations of The highlight of these tours is to walk the Long Tan battlefield with Dave (a platoon Commander in that battle). The walk takes about 4 hours – about the time of the battle – so the group goes to all the key locations of the battle and hears about what happened pretty much in “real time”. For further enquiry into these tours, please visit: and select VN%20Long%20Tan%20Trek%20Tours.html orVN%20Long%20Tan%20Trek%20Tours.html VN%20Decisive%20Battlefields%20Tours.html An optional extension to the Long Tan Trek Tour takes in the main US battles of northern South Viet Nam including Da Nang, Hue, the DMZ (including Khe Sanh) and the A Shau Valley (Hamburger Hill), then visits both Hanoi (‘Hanoi Hilton’, War Museum) and the Dien Bien Phu valley (both Viet Minh and French positions). As well as the once –a-year-in-October tours, Dave can arrange a similar tour at any time of year for a group of 20 or more. Dates, durations, standards of accommodation, inclusions etc will be all your call. Please contact Dave (with numbers and preferences) at Note that these are “battlefield-oriented” tours – they do NOT go to the popular tourist sites. “Tourist” tours can be added before or after. If passing this slide show to others, please don’t remove this slide. PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE THIS SLIDE


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