The liberation of the south and national reunification 40 years ago was a significant milestone in the country’s defence history. The event was marked with resounding victories in a series of campaigns that resulted in the final triumph on April 30.

Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) campaign, spanning from March 4 to April 3, was the beginning of the successful General Offensive and Uprising in the spring of 1975 that led to the complete liberation of the south of Vietnam, putting an end to the American war and reunifying the nation.

Together with Hue-Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh campaigns, the Tay Nguyen campaign was the first step towards realising the Politburo’s and the Central Military Commission’s determination to free the south between 1975 and 1976.

In early 1975, after making an overall evaluation and comparison between Vietnam and the enemy’s forces, the Politburo and the Central Military Commission decided to choose the Central Highlands as the first battlefield for the strategic General Offensive and Uprising.

Aware that the Central Highlands offered rough terrain and forest area, a difficult backdrop for enemy forces compared to those in the Central and Southeast battlefields, the Politburo and the Central Military Commission asserted that rapid and large victories could be made in this key region, creating a springboard for attacks in the central coastal region to separate enemy forces in the south and change the status quo.

A Campaign Command was set up on February 5, 1975, led by Lieutenant General Hoang Minh Thao as the commander. Buon Ma Thuot, which is now the capital city of Dak Lak province, was chosen as the attack point.

The Tay Nguyen campaign kicked off on March 4, 1975. In the early morning of March 10, attacks targeting Buon Ma Thuot airport, Hoa Binh airport and Mai Hac De storage area were undertaken with participation from Commando Regiment 198 and aided by artillery divisions B72 and DKZ.

After 30 hours of continuous fighting, Buon Ma Thuot was liberated at 11:00 am on March 11, putting the enemy on the defensive and leading to chaos and collapse.

Tay Nguyen campaign concluded on April 3, leading to the Politburo’s determination to free the south within 1975.

With the joint efforts from the army, local soldiers and residents, Vietnamese forces overtook enemy Army Group 2 in enemy Military Zone 2, limiting the mobile strategic forces of the enemy and ultimately liberating the Central Highlands and southern central provinces.

The campaign’s victory demonstrated the strong leadership of the Party, including the selection of attack targets, time and breakthrough points, and decisions to ride the momentum to greater victories.

This was not only the successful start of the General Offensive and Uprising in the spring of 1975, but also a strategic breakthrough that opened great opportunities for the liberation of the south sooner than expected.

According to former Campaign Commander Hoang Minh Thao, the victory “created a new and comprehensive strength for our forces,” and “brought a fundamental change to spirits and thoughts, as well as the force, scale and strategic posture between us and the enemy.”

Meanwhile, many foreign military strategists commented that the appropriate selection of an attack point alone is a genuine display of talent.

The resounding Tay Nguyen campaign victory was followed by a series of victories that ultimately led to the final triumph on April 30, 1975.-VNA