March 10

This Day in History

Vietnam War

Mar 10, 1975:

Communists surround Ban Me Thuot

The North Vietnamese surround and attack the city of Ban Me Thuot, as heavy fighting erupts in the Central Highlands. This action, initiated in late January 1975, just two years after a cease-fire was established by the Paris Peace Accords, was part of what the North Vietnamese called Campaign 275. The battle for Ban Me Thuot began on March 4, when North Vietnamese encircled the city with five main force divisions and effectively cut it off from outside support. The South Vietnamese 23rd Division was vastly outnumbered and quickly succumbed to the communists.

As it became clear that the communists would take the city and probably the entire province, South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu decided to withdraw his forces in order to protect the more critical populous areas. Accordingly, he ordered his forces in the Central Highlands to pull back from their positions. Abandoning Pleiku and Kontum, the South Vietnamese forces began to move toward the sea, but what started out as an orderly withdrawal soon turned into panic and the South Vietnamese forces rapidly fell apart. The North Vietnamese were successful in both the Central Highlands and further north at Quang Tri, Hue, and Da Nang. The South Vietnamese soon collapsed as a cogent fighting force and the North Vietnamese continued the attack all the way to Saigon. South Vietnam surrendered unconditionally on April 30.

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