Nguyen Chi Thanh

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Nguyen Chi Thanh (1914 - 1967), also known as Truong Son was a senior general[1] in the People's Army of Viet Nam, who commanded all Communist forces in South Vietnam. He was also a member of the Politburo, and his political writings are more under the Truong Son name.

He planned and was to have directed the Tet Offensive, but died before the operation. Some reports say he died of natural causes in a Hanoi hospital, while others say he was killed by a B-52 strike. Tet offensive is the Western term; there was a North Vietnamese called for something called the Tet Mau Than or Tong Kong Kich-Tong Kong Ngia (TCK/TCN, General Offensive-General Uprising) [2] This may have been a much larger strategic plan, of which the Battle of Khe Sanh and Tet Offensive were to have been preludes to the final offensive.

Speaking of Communist actions in 1966-1967, he emphasized that one of the major achievements was getting the enemy to fight on Communist terms. Specifically, that included forcing the Army of the Republic of Viet Nam (ARVN) and U.S. forces to "split and scatter from Highway 9 to the Mekong Delta", and never to have a clear front line. [3]

Concentrated, independent, and combined methods

The method of combat was to "concentrate and disperse our troops rapidly, making sudden appearances and vanishing instantly; fighting now small battles, fighting now big ones, or combining the two kinds in attacking the enemy in all places and from all directions at once..."

He warned against conventional tactics against U.S. forces: "only if we invent a special way of fighting can we defeat the Americans."[4]

References

  1. The highest general officer rank
  2. Hanyok, Robert J. (2002), Chapter 7 - A Springtime of Trumpets: SIGINT and the Tet Offensive, Spartans in Darkness: American SIGINT and the Indochina War, 1945-1975, Center for Cryptologic History, National Security Agency, p. 310
  3. Nguyen Chi Thanh (2 June 1967), "Truong Son Article on 1966-67 Victories", FBIS Daily Report: Asia & Pacific (no. supplement, 26 June 1967), FB123/67/14S. 37 pp.
  4. Oberdorfer, Don (1971), Tet! The story of a battle and its historic aftermath, Doubleday, pp. 42-44