304th Division (Vietnam)

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304th Infantry Division
Active 1950-present
Allegiance  Vietnam
Branch Vietnam People's Army
Type Infantry
Role Mechanized infantry
Size Division
Part of 2nd Corps
Garrison/HQ Vĩnh Phúc, Vietnam
Nickname(s) "Vinh Quang" (Glorious)
Engagements First Indochina War
Battle of Hòa Bình
Operation Bretagne
Battle of Dien Bien Phu
Vietnam War
Battle of Khe Sanh
Battle of Lang Vei
First Battle of Quảng Trị
1975 Spring Offensive
Hue–Da Nang Campaign
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Hoàng Minh Thảo
Hoàng Sâm

The 304 Division is an infantry division of the People's Army of Vietnam. It was established in January 1950 at Thanh Hoa.[1][2]:149

First Indochina War

In late December 1953 seven battalions from Regiment 66 of the 304th and Regiment 101 of the 325th Infantry Division moving from Vinh attacked isolated French outposts in the Annamite Range in Annam and Central Laos.[3]

On 5 January 1954 General Võ Nguyên Giáp ordered the 57th Regiment of the 304th to move from Phú Thọ to Điện Biên Phủ and after a 10-day, 200 miles (320 km) march, by 23–24 January they were in position in the south of the valley.[4] Regiment 57's main role during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu was to isolate the French garrison at Strongpoint Isabelle to the south of the main position in the valley.[5] In late April following the heavy losses in the previous month's fighting, General Giáp ordered Regiment 9 of the 304th to Điện Biên Phủ as reinforcements.[6] Total estimated losses among the 304th Division at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu are 490 killed.[7]

Vietnam War

One of its regiments took part in the November 14–18, 1965 Battle of Ia Drang.

In December 1967, US Intelligence reported that the 304th Division had crossed over from Laos and had taken up positions southwest of Khe Sanh Combat Base.[8]:101 On 21 January 1968 a battalion of the 304th attacked Khe Sanh during the Battle of Khe Sanh.

On the night of 6/7 February, the 22nd Infantry Regiment (attached to the 304th) and the 101st Infantry Regiment of the 325th Division supported by 12 PT-76 lights tanks of the 203d Armored Regiment overran the US special forces camp at Lang Vei.

This unit had played a major combat role during the Battle of Khe Sanh. On the night of 29 February, units of the 304th launched. By March the 304th was reported to have withdrawn into North Vietnam to re-equip.[9] During the April action at Khe Sanh this unit had engaged with US relief forces from Operation Pegasus and throughout.

In 1971, the 304th, together with the 308th and 320th Divisions formed part of the VPA B-70 Corps based in southern Laos.[10]:248

On 30 March 1972, the 304th took part in the First Battle of Quảng Trị, the opening battle of the Easter Offensive.[11]

For the 1975 Spring Offensive, the 304th formed part of the VPA 2nd Corps with the 324B and 325C Divisions.[12]:13 As part of the Hue-Da Nang Campaign the 304th was moved to the southwest of Danang and by 26 March the 9th Regiment of the 304th was located northwest of Danang, while the rest of the 304th and 711 Divisions encircled Danang from the south and the 324B and 325C Divisions which had earlier captured Huế advanced from the north and west. By the afternoon of 29 March the 2nd Corps had penetrated the ARVN defences and entered the city.[13]:75 By April 26, the 304th and 325C were attacking Route 15, the last overland link between Saigon and Vung Tau.[14]

Present Day

Today it is part of the 2nd Corps.

References

  1. ^ Conboy, Bowra, and McCouaig, 'The NVA and Vietcong', Osprey Publishing, 1991, 5.
  2. ^ Windrow, Martin (2004). The Last Valley: Dien Bien Phu and the French Defeat in Vietnam. Orion Publishing Group. ISBN 0-297-84671-X. 
  3. ^ Windrow, p. 274.
  4. ^ Windrow, p. 261.
  5. ^ Windrow, p. 474.
  6. ^ Windrow, p. 492.
  7. ^ Fall, Bernard (1985). Hell in a Very Small Place: The Siege of Dien Bien Phu. Da Capo Group. p. 487. ISBN 0-306-80231-7. 
  8. ^ Woodruff, Mark (2000). Unheralded Victory. Harper Collins. ISBN 0-00-472540-9. 
  9. ^ Woodruff, p. 135.
  10. ^ Sorley, Lewis (2000). A Better War: The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of America's Last Years in Vietnam. Harvest Books. ISBN 0-15-601309-6. 
  11. ^ Sorley, p. 321.
  12. ^ Trinh Vuong Hong; Pham Huu Thang (2006). History of the Tri-Thien Campaign and Da Nang Campaign during Spring 1975. People's Army Publishing House. 
  13. ^ Dougan, Clark; Fulgham, David (1985). The Vietnam Experience: The Fall of the South. Boston Publishing Company. ISBN 0-939526-16-6. 
  14. ^ Dougan, p. 154.
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