People's Army of Vietnam

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People's Army of Vietnam
Quân đội Nhân dân Việt Nam
Flag of the People's Army of Vietnam.svg
Flag of Vietnam People's Army. Slogan translates as "Determined to win."
Founded22 December 1944;74 years ago (1944-12-22)
Service branches Vietnam People's Army insignia.png Ground Forces [N 1]
Vietnam People's Navy insignia.png Navy
Vietnam People's Air Force insignia.png Air Force
Vietnam Border Defense Force.png Border Defence Force
Vietnam Coast Guard.png Coast Guard
Headquarters Hanoi, Vietnam
Leadership
Commander-in-Chief and Secretary of the Central Military Commission State President and General Secretary Nguyễn Phú Trọng
Minister of Defence General Ngô Xuân Lịch
Chief of Staff Colonel General Phan Văn Giang
Manpower
Military age18–25 years old (18–27 for those who attend colleges or universities)
Conscription24 months for all able-bodied men
Active personnel482,000 [1] (ranked 9th)
Reserve personnel5,000,000 [1]
Expenditures
Budget US$ 5.5 billion (2018) [2]
Percent of GDP2.3% (2018) [2]
Industry
Domestic suppliers Viettel Mobile
Z111 Factory

Hong Ha shipbuilding company (Z173)

189 Shipbuilding Company (Z189)
Song Thu Shipbuilding Company (Z124)
Service Flight Corporation
Group 559
Related articles
History Military history of Vietnam
List of engagements
Ranks Military ranks of Vietnam
Vietnam People's Army emblem. Emblem VPA.svg
Vietnam People's Army emblem.

The People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN; Vietnamese : Quân đội Nhân dân Việt Nam), also known as the Vietnamese People's Army (VPA), is the military force of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The PAVN is a part of the Vietnam People's Armed Forces and includes: Ground Force (including Strategic Rear Forces), Navy, Air Force, Border Defence Force, and Coast Guard. However, Vietnam does not have a separate Ground Force or Army branch. All ground troops, army corps, military districts and specialised arms belong to the Ministry of Defence, directly under the command of the Central Military Commission, the Minister of Defence, and the General Staff of the Vietnam People's Army. The military flag of the PAVN is the flag of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, with the words Quyết thắng (Determination to win) added in yellow at the top left.

Vietnamese language official and national language of Vietnam

Vietnamese is an Austroasiatic language that originated in Vietnam, where it is the national and official language. Spoken natively by an estimated 76 million people, it is the native language of the Vietnamese (Kinh) people, as well as a first or second language for the many ethnic minorities of Vietnam. As a result of Vietnamese emigration and cultural influence, Vietnamese speakers are found throughout the world, notably in East and Southeast Asia, North America, Australia and Western Europe. Vietnamese has also been officially recognized as a minority language in the Czech Republic.

The Vietnam People's Armed Forces (VPAF) are the armed forces of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. It consists of 3 components: the People's Army of Vietnam which is the military forces of Vietnam, Vietnam People's Public Security which is the security forces of Vietnam and Vietnam Civil Defense Force which is the militia of Vietnam.

Vietnam Peoples Navy naval warfare branch of Vietnams military

The Vietnam People's Navy, commonly known as the Vietnamese navy or the Vietnamese People's Navy, is the naval branch of the Vietnam People's Army and is responsible for the protection of the country's national waters, islands, and interests of the maritime economy, as well as for the co-ordination of maritime police, customs service and the border defence force.

Contents

During the French Indochina War (1946–1954), the PAVN was often referred to as the Việt Minh. In the context of the Vietnam War (1955–1975), the army was referred to as the North Vietnamese Army (NVA). This allowed writers, the U.S. military, and the general public, to distinguish northern communists from the southern communists, or National Liberation Front. However, both groups ultimately worked under the same command structure. The Viet Cong was considered a branch of the VPA by the North Vietnamese. [4] In 2010 the PAVN undertook the role of leading the 1,000th Anniversary Parade in Hanoi by performing their biggest parade in history.

First Indochina War 1946-1954 war between France and Hồ Chí Minhs forces

The First Indochina War began in French Indochina on December 19, 1946, and lasted until July 20, 1954. Fighting between French forces and their Việt Minh opponents in the south dated from September 1945. The conflict pitted a range of forces, including the French Union's French Far East Expeditionary Corps, led by France and supported by Bảo Đại's Vietnamese National Army against the Việt Minh, led by Hồ Chí Minh and the People's Army of Vietnam led by Võ Nguyên Giáp. Most of the fighting took place in Tonkin in northern Vietnam, although the conflict engulfed the entire country and also extended into the neighboring French Indochina protectorates of Laos and Cambodia.

Việt Minh national independence coalition

Việt Minh was a national independence coalition formed at Pác Bó by Hồ Chí Minh on May 19, 1941. The Việt Nam Độc Lập Đồng Minh Hội had previously formed in Nanjing, China, at some point between August 1935 and early 1936 when Vietnamese nationalist parties formed an anti-imperialist united front. This organization soon lapsed into inactivity, only to be revived by the Indochinese Communist Party (ICP) and Hồ Chí Minh in 1941. The Việt Minh established itself as the only organized anti-French and anti-Japanese resistance group.. The Việt Minh initially formed to seek independence for Vietnam from the French Empire. The United States supported France. When the Japanese occupation began, the Việt Minh opposed Japan with support from the United States and the Republic of China. After World War II, the Việt Minh opposed the re-occupation of Vietnam by France and later opposed South Vietnam and the United States in the Vietnam War. The political leader and founder of Việt Minh was Hồ Chí Minh. The military leadership was under the command of Võ Nguyên Giáp. Other founders were Lê Duẩn and Phạm Văn Đồng.

Vietnam War 1955–1975 conflict in Vietnam

The Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indochina War, and in Vietnam as the Resistance War Against America or simply the American War, was a conflict in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. It was the second of the Indochina Wars and was officially fought between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. North Vietnam was supported by the Soviet Union, China, and other communist allies; South Vietnam was supported by the United States, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Thailand and other anti-communist allies. The war, considered a Cold War-era proxy war by some, lasted 19 years, with direct U.S. involvement ending in 1973, and included the Laotian Civil War and the Cambodian Civil War, resulting in all three countries becoming communist in 1975.

History

Before 1945

The first historical record of Vietnamese military history dates back on the era of Hồng Bàng, the first recorded state in ancient Vietnam to have assembled military force. Since then, military plays a crucial role on developing Vietnamese history due to its turbulent history of wars against China, Champa, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.

Champa realm

Champa or Tsiompa was a collection of independent Cham polities that extended across the coast of what is today central and southern Vietnam from approximately the 2nd century AD before being absorbed and annexed by Vietnamese Emperor Minh Mạng in AD 1832. The kingdom was known variously as nagara Campa in the Chamic and Cambodian inscriptions, Chăm Pa in Vietnamese and 占城 (Zhànchéng) in Chinese records.

The Southern expansion of Vietnam resulted with the destruction of Champa as an independent nation to a level that it didn't exist anymore; total destruction of Luang Prabang; the decline of Cambodia which resulted to Vietnam's annexation of Mekong Delta and wars against Siam. In most of its history, the Royal Vietnamese Armed Forces was often regarded to be one of the most professional, battle-hardened and heavily trained armies in Southeast Asia as well as Asia in a large extent.

Nam tiến Vietnamese conquests of Southward territory

Nam tiến refers to the southward expansion of the territory of Vietnam from the 11th century to the mid-18th century. The territory of Vietnam was gradually expanded to the south from its original heartland in the Red River Delta. In a span of some 700 years, Vietnam tripled its territory in size and more-or-less acquired its elongated shape of today.

Luang Prabang District & municipality in Louangphabang Province, Laos

Louangphabang, or Luang Phabang, commonly transliterated into Western languages from the pre-1975 Lao spelling ຫຼວງພຣະບາງ as Luang Prabang, literally meaning "Royal Buddha Image", is a city in north central Laos, consisting of 58 adjacent villages, of which 33 comprise the UNESCO Town Of Luang Prabang World Heritage Site. It was listed in 1995 for unique and "remarkably" well preserved architectural, religious and cultural heritage, a blend of the rural and urban developments over several centuries, including the French colonial influences during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Mekong Delta Region in Vietnam

The Mekong Delta, also known as the Western Region or the South-western region is the region in southwestern Vietnam where the Mekong River approaches and empties into the sea through a network of distributaries. The Mekong delta region encompasses a large portion of southwestern Vietnam of over 40,500 square kilometres (15,600 sq mi). The size of the area covered by water depends on the season. Before 1975, Mekong Delta is part of Republic of Vietnam. Mekong Delta is home of the IV Corps region during Vietnam War. IV Corps is the only corps in South Vietnam that VC didn't attack significantly until the last President Duong Van Minh surrendered to North Vietnam.

Establishment

General Vo Nguyen Giap on the date of the PAVN's establishment in 1944. Chief of General Staff Hoang Van Thai wearing a pith helmet and holding the flag. Vietnam People's Army date establishment.gif
General Võ Nguyên Giáp on the date of the PAVN's establishment in 1944. Chief of General Staff Hoàng Văn Thái wearing a pith helmet and holding the flag.
Vietnam General Staff in First Indochina War and Vietnam War, from left: Prime Minister Pham Van Dong, President Ho Chi Minh, General Secretary Truong Chinh and General Vo Nguyen Giap General Staff in Battle of Dien Bien Phu.jpeg
Vietnam General Staff in First Indochina War and Vietnam War, from left: Prime Minister Phạm Văn Đồng, President Ho Chi Minh, General Secretary Trường Chinh and General Võ Nguyên Giáp

The PAVN was first conceived in September 1944 at the first Revolutionary Party Military Conference as "armed propaganda brigades" to educate, recruit and mobilise the Vietnamese to create a main force to drive the French colonial and Japanese occupiers from Vietnam. [5] Under the guidelines of Hồ Chí Minh, Võ Nguyên Giáp was given the task of establishing the brigades and the Armed Propaganda Unit for National Liberation came into existence on 22 December 1944. The first formation was made up of thirty one men and three women, armed with two revolvers, seventeen rifles, one light machine gun, and fourteen breech-loading flintlocks. [6] The United States' OSS agents, led by Archimedes Patti – who was sometimes referred as the founding father of the PAVN due to his role, had provided ammunitions as well as logistic intelligence and equipments and they had also helped training these soldiers which was later become the vital backbone of the later Vietnamese military to fight the Japanese occupiers as well as the future wars.

French Indochina in World War II

In the northern-hemisphere summer of 1940 Germany rapidly defeated the French Third Republic, and colonial administration of French Indochina passed to the French State. In September 1940 Japanese troops first entered parts of Indochina; and in July 1941 Japan extended its control over the whole of French Indochina. The United States, concerned by Japanese expansion, started putting embargoes on exports of steel and oil to Japan from July 1940. The desire to escape these embargoes and to become self-sufficient in resources ultimately contributed to Japan's decision to attack on December 7, 1941 the British Empire and simultaneously the USA and at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii). This led to the USA declaring war against Japan on December 8, 1941. The US then joined the British Empire, already at war with Germany since 1939, and its existing allies in the fight against the Axis powers.

Ho Chi Minh 20th-century Vietnamese communist leader

Hồ Chí Minh, born Nguyễn Sinh Cung, also known as Nguyễn Tất Thành,Nguyễn Ái Quốc, Bác Hồ or simply Bác ("Uncle"), was a Vietnamese revolutionary and politician. He served as Prime Minister of North Vietnam from 1945 to 1955 and then its President from 1945 to 1969. Ideologically a Marxist-Leninist, he served as Chairman and First Secretary of the Workers' Party of Vietnam.

Võ Nguyên Giáp North Vietnamese commander

Võ Nguyên Giáp was a general in the Vietnam People's Army and a politician. Võ Nguyên Giáp is considered one of the greatest military strategists of the 20th century. He first grew to prominence during World War II, where he served as the military leader of the Viet Minh resistance against the Japanese occupation of Vietnam. Giáp was a crucial military commander in two wars: the First Indochina War of 1946–1954, and the Vietnam War of 1955–1975, participating in several historically significant battles: Lạng Sơn in 1950, Hòa Bình in 1951–1952, Điện Biên Phủ in 1954, the Tết Offensive in 1968, the Easter Offensive in 1972, and the final Ho Chi Minh Campaign of 1975.

The group was renamed the "Vietnam Liberation Army" in May 1945. [7] In September, the army was again renamed the "Vietnam National Defence Army". [7] At this point, it had about 1,000 soldiers. [7] In 1950, it officially became the People's Army of Vietnam.

Võ Nguyên Giáp went on to become the first full general of the VPA on 28 May 1948, and famous for leading the PAVN in victory over French forces at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954 and being in overall command against U.S. backed South Vietnam at the Fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975.

French Indochina War

On 7 January 1947, its first regiment, the 102nd 'Capital' Regiment, was created for operations around Hanoi. [8] Over the next two years, the first division, the 308th Division, later well known as the Pioneer Division, was formed from the 88th Tu Vu Regiment and the 102nd Capital Regiment. By late 1950 the 308th Division had a full three infantry regiments, when it was supplemented by the 36th Regiment. At that time, the 308th Division was also backed by the 11th Battalion that later became the main force of the 312th Division. In late 1951, after launching three campaigns against three French strongpoints in the Red River Delta, the PAVN refocused on building up its ground forces further, with five new divisions, each of 10–15,000 men, created: the 304th Glory Division at Thanh Hóa, the 312th Victory Division in Vinh Phuc, the 316th Bong Lau Division in the northwest border region, the 320th Delta Division in the north Red River Delta, the 325th Binh Tri Thien Division in Binh Tri Thien province. Also in 1951, the first artillery Division, the 351st Division was formed, and later, before Battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954, for the first time in history, it was equipped by 24 captured 105mm US howitzers supplied by the Chinese People's Liberation Army. The first six divisions (308th, 304th, 312th, 316th, 320th, 325th) became known as the original PAVN 'Steel and Iron' divisions. In 1954 four of these divisions (the 308th, 304th, 312nd, 316th, supported by the 351st Division's captured US howitzers) defeated the French Union forces at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, ending 83 years of French rule in Indochina.

Vietnam War

Vietnamese troops in Vietnam War, 1967 Pavnattack.jpg
Vietnamese troops in Vietnam War, 1967

Soon after the 1954 Geneva Accords, the 330th and 338th Divisions were formed by southern Vietminh members who had moved north in conformity with that agreement, and by 1955, six more divisions were formed: the 328th, 332nd, and 350th in the north of the DRV, the 305th and the 324th near the DMZ, and the 335 Division of soldiers repatriated from Laos. In 1957, the theatres of the war with the French were reorganised as the first five military regions, and in the next two years, several divisions were reduced to brigade size to meet the manpower requirements of collective farms.

By 1958 it was becoming increasingly clear that the South Vietnamese government was solidifying its position as an independent republic under Ngô Đình Diệm who staunchly opposed the terms of the Geneva Accord that required a national referendum on unification of north and south Vietnam under a single national government, and North Vietnam prepared to settle the issue of unification by force.

Infiltrators on the move in Laos down the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Nvamarch2.jpg
Infiltrators on the move in Laos down the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

In May 1959 the first major steps to prepare infiltration routes into South Vietnam were taken; Group 559 was established, a logistical unit charged with establishing routes into the south via Laos and Cambodia, which later became famous as the Ho Chi Minh trail. At about the same time, Group 579 was created as its maritime counterpart to transport supplies into the South by sea. Most of the early infiltrators were members of the 338th Division, former southerners who had been settled at Xuan Mai from 1954 onwards. Regular formations were sent to Southern Vietnam from 1965 onwards; the 325th Division's 101B Regiment and the 66th Regiment of the 304th Division met US forces on a large scale, a first for the PAVN, at the Battle of Ia Drang Valley in November 1965. The 308th Division's 88A Regiment, the 312th Division's 141A, 141B, 165A, 209A, the 316th Division's 174A, the 325th Division's 95A, 95B, the 320A Division also faced the US forces which included the 1st Cavalry Division, the 101st Airborne Division, the 173d Airborne Brigade, the 4th Infantry Division, the 1st Infantry Division, and the 25th Infantry Division. Many of those formations later became main forces of the 3rd Division (Yellow Star Division) in Binh Dinh (1965), the 5th Division (1966) of 7th Military Zone (Capital Tactical Area of ARVN), the 7th (created by 141st and 209th Regiments originated in the 312th Division in 1966) and 9th Divisions (first Division of National Liberation Front of Vietnam in 1965 in Mekong Delta), the 10th Dakto Division in Dakto – Highland in 1972 south of Vietnam.

General Trần Văn Trà one-time commander of the B2 Front (Saigon) HQ confirms that even though the PAVN and the NLFV were confident in their ability to defeat the regular ARVN forces, US intervention in Vietnam forced them to reconsider their operations. The decision was made to continue to pursue "main force" engagements even though "there were others in the South – they were not military people – who wanted to go back to guerrilla war," but the strategic aims were adjusted to meet the new reality.

We had to change our plan and make it different from when we fought the Saigon regime, because we now had to fight two adversaries — the United States and South Vietnam. We understood that the U.S. Army was superior to our own logistically, in weapons and in all things. So strategically we did not hope to defeat the U.S. Army completely. Our intentions were to fight a long time and cause heavy casualties to the United States, so the United States would see that the war was unwinnable and would leave. [9]

Captured photo shows VC crossing a river in 1966. Viet Cong002.jpg
Captured photo shows VC crossing a river in 1966.

During the Vietnamese Lunar New Year Tết holiday starting on 30 January 1968, the PAVN launched a general offensive in more than 60 cities and towns throughout south of Vietnam against the US Army and Army of the Republic of Vietnam-(ARVN), beginning with operations in the border region to try and draw US forces and ARVN troops out of the major cities. In sequential coordinated attacks, the U.S Embassy in Saigon, Presidential Palace, Headquarters of ARVN and ARVN's Navy, TV and Radio Stations, Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Saigon were attacked and invaded by commando forces known as "Dac Cong".

This offensive became known as the "Tet Offensive".

The offensives caught the world's attention day-by-day and demoralised the US public and military, both at home and abroad. The PAVN sustained heavy losses of its main forces in southern military zones. Some of its regular forces and command structure had to escape to Laos and Cambodia to avoid counterattacks from US forces and ARVN, while local guerrillas forces and political organisations in South Vietnam were exposed and had a hard time remaining within the Mekong Delta area due to the extensive use of the Phoenix Program and were never restored.

Although the PAVN lost militarily to the US forces and ARVN in the south, the political impact of the war in the United States was strong. [10] Public demonstrations increased in ferocity and quantity after the Tet Offensive. Onwards from 1970, the 5th, 7th, and 9th divisions had fought in Cambodia against US forces, ARVN, and Cambodian Prime Minister Lon Nol's troops but they had gained new allies: the Khmer Rouge and guerrilla fighters supporting deposed Prime Minister Sihanouk. In 1975 the PAVN were successful in aiding the Khmer Rouge in toppling the Lon Nol's US-backed regime, despite heavy US bombing.

After the withdrawal of most United States' combat forces from Indochina because of the Vietnamization strategy, the PAVN launched the ill-fated Easter Offensive in 1972. Although successful at the beginning, the South Vietnamese repulsed the main assaults with U.S. air support. Still North Vietnam gained significant territories.

Nearly two years after the full United States' withdrawal from Indochina in accord with the terms of the 1973 Paris Peace Accords, the PAVN launched a Spring Offensive aimed at uniting Vietnam. Without direct support of its US ally, and suffering from stresses caused by dwindling aid, the ARVN was ill-prepared to confront the highly motivated PAVN, and despite numerical superiority of the ARVN in tactical aircraft, armoured vehicles and overwhelming three to one odds in regular troops, the PAVN quickly secured victory within two months and captured Saigon on 30 April 1975, effectively ending the 70 years of conflict stemming from French colonial invasion of the 19th century and unifying Vietnam.

Sino-Vietnamese conflicts (1975–1990)

Towards the second half of the 20th century the armed forces of Vietnam would participate in organised incursions to protect its citizens and allies against aggressive military factions in the neighbouring Indochinese countries of Laos and Cambodia, and the defensive border wars with China.

Both in Cambodia and in Laos, the heavily armed and battle-hardened People's Army of Vietnam were a valuable ally to the Pathet Lao and the Khmer Rouge forces, providing economic and military aid, also with new weapons, technologies and intelligence. Some claimed that just like the US Army's relationship with the ARVN, Kingdom of Laos and the Khmer Republic, the PAVN was the real power standing behind them and played key roles in bringing both the Khmer Rouge and Pathet Lao to power. When Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge began the Cambodian genocide, targeting Vietnamese as well, it was instrumental in toppling his regime.

Modern deployment

The PAVN has been actively involved in Vietnam's workforce to develop the economy of Vietnam, to co-ordinate national defence and the economy, as for the result of its long-relationship of Vietnamese economic development within military history. The PAVN has regularly sent troops to aid with natural disasters such as flooding, landslides etc. The PAVN is also involved in such areas as industry, agriculture, forestry, fishery and telecommunications. The PAVN has numerous small firms which have become quite profitable in recent years. However, recent decrees have effectively prohibited the commercialisation of the military. Conscription is in place for every male, age 18 to 25 years old, though females can volunteer to join.

International presence

The Foreign Relations Department of the Ministry of National Defence organises international operations of the PAVN.

Apart from its occupation of half of the disputed Spratly Islands, which have been claimed as Vietnamese territory since the 17th century, Vietnam has not officially had forces stationed internationally since its withdrawal from Cambodia and Laos in early 1990.

The Center for Public Policy Analysis and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as well as Laotian and Hmong human rights organisations, including the Lao Human Rights Council, Inc. and the United League for Democracy in Laos, Inc., have provided evidence that since the end of the Vietnam War, significant numbers of Vietnamese military and security forces continue to be sent to Laos, on a repeated basis, to quell and suppress Laotian political and religious dissident and opposition groups including the peaceful 1999 Lao Students for Democracy protest in Vientiane in 1999 and the Hmong rebellion. [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] Rudolph Rummel has estimated that 100,000 Hmong perished in genocide between 1975 and 1980 in collaboration with PAVN. [24] For example, in late November 2009, shortly before the start of the 2009 Southeast Asian Games in Vientiane, the PAVN undertook a major troop surge in key rural and mountainous provinces in Laos where Lao and Hmong civilians and religious believers, including Christians, have sought sanctuary. [25] [26]

In 2014, Vietnam had requested to join the United Nations peacekeeping force, which was later approved. The first Vietnamese UN peacekeeping officers were sent to South Sudan, marked the first involvement of Vietnam into a United Nations' mission abroad.

Organisation

PAVN's structure Vietnam People's Army structure.jpg
PAVN's structure

The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces is the President of Vietnam, though this position is nominal and real power is assumed by the Central Military Commission of the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam. The secretary of Central Military Commission (usually the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam) is the de facto Commander and now is Nguyễn Phú Trọng.

The Minister of National Defence oversees operations of the Ministry of Defence, and the PAVN. He also oversees such agencies as the General Staff and the General Logistics Department. However, military policy is ultimately directed by the Central Military Commission of the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam.

Insignia of the General Staff Vietnam People's Army General Staff insignia.jpg
Insignia of the General Staff

Service branches

The Vietnamese People's Army is subdivided into the following service branches:

The People's Army of Vietnam is a "triple armed force" composed of the Main Force, the Local Force and the Border Force. As with most countries' armed forces, the PAVN consists of standing, or regular, forces as well as reserve forces. During peacetime, the standing forces are minimised in number, and kept combat-ready by regular physical and weapons training, and stock maintenance.

Vietnam People's Ground Forces

Within PAVN the Ground Forces have not been established as a full Service Command, thus all of the ground troops, army corps, military districts, specialised arms belong to the Ministry of Defence, under the direct command of the General Staff. The Vietnam Strategic Rear Forces (Lực lượng dự bị chiến lược) is also a part of the Ground Forces. The VPGF is widely regarded as probably one of the best armies in Southeast Asia, and also one of the most prominent armies in Asia.

Structure

InfantryArmourArtillerySpecial Operation ForceMotorized InfantryEngineerMedical CorpsSignal
Vietnam People's Army Officer.jpg
Vietnam People's Army Tank and Armored.jpg
Vietnam People's Army Artillery.jpg
Vietnam People's Army Commado.jpg
Vietnam People's Army Armored Infantry.jpg
Vietnam People's Army Engineers.jpg
Vietnam People's Army Medical Corps.jpg
Vietnam People's Army Information.jpg
TransportTechnologyChemicalOrdnanceMilitary CourtEnsembleMilitary AthletesMilitary Bands
Vietnam People's Army Driving.jpg
Vietnam People's Army Technology.jpg
Vietnam People's Army Chemistry.jpg
Vietnam People's Army Ordnance.jpg
Vietnam People's Army Military Court.jpg
Vietnam People's Army Ensemble.jpg
Vietnam People's Army Military Sport.jpg
Vietnam People's Army Military Band.jpg

Military regions

The following military regions are under the direct control of the General Staff and the Ministry of Defence:

Vietnam Map with eight Military Districts and four Corps Vietnam Military Regions.jpg
Vietnam Map with eight Military Districts and four Corps
PAVN soldiers during a parade in 2015. Duyet binh.jpg
PAVN soldiers during a parade in 2015.
Vietnam self-produced Scud-B tactical ballistic missiles Scud-launcher-scotland1.jpg
Vietnam self-produced Scud-B tactical ballistic missiles

Main force

Vietnam People's Army
Emblem VPA.svg
Flag of the People's Army of Vietnam.svg
Ministry of Defence
Command
Vietnam People's Army General Staff insignia.jpg General Staff
Services
Vietnam People's Army insignia.png Ground Force
Vietnam People's Air Force insignia.png Air Force
Vietnam People's Navy insignia.png Navy
Vietnam Border Defense Force insignia.jpg Border Guard
Vietnam Marine Police insignia.jpg Coast Guard
Ranks of the Vietnamese Military
Ground Force ranks and insignia
Air Force ranks and insignia
Navy ranks and insignia
Border Guard ranks and insignia
Coast Guard ranks and insignia
History of the Vietnamese Military
History of Vietnamese military ranks
Military history of Vietnam
PAVN military vehicles roundel. People's Army of Vietnam military vehicles roundel.svg
PAVN military vehicles roundel.
PAVN reconnaissance troops in 2015. Duyet binh-012.jpg
PAVN reconnaissance troops in 2015.

The Main Force of the PAVN consists of combat ready troops, as well as support units such as educational institutions for logistics, officer training, and technical training. In 1991, Conboy et al. stated that the PAVN Ground Force had four 'Strategic Army Corps' in the early 1990s, numbering 1–4, from north to south. [28] 1st Corps, located in the Red River Delta region, consisted of the 308th (one of the six original 'Steel and Iron' divisions) and 312th Divisions, and the 309th Infantry Regiment. The other three corps, 2 SAC, 3 SAC, and 4 SAC, were further south, with 4th Corps, in Southern Vietnam, consisting of two former PLAF divisions, the 7th and 9th.

From 2014 to 2016, the IISS Military Balance attributed the Vietnamese ground forces with an estimated 412,000 personnel. Formations, according to the IISS, include 8 military regions, 4 corps headquarters, 1 special forces airborne brigade, 6 armoured brigades and 3 armoured regiments, two mechanised infantry divisions, and 23 active infantry divisions plus another 9 reserve ones.

Combat support formations include 13 artillery brigades and one artillery regiment, 11 air defence brigades, 10 engineers brigades, 1 electronic warfare unit, 3 signals brigades and 2 signals regiment.

Combat service support formations include 9 economic construction divisions, 1 logistical regiment, 1 medical unit and 1 training regiment. Ross wrote in 1984 that economic construction division "are composed of regular troops that are fully trained and armed, and reportedly they are surbordinate to their own directorate in the Ministry of Defense. They have specific military missions; however, they are also entrusted with economic tasks such as food production or construction work. They are composed partially of older veterans." [29] Ross also cited 1980s sources saying that economic construction divisions each had a strength of about 3,500.

In 2017, the listing was amended, with the addition of a single Short-range ballistic missile brigade. The ground forces according to the IISS, hold Scud-B/C SRBMs. [30]

1st Corps – Binh đoàn Quyết thắng (Corps of Determined Victory):

First organised on 24 October 1973 during the Vietnam War, the 1st Corps had a major role in the Ho Chi Minh Campaign that ended the war. It is stationed in Tam Điệp District, Ninh Bình. The combat forces of the corps include:

2nd Corps – Binh đoàn Hương Giang (Corps of the Perfume River):

First organised on 17 May 1974 during the Vietnam War, the 2nd Corps had a major role in the Ho Chi Minh Campaign that ended the war. Stationed in Lạng Giang District, Bắc Giang. The combat forces of the corps include:

Vietnamese troops on Spratly Island Quan doi duyet binh o Truong Sa.JPG
Vietnamese troops on Spratly Island

3rd Corps – Binh đoàn Tây Nguyên (Corps of the Central Highlands):

First organised on 26 March 1975 during the Vietnam War, 3rd Corps had a major role in the Ho Chi Minh Campaign and the Cambodian–Vietnamese War. Stationed in Pleiku, Gia Lai. The combat forces of the corps include:

  • 10th Infantry Division
  • 31st Infantry Division
  • 320th Infantry Division
  • 312th Air Defence Regiment
  • 273rd Tank Regiment
  • 675th Artillery Regiment
  • 198th Commando Regiment
  • 29th Signal Regiment
  • 545th Engineer Regiment

4th Corps – Binh đoàn Cửu Long (Corps of the Mekong):

First organised 20 July 1974 during the Vietnam War, 4th Corps had a major role in the Ho Chi Minh Campaign and the Cambodian–Vietnamese War. Stationed in Dĩ An, Bình Dương. The combat forces of the corps include:

Local forces

Local forces are an entity of the PAVN that, together with the militia and "self-defence forces," act on the local level in protection of people and local authorities. While the local forces are regular VPA forces, the people's militia consists of rural civilians, and the people's self-defence forces consist of civilians who live in urban areas and/or work in large groups, such as at construction sites or farms. The current number stands at 3–4 million part-time soldiers.

Vietnam People's Navy

Vietnam People's Air Force

Vietnam Border Defence Force

Vietnam Coast Guard

As mentioned above, reserves exist in all branches and are organised in the same way as the standing forces, with the same chain of command, and with officers and non-commissioned officers. It is modeled after the United States Coast Guard with some Vietnamese characteristics.

Ranks and insignia

Equipment

BM-21 launch vehicle (Russian: BM-21 "Grad"), (Grad) a Soviet truck-mounted 122 mm multiple rocket launcher. Russian BM-21 Grad in Saint Petersburg.JPG
BM-21 launch vehicle (Russian: БМ-21 "Град"), (Grad) a Soviet truck-mounted 122 mm multiple rocket launcher.

From the 1960s to 1975, the Soviet Union, along with some smaller Eastern Bloc countries, was the main supplier of military hardware to North Vietnam. After the latter's victory in the war, it remained the main supplier of equipment to Vietnam. The United States had been the primary supplier of equipment to South Vietnam; much of the equipment abandoned by the US Army and Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) came under control of the re-unified Vietnamese government. The PAVN captured large numbers of ARVN weapons on 30 April 1975 after Saigon was captured.

Now, Russia remains as the biggest arms-supplier for Vietnam, even after 1986, there are also increasing arms sales from other nations, notably from India, Turkey, Israel, Japan, South Korea and France. In 2016, President Barack Obama announced the lift of the lethal weapons embargo on Vietnam, which has increased Vietnamese military equipment choices from other countries such as the United States, United Kingdom and the other Western countries as well, which could enable a faster modernization of the Vietnamese military.

Notes

Footnotes

  1. In the Vietnam People's Army, the Ground Force hasn't been established as an independent Command, all of the ground forces, army corps, specialised arms belong to the Ministry of Defence (Vietnam), under directly command of General Staff (Vietnam People's Army).

Citations

  1. 1 2 International Institute for Strategic Studies (3 February 2014). The Military Balance 2014. London: Routledge. pp. 287–289. ISBN   9781857437225.
  2. 1 2 "Military expenditure by country, in constant (2017) US$ m., 1988-2018" (PDF). Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. 2019. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
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  4. Military History Institute of Vietnam,(2002) Victory in Vietnam: The Official History of the People's Army of Vietnam, 1954–1975, translated by Merle L. Pribbenow. University Press of Kansas. p. 68. ISBN   0-7006-1175-4.
  5. Leulliot, Nowfel. "Viet Minh". free.fr. Archived from the original on 5 November 2016. Retrieved 11 October 2016.Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  6. Macdonald, Peter (1993). Giap: The Victor in Vietnam, pp. 32
  7. 1 2 3 Early Day: The Development of the Viet Minh Military Machine Archived 22 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine "
  8. Conboy, Bowra, and McCouaig, The NVA and Vietcong, Osprey Publishing, 1991, p.5
  9. "Interview with PAVN General Tran Van Tra". 12 June 2006. Archived from the original on 6 January 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2013.Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  10. "Political lessons – The Vietnam War and Its Impact". Americanforeignrelations.com. Archived from the original on 25 March 2012. Retrieved 13 November 2011.Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  11. Christopher Robbins, The Ravens: Pilots of the Secret War in Laos. Asia Books 2000.
  12. David P. Chandler, A history of Cambodia, Westview Press; Allen & Unwin, Boulder, Sydney, 1992
  13. Centre for Public Policy Analysis Archived 6 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine , (CPPA),(30 August 2013), Washington, D.C.
  14. The Hmong Rebellion in Laos: Victims of Totalitarianism or terrorists? Archived 14 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine , by Gary Yia Lee, PhD
  15. "Vietnamese soldiers attack Hmong in Laos". Factfinding.org. Archived from the original on 3 October 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2011.Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  16. "Joint-Military Co-operation continues between Laos and Vietnam". Factfinding.org. Archived from the original on 3 October 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2011.Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  17. "Combine Military Effort of Laos and Vietnam". Factfinding.org. Archived from the original on 3 October 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2011.Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  18. "Vietnam, Laos: Military Offensive Launched At Hmong". Rushprnews.com. Archived from the original on 28 November 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2011.Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  19. "Laos, Vietnam: Attacks Against Hmong Civilians Mount". www.cppa-dc.org/id41.html. 20 May 2008.[ dead link ]
  20. "Laos, Vietnam: New Campaign to Exterminate Hmong". Prlog.org. Archived from the original on 30 August 2012. Retrieved 13 November 2011.Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  21. "President Obama Urged To Address Laos, Hmong Crisis During Asia Trip, Student Protests in Vientiane". Pr-inside.com. Archived from the original on 21 September 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2011.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  22. "Hmong: Vietnam VPA, LPA Troops Attack Christians Villagers in Laos". Unpo.org. 26 January 2010. Archived from the original on 7 July 2010. Retrieved 13 November 2011.Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  23. "Laos, Vietnam Peoples Army Unleashes Helicopter Gunship Attacks on Laotian and Hmong Civilians, Christian Believers". Nickihawj.blogspot.com. 11 February 2010. Archived from the original on 28 November 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2011.Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  24. Statistics of Democide Archived 4 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine Rudolph Rummel
  25. "Vietnam, Laos Crackdown: SEA Games Avoided By Overseas Lao, Hmong in Protest". Onlineprnews.com. 7 December 2009. Archived from the original on 6 October 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2011.Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  26. Media-Newswire.com – Press Release Distribution (26 November 2009). "SEA Game Attacks: Vietnam, Laos Military Kill 23 Lao Hmong Christians on Thanksgiving". Media-newswire.com. Archived from the original on 28 November 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2011.Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  27. "Worldwide Ballistic Missile Inventories – Arms Control Association". armscontrol.org. Archived from the original on 2 October 2011. Retrieved 11 October 2016.Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  28. See also "Modern Military of Vietnam". Defence Talk. Archived from the original on 29 April 2009. Retrieved 12 October 2016.Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  29. Russel R. Ross, 'Military Force Development in Vietnam," Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, 1984, 17.
  30. IISS Military Balance 2017, 338–9.

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References