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  • Fall of Saigon

    On 30 April 1975, Saigon fell to North Vietnamese forces. I remember watching the news and seeing NVA tanks crashing through the gates of the presidential palace, and helicopters landing on the roof of the US embassy to take off the last American and South Vietnamese evacuees.

  • #2
    Re: Fall of Saigon

    I vaguely recall that. I was 12 so the significance didn't hit me until much later.
    Time flies like the wind, fruit flies like bananas - go figure!

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    • #3
      Re: Fall of Saigon

      I read later that the tank smashing through the gates was missed by the photographers and cameramen, so they lifted the gates up and the tank smashed them down again, but this time the cameras captured it.

      The fall happened rather suddenly. I remember at the time the intense speculation and, indeed, expectation that the US would intervene with airstrikes to halt the Communist invasion, which happened only two years after the Paris peace agreement.

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      • #4
        Re: Fall of Saigon

        Originally posted by staffslad View Post
        I read later that the tank smashing through the gates was missed by the photographers and cameramen, so they lifted the gates up and the tank smashed them down again, but this time the cameras captured it.

        The fall happened rather suddenly. I remember at the time the intense speculation and, indeed, expectation that the US would intervene with airstrikes to halt the Communist invasion, which happened only two years after the Paris peace agreement.
        I never heard that staffslad. I recall thinking at the time of the fall of Saigon that how could a massive power such as the US be defeated by nothing more than a well organized Communist insurgency. To be fair they had Russian and Chinese mainly logistical and consultive assistance.

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        • #5
          Re: Fall of Saigon

          Not helped by the Americans not taking things seriously & being reliant on draftees rather than professional soldiers.

          I once saw a list of ways the Americans went wrong in Vietnam, which could easily be titled "how not to fight a war".
          The Trickster On The Roof

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          • #6
            Re: Fall of Saigon

            By the middle of 1973, most American and allied military personnel had been withdrawn from South Vietnam in accordance with the Paris peace accords. When the Communist North launched its invasion in 1975, all that could have been employed by the US to support South Vietnam was airpower via its bases in Thailand and via USN carriers. It is believed that President Nixon promised South Vietnam's President Thieu that the US would intervene if the NVA launched a major attack. However, by 1975, Nixon had resigned and Gerald Ford was president, and no support was forthcoming in the wake of the invasion. There is a perception that the US was up against a rag-tag bunch of poorly equipped and trained insurgents. However, CIA estimates were that the VietCong was numerically not far off the manpower strength of the US at its zenith. Add to that the large North Vietnamese Army, which supported, supplied and trained the VC. The VC was basically the NVA operating in South Vietnam.

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