Thursday, September 24, 2015

42nd Anniversary of the ARVN Victory in the Seven Mountains 1973

An ARVN (QLVNCH) outpost near the Seven Mountains, pre-1973 photo.

            Forty-two years ago this month, from July to October 1973, the 44th Special Task Force, mainly comprising the 7th Ranger Group and 4th Armored Group of the Republic of Vietnam, launched an offensive to drive out the 1st North Vietnamese Division from the Seven Mountains region ( Bảy Núi ). The Seven Mountains area is a region in An Giang Province, along the border with Cambodia. Prior to the Republic of Vietnam offensive, the area had become a growing base of operations for Communist infiltration into the republic.

A modern view of Thiên Cẩm Sơn ("Heaven's Forbidden Mountain")
the tallest of the Seven Mountains.
Map showing the location of the Seven Mountains.
            The terrain of the Seven Mountains consists of rocky slopes covered with vegetation and plains that are often prone to flooding, making the area ideal for defensive positions. Nevertheless, gradually over the summer weeks of 1973 the Republic of Vietnam forces pushed forward. By October 1973, the North Vietnamese 1st Division was virtually destroyed with many of its units down to only fractions of their former strength. Aside from battlefield casualties, the offensive cut supply lines to the Communist forces, resulting in an upsurge of disease and malnutrition among the Communist ranks. By contrast, the Republic of Vietnam casualties were significantly less.
A road leading up Thiên Cẩm Sơn, one of the Seven Mountains.
            When the Republic of Vietnam rangers supported by armor units finally cleared the Seven Mountains of Communist forces, the republic achieved a great victory, and the area became free from major Communist attacks until the end of the republic in 1975. In the aftermath of the battle, the 1st North Vietnamese division retreated into Cambodia, and due to its immense losses the unit was disbanded. The Republic of Vietnam had carried the day.
Republic of Vietnam rangers riding atop an armored unit.

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