1972 in the Vietnam War

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
1972 in the Vietnam War
← 1971
1973 →
Location Vietnam

Anti-Communist forces:

 South Vietnam
 United States
 South Korea
 New Zealand
Cambodia Khmer Republic
Laos Kingdom of Laos
 Republic of China

Communist forces:

 North Vietnam
Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam Viet Cong
Cambodia Khmer Rouge
Laos Pathet Lao
 Soviet Union

South Vietnam: 1,048,000 [1]
United States: 24,000[1]
South Korea: 36,790[1]
Thailand : 40[1]
Australia : 130[1]
Philippines: 50[1]

New Zealand: 50[1]
Casualties and losses
US: 641 killed [2]
South Vietnam: Killed

1972 in the Vietnam War saw foreign involvement in South Vietnam slowly declining. Two allies, New Zealand and Thailand, which had contributed a small military contingent, left South Vietnam this year. The United States continued to participate in combat, primarily with air power to assist the South Vietnamese army, while negotiators in Paris tried to hammer out a peace agreement and a withdrawal strategy for the United States. One American operation that was declassified years after the war was Operation Thunderhead, a secret mission that attempted to rescue POWs.



All Thai troops from the Royal Thai Army Volunteer Force leave the country.[3]

March 30 - October 22, 1972

The Easter Offensive, officially, the Nguyễn Huệ Offensive and also (Chiến dịch Xuân hè 1972 in Vietnamese) was a military campaign conducted by the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN, the regular army of North Vietnam) against the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN, the regular army of South Vietnam) and the United States.

March 30-May 1

The First Battle of Quảng Trị resulted in the first major victory for the North Vietnamese Army during the Nguyễn Huệ Offensive of 1972.


April 4–7

The Battle of Loc Ninh was a major battle fought during the North Vietnamese Easter Offensive and lasted from 4–7 April 1972. Lộc Ninh was a small district town in Bình Long Province, approximately 60 miles (97 km) north of the capital of Saigon.

April 13 – July 20

The Battle of An Lộc was a major battle that lasted for 66 days and culminated in a decisive victory for South Vietnam. In many ways, the struggle for An Lộc in 1972 was an important battle of the war, as South Vietnamese forces halted the North Vietnamese advance towards Saigon.

April 19

The Battle of Đồng Hới was a clash between United States Navy warships and three North Vietnamese air force MiG-17F fighter-bombers, several torpedo boats and shore batteries on April 19, 1972 during the Vietnam War.


May 2 – July 1

The Battle of Kontum was fought during North Vietnam's Nguyễn Huệ Campaign or the Easter Offensive.


June 3–12

Operation Thunderhead was a highly classified combat mission conducted by U.S. Navy SEAL Team One and Underwater Demolition Team (UDT)-11 in 1972. The mission was conducted off the coast of North Vietnam to rescue two U.S. airmen said to be escaping from a prisoner of war prison in Hanoi.[4]

June 28 – September 16

The Second Battle of Quảng Trị (Vietnamese: Thành cổ Quảng Trị) began on June 28 and lasted 81 days until September 16, 1972, when the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) defeated the North Vietnamese at the ancient citadel of Quảng Trị and recaptured most of the province.


December 14

All members of the New Zealand armed forces are withdrawn from South Vietnam.[5]

Year in numbers[edit]

Armed Force Strength KIA Reference Military costs - 1972 Military costs in 2015 US$ Reference
 South Vietnam ARVN 1,048,000 [1]
 United States 24,000 641 [1][2]
 South Korea 36,790 [1][6]
 Thailand 40 [1]
 Australia 130 [1]
 Philippines 50 [1]
 New Zealand 50 [1]
 North Vietnam


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Military strengths are provided via the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City as seen in Dec 2010.
  2. ^ a b United States 2010
  3. ^ Stanton 2003, p. 271
  4. ^ Luckett & Byler 2005, p. 187
  5. ^ Jessup 1998, p. 523
  6. ^ Leepson & Hannaford 1999, p. 209