324th Division (Vietnam)

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324th Infantry Division
Active ~1955-present
Allegiance  Vietnam
Branch Vietnam People's Army
Type Infantry
Size Division
Part of 4th Corps
Garrison/HQ Bình Dương Province, Vietnam
Engagements Operation Hastings
Con Thien
Operation Buffalo
Operation Kingfisher
Operation Kentucky
Easter Offensive
1975 Spring Offensive
Hue-Da Nang Campaign
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Tran Quy Ha

The 324 Division (named as 324B Division during Vietnam War; the letter B implies Bắc or North Vietnam) is an infantry division of the 4th Military Region (Vietnam People's Army).

Vietnam War[edit]

In April 1966 U.S. intelligence reported that the 324B was digging in north of the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).[1]:17 On the morning of 19 May, units from the 324B attacked isolated ARVN outposts at Con Thien and Gio Linh south of the DMZ.[2] On 6 July two soldiers from Regiment 812 of the 324B Division were captured by Marines near the Rockpile, they revealed that their mission was to liberate Quảng Trị Province.[3] In response to this, the Marines launched Operation Hastings which ran from 15 July to 3 August 1966. Losses among the 324B amounted to 824 killed and 17 captured.[4]

At 04:00 on 8 May 1967 following an hour-long mortar and artillery barrage the 4th and 6th Battalions of the 812th Regiment attacked the Marine base at Con Thien. By 09:00 the Marines had repulsed the attack and the 812th Regiment withdrew leaving 197 dead and 8 prisoners.[5] On 14 May 1st Battalion 9th Marines (1/9 Marines) clearing Route 561 from Cam Lo to Con Thien were ambushed by the 6th Battalion, 812th Regiment, 28 Marines were killed and 245 wounded for the loss of 134 NVA.[6]

On 2 July the Marines launched Operation Buffalo, a sweep of the area north of Con Thien. As the 1/9 Marines moved along Route 561 in an area called the Marketplace, the 90th Regiment attacked the Marines inflicting severe casualties on Company B. This was the single worst day for Marines in Vietnam (84 killed and 190 wounded). Operation Buffalo concluded on 14 July at a cost of 159 Marines killed and 345 wounded. The 90th Regiment suffered 1290 killed.[7]

On 16 July the Marines launched Operation Kingfisher in the western part of Leatherneck Square. The operation concluded on 31 October, in a series of skirmishes and ambushes the 324B had lost 1,117 killed and 5 captured while the Marines had lost 340 killed and 1461 wounded.[8]

In early November 1967, an Arc Light strike hit the headquarters of the 812th Regiment 3 miles southwest of Con Thien.[9]

On 1 November 1967, the Marines launched Operation Kentucky as part of the continuing operations to secure the DMZ around Con Thien. The operation concluded on 28 February 1969, the 324B and 320th Division lost a total of 3839 killed and 117 captured while the Marines lost 520 killed and 2698 wounded.[10]

For the 1975 Spring Offensive, the 324B formed part of the VPA 2nd Corps with the 304th and 325C Divisions.[11]:13 As part of the Hue-Da Nang Campaign on 19 March the 324B and the 325C attacked the ARVN 1st Division and the 15th Ranger Group along Route 1 south of Huế.[12]:69. On the afternoon of 22 March the 324B pushed the 15th Rangers out of Phú Lộc cutting Route 1 and forcing the ARVN forces to withdraw back to a defensive line around Phu Bai Air Base [13] On 24 March all ARVN forces were ordered to abandon Huế and regroup in Danang, a disorganised seaborne evacuation followed and by 25 March the VPA was in control of the city.[14]

For the attack on Danang, by 26 March the 324B was located southwest of the city, the 9th Regiment of the 304th was located northwest of Danang, while the rest of the 304th and 711 Divisions encircled from the south and the 325C Division advanced from the north. By the afternoon of 29 March the 2nd Corps had penetrated the ARVN defences and entered the city which finally fell on 31 March.[15]

Post Vietnam War[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Coan, James (2004). Con Thien: The Hill of Angels. University of Alabama Press. ISBN 0-8173-1414-8. 
  2. ^ Coan, p. 39.
  3. ^ Coan, p. 17.
  4. ^ Shulimson, Jack (1982). U.S. Marines in Vietnam: An Expanding War, 1966 (Marine Corps Vietnam Operational Historical Series). Marine Corps Association. pp. 159–175. ASIN B000L34A0C. 
  5. ^ Coan, p. 65-73.
  6. ^ Coan, p. 78-81.
  7. ^ Coan, p. 112-125.
  8. ^ Telfer, Gary I. (1984). U.S. Marines in Vietnam: Fighting the North Vietnamese 1967. History and Museums Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. pp. 125–139. ISBN 978-1482538878. 
  9. ^ Coan, p. 277-8.
  10. ^ Shulimson, Jack (1997). U.S. Marines in Vietnam: 1968 The Defining Year. History and Museums Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. p. 449. ISBN 0-16-049125-8. 
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^ Dougan, Clark; Fulgham, David (1985). The Vietnam Experience: The Fall of the South. Boston Publishing Company. ISBN 0-939526-16-6. 
  13. ^ Dougan, p. 70.
  14. ^ Dougan, p. 70-4.
  15. ^ Dougan, p. 77-83-4.