Trần Văn Trà

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In this Vietnamese name, the family name is Tran. According to Vietnamese custom, this person should properly be referred to by the given name Tra.
Trần Văn Trà
Tran Van Tra 1973.jpg
Tran Van Tra in 1973
Nickname(s) Tư Chi
Born 1918
Quảng Ngãi Province, French Indochina
Died April 20, 1996 (age 78)
Hanoi, Vietnam
Allegiance North Vietnam North Vietnam
Service/branch Vietnam People's Army of Vietnam
Rank Colonel General
Commands held Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam Commander of the Liberation Army (Vietcong)
Battles/wars First Indochina War
Vietnam War
Tet Offensive
Easter Offensive
Ho Chi Minh Campaign
Awards Resolution for Victory Order[1]

Nguyễn Chấn, known as Trần Văn Trà (1918 – April 20, 1996) was a Vietnamese general.[2][3] He was a commander in the Vietcong; a member of the Central Committee of the Lao Dong Party (North Vietnamese communist party) from 1960 to 1982; a lieutenant general in the army of the North Vietnam; chairman of Military Affairs Committee of the Central Office of South Vietnam (COSVN) (1964–1976).

Life[edit]

The son of a bricklayer, Nguyễn Chấn was born in Quảng Ngãi Province in 1918.[4] He joined the Indochinese Communist Party in 1938 and spent the years of the Second World War in a French prison. Between 1946 and 1954, Tra fought against the French in the Vietnam People's Army and became a general in 1961, commanding communist forces in the southern half of South Vietnam. During the days of Indochina war with the French, the Viet Minh recruited more than 600 defeated Japanese soldiers to fight with them.

In June, 1946, some of these Japanese followers became instructors in a military school set up by the Viet Minh in Quang Ngai Province, Tra's birthplace, to teach fighting skills to more than 400 Vietnamese trainees. It is not known if Tra may have been one of the organizers or attendees at this military training school.

He was Commander of 7th Military Region (1949-1950) and Vice Commander of Cochinchina (1951-1954).

During the Vietnam War against the Americans and South Vietnamese, he led the attack on Saigon during the Tet Offensive of 1968 and commanded the B-2 Front during the Easter Offensive.

During a 1974 meeting of North Vietnamese military leaders in Hanoi, Tra argued against a conservative strategy during the coming year and suggested that South Vietnam's Phước Long Province be attacked in order to test both South Vietnamese and American military reaction. The attack was successful and the U.S. did not respond militarily, prompting larger, more aggressive communist operations. In April 1975, Tra became deputy commander of the A75 headquarters under Senior General Văn Tiến Dũng during the Ho Chi Minh Campaign, the final assault on Saigon which led to the capitulation of the South Vietnamese government. He was vice minister of defense from 1978 to 1982.

In 1982, Tra published Vietnam: A History of the Bulwark B-2 Theater, which revealed how the Hanoi Politburo had overestimated its own military capabilities and underestimated those of the U.S. and South Vietnam prior to and during the Tet Offensive. This account offended and embarrassed the leaders of the newly unified Socialist Republic of Vietnam and ultimately led to his purging from the party. He lived under house arrest[citation needed] until his death on April 20, 1996.

References[edit]

  1. ^ NVA and/or VC Awards
  2. ^ Ronald B. Frankum Jr. Historical Dictionary of the War in Vietnam, 2011 p.460-461
  3. ^ Bruce M. Lockhart, William J. Duiker The A to Z of Vietnam, 2010, p.384.
  4. ^ Spencer C. Tucker The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War: A Political, Social, and Military History. Oxford University Press, USA (November 1, 2001) p175 "Trần Văn Trà", also 2011 - Page 1140 "Trần Văn Trà, whose true name was Nguyễn Chấn, was born to middle-class parents in 1918 in Quang Ngai, ..."