2nd Division (South Vietnam)
|2nd Infantry Division|
2nd Division SSI
|Active||October 1955 – 1975|
|Branch||Army of the Republic of Vietnam|
|Part of||I Corps|
The 2nd Division (Vietnamese: Sư đoàn 2) was a division of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN)—the army of the nation state of South Vietnam that existed from 1955 to 1975. It was part of the I Corps that oversaw the northernmost region of South Vietnam, the centre of Vietnam.
Within six years of enlisting in the military, Tôn Thất Đính had risen to the rank of colonel and was made the inaugural commander of the newly formed 32nd Division based in Da Nang on 1 January 1955. Đính led the unit until November 1956, during which time it was renamed the 2nd Division.
On the morning of 24 March 1975, during the Hue–Da Nang Campaign of the 1975 Spring Offensive, the North Vietnamese 711th Division, backed by armoured elements, seized Tam Kỳ, driving the population north toward Da Nang by the thousands. North Vietnamese (PAVN) forces then cut Highway 1 between Quảng Ngãi and Chu Lai, a move to which the 2nd ARVN Division was too battered to respond. With Corps approval, South Vietnamese troops from Quảng Ngãi fought their way northward, but only a few managed to reach Chu Lai. In a single day the situation in I Corps had deteriorated beyond control.
With the withdrawal to the three enclaves now complete, I Corps commander Lieutenant General Ngô Quang Trưởng issued the following orders: The 1st Division and other units in the Huế area were to withdraw overland toward Da Nang while the Marine elements were to be retrieved by ship from Huế; the 2nd Division, its dependents, and the remains of the Quảng Ngãi sector forces were to withdrawn by sea to Re Island, 20 miles offshore from Chu Lai. This effort was undertaken in order for Trưởng to obey a Joint General Staff directive that he conduct the defense of Da Nang without the Marines, who were to be withdrawn to the south. The same lack of planning and hasty withdrawal along unprotected routes to meet the evacuation deadline cost the 2nd Division two-thirds of its men and most of its equipment. Only 7,000 troops and around 3,000 civilians were evacuated from Chu Lai.
- Tucker, pp. 526–33.
- Dougan and Fulghum, pp. 73–74.