Battle of Rạch Gầm-Xoài Mút

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Battle of Rạch Gầm-Xoài Mút
Part of Siamese–Vietnamese Wars
Emperor Tayson Thái-tổ.
Date January 20, 1785
Location Tiền Giang , Quangnam
Result Decisive Tây Sơn Victory
Tây Sơn Dynasty Rattanakosin Kingdom (Siam)
Nguyễn lords
Commanders and leaders
Nguyễn Huệ
Nguyễn Lữ
Trương Văn Đa
Đặng Văn Trấn
Nguyễn Ánh
Châu Văn Tiếp 
Chiêu Tăng
Chiêu Sương[nb 1]
Units involved
Tây Sơn Army Siamese Army
Siamese Navy
Nguyễn Ánh's forces
20,000 - 40,000 Siamese: 20,000 sailors and marines, 30,000 infantry[1]
300 warships[1]
3,000-4,000 Nguyễn Ánh's forces
Casualties and losses
Unknown Near annihilation[1][2][3]

The Battle of Rạch Gầm-Xoài Mút was fought between Tây-Sơn (Vietnamese) and Siamese forces in present-day Tiền Giang Province on January 20, 1785. It is considered one of the greatest victories in Vietnamese history.


In 1783 Tây-Sơn rebel forces recaptured Saigon and forced Nguyễn Ánh to flee across the river to Siam. While in exile Nguyễn Ánh wished to retake Gia Định and push the Tây-Sơn rebels out. One of Anh's generals, Chau Van Tiep, convinced the peaceful King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke of Siam to provide Nguyen Anh with support troops and a small invasion force.

In mid-1784 Nguyễn Ánh, with 20,000–50,000 Siamese troops and 300 warships,[1] moved through Cambodia, then east of Tonle Sap (Toh Lay Sap in Thai) and penetrated the recently annexed provinces of Annam. 20,000 Siamese troops reached Kiên Giang and another 30,000 landed in Chap Lap, as the Siamese advanced towards Cần Thơ. Later that year the Siamese captured the former Cambodian province of Gia Định where they committed atrocities against Việt settlers; this made some locals turn their support to Tây Sơn.[1]


The Tay Son reinforcements led by Nguyễn Huệ marched south from Quy Nhon and arrived in Cochin China territory soon after. Hue avoided a direct attack on a strong Siamese force at Sa Dec and tried to set up a trap.[1] Nguyễn Huệ, anticipating a move from the Siamese, had secretly positioned his infantry and artillery along the Mekong River (Rạch Gầm-Xoài Mút area of present-day Tiền Giang province), and on some islands in the middle, facing other troops on the northern banks with naval reinforcements on both sides of the infantry positions.[1]

On the morning of January 20, 1785 Nguyễn Huệ sent a small naval force, under a banner of truce, to offer to parley with the Siamese. After so many victories, the Siamese army and naval forces were overconfident.[3] They went to the parley unaware of the trap. Nguyễn Huệ's ships dashed into the unprepared Siamese troops, preventing their advance or retreat. In the meanwhile, Tay Son artillery opened fire.[4] The battle ended with a near annihilation of the Siamese force, at least according to Vietnamese sources reporting that all the ships of the Siamese navy were destroyed and only 2,000–3,000 of the original expedition survived to escape back across the river into Siam.[4] Nguyễn Ánh and his family members escaped and later went to Siam.[4]



  1. ^ as written in Vietnamese.
  1. ^ a b c d e f g Tucker, Spencer (1999). Vietnam. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky. p. 15. ISBN 0-8131-0966-3. 
  2. ^ Clodfelter, Michael (1995). Vietnam in Military Statistics: A History of the Indochina Wars, 1772–1991. Jefferson: McFarland & Co. p. 7. ISBN 0-7864-0027-7. 
  3. ^ a b Dutton, George Edson (2006). The Tây Sơn uprising: society and rebellion in eighteenth-century Vietnam. University of Hawaii Press. pp. 45–46. ISBN 0-8248-2984-0. 
  4. ^ a b c Tucker, p.16

Coordinates: 10°20′20″N 106°19′30″E / 10.33889°N 106.32500°E / 10.33889; 106.32500