Nguyễn Hữu An

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Nguyễn Hữu An
Born October 1, 1926
Truong Yen Commune, Gia Vien District (Hoa Lu), Ninh Binh Province
Died April 9, 1995 (aged 68)
Allegiance Flag of Vietnam.svg Vietnam
Service/branch Flag of Vietnam.svg Vietnam People's Army
Years of service 1945–1995
Rank Colonel General
Unit Battalion 251
Regiment 174
Division 1
308th Division
2nd Corps
Commands held Vietnam People's Army
Battles/wars First Indochina War
Vietnam War
Awards Independence Order
Military Exploits Orders
Liberation Military Exploits Order
Victory Order

Nguyễn Hữu An (October 1, 1926 – April 9, 1995) was a general in the Vietnamese People's Army. Nguyễn was portrayed by actor Đơn Dương in the 2002 film We Were Soldiers.


Nguyễn Hữu An was born in the Truong Yen Commune of the Hoa Lư District, Ninh Binh, Vietnam. He joined the People's Army of Vietnam in September 1945.

In the First Indochina War, An took part in several decisive battles. He participated in the battles of Bong Lau Pass and Lung Phay in 1949. The following year he took part in the Border Campaign, he was commander of Battalion 251- a battalion of Regiment 174 (CAA Bac Lang) at the Battle of Dong Khe. He successively held titles of battalion commander, regiment deputy commander participating in actions at Binh Lieu, Vĩnh Phúc, and Moc Chau. In the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, he commanded Regiment 174 of the 316th Division, and three times attacked Hill A1 (Éliane 2). On 7 May 1954 Regiment 174 finally overcame French defences on A1 and this marked one of the final actions in the battle.

In the Vietnam War (aka "The American War")[edit]

In the Vietnam War, An commanded North Vietnamese forces in the Battle of Ia Drang. In 1974 he was promoted to Major General.

Ho Chi Minh Campaign[edit]

In the 1975 Spring Offensive, Major General Nguyen Huu An was Commander of 2nd Corps (Huong Giang). 2nd Corps, under his command, successively captured Quảng Trị and Huế; and in combination with armed forces of Military Region No.5 defeated nearly 100,000 regular troops of the ARVN within just 3 days at Da Nang. He then commanded the entire corps to march along nearly 1000 km to engage in the Ho Chi Minh Campaign after having destroyed the ARVN defensive line in Phan Rang.

In the last decisive fight to capture Saigon, 2nd Corps was one of five wings to surround Saigon, and planted the red flag onto top of the Independence Palace at 11h 30 on 30 April 1975.

Postwar career[edit]

After the end of the Vietnam War, An continued serving in the Vietnamese military. He achieved the rank of Lieutenant General in 1980. Six years later, he was promoted to Colonel General. He held key posts in military such as Assistant Inspector General of the Vietnam People's Army, Deputy Chief concurrently Chief of Staff and Acting Commander of Military Region No.2 (1984–1987), Director of Army Academy (1988–1991), and Director of Academy of National Defense (1991–1995). He died in 1995.

He was called the "General of Battles" by famed General Vo Nguyen Giap.


The Communist Party of Vietnam and State of Vietnam awarded him with:

  • Independence Order of First-Class
  • Two Military Exploits Orders of First-Class
  • Military Exploits Order of Third-Class
  • Liberation Military Exploits Order of Third-Class
  • Two Exploits Orders of First and Second-Class
  • Victory Order of Second-Class


Book references[edit]

  • Đường tới Điện Biên Phủ (Đại tướng Võ Nguyên Giáp) - Nhà xuất bản Quân đội nhân dân
  • Chiến trường mới (Thượng tướng Nguyễn Hữu An) - Nhà xuất bản Quân đội nhân dân
  • Lịch sử kháng chiến chống Mỹ cứu nước 1954 - 1975 (Viện lịch sử quân sự Việt Nam) - Nhà xuất bản Chính trị quốc gia
  • Điện Biên Phủ qua những trang hồi ức (Nhiều tác giả) - Nhà xuất bản Quân đội nhân dân
  • Ký ức Tây Nguyên (Thượng tướng Đặng Vũ Hiệp) - Nhà xuất bản Quân đội nhân dân
  • Tổng hành dinh trong mùa xuân toàn thắng (Đại tướng Võ Nguyên Giáp) - Nhà xuất bản Chính trị quốc gia
  • Nguyễn Hữu An - Vị tướng trận mạc (Hội Khoa học Lịch sử Việt nam) - Trung tâm UNESCO bảo tồn và phát triển văn hóa dân tộc Việt nam