Unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Services 

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Category: Conflicts/Vietnam

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Time Line Viet Nam

  • 1946 French promise to recognise the newly  created Democratic Republic of Viet Nam broken and French naval bombardment of Hai Phong kills 6,000 civilians and starts First Indo China War. War rages until 1954.
  • 1954 French defeated at Dien Bien Phu and withdraw from Indo China.
  • 1957 Beginning of communist insurgency in South Vietnam
  • 1959 Weapons and men from North Vietnam begin infiltrating the South
  • 1960 US aid to the South Vietnamese President, Ngo Dinh Diem, increased
  • 1962 President John F Kennedy provides US military advisers to South Vietnam (12,000 by end of year)
    • AATTV committed with 30 advisors
  • 1963 Viet Cong, the communist guerrillas operating in South Vietnam, defeat units of ARVN, the South Vietnamese army. 
    • President Diem overthrown
  • 1964 North Vietnamese patrol boats fire on the US destroyer USS Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin, triggering start of US bombing raids on North Vietnam
  • 1965 US troops in Vietnam number 23,000 at start of year
    • 1RAR committed in "limited" role.
  • 1966. 400,000 US troops in Vietnam, rising to 500,000 in 1967.
  • 1968 Tet Offensive - a combined assault by Viet Cong and North Vietnamese army on US positions - begins. 
    • More than 500 civilians die in My Lai massacre
  •   1968 March 31 President Lyndon Johnson announces on television that bombing north of the 20th parallel will stop and that he will not seek re-election in the fall. 
    • Hanoi responds by de-escalating its insurgency efforts, and in October Johnson orders total halt to bombing. 
    • US and Hanoi agree to preliminary peace talks in Paris
  • 1969 President Nixon draws back US ground troops from Vietnam
  • 1970 Nixon's national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, and Le Duc Tho of the Vietnamese Politburo start talks in Paris
  • 1972 D Company 4RAR last Australian Infantry Unit to leave SVN.
  • 1973 Ceasefire agreement with guarantees of no further attacks on the sovereign nation of SVN by NVN. "Peace with Honour"
    • Withdrawal of US troops completed by March.
  • 1975 North Vietnamese troops invade South Vietnam and take control of the whole country after South Vietnam surrenders
  •  1975 April Last members of US embassy staff evacuated by helicopter from roof of embassy

Human toll 3,000,000 military and civilian Vietnamese. 58,000 Americans. 500 Australians


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Digger History:  an unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Forces