Bach Dang Battles

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Battles of Bach Dang River:

There were three famous Battles at the Bạch Dang River recorded in Vietnam history:

938 between the Vietnamese commanded by Ngô Quyen and troops of the Southern Han ruler Liu Gong. This decisive battle resulted in the independence of Vietnam from 1,000 years of Chinese rule. Liu Gong placed his son Liu Hongcao in command of the invasion force. Liu Hongcao arrived in the Bay of Tongkin and planned to sail up the Bach Dang river and discharge his troops in the heart of Red River plain.

Ngo Quyen anticipated this plan and brought his army to the mouth of the river. They planted a barrier of large iron wood poles in the bed of the river. The tops of the poles reaching just below the water level at high tide were sharpened and tipped with iron. When Hongcao arrived at the mouth of the river, Quyen, at high tide, sent out small shallow-draft boats to provoke a fight and lure the Chinese junk fleet in pursuit upriver to where the stakes hid beneath the water. As the tide fell the deep draft Chinese warships were impailed on the poles, trapped immobile in the river. Quyen then attacked setting fire to the Chinese fleet. Many Chinese were drowned, including Hongcao. The Southern Han never attacked the Vietnamese again.

In 939, Ngo Quyen proclaimed himself king of Annam, established his capital at Co Loa, just to the north of present day Hanoi.

981 between the Vietnamese army commanded by Lê Hoàn and troops of the Northern Song Dynasty.

1288 between the Vietnamese army commanded by Tran Hung Dạo and troops of the Yuan (Mongal) Dynasty. In this last of three attampted invasions by the Mongols, Tran Hungdao copied the strategy of Ngo Quyen three centuries earlier and again the Vietnamese planted beds of stakes which would be hidden under water at high tide. The Mongol fleet, in this case trying to flee, found itself impaled on these stakes and was destroyed. Omar, the Mongol commander was captured. Dai Viet (Vietnam) thus became one of the very few nations to repulse the Mongol hordes.

Below quote from Bernard Fall's book on the French Vietnam War, Street Without Joy.

"In Indochina Communists could rely upon a long historical tradition of protracted conflicts with overwhelmingly strong adversaries. Viet-Nam fought with China for close to 1,500 years (of which she was occupied by China for 1,000 years), and even fought the feared Mongols, being one of the few nations to have defeated them on the field of battle, in 1278. Marshal Tran Hung Dao, then leader of the Vietnamese forces and a sort of Far Eastern Clausewitz in his own right, defined his tactics in words which might well have been used by his Communist compatriot Giap seven centuries later:

'The enemy must fight his battles far from his home base for a long time.....We must further weaken him by drawing him into protracted campaigns. Once his initial dash is broken, it will be easier to destroy him.'

March, 1951. Undeterred by his unsuccessful attack against Vinh-Yen, Giap now shifted his battle force farther towards the hill range of the Dong Trieu. This was a particularly sensitive area for the French defense of the Red River Delta, because it controlled not only the approaches to the important coal mines of North Viet-Nam, but also because a determined thrust of less than 20 km could endange the vital port of Haiphong, thus destroying all French hopes of holding out in North Viet-Nam. Giap shifted the 308th, 312th and 316th Infantry Divisions in the direction of Mao Khe. The attack began on the night of March 23 to 24. By March 26th, the whole first line of posts had fallen into Communist hands, but the deep bay of the Da Bach River permitted the intervention of three French destroyers and two landing ships whose concentrated fire broke up the ememies attempt to penetrate into Mao Khe itself.
It takes all the technological proficiency our system can provide to make up for the woeful lack of popular support and political savy of most of the regimes that the West has thus far sought to prop up.

Revolutionary Warfare consists of the application of irregular warfare methods to the propagation of an ideology or political system. In South Viet-Nam, the West is still battling an ideology with technology, and the successful end of that revolutionary war is neither near nor is its outcome certain."

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