SURVEY OF COMMUNIST MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS IN INDOCHINA

Created: 3/13/1975

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SURVEY OF COMMUNIST MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS IN INDOCHINA"

(This report coven Ihe period February

The Key Points

Hanoi continues to dispatch large numbers of troops, as0 personnel began their tnp south during the reporting period.

In anticipation of heavy losses in the months ahead, Hanoi hasidespread induction campaign and shortened the training cycle in at least one major region in North Vietnam

Major elements of thest Infantry Division have crossed the DMZ into northern South Vietnam. In addition, another integral unit of at least regimental sire is moving through the infiltration system to northern MR 1,

Communist forces launched widespread, heavy attacks in South Vietnam during the past week overrunning six district capitals and apparently capturing the provincial capital of Ban Me Thuot.

overnment control of South Vietnam's population declined byercentage points according to the Hamlet Evaluation Systemhe largest annual decline since the inception of HES

The gap between ARVN and Communist ammunition expenditures widened during February.

Rice and petroleum stocks in Phnom Penh have declined somewhat during the past two weeks, while ammunitions stocks have remained about the same.

The summaryecent CIA/DIA paper. The South Vietnamese Air Force, is at Annex B.

This report has been prepared jointly by the Central Intelligence Agency and the Department of Defense.

Marchil

L Infillratjon and Redeployment of North Vietnamese Personnel and Military Supplies

Personnel Infllmrion

1. Hanoi continued to send troops south at very high levels |

| and augmented its transport system at Vinh to accommodate the accelerated rate of

3

infiltration to South Vietnamigher than the comparableear ago. as shown in the table below.1

Compwittve Surta of Troop* from North Vietnam

Total regular infiltrationl-Jun

0

co

0

Total tegular infiltration lUrti,ar 12

MR Tri-Thlenront COSVN

SojrfKfo

t. ThH conparuon doa noi Inchidr uooptMft .'"

9.

o cope with the increased number ofajor training command has ordered at least three regiments today training curriculum, which would enable them to recruit, train, and dispatch infiltration groups in little moreonth. The use of poorly trained troops would lead to heavier losses for theIn any event, the extremely abbreviated training cycle is another indication that Hanoi is preparing for intensified military action, as minimal training cycles were last notedoreover, through much of the cease-fire period, recruits generally received four to six months training, but this probably was reduced to two lo three months last fall to accommodate the increase in infiltration. The sharphe second in less than fiveo one month indicates that infiltration will continueeavy rate.

report indicates that Hanoi plans touring5 for "a

"full division" in Ha Bac Province

general mobilization for South Vietnam" In this connection, I

an NVAeportedly was briefed in early Februarygeneral mobilization" in North Vietnam.

ajor elements of thest Infantry Division have crossed the DMZ into South

at least one regiment and part of the division headquartersotalroops are in-country (see the combat forces map).

Once the move is completed, it will be the first rime

2 that Hanoi has deployed an infantry division from North Vietnam. In addition, another integral unit of at least regimental size is moving through the infiltration system to northern South Vietnam.

n South Vietnam, theth Infantry Division is redeploying from eastern Quang Tri to Thua Thien Province in northern MReveral recent POws bave reported that major elements of the division have already arrived south of

division apparently began preparations to redeploy as

early as mid-January, when local Communist forces in Quang Tri Province began replacing the division's units on front line positions. The positions, however, may eventually be occupied byst Division.

he redeployment ofth Division to southeastern Thua Thien Province places two infantry divisions in this area for the first time since the cease-fire. The move will significantly increase Communist combat capabilities south of Hue, and in particular, the threat to the strategic Hai Van Pass overlooking Routeinimum, the move could be designed to enable the Communists to recapture highncluding Mo Tau and Bonghich dominate Phu Bai Airfield.

13.

Communist and South Vietnamese Regular Combat Forces in South Vietnam

MR 4

RVNAF

21st 9th 7th

Regional Forces

s

Logistic Developments

ommunist logistic units throughout Indochina handled large amounts of cargo during Ihc reporting period. Most of the shipments consisted of ordnance and included heavy artillery pieces and prime movert.I

The following

paragraphs summarize significant logistic activity, by country.

North Vietnam

ommunist rear services units in the Panhandle moved Urge amounts of cargo, as part of the previouslyday transportation compaign

Atons of cargo, mostly ordnance, were

handled by units at Vinh and Dong Hoi. Notable among Ihc shipments was the delivery of fourmm artillery pieces, andrime movers from the Hanoi area to Vinh. I

South Vietnam

i

Laos and Cambodia

Some of the North Vietnamese cargo moving through Laos apparently is entering northeastern Cambodia, where it is given to the Khmer Communists

KC

|have recently received large supply shipments. These deliveries should

of KC units

D. Communist Combat Activity in Indochina

Souih Vietnam

ommunist forces launched widespread, heavy attacks in South Vietnam during the past week. These included overrunning six district capitals and apparently capturing Ban Me Thuot, the capital of Darlac Province, in some of the fiercest fighting since the cease-fire. The attacking Communist force in Darlac is believed to consist largely of theth Infantry Division, which recently moved south from Pleiku.

The heightened activity initially was concentrated in MRn Marchommunist forces overran several outposts and destroyed numerous bridges alongaining control of large segments of this major corridor linking Pleiku Gty and the central highlands with coastal Binh Dinh Province. These attacks were accompanied by shelling* of Kontum Oty and Pleiku and Phu Cat Airfields. They were followed ony tank-led attacks and heavy artillery shellings against Ban Me Thuot and other government positions in the southern pan of the central highlands.esult of these attacks, the Communists captured three districthuan Man in Phu Bon Province, Buon Ho in Darlac Province, and Due Lap in Quang Duend are thteatening lo add the provincial capital of Ban Me Thuot.

By early this week, combat activity had also spread throughout the rest of South Vietnam. In MRommunist forces launched attacks against marine positions northwest of Hue, attempting lo cutnd against ARVN units on the high ground overlooking the city and Phu Bai to the south. Fifteen hamlets were occupied by VC forces in Quang Tri Province. Airborne forces west of Dai Loc and north of Due Due in Quang Nam Province were subjected to heavy at tacks-by-fire, and two lightly defended district capitals in Quang Tin Province -Tien Phuoc and Hauere lost in sharp ground attacks.

On Marchctivity increased inndctivity inas centered near Routeouth of Tay Ninh City. The road was Interdicted in several places, isolating Tay Ninh. and activity continues as government forces attempt to reopen the road. Moreover, the district town of Tri Tarn in Binh Duong Province was captured by Communist forces. At tacks-by-fire were also recorded in the vicinity of Chon Thanh in Binh Long Province and Xuan Loc in Long Khanh Province. MR 4experiencing its monthly high point of combat, with widely scattered at tacks-by-fire and ground probes. During this period of intensive combat, several airfields throughout South Vietnam, including Da Nang, Pleiku, and Bicn Hoa, were shelled, resulting inircraft being damaged or destroyed.

( amhottia

ecause of the large number ofm howitzerm rocket rounds, ihcirlift was halted on March II for one day.m fire probably is coming from Tuoley town captured by the insurgents at the end of February. FANK has launched an operation to retake the town, but il has become bogged down bothesult of strong KC resistance and poor FANK readership. Although it will be necessary for ihe government to retake Tuol Leap in order to easem threat lo Pochcntong. the prospects of doing so appear dim.

Northwest of Phnomew commander has provided aggressive leadership to the FANK 7th Division. The situation in the 7th Division's area of operation remains serious, however, and FANK will continue to be hard pressed to maintain its outer defense line. In the vicinity of the Prek Phnou petroleum facility, KC forces have been contained.

Along the Mekong River corridor, the government position at Peam Rang Leu in the southern narrows was abandoned on Marchhe loss of this position completes Communist control of the river between Neak Luang and the South Vietnamese border, further reducing the already remote prospectscsupply convoy reaching Phnom Penh this dry season.

fll. Other Developments Affecting Communist Military Capabilities in Indochina

Status of Slocks in Phnom Penh

stock levels in Phnom Penh fluctuated depending onand air deliveries. Ammunition stocks have remained relatively stable overtwo weeks, but rice and petroleum stocks are declining gradually. Theshow Cambodian government stocks of critical supplies in Phnom Penhdeliveries via the Mekong and airlift to the capital4

Critkal Stocks in Phnom Penh'

(Metric Tons)

Day* ot Supply

Rate (Metric Tons)

Petroleum Ammuniiion

0

*

I I

Dcljvnk. io Phmmi Penh

Metric Tons

JuI-

,

Din (onorimnr in delivinei fo( ihn i

period It it ytu

ddi

but IttMntrd Out dellvrilei by air accounted lot nu more thantoul Irnpoiu for all

ARVN and NVA Ammunlllon Expenditures

The gap between ARVN and Communist ammunition expenditures continued to widen during February. For the second straight month, ARVN artillery firings dropped only slightlyuch sharper fall in Communist expenditures of artillery, rocket, recoilless rifle, and mortar ammunition. ARVNaily average0 artillery rounds during the month,rom January's rate, while the Communists reportedly expendedounds per day of their heavyelow Ihe previous month's level and the lowest Communist expenditure rate reported since

Despite ARVN's efforts to conserve ammunition, these measures appear to have lost some momentum in recent months, as ARVN has attempted to thwart Communist initiatives and regain lost territory (see the followinglthough it is true that many ARVN units reportedly are still forced lo hold back expenditures by restrictions on ammunition usage, this conservation has been offset by the large expenditures being used to lupport ARVN's many counteroffensive

operations. This has been particularly true in MRf ARVN's artillery firings occurred during February.

ES Results

ES ii subjectrober olthe -wit Knporunt ot which areItheicporimi fjcanprovince, in Socth Virtaaa.etculi haveeatonablyof general eopuUUoa contiol

overnment control of South Vietnam's populationabout ten percentage points, according to the Hamlet Evaluation System (HES)was the largest annual decline since ihe inception of the present HES inreduced the proportion of the population under government control (that'A' andess than in3 (see the chart).

ARVN and NVA Ammunition Expenditures in South Vietnam5

Ha

Onlyain during the year, while inbe decline was slight. In the lower half of the country, however, thereerious deterioration as more than two million people were reclassified as contested or came under Communist domination.

et basis,dditional persons in the northern half of South Vietnam came under government controlhis relatively goodose by seven percentage points andas down by only four percentages attributable primarily to generally fixed battlehortage of arable land under Communist control, and several government pacification efforts, particularly in Quang Nam and Quang Ngai Provinces. In addition, several large-scale refugee resettlements augmented the government-controlled population, while denying the Communists an easy source of recruitment.esult of the Communists' dry season campaign to seize populated areas,eterioration in the government's position is expected.

By contrast, the situation in heavily populatedas markedharp decline in government control, according to HES results. Although government control int the end4 still was higher than in any other, moreeople were added to the contested or Communist-controlled categories. The deterioration inn only one monthxceeded the ncl decline for the entire rest of the year, largelyesult of South Vietnamese setbacks in Phuoc Long Province and the capture of the district capital of Tanh Linh in Binh Tuy Province by the Communists.

The reported erosion inas evenillion persons, or about one-fourth of the number controlled by the government at the beginning of the year. As in MRilitary activity was responsible for much ofthe decline, as Communist units forced ARVN and territorial units to abandon outposts and interdicted lines of communication. In addition, the Communists inargeted population centers as part of their anti-pacification program. Because they gained access to increased numbers of hamlets, they also were able to step up proselytizing activities, recruitment, and tax collection, further eroding the government's position.f the decline in4 occurred in December, when the Communists seized Hung Long district capital in Chuong Thicn Province and made sizable gains in Bac Lieu, Kien Giang, Vinh Binh. and Vinh Long Provinces.

North Vietnam Air Operations Increase

Vietnamese MIG and helicopter activity has increasedthe North Vietnamese Panhandle. In earlyIG regiment moved from

u

Kien An to Bai Thuong Airfield. Subsequently, fourlew from Bai Thuong

to Vinh

he reoccupaiion of the southern airfields by North Vietnamese aircraftogical extension of Hanoi's air defenses, lt now seems likely that North Vietnam will permanently station aircraft at at least two and possibly three southernai Thuong, Vinh, and Dong Hoi. This development could have an adverse impact on VNAF operations in northernnd significantly increases the threat of additional North Vietnamese air activity over the area.

37.

INFILTRATION OF NORTH VIETNAMESE PERSONNEL TO THE SOUTH

The number of North Vietnamese cumDat troops and specialists who have infiltrated since theease-fire accord now. Most ofave started south since then, while the0 were already in the pipeline as of the date of the settlement. The table shows the number of North Vietnamese troops starting south, by destination, since January

The number of North Vietnamese combat troops and specialists who have infiltrated since theease-fire accord now. Most ofave started south since then, while the0 were already in the pipeline as of the data of the settlement. The table shows the number of North Vietnamese troops starting south, by destination, since January

Number of Troops Entering the Pipeline Destined for South Vietnam Southernand Cambodia Since

MR Tri- Sou (hern Laos/

Front

S

559

i*

2

.iiiia;pcimnncl Iht loUlt mo roundedhe

IS

THE SOUTH VIETNAMESE AIR FORCE

The South Vietnamese Air Force (VNAF) has grown dramatically0 in both manpower and aircraft. The number of personnel has increased0hile the inventory of aircraft has grown. Despite the numerical growth, nearly one-half of VNAF personnel have not reached satisfactory proficiency levels, and many aircraft types are experiencing low combat ready rates because of aging and shortages of spare parts. The Vietnamese were trying to alleviate these problems through an aggressive training program, but recent reduction in US assistance levels have undercut these efforts. VNAF will be doing well simply to maintain the status quo during fiscal

An assessment of VNAF's operationallthough also recently degraded by reducedndicates that VNAF has adequately supported South Vietnamese (SVN) combat forces thus far in the post-cease-fire period, lt could not, however, meet SVN's tactical and logistic requirementsommunist general offensive. This judgment is basedomparison between the level of air support provided by both VNAF and the US Air Force to SVN ground combat units during the initial phase of2 Communist offensive (April-June) and present VNAF capabilities. At current combat ready rates, we estimate that attack aircraft are capable of flyingf the monthly average of close air support and interdiction sorties flown by the US Air Force and the VNAF inixed-wing transports and helicopters are estimated to be capable of, respectively, of the average monthly tonnage transported to SVN combat units by the US Air Force and the VNAF during

is

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