Feat of strength led to victory against US army
Ethnic Vaân Kieàu people in Quaûng Trò Province played a heroic role during an epic battle against the American army by carrying disassembled tanks on their backs to remote front lines.
Under the hot summer sunlight of central Vieät Nam, a group of ethnic Vaân Kieàu boys and girls play beside a tank memorial in Laøng Vaây, 8km from Khe Sanh Town of Quaûng Trò Province.
The area is "Monument Victory".
Located on a 3m-high pedestal, the PT-76 tank that fought in the famous battle in Laøng Vaây, contributing to the Khe Sanh Victory against American troops, is still largely intact.
On February 7, 1968, the Vietnamese liberation army, including a tank force, attacked and completely annihilated US forces at Laøng Vaây military base.
This was the first time the Vietnamese liberation army had engaged in a battle with tanks.
To bring the tanks to the battlefield, which was far from the North, hundreds of ethnic Vaân Kieàu people from Höôùng Hoùa District helped the liberation force by carrying the parts of the disassembled tanks on their backs and shoulders over mountains and across rivers to an area near the battlefield.
Forty-five years ago, the red soil now called of Laøng the Vaây hill where the memorial is now located used to be a large American army base. It had underground concrete fortifications and was defended by four companies of commandos.
This base protected the Taø Côn military base in Höôùng Hoùa, and it was also an outpost for the line of defence protecting Highway 9.
To defeat the American force at Laøng Vaây and to liberate Khe Sanh in 1968, the Northern force decided to use tanks to create a surprise attack against the enemy.
From October 14 until December 21, 1967, Tank Battalion 198 departed from Löông Sôn in the northern province of Hoøa Bình and secretly moved forward to Khe Sanh.
After driving 50 days and nights over more than 1,000km of the rugged mountain paths, the tanks finally arrived in a village near the Vieät Nam - Laos border.
The liberation soldiers and Vaân Kieàu people living in Tröôøng Sôn mountain range set to work disassembling the 14 tanks of the battalion, then they secretly transported the tank parts through the jungle before crossing the Seâ Poân River. people carried parts on their
Hundreds tonnes of shoulders.
With the tremendous help of the Vaân Kieàu volunteer porters, 14 disassembled tanks were carried over mountains, hills, rivers and streams to a strategic area where the tanks were reassembled and ready to engage in battle.
The sudden appearance of the North Vietnamese tanks sent the American and Saøi Goøn soldiers into a panic. They had believed that the high mountains and deep rivers guaranteed that they could never be attacked by heavy armoured vehicles.
On January 20, 1968, the Northern forces and local guerrillas attacked American military bases in Khe Sanh. After 170 days of combat, on July 9, 1968, the liberation forces controlled the region.
Following the reunification of the country, one of the 14 tanks was memorialized as the tank monument.
In the days leading up to the 45th anniversary of the Laøng Vaây victory, people in Höôùng Hoùa relived the days during the war when the ethnic Vaân Kieàu people carried the tank parts on