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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 13, 1974

GUIDANCE (NO. 288) ON IMPLEMENTING THE RESOLUTION OF THE CENTRAL MILITARY PARTY COMMITTEE IN COMBAT AND FORCE-BUILDING MISSIONS IN 1975

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    Based on the strategic plan of the Politburo and the Central Military Party Committee on gaining victory in the next few years, the Central Military Party Committee met to make a detailed, concrete assessment of the situation in 1974 and laid out guidelines, missions, and a concrete plan to be carried out by the different battlefields in 1975.
    "Guidance (No. 288) on Implementing the Resolution of the Central Military Party Committee in Combat and Force-Building Missions in 1975," November 13, 1974, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Cong tac Dang, cong tac chinh tri chien dich trong khang chien chong My, cuu nuoc, tap III: Cong tac, cong tac chinh tri trong tong tien cong va noi day mua xuan 1975 [Campaign Party and Political Operations During the Resistance War Against the Americans to Save the Nation, Volume III: Campaign Party and Political Operations Documents During the Spring 1975 General Offensive and Uprisings] (Hanoi: Nha xuat ban Quan doi nhan dan, 2000), 8-22. Translated by Merle Pribbenow. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/175865
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From the General Staff to The B3 Front Headquarters and Party Committee on Combat and Force-Building Missions for 1975:

Based on the strategic resolve [plan] of the Politburo and the Central Military Party Committee on gaining victory in the next few years, the Central Military Party Committee met to make a detailed, concrete assessment of the situation in 1974 and laid out guidelines, missions, and a concrete plan to be carried out by the different battlefields in 1975 in order to provide you with the basis on which to draw up your own plans. Based on the above-mentioned Central Party Committee resolutions the General Staff is forwarding the following guidance on a number of issues regarding the Central Highlands’ combat and force-building activities for 1975:

I.-Summary Assessment of the Recent Situation and Projection of the Situation in 1975

1.-From late 1973-early 1974 until the present, after the passage of Central Committee Resolution 21 and of the Central Military Party Committee resolution that the Politburo approved in March 1973, the different battlefields and units studied and fully digested the situation assessment and the missions and then stepped up their attacks, making progress on all fronts. Meanwhile the U.S. and the puppet suffered defeats and continued to encounter many military, political, and economic problems.

More recently, a struggle movement has arisen in the cities. As a result a new transformation of the situation is developing rapidly and the situation is become increasingly favorable for us and unfavorable for the enemy.

During 1973 the enemy’s pacification plan reached its high-point, but since late 1974 [sic – should read “since late 1973”] the enemy has suffered an important setback in its pacification and land-grabbing program. The puppet government is rapidly losing strength in the face of a host of military, economic, and social problems that it faces. This has driven that government into a passive, reactive situation in which it is more confused and uncertain than ever before.

We have gained the initiative on the battlefield and in a short time, from early 1974 to the present, we have won a number of major and solid victories in counter-pacification and counter-land-grabbing front. Our posture has been transformed. We have expanded our zone; liberated half a million civilians along with 2,000 enemy outposts and more than a thousand hamlets, more than one hundred villages, and five district capitals; killed, wounded, or caused the disintegration of an important portion of the puppet army’s personnel; destroyed many enemy battalions and crippled a number of regiments; destroyed many supplies, warehouses, and implements of war; and captured more than 10,000 prisoners and 25,000 weapons of all types (figures up through September 1974). Our liberated zone has been consolidated, expanded, and it has grown in all respects. Our strategic traffic and transportation network has been extended far into the interior, and we have shipped more supplies to the different battlefields than we have ever shipped in the past. Alongside the big successes that we have achieved, we also still have many weaknesses and shortcomings that we must overcome during the coming period. Our local efforts to build political infrastructure, local force units, and guerrilla militia forces has fallen far short of our goals and there are still many weaknesses in our efforts to mobilize the masses and recruit personnel, so results so far have been very limited.

While progress has been made in the quality of our attacks against enemy forces occupying fortified defensive positions has improved, the improvement has not been uniform. The different battlefields are using different tactics, so when enemy troops have retreated we have not totally annihilated them. In many battles we have continued to suffer significant casualties; we have not been economical in our use of weapons and our expenditure of ammunition. We have not properly maintained our supply caches, which has resulted in damage to our explosives. These are extremely serious shortcomings at this time.

Our movement is still weak and has not yet seized the offensive initiative, and our military proselyting operations have not kept pace with the current pace of deterioration of the enemy’s situation. In addition we have experienced a number of practical problems with obtaining manpower and supplies, and it will take a rather significant effort on the part of both the front lines and the rear area to properly resolve these problems.

The above realities of the situation allow us to see more clearly that:

a)-A new, across-the-board and irreversible deterioration of the situation is rapidly weakening the enemy. However, up to this point in time, the enemy still has a large number of troops and is still receiving a large amount of support from the U.S., even though this support has been considerably reduced. In addition, the enemy is still repressing and controlling a large portion of the civilian population.

The U.S. has suffered losses and been forced to withdraw its troops. Even though the U.S. remains stubborn, it is encountering great problems in both its foreign and domestic policies. It is experiencing inflation and is in danger of an economic crisis. The Ford Administration is not strong and is encountering fierce opposition in the Congress and many other areas. Many countries opposed to fascist dictatorship and lackeys are opposing the U.S., so the U.S.’s ability to react is limited and the problems that the U.S. faces are steadily increasing.

b)-The solid victories we have gained are extremely important. They have allowed us to further illuminate the possibilities, the measures, and the pace we need for us to make a great leap forward along the lines of Scenario One. At the same time, these victories also make it clearer that there is a new balance of forces in which our posture and power is greater than ever before and that we now have an extremely favorable opportunity after more than 30 years of continuous warfare against foreign, or imperialist, aggression.

The most direct evidence of this is that after twenty years of fighting, the U.S. has been forced to admit defeat and to withdraw its troops following the signing of the Paris Agreement. All of this gives us confidence that we can overcome our current weaknesses, shortcomings, and problems in order to move forward to complete our mission and achieve our goal.

2.-Projection of the Enemy’s Plans and of the Situation in 1975

Overall Enemy Plan:

-The U.S. will continue to employ many crafty and devious plans, with their primary efforts being to supply military and economic aid, to provide advisors, to use diplomatic relations between the major powers in order to restrict and cut back aid to the revolution, to keep threatening forces ready, and to consolidate and strengthen the puppet army, which is the U.S.’s primary tool for continuing to carry out its neocolonialist policies in South Vietnam.

-If the puppets continue to suffer defeats and weaken even further, the enemy may try to return to the Paris Agreement and will want to sit down to negotiate a step by step retreat to prevent us from advancing quickly in order to be able to use the time they gain to strengthen their lackeys, after which they will seek to attack and sabotage us. They may consider taking a number of such backward steps, but they are not yet ready to withdraw completely from Vietnam at a time when the puppet army and puppet government has not yet completely collapsed.

-In the event that we launch powerful attacks in which the puppet army is in danger of disintegrating and completely collapsing, even though the U.S. faces many more difficulties and restrictions than it did before, they still may react, first by using air and naval forces to attack and blockade us, and we cannot completely exclude the possibility that they might send in their “fire brigade” [rapid reaction ground forces] to rescue the puppets.

We need to continue to obtain more information about this so that we can further clarify this assessment.

In 1975, if we continue to make powerful attacks that significantly change the balance of forces in our favor, the U.S. may be forced to sit down to negotiate with us. The Americans may replace Thieu with a new group of lackeys and they may agree to a few points in order to restrict our ability to make further attacks that could gain major victories for our side in the hopes of temporarily resolving a number of their immediate difficulties so that they can consolidate and strengthen their lackeys. It is possible that sometime between now and the puppet presidential elections they may replace Thieu. If that happens, that will provide us with a concrete opportunity for us to intensify our military, political, and diplomatic attacks without any hesitation in order to gain additional victories. In addition, we must also anticipate that this could turn into a major opportunity for us because the puppets will collapse internally and because the urban [protest] movement will turn into a rising tide. If that happens, we have a plan ready to secure an even greater victory.

As for the military situation in 1975, we need to anticipate that because of repeated defeats on the battlefield the enemy may be forced to make strategic realignments of their forces by making deep pullbacks into a defensive posture, implementing a defensive pullback to consolidate their forces and to push their pacification efforts in the areas over which they have stronger control they control. They may make withdrawals in key areas in order to increase the size of their mobile forces in order to be able to hold onto sectors key sectors and areas, such as by:

-Withdrawing the Airborne Division from Tri-Thien and pulling it back to the Saigon area to serve as a reserve force;

-Withdrawing the 2nd Corps Headquarters along with supply stockpiles and aircraft from Pleiku and redeploying them to bases along the coast (Quy Nhon, Cam Ranh, etc.);

-Increasing forces by assigning regimental-sized RF groups to defend individual provinces, etc.

We must anticipate such possibilities in order to come up with aggressive plans to stretch the enemy thin and to pin their forces down so that it will not be easy for them to make such redeployments. At the same time, we must also be aware of the possibility that when the puppet army’s forces become cut off and isolated and experience many problems, the U.S. might use its airpower to fly in supplies as they have done in Cambodia.

Laos and Cambodia:

-In Laos, there are considerable possibilities for making good progress, although we must overcome many political and economic difficulties, and we must also be alert to the possibility that the enemy will conduct a coup to overthrow the government, that they might try to have southern Laos secede from the rest of the country, or that the enemy will push the Lao puppets into carrying out operations to attack our transportation corridor in Southern Laos.

-In Cambodia, the situation could remain the same, but we must also anticipate the possibility that our [Cambodian] friends may enter into negotiations that could affect the portion of our transportation corridor that runs through Cambodian territory.

II.-Missions and Formulas

1.-Based on the general mission for 1975, which is to “mobilize the greatest possible efforts on the part of the entire Party, the entire population, and the entire army in both North and South Vietnam to continue to step up our military, political, and diplomatic attacks,” we will:

-Fundamentally defeat the enemy’s pacification and land-grabbing program, liberate and gain control of the bulk of the rich, heavily-populated rural lowland countryside and continue to expand our offensive effort in the mountain jungle and foothill regions.

-Destroy and cause the disintegration of an important portion of the enemy’s army, expand our transportation corridor, expand our base areas, and make attacks aimed at reducing the troop strength of the puppet army, and especially of the enemy’s RF forces, in order to cause a major deterioration of the morale of the enemy’s troops.

-Nourish and support the political struggles in the cities in order to turn it into an increasingly powerful movement.

-Destroy very large quantities of the enemy’s implements of war [military equipment] and his economic resources.

-Strive to build and expand our revolutionary strength, build up our three types of troops [main force, local force, guerrillas] by gaining strength the more we fight, and continue to create an even greater transformation in the balance of forces in our favor.

-Remain constantly ready and stand prepared to seize opportunities to exploit and develop successes, and basically complete all preparations necessary for carrying our mission in the next phase.

2.-Concrete Mission Requirements [Goals] for the Central Highlands Battlefield:

a)-Kill or wound forty to fifty thousand enemy troops, including the destruction of three to four infantry or armored regiments (or regimental-sized groups); the destruction of numerous regular army and RF battalions and PF platoons; cripple one to two enemy regiments; reduce the puppet army’s troop strength in the Central Highlands by ten to fifteen thousand troops; expand our strategic transportation corridor down through southern Central Vietnam along Route 14 down to Route 20; and expand the transportation corridors from the Central Highlands down to the three provinces of southern Military Region 5.

b)-Through the annihilation of the enemy’s manpower strength, liberate the people and most of the flatlands in southern Pleiku and Cheo Reo around A [sic]. Basically defeat the enemy’s pacification and land-grabbing program and his efforts to relieve our pressure, gain the offensive initiative on the battlefield, divide and isolate the enemy’s forces, force the enemy to pull back to defend the large cities, constantly stretch the enemy thin and pin his forces down, and actively coordinate with our effort to disrupt the enemy’s pacification program in the lowlands.

Specifically, overrun and take three-four district military headquarters and one or two province capitals (Gia Nghia – Cheo Reo), overrun and destroy many enemy outposts, liberate and secure control of many villages, hamlets, plantations, and large numbers of people. The B3 Headquarters should send a plan listing your specific, concrete goals in this area back to the High Command for review.

c)-Attack the enemy’s lines of communications and his rear bases, destroy large quantities of enemy supplies and military equipment, and destroy a significant portion of the enemy’s economic resources. Our specific goals are the destruction of fifty to seventy thousands tons of bombs and ammunition and thirty to fifty thousand tons of fuel; the destruction/shooting down of 150-200 enemy aircraft; to temporarily cut strategic roads (Routes 14, 19, and 21) for certain periods of time; to destroy or damage a number of important economic targets such as electric power facilities, repair and maintenance facilities, factories producing goods for export, etc. in order to seriously reduce the enemy’s economic resources and force the expenditure of U.S. military and economic aid so quickly that U.S. aid will not be able to keep up with the expenditures.

d)-Expand the political struggles in the cities in order to turn them into a continuous and growing struggle movement that the enemy will not be able to easily suppress, and use this movement to recruit additional revolutionary forces and armed organizations, which will create conditions that will enable us to actively control and direct a powerful opposition movement in the cities.

Strive to recruit and develop secret self-defense guerrilla organizations and urban commando cells to conduct guerrilla warfare, to carry out acts of sabotage, to kill enemy leaders and thugs, and work closely with the mass struggle movement to counter enemy terrorism and repression in order to expand the struggle movement and create conditions that will enable us to gain control of areas at the grass-roots level.

-Develop spring-board positions and leopard-spot base areas on the outskirts of the urban areas and create corridors to connect our forces with the cities.

-While continuing to conduct combat operations, we must also complete as quickly and completely as possible the deployment of elite sapper, artillery, and mortar forces to attack the enemy both to achieve our immediate goals and to be prepared to carry out the plan to meet the requirements of the mission.

e)-Build up our three types of troops [main force, local force, guerrillas], carefully combining combat operations with force-building [training]; conduct attacks to expand our areas; mobilize the masses to form local forces; and develop concrete plans from the top all the way down to the village level for specific time periods and for specific campaigns in order to achieve our goal of “growing stronger the more we fight.”

The High Command will reinforce the Central Highlands by sending to it the 968th Division (minus) along with additional reinforcement troops and will provide additional weapons and ammunition to enable the Central Highlands to accomplish its combat mission for 1975 and to make preparations for the next year.

The primary goal of Central Highlands main force units will be to strengthen combat units to improve their command and combat abilities in order to achieve high levels of combat efficiency and accomplish the short-term missions for 1975 while at the same time improving capabilities and skills in order to be able to accomplish future missions.

As for provincial local force units, bring the units up to strength using replacement troops, provide these units with additional heavy weapons and other weapons for use in attacking enemy outposts and enemy road traffic, with the priority being given to units in the areas near cities, province capitals, and strategic roads and lines of communications.

With regard to guerrillas, self-defense forces, and urban commando forces, the goal is to quickly increase the number of such forces and to improve their combat skills and their ability to conduct mass proselyting activities, with priority to be given to expanding and developing these forces in areas near cities and province capitals and in areas under the enemy’s control. During the year 1975 the Central Highlands should increase their guerrilla and militia forces by 4,000-5,000 personnel through powerful local combat operations and recruitment and training efforts in order to be able to take over most of the responsibility for operations at the local level in order to give the two divisions assigned to the Central Highlands enough time to conduct training to improve their skills so that they will be able to meet the increased requirements of the next mission [for 1976].

g)-Build and develop the liberated zones and transportation corridors and build strategic and campaign-level roads.

-In the old liberated zone, continue to build up and strengthen the zone’s political, military, and economic capabilities so that it becomes self-sufficient. In the newly liberated zones, develop plans to quickly consolidate these areas, recruit and train additional forces locally, expand guerrilla and militia forces, establish combat hamlets, be ready to defeat enemy efforts to push back into the liberated zone, and mobilize additional resources and manpower strength in order to obtain new strength to be able to continuously attack the enemy.

-In 1975 the Central Highlands should strive to mobilize [recruit] 500 to 1,000 personnel to serve as replacements and reinforcements for local force units (this is not counting the number mobilized [recruited] for civilian, government, and Party positions).

-Open up a strategic corridor from C3 to Dak Song and on through Gia Nghia to Route 20; open up other corridors from the Central Highlands down to the three [coastal] provinces of Military Region 5, from the north side of Route 19 across to the south side of Route 19, and from west to east across Route 14 in southern Pleiku Province. In particular, opening up the strategic corridor from C3 through Gia Nghia and down to Route 20 is vital and of the utmost importance.

-Open up basic [rudimentary] corridors into the cities and province capitals, especially into Pleiku.

-Maintain firm control of the network of routes through areas under enemy control in order to be able to use these routes to carry out our battle plans.

h)-Complete all preparatory activities for 1975 in order to meet the requirements for the next mission.

-Formulate a battle plan consisting of two separate possibilities – attacks and uprisings or uprisings and attacks.

-Complete the work of preparing the battlefield for specific targets in accordance with the projected plan.

-Prepare officers and enlisted men by improving their combat skills to meet the requirements of the mission.

-Make logistics and technical support preparations.

-Establish command arrangements and a communications network so that while carrying out the overall mission set for 1975 you will be ready to seize concrete political opportunities (such as if the enemy is forced to resume negotiations to replace Thieu, or if the urban political struggle movement becomes very strong, or if major conflicts break out within the ranks of the puppet army) and military opportunities in order to exploit them and turn them into major opportunities to win even bigger victories.

3.-Formulas for carrying out the mission must:

-Correctly assess the enemy’s and our own situation, including new across-the-board deteriorations that put the enemy on a downward slope toward the rapid collapse of the puppet army; the problems faced by and the limited reactions of the United States; new changes in the balance of forces advantageous to our side which we have created during the course of protracted combat operations; and new advances by the revolution that could enable us to move forward by leaps and bounds.

-Maintain a firm understanding of the basic laws of attacks and uprisings, uprisings and attacks and closely coordinate the three fronts (political, military, and diplomatic struggle), the three spearheads [military, political, and military proselyting], and the three types of troops [main force, local force, and guerrillas], and attack the enemy in all three regions [mountain jungle, rural lowlands, and the cities].

-Using this as your foundation, make the best possible use of the formulas put forward for this new situation, which are: aggressive [pro-active], solid, resolute, initiative, mobility, and flexibility, constantly maintaining a firm grasp of the principles of revolutionary violence, strategic offensive thinking, remain resolute and do not hesitate or waver even if negotiations are taking place, achieve our goal of growing stronger the more we fight, annihilate and gain mastery, kill, disperse, and cause the disintegration of the puppet army, which is the U.S.’s primary tool for carry out its neocolonialist policies.

-As the enemy’s morale and combat strength continues to deteriorate and the enemy slips deeper and deeper into a passive defensive posture, we must quickly derive lessons learned from battle, creatively come up with many types of flexible tactics, closely coordinate military attacks with military proselyting operations in order to totally annihilate and cause large-scale disintegration of enemy forces, capture prisoners, capture large quantities of weapons and ammunition, use enemy weapons and equipment to fight the enemy, make rational use of and do not rely too heavily on heavy weapons fire support, economize, and properly maintain weapons and ammunition storage facilities in order to ensure that we are able to accomplish our immediate intentions and still have sufficient stockpiles for the next mission.

III.-Battle Plan

In 1975 we will conduct three waves of attacks, with the second wave being the most important wave, but at the same time we will have battle plans ready for use if an opportunity presents itself. In the plan for 1975 the Central Highlands will be the overall primary attack sector for all of South Vietnam, where you will annihilate truly large numbers of enemy personnel and conduct powerful attacks that will cripple the enemy’s 2nd Corps.

Open up the strategic corridor, stretch the enemy thin and pin his forces down, and actively coordinate your operations with the activities of the other battlefields.

First wave, from December 1974 to mid-February 1975: Utilize individual regiments, elite forces, and local force units to fight individual battles and maintain a continuous level of combat operations on the battlefield; make attacks and conduct simultaneous deception operations to divert the enemy’s attention to the C sector and Route 19, force the enemy into a passive, reactive posture, and create conditions to enable the bulk of your forces to consolidate their strength and make preparations for the second wave of attacks. Conduct individual attacks that are well-prepared beforehand to ensure victory and totally annihilate individual enemy defensive complexes in C and B. Attack road traffic along Route 19, attack enemy rear bases, supply warehouses, and airfields, totally annihilate enemy commandos, reconnaissance teams, or enemy troops that try to push outward to disrupt our preparations and feel out our positions.

Second wave, from 15 May to June 1975: This will be the primary attack wave during 1975: The focus will be on carrying out the C3 Campaign while at the same time we step up our activities in other sectors to stretch the enemy thin and pin his forces down in a coordinated manner. During this wave, the goal will be to destroy three to four infantry or armored regiments (or regimental-sized groups), along with many battalions and companies of enemy regular army and RF troops both in the field and in fortified defensive positions, cripple one or two additional regiments, liberate the C3-C4 area, and if conditions permit develop the attack to liberate Ban Me Thuot. In the primary sector, mass forces to liberate the Serepoc area and Ban Don and support local forces in the Duc Xuyen and Lac Thien areas. The supporting sectors will be Cam Ga – south of Route 19 – northern Ban Me Thuot, C-B, Route 19, Route 21.

Utilization of forces:

1.-In the 104, 323, 377, and 107 sectors, mass the 198th Sapper Regiment and three divisions (minus one regiment). In addition to the B3 Front’s organic two divisions, we will send the 316th Division and the 27th Sapper Battalion to reinforce you. Use one regiment from one of the divisions and the 25th Regiment along Routes 21 and 14 to destroy enemy relief forces and to cut the roads.

2.-Forces from the B2 Front will be responsible for destroying enemy forces in the Kien Duc Center and these forces will also coordinate with you in attacking toward C4.

3.-During the course of the attack to overrun and liberate C3 and Dac Song, you will not use tanks but will instead use them primarily during the expansion of the attack when you attack C4 and Ban Me Thuot.

4.-After your mission in the primary attack sector, C3 and C4, is successfully completed, the 316th Division will continue to operate in that area for a period of time, after which it will be sent on to the B2 Front. You will primarily rely on the Central Highlands Front’s own two divisions to shift the attack up to the Cam Ga-Barieng-Cheo Reo sector where you will overrun enemy military district headquarters, continue to annihilate enemy reinforcements and relief forces sent in to attempt to clear the area, and if conditions permit you will liberate the province capital or at least the bulk of the rural areas of Phu Bon Province.

5.-The other sectors will continue to have the same forces that they used during the first wave of attacks. They will step up their attacks to annihilate enemy units, to erode the enemy’s strength, to block enemy forces, to stretch the enemy thin and pin the enemy down, and they will attack enemy rear bases, roads, and other lines of communications to support the primary sector.

6.-Comrade Thuoc will brief you on the concrete details of the campaign.

The third wave, up to October 1975: During this wave you will make maximum use of local forces - of local force provincial units, which will have been reinforced and strengthened, and which together with district troops, local guerrillas, and a portion of our elite forces will be used to constantly attack the enemy, hitting enemy rear bases and economic targets and besieging and overrunning isolated enemy position, etc. In the meantime your main force units will make use of the time to regroup, consolidate, and train to be ready to carry out the opportunity plan and to prepare for 1976.

Opportunity Plan: The opportunity may arrive at the time that we launch our most powerful wave of attacks, that is, the second wave of attacks. If it does occur, we must strive to carry out the plan that has been laid out for use in the event of a major opportunity.

In the event that the opportunity arises during the rainy season in the Central Highlands, during the third wave of attacks, or during the last months of 1975, or during the puppet government’s presidential election, we must have a battle plan ready for use to exploit the opportunity.

-Making and maintaining a strategic cut [blockage] of Route 19 will be our main goal (could also use Routes 14 and 21), and because we will have annihilated the defenders stationed along the section of the road that has been cut, the enemy will continuously send troops out to try to clear the road. We will isolate A, B, and C. You will support this effort by mounting powerful military proselyting attacks against the enemy troops that are cut off and isolated to persuade them to break away from their army or to mutiny.

-You should use elite sapper and artillery forces to attack and destroy headquarters facilities, communications centers, airfields, ammunition and bomb storage facilities, and fuel storage facilities in the cities and province capitals disrupt and delay the efforts by the enemy forces to reinforce and rescue one another. The primary target will be B. Be ready to use your main force troops to surround, besiege, attack, annihilate and shatter the enemy forces there. In the event a major opportunity presents itself, you must be ready to send a portion of your Central Highlands forces down to fight in other battlefields.

IV.-Force Building

1.-During 1975 we must build up the strength of our combat infantry regiments to 2,000 men or more and of our main force battalions to 450 men each. Provincial battalions must be built up to a strength of 350 men and there must be sufficient replacement troops ready to be sent to replace losses as they occur. The High Command will send 12,000 troops to reinforce the Central Highlands (including those for use in the C3 Campaign), and these should be used primarily to bring infantry combat units from the province level upward up to their authorized strengths.

2.-You must devote particular attention to the work of training in order to improve the command and combat skills of infantry and combat support branch units and of the headquarters staffs of our three types of troops [main force, local force, guerrillas].

First, you must come up with a supplementary training plan to meet the requirements of your mission in early 1975. During the year main force units must conduct at least four months of training, while local force troops and guerrilla militia troops should take turns fighting and training at the local level, following a solid training plan worked out by your headquarters. The training programs must meet the immediate, short-term combat requirements as well as improving combat skills to meet the requirements of the next mission.

During training you must maintain a firm grasp of the need to provide basic and supplemental training to front and division command-level officers and headquarters staffs, and you must have a parallel plan to provide quick basic and supplemental training for the low-level cadres (squad, platoon, and company-level) that will be required for the upcoming attacks. With regard to mid-level and high-level officers, you should have these officers take turns attending short-term training sessions to study practical subjects, such as the situation and the mission, campaign-level and tactical-level command organization to meet the requirements of tactical-level and campaign-level attacks against cities and province capitals.

3.-With regards to logistics supplies, we are currently experiencing difficulties, especially with regards to towing vehicles and large-caliber artillery ammunition. You must work out appropriate tactics to make the most economical use of these items and maintain them properly, and you must use equipment, weapons, and ammunition that you capture from the enemy to attack the enemy.

The total amounts, the amounts that you are authorized to use, and the amounts that you must use are the same as the figures contained in the previous instructions.

V.-Command Organization

The B3 Front Command Headquarters and Party Committee will be directly responsible to the High Command for commanding all aspects of the Southern Central Highlands Campaign, but at the same time you must constantly keep the Military Region 5 Headquarters and Region Party Committee briefed on the situation.

Maintaining Secrecy

You must pay special attention to educating your personnel on the need for secrecy and you must have a detailed plan for maintaining secrecy. You must actively work to deceive and divert the enemy’s attention, not just with regard to our immediate plan for 1975, but also with regard to our preparations to carry out our intentions for the next phase.

This directive only covers a number of the most important tasks for combat and force-building. As for the specific details, Comrade Thuoc will personally brief the Front Headquarters on political education for the military proselyting attacks, and a separate directive will be sent to you on logistics and technical support.