The Battle of Ban Me Thuot was a decisive battle of the Vietnam War which led to the complete destruction of South Vietnam's II Corps Tactical Zone. The battle was part of a larger North Vietnamese military operation known as Campaign 275 to capture the Tay Nguyen region, known in the West as the Vietnamese Central Highlands.
In March 1975 the Vietnam People's Army (VPA) 4th Corps staged a large-scale offensive, known as Campaign 275, with the aim of capturing the Central Highlands from the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) in order to kick-start the first stage of the Ho Chi Minh Campaign. Within ten days, the North Vietnamese destroyed most South Vietnamese military formations in II Corps Tactical Zone, exposing the severe weaknesses of the South Vietnamese Army. For South Vietnam, the defeat at Ban Me Thuot and the disastrous evacuation from the Central Highlands came about as a result of two major mistakes. Firstly, in the days leading up to the assault on Ban Me Thuot, ARVN Major General Pham Van Phu repeatedly ignored intelligence which showed the presence of several North Vietnamese combat divisions around the district. Secondly, President Nguyen Van Thieu's strategy to withdraw from the Central Highlands was poorly planned and implemented.
In the end, it was the ordinary South Vietnamese soldiers and their families who paid the ultimate price, as North Vietnamese artillery decimated the South Vietnamese military convoy on Route 7.
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