Buon me Thuot Map
Battle of Ban Me Thuot
The Battle of Buon Me Thuot was part of North Vietnam's Campaign 275 to capture

the Central Highlands following the victory at Phuoc Long on January 6, 1975.

Buon Me Thuot was selected as the first objective during the Central Military Party Committee session on January 9. In order to achieve their objectives, General Vo Nguyen Giap put emphasis on secrecy and surprise to force the South Vietnamese army to defend the northern areas of the Central Highlands, as major North Vietnamese units would launch diversionery attacks elsewhere.

Campaign 275

To keep all upcoming military operations secret, radio signals were kept silent and the only radio broadcasts made were misleading messages intended to suggest that General Van Tien Dung would attack Pleiku. The beginning of Campaign 275 was signalled by North Vietnamese attacks in Binh Dinh and Pleiku Provinces on March 4. In Binh Dinh the ARVN 47th Regiment struggled against the ever growing strength of North Vietnamese artillery and rocket strikes, the artillery positions supporting the 47th Regiment were overrun and destroyed. ARVN Fire Support Bases 93 and 94 were heavily bombaraded before the 4th Ranger Group and the 2nd Armoured Cavalry Brigade were able to conduct clearing operations along Route 19.

On March 8 the 9th Regiment of the VPA 320th Division battled with the ARVN 45th Regiment at Thuan Man, resulting in the permanent blockage of Route 14 by the VPA 320th Division. On the next day another North Vietnamese attack was launched in Quang Duc Province, where the ARVN 53rd Infantry Regiment was overrun. The diversionary attacks in Quang Duc convinced Major General Pham Van Phu that the main battle would take place in Dac Lac Province, so the 72nd and the 96th Ranger Battalions as well as the 21st Ranger Group were sent to Ban Don.

The Battle

Finally at 1:55AM on March 10, the Vietnam People's Army launched a violent artillery barrage on the city of Buon Me Thuot and Phung Duc airfield.

By morning the 320th VPA Division had penetrated the city and the ARVN managed to throw back Communist assaults on Hill-559 and Phung Duc airfield. At around mid-day North Vietnamese infantry supported by armour had moved into the southern sector of Buon Me Thuot, where heavy fighting took place resulting in the loss of five North Vietnamese tanks. General Phu's attempt to reinforce Buon Me Thuot with two Regional Force Battalions from Ban Don failed under heavy enemy fire. Fighting at the airfield destroyed twelve aircraft belonging to the 2nd and 6th Air Divisions, and only three helicopters were managed to be piloted out.

The 23rd ARVN Division continued their resistance around Buon Me Thuot along with the 2nd Company, 4th Company, 8th Armoured Cavalry, 1st Battalion, 53rd Infantry, 243rd and 242nd Regional Forces. On March 11, the North Vietnamese consolidated their control over the city. On March 12 the worn down ARVN soldiers and their families were evacuated.

Major General Pham Van Phu were ordered to Cam Ranh on March 14 to meet President Nguyen Van Thieu. During the meeting President Thieu revealed and outlined his plans to retake Buon Me Thuot, under this plan Phu would make use of what is left of his units from Kontum and Pleiku Province, and the 22nd Division from Binh Dinh Province. However, due to the deteriorating stength of the South Vietnamese military, Buon Me Thuot was never retaken as the Communists continued their push south.


The Central Highlands consists of Dac Lac, Gia Lai, Kontum and Lam Dong Provinces

has always been an important strategic military staging area and whoever control the Central Highlands will have the advantage. For that reason, the South Vietnamese military had always maintained a heavy military presence there. After the fall of Buon Me Thuot, South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu ordered the northern provinces to be abandoned to 'lighten the top and keep the bottom'. The South Vietnamese army went into panic as soldiers and their families flooded the main roads in a mass exodus towards the coast. There was total collapse of South Vietnamese morale.
Vietnam airlines timetable to Buon Me Thuot - click here
T�y Nguy�n, translated as Western Highlands, is one of the regions of Vietnam. It contains the provinces of Đắk Lắk, Đắk N�ng, Gia Lai, Kon Tum, L�m Đồng. It has a large population of ethnic minorities such as as the people of Malayo-Polynesian languages (Jarai and Ede) and the people of Mon-Khmer languages (Bahnar and K'hor). Therefore, the Degar organized the FULRO (1964-1992) and the Montagnard Foundation (1990-), and are continuing the Montagnard Independence Movement from Vietnam. Tay nguyen is the home to most prominent and also most endangered species of VietNam and Southeast asia: the indochinese tiger, the huge gaur, the wild buffalo, the banteng and the asian elephant.

Asian Elephant
The Asian or Asiatic Elephant (Elephas maximus), sometimes known by the name of its nominate subspecies (the Indian Elephant), is one of the three living species of elephant, and the only living species of the genus Elephas. The species is found primarily in large parts of India, Sri Lanka, Indochina and parts of Indonesia. It is considered endangered, with between 25,600 and 32,750 left in the wild[3].

It is smaller than its African relatives, and the easiest way to distinguish the two are

the smaller ears of the Asian Elephant. The Asian Elephant tends to grow to around two to four meters (7–12 feet) in height and 3,000–5,000 kilograms (6,500–11,000 pounds) in weight.

The Asian Elephant has other differences from its African relatives, including a more arched back than the African, one semi-prehensile "finger" at the tip of its trunk as opposed to two, 4 nails on each hind foot instead of three, and 19 pairs of ribs instead of 21. Also, unlike with the African elephant, the female Asian Elephant usually lacks tusks; if tusks--in that case called "tushes"--are present, they are barely visible and only seen when the female opens its mouth. Some males may also lack tusks; these individuals are called "makhnas" and especially common among the Sri Lankan elephant population. Furthermore, the forehead has two hemispherical bulges unlike the flat front of the African elephant.

This animal is widely domesticated, and has been used in forestry in South and Southeast Asia for centuries and also in ceremonial purposes. Historical sources point out that they were sometimes used during the harvest season primarily for milling. Wild elephants attract tourist money to the areas where they can most readily be seen, but damage crops and may enter villages to raid gardens.