On This Day: Vietnam War ends

Julian Gavaghan
On This Day: Vietnam War ends

April 30, 1975 - The Vietnam War ended 38 years ago today - after costing the lives of more than three million people during two decades of fighting.

The controversial Cold War conflict ended on April 30, 1975, after the communist North seized the southern capitalist half of the country and its leaders capitulated.

This came two years after the U.S., which supported the South, pulled all its forces out in what was seen as a deeply humiliating exit.

After initially taking on a training role, more than 500,000 Americans eventually fought in Vietnam after combat troops were deployed in 1965.

By 1967, when British Pathe filed the newsreel above, the fighting was at its peak and the plummy-voiced reporter aptly recognises that there was 'little prospect of peace'.

[Latest news from Asia]

Black-and-white footage shows an astonishing 1,200 shells being fired from the USS Carronade rocket ship over a 24-hour period in a bid to destroy enemies on land.

During the war, more than seven million tons of bombs were dropped on Vietnam and neighbouring Laos and Cambodia – twice the amount dropped during WWII.

As well as the vessel’s fierce firepower, the video also shows how American sailors loaded the shells below deck.

Officers are also seen scouring a map to check on positions on the mainland where they hoped the rockets might hit.

The report suggested that some of the shells had destroyed Viet Cong arms dumps.

After the war, however, it was revealed that the Americans had only destroyed a tiny portion of the communists’ arms, which were supplied by the USSR and China.

Viet Cong guerrillas dug hundreds of miles of tunnels through jungle and had great success transporting weapons and men along the Ho Chi Minh trail.

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