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18th Division (South Vietnam)

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Country  South Vietnam
Role  Infantry
Type  Division
Nickname(s)  "The Supermen"
18th Division (South Vietnam)
Active  16 May 1965 - 30 April 1975
Branch  Army of the Republic of Vietnam

The 18th Division was an infantry division in the III Corps of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN). The U.S. Military Assistance Command Vietnam considered the 18th as undisciplined and was well known throughout the ARVN for its "cowboy" reputation. In 1975 the 18th was made famous for its tenacious defense of Xuân Lộc, the last major battle before the Fall of Saigon.

History

During the last major battle of the Vietnam War, the vastly outnumbered 18th Division stood and fought at Xuân Lộc, 38 miles (61 km) northeast of Saigon. This battle is considered the last stand of ARVN forces, where the 18th earned the name "The Supermen". It was commanded by General Le Minh Dao.

The 18th fought against communist forces in Xuan Loc, a city strategically important for intersecting five main routes. The fierce fighting raged for two weeks. The 18th Division, outnumbered 7:1 by the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) forces, destroyed all but three PAVN divisions before finally being overwhelmed by superior numbers. The division was forced to evacuate from the city on April 21, 1975, nine days before the fall of Saigon. Upon learning the 18th had lost Xuân Lộc that afternoon at 3:00pm President Nguyen Van Thieu made a tearful televised speech that was broadcast around the world in which he blamed the United States for abandoning South Vietnam; he closed the speech by resigning the presidency.

The 18th was finally destroyed while defending Bien Hoa Air Base. South Vietnam surrendered on the afternoon of 30 April 1975.

References

18th Division (South Vietnam) Wikipedia


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