Strange war: Chinese operation in Vietnam in 1979

Strange war: Chinese operation in Vietnam in 1979

In the early morning of February 17, 1979, Chinese troops launched an offensive in northern Vietnam. For this operation, China has deployed about 600 troops. True, only about 250 thousand entered the territory of neighboring Vietnam. The rest were concentrated near the border.

However, even these PLA forces were enough to advance 15 kilometers deep into Vietnamese territory in three days. On this, the Chinese offensive "choked" for some time.

It is worth noting that in terms of numbers, the Vietnamese troops were more than twice inferior to the Chinese. However, they were much more combat-ready, as the country has been involved in wars with the French, Japanese and Americans for the past three decades.

Meanwhile, by March 4, 1979, the PLA managed to capture the cities of Cao Bang and Lang Shong. This forced the leadership of Vietnam on March 5 to announce a general mobilization in the country. At the same time, on the same day, China announced the end of its military operation and began to withdraw its troops.

Officially, the reason for the outbreak of the armed conflict in China was the need to protect Chinese citizens living in northern Vietnam.

It is worth noting that the Chinese army, when leaving the territory of a neighboring country, really took with them fellow citizens living in territories where the PLA left only ruins.

At the same time, the reason given by the authorities for the invasion of the neighboring country does not look particularly convincing. The thing is that the Vietnamese authorities began the eviction of the Chinese from their territory much earlier than the start of the PRC operation. Tellingly, "forced migrants" often made the decision not to go to China, but to Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, and even the United States. They hardly needed the help of the PLA.

In this regard, there is an opinion among historians that the short-term war between China and Vietnam had a different reason.

One of them is the desire of the PRC to prevent the creation of the so-called Soviet security belt around China. That is why, back in 1978, Beijing was preparing for a war on two fronts, since the Chinese authorities believed that the USSR could stand up for Vietnam.

However, the visit of Deng Xiaoping to the United States in January 1979, literally a month before the invasion of Vietnam, with which the Americans fought unsuccessfully for 10 years and left the territory of this country in 1975, also raises many questions.

Be that as it may, the Chinese operation in Vietnam looks very strange. That is why there are still disputes over the reasons for its rapid start and no less "sudden" end.

Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must sign in.
  1. The comment was deleted.
    1. +15
      2 March 2023 07: 58
      This whole story began with one country called Cambodia. After the death of Stalin and, accordingly, the intensity of relations between China and the USSR, the countries began to actively push their elbows in the struggle for spheres of influence. China really wanted to organize its own bloc like the Warsaw Pact countries of the USSR, so it began to compete with the Union. The Khmer Rouge regime was extremely radical. Inspired by the Cultural Revolution of Mao and the idea of ​​abandoning everything Western, they began to pursue a tough anti-urban policy, evicting urban residents to villages and labor camps. And it’s not that they weren’t given this, but the second part of the program was all sorts of purges, including on a national basis. The Vietnamese population in Kampuchea also fell under distribution. The result was mass exodus of people from Kampuchea, which often led to skirmishes between the Khmer Rouge army and Vietnamese border guards. China actively supported this policy of the Khmers, well, this is so briefly about the reasons for the "strange" war.
      1. man
        2 March 2023 08: 46
        It was you who had to write this article, the author is absolutely not in the subject.
        1. -1
          4 March 2023 21: 10
          Whatever it was, but the article is not for the present time.
          Now, when the confrontation between Russia and NATO is at its peak, and the Last World War may begin at any moment, it is not worth publishing any articles that somehow expose impartially anyone other than our opponents.
          The support of everyone who is capable of it is too important for us.
          Let's leave the laundry of the neighbors for peacetime. Both dirty and clean.
          Especially when it comes to China.
      2. +6
        2 March 2023 12: 06
        Quote from Silver99
        This whole story began with one country called Cambodia.

        To the point.
        On December 25, 1978, units of the Vietnam People's Army entered Cambodia. On January 7, 1979, Vietnamese troops, supported by opponents of Pol Pot, entered the capital of the country, Phnom Penh. Pol Pot, along with his like-minded people, retreated to the mountainous regions, and a new government was formed in the capital, headed by Heng Samrin, based on the support of Vietnam and the USSR.
        In response to this, a military operation was carried out, since in fact Cambodia was under the strongest Chinese influence, and then suddenly Vietnam decided to "liberate" it from it
      3. 0
        9 March 2023 04: 53
        The political war, the war in which China joined the war against Soviet hegemony, bombed the Vietnamese border until 1990. The United States and European countries at this time carried out great military, economic and technological cooperation with China.
  2. -10
    2 March 2023 08: 12
    The Vietnamese are still spoken of by that people in Asia, just as the Georgians are not listed in the Caucasus among other nationalities, therefore the entire Caucasus fought in Abkhazia against the Georgians. Not everything is so simple there, everyday life superimposed on the ambitions of narrow-minded politicians leads to showdowns, and people die. On the other hand, if the Vietnamese were complaisant like some kind of Bulgaria, could they drive out all the colonialists who came to their lands? And not to spread their legs, as the Europeans are doing now to their own detriment, even the Serbs were bent.
  3. +4
    2 March 2023 08: 41
    At this very time, my father was serving in Veseliye Klyuchi, Pogranichny District, Primorsky Krai. I was in the 9th grade and I remember everything perfectly. Father's regiment was suddenly raised at night on alarm and they occupied fortified areas not far from the village. Barano-Orenburg. They were there for about 10 days. The atmosphere in the garrison was tense. Since the border is less than 30 km. and there is no one except the border guards. The fortification was in the depths. Then my father told me that the officers seriously expected the start of hostilities.
    1. +4
      2 March 2023 21: 34
      At that time, very serious measures were taken to demonstrate our military power with the mobilization of reservists on the borders of the PRC (this was very impressive and there was a feeling that the war was close; besides, the servicemen wrote reports asking them to be sent to Vietnam) ...
  4. +4
    2 March 2023 10: 03
    The Chinese-supported Khmer Rouge in Cambodia massacred their population by the hundreds of thousands - primarily the intelligentsia, those who disagreed with their ideology and ethnic minorities. At that time, about a million ethnic Vietnamese lived in Cambodia, who fled to Vietnam in tens of thousands to escape extermination. The Vietnamese government sent its troops to Cambodia. The Pol Pot regime was overthrown and the genocide of the people was stopped. The Chinese leadership, outraged by the overthrow of the pro-Chinese regime in Cambodia, decided to punish Vietnam and Chinese troops invaded Vietnam. The Vietnamese staunchly resisted - they literally mowed down the waves of advancing enemies. The losses of the Chinese were significant, and they were afraid to use aviation, knowing about the good air defense of Vietnam. And China stopped the invasion of Vietnam for a reason! The strongest pressure was exerted on China by the Soviet Union - ships of the Pacific Fleet went to Vietnam, masses of Soviet troops were transferred to the Chinese border - and only these measures stopped the Chinese.
    1. +1
      3 March 2023 15: 01
      Quote: Tikhonov_Alexander
      And China stopped the invasion of Vietnam for a reason!

      I heard that from the side of Mongolia, some tankers staged "rides" on the territory of the PRC. recourse
    2. AAK
      3 March 2023 18: 37
      In addition to the above, an alarm was also announced in the Strategic Missile Forces units stationed along the Trans-Siberian Railway, and a significant number of combat aircraft began to be transferred to airfields in the territory bordering China. In 1981, in our university, Laotian students living in areas close to the Vietnamese border told me another fact that the greatest number of cruelties against the Vietnamese in the areas occupied by China were committed by punitive detachments, which consisted not of Chinese men, but of Chinese women...
    3. 0
      9 March 2023 04: 54
      The political war, the war in which China joined the war against Soviet hegemony, bombed the Vietnamese border until 1990. The United States and European countries at this time carried out great military, economic and technological cooperation with China.
  5. +2
    2 March 2023 13: 30
    Can it really be considered a strange pretext to stand up for your overlord? Let it be as bloody and odious as Pol Pot was with his clique, who plunged Cambodia into the wild Middle Ages with a total dictatorship, the destruction of the economy, and the merciless terror of its population. Teaching Vietnam, which came to the aid of neighbors who were on the verge of extermination by their rulers, became an obsession for the followers of “grandfather Mao” (who died in Bose three years before these events), which led to the first war in history between socialist countries, which the USSR very disapproved. He did not approve, against the background of Soviet-Chinese relations that began to normalize sluggishly after the death of the "great helmsman", but, at the same time, strongly supported his long-time ally - the DRV. Supporting not only weapons and financially, but also allowing Soviet military specialists to take a direct part in the hostilities, which they did, moreover, very successfully: they competently corrected artillery fire, helped to organize and carry out military operations in a coordinated manner, and did not disdain to burn Chinese military equipment with their own hands. Well, the official Soviet media modestly kept silent about the fact that the USSR military districts bordering the PRC were put on alert, having simultaneously begun the implementation of mobilization plans in case of hostilities. This turned out to be enough to stop the military operation and the withdrawal of PLA units from Vietnamese territory, and a short but bloody war to become part of the history of the second half of the XNUMXth century.
    1. +1
      2 March 2023 13: 53
      Our people there overdid it a little with help: they organized such air defense that everything with wings that flies from the PRC was knocked down.
      Then they failed to push through a resolution on China's aggression, because all three types of troops should participate in it. The Pacific Fleet did not allow the Chinese to go to sea, but about aviation it was higher ...
    2. 0
      3 March 2023 14: 49
      stand up for your overlord

      The suzerain is the lord of the vassals. They don’t stand up for him, he patronizes and protects.
  6. +4
    3 March 2023 10: 32
    Participated in this strange war, serving on the landing ship of the Pacific Fleet. We transported military equipment for them, mainly T-55 tanks, and landed them in the north near Haiphong. So there was so much equipment from the USSR at the landing site! And the Vietnamese, whom we transferred from the south to the north, were very belligerent. They said, you give us the equipment, and we will defeat the Chinese ourselves! By the way, they were very respectful of the Soviets, especially the military.
    1. +2
      3 March 2023 10: 48
      An acquaintance served as a mechanic on a "communication ship" ... The Chinese tried to attack them on boats when they went to Cam Ranh. The escort went far, but after the report of the "attack" they quickly approached and drove the Chinese away. And at that time I was studying at a vocational school, so urgently everyone began to measure gas masks.
    2. +1
      4 March 2023 13: 37
      You speak the truth. The morale and motivation of the VNOA were much higher than the PLA, as well as combat training, along with experience after the recently ended war with the Americans and their South Vietnamese satellites. I remember that at that time I was involved in sending additional air defense systems to the DRV, which, in general, were not needed in that conflict. The Chinese, knowing full well the power of the Vietnamese air defense system, which had proven itself in repelling American raids, refrained from using their own military aviation, preferring to transfer it to the borders with the USSR (knowing full well about our military preparations).
  7. +2
    3 March 2023 17: 07
    I will add a little from myself. It was after the defeat of the PRC from Vietnam in that war that the Chinese leadership became concerned about the "restructuring" of the entire country. The results were not long in coming, which we are seeing today!
    1. +2
      3 March 2023 19: 29
      I will add a little from myself. It was after the defeat of the PRC from Vietnam in that war that the Chinese leadership became concerned about the "restructuring" of the entire country.
      The orthodox Chinese leadership ("gang of four") was removed as a result of this war. The only positive result is that China has become different after this war.
  8. 0
    6 March 2023 10: 44
    Chinese hegemonists have long considered Indochina as their lost territories, which should become part of China, the leader of the Chinese, Mao, spoke openly about this. Vietnam in its history before the war of 1979 repulsed the attacks of the Chinese emperors 13 (!) times. In this case, it all came down to a confrontation with the USSR, the Chinese wanted to use the struggle of the Vietnamese against the United States for their own purposes. They offered the Vietnamese assistance in the amount of 1 billion US dollars in exchange for refusing to cooperate with the USSR, or they offered the Vietnamese something like this, they say, don’t fight South Vietnam, we, the Chinese, will send our troops to fight there, or other "help" You make full use of North Vietnam our army to go to war with the South Vietnamese, and we will send our troops to the North to protect, you see, the territory without an army, in fact this is an occupation. But the most important thing happened after the defeat of the puppet Saigon regime, which was based on help from the United States. In South Vietnam, after the flight of the Americans, a large Chinese diaspora remained, which was engaged in smuggling everything and everything, in general, their usual way of existence. Needless to say, what harm all this brought to the new government. The Vietnamese decided this issue radically. They expelled all Chinese from the South. They ran to complain to the leader Mao in Beijing. It was from there that threats were made to teach Vietnam a lesson. They artificially raised the issue of the persecution of the Chinese in Vietnam. In parallel, the proteges of the Chinese in Cambodia, Pol Pot and Ieng Sari, provoked a border war with Vietnam in the south. The Vietnamese retaliated, the Pol Pot army was defeated, then an uprising broke out against the Pol Pot regime already inside Cambodia, and the Vietnamese army was only to help the rebellious people. In general, the Chinese did not succeed there. And they decided to attack the Vietnamese in the North. They managed to achieve a certain surprise at the beginning of hostilities thanks to sabotage groups, which were led along the paths in the mountain forests by the Chinese living in the North of Vietnam for many years, i.e. they were covert agents of Chinese intelligence. Otherwise, the backward antediluvian tactics of warfare did not give the Chinese operational success. It was said that during the battles they used the so-called psychic attack tactics, as it was in the film about Chapaev, remember how the Kappelites attacked. Vietnamese machine gunners laid down the Chinese marching in a chain to the right and left. Officially, the newspapers called the figure of 67 thousand people. dead Chinese. I had to go back. For the 14th time. Later, another invasion was prepared. Yes, they seem to have thought about it. The Chinese had the technique of the 50-60s, all that was left of those times was not new. Earlier, under the guise of the Vietnam War with the United States, the Chinese managed to occupy the Parassel Islands, which used to belong to South Vietnam, found an insidious time when the Saigonians were actually defeated. Until now, the islands are Chinese and they are not going to return them to Vietnam. They write now that a Chinese diaspora has re-formed in South Vietnam, apparently due to new political and economic realities.
  9. 0
    9 March 2023 04: 44
    This is a political war. During his visit to the United States, DengXiaoping told Western media that he would teach Vietnam to speak on behalf of China against the position of the Soviet Union. China wants to improve relations with Western countries. Should he occupy Vietnam? Vietnam has a large population. Indeed, Chinese shelling of Vietnam on the border did not stop until 1990, when the Soviet Union faced a major crisis.
  10. The comment was deleted.
  11. The comment was deleted.
  12. The comment was deleted.
  13. 0
    10 March 2023 14: 04
    Quote from Silver99
    The result was a mass exodus of people from Kampuchea, which often led to skirmishes between the Khmer Rouge army and Vietnamese border guards. China actively supported this Khmer policy, well, this is so briefly about the reasons for the "strange" war.

    What are the skirmishes. The Vietnamese army entered Cambodia and helped overthrow the Maoist-backed Pol Pot regime. The collapse of its ally prompted the Chinese leadership to take revenge on Vietnam with aggression.
    By the way, the Yankees then publicly condemned Vietnam for "unprovoked aggression against a sovereign state", for a while sticking the usual demagogy about "protecting human rights" in a well-known place.
  14. 0
    April 15 2023 08: 34
    Quote: Illanatol
    By the way, the Yankees then publicly condemned Vietnam for "unprovoked aggression against a sovereign state", for a while sticking the usual demagogy about "protecting human rights" in a well-known place.

    It would be strange if this were not the case. "Our son of a bitch" Somosu has not been forgotten by everyone.
  15. -1
    April 16 2023 11: 44
    And then we drew maps for the flight to Beijing...