Xuan Loc (5)

During the night of 26 April 1975, I was trying unsuccessfully to sleep in my office when a blast threw me from my cot and slammed me to the floor. I ran to the comms center. The few remaining guys not yet evacuated looked dazed, but everything was working, and nobody was hurt. A bulletin arrived within minutes telling us that North Vietnamese sappers had blown up the ammo dump at Bien Hoa, just north of us. That meant, among other things, that panic in the streets of Saigon would ramp up a couple of notches.

The next day, 27 April, we learned that the last small contingent of South Vietnamese forces who survived the battle of Xuan Loc had abandoned the city. It was now firmly under North Vietnamese control. The last obstacle to the siege of Saigon was removed. I described that series of events in Last of the Annamese:

“Wednesday morning, Chuck learned from a Liberation Radio transcript that the explosion had been the mammoth ammo dump at Bien Hoa, less than eighteen miles northeast of them. Friendly after-action reports confirmed that enemy sappers had penetrated the perimeter. The airbase, the largest still in the hands of the South Vietnamese, had been hit the day before with rockets and artillery, and the runway had been closed for repairs. Meanwhile, the defense of Xuan Loc was over. Withdrawal had begun. The enemy’s pincers were closing.”

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