Vietnam Military History Museum

Vietnam Military History Museum

Vietnam Military History Museum

Vietnam has a long history of fighting in wars and has been invaded numerous times in the past. According to my guidebook, all the invasions utterly failed and for the most part Vietnam was its own entity even with the huge military might and strong culture of China just north of the border. Beginning in 1946, Vietnam started fighting for independence from France. By 1954, independence had been won with Uncle Ho leading the country to victory. As we all know, the US was mighty afraid of this turn of events because of the fear of Communism which ultimately led the US to invade Vietnam in 1959. For the most part, Vietnam was up in arms from 1946 until 1975!

In the US, we simply call the war with Vietnam, the Vietnam War. As one could guess, here in Vietnam the war with the US is called the American War. To celebrate and commemorate the victories of the First Indochina War and the American War, the Vietnam Military History Museum (formerly the Army Museum) was built and filled with war related artifacts. For a scholar of the Vietnam War, this museum provides the Vietnamese slant on things!

I arrived to the museum with less than 40 minutes to view it (the museum closed for 1.5 hours to accommodate lunch breaks for the staff) which meant that I had to view it in a rush. I didn’t get to see everything nor did I get to read much about the artifacts, but what I did see was pretty cool and even better were the descriptions of many of the tanks and planes. A typical exert on a placards was like this:

Operated be the 4th company 273rd brigade, this heroic company participated in the assault to seize the Saigon army 23rd division headquarters during BuonMaThuat combat (April 1975) and also in the battles at Bayhien cross, Saigon (April 1975) and at Tasanh, Cambodia (1979)

Operated be the 4th company 273rd brigade, this heroic company participated in the assault to seize the Saigon army 23rd division headquarters during BuonMaThuat combat (April 1975) and also in the battles at Bayhien cross, Saigon (April 1975) and at Tasanh, Cambodia (1979)

Which is the actual description of the tank you see above. A simple tank. This is a very nationalistic way to view things. Even better, some of the objects even said how many enemy tanks or planes they shot down. I imagine much of the information is fabricated, maybe to strike nationalistic pride? But I could be very wrong. Maybe they actually know that the MIG fighter I saw did indeed shoot down 3 B-52 bombers. Furthermore, many of the planes and helicopters were ‘captured’ on April 30th, 1975 in Saigon…That’s the day the war ‘officially’ ended. I imagine instead of being captured they were just left there by the US and Saigon governments because the US had been pulling out for quite a while. So if it makes them feel better to write ‘captured’, I say let them; we couldn’t beat them in the end anyway!

Below is a picture guide to my trip at the Museum. Cheers!

Maybe these failed to explode when we dropped them?

Maybe these failed to explode when we dropped them?

This art installation was put together with scavanged bits and pieces of planes, helicopters and bombs. Kinda cool actually!

This art installation was put together with scavanged bits and pieces of planes, helicopters and bombs. Kinda cool actually!

This tank was probably used to invade Saigon, I think. Notice the flags behind it, they were the flags flown by the North during the war.

This tank was probably used to invade Saigon, I think. Notice the flags behind it, they were the flags flown by the North during the war.

Vietnamese people are pretty short, or were back when this was built in 1812. The doorways inside it are only about 5 feet tall! This is the Flag Tower. I'm surprised it survived two wars...seems like a big target to me!

Vietnamese people are pretty short, or were back when this was built in 1812. The doorways inside this tower and its building are only about 5 feet tall! This is the Flag Tower. I'm surprised it survived two wars...seems like a big target to me!

This US helicopter was 'captured' on April 30th, 1975 in Saigon

This US helicopter was 'captured' on April 30th, 1975 in Saigon

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One Response to “Vietnam Military History Museum”

  1. Timi Says:

    More!! I want more!!! I assume we will get another installation after this weekend’s adventures??

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