22nd DivisionOrganized April 1, 1959
(JGS Order 5,116/TTM/1/1/MK of December 12, 1959)
(JGS Order 1,029/TTM/1/1/MK of February 28, 1959)
The 22nd Division is one of the three infantry divisions formed in 1959 as part of plan to eliminate separate categories of "light" and "field" divisions and replace them with standard infantry division. The 22nd Division was created from the 12th and 14th Light Divisions. Strictly speaking, it is a descendant of the 14th Light Division.
Planning for the establishment of the 22nd Infantry Division began in 1958. As of early 1959, the 14th Light Division had its headquarters and its 41st Regiment at Kontum. The 40th Regiment was at Dak To, 45 kilometers north of Kontum, while the 42nd Regiment was at Phu Thanh, 15 kilometers west of Qui Nhon on National Highway 1. On March 31, 1959 the 12th Light Division ceased to exist, and the following day the 14th Light Division became the 22nd Infantry Division. In November 1960, the division was assigned responsibility for Kontum and Pleiku Provinces. The headquarters remained in Kontum. Because of the changing military situation, the division was shifted to the coast in March 1965 and given responsibility for Binh Dinh, Phu Yen and Phu Bon Provinces. The headquarters was moved to Ba Gi, 15 kilometers northwest of Qui Nhon in Binh Dinh.
On August 1, 1955, six light divisions officially came into being with regiments composed of relatively of already existing battalions. The 2nd Light Division was formed with its headquarters at Kontum in the central highlands. However, eight of the nine battalions included in the division's three regiments - the 103rd, 104th and 105th - were originally raised in the Mekong Delta. On November 1, 1955, the 2nd Light Division became the 12th Light Division, and the 103rd, 104th and 105th Regiments were renumbered the 34th, 35th, and 36th Regiments. The division and its regiments were disbanded in 1959. Division personnel were incorporated in the new 22nd Division.
The 4th Light Division was also formed on August 1, 1955. Its first headquarters was at Ban Me Thuot in Darlac Province, but after a short period the headquarters was transferred to the coastal city of Qui Nhon. Almost all the troops in the division were originally Highlanders. On November 1, 1955, the 4th Light Division was renumbered the 14th Light Division and its regiments - the 401st, 402nd, and 403rd - became the 40th, 41st, and 42nd Regiments. In early 1956, the division participated in successful operations in the Mekong Delta which eliminated the military forces of "General" Ba Cut (Le Quang Vinh) and other dissident Hoa Hao leaders.
In 1966, the 47th Independent Regiment joined the division. This regiment appears to have been formed in the early 1960s (an earlier 47th Regiment, a part of the 16th Light Division in Quang Tri, was organized on November 1, 1954 and disbanded on March 31, 1959). In April 1962, the 47th Regiment was operating in Phu Yen in support of the 9th Division; in April 1963, part of the regiment was in Quang Ngai operating in support of the 25th Division. On November 1, 1963, the 47th Regiment joined the 23rd Division. It became independent again on October 16, 1965. It soon joined the 22nd Division where it remained.
In late 1965, the 42nd Regiment left 22nd Division and joined the 23rd Division. However, it was made independent on July 1, 1966 and assigned to the newly created 24th Special Tactical Zone (Kontum Province area). The Zone was abolished on April 30, 1970, and the following day the 42nd Regiment rejoined the 22nd Division. Simultaneously, a forward headquarters for the division was set up at Tan Canh/Dak To in Kontum Province.
In early 1972 the division had two regiments (the 42nd and the 47th) in the Pleiku/Kontum area and two regiments (the 40th and 41st) in Binh Dinh. Because of sharp reverses during the 1972 Communist offensive - the division's forward headquarters at Tan Canh was overrun and the division commander disappeared in the fighting - two regiments in the highlands were withdrawn to Binh Dinh for refitting along with two regiments already in the province, both of which had also suffered some serious setbacks in 1972. Later in the year, the rehabilitated 22nd Division reopened the National Highway 1 Corridor through northern Binh Dinh. In early 1973, all four regiments were in Binh Dinh. However, by the end of the year all of them had been redeployed to the Kontum/Pleiku area.
Since early 1973, 22nd Division had its rear headquarters at An Son, a former Korean base camp about 15 kilometers west of Qui Nhon.
On 04 March 1975 the PAVN offensive kicked off with an attack on Route 19 by the 3d PAVN Division, making further cuts on this vital road and tying down the ARVN 22d Division. In II Corps area, the South Vietnamese still occupied the coastal provinces. The ARVN 22d Division had successfully blocked the Binh Khe pass, gateway from the highlands to the coastal plain, for two weeks against two NVA divisions. In early April 1975, with about two-thirds of its men battle casualties, the outgunned and outnumbered division gave way and was evacuated from the corps area by sea. The NVA then rapidly overran the coastal plain and seized Nha Trang and Qui Nhon.
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