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Military


1961-1970 - Corps Tactical Zones

In April 1961 President Diem abolished the system of military regions and made his army field command responsible for counter?insurgency operations. This step proved relatively ineffective, for President Diem continued to retain tight control of all operations. No single military chain of command from the field command to the units and agencies engaged in counterinsurgency operations existed; corps and military district commanders continued to receive their instructions directly from the President.

Decree 98-QP of April 13, 1961 brought about a significant change. It cancelled Decree 61-QP of June 26, 1952, the basic document authorizing the division of national territory into military regions. In place of the military regions, Decree 98-QP established three tactical zones (vung chien thuat). The Capital Military District (Quan khu Thu do) became the Capital Special Zone (Biet Khu Thu Do). The boundaries of the three new tactical zones (TZ's) and the Capital Special Zone were defined as follows:

  1. I TZ: The boundaries of the former 2nd Military Region;
  2. II TZ: The boundaries of the former 4th Military Region;
  3. III TZ: The boundaries of the former 1st and 5th Military Regions and these of the Capital Special Zone.
  4. The Capital Special Zone included the City of Saigon and Gia Dinh Province

Decree 213-QP of November 26, 1962 modified Decree 98-QP of April 13, 1962. Major revisions were made in the boundaries of the tactical zones (vung chien thuat) and the country was divided into four (instead of three) such zones. The increase in the number of tactical zones from three to four was necessitated by the formation of IV Corps, which officially came into being on January 1, 1963. The four tactical zones were:

  1. I TZ -- Four provinces: Quang Tri, Thua Thien, Quang Nam, and Quang Tin;
  2. II TZ -- Six provinces: Quang Ngai, Kontum, Pleiku, Binh Dinh, Phu Yen, and Phu Bon;
  3. III TZ -- Sixteen provinces: Darlac, Quang Duc, Tuyen Duc, Khanh Hoa, Phuoc Long, Lam Dong, Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan, Binh Long, Phuoc Thanh, Long Khanh, Binh Tuy, Tay Ninh, Binh Duong, Bien Hoa, and Phuoc Tuy;
  4. IV TZ -- Thirteen provinces and one island: Long An, Kien Tuong, Dinh Tuong, Kien Phong, Kien Hoa, Vinh Long, An Giang, Vinh Binh, Phong Dinh, Kien Giang, Chuong Thien, Ba Xuyen, An Xuyen, and Con Son Island.
  5. The Capital Special Zone -- Saigon and Gia Dinh Province -- remained unchanged.

Decree 132-QP of October 25, 1963 [the text of this decree not been located] Overtaken by an event, the coup d'etat of November 1, 1963, the decree was never published in the Republic of Viet Nam's Official Journal. No copy of it has yet been located at the Defense Ministry or at the RVNAF Joint General Staff Headquarters. However, it has been possible to piece together many of the details from companion decrees that were published and from other available information. The changes called for in the decree appear to have gone into effect on November 1, 1963, the same day as the coup, and are believed to have included the following rearrangements of tactical zones:

  1. Quang Ngai was transferred to I TZ from II TZ;
  2. Darlac, Khanh Hoa, Quang Duc, Tuyen Duc, Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan, and Lam Doug were transferred to II TZ from III TZ;
  3. Long An, Kien Tong, Dinh Tuong, and Kien Hoa were transferred to III TZ from IV TZ.

Decree 343-QL of October 22, 1964 cancelled Decree 132-QP of October 25, 1963. It provided for four tactical zones (vung chien thuat), a Capital Special Zone (Biet khu Thu do), and a Rung Sat Special Zone. The zones were defined as follows

  1. I TZ -- Five provinces: Quang Tri, Thua Thien, Quang Nam, Quang Tin, and Quang Ngai;
  2. II TZ -- Thirteen provinces; Kontum, Pleiku, Binh Dinh, Phu Bon, Darlac, Quang Duc, Tuyen Duc, Phu Yen, Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan, Lam Doug, and Binh Tuy;
  3. III TZ -- Ten provinces: Phuoc Long, Binh Long, Phuoc Thanh, Long Khanh, Phuoc Tuy, Bien Hoa (less the districts of Quang Xuyen and Can Gio), Tay Ninh, Binh Duong, Hau Nghia, and Long An.
  4. IV TZ -- Fifteen provinces and one island: Kien Tuong, Dinh Tuong, Go Cong, Kien Hoa, Kien Phong, Chau Doc, An Giang, Vinh Long, Vinh Binh, Phong Dinh, Kien Giang, Chuong Thien, Ba Xuyen, Bac Lieu, An Xuyen, and Con Son Island; Capital Special Zone: Saigon and Gia Dinh Province; Rung Sat Special Zone: Quang Xuyen and Can Gio Districts of Bien Hoa Province.

Decree 124-QP of July 2, 1965 changed the name "Capital Special Zone" (Biet khu Thu do) to "Capital Military Zone" (Quan Khu Thu do).

Decree 227-QP of December 9, 1965 The decree revised Decree 343-QL of October 27, 1964. Specified as separate areas in the decree were the Capital Military Zone consisting of Saigon, Gia Dinh Province, and Con Son Island and the Rung Sat Special Zone consisting of Quang Xuyen and Can Gio Districts of Bien Hoa Province. The four tactical zones (vung chien thuat) were redefined as follows:

  1. I TZ -- Five provinces: Quang Tri, Thua Thien,, Quang Nam, Quang Tin, and Quang Ngai;
  2. II TZ -- Twelve provinces: Binh Dinh, Phu Yen, Phu Bon, Kontum, Pleiku, Darlac, Khanh Hoa, Quang Duc, Tuyen Duc, Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan, and Lam Dong;
  3. III TZ -- Ten provinces: Phuoc Long, Binh Long, Binh Duong, Long Khanh, Binh Tuy, Phuoc Tuy, Bien Hoa (less the districts of Quang Xuyen and Can Gio), Tay Ninh, Hau Nghia, and Long An;
  4. IV TZ -- Fifteen provinces: Kien Tuong, Dinh Tuong, Go Cong, Kien Hoa, Kien Phong, Vinh Long, Vinh Binh, Chau Doc, An Giang, Kien Giang, Phong Dinh, Chuong Thien, Bac Lieu, Ba Xuyen, and An Xuyen.

Decree 130-SL/QP of Ju1y 18, 1966, with effect from June 7, 1966, the name "Capital Military Zone" (Quan Khu Thu do) was changed back to "Capital Special Zone" (Biet khu Thu do). The decree defined the Capital Special Zone as consisting of Saigon, Gia Dinh Province, and Con Son Island and made it part of the territory of the 3rd Tactical Zone (III TZ). It was further stipulated that the responsibility and authority of the Capital Special Zone would be limited to that of a sector. Apparently, at the time of the decree Quang Xuyen and Can Gio Districts, which together make up the Rung Sat Special Zone, were transferred from Bien Hoa Province to Gia Dinh Province. However, it has not been possible to find the decrees ordering this change.



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