Timeline of Fall of Saigon

Saigon's fall and the taking of the presidential palace, on April 30, 1975

Tank rolls into Saigon

This page is to show a brief timeline of the events that happened in the days before and the day of the fall of Saigon. This is to show the process taken by the North to capture the city of Saigon and in theory win the war in Vietnam. The plan from the North to capture Saigon was a few months in the making and the plan was perfected and the city of Saigon was captured with little to no fight back from the South Vietnamese forces and the United States.

Timeline:

1975 events that led up the Fall of Saigon and then the short version of events that occurred on the 30th April 1975

March 5th: The CIA and Army Intelligence released a memo on a major offensive that may take place against them.

 March 10th: A major offensive was being prepared and started by the leader of the PAVN General Dung in the Central Highlands of Vietnam and ended up with the capture of Boun me Thout a city in the Central Highlands.

 March 25th: The City of Hue is captured by the North.

 March 28th: The City of Da Nang is captured by the North.

 April 2nd: The PRG foreign minister had indicated that the PRG might negotiate with a Saigon government only if it didn’t include Thieu. So even Theiu’s supporters became unsettled and the pressure of him to be ousted increased.

 April 8th: The North Vietnamese Politburo asked Dung to attack ‘all the way to the heart of Saigon’ so the sense of a real attack was brewing from the North forces.

A South Vietnamese pilot bombed the presidential palace and then flew to a PAVN-controlled airstrip; Thieu was not hurt. 

April 9th: PAVN forces reached Xuan Loc, a strategic gateway situated on the highway into Saigon.

April 14th: The North’s campaign was renamed to ‘Ho Chi Minh campaign,” in an attempt to wrap up the war before his birthday on 19th May. South Vietnam failed to garner any significant increase in military aid from the United States, killing President Nguyen Van Theiu’s hopes for renewed American support.

 April 20th: At the Battle of Xuan Loc the communists took victory on this day and captured the town from the ARVN.

April 27th: Saigon is hit by 3 rockets from the North Army the first time in just over 3 years.

Saigon was surrounded by 100,000 troops from the North and the city was on the verge of a siege and the war was about to be lost due to the ARVN lack of defenders.

 April 29th: The U.S. Marines who were providing security were withdrawing and arranging the demolition of the DAO office, American equipment, files, and cash.

General Dung is ordered to strike and take the city of Saigon.

 April 30th 1975, the official day of the Fall of Saigon the day the siege began:

The embassy began early morning and around 978 Americans were evacuated and about 1,100 Vietnamese.

The evacuation began to halt then they were by Kissinger and Ford to prioritise American evacuees from that point onwards.

The NLF flag was raised above the palace showing the siege had prevailed for the North forces.

Ambassador Martin told Kissinger to activate the plan “Frequent Wind”, The American radio station began regular play of Irving Berlin's "White Christmas," the signal for American personnel to move immediately to the evacuation points.

Duong Van Minh, who had been president of South Vietnam for only three days, announced a surrender and asked South Vietnamese forces "to cease hostilities in calm and to stay where they are.

He then invited the Provisional Revolutionary Government to engage in "a ceremony of orderly transfer of power so as to avoid any unnecessary bloodshed in the population."

The Marines who had been securing the embassy followed at dawn, with the last aircraft leaving at 07:53. A few hundred Vietnamese were left behind in the embassy compound, with an additional crowd gathered outside the walls.

May 7th: The new Authorities of the City of Saigon and the control of the whole of Vietnam have a victory rally to show they had taken over the city and the country and the war was in theory over.