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The establishment, combat and development of Vietnam Militia and Self-Defence Force

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15:27 | 17/03/2020

The First National Congress of the CPV issued "the Resolution on Self-Defence Teams" on March 28, 1935 which is regarded as the foundation date of Vietnam's Militia and Self-Defence Force. The development history of the Militia and Self-Defence Force has been closely linked to the cause of national independence, and the Homeland's construction and protection.

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President Ton Duc Thang congratulated Hoan Kiem Militia and Self-Defence Unit for their shooting down F-111 fighter on Dec 22nd, 1972. (Photo: VDP)

From 1935 to 1945, self-defence teams in both rural and urban areas came into force, becoming core elements for the masses to conduct armed uprisings and guerrilla warfare, and to build and expand their guerrilla bases. In August 1945, the Militia and Self-Defence Force together with the whole people successfully carried out the General Uprising for independence. After September 2nd, 1945, the Militia and Self-Defence Force became an element of the independent State of Vietnam's armed forces, one of the three categories of the people's armed forces, and were organized in all communes and villages, municipal quarters, actually becoming a tool to protect the young revolutionary regime and the revolutionary achievements.

the establishment combat and development of vietnam militia and self defence force

The Militia and Self-Defence Force creating spikes to fight agaist the enemy. (Photo: VDP)

In the resistance war against the French

In the resistance war against the French colonialists, the Militia and Self-Defence Force was developed extensively all over the country, gradually unified organizationally, guided and commanded by the communal militia board, and district and provincial military headquarters under the direct leadership of the Party's executive committees at various levels.

Although equipped only with rudimentary improvised weapons while facing the expeditionary force armed with modern weapons, the Militia and Self-Defence Force together with the people formed combat villages, steadfastly held the ground and stuck fast to the people, wearing the enemies out, destroying the puppet authority system, eliminating traitors to the Vietnamese nation, and actively co-ordinating with regular troops to fight against enemy's mopping-up and besieging operations. The Militia and Self-Defence Force made many enemies’ military posts surrender and withdraw, expanded the guerrilla bases, and contained and stretched enemy's forces, compelling them to disperse for response, created favourable conditions and joined the regular troops in conducting successfully many major operations, culminating in the historic Dien Bien Phu Battle.

the establishment combat and development of vietnam militia and self defence force

Prime Minister Pham Van Dong visited VOV Militia and Self-Defence Force on Dec 20th, 1972. (Photo: VDP)

In the national salvation war against the American

In the national salvation war against American aggressors, the North Vietnam's Militia and Self-Defence Force, comprised of over 700 detachments and equipped with relatively modern weapons, formed an anti-aircraft network against enemy's low flying airplanes and shot down many enemy aircraft.

The number of US aircraft shot down by the Militia and Self-Defence Force alone accounted for ten percent of the total U.S airplanes shot down over the North. The Militia and Self-Defence Force also captured alive a great number of US pilots, wiped out tens of enemy commando groups, and sank and damaged many enemy combat ships. The Militia and Self-Defence Force also performed well the task of the people's air-defence at grass-roots localities, built a variety of air-raid shelters, overcame the aftermath of the damage caused by enemy's air-raids, cleared unexploded bombs, mines and water mines, and broke through sea lanes and harbours blockade, etc. There were 183 million turns of people that participated in transportation, combat service, and helped evacuating people, preventing and overcoming the aftermath of the damage caused by the enemy, and reinforcing effectively manpower and materials for the Southern front. Prime Minister Pham Van Dong visited VOV Militia and Self-Defence Force on Dec 20th, 1972.

The Militia and Guerrilla Forces in South Vietnam bravely fought against the enemy with all kinds of weapons, used various and creative ways of fighting throughout three strategic regions, closely combining political struggle with armed struggle, holding out resiliently, creating the position of an interlocked pattern between our forces and the enemy’s. This unique and creative way of fighting, Vietnamese guerrilla warfare, compelled the enemy to stretch its force in response. In the 1975 Spring General Offensive, the Militia and Self-Defence Force together with the regular troops and the entire people in Southern Vietnam launched simultaneous offensives and uprisings, liberating the whole of Southern Vietnam and achieved the reunification of the country.

the establishment combat and development of vietnam militia and self defence force

Vietnamese Female of Militia and Self-Defence Force. (Photo: VDP)

After the great victory in the spring of 1975, the Militia and Self-Defence Force acted as a core component of the people at grassroots levels to overcome the aftermath of war by actively clearing unexploded bombs and mines to restore millions of hectares of cultivated land for production. The Militia and Self-Defence Force was mobilized to take part in the construction of the border defence line, directly engaged in combat and combat service, making important contributions to the success of the border wars.


Nowadays, the Militia and Self-Defence Force have developed in quality, quantity, organizational structure, and equipment. The organizational structure is more compact but the overall quality of the Militia and Self-Defence Force has been upgraded, meeting the requirements of new assignments. After the great victory in the spring of 1975, the Militia and Self-Defence Force acted as a core component of the people at grassroots levels to overcome the aftermath of war by actively clearing unexploded bombs and mines to restore millions of hectares of cultivated land for production. The Militia and Self-Defence Force was mobilized to take part in the construction of the border defence line, directly engaged in combat and combat service, making important contributions to the success of the border wars.

Through the process of construction, combat and development, generations of cadres and members of the Militia and Self-Defence Force have shown absolute loyalty to the Homeland, the people, and the revolutionary cause of the Party, combating resiliently, ingeniously and bravely, labouring, studying and working effectively and creatively, and gained great achievements. Its 366 units and 275 inpiduals have been awarded the title of Hero of the People's Armed Forces. Vietnamese Militia and Self-Defence Force deserve President Ho Chi Minh's praise: "The Militia and Self-Defence Force and guerrillas are the force of the whole nation, an invincible force, a solid wall of the Homeland. No matter how atrocious enemies are, if they collide with that force, that wall, they are sure to be destroyed."

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