Battle of Saigon (1955)

Battle of Saigon
Part of Vietnam War
DateApril 28 – May 1955
Location
ResultState of Vietnam victory
Belligerents
South Vietnam Vietnamese National Army
Supported by
 United States CIA
Bình Xuyên
Supported by
France SDECE

The Battle of Saigon was a month-long battle between the Vietnamese National Army of the State of Vietnam (later to become the Army of the Republic of Vietnam) and the private army of the Bình Xuyên organised crime syndicate. At the time, the Bình Xuyên was licensed with controlling the national police by Emperor Bảo Đại, and Prime Minister Ngô Đình Diệm issued an ultimatum for them to surrender and come under state control. The battle started on April 27, 1955, and the VNA had largely crushed the Bình Xuyên within a week. Fighting was mostly concentrated in the inner city Chinese business district of Cholon. The densely crowded area saw some 500-1000 deaths and up to 20,000 civilians made homeless in the cross-fire. In the end, the Bình Xuyên were decisively defeated, their army disbanded and their vice operations collapsed.

Prelude

On the midnight of March 29–30, explosions rocked Saigon as the Bình Xuyên responded to Diệm’s removal of its police chief. 200 Bình Xuyên troops launched an attack on VNA headquarters. The clashes were inconclusive, with the VNA suffering six deaths to their opponents’ 10, but by sunrise, the bodies of civilians littered the sidewalk.