In 1955, the State of Vietnam was dissoluted and replaced by Ho Chi Minh's Democratic Republic of Vietnam in the north and Ngo Dinh Diem's Republic of Vietnam in the south. In early May, civil war ensued in the capital of South Vietnam. New President of the State of Vietnam Ngo Dinh Diem's VNA fought Binh Xuyen forces in the criminal organization's controlled areas of Saigon.
By 1956 all French Union troops withdrew from Vietnam and most of the VNA officers remained in service in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. After the fall of Saigon breaking in 1975, some joined the French Foreign Legion and others exiled to France or the United States.
The Preparatory Military School (école militaire préparatoire, EMP) of Dalat was directed by Lieutenant Savani, a metropolitan French who was educated in the Autun EMP. It was created in 1936 after the Autun EMP as the Dalat School of the Eurasian Children of Troops (Ecole des Enfants de Troupe Eurasiens de Dalat, EETED). Once dissoluted during the Japanese occupation in 1944, General de Lattre reformed the EETED as the EETD Dalat School of the Children of Troops (Ecole des Enfants de Troupe de Dalat) in 1950.
In 1953, the cadres formation raised with 54 new battalion created and hundreds of new officers formed by early March. By November the Vietnamese National Army was entirely enlisted of Vietnamese recruits from the Privates to Generals.
On the other hand, until 1954 some Vietnamese were trained four months in an Infantry Instruction Centers (Centre d'Instruction de l'Infanterie, CII) based in southern Vietnam. Once licensed these recruits would not be part of the VNA but the French CEFEO. Other officer and NCO alumni were coming from all French Union including Cambodia, Overseas (Martinique, Reunion, French Guiana), metropolitan French and "French citizens" of French West Africa and India.
His majesty Bao Dai awarded the Hoang Dieu promotion Major and Second with a Saint-Cyr offered saber. As a symbol of autodefense of the whole Vietnam by the VNA, the Major shot four arrows in each direction.
When the VNA was replaced by the Army of the Republic of Vietnam after the fall of the State of Vietnam in 1955, military ranks and hierarchy were reformed.
Airborne regiments including paratrooper "TDND" (Tieu Doan Nhay Du, "Commando Battalion"), the so-called 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th BAWOUAN, were later created. These elite units were referred as the "BPVN" (Bataillon de Parachutistes Viêt-Namiens, "Vietnamese Paratroopers Battalions") by their French allies. Some of these paratroopers were attached to the GCMA special forces.
Special forces consisted of Vietnamese commandos trained by French officers in local schools. They used a whole different personnel, uniform, equipment, training and warfare compared with the regular airborne or infantry troops.
The GCMA airborne commandos (Groupe Commando Mixte Aéroporté, "Airborne Mixed Commando Group") were Vietnamese ethnic minorities or Laotian montagnard partisans led by paratrooper officers of the SDECE French intelligence agency. Some of them would be used as cadres in the North Vietnam Commandos (Commandos Nord Viêt-nam).
In 1951, French General de Lattre commander of the CEFEO ordered for the creation of the North Vietnam Commandos to Louis Fourcade. These remained operational until 1954 with Fourcade as the "Big Boss" (le Grand Patron) until June 21, 1953.
Their mission was to collect intelligence, perform hit-and-run ambushes and bring confusion in Viet Minh controlled areas (northern Vietnam) wearing enemy uniforms and using unconventional warfare such as guerrilla techniques. These were based on both, GCMA director and famous counter-insurgency theorician Roger Trinquier's experience as French Jedburgh in World War II, and on Viet Minh POWs collaboration.
Heavier equipment of the armoured cavalry was made of WWII vintage U.S. light tanks as they had the ability to be drop stripped and assembled by specialized engineering companies on location.
Viet Minh captured arms like German Karabiner 98k with bayonet, U.S. Browning MGs or Japanese "knee mortars" were sometimes used. These arms would often be supplied to the guerrillas by China as captured material from the Chinese Civil War (the NRA had been supplied by both Nazi Germany and the USA) or left behind by the Japanese Southern Expeditionary Army Group after the Pacific War.
Famous units of the VNA are the 5th Vietnamese Artillery Group (5e Groupe d'Artillerie Viêt-namienne, GAVN) who fought at the battle of Na San in 1952, the 301st Vietnamese Infantry Battalion (301e Bataillon Viêt-namien, BVN) and the 5th Vietnamese Airborne Battalion (TDND 5 or 5e BAWOUAN) who both fought at the 1954 battle of Dien Bien Phu.
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