Confrontation with Chinese troops in 1945

SR 2029
253, Take 1
254, Take 1
Interview with Col Nguyen Manh Ai
Would you tell us what it was like when the Chiang Kai Shek troops came into Hai Phong? When did they come in? What impression did they make on you? And the incident when they tried to take your gun away from you?
Nguyen Manh Ai:
It was around the end of 1945 when the Chiang Kai Shek troops entered Hai Phong. At that time I was in charge of the C-section of the city, which included the old districts of Hai An, Dong Khe, and Hang Kenh. The Chinese troops went there every day to loot. As we observed them, we realized that they really did not know too much about things and that many of them had been just Chinese peasants...
255, Take 1
Nguyen Manh Ai:
It was around the end of 1945 that Chiang Kai Shek troops entered Hai Phong. They were really ignorant people and really did not know anything at all. All they knew was looting. Yet, sometimes while they were looting, they would pick up bars of soap and took big bites out of them, thinking that they were edible. After chewing on the soap, they would make faces like monkeys.
They looted everything from the inhabitants of Hai Phong, clothes and anything that looked interesting to them. I was a political cadre of the Viet Minh. I had a Browning self load pistol. One day, seven Chinese troops came into a neighborhood of the city and looted. They were led by a Vietnamese Nationalist Party member. I arrived and tried to stop them from the looting.
They asked me who I was that I dared to intervene? I replied that I was only a local cadre. They demanded to see my papers and I refused because this was an act of infringement upon our national sovereignty. By that time they suspected that I must have really been a cadre and that I must have had a gun on me, so they tried to jump me in order to steal my gun. But our self defense units and young men in the neighborhood stopped them. When the Chinese saw that there were so many people coming to my protection, they withdrew.

The Christmas Bombings in Hai Phong

SR 2030
Beep tone
Roll 30 of Vietnam Project
Interview with Colonel Nguyen Manh Ai, chairman of Fatherland Front.
256, Take 1
Please tell us what happened on December 22, 1972.
Nguyen Manh Ai:
The last days of December 1972 were days of extremely fierce fighting in the city of Hai Phong. I recall that on December 22 I was on duty at the Hai Phong Military Command Headquarters when there was an alert at around 10 p.m., signaling that enemy planes were coming. After a few minutes, we learned that it was a false alert and that no B-52 was coming. But at 1:00 a.m. on the 23rd there was another alert, and we transmitted this alert to all our units to have them ready for combat.
The B-52s were usually preceded by low-flying planes, so we told our self defense forces to be ready for combat first. After a while, when the B-52s finally arrived, we told our self defense forces to go down to the shelters to make room for the units which fired the rockets and the missiles. After the B-52 bombing, I learned that the oil depot and the cement warehouse section of the harbor had been severely damaged. We went to the aid of the wounded as soon as possible and also checked our various air defense positions to see what kind of damage had been inflicted.
257, Take 1
Could you tell us what it was like when you went out to inspect the damage caused by the American bombing?
Nguyen Manh Ai:
I remember that one afternoon, after the F-111s had rocketed and bombed the Cau Dat section of the town and the area around Cho Sat, I went to these places to see what damage had been done. I had to climb on top of a high pile of crumbled brick walls to inspect the scene when I heard voices from under the bricks calling for help. We had to call in our rescue units to dig through those massive heaps of bricks in order to pull people out. It was an exceptionally moving scene then.