Far East Theater in WWIII 1946
Headquarters, 2nd Combined Army
Vietnamese National Army
Cam Ranh Bay, Republic of Vietnam
As the Australian supply ship was pulling into the military port, the news just came in that the new communist puppet government of France has announced emancipation for all of it's colonies, and in Vietnam in particular, has given it's support and diplomatic recognition to the Viet Minh, something that was not unexpected. What was unexpected was the fact that the People's Democratic Republic of France has offered military assistance to the Viet Minh regime and has offered amnesty to those French soldiers who surrendered at Da Nang to the Vietnamese National Army, in return for their allegiance to the new government. Surprisingly few Frenchmen took up the offer, choosing instead to stay and help their new allies in the Vietnamese National Army.
Here to greet today's shipment from the U.S., via Australia, was none other than the leader of the VNA, General Trinh Minh Thé. Today's shipment included jeeps and a few M-5 “Stuart” light tanks, but more importantly, M-1 Garand rifles and M-1 carbines, M-3 “grease-gun” submachine guns and M-1911 Colt .45 pistols...and Browning .50- and .30-caliber machine guns, along with cases and cases of ammunition, whatever the Americans could spare at this time. General Thé was grateful and this shipment would go a long way toward supplementing the Chinese arms aid they were now receiving, and the captured French and Japanese weapons that they were armed with. This aid, along with the shipment from Australia earlier in the month of used trucks and jeeps, Owen submachine guns, and tons of new uniforms (one of which General Thé was wearing, complete with “digger” hat) was concrete proof of the Allies' commitment to his cause. But he needed more for his army. They were in sore need of artillery, and aircraft for the air wing that was being established at the airfield in Da Nang. Here, in Cam Ranh, he was able to put together an ad hoc squadron of old French and Japanese naval vessels left over from the war, but keeping them supplied with fuel and ammunition was a constant struggle. Training qualified crews was even more of a battle, so that the original French crews, and some Japanese maritime freebooters (some had begun to call these Japanese “rōnin”) were manning these vessels, until they could train enough Vietnamese men to proficiently crew the ships.
For everything that his troops needed, Thé's forces were doing surprisingly well, having taken most of the southern half of the country, stopping to consolidate after taking Hué, and immediately setting up charitable outposts in every village in the territory, to help the people educate their children, help them with the rice and other crops, helping the people find or purify drinking water. This was all in accordance with his religious beliefs in Cao Dai, which calls for charity, and helping others improve their condition. Thé's religious beliefs went a long way toward garnering support for his cause, everywhere his influence held sway, denying the communists new recruits and a powerful propaganda tool, and solidifying the gains his forces have made and changing minds. There were even defectors from the Viet Minh, who took great risk (the penalty for defection was death) to do so.
General Thé now looked forward to strengthening his forces, to finally push Ho Chi Minh and Vo Nguyen Giap's regime out of power, once and for all time, and advance the cause of liberty and equality for all of the Vietnamese people.