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1963 in the Vietnam War
←1962 1963 1964→
Location Indochina
Anti-Communist forces:

 South Vietnam
 United States
File:Flag of Laos (1952-1975).svg Kingdom of Laos
Republic of China

Communist forces:

 North Vietnam
Viet Cong
Pathet Lao

US: 16, 732 [1]
Casualties and losses
US: 118 killed
South Vietnam: killed
North Vietnam: casualties



January 2

The Battle of Ap Bac was a small-scale battle which resulted in the first major combat victory by the Viet Cong against regular South Vietnamese and American forces. The battle took place near the hamlet of Ap Bac, 65 km (40 miles) southwest of Saigon in the Mekong Delta. Forces of the 7th Division of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), equipped with armored personnel carriers (APCs) and artillery and supported by American helicopters, confronted entrenched elements of the Viet Cong 261st and 514th battalions.


June 3

The Hue chemical attacks was when soldiers of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) poured liquid chemicals from tear gas grenades onto the heads of praying Buddhists in Huế, South Vietnam. The Buddhists were protesting against religious discrimination by the regime of the Roman Catholic President Ngo Dinh Diem. The attacks caused 67 people to be hospitalised for blistering of the skin and respiratory ailments.

June 11

Hòa thượng Thích Quảng Đức was a Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk who burned himself to death at a busy Saigon road intersection on 11 June 1963. Thích Quảng Đức was protesting against the persecution of Buddhists by South Vietnam's Ngô Đình Diệm administration.[2]


DEPTEL 243 was a high profile message sent on August 24, 1963 by the United States Department of State to Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., the US ambassador to South Vietnam. The cable came in the wake of a series of bloody raids in which hundreds were believed to have been killed. The raids were orchestrated by Diem's brother Ngo Dinh Nhu. The message was the beginning of the end for Diem and historian John W. Newman described it as "the single most controversial cable of the Vietnam War."[3]


September 3

The Battle of Go Cong was a small battle during the Vietnam War after the General Staff of the National Liberation Front called for "another Ap Bac" on South Vietnamese forces.


American troops in South Vietnam rise to 16, 732.[1]


November 2

The arrest and assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem, then president of South Vietnam, marked the culmination of a successful CIA-backed coup d'état led by General Duong Van Minh. On the morning of November 2, 1963, Diem and his adviser, younger brother Ngo Dinh Nhu, were arrested and then killed in an armoured personnel carrier by ARVN officers.

November 20

In National Security Council memorandum 263 John F Kennedy opts for withdrawal of 1000 American men from South Vietnam.[4]

November 22

John F Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, America.[4]

November 22

The Battle of Hiep Hoa was a minor battle of the Vietnam War. On the night of November 22, 1963, an estimated 500 Viet Cong soldiers overrun the Hiep Hoa Special Forces Camp, resulting in four American personnel MIA.

November 23

The Battle of Chan La was a battle of the Vietnam War. The assault by Viet Cong forces was one in a series of attacks since the battle of Ap Bac back in January.

November 24

In National Security Council memorandum 273 President Lyndon B. Johnson reverses Kennedy's draw down and changes the goal of American involvement from supporting South Vietnam to defeating communist forces.[4]

Year in numbers

Armed Force Strength KIA Reference Military costs - 1963 Military costs - 2010 Reference
 South Vietnam ARVN
 United States US Forces 16, 732 [1] 118 [5]





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