19 May 1959: North Vietnam forms Group 559 to Build the Ho Chi Minh Trail

On 19 May 1959, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) formed Group 559 as a way to reassert northern Vietnamese influence over southern regions. Group 559 was established as a transportation and logistical unit of the People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN). Their task involved moving troops, weapons, and material from the north to paramilitary units of the National Liberation Front (NLF) and the People’s Liberation Armed Forces (PLAF) based in South Vietnam.

The Ho Chi Minh Trail was created and maintained by Group 559. This unit was followed by Group 759 on 8 July and Group 959 in Septemeber in the same year – both units also with the emphasis of supplying Vietnamese communist paramilitary, militia and guerrilla forces based throughout in South Vietnam.

Many wartime artists, such as Bùi Quang Ánh, Phạm Thanh Tâm and Nguyễn Ðức Thọ, travelled the length of the Ho Chi Minh Trail while on assignments to document the Second Indochina War.

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