October 1974: Phạm Đỗ Đồng Documents Logistic Regiment 220 on the Đồng Nai River

In between 1969 and 1975, war artist Phạm Đỗ Đồng based himself in Tây Ninh Province. Working for the Liberational Fine Arts  Department of South Vietnam and the National Liberation Front, Đồng saw violent action while documenting the lives of the 5, 7 and 9 Divisions based in Tây Ninh Province as a journalist and war artist.

Having started to document logistic soldiers in Tây Ninh Province by taking watercolour portraits of model soldiers in February and a series of portraits in May 1974, Đồng continued to follow logistic units in South Vietnam in October 1974.

In the graphite sketch (fig. 1) Đồng shows Logistic Regiment 220 (a public boat team operating in the Saigon area). Like many other logistic regiments, they transported rice and weapons through the Mekong Delta. Đồng noted in an interview in 2004 that this regiment was stationed on the Đồng Nai River, which flows through Saigon from the northeast of the city. Đồng also detailed how they performed the bulk of their duties at night for fear of enemy aircraft.

Figure 1: Phạm Đỗ Đồng, 3 October 1974. “Đoàn Hậu Cần 220; QGP Miền Đông Nam Bộ Bến C22; Đội Tàu Công Sài Gòn (Logistic Regiment 220; The Southeast Vietnamese Liberation Army Station 22; Public Boat Team of Saigon).” Charcoal on paper.

Four days later, on the 7 October, Đồng completed another charcoal sketch (fig. 2), this time recording supplies being hidden in a forest. The exact location is unknown but, considering Đồng’s movements at the time, the sketch was most likely made in Tây Ninh Forest. Đồng described the scene as supplies being unloaded after being transported on the river. Berths along the river were used to unload rice and supplies, where they were stacked on dry land and then transported by car.

Figure 2: Phạm Đỗ Đồng, 7 October 1974. “Supplies in the forest.” Charcoal on paper.

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