Tran Dai Nghia - The Buddha of guns

Professor Tran Dai Nghia, real name is Pham Quang Le, born in Chanh Hiep Village, Tam Binh District, Vinh Long Province (now known as Hoa Hiep Commune, Tam Binh District, Vinh Long Province).

Professor Tran Dai Nghia, real name is Pham Quang Le, born in Chanh Hiep Village, Tam Binh District, Vinh Long Province (now known as Hoa Hiep Commune, Tam Binh District, Vinh Long Province).

In 1946, President Ho Chi Minh went to France to attend the Fontainebbeau Conference. During this time in France, with the wonderful charm and special charisma, Uncle Ho attracted numerous of Vietnamese overseas in general and intellectuals in particular would like to return to country for resistance. Among these people, there was a young intellectual who known as the "The Buddha of guns" - Major General, Professor, Academician, Hero of Labor, and Minister Tran Dai Nghia. He was born on 13th September 1913.

 6 years old, Pham Quang Le witnessed the death of his father. His father last words “You must take care of education, using your knowledge to help life” have followed him throughout his life. The famous Petrosky II High School in Saigon in the 30s of the last century was the school where schoolboy Pham Quang Le attended from 1930 to 1933. He had always been noticed by teachers and friends because of his intelligence and great memory.

1935 was a turning point for the young man Pham Quang Le. He was granted a scholarship to study abroad. When Pham Quang Le had a scholarship to study in France, he determined to race against time, took 6 college degrees and certificates of the prestigious universities of France. Unlike the others, Pham Quang Le had a clear purpose when study abroad. He studied the science of making weapons to serve the country's independence. But this was the secret areas and prohibited for colonists. So during 11 years in France, Pham Quang Le could only learn by himself in secrets, collected material about weapons.

The meeting between him and President Ho Chi Minh in Paris became a fateful encounter that changed the lives of Pham Quang Le.

Leaving the magnificent Paris of France, Pham Quang Le returned to carry the wish to serve the country. In 1946, under the requirements of the French war, he was assigned as Head of Military Department by Uncle Ho with the responsibility of researching, manufacturing weapons for our soldiers to fight the enemy. Uncle Ho said: "This is the good thing. So from now on your name is Tran Dai Nghia ..."

In difficult conditions and lacking in many respects, but Prof. Tran Dai Nghia and his comrades had made successfully gun and bazooka ammo, recoilless canon (SKZ) which were the modern weapon of the world. This is an extraordinary feat of our army and people. These weapons were involved in most of the fights; maintain the situation for our people, creating colored miracles of people's war in Vietnam. In praise of the feats of bazooka at Tram Pagoda, when General Vo Nguyen Giap saw Mr. Tran Dai Nghia was a gentle and quiet engineer, General called him "The Buddha of guns".

In the war against the American, his legend continued again when he became spiritual support for military inventions until the National Independence Day. Under the leadership of Professor, we successfully produced a variety of weapons by available materials, with simple technologies such as ABS pressure fuse torpedoes, mines, bazooka for special commando, lately developed into special bazooka for special commando into the enemy lines, especially improving DKB-H12 followed our technology from the aid of the former Soviet Union.

From the 1950s until his death, scientist Tran Dai Nghia was trusted and assigned by the Party and State in many important positions in many different areas such as Head of Military Department, Head of Artillery Department, Vice Chairman and Chairman of the General Department of Technology (Department of Defense), Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Deputy Minister of Industry, Head of Science Institute of Vietnam ... Whatever the position was, he also successfully completed the task. He was awarded many honorable titles and elected as academician of the Academy of sciences of the USSR (the former).

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He had been awarded the Ho Chi Minh Prize by the Party and State for the complex research and technical direction of weapons (bazooka, SKZ guns and bullets flying) during the French war period from 1945 to 1954.

About Professor - Academician Tran Dai Nghia, people remember a great passion, a great love and a limitless faith in the Party, Uncle Ho and People. He had contributed an entire life for the country, for the people.


Translated by Nga Nguyen