Books Reviews

Vietnam Infantry Tactics - Book Review

By Angela Youngman Jul 28, 2011, 2:23 GMT

Vietnam Infantry Tactics - Book Review

This book reveals the evolving US, Viet Cong and NVA tactics at battalion level and below throughout the Vietnam War. Beginning with a description of the terrain, climate and the unique nature of operations in this theater of war, author Gordon Rottman, a Vietnam veteran himself, goes on to explain how unit organization was broken down by combatant forces and the impact this had on the kind of tactics they ...more

Vietnam is one of those wars which was highly important at the time, but has suffered from a poor image and lack of interest ever since.  Yet as this book shows, there is much to be learned from that war.  Rottman writes from experience.  He served in Vietnam as a member of the Special Forces. 

This is a look at how US, Australian and Viet Cong troops adapted and evolved tactics throughout the period of conflict.  It starts with a useful scene setting - the terrain and climate and why this theatre of war was so unique; all of which help to put the chapters on tactics into perspective. 

He shows just how units were organized on the ground as opposed to how they should have been according to the official battle guides. Patrol and ambush tactics were learned the hard way. Very detailed and yet not overpowering in content; the text is supported by some excellent maps and diagrams.

Unusually, the book does look at the war from both perspectives - the US and the Viet Cong.  As a result, it is possible to compare the differing tactics adopted by each side. This is an ideal book for anyone who wants to understand what happened on the ground during the Vietnam War.  

Well researched, and well written, it will be of interest no matter how little or how much knowledge you have of this war.

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