Pen & Sword's USMC in Vietnam

Author/Artists: Michael Green


Pen & Sword


$22.95 from Casemate


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 206 pages, softcover, 7.5 x 9.5 inches
ISBN: 978-1-526751232

There has been much written about the Vietnam war, though few books really concentrate on the operations of the USMC during this time period. Allied forces divided South Vietnam into four main sections of responsibility starting from the northern part of the nation that bordered the DMZ. This first section was the responsibility of the Marines with the Army taking sections two and three with other allies having main responsibility for the most southern part of the nation.

Marine leadership felt that the best way to keep the Viet Cong influence to a minimum was to first remove them from an area and then instigate a 'hearts and mind' campaign to win over the populace. This worked as long as there was a Marine presence, however, the troops could not stay in static positions as they were needed in other areas to perform the same tasks. The South Vietnamese Army (ARVN) was unable to continue this process and the Viet Cong soon infiltrated back in place.

Marines were also needed to provide security for the main air base in the region at Da Nang and to a lesser level at Chu Lai. Da Nang in particular was constantly under attack or the threat of such from both Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army forces. Despite growing attempts to keep the areas surrounding the base free from enemy forces, it proved to be a nearly impossible task.

Over the years, the numbers of Marines and the operations they took on changed when eventually, it was decided to turn over the war to ARVN forces and pull out US forces. Aside from advisors and some support personnel, the last Marines left in 1971.

This book is divided into four major chapters, mostly based on events of various years. It includes 1965, 1966-67, 1968, and 1969-71. The heaviest combat would be the 1968 chapter with the NVA's Tet Offensive and operations at Khe Sanh and Hue being the major campaigns of the time. As is the norm with this series, each chapter provides a brief look at what went on during the time period with the remaining section being a superb collection of photographs of the men and equipment used during those times. 

In all, it is a very interesting read and a book that I know you will want on your shelves.

June 2020

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Review book courtesy of  Casemate Publishing, where you can order your copy at this link

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