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Vietnam War

Lessons Learned and Unlearned: The Drivers of US Indirect-Fire Innovation

Lessons Learned and Unlearned: The Drivers of US Indirect-Fire Innovation

MAJ Brennan S. Deveraux

Art of War Scholars Series

191 Pages

Published: 2024

Lessons Learned and Unlearned analyzes nearly a century of US artillery innovation and adaptation, focusing on the pressures of incorporating new technology, applying combat experience, and assessing external threats. Indirect fire’s role on the battlefield has been repeatedly reshaped by new technologies on the one hand and organizational and doctrinal changes on the other. This research examines successful and unsuccessful historical indirect-fire adaptations since the birth of indirect fire—identifying innovation themes, insights into future issues, and recommendations for more effective indirect fire.

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Vietnam: The Course of a Conflict


The Course of a Conflict

James H. Willbanks

313 Pages

Published: 2018

This anthology by the George C. Marshall Chair of Military History at the Command and General Staff College traces the course of the Vietnam War from the early advising mission through the large-scale combat phase to the "Vietnamization" and eventual collapse of the South Vietnamese forces and the fall of Saigon. Dr. Jim Willbanks, a veteran of the conflict, devoted his professional life to studying the Vietnam War and this collection distills his insights, observations, and interpretations, capturing them for use by future generations of scholars and soldiers. The individual chapters provide ideal course readings on a wide variety of topics, from the CORDS/Phoenix program, to the Tet Offensive and resulting Battle of Hue, to the South Vietnamese effort in LAM SON 719 and at Saigon. Holistically, it provides an excellent case study of the simultaneous high and low intensity conflict, or "hybrid warfare," likely to characterize future military operations.

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Art of War Papers: The Biggest Stick - The Employment of Artillery Units in Counterinsurgency

Art of War Papers

The Biggest Stick - The Employment of Artillery Units in Counterinsurgency

By Richard B. Johnson, MAJ, US Army

229 Pages

Published: 2012

This study uses a comparative analysis of the Malayan Emergency, the American experience in Vietnam, and Operation IRAQI FREEDOM to examine the role and effectiveness of artillery units in complex counterinsurgency environments. Through this analysis, four factors emerge which impact the employment of artillery units: the counterinsurgency effort’s requirement for indirect fires; constraints and limitations on indirect fires; the counterinsurgency effort’s force organization; and the conversion cost of nonstandard roles for artillery units.

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Art of War Papers: Protecting, Isolating, and Controlling Behavior

Art of War Papers

Protecting, Isolating, and Controlling Behavior

By Mark E. Battjes, MAJ, US Army

292 Pages

Published: 2012

The classical counterinsurgency theorists emphasize that it is necessary for the government to gain and maintain control of the population in order to defeat the insurgency. They describe population and resource control measures as a means of doing so. However, some contemporary writers have questioned the legitimacy of such tactics and doubt that they can be employed effectively in modern campaigns.

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Interservice Rivalry and Airpower in the Vietnam War

Interservice Rivalry and Airpower in the Vietnam War

By Dr. Ian Horwood

210 Pages

Published: 2006

The Combat Studies Institute is pleased to publish this special study, Interservice Rivalry and Airpower in the Vietnam War, by Dr. Ian Horwood. Dr. Horwood, a British historian, has explored the rivalry between the armed services of the United States relating to the employment of tactical airpower during the Vietnam War. Not being an American, he is able to put a fresh perspective on this complex issue.

This study focuses on tactical airpower in South Vietnam between 1961 and 1968. Dr. Horwood avoids a lengthy discussion of the air war over North Vietnam, focusing instead on the combat operations in the South. Interservice Rivalry and Airpower in the Vietnam War examines a number of issues which are relevant to the use of airpower in irregular warfare. Among them are command and control of airpower, the use of airpower at the tactical and the operational-strategic level of war, the role of helicopters, and different service understandings of the proper role of airpower in a counterinsurgency.

The Army is, of course, keenly interested in the air-ground integration as it performs its role in achieving military success on the ground. Always contentious since its invention a century ago, the proper role for airpower in war is even more complex in the irregular wars which the US has faced since the end of the Cold War, and which it faces today in the Long War. We at CSI believe this study will provide useful insights for military professionals. CSI- The Past is Prologue!

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Judge Advocates in Vietnam

Judge Advocates in Vietnam

Army Lawyers in Southeast Asia 1959-1975

By Frederic L. Borch III

174 Pages

Published: 2003

Although the first American soldiers arrived in Saigon in late 1950, the first Army judge advocate did not deploy to Vietnam until 1959, when Lt. Col. Paul J. Durbin reported for duty. From then until 1975 when Saigon fell and the last few U.S. military personnel left Vietnam, Army lawyers played a significant role in what is still America’s “longest war.”

Judge Advocates in Vietnam: Army Lawyers in Southeast Asia (1959-1975) tells the story of these soldier-lawyers in headquarters units like the Saigon-based Military Assistance Advisory Group and Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV). But it also examines the individual experiences of judge advocates in combat organizations like II Field Force, 1st Air Cavalry Division, and the 25th Infantry Division. Almost without exception, Army lawyers recognized that the unconventional nature of guerrilla warfare required them to practice law in new and non-traditional ways. Consequently, many judge advocates serving in Vietnam between 1959 and 1975 looked for new ways to use their talent and abilities—both legal and non-legal—to enhance mission success. While this was not what judge advocates today refer to as “operational law”—that compendium of domestic, foreign, and international law applicable to U.S. forces engaged in combat or operations other than war—the efforts of these Vietnam-era lawyers were a major force in shaping today’s view that judge advocates are most effective if they are integrated into Army operations at all levels.

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Thiet Giap! The Battle of An Loc, April 1972

Thiet Giap!

The Battle of An Loc, April 1972

By Lieutenant Colonel James H. Willbanks, U.S. Army, Retired

115 Pages

Published: 1993

I also wanted to address the critical contribution of U.S. advisers and American close air support to the eventual South Vietnamese victory in defeating the 1972 North Vietnamese offensive in Military Region III. The body of literature on the war in Vietnam grows daily, but the emphasis of most of these works falls within two categories: historical overviews and first person accounts. These books usually focus on the height of American involvement, when large numbers of U.S. troops and units were actively conducting combat operations. Very little has been written about the American commitment in the latter part of the war when U.S. participation was embodied in a handful of advisers who remained with the Vietnamese units in the field and the few air elements left in country.

This paper focuses on the role of U.S. advisers and American tactical air power in the latter part of the war, specifically the 1972 Easter Offensive. While I was a participant in this battle, this study is by no means a memoir or a personal account. The purpose of this paper is to examine the battle of An Loc to determine the contribution made by the American advisers and flyers.

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Vietnam: History of the Bulwark B2 Theatre

Vietnam: History of the Bulwark B2 Theatre

By Tran Van Tra

252 Pages

Published: 1983

In 1978 the Political General Department of the Vietnam People’s Army adopted the policy of having cadres who worked and fought on the battlefields write memoirs about our nation’s glorious war against the United States and recommended that I write about the B2 theater during the victorious spring of 1975: “How did the B2 theater carry out the mission assigned it by the Military Commission of the Party Central Committee?” How did it contribute to that glorious spring?”

Along with the other battlefields throughout the nation the B2 theater, in order to fulfill its glorious mission, contributed considerably to our people’s great victory. The B2 theater and its people are proud of being part of the heroic Vietnamese fatherland, of the heroic Vietnamese people. Recalling and recording the events that occurred there is an honor and a responsibility of all cadres, enlisted men, and people of B2. I accepted the recommendation.

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