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  • An Loc

    Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

    I am doing some serious reseearch on the ARVN and the battle of An Loc for my postgraduate study and I have some questions:

    Anyone has a detailed breakdown of the ARVN forces involved? I have a good regimental OoB but I lack details on unit strenght (I have plenty of info on the NVA sides) anyone can comment on the different ARVN units involved? (I have already exchanged mails with LtC James Willbanks on the subject, but I woould like to not relying on a single source). And anyone has details on the VNAF participation on ther battle (units, sorties, losses) I know they were pretty much active from the start and I have C123 losses, but I want to know eventual losses in A1 units (I know they were providing CAS), AC119 (I know they were involved) and possibily A37 (don't know if they were operating in the area. Every reference I have is on the USAF 8th SOS). Any help will be appreciated.

    Arrigo
    the real credit goes to the little ARVN soldier. He is just tremendous, just magnificent. He stood in there, took all that fire and gave it back. General James F. Hollingsworth USA.

    Bomben, Bomben, Bomben auf Hamasland!

  • #2
    Benvenuti al nostro foro

    Io Credo "Boonierat" lui ha la informazione tu recerchi. Fai una domanda con lui. Saluti

    Signorina Saigon.
    Last edited by Miss Saigon; 01 Dec 07, 12:21.

    Comment


    • #3
      Mhmm... you speak italian or it's babelfish?

      by the way thanks to have replied in italian even if I speak english (living in London at the moment knwoledge of english is a must I would say) and french...

      I hope boonierat will chime in... at the moment I have plenty of information on everything but the ARVN troop strenght and VNAF. I have detailed breakdown of USAF and US Army helicopter losses by plane and cause, good data on NVA forces and even a detailed article on the ARVN tank killing in An Loc town, good information on the 3rd Ranger Group operations and even some old newsreel on the first attempt by the 1st Airborne Brigade to break in (and one of the A37B doing CAS seems to me a VNAF one) but I am still researching. In addition I am planning to write an article on the battles of Xuan Loc (1975) and Dong Ha (1972) for Armchair Magazine website (maybe you have read my previous article on the Japanese strategy) and I am researching the history of the VNMC...

      I am here lurking form months, but now I have decided to take a more active stance (even sent a letter ot the editor about an article on General Giap published on the magazine).

      Arrigo
      the real credit goes to the little ARVN soldier. He is just tremendous, just magnificent. He stood in there, took all that fire and gave it back. General James F. Hollingsworth USA.

      Bomben, Bomben, Bomben auf Hamasland!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Arrigo View Post
        Mhmm... you speak italian or it's babelfish?
        I don't understand your point? Yes my Italian is not perfect, therefore I take every opportunity to practice. However, based on what you said you clearly understood what I said and I was only trying to be helpful.

        Boonie is French. So perhaps you can practice your French with him and maybe he won't call it Bablefish.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Arrigo View Post
          I am here lurking form months, but now I have decided to take a more active stance (even sent a letter ot the editor about an article on General Giap published on the magazine).

          Arrigo
          It'll be interesting to see what you view of Giap is. I was there in 1972 and saw it all played out. If Giap had been born about 2,200 years before and used the tactics of Julius Augusta Ceaser like he did he would have been a great general. But he failed to take into account air and artillery and being a communist of course refused to allow those under him to alter commands as stituations dictated.
          "If you are right, then you are right even if everyone says you are wrong. If you are wrong then you are wrong even if everyone says you are right." William Penn.

          Comment


          • #6
            sorry it wasn't a take on your italian that is much better than the one of many italians I knew... I was only a reaction to you using italian. Usually no one replies in Italian to me in international forums. Even if you had used babelfish I would have appreciated the effort; it has been really kind on your part.

            Said that can I formally apologize for my bad joke?

            Sincerely
            Arrigo
            the real credit goes to the little ARVN soldier. He is just tremendous, just magnificent. He stood in there, took all that fire and gave it back. General James F. Hollingsworth USA.

            Bomben, Bomben, Bomben auf Hamasland!

            Comment


            • #7
              Jerry D. Morelock, PhD

              Originally posted by Arrigo View Post

              I am doing some serious reseearch on the ARVN and the battle of An Loc for my postgraduate study and I have some questions:
              I suggest you send a Private Message to "JD Morelock." He fought at An Loc from what I understand, and may be able to guide you to proper research material.
              "This life..., you know, "the life." You’re not gonna get any medals, kid. This is not a hero business; you don’t shoot people from a mile a way. You gotta stand right next to them... blow their heads off."

              BoRG

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Paul Mann III View Post
                I suggest you send a Private Message to "JD Morelock." He fought at An Loc from what I understand, and may be able to guide you to proper research material.
                Thanks, every bit of information is important and talking with former advisors or officers is often crucial.

                Trailboss, about Giap I have a unconventional view. IMHO he was schooled in the myth of Napoleon and the decisive battle. The majority of his battles weren't guerrilla battle, but massed conventional battles intended to smash a supposed center of gravity of his enemy. I think (fully personal opinion) that he was an average commander, no more no less. I think we have many problems in evaluating him correctly beacuse his biographies tend to be agiogrpahies and he is incredibly good to blame some other for his failures and saying that his objective was different. for example the chinese claims that it was their idea to use artillery en masse at Dien Bien Phu opposed to giap assaults, he claims the contrary. Same with the battle of the Day river (or Dai? miss. Saigon I have written it right?) again he blames the plan on Truong Chin... yet he was involved in too many attempted decisive battles to deny his penchant. About modern weaponry and Giap... I think that in 72 he had a pretty ground grasp of what artillery and tanks could do, but still he wasn't able to grasp air and naval power. More than once his regiments were smashed by naval gunfire from 1950 onward and he can't appreciate what massed air can do even in heavy air defense environment. That for strategic matters; on operational issues I think he waasn't really capable to coordinate multiple assaults; Easter Offensive was a prime example; he launched 3 thrusts and they were unconnected and allowed the ARVN to shift forces from an emergency to another. In the end he was removed form field command after the easter offensive and put in a position where he couldn't hamper the efforts of the future operations (and he was on the verge of dismissal even after the Red river battles and only Ho Chi Minh saved him). Yet many western authors have still taken his military abilites as granted.

                Arrigo
                the real credit goes to the little ARVN soldier. He is just tremendous, just magnificent. He stood in there, took all that fire and gave it back. General James F. Hollingsworth USA.

                Bomben, Bomben, Bomben auf Hamasland!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Arrigo;

                  Well, well, much to my surprise I actually find someone with nearly the same appraisal of Giap as myself.

                  The only thing you didn't mention was that he was also wrapped in the communist dogma machine, which does not help any at all in combat. An Loc is a prime example. Of course the target that the North Vietnamese wanted was Saigon but they allowed themselves to be bogged down at An Loc. The wise thing would have been to isolate An Loc and keep on marching to Saigon, but the communist orders said, "Take An Loc" and it was impossible to change those orders until they got permission from the Hanoi politboro.
                  "If you are right, then you are right even if everyone says you are wrong. If you are wrong then you are wrong even if everyone says you are right." William Penn.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Trailboss,

                    we were discussing this with my professor yesterday. I think that An Loc was a target for various reaons they needed the QL 13 for supplying their column driving toward saigon and they wanted it for that revolutionary govenrment capital. In addition Thieu was right in my opinion on to making the "we will hold An Loc at all cost" speech forcing the commie to react and raising again the stakes. In the end it was a prestige thing they cant simply drive around the town and move south along the QL 13. Both because after the first failure they had the 21st Division and the 3rd Abn brigade stopping them and beacuse An Loc garrison was pretty strong after being reinforced.

                    And I think that after Loc Ninh they badly understimated the defender. Easter Offensive as pointed out by Dale Andrade originate from a tunnel view of Lam Son 719 results and a widespread understimation of ARVN capabilities. The 9th VC Division was pretty sure to drive its tanks into the city and force a surrender, and the 5th VC Division Commander even after the two failures of the 9th boasted he could take An loc in three days even if now the garrison had the 1st Abn Brigade and the 81st Abn Ranger in it.

                    But you are right in saying the Giap was pretty much prisoner of communist rethoric even if I would add that before being a communist product he was a french education system product and who was the french hero? Napoleon! He waqs pretty much keen on Nappy even using him to teach military tactics (at least accordin to some anecdotes). He always aimed for the big victory, in 50, in 52 (Na San) in 64-5 (cutting vietnam in two via central highlands with his drive toward Pleiku) in 67 and 68 and again in 72. His replacement general Van Dung (if I am correct) was more methodical and cautious plus he knew what airpower could do; yet he got stopped cold at Xuan Loc.

                    Arrigo
                    the real credit goes to the little ARVN soldier. He is just tremendous, just magnificent. He stood in there, took all that fire and gave it back. General James F. Hollingsworth USA.

                    Bomben, Bomben, Bomben auf Hamasland!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Arrigo;

                      I agree with you that Thieu was correct in making the speech he did, and then backing it up with action. I was over there during this action and have long had admiration for the defenders of An Loc.

                      You are also correct when you say that An Loc became a 'prestige' issue, indeed it became more important that way than it did for tactical reasons. Which is the difference between how the Vietnamese thought and how Americans think. We would have said, "To hell with that, we'll pick it up on our way back" and go onto the major target.
                      "If you are right, then you are right even if everyone says you are wrong. If you are wrong then you are wrong even if everyone says you are right." William Penn.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Everyone capable to survive a 17500 round artillery barrage and thewn stop a major assault deserves bothing but unconditional admiration. It's a real problem that no one has written a real history of the ARVN. Usually they are mistreaded in so called popular histories (I don't want to start an argument on sheenan, karnow or halberstam... but having a degree in history I am a bit pissed off by political jounrnalism masquerading as history...) or simply ignored. I still remember me mastering a Vietnam miniature scenario and having people complaining about the fact ARVN was attascking they VC and winning...

                        Returning to An Loc, I think that the first and second try were perfectly rational, and after that they were carried by prestige reason also they had a reinforced division forward and almost anothe rone in the rear... driving south with an armored thrust would have been unfeasible (also beacuse the bulk of their artillery was now positioned surrounding the city) or at least really risky. I want to read general Tran Van Tra version of the planning and operational control. Then there was the constant mirage of "an additional thrust and they will collapse... often once you are engaged youlose the big picture (like Rommel after gazala and during El Alamein).

                        By the way were you were during the offensive? Every bit of info on the period is appreciated.

                        Arrigo
                        the real credit goes to the little ARVN soldier. He is just tremendous, just magnificent. He stood in there, took all that fire and gave it back. General James F. Hollingsworth USA.

                        Bomben, Bomben, Bomben auf Hamasland!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Arrigo, I've never seen any detailed OB for the ARVN forces during An Loc, I'm sure you've read Willbanks book, Thiet Giap! The Battle of An Loc, April 1972 (available online here: http://www-cgsc.army.mil/carl/resour.../willbanks.asp). You might also wanna get Andradé's book, America's Last Vietnam Battle, but you won't find any detailed OB infos in it either.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            thanks for the reply I have read Willbanks work (both Thiet Giap! and The Battle of An Loc) plus Andrade work. I am trying to create a reasonable estimate work based on veteran stories comments and other sources. I am starting to have numbered battalions below regiments and the like and have a rough idea of the unit strenght, but it's still all guess work...
                            the real credit goes to the little ARVN soldier. He is just tremendous, just magnificent. He stood in there, took all that fire and gave it back. General James F. Hollingsworth USA.

                            Bomben, Bomben, Bomben auf Hamasland!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Arrigo View Post
                              By the way were you were during the offensive? Every bit of info on the period is appreciated.

                              Arrigo
                              I was assigned to the 45th Military Intelligence Company, which staffed the Combined Intelligence Center Vietnam (CICV) and the Combined Documentation and Exploitation Center (CDEC). Somewhere on this forum I wrote about an incident I was in on cleaning up An Loc after the seige was lifted. Hard to believe what those soldiers (& civilians) lived through. Have you ever come across the story of the American general dieing during the lift of the siege? Have a story about that.
                              "If you are right, then you are right even if everyone says you are wrong. If you are wrong then you are wrong even if everyone says you are right." William Penn.

                              Comment

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