The Rise and Fall of an American Army: U.S. Ground Forces in Vietnam, 1965-1973

By Shelby L. Stanton | Go to book overview

FOREWORD

On the wall of the War Plans Directorate in the Army General Staff used to hang a poster of a World War II infantryman with fixed bayonet advancing against the enemy. Underneath was the caption, "At the end of the most grandiose plans and strategies is a soldier walking point." It was a warning that if the soldier leading the attack could not carry, the day, or if the mission was beyond his capabilities, then the plans and strategies were worthless. One of the terrible tragedies of the Vietnam war was that the reverse of that saying also proved to be true. No matter how bravely or how well the soldier on the point did his job, if the plans and strategies were faulty, all the courage and bloodshed were for naught.

Since the end of the war, several works have been published examining the grievous faults of America's Vietnam war plans and strategies. Some of these accounts--written, it is important to note, by self-proclaimed "experts" who never set foot in Vietnam itself, much less on the battlefield--have unconscionably extended these faults to the soldiers who fought the war. Tarred with the brush of America's defeat, their bravery, their dedication, and their sacrifices have been denied, ignored, and forgotten. Now for the first time Captain Shelby L. Stanton, a Vietnam combat veteran decorated for valor and now retired as a result of wounds suffered on the battlefield, gives us the full story of those soldiers on the point.

In so doing, Captain Stanton exposes some of the more pernicious myths that have distorted our understanding of the Viet

-x-

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The Rise and Fall of an American Army: U.S. Ground Forces in Vietnam, 1965-1973
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vi
  • Foreword x
  • Introduction xv
  • Part 1 1965 1
  • Chapter 1. Advisors and Special Forces 3
  • Chapter 2. an Army Girds for Battle 18
  • Chapter 3. Marines at War 29
  • Chapter 4. an Army Goes to War 45
  • Part 2 1966 63
  • Chapter 5. the Build-Up 65
  • Chapter 6. the Area War 81
  • Chapter 7. the Central Front 97
  • Chapter 8. the Northern Front 117
  • Part3 1967 131
  • Chapter 9. the Year of the Big Battles 142
  • Chapter 11. Battle for the Highlands 157
  • Chapter 12. Holding the Line 179
  • Chapter 13. Battle for the Coast 191
  • Part 4 1968 203
  • Chapter 14. Year of Crises 205
  • Chapter 15. the Battles of Tet-68 219
  • Chapter 16. Siege and Breakthrough 247
  • Chapter 17. Counteroffensive 260
  • Part 5 1969 281
  • Chapter 18. One War 283
  • Chapter 19. One War in the Northern Provinces 295
  • Chapter 20. One War in the Southern Provinces 308
  • Part 6 333
  • Chapter 21 335
  • Chapter 22. an Army Departs the War 350
  • Guide to Unit Organization and Terms 369
  • Sources and Bibliography 371
  • Index 395
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