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Semper Fi-Vietnam
: From Da Nang to the Dmz : Marine Corps Campaigns, 1965-1975

Author: Edward F. Murphy
Hardcover
336 pages (July 1997)
Presidio Pr;
ISBN: 0891415629 ;
Dimensions (in inches): 1.39 x 8.82 x 5.80

 

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Editorial Reviews
Decription:

The gutsy, glorious saga of the Marines in Vietnam, told in stark, riveting detail.

Synopsis

Now, for the first time in one volume--the campaign history of U.S. Marine operations in South Vietnam. From their early days in 1965 trying to drive the insurgent Viet Cong from the villages around Da Nang to the valiant efforts of those who attempted to help the South Vietnamese halt the onslaught of enemy troops, Semper Fi tells the Marines' gutsy story in riveting detail.

 





Reviewer: Van Pham (see more about me) from Fremont, CA USA

This author shows an incredible lack of knowledge about the Vietnamese (both ARVN and Nva/Vc troops) who fought at Hue. This lack of knowledge means that the readers have no clue of how bloody the battle Hue was and why it takes several weeks to regain the city.

According two recently publish Communist books: "Hue, Spring 1968, Ban Nghien Cuu Dang[the Communist Party Research committee], Hue, 1988" and the "Tck-tkn [Generl offensive-General Uprising 1968, Ban Nghien Cuu Dang[the Communist Party Research committee], Ho Chi Minh City, 1988". The Nva/Vc troops in Hue consist of 4 full strength regiments: the E1, E5, E8, E9 and several battalions from the E6 regiment several sapper battalions (E is the NVA denote for regiment). Only the South Viets Hac Bao Company, most of who during the New Year was on leave, defended Hue. The Nva attacked on the first day of the Lunar New Year and quickly gain control of the city. After which they release 2,300 violent criminals from the city prison and armed them and the city VC sympathizers to form the "Nghia Quan"[Rightous Army]. In total the Nva/VC have around 9,000 to 10,000 troops in the city including the "Nghia Quan' criminals. On the second day of the New Year, the ARVN 1st Airborne Brigade consists of the 2nd and 6th battalions fought their way into Hue by way of An Hoa. They succeeded in getting into the city and later the ARVN 9th Airborne battalions; fresh from their victory at Quang tri also joined them. It's true that the S. Viets ask the Americans for help after the second week of battle but it was not due to S. Viets troops cowardice or low morale like the author tries to imply.

The ARVN who fought at Hue consists of the Airborne, then later the Marines, Rangers and the 1st Division, the best fighting force in Vietnam war. However, initially, the S. Viets leaders do not want the ncient city of Hue to be destroyed and forces the S. Viets and Americans to fight with little or no air and artillery support. This means the cost in retaking the city from 8,000 well-fortified enemies has to be done hand to hand. During the week of the battle, the S. Vietnamese 2nd and 7th battalions went from 500 men each down to only 200 men. The S. Viets 9th airborne battalion went from 400 men to only 100 men, the rest were killed and wounded. The S. Viets marines and ranger battalions that later came to join in the fight was fresh from the battles in Saigon without replacement and were all at or around half strengths. A typical S. Viet airborne battalion consists of 500 men, 800 men for the Vietnamese marine battalion and 450 men for the Vietnamese ranger battalion. The Nva/VC also lost a tremendous number of men and o both sides settle down to defensive and probing attacks. This also is true for the USMC since the US marines for the first two weeks or so, fought only during the day and then retreat to the MACV compound at night, this go on until sufficient troops and allies replacement have arrive. The battle for Hue was bloody and vicious, the S. Viet dead was twice that of the U.S marines, as for the Nva/VC most of their troops die during the battle for the city.



I have not read the whole book as of yet. What I read for the time period during 1967 was very lacking on some major items. I feel that the author is only using military info based upon large scale "named" USMC Operations and not very important info concerning activities that had the same impact without having a "name". A good example was what happened to Fox Co. 2/5 on July 4, 1967 when they were overrun at Nong Son, or as we referred to that place as the "Coal Mines". A young machine gunner that came as a replacement to Fox Co. due to the high KIA rate that happened to them on Operation II on June 2, 1967. This man won the Congressional Medal of Honor and was in country for less than a month. This only one of several examples that I can attest to. Thank you.

 

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