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