U.S. Army in Vietnam
CMH Pub 91-4, Cloth; CMH Pub 91-4-1, Paper
1998; illustrations, maps, table, bibliographical note, index
GPO S/N: 008-029-00339-2
Combat Operations: Taking the Offensive chronicles the onset of offensive operations by the U.S. Army after eighteen months of building up a credible force on the ground in South Vietnam and taking the first steps toward bringing the war to the enemy. The compelling story by George L. MacGarrigle begins in October 1966, when General William C. Westmoreland believed that he had the arms and men to take the initiative from the enemy and that significant progress would be made on all fronts over the next twelve months. Aware of American intentions, North Vietnam undertook a prolonged war of attrition and stepped up the infiltration of its own troops into the South. While the insurgency in the South remained the cornerstone of Communist strategy, it was increasingly overshadowed by main-force military operations. These circumstances, according to MacGarrigle, set the stage for intensified combat. The North Vietnamese and Viet Cong units retained the advantage, fighting only when it suited their purposes and retreating with impunity into inviolate sanctuaries in Laos and Cambodia. With Westmoreland feeling hamstrung by political constraints on his ability to wage war in the vast hostile areas along the border, 1967 ended with a growing uncertainty in the struggle to secure the countryside. Relying on official American and enemy primary sources, MacGarrigle has crafted a well-balanced account of this year of intense combat. His volume is a tribute to those who sacrificed so much in a long and irresolute conflict, and soldiers engaged in military operations that place great demands on their initiative, skill, and devotion will find its thought-provoking lessons worthy of reflection.
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