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This monograph forms part of the Indochina Monograph series written by senior military personnel from the former Army of the Republic of Vietnam who served against the northern communist invasion.
“The Vietnam War was an unusual and complex experience. Directed and sustained by Communist North Vietnam under the label of national liberation, it combined the elements of insurgency and conventional warfare. It began with guerrilla tactics but developed into and concluded with open invasion. Basically, however, it remained an ideological conflict whose ultimate outcome depended on popular participation and support.
The requirements to fight this war were multiple and challenging. Counterinsurgency demanded that we mobilize our resources to strengthen the regime, protect the people and obtain their allegiance, root out the enemy infrastructure, and extend our armed forces to maintain security over the national territory. All this had to be done in the midst of mounting political dissent and social divisiveness. To meet the threat of large-scale conventional attacks, we had to contend with enemy sanctuaries in neighboring countries, the inhospitable terrain of our extensive borders, and uninterrupted infiltration. However, our efforts were greatly restrained by limited forces and prevailing policies.
To analyze critically the chain of events which shaped the final outcome of the war in order to learn from our failures and successes, we have drawn primarily on our first-hand knowledge of major events and our personal involvement in the conduct of war efforts. We hope that in addressing the Salient points raised in all previous monographs of this series with fresh insights, our work will be able to provide a critical, comprehensive view of the war experience on the South Vietnam side.”-Author’s Preface.