Ho Chi Minh Trail 1964-73
...Air Campaign 18 from Osprey Books
Title: Ho Chi Minh Trail 1964-73
Author: Peter E. Davies
Publisher: Osprey Books
We go to Vietnam for the subject of number 18 in the Air Campaign series of books from Osprey and the topic of the famous Ho Chi Minh Trail, through Laos and Cambodia. A 96-page soft-cover book in the usual Osprey style, with informative text, archive images, maps and 3D Birds Eye views.
As well as a scene setting Introduction, the rest is spread across 5 chapters, which explore the story through Attacker's Capabilities; Defender's Capabilities; Campaign Objectives; The Campaign; and finally the Aftermath & Analysis. Laos and Cambodia enabled the North Vietnamese to find a route from North Vietnam itself down to the South and the capital, Saigon. People and supplies were ferried down this route to continue the war in the South. For America, these 2 countries were supposed to be independent of the war so they had to undertake their secret activities to try and break the links of the trail. Over about 10 years they tried all sorts of things, including the advances in technology they made with sensors, laser guided weapons and more. At the same time, rather than modern fast moving jets, it revitalised the service of older, piston-engine aircraft which could fly low and slow along with a heavy weapons load. Alternatively, there was the brute force of huge bomb loads from B-52 bombers to smash whole areas. Against all this were the AAA units of the NVA and the sheer mobility of groups of individual porters carrying supplies through narrow jungle paths.
A complex but fascinating subject all round and I think this new book gives a very good look at the long running campaign, undertaking a task which they interfered with, but never actually succeeded in cutting the trail.
Thanks to Osprey for our copy.