Target Saigon, Volume 2
...The Fall of South Vietnam, Beginning of the End, from Helion & Co, via Casemate UK
Title: Target Saigon 1973-75, Volume 2
Author: Albert Grandolini
Publisher: Helion & Company
This is number 16 in the Asia @ War series, and is Volume 2 looking at the Fall of South Vietnam, The Beginning of the End, January 1974-March 1975. This takes the story on from the Paris Peace Accord of 1973 to the point just before the North Vietnamese prepared to conquer Saigon and to unite Vietnam under their single rule.
For those of us who remember the history, but as outsiders looking on rather than those who were directly involved, this makes for interesting reading. The story of course gives a chronological account of the events, the units, the personalities of various commanders/leaders and the places where fighting took place. What adds to it is a lot of input from the North Vietnamese side of things, so we get something balanced by both sides of the story. While the Paris agreement had enabled the US forces to finally disengage from their involvement in the Vietnam war, North Vietnam still intended to conquer the South. They had plans that looked at doing it in stages, perhaps on until 1977, but in the end it was accomplished by 1975. What makes it very interesting is the account of the Politburo in the North and just how they could accomplish their plan, while cautious of whether the US might send troops/airpower to support the South or not. There were issues for both sides over support, as not only the US failed to provide more money, spares and replacement equipment to the South, but Russia and China helped with new equipment for the North, but with reservations, such as a lack of ammunition supplies. Some ARVN units stood their ground as best they could, but others did not. The NVA captured equipment and ammunition supplies from the ARVN that helped them continue their offensives. Add the disruption caused by an exodus of refugees, fleeing the advancing communists and the regular NVA units, including heavy armour and artillery. Everything is well illustrated by archive photos, most of which were new to me, plus 16 pages of colour artwork, with maps, uniforms and colour profiles of aircraft and ground vehicles.
Plenty of references for modellers which will be popular, and a more detailed account of events from both sides from the departure of US forces to the foundation for the ultimate conquest of the South. This leaves it for a third volume to tackle the fall of Saigon and the end of the long running war to reunite North and South Vietnam to be the one country we know today.
Thanks to Helion & Co and their distributors, Casemate UK, for our review copy.