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North Vietnam's 1972 Easter Offensive

...Hanoi's Gamble, a Cold War series title from Pen & Sword

Title: North Vietnam's 1972 Easter Offensive
Author: Stephen Emerson
Publisher: Pen & Sword
ISBN: 978-1-52675-712-8

Subtitled 'Hanoi's Gamble', this is another in the Cold War series of softcover books. With 128-pages this makes for interesting reading, and a story that tells not just the course of events over a period of about 6 months, but illustrates all the external influences that were in play during the Vietnam War.
As someone who grew up while the Vietnam was was taking place, it is interesting to read about it in hindsight. America was under pressure to withdraw from Vietnam, which it was doing while trying to enable the South Vietnamese to look after themselves, the so-called process of 'Vietnamization'. North Vietnam made good use of the process, with delaying tactics at the Paris Peace Talks as they took an opportunity to gain a military advantage and enhance their negotiating position. They saw a weakness in South Vietnam and took the gamble to push regular MVA units into the South, in three different areas. This details these initially successful offensives, with successes and failures by both sides. Then came the air support from the US forces, including USAF and US Navy aircraft. They used modern weapons, such as laser guided munitions to target bridges and highways along with the B-52 Arc Light missions that caused devastating casualties on NVA units before moving into the Linebacker raids on North Vietnam, attacking supply and storage points, eventually mining ports as well. Gradually the ARVN recovered and retook the regional capitals that had been captured in the initial assault. The NVA had been starved of supplies by the US air offensive and suffered losses of experienced personnel and equipment. Not the Viet Cong of Tet in 1968, they had been reduced to be largely ineffective. These were regular NVA units, supported by tanks, SPAA and artillery. Well illustrated throughout, including a section of colour photos in the centre of the book.
An interesting read. The story of the Vietnam War is a long one, and had many aspects. This book concentrates on just one series of events, prior to the final NVA success in 1975. A good read.
Thanks to Pen & Sword for our review copy.


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