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Thread: Unbiased books and/or websites on the ARVN

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    Default Unbiased books and/or websites on the ARVN

    I'm trying to find out more information on the Army of The Republic of Vietnam and I would really appreciate it if you guys could provide me with some unbiased websites and/or books.

    I say unbiased because most of the books and websites I've looked at almost always go out of their way to point out the ARVN's flaws. I'd like some neutral sources of information on the ARVN. Thank you.

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    Default Books on Arvn/ RVNAF

    Overall and for a start, I'd recommend Sorley's A Better War. For an emphasis on ARVN's formative years and the war years prior to Tet '68, Duncanson's Government and Revolution in Viet Nam is an insightful, though out of print, source. Much of what he described persisted over the years, so I had no trouble recognizing his analysis even though I didn't get to VN until 1971. Critical, of course, need not mean biased. You'll find an honest yet sympathetic anecdotal portrayal of the Vietnamese marines in Gen. Zinni's autobiography (with Tom Clancey), Battle Ready. Hope the foregoing is useful to you.

    Cheers,
    Mike.

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    Thank you for the information. And I understand that critical analysis isn't bias; I'm just skeptical about what history says about the ARVN and I'm a bit suspicious as to why they deem it necessary to point out all of the ARVN's flaws.

    If "Enemy at the Gates" was realistic, then the Red Army soldier wasn't the best out there, yet history doesn't go out of its way to badmouth him. And even books that do acknowledge the Red Army's flaws still point out the strengths of the individual soldier, something I have yet to see books do with the individual soldier of the ARVN.

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default Cmh

    Look at the Center for Military History vietnam series mongraph on the ARVN. It is balanced in that it does point out US errors in approaching the issue of training, structuring, and working with the ARVN. see:

    http://www.army.mil/cmh/books/Vietna...nrvn/index.htm

    best

    Tom

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    Default Decent Interval

    Although it was not written to focus on the ARVN, Frank Snepp's Decent Interval provides some background on the interaction of the CIA, SecDef, and Congress on the issue of turning over the war after the 1972 Paris talks. If I remember correctly, although it lays some blame squarely on the shoulders of certain ARVN and Marine commanders, it is also sympathetic to the issues Americans never seemed to be able to appreciate (e.g. the "family effect").

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    Do any of these books that you guys are suggesting talk of ARVN actions in battles? That is the main kind of information I'm looking for.

    A lot of books I've read always talk about how they were lazy and unmotivated in battle; how they would retreat at the slightest sign of danger; how they would swarm helicopters landing to take away casualties; etc, etc, etc. They also only make passing references to units that did well in battle, rather than giving specifics. I'd like to read about battles they've participated in and decide for myself what kind of soldiers they were.

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    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Default Nothing escapes Google

    cboy,

    You may need to do an exhaustive Google search for "ARVN". I came across several relevant websites in the first few results. The gruntonsonline.com, for example had an article about ARVN armor operations that was derived from several Osprey books.

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    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cboy
    Do any of these books that you guys are suggesting talk of ARVN actions in battles? That is the main kind of information I'm looking for.

    A lot of books I've read always talk about how they were lazy and unmotivated in battle; how they would retreat at the slightest sign of danger; how they would swarm helicopters landing to take away casualties; etc, etc, etc. They also only make passing references to units that did well in battle, rather than giving specifics. I'd like to read about battles they've participated in and decide for myself what kind of soldiers they were.
    Like any military organization, you will see wide variation when it comes to unit quality with ARVN. I would suggest targeting your research around Tet (for a good snapshot of ARVN at about its mid-life period), the Cambodian Incursion (something of a coming of age), and then the 1972 NVN invasion, where ARVN units on both ends of the spectrum really appeared.

    You also have to remember that when it comes to mainline ARVN, they were trained by US advisors to expect massive fire support, especially air assets. When those were lacking (such as the Laos operations in 1970 - Lam Son 719), they did not do as well as they did when the full spectrum of support they had come to depend on was available (Cambodia and the 1972 Easter Offensive, for example).

    I don't have my books in front of me, but if memory serves the 1st ARVN Division was considered of high quality, as were the paratrooper units and SVN Marine Corps. The Ranger units were somewhat uneven. But again, much of it seems to have come down to the leadership ARVN units received.

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    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Agree...

    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis
    cboy,

    You may need to do an exhaustive Google search for "ARVN". I came across several relevant websites in the first few results. The gruntonsonline.com, for example had an article about ARVN armor operations that was derived from several Osprey books.
    cboy - do as much prior research as you can before posting "20 questions"... Google is your friend.

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    Default

    You'll find a lot of period documents on the ARVN if you run a search at the Virtual Vietnam Archive. Hosted by Texas Tech University, it is an outstanding resource.

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    Council Member CR6's Avatar
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    The Advisor by John Cook

    http://www.amazon.com/Advisor-Phoeni...e=UTF8&s=books

    Once A Warrior King by David Donovan

    http://www.amazon.com/Once-Warrior-K...e=UTF8&s=books

    The 1972 Easter Offensive: The Last Advisors in Vietnam by G.H. Turley

    http://www.amazon.com/Easter-Offensi...e=UTF8&s=books

    Granted these are all written from the persepctive of Americans, but I found all 3 free from obvious bias and pretty informative.
    "Law cannot limit what physics makes possible." Humanitarian Apsects of Airpower (papers of Frederick L. Anderson, Hoover Institution, Stanford University)

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    Smile Unbiased books and/or websites on the ARVN

    Hello cboy,

    There are dozens of unbiased books devoted totally on ARVN (by ARVN junior officers or writers), unfortunately all are written in Vietnamese language! No wonder the world would never know the true stories of Vietnam war. But you can visit my website: vnafmamn.com
    where I have collected some fair and good articles (in English) about ARVN and VNAF.

    Cheers,
    Gucci
    Last edited by Gucci; 10-27-2006 at 07:26 AM. Reason: add more information

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    Default Unbiased Books

    Several good books that discuss the Marine Advisory effort, which I was priviledged to be part of, include:

    The Co-Vans: U.S. Marine Advisors in Vietnam John Grider Miller 2000

    Warriors of the Sea: Matines of the Second IndoChina War Michael Martin 2001

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