The Battle of An Loc

The Battle of An Loc

James H. Willbanks
Distribution: World
Publication date: 2/24/2005
Format: cloth 256 pages, 22 b&w photos, 4 figures, 16 plates, 12 maps
6.125 x 9.25
ISBN: 978-0-253-34481-6
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Description

Main Selection of Military Book Club
Army Historical Soc. Book of Distinction finalist
“The [North Vietnamese] now held most of Binh Long province from Chon Thanh north to the Cambodian border with the exception of the town of An Loc. It was clear that An Loc would be the scene of the next major North Vietnamese effort. A lot was at stake. Not only were the lives of the South Vietnamese soldiers and their American advisers on the line, but so too was the prestige of the South Vietnamese government. The loss of a province so close to Saigon would be a disastrous loss of face for President Thieu and his administration. From the American perspective, the battle would be the supreme test of Vietnamization and President Nixon’s policies in Vietnam. More than that, however, was the fact that very little stood between the North Vietnamese and Saigon except the forces at An Loc.” —from The Battle of An Loc

With the knowledge born of firsthand experience, James H. Willbanks tells the story of the 60-day siege of An Loc. In 1972, late in the Vietnam War, a small group of South Vietnamese held off three North Vietnamese divisions and helped prevent a direct attack on Saigon. The battle can be considered one of the major events during the gradual American exit from Vietnam. An advisor to the South Vietnamese during the battle, Willbanks places the battle in the context of the shifting role of the American forces and a policy decision to shift more of the burden of fighting the war onto the Vietnamese troops. He presents an overview of the 1972 North Vietnamese Easter Offensive, a plan to press forward the attack on U.S. and ARVN positions throughout the country, including Binh Long province and Saigon. The North Vietnamese hoped to strike a decisive blow at a time when most American troops were being withdrawn. The heart of Willbanks’s account concentrates on the fighting in Binh Long province, Saigon, and the siege of An Loc. It concludes with a discussion of the Paris peace talks, the significance of the fighting at An Loc, and the eventual fall of South Vietnam.

Twentieth-Century Battles—Spencer C. Tucker, editor

Author Bio

James H. Willbanks is Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army (Ret.), and teaches at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He lives in Leavenworth, Kansas.

Reviews

"The Battle of An Loc is a fine book with rich, vibrant descriptions of combat, weapons, and command decisions. Willbanks writes from an insider's perspective, but demonstrates the discipline of a historian who knows what questions to ask. ." —Net

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Table of Contents

Contents
List of Figures
List of Maps
List of Photos
Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction
List of Abbreviations
1. Prelude to Battle
2. The Nguyen Hue Campaign
3. The Area of Operations
4. The Battle of Loc Ninh
5. The Opening Battle for An Loc
6. Second Attack on An Loc
7. NVA High Tide
8. The Fight for Highway 13
9. Breaking the Siege
10. Evaluating the Battle of An Loc
11. Aftermath
Epilogue
Appendix 1. Order of Battle
Appendix 2. Presidential Unit Citation, 229th Aviation Battalion
Appendix 3. Presidential Unit Citation, Advisory Team 70
Notes
Bibliography
Index