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The Easter Offensive, Vietnam 1972. Volume 1

The Easter Offensive, Vietnam 1972. Volume 1 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review June 2017 Title The Easter Offensive, Vietnam 1972. Volume 1
Author Albert Grandolini Publisher Helion
Published 2016 ISBN 9781910294079
Format 48 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $29.95


Albert Grandolini deftly details "the fiercest campaign of the Vietnam war in terms of military engagement and length of fighting" in volume 1 of The Easter Offensive Vietnam 1972.

Subtitled "Invasion across the DMZ", the 48-page précis premieres Helion's "Asia@War" series – available in North America from Casemate.

At least 130 photos, six maps and 18 excellent color profiles by Tom Cooper – 12 aircraft and six armored vehicles – illustrate the effort. And an abbreviations glossary and selected bibliography augment the account.

Tapping American and Vietnamese archives and sources, Grandolini commences contents with background notes on the "origins of the campaign".

Decimated in the failed 1968 Tet Offensive, Viet Cong guerrilla forces lost considerable popular support by late March 1972.

That's when North Vietnam, abandoning the fiction of a popular South Vietnamese communist insurgency, launched a surprise, conventional invasion across the DMZ. Massive PAVN [People's Army of Vietnam] infantry formations, supported by hundreds of armored vehicles, poured across the border.

Separate sections summarizing "allied" and "communist" forces follow. And Grandolini's research reveals truly illuminating details of North Vietnamese personalities, units, and weapons. Case in point: his "PAVN armor order of battle in April 1972".

Four final chapters chronicle combat in northern South Vietnam:

  • Prelude to the storm
  • Invasion across the DMZ
  • Stalemate at Hue
  • The ARVN [Army of the Republic of Vietnam] on the offensive

After three months – thanks to American air and naval support – the ARVN, under Lt Gen Ngo Quang Truong's capable leadership, blunted Hanoi's aggression. And by mid-September, Saigon had recaptured Quang Tri city – militarily and politically, perhaps the most potent symbol of victory for both sides.

But another race was on. Both sides sought to consolidate their positions before the January 1973 peace accords. And fighting raged further south.

Chart the action yourself. Get this superb summary. Then grab Grandolini's second installment on the Easter Offensive's two other fronts.

Robustly recommended!

My sincere thanks to Casemate Publishing for this review sample!