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Walker Bulldog vs T-54: Laos and Vietnam 1971–75

Walker Bulldog vs T-54: Laos and Vietnam 1971–75 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review July 2019 Title Walker Bulldog vs T-54: Laos and Vietnam 1971–75
Author Chris McNab Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2019 ISBN 9781472836120
Format 80 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $22.00

Review

Two ostensibly mismatched Cold-War tanks square-off in Walker Bulldog vs T-54: Laos and Vietnam 1971–75 – 94th in Osprey’s extensive “Duel” range.

The admirably annotated, lavishly illustrated effort follows Osprey’s familiar format.

After a handy introduction with chronology, author Chris McNab kick-starts core coverage with design and development notes for each vehicle and variants – South Vietnamese M41 Walker Bulldog and North Vietnamese T-54/T-59.

Text swiftly segues to summaries of the strategic situation, technical specifications for both subjects, and South (Army of the Republic of Vietnam, ARVN) and North (People’s Army of Vietnam, PAVN) Vietnamese combatants.

Coverage hits climax with accounts of combat during ARVN’s Operation Lam Son 719 (February-March 1971) and PAVN’s Easter Offensive (1972).

Superior South Vietnamese tactics and gunnery skills during early phases of Lam Son 719 helped ARVN M41s score surprising success against heavier, more powerful PAVN T-54s. But in South Vietnam’s subsequent retreat from Laos, breakdown of command & control amidst enemy counterattacks prompted panic, chaos, and confusion.

A year later, North Vietnam, abandoning the fiction of a popular South Vietnamese communist insurgency, launched a surprise, conventional invasion across the DMZ. Massive PAVN infantry formations, supported by hundreds of armored vehicles, poured across the border. And the two vehicles again met in combat.

In both cases, South Vietnamese and American air power ultimately proved decisive in stopping the North Vietnamese. That, however, would change by 1975.

Photos, extended captions, sidebars, selected bibliography and index augment the account. Alan Gilliland’s and Johnny Shumate’s superb color plates beautifully illustrate technical details and battlefield action scenes. And a theater map helps chart Lam Son 719 action.

Get the story. Grab this surprising little study.

My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!

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