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Armored Combat in Vietnam by Donn A. Starry

By Donn A. Starry

ISBN 0672526735. writer: Bobbs-Merrill, 1980. Hardcover.

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Vann, division adviser, radioed Captain James B. Scanlon, senior adviser to the 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment, that the helicopters were down about 1,500 meters to the southeast of the regiment. After considerable argument with Captain Scanlon, Captain Ba finally agreed to move across the Cong Ba Ky Canal and secure the helicopters. Three hours later, as the first of the APC's approached the helicopters, enemy fire suddenly raked the two leading vehicles and their dismounted infantrymen. The APC's began backing up, abandoning the wounded.

Tanks bunched up, and troops demonstrated little aggressiveness, content to stand and fight as if they were in pillboxes. Security was poor— the unit was ambushed on the very first day. Coordinated action between tanks, armored personnel carriers, and Rangers was almost nonexistent. Leadership and control were still a long way in the enemy's general direction from acceptable standards. Maintenance continued to be a bright spot in the performance of Vietnamese armored troops; all fifteen tanks returned from the fight.

Although it did not meet the five-minute requirement, an aluminum balk bridge that could be placed over a thirty-foot gap by an Ml 13 was developed in the latter half of 1965. With two additional balks, the bridge could be used by the M41 tank. Production of twenty-four Ml 13 balk bridges was undertaken by the South Vietnamese Army engineers. Originally, the Ml 13, or APC, was intended merely as a troop carrier— a means of transport. Doctrine stated that the infantry were to dismount and engage the enemy.

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