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VNAF: South Vietnamese Air Force 1945-1975 by Jim Mesko

By Jim Mesko

South Vietnamese Air strength 1945-1975

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Nevertheless, the Communists had to distribute orders and plans and indoctrinate their troops and political cadre concerning the transcendent significance of the coming effort. Inevitably, as a result, American and South Vietnamese intelligence organizations during the fall and winter steadily accumulated evidence, primarily from captured documents and prisoner interrogations, of the scale, objectives, and timing of the attack. On the basis of this evidence, analysts at the MACV J–2 Current Intelligence Branch, the Combined Intelligence Center, Vietnam,13 and the CIA Saigon station issued studies that predicted a nationwide enemy offensive, including major attacks on the cities.

Advisers, pursued the pacification campaign. They attempted to clear Viet Cong guerrillas out of selected populated areas and to protect the police and Revolutionary Development teams who moved in to eradicate the Communist shadow administration and reestablish government authority. Together, the two parts of the military effort, in 10 This account is based on Cosmas, Years of Escalation, 1962–1967, ch. 12. 15 MACV: The Years of Withdrawal, 1968–1973 the words of the allies’ Combined Campaign Plan for 1968, were “to provide territorial security at a level adequate to permit the destruction of the VC [Viet Cong] infrastructure and the uninterrupted and accelerated progress of political, economic, sociological and psychological programs” of the Saigon government.

Finally, on 31 December, the North Vietnamese foreign minister issued a public declaration that seemed to commit Hanoi to enter peace negotiations if the United States stopped Rolling Thunder. In the light of what followed, the purpose of this statement was less than clear. 12 These preparations are conveniently summarized in Hammond, “Preparations Begin”; Wirtz, Tet Offensive, pp. 66–77; Lung, General Offensives, pp. 25–31; and Don Oberdorfer, Tet! (New York: Da Capo Press, 1984), pp. 65–69. Also, Msgs, Abrams MAC 10931 and MAC 11239 to Wheeler, 15 Nov 67 and 22 Nov 67; Westmoreland MAC 01001 to Sharp and Wheeler info Gen Johnson, 21 12 30 Prelude to Tet: Warnings and Preparations The enemy took great pains to conceal his preparations and intentions.

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