This entry in Osprey's Warrior series looks the North Vietnamese Army in South Vietnam, following the route a NVA soldier would take on his way from civilian life in the north to a combat mission in the south.
The book starts with a dry but essential section that establishes the difference between the various military and political forces that were involved in the Vietnamese War, in particular between the NVA, which was a regular army that conducted conventional operations in the south and the PLA, better known as the VC, which was the military army of the National Front for the Liberation of Vietnam, and conducted a guerrilla war. Although the VC, or Viet Cong, is better known in the west, it was the NVA that actually bore the brunt of the war.
The first half of the book looks at the organisation of the NVA, how it recruited its soldiers, their training in the north and their uniform and equipment.
In the second half we follow the new NVA soldiers on their journey to the south and into combat. The last section of the book follows a single unit through a typical attack on a South Vietnamese base, in this case the Loc Ninh Special Forces Camp.
The Author served in Vietnam, and his views on North Vietnamese cause do sometimes leak through, but without having a negative impact on the text, and it does also mean that the author appears quite legitimately in one of the wartime photographs!
This book lacks the normal first-hand accounts found in this series. This is redeemed to a certain extent by the use of material from wartime interrogations, which give some feel for the attitude of the average NVA soldier.
The text is supported by a good selection of photographs from North Vietnamese sources, which illustrate life in the army and in North Vietnam.
Weapons and Equipment
Conditions of Service
Belief and Belonging
Experience of Battle
The Aftermath of Battle
Collections, Museums and Re-enactment
Author: Gordon L. Rottman