Target Saigon...

...Vol1; The Pretence of Peace, 1973-1975, Helion & Company, via Casemate Books

Title:  Target Saigon Vol.1: The Pretence of Peace

Author: Albert Grandolini

Publisher:  Helion and Company

ISBN:  978-1-911512-34-9

A paperback format book in their Asia at War series from Helion and Company.  This one tells the first part of the story of North and South Vietnam from the point where the American armed forces had finally been able to make a final withdrawal.  Despite having tried a major offensive in 1972, the North Vietnamese army had received a 'bloody nose'.  A way to enable them to recover they went back to the negotiating table in Paris and agreed to a Peace which gave the US an 'out', but which was clearly a treaty they had no intention of keeping to.

This book tells us the story of how they used the Peace accord to their own benefit.  To accompany the text there are also plenty of archive photos to support it.  The ARVN took on additional equipment, especially for their air force while the North took the opportunity to get new military supplies from Russia.  They also put a significant effort into repairing and enlarging the Ho Chi Minh trail, their main supply route to the South.  The centre section of the book has plenty of fine colour artwork.  Three pages show profiles of some military vehicles used by both sides, then another three pages for aircraft profiles.  To round off this artwork section, 10 full page maps illustrating the story of the period in the various parts of Vietnam.  The last half of the book looks at the Communist build-up and their attempts to wear down the ARVN.  As it explains, the ARVN were able to hold their own for that first year, despite a number of divisional scale clashes.  That completes this volume and clearly another is set to follow to complete the story of the final year which did end with the eventual success of the North, and the unification of one Vietnam.  I will look forward to seeing the second half of the story.  Hard to believe now that it is over 40 years since the end of the Vietnam war.  I found it interesting to see some additional detail on this final period, between the departure of the US forces and the final victory of the NVA in 1975, when the ARVN  actually didn't fair too badly at first.


For the historian interested in the Vietnam War, the aircraft enthusiast and the modeller this is an interesting reference.  Another book from Helion Books which I can happily recommend.

Distributed by Casemate Books, who kindly provided my review copy.