Ia Drang 1965...

...The struggle for Vietnam's Pleiku Province from Osprey Publishing

Title: Ia Drang 1965

Author: JP Harris & J Kenneth Eward

Publisher: Osprey

ISBN: 978-1-4728-3515-4

Now for number 345 in Osprey's Campaign series, and it tackles the fighting for Pleiku province with the first significant deployment of the US 1st Cavalry (Airmobile) division, newly arrived in the country.
The 96-page soft-cover book opens with The Strategic Background, setting the scene for this particular campaign. Then there is a Chronology which sets out the sequence of events between 19 October and the end of December 1965. That is followed with profiles of the senior commanders involved on the part of the PAVN (Peoples Army of Vietnam) and the US and ARVN forces. Next comes the details of the units involved on both sides, along with an Order of Battle. It is worth noting here that the North was represented by regular North Vietnamese units rather than the Viet Cong. It also examines the equipment being used by both sides. This is developed in the next section, which sets out the plans of both opposing forces. This leads naturally into the major element of the book, the account of the campaign itself. It started with a PAVN attack on the Special Forces camp at Plei Mei, an attack which ultimately failed, led into a pursuit battle as the US and ARVN forces chased down the withdrawing PAVN units. The pursuit carried on with a number of fights taking place, particularly those around LZs (Landing Zones) X-Ray and Albany. Everything is rounded off by assessments of the Aftermath and the Battlefields Today.
A good read for anyone interested in the Vietnam War. It is well illustrated with archive photos, fine colour artwork along with maps and 'bird's eye' battlefield views which help show the deployment of the various units. The one thing largely left out of the book is the involvement of US and South Vietnamese air power, which did have a major impact on the outcome of the fighting, but which would have necessitated a much larger book. Very nicely done.

Thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review copy.

Robin