I finished Mark Bowden's book; Hue 1968 and found it a very good story. It was interesting to read accounts from both sides of the fighting and the ciI finished Mark Bowden's book; Hue 1968 and found it a very good story. It was interesting to read accounts from both sides of the fighting and the civilians trapped in the middle. The author is critical of Westmoreland for his fixation on Khe Sanh at the expense of Hue and he is also critical of the way the US military high command drip-fed its troops into the battle leading to excessive casualties.
I really felt for the poor soldiers/Marines and the platoon and company commanders fighting not only very brave and resourceful NVA who were dug in and prepared for the American response, but also their own commanders who were blind to the scale of the Tet offensive in Hue.
However the USMC is known for being resourceful and doing more with less. Like this account on the use of the Ontos armoured vehicle in confined street fighting in conjunction with tanks in the built-up areas of Hue:
"The Ontos was more vulnerable to enemy fire, but it was smaller, was faster, and had more firepower. Cheatham kept it behind the tanks as each day's advance began. The heavy fire directed at the tanks exposed the enemy's firing positions. Cheatham would then calmly stand on the street alongside the Ontos - with his helmet on he was almost as tall as the vehicle's top hatch - and point out targets for its six big guns. Then the vehicle would speed out in front of the tanks, use tracer rounds from its spotting rifle to zero in, and fire one or more of its guns. The vehicle would rock so far backward it looked like it might tilt over, but then it settled back and sped in reverse to safety. It was a very useful weapon. Its six big guns knocked down even thick walls completely, or blew big holes in them. In time the enemy was seen to flee as soon as the Ontos's spotting rifle was fired. Few waited for the blast to follow."
There were numerous accounts of bravery and self sacrifice on behalf of the Marines and also harrowing accounts from the civilians trapped within the maelstrom of modern urban warfare. The author also follows some of the soldiers on both sides and some of the civilians and provides details of what happened to them after Hue and the end of the war.
Overall its a good story which is easy to read and flows like a well-written novel. It is well worth the time and I doubt many will be disappointed in Mark Bowden's account of this famous battle. It offers a grunts eye view of the fighting and then if you feel like more you can go onto Eric Hammel's account which is more a standard military history. (According to the blurb at Amazon; "Fire in the Streets spent many years on official U.S. Marine Corps professional reading lists as the best example of modern military operations in urban terrain.")...more
The author of “Youth In Asia”, Allen Tiffany, kindly sent me a copy of his book to read, although I warned him I hardly ever read novels. I’m glad thaThe author of “Youth In Asia”, Allen Tiffany, kindly sent me a copy of his book to read, although I warned him I hardly ever read novels. I’m glad that Allen persisted and still decided to send me a copy as I thoroughly enjoyed this short story of American combat soldiers in Vietnam during 1968.
I don’t think I can add much to the sterling reviews already posted in regards to this book. I suppose all I can do is add my compliments to the author for writing such an engaging account. Although it’s not a very long book, 90 pages, it’s a very engrossing story. I liked the format that the author decided to use, that is, in the form of a letter from a combat veteran to his grandson who is about to join the military.
The main character in our story lays out in this letter his experiences in Vietnam and how it affected him and other men in his unit. It’s a good story, provides enough details about the war, type of fighting these men were engaged in, and details on the weapons and tactics involved.
The author uses a nice hook at the start of his account when he mentions the book; “We Were Soldiers Once... and Young”. It’s a great way of setting up what is to follow. Overall I really enjoyed this short journey to the killing fields of Vietnam (that might not be the best phrase but I think you know what I mean) and I think I could have continued reading late into the night if I was allowed.
I think most people who enjoy accounts of the Vietnam War and the soldiers involved will find this story easy to read and possibly a thought provoking book, well done to the author. ...more