Monday, January 24, 2011

The Village



This weekend I finally got around to finishing The Village by Bing West. I had started on it last year I think, but had gotten sidetracked. So I started over again Saturday night.

The book is about the experience of a Combined Action Platoon in the village of Binh Nghia. The CAP program was an attempt to provide security in the villages by using a small mixed force of US personnel and Vietnamese. The book details the experience of one combined action platoon as they slowly but surely won over the local populace and pushed the VC out. The main thing I took away from it was the importance of always maintaining discipline, and the importance of having a strategy such as this integrated with the overall strategy. There was a lot of disconnect between the CAP units and the line units in the region. Reading about the 1st attempt by the NVA and VC to destroy the CAP in Binh Nghia was sad, but the CAP fortunately learned from the incident.

If you are interested in small unit actions, and a look at a strategy that might have proved much more successful if the US had pursued it more enthusiastically I recommend reading this book. It is a nice complement to McDonough's Platoon Leader, which describes a somewhat similar program except that the US forces were not integrated with Vietnamese forces or the village they were protecting.

Books read this year: 2

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