Tango 1-1, 9th Infantry Division LRPS in the Vietnam Delta

An absorbing account of special forces operations by Airborne Rangers of the Long Range Patrol in the Vietnam Delta. The use of troops behind enemy lines is not new, gong back to ancient times, but the Vietnam War saw some new twists and turns as the US attempted to wage war against a low tech enemy, using high tech equipment. – Highly Recommended.

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NAME: Tango 1-1, 9th  Infantry Division LRPS in the Vietnam Delta
FILE: R3160
AUTHOR: Jim Thayer
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back
PRICE: £19.99                                                               
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT:  Cold War, regional wars, special forces, deep penetration  patrols, long range patrols, flexible battle lines, column warfare, swamps, jungles, rain forest, vertical insertion, helicopters, close air support

ISBN: 1-52675-858-X

PAGES: 168
IMAGE: B3160.jpg
BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/ycn53baw
DESCRIPTION: An absorbing account of special forces operations by Airborne Rangers of the Long Range Patrol in the Vietnam Delta. The use of troops behind enemy lines is not new, gong back to ancient times, but the Vietnam War saw some new twists and turns as the US attempted to wage war against a low tech enemy, using high tech equipment. – Highly Recommended.

There are many examples from history of small elite formations operating deep in enemy territory, but WWII saw this become a critical element. After Dunkirk, the British had to find a way of taking the war to the Germans and of operating in large open spaces without having large concentrations of troops. Churchill was keen to develop commando units and 'private armies' to operate covertly behind the enemy lines. The commando units and airborne forces formed in 1940 began small numbers of limited raids that became more frequent and larger as the war progressed towards D-Day. In North Africa, the LRDG operated deep into the desert, outflanking the German troops by taking small motorized forces across 'impossible' terrain, carrying all their supplies with them and hitting the enemy where they were least expected. The SAS was created and became one of the standard bearers for special forces, but the group closest to the US LRPS in Vietnam was the British Chindits operating in Burma behind Japanese lines, and their successors who fought rebel forces in Malaya in very similar conditions to those in Vietnam, but winning the war.

The Chindits differed from the LRDG not only in operating in very different conditions, but also by operating in much larger numbers with military airlift  support and also close air support. In Malaya, this experience was adapted by using helicopters to move small groups of special forces quickly around the battlefield by helicopter. The US Army developed similar groups before D-Day, benefiting from British experience and training. They then developed their skills and capabilities and, where the British have continued to use small 4 and 8 man groups of SAS and SBS, the US Special Forces grew in size. However, to paraphrase Voltaire, “God is not on the side of the big battalions, but on the side of the best shots”.

Vietnam required further development but the basic operation was similar as highly trained and motivated elite troops operated largely on their own deep in enemy country. The 9th Division Rangers typically fought in 100 or more missions during a one year deployment. The Mekong Delta was a demanding environment of water everywhere and thick rapid growing vegetation and a ruthless enemy who was fighting on home ground.

This is a great story and an important one.