The ARVN and the Fight for South Vietnam
Nghia M. Vo
With the withdrawal of French forces from South Vietnam in 1955, the U.S. took an ever-widening role in defending the country against invasion by North Vietnam. By 1965, the U.S. had “Americanized” the war, relegating the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) to a supporting role. While the U.S. won many tactical victories, it had difficulty controlling the territory it fought for. As the war grew increasingly unpopular with the American public, the North Vietnamese launched two large-scale invasions in 1968 and 1972—both tactical defeats but strategic victories for the North that precipitated the U.S. policy of “Vietnamization,” the drawdown of American forces that left the ARVN to fight alone.
This book examines the maturation of the ARVN, and the major battles it fought from 1963 to its demise in 1975. Despite its flaws, the ARVN was a well-organized and disciplined force with an independent spirit and contributed enormously to the war effort. Had the U.S. “Vietnamized” the war earlier, it might have been won in 1967–1968.