Sappers in the Wire: The Life and Death of Firebase Mary Ann | Book, Essay
- Book description:
During the night of 27-28 March 1971, a Viet Cong sapper company infiltrated Fire Support Base Mary Ann, the forwardmost position in the 23d Division (Americal), Snipping through the defensive wire and entering the base without alerting a single guard in a single perimeter bunker, they killed thirty U.S. soldiers and wounded eighty-two in a humiliating defeat that sounded the death knell for the reputation of the once proud U.S. Army in Vietnam. Although one of the most famous actions of the war, it has never before received a full-scale account. Keith William Nolan has drawn on recently declassified documents and interviews with more than fifty veterans of the 1st Battalion of the 46th Infantry—the unit on Firebase Mary Ann—to re-create minute-by-minute the events of that night, as well as to understand how the military situation in the waning days of the Vietnam War allowed such a disaster to occur. It was a period fraught with problems—combat refusals, drug abuse, racial strife, and fraggings—and Nolan shows how the 1-46th Infantry dealt with them. He describes in detail the personalities of the key players in the 1-46th and the battalion's previous operations around FSB Mary Ann. The heroism of the grunts, the horror of the carnage, and the nature of guerrilla fighting are all revealed in this first full account of the firebase's story. The vivid detail and immediacy of the first-person accounts give an unprecedented view of the day-to-day tempo of operations and state of morale in the U.S. Army in the tragic final period of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.
- Book Authors:
Sappers in the Wire: The Life and Death of Firebase Mary Ann Essay
- Very good I was a member of 1/46th, a trefoil with Charlie Company. LZ Mary Ann was established merely before I left state in 1969. I was non in the battalion at the clip of the onslaught. I have met many of the subsisters at reunions. They all rate this book extremely. What Nolan does is state the field truth of Mary Ann. He sets all the early imperativeness studies on their ear and with this book tells it straight. I was in the1/46 on LZ Professional before they moved to Mary Ann, good thing I got wounded before the crap hit the fan. A lay waste toing history of one of the nastiest fiascos suffered by American forces during the war. Nolan, who besides wrote Into Laos and whom David Willson reminded me was one of the Prime Minister historiographers on Vietnam, writes with consummate item, clear and gripping prose, and an insider’s penetration. The battalion, 1-46th Inf, “The Professionals, ” was a sister battalion to O’Brien’s base battalion, 5-46th, though these events occurred about two old ages after he had DEROS’d, in March 1971. Nolan besides writes pityingly about the inevitable bid alleviation following the event, in which non merely the battalion commanding officer, Doyle, but the brigade commanding officer, Colonel Hathaway, and even the 23rd Division ( Americal ) , Major General James Baldwin, were sacrificed to expiate for the loss. What Nolan fastidiously inside informations, nevertheless, in his disinterment of the unit’s failure to keep a province of believable qui vive and preparedness, is an Army unit exhausted, adult unwilling to take prudent hazards ( i.e. , LP-OPs, local patrolling, etc. ) that might hold detected the infringing VC Sapper unit, and a steady and laxly ignored usage of intoxicant and drugs, even on this isolated Firebase. I read all of Mr. Nolan 's books and we enjoy his authorship manner. Sappers in the Wire took topographic point in 1971 and the soldiers of the Americal on the sand trap line did non follow standing orders and as a consequence the NVA breached the wire and overan Maryann killing many of the work forces on the line that dark. I left Mary Ann on the last resupply out the dark before - and lost some friends at that place. It was good to cognize what happened. Some of the best Nam books of all time written by an writer who NEVER went to Nam! Read them all.
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