VIETNAM: GROUND ZERO THE HOBO WOODS BY ERIC HELM

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tarzan

Copyright 1987.

It has been a year since Mack Gerber and Sgt. Fetterman left Vietnam. After training Green Beret recruits at Ft. Bragg they get reassigned to Vietnam. Things have changed since they left. For one thing the U.S. has shed its advisory role and have now taken a more active role in combat operations. They also have a lot more troops in Vietnam. So Gerber is up for being promoted to major and to head the Studies and Observation Group. The first assignment is the Hobo Woods. The Hobo Woods is a dense forested area where intelligence shows a massive buildup of a NVA division. So a reconnaissance in force is mounted to find and destroy this division. The first squad makes a landing when disaster strikes. They are ambushed with over half the choppers shot down. Now one hundred and twenty men are in danger of being overrun. The high command panics because they do not need negative publicity right now. The anti-war movement is gaining steam and the last thing needed is an engagement with massive casualties. So now Gerber is ordered to withdraw the trapped men.

So this book is taking a different direction with the series. Gerber and Fetterman will no longer be confined to camp A-555. Instead they will be based in Saigon and pretty much the entire Southeast Asian theater will be open to missions. This gives the series much more flexibility in stories that it can do. The book also does a great job of highlighting the politics of the conflict. The Johnson administration didn’t want casualties so the army was ordered not to undertake any major operations against the enemy. This left them free to build up their forces which would cause considerable problems down the road.

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