Reading for those who wish to mirror the 6-31st

Forum created for the purpose of living history and reenactor groups to interact with former veterans of the 6th battalion of the 31st Infantry
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Niner Alpha
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Reading for those who wish to mirror the 6-31st

Postby Niner Alpha » Fri May 02, 2014 10:04 am

There are three history books worth reading if a reenactor wants to know what the battalion did in Vietnam. Two of them are written by Keith William Nolan. Nolan was probably the best popular history author of the Vietnam War from the point of view of the soldier. His history, although perhaps flawed here and there, comes closer to the truth than probably anybody else that I'm aware of in published books. Too bad he died young.

In point of time sequence the book House to House about the May 1968 battle to hold Saigon against a major Tet offensive should be read first. At that point the 6th battalion had only been in Vietnam a short time. This struggle made battalion members combat veterans. This is one Keith Nolan went to great effort to gather information from many who fought in that struggle before writing his book.

The second, in historical time, isn't about the 6/31st except as a footnote. It was written by David Hackworth...that old reprobate and self aggrandizing, medal hatching, colonel. Steel My Soldiers' Hearts. It is about the Recondo First Brigade of which the 6/31st was a member before moving later to the Go Devil Third brigade. At one juncture he tells the tale of borrowing Alpha 6/31st, as an addition to his battalion, using the company in a blocking position for one of his major "victories". He sets Alpha down on top of a strong, previously unnoticed, enemy position, out of artillery support range, also apparently unnoticed . His plan was to use them to cut off one avenue of escape for a large force. His book story conflicts with what Alpha guys who were there remember but the book itself gives you an idea of the "victory is within our grasp" time in the war. Hackworth's story plays that tune loudly drowning out the flaws in his own plans. Alpha lost two men and it was all glossed over in the greater victory.

The third book is by Nolan again. It's called Into Cambodia. It is about the May 1970 Cambodian incursion. This event came about exactly two years after the battle to secure Saigon in House to House. There is one full chapter devoted to Delta Company and their part at a battle at the largest village in the Parrots Beak. It's flawed in order of arrival of the companies at the major battle, but Nolan got his information for Delta Company's actions from men who were in Delta Company. One of them was his college professor. It's the best, and perhaps only, written account of the battalion in the Incursion. Karl Lowe, the company commander and the main character in the story, still looks at this site.
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Re: Reading for those who wish to mirror the 6-31st

Postby Niner Alpha » Sat May 03, 2014 3:18 pm

Another primary source for what the 9th Division commanders were thinking as they conducted operations over the period of the Division in Vietnam can be read online. Sharpening the Combat Edge. It was written by Lt. General Julian Ewell and Maj. General Ira Hunt.

http://www.history.army.mil/books/Vietnam/Sharpen/
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Re: Reading for those who wish to mirror the 6-31st

Postby Niner Alpha » Sun May 04, 2014 1:43 pm

Now that I notice it is back online again, there is a history important to glance at, unpublished except online, of the 31st Infantry Regiment written by Col. Karl Lowe. There is one chapter on the 6th Battalion of the 31st in Vietnam. It's particularly worth reading to understand the overall battalion history in Vietnam.


http://www.31stinfantry.org/wp-content/ ... ter-18.pdf

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