Break in the Chain: Intelligence Ignored

Break in the Chain: Intelligence Ignored : Military Intelligence in Vietnam and Why the Easter Offensive Should Have Turned out Differently

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For the first two weeks of the Easter Offensive of 1972, the 571st Military Intelligence Detachment provided the only pertinent collateral intelligence available to American forces. Twice daily, the Detachment provided intelligence to the USS Buchanan (DDG-14), US Navy SEALS and Special Forces units including tactical and strategic forecasts of enemy movements, information that was otherwise unavailable to U.S. units and advisors in-country.

In the weeks before the offensive, vital agent reports and verbal warnings by the 571st MI Detachment had been ignored by all the major commands; they were only heeded, and then only very reluctantly, once the Offensive began. This refusal to listen to the intelligence explains why no Army or USMC organizations were on-call to recover prisoners discovered or U.S. personnel downed behind enemy lines, as in the BAT-21 incident, as the last two Combat Recon Platoons in Vietnam had been disbanded six weeks before the offensive began. The lessons and experiences of Operation Lam Son 719 in the previous year were ignored, especially with regard to the NVA's tactical use of tanks and artillery. In his memoir, Bob Baker, the only intelligence analyst with the 571st MI Detachment in 1972, reveals these and other heroics and blunders during a key moment in the Vietnam War.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 264 pages
  • 152 x 228 x 22.86mm | 598.74g
  • United States
  • English
  • 1612009913
  • 9781612009919

Table of contents

Preface Chapter 1 - Growing Up an Army Brat Chapter 2 - Basic Training Chapter 3 - USA Intelligence School Chapter 4 - On To Vietnam Chapter 5 - My New Home Chapter 6 - The Laos Prelude Chapter 7 - Skyline Ridge/Campaign Z Chapter 8 - Disrupting Internal Affairs Chapter 9 - ABC's of the Easter Offensive of 1972 Chapter 10 -The Enemy Plan Chapter 11 - What Enemy? Chapter 12 - Day 1: Thursday, 30 March 1972 "...let slip the dogs of war." Chapter 13 - The South Vietnamese Marines and their U.S. Advisors Chapter 14 - Cut and Run: What ARVN called "Mobility" Chapter 15 - The 571st "Recce Squadron" Chapter 16 - Too, Too Many Tanks Chapter 17 - In Retrospect Chapter 18 - Prologue to Surrender Chapter 19 - A Massacre near the Rockpile? Chapter 20 - NVA Artillery in the Easter Offensive Chapter 21 - The Bridge at Dong Ha Chapter 22 - NVA Tanks Resume Chapter 23 - U.S.S. Buchanan (DDG-14) Chapter 24 - BAT-21 Chapter 25 - Independent NVA Regiment Actions in I Corps Area Chapter 26 - National Intelligence Chapter 27 - Theater and Area Commands Chapter 28 - Diversions and Deceptions at the Onset Chapter 29 - 571st Military Intelligence Detachment Chapter 30 - Observations, Reflections, and Conclusions Chapter 31 - Astrology (tu vi) Use Chapter 32 - Southern I Corps Chapter 33 - Quang Trung 729 Chapter 34 - Lessons Still Disregarded Epilogue Appendices Index
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Review quote

"This book is a well-written and extensively documented account by an intelligence insider who was there during the events described. It is a much-needed corrective to the narrative of a part of the Vietnam War that has received relatively little attention by most historians of the war."--James H. Willbanks, PhD, LTC, USA (Ret) author of Abandoning Vietnam and A Raid Too Far
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About W. R. Baker

W.R. (Bob) Baker graduated first in the first Intelligence (Order of Battle) Analyst class to graduate from Fort Huachuca, Arizona in 1971. He was then the only intelligence analyst assigned to the 571st Military Intelligence Detachment/525th Military Intelligence Group in Da Nang, Vietnam, present at the time of the Easter Offensive of 1972. His further assignments after Vietnam included various positions for a combined total of 8 years with the European Defense Analysis Center/HQ, USEUCOM. He has received the Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service, Joint Service and Army Commendation Medals. Bob has authored several articles on the Easter Offensive of 1972, intelligence, and Vietnam.
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