A War of Logistics: Parachutes and Porters in Indochina, 1945--1954

A War of Logistics: Parachutes and Porters in Indochina, 1945--1954

by Charles R. Shrader


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Following the French reoccupation of Indochina at the end of World War II, the pro-Communist Vietnamese nationalists, or Viet Minh, launched a grassroots insurgency that erupted into a full-fledged war in 1949. After nearly ten years of savage combat, the western world was stunned when Viet Minh forces decisively defeated the French Union army at the battle of Dien Bien Phu in May 1954. Logistics dominated every aspect of the First Indochina War, dictating the objectives, the organization of forces, the timing and duration of the operations, and even the final outcome.

In A War of Logistics, Charles R. Shrader meticulously examines both French Union and Viet Minh logistical units during the period of active conventional warfare, as well as external support provided to the French by the United States and to the Vietnamese by China. Although the Vietnamese had few advantages over their opponents, their military leaders brilliantly employed a highly committed network of soldiers and civilians, outfitted to accommodate the challenging terrain on which they fought.

Drawing on extensive research such as declassified intelligence documents, the reports of French participants, and accounts by Viet Minh leaders, including Vo Nguyen Giap and Ho Chi Minh, A War of Logistics provides in-depth coverage of the often-ignored but critically important topic of logistics in modern military campaigns.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813165752
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
Publication date: 10/23/2015
Series: Foreign Military Studies
Pages: 514
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Charles R. Shrader, former executive director of the Society for Military History, has taught at West Point, the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, and the Army War College. He is the author of several books, including The Withered Vine: Logistics and the Communist Insurgency in Greece, 1945—1949 and Communist Logistics in the Korean War.

Table of Contents

A War of Logistics
French Union Combat Forces
Viet Minh Combat Forces
French Logistical Doctrine and Organization
Viet Minh Logistical Doctrine and Organization
The Opposing Transport Systems
French Sources of Supply
Viet Minh Sources of Supply
The Shape of Battles to Come
The Campaign for the Base Areas
The Campaign for the Lines of Communication
Planning and Buildup for the Battle of Dien Bien Phu
The Limits of Aerial Resupply
The Triump of the Porters
Logistics and the War in Indochina, 1945-1954

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