Oscar E. Gilbert’s new book Marine Corps Tank Battles in Vietnam would be an excellent Christmas gift for any Marine Vietnam Veteran, other Vietnam Veterans, anyone interested in tank warfare and military history with a leaning toward armor applications. Even Guenther Guderian grandson of the Panzer General Heinz Guderian of World War II notoriety would probably like a copy.
A review of the book by LTC Raymond A. Stewart, USMC (Ret) found on The Marine Corps Association & Foundation website tells about the book and some of the challenges Gilbert encountered as he was conducting research of Marine tank operations in Vietnam. The lack of documentation was particularly troublesome and challenging for him. In Vietnam in the case of tanks, which were attached or in direct support of the infantry, the battalion S-3 who compiled the monthly Command Chronology often did not know the details of the day-to-day activities of the battalion’s tanks. The supported infantry—if they did report on the supporting tanks’ activity—did not cite specific tanks, let alone their crews.
Gilbert persevered and through dogged research and meticulously gathered oral interviews, he finally “brings to life” the Vietnam War-serving Marine tanker. He shows how these leathernecks made “tank country” out of the hand they were dealt.
His book described the different missions Marine tankers carried out in Vietnam. They included:
- Long-range harassing and interdicting (H&I) fires supplemented long-range artillery.
- Fire base support with .30- and .50-caliber machine gun, point-blank 90 mm canister fire, and occasionally by crewmen using their .45-cal. grease guns and pistols to kill the enemy as they swarmed over their tank.
- In city-street fighting,
Oscar E. Gilbert’s book is a great read, painting a real-life picture of how Marine tankers fought the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong enemy, defeating them in every encounter.