May 23, 2018 at 5:03 pm #58639dave37Participant
With all the for Rhodesian tactics around here lately, I decided to reread “The Bleed” by John Cronin. This book is Cronin’s memoir of his two tours as a Force Recon Marine in Vietnam, and his four years with the Rhodesian Light Infantry and the Selous Scouts, as well as the bulk of his life before and after. Those who have read “Fireforce” will remember Cronin as one of Chris Cocks’s commanders in the RLI, specifically the one who brought his Golden Retriever along on bush patrols.
This is a light and easy read. Cronin is a talented writer, and the book is often hilarious. Perhaps it is the distance in time (it was written in 2013), but it does not have the all-pervading sense of guilt and horror that one so often finds in war memoirs.
I read this book five years ago, but it was very interesting to read it again with infantry tactics in mind, having learned something about them in the interim. A couple of things jumped out at me.
First, the parallels between a Fireforce operation against terrorists, and a modern police cordon and search for a fleeing suspect. If you replace RLI stop groups in Alouettes with patrol officers in cars, a sweep line with a K9 officer, and a K-car with a Bell, the principles are pretty similar.
Second, the performance of the American military in Vietnam is often derided, especially in comparison to the performance of the Rhodesian military in the Bush War. However, no one seems to compare the relative quality of the opposition in those two wars. Cronin is certainly in a position to do so. He writes of surrounding a ZANLA (ZIPRA? Can’t remember which) base with several companies, and closing to within a few hundred yards without detection; because the terrs had no patrolling or security activity. Something which the NVA never would have allowed. He also talks of the guerrillas being unable to aim a rifle, and usually spraying away all their ammo in the first few minutes of a contact, leaving them easy pickings for a sweep line.
All in all, at $5.99 on Kindle (free with Kindle Unlimited), this book is well worth your time. While it is not a tactical manual, for those who are reading it that way, there is some training value in understanding the details of a Fireforce operation. Even apart from that, it is just a really enjoyable story by a modern gentleman adventurer. I recommend it highly.
Texas CTT/Mobility 2017, Missouri 1 Day CQB 2017, Texas HEAT 2 2018, Operation TeaSinker 2019
Team Coyote, Team CowbellMay 23, 2018 at 5:05 pm #58640DarkriversParticipant
I’ll check it out. Thanks for the recommendation.
If you're gonna fight, fight like you're the 3rd monkey on the ramp to Noah's Ark... And Brother, it's starting to rain! James from TexasMay 23, 2018 at 5:43 pm #58642
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