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Vietnam Gun Trucks Military Weapons & Warfare Conventional Gordon Rottman Osprey Publishing

13th December 2012 History Books 4 Comments

Gordon L. Rottman entered the US Army in 1967, volunteered for Special Forces and completed training as a weapons specialist. He served in the 5th Special Forces Group in Vietnam in 1969-70 and subsequently in airborne infantry, long-range patrol and intelligence assignments until retiring after 26 years. He was a Special Operations Forces scenario writer at the Joint Readiness Training Center for 12 years and is now a freelance writer, living in Texas.

When US combat units began arriving in Vietnam in mid-1965 they were initially based in coastal cities. Munitions and supplies were delivered by sea at ports to directly supply the newly arrived forces. It was not long before American units began to venture into the countryside to engage the VC in the areas they controlled. Many of these areas were well inland and forward bases had to be established. These bases had to be continuously supplied and required a great deal of tonnage. Supplies had to be transported overland from the coastal ports of Qui Nhon and Cam Ranh Bay at Bong Son, An Khe, Pleiku, Dalat, and Buon Ma Thuot. Later, more inland bases were established and more seaports opened. The logistical efforts expanded and it became a major effort to run convoys to these bases. Discover the history of the little-known but vitally important improvised vehicles, or ‘gun trucks’, that were developed in-theatre in Vietnam by the vehicle crews themselves to protect convoys from Viet Cong ambushes in this highly-detailed, fully-illustrated title from our popular New Vanguard series.

Vietnam Gun Trucks (New Vanguard)

LAV-25: The Marine Corps? Light Armored Vehicle


The Light Armored Vehicle -25 has played a significant role in transforming Marine Corps doctrine since its introduction in the early-1980s. The Marine Corps Light Armored Vehicle program was based on the proven Swiss MOWAG Piranha series of 4×4, 6×6, and 8×8 wheeled vehicles. However, developing organizational units, tactics, and employment of the weapon system within the force structure of the Marine Corps proved to be more of a challenge than fielding the weapon system. This resulted in multiple re-designations for LAV units within the Corps. The LAV first saw combat action in Panama during Operation Just Cause ; LAV-25s have fought in every major conflict since – to include the current conflicts during Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq. During Operation Desert Storm the vehicle’s record shows mixed results due to a string of friendly fire incidents; however one LAV-25 Commander earned the Navy Cross . The success of the LAV program has translated to several operators such as Canada, Australia, and the Saudi Arabian National Guard employing the weapon system for their own forces. This in-depth, highly-illustrated title will shed new light on this popular subject.

LAV-25: The Marine Corps? Light Armored Vehicle (New Vanguard)

  • 4 responses to "Vietnam Gun Trucks Military Weapons & Warfare Conventional Gordon Rottman Osprey Publishing"

  • Myke Folger
    17:09 on December 13th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    The vehicle may be lightly armored but this book is heavy on information.

    D’Angina covers the vehicles history from inception to involvement in current contingencies.

    Readers can learn most of what there is to know about the LAV as the book is packed with stats, specifications, dates and photographs. I must disagree with a fellow reviewer; pages 10-11 provide a 36-item cutaway of the interior/exterior.

    My criticism is limited to two items: Caption accuracy and lack of `first hand’ accounts.

    I counted a handful of caption-to-photo inaccuracies – none major.

    There are a few quotes in the book as well as a citation for the Navy Cross (great addition by the way), but it would have been nice to have a few pages dedicated to stories of the Marines that operated the vehicle.

    In all this is a very good, informative read.

  • Ray Hightower
    10:05 on December 14th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Mr. D’Angina provideds a good intro into the USMC’s Light Armored Vehicle, a machine that gets overshadowed and overlooked by fans the USMC’s more well known M-1 tank, and the U.S. Army’s multitude of vehicles, of which the Stryker could be considered a distant cousin to the LAV-25.
    Good information, good history of the procurement, upgrades and variations of the machine is covered. Lots of effort was made to cover weapons and variants, which, if not decribed, may be lost on the casual observer. The relation of the “machine to the mission” is an enlightening view on the employent and sometimes uncoventional use of a 14 ton armored vehicle that highlights both the LAV-25, and the USMC ability to adapt and overcome.
    As previous reviews have reported, what is missing are interior views (which may not be allowed on some variants), but would help “insert the viewer” a little more than the scant few interior shots and diagrams, and first-hand accounts. Also, Osprey Publishing let a few editorial errors (mainly in photo captioning) slip by that should have been caught.
    All in all, a good reference book, and good source of information on the LAV-25 and its variants. Of particular note is the mention of allies that also employ the LAV-25 in their military.
    Overall, good book, and definitely worth getting. And written by a former Marine to boot.

  • Mark Alison
    17:12 on December 15th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Initially, the US Army and Marine Corps wanted a wheeled light armored vehicle. The Army backed out, but Marines got funding for 880 of these 14 ton vehicles. Given that there are 8 variants in service, this short book can only be a primer on the subject. The LAV-25 is an off the shelf adaptation of the 8×8 Swiss Mowag, began service in 1982 and is still in use today.

    The author provides a brief, concise & well written history of the development of this armored fighting vehicle and short descriptions of each type. 23 pages of the 46 review the LAV in combat in Panama, Iraq, Somalia, and Kosovo. Photos are small, but crisp and in color. Seven pages are color plates showing paint & camouflage schemes. 2 line drawings show the inside of the turret and ITOW “hammerhead” anti-tank turret. The usual Vanguard centerfold/color cutaway is 2 pages which provide a glimpse of what’s inside.

    Which brings me to my major complaint regarding this book – there are no photos or diagram of the inside. Yes, readers do want to learn of combat stories to prove the capability of this weapon system, but we’re also interested in what’s under the hood & hatches. I think that makes the difference between an average book vs. a fantastic one. There is an error on the first color plate, but minor enough.

    If you’re building a model of the LAV, no interior details, this book is fine. It’s a solid intro into a capable wheeled armor vehicle. As a primer, for the price, it’s ok.

  • Big Papi
    18:16 on December 15th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    During the Vietnam War enemy insurgents tried to hurt U.S. and Free World soldiers by cutting off their supply lines. Since most supplies were provided by truck convoys roadside ambushes became a common event. Military Police were designated for route security but were not available in the numbers needed to keep the routes secured and it wasn’t the job of ground troops to do it either. So, transport provided their own security for convoys by escorting them with gun trucks, improvised weapon platforms which could hammer the enemy if they tried to attack the vulnerable convoys.

    These vehicles were primitive at first, utilizing sandbags and prefab metal shielding for protection while using a few light machineguns for firepower. These would be exchanged for armor plating and a variety of weapons. Gun crews also painted nicknames and artwork on their gun trucks.

    This is a great book, even though it’s a bit of a slim volume. It includes original artwork and period photos as well useful lists such as names of known gun trucks used in Vietnam. The author discusses the evolution of the weapons, the units which employed them and many other interesting bits of information. The only thing that annoyed me was his references to “artillery air defense” units and weapons. The correct designation is Air Defense Artillery, which became a seperate branch during the Vietnam War. As an old ADA missile officer myself I found it a little grating although I knew what he meant.

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