Accession Number:



The Blue Diamond and Operational Art: Vietnam, 1969-1971

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report,01 Jun 2017,31 May 2018

Corporate Author:

US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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The field of study for this monograph is military history and the use of operational art at the division level. A critical component to the case studies selected concerns the idea that operational art is a way of thinking, and therefore, is neither restricted to a particular echelon of command nor a level of war. This study seeks to answer the following research question How did the 1st Marine Division organize tactical actions in time, space, and purpose to achieve strategic objectives from 1969 through early 1971 in the I Corps Tactical ZoneMilitary Region 1 during the Vietnam War The monograph proposes this thesis From 1965 through 1971, III MAF conducted counterinsurgency operations in the I Corps Tactical Zone re-designated Military Region 1 in July 1970. The 1st Marine Division successfully conducted operational art in the Quang Nam Province within the I Corps Tactical Zone to buy time and space to prepare the Army of the Republic of Vietnam for future operations. President Richard Nixons policy of Vietnamization forced a premature transition between 1st Marine Division units and Army of the Republic of Vietnam units, denying them sufficient time to train, advise, and assist the Army of the Republic of Vietnam to prepare them to conduct independent offensive operations, as demonstrated by the failure of Operation Lam Son 719 in March 1971. The research focused on three different types of primary source documents. First, the 1969 and 1970 Command Histories of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam were consulted to identify the US strategic military objectives in Vietnam. Second, the monthly Operation Summaries for US Marine Forces in Vietnam from 1969 through 1971 were used to uncover how the 1st Marine Division organized tactical actions in time, space, and purpose. Third, operation orders were used, when available, to reveal the end state, mission, and scheme of maneuver for named, large-scale operations.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Humanities and History

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