On 2 January 1963 the South Vietnamese Army (ARVN) and its
American advisers were soundly defeated by Viet Cong guerrilla forces at Ap Bac.
The loss should have caused US policy makers to question the value of their efforts to train and equip the ARVN troops, but they failed to perceive the battle's significance. Toczek notes that while a few tactical changes resulted from the battle, no policy changes were made, not even to the structure of the advisory system. This careful examination of a battle seen as a metaphor of the entire Vietnam War will prove useful to readers eager to avoid the pitfalls of the past as they consider how best to fight insurgents of the twenty-first century.
David M. Toczek is a former assistant professor at the US Military Academy at West Point and a graduate of the School of Advanced Military Studies at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
David M. Toczek is a serving US Army lieutenant colonel currently assigned to a NATO post in Heidelberg, Germany. A graduate of the United States Military Academy, he received his Master's in history from Texas Tech University and spent three years as a military history instructor and assistant professor in the Department of History, United States Military Academy, teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.