The Cambodian Campaign – The 1970 Offensive And America’s Vietnam War, by John M. Shaw

(University Press of Kansas, 2005, 222 pp., $34.95 – ISBN 9780700614059)

Although most histories of the Viet-Nam War provide little attention to the Cambodian campaign, it is the author’s conclusion that it was one of the most successful operations of the Viet-Nam War. The focus of the campaign has been on the domestic protest it caused and the killing of four students at Kent State University by National Guard troops.

In this narrative, the author provides the military prospective and explains how this campaign was a well planned and executed offensive that eliminated North Vietnamese Army sanctuaries and supply bases less than 100 miles from Saigon.

The primary focus is on the operations of the 1st Cavalry Division and the 25th Infantry Division. The author writes, “Unlike the First Cavalry Division… the 25th Infantry Division became involved only after Nixon ordered the incursion expanded…”

According to the author, the army units were well adjusted to the environment and well commanded by General Creighton Abrams. The carefully planned and executed ground offensive provided the essential support of a “decent interval” and “peace with honor” strategy of President Nixon.

Although critics of the campaign claimed the NVA never did attack out of Cambodia, the author provides a persuasive rebuttal that the threat from Cambodia was real. The campaign probably delayed the eventual defeat of South Viet-Nam for a year or more. The result of the campaign was an operational victory that was a major achievement for American troops in the Viet-Nam War.