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The Blackhorse in Vietnam (Hardback)

The 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Vietnam and Cambodia, 1966–1972

Military > By Century > 20th Century

By Don Snedeker
Imprint: Casemate Publishers
Pages: 336
Illustrations: 40 photos and maps
ISBN: 9781612008462
Published: 1st May 2020



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When the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment came ashore at Vung Tau, South Vietnam, in September 1966, it faced a number of challenges. The enemy - Viet Cong (VC) and North Vietnamese Army (NVA) - was, of course, the most critical challenge.  But the terrain and weather were also factors that could adversely affect the employment ofboth armored vehicles and helicopters alike. The dearth of doctrine and tactics for the employment of armored cavalry in a counterinsurgency was equally challenging - especially during the pre-deployment training and initial combat operations. But just as importantly, there was an institutional bias within the Army that an insurgency was an infantryman’s war. Despite the thick jungle and monsoonal rains, despite the lack of doctrinal guidance, Blackhorse leaders found a way to overcome the obstacles and accomplish the mission. Within a year of their arrival in Vietnam, Blackhorse troopers overcame ambushes that featured volleys of anti-tank weapons, multitudes of mines, and coordinated assaults by reinforced enemy regiments against troop-sized positions. They defeated an entire enemy division twice their size.  Most importantly, the 11th Cavalry successfully demonstrated the ability to operate on and off the roads, in the jungle, and during both the wet and dry seasons. By the spring of 1967, Army leaders were beginning to realize the value of armored forces in Vietnam. With the Blackhorse Regiment leading the way, armor was considered an essential part of the combat team.


This is a history of the Blackhorse Regiment in the Vietnam War, and the stories of some of the 20,000 young Americans who served in its ranks during the war.

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About Don Snedeker

Don Snedeker is a second-generation Blackhorse trooper. He was commissioned in Armor Branch and arrived in Vietnam in late 1969. He was briefly assigned to the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, then served with the 2nd Squadron, 1st Armored Cavalry Regiment (Blackhawks), serving as an armored cavalry platoon leader and the Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol platoon leader. Don returned to the 11th Cavalry in Germany, serving from 1976 to 1978 as the commander of Bravo Troop. Don retired from active military service in 1992. For the past 30 years, Don has served as the historian for the 11th Armored Cavalry Veterans of Vietnam and Cambodia. He is the author of The Blackhorse in Vietnam: The 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Vietnam and Cambodia, 1966–1972. Don and his wife Victoria live in Falls Church, Virginia.

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