Into the Iron Triangle

Operation Attleboro and Battles North of Saigon, 1966

Arrigo Velicogna

A detailed and richly illustrated, blow-by-blow account of the first major air-mobile operations up to that point, and the first major showdown between the US Army, the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army during the Vietnam War.
Date Published :
March 2021
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
Illustration :
102 b/w & 6 color photos, 1 color & 8 b/w maps, 18 color profiles
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781913336264
Pages : 88
Dimensions : 11.7 X 8.3 inches
Stock Status : Available


In early October 1966, the fresh and inexperienced 196th Light Infantry Brigade of the US Army was conducting a series of routine patrols in War Zone C. A lucky discovery of a rice cache led to the uncovering of a planned base area being established by the Viet Cong insurgents of South Vietnam (NLF) southeast of Tay Ninh City. What followed was named Operation Attleboro. Unbeknownst to the US and ARVN forces the NLF 9th Division was preparing to attack the brigade in its base and two ARVN positions near Tay Ninh. American moves spoiled the planned attack and initiated a prolonged battle that at its height would pit four regiments of the NLF and People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN) against 18 American and three ARVN battalions, supported by 24 artillery batteries and countless fixed wing and helicopter sorties, including 225 B-52 strikes. The battle would also draw in the 1st Infantry Division, the famed ‘Big Red One’ and the 25th Infantry Division. Both sides would claim victory but the 9th Division limped towards Cambodia.

Attleboro was the largest American operation in the Vietnam War to date, the culmination of one year of bloody battles between the 9th Division and II Field Force Vietnam. It would be a test for the campaign that US General William Westmoreland had planned for 1967. It would be also a test of different tactical approaches to be used in Vietnam: an ‘infantry-heavy’ approach favored by the commander of the 196th, General Edward H. De Saussure, and for firepower-intensive approach championed by the Commanding General of the 1st Infantry Division, General William DePuy.

About The Author

Dr. Arrigo Velicogna is an academic, a conflict simulation designer and defence consultant specialized in military history, operations, and naval warfare. He earned a PhD in War Studies in King’s College London in 2014 on the subject of the Vietnam War. He taught related subjects there and at Wolverhampton University, and worked for several British defence related organizations. Into the Iron Triangle is his first book for Helion.


"Classic color artwork of armored vehicles, aircraft, and troops on the ground enhance a wealth of black-and-white photographs. Maps appear when needed. The graphics could almost stand alone in telling the story of Operation Attleboro."

- The VVA Veteran

"...will be of interest to both modelers and military historians alike."

- AMPS Indianapolis

"It's a balanced account with insightful tactical analysis."

- Historical Miniatures Gaming Society

"This is a very well written and in depth book written from a historical perspective with great period illustrations and color plates."


"The book, extremely pleasant to read even if not very long, is highly recommended for historical enthusiasts of the Vietnam War."

- Old Barbed Wire

"...Velicogna provides an impressively comprehensive overview of the geopolitical events leading up to Operation ATTLEBORO and a highly detailed description of the operation itself."

- Naval Historical Foundation

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