Break in the Chain Intelligence Ignored

About this book-a Casemate-UK review

• Shows how US commanders were warned of a major NVA offensive, but ignored the intelligence until the offensive was underway
• Author was intelligence analyst at the 571st Military Intelligence Detachment during the launch of the Easter Offensive
• Riveting combination of war memoir and unique examination of the role of intelligence during the Easter Offensive 1972

W.R. (Bob) Baker, author

Order this book from these locations:

Book Review – VVA https://vvabooks.wordpress.com/tag/1972-easter-offensive/

Book Review – James J. Wirtz (2022): Military Intelligence and the 1972 Easter Offensive: W. R. (Bob) Baker: Break in the Chain: Intelligence in Vietnam, Military Intelligence and Why the Easter Offensive Should Have Turned out Differently, Casemate Publishers, Havertown, PA, 2021, 264 p., $34.95 (hardcover).: International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence: Vol 0, No 0 (tandfonline.com)

Recommended Reading: https://www.jedonline.com/2022/02/04/recommended-read-break-in-the-chain-intelligence-ignored/

American Intelligence Journal, page 160:

039_1 American Intelligence Journal Vol 39 Number 1.pdf | Powered by Box


Book Review:

BREAK IN THE CHAIN: INTELLIGENCE IGNORED
By W.R. (Bob) Baker,
Philadelphia: Casemate, 2021

(The Vanguard, Journal of the Military Intelligence Corps Association, Spring 2022)


The April 1972 Easter Offensive was a major North Vietnamese Army campaign to capture key terrain and lines of communications to seize the northern half of South Vietnam. With President Nixon’s Vietnamization strategy in progress, the US military had withdrawn most ground combat units by this point in the conflict and was primarily performing advisor duties in support of South Vietnamese Army and Marine units and
Command elements.

Bob Baker was an Army intelligence analyst in the 571st MI Detachment, 525th MI Brigade, stationed near Hue. He provides a comprehensive account of the tactical and operational situation as well as the command and control and intelligence challenges as the battle unfolded across three Corps sectors. Graduating from the first Order of Battle (OB) Analyst class taught at Fort Huachuca in 1971, Bob deployed to Vietnam and was the sole OB specialist supporting his Human Intelligence collection unit. His overview of the composition and disposition of North Vietnamese Army forces should be the start point for future analysis of this major campaign that served as the precursor to the 1975 offensive that toppled the South Vietnamese government.

Break in the Chain amply documents the multiple operational and intelligence shortfalls throughout the Easter Offensive. These ranged from the inability to predict and initially recognize a substantial North Vietnamese operation was underway to the overreliance on specific intelligence sources vice an emphasis on fused all-source intelligence support that provides leaders a holistic common operational picture of the battlefield.

Recommend this book to students of the Vietnam War, specifically those researching the Easter Offensive or North Vietnamese Order of Battle. Similar to Bruce Jones’ War Without Windows and Eric Smith’s Not By the Book, Bob Baker provides an accurate and emotional first-person account of the significant challenges intelligence professionals faced in the dynamic crucible of combat in Vietnam. These substantial shortfalls resulted in the detailed post- war assessment of the intelligence function across the Army leading to comprehensive change and improvements to personnel, training, organizations, and doctrinal processes to support commanders at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels.

Army Intel, Navy Gunfire, and Marine Mission Execution Saved Many

Army Intel, Navy Gunfire, and Marine Mission Execution Saved Many | Small Wars Journal

USS Buchanan (DDG-14)

The Easter Offensive of 1972 in I Corps (MR1) from the Intelligence Perspective webinar of February 18, 2021, by the Army Heritage Center Foundation.

2 thoughts on “Break in the Chain Intelligence Ignored

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