Blackhorse Tales — Stories of 11th Armored Cavalry Troopers at War
By Donald C. Snedeker

Blackhorse Tales — Stories of 11th Armored Cavalry Troopers at War

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Copyright 2021 Donald C. Snedeker
Hardcover, 292 pp.

 When the U.S. Army went to war in South Vietnam in 1965, the general consensus was that counterinsurgency was an infantryman’s war; if there were any role at all for armored forces, it would be strictly to support the infantry. However, from the time the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment arrived in country in September 1966, troopers of the Blackhorse Regiment demonstrated the fallacy of this assumption. By the time of Tet '68, the Army’s leadership began to understand that the Regiment’s mobility, firepower, flexibility, and leadership made a difference on the battlefield well beyond its numbers.


Over the course of the 11th Cavalry’s five-and-a-half years in combat in South Vietnam and Cambodia, over 25,000 young men served in the Regiment. Their stories—and those of their families—represent the Vietnam generation in graphic, sometimes humorous, often heart-wrenching detail. Collected by the author through hundreds of in-person, telephone, and electronic interviews over a period of 25-plus years, these “war stories” provide context for the companion volume, The Blackhorse in Vietnam.

Amongst the stories of the Blackhorse troopers and their families are the tales of the wide variety of animals they encountered during their time in combat, as well as the variable landscape, from jungle to rice paddies, and weather. Blackhorse Tales concludes with a look at how the troopers dealt with their combat experiences since returning from Vietnam. Between the chapters are combat narratives, one from each year of the Regiment’s five-and-a-half years in Southeast Asia. These combat vignettes begin on 2 December 1966, when a small column of 1st Squadron vehicles and troopers was ambushed on Highway 1 and emerged victorious despite being outnumbered. They go on to describe the one-of-a-kind crossing of the Dong Nai River on 25 April 1968, as the Blackhorse Regiment rode to the rescue during Mini-Tet 1968, and the 2nd Squadron's fight to clear the Boi Loi Woods in late April 1971.When the U.S. Army went to war in South Vietnam in 1965, the general consensus was that counterinsurgency was an infantryman’s war; if there were any role at all for armored forces, it would be strictly to support the infantry. However, from the time the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment arrived in country in September 1966, troopers of the Blackhorse Regiment demonstrated the fallacy of this assumption. By the time of Tet '68, the Army’s leadership began to understand that the Regiment’s mobility, firepower, flexibility, and leadership made a difference on the battlefield well beyond its numbers.

Over the course of the 11th Cavalry’s five-and-a-half years in combat in South Vietnam and Cambodia, over 25,000 young men served in the Regiment. Their stories—and those of their families—represent the Vietnam generation in graphic, sometimes humorous, often heart-wrenching detail. Collected by the author through hundreds of in-person, telephone, and electronic interviews over a period of 25-plus years, these “war stories” provide context for the companion volume, The Blackhorse in Vietnam.

Amongst the stories of the Blackhorse troopers and their families are the tales of the wide variety of animals they encountered during their time in combat, as well as the variable landscape, from jungle to rice paddies, and weather. Blackhorse Tales concludes with a look at how the troopers dealt with their combat experiences since returning from Vietnam. Between the chapters are combat narratives, one from each year of the Regiment’s five-and-a-half years in Southeast Asia. These combat vignettes begin on 2 December 1966, when a small column of 1st Squadron vehicles and troopers was ambushed on Highway 1 and emerged victorious despite being outnumbered. They go on to describe the one-of-a-kind crossing of the Dong Nai River on 25 April 1968, as the Blackhorse Regiment rode to the rescue during Mini-Tet 1968, and the 2nd Squadron's fight to clear the Boi Loi Woods in late April 1971.


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