Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Committee Chair

Lee, Wayne E., 1965-


Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Tank warfare; Indochinese War, 1946-1954--Tank warfare; Armored vehicles, Military--Vietnam--History


This thesis is a chronological historical examination of armored cavalry doctrine and execution during the Vietnam War, with a focus on comparison of the armored cavalry's doctrinal missions of reconnaissance, security, and economy of force with the reality of execution on the ground. In Vietnam, a metamorphosis occurred between these doctrinal missions and actual execution due to a series of factors, such as the nature of area warfare and a relative lack of doctrinal preparedness, the latter largely due to the doctrinal flux of the early 1960s, myths about warfare in Vietnam, and institutional resistance. The metamorphosis also occurred because it had to, and could, because of the many positive attributes of the cavalry, and because a series of other new enablers supplanted and masked the loss of cavalry in performing their doctrinal missions. The enablers ranged from new reconnaissance concepts and units, to the rise of technologies and increased surveillance abilities. Despite all the changes in execution from doctrine due to the demands of an extremely complex and multi-faceted war, cavalry and armor doctrine returned to its conventional focus following the war, while most of the adapted doctrine was relegated to peripheral manuals.