I came into the latest session at Pritzker Military Library to find a shock of sorts: I went through a minor test of the library’s holdings, and found out I would begin to be weaned onto running the third floor desk by myself.  Despite some early worries about checking out books, knowing the library’s hours of operation, and how to look for a particular book, I realized I would actually be prepared to run it.  I’ve been taught extremely well by everyone at the library, so once I got put to the test, everything turned out alright.  It’s a great feeling to know I am trusted enough to take care of multiple duties at the library, and I am more than willing to do everything possible to help out the Pritzker.  My one slip up was the networked phone systems used to communicate between the various library employees.  Transferring calls is not one of my strong suits, and they will forever be the bane of my existence.

But now onto the more interesting pieces: the Discovery Pages!  I just recently finished the summary for the Indochina War of 1946-1954, and the more I look at battles that place a large emphasis on guerrilla warfare, the more it intrigues me.  For the Vietcong, it was employed because the French troops had such a huge advantage in artillery and naval strength.  Fighting them head-to-head would’ve been impossible. Where most everything I’ve learned and read about prior had been valuing the large-scale, Civil War-style battles where waves of enemies run head on into one another for the glory of combat.  However, guerrilla warfare places an emphasis on the exact opposite; small scale attacks that pester the enemy into making a mistake.  One book I peeked through while doing research placed a high value on public discontent to properly engage in a guerrilla style war.  If done correctly, an enemy force like the French can find little refuge in such areas.  They were forced to a small section of land in the northwest corner of Vietnam by the midway point of the way, because they could not compete with the mobility of the Vietcong.  Closely related to this was the French’s underestimation of the strength of their enemy.  It was seen as a simple revolutionary insurrection, not a full-scale war.  As such, they made such calculated errors like sending troops down an unprotected highway, where they saw massive casualties when the Vietcong attacked.  What interests me the most is that element of not appreciating one’s enemy.  In the French’s eyes, if they couldn’t fight such large-scale wars with artillery shells, they weren’t a proper enemy.   However, the Vietcong took what was supposed to be France’s return to military glory after WWII and handed them yet another embarrassing situation.

Phones: Transferring calls shouldn’t be this hard!