Vietcong Tactics Essay Writing

Military Tactics used by the USA and the Vietcong in Vietnamin

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Military Tactics used by the USA and the Vietcong in Vietnamin

During the Vietnam War there were two main sides (other countries were
involved, giving financial support etc). There was the ARVN (Army of
the republic of Vietnam) and the U.S. who were capitalist. Against the
NVA (The North Vietnam Army) and the Vietcong (people based in South
Vietnamwho supported the NVA). Both sides used different military
tactics during the war.

At the start of the war both sides used a similar tactic: to gain the
trust of the South Vietnamese people and convince them to support
their own side. The Vietcong used infiltration; they spread the idea
of revolution and at the same time signed up new recruits. The
Vietcong were more appealing to the peasants as they spoke the same
language and offered free land by doing this they gained control of
the countryside in south Vietnam.

The US used a similar idea called 'Pacification'. They said this was
to 'win the hearts and minds' of the people of S.Vietnam. It was a
policy where they provided schools and clinics and built houses,
roads, canals and bridges. This was to gain their trust because they
were afraid of scaring the people while they were attacking the
Vietcong in the countryside. This however did not succeed as the US
lost their trust when they started bombing and the amount of violence
caused by the US increased. The scheme was abandoned when money and
soldiers were needed to fight the Vietcong.

The Vietcong did not have the modern equipment and weaponry that the
US had. But they had a huge advantage over the US; they knew the
jungle and countryside they were also well suited to it. They could
easily hide amongst the trees from the US trees and aircraft. It was
easy because of their well developed Ho Chi Minh trail (the hidden
network of paths used by the Vietcong). The Vietcong used Guerrilla
tactics; they would use their knowledge of the jungle to their
advantage and would go around in small group's surprising and

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attacking American soldiers with grenades and booby traps. The
Vietcong would never come out in the open so it was difficult for the
US soldiers to fight back or defend themselves.

I mentioned earlier the during Guerrilla warfare the Vietcong would
build booby traps to kill Americans. They used a lot of trip wires;
they would either attach a trip wire to a grenade and when a soldier
tripped on a wire the grenade would explode, killing him and soldiers
nearby. Or they would use a tin can trap where they would take the pin
out of the grenade and put the grenade inside a can then when the
soldier tripped on the wire, the sudden jolt would set the grenade
off. They also used a lot of other types of booby traps, they used a
Bouncing Betty trap, a fuel tank trap, a punji trap and they would
bury mines.

These sorts of techniques irritated the US greatly because they could
not avoid the booby traps and were loosing vast amounts of soldiers to
these sorts of traps. It was also difficult for the US soldiers to be
transported in other ways, other then helicopters but even then they
couldn't land in dense areas of the forest. This was quite a problem
for the US they started the policy of Attrition, where they would wear
the Vietcong down. In 1964 they started selective bombing where they
would bomb places like bridges, railways and supply dumps etc. this
made it difficult for the enemy to fight. But this was awkward as it
was difficult for the helicopters to aim. It was yet again another
failure of the US; the Vietcong were succeeding in most areas of the

In 1965 Conventional warfare began. The NVA (North Vietnamese army)
became more heavily involved because they had received financial
support from China so were able buy more machinery. They started
fighting the US out in the open with high tech weaponry and tanks.

The US realised that the war wasn't going well for them so they
invented a new technique; Search and destroy missions. Because the
Vietcong had succeeded in Infiltration and were now hidden amongst the
South Vietnamese people it was difficult for the US soldiers to detect
them. In Search and destroy missions they would hunt down and kill any
Vietcong members. They would look for any signs of the Vietcong
(excess food, hidden supplies and weapons or Vietcong documents). They
would destroy all evidence and kill any suspected Vietcong members.
They would often be wrong and wipe out whole villages when the
suspects were innocent. The soldiers were angry with what the Vietcong
were doing to their colleagues and kill people just because they
wanted to take their anger out on someone. One example of this was the
Mai Lai massacre, 1968. This was where a village was attacked and
there were "piles of innocent bodies were strewn across the path".

The Vietcong continued to use Guerrilla tactics to kill the US
soldiers and were becoming more and more successful. But the US
weren't prepared to surrender yet; they came up with a new idea: to
use chemicals to wipe out the forest and Vietcong at the same time.
Because there would be no trees the environment would be less humid,
so it would be easier to work in. By doing this the US hoped to expose
the Vietcong Ho Chi Minh trail. Also they would be able to move around
a lot more easily because they would be able to use their tanks. To do
this they would use Agent Orange and Napalm. Agent Orange is a
powerful weed killer that stripped away leaves and undergrowth. Napalm
is jellied petrol that sticks to everything it comes into contact with
and explodes on impact. They also used giant bombs to splinter all the
trees in the forest into pieces. But this failed like many of their
other tactics because the jungle was massive and they could never
destroy all off it. The Vietcong simply moved to other parts.

The war had now intensified and selective bombing had failed but in
1966 they increased the level of bombing and started 'saturation
bombing' where they would bomb everything in sight. To do this they
used B-52 bombers which flew at 50,000 feet and couldn't be seen or
hears from the ground. They did this to try and get North Vietnamto
negotiate with the USA as they were desperate to win the war and end
all the suffering.

In 1968 both sides wanted the war to end as it had been going on for a
long time and neither side could see the war ending. So the Vietcong
took a step forward: they launched a massive surprise attack on the
US. It was to be a surprise as the US had expected North Vietnam to be
celebrating the annual Tet festival, but they weren't. Also the US
didn't think that the Vietcong had so much equipment. They did because
they had joined with the NVA to attack over 100 targets. The Vietcong
had never fourth in the open before so for them it was a big strategy
change. The attack was named the Tet offensive.

It was not a complete success for the Vietcong as over 30,000 people
died in the attack; this meant that the NVA had to take over the
majority of the fighting in S. Vietnam. To the Americans it was a
great shock as they thought that they were winning. As a result they
increased the mount of saturation bombing and Search and Destroy
missions. The NVA were not used to fighting in S. Vietnam but the
Americans were experience so USA were hopeful but at the same
desperate to win the war and for it al to be over.

Booby Traps And Vietcong Tactics Essay

When comparing the belligerent forces of the Second Indochinese conflict it is clear that the anti-Communist forces in the South held the major advantages over their Communist counterparts in the North. Based on personnel strength, the anti-Communist forces, known as the Free World Military Forces, outnumbered the Communist forces, composed of the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong by more than 2:1; a force of almost 2 million against one consisting of less than 800,000.1 In addition to a trained military personnel edge, the Free World Forces boasted the modern military machine that was the US Armed Forces. Finally, the powerful American economy which again, supported the South, could not be matched by the North. Given these, how could the North possibly stand a chance at conquering the South and defeating their capitalist ally, the United States?
However, for what the North lacked in firepower, they more than adequately countered with ingenuity and creativity.2 One of the militants fighting for the North Vietnamese cause, the Viet Cong, engaged in guerrilla warfare against it’s Southern enemies.3 Specifically, the Viet Cong skillfully and successfully employed hundreds of thousands of booby traps to weaken the attacking American Forces.4 The production of both explosive and non-explosive booby traps coupled with the efficacy of the techniques employed by the Viet Cong when using these weapons allowed the North to gain a significant upper hand when combatting the United States Armed Forces in Vietnam.5 Furthermore, for all the success that the booby traps had in wounding and killing, these found success in inflicting psychological trauma in the enemies of the Viet Cong and of the North Vietnamese. Ultimately, these practices allowed the Communist forces to succeed against the Anti Communists in the Vietnam War.6

The guerrilla Vietnamese forces first utilized booby traps in the First Indochinese War against French colonial forces between 1946 and 1954.7 A land mine or booby trap is “a hidden [explosive or non explosive] charge having its firing mechanism so placed that it is detonated when an apparently harmless object is disturbed by an unsuspecting person”.8 By using improvised explosive and non explosive devices, the Viet Minh were able to weaken and demoralize, enemy soldiers, in addition to inflicting heavy casualties. 9Drawing on experience from the earlier use of booby traps in the first Indochinese major conflict, the Viet Cong improved on these tactics as guerrilla fighters against the the Free World Military Forces on the Indochinese peninsula.10

As previously discussed the North Vietnamese were at a disadvantage when comparing American resources to their own. With limited arm manufacturing and alliances the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army relied on captured French and Japanese weapons.11 It is only later in the conflict that Soviet and Chinese weapons were heavily relied upon.12 Given their financial constraints, the...

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