What ways did the American army fights the Vietcong? (new tactics)

  • 0 votes

Im doing about Vietnam and i need to know information about what tatics they used these are my headings: chemical walfare, b.campaigns,experiments and problems with these tatics

Posted Sat 21st May, 2011 @ 18:38 by Anon
Edited by Anon on Sat 21st May, 2011 @ 18:43

2 Answers

  • 1 vote

Well they fought the viet cong in many ways mainly by dropping chemical bombs ( such as agent orange a extremly stroung weed killer) and by "slash and burn" where they went into villages and searched for vietcong guns and bombs. Then burning down the village. Sometimes killing the villagers sometimes saving them. Their crimes were found by the national war tribunal as horrific as nazi Death camps

Answered Sat 21st May, 2011 @ 19:05 by Jasmine
  • 1 vote

They used napalm (burning petroleum jelly), supposedly to clear the jungle so that they could see the VC more easily, but they later developed an 'improved' version that couldn't be wiped off human skin. They also used 'Agent Orange', which was a defoliant (basically a powerful herbicide), used for the same reason. However, this caused cancer and deformities in unborn foetuses.

Does that mean bombing campaigns? If so they launched 'operation rolling thunder' early on, which targeted key points in the north, with an aim to cut off supplies and communications. They targeted bridges, roads and radio stations. Also they particularly aimed for the Ho Chi Minh trail, as this was the VC's main supply route. However, they did not have permission as yet to bomb key cities such as Haiphong for fear of provoking Russia and China (in context of the Cold War). They also had a tactic of 'saturation bombing' (sometimes called blanket bombing) where they bombed as much as they possibly could, in accordance with their policy of 'attrition' (below). Towards the end of the war, Nixon also launched operation 'Linebacker', which was extreme amounts of bombing in order to force the Vietnamese to the conference table at Paris.

Attrition was a policy which the Americans used as a guage to whether they were winning the war. They had not fought a war like this before, so decided the best way was to 'wear the VC down', and use a body count to decide whether they were winning. However, this was flawed because they underestimated the sheer willpower of the VC, who were after all freedom fighters, and communist, and therefore prepared to suffer absolutely huge losses and still recover and continue to fight. Also, a body count did not prove to be aan accurate measure of success. Using the Tet Offensive as an example, the Americans would say this was a military victory for them (going by body count). However, it soon showed that Tet was a real downturn in American success in Viet Nam.

For a while a policy of 'strategic hamlets' was used, where the Americans 'cleared an area' of VC and VC sympathisers, and declared it safe, and then moved all those who were non-VC into it before moving on. This was stupid as the VC just moved around into the clear areas after the Americans left. Also, the Buddhist population protested at being moved, because their religion states that they should be near their ancestors. Some burned themselves alive in protest.

A major tactic used throughout the war was 'search and destroy', where small groups of men were sent out on missions to search out VC and kill them. They took cigarette lighters and burned down whole villages (nicknamed 'Zippo raids' after the brand of lighter). This lead to the massacre at My Lai, which, when exposed to the press and the American public, caused huge outcry, and lead to increased apathy towards the war.

Finally, a tactic employed which I find a bit hypocritical was the 'hearts and minds' policy. The American troops weretold to win over the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people, by engaging in constructive pursuits such as rebuilding bombed roads. By doing this the idea was that the Americans could implant the idea of democracy into Vietnamese society.

Answered Sat 21st May, 2011 @ 19:15 by Megan
Edited by Megan on Sun 22nd May, 2011 @ 10:45