Tactics used in the Vietnam War

This document contains the tatics used by the the vietnamese and the americans (key-bullet pointed)

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  • Created on: 13-01-12 18:36
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Vietnam War
The Americans' tactics
They fought a hi-tech war, using B52 bombers, artillery, helicopters, napalm and defoliants
(Agent Orange). This killed many innocent civilians, and failed to stop the Vietcong guerrillas.
They forced the peasants to leave Vietcong-controlled areas and made them live in defended
strategic hamlets in loyal areas. This created immense opposition, and allowed Vietcong
infiltrators into loyal areas.
American troops were sent on patrols, then supported by air and artillery when attacked. This
demoralised the soldiers, who realised they were being used just as bait.
Search and destroy patrols went out looking for "Charlie", as they called the Vietcong. But the
patrols were very visible, and easy to ambush. This led to atrocities such as "zippo raids" to burn
villages, and the unprovoked massacre of peaceful villagers at My Lai in 1968.
The Vietcong's tactics
They fought a guerrilla war, ambushing US patrols, setting booby traps and landmines, and
planting bombs in towns. They mingled in with the peasants, wearing ordinary clothes. The
Americans couldn't identify who the enemy was.
They were supplied with rockets and weapons by China and Russia. They used the Ho Chi Minh
Trail - a jungle route through Laos and Cambodia - to supply their armies. The Americans couldn't
attack their supply routes without escalating the war.
Their tactic was "hanging onto the belts" of the Americans - staying so close to the Americans so
they could not use air or artillery backup without killing their own men.


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