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Describe and explain how the North Vietnamese and their NLF allies in the south were able to fight successfully against such apparently overwhelming odds between 1965 and 1973.

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Ion Teale Q2 Describe and explain how the North Vietnamese and their NLF allies in the south were able to fight successfully against such apparently overwhelming odds between 1965 and 1973. The NLF was able to successfully fight the us troops in the south of Vietnam for a number of reasons. Amongst many of other reasons including political and social, the NLF and their allies fought successfully through a very effective and resourceful physical form of fighting. They operated largely using various types of guerrilla warfare. The central office near the Cambodian border commanded the Vietcong in the south. They almost solely relied on the Ho Chi Minh trail that ran through Laos and Cambodia for arms supplies. The Vietcong units were full time soldiers that often operated from villages, blending in with the local civilians. A very important point in understanding the difficulties that the US troops faced in seeking their opposition. For the most part US troops never saw any evidence of an enemy in Vietnam. ...read more.


The US troops faced fierce opposition who had far clearer aims and were way more devoted to their cause, and whom they essentially could not see. Of the 2,600,000 US troops that served in Vietnam 58,000 died, 53,000 were wounded, 200,000 suffered stress disorder and 100,000-committed suicide. They could not kill every Vietcong member because any peasant could become one. However the physical difficulties that America ran into in Vietnam only prolonged the war. They could have escalated further and further but one of the biggest problems they met was social. The Vietcong in the south were able to fight the US forces so successfully because the USA never had the full support of the people. No matter how economically strong you are, you cannot force your beliefs on a country's people, no matter how strong you are. The amount of freedom the international press were granted in Vietnam was huge and a first. Images that shocked the public worldwide were broadcast and no less than in America it's self. ...read more.


However this was a hopelessly large subject for even the biggest super-power to accept. Their aims were also too vague and troops out there did not for the most part didn't really know whom they were fighting let alone what for. They were not as passionate about the cause as their opposition and the rotation system of employing troops in Vietnam meant that no platoon ever built a strong bond or team feeling did not help. Other factors you could say played parts in the NLF's victory were that vast amounts of US soldiers were poorly trained for the atmosphere and conditions that they would be fighting in. Which stemmed from extremely poor intelligence on the Americans part. They rushed into something blindly relying on their pride, prestige and honour to guide them without learning from any of the other countries that also fell at the hands of the Vietcong., such as the French. These factors led to an initially seemingly overwhelming Us army being over run in the long run by a small and seemingly weak NLF force using guerrilla tactics with a strong and clear aim. ...read more.

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