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Describe the military tactics used by both the USA and the Vietcong forces in Vietnam in the 1960s.

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Stewart Pirie 10GI History Coursework- Vietnam War Describe the military tactics used by both the USA and the Vietcong forces in Vietnam in the 1960s. There were many different tactics used by the two forces during the Vietnam War. These tactics had an influence over the opposition's use and choice of tactics. One of the most commonly used tactics was by the Vietcong this was guerrilla warfare. Guerrilla Warfare is a tactic where one fighting side uses their geography of their land without using heavy weaponry (tanks, planes etc.). In Vietnam, the Vietcong used the jungles, swamps and mountains to set traps which included punji traps, tripwires and covered holes with poisoned spikes underneath. These poisoned spikes were sometimes contaminated to ensure the troop injured would have their injury badly infected. They also ambushed the American soldiers by hiding in the trees and bushes and shooting them. The Vietcong used sniper fire and 'bouncing betties', which are operated by a weight sensitive switch. These exploded at waist height and blew off the testicles of the leading soldier. This was horrible for the US soldiers as they didn't want to lead the expedition teams as these mines or pits could kill them. This lowered the morale of the soldiers as they were constantly on alert and had to see the friend and fellow colleagues die in horrible ways. ...read more.


There were kitchens and storerooms and sleeping chambers. There was even an arms factory and aid centres. When tunnels were abandoned, they were often booby trapped so they would explode if discovered. These tunnels helped the Vietcong as they could attack the Americans quickly without them knowing where the shooting came from. This lowered the morale of the US soldiers, which was a major factor in the defeat for America. The main tactic used by the Vietcong was the use of the 'Ho Chi Minh trail'. Supplies and ammunition were sent from communist countries like China. America frequently bombed the route which was so busy it was sometimes like 'Long Island during rush hour.' This trail helped North Vietnam give the Vietcong an endless supply of guns and ammunition. America frequently bombed the trail but the supplies still arrived in Vietnam. This was a significant lifeline for the North, as they probably would have lost the war without it. The USA used many different tactics to the Vietcong. The main one and best tactic was the different types of bombing. The main type of bombing was napalm. The US air force played a huge role in the war. The napalm was designed to create a wall of fire in the jungle to kill or trap the Vietcong. ...read more.


One of the main operations used by USA was the 'Tet Offensive'. This was a massive attack launched by the US against the Vietcong. More bombs were dropped by the US in this attack than any in World War Two. This shows the magnitude of the attack by the US. After this attack, the Vietcong showed real signs of defeat and America were on the upper hand but they didn't use their advantage to good affect. Both sides used many tactics but the Vietcong proved the most effective. Guerrilla warfare played a big part in the Vietnam War. One of the main advantages was the geography of the land and the inexperience of the US troops that were later drafted into the war. The Vietcong's 'hit and run' style of combat was used to great success. This style lowered the US troops morale as they were constantly on alert and had to frequently watch their friends being killed. The Vietcong used America's devices and explosives to use against the US, this is very ironic and a major embarrassment for the US. The trip wires were hidden well and very effective. The wires were used to set off mines, operate a hidden hole in the floor and shoot arrows from the trees. This made life horrible for the troops and played a part in USA's defeat in the war. ...read more.

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