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Military Tactics used by the USAand the Vietcong in Vietnamin the 1960's

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Introduction

Military Tactics used by the USA and the Vietcong in Vietnam in the 1960's 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 Vietnam who 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. ...read more.

Middle

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 war. 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). ...read more.

Conclusion

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. ...read more.

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