• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Throughout the Vietnam War, the Americans used various tactics to try and defeat their opponent, two of which were Search and Destroy and defoliation.

Extracts from this document...


Vietnam Controlled Assessment; Draft Part A Throughout the Vietnam War, the Americans used various tactics to try and defeat their opponent, two of which were ?Search and Destroy? and defoliation. What were Search and Destroy and Defoliation? Search and destroy involved ground forces, transported by helicopter units and supported by artillery, would locate enemy forces then destroy them, and sometimes the enemy base also. The tactic was very focused on attacking the communists within Vietnam and gaining ground, rather than gaining the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people. Barry Romo, US army 196th INFANTRY is quoted saying ?The idea was to go out and try to destroy the infrastructure and the people, of the communist movement.? Defoliation was a totally different strategy, not involving personal encounters with the Vietnamese, or the use of any ground troops. Instead, planes dropped chemicals known as defoliants over suspected parts of the Ho Chi Minh trail, destroying the thick shrubbery and jungle areas. The particularly favoured acid was a defoliant named ?Agent Orange?, and according to Source 1, 77million litres of it were sprayed over the country during the war. ...read more.


If the Americans could cut of the supply, then the communists would suffer. Therefore, they sprayed defoliants over suspected areas, making the trail visible by air. This technique was used from 1965-71. What were the effects of these Tactics? The use of these methods had many effects, some immediate and war related, and some still be felt to this day. Search and Destroy often involved the murder of many innocent Vietnamese men women and children, and sometimes wiped entire communities and villages, for example the horrendous My Lai massacre. This destruction caused many people to hate the invaders, and often turn to support the Viet Cong . Therefore Americans lost what, in hind sight, was the most important thing they needed to win the war, the hearts and minds of the people. Defoliation had more physical, and often, more devastating effects. In Vietnam, agriculture is and was the main source of income and employment in the country, and vast growth of crops was relied upon to keep the economy stable. ...read more.


Search and Destroy can also be argued to have achieved military objectives, as it massively increased the pedantic body count of Vietnamese that the US used to measure the success of their presence. An increase in deaths meant that there were fewer communists to take control, and it also served as a deterrent to the Vietnamese people that may be tempted to support the Viet Cong. However, it can be argued that these tactics did not help achieve objectives at all. As previously mentioned, the destructive nature of the techniques lost the precious hearts and minds of the countries regular people, and that was arguably the only thing that would stop the spread of communism into the south. Furthermore, they did not stop the Viet Cong, as the communists simply adapted. This was especially apparent during the use of search and destroy, as the Cong learnt to ambush patrols once they were on the ground. Therefore, in my opinion the tactics actually had a negative effect, when it comes to looking at their contribution to achieving military objectives. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Vietnam 1954-1975 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Vietnam 1954-1975 essays

  1. question two vietnam

    The government had promised to improve education and housing but again it could not keep to its promises. The issue of housing was to prove a major problem for the government. Statistics show that more was spent on the war than social issues and this meant that its plans to pull down the number of slums and ghettos were stopped.

  2. The USA should have been successful in Vietnam because of its technological and military ...

    though the Americans had more technology and were more superior with bombs than the Vietcong they still had no sight of victory. Source G is a description of a chemical warfare attack by the Americans, using Napalm, which was their first chemical weapon; this had similar effects as weed killer because it burnt everything in its path.

  1. Evaluate the tactics and strategies employed by the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese ...

    The US and its allies provided technical, medical and educational aid, built roads and infrastructure, and encouraged pacification and Viet Cong desertions. Although the WHAM policy was greatly beneficial for the peasants, it was not enough to win their support, loyalty and trust, as many viewed the Americans as invaders and aggressors.

  2. How Effective Were The Tactics Of Search And Destroy And Defoliation During The Vietnam ...

    This was further aggravated by false information fed to the troops. This was done by troops attacking wrong villages containing no VC however due to no uniform it was extremely hard to determine whether to kill or not. These lead to an extremely high civilian death rate and also led

  1. How effective were the US tactics of 'Search and Destroy' and 'Defoliation' in the ...

    and all the inexperienced US 'cherries' were susceptible to walk into traps which increased US deaths (Source 2). Also, the hatred for the USA increased due to these missions because the villagers would be forced to re-locate from their homes at their own expense, so Viet Cong support increased (Source 2).

  2. Discuss the effectiveness of US tactics such as 'defoliation' and 'search and destroy'

    Indeed, ?for every Viet Cong weapon captured by search-and-destroy, there was a body count of six. Many of these were innocent civilians.?[3] Defoliation was an important tactic in the fight against the NLF. President Kennedy, who initially directed the defoliation program, Operation Ranch Hand thought ?annihilation of the natural environment and food supplies? [5] would reduce NLF mobility.

  1. I think that the four most significant themes in the Vietnam War were protest ...

    me.? It was accounts like these which brought home to the American?s the atrocities going on in Vietnam ? had the reports not been allowed to retrieve this information the US public would have had no idea. Tactics The tactics used in the Vietnam War were significant both in the

  2. How effective were the US tactics of search and destroy and defoliation in the ...

    Many in the US believed that the war had become a symbol of defeat, confusion and moral corruption. Protests started all around the country any many of them were lead by students; they included chanting ?Hey, Hey, LBJ how many kids did you kill today?? and burning the American flag which is a criminal offence.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work