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

Vietnam. The Tactics used by the US and the Vietcong were diverse. Americas preference of strategies being, attempting to fatally damage Vietnam with immense amounts of bombs

Extracts from this document...


Lucy Cadd 9117 GCSE Coursework:Vietnam post Canford School, 55243 The Tactics used by the US and the Vietcong were diverse. America's preference of strategies being, attempting to fatally damage Vietnam with immense amounts of bombs, and therefore exhausting the Vietcong's supplies, both of men and of willpower. The Guerrilla warfare which the Vietcong favoured to, involved the laying of an impressive web of booby traps, mines and tunnels. Also terrorist activity, to which their aim was to take their opposition by surprise and never actually come face to face with them, was high on their list of strategies. The USA's most preferred tactic was to use bombs designed to break North Vietnam's will to fight, bringing them to the negotiating table. In May 1965, the Americans launched 'Operation Rolling Thunder' which carried on for three years. During this time the US dropped explosives on military establishments, infrastructure and fuel storehouses. Napalm was often used throughout the South against suspected enemy positions, supply lines or in support of ground forces. Napalm, which is jellied petroleum, sticks to the skin and burns through to the bone. However bombing was never successful in breaking the will of the North Vietnamese leadership nor did it ever succeed in hindering their ability to wage war. ...read more.


Anybody who the Americans thought was a member of the Vietcong was instantly killed, sometimes very dramatically. This was highly unsuccessful because it was extremely hard for the American soldiers to distinguish whether a person was a member of the Vietcong because they didn't wear uniform, and instead wore black pyjamas just like the Vietnamese peasants. Many innocent civilians ended up being killed, which lost the US the trust and confidence of many of the Vietnamese civilians. This is why the US introduced a policy called Pacification. It was designed to 'win the hearts and minds' of the South Vietnamese. Re-housing refugees, providing clinics and schools, helping peasants to build new infrastructure canals and drainage ditches were important parts of this policy. This scheme had rather more success than the Search and Destroy missions. An ineffective tactic was the 'strategic hamlet' policy. The intention was to keep the Vietnamese peasants in fortified areas where they could not be terrorised into giving food and shelter to the Vietcong. This brutally demoralised the peasants cutting them away from their villages and fields. Focusing on the Vietcong tactics, perhaps one of the cleverest being the Ho Chi Minh Trail, which was used to send guerrillas, weapons, equipment and food to the Vietcong in the South. ...read more.


In September 1967, the NLF launched a series of attacks on American Garrisons. General Westmoreland was delighted that the NLF were at last engaging in open combat. He was able to report that the NLF had lost 90,000 men and that as the NLF were unable to replace such numbers that the end of the war was near. However, on 31st January 1968, 70,000 members of the NLF launched a surprise attack on more than a hundred cities and towns in Vietnam. It was now clear that the purpose of those attacks in September had been to draw out troops from the cities. The Tet offensive was crucial to both sides. 37,000 NLF soldiers were killed compared to 2,500 Americans. However, it also illustrated how inexhaustible the supplies were of men and women willing to fight for the overthrow of the South Vietnamese government. A new plan called 'Vietnamization' was introduced in 1968. The idea was to encourage the South Vietnamese to take more responsibility for fighting the war. It was hoped that this policy would eventually enable the US to gradually withdraw all of their soldiers from Vietnam. However, few wanted to fight a war that America was abandoning. 'Search and destroy' missions became 'search and avoid' operations. And the general morale of the troops was completely disintegrated. ...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. Did the power of television force the US to leave Vietnam?

    The Cartoon therefore influenced the audience to see America as being bad as it showed them the effect of their wrong decision of going in to Vietnam therefore people that would have thought America had made the right decision by going into Vietnam would probably change there views after looking at this cartoon.

  2. Tactics used by both sides in the Vietnam War.

    The North Vietnamese were experienced, as they had been fighting the war for more than ten years. When the US left the final city in South Vietnam, Saigon in 1973 the South Vietnamese was massacred the North and was able to win the war.

  1. Why did America withdraw from Vietnam in 1973?

    public opinion of the war and made them ask 'why are we even fighting this war?' this was because the Tet offensive was where the Vietcong left using guerrilla tactics and made a full scale attack on the U.S embassy building in Saigon, 15 Vietcong soldiers got into the embassy

  2. Describe the military tactics used by both the USA and the Vietcong forces in ...

    (Walsh, Modern History, p.300) The Vietcong employed ambush techniques; they constructed booby traps and planted mines. They used primitive techniques such as sharpened bamboo stakes in a pit onto which victims became impaled and more sophisticated specially rigged aerial bombs.

  1. Military tactics used by both the USA and the Vietcong forces in Vietnam in ...

    The US could not "Eat or sleep in peace" as they were harassed with Booby traps and ambushes. The 600, 000 strong army was not making the desired effect. So far, the Vietcong had surpassed every tactic that the US had thrown at them.

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

    who had been caught in a Napalm attack and all her clothes had been burnt of and it was so bad her skin was beginning to peel off. Amazingly she survived though is left with terrible scars from the attack.

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

    of their death within their first year, so defoliation decreased it (Source 5). But the tactic was overall ineffective because the USA didn't win the war. Although there are advantages, there are more important disadvantages. The disadvantages of Napalm are that the South Vietnamese hated the US more because it

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

    They were part of Task Force Barker ? the codename for a search and destroy mission. They had been told to expect to find members of the NLF (called Vietcong or VC by the US soldiers) in the vicinity as the village was in an area where the NLF had been very active.

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