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What different tactics were used by both sides in an attempt to win the conflict in Vietnam between 1956 and 1968?

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Christian Hamilton-Smith Burnley Habergham High School History Syllabus B (Modern World History) Assignment 2 (Question 2) 'What different tactics were used by both sides in an attempt to win the conflict in Vietnam between 1956 and 1968?' The tactics used by both sides in Vietnam contributed, as a major part to the end result of the war. Both sides used a verity of different ways to harm, maim and kill their opposition. The most commonly used tactic in Vietnam was known as Guerrilla Warfare. This was a tactic imposed upon the Americans by the Vietcong. Guerrilla Warfare - military or paramilitary operations conducted in enemy held territory by irregular forces, often groups indigenous to that territory. Guerrilla tactics are used normally when they are lacking in numbers, weapons and training to the opposition. They avoid fighting hand to hand and instead operate in remote inaccessible areas, such as forests and jungles. Guerrillas depend on their surroundings for food, shelter and supplies, which tend to come from the local inhabitants. They strike when the enemy least expects it, they steal supplies by way of ambush and also cut communication links in hope to remove communication between forces. Guerrillas also set traps to harm their enemies. ...read more.


The Vietcong set traps in the dense jungles for the Americans to stumble into or trigger, these included mines and booby traps. The Vietcong would dig holes for the US soldiers to fall into, in these holes would normally be sharpened bamboo shoots covered with poison or faeces. This would infect the unfortunate victim and also take up the time of the other soldiers, as would most of the traps would do. This is sometimes when the Vietcong would strike, they would ambush the soldiers as they were helping their friend. They would shoot them from a distance or use explosives to get rid of the soldiers. Another trap that was used was the, 'Bouncing Betty' which was a mine just placed under the surface of the ground. When this was stood on it would explode injuring the men near. Mostly the Vietcong didn't want to kill the victims straight off, they wished to occupy the other members of the group with the dying soldier. This was a successful tactic as it only really took, one mine to kill a whole band of soldiers. Booby traps accounted for around 11 per cent and 17 per cent of the wounds in American soldiers. ...read more.


Another tool that America began to use was Napalm. This was like a kind of Petroleum Jelly, which stuck to people and severely burned them, also damaging trees and jungle areas. On 31st January 1968, the Vietcong resorted to using open warfare this is known as, 'The Tet Offensive'. This was the turning point of the war. Even though the Americans won, they realised that the Vietnamese would loose as many soldiers to their cause. This was due to they were fighting for freedom, and would never give up no matter how many people they lost. America on the other hand was fighting to stop the spread of communism. The American government ordered that the US soldiers should pull out of the war. This was not only due to the Vietnamese but also to the enormous controversy back home. The American people were against the war, they realised what was going on and how the people were being treated. This was shown to them by what was coming home to them by media. They got wind of what happened in places like My Lai, and began to protest. How could America ever expect to beat the Vietnamese when they couldn't win over the people back home. ...read more.

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