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What different tactics were used by both sides in an attempt to win the conflict in Vietnam between1956 and 1968?

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Introduction

What different tactics were used by both sides in an attempt to win the conflict in Vietnam between 1956 and 1968 During the period between 1956 and 1968 both sides in the Vietnam conflict tried to use different tactics to gain an advantage over the other side to win the war. The Vietcong and NVA tended to use guerrilla tactics and the US forces and ARVN used their better technology to try and win the fighting. Throughout this war and in previous wars the Vietnamese used guerrilla tactics. In a guerrilla war they built up strength and began to attack the enemy in small groups and then disappear. They then had control of the countryside and were careful not to annoy the locals on whom they depended for food and shelter. The leaders felt that they were strong enough to attack the towns and cities. The Vietnamese were forced to use guerrilla tactics because this is the type of war they were used to fighting, they had the support of the locals and they did not have the modern weapons and equipment that they needed to fight a conventional war. If they did try to fight the US conventionally they would have easily lost. In this guerrilla war they used sneaky tactics like using booby traps and building huge tunnel systems underground. This war proved to be very effective against the US troops who were only trained in the tactics for a conventional war. ...read more.

Middle

The code of conduct for the Vietcong was strictly enforced and it told them how to treat the people. It proved to be successful because the Vietcong always found support in the villages in the countryside. During the war the US forces in Vietnam tried many tactics against the Vietcong and NVA. At the beginning of the war the US soldiers did not fight directly against North Vietnamese forces but were called military 'Advisers' and helped in training the ARVN to stop the expected invasion from the north. In 1954 the first advisers were sent by Eisenhower. there were just 17 but by 1961 the number had grown to 685. Along with the advisers economic aid and modern weapons and equipment for the army were sent. The tactic of sending the advisers failed as in time they became troops and were involved directly in the fighting but the sending of aid and weapons was successful as it helped to make sure most of South Vietnam stayed pro-western and supported the war. The Increasing problem in South Vietnam was that many local farmers supported the Vietcong and helped them to fight the guerrilla war against the Americans. The US reaction to this was to create 'Strategic hamlets' which were fortified villages to stop the Vietcong from mixing with the local population. This tactic was mostly a failure because it meant that the farmers would have to leave the land they had farmed for centuries which caused Diem's regime to become even more unpopular and as the US was associated with Diem it made them more unpopular too. ...read more.

Conclusion

This allowed the US to spot the Vietcong from the air and over 25 000 square Km of Rainforest was destroyed by the end of the war. Unfortunately it contained a toxin called Dioxin which contaminated the people who handled it at the airbase and the people local to where it was dropped. the effects of it were long-term. Agent Orange was successful in defoliating the tree canopy and so the natural cover for the Vietcong it had little effect on the way the war was being fought and made the war even more unpopular with the US public. Another powerful chemical weapon used to destroy areas of forest but also used as a weapon was napalm. Again it was successful in destroying the forests and villages but did very little to change the way the war would be fought because the Vietcong built tunnel systems to hide underground from the Americans. In conclusion I think that tactics used by the NVA and Vietcong were more effective than those used by the US and South Vietnamese even though the US had the advantage of high technology they failed to use it in a way that would be effective in changing the way the war was fought and would make them more popular with the people South Vietnam and the USA. Unlike the NVA and Vietcong who managed to keep the advantage over the US by using tactics that made use of their skills in guerrilla war and the terrain that they were used to fighting in. ?? ?? ?? ?? History Coursework Matthew Wells ...read more.

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