Military tactics used by both the USA and the Vietcong forces in Vietnam in the 1960’s

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Military tactics used by both the USA and the Vietcong forces in Vietnam in the 1960's

Vietnam was a unique war. This war was between a great capitalist super power (USA) and a poor communist guerrilla organisation (the Vietcong). At first this war looked incredibly unfair. How would a small group of poor Vietcong guerrillas defeat the richest most powerful army in the world? The key aspect of the Vietnam War was the different and diverse tactics used by each side. These tactics played a major role and where significant to the outcome of the war.

When the US entered Vietnam, they were undefeated and miles in advance with new war fare technology. They believed they would win the war comfortably but the Vietcong guerrilla tactics proved otherwise.

The tactics of the US were made in reaction to the Vietcong tactics.

The Vietcong knew that the Americans were too powerful for "Large scale battles". Ho chi min said that to beat the US, the Vietcong "Must use guerrilla tactics".

Ho Chi Min and the Vietcong needed all the support they could get. They stressed the "Peoples war", as they knew the human factor would decide the outcome of the war. The US could not be beaten on normal head to head fighting. Min instructed his rebel army to "Nibble at the enemy" and great them with "Sniper fire". This constant harassment disturbed the US and made them nervous as they were always being attacked.

By 1960, 5000 guerrilla fighters were operating in the South of Vietnam. These soldiers were deployed to win the "respect and love" of the people. The Vietcong aimed to persuade the population of the south that "only revolutions can change lives" and that their cause was the right one. As they slowly won the "Hearts and minds" of the South Vietnamese, their soldiers began to desert the US army and switch allegiance to the Vietcong. The US realised that this sweep of propaganda was very damaging. The people they were there to defend were beginning to desert them for the North. Enemies, North and now the South, surrounded the US. To combat the intrusion of the Vietcong in South Vietnam, the US set up "Security posts" to keep the Vietcong out. Much of the mental damage had already been done as South Vietnamese minds began to sway towards the communist propaganda of the North.
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In 1963, there were 12000 military advisors in South Vietnam, to offer help and ideas to the South Vietnamese army who were needed American help.

The Vietcong lived in the deep jungle so were very hard to trace. They entered the South Vietnamese villages at night when they could not be seen. The Vietcong were completely dedicated to the idea of communism. They believed that if they used political indoctrination to change the minds of the people, they could win them over and make them work for the North. They would persuade the villages to revolt ...

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