Go Back   Defense Technology & Military Forum > Global Defense & Military > Military Strategy and Tactics
Forgot Password? Join Us! Its's free!

Defense News
Land, Air & Naval Forces






Military Photos
Latest Military Pictures

Miramar_14_MV-22_1621a.JPG

Miramar_14_MV-22_1726a.JPG

Miramar_14_MV-22_0074a1.JPG

Miramar_14_FA-18C_0409a.JPG
Defense Reports
Aerospace & Defence







Recent Photos - DefenceTalk Military Gallery





Tactics in Vietnam

This is a discussion on Tactics in Vietnam within the Military Strategy and Tactics forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Anyone know some of the specific tactics used by both sides in Vietnam? I know that the Vietcong used predominantly ...


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Rate Thread
Old October 13th, 2010   #1
Just Hatched
Private
No Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Tasmania, australia... The little island at the bottom!
Posts: 2
Threads:
Tactics in Vietnam

Anyone know some of the specific tactics used by both sides in Vietnam? I know that the Vietcong used predominantly guerrilla tactics and the US search and destroy and bombing, but i would like some more specifics
InsaneStudent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 17th, 2010   #2
Defense Enthusiast
Sergeant
Kilo 2-3's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 290
Threads:
The Viet Cong used pretty classic guerilla warfare tactics. Ambushes, booby traps, shoot-and-scoot rocket and mortar strikes, infiltration with sappers, etc., and mass frontal assaults on SF camps, FOBs, and firebases. Any anthology of Vietnam combat stories should give you an idea of a pretty good range of VC tactics.

The NVA became progressively more and more conventional as the war progressed. They tended to fight semi-set piece battles, although they did adopt "hugging" tactics to reduce the US' ability to exercise their fire superiority.

US tactics varied from formation to formation. Company- to battalion-sized search-and-destroy missions by Army and Marine infantry were pretty common. "Hearts and minds" campaigns were tried with varying degrees of success. US forces would also try to ambush small VC or NVA units in the jungle.

Let me know if you'd like to know more and I'll try to see if I can dig something up.
Kilo 2-3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 9th, 2010   #3
Just Hatched
Private
No Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 6
Threads:
I would say General Giap was an ardent student of Sun Tzu and showed it well against the French and U.S. Forces. His only abysmal failing was the Tet Offensive, which destroyed the Viecong command structure in the South...though it gave the North and leftists supporters in America the amo they needed to destroy U.S. support.
Dannavy85 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 16th, 2010   #4
Banned Member
Colonel
No Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Singapore
Posts: 1,452
Threads:
The Vietnam war was a classic example of training to fight the last war. A prime example being what happened to the ARVN.

Prior to the arrival of US conventional military officers in theatre (typified by the likes of Westmoreland) the ARVN was a light infantry force ideally suited to non-conventional warfare. Unfortunately many US senior officers disliked the SF concept of small well trained units fighting a hearts and minds campaign largely because of their experiences fighting in Korea. They didn't want to see a repeat of what happened there, basically heavily armed NK/Chinese conventional forces streaming south to overwhelm the likely armed SK self-defense force (more militia than army - no tanks, no credible anti-tank guns, no airforce etc.). Hence they decided to transform the ARVN into a mechanized regular formation trained in maneuver warfare (M113's, tanks etc.) better suited to dealing with large scale conventional attacks.

Unfortunately the NVA decided not to mimic NK's approach to defeating its Southern neighbor and stuck to a largely irregular campaign complimented by the occasional set piece battle against fire-bases. A mass conventional NVA/Communist Chinese invasion never took place. Subsequently the jungle fighting capabilities of the ARVN were severely eroded and they lacked the confidence to engage the enemy in the bush.

Very few people study the Korean War, but by doing so you will see how events there impacted military thinking and tactics in Vietnam.
riksavage is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 26th, 2010   #5
Banned Member
Private
No Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 7
Threads:
Australian Tactics in Vietnam

The Australian SAS was involved in the Vietnam War.

They used similar tactics that were used by the Viet Cong, they went into villages and one the "hearts and minds" of the villagers, they stealthily patrolled the jungles finding and fighting the Viet Cong on "our" terms. And because of that they were largely successful.

On the otherhand, the Americans despite there massive numerically and technological superiority, were unable to defeat the VC/NVA this is due not to equipment or qulaity of manpower, but because the tactics they used were ineffective.
Australian.Jack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 27th, 2010   #6
Junior Member
Private First Class
Neutral Zone's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 56
Threads:
Hindsight is obviously a wonderful thing but what could the Americans have done differently to achieve their goals or was it a hopeless cause from the beginning?
Neutral Zone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 28th, 2010   #7
Senior Member
Colonel
t68's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: NSW
Posts: 1,338
Threads:
Riksavge is 100% right,

The underling strategy used by the Americans was heavily influenced by the Korean war just over a decade before, they did not want to be seen as too aggressive in going after the north past the 17 parallel, as they did not won’t any direct involvement by China or Soviet Union, as was the case of direct Chinese troop intervention in Korea after they crossed the 38 parallel. It reflected in the thinking of not only the Americans but also the Australians under Menzies at the time that if South Vietnam fell over to communism, then a domino effect could prevail on all of South East Asia from Thailand, Malaysia and Robert Menzies also thought that Indonesia could fall under communism, by challenging Chinese and Russian aggression in Vietnam they hoped that could head off a possible larger conflict being WWIII.

American tactics where predominately gear towards the big one against the Soviet Union and as such the VC/NVA would not be lulled into set piece battle, once the Americans came to grips with the way the NVA moved about and intelligence gained from smaller patrols, American technological dominance came into the fore. Small unit action would be increased till more troops and firepower superiority could be placed into the fight.

Australian/New Zealand involvement once the 1ATF was set up used a lot of experience and lessons learned from the British Army from the Malayan Emergency of 1955 and the Indonesian Confrontation of 1962, Australia having such a small contribution compared to the Americans could hardly be expected to use the same tactics as such the political mileage the north would use from the Australia having massive casualties. The Australians then went to a hearts and minds program and of constant patrolling of the AO, denial of resource within the AO forced the VC/NVA into taking on the Australians on pretty much our own terms.
The Australian Army worked out that it was the individual soldier’s skill and endurance was better than overwhelming firepower and even though most were NASHO’S in the regiments the skills set and attitudes were taught before leaving the country at the jungle warfare school Canungra.

North Vietnam also went on a total war footing using all its resources that it could muster up for the fight to regain control of the south, their technical strength came from China/Soviets, they also ran a very successful Psy-ops program under the name ditch-van, it was based on distortion, highlighting of isolated or extreme events, twisting of facts and omission of facts, to outright lies, where as American/Australia where not even close to promoting a war mentality at home let alone moving to a total war footing, thus news from the war being in print or TV where able to make as much discord in the minds of most of the population.
t68 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 28th, 2010   #8
Senior Member
Colonel
t68's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: NSW
Posts: 1,338
Threads:
Here is a paper on the mining of Haiphong harbour 1972 and the political repercussion that could potentially happen by bring the full weight of the US military to bear.

In a roundabout way it is telling when you don’t have an overall end game and fighting with one hand behind your back military objectives cannot be met to a satisfactory outcome, you have to go in with eyes wide open from the start.

http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc...c=GetTRDoc.pdf
t68 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 30th, 2010
tebrau
This message has been deleted by Preceptor. Reason: A series of one-liners made to allow posting a spam link
Old November 30th, 2010
tebrau
This message has been deleted by Preceptor. Reason: A series of one-liners made to allow posting a spam link
Old December 18th, 2010   #9
New Member
Private
No Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: roanoke
Posts: 27
Threads:
The American Forces never lost a straight fight with the NVA/VC. Needed to add more Special Forces for fighting the VC. The VC use proper guerilla warfare on the American Forces which inflicted heavy casualties on US forces. The VC use the jungles to its benefit and had a better organize guerilla force. The VC tactic was well planned out and help cause confusion. The heavy use of underground bunker help NVA/VC in this conflict. The American search and destroy had some success but could have been improve if used the right way with more special unit design for the jungle environment. Overall the mistake the US made in Vietnam has caused the US to change it tactic and Afghanistan is prime example of this new tactic which is working look at the casualtes.

Last edited by godbody; December 26th, 2010 at 01:47 PM.
godbody is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 9th, 2011
yeswetag
This message has been deleted by Bonza. Reason: no one-liners, read the forum rules
Old March 15th, 2011   #10
New Member
Private
No Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 19
Threads:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neutral Zone View Post
Hindsight is obviously a wonderful thing but what could the Americans have done differently to achieve their goals or was it a hopeless cause from the beginning?
Neutral Zone:
Nothing is 'hopeless'.....for you only failed to look beyond the surface. The US did not know tactics on how to fight until they got there and by that time, Washington was deeply involved & scared to death that the Chinese might get invloved...Korea ! We fought the Chinese there, as in Korea, and usually did quite well.....superior firepower & tactics. The Russians and Chinese utilized Vietnam to train their pilots as well, once again..Korea ! The main reason the first Gulf War went so well..........it was run by Vietnam Vets who knew what had to be done to win.....it's a shame they went in Leadership billets sooner !! One more pivtol factor was their Military Intelligence was superior to ours...heck, the kids knew where we were going days before we did !! Now, that a Network !

SF.........> Chuck
CBS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 1st, 2011   #11
Just Hatched
Private
No Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 1
Threads:
Quote:
Originally Posted by InsaneStudent View Post
Anyone know some of the specific tactics used by both sides in Vietnam? I know that the Vietcong used predominantly guerrilla tactics and the US search and destroy and bombing, but i would like some more specifics
What is a specific tactic used in a guerrilla warfare or firefight.Would you worry about deploying your men in a certain fire possition or fill the air with lead.On the other hand if you take it to them then tactics can mean many things and the use of many ordnance.
Tripwire is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 5th, 2011   #12
Just Hatched
Private
AvengingAngel's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 6
Threads:
The American military in Vietnam won all the battles, e.g. Battle of Khe Sanh and Hue.

But the NVA won the war because the political will of the U.S. was not 100% in it from the get go.

The Vietnam War was bad timing for all parties because had the U.S. supported Ho Chi Minh for independence from the imperialist French, Vietnam would have been the stalwart of a democrat society in SE Asia. It was also bad timing because after WWII there was the fear of the Red Menace, the foremost example is the Mc Carthy Communist Trials in the U.S. during the 50s.
AvengingAngel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 6th, 2011   #13
Senior Member
Brigadier General
No Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,854
Threads:
Quote:
Originally Posted by AvengingAngel View Post
The American military in Vietnam won all the battles, e.g. Battle of Khe Sanh and Hue.

But the NVA won the war because the political will of the U.S. was not 100% in it from the get go.
It was not only a matter of not having the political will but the American military never developing the right mindset and doctrine to fight a non-conventional war and placing over reliance on technology and fire power to compensate on other shortcomings. A number of U.S. officers and people like Paul Vann tried to influence things but overall, senior U.S. military leaders, with exceptions, were fighting in Vietnam with what they did best - a war of attrition based on maneuver and firepower which would have worked in Europe but not in the jungles or paddy fields of South Vietnam.

The Vietnam war only proved what others in previous conflicts had already learnt - military options can never be a subsitute for what is also a political and social problem.
STURM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 9th, 2011   #14
Just Hatched
Private
AvengingAngel's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 6
Threads:
Quote:
Originally Posted by STURM View Post
It was not only a matter of not having the political will but the American military never developing the right mindset and doctrine to fight a non-conventional war and placing over reliance on technology and fire power to compensate on other shortcomings. A number of U.S. officers and people like Paul Vann tried to influence things but overall, senior U.S. military leaders, with exceptions, were fighting in Vietnam with what they did best - a war of attrition based on maneuver and firepower which would have worked in Europe but not in the jungles or paddy fields of South Vietnam.

The Vietnam war only proved what others in previous conflicts had already learnt - military options can never be a subsitute for what is also a political and social problem.

Not true. Looking back, the U.S. had major advantages in weapons, tactics, strategies and firepower that, if it had given the absolute authority to conquer and overwhelm a country, it could have done so. But the fact that WWII and Korea were a decade or two decades removed, the American public had no desire to see itself with the hypocrisy, when removing European imperialism was on the forefront of all Third World countries at that time. Plus the facts that the Soviets and Red Chinese Army did not want America's major foothold in Southeast Asia.

So it was the American public that was swayed more politically, at the time by the media, specifically T.V., that America eventually had no clear-cut direction whether to commit to South Vietnam entirely or not.

The end result was that the Americans on the battlefields were quickly left as soon as they conquered it and the NVA came moving right into the neighborhood.
AvengingAngel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 11th, 2011   #15
Senior Member
Brigadier General
No Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,854
Threads:
Quote:
Originally Posted by AvengingAngel View Post
Not true. Looking back, the U.S. had major advantages in weapons, tactics, strategies and firepower that, if it had given the absolute authority to conquer and overwhelm a country, it could have done so.
There is a profound difference between fighting a ''big army'' all arms conventional war of attrition and in fighting a counter insurgency?America, since 1945 had enjoyed advantages in '' weapons, tactics, strategies and firepower'' in all the wars it has fought in, yet it failed to achieve its desired political results in Vietnam, despite winning most if not all of its tactical engagements and mantaining a high body count. There are are valid reasons as to why this was so and not merely because of a lack of political will at home.

Military means and an over reliance on technology and firepower alnoe cannot be a subsitute for political and economic solutions. The main long term goal of winning any or most insurgencies is to convince the locals that the government can provide a better long term alternative to that offered by the insurgents - high body kills and constant tactical victories at the end of the day, made no difference to the outcome in South Vietnam.

I would recommend getting a copy of ''Learning To Eat Soup With a Knife'' by J. Nagl.

Last edited by STURM; August 12th, 2011 at 03:55 AM.
STURM is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 08:42 AM.