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Essay about Why The Vietcong In Vietnam Were Successful

“The tactics used by the Vietcong in Vietnam were unsuccessful” The Vietcong were a communist movement in the South who were against the South Vietnamese government and the USA’s involvement with the civil war. The use of tactics (the plans, weapons and battle strategies used in war) were prime in minds of the Vietcong and they went to all means to gain the upper hand in the conflict. For example the use of booby traps, tunnels and trails. Some like the Ho Chi Minh trail were a huge success among the Vietcong whereas things like booby traps had less of an affect on the opposition.

The use of tunnels were standard means of travel that seemed oblivious to the US and South Vietnamese soldiers. These VC “used these underground routes to house troops, transport communications and supplies, lay booby traps and mount surprise attacks” (1) This would give the Vietcong the upper hand in many ways because they would still be attacking the enemy and at the same time they would escape mostly unwounded. The success in the use of tunnels was pretty high as the Vietcong almost always had supremacy.

These tunnels were also an underground network of caves; safe houses/spots and rest places for the Vietcong. So in a way, they were much more equipped and were almost always dominant. Another noteworthy tactic used by the Vietcong was the use of booby traps. These were obviously small scale so they could only harm a person at a time. These traps were basically holes dug into the ground by the VC which would cage any person who fell into it, leaving them with nothing but poisonous spikes, slowly killing them mentally and physically.

If the physical impact of this death trap didn’t eat them out then the psychological impact would kill them off for sure. Statistics show “Traps and mines also accounted for 15% of the total injuries. That’s a total of 4,813 total deaths and a total of 7,103 injuries in the war. ” (2) So success levels on this strategy was high as well. Except for it not being large scale (which was maybe the only downside of this stratagem) Identically, the Ho Chi Minh trail was seen a huge success for the VC as it also gained them the upper hand in this conflict.

This trail was a supplies route for the Vietcong from the North to the South which gave the VC a constant source of necessities. It is said that the trail was “50 miles wide and up to 40’000 people were used to keep the route open”(3) There was clearly a lot of thought and effort put into this ploy because they were never caught, they didn’t need to worry about nosy Americans falling in (because they’d just be lost) and it was big enough for them to take their “weaponry, food and equipment”(3) from the North.

This manoeuvre was very successful as it was already underground so the VC would go undetected; this trail wasn’t affected by the weather so monsoon season wasn’t disadvantageous to them and they we’re getting all the supplies they needed to oppose the USA and the ARVN. Guerrilla warfare was another tactic used by the VC which seemed to be really successful for them. Unlike any other group, the Vietcong avoided a pitched battle at all times.

With the US having a lead in technology, the VC had no chance of winning a pitched battle so the alternative would be to attack the US troops in small groups at random times then disappear into the surrounding villages. “This can include things like ambushes, sabotage, raids and great mobility to overwhelm the enemy” (4) This was a very successful technique used as it became difficult for the US soldiers to identify who the soldiers were, where they were hiding and when these attacks would happen? Guerrilla warfare and Vietminh code go hand in hand.

The code was there to persuade, gain and recruit men and women from villages in the south to join them in this communist movement. This was a very sneaky hoax they used to disguise themselves as innocent villagers when they all were probably apart of the movement. Using this code, not only could they gain more followers but also win the support of local people which was a key to the guerrilla warfare (hence why they go hand in hand) “The South Vietnamese peasants supported and sheltered the Vietcong. ” (5) This technique was also very triumphant because the code gave them more followers; a disguise; places to live/eat/work etc. nd also an easy way to keep an eye on the enemy.

The only flaw would maybe be them being found out and killed but the chances were unlikely. Finally, the people’s war was another good approach used the Vietcong. This particular method focused on the use of other people; men, women and children alike. They would hire not just men to play a role in the fight but also women who would make weaponry and children who would also help out. This was also very successful among the VC as it gave them more people inspired to help their cause as well as more people fighting on their side of the line.

To conclude with, the tactics used by the Vietcong were both successful and un-successful. There is a high level of disagreement with the hypothesis as some very good methods were used such as the underground trails like Ho Chi Minh trail and the network of underground caves. Others like the people’s war would be less important. The most important factor would be the Ho Chi Minh trail because; it covered a lot of ground, acted as a safe place, was used to attack US troops in small groups and was also an escape route in which the Vietcong could easily slip in and out of.

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