posted on Nov, 23 2004 @ 03:24 PM
"In Vietnam, we did none of this. We did not capture territory, or bomb infrastructure to any great degree due to the politics of the war. In stead,
we engaged in a strategy of attrition. Our troops would search out and destroy the enemy forces, hence the term "search and destroy". The media
bastardized the term to mean "search" villages and "destroy" them. This was incorrect. Yes villages were burned but it was usually in retaliation
for the local population supporting the insurgents. They were then moved to government relocation camps. This was an attempt to deny the enemy support
and food. Due to world wide opinion, we only bombed select targets such as rail road bridges from N. Vietnam to China that were being used to bring in
supplies. Only late in the war did we invade Cambodia and Laos which were sancturaries for the enemy, and were in fact pretty much controlled by them.
We never invaded N. Vietnam.
Early in the war it was pretty much a guerrilla war, where small units of enemy troops would attack only when they had numerical superiority and
suprise on their side. The Tet offensive ended this as most of the irregular forces were destroyed and it became a conventional war with the Army of
N. Vietnam invading the South. This stage of the war was regular army units against regular army units. I mentioned a strategy of attrition above,
this means we were trying to kill them faster than they killed us so that they would eventually give up. We did that, the final casualty figures were
55,0000 american dead to probably 1,000,000+ enemy soldiers. Our problem was the american people and the government lost their will to continue the
In a nut shell the difference is the persisting strategy and the strategy of attrition. In WII large formations were deployed and captured territory.
In Vietnam, small battalion sized units were deployed to find, fix and destroy the enemy. Small patrols or company sized units would serve as bait to
draw the enemy formations out, then air mobile troops and air power would be sent in and used to destroy them, but we were not interested in capturing
In WII the enemy only wanted to capture and defend territory. In Vietnam, the enemy used hit and run tactics I mentioned above, attacking only when
they had local numerical superiority and suprise, then they would melt away to do it again later. These tactics were devised and perfected by Mao Tse
Tung and adopted by many communist insurgencies throughout the world."