Types of Warfare in the Vietnam War

US Army

Military Tactics

  • The US bombed military and industrial targets in the North and South; they bombed the Ho Chi Minh Trail and they bombed Cambodia and Laos. However, this only temporarily disrupted and slowed down supply routes.

  • They used chemical weapons, such as Agent Orange and Napalm as defoliants. However, these harmed or killed many civilians.

  • They used search and destroy missions. However, they were often based on inaccurate information or led to US soldiers being ambushed.

Support of the Local Population

  • US military tactics caused many civilian casualties. This began to turn the local population against the US.

Motivated and Committed Soldiers

  • Many soldiers were young with an average age of 19 and had been conscripted into the army.

  • Many soldiers were inexperienced as they had only completed a one year term of service.

  • Morale was low among conscripts and many of them did not care about Vietnam or their fall to communism. They only wish was to return home alive.

Viet Cong

Military Tactics

  • They used guerilla warfare, which relied on ambushes, booby traps and hand to hand fighting rather than open warfare. Therefore, they were able to avoid superior weapons that the US army had, so they were able to inflict many casualties.

  • Underground tunnel complexes were used which helped the Viet Cong to hide from US soldiers and avoid the worst effects of US Air Power.

  • Used the Ho Chi Minh trail which allowed the Viet Cong to get supplies from the North.

Support of the Local Population

  • The Viet Cong helped the locals to plant and harvest crops and were taught to be respectful and courteous.

  • They could be ruthless to those who coperated with their enemies. The Viet Cong killed around 27,000 civilians.

Motivated and Committed Soldiers

  • Their soldiers were determined. They were fighting for their country and refused to give in.

  • Whatever the casualties, there were willing, replacement troops available.