Vietnam War
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What is guerilla warfare?

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04/10/2012

The ground and terrain in Vietnam consisted a large part of foresty and jungle. The native Viet Cong were experienced in fighting in this environment, in contrast to the American troops, who were young conscripts drafted into the military and fighting their first battle - and if that wasn't enough, it was in the muddy and enduring terrain of the tropical forests, which their enemy was adapted to.

When fighting, the Viet Cong amde the most of this advantage, and lured American troops into the forests and attacked them, concealed within the trees and leaves, and this cost the U.S a lot of casualties, although much more casualties were on the Viet Cong side, as a result of the superior firepower of their enemy in retaliating.

Eventually, the U.S found a counter, although it's effectiveness is arguable, in dropping highly explosive napalm bombs in the forests, with the intention of destroying them so that it would deprive the Viet Cong of their cover in attacking the U.S troops, and during the course of their air campaign, it was estimated that more bombs were dropped on Vietnam, then in the entire course of World War II, which demonstrates the extent of the determination by the US to take out the Viet Cong.

However, this affected many innocent Vietnamese in the proccess, of which a large number depended n the forest for their daily survival, and in turn this aroused feelings of anger against the American troops within the general populace, increasing much-needed support for the Viet Cong

, and caused outrage and increased poltical oressure back home in the United States, itself, which would eventually play a part in the withdrawal of U.S forces.

With much of the forest destroyed by the napalm, the Viet Cong resorted to building an effective system of underground tunnels in order to transport troops and supplies. Infact, in a number of occassions, Viet Cong tunnels were built directly under the U.S. military bases in which they were attacking, without them knowing.

Tactics-wise, the primarily domainant tactics that the Viet Cong used was to conduct hit and run attacks against small, isolated groups of U.S troops, which involved firing at the troops from hidden and concealed locations, and then retreating before they had time to retaliate. Often, this would be costly to the Viet Cong in terms of numbers with thousands dying, but it did manage to achieve the objective of causing casualties among the US troops.

Another effective tactic they used was to lay booby traps and mines to the unsuspecting Americans, with some of the most varied and diverse types of booby traps being used. The primary objective of these was to maime and injure the troops, rather than kill them as it was supposed n theory that the Us military cared and looked after each of their soldiers closely, mainting the highest of conditions, and that if large numbers of soldiers were injured, then this would drain the money.

However, despite the casualties the tactics were inflicting on Ameircan troops, the expensive losses of the Viet Cong in carrying out these guerrilla attacks and raid were disproportiantely high in comparison, and the effect that they were having wasn't as high as the Viet Cong commander hoped.

In 1967, he decided to take a gamble and switch his troops to a more conventional role, and carry out a major attack on important strategic locations in South Vietnam, in what was to be known as the Tet Offensive, and he hoped that the shock of this attack would alarm public opinion in the U.S and force a quick withdrawal.

Despite the spectacularity of the attacks, the price on the Viet Cong was fatal, and in the end, having lost of every battle with US infantry, they were stretched to the breaking point and were on the verge of defeat. One more major counter-offensive by the American troops we=ould surely finish them off entirely.

However, one important thing saved their existence - the U.S public, horrified at the sight of American troops in open street battles with the Viet Cong, with building damaged and burning, and the siound of itnense gunfire. demanded a withdrawal immediatly, and the US governmenjt was forced to back down to public pressure, and began it's steady withdrawal from Vietnam.

It seemed the gamble payed off, and with the U.S. driven out of Vietnam completely by the early 1970s. they switched to conventional tactics and began their invasion of South Vietnam.

Here are some good websites for more information:

http://www.angelfire.com/hero2/vietcong/

http://www.slideshare.net/ccarter333/vietnamviet-cong-tactics/

(Slide Show)

http://www.pbs.org/battlefieldvietnam/guerrilla/index.HTML

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viet_Cong_and_NVA_strategy_and_tactics

Guerilla warfare is a type of war that is unorganized and violent, it's fighting violently and effectively without any respect or rules.
Basically the only way for a small resistance to fight a army outnumbering them. Defined as a conflict between armed civilians and regular military. The rebel forces use tactics like ambush and surprise to gain the upper hand. An example of the use of guerrilla warfare is the Vietnam War.