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  1. #11
    Hedgehogey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Just popping to note how butthurt imperialists are about losing this one 40 years later

    "The only important elements in any society
    are the artistic and the criminal,
    because they alone, by questioning the society's values,
    can force it to change."-Samuel R. Delany



    It seems that the only people who support anarchy are faggots, who want their pathetic immoral lifestyle accepted by the mainstream society. It wont be so they try to create their own.-Oldman34, friend to all children

  2. #12

    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Your question about tactics is a broad one. The war was fought progressively, and developmentally. What people expected in 1965 was different than what they expected in 1969, was different from what people expected in 1972. (1965, how can we lose? We can only win. 1969, how do we keep from losing? 1972, how do we get out?)

    With that, many "tactics" remain standard before, during, and after the Vietnam war. The book recommended to you earlier, Street without Joy, by Bernard Fall, is an excellent read, and in general terms the U.S. made many of the same tactical and strategic errors of the French.

    Street without Joy is a good place to start. The war in Indochina was part of a much larger chronology. We inherited it from the French in 1954. And, during their phase of the war we were supporting them upwards of 75-to-80 percent of their cost by 1954.

    I'm a historian by training. You'll find the military history of Southeast Asia during the 20th century a fascinating read.

    My mind ran to topics like riverine warfare, the Phoenix Program, the Communist Bloc countries training, supporting, and participating in operations within South Vietnam. It's a spiderweb of "tactics." It just depends what elements of modern warfare you focus on, but it is all there. Propaganda, agent development, assassinations, logistical support requirements, conventional warfare and unconventional warfare, each topic influences and folds into the next at some juncture.

  3. #13
    Cassius's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
    Quote Originally Posted by Hedgehogey View Post
    Just popping to note how butthurt imperialists are about losing this one 40 years later
    U.S. involvement in Vietnam was originally a quid pro quo for France not blocking Germany's entry into NATO. A back-asswards reason to get involved in a war, that's for sure. I'm pretty sure the only people who really feel otherwise are the folks ghosting around D.C. who are still trying to justify why they were right to do so. Alas, this thread is about tactics, not politics, so let's keep things on topic.

    In case anyone was wondering, versions of the three tactics WoundedRonin was referring to in his first post appear to still be in use by conventional forces today, but with disguised names like "presence patrols." Or at least that's what it appears like to me, having never participated in such tomfoolery. I have taken part in a good number of long-offset baited ambushes and movements to contact, but modern weaponry and close air support in contemporary (non-jungle) operating environments rendered those effective, at least in the acute sense of the word.
    "No. Listen to me because I know what I'm talking about here." -- Hannibal

  4. #14
    Hi. Long time lurker. Saw this and wanted to reply. I will share what my father told me. He served 67-68, I Corps, 198th LIB (Americal Div.) as infantry grunt. Volunteered for E company (recon unit).

    Two weeks over there he wrote home to his dad and said "we ain't here to win this one, it's a total BS deal."

    Many infantry units went on "ambush" per higher orders but the men often had no intention of making contact. They went out, "nope, Charlie ain't in sight", and went back to base.

    Also the going thing was "sweeping" meaning moving thru an area high visibility etc to "flush out" the enemy. Dad said the way it was usually done was bs and did no good. Sometimes contact was made... sometimes not.... but the thing was pointless cause no area was every TRULY "cleared" after our boys went back to base.

    Dad signed up for recon to get away from what he felt stupid meatgrinder suicidal BS.

    In recon they did op/lp duty mostly as well as kinda sorta "pathfinder" type missions. Ambushes were usually set up by their unit only as necessary (hasty) as they preferred to be "invisible". Dad said better chance of making it home alive if you are part of atiny silent unobtrusive group than part of a larger noisy bush-beating group.

    They worked with Aussies and ROKs and had high regard for them.

    So per my dad most "ambushes" ran in his ao were generally bs and stupid. Again which is why he numped at the chance to go recon.

    Also he said "ARVN by day... VC by night." Meaning a lot of ARVN people and commanders had too many close connections with vc or even nva people and commanders. Which might explain some of how the enemy was able to know where our people were going to so often... just a thought.

    As for making noise, I femember a story about them on a hill one night and getting a call there was a battalion of Khmers moving around their hill in the valleys on either side en route somewhere. So dad's buddy fires up a joint and a radio on maximum and says "if we gonna die we gonna die in style". Khmers just kept movingon and come morning they were extracted. Dad says he imagines the Khmers could smell the gunji weed and hear the music and the yelling "sin loi mf'ers!" etc and probably thought "crazy americans too crazy to mess with tonight". Weird stuff for sure.

    Anyway the illogic of a lot of actions on our part is what my dad observed as well and he concluded early on the whole thing was bs.

    Just thought I'd share that.

    And to any and all nam vets, welcome home.

  5. #15

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    JKD, MT, G.H Bagpipes
    I can't add much colour reference Vietnam cos "I wasn't there man" , but having spent quite a time in the jungle as a light infantryman, I can confirm that many of the tactics have remained unchanged since the Burma Campaign of ww2. We do things slightly differently in the British Army and the bulk of our advanced jungle training is delivered from Brigade of Ghurkas/SF/Infantry instructors at Training Team Brunei, with exercises being done in Belize upto about 2010.

    On movement: my background is in Recce and our first main task in a Jungle environment (assuming operation out of an established base) would be to establish an OP screen (listening post) well ahead of friendly forces, mapping a safe route as you go. This was also true during Vietnam in the case of large deliberate operations targeting VC. LRRPS and larger unit Recce teams would have gone out prior to an advance by the main body. These parties can also be used as additional flank protection in extremis but due to the dense nature of the environment this isn't as effective as say a woodland one. In any case the ground, nature of threat etc dicatates the use of pairs flanking out. Our TTP's would dictate that we wouldn't be hacking anything with machete, not only does it create noise and leave a trail but it also damages any ground sign left by a sentry or advance party. This is where perhaps our doctrine differs, as tracking has a large emphasis on what we do out there. When the main party advance into say an ambush, they would also minimise ground sign and upto the lying up point before establishing the ambush site, the last man would cover any tracks left out to at least 50m, preferably further.

    The only situation where you would be using machete and creating all that hulabaloo, is during an advance to contact or where the terrain is unpassable otherwise, which is actually extremely rare even in dense jungle there is usually a way around, which is why if you've ever tried to map read there your compass pays for itself, you are always changing direction, it all looks the same and can be very disorientating hense "the jungle fever" some blokes after a few days.

    The best time to move through is actually at night due to the noise of the place but this brings its own problems as well. Like I said some of our methods differ but for what its worth, the jungle is one of the last places I'd chose to fight a war. I would quite happily live in there, forever, but fighting against a well equipped and highly mobile insurgent force using guerilla doctrine with local knowledge, its near impossible to win imo unless you are exploiting forces who are familar with the terrain, like the Ghurkas or Chindits who adapted to the environment so well.

  6. #16

    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Trad Ju Jitsu
    In "About Face" by David Hackworth, he explains that when he received fresh young junior officers, he realised what a liability they would be to his troops so he sent them to the experts: the Australians SAS. They learned much, and returned to Hackworth, in a better shape and less likely to get their own troops killed.

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