The military tactics used by both the USA and Vietcong forces in the 1960's.

Essay by jdpercivalHigh School, 10th grade May 2003

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The tactics used by the Vietcong and US military forces were very different and changed during the course of the war. At the beginning of the war the Vietcong (NLF) army was aggressive whilst the US army was defensive. The Gulf of Tonkin incident became America's excuse to become aggressive towards the Vietcong.

In 1965 General W. Westmoreland developed the strategy of "search and destroy". Its objective was to find and kill any members of the NLF. US soldiers found this difficult however as the Vietcong always dressed in civilian clothing, and killing peasants by mistake was not uncommon; "if he's dead and Vietnamese, he's a V.C." was the view of the troops carrying out the search and destroy missions.

It was clear from the outset of war that the US had far more technologically advanced weapons than the Vietcong, which they used throughout the conflict. B-52 bombers altogether dropped 8,000,000 tons of bombs between 1965 and 1973which equated to 300 tons of bombs per person living in Vietnam.

This was over three times the amount dropped during the whole of World War Two. Aside from bombs the US also dropped a considerable amount of napalm, a mixture of petrol, phosphorous and a chemical thickener which attaches itself to the skin causing horrific "fifth-degree" burns to the victim, which could quite often be an unlucky US soldier. Agent Orange, a complex biological weapon was dropped over a lot of the thick vegetation of Vietnam, causing all plant life to die, potentially to expose any hiding Vietcong.

The US pioneered the development of anti-personnel bombs, smaller than those dropped from the B-52s, such as the "pineapple", which shot shards and needles of metal in all directions. With the many different developments of anti-personnel bombs it was the US's...